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Title: With the French in France and Salonika
Author: Davis, Richard Harding, 1864-1916
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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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 Published April, 1916


 "SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE"                                 _net_ $1.00
 THE LOST ROAD. Illustrated. 12mo                      _net_  1.25
 THE RED CROSS GIRL. Illustrated. 12mo                 _net_  1.25
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    Illustrated. 12mo                                  _net_  1.00
 WITH THE ALLIES. Illustrated. 12mo                    _net_  1.00
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 Illustrated. 12mo                                     _net_  1.50
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[Illustration: General Sarrail, commanding the Allied armies in Greece,
making his first landing in Salonika.]





This book was written during the three last months of 1915 and the first
month of this year in the form of letters from France, Greece, Serbia,
and England. The writer visited ten of the twelve sectors of the French
front, seeing most of them from the first trench, and was also on the
French-British front in the Balkans. Outside of Paris the French cities
visited were Verdun, Amiens, St. Die, Arras, Chalons, Nancy, and Rheims.
What he saw served to strengthen his admiration for the French army and,
as individuals and as a nation, for the French people, and to increase
his confidence in the ultimate success of their arms.

This success he believes would come sooner were all the fighting
concentrated in Europe. To scatter the forces of the Allies in
expeditions overseas, he submits, only weakens the main attack and the
final victory. At the present moment, outside of her armies for defense
in England and for offense in Flanders, Great Britain is supporting
armies in Egypt, German East Africa, Salonika, and Mesopotamia. No one
who has seen in actual being one of these vast expeditions, any one of
which in the past would have commanded the interest of the entire world,
can appreciate how seriously they cripple the main offensive. Each robs
it of hundreds of thousands of men needed in the trenches, of the
transports required to carry those men, of war-ships to convoy them, of
hospital ships to mend them, of medical men, medical stores, aeroplanes,
motor-trucks, ambulances, machine-guns, field-guns, siege-guns, and
millions upon millions of rounds of ammunition.

Transports that from neutral ports should be carrying bully beef, grain,
and munitions, are lying idle at a rent per day of many hundreds of
thousands of pounds, in the harbors of Moudros, Salonika, Aden,
Alexandria, in the Persian Gulf, and scattered along both coasts of
Africa. They are guarded by war-ships withdrawn from duty in the Channel
and North Sea. What, in lives lost, these expeditions have cost both
France and Great Britain, we know; what they have cost in millions of
money, it would be impossible even to guess.

For these excursions far afield it is not the military who are
responsible. There is the highest authority for believing neither
General Joffre nor Lord Kitchener approves of them. They are efforts
launched for political effect by loyal and well-meaning, but possibly
mistaken, members of the two governments. By them these expeditions were
sent forth to seize some place in the sun already held by Germany, to
prevent other places falling into her hands, or in the hope of turning
some neutral power into an ally. It was merely dancing to Germany's
music. It postponed and weakened the main attack. This war should be
fought in France. If it is, Germany will be utterly defeated; she cannot
long survive such another failure as Verdun, or even should she
eventually occupy Verdun could she survive such a victory. When she
no longer is a military threat all she possessed before the war,
and whatever territory she has taken since she began the war, will
automatically revert to the Allies. It then will be time enough to
restore to Belgium, Serbia, Poland, and other rightful owners the
possessions of which Germany has robbed them. If you surprise a burglar,
his pockets stuffed with the family jewels, would you first attempt to
recover the jewels, or to subdue the burglar? Before retrieving your
possessions would it not be better strategy to wait until the burglar
is down and out, and the police are adjusting the handcuffs?

In the first chapter of this book is reprinted a letter I wrote from
Paris to the papers of the Wheeler Syndicate, stating that in no part
of Europe was our country popular. It was a hint given from one American
speaking in confidence to another, and as from one friend to another.
It was not so received. To my suggestion that in Europe we are losing
friends, the answer invariably was: "We should worry!" That is not a
good answer. With a nation it surely should be as with the individuals
who compose it. If, when an individual is told he has lost the good
opinion of his friends, he sings, "I don't care, I don't care!" he
exhibits only bad manners.

The other reply made to the warning was personal abuse. That also is
the wrong answer. To kill the messenger of ill tidings is an ancient
prerogative; but it leads nowhere. If it is true that we are losing our
friends we should try to find out whose fault it is that we lost them,
and our wish should be to bring our friends back.

Men of different countries of Europe repeatedly told me that all of a
century must elapse before America can recover the prestige she has lost
since this war began. My answer was that it was unintelligent to judge
ninety million people by the acts, or lack of action, of one man, and
that to recover our lost prestige will take us no longer than is
required to get rid of that man. As soon as we elect a new President and
a new Congress, who are not necessarily looking for trouble, but who
will not crawl under the bed to avoid it, our lost prestige will return.

In the meantime, that France and her Allies succeed should be the hope
and prayer of every American. The fight they are waging is for the
things the real, unhyphenated American is supposed to hold most high and
most dear. Incidentally, they are fighting his fight, for their success
will later save him, unprepared as he is to defend himself, from a
humiliating and terrible thrashing. And every word and act of his now
that helps the Allies is a blow against frightfulness, against
despotism, and in behalf of a broader civilization, a nobler freedom,
and a much more pleasant world in which to live.

                         RICHARD HARDING DAVIS.

 April 11, 1916.


 CHAPTER                                                    PAGE

    I. PRESIDENT POINCARÉ THANKS AMERICA                      3

   II. THE MUD TRENCHES OF ARTOIS                            35

  III. THE ZIGZAG FRONT OF CHAMPAGNE                         55

   IV. FROM PARIS TO THE PIRÆUS                              79

    V. WHY KING CONSTANTINE IS NEUTRAL                       97

   VI. WITH THE ALLIES IN SALONIKA                          111

  VII. Two Boys Against an Army                             152


   IX. VERDUN AND ST. MIHIEL                                188

    X. WAR IN THE VOSGES                                    210

   XI. HINTS FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO HELP                     223

  XII. LONDON, A YEAR LATER                                 245


 General Sarrail, commanding the Allied armies in
 Greece, making his first landing in Salonika


                                                     FACING PAGE

 President Poincaré on a visit to the front                  18

 "Of another house the roof only remained, from under
 it the rest of the building had been shot away"             48

 The stone roof over this glass chandelier in the Arras
 cathedral was destroyed by shells, and the chandelier
 not touched                                                 50

 General Franchet d'Espéray                                  70

 King Constantine of Greece and commander-in-chief of
 her armies                                                 102

 "In Salonika the water-front belongs to everybody"         122

 "On one side of the quay, a moving-picture palace,
  ... on the other a boat unloading fish"                   124

 Outside the Citadel, which is mediæval, Salonika is
 modern and Turkish                                         126

 "The quay supplied every spy--German, Bulgarian,
 Turk, or Austrian--with an uninterrupted view"             139

 "Hills bare of trees, from which the snow that ran
 down their slopes had turned the road into a sea
 of mud"                                                    154

 American war correspondents at the French front in
 Serbia                                                     160

 Headquarters of the French commander in Gravec,
 Serbia                                                     172

 After the retreat from Serbia                              176

 The ruined village of Gerbéviller, destroyed after their
 retreat by the Germans                                     190

 "Through these woods ran a toy railroad"                   192

 A first-line trench outside of Verdun                      200

 A valley in Argonne showing a forest destroyed by
 shells                                                     208

 War in the forest                                          216

 A poster inviting the proprietors of restaurants and
 hotels and their guests to welcome the soldiers who
 have permission to visit Paris, especially those
 who come from the districts invaded by the Germans         228

 All over France, on Christmas Day and the day after,
 money was collected to send comforts and things
 good to eat to the men at the front                        232

 A poster advertising the fund to bring from the trenches
 "permissionaires," those soldiers who obtain permission
 to return home for six days                                236

 "Very interestin'. You ought to frame it"                  252

 "They have women policemen now"                            262




                                             PARIS, October, 1915.

While still six hundred miles from the French coast the passengers on
the _Chicago_ of the French line entered what was supposed to be the war

In those same waters, just as though the reputation of the Bay of Biscay
was not sufficiently scandalous, two ships of the line had been

So, in preparation for what the captain tactfully called an "accident,"
we rehearsed abandoning ship.

It was like the fire-drills in our public schools. It seemed a most
sensible precaution, and one that in times of peace, as well as of war,
might with advantage be enforced on all passenger-ships.

In his proclamation Commandant Mace of the _Chicago_ borrowed an idea
from the New York Fire Department. It was the warning Commissioner
Adamson prints on theatre programmes, and which casts a gloom over
patrons of the drama by instructing them to look for the nearest

Each passenger on the _Chicago_ was assigned to a life-boat. He was
advised to find out how from any part of the ship at which he might be
caught he could soonest reach it.

Women and children were to assemble on the boat deck by the boat to
which they were assigned. After they had been lowered to the water, the
men--who, meanwhile, were to be segregated on the deck below them--would
descend by rope ladders.

Entrance to a boat was by ticket only. The tickets were six inches
square and bore a number. If you lost your ticket you lost your life.
Each of the more imaginative passengers insured his life by fastening
the ticket to his clothes with a safety-pin.

Two days from land there was a full-dress rehearsal, and for the first
time we met those with whom we were expected to put to sea in an open

Apparently those in each boat were selected by lot. As one young doctor
in the ambulance service put it: "The society in my boat is not at all

The only other persons originally in my boat were Red Cross nurses of
the Post unit and infants. In trampling upon them to safety I foresaw no

But at the dress rehearsal the purser added six dark and
dangerous-looking Spaniards. It developed later that by profession they
were bull-fighters. Any man who is not afraid of a bull is entitled to
respect. But being cast adrift with six did not appeal.

One could not help wondering what would happen if we ran out of
provisions and the bull-fighters grew hungry. I tore up my ticket and
planned to swim.

Some of the passengers took the rehearsal to heart, and, all night,
fully dressed, especially as to boots, tramped the deck. As the
promenade-deck is directly over the cabins, not only they did not sleep
but neither did any one else.

The next day they began to see periscopes. For this they were not
greatly to be blamed. The sea approach to Bordeaux is flagged with black
buoys supporting iron masts that support the lights, and in the rain and
fog they look very much like periscopes.

But after the passengers had been thrilled by the sight of twenty of
them, they became so bored with false alarms that had a real submarine
appeared they were in a mood to invite the captain on board and give him
a drink.

While we still were anxiously keeping watch, a sail appeared upon the
horizon. Even the strongest glasses could make nothing of it. A young,
very young Frenchman ran to the bridge and called to the officers:
"Gentlemen, will you please tell me what boat it is that I see?"

Had he asked the same question of an American captain while that officer
was on the bridge, the captain would have turned his back. An English
captain would have put him in irons.

But the French captain called down to him: "She is pilot-boat No. 28.
The pilot's name is Jean Baptiste. He has a wife and four children in
Bordeaux, and others in Brest and Havre. He is fifty years old and has a
red nose and a wart on his chin. Is there anything else you would like
to know?"

At daybreak, as the ship swept up the Gironde to Bordeaux, we had our
first view of the enemy.

We had passed the vineyards and those châteaux the names of which every
wine-card in every part of the world helps to keep famous and familiar,
and had reached the outskirts of the city. Here the banks are close
together, so close that one almost can hail those on shore; but there
was a heavy rain and the mist played tricks.

When I saw a man in a black overcoat with the brass buttons wider apart
across the chest than at the belt line, like those of our traffic police
in summer-time, I thought it was a trick of the mist. Because the
uniform that, by a nice adjustment of buttons, tries to broaden the
shoulders and decrease the waist, is not being worn much in France. Not
if a French sharpshooter sees it first.

But the man in the overcoat was not carrying a rifle on his shoulder.
He was carrying a bag of cement, and from the hull of the barge others
appeared, each with a bag upon his shoulder. There was no mistaking
them. Nor their little round caps, high boots, and field uniforms of

It was strange that the first persons we should see since we left the
wharf at the foot of Fifteenth Street, North River, the first we should
see in France, should not be French people, but German soldiers.

Bordeaux had the good taste to burn down when the architect who designed
the Place de la Concorde, in Paris, and the buildings facing it was
still alive; and after his designs, or those of his pupils, Bordeaux was
rebuilt. So wherever you look you see the best in what is old and the
smartest in what is modern.

Certainly when to that city President Poincaré and his cabinet moved the
government, they gave it a resting-place that was both dignified and
charming. To walk the streets and wharfs is a continual delight. One is
never bored. It is like reading a book in which there are no dull pages.

Everywhere are the splendid buildings of Louis XV, statues, parks,
monuments, churches, great arches that once were the outer gates, and
many miles of quays redolent, not of the sea, but of the wine to which
the city gives her name.

But to-day to walk the streets of Bordeaux saddens as well as delights.
There are so many wounded. There are so many women and children all in
black. It is a relief when you learn that the wounded are from different
parts of France, that they have been sent to Bordeaux to recuperate and
are greatly in excess of the proportion of wounded you would find in
other cities.

But the women and children in black are not convalescents. Their wounds
heal slowly, or not at all.

At the wharfs a white ship with gigantic American flags painted on her
sides and with an American flag at the stern was unloading horses. They
were for the French artillery and cavalry, but they were so glad to be
free of the ship that their future state did not distress them.

Instead, they kicked joyously, scattering the sentries, who were
jet-black Turcos. As one of them would run from a plunging horse, the
others laughed at him with that contagious laugh of the darky that is
the same all the world over, whether he hails from Mobile or Tangiers,
and he would return sheepishly, with eyes rolling, protesting the horse
was a "boche."

Officers, who looked as though in times of peace they might be gentlemen
jockeys, were receiving the remounts and identifying the brands on the
hoof and shoulder that had been made by their agents in America.

If the veterinary passed the horse, he was again marked, this time with
regimental numbers, on the hoof with a branding-iron, and on the flanks
with white paint. In ten days he will be given a set of shoes, and in a
month he will be under fire.

Colonel Count René de Montjou, who has been a year in America buying
remounts, and who returned on the _Chicago_, discovered that one of the
horses was a "substitut," and a very bad "substitut" he was. His teeth
had been filed, but the French officers saw that he was all of eighteen
years old.

The young American who, in the interests of the contractor, was checking
off the horses, refused to be shocked. Out of the corner of his thin
lips he whispered confidentially:

"Suppose he is a ringer," he protested; "suppose he is eighteen years
old, what's the use of their making a holler? What's it matter how old
he is, if all they're going to do with him is to get him shot?"

That night at the station, as we waited for the express to Paris, many
recruits were starting for the front. There seemed to be thousands of
them, all new; new sky-blue uniforms, new soup-tureen helmets, new

They were splendidly young and vigorous looking, and to the tale that
France now is forced to call out only old men and boys they gave the
lie. With many of them, to say farewell, came friends and family. There
was one group that was all comedy, a handsome young man under thirty,
his mother and a young girl who might have been his wife or sister.

They had brought him food for the journey; chocolate, a long loaf, tins
of sardines, a bottle of wine; and the fun was in trying to find any
pocket, bag, or haversack not already filled. They were all laughing,
the little, fat mother rather mechanically, when the whistle blew.

It was one of those shrill, long-drawn whistles without which in Europe
no train can start. It had a peevish, infantile sound, like the squeak
of a nursery toy. But it was as ominous as though some one had fired a

The soldiers raced for the cars, and the one in front of me, suddenly
grown grave, stooped and kissed the fat, little mother.

She was still laughing; but at his embrace and at the meaning of it, at
the thought that the son, who to her was always a baby, might never
again embrace her, she tore herself from him sobbing and fled--fled
blindly as though to escape from her grief.

Other women, their eyes filled with sudden tears, made way, and with
their fingers pressed to their lips turned to watch her.

The young soldier kissed the wife, or sister, or sweetheart, or whatever
she was, sketchily on one ear and shoved her after the fleeing figure.

"Guardez mama!" he said.

It is the tragedy that will never grow less, and never grow old.

One who left Paris in October, 1914, and returned in October, 1915,
finds her calm, confident; her social temperature only a little below

A year ago the gray-green tidal wave of the German armies that
threatened to engulf Paris had just been checked. With the thunder of
their advance Paris was still shaken. The withdrawal of men to the
front, and of women and children to Bordeaux and the coast, had left the
city uninhabited. The streets were as deserted as the Atlantic City
board walk in January. For miles one moved between closed shops. Along
the Aisne the lines had not been dug in, and hourly from the front
ambulances, carrying the wounded and French and British officers
unwashed from the trenches, in mud-covered, bullet-scarred cars, raced
down the echoing boulevards. In the few restaurants open, you met men
who that morning had left the firing-line, and who after déjeuner, and
the purchase of soap, cigarettes, and underclothes, by sunset would be
back on the job. In those days Paris was inside the "fire-lines." War
was in the air; you smelled it, saw it, heard it.

To-day a man from Mars visiting Paris might remain here a week, and not
know that this country is waging the greatest war in history. When you
walk the crowded streets it is impossible to believe that within forty
miles of you millions of men are facing each other in a death grip. This
is so, first, because a great wall of silence has been built between
Paris and the front, and, second, because the spirit of France is too
alive, too resilient, occupied with too many interests, to allow any one
thing, even war, to obsess it. The people of France have accepted the
war as they accept the rigors of winter. They may not like the sleet and
snow of winter, but they are not going to let the winter beat them. In
consequence, the shop windows are again dressed in their best, the
kiosks announce comedies, _revues_, operas; in the gardens of the
Luxembourg the beds are brilliant with autumn flowers, and the old
gentlemen have resumed their games of croquet, the Champs-Élysées swarms
with baby-carriages, and at the aperitif hour on the sidewalks there are
no empty chairs. At many of the restaurants it is impossible to obtain a

It is not the Paris of the days before the war. It is not "gay Paris."
But it is a Paris going about her "business as usual." This spirit of
the people awakens only the most sincere admiration. It shows great
calmness, great courage, and a confidence that, for the enemy of France,
must be disquieting. Work for the wounded and for the families of those
killed in action and who have been left without support continues. Only
now, after a year of bitter experience, it is no longer hysterical. It
has been systematized, made more efficient. It is no longer the work of
amateurs, but of those who by daily practise have become experts.

In Paris the signs of war are not nearly as much in evidence as the
activities of peace. There are many soldiers; but, in Paris, you always
saw soldiers. The only difference is that now they wear bandages, or
advance on crutches. And, as opposed to these evidences of the great
conflict going on only forty miles distant, are the flower markets
around the Madeleine, the crowds of women in front of the jewels, furs,
and manteaux in the Rue de la Paix.

It is not that France is indifferent to the war. But that she has faith
in her armies, in her generals. She can afford to wait. She drove the
enemy from Paris; she is teaching French in Alsace; in time, when
Joffre is ready, she will drive the enemy across her borders. In her
faith in Joffre, she opens her shops, markets, schools, theatres. It is
not callousness she shows, but that courage and confidence that are the
forerunners of success.

But the year of war has brought certain changes. The search-lights have
disappeared. It was found that to the enemy in the air they were less of
a menace than a guide. So the great shafts of light that with majesty
used to sweep the skies or cut a path into the clouds have disappeared.
And nearly all other lights have disappeared. Those who drive motor-cars
claim the pedestrians are careless; the pedestrians protest that the
drivers of motor-cars are reckless. In any case, to cross a street at
night is an adventure.

 [Illustration: _From a photograph by Underwood and Underwood._

 President Poincaré on a visit to the front.]

Something else that has disappeared is the British soldier. A year ago
he swarmed, now he is almost entirely absent. Outside of the hospital
corps, a British officer in Paris is an object of interest. In their
place are many Belgians, almost too many Belgians. Their new khaki
uniforms are unsoiled. Unlike the French soldiers you see, few are
wounded. The answer probably is that as they cannot return to their own
country, they must make their home in that of their ally. And the front
they defend so valiantly is not so extended that there is room for all.
Meanwhile, as they wait for their turn in the trenches, they fill the
boulevards and cafés.

This is not true of the French officers. The few you see are
convalescents, or on leave. It is not as it was last October, when Paris
was part of the war zone. Up to a few days ago, until after seven in
the evening, when the work of the day was supposed to be finished, an
officer was not permitted to sit idle in a café. And now when you see
one you may be sure he is recovering from a wound, or is on the General
Staff, and for a few hours has been released from duty.

[Illustration: Reproduction of placard warning France against spies.]

It is very different from a year ago when every officer was fresh from
the trenches--and, fresh is not quite the word, either--and he would
talk freely to an eager, sympathetic group of the battle of the night
before. Now the wall of silence stretches around Paris. By posters it is
even enforced upon you. Before the late minister of war gave up his
portfolio, by placards he warned all when in public places to be careful
of what they said. "Taisez-vous! Méfiez-vous. Les oreilles ennemies vous
écoutent." "Be silent. Be distrustful. The ears of the enemies are
listening." This warning against spies was placed in tramways,
railroad-trains, cafés. A cartoonist refused to take the good advice
seriously. His picture shows one of the women conductors in a street-car
asking a passenger where he is going. The passenger points to the
warning. "Silence," he says, "some one may be listening."

There are other changes. A year ago gold was king. To imagine any
time or place when it is not is difficult. But to-day an American
twenty-dollar bill gives you a higher rate of exchange than an American
gold double-eagle. A thousand dollars in bills in Paris is worth thirty
dollars more to you than a thousand dollars in gold. And to carry it
does not make you think you are concealing a forty-five Colt. The
decrease in value is due to the fact that you cannot take gold out of
the country. That is true of every country in Europe, and of any kind of
gold. At the border it is taken from you and in exchange you must accept
bills. So, any one in Paris, wishing to travel, had best turn over his
gold to the Bank of France. He will receive not only a good rate of
exchange but also an engraved certificate testifying that he has
contributed to the national defense.

Another curious vagary of the war that obtains now is the sudden
disappearance of the copper sou or what ranks with our penny. Why it is
scarce no one seems to know. The generally accepted explanation is that
the copper has flown to the trenches where millions of men are dealing
in small sums. But whatever the reason, the fact remains. In the stores
you receive change in postage-stamps, and, on the underground railroad,
where the people have refused to accept stamps in lieu of coppers, there
are incipient riots. One night at a restaurant I was given change in
stamps and tried to get even with the house by unloading them as his tip
on the waiter. He protested eloquently. "Letters I never write," he
explained. "To write letters makes me ennui. And yet if I wrote for a
hundred years I could not use all the stamps my patrons have forced upon

These differences the year has brought about are not lasting, and are
unimportant. The change that is important, and which threatens to last a
long time, is the difference in the sentiment of the French people
toward Americans.

Before the war we were not unduly flattering ourselves if we said the
attitude of the French toward the United States was friendly. There
were reasons why they should regard us at least with tolerance. We were
very good customers. From different parts of France we imported wines
and silks. In Paris we spent, some of us spent, millions on jewels and
clothes. In automobiles and on Cook's tours every summer Americans
scattered money from Brittany to Marseilles. They were the natural prey
of Parisian hotel-keepers, restaurants, milliners, and dressmakers. We
were a sister republic, the two countries swapped statues of their
great men--we had not forgotten Lafayette, France honored Paul Jones. A
year ago, in the comic papers, between John Bull and Uncle Sam, it was
not Uncle Sam who got the worst of it. Then the war came and with it,
in the feeling toward ourselves, a complete change. A year ago we were
almost one of the Allies, much more popular than Italians, more
sympathetic than the English. To-day we are regarded, not with
hostility, but with amazed contempt.

This most regrettable change was first brought about by President
Wilson's letter calling upon Americans to be neutral. The French could
not understand it. From their point of view it was an unnecessary
affront. It was as unexpected as the cut direct from a friend; as
unwarranted, as gratuitous, as a slap in the face. The millions that
poured in from America for the Red Cross, the services of Americans in
hospitals, were accepted as the offerings of individuals, not as
representing the sentiment of the American people. That sentiment, the
French still insist in believing, found expression in the letter that
called upon all Americans to be neutral, something which to a Frenchman
is neither fish, fowl, nor good red herring.

We lost caste in other ways. We supplied France with munitions, but,
as a purchasing agent for the government put it to me, we are not
losing much money by it, and, until the French Government protested,
and the protest was printed all over the United States, some of our
manufacturers supplied articles that were worthless. Doctor Charles W.
Cowan, an American who in winter lives in Paris and Nice and spends his
summers in America, showed me the half section of a shoe of which he
said sixty thousand pairs had been ordered, until it was found that part
of each shoe was made of brown paper. Certainly part of the shoe he
showed me was made of brown paper.

When an entire people, men, women, and children, are fighting for
their national existence, and their individual home and life, to have
such evidences of Yankee smartness foisted upon them does not make
for friendship. It inspired contempt. This unpleasant sentiment was
strengthened by our failure to demand satisfaction for the lives lost on
the _Lusitania_, while at the same time our losses in dollars seemed to
distress us so deeply. But more harmful and more unfortunate than any
other word or act was the statement of President Wilson that we might be
"too proud to fight." This struck the French not only as proclaiming us
a cowardly nation, but as assuming superiority over the man who not only
would fight, but who was fighting. And as at that moment several million
Frenchmen were fighting, it was natural that they should laugh. Every
nation in Europe laughed. In an Italian cartoon Uncle Sam is shown, hat
in hand, offering a "note" to the German Emperor and in another shooting

The legend reads: "He is too proud to fight the Kaiser, but not
too proud to kill niggers." In London, "Too Proud to Fight" is
in the music-halls the line surest of raising a laugh, and the
recruiting-stations show pictures of fat men, effeminates, degenerates,
and cripples labelled: "These Are Too Proud to Fight! Are You?"

The change of sentiment toward us in France is shown in many ways.
To retail them would not help matters. But as one hears of them from
Americans who, since the war began, have been working in the hospitals,
on distributing committees, in the banking-houses, and as diplomats and
consuls, that our country is most unpopular is only too evident.

It is the greater pity because the real feeling of our people toward
France in this war is one of enthusiastic admiration. Of all the Allies,
Americans probably hold for the French the most hearty good-feeling,
affection, and good-will. Through the government at Washington this
feeling has been ill-expressed, if not entirely concealed. It is
unfortunate. Mr. Kipling, whose manners are his own, has given as a
toast: "Damn all neutrals." The French are more polite. But when this
war is over we may find that in twelve months we have lost friends of
many years. That over all the world we have lost them.

That does not mean that for the help Americans have given France and
her Allies, the Allies are ungrateful. That the French certainly are
not ungrateful I was given assurance by no less an authority than the
President of the republic. His assurance was conveyed to the American
people in a message of thanks. It is also a message of good-will.

It recognizes and appreciates the sympathy shown to France in her
present fight for liberty and civilization by those Americans who
remember that when we fought for our liberty France was not neutral, but
sent us Lafayette and Rochambeau, ships and soldiers. It is a message
of thanks from President Poincaré to those Americans who found it less
easy to be neutral than to be grateful.

It was my good fortune to be presented by Paul Benazet, a close personal
friend of the President, and both an officer of the army and a deputy.
As a deputy before the war he helped largely in passing the bills that
called for three years of military service and for heavier artillery. As
an officer he won the Legion of Honor and the Cross of War. Besides
being a brilliant writer, M. Benazet is also an accomplished linguist,
and as President Poincaré does not express himself readily in English,
and as my French is better suited to restaurants than palaces, he acted
as our interpreter.

The arrival of important visitors, M. Cambon, the former ambassador to
the United States, and the new prime minister, M. Briand, delayed our
reception, and while we waited we were escorted through the official
rooms of the Élysée. It was a half-hour of most fascinating interest,
not only because the vast salons were filled with what, in art, is most
beautiful, but because we were brought back to the ghosts of other days.

What we actually saw were the best of Gobelin tapestries, the best of
Sèvres china, the best of mural paintings. We walked on silken carpets,
bearing the fleur-de-lis. We sat on sofas of embroidery as fine as an
engraving and as rich in color as a painting by Morland. The bright
autumn sunshine illuminated the ormulu brass of the First Empire, gilt
eagles, crowns, cupids, and the only letter of the alphabet that always
suggests one name.

Those which we brought back to the rooms in which once they lived,
planned, and plotted were the ghosts of Mme. de Pompadour, Louis XVI,
Murat, Napoleon I, and Napoleon III. We could imagine the first Emperor
standing with his hands clasped behind him in front of the marble
fireplace, his figure reflected in the full-length mirrors, his
features in gold looking down at him from the walls and ceilings. We
intruded even into the little room opening on the rose garden, where
for hours he would pace the floor.

But, perhaps, what was of greatest interest was the remarkable
adjustment of these surroundings, royal and imperial, to the simple and
dignified needs of a republic.

France is a military nation and at war, but the evidences of militarism
were entirely absent. Our own White House is not more empty of uniforms.
One got the impression that he was entering the house of a private
gentleman--a gentleman of great wealth and taste.

We passed at last through four rooms, in which were the secretaries of
the President, and as we passed, the majordomo spoke our names, and the
different gentlemen half rose and bowed. It was all so quiet, so calm,
so free from telephones and typewriters, that you felt that, by mistake,
you had been ushered into the library of a student or a Cabinet

Then in the fourth room was the President. Outside this room we were
presented to M. Sainsere, the personal secretary of the President, and
without further ceremony M. Benazet opened the door, and in the smallest
room of all, introduced me to M. Poincaré. His portraits have rendered
his features familiar, but they do not give sufficiently the impression
I received of kindness, firmness, and dignity.

He returned to his desk and spoke in a low voice of peculiar charm. As
though the better to have the stranger understand, he spoke slowly,
selecting his words.

"I have a great admiration," he said, "for the effectiveness with which
Americans have shown their sympathy with France. They have sent doctors,
nurses, and volunteers to drive the ambulances to carry the wounded. I
have visited the hospitals at Neuilly and other places; they are

"The one at Juilly was formerly a college, but with ingenuity they have
converted it into a hospital, most complete and most valuable. The
American colony in Paris has shown a friendship we greatly appreciate.
Your ambassador I have met several times. Our relations are most
pleasant, most sympathetic."

I asked if I might repeat what he had said. The President gave his
assent, and, after a pause, as though, now that he knew he would be
quoted, he wished to emphasize what he had said, continued:

"My wife, who distributes articles of comfort, sent to the wounded
and to families in need, tells me that Americans are among the most
generous contributors. Many articles come anonymously--money, clothing,
and comforts for the soldiers, and layettes for their babies. We
recognize and appreciate the manner in which, while preserving a strict
neutrality, your country men and women have shown their sympathy."

The President rose and on leaving I presented a letter from ex-President
Roosevelt. It was explained that this was the second letter for him I
had had from Colonel Roosevelt, but that when I was a prisoner with the
Germans, I had judged it wise to swallow the first one, and that I had
requested Colonel Roosevelt to write the second one on thin paper. The
President smiled and passed the letter critically between his thumb and

"This one," he said, "is quite digestible."

I carried away the impression of a kind and distinguished gentleman,
who, in the midst of the greatest crisis in history, could find time to
dictate a message of thanks to those he knew were neutrals only in name.



                                             AMIENS, October, 1915.

In England it is "business as usual"; in France it is "war as usual."
The English tradesman can assure his customers that with such an
"old-established" firm as his not even war can interfere; but France,
with war actually on her soil, has gone further and has accepted war as
part of her daily life. She has not merely swallowed, but digested it.
It is like the line in Pinero's play, where one woman says she cannot go
to the opera because of her neuralgia. Her friend replies: "You can have
neuralgia in my box as well as anywhere else." In that spirit France has
accepted the war. The neuralgia may hurt, but she does not take to her
bed and groan. Instead, she smiles cheerfully and goes about her
duties--even sits in her box at the opera.

As we approached the front this was even more evident than in Paris,
where signs of war are all but invisible. Outside of Amiens we met a
regiment of Scots with the pipes playing and the cold rain splashing
their bare legs. To watch them we leaned from the car window. That
we should be interested seemed to surprise them; no one else was
interested. A year ago when they passed it was "Roses, roses, all the
way"--or at least cigarettes, chocolate, and red wine. Now, in spite of
the skirling bagpipes, no one turned his head; to the French they had
become a part of the landscape.

A year ago the roads at every two hundred yards were barricaded. It was
a continual hurdle-race. Now, except at distances of four or five miles,
the barricades have disappeared. One side of the road is reserved for
troops, the other for vehicles. The vehicles we met--for the most part
two-wheeled hooded carts--no longer contained peasants flying from
dismantled villages. Instead, they were on the way to market with
garden-truck, pigs, and calves. On the drivers' seat the peasant
whistled cheerily and cracked his whip. The long lines of London buses,
that last year advertised soap, mustard, milk, and music-halls, and
which now are a decorous gray; the ambulances; the great guns drawn by
motor-trucks with caterpillar wheels, no longer surprise him.

The English ally has ceased to be a stranger, and in the towns and
villages of Artois is a "paying guest." It is for him the shop-windows
are dressed. The names of the towns are Flemish; the names of the
streets are Flemish; the names over the shops are Flemish; but the goods
for sale are marmalade, tinned kippers, _The Daily Mail_, and the _Pink

"Is it your people who are selling these things?" I asked an English

The question amused him.

"Our people won't think of it until the war is over," he said, "but the
French are different.

"They are capable, adaptable, and obliging. If one of our men asks these
shopkeepers for anything they haven't got they don't say, 'We don't keep
it'; they get him to write down what it is he wants, and send for it."

It is the better way. The Frenchman does not say, "War is ruining me";
he makes the war help to support him, and at the same time gives comfort
to his ally.

A year ago in the villages the old men stood in disconsolate groups
with their hands in their pockets. Now they are briskly at work. They
are working in the fields, in the vegetable-gardens, helping the
Territorials mend the roads. On every side of them were the evidences
of war--in the fields abandoned trenches, barbed-wire entanglements,
shelters for fodder and ammunition, hangars for repairing aeroplanes,
vast slaughter-houses, parks of artillery; and on the roads endless
lines of lorries, hooded ambulances, marching soldiers.

To us those were of vivid interest, but to the French peasant they are
in the routine of his existence. After a year of it war neither greatly
distresses nor greatly interests him. With one hand he fights; with the
other he ploughs.

We had made a bet as to which would see the first sign of real war, and
the sign of it that won and that gave general satisfaction, even to the
man who lost, was a group of German soldiers sweeping the streets of St.
Pol. They were guarded only by one of their own number, and they looked
fat, sleek, and contented. When, on our return from the trenches, we saw
them again, we knew they were to be greatly envied. Between standing
waist-high in mud in a trench and being drowned in it, buried in it,
blown up or asphyxiated, the post of crossing-sweeper becomes a

The next sign of war was more thrilling. It was a race between a French
aeroplane and German shrapnel. To us the bursting shells looked like
five little cotton balls. Since this war began shrapnel, when it bursts,
has invariably been compared to balls of cotton, and as that is exactly
what it looks like, it is again so described. The balls of cotton did
not seem to rise from the earth, but to pop suddenly out of the sky.

A moment later five more cotton balls popped out of the sky. They were
much nearer the aeroplane. Others followed, leaping after it like the
spray of succeeding waves. But the aeroplane steadily and swiftly
conveyed itself out of range and out of sight.

To say where the trenches began and where they ended is difficult. We
were passing through land that had been retrieved from the enemy. It has
been fought for inch by inch, foot by foot. To win it back thousands of
lives had been thrown like dice upon a table. There were vast stretches
of mud, of fields once cultivated, but now scarred with pits, trenches,
rusty barbed-wires. The roads were rivers of clay. They were lined with
dugouts, cellars, and caves. These burrows in the earth were supported
by beams, and suggested a shaft in a disused mine. They looked like the
tunnels to coal-pits. They were inhabited by a race of French unknown to
the boulevards--men, bearded, deeply tanned, and caked with clay. Their
uniforms were like those of football players on a rainy day at the end
of the first half. We were entering what had been the village of Ablain,
and before us rose the famous heights of Mont de Lorette. To scale these
heights seemed a feat as incredible as scaling our Palisades or the
sheer cliff of Gibraltar. But they had been scaled, and the side
toward us was crawling with French soldiers, climbing to the trenches,
descending from the trenches, carrying to the trenches food, ammunition,
and fuel for the fires.

A cold rain was falling and had turned the streets of Ablain and all
the roads to it into swamps. In these were islands of bricks and lakes
of water of the solidity and color of melted chocolate. Whatever you
touched clung to you. It was a land of mud, clay, liquid earth. A cold
wind whipped the rain against your face and chilled you to the bone. All
you saw depressed and chilled your spirit.

To the "poilus," who, in the face of such desolation, joked and laughed
with the civilians, you felt you owed an apology, for your automobile
was waiting to whisk you back to a warm dinner, electric lights, red
wine, and a dry bed. The men we met were cavemen. When night came they
would sleep in a hole in the hill fit for a mud-turtle or a muskrat.

They moved in streets of clay two feet across. They were as far removed
from civilization, as in the past they have known it, as though they had
been cast adrift upon an island of liquid mud. Wherever they looked was
desolation, ruins, and broken walls, jumbles of bricks, tunnels in mud,
caves in mud, graves in mud.

In other wars the "front" was something almost human. It advanced,
wavered, and withdrew. At a single bugle-call it was electrified. It
remained in no fixed place, but, like a wave, enveloped a hill, or with
galloping horses and cheering men overwhelmed a valley. In comparison,
this trench work did not suggest war. Rather it reminded you of a
mining-camp during the spring freshet, and for all the attention the
cavemen paid to them, the reports of their "seventy-fives" and the "Jack
Johnsons" of the enemy bursting on Mont de Lorette might have come from
miners blasting rock.

What we saw of these cave-dwellers was only a few feet of a moat that
for three hundred miles like a miniature canal is cut across France.
Where we stood we could see of the three hundred miles only mud walls,
so close that we brushed one with each elbow. By looking up we could
see the black, leaden sky. Ahead of us the trench twisted, and an arrow
pointed to a first-aid dressing-station. Behind us was the winding
entrance to a shelter deep in the earth, reinforced by cement and
corrugated iron, and lit by a candle.

From a trench that was all we could see of the war, and that is all
millions of fighting men see of it--wet walls of clay as narrow as a
grave, an arrow pointing to a hospital, earthen steps leading to a
shelter from sudden death, and overhead the rain-soaked sky and perhaps
a great bird at which the enemy is shooting snowballs.

In northern France there are many buried towns and villages. They are
buried in their own cellars. Arras is still uninterred. She is the
corpse of a city that waits for burial, and day by day the German shells
are trying to dig her grave. They were at it yesterday when we visited
Arras, and this morning they will be hammering her again.

Seven centuries before this war Arras was famous for her tapestries, so
famous that in England a piece of tapestry was called an arras. Now she
has given her name to a battle--to different battles--that began with
the great bombardment of October a year ago, and each day since then
have continued. On one single day, June 26, the Germans threw into the
city shells in all sizes, from three to sixteen inches, and to the
number of ten thousand. That was about one for each house.

This bombardment drove 2,700 inhabitants into exile, of whom 1,200 have
now returned. The army feeds them, and in response they have opened
shops that the shells have not already opened, and supply the soldiers
with tobacco, post-cards, and from those gardens not hidden under bricks
and cement, fruit and vegetables. In the deserted city these civilians
form an inconspicuous element. You can walk for great distances and see
none of them. When they do appear in the empty streets they are like
ghosts. Every day the shells change one or two of them into real ghosts.
But the others still stay on. With the dogs nosing among the fallen
bricks, and the pigeons on the ruins of the cathedral, they know no
other home.

As we entered Arras the silence fell like a sudden change of
temperature. It was actual and menacing. Every corner seemed to threaten
an ambush. Our voices echoed so loudly that unconsciously we spoke in
lower tones. The tap of the captain's walking-stick resounded like the
blow of a hammer. The emptiness and stillness was like that of a vast
cemetery, and the grass that had grown through the paving-stones
deadened the sound of our steps. This silence was broken only by the
barking of the French seventy-fives, in parts of the city hidden to
us, the boom of the German guns in answer, and from overhead by the
aeroplanes. In the absolute stillness the whirl of their engines came
to us with the steady vibrations of a loom.

In the streets were shell holes that had been recently filled and
covered over with bricks and fresh earth. It was like walking upon newly
made graves. On either side of us were gaping cellars into which the
houses had dumped themselves or, still balancing above them, were walls
prettily papered, hung with engravings, paintings, mirrors, quite
intact. These walls were roofless and defenseless against the rain and
snow. Other houses were like those toy ones built for children, with the
front open. They showed a bed with pillows, shelves supporting candles,
books, a washstand with basin and pitcher, a piano, and a reading-lamp.

In one house four stories had been torn away, leaving only the attic
sheltered by the peaked roof. To that height no one could climb, and
exposed to view were the collection of trunks and boxes familiar to all
attics. As a warning against rough handling, one of these, a woman's
hat-box, had been marked "Fragile." Secure and serene, it smiled down
sixty feet upon the mass of iron and bricks it had survived.

Of another house the roof only remained; from under it the rest of the
building had been shot away. It was as though after a soldier had been
blown to pieces, his helmet still hung suspended in mid-air.

In other streets it was the front that was intact, but when our captain
opened the street door we faced a cellar. Nothing beside remained. Or
else we stepped upon creaky floors that sagged, through rooms swept by
the iron brooms into vast dust heaps. From these protruded wounded
furniture--the leg of a table, the broken arm of a chair, a headless

 [Illustration: _From a photograph by R. H. Davis._

 "Of another house the roof only remained, from under it the rest of
 the building had been shot away."]

From the débris we picked the many little heirlooms, souvenirs,
possessions that make a home. Photographs with written inscriptions,
post-cards bearing good wishes, ornaments for the centre-table,
ornaments for the person, images of the church, all crushed, broken,
and stained. Many shop-windows were still dressed invitingly as they
were when the shell burst, but beyond the goods exposed for sale was
only a deep hole.

The pure deviltry of a shell no one can explain. Nor why it spares a
looking-glass and wrecks a wall that has been standing since the twelfth

In the cathedral the stone roof weighing hundreds of tons had fallen,
and directly beneath where it had been hung an enormous glass chandelier
untouched. A shell loves a shining mark. To what is most beautiful it
is most cruel. The Hôtel de Ville, which was counted among the most
presentable in the north of France, that once rose in seven arches in
the style of the Renaissance, the shells marked for their own.

And all the houses approaching it from the German side they destroyed.
Not even those who once lived in them could say where they stood. There
is left only a mess of bricks, tiles, and plaster. They suggest the
homes of human beings as little as does a brickyard.

We visited what had been the headquarters of General de Wignacourt.
They were in the garden of a house that opened upon one of the principal
thoroughfares, and the floor level was twelve feet under the level of
the flower-beds. To this subterranean office there are two entrances,
one through the cellar of the house, the other down steps from the
garden. The steps were beams the size of a railroad-tie. Had they not
been whitewashed they would look like the shaft leading to a coal-pit.

A soldier who was an artist in plaster had decorated the entrance to the
shaft with an ornamental façade worthy of any public building. Here,
secure from the falling walls and explosive shells, the general by
telephone directed his attack. The place was as dry, as clean, and as
compact as the admiral's quarters on a ship of war. The switchboard
connected with batteries buried from sight in every part of the unburied
city, and in an adjoining room a soldier cook was preparing a most
appetizing luncheon.

 [Illustration: _From a photograph by R. H. Davis._

 The stone roof over this glass chandelier in the Arras cathedral was
 destroyed by shells, and the chandelier not touched.]

Above us was three yards of cement, rafters, and earth, and crowning
them grass and flowers. When the owner of the house returns he will find
this addition to his residence an excellent refuge from burglars or

Personally we were glad to escape into the open street. Between being
hit by a shell and buried under twelve feet of cement the choice was

We lunched in a charming house, where the table was spread in the front
hall. The bed of the officer temporarily occupying the house also was
spread in the hall, and we were curious to know, but too proud to ask,
why he limited himself to such narrow quarters. Our captain rewarded our
reticence. He threw back the heavy curtain that concealed the rest of
the house, and showed us that there was no house. It had been deftly
removed by a shell.

The owner of the house had run away, but before he fled, fearing the
Germans might enter Arras and take his money, he had withdrawn it and
hidden it in his garden. The money amounted to two hundred and fifty
thousand dollars. He placed it in a lead box, soldered up the opening,
and buried the box under a tree. Then he went away and carelessly forgot
_which_ tree.

During a lull in the bombardment, he returned, and until two o'clock in
the morning dug frantically for his buried treasure. The soldier who
guarded the house told me the difference in the way the soldiers dig a
trench and the way our absent host dug for his lost money was greatly
marked. I found the leaden box cast aside in the dog-kennel. It was the
exact size of a suitcase. As none of us knows when he may not have to
bury a quarter of a million dollars hurriedly, it is a fact worth
remembering. Any ordinary suitcase will do. The soldier and I examined
the leaden box carefully. But the owner had not overlooked anything.

When we reached the ruins of the cathedral, we did not need darkness
and falling rain to depress us further, or to make the scene more
desolate. One lacking in all reverence would have been shocked. The
wanton waste, the senseless brutality in such destruction would have
moved a statue. Walls as thick as the ramparts of a fort had been blown
into powdered chalk. There were great breaches in them through which you
could drive an omnibus. In one place the stone roof and supporting
arches had fallen, and upon the floor, where for two hundred years the
people of Arras had knelt in prayer, was a mighty barricade of stone
blocks, twisted candelabra, broken praying-chairs, torn vestments,
shattered glass. Exposed to the elements, the chapels were open to the
sky. The rain fell on sacred emblems of the Holy Family, the saints, and
apostles. Upon the altars the dust of the crushed walls lay inches deep.

The destruction is too great for present repair. They can fill the
excavations in the streets and board up the shattered show-windows, but
the cathedral is too vast, the destruction of it too nearly complete.
The sacrilege must stand. Until the war is over, until Arras is free
from shells, the ruins must remain uncared for and uncovered. And the
cathedral, by those who once came to it for help and guidance, will be

But not entirely deserted. The pigeons that built their nests under the
eaves have descended to the empty chapels, and in swift, graceful
circles sweep under the ruined arches. Above the dripping of the rain,
and the surly booming of the cannon, their contented cooing was the only
sound of comfort. It seemed to hold out a promise for the better days of



                                             PARIS, October, 1915.

In Artois we were "personally conducted." In a way, we were the guests
of the war department; in any case, we tried to behave as such. It was
no more proper for us to see what we were not invited to see than to
bring our own wine to another man's dinner.

In Champagne it was entirely different. I was alone with a car and a
chauffeur and a blue slip of paper. It permitted me to remain in a
"certain place" inside the war zone for ten days. I did not believe it
was true. I recalled other trips over the same roads a year before which
finally led to the Cherche-Midi prison, and each time I showed the blue
slip to the gendarmes I shivered. But the gendarmes seemed satisfied,
and as they permitted us to pass farther and farther into the forbidden
land, the chauffeur began to treat me almost as an equal. And so, with
as little incident as one taxis from Madison Square to Central Park, we
motored from Paris into the sound of the guns.

At the "certain place" the general was absent in the trenches, but the
chief of staff asked what I most wanted to see. It was as though the
fairy godmother had given you one wish. I chose Rheims, and to spend the
night there. The chief of staff waved a wand in the shape of a second
piece of paper, and we were in Rheims. To a colonel we presented the two
slips of paper, and, in turn, he asked what was wanted. A year before I
had seen the cathedral when it was being bombarded, when it still was
burning. I asked if I might revisit it.

"And after that?" said the colonel.

It was much too good to be real.

I would wake and find myself again in Cherche-Midi prison.

Outside, the sounds of the guns were now very close. They seemed to be
just around the corner, on the roof of the next house.

"Of course, what I really want is to visit the first trench."

It was like asking a Mason to reveal the mysteries of his order, a
priest to tell the secrets of the confessional. The colonel commanded
the presence of Lieutenant Blank. With alarm I awaited his coming. Did
a military prison yawn, and was he to act as my escort? I had been too
bold. I should have asked to see only the third trench.

At the order the colonel gave, Lieutenant Blank expressed surprise
But his colonel, with a shrug, as though ridding himself of all
responsibility, showed the blue slip. It was a pantomime, with which
by repetition, we became familiar. In turn each officer would express
surprise; the other officer would shrug, point to the blue slip, and
we would pass forward.

The cathedral did not long detain us. Outside, for protection, it was
boarded up, packed tightly in sand-bags; inside, it had been swept of
broken glass, and the paintings, tapestries, and the carved images on
the altars had been removed. A professional sacristan spoke a set
speech, telling me of things I had seen with my own eyes--of burning
rafters that spared the Gobelin tapestries, of the priceless glass
trampled underfoot, of the dead and wounded Germans lying in the straw
that had given the floor the look of a barn. Now it is as empty of
decoration as the Pennsylvania railroad-station in New York. It is a
beautiful shell waiting for the day to come when the candles will be
relit, when the incense will toss before the altar, and the gray walls
glow again with the colors of tapestries and paintings. The windows only
will not bloom as before. The glass destroyed by the Emperor's shells,
all the king's horses and all the king's men cannot restore.

The professional guide, who is already so professional that he is
exchanging German cartridges for tips, supplied a morbid detail of
impossible bad taste. Among the German wounded there was a major (I
remember describing him a year ago as looking like a college professor)
who, when the fire came, was one of these the priests could not save,
and who was burned alive. Marks on the gray surface of a pillar against
which he reclined and grease spots on the stones of the floor are
supposed to be evidences of his end, a torture brought upon him by the
shells of his own people. Mr. Kipling has written that there are many
who "hope and pray these signs will be respected by our children's
children." Mr. Kipling's hope shows an imperfect conception of the
purposes of a cathedral. It is a house dedicated to God, and on earth to
peace and good-will among men. It is not erected to teach generations of
little children to gloat over the fact that an enemy, even a German
officer, was by accident burned alive.

Personally, I feel the sooner those who introduced "frightfulness" to
France, Belgium, and the coasts of England are hunted down and destroyed
the better. But the stone-mason should get to work, and remove those
stains from the Rheims cathedral. Instead, for our children's children,
would not a tablet to Edith Cavell be better, or one to the French
priest, Abbé Thinot, who carried the wounded Germans from the burning
cathedral, and who later, while carrying French wounded from the field
of battle, was himself hit three times, and of his wounds died?

I hinted to the lieutenant that the cathedral would remain for some
time, but that the trenches would soon be ploughed into turnip-beds.

So, we moved toward the trenches. The officer commanding them lived in
what he described as the deck of a battleship sunk underground. It was a
happy simile. He had his conning-tower, in which, with a telescope
through a slit in a steel plate, he could sweep the countryside. He had
a fire-control station, executive offices, wardroom, cook's galley, his
own cabin, equipped with telephones, electric lights, and running water.
There was a carpet on the floor, a gay coverlet on the four-poster bed,
photographs on his dressing-table, and flowers. All of these were buried
deep underground. A puzzling detail was a perfectly good brass lock and
key on his door. I asked if it were to keep out shells or burglars. And
he explained that the door with the lock in tact had been blown off its
hinges in a house of which no part was now standing. He had borrowed it,
as he had borrowed everything else in the subterranean war-ship, from
the near-by ruins.

He was an extremely light-hearted and courteous host, but he frowned
suspiciously when he asked if I knew a correspondent named Senator
Albert Beveridge. I hastily repudiated Beveridge. I knew him not, I
said, as a correspondent, but as a politician who possibly had high
hopes of the German vote. "He dined with us," said the colonel, "and
then wrote against France." I suggested it was at their own risk if they
welcomed those who already had been with the Germans, and who had been
received by the German Emperor. This is no war for neutrals.

Then began a walk of over a mile through an open drain. The walls were
of chalk as hard as flint. Unlike the mud trenches in Artois, there were
no slides to block the miniature canal. It was as firm and compact as a
whitewashed stone cell. From the main drain on either side ran other
drains, cul-de-sacs, cellars, trap-doors, and ambushes. Overhead hung
balls of barbed-wire that, should the French troops withdraw, could be
dropped and so block the trench behind them. If you raised your head
they playfully snatched off your cap. It was like ducking under
innumerable bridges of live wires.

The drain opened at last into a wrecked town. Its ruins were complete.
It made Pompeii look like a furnished flat. The officer of the day
joined us here, and to him the lieutenant resigned the post of guide. My
new host wore a steel helmet, and at his belt dangled a mask against
gas. He led us to the end of what had been a street, and which was now
barricaded with huge timbers, steel doors, like those to a gambling
house, intricate cat's cradles of wire, and solid steel plates.

To go back seemed the only way open. But the officer in the steel cap
dived through a slit in the iron girders, and as he disappeared,
beckoned. I followed down a well that dropped straight into the very
bowels of the earth. It was very dark, and only crosspieces of wood
offered a slippery footing. Into the darkness, with hands pressed
against the well, and with feet groping for the log steps, we tobogganed
down, down, down. We turned into a tunnel, and, by the slant of the
ground, knew we were now mounting. There was a square of sunshine, and
we walked out, and into a graveyard. It was like a dark change in a
theatre. The last scene had been the ruins of a town, a gate like those
of the Middle Ages, studded with bolts, reinforced with steel plates,
guarded by men-at-arms in steel casques, and then the dark change into a
graveyard, with grass and growing flowers, gravel walks, and hedges.

The graves were old, the monuments and urns above them moss-covered, but
one was quite new, and the cross above it said that it was the grave of
a German aviator. As they passed it the French officers saluted. We
entered a trench as straight as the letter Z. And at each twist and turn
we were covered by an eye in a steel door. An attacking party advancing
would have had as much room in which to dodge that eye as in a bath-tub.
One man with his magazine rifle could have halted a dozen. And when in
the newspapers you read that one man has captured twenty prisoners, he
probably was looking at them through the peep-hole in one of those steel

We zigzagged into a cellar, and below the threshold of some one's front
door. The trench led directly under it. The house into which the door
had opened was destroyed; possibly those who once had entered by it also
were destroyed, and it now swung in air with men crawling like rats
below it, its half-doors banging and groaning; the wind, with ghostly
fingers, opening them to no one, closing them on nothing. The trench
wriggled through a garden, and we could see flung across the narrow
strip of sky above us, the branch of an apple-tree, and with one
shoulder brushed the severed roots of the same tree. Then the trench led
outward, and we passed beneath railroad tracks, the ties reposing on
air, and supported by, instead of supporting, the iron rails.

We had been moving between garden walls, cellar walls; sometimes hidden
by ruins, sometimes diving like moles into tunnels. We remained on no
one level, or for any time continued in any one direction. It was
entirely fantastic, entirely unreal. It was like visiting a new race of
beings, who turn day into night; who, like bats, molochs, and wolves,
hide in caves and shun the sunlight.

By the ray of an electric torch we saw where these underground people
store their food. Where, against siege, are great casks of water,
dungeons packed with ammunition, more dungeons, more ammunition. We saw,
always by the shifting, pointing finger of the electric torch, sleeping
quarters underground, dressing stations for the wounded underground. In
niches at every turn were gas-extinguishers. They were as many, as much
as a matter of course, as fire-extinguishers in a modern hotel. They
were exactly like those machines advertised in seed catalogues for
spraying fruit-trees. They are worn on the back like a knapsack. Through
a short rubber hose a fluid attacks and dissipates the poison gases.

The sun set, and we proceeded in the light of a full moon. It needed
only this to give to our journey the unreality of a nightmare. Long
since I had lost all sense of direction. It was not only a maze and
labyrinth, but it held to no level. At times, concealed by walls of
chalk, we walked erect, and then, like woodchucks, dived into earthen
burrows. For a long distance we crawled, bending double through a
tunnel. At intervals lamps, as yet unlit, protruded from either side,
and to warn us of these from the darkness a voice would call, "attention
_à gauche_," "attention _à droite_." The air grew foul and the pressure
on the ear-drums like that of the subway under the North River. We came
out and drew deep breaths as though we had been long under water.

We were in the first trench. It was, at places, from three hundred to
forty yards distant from the Germans. No one spoke, or only in whispers.
The moonlight turned the men at arms into ghosts. Their silence added to
their unreality. I felt like Rip Van Winkle hemmed in by the goblin
crew of Hendrik Hudson. From somewhere near us, above or below, to the
right or left the "seventy-fives," as though aroused by the moon, began
like terriers to bark viciously. The officer in the steel casque paused
to listen, fixed their position, and named them. How he knew where they
were, how he knew where he was himself, was all part of the mystery.
Rats, jet black in the moonlight, scurried across the open places,
scrambled over our feet, ran boldly between them. We had scared them,
perhaps, but not half so badly as they scared me.

We pushed on past sentinels, motionless, silent, fatefully awake. The
moonlight had turned their blue uniforms white and flashed on their
steel helmets. They were like men in armor, and so still that only when
you brushed against them, cautiously as men change places in a canoe,
did you feel they were alive. At times, one of them thinking something
in the gardens of barb-wire had moved, would loosen his rifle, and
there would be a flame and flare of red, and then again silence, the
silence of the hunter stalking a wild beast, of the officer of the law,
gun in hand, waiting for the breathing of the burglar to betray his

The next morning I called to make my compliments to General Franchet
d'Espéray. He was a splendid person--as alert as a steel lance. He
demanded what I had seen.

"Nothing!" he protested. "You have seen nothing. When you return from
Serbia, come to Champagne again and I myself will show you something of

I am curious to see what he calls "something of interest."

"I wonder what's happening in Buffalo?"

There promised to be a story for some one to write a year after the war.
It would tell how quickly Champagne recovered from the invasion of the
Germans. But one need not wait until after the war. The story can be
written now.

We know that the enemy was thrown back across the Aisne.

We know that the enemy drove the French and English before him until at
the Forest of Montmorency, the Hun was within ten and at Claye within
fifteen miles of Paris.

But to-day, by any outward evidence, he would have a hard time to prove
it. And that is not because when he advanced he was careful not to tramp
on the grass or to pick the flowers. He did not obey even the warnings
to automobilists: "Attention _les enfants_!"

On the contrary, as he came, he threw before him thousands of tons of
steel and iron. Like a cyclone he uprooted trees, unroofed houses; like
a tidal wave he excavated roads that had been built by the Romans, swept
away walls, and broke the backs of stone bridges that for hundreds of
years had held their own against swollen rivers.

 [Illustration: General Franchet d'Espéray.

 "He was a splendid person, as alert as a steel lance."]

A year ago I followed the German in his retreat from Claye through
Meaux, Château Thierry to Soissons, where, on the east bank of the
Aisne, I watched the French artillery shell his guns on the hills
opposite. The French then were hot upon his heels. In one place they
had not had time to remove even their own dead, and to avoid the
bodies in the open road the car had to twist and turn.

Yesterday, coming back to Paris from the trenches that guard Rheims, I
covered the same road. But it was not the same. It seemed that I must
surely have lost the way. Only the iron signs at the crossroads, and
the map used the year before and scarred with my own pencil marks, were
evidences that again I was following mile by mile and foot by foot the
route of that swift advance and riotous retreat.

A year before the signs of the retreat were the road itself, the houses
facing it, and a devastated countryside. You knew then, that, of these
signs, some would at once be effaced. They had to be effaced, for they
were polluting the air. But until the villagers returned to their
homes, or to what remained of their homes, the bloated carcasses of
horses blocked the road, the bodies of German soldiers, in death
mercifully unlike anything human and as unreal as fallen scarecrows,
sprawled in the fields.

But while you knew these signs of the German raid would be removed,
other signs were scars that you thought would be long in healing. These
were the stone arches and buttresses of the bridges, dynamited and
dumped into the mud of the Marne and Ourcq, châteaux and villas with the
roof torn away as deftly as with one hand you could rip off the lid of
a cigar-box, or with a wall blown in, or out, in either case exposing
indecently the owner's bedroom, his wife's boudoir, the children's

Other signs of the German were villages with houses wrecked, the humble
shops sacked, garden walls levelled, fields of beets and turnips
uprooted by his shells, or where he had snatched sleep in the trampled
mud, strewn with demolished haystacks, vast trees split clean in half as
though by lightning, or with nothing remaining but the splintered stump.
That was the picture of the roads and countryside in the triangle of
Soissons, Rheims, and Meaux, as it was a year ago.

And I expected to see the wake of that great retreat still marked by
ruins and devastation.

But I had not sufficiently trusted to the indomitable spirit of the
French, in their intolerance of waste, their fierce, yet ordered energy.

To-day the fields are cultivated up to the very butts of the French
batteries. They are being put to bed, and tucked in for the long winter
sleep. For miles the furrows stretch over the fields in unbroken lines.
Ploughs, not shells, have drawn them.

They are gray with fertilizers, strewn with manure; the swiftly dug
trenches of a year ago have given way to the peaked mounds in which
turnips wait transplanting. Where there were vast stretches of mud,
scarred with intrenchments, with the wheel tracks of guns and ammunition
carts, with stale, ill-smelling straw, the carcasses of oxen and horses,
and the bodies of men, is now a smiling landscape, with miles of growing
grain, green vegetables, green turf.

In Champagne the French spirit and nature, working together, have wiped
out the signs of the German raid. It is as though it had never been. You
begin to believe it was only a bad dream, an old wife's tale to frighten

The car moved slowly, but, look no matter how carefully, it was most
difficult to find the landfalls I remembered.

Near Feret Milton there was a château with a lawn that ran to meet
the Paris road. It had been used as a German emergency hospital, and
previously by them as an outpost. The long windows to the terrace had
been wrecked, the terrace was piled high with blood-stained uniforms,
hundreds of boots had been tossed from an upper story that had been used
as an operating-room, and mixed with these evidences of disaster were
monuments of empty champagne-bottles.

That was the picture I remembered. Yesterday, like a mantle of moss, the
lawn swept to the road, the long windows had been replaced and hung with
yellow silk, and, on the terrace, where I had seen the blood-stained
uniforms, a small boy, maybe the son and heir of the château, with hair
flying and bare legs showing, was joyfully riding a tricycle.

Neufchelles I remembered as a village completely wrecked and inhabited
only by a very old man, and a cat, that, as though for company, stalked
behind him.

But to-day Neufchelles is a thriving, contented, commonplace town.
Splashes of plaster, less weather-stained than the plaster surrounding
them, are the only signs remaining of the explosive shells. The
stone-mason and the plasterer have obliterated the work of the guns,
the tiny shops have been refilled, the tide of life has flowed back, and
in the streets the bareheaded women, their shoulders wrapped in black
woollen shawls, gather to gossip, or, with knitting in hand, call to
each other from the doorways.

There was the stable of a large villa in which I had seen five fine
riding-horses lying on the stones, each with a bullet-hole over his
temple. In the retreat they had been destroyed to prevent the French
using them as remounts.

This time, as we passed the same stable-yard, fresh horses looked over
the half-doors, the lofts were stuffed with hay; in the corner, against
the coming of winter, were piled many cords of wood, and rival
chanticleers, with their harems, were stalking proudly around the
stable-yard, pecking at the scattered grain. It was a picture of comfort
and content. It continued like that all the way.

Even the giant poplars that line the road for four miles out of Meaux to
the west, and that had been split and shattered, are now covered with
autumn foliage, the scars are overgrown and by doctor nature the raw
spots have been cauterized and have healed.

The stone bridges, that at Meaux and beyond the Château Thierry sprawled
in the river, again have been reared in air. People have already
forgotten that a year ago to reach Soissons from Meaux the broken
bridges forced them to make a détour of fifty miles.

The lesson of it is that the French people have no time to waste upon
post mortems. With us, fifty years after the event, there are those who
still talk of Sherman's raid through Columbia, who are so old that they
hum hymns of hate about it. How much wiser, how much more proud, is the
village of Neufchelles!

Not fifty, but only one year has passed since the Germans wrecked
Neufchelles, and already it has been rebuilt and repopulated--not after
the war has for half a century been at an end, but while war still
endures, while _it is but twenty miles distant_! What better could
illustrate the spirit of France or better foretell her final victory?



                                             ATHENS, November, 1915.

At home we talk glibly of a world war. But beyond speculating in
munitions and as to how many Americans will be killed by the next
submarine, and how many notes the President will write about it, we
hardly appreciate that this actually is a war of the world, that all
over the globe, every ship of state, even though it may be trying to
steer a straight course, is being violently rocked by it. Even the
individual, as he moves from country to country, is rocked by it, not
violently, but continuously. It is in loss of time and money he feels it
most. And as he travels, he learns, as he cannot learn from a map, how
far-reaching are the ramifications of this war, in how many different
ways it affects every one. He soon comes to accept whatever happens as
directly due to the war--even when the deck steward tells him he cannot
play shuffle-board because, owing to the war, there is no chalk.

In times of peace to get to this city from Paris did not require more
than six days, but now, owing to the war, in making the distance we
wasted fifteen. That is not counting the time in Paris required by the
police to issue the passport, without which no one can leave France. At
the prefecture of police I found a line of people--French, Italians,
Americans, English--in columns of four and winding through gloomy halls,
down dark stairways, and out into the street. I took one look at the
line and fled to Mr. Thackara, our consul-general, and, thanks to him,
was not more than an hour in obtaining my laisser-passer. The police
assured me I might consider myself fortunate, as the time they usually
spent in preparing a passport was two days. It was still necessary to
obtain a visé from the Italian consulate permitting me to enter Italy,
from the Greek consulate to enter Greece, and, as my American passport
said nothing of Serbia, from Mr. Thackara two more visés, one to get out
of France, and another to invade Serbia. Thanks to the war, in obtaining
all these autographs two more days were wasted. In peace times one had
only to go to Cook's and buy a ticket. In those days there was no more
delay than in reserving a seat for the theatre.

War followed us south. The windows of the wagon-lit were plastered with
warnings to be careful, to talk to no strangers; that the enemy was
listening. War had invaded even Aix-les-Bains, most lovely of summer
pleasure-grounds. As we passed, it was wrapped in snow; the Cat's Tooth,
that towers between Aixe and Chambéry, and that lifts into the sky a
great cross two hundred feet in height, was all white, the pine-trees
around the lake were white, the streets were white, the Casino des
Fleurs, the Cercle, the hotels. And above each of them, where once was
only good music, good wines, beautiful flowers, and baccarat, now droop
innumerable Red Cross flags. Against the snow-covered hills they were
like little splashes of blood.

War followed us into Italy. But from the war as one finds it in England
and France it differed. Perhaps we were too far west, but except for the
field uniforms of green and the new scabbards of gun-metal, and, at
Turin, four aeroplanes in the air at the same time, you might not have
known that Italy was one of the Allies. For one thing, you saw no
wounded. Again, perhaps, it was because we were too far south and west,
and that the fighting in Tyrol is concentrated. But Bordeaux is farther
from the battle-line of France than is Naples from the Italian front,
and the multitudes of wounded in Bordeaux, the multitudes of women in
black in Bordeaux, make one of the most appalling, most significant
pictures of this war. In two days in Naples I did not see one wounded
man. But I saw many Germans and German signs, and no one had scratched
Mumm off the wine-card. A country that is one of the Allies, and yet not
at war with Germany, cannot be taken very seriously. Indeed, in England
the War Office staff speak of the Italian communiqués as the "weather

In Naples the foreigners accuse Italy of running with the hare and the
hounds. They asked what is her object in keeping on friendly terms with
the bitterest enemy of the Allies. Is there an understanding that after
the war she and Germany will together carve slices off of Austria?
Whatever her ulterior object may be, her present war spirit does not
impress the visitor. It is not the spirit of France and England. One man
said to me: "Why can't you keep the Italian-Americans in America? Over
there they earn money, and send millions of it to Italy. When they come
here to fight, not only that money stops, but we have to feed and pay

It did not sound grateful. Nor as though Italy were seriously at war.
You do not find France and England, or Germany, grudging the man who
returns to fight for his country his rations and pay. And Italy pays her
soldiers five cents a day. Many of the reservists and volunteers from
America who answered the call to arms are bitterly disappointed. It was
their hope to be led at once to the firing-line. Instead, after six
months, they are still in camp. The families some brought with them are
in great need. They are not used to living on five cents a day. An
Italian told me the heaviest drain upon the war-relief funds came from
the families of these Italian-Americans, stranded in their own country.
He also told me his chief duty was to meet them on their arrival.

"But haven't they money when they arrive from America?" I asked.

"That's it," he said naïvely. "I'm at the wharf to keep their
countrymen from robbing them of it."

At present in Europe you cannot take gold out of any country that is at
war. As a result, gold is less valuable than paper, and when I exchanged
my double-eagles for paper I lost.

On the advice of the wisest young banker in France I changed, again at a
loss, the French paper into Bank of England notes. But when I arrived in
Salonika I found that with the Greeks English bank-notes were about as
popular as English troops, and that had I changed my American gold into
American notes, as was my plan, I would have been passing rich. That is
what comes of associating with bankers.

At the Italian frontier, a French gentleman had come to the door of the
compartment, raised his hat to the inmates, and asked if we had any
gold. Forewarned, we had not; and, taking our word for it, he again
raised his hat and disappeared. But, on leaving Naples, it was not like
that. In these piping times of war your baggage is examined when you
depart as well as when you arrive. You get it coming and going. But the
Greek steamer was to weigh anchor at noon, and at noon all the port
officials were at déjeuner; so, sooner than wait a week for another
boat, the passengers went on board and carried their bags with them. It
was unpardonable. It was an affront the port officials could not brook.
They had been disregarded. Their dignity had been flouted. What was
worse, they had not been tipped. Into the dining-saloon of the Greek
steamer, where we were at luncheon, they burst like Barbary pirates.
They shrieked, they yelled. Nobody knew who they were, or what they
wanted. Nor did they enlighten us. They only beat upon the tables,
clanked their swords, and spoiled our lunch. Why we were abused, or of
what we were accused, we could not determine. We vaguely recognized our
names, and stood up, and, while they continued to beat upon the tables,
a Greek steward explained they wanted our gold. I showed them my
bank-notes, and was allowed to return to my garlic and veal. But the
English cigarette king, who each week sends some millions of cigarettes
to the Tommies in the trenches, proposed to make a test case of it.

"I have on me," he whispered, "four English sovereigns. I am not taking
them out of Italy, because until they crossed the border in my pocket,
they were not in Italy, and as I am now leaving Italy, one might say
they have never been in Italy. It's as though they were in bond. I am a
British subject, and this is not Italian, but British, gold. I shall
refuse to surrender my four sovereigns. I will make it a test case."

The untipped port officials were still jangling their swords, so I
advised the cigarette king to turn in his gold. Even a Greek steamer is
better than an Italian jail.

"I will make of it a test case," he repeated.

"Let George do it," I suggested.

At that moment, in the presence of all the passengers, they were
searching the person of another British subject, and an Ally. He was one
of Lady Paget's units. He was in uniform, and, as they ran itching
fingers over his body, he turned crimson, and the rest of us, pretending
not to witness his humiliation, ate ravenously of goat's cheese.

The cigarette king, breathing defiance, repeated: "I will make of it a
test case."

"Better let George do it," I urged.

And when his name was called, a name that is as well known from Kavalla
to Smyrna in tobacco-fields, sweetmeat shops, palaces, and mosques, as
at the Ritz and the Gaiety, the cigarette king wisely accepted for his
four sovereigns Italian lire. At their rate of exchange, too.

Later, off Capri, he asked: "When you advised me to let George make a
test case of it, to which of our fellow passengers did you refer?"

In the morning the _Adriaticus_ picked up the landfall of Messina, but,
instead of making fast to the quay, anchored her length from it. This
appeared to be a port regulation. It enables the boatman to earn a
living by charging passengers two francs for a round trip of fifty
yards. As the wrecked city seems to be populated only by boatmen, rowing
passengers ashore is the chief industry.

The stricken seaport looks as though as recently as last week the German
army had visited it. In France, although war still continues, towns
wrecked by the Germans are already rebuilt. But Messina, after four
years of peace, is still a ruin. But little effort has been made to
restore it. The post-cards that were printed at the moment of the
earthquake show her exactly as she is to-day. With, in the streets, no
sign of life, with the inhabitants standing idle along the quay,
shivering in the rain and snow, with for a background crumbling walls,
gaping cellars, and hills buried under acres of fallen masonry, the
picture was one of terrible desolation, of neglect and inefficiency. The
only structures that had obviously been erected since the earthquake
were the "ready-to-wear" shacks sent as a stop-gap from America. One
should not look critically at a gift-house, but they are certainly very
ugly. In Italy, where every spot is a "location" for moving-pictures,
where the street corners are backgrounds for lovers' trysts and
assassinations, where even poverty is picturesque, and each landscape
"composes" into a beautiful and wondrous painting, the zinc shacks, in
rigid lines, like the barracks of a mining-camp, came as a shock.

Sympathetic Americans sent them as only a temporary shelter until
Messina rose again. But it was explained, as there is no rent to pay,
the Italians, instead of rebuilding, prefer to inhabit the ready-to-wear
houses. How many tourists the mere view of them will drive away no one
can guess.

People who linger in Naples, and by train to Reggio join the boat at
Messina, never admit that they followed that route to avoid being
seasick. Seasickness is an illness of which no one ever boasts. He may
take pride in saying: "I've an awful cold!" or "I've such a headache I
can't see!" and will expect you to feel sorry. But he knows, no matter
how horribly he suffers from mal de mer, he will receive no sympathy. In
a _Puck_ and _Punch_ way he will be merely comic. So, the passengers who
come over the side at Messina always have an excuse other than that they
were dodging the sea. It is usually that they lost their luggage at
Naples and had to search for it. As the Italian railroads, which are
operated by the government, always lose your luggage, it is an admirable
excuse. So, also, is the one that you delayed in order to visit the
ruins of Pompeii. The number of people who have visited Pompeii solely
because the Bay of Naples was in an ugly mood will never be counted.

Among those who joined at Messina were the French princess, who talked
American much too well to be French, and French far too well to be an
American, two military attachés, the King's messenger, and the Armenian,
who was by profession an olive merchant, and by choice a manufacturer
and purveyor of rumors. He was at once given an opportunity to exhibit
his genius. The Italians held up our ship, and would not explain why. So
the rumor man explained. It was because Greece had joined the Germans,
and Italy had made a prize of her. Ten minutes later, he said Greece had
joined the Allies, and the Italians were holding our ship until they
could obtain a convoy of torpedo-boats. Then it was because two
submarines were waiting for us outside the harbor. Later, it was because
the Allies had blockaded Greece, and our Greek captain would not
proceed, not because he was detained by Italians, but by fear.

Every time the rumor man appeared in the door of the smoking-room he
was welcomed with ironic cheers. But he was not discouraged. He would go
outside and stand in the rain while he hatched a new rumor, and then, in
great excitement, dash back to share it. War levels all ranks, and the
passengers gathered in the smoking-room playing solitaire, sipping muddy
Turkish coffee, and discussing the war in seven languages, and everybody
smoked--especially the women. Finally the military attachés, Sir Thomas
Cunningham and Lieutenant Boulanger, put on the uniforms of their
respective countries and were rowed ashore to protest. The rest of us
paced the snow-swept decks and gazed gloomily at the wrecked city. Out
of the fog a boat brought two Sisters of the Poor, wrapped in the black
cloaks of their order. They were petitioners for the poor of Messina,
and everybody in the smoking-room gave them a franc. Because one of them
was Irish and because it was her fate to live in Messina, I gave her ten
francs. Meaning to be amiable, she said: "Ah, it takes the English to
be generous!"

I said I was Irish.

The King's messenger looked up from his solitaire and, also wishing to
be amiable, asked: "What's the difference?"

The Irish sister answered him.

"Nine francs," she said.

After we had been prisoners of war for twenty-four hours John Bass of
the Chicago _Daily News_ suggested that if we remained longer at Messina
our papers would say we thought the earthquake was news, and had stopped
to write a story about it. So, we sent a telegram to our consul.

The American consul nearest was George Emerson Haven at Catania, by
train three hours distant. We told him for twenty-four hours we had been
prisoners, and that unless we were set free he was to declare war on
Italy. The telegram was written not for the consul to read, but for the
benefit of the port authorities. We hoped it might impress them. We
certainly never supposed they would permit our ultimatum to reach Mr.
Haven. In any case, the ship was allowed to depart. But whether the
commandant of the port was alarmed by our declaration of war, or the
unusual spectacle of the British attaché, "Tommy" Cunningham, in khaki
while three hundred miles distant from any firing-line, we will never
know.[A] But the rumor man knew, and explained.

[Footnote A: Later we were sorry we had not been held longer in
captivity. The telegram reached our consul, and that gentleman at once
journeyed to Messina not only to rescue us, but to invite us to a
Thanksgiving Day dinner. A consul like that is wasted on the Island of
Sicily. The State Department is respectfully urged to promote him to the

"We had been delayed," he said, "because Italy had declared war on
Greece, and did not want the food on board our ship to enter that

The cigarette king told him if the food on board was the same food we
had been eating, to bring it into any country was a proper cause for

At noon we passed safely between Scylla and Charybdis, and the following
morning were in Athens.



                                             ATHENS, November, 1915.

We are not allowed to tell what the situation is here. But, in spite of
the censor, I am going to tell what the situation is. It is involved.
That is not because no one will explain it. In Greece at present,
explaining the situation is the national pastime. Since arriving
yesterday I have had the situation explained to me by members of the
Cabinet, guides to the Acropolis, generals in the army, Teofani, the
cigarette king, three ministers plenipotentiary, the man from St. Louis
who is over here to sell aeroplanes, the man from Cook's, and "extra
people," like soldiers in cafés, brigands in petticoats, and peasants in
peaked shoes with tassels. They asked me not to print their names, which
was just as well, as I cannot spell them. They each explained the
situation differently, but all agree it is involved.

To understand it, you must go back to Helen of Troy, take a running jump
from the Greek war for independence and Lord Byron to Mr. Gladstone and
the Bulgarian atrocities, note the influence of the German Emperor at
Corfu, appreciate the intricacies of Russian diplomacy in Belgrade, the
rise of Enver Pasha and the Young Turks, what Constantine said to
Venizelos about giving up Kavalla, and the cablegram Prince Danilo, of
"Merry Widow" fame, sent to his cousin of Italy. By following these
events, the situation is as easy to grasp as an eel that has swallowed
the hook and cannot digest it.

For instance, Mr. Poneropolous, the well-known contractor who sells
shoes to the army, informs me the Greeks as one man want war. They are
even prepared to fight for it. On the other hand, Axon Skiadas, the
popular barber of the Hôtel Grande Bretagne, who has just been called to
the colors, assures me no patriot would again plunge this country into

The diplomats also disagree, especially as to which of them is
responsible for the failure of Greece to join the Allies. The one who is
to blame for that never is the one who is talking to you. The one who is
talking is always the one who, had they followed his advice, could have
saved the "situation." They did not, and now it is involved, not to say
addled. The military attaché of Great Britain volunteered to set the
situation before me in a few words. After explaining for two hours, he
asked me to promise not to repeat what he had said. I promised. Another
diplomat, who was projected into the service by William Jennings Bryan,
said if he told all he knew about the situation "the world would burst."
Those are his exact words. It would have been an event of undoubted news
value, and as a news-gatherer I should have coaxed his secret from him,
but it seemed as though the world is in trouble enough as it is, and if
it must burst I want it to burst when I am nearer home. So I switched
him off to the St. Louis convention, where he was probably more useful
than he will ever be in the Balkans.

While every one is guessing, the writer ventures to make a guess. It is
that Greece will remain neutral, or will join the Allies. Without
starving to death she cannot join the Germans. Greece is non-supporting.
What she eats comes in the shape of wheat from outside her borders, from
the grain-fields of Russia, Egypt, Bulgaria, France, and America. When
Denys Cochin, the French minister to Athens, had his interview with the
King, the latter became angry and said, "We can get along without
France's money," and Cochin said: "That is true, but you cannot get
along without France's wheat."

The Allies are not going to bombard Greek ports or shell the Acropolis.
They will not even blockade the ports. But their fleets--French,
Italian, English--will stop all ships taking foodstuffs to Greece. They
have just released seven grain ships from America, that were held up at
Malta, and ships carrying food to Greece have been stopped at points as
far away as Gibraltar. As related in the last chapter, the Greek steamer
on which we sailed from Naples was held up at Messina for twenty-four
hours until her cargo was overhauled. As we had nothing in the hold more
health-sustaining than hides and barbed-wire, we were allowed to

Whatever course Greece follows, her dependence upon others for food
explains her act. To-day (November 29) there is not enough wheat in the
country to feed the people for, some say three--the most optimistic,
ten--days. Should she decide to join Germany she would starve. It would
be deliberate suicide. The French and Italian fleets are at Malta, less
than a day distant; the English fleet is off the Gallipoli peninsula.
Fifteen hours' steaming could bring it to Salonika. Greece is especially
vulnerable from the sea. She is all islands, coast towns, and seaports.
The German navy could not help her. It will not leave the Kiel Canal.
The Austrian navy cannot leave the Adriatic. Should Greece decide
against the Allies, their combined war-ships would pick up her islands
and blockade her ports. In a week she would be starving. The railroad
from Bulgaria to Salonika, over which in peace times comes much wheat
from Roumania, would be closed to her. Even if the Germans and
Bulgarians succeeded in winning it to the coast, they could get no food
for Greece farther than that. They have no war-ships, and the Gulf of
Salonika is full of those of the Allies.

 [Illustration: _From a photograph by Underwood and Underwood._

 King Constantine of Greece and commander-in-chief of her

 In two years he led his people to victory in two wars. If now they
 desire peace and in this big war the right to remain neutral, he thinks
 they have earned that right.]

The position of King Constantine is very difficult. He is supposed to
be strongly pro-German, and the reason for his sympathy that is given
here is the same as is accepted in America. Every act of his is
supposed to be inspired by family influences, when, as he has stated
publicly through his friend Walter Harris of the _London Times_, he is
pro-English, and has been actuated solely by what he thought was best
for his own people. Indeed, there are many who believe if the terms upon
which Greece might join the Allies had been left to the King instead of
to Venizelos, Greece now would be with the Entente.

Or, if Greece remained neutral, no one could better judge whether
neutrality was or was not best for her than Constantine. In the three
years before the World War, he had led his countrymen through two wars,
and if both, as King and commander of her armies, he thought they needed
rest and peace, he was entitled to that opinion. Instead, he was
misrepresented and abused. His motives were assailed; he was accused
of being dominated by his Imperial brother-in-law. At no time since
the present war began has he been given what we would call a "square
deal." The writer has followed the career of Constantine since the
Greek-Turkish war of 1897, when they "drank from the same canteen," and
as Kings go, or until they all do go, respects him as a good King. To
his people he is generous, kind, and considerate; as a general he has
added to the territory of Greece many miles and seaports; he is fond of
his home and family, and in his reign there has been no scandal, no
Knights of the Round Table, such as disgraced the German court, no
Tripoli massacre, no Congo atrocities, no Winter Garden or La Scala
favorites. Venizelos may or may not be as unselfish a patriot. But
justly or not, it is difficult to disassociate what Venizelos wants for
Greece with what he wants for Venizelos. The King is removed from any
such suspicion. He is already a King, and except in continuing to be a
good King, he can go no higher.

How Venizelos came so prominently into the game is not without
interest. As long ago as when the two German cruisers escaped from
Messina and were sold to Turkey, the diplomatic representatives of the
Allies in the Balkans were instructed to see that Turkey and Germany did
not get together, and that, as a balance of power in case of such a
union, the Balkan States were kept in line. Instead of themselves
attending to this, the diplomats placed the delicate job in the hands
of one man. At the framing of the Treaty of London, of all the
representatives from the Balkans, the one who most deeply impressed the
other powers was M. Venizelos. And the task of keeping the Balkans
neutral or with the Allies was left to him.

He has a dream of a Balkan "band," a union of all the Balkan
principalities. It obsesses him. And to bring that dream true he was
willing to make concessions which King Constantine, who considered only
what was good for Greece, and was not concerned with a Balkan alliance,
thought most unwise. Venizelos also was working for the good of Greece,
but he was convinced it could come to her only through the union. He was
willing to give Kavalla to Bulgaria in exchange for Asia Minor, from the
Dardanelles to Smyrna. But the King would not consent. As a buffer
against Turkey, he considered Kavalla of the greatest strategic value,
and he had the natural pride of a soldier in holding on to land he
himself had added to his country. But in his opposition to Venizelos in
this particular, credit was not given him for acting in the interests of
Greece, but of playing into the hands of Germany.

Another step he refused to take, which refusal the Allies attributed to
his pro-German leanings, was to attack the Dardanelles. In the wars of
1912-13 the King showed he was an able general. With his staff he had
carefully considered an attack upon the Dardanelles. He submitted this
plan to the Allies, and was willing to aid them if they brought to the
assault 400,000 men. They claim he failed them. He did fail them, but
not until after they had failed him by bringing thousands of men instead
of the tens of thousands he knew were needed.

The Dardanelles expedition was not required to prove the courage of the
French and British. Beyond furnishing fresh evidence of that, it has
been a failure. And in refusing to sacrifice the lives of his subjects
the military judgment of Constantine has been vindicated. He was willing
to attack Turkey through Kavalla and Thrace, because by that route he
presented an armed front to Bulgaria. But, as he pointed out, if he sent
his army to the Dardanelles, he left Kavalla at the mercy of his enemy.
In his mistrust of Bulgaria he has certainly been justified.

Greece is not at war, but in outward appearance she is as firmly on a
war footing as is France or Italy. A man out of uniform is conspicuous,
and all day regiments pass through the streets carrying the campaign kit
and followed by the medical corps, the mountain batteries, and the
transport wagons. In the streets the crowds are cheering Denys Cochin,
the special ambassador from France. He makes speeches to them from the
balcony of our hotel, and the mob wave flags and shout "Zito! Zito!"

In a play Colonel Savage produced, I once wrote the same scene and
placed it in the same hotel in Athens. In Athens the local color was
superior to ours, but George Marion stage-managed the mob better than
did the Athens police.

Athens is in a perplexed state of mind. She does not know if she wants
to go to war or wants peace. She does not know if she should go to war,
on which side she wants to fight. People tell you frankly that their
heart-beats are with France, but that they are afraid of Germany.

"If Germany wins," they asked, "what will become of us? The Germans
already are in Monastir, twenty miles from our border. They have driven
the Serbians, the French, and the British out of Serbia, and they will
make our King a German vassal."

"Then, why don't you go out and fight for your King?" I asked.

"He won't let us," they said.

When the army of a country is mobilized, it is hard to understand that
that country is neutral. You expect to see evidences of her partisanship
for one cause or the other. But in Athens, from a shop-window point of
view, both the Allies and the Germans are equally supported. There are
just as many pictures of the German generals as of Joffre, as many
post-cards of the German Emperor as of King George and King Albert.
After Paris, it is a shock to see German books, portraits of German
statesmen, composers, and musicians. In one shop-window conspicuously
featured, evidently with intent, is an engraving showing Napoleon III
surrendering to Bismarck. In the principal bookstore, books in German
on German victories, and English and French pamphlets on German
atrocities stand shoulder to shoulder. The choice is with you.

Meanwhile, on every hand are the signs of a nation on the brink of war;
of armies of men withdrawn from trades, professions, homes; of men
marching and drilling in squads, companies, brigades. At times the
columns are so long that in passing the windows of the hotel they take
an hour. All these fighting men must be fed, clothed, paid, and while
they are waiting to fight, whether they are goatherds or piano-tuners or
shopkeepers, their business is going to the devil.



                                             SALONIKA, December, 1915.

We left Athens on the first ship that was listed for Salonika. She was
a strange ship. During many years on various vessels in various seas,
she was the most remarkable. Every Greek loves to gamble; but for some
reason, or for that very reason, for him to gamble on shore is by law
made difficult. In consequence, as soon as the _Hermoupolis_ raised
anchor she became a floating gambling-hell. There were twenty-four
first-class passengers who were in every way first class; Greek
officers, bankers, merchants, and deputies, and their time on the
steamer from eleven each morning until four the next morning was spent
in dealing baccarat.

When the stewards, who were among the few persons on board who did
not play, tried to spread a table-cloth and serve food, they were
indignantly rebuked. The most untiring players were the captain and
the ship's officers. Whenever they found that navigating their ship
interfered with their baccarat we came to anchor. We should have reached
Salonika in a day and a half. We arrived after four days. And all of
each day and half of each night we were anchored in midstream while the
captain took the bank. The hills of Euboea and the mainland formed a
giant funnel of snow, through which the wind roared. It swept the ship
from bow to stern, turning to ice the woodwork, the velvet cushions,
even the blankets. Fortunately, it was not the kind of a ship that
supplied sheets, or we would have frozen in our berths. Outside of
the engine-room, which was aft, there was no heat of any sort, but
undaunted, the gamblers, in caps and fur coats, their breath rising in
icy clouds, crouched around the table, their frozen fingers fumbling
with the cards.

There were two charming Italians on board, a father and son--the father
absurdly youthful, the boy incredibly wise. They operate a chain of
banks through the Levant. They watched the game but did not play. The
father explained this to me. "My dear son is a born gambler," he said.
"So, in order that I may set him an example, I will not play until after
he has gone to sleep."

Later, the son also explained. "My dear father," he whispered, "is
an inveterate gambler. So, in order that I may reprove him, I do not
gamble. At least not until he has gone to bed." At midnight I left them
still watching each other. The next day the son said: "I got no sleep
last night. For some reason, my dear father was wakeful, and it was four
o'clock before he went to his cabin."

When we reached Volo the sun was shining, and as the day was so
beautiful, the gamblers remained on board and played baccarat. The rest
of us explored Volo. On the mountains above it the Twenty-Four Villages
were in sight, nestling on the knees of the hills. Their red-tiled
houses rose one above the other, the roof of one on a line with the
door-step of the neighbor just overhead. Their white walls, for Volo is
a summer resort, were merged in the masses of snow, but in Volo itself
roses were still blooming, and in every garden the trees were heavy with
oranges. They were so many that they hid the green leaves, and against
the walls of purple, blue, and Pompeian red, made wonderful splashes of
a gorgeous gold.

Apparently the captain was winning, for he sent word he would not sail
until midnight, and nine of his passengers dined ashore. We were so long
at table, not because the dinner was good, but because there was a
charcoal brazier in the room, that we missed the moving-pictures. So
the young Italian banker was sent to bargain for a second and special
performance. In the Levant there always is one man who works, and one
man who manages him. A sort of impresario. Even the boatmen and
bootblacks have a manager who arranges the financial details. It is
difficult to buy a newspaper without dealing through a third party. The
moving-picture show, being of importance, had seven managers. The young
Italian, undismayed, faced all of them. He wrangled in Greek, Turkish,
French, and Italian, and they all talked to him at the same time.
Finally the negotiations came to an end, but our ambassador was not

"They got the best of me," he reported to us. "They are going to give
the show over again, and we are to have the services of the pianist, the
orchestra of five, and the lady vocalist. But I had to agree to pay for
the combined entertainment entirely too much."

"How much?" I asked.

"Eight drachmas," he said apologetically, "or, in your money, one dollar
and fifty-two cents."

"Each?" I said.

He exclaimed in horror: "No, divided among the nine of us!"

No wonder Volo is a popular summer resort, even in December.

The next day, after sunset, we saw the snow-capped peak of Mount Olympus
and the lamps of a curving water-front, the long rows of green air ports
that mark the French hospital ships, the cargo lights turned on the red
crosses painted on their sides, the gray, grim battleships of England,
France, Italy, and Greece, and a bustling torpedo-boat took us in tow,
and guided us through the floating mines and into the harbor of

If it is true that happy are the people without a history, then Salonika
should be thoroughly miserable. Some people make history; others have
history thrust upon them. Ever since the world began Salonika has had
history thrust upon her. She aspired only to be a great trading seaport.
She was content to be the place where the caravans from the Balkans met
the ships from the shores of the Mediterranean, Egypt, and Asia Minor.
Her wharfs were counters across which they could swap merchandise. All
she asked was to be allowed to change their money. Instead of which,
when any two nations of the Near East went to the mat to settle their
troubles, Salonika was the mat. If any country within a thousand-mile
radius declared war on any other country in any direction whatsoever,
the armies of both belligerents clashed at Salonika. They not only used
her as a door-mat, but they used her hills to the north of the city for
their battle-field. In the fighting, Salonika took no part. She merely
loaned the hills. But she knew, whichever side won, two things would
happen to her: She would pay a forced loan and subscribe to an entirely
new religion. Three hundred years before Christ, the people of Salonika
worshipped the mysterious gods who had their earthly habitation on the
island of Thasos. The Greeks ejected them, and erected altars to Apollo
and Aphrodite, the Egyptians followed and taught Salonika to fear
Serapis; then came Roman gods and Roman generals; and then St. Paul. The
Jews set up synagogues, the Mohammedans reared minarets, the Crusaders
restored the cross, the Tripolitans restored the crescent, the Venetians
re-restored Christianity. Romans, Greeks, Byzantines, Persians, Franks,
Egyptians, and Barbary pirates, all, at one time or another, invaded
Salonika. She was the butcher's block upon which they carved history.
Some ruled her only for months, others for years. Of the monuments
to the religions forced upon her, the most numerous to-day are the
synagogues of the Jews and the mosques of the Mohammedans. It was not
only fighting men who invaded Salonika. Italy can count her great
earthquakes on one hand; the United States on one finger. But a resident
of Salonika does not speak of the "year of the earthquake." For him, it
saves time to name the years when there was no earthquake. Each of those
years was generally "the year of the great fire." If it wasn't one
thing, it was another. If it was not a tidal wave, it was an epidemic;
if it was not a war, it was a blizzard. The trade of Asia Minor flows
into Salonika and with it carries all the plagues of Egypt. Epidemics of
cholera in Salonika used to be as common as yellow fever in Guayaquil.
Those years the cholera came the people abandoned the seaport and lived
on the plains north of Salonika, in tents. If the cholera spared them,
the city was swept by fire; if there was no fire, there came a great
frost. Salonika is on the same latitude as Naples, Madrid, and New York;
and New York is not unacquainted with blizzards. Since the seventeenth
century, last winter was said to be the coldest Salonika has ever known.
I was not there in the seventeenth century, but am willing to believe
that last winter was the coldest since then; not only to believe it,
but to swear to it. Of the frost in 1657 the Salonikans boast the cold
was so severe that to get wood the people destroyed their houses. This
December, when on the English and French front in Serbia, I saw soldiers
using the same kind of fire-wood. They knew a mud house that is held
together with beams and rafters can be rebuilt, but that you cannot
rebuild frozen toes and fingers.

In thrusting history upon Salonika, the last few years have been
especially busy. They gave her a fire that destroyed a great part
of the city, and between 1911 and 1914 two cholera epidemics, the
Italian-Turkish War, which, as Salonika was then Turkish, robbed her of
hundreds of her best men, the Balkan-Turkish War, and the Second Balkan
War. In this Salonika was part of the spoils, and Greece and Bulgaria
fought to possess her. The Greeks won, and during one year she was at
peace. Then, in 1914, the Great War came, and Serbia sent out an S. O.
S. call to her Allies. At the Dardanelles, not eighteen hours away, the
French and English heard the call. But to reach Serbia by the shortest
route they must disembark at Salonika, a port belonging to Greece, a
neutral power; and in moving north from Salonika into Serbia they must
pass over fifty miles of neutral Greek territory. Venizelos, prime
minister of Greece, gave them permission. King Constantine, to preserve
his neutrality, disavowed the act of his representative, and Venizelos
resigned. From the point of view of the Allies, the disavowal came too
late. As soon as they had received permission from the recognized Greek
Government, they started, and, leaving the King and Venizelos to fight
it out between them, landed at Salonika. The inhabitants received them
calmly. The Greek officials, the colonel commanding the Greek troops,
the Greek captain of the port, and the Greek collector of customs may
have been upset; but the people of Salonika remained calm. They were
used to it. Foreign troops were always landing at Salonika. The oldest
inhabitant could remember, among others, those of Alexander the Great,
Mark Antony, Constantine, the Sultan Murad, and several hundred thousand
French and English who over their armor wore a red cross. So he was not
surprised when, after seven hundred years, the French and English
returned, still wearing the red cross.

[Illustration: "In Salonika the water-front belongs to everybody."]

One of the greatest assets of those who live in a seaport city is a view
of their harbor. As a rule, that view is hidden from them by zinc sheds
on the wharfs and warehouses. But in Salonika the water-front belongs to
everybody. To the north it encloses the harbor in a great half-moon
that from tip to tip measures three miles. At the western tip of this
crescent are tucked away the wharfs for the big steamers, the bonded
warehouses, the customs, the goods-sheds. The rest of the water-front
is open to the people and to the small sailing vessels. For over a mile
it is bordered by a stone quay, with stone steps leading down to the
rowboats. Along this quay runs the principal street, and on the side
of it that faces the harbor, in an unbroken row, are the hotels, the
houses of the rich Turks and Jews, clubs, restaurants, cafés, and
moving-picture theatres. At night, when these places are blazing with
electric lights, the curving water-front is as bright as Broadway--but
Broadway with one-half of the street in darkness. On the dark side of
the street, to the quay, are moored hundreds of sailing vessels. Except
that they are painted and gilded differently, they look like sisters.
They are fat, squat sisters with the lines of half a cantaloupe. Each
has a single mast and a lateen-sail, like the Italian felucca and the
sailing boats of the Nile. When they are moored to the quay and the
sail is furled, each yard-arm, in a graceful, sweeping curve, slants
downward. Against the sky, in wonderful confusion, they follow the edge
of the half-moon; the masts a forest of dead tree trunks, the slanting
yards giant quill pens dipping into an ink-well. Their hulls are rich in
gilding and in colors--green, red, pink, and blue. At night the electric
signs of a moving-picture palace on the opposite side of the street
illuminate them from bow to stern. It is one of those bizarre contrasts
you find in the Near East. On one side of the quay a perfectly modern
hotel, on the other a boat unloading fish, and in the street itself,
with French automobiles and trolley-cars, men who still are beasts of
burden, who know no other way of carrying a bale or a box than upon
their shoulders. In Salonika even the trolley-car is not without its
contrast. One of our "Jim Crow" street-cars would puzzle a Turk. He
would not understand why we separate the white and the black man. But
his own street-car is also subdivided. In each there are four seats that
can be hidden by a curtain. They are for the women of his harem.

[Illustration: "On one side of the quay, a moving-picture palace, ... on
the other a boat unloading fish."]

From the water-front Salonika climbs steadily up-hill to the row of
hills that form her third and last line of defense. On the hill upon
which the city stands are the walls and citadel built in the fifteenth
century by the Turks, and in which, when the city was invaded, the
inhabitants sought refuge. In aspect it is mediæval; the rest of the
city is modern and Turkish. The streets are very narrow; in many the
second stories overhang them and almost touch, and against the skyline
rise many minarets. But the Turks do not predominate. They have their
quarter, and so, too, have the French and the Jews. In numbers the Jews
exceed all the others. They form fifty-six per cent of a population
composed of Greeks, Turks, Armenians, Bulgarians, Egyptians, French, and
Italians. The Jews came to Salonika the year America was discovered. To
avoid the Inquisition they fled from Spain and Portugal and brought
their language with them; and after five hundred years it still obtains.
It has been called the Esperanto of the Salonikans. For the small
shopkeeper, the cabman, the waiter, it is the common tongue. In such an
environment it sounds most curious. When, in a Turkish restaurant, you
order a dinner in the same words you last used in Vera Cruz, and the
dinner arrives, it seems uncanny. But, in Salonika, the language most
generally spoken is French. Among so many different races they found, if
they hoped to talk business--and a Greek, an Armenian, and a Jew are not
averse to talking business--a common tongue was necessary. So, all those
who are educated, even most sketchily, speak French. The greater number
of newspapers are in French; and notices, advertisements, and official
announcements are printed in that language. It makes life in Salonika
difficult. When a man attacks you in Turkish, Yiddish, or Greek, and you
cannot understand him, there is some excuse, but when he instantly
renews the attack in both French and Spanish, it is disheartening. It
makes you regret that when you were in college the only foreign language
you studied was football signals.

[Illustration: Outside the Citadel, which is mediæval, Salonika is
modern and Turkish.]

At any time, without the added presence of 100,000 Greeks and 170,000
French and English, Salonika appears overpopulated. This is partly
because the streets are narrow and because in the streets everybody
gathers to talk, eat, and trade. As in all Turkish cities, nearly every
shop is an "open shop." The counter is where the window ought to be, and
opens directly upon the sidewalk. A man does not enter the door of a
shop, he stands on the sidewalk, which is only thirty-six inches wide,
and makes his purchase through the window. This causes a crowd to
collect. Partly because the man is blocking the sidewalk, but chiefly
because there is a chance that something may be bought and paid for.
In normal times, if Salonika is ever normal, she has a population of
120,000, and every one of those 120,000 is personally interested in
any one else who engages, or may be about to engage, in a money
transaction. In New York, if a horse falls down there is at once an
audience of a dozen persons; in Salonika the downfall of a horse is
nobody's business, but a copper coin changing hands is everybody's.
Of this local characteristic, John T. McCutcheon and I made a careful
study; and the result of our investigations produced certain statistics.
If in Salonika you buy a newspaper from a news-boy, of the persons
passing, two will stop; if at an open shop you buy a package of
cigarettes, five people will look over your shoulder; if you pay your
cab-driver his fare, you block the sidewalk; and if you try to change a
hundred-franc note, you cause a riot. In each block there are nearly a
half dozen money-changers; they sit in little shops as narrow as a
doorway, and in front of them is a show-case filled with all the moneys
of the world. It is not alone the sight of your hundred-franc note that
enchants the crowd. That collects the crowd; but what holds the crowd
is that it knows there are twenty different kinds of money, all current
in Salonika, into which your note can be changed. And they know the
money-changer knows that and that you do not. So each man advises you.
Not because he does not want to see you cheated--between you and the
money-changer he is neutral--but because he can no more keep out of a
money deal than can a fly pass a sugar-bowl.

The men on the outskirts of the crowd ask: "What does he offer?"

The lucky ones in the front-row seats call back: "A hundred and eighteen
drachmas." The rear ranks shout with indignation. "It is robbery!" "It
is because he changes his money in Venizelos Street." "He is paying the
money-changer's rent." "In the Jewish quarter they are giving nineteen."
"He is too lazy to walk two miles for a drachma." "Then let him go to
the Greek, Papanastassion."

A man in a fez whispers to you impressively: "La livre turque est
encore d'un usage fort courant. La valeur au pair est de francs
vingt-deux." But at this the Armenian shrieks violently. He scorns
Turkish money and advises Italian lire. At the idea of lire the crowd
howl. They hurl at you instead francs, piastres, paras, drachmas, lepta,
metalliks, mejidis, centimes, and English shillings. The money-changer
argues with them gravely. He does not send for the police to drive them
away. He does not tell them: "This is none of your business." He knows
better. In Salonika, it is their business.

In Salonika, after money, the thing of most consequence is conversation.
Men who are talking always have the right of way. When two men of
Salonika are seized with a craving for conversation, they feel, until
that craving is satisfied, that nothing else is important. So, when the
ruling passion grips them, no matter where they may meet, they stop dead
in their tracks and talk. If possible they select the spot, where by
standing still they can cause the greatest amount of inconvenience to
the largest number of people. They do not withdraw from the sidewalk. On
the contrary, as best suited for conversation, they prefer the middle of
it, the doorway of a café, or the centre aisle of a restaurant. Of the
people who wish to pass they are as unconscious as a Chinaman smoking
opium is unconscious of the sightseers from up-town. That they are
talking is all that counts. They feel every one else should appreciate
that. Because the Allies failed to appreciate it, they gained a
reputation for rudeness. A French car, flying the flag of the general, a
squad of Tommies under arms, a motor-cyclist carrying despatches could
not understand that a conversation on a street crossing was a sacred
ceremony. So they shouldered the conversationalists aside or splashed
them with mud. It was intolerable. Had they stamped into a mosque in
their hobnailed boots, on account of their faulty religious training,
the Salonikans might have excused them. But that a man driving an
ambulance full of wounded should think he had the right to disturb a
conversation that was blocking the traffic of only the entire
water-front was a discourtesy no Salonikan could comprehend.

The wonder was that among so many mixed races the clashes were so few.
In one place seldom have people of so many different nationalities met,
and with interests so absolutely opposed. It was a situation that would
have been serious had it not been comic. For causing it, for permitting
it to continue, Greece was responsible. Her position was not happy. She
was between the Allies and the Kaiser. Than Greece, no country is more
vulnerable from an attack by sea; and if she offended the Allies, their
combined fleets at Malta and Lemnos could seize all her little islands
and seaports. If she offended the Kaiser, he would send the Bulgarians
into eastern Thrace and take Salonika, from which only two years before
Greece had dispossessed them. Her position was indeed most difficult. As
the barber at the Grande Bretange in Athens told me: "It makes me a

On many a better head than his it had the same effect. King Constantine,
because he believed it was best for Greece, wanted to keep his country
neutral. But after Venizelos had invited the Allies to make a
landing-place and a base for their armies at Salonika, Greece was no
longer neutral. If our government invited 170,000 German troops to land
at Portland, and through Maine invade Canada, our neutrality would be
lost. The neutrality of Greece was lost, but Constantine would not see
that. He hoped, although 170,000 fighting men are not easy to hide, that
the Kaiser also would not see it. It was a very forlorn hope. The Allies
also cherished a hope. It was that Constantine not only would look the
other way while they slipped across his country, but would cast off all
pretense of neutrality and join them. So, as far as was possible, they
avoided giving offense. They assisted him in his pretense of neutrality.
And that was what caused the situation. It was worthy of a comic opera.
Before the return of the allied troops to Salonika, there were on the
neutral soil of Greece, divided between Salonika and the front in
Serbia, 110,000 French soldiers and 60,000 British. Of these, 100,000
were in Salonika. The advanced British base was at Doiran and the French
advanced base at Strumnitza railroad-station. In both places martial law
existed. But at the main base, at Salonika, both armies were under the
local authority of the Greeks. They submitted to the authority of the
Greeks because they wanted to keep up the superstition that Salonika was
a neutral port, when the mere fact that they were there proved she was
not. It was a situation almost unparalleled in military history. At the
base of a French and of a British army, numbering together 170,000 men,
the generals who commanded them possessed less local authority than one
Greek policeman. They were guests. They were invited guests of the
Greek, and they had no more right to object to his other guests or to
rearrange his house rules than would you have the right, when a guest in
a strange club, to reprimand the servants. The Allies had in the streets
military police; but they held authority over only soldiers of their own
country; they could not interfere with a Greek soldier, or with a
civilian of any nation, and even the provost guard sent out at night was
composed not alone of French and English but of an equal number of
Greeks. I often wondered in what language they issued commands. As an
instance of how strictly the Allies recognized the authority of the
neutral Greek, and how jealously he guarded it, there was the case of
the Entente Café. The proprietor of the Entente Café was a Greek. A
British soldier was ill-treated in his café, and by the British
commanding officer the place, so far as British soldiers and sailors
were concerned, was declared "out of bounds." A notice to that effect
was hung in the window. But it was a Greek policeman who placed it

In matters much more important, the fact that the Allies were in a
neutral seaport greatly embarrassed them. They were not allowed to
censor news despatches nor to examine the passports of those who arrived
and departed. The question of the censorship was not so serious as it
might appear. General Sarrail explained to the correspondents what might
and what might not be sent, and though what we wrote was not read in
Salonika by a French or British censor, General Sarrail knew it would be
read by censors of the Allies at Malta, Rome, Paris, and London. Any
news despatch that, unscathed, ran that gantlet, while it might not help
the Allies certainly would not harm them. One cablegram of three
hundred words, sent by an American correspondent, after it had been
blue-pencilled by the Greek censors in Salonika and Athens, and by the
four allied censors, arrived at his London office consisting entirely
of "ands" and "thes." So, if not from their censors, at least from the
correspondents, the Allies were protected. But against the really
serious danger of spies they were helpless. In New York the water-fronts
are guarded. Unless he is known, no one can set foot upon a wharf. Night
and day, against spies and German military attachés bearing explosive
bombs, steamers loading munitions are surrounded by police, watchmen,
and detectives. But in Salonika the wharfs were as free to any one as a
park bench, and the quay supplied every spy, German, Bulgarian, Turk or
Austrian, with an uninterrupted view. To suppose spies did not avail
themselves of this opportunity is to insult their intelligence.
They swarmed. In solid formation spies lined the quay. For every
landing-party of bluejackets they formed a committee of welcome. Of
every man, gun, horse, and box of ammunition that came ashore they kept
tally. On one side of the wharf stood "P. N. T. O.," principal naval
transport officer, in gold braid, ribbons, and armlet, keeping an eye on
every box of shell, gun-carriage, and caisson that was swung from a
transport, and twenty feet from him, and keeping count with him, would
be two dozen spies. And, to make it worse, the P. N. T. O. knew they
were spies. The cold was intense and wood so scarce that to obtain it
men used to row out two miles and collect the boxes thrown overboard
from the transports and battleships. Half of these men had but the
slightest interest in kindling-wood; they were learning the position of
each battleship, counting her guns, noting their caliber, counting the
men crowding the rails of the transports, reading the insignia on their
shoulder-straps, and, as commands and orders were wigwagged from ship
to ship, writing them down. Other spies took the trouble to disguise
themselves in rags and turbans, and, mixing with the Tommies, sold them
sweetmeats, fruit, and cigarettes. The spy told the Tommy he was his
ally, a Serbian refugee; and Tommy, or the _poilu_, to whom Bulgarians,
Turks, and Serbians all look alike, received him as a comrade.

 [Illustration: _From a photograph, copyright by American Press

 "The quay supplied every spy--German, Bulgarian, Turk, or
 Austrian--with an uninterrupted view."]

"You had a rough passage from Marseilles," ventures the spy. "We come
from the peninsula," says Tommy. "Three thousand of you on such a little
ship!" exclaims the sympathetic Serbian. "You must have been crowded!"
"Crowded as hell," corrects Tommy, "because there are five thousand of
us." Over these common spies were master spies, Turkish and German
officers from Berlin and Constantinople. They sat in the same
restaurants with the French and English officers. They were in mufti,
but had they appeared in uniform, while it might have led to a riot, in
this neutral port they would have been entirely within their rights.

The clearing-houses for the spies were the consulates of Austria,
Turkey, and Germany. From there what information the spies turned in was
forwarded to the front. The Allies were helpless to prevent. How
helpless may be judged from these quotations that are translated from
_Phos_, a Greek newspaper published daily in Salonika, and which any
one could buy in the streets. "The English and French forces mean to
retreat. Yesterday six trains of two hundred and forty wagons came from
the front with munitions." "The Allies' first line of defense will be at
Soulowo, Doiran, Goumenitz. At Topsin and Zachouna intrenchments have
not yet been started, but strong positions have been taken up at
Chortiatis and Nihor." "Yesterday the landing of British reinforcements
continued, amounting to 15,000. The guns and munitions were out of date.
The position of the Allies' battleships has been changed. They are now
inside the harbor." The most exacting German General Staff could not ask
for better service than that! When the Allies retreated from Serbia into
Salonika every one expected the enemy would pursue; and thousands fled
from the city. But the Germans did not pursue, and the reason may have
been because their spies kept them so well informed. If you hold four
knaves and, by stealing a look at your opponent's hand, see he has four
kings, to attempt to fight him would be suicide. So, in the end, the
very freedom with which the spies moved about Salonika may have been for
good. They may have prevented the loss of many lives.

During these strenuous days the position of the Greek army in Salonika
was most difficult. There were of their soldiers nearly as many as there
were French and British combined, and they resented the presence of the
foreigners in their new city and they showed it. But they could not show
it in such a way as to give offense, because they did not know but that
on the morrow with the Allies they would be fighting shoulder to
shoulder. And then, again, they did not know but that on the morrow they
might be with the Germans and fighting against the Allies, gun to gun.

Not knowing just how they stood with anybody, and to show they resented
the invasion of their newly won country by the Allies, the Greeks tried
to keep proudly aloof. In this they failed. For any one to flock by
himself in Salonika was impossible. In a long experience of cities
swamped by conventions, inaugurations, and coronations, of all I ever
saw, Salonika was the most deeply submerged. During the Japanese-Russian
War the Japanese told the correspondents there were no horses in Corea,
and that before leaving Japan each should supply himself with one.
Dinwiddie refused to obey. The Japanese warned him if he did not take a
pony with him he would be forced to accompany the army on foot.

"There will always," replied Dinwiddie, "be a pony in Corea for
Dinwiddie." It became a famous saying. When the alarmist tells you all
the rooms in all the hotels are engaged; that people are sleeping on
cots and billiard-tables; that there are no front-row seats for the
Follies, no berths in any cabin of any steamer, remind yourself that
there is always a pony in Corea for Dinwiddie. The rule is that the
hotel clerk discovers a vacant room, a ticket speculator disgorges a
front-row seat, and the ship's doctor sells you a berth in the sick bay.
But in Salonika the rule failed. As already explained, Salonika always
is overcrowded. Suddenly, added to her 120,000 peoples, came 110,000
Greek soldiers, their officers, and with many of them their families,
60,000 British soldiers and sailors, 110,000 French soldiers and
sailors, and no one knows how many thousand Serbian soldiers and
refugees, both the rich and the destitute. The population was
quadrupled; and four into one you can't. Four men cannot with comfort
occupy a cot built for one, four men at the same time cannot sit on the
same chair in a restaurant, four men cannot stand on that spot in the
street where previously there was not room enough for one. Still less
possible is it for three military motor-trucks to occupy the space in
the street originally intended for one small donkey. Of Salonika, a
local French author has written: "When one enters the city he is
conscious of a cry, continuous and piercing. A cry unique and
monotonous, always resembling itself. It is the clamor of Salonika."

Every one who has visited the East, where every one lives in the
streets, knows the sound. It is like the murmur of a stage mob. Imagine,
then, that "clamor of Salonika" increased by the rumble and roar over
the huge paving-stones of thousands of giant motor-trucks; by the beat
of the iron-shod hoofs of cavalry, the iron-shod boots of men marching
in squads, companies, regiments, the shrieks of peasants herding flocks
of sheep, goats, turkeys, cattle; the shouts of bootblacks, boatmen,
sweetmeat venders; newsboys crying the names of Greek papers that sound
like "Hi hippi hippi hi," "Teyang Teyang Teyah"; by the tin horns of
the trolley-cars, the sirens of automobiles, the warning whistles of
steamers, of steam-launches, of donkey-engines; the creaking of cordage
and chains on cargo-hoists, and by the voices of 300,000 men speaking
different languages, and each, that he may be heard above it, adding to
the tumult. For once the alarmist was right. There were no rooms in any
hotel. Early in the rush John McCutcheon, William G. Shepherd, John
Bass, and James Hare had taken the quarters left vacant by the Austrian
Club in the Hotel Olympus. The room was vast and overlooked the
principal square of the city, where every Salonikan met to talk, and the
only landing-place on the quay. From the balcony you could photograph,
as it made fast, not forty feet from you, every cutter, gig, and launch
of every war-ship. The late Austrian Club became the headquarters for
lost and strayed Americans. For four nights, before I secured a room to
myself by buying the hotel, I slept on the sofa. It was two feet too
short, but I was very fortunate.

Outside, in the open halls on cots, were English, French, Greek, and
Serbian officers. The place looked like a military hospital. The main
salon, gilded and bemirrored, had lost its identity. At the end
overlooking the water-front were Serbian ladies taking tea; in the
centre of the salon at the piano a little Greek girl taking a music
lesson; and at the other end, on cots, British officers from the
trenches and Serbian officers who had escaped through the snows of
Albania, their muddy boots, uniforms, and swords flung on the floor,
slept the drugged sleep of exhaustion.

Meals were a continuous performance and interlocked. Except at midnight,
dining-rooms, cafés, and restaurants were never aired, never swept,
never empty. The dishes were seldom washed; the waiters--never. People
succeeded each other at table in relays, one group giving their order
while the other was paying the bill. To prepare a table, a waiter with a
napkin swept everything on it to the floor. War prices prevailed. Even
the necessities of life were taxed. For a sixpenny tin of English pipe
tobacco I paid two dollars, and Scotch whiskey rose from four francs a
bottle to fifteen. On even a letter of credit it was next to impossible
to obtain money, and the man who arrived without money in his belt
walked the water-front. The refugees from Serbia who were glad they had
escaped with their lives were able to sleep and eat only through the
charity of others. Not only the peasants, but young girls and women of
the rich, and more carefully nurtured class of Serbians were glad to
sleep on the ground under tents.

The scenes in the streets presented the most curious contrasts. It
was the East clashing with the West, and the uniforms of four
armies--British, French, Greek, and Serbian--and of the navies of Italy,
Russia, Greece, England, and France contrasted with the dress of
civilians of every nation. There were the officers of Greece and Serbia
in smart uniforms of many colors--blue, green, gray--with much gold and
silver braid, and wearing swords which in this war are obsolete; there
were English officers, generals of many wars, and red-cheeked boys from
Eton, clad in businesslike khaki, with huge, cape-like collars of red
fox or wolf skin, and carrying, in place of the sword, a hunting-crop or
a walking-stick; there were English bluejackets and marines, Scotch
Highlanders, who were as much intrigued over the petticoats of the
Evzones as were the Greeks astonished at their bare legs; there were
French _poilus_ wearing the steel casque, French aviators in short,
shaggy fur coats that gave them the look of a grizzly bear balancing on
his hind legs; there were Jews in gabardines, old men with the noble
faces of Sargent's apostles, robed exactly as was Irving as Shylock;
there were the Jewish married women in sleeveless cloaks of green silk
trimmed with rich fur, and each wearing on her head a cushion of green
that hung below her shoulders; there were Greek priests with matted
hair reaching to the waist, and Turkish women, their faces hidden in
yashmaks, who looked through them with horror, or envy, at the English,
Scotch, and American nurses, with their cheeks bronzed by snow, sleet,
and sun, wearing men's hobnailed boots, men's blouses, and, across their
breasts, war medals for valor.

All day long these people of all races, with conflicting purposes,
speaking, or shrieking, in a dozen different tongues, pushed, shoved,
and shouldered. At night, while the bedlam of sounds grew less, the
picture became more wonderful. The lamps of automobiles would suddenly
pierce the blackness, or the blazing doors of a cinema would show in
the dark street, the vast crowd pushing, slipping, struggling for a
foothold on the muddy stones. In the circle of light cast by the
automobiles, out of the mass a single face would flash--a face burned by
the sun of the Dardanelles or frost-bitten by the snows of the Balkans.
Above it might be the gold visor and scarlet band of a "Brass Hat,"
staff-officer, the fur kepi of a Serbian refugee, the steel helmet of a
French soldier, the "bonnet" of a Highlander, the white cap of a navy
officer, the tassel of an Evzone, a red fez, a turban of rags.

This lasted until the Allies retreated upon Salonika, and the Greek
army, to give them a clear field in which to fight, withdrew,
100,000 of them in two days, carrying with them tens of thousands
of civilians--those who were pro-Germans, and Greeks, Jews, and
Serbians. The civilians were flying before the expected advance of the
Bulgar-German forces. But the Central Powers, possibly well informed by
their spies, did not attack. That was several months ago, and at this
writing they have not yet attacked. What one man saw of the approaches
to Salonika from the north leads him to think that the longer the attack
of the Bulgar-Germans is postponed the better it will be--for the



                                             SALONIKA, December, 1915.

On the day the retreat began from Krivolak, General Sarrail, commanding
the Allies in Serbia, gave us permission to visit the French and English
front. The French advanced position, and a large amount of ammunition,
six hundred shells to each gun, were then at Krivolak, and the English
base at Doiran. We left the train at Doiran, but our French "guide" had
not informed the English a "mission militaire" was descending upon them,
and in consequence at Doiran there were no conveyances to meet us. So,
a charming English captain commandeered for us a vast motor-truck.
Stretched above it were ribs to support a canvas top, and by clinging
to these, as at home on the Elevated we hang to a strap, we managed to
avoid being bumped out into the road.

The English captain, who seemed to have nothing else on his hands,
volunteered to act as our escort, and on a splendid hunter galloped
ahead of and at the side of the lorry, and, much like a conductor on
a sight-seeing car, pointed out the objects of interest. When not
explaining he was absent-mindedly jumping his horse over swollen
streams, ravines, and fallen walls. We found him much more interesting
to watch than the scenery.

The scenery was desolate and bleak. It consisted of hills that opened
into other hills, from the summit of which more hills stretched to a
horizon entirely of mountains. They did not form ridges but, like men
in a crowd, shouldered into one another. They were of a soft rock and
covered with snow, above which to the height of your waist rose scrub
pine-trees and bushes of holly. The rain and snow that ran down their
slopes had turned the land into a sea of mud, and had swamped the stone
roads. In walking, for each step you took forward you skidded and slid
several yards back. If you had an hour to spare you had time for a
ten-minute walk.

In our motor-truck we circled Lake Doiran, and a mile from the station
came to a stone obelisk. When we passed it our guide on horseback
shouted to us that we had crossed the boundary from Greece, and were now
in Serbia. The lake is five miles wide and landlocked, and the road kept
close to the water's edge. It led us through little mud villages with
houses of mud and wattle, and some of stone with tiled roofs and
rafters, and beams showing through the cement. The second story
projected like those of the Spanish blockhouses in Cuba, and the log
forts from which, in the days when there were no hyphenated Americans,
our forefathers fought the Indians.

 [Illustration: _From a photograph copyright by Medem Photo Service._

 "Hills bare of trees, from which the snow that ran down their slopes
 had turned the road into a sea of mud."]

Except for some fishermen, the Serbians had abandoned these villages,
and they were occupied by English army service men and infantry. The
"front," which was hidden away among the jumble of hills, seemed, when
we reached it, to consist entirely of artillery. All along the road the
Tommies were waging a hopeless war against the mud, shovelling it off
the stone road to keep the many motor-trucks from skidding over a
precipice, or against the cold making shelters of it, or washing it out
of their uniforms and off their persons.

Shivering from ears to heels and with teeth rattling, for they had come
from the Dardanelles, they stood stripped to the waist scrubbing their
sun-tanned chests and shoulders with ice-water. It was a spectacle that
inspired confidence. When a man is so keen after water to wash in that
he will kick the top off a frozen lake to get it, a little thing like a
barb-wire entanglement will not halt him.

The cold of those hills was like no cold I had ever felt. Officers who
had hunted in northern Russia, in the Himalayas, in Alaska, assured us
that never had they so suffered. The men we passed, who were in the
ambulances, were down either with pneumonia or frost-bite. Many had lost
toes and fingers. And it was not because they were not warmly clad.[B]

[Footnote B: It has been charged that the British troops in the Balkans
wore the same tropic uniforms they wore in the Dardanelles. This was
necessarily true, when first they landed, but almost at once the winter
uniform was issued to all of them. I saw no British or French soldier
who was not properly and warmly clad, with overcoat, muffler, extra
waistcoat, and gloves. And while all, both officers and men, cursed the
cold, none complained that he had not been appropriately clothed to meet
it. R. H. D.]

Last winter in France had taught the war office how to dress the part;
but nothing had prepared them for the cold of the Balkans. And to add
to their distress, for it was all of that, there was no fire-wood. The
hills were bare of trees, and such cold as they endured could not be
fought with green twigs.

It was not the brisk, invigorating cold that invites you out of doors.
It had no cheery, healthful appeal to skates, toboggans, and the
jangling bells of a cutter. It was the damp, clammy, penetrating cold
of a dungeon, of an unventilated ice-chest, of a morgue. Your clothes
did not warm you, the heat of your body had to warm your clothes. And
warm, also, all of the surrounding hills.

Between the road and the margin of the lake were bamboo reeds as tall
as lances, and at the edge of these were gathered myriads of ducks. The
fishermen were engaged in bombarding the ducks with rocks. They went
about this in a methodical fashion. All around the lake, concealed in
the reeds and lifted a few feet above the water they had raised huts on
piles. In front of these huts was a ledge or balcony. They looked like
overgrown bird-houses on stilts.

One fisherman waited in a boat to pick up the dead ducks, and the other
hurled stones from a sling. It was the same kind of a sling as the one
with which David slew Goliath. In Athens I saw small boys using it to
throw stones at an electric-light pole. The one the fisherman used was
about eight feet long. To get the momentum he whirled it swiftly above
his head as a cowboy swings a lariat, and then let one end fly loose,
and the stone, escaping, smashed into the mass of ducks. If it stunned
or killed a duck the human water-spaniel in the boat would row out and
retrieve it. To duck hunters at home the sport would chiefly recommend
itself through the cheapness of the ammunition.

On the road we met relays of water-carts and wagons that had been up the
hills with food for the gunners at the front; and engineers were at work
repairing the stone bridges or digging détours to avoid those that had
disappeared. They had been built to support no greater burden than a
flock of sheep, an ox-cart, or what a donkey can carry on his back, and
the assault of the British motor-trucks and French six-inch guns had
driven them deep into the mud.

After ten miles we came to what a staff officer would call an "advanced
base," but which was locally designated the "Dump." At the side of the
road, much of it uncovered to the snow, were stores of ammunition,
"bully beef," and barb-wire. The camp bore all the signs of a temporary
halting place. It was just what the Tommies called it, a dump. We had
not been told then that the Allies were withdrawing, but one did not
have to be a military expert to see that there was excellent reason why
they should.

They were so few. Whatever the force was against them, the force I saw
was not strong enough to hold the ground, not that it covered, but over
which it was sprinkled. There were outposts without supports, supports
without reserves. A squad was expected to perform the duties of a
company. Where a brigade was needed there was less than a battalion.
Against the white masses of the mountains and the desolate landscape
without trees, houses, huts, without any sign of human habitation, the
scattered groups of khaki only accented the bleak loneliness.

At the dump we had exchanged for the impromptu motor-truck, automobiles
of the French staff, and as "Jimmie" Hare and I were alone in one of
them we could stop where we liked. So we halted where an English battery
was going into action. It had dug itself into the side of a hill and
covered itself with snow and pine branches. Somewhere on one of the
neighboring hills the "spotter" was telephoning the range. The gunners
could not see at what they were firing. They could see only the high
hill of rock and snow, at the base of which they stood shoulder high in
their mud cellars. Ten yards to the rear of them was what looked like a
newly made grave reverently covered with pine boughs. Through these a
rat-faced young man, with the receivers of a telephone clamped to his
ears, pushed his head.

 [Illustration: _From a photograph by William G. Shepherd._

 John T. McCutcheon.         John F. Bass.
    Richard Harding Davis.      James H. Hare.

 American war correspondents at the French front in Serbia.]

"Eight degrees to the left, sir," he barked, "four thousand yards."

The men behind the guns were extremely young, but, like most
artillerymen, alert, sinewy, springing to their appointed tasks with
swift, catlike certainty. The sight of the two strangers seemed to
surprise them as much as the man in the grave had startled us.

There were two boy officers in command, one certainly not yet eighteen,
his superior officer still under twenty.

"I suppose you're all right," said the younger one. "You couldn't have
got this far if you weren't all right."

He tried to scowl upon us, but he was not successful. He was too lonely,
too honestly glad to see any one from beyond the mountains that hemmed
him in. They stretched on either side of him to vast distances, massed
barriers of white against a gray, sombre sky; in front of him, to be
exact, just four thousand yards in front of him, were Bulgarians he had
never seen, but who were always with their shells ordering to "move on,"
and behind him lay a muddy road that led to a rail-head, that led to
transports, that led to France, to the Channel, and England. It was a
long, long way to England. I felt like taking one of the boy officers
under each arm, and smuggling him safely home to his mother.

"You don't seem to have any supports," I ventured.

The child gazed around him. It was growing dark and gloomier, and the
hollows of the white hills were filled with shadows. His men were
listening, so he said bravely, with a vague sweep of the hand at the
encircling darkness, "Oh, they're about--somewhere. You might call
this," he added, with pride, "an independent command."

You well might.

"Report when ready!" chanted his superior officer, aged nineteen.

He reported, and then the guns spoke, making a great flash in the

In spite of the light, Jimmie Hare was trying to make a photograph of
the guns.

"Take it on the recoil," advised the child officer. "It's sure to stick.
It always does stick."

The men laughed, not slavishly, because the officer had made a joke, but
as companions in trouble, and because when you are abandoned on a
mountainside with a lame gun that jams, you must not take it lying down,
but make a joke of it.

The French chauffeur was pumping his horn for us to return, and I went,
shamefacedly, as must the robbers who deserted the babes in the wood.

In farewell I offered the boy officer the best cigars for sale in
Greece, which is the worse thing one can say of any cigar. I apologized
for them, but explained he must take them because they were called the
"King of England."

"I would take them," said the infant, "if they were called the 'German

At the door of the car we turned and waved, and the two infants waved
back. I felt I had meanly deserted them--that for his life the mother of
each could hold me to account.

But as we drove away from the cellars of mud, the gun that stuck, and
the "independent command," I could see in the twilight the flashes of
the guns and two lonely specks of light.

They were the "King of England" cigars burning bravely.



                                             SALONIKA, December, 1915.

The chauffeur of an army automobile must make his way against cavalry,
artillery, motor-trucks, motor-cycles, men marching, and ambulances
filled with wounded, over a road torn by thousand-ton lorries and
excavated by washouts and Jack Johnsons. It is therefore necessary for
him to drive with care. So he drives at sixty miles an hour, and tries
to scrape the mud from every wheel he meets.

In these days of his downfall the greatest danger to the life of the
war correspondent is that he must move about in automobiles driven by
military chauffeurs. The one who drove me from the extreme left of the
English front up to hill 516, which was the highest point of the French
front, told me that in peace times he drove a car to amuse himself. His
idea of amusing himself was to sweep around a corner on one wheel,
exclaim with horror, and throw on all the brakes with the nose of the
car projecting over a precipice a thousand yards deep. He knew perfectly
well the precipice was there, but he leaped at it exactly as though it
were the finish line of the Vanderbilt cup race. If his idea of amusing
himself was to make me sick with terror he must have spent a thoroughly
enjoyable afternoon.

The approaches to hill 516, the base of the hill on the side hidden from
the Bulgarians, and the trenches dug into it were crowded with the
French. At that point of the line they greatly outnumbered the English.
But it was not the elbow touch of numbers that explained their
cheerfulness; it was because they knew it was expected of them. The
famous scholar who wrote in our school geographies, "The French are a
gay people, fond of dancing and light wines," established a tradition.
And on hill 516, although it was to keep from freezing that they danced,
and though the light wines were melted snow, they still kept up that
tradition and were "gay."

They laughed at us in welcome, crawling out of their igloos on all fours
like bears out of a cave; they laughed when we photographed them
crowding to get in front of the camera, when we scattered among them
copies of _L'Opinion_, when up the snow-clad hillside we skidded and
slipped and fell. And if we peered into the gloom of the shelters, where
they crouched on the frozen ground with snow dripping from above, with
shoulders pressed against walls of icy mud, they waved spoons at us and
invited us to share their soup. Even the dark-skinned, sombre-eyed men
of the desert, the tall Moors and Algerians, showed their white teeth
and laughed when a "seventy-five" exploded from an unsuspicious bush,
and we jumped. It was like a camp of Boy Scouts, picnicking for one
day, and sure the same night of a warm supper and bed. But the best
these _poilus_ might hope for was months of ice, snow, and mud, of
discomfort, colds, long marches carrying heavy burdens, the pain of
frost-bite, and, worst of all, homesickness. They were sure of nothing:
not even of the next minute. For hill 516 was dotted with oblong rows of
stones with, at one end, a cross of green twigs and a soldier's cap.

The hill was the highest point of a ridge that looked down into the
valleys of the Vardar and of Bodjinia. Toward the Bulgarians we could
see the one village of Kosturino, almost indistinguishable against the
snow, and for fifty miles, even with glasses, no other sign of life.
Nothing but hills, rocks, bushes, and snow. When the "seventy-fives"
spoke with their smart, sharp crack that always seems to say, "Take
that!" and to add, with aristocratic insolence, "and be damned to you!"
one could not guess what they were firing at. In Champagne, where the
Germans were as near as from a hundred to forty yards; in Artois, where
they were a mile distant, but where their trench was as clearly in sight
as the butts of a rifle-range, you could understand. You knew that "that
dark line over there" was the enemy.

A year before at Soissons you had seen the smoke of the German guns in a
line fifteen miles long. In other little wars you had watched the shells
destroy a blockhouse, a village, or burst upon a column of men. But from
hill 516 you could see no enemy; only mountains draped in snow, silent,
empty, inscrutable. It seemed ridiculous to be attacking fifty miles of
landscape with tiny pills of steel. But although we could not see the
Bulgars, they could see the flashes on hill 516, and from somewhere out
of the inscrutable mountains shells burst and fell. They fell very
close, within forty feet of us, and, like children being sent to bed
just at dessert time, our hosts hurried us out of the trenches and
drove us away.

While on "516" we had been in Bulgaria; now we returned to Serbia, and
were halted at the village of Valandova. There had been a ceremony that
afternoon. A general, whose name we may not mention, had received the
_medaille militaire_. One of the French correspondents asked him in
recognition of which of his victories it had been bestowed. The general
possessed a snappy temper.

"The medal was given me," he said, "because I was the only general
without it, and I was becoming conspicuous."

It had long been dark when we reached Strumnitza station, where we were
to spend the night in a hospital tent. The tent was as big as a barn,
with a stove, a cot for each, and fresh linen sheets. All these good
things belong to the men we had left on hill 516 awake in the mud and
snow. I felt like a burglar, who, while the owner is away, sleeps in
his bed. There was another tent with a passageway filled with medical
supplies connecting it with ours. It was in darkness, and we thought it
empty until some one exploring found it crowded with wounded and men
with frozen legs and hands. For half an hour they had been watching us
through the passageway, making no sign, certainly making no complaint.
John Bass collected all our newspapers, candles, and boxes of
cigarettes, which the hospital stewards distributed, and when we
returned from dinner our neighbors were still wide awake and holding a
smoking concert. But when in the morning the bugles woke us we found
that during the night the wounded had been spirited away, and by rail
transferred to the hospital ships. We should have known then that the
army was in retreat. But it was all so orderly, so leisurely, that it
seemed like merely a shifting from one point of the front to another.

We dined with the officers and they certainly gave no suggestion of men
contemplating retreat, for the mess-hall in which dinner was served had
been completed only that afternoon. It was of rough stones and cement,
and the interior walls were covered with whitewash. The cement was not
yet dry, nor, as John McCutcheon later discovered when he drew
caricatures on it, neither was the whitewash. There were twenty men
around the dinner-table, seated on ammunition-boxes and Standard Oil
cans, and so close together you could use only one hand. So, you gave
up trying to cut your food, and used the free hand solely in drinking
toasts to the army, to France, and the Allies. Then, to each Ally
individually. You were glad there were so many Allies. For it was not
Greek, but French wine, of the kind that comes from Rheims. And the army
was retreating. What the French army offers its guests to drink when it
is advancing is difficult to imagine.

 [Illustration: _From a photograph by R. H. Davis._

 Headquarters of the French commander in Gravec, Serbia.]

We were waited upon by an enormous negro from Senegal with a fez as tall
as a giant firecracker. Waiting single-handed on twenty men is a serious
matter. And because the officers laughed when he served the soup in
a tin basin used for washing dishes his feelings were hurt. It was
explained that "Chocolat" in his own country was a prince, and that
unless treated with tact he might get the idea that waiting on a table
is not a royal prerogative. One of the officers was a genius at writing
impromptu verses. During one course he would write them, and while
Chocolat was collecting the plates would sing them. Then by the light
of a candle on the back of a scrap of paper he would write another and
sing that. He was rivalled in entertaining us by the officers who told
anecdotes of war fronts from the Marne to Smyrna, who proposed toasts,
and made speeches in response, especially by the officer who that day
had received the Croix de Guerre and a wound.

I sat next to a young man who had been talking learnedly of dumdum
bullets and Parisian restaurants. They asked him to recite, and to my
horror he rose. Until that moment he had been a serious young officer,
talking boulevard French. In an instant he was transformed. He was a
clown. To look at him was to laugh. He was an old roué, senile,
pitiable, a bourgeois, an apache, a lover, and his voice was so
beautiful that each sentence sang. He used words so difficult that to
avoid them even Frenchmen will cross the street. He mastered them,
played with them, caressed them, sipped of them as a connoisseur sips
Madeira: he tossed them into the air like radiant bubbles, or flung them
at us with the rattle of a mitrailleuse. When in triumph he sat down, I
asked him, when not in uniform, who the devil he happened to be.

Again he was the bored young man. In a low tone, so as not to expose my
ignorance to others, he said.

"I? I am Barrielles of the Theatre Odeon."

We were receiving so much that to make no return seemed ungracious, and
we insisted that John T. McCutcheon should decorate the wall of the new
mess-room with the caricatures that make the Chicago _Tribune_ famous.
Our hosts were delighted, but it was hardly fair to McCutcheon. Instead
of his own choice of weapons he was asked to prove his genius on wet
whitewash with a stick of charred wood. It was like asking McLaughlin
to make good on a ploughed field. But in spite of the fact that the
whitewash fell off in flakes, there grew upon the wall a tall, gaunt
figure with gleaming eyes and teeth. Chocolat paid it the highest
compliment. He gave a wild howl and fled into the night. Then in quick
succession, while the Frenchmen applauded each swift stroke, appeared
the faces of the song writer, the comedian, the wounded man, and the
commanding officer. It was a real triumph, but the surprises of the
evening were not at an end. McCutcheon had but just resumed his seat
when the newly finished rear wall of the mess-hall crashed into the
room. Where had been rocks and cement was a gaping void, and a view of
a garden white with snow.

While we were rescuing the song writer from the débris McCutcheon
regarded the fallen wall thoughtfully.

"They feared," he said, "I was going to decorate that wall also, and
they sent Chocolat outside to push it in."

 [Illustration: _From a photograph, copyright by American Press

 After the retreat from Serbia.

 English Tommies intrenched in the ten-mile plain outside of Salonika.
 "Are they down-hearted? No!"]

The next day we walked along the bank of the Vardar River to Gravec,
about five miles north of Strumnitza station. Five miles farther was
Demir-Kapu, the Gate of Iron, and between these two towns is a high and
narrow pass famous for its wild and magnificent beauty. Fifteen miles
beyond that was Krivolak, the most advanced French position. On the
hills above Gravec were many guns, but in the town itself only a few
infantrymen. It was a town entirely of mud; the houses, the roads, and
the people were covered with it. Gravec is proud only of its church,
on the walls of which in colors still rich are painted many devils with
pitchforks driving the wicked ones into the flames.

One of the _poilus_ put his finger on the mass of wicked ones.

"Les Boches," he explained.

Whether the devils were the French or the English he did not say,
possibly because at the moment they were more driven against than

Major Merse, the commanding officer, invited us to his headquarters.
They were in a house of stone and mud, from which projected a wooden
platform. When any one appeared upon it he had the look of being about
to make a speech. The major asked us to take photographs of Gravec and
send them to his wife. He wanted her to see in what sort of a place he
was condemned to exist during the winter. He did not wish her to think
of him as sitting in front of a café on the sidewalk, and the snap-shots
would show her that Gravec has no cafés, no sidewalks and no streets.

But he was not condemned to spend the winter in Gravec.

Within the week great stores of ammunition and supplies began to pour
into it from Krivolak, and the Gate of Iron became the advanced
position, and Gravec suddenly found herself of importance as the French

To understand this withdrawal, find on the map Krivolak, and follow the
railroad and River Vardar southeast to Gravec.

The cause of the retreat was the inability of the Serbians to hold
Monastir and their withdrawal west, which left a gap in the former line
of Serbians, French, and British. The enemy thus was south and west of
Sarrail, and his left flank was exposed.

On December 3, finding the advanced position at Krivolak threatened by
four divisions, 100,000 men, General Sarrail began the withdrawal,
sending south by rail without loss all ammunition and stores. He
destroyed the tunnel at Krivolak and all the bridges across the Vardar,
and on his left at the Cerna River. The fighting was heavy at Prevedo
and Biserence, but the French losses were small. He withdrew slowly,
twenty miles in one week. The British also withdrew from their first
line to their second line of defense.

Demir-Kapu, meaning the Gate of Iron, is the entrance to a valley
celebrated for its wild and magnificent beauty. Starting at Demir-Kapu,
it ends two kilometres north of Gravec. It rises on either side of the
Vardar River and railroad line, and in places is less than a hundred
yards wide. It is formed of sheer hills of rock, treeless and exposed.

But the fame of Gravec as the French base was short-lived. For the
Serbians at Monastir and Gevgeli, though fighting bravely, were forced
toward Albania, leaving the left flank of Sarrail still more exposed.
And the Gate of Iron belied her ancient title.

With 100,000 Bulgars crowding down upon him General Sarrail wasted no
lives, either French or English, but again withdrew. He was outnumbered,
some say five to one. In any event, he was outnumbered as inevitably as
three of a kind beat two pair. A good poker player does not waste chips
backing two pair. Neither should a good general, when his chips are
human lives. As it was, in the retreat seven hundred French were killed
or wounded, and of the British, who were more directly in the path of
the Bulgars, one thousand.

At Gevgeli the French delayed two days to allow the Serbian troops to
get away, and then themselves withdrew. There now no longer were any
Serbian soldiers in Serbia. So both armies fell back toward Salonika on
a line between Kilindir and Doiran railroad-station, and all the places
we visited a week before were occupied by the enemy. At Gravec a
Bulgarian is pointing at the wicked ones who are being driven into the
flames and saying: "The Allies," and at Strumnitza station in the
mess-hall Bulgar officers are framing John McCutcheon's sketches.

And here at Salonika from sunrise to sunset the English are disembarking
reinforcements, and the French building barracks of stone and brick. It
looks as though the French were here to stay, and as though the
retreating habit was broken.

The same team that, to put it politely, drew the enemy after them to the
gates of Paris, have been drawing the same enemy after them to Salonika.
That they will throw him back from Salonika, as they threw him back from
Paris, is assured.

General Sarrail was one of those who commanded in front of Paris, and
General de Castelnau, who also commanded at the battle of the Marne, and
is now chief of staff of General Joffre, has just visited him here.
General de Castelnau was sent to "go, look, see." He reports that the
position now held by the Allies is impregnable.

The perimeter held by them is fifty miles in length and stretches from
the Vardar River on the west to the Gulf of Orplanos on the east. There
are three lines of defense. To assist the first two on the east are
Lakes Beshik and Langaza, on the west the Vardar River. Should the enemy
penetrate the first lines they will be confronted ten miles from
Salonika by a natural barrier of hills, and ten miles of intrenchments
and barb-wire. Should the enemy surmount these hills the Allies
war-ships in the harbor can sweep him off them as a fire-hose rips the
shingles off a roof.

The man who tells you he understands the situation in Salonika is of the
same mental caliber as the one who understands a system for beating the
game at Monte Carlo. But there are certain rumors as to the situation in
the future that can be eliminated. First, Greece will not turn against
the Allies. Second, the Allies will not withdraw from Salonika. They
now are agreed it is better to resist an attack or stand a siege, even
if they lose 200,000 men, than to withdraw from the Balkans without a

The Briand government believes that had the Millerand government, which
it overthrew, sent troops to aid the Serbian army in August this war
would have been made shorter by six months. It now is trying to repair
the mistake of the government it ousted. Among other reasons it has for
remaining in the Balkans, is that the presence of 200,000 men at
Salonika will hold Roumania from any aggressive movement on Russia.

To aid the Allies, Russia at Tannenberg made a sacrifice, and lost
200,000 men. The present French Government now feels bound in honor to
help Russia by keeping the French-British armies at Salonika. As a
visiting member of the government said to me:

"In this war there is no western line or eastern line. The line of the
Allies is wherever a German attacks. France went to the Balkans to help
Serbia. She went too late, which is not the fault of the present
government. But there remains the task to keep the Germans from Egypt,
to menace the railroad at Adrianople, and to prevent Roumania from an
attack upon the flank of Russia. The Allies are in Salonika until this
war is ended."

In Salonika you see every evidence that this is the purpose of the
Allies; that both England and France are determined to hold fast.

Reinforcements of British troops are arriving daily, and the French are
importing large numbers of ready-to-set-up wooden barracks, each capable
of holding 250 men. Also along the water-front they are building
storehouses of brick and stone. That does not suggest an immediate
departure. At the French camp, which covers five square miles in the
suburbs of Salonika when I visited it to-day, thousands of soldiers were
actively engaged in laying stone roads, repairing bridges and erecting
new ones. There is no question but that they intend to make this the
base until the advance in the spring.

A battalion of Serbians 700 strong has arrived at the French camp. In
size and physique they are splendid specimens of fighting men. They are
now road building. Each day refugees of the Serbian army add to their

At four o'clock in the morning of the 14th of December, the Greek army
evacuated Salonika and that strip of Greek territory stretching from it
to Doiran.

From before sunrise an unbroken column of Greek regiments passed beneath
the windows of our hotel. There were artillery, cavalry, pontoons,
ambulances, and thousands of ponies and donkeys, carrying fodder,
supplies, and tents. The sidewalks were invaded by long lines of
infantry. The water-front along which the column passed was blocked
with spectators.

As soon as the Greeks had departed sailors from the Allied war-ships
were given shore leave, and the city took on the air of a holiday. Thus
was a most embarrassing situation brought to an end and the world
informed that the Allies had but just begun to fight. It was the
clearing of the prize-ring.

The clearing also of the enemy's consulates ended another embarrassing
situation. As suggested in a previous chapter, the consulates of the
Central Powers were the hot-beds and clearing-houses for spies. The
raid upon them by the French proved that this was true. The enforced
departure of the German, Austrian, Bulgarian, and Turkish consuls added
to the responsibilities of our own who has now to guard their interests.
They will be efficiently served. John E. Kehl has been long in our
consular service, and is most admirably fitted to meet the present
crisis. He has been our representative at Salonika for four years, in
which time his experience as consul during the Italian-Turkish War, the
two Balkan wars, and the present war, have trained him to meet any
situation that is likely to arrive.

What that situation may be, whether the Bulgar-Germans will attack
Salonika, or the Allies will advance upon Sofia, and as an inevitable
sequence draw after them the Greek army of 200,000 veterans, only the
spring can tell.

If the Teutons mean to advance, having the shorter distance to go,
they may launch their attack in April. The Allies, if Sofia is their
objective, will wait for the snow to leave the hills and the roads to
dry. That they would move before May is doubtful. Meanwhile, they are
accumulating many men, and much ammunition and information. May they
make good use of it.



                                             PARIS, January, 1916.

It is an old saying that the busiest man always seems to have the most
leisure. It is another way of complimenting him on his genius for
organization. When you visit a real man of affairs you seldom find him
surrounded by secretaries, stenographers, and a battery of telephones.
As a rule, there is nothing on his desk save a photograph of his wife
and a rose in a glass of water. Outside the headquarters of the general
there were no gendarmes, no sentries, no panting automobiles, no
mud-flecked chasseurs-à-cheval. Unchallenged the car rolled up an empty
avenue of trees and stopped beside an empty terrace of an apparently
empty château. At one end of the terrace was a pond, and in it floated
seven beautiful swans. They were the only living things in sight. I
thought we had stumbled upon the country home of some gentleman of
elegant leisure.

When he appeared the manner of the general assisted that impression. His
courtesy was so undisturbed, his mind so tranquil, his conversation so
entirely that of the polite host, you felt he was masquerading in the
uniform of a general only because he knew it was becoming. He glowed
with health and vigor. He had the appearance of having just come indoors
after a satisfactory round on his private golf-links. Instead, he had
been receiving reports from twenty-four different staff-officers. His
manner suggested he had no more serious responsibility than feeding
bread crumbs to the seven stately swans. Instead he was responsible for
the lives of 170,000 men and fifty miles of trenches. His duties were to
feed the men three times a day with food, and all day and night with
ammunition, to guard them against attacks from gases, burning oil,
bullets, shells; and in counter-attack to send them forward with the
bayonet across hurdles of barb-wire to distribute death. These were only
a few of his responsibilities.

 [Illustration: The ruined village of Gerbéviller, destroyed after
 their retreat by the Germans.

 Captain Gabriel Puaux, of the General-Headquarters Staff, and Mr.

I knew somewhere in the château there must be the conning-tower from
which the general directed his armies, and after luncheon asked to be
allowed to visit it. It was filled with maps, in size enormous but rich
in tiny details, nailed on frames, pinned to the walls, spread over
vast drawing-boards. But to the visitor more marvellous than the maps
showing the French lines were those in which were set forth the German
positions, marked with the place occupied by each unit, giving the exact
situation of the German trenches, the German batteries, giving the
numerals of each regiment. With these spread before him, the general has
only to lift the hand telephone, and direct that from a spot on a map
on one wall several tons of explosive shells shall drop on a spot on
another map on the wall opposite. The general does not fight only at
long distance from a map. Each morning he visits some part of the fifty
miles of trenches. What later he sees on his map only jogs his memory.
It is a sort of shorthand note. Where to you are waving lines, dots, and
crosses, he beholds valleys, forests, miles of yellow trenches. A week
ago, during a bombardment, a brother general advanced into the first
trench. His chief of staff tugged at his cloak.

"My men like to see me here," said the general.

A shell killed him. But who can protest it was a life wasted? He made it
possible for every _poilu_ in a trench of five hundred miles to say:
"Our generals do not send us where they will not go themselves."

We left the white swans smoothing their feathers, and through rain drove
to a hill covered closely with small trees. The trees were small,
because the soil from which they drew sustenance was only one to three
feet deep. Beneath that was chalk. Through these woods was cut a runway
for a toy railroad. It possessed the narrowest of narrow gauges, and its
rolling-stock consisted of flat cars three feet wide, drawn by splendid
Percherons. The live stock, the rolling-stock, the tracks, and the trees
on either side of the tracks were entirely covered with white clay. Even
the brakemen and the locomotive-engineer who walked in advance of the
horses were completely painted with it. And before we got out of the
woods, so were the passengers. This railroad feeds the trenches,
carrying to them water and ammunition, and to the kitchens in the rear
uncooked food.

The French marquis who escorted "Mon Capitaine" of the Grand Quartier
Général des Armées, who was my "guide philosopher and friend," to the
trenches either had built this railroad, or owned a controlling interest
in it, for he always spoke of it proudly as "my express," "my special
train," "my petite vitesse." He had lately been in America buying
cavalry horses.

 [Illustration: _From a photograph, copyright by Medem Photo Service._

 "Through these woods ran a toy railroad."

 This picture shows President Poincaré on the toy railroad en route to
 the trenches.]

As for years he has owned one of the famous racing stables in France,
his knowledge of them is exceptional.

When last I had seen him he was in silk, on one of his own
thoroughbreds, and the crowd, or that part of it that had backed his
horse, was applauding, and, while he waited for permission to dismount,
he was smiling and laughing. Yesterday, when the plough horses pulled
his express-train off the rails, he descended and pushed it back, and,
in consequence, was splashed, not by the mud of the race-track but of
the trenches. Nor in the misty, dripping, rain-soaked forest was there
any one to applaud. But he was still laughing, even more happily.

The trenches were dug around what had been a chalk mine, and it was
difficult to tell where the mining for profit had stopped and the
excavations for defense began. When you can see only chalk at your feet,
and chalk on either hand, and overhead the empty sky, this ignorance may
be excused. In the boyaux, which began where the railroad stopped, that
was our position. We walked through an endless grave with walls of clay,
on top of which was a scant foot of earth. It looked like a layer of
chocolate on the top of a cake.

In some places, underfoot was a corduroy path of sticks, like the false
bottom of a rowboat; in others, we splashed through open sluices of clay
and rain-water. You slid and skidded, and to hold yourself erect pressed
with each hand against the wet walls of the endless grave.

We came out upon the "hauts de Meuse." They are called also the "Shores
of Lorraine," because to that province, as are the cliffs of Dover to
the county of Kent, they form a natural barrier. We were in the quarry
that had been cut into the top of the heights on the side that now faces
other heights held by the enemy. Behind us rose a sheer wall of chalk as
high as a five-story building. The face of it had been pounded by
shells. It was as undismayed as the whitewashed wall of a schoolroom at
which generations of small boys have flung impertinent spit-balls. At
the edge of the quarry the floor was dug deeper, leaving a wall between
it and the enemy, and behind this wall were the posts of observation,
the nests of the machine-guns, the raised step to which the men spring
when repulsing an attack. Below and back of them were the shelters into
which, during a bombardment, they disappear. They were roofed with great
beams, on top of which were bags of cement piled three and four yards

Not on account of the sleet and fog, but in spite of them, the aspect of
the place was grim and forbidding. You did not see, as at some of the
other fronts, on the sign-boards that guide the men through the maze,
jokes and nicknames. The mess-huts and sleeping-caves bore no such
ironic titles as the Petit Café, the Anti-Boche, Chez Maxim. They were
designated only by numerals, businesslike and brief. It was no place
for humor. The monuments to the dead were too much in evidence. On every
front the men rise and lie down with death, but on no other front had I
found them living so close to the graves of their former comrades. Where
a man had fallen, there had he been buried, and on every hand you saw
between the chalk huts, at the mouths of the pits or raised high in a
niche, a pile of stones, a cross, and a soldier's cap. Where one officer
had fallen his men had built to his memory a mausoleum. It is also a
shelter into which, when the shells come, they dive for safety. So that
even in death he protects them.

I was invited into a post of observation, and told to make my entrance
quickly. In order to exist, a post of observation must continue to look
to the enemy only like part of the wall of earth that faces him. If
through its apparently solid front there flashes, even for an instant, a
ray of sunlight, he knows that the ray comes through a peep-hole, and
that behind the peep-hole men with field-glasses are watching him. And
with his shells he hammers the post of observation into a shambles.
Accordingly, when you enter one, it is etiquette not to keep the door
open any longer than is necessary to squeeze past it. As a rule, the
door is a curtain of sacking, but hands and bodies coated with clay, by
brushing against it, have made it quite opaque.

The post was as small as a chart-room, and the light came only through
the peep-holes. You got a glimpse of a rack of rifles, of shadowy
figures that made way for you, and of your captain speaking in a
whisper. When you put your eyes to the peep-hole it was like looking at
a photograph through a stereoscope. But, instead of seeing the lake of
Geneva, the Houses of Parliament, or Niagara Falls, you looked across a
rain-driven valley of mud, on the opposite side of which was a hill.

Here the reader kindly will imagine a page of printed matter devoted to
that hill. It was an extremely interesting hill, but my captain, who
also is my censor, decides that what I wrote was too interesting,
especially to Germans. So the hill is "strafed." He says I can begin
again vaguely with "Over there."

"Over there," said his voice in the darkness, "is St. Mihiel."

For more than a year you had read of St. Mihiel. Communiqués, maps,
illustrations had made it famous and familiar. It was the town that gave
a name to the German salient, to the point thrust in advance of what
should be his front. You expected to see an isolated hill, a promontory,
some position of such strategic value as would explain why for St.
Mihiel the lives of thousands of Germans had been thrown upon the board.
But except for the obstinacy of the German mind, or, upon the part of
the Crown Prince the lack of it, I could find no explanation. Why the
German wants to hold St. Mihiel, why he ever tried to hold it, why if
it so pleases him he should not continue to hold it until his whole line
is driven across the border, is difficult to understand. For him it is
certainly an expensive position. It lengthens his lines of communication
and increases his need of transport. It eats up men, eats up rations,
eats up priceless ammunition, and it leads to nowhere, enfilades no
position, threatens no one. It is like an ill-mannered boy sticking out
his tongue. And as ineffective.

The physical aspect of St. Mihiel is a broad sweep of meadow-land cut in
half by the Meuse flooding her banks; and the shattered houses of the
Ferme Mont Meuse, which now form the point of the salient. At this place
the opposing trenches are only a hundred yards apart, and all of this
low ground is commanded by the French guns on the heights of Les
Paroches. On the day of our visit they were being heavily bombarded. On
each side of the salient are the French. Across the battle-ground of
St. Mihiel I could see their trenches facing those in which we stood.
For, at St. Mihiel, instead of having the line of the enemy only in
front, the lines face the German, and surround him on both flanks.
Speaking not as a military strategist but merely as a partisan, if any
German commander wants that kind of a position I would certainly make
him a present of it.

 [Illustration: _From a photograph, copyright by Underwood and

 A first-line trench outside of Verdun.

 The trench enfilades the valley beyond, and the valley is covered with
 barbed-wire and gun-pits.]

The colonel who commanded the trenches possessed an enthusiasm that was
beautiful to see. He was as proud of his chalk quarry as an admiral of
his first dreadnaught. He was as isolated as though cast upon a rock in
mid-ocean. Behind him was the dripping forest, in front the mud valley
filled with floating fogs. At his feet in the chalk floor the shells
had gouged out holes as deep as rain-barrels. Other shells were liable
at any moment to gouge out more holes. Three days before, when Prince
Arthur of Connaught had come to tea, a shell had hit outside the
colonel's private cave, and smashed all the teacups. It is extremely
annoying when English royalty drops in sociably to distribute medals
and sip a cup of tea to have German shells invite themselves to the
party. It is a way German shells have. They push in everywhere. One
invited itself to my party and got within ten feet of it. When I
complained, the colonel suggested absently that it probably was not a
German shell but a French mine that had gone off prematurely. He seemed
to think being hit by a French mine rather than by a German shell made
all the difference in the world. It nearly did.

At the moment the colonel was greatly interested in the fact that one of
his men was not carrying a mask against gases. The colonel argued that
the life of the man belonged to France, and that through laziness or
indifference he had no right to risk losing it. Until this war the
colonel had commanded in Africa the regiment into which criminals are
drafted as a punishment. To keep them in hand requires both imagination
and the direct methods of a bucko mate on a whaler. When the colonel was
promoted to his present command he found the men did not place much
confidence in the gas masks, so he filled a shelter with poisoned air,
equipped a squad with protectors and ordered them to enter. They went
without enthusiasm, but when they found they could move about with
impunity the confidence of the entire command in the anti-gas masks was

The colonel was very vigilant against these gas attacks. He had equipped
the only shelter I have seen devoted solely to the preparation of
defenses against them. We learned several new facts concerning this
hideous form of warfare. One was that the Germans now launch the gas
most frequently at night when the men cannot see it approach, and, in
consequence, before they can snap the masks into place, they are
suffocated, and in great agony die. They have learned much about the
gas, but chiefly by bitter experience. Two hours after one of the
attacks an officer seeking his field-glasses descended into his shelter.
The gas that had flooded the trenches and then floated away still lurked
below. And in a moment the officer was dead. The warning was instantly
flashed along the trenches from the North Sea to Switzerland, and now
after a gas raid, before any one enters a shelter, it is attacked by
counter-irritants, and the poison driven from ambush.

I have never seen better discipline than obtained in that chalk quarry,
or better spirit. There was not a single outside element to aid
discipline or to inspire morale. It had all to come from within. It had
all to spring from the men themselves and from the example set by their
officers. The enemy fought against them, the elements fought against
them, the place itself was as cheerful as a crutch. The clay climbed
from their feet to their hips, was ground into their uniforms, clung to
their hands and hair. The rain chilled them, the wind, cold, damp, and
harsh, stabbed through their greatcoats. Their outlook was upon graves,
their resting-places dark caverns, at which even a wolf would look with
suspicion. And yet they were all smiling, eager, alert. In the whole
command we saw not one sullen or wistful face.

It is an old saying: "So the colonel, so the regiment."

But the splendid spirit I saw on the heights of the Meuse is true not
only of that colonel and of that regiment, but of the whole five hundred
miles of trenches, and of all France.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                             February, 1916.

When I was in Verdun, the Germans, from a distance of twenty miles, had
dropped three shells into Nancy and threatened to send more. That gave
Nancy an interest which Verdun lacked. So I was intolerant of Verdun
and anxious to hasten on to Nancy.

To-day Nancy and her three shells are forgotten, and to all the world
the place of greatest interest is Verdun. Verdun has been Roman,
Austrian, and not until 1648 did she become a part of France. This is
the fourth time she has been attacked--by the Prussians in 1792, again
by the Germans in 1870, when, after a gallant defense of three weeks,
she surrendered, and in October of 1914.

She then was more menaced than attacked. It was the Crown Prince and
General von Strantz with seven army corps who threatened her. General
Sarrail, now commanding the allied forces in Salonika, with three army
corps, and reinforced by part of an army corps from Toul, directed the
defense. The attack was made upon Fort Troyon, about twenty miles south
of Verdun. The fort was destroyed, but the Germans were repulsed. Four
days later, September 24, the real attack was made fifteen miles south
of Troyon, on the village of St. Mihiel. The object of Von Strantz was
to break through the Verdun-Toul line, to inclose Sarrail from the south
and at Revigny link arms with the Crown Prince. They then would have had
the army of Sarrail surrounded.

For several days it looked as though Von Strantz would succeed, but,
though outnumbered, Sarrail's line held, and he forced Von Strantz to
"dig in" at St. Mihiel. There he still is, like a dagger that has failed
to reach the heart but remains implanted in the flesh.

Von Strantz having failed, a week later, on October 3, the Crown Prince
attacked through the Forest of the Argonne between Varennes and Verdun.
But this assault also was repulsed by Sarrail, who captured Varennes,
and with his left joined up with the Fourth Army of General Langle. The
line as then formed by that victory remained much as it is to-day. The
present attack is directed neither to the north nor south of Verdun,
but straight at the forts of the city. These forts form but a part of
the defenses. For twenty miles in front of Verdun have been spread
trenches and barb-wire. In turn, these are covered by artillery
positions in the woods and on every height. Even were a fort destroyed,
to occupy it the enemy must pass over a terrain, every foot of which is
under fire. As the defense of Verdun has been arranged, each of the
forts is but a rallying-point--a base. The actual combat that will
decide the struggle will be fought in the open.

Last month I was invited to one of the Verdun forts. It now lies in the
very path of the drive, and to describe it would be improper. But the
approaches to it are now what every German knows. They were more
impressive even than the fort. The "glacis" of the fort stretched for a
mile, and as we walked in the direction of the German trenches there was
not a moment when from every side French guns could not have blown us
into fragments. They were mounted on the spurs of the hills, sunk in
pits, ambushed in the thick pine woods. Every step forward was made
cautiously between trenches, or through mazes of barb-wire and iron
hurdles with bayonet-like spikes. Even walking leisurely you had to
watch your step. Pits opened suddenly at your feet, and strands of
barbed-wire caught at your clothing. Whichever way you looked trenches
flanked you. They were dug at every angle, and were not farther than
fifty yards apart.

On one side, a half mile distant, was a hill heavily wooded. At regular
intervals the trees had been cut down and uprooted and, like a
wood-road, a cleared space showed. These were the nests of the
"seventy-fives." They could sweep the approaches to the fort as a
fire-hose flushes a gutter. That a human being should be ordered to
advance against such pitfalls and obstructions, and under the fire from
the trenches and batteries, seemed sheer murder. Not even a cat with
nine lives could survive.

 [Illustration: A valley in Argonne showing a forest destroyed by

 Owing to the attack on the Verdun sector, it is again under fire.]

The German papers tell that before the drive upon Verdun was launched
the German Emperor reproduced the attack in miniature. The whereabouts
and approaches to the positions they were to take were explained to the
men. Their officers were rehearsed in the part each was to play. But no
rehearsal would teach a man to avoid the pitfalls that surround Verdun.
The open places are as treacherous as quicksands, the forests that seem
to him to offer shelter are a succession of traps. And if he captures
one fort he but brings himself under the fire of two others.

From what I saw of the defenses of Verdun from a "certain place" three
miles outside the city to a "certain place" fifteen miles farther south,
from what the general commanding the Verdun sector told me, and from
what I know of the French, I believe the Crown Prince will find this
second attack upon Verdun a hundred per cent more costly than the first,
and equally unsuccessful.



                                             PARIS, January, 1916.

When speaking of their five hundred miles of front, the French General
Staff divide it into twelve sectors. The names of these do not appear on
maps. They are family names and titles, not of certain places, but of
districts with imaginary boundaries. These nicknames seem to thrive
best in countries where the same race of people have lived for many
centuries. With us, it is usually when we speak of mountains, as "in the
Rockies," "in the Adirondacks," that under one name we merge rivers,
valleys, and villages. To know the French names for the twelve official
fronts may help in deciphering the communiqués. They are these:

Flanders, the first sector, stretches from the North Sea to beyond
Ypres; the Artois sector surrounds Arras; the centre of Picardie is
Amiens; Santerre follows the valley of the Oise; Soissonais is the
sector that extends from Soissons on the Aisne to the Champagne sector,
which begins with Rheims and extends southwest to include Chalons;
Argonne is the forest of Argonne; the Hauts de Meuse, the district
around Verdun; Woevre lies between the heights of the Meuse and the
River Moselle; then come Lorraine, the Vosges, all hills and forests,
and last, Alsace, the territory won back from the enemy.

Of these twelve fronts, I was on ten. The remaining two I missed through
leaving France to visit the French fronts in Serbia and Salonika.
According to which front you are on, the trench is of mud, clay, chalk,
sand-bags, or cement; it is ambushed in gardens and orchards, it winds
through flooded mud flats, is hidden behind the ruins of wrecked
villages, and is paved and reinforced with the stones and bricks from
the smashed houses.

Of all the trenches the most curious were those of the Vosges. They were
the most curious because, to use the last word one associates with
trenches, they are the most beautiful.

We started for the trenches of the Vosges from a certain place close to
the German border. It was so close that in the inn a rifle-bullet from
across the border had bored a hole in the café mirror.

The car climbed steadily. The swollen rivers flowed far below us, and
then disappeared, and the slopes that fell away on one side of the road
and rose on the other became smothered under giant pines. Above us
they reached to the clouds, below us swept grandly across great
valleys. There was no sign of human habitation, not even the hut of
a charcoal-burner. Except for the road we might have been the first
explorers of a primeval forest. We seemed as far removed from the
France of cities, cultivated acres, stone bridges, and châteaux as Rip
Van Winkle lost in the Catskills. The silence was the silence of the

We halted at what might have been a lumberman's camp. There were cabins
of huge green logs with the moss still fresh and clinging, and smoke
poured from mud chimneys. In the air was an enchanting odor of balsam
and boiling coffee. It needed only a man in a Mackinaw coat with an axe
to persuade us we had motored from a French village ten hundred years
old into a perfectly new trading-post on the Saskatchewan.

But from the lumber camp the colonel appeared, and with him in the lead
we started up a hill as sheer as a church roof. The freshly cut path
reached upward in short, zigzag lengths. Its outer edge was shored with
the trunks of the trees cut down to make way for it. They were fastened
with stakes, and against rain and snow helped to hold it in place. The
soil, as the path showed, was of a pink stone. It cuts easily, and is
the stone from which cathedrals have been built. That suggests that to
an ambitious young sapling it offers little nutriment, but the pines, at
least, seem to thrive on it. For centuries they have thrived on it. They
towered over us to the height of eight stories. The ground beneath was
hidden by the most exquisite moss, and moss climbed far up the tree
trunks and covered the branches. They looked, as though to guard them
from the cold, they had been swathed in green velvet. Except for the
pink path we were in a world of green--green moss, green ferns, green
tree trunks, green shadows. The little light that reached from above was
like that which filters through the glass sides of an aquarium.

It was very beautiful, but was it war? We might have been in the
Adirondacks in the private camp of one of our men of millions. You
expected to see the fire-warden's red poster warning you to stamp out
the ashes, and to be careful where you threw your matches. Then the
path dived into a trench with pink walls, and, overhead, arches of green
branches rising higher and higher until they interlocked and shut out
the sky. The trench led to a barrier of logs as round as a flour-barrel,
the openings plugged with moss, and the whole hidden in fresh pine
boughs. It reminded you of those open barricades used in boar hunting,
and behind which the German Emperor awaits the onslaught of thoroughly
terrified pigs.

Like a bird's nest it clung to the side of the hill, and, across a
valley, looked at a sister hill a quarter of a mile away.

"On that hill," said the colonel, "on a level with us, are the Germans."

Had he told me that among the pine-trees across the valley Santa Claus
manufactured his toys and stabled his reindeer I would have believed
him. Had humpbacked dwarfs with beards peeped from behind the velvet
tree trunks and doffed red nightcaps, had we discovered fairies dancing
on the moss carpet, the surprised ones would have been the fairies.

In this enchanted forest to talk of Germans and war was ridiculous. We
were speaking in ordinary tones, but in the stillness of the woods our
voices carried, and from just below us a dog barked.

"Do you allow the men to bring dogs into the trenches?" I asked. "Don't
they give away your position?"

"That is not one of our dogs," said the colonel. "That is a German
sentry dog. He has heard us talking."

"But that dog is not across that valley," I objected. "He's on this
hill. He's not two hundred yards below us."

"But, yes, certainly," said the colonel. Of the man on duty behind the
log barrier he asked:

"How near are they?"

"Two hundred yards," said the soldier. He grinned and, leaning over the
top log, pointed directly beneath us.

 [Illustration: War in the forest.

 A cemetery for soldiers killed in the Vosges.]

It was as though we were on the roof of a house looking over the edge at
some one on the front steps. I stared down through the giant pine-trees
towering like masts, mysterious, motionless, silent with the silence of
centuries. Through the interlacing boughs I saw only shifting shadows
or, where a shaft of sunlight fell upon the moss, a flash of vivid
green. Unable to believe, I shook my head. Even the _boche_ watchdog,
now thoroughly annoyed, did not convince me. As though reading my
doubts, an officer beckoned, and we stepped outside the breastworks and
into an intricate cat's-cradle of barbed-wire. It was lashed to heavy
stakes and wound around the tree trunks, and, had the officer not led
the way, it would have been impossible for me to get either in or out.
At intervals, like clothes on a line, on the wires were strung empty tin
cans, pans and pots, and glass bottles. To attempt to cross the
entanglement would have made a noise like a peddler's cart bumping over

We came to the edge of the barb-wire, and what looked like part of a
tree trunk turned into a man-sized bird's nest. The sentry in the nest
had his back to us, and was peering intently down through the branches
of the tree tops. He remained so long motionless that I thought he was
not aware of our approach. But he had heard us. Only it was no part of
his orders to make abrupt movements. With infinite caution, with the
most considerate slowness, he turned, scowled, and waved us back. It was
the care with which he made even so slight a gesture that persuaded me
the Germans were as close as the colonel had said. My curiosity
concerning them was satisfied. The sentry did not need to wave me back.
I was already on my way.

At the post of observation I saw a dog-kennel.

"There are watchdogs on our side, also?" I said.

"Yes," the officer assented doubtfully.

"The idea is that their hearing is better than that of the men, and in
case of night attacks they will warn us. But during the day they get so
excited barking at the _boche_ dogs that when darkness comes, and we
need them, they are worn-out and fall asleep."

We continued through the forest, and wherever we went found men at work
repairing the path and pushing the barb-wire and trenches nearer the
enemy. In some places they worked with great caution as, hidden by the
ferns, they dragged behind them the coils of wire; sometimes they were
able to work openly, and the forest resounded with the blows of axes and
the crash of a falling tree. But an axe in a forest does not suggest
war, and the scene was still one of peace and beauty.

For miles the men had lined the path with borders of moss six inches
wide, and with strips of bark had decorated the huts and shelters.
Across the tiny ravines they had thrown what in seed catalogues are
called "rustic" bridges. As we walked in single file between these
carefully laid borders of moss and past the shelters that suggested only
a gamekeeper's lodge, we might have been on a walking tour in the Alps.
You expected at every turn to come upon a châlet like a Swiss clock, and
a patient cow and a young woman in a velvet bodice who would offer you
warm milk.

Instead, from overhead, there burst suddenly the barking of shrapnel,
and through an opening in the tree-tops we saw a French biplane pursued
by German shells. It was late in the afternoon, but the sun was still
shining and, entirely out of her turn, the moon also was shining. In the
blue sky she hung like a silver shield, and toward her, it seemed almost
to her level, rose the biplane.

She also was all silver. She shone and glistened. Like a great bird,
she flung out tilting wings. The sun kissed them and turned them into
flashing mirrors. Behind her the German shells burst in white puffs
of smoke, feathery, delicate, as innocent-looking as the tips of
ostrich-plumes. The biplane ran before them and seemed to play with
them as children race up the beach laughing at the pursuing waves.
The biplane darted left, darted right, climbed unseen aerial trails,
tobogganed down vast imaginary mountains, or, as a gull skims the crests
of the waves, dived into a cloud and appeared again, her wings dripping,
glistening and radiant. As she turned and winged her way back to France
you felt no fear for her. She seemed beyond the power of man to harm,
something supreme, super-human--a sister to the sun and moon, the
princess royal of the air.

After you have been in the trenches it seems so selfish to be feasting
and drinking that you have no appetite for dinner.

But after a visit to the defenders of the forests of the Vosges you
cannot feel selfish. Visits to their trenches do not take away the
appetite. They increase it. The air they breathe tastes like brut
champagne, and gases cannot reach them. They sleep on pillows of pine
boughs. They look out only on what in nature is most beautiful. And
their surgeon told me there was not a single man on the sick-list. That
does not mean there are no killed or wounded. For even in the enchanted
forest there is no enchantment strong enough to ward off the death that
approaches crawling on the velvet moss, or hurtling through the

War has no knowledge of sectors. It is just as hateful in the Vosges as
in Flanders, only in the Vosges it masks its hideousness with what is
beautiful. In Flanders death hides in a trench of mud like an open
grave. In the forest of the Vosges it lurks in a nest of moss, fern,
and clean, sweet-smelling pine.



                                             PARIS, January, 1916.

At home people who read of some splendid act of courage or
self-sacrifice on the part of the Allies, are often moved to exclaim:
"I wish I could help! I wish I could _do_ something!"

This is to tell them how easily, at what bargain prices, at what little
cost to themselves that wish can be gratified.

In the United States, owing to the war, many have grown suddenly rich;
those already wealthy are increasing their fortunes. Here in France the
war has robbed every one; the rich are less rich, the poor more
destitute. Every franc any one can spare is given to the government, to
the Bank of France, to fight the enemy and to preserve the country.

The calls made upon the purses of the people never cease, and each
appeal is so worthy that it cannot be denied. In consequence, for the
war charities there is not so much money as there was. People are not
less willing, but have less to give. So, in order to obtain money, those
who ask must appeal to the imagination, must show why the cause for
which they plead is the most pressing. They advertise just which men
will benefit, and in what way, whether in blankets, gloves, tobacco,
masks, or leaves of absence.

Those in charge of the relief organizations have learned that those who
have money to give like to pick and choose. A tale of suffering that
appeals to one, leaves another cold. One gives less for the wounded
because he thinks those injured in battle are wards of the state. But
for the children orphaned by the war he will give largely. So the
petitioners dress their shop-windows.

To the charitably disposed, and over here that means every Frenchman,
they offer bargains. They have "white sales," "fire sales." As, at our
expositions, we have special days named after the different States, they
have special days for the Belgians, Poles, and Serbians.

For these days they prepare long in advance. Their approach is heralded,
advertised; all Paris, or it may be the whole of France, knows they are

Christmas Day and the day after were devoted exclusively to the man in
the trenches, to obtain money to bring him home on leave. Those days
were _les journees du poilu_.

The services of the best black-and-white artists in France were
commandeered. For advertising purposes they designed the most appealing
posters. Unlike those issued by our suffragettes, calling attention to
the importance of November 2, they gave some idea of what was wanted.

They did not show Burne-Jones young women blowing trumpets. They were
not symbolical, or allegorical; they were homely, pathetic, humorous,
human. They were aimed straight at the heart and pocketbook.

They showed the _poilu_ returning home on leave, and on surprising his
wife or his sweetheart with her hands helpless in the washtub, kissing
her on the back of the neck. In the corner the dog danced on his hind
legs, barking joyfully.

They showed the men in the trenches, and while one stood at the
periscope the other opened their Christmas boxes; they showed father and
son shoulder to shoulder marching through the snow, mud, and sleet; they
showed the old couple at home with no fire in the grate, saying: "It is
cold for us, but not so cold as for our son in the trench."

For every contribution to this Christmas fund those who gave received a
decoration. According to the sum, these ran from paper badges on a pin
to silver and gold medals.

The whole of France contributed to this fund. The proudest shops filled
their windows with the paper badges, and so well was the fund organized
that in every town and city petitioners in the streets waylaid every

Even in Modena, on the boundary-line of Italy, when I was returning
to France, and sharing a lonely Christmas with the conductor of the
wagon-lit, we were held up by train-robbers, who took our money and
then pinned medals on us.

Until we reached Paris we did not know why. It was only later we learned
that in the two days' campaign the _poilus_ was benefited to the sum of
many millions of francs.

In Paris and over all France, for every one is suffering through the
war, there is some individual or organization at work to relieve that
suffering. Every one helps, and the spirit in which they help is most
wonderful and most beautiful. No one is forgotten.

When the French artists were called to the front, the artists' models of
the Place Pigalle and Montmartre were left destitute. They had not "put
by." They were butterflies.

So some women of the industrious, busy-bee order formed a society to
look after the artists' models. They gave them dolls to dress, and on
the sale of dolls the human manikins now live.

Nor is any one who wants to help allowed to feel that he or she is
too poor; that for his sou or her handiwork there is no need. The
_midinettes_, the "cash" girls of the great department stores and
millinery shops, had no money to contribute, so some one thought of
giving them a chance to help the soldiers with their needles.

It was purposed they should make cockades in the national colors. Every
French girl is taught to sew; each is born with good taste. They were
invited to show their good taste in the designing of cockades, which
people would buy for a franc, which franc would be sent to some soldier.

 [Illustration: A poster inviting the proprietors of restaurants and
 hotels and their guests to welcome the soldiers who have permission to
 visit Paris, especially those who come from the districts invaded by
 the Germans.]

The French did not go about this in a hole-in-a-corner way in a back
street. They did not let the "cash" girl feel her artistic effort was
only a blind to help her help others. They held a "salon" for the

And they held it in the same Palace of Art, where at the annual salon
are hung the paintings of the great French artists. The cockades are
exhibited in one hall, and next to them is an exhibition of the precious
tapestries rescued from the Rheims cathedral.

In the hall beyond that is an exhibition of lace. To this, museums,
duchesses, and queens have sent laces that for centuries have been
family heirlooms. But the cockades of Mimi Pinson by the thousands and
thousands are given just as much space, are arranged with the same taste
and by the same artist who grouped and catalogued the queens' lace

And each little Mimi Pinson can go to the palace and point to the
cockade she made with her own fingers, or point to the spot where it
was, and know she has sent a franc to a soldier of France.

These days the streets of Paris are filled with soldiers, each of whom
has given to France some part of his physical self. That his country may
endure, that she may continue to enjoy and teach liberty, he has seen
his arm or his leg, or both, blown off, or cut off. But when on the
boulevards you meet him walking with crutches or with an empty sleeve
pinned beneath his Cross of War, and he thinks your glance is one of
pity, he resents it. He holds his head more stiffly erect. He seems to
say: "I know how greatly you envy me!"

And who would dispute him? Long after the war is ended, so long as he
lives, men and women of France will honor him, and in their eyes he
will read their thanks. But there is one soldier who cannot read their
thanks, who is spared the sight of their pity. He is the one who has
made all but the supreme sacrifice. He is the one who is blind. He sits
in perpetual darkness. You can remember certain nights that seemed to
stretch to doomsday, when sleep was withheld and you tossed and lashed
upon the pillow, praying for the dawn. Imagine a night of such torture
dragged out over many years, with the dreadful knowledge that the dawn
will never come. Imagine Paris with her bridges, palaces, parks, with
the Seine, the Tuileries, the boulevards, the glittering shop-windows
conveyed to you only through noise. Only through the shrieks of
motor-horns and the shuffling of feet.

The men who have been blinded in battle have lost more than sight. They
have been robbed of their independence. They feel they are a burden.
It is not only the physical loss they suffer, but the thought that no
longer are they of use, that they are a care, that in the scheme of
things--even in their own little circles of family and friends--there
is for them no place. It is not unfair to the _poilu_ to say that the
officer who is blinded suffers more than the private. As a rule, he
is more highly strung, more widely educated; he has seen more; his
experience of the world is broader; he has more to lose. Before the war
he may have been a lawyer, doctor, man of many affairs. For him it is
harder than, for example, the peasant to accept a future of unending
blackness spent in plaiting straw or weaving rag carpets. Under such
conditions life no longer tempts him. Instead, death tempts him, and the
pistol seems very near at hand.

 [Illustration: All over France, on Christmas Day and the day after,
 money was collected to send comforts and things good to eat to the
 men at the front.]

It was to save men of the officer class from despair and from suicide,
to make them know that for them there still was a life of usefulness,
work, and accomplishment, that there was organized in France the
Committee for Men Blinded in Battle. The idea was to bring back to
officers who had lost their sight, courage, hope, and a sense of
independence, to give them work not merely mechanical but more in
keeping with their education and intelligence. The President of
France is patron of the society, and on its committees in Paris and New
York are many distinguished names. The French Government has promised a
house near Paris where the blind soldiers may be educated. When I saw
them they were in temporary quarters in the Hôtel de Crillon, lent to
them by the proprietor. They had been gathered from hospitals in
different parts of France by Miss Winifred Holt, who for years has been
working for the blind in her Lighthouse in New York. She is assisted in
the work in Paris by Mrs. Peter Cooper Hewitt. The officers were brought
to the Crillon by French ladies, whose duty it was to guide them through
the streets. Some of them also were their instructors, and in order to
teach them to read and write with their fingers had themselves learned
the Braille alphabet. This requires weeks of very close and patient
study. And no nurse's uniform goes with it. But the reward was great.

It was evident in the alert and eager interest of the men who, perhaps,
only a week before had wished to "curse God, and die." But since then
hope had returned to each of them, and he had found a door open, and a
new life.

And he was facing it with the same or with even a greater courage than
that with which he had led his men into the battle that blinded him.
Some of the officers were modelling in clay, others were learning
typewriting, one with a drawing-board was studying to be an architect,
others were pressing their finger-tips over the raised letters of the
Braille alphabet.

Opposite each officer, on the other side of the table, sat a woman he
could not see. She might be young and beautiful, as many of them were.
She might be white-haired and a great lady bearing an ancient title,
from the faubourg across the bridges, but he heard only a voice.

The voice encouraged his progress, or corrected his mistakes, and a
hand, detached and descending from nowhere, guided his hand, gently, as
one guides the fingers of a child. The officer was again a child. In
life for the second time he was beginning with A, B, and C. The officer
was tall, handsome, and deeply sunburned. In his uniform of a chasseur
d'Afrique he was a splendid figure. On his chest were the medals of the
campaigns in Morocco and Algiers, and the crimson ribbon of the Legion
of Honor. The officer placed his forefinger on a card covered with
raised hieroglyphics.

"N," he announced.

"No," the voice answered him.

"M?" His tone did not carry conviction.

"You are guessing," accused the voice. The officer was greatly confused.

"No, no, mademoiselle!" he protested. "Truly, I thought it was an 'M.'"

He laughed guiltily. The laugh shook you. You saw all that he could
never see: inside the room the great ladies and latest American
countesses, eager to help, forgetful of self, full of wonderful, womanly
sympathy; and outside, the Place de la Concorde, the gardens of the
Tuileries, the trees of the Champs-Élysées, the sun setting behind the
gilded dome of the Invalides. All these were lost to him, and yet as
he sat in the darkness, because he could not tell an N from an M, he
laughed, and laughed happily. From where did he draw his strength and
courage? Was it the instinct for life that makes a drowning man fight
against an ocean? Was it his training as an officer of the Grande Armée?
Was it that spirit of the French that is the one thing no German knows,
and no German can ever break? Or was it the sound of a woman's voice and
the touch of a woman's hand? If the reader wants to contribute something
to help teach a new profession to these gentlemen, who in the fight for
civilization have contributed their eyesight, write to the secretary of
the committee, Mrs. Peter Cooper Hewitt, Hôtel Ritz, Paris.

 [Illustration: A poster advertising the fund to bring from the trenches
 "permissionaires," those soldiers who obtain permission to return home
 for six days.]

There are some other very good bargains. Are you a lover of art, and
would you become a patron of art? If that is your wish, you can buy an
original water-color for fifty cents, and so help an art student who is
fighting at the front, and assist in keeping alive his family in Paris.
Is not that a good bargain?

As everybody knows, the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris is free to
students from all the world. It is the alma mater of some of the
best-known American artists and architects. On its rolls are the names
of Sargent, St. Gaudens, Stanford White, Whitney Warren, Beckwith,
Coffin, MacMonnies.

Certain schools and colleges are so fortunate as to inspire great
devotion on the part of their students, as, in the story told of every
college, of the student being led from the football field, who struggles
in front of the grand stand and shouts: "Let me go back. I'd die for
dear old ----"

But the affection of the students of the Beaux-Arts for their masters,
their fellow students and the institution is very genuine.

They do not speak of the distinguished artists, architects, engravers,
and sculptors who instruct them as "Doc," or "Prof." Instead they call
him "master," and no matter how often they say it, they say it each time
as though they meant it.

The American students, even when they return to Paris rich and famous,
go at once to call upon the former master of their atelier, who, it may
be, is not at all famous or rich, and pay their respects.

And, no matter if his school of art has passed, and the torch he carried
is in the hands of younger Frenchmen, his former pupils still salute him
as master, and with much the same awe as the village curé shows for the

When the war came 3,000 of the French students of the Beaux-Arts, past
and present, were sent to the front, and there was no one to look after
their parents, families, or themselves, it seemed a chance for Americans
to try to pay back some of the debt so many generations of American
artists, architects, and sculptors owed to the art of France.

Whitney Warren, the American architect, is one of the few Americans who,
in spite of the extreme unpopularity of our people, is still regarded by
the French with genuine affection. And in every way possible he tries to
show the French that it is not the American people who are neutral, but
the American Government.

One of the ways he offers to Americans to prove their friendship for
France is in helping the students of the Beaux-Arts. He has organized a
committee of French and American students which works twelve hours a day
in the palace of the Beaux-Arts itself, on the left bank of the Seine.

It is hard to understand how in such surroundings they work, not all
day, but at all. The rooms were decorated in the time of the first
Napoleon; the ceilings and walls are white and gold, and in them are
inserted paintings and panels. The windows look into formal gardens and
courts filled with marble statues and busts, bronze medallions and
copies of frescoes brought from Athens and Rome. In this atmosphere the
students bang typewriters, fold blankets, nail boxes, sort out woollen
gloves, cigarettes, loaves of bread, and masks against asphyxiating gas.
The mask they send to the front was invented by Francis Jacques, of
Harvard, one of the committee, and has been approved by the French

There is a department which sends out packages to the soldiers in the
trenches, to those who are prisoners, and to the soldiers in the
hospitals. There is a system of demand cards on which is a list of
what the committee is able to supply. In the trenches the men mark
the particular thing they want and return the card. The things most
in demand seem to be corn-cob pipes and tobacco from America,
sketch-books, and small boxes of water-colors.

The committee also edits and prints a monthly magazine. It is sent to
those at the front, and gives them news of their fellow students, and
is illustrated, it is not necessary to add, with remarkable talent and
humor. It is printed by hand. The committee also supplies the students
with post-cards on which the students paint pictures in water-colors and
sign them. Every student and ex-student, even the masters paint these
pictures. Some of them are very valuable. At two francs fifty centimes
the autograph alone is a bargain. In many cases your fifty cents will
not only make you a patron of art, but it may feed a very hungry family.
Write to Ronald Simmons or Cyrus Thomas, École des Beaux-Arts, 17 Quai

There is another very good bargain, and extremely cheap. Would you like
to lift a man bodily out of the trenches, and for six days not only
remove him from the immediate proximity of asphyxiating gas, shells,
and bullets, but land him, of all places to a French soldier the most
desired, in Paris? Not only land him there, but for six days feed and
lodge him, and give him a present to take away? It will cost you fifteen
francs, or three dollars. If so, write to _Journal des Restaurateurs_,
24 Rue Richelieu, Paris.

In Paris, we hear that on Wall Street there are some very fine bargains.
We hear that in gambling in war brides and ammunition everybody is
making money. Very little of that money finds its way to France. Some
day I may print a list of the names of those men in America who are
making enormous fortunes out of this war, and who have not contributed
to any charity or fund for the relief of the wounded or of their
families. If you don't want your name on that list you might send money
to the American Ambulance at Neuilly, or to any of the 6,300 hospitals
in France, to the clearing-house, through H. H. Harjes, 31 Boulevard
Haussman, or direct to the American Red Cross.

Or if you want to help the orphans of soldiers killed in battle write to
August F. Jaccaci, Hôtel de Crillon; if you want to help the families of
soldiers rendered homeless by this war, to the Secours National through
Mrs. Whitney Warren, 16 West Forty-Seventh Street, New York; if you want
to clothe a French soldier against the snows of the Vosges send him a
Lafayette kit. In the clearing-house in Paris I have seen on file 20,000
letters from French soldiers asking for this kit. Some of them were
addressed to the Marquis de Lafayette, but the clothes will get to the
front sooner if you forward two dollars to the Lafayette Kit Fund, Hotel
Vanderbilt, New York. If you want to help the Belgian refugees, address
Mrs. Herman Harjes, Hôtel de Crillon, Paris; if the Serbian refugees,
address Monsieur Vesnitch, the Serbian minister to France.

If among these bargains you cannot find one to suit you, you should
consult your doctor. Tell him there is something wrong with your heart.



                                             February, 1916.

A year ago you could leave the Continent and enter England by showing a
passport and a steamer ticket. To-day it is as hard to leave Paris, and
no one ever _wants_ to leave Paris, as to get out of jail; as difficult
to invade England as for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. To
leave Paris for London you must obtain the permission of the police,
the English consul-general, and the American consul-general. That gets
you only to Havre. The Paris train arrives at Havre at nine o'clock
at night, and while the would-be passengers for the Channel boat to
Southampton are waiting to be examined, they are kept on the wharf in
a goods-shed. An English sergeant hands each of them a ticket with a
number, and when the number is called the passenger enters a room on
the shed where French and English officials put him, or her, through a
third degree. The examination is more or less severe, and sometimes the
passenger is searched.

There is nothing on the wharf to eat or drink, and except trunks nothing
on which to sit. If you prefer to be haughty and stand, there is no law
against that. Should you leave the shed for a stroll, you would gain
nothing, for, as it is war-time, at nine o'clock every restaurant and
café in Havre closes, and the town is so dark you would probably stroll
into the harbor.

So, like emigrants on our own Ellis Island, English and French army and
navy officers, despatch bearers, American ambulance drivers, Red Cross
nurses, and all the other picturesque travellers of these interesting
times, shiver, yawn, and swear from nine o'clock until midnight. To make
it harder, the big steamer that is to carry you across the Channel is
drawn up to the wharf not forty feet way, all lights and warmth and
cleanliness. At least ten men assured me they would return to Havre
and across the street from the examination-shed start an all-night
restaurant. After a very few minutes of standing around in the rain it
was a plan to get rich quick that would have occurred to almost any one.

My number was forty-three. After seeing only five people in one hour
pass through the examination-room, I approached a man of proud bearing,
told him I was a detective, and that I had detected he was from Scotland
Yard. He looked anxiously at his feet.

"How did you detect that?" he asked.

"Your boots are all right," I assured him. "It's the way you stand with
your hands behind your back."

By shoving his hands into his pockets he disguised himself, and asked
what I wanted. I wanted to be put through the torture-chamber ahead of
all the remaining passengers. He asked why he should do that. I showed
him the letter that, after weeks of experiment, I found of all my
letters, was the one that produced the quickest results. It is addressed
vaguely, "To His Majesty's Officers." I call it Exhibit A.

I explained that for purposes of getting me out of the goods-shed and on
board the steamer he could play he was one of his Majesty's officers.
The idea pleased him. He led me into the examination-room, where, behind
a long table, like inspectors in a voting-booth on election day, sat
French police officials, officers of the admiralty, army, consular, and
secret services. Some were in uniform, some in plain clothes. From
above, two arc-lights glared down upon them and on the table covered
with papers.

In two languages they were examining a young Englishwoman who was pale,
ill, and obviously frightened.

"What is your purpose in going to London?" asked the French official.

"To join my children."

To the French official it seemed a good answer. As much as to say: "Take
the witness," he bowed to his English colleagues.

"If your children are in London," demanded one, "what are you doing in

"I have been at Amiens, nursing my husband."

"Amiens is inside our lines. Who gave you permission to remain inside
our lines?"

The woman fumbled with some papers.

"I have a letter," she stammered.

The officer scowled at the letter. Out of the corner of his mouth he
said: "Permit from the 'W. O.' Husband, Captain in the Berkshires.
Wounded at La Bassée."

He was already scratching his visé upon her passport. As he wrote, he
said, cordially: "I hope your husband is all right again." The woman did
not reply. So long was she in answering that they looked up at her. She
was chilled with waiting in the cold rain. She had been on a strain, and
her lips began to tremble. To hide that fact, and with no intention of
being dramatic, she raised her hand, and over her face dropped a black

The officer half rose.

"You should have told us at once, madam," he said. He jerked his head at
the detective and toward the door, and the detective picked up her
valise, and asked her please to follow. At the door she looked back, and
the row of officials, like one man, bent forward.

One of them was engaged in studying my passport. It had been viséed by
the representatives of all the civilized powers, and except the Germans
and their fellow gunmen, most of the uncivilized. The officer was
fascinated with it. Like a jig-saw puzzle, it appealed to him. He turned
it wrong side up and sideways, and took so long about it that the
others, hoping there was something wrong, in anticipation scowled at me.
But the officer disappointed them.

"Very interestin'," he said. "You ought to frame it."

Now that I was free to leave the detention camp I perversely felt a
desire to remain. Now that I was free, the sight of all the other
passengers kicking each other's heels and being herded by Tommies gave
me a feeling of infinite pleasure. I tried to express this by forcing
money on the detective, but he absolutely refused it. So, instead, I
offered to introduce him to a King's messenger. We went in search of the
King's messenger. I was secretly alarmed lest he had lost himself. Since
we had left the Balkans together he had lost nearly everything else. He
had set out as fully equipped as the white knight, or a "temp. sec.
lieutenant." But his route was marked with lost trunks, travelling-bags,
hat-boxes, umbrellas, and receipts for reservations on steamships,
railroad-trains, in wagon-lits, and dining-cars.

A King's messenger has always been to me a fascinating figure. In
fiction he is resourceful, daring, ubiquitous. He shows his silver
staff, with its running greyhound, which he inherits from the days of
Henry VIII, and all men must bow before it. To speed him on his way,
railroad-carriages are emptied, special trains are thrown together,
steamers cast off only when he arrives. So when I found for days I
was to travel in company with a King's messenger I foresaw a journey
of infinite ease and comfort. It would be a royal progress. His
ever-present, but invisible, staff of secret agents would protect me.
I would share his special trains, his suites of deck cabins. But it
was not like that. My King's messenger was not that kind of a King's
messenger. Indeed, when he left the Levant, had it not been for the man
from Cook's, he would never have found his way from the hotel to the
right railroad-station. And that he now is safely in London is because
at Patras we rescued him from a boatman who had placed him unresisting
on a steamer for Australia.

[Illustration: "Very interestin'. You ought to frame it."]

I pointed him out to the detective. He recalled him as the gentleman who
had blocked the exit gate at the railroad-station. I suggested that that
was probably because he had lost his ticket.

"Lost his ticket! A King's messenger!" The detective was indignant with
me. "Impossible, sir!"

I told him the story of the drunken bandsman returning from the picnic.
"You can't have lost your ticket," said the guard.

"Can't I?" exclaimed the bandsman triumphantly. "I've lost the

Scotland Yard reproved the K. M. with deference, but severely.

"You should have told us at once, sir," he said, "that you were carrying
despatches. If you'd only shown your credentials, we'd had you safe on
board two hours ago."

The King's messenger blushed guiltily. He looked as though he wanted to

"Don't tell me," I cried, "you've lost your credentials, too!"

"Don't be an ass!" cried the K. M. "I've mislaid them, that's all."

The detective glared at him as though he would enjoy leading him to the
moat in the tower.

"You've been robbed!" he gasped.

"Have you looked," I asked, "in the unlikely places?"

"I always look there first," explained the K. M.

"Look again," commanded the detective.

Unhappily, the K. M. put his hand in his inside coat pocket and, with
intense surprise, as though he had performed a conjuring trick, produced
a paper that creaked and crinkled.

"That's it!" he cried.

"You come with me," commanded Scotland Yard, "before you lose it again."

Two nights later, between the acts at a theatre, I met a young old
friend. Twenty years before we had made a trip through Central America
and Venezuela. To my surprise, for I had known him in other wars, he
was not in khaki, but in white waistcoat and lawn tie and tail-coat. He
looked as though he had on his hand nothing more serious than money and
time. I complained that we had not met since the war.

"It's a chance, our meeting to-night," he said, "for I start for Cairo
in the morning. I left the Dardanelles last Wednesday and arrived here
only to-day."

"Wednesday!" I exclaimed. "How could you do it?"

"Torpedo-boat from Moudros to Malta," he explained, "transport to
Marseilles, troop train to Calais, and there our people shot me across
the Channel on a hospital ship. Then I got a special to town."

"You _are_ a swell!" I gasped. "What's your rank?"


That did not explain it.

"What's your job?"

"King's messenger."

It was not yet nine-thirty. The anti-treating law would not let me give
him a drink, but I led him to where one was. For he had restored my
faith. He had replaced on his pedestal my favorite character in fiction.

On returning to London for the fourth time since the war began, but
after an absence of months, one finds her much nearer to the field of
operations. A year ago her citizens enjoyed the confidence that comes
from living on an island. Compared with Paris, where at Claye the enemy
was within fifteen miles, and, at the Forest of Montmorency, within ten
miles, London seemed as far removed from the front as Montreal. Since
then, so many of her men have left for the front and not returned, so
many German air-ships have visited her, and inhumanly assassinated her
children and women, that she seems a part of it. A year ago an officer
entering a restaurant was conscious of his uniform. To-day, anywhere in
London, a man out of uniform, or not wearing a khaki armlet, is as
conspicuous as a scarlet letter-box. A year ago the lamps had been so
darkened that it was not easy to find the keyhole to your street door.
Now you are in luck if you find the street. Nor does that mean you have
lingered long at dinner. For after nine-thirty nowhere in London can you
buy a drink, not at your hotel, not even at your club. At nine-thirty
the waiter whisks your drink off the table. What happens to it after
that, only the waiter knows.

A year ago the only women in London in uniform were the nurses. Now so
many are in uniform that to one visitor they presented the most
surprising change the war has brought to that city. Those who live in
London, to whom the change has come gradually, are probably hardly aware
how significant it is. Few people, certainly few men, guessed that so
many positions that before the war were open only to men, could be
filled quite as acceptably by women. Only the comic papers guessed it.
All that they ever mocked at, all the suffragettes and "equal rights"
women ever hoped for seems to have come true. Even women policemen.
True, they do not take the place of the real, immortal London bobby,
neither do the "special constables," but if a young girl is out late at
night with her young man in khaki, she is held up by a policewoman and
sent home. And her young man in khaki dare not resist.

In Paris, when the place of a man who had been mobilized was taken by
his wife, sister, or daughter, no one was surprised. Frenchwomen have
for years worked in partnership with men to a degree unknown in England.
They helped as bookkeepers, shopkeepers; in the restaurant they always
handled the money; in the theatres the ushers and box openers were
women; the government tobacco-shops were run by women. That Frenchwomen
were capable, efficient, hard working was as trite a saying as that the
Japanese are a wonderful little people. So when the men went to the
front and the women carried on their work, they were only proving a

But in England careers for women, outside those of governess, typist,
barmaid, or show girl, which entailed marrying a marquis, were as few as
votes. The war has changed that. It gave woman her chance, and she
jumped at it. "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again" he will find he
must look for a man's job, and that men's jobs no longer are sinecures.
In his absence women have found out, and, what is more important, the
employers have found out that to open a carriage door and hold an
umbrella over a customer is not necessarily a man's job. The man will
have to look for a position his sister cannot fill, and, judging from
the present aspect of London, those positions are rapidly disappearing.

That in the ornamental jobs, those that are relics of feudalism and
snobbery, women should supplant men is not surprising. To wear gold
lace and touch your hat and whistle for a taxicab, if the whistle is a
mechanical one, is no difficult task. It never was absolutely necessary
that a butler and two men should divide the labor of serving one cup of
coffee, one lump of sugar, and one cigarette. A healthy young woman
might manage all three tasks and not faint. So the innovation of female
butlers and footmen is not important. But many of the jobs now held in
London by women are those which require strength, skill, and endurance.
Pulling on the steel rope of an elevator and closing the steel gates for
eight hours a day require strength and endurance; and yet in all the big
department stores the lifts are worked by girls. Women also drive the
vans, and dragging on the brake of a brewery-wagon and curbing two
draft-horses is a very different matter from steering one of the cars
that made peace hateful. Not that there are no women chauffeurs. They
are everywhere. You see them driving lorries, business cars, private
cars, taxicabs, ambulances.

In men's caps and uniforms of green, gray, brown, or black, and covered
to the waist with a robe, you mistake them for boys. The other day I saw
a motor-truck clearing a way for itself down Piccadilly. It was filled
with over two dozen Tommies, and driven recklessly by a girl in khaki of
not more than eighteen years. How many indoor positions have been taken
over by women one can only guess; but if they are in proportion to the
out-of-door jobs now filled by women and girls, it would seem as though
half the work in London was carried forward by what we once were pleased
to call the weaker sex. To the visitor there appear to be regiments of
them. They look very businesslike and smart in their uniforms, and
whatever their work is they are intent upon it. As a rule, when a woman
attempts a man's work she is conscious. She is more concerned with the
fact that she is holding down a man's job than with the job. Whether she
is a lady lawyer, lady doctor, or lady journalist, she always is
surprised to find herself where she is. The girls and women you see in
uniform by the thousands in London seem to have overcome that weakness.
They are performing a man's work, and their interest is centred in the
work, not in the fact that a woman has made a success of it. If, after
this, women in England want the vote, and the men won't give it to them,
the men will have a hard time explaining why.

 [Illustration: _From a photograph by Brown Bros._

 "They have women policemen now."]

During my few days in England, I found that what is going forward in
Paris for blind French officers is being carried on in London at St.
Dunstan's, Regent's Park, for blind Tommies. At this school the classes
are much larger than are those in Paris, the pupils more numerous, and
they live and sleep on the premises. The premises are very beautiful.
They consist of seventeen acres of gardens, lawns, trees, a lake, and
a stream on which you can row and swim, situated in Regent's Park and
almost in the heart of London. In the days when London was farther away
the villa of St. Dunstan's belonged to the eccentric Marquis of
Hertford, the wicked Lord Steyne of Thackeray's "Vanity Fair." It was a
country estate. Now the city has closed in around it, but it is still a
country estate, with ceilings by the Brothers Adam, portraits by Romney,
sideboards by Sheraton, and on the lawn sheep. To keep sheep in London
is as expensive as to keep race-horses, and to own a country estate in
London can be afforded only by Americans. The estate next to St.
Dunstan's is owned by an American lady. I used to play lawn-tennis there
with her husband. Had it not been for the horns of the taxicabs we might
have been a hundred miles from the nearest railroad. Instead, we were
so close to Baker Street that one false step would have landed us in
Mme. Tussaud's. When the war broke out the husband ceased hammering
tennis-balls, and hammered German ships of war. He sank several--and
is now waiting impatiently outside of Wilhelmshaven for more.

St. Dunstan's also is owned by an American, Otto Kahn, the banker. In
peace times, in the winter months, Mr. Kahn makes it possible for the
people of New York to listen to good music at the Metropolitan Opera
House. When war came, at his country place in London he made it next to
possible for the blind to see. He gave the key of the estate to C.
Arthur Pearson. He also gave him permission in altering St. Dunstan's to
meet the needs of the blind to go as far as he liked.

When I first knew Arthur Pearson he and Lord Northcliffe were making
rival collections of newspapers and magazines. They collected them as
other people collect postal cards and cigar-bands. Pearson was then, as
he is now, a man of the most remarkable executive ability, of keen
intelligence, of untiring nervous energy. That was ten years ago. He
knew then that he was going blind. And when the darkness came he
accepted the burden; not only his own, but he took upon his shoulders
the burden of all the blind in England. He organized the National
Institute for those who could not see. He gave them of his energy, which
has not diminished; he gave them of his fortune, which, happily for
them, has not diminished; he gave them his time, his intelligence. If
you ask what the time of a blind man is worth, go to St. Dunstan's and
you will find out. You will see a home and school for blind men, run by
a blind man. The same efficiency, knowledge of detail, intolerance of
idleness, the same generous appreciation of the work of others, that he
put into running _The Express_ and _Standard_, he now exerts at St.
Dunstan's. It has Pearson written all over it just as a mile away there
is a building covered with the name of Selfridge, and a cathedral with
the name of Christopher Wren. When I visited him in his room at St.
Dunstan's he was standing with his back to the open fire dictating to a
stenographer. He called to me cheerily, caught my hand, and showed me
where I was to sit. All the time he was looking straight at me and
firing questions:

"When did you leave Salonika? How many troops have we landed? Our
positions are very strong, aren't they?"

He told the stenographer she need not wait, and of an appointment he had
which she was not to forget. Before she reached the door he remembered
two more things she was not to forget. The telephone rang, and, still
talking, he walked briskly around a sofa, avoided a table and an
armchair, and without fumbling picked up the instrument. What he heard
was apparently very good news. He laughed delightedly, saying: "That's
fine! That's splendid!"

A secretary opened the door and tried to tell him what he had just
learned, but was cut short.

"I know," said Pearson. "So-and-so has just phoned me. It's fine, isn't

He took a small pad from his pocket, made a note on it, and laid the
memorandum beside the stenographer's machine. Then he wound his way back
to the fireplace and offered a case of cigarettes. He held them within a
few inches of my hand. Since I last had seen him he had shaved his
mustache and looked ten years younger and, as he exercises every
morning, very fit. He might have been an officer of the navy out of
uniform. I had been in the room five minutes, and only once, when he
wrote on the pad and I saw that as he wrote he did not look at the pad,
would I have guessed that he was blind.

"What we teach them here," he said, firing the words as though from a
machine-gun, "is that blindness is not an 'affliction.' We won't allow
that word. We teach them to be independent. Sisters and the mothers
spoil them! Afraid they'll bump their shins. Won't let them move about.
Always leading them. That's bad, very bad. Makes them think they're
helpless, no good, invalids for life. We teach 'em to strike out for
themselves. That's the way to put heart into them. Make them understand
they're of use, that they can help themselves, help others, learn a
trade, be self-supporting. We trained them to row. Some of them never
had had oars in their hands except on the pond at Hempstead Heath on a
bank holiday. We trained a crew that swept the river."

It was fine to see the light in his face. His enthusiasm gave you a
thrill. He might have been Guy Nickalls telling how the crew he coached
won at New London.

"They were the best crews, too. University crews. Of course, our
coxswain could see, but the crew were blind. We've not only taught them
to row, we've taught them to support themselves, taught them trades.
All men who come here have lost their eyesight in battle in this war,
but already we have taught some of them a trade and set them up in
business. And while the war lasts business will be good for them. And it
must be nursed and made to grow. So we have an 'after-care' committee.
To care for them after they have left us. To buy raw material, to keep
their work up to the mark, to dispose of it. We need money for those
men. For the men who have started life again for themselves. Do you
think there are people in America who would like to help those men?"

I asked, in case there were such people, to whom should they write.

"To me," he said, "St. Dunstan's, Regent's Park."[C]

[Footnote C: In New York, the Permanent Blind Relief War Fund for
Soldiers and Sailors of Great Britain, France, and Belgium is working in
close association with Mr. Pearson. With him on the committee, are
Robert Bacon, Elihu Root, Myron T. Herrick, Whitney Warren, Lady Arthur
Paget, and George Alexander Kessler. The address of the fund is 590
Fifth Avenue.]

I found the seventeen acres of St. Dunstan's so arranged that no blind
man could possibly lose his way. In the house, over the carpets, were
stretched strips of matting. So long as a man kept his feet on matting
he knew he was on the right path to the door. Outside the doors
hand-rails guided him to the workshops, schoolrooms, exercising-grounds,
and kitchen-gardens. Just before he reached any of these places a brass
knob on the hand-rail warned him to go slow. Were he walking on the
great stone terrace and his foot scraped against a board he knew he was
within a yard of a flight of steps. Wherever you went you found men at
work, learning a trade, or, having learned one, intent in the joy of
creating something. To help them there are nearly sixty ladies, who have
mastered the Braille system and come daily to teach it. There are many
other volunteers, who take the men on walks around Regent's Park and
who talk and read to them. Everywhere was activity. Everywhere some one
was helping some one: the blind teaching the blind; those who had been a
week at St. Dunstan's doing the honors to those just arrived. The place
spoke only of hard work, mutual help, and cheerfulness. When first you
arrived you thought you had over the others a certain advantage, but
when you saw the work the blind men were turning out, which they could
not see, and which you knew with both your eyes you never could have
turned out, you felt apologetic. There were cabinets, for instance,
measured to the twentieth of an inch, and men who were studying to be
masseurs who, only by touch, could distinguish all the bones in the
body. There was Miss Woods, a blind stenographer. I dictated a sentence
to her, and as fast as I spoke she took it down on a machine in the
Braille alphabet. It appeared in raised figures on a strip of paper like
those that carry stock quotations. Then, reading the sentence with her
fingers, she pounded it on an ordinary typewriter. Her work was

What impressed you was the number of the workers who, over their task,
sang or whistled. None of them paid any attention to what the others
were whistling. Each acted as though he were shut off in a world of his
own. The spirits of the Tommies were unquenchable.

Thorpe Five was one of those privates who are worth more to a company
than the sergeant-major. He was a comedian. He looked like John Bunny,
and when he laughed he shook all over, and you had to laugh with him,
even though you were conscious that Thorpe Five had no eyes and
no hands. But was he conscious of that? Apparently not. Was he
down-hearted? No! Some one snatched his cigarette; and with the stumps
of his arms he promptly beat two innocent comrades over the head. When
the lady guide interfered and admitted it was she who had robbed him,
Thorpe Five roared in delight.

"I bashed 'em!" he cried. "Her took it, but I bashed the two of 'em!"

A private of the Munsters was weaving a net, and, as though he were
quite alone, singing, in a fine barytone, "Tipperary." If you want to
hear real close harmony, you must listen to Southern darkeys; and if
you want to get the sweetness and melancholy out of an Irish chant, an
Irishman must sing it. I thought I had heard "Tipperary" before several
times, and that it was a march. I found I had not heard it before, and
that it is not a march, but a lament and a love-song. The soldier did
not know we were listening, and while his fingers wove the meshes of the
net, his voice rose in tones of the most moving sweetness. He did not
know that he was facing a window, he did not know that he was staring
straight out upon the city of London. But we knew, and when in his rare
barytone and rare brogue he whispered rather than sang the lines:

     "Good-by, Piccadilly--
       Farewell, Leicester Square,
     It's a long, long way to Tipperary"

--all of his unseen audience hastily fled.

There was also Private Watts, who was mending shoes. When the week
before Lord Kitchener visited St. Dunstan's, Watts had joked with him. I
congratulated him on his courage.

"What was your joke?" I inquired.

"He asked me when I was a prisoner with the Germans how they fed me, and
I said: 'Oh, they gave me five beefsteaks a day.'"

"That was a good joke," I said. "Did Kitchener think so?"

The man had been laughing, pleased and proud. Now the blank eyes turned
wistfully to my companion.

"Did his lordship smile?" he asked.

Those blind French officers at the Crillon in Paris and these English
Tommies are teaching a great lesson. They are teaching men who are
whining over the loss of money, health, or a job, to be ashamed. It is
not we who are helping them, but they who are helping us. They are
showing us how to face disaster and setting an example of real courage.
Those who do not profit by it are more blind than they.

                         THE END.


Minor changes have been made to correct obvious typesetters' errors;
otherwise, every effort has been made to remain true to the author's
words and intent.

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