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Title: The Childrens' Story of the War, Volume 1 (of 10) - From the Beginning of the War to the Landing of the British - Army in France
Author: Parrott, James Edward
Language: English
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  THE CHILDREN'S STORY OF THE WAR

[Illustration]

  By Sir Edward Parrott, M.A., LL.D.



  THE CHILDREN'S STORY OF THE WAR



   Once more we hear the word
   That sickened earth of old:--
  "No law except the sword
   Unsheathed and uncontrolled."
   Once more it knits mankind,
   Once more the nations go
   To meet and break and bind
   A crazed and driven foe.

       *     *     *     *     *

   No easy hopes or lies
   Shall bring us to our goal,
   But iron sacrifice
   Of body, will, and soul.
   There is but one task for all--
   For each one life to give.
   Who stands if freedom fall?
   Who dies if England live?

     Rudyard Kipling.

     _(By kind permission.)_



[Illustration: How the Boy Scouts helped.

The war found the Boy Scouts true to their motto, "Be Prepared." In
London alone 25,000 Scouts were organised to help the various
Government departments by acting as messengers. Along the south and east
coasts nearly 3,000 went on duty to guard culverts, telephone and
telegraph lines, railway stations, reservoirs, etc. Numbers of Scouts
also worked as harvesters in the place of men who had joined the Army.
The boys above are "doing their little bit" by carrying soldiers'
baggage to the railway station.]



  THE CHILDREN'S STORY OF THE WAR

  BY
  SIR EDWARD PARROTT, M.A., LL.D.
  AUTHOR OF "BRITAIN OVERSEAS," "THE PAGEANT OF ENGLISH LITERATURE," ETC.

  From the Beginning of the War to the Landing of the British Army in
  France

  THOMAS NELSON AND SONS, Ltd.
  LONDON, EDINBURGH, PARIS, AND NEW YORK



  _THIS STORY OF THE GREAT WAR_

  _recounting for Children the Triumphs of_
  _British Valour and Endurance by Land and Sea_

  _is_

  _DEDICATED_

  _by special and gracious permission of_
  _Her Majesty the QUEEN_

  _to_

  _H. R. H. PRINCE GEORGE._



  CONTENTS.


      I. A Bolt from the Blue                     1

     II. The Seething Whirlpool                  16

    III. The Beginnings of Prussia               35

     IV. The Great War Lord of Europe            49

      V. How the Great War Lord Fell             65

     VI. The Man of Blood and Iron               74

    VII. Clearing the Path                       81

   VIII. Preparing for War                       86

     IX. "The Cockpit of Europe"                 93

      X. A Terrible Struggle                     97

     XI. France under the Harrow                113

    XII. The Boyhood of the Kaiser              121

   XIII. Crown Prince and Kaiser                129

    XIV. The Dawn of "The Day"                  145

     XV. Fateful Days                           155

    XVI. Why Britain went to War                161

   XVII. The Submarine that Failed              177

  XVIII. Infantry and its Work                  186

    XIX. Cavalry and Artillery                  193

     XX. Some Military Terms                    209

     XXI. The Invasion of Belgium               220

    XXII. How Liége won the Legion of Honour    225

   XXIII. The Raid into Alsace                  241

    XXIV. The Germans in Belgium                250

     XXV. Deeds of Shame and Horror             257

    XXVI. The Rally of the British Empire       273

   XXVII. How India answered the Call           289

  XXVIII. The German Advance on Brussels        295

    XXIX. How the Germans entered Brussels      305

     XXX. How the British Army was carried
            Overseas                            310



[Illustration: THE CHILDREN'S STORY OF THE WAR]


  CHAPTER I.

  A BOLT FROM THE BLUE.


One Sunday afternoon, in the month of December 1908, the beautiful city
of Messina[1] was all life and light and gaiety. The sky was blue and
cloudless, and out in the Strait the little, crested waves leaped and
sparkled in the sunshine. The squares and gardens were thronged with
townsfolk in holiday attire; laughing groups of young men and maidens
went to and fro or paused to listen to the band; fathers of families
were romping with their children on the grass; mothers were quietly
knitting hard by: all was merry as a marriage bell. Happy, careless ease
reigned everywhere, and when night fell, the big, round moon shone upon
a silent town in which thousands of people were wrapped in peaceful
slumber.

But ere the dawn had begun to brighten the eastern sky an awful doom
fell upon that city. The thunder roared, the lightning flashed, the
earth heaved and cracked, houses and churches and public buildings came
crashing to the ground, fires broke out, and a huge, angry wave from the
sea swept over the land. The morning sun shone upon a terrible scene of
destruction. The fair city was no more; thousands of the happy folks of
yesterday had been hurried into eternity, and those who were spared
found themselves homeless and ruined.

With almost the same startling suddenness the Great War broke upon
Europe. The thunderbolt fell upon us from a sky of blue; the peace of
the world was broken on a smiling day. Five of the Great Powers[2] of
Europe blew their war trumpets, and millions of armed men stood ready to
carry death and destruction into countless homes in many lands. The
Great War had begun.

       *     *     *     *     *

[Illustration: In the Summer Holidays.

A scene on the Thames at Henley Regatta, held every year in the month of
July.

(_From a photograph by the Sport and General Press Agency._)]

Do you remember the 24th of July 1914? I think you do, for it was just
about the beginning of that time which most boys and girls consider the
very happiest of all the year. Your school had just broken up, the books
were all put away, and you fondly hoped that you would see no more of
them for a month or six weeks. You were all agog for the holidays. Your
mind was full of that jolly seaside place to which you were going
to-morrow or the next day. You were dreaming of boats and bathing, of
games on the sands, of bicycle spins in the country lanes, and picnics
in the woods. And in the midst of all these happy dreams, perhaps you
heard your father say, as he turned his newspaper at breakfast time,--

"_Yesterday Austria sent a very harsh Note[3] to Servia. Looks like more
war in the East._"

I daresay you paid no attention to this remark. To you it meant nothing
at all. You would have been far more interested if your father had told
you how Middlesex was getting on with Kent, and whether Woolley or
Hearne or P. F. Warner had made another century or not. But your
father's remark was really far more important than all the cricket
matches that were ever played, or that ever will be played. It was the
first appearance of the bolt from the blue. Few, even the wisest of us,
realized that it was the beginning of the greatest war that the world
has ever known; a war of such vastness and terror that men would speak
of it as _Armageddon_[4]--that is, a war similar to that which is
described in the Book of Revelation, when "the kings of the earth and of
the whole world gather them to the battle of God Almighty."

[Illustration: War.

(_From the picture by Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A., in the National Gallery
of British Art._)]

As your father's remark was so important, let us try to understand its
meaning. He mentioned two countries, Austria and Servia, and you would
easily guess that there was some quarrel between them. It is not easy to
explain to you exactly what the quarrel was about, and perhaps you will
find the explanation a little dull; but if you are really to understand
how the war arose, you must not mind a little dulness. We shall come to
the exciting events by-and-by.

Look at the map on the next page. It shows you the two countries which
had fallen out--Austria and Servia. You see at a glance that the
Austrian Empire, which consists of Austria and Hungary, is by far the
larger country; in fact, Austria-Hungary is seven times as large as
Servia, and has eleven times as many people. There is no country on
earth which contains so many different races as Austria-Hungary. Within
its bounds we find Germans, Italians, Magyars,[5] Jews, Armenians,[6]
and Gypsies, as well as eight distinct Slav races.

You will come across the word _Slav_ many times in these pages, so I
must explain it to you at once. By the word Slav we mean a member of
that branch of mankind known as the Slavonic race. The Slavs inhabit
most of the east of Europe and a large part of Asia, and they are really
more Asiatic than European. Most of the Russians and the Christian
peoples of the Balkan Peninsula are Slavs, and so, too, are the Poles,
who live partly in Austria, partly in Germany, and partly in Russia. In
Austria, and especially in Hungary, there are many Slav races, but the
ruling peoples in these countries are Germans in Austria and Magyars in
Hungary.

The Servians are Slavs. They are a tall, handsome race, and are very
warlike in character. During the recent war in the Balkans they fought
very bravely and successfully against the Turks. At the end of the war
the Powers of Europe gave them more than 15,000 square miles of fresh
territory. The Servians have always been ambitious, and they wish their
country to become great and powerful.

Now look at your map again, and find the river Save, which joins the
Danube at Belgrade,[7] the capital of Servia. South of the Save you see
a country marked Bosnia,[8] and, still farther south, another country
marked Herzegovina.[9] You are sure to notice that these two countries
stand between Servia and the Adriatic Sea, and that they belong to
Austria. Both Bosnia and Herzegovina are inhabited by Slavs, who hate
being under Austria, and are eager to join their kinsmen the Servians.
You cannot blame them for this, because they naturally would like to
form one kingdom with men of their own race, religion, and modes of
life. Besides, they feel that they have been very badly treated. Let me
explain.

[Illustration: Map of Austro-Hungarian Empire and Servia]

In the year 1877, when Turkey was master of the Balkan Peninsula, Russia
made up her mind to fight the Turks. The Austrians were afraid that the
Russians would beat the Turks, and take from them the city of
Constantinople. The Russians, as you know, have a very poor sea coast.
Away fronting the Arctic Ocean they have a strip of coast, but it is of
very little use to them, as it is frozen up for a large part of the
year. So, too, is their coast on the Baltic Sea. In the south they have
a good deal of coast on the Black Sea; but in order to get from the
Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and so to the oceans of the world,
they have to pass through two narrow straits, known as the Bosporus[10]
and the Dardanelles.[11] The Turks hold these straits, and they can shut
them against ships at any time. So you see that the Russians can only
carry on trade in the south by leave and licence of Turkey. If they
could obtain possession of Constantinople all their difficulties would
vanish. They would be masters of a port which would enable them to
become a great sea power.

[Illustration: Servia is a land of peasant soldiers. Here you see some
of them coming into Belgrade to join the colours.

_Photo, Topical._]

Now, Austria is even worse off than Russia in the matter of sea coast.
She has about a thousand miles of seaboard on the Adriatic Sea, and
there are many excellent harbours and deep and sheltered bays on it;
but, unfortunately, a long range of steep limestone mountains cuts them
off from the interior, and makes communication very difficult. There is
a mountain railway joining the port of Trieste[12] with the interior,
but it is easier to send bulky produce down the Danube to the Black Sea
than across the mountains. Austria has always longed for better access
to the sea, and lately she has coveted the port of Salonica,[13] which
you will find on the Ægean[14] Sea.

[Illustration: This map shows what Servia would become if Bosnia and
Herzegovina were to be united with her.]

When, therefore, Russia was about to fight Turkey, the Austrians feared
that all the Balkans would come under Russian sway, and that their hopes
of gaining power in the peninsula would be vain. So they prepared to
fight Russia, but were bought off. Russia secretly promised Austria that
if she would stand out of the fight she should receive as her reward the
provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Austria stood out, and when the
war was over the Great Powers said that she might rule these two
provinces, though they were not to become her actual property. You can
easily imagine the anger of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina when
they found themselves handed over to Austria, just as though they were a
flock of sheep to be bought and sold. Ever since 1878 the Austrians have
ruled them; but they have always been discontented, and when, in 1908,
they were told that they now belonged wholly and entirely to Austria,
their anger knew no bounds. During the recent Balkan War they saw the
peasant soldiers of Servia conquering on the battlefield, and they hoped
that when the war was over they might be allowed to join Servia, and
with her form one strong state. Servia would have welcomed them with
open arms, but, as you know, they were doomed to disappointment. Both
Servia and Russia were much annoyed when Austria annexed the two
provinces. The anger of Russia and Servia nearly brought about another
war.

Such was the state of things at the beginning of June in the year 1914.

[Illustration: Franz Josef, Emperor of Austria.

_Photo by C. Pietzner._]

Here is a portrait of the Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, Franz
Josef. He is an old man, eighty-five years of age--the oldest monarch in
Europe. It is impossible not to be sorry for him; his life has been full
of trouble, and he has had to rule over the most divided kingdom on
earth. There has never been any love lost between Austrians and
Hungarians, and the only bond that unites them is the aged king-emperor.
Probably there never was so unfortunate a royal family as that of which
Franz Josef is the head. His younger brother, Maximilian, after being
invited to become Emperor of Mexico, was shot by the Mexicans in 1867;
his heir, Rudolf, was found dead in a hunting-lodge in 1889; and his
wife, the Empress, was stabbed to death in the streets of Geneva nine
years later. Nor was this the last of his sorrows, as you will presently
hear.

The heir to the Austrian throne in June 1914 was the Archduke Francis
Ferdinand, the aged Emperor's nephew. He was a man of strong will and
great ambition, and he eagerly desired to win power for Austria in the
Balkans, and so secure for his country the port of Salonica. This port
would enable Austria to develop her foreign trade, and become an
important sea power.

Now, before Austria could send her army into the Balkans and carve out a
road to Salonica, she must be sure that the Slavs of Bosnia and
Herzegovina would not rise in rebellion and make her task doubly
difficult. So, on the 23rd of June last, the Archduke Francis Ferdinand
and his wife, the Duchess of Hohenberg, a lady who had Slav blood in her
veins, left the Austrian capital to pay a state visit to Bosnia, for the
purpose of reviewing the troops in that province and trying to secure
the favour of the Bosnian people.

[Illustration: The Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the Archduchess, and
their family.]

If you and I proposed to visit Bosnia, our best route would be to take
ship, say, from Venice, and cross the Adriatic Sea to the beautiful town
of Ragusa,[15] with its castled walls, its dizzy cliffs, its quaint old
buildings, its palaces, churches, and monasteries, all shut in between
the blue sea and the steep gray hills that rise up suddenly in the rear.
At Ragusa we should take the train through the wild, rugged country of
Herzegovina, which has been called the Turkish Switzerland. Our train
would run through rocky defiles, up steep passes, by the side of yawning
chasms, until we reached Mostar,[16] the chief city of the country. The
Austrian part of Mostar, we should find, consists of two white streets,
a modern hotel, a public garden with a bandstand, and barracks for
soldiers. All the rest of it is Turkish. You see the same narrow
streets, the same kind of bazaars, the same mosques, the same solemn,
white-turbaned Turks and veiled women that you see in Constantinople;
but you also see swarthy, stalwart men of Herzegovina and Albania,[17]
every one of them carrying a sharp knife at his girdle and a gun in his
hand.

We now leave Mostar for Sarajevo,[18] the capital of Bosnia, by a
railway which is one of the wonders of the world. "In places whole
cliffs have been blasted away to enable the metals to follow a narrow
pathway with granite walls and a nasty precipice on either side. As the
engine creeps carefully over the slender iron bridges towards the summit
you may look down from your carriage window into a thousand feet of
space, and feel thankful that cog-wheels are beneath you, for otherwise
any hitch with the brakes might cause a frightful accident. At times the
track twists and turns so much that an engine-driver may glance across
a chasm, and without looking back see the rear van winding round a
corner." Such is the railway by which we reach Sarajevo.

Let us suppose that we have arrived in Sarajevo on the morning of
Sunday, June 28th of the year 1914. Upon the craggy heights above the
town we see the citadel and fortifications, and here and there above the
roofs of the houses the minarets and white domes of mosques; but we soon
perceive that we are not in an Eastern but in a modern Western town. The
Austrians have made wide streets, with fine shops, cafés, and
beer-halls; they have erected handsome public buildings, theatres, and
hotels; trams run along the streets, and taxis ply for hire; and on the
outskirts of the town we find a racecourse and golf links. We must give
the Austrians their due. They have done wonders in civilizing the
country and in making it prosperous; but they have not won the hearts of
the people, and that is the all-important business of rulers, after
all.

       *     *     *     *     *

To-day Sarajevo is in festive array. The yellow Austrian standard, with
its black, double-headed eagle, flies above all the public buildings,
and flutters from the upper windows of the shops along the Franz Josef
Strasse; soldiers are marching through the streets; bugles are blowing,
and bands are playing. On the pavements stand the townsfolk, and you
notice that many of them are sullen and silent. They are waiting for the
coming of their future king, but they show no signs of loyalty. When our
beloved Prince of Wales visits one of our towns, we flock gladly to see
him and greet him with the heartiest of cheers. Suppose, however, he was
a man of another race, and that he was going some day to be our king
against our will; how do you think we should receive him? Very much as
the Bosnians are receiving their future king to-day.

[Illustration: View in the old part of Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia.]

Now the guns roar out from the citadel to announce the coming of the
Archduke and his wife. The Archduke inspects the troops drawn up at the
station, and then he and his wife enter a motor-car and drive towards
the Town Hall, where the mayor is waiting to receive them. Suddenly, as
they drive along one of the quays, you hear a loud report and see a
cloud of smoke arise. What has happened? A young printer, twenty years
of age, has hurled a bomb at the Archduke. He wards it off with his arm,
but it has wounded an officer in the next car, and has inflicted
injuries on several bystanders. Neither of the royal pair is hurt,
though, as you may well imagine, they are much upset by this attempt on
their lives.

The motor moves on, and arrives at the Town Hall, where the mayor, who
knows nothing of what has happened, comes forward and begins to read an
address of welcome. The Archduke, who is much annoyed at the treatment
which he has received, cuts the mayor short angrily. "What," says he,
"is the good of your speeches? I come to Sarajevo on a visit, and I get
bombs thrown at me. It is outrageous!"

After a short stay at the Town Hall the Archduke and his wife re-enter
their motor to return to the station. They have not gone far before a
High School student hurls another bomb at them. It fails to explode, but
the lad, who is armed with a pistol, fires three shots in quick
succession. The first bullet strikes the Archduke in the throat. His
wife, who loves him tenderly, throws herself in front of him, in order
to shield him from further attack, and the second bullet enters her
body. The third bullet completes the deadly work, and the dying pair are
rapidly conveyed to the palace. The Archduke rouses himself. "Sophie,"
he says to his stricken wife, "live for our children." But she, too, is
mortally wounded, and in a few minutes both are dead.

       *     *     *     *     *

No possible excuse can be found for this foul deed. It was black
murder--the worst of all possible crimes. The printer and the High
School student were seized, and at first they denied that they knew each
other. Bit by bit, however, it was discovered that not only were they
working together, but that a great plot had been formed to kill the
Archduke that day. Had they failed, there were others in the crowd ready
and willing to take their places.

The date chosen for the Archduke's visit to Sarajevo was most
unfortunate. On that day, in the year 1389, the Serbs[19] of Servia,
which then included Bosnia, suffered the most terrible defeat in all
their history. In the battle which was then fought, treachery was at
work, and the best and bravest of their race perished on the
battlefield. The Serbs have never forgotten the story of how their sires
were slaughtered on the "Field of the Blackbirds." Even now their bards
sing national songs which tell of the glorious deeds of those who fell
at Kossovo,[20] and call upon the Serbs of to-day to spare neither
"land, nor gold, nor son, nor wife, nor limb, nor life" in upholding the
freedom of their race.

       *     *     *     *     *

Amidst the high Alps a pistol shot may start an avalanche high on the
snowy mountains. Slowly it moves at first; soon it gathers speed, and at
last it comes crashing down with terrible force upon the quiet
homesteads in the valley. So did the pistol-shot of a schoolboy in
far-off Bosnia start an avalanche which has swept down upon Europe,
leaving death and destruction and untold misery in its train.

[Illustration: Austrian soldiers on the bank of the Danube, opposite to
Belgrade.

[_By permission of the Sphere._]

[Footnote 1: _Mes-sē´na_, town of Sicily on the Strait of Messina, which
lies between the island of Sicily and the toe of Italy.]

[Footnote 2: The Great Powers are the leading nations of the world. They
are rich in men and money, and keep up large armies or navies, or both.
Great Britain, the United States of America, Germany, France, Russia,
Austria-Hungary, Italy, and, since 1905, Japan, are the Great Powers.]

[Footnote 3: A letter sent by one government to another, referring to
some matter which is in dispute between them.]

[Footnote 4: _Ar-ma-ged´on._]

[Footnote 5: People of partly Finnish and partly Turkish descent, now
the ruling people in Hungary. There are nearly ten million people
speaking the Magyar language.]

[Footnote 6: Descended from the people who live in the north-east of
Asia Minor.]

[Footnote 7: _Bel-grād´_.]

[Footnote 8: _Bos´nia_.]

[Footnote 9: _Her-tse-go-vē´na_.]

[Footnote 10: Means the Ox Ford.]

[Footnote 11: _Dar-da-nelz´_.]

[Footnote 12: _Tre-es´tā_.]

[Footnote 13: _Sal-on-ē´ka_.]

[Footnote 14: _E-jē´an_.]

[Footnote 15: _Ra-goo´za_.]

[Footnote 16: _Mos´tar_.]

[Footnote 17: _Al-ba'nia_, a country on the coast of the Adriatic Sea to
the south and west of Servia.]

[Footnote 18: _Sa-ra-yā´vo_.]

[Footnote 19: We speak of Servia and Servians, but it is more correct to
say Serbia and Serbs.]

[Footnote 20: _Kos´so-vo_, battlefield to the west of Pristina. (See map
on p. 8.)]



  CHAPTER II.

  THE SEETHING WHIRLPOOL.


The scene shifts to Vienna,[21] the capital of Austria, the largest city
of Austria-Hungary and the heart and centre of the Austrian Empire. It
is one of the most attractive cities in all Europe, and has long been
renowned as the favoured home of art, music, and gaiety. You will find
the city by the side of the Danube, where the river leaves the Bavarian
highlands and enters the great plain. Most of it is modern, and in the
Ringstrasse you may see some of the finest buildings in the world, such
as the Opera House, which seats 3,000 people; the University, which
contains one of the most famous of medical schools; the Parliament House
of Austria; and the chief law courts of the country.

[Illustration: Vienna, the capital of Austria, heart and centre of the
Austro-Hungarian Empire.]

The city is surrounded by the Danube and its canals, and has several
parks and numerous shady avenues of trees, beneath which the gay
Viennese love to stroll or sit at the tables of outdoor cafés listening
to the bands. You can scarcely walk half a mile in Vienna without
hearing music. The gipsy bands which are often heard in Vienna play
their national airs with a dash and fire that sets even the most
sluggish pulse dancing.

One of the finest of all the public buildings of Vienna is the Imperial
Palace, or Hofburg, which contains a library of a million volumes. The
great chamber in which the books are housed is said to be the most
splendid library hall in the world. Its floor of red and white marble is
adorned with noble statues, and its vaulted dome, which rises 193 feet
above the pavement, is covered with beautiful paintings.

In the palace are preserved the crown, sword, and sceptre of
Charlemagne,[22] the great Emperor of the West, who gave laws to nearly
the whole of civilized Europe, and is renowned in song and story as a
prince of knights, and the champion of the Christian religion. To this
day he lives in the hearts of the German peoples both of Germany and
Austria. They say that he still watches over them, and every autumn
comes riding over the Rhine, across a bridge of gold, to bless their
vineyards and cornfields with increase.

In the heart of the city stands the old cathedral of St. Stephen. For
more than six hundred years this magnificent pile has lifted its towers
to the sky. It has seen the Crusaders halt within its shadow on their
way to free the Holy Land from the infidel, and it has looked down on
great hordes of conquering Turks striving to capture the city. Vienna
was the high-water mark at which the progress of the Turkish flood was
stayed. The Turks beat upon its ramparts in vain; they were flung back
from its walls like ocean waves from the cliffs of a rocky coast. In the
old cathedral you may see a huge bell cast out of cannon captured from
the Turks in the last of their sieges. For centuries Vienna has been the
frontier city between the Eastern and Western peoples of Europe.

       *     *     *     *     *

On the very day of the murders at Sarajevo the Emperor Franz Josef left
Vienna for his summer holiday at the beautiful watering-place of
Ischl,[23] in Upper Austria. What a difference between the reception of
the old Emperor by the citizens of Vienna and that of his heir by the
citizens of Sarajevo! At the station the mayor and members of the city
council met the aged sovereign and told him how greatly they rejoiced at
his recovery from a recent sickness. The Emperor was deeply touched by
their words of affection and loyalty, and as his train steamed out of
the station loud cheers were raised and the national anthem was sung.

A few hours later the terrible news from Sarajevo was flashed to him
across the telegraph wires. You can imagine the anguish of the poor old
man when he knew that fate had dealt him yet another crushing blow.
When, sixteen years ago, he learned that his Empress had been murdered,
he cried in his grief, "Then I am spared nothing." How true! Fate seemed
again to have replied to his despairing cry, "Nothing." Long ago his
mother said of him, "God has given him the qualities needed to meet all
turns of fate." From every one of his former blows he had rallied, and
prayed the Almighty for power to fulfil what he had been called upon to
perform. Now he was fain to cry, with Elijah, "It is enough; now, O
Lord, take away my life."

I have already told you that the peoples of Austria-Hungary are divided
by wide and deep differences, and that they have little in common, but
that they are all united in their reverence for their aged sovereign.
They regard him with the same sort of affection which the people of this
country used to feel for Queen Victoria. She was more than a queen; she
was the mother of her people, high above all the quarrels of parties and
sects. So it is with Franz Josef, and you can therefore imagine the
bitter anger and the eager desire for revenge which took possession of
the Austrian people when they learnt of the murder of his nephew. They
showed their sympathy with the Emperor very clearly when he returned to
Vienna to take part in the funeral ceremonies, and still more when
thousands of them passed through the Hofburg Chapel, where the Archduke
and his wife lay in state.

Every government in Europe sent messages of deep sympathy with the
Emperor in his hour of sorrow, and that which was tendered by Mr.
Asquith, our Prime Minister, was one of the most sincere of them all.

The children of the Archduke and Archduchess were living in a castle in
Bohemia[24] when the sad news came to them that they were
orphans--bereft of father and mother in one dread day. The German
Emperor and his wife sent the following message to them: "We can
scarcely find words to express to you children how our hearts bleed at
the thought of you and your inexpressible grief. To have spent such
happy hours with you and your parents only a fortnight ago, and now to
think that you are plunged in this immeasurable sorrow! May God stand by
you, and give you strength to bear this blow! The blessing of parents
reaches beyond the grave."

Meanwhile the Austrian people had begun to fasten the blame for the
murders on Servia. While the funeral procession was passing through the
streets, crowds gathered in front of the Servian minister's residence
with shouts of "Hurrah for Austria!" and "Down with Servia!" The sight
of the Servian flag, to which a streamer of crape had been attached,
only made them more angry still; the flag was burnt, and stones were
thrown at the police. The newspapers now began to declare openly that
the plot had been hatched in Servia, and that high officials in the
Servian government had encouraged it. The Council of Ministers met and
inquired into the question, and then came a lull of three weeks.

For a time the Austro-Servian question sank out of sight, and it was
thought that at the worst there would only be another Balkan War. No one
suspected for a moment that the other Powers of Europe would be dragged
into the quarrel, and that the schoolboy's pistol-shot at Sarajevo
would be the signal for Armageddon. Had any one suggested in the early
days of July that in three weeks all the Great Powers would be at war,
he would have been laughed at. But all the while a great whirlpool was
seething, and slowly but surely Russia, Germany, France, and Great
Britain were being drawn into the centre.

       *     *     *     *     *

Before I tell you the further history of the quarrel between Austria and
Servia, and show you how the chief Powers of Europe became mixed up with
it, let me tell you of a very fortunate event which happened at home. On
Saturday, the 18th of July, our King went down to Portsmouth to visit
his Fleet, which had been assembled at Spithead. Every boy and girl
knows that we live on an island home, and that the sea which surrounds
us has been a great source of blessing to us.

  "Thy story, thy glory,
    The very fame of thee,
  It rose not, it grows not,
    It comes not save by sea."

Shakespeare tells us that the encircling sea serves us

          "In the office of a wall,
  Or as a moat defensive to a house
  Against the envy of less happier lands."

[Illustration: King George V. in the uniform of a British admiral.

_Photo, W. and D. Downey._]

This "defensive moat" has always proved a barrier against foreign
attack, but it has not preserved our islands from invasion. Celts,
Romans, English, Danes, and Normans have in turn conquered England; but
never since it became the home of a united nation with a strong Navy has
any foreign invader landed in strength on our shores. For more than
eight hundred years no hostile army has dared to invade us, and our
people have never been forced to lay down their tools and snatch up
their weapons to drive away the invader. No other land in Europe can
make this boast. We owe this long reign of security to our Navy.

Not only has our Navy kept us free from invasion, but by winning for us
the mastery of the sea it has enabled us to build up a great foreign
trade, by which we have grown rich and great, and to found colonies and
hold possessions in every continent on the face of the globe. At the
present time it does even more than this--it secures for us the means
whereby we live and move and have our being. So many of our people are
now engaged in mines and quarries and factories, on railways, and in
offices, that we do not grow enough food for our needs. There is never
enough food in this country to last our people for more than a couple
of months or so. We draw our food supplies from all parts of the world,
and were a foreign foe to destroy our Navy and cut off our food ships,
the great bulk of us would soon perish of starvation. So you see that
"Britannia _must_ rule the waves," if we are to exist at all and remain
the greatest trading and colonial nation of the world, as we are to-day.
Every sensible man understands this, and all agree that our Navy must be
very strong and very efficient. It must be able to command the seas,
for, as Raleigh told us long ago, "Whosoever commands the sea commands
the trade; whosoever commands the trade of the world commands the riches
of the world, and, consequently, the world itself."

[Illustration: H.M.S. Colossus firing a salute.

_Photo, Cribb._]

[Illustration: The sure shield of Britain--a scene at the Naval Review.

_Photo, Cribb._]

Never has the British Navy been so powerful and so well equipped both in
ships and guns and men as at present. The "wooden walls" in which Blake
and Nelson fought have long since disappeared, and our bluejackets now
fight behind bulwarks of steel. Steam has taken the place of sail; the
old muzzle-loading guns have been superseded by huge weapons, the
largest of which can hurl nearly a ton of metal for twelve miles with
deadly aim. Our modern warships are filled with costly machinery quite
unknown and even undreamt of in the days when Britain fought and won the
greatest sea fights of her history. But though the ships have changed
out of knowledge, the officers, bluejackets, and marines who man them
possess all the old fighting spirit and all the courage and daring of
their forefathers.

  "Ye mariners of England,
  That guard our native seas;
  Whose flag has braved, a thousand years,
  The battle and the breeze!
  Your glorious standard launch again
  To match another foe!
  And sweep through the deep
  While the stormy winds do blow--
  While the battle rages loud and long,
  And the stormy winds do blow."

When the King went down to Portsmouth on the 20th of July there
appeared to be no foe to fight; there was no sign of any war in which we
could possibly be engaged, yet in less than a fortnight the Navy had
cleared for action, and our sailors were standing at the guns watching
and waiting for the battleships of Germany to appear.

Gray skies were overhead, and a cold easterly wind was sweeping over the
seas as His Majesty led out to sea the largest and most powerful fleet
ever seen in British waters. When the royal yacht anchored, no less than
twenty-two miles of warships passed in procession before it. First came
four battle-cruisers, headed by the _Lion_, and followed by the _Queen
Mary_, _Princess Royal_, and _New Zealand_. Then in stately order, two
by two, came the latest of our battleships, led by the _Iron Duke_ and
the _King George_. Marines and bands were paraded on the sides of the
ships nearest to the King's yacht, and their scarlet uniforms ran like a
ribbon of bright colour along the edge of the great gray monsters. Just
as each ship reached the stern of the royal yacht, the sailors, with the
smartness of a machine, removed their hats, held them at arm's length,
and waved them to the roar of British huzzas. At the same moment the
bands struck up the National Anthem, and the marines presented arms. The
King and the Prince of Wales stood on the bridge of the royal yacht,
saluting the ships as they passed.

Behind Sir George Callaghan's flagship came the four First Fleet battle
squadrons, including twenty-nine vessels of the vastest power in the
whole world. In the first and second squadrons were eight Dreadnoughts,
in the third squadron eight of the great ships that were built before
the all-big-gun ships became the first line of our Navy, and in the
fourth squadron were three more Dreadnoughts and the _Agamemnon_.[25]
Following these were the smart cruisers of the First Fleet--swift, armed
ships that act as the fighting scouts of the seas. In their wake passed
fifty-six torpedo destroyers, moving in sections of fours. By the time
the last of the First Fleet ships had passed the King's yacht, the
leading vessels were far away on the horizon.

A slight pause, and then the Second and Third Fleets began to appear,
led by the _Lord Nelson_ and the _Prince of Wales_ respectively. When
these ships had saluted their sovereign there still remained the
cruisers attached to these fleets. Never had such an array been seen
before in the history of the world--twenty-two miles of warships in
endless columns, gliding slowly through the water, every one of them a
tower of strength and a mighty engine of destruction. Not only was
every type of warship represented, but the new powers of the air were
visible. Scores of seaplanes and aeroplanes flew over the King's yacht
like huge birds of prey.

Such was Britain's display of naval strength at the moment when the
issue of war or peace was hanging in the balance. It was a sign to the
world that, whatever might befall, Britain was ready, aye ready, to
guard her own with the strong arm of ancient renown:--

  "Come the four quarters of the world in arms,
  And we shall shock them."

       *     *     *     *     *

"It's a long, long way to Tipperary," sing our soldiers on the march,
and it's a long, long way from Spithead to the Servian capital,
Belgrade, whither we must now wend our way. On a bright, sunny morning,
when the train has clattered across the iron bridge which spans the
Danube, and the city comes into view, it looks very attractive. Belgrade
in the distance well deserves its title of the "White City." A
poetically minded person has described it as "shining like a pearl
through the silvery mists of sunrise."

[Illustration: Prince Albert, the King's second son, as a midshipman.
This photograph was taken during the King's inspection of the Fleet.

_Photo, Ernest Brooks._]

In the 'seventies Belgrade was a miserable, dirty, and comfortless town;
its main thoroughfare was a sea of mud; its buildings were poor; and it
was no better than a tumble-down Turkish fortress. But since those days
Servia has become an independent kingdom, and she has made Belgrade a
really fine city, with broad, tree-fringed streets, electric trams, and
fine hotels. Only two of the ancient landmarks remain--the cathedral,
and the citadel, over which flies the national flag. Through modern
Belgrade runs a fine street more than a mile long, overtopped about the
middle by the golden domes of the new palace. Here are the principal
hotels, private houses, and shops, the latter of which blaze with
electric light in the evenings. The people of Belgrade sometimes call
their town "Little Paris," and they strive to make it as gay as the
French capital itself.

[Illustration: The city of Belgrade.

_Photo, Exclusive News Agency._]

While the British fleet was unfolding itself before our King, there
was no gaiety amongst the high government officials in Belgrade. They
were getting very anxious. The Council of Ministers in Vienna was
inquiring closely into the part played by them in the Sarajevo murders.
It was rumoured that the Austrians had traced the arms and explosives
with which the murderers were provided to certain Servian officers and
officials of the government who were members of a National Union for
making Slav power supreme in the Balkan Peninsula. It was also said that
these same officers and officials had secretly passed the murderers into
Bosnia, and had helped them in various other ways to do their deadly
work. If Austria could prove all this, she would be able to say that
Servia had been playing the part of a secret enemy, and rightly deserved
punishment of some sort.

[Illustration: The King and Crown Prince of Servia.

_Photo, Topical._]

On the evening of the 23rd of July the Austro-Hungarian ministers in
Belgrade handed the Note to which your father referred when he read his
newspaper at the breakfast table. You know that every European country
sends officials to live in the capitals of other countries, and that
these officials represent the powers by which they are sent. They are
always treated with the greatest possible respect, and their houses are
supposed to be bits of their own land planted down in a foreign country.
Sometimes these representatives are called ambassadors, sometimes simply
ministers. When the government of one country wishes to communicate with
the government of another country, it sends and receives messages
through its ambassadors or ministers.

In Belgrade there was, of course, an Austrian minister, and it was he
who handed the Note to the Servian Prime Minister. This Note was of such
grave importance that I must tell you what was in it. First, it began by
telling Servia that for a long time past she had been stirring up her
people against Austria; that she had allowed men connected with the
government to plot against her; and that she had taken no steps to
punish those who had assisted the murderers at Sarajevo. The Servians
were greatly to blame, and upon them must fall much of the
responsibility for the wicked deeds that had been done in Bosnia.

Then followed a list of ten things which Servia was to do to make up for
the mischief which she was said to have caused. She was to print on the
front page of the government newspaper a statement that she would no
longer permit her people to work against Austria, either by word or
deed; she was to express regret that Servian officers and officials had
spoken or acted in an unfriendly manner against Austria; and she was to
remove from their posts all who had done so. The whole army was to be
told that such conduct would no longer be permitted, and the National
Union was to be broken up. Two officers, mentioned by name, were to be
arrested, and all who had in any way helped the murderers of Sarajevo,
either by giving them arms or helping them to get into Bosnia, were to
be brought to trial. Austrian officials were to take part in the
punishment of the wrongdoers, and in putting an end to the bad feeling
between the two countries.

The Note ended as follows:--

"The Austro-Hungarian Government expects the reply of the Servian
Government at the latest by six o'clock on Saturday evening, the 25th of
July."

[Illustration: The Czar of Russia and President Poincaré.

This photograph was taken on board the Czar's yacht when President
Poincaré visited Russia in the middle of July.

(_Photo, Record._)]

This was very short notice indeed, and it clearly meant that if the
Servian Government did not immediately agree to the Austrian demands war
would be declared. In a few hours the full text of this letter was known
to all the world. Your father read it, and called it "very harsh."
Certainly it was very severe, and the Austrians meant it to be severe.
They knew very well that they were asking for some things which no state
could possibly yield and still call itself independent. For instance, if
the Servians had agreed to remove officers and officials from their
posts at the bidding of Austria, and had allowed Austrians to take part
in the police work of the country, they would be confessing to all the
world that they were no longer masters in their own house, and that they
were nothing more than the tools of Austria. The Servians were prepared
to punish any officers who were proved guilty, and were quite willing to
give way on nearly all the points in the Note, because they wished to
stave off war with their powerful neighbours; but they were not ready to
acknowledge the Austrians as their overlords. Do you blame them? I
don't.

So they handed in their reply to the Austrians, and in it they said that
they would agree to all Austria's demands; but they asked for delay in
order to make new laws by which they could carry out her wishes. They
also asked for an explanation of the way in which Austrian officials
were to take part in their police and law-court work. This ought to have
been enough; but Austria had all along meant war, and she had drawn up
the Note, with the knowledge, and perhaps the help, of the German
Ambassador at Vienna, in such a way that the Servians were bound to
refuse some of its terms. Immediately the reply was handed to the
Austrian minister he rejected it, and asked for a safe conduct back to
his own country. When a minister does this he clearly indicates that his
country means to fight. The same evening the Austrian minister left
Belgrade, and on the 28th Austria declared war. The next day fighting
began, and the Austrians bombarded Belgrade.

Now we are to understand how Russia came into the quarrel. Russia has
always regarded herself as the protector of the Slav races, and
especially of the little Slav races. When, therefore, Russia saw that
Austria was bent on conquering Servia, she began to call her troops
together, and to prepare them for war. When a nation does this she is
said to mobilize her forces. Russia is such a vast country and her
troops are so widely dispersed that she cannot mobilize so quickly. She
only partly mobilized, and by doing so meant to show Austria that she
was not going to allow Servia to be swallowed up, or even to be badly
beaten, especially after Servia had shown such willingness to meet
Austria's demands.

[Illustration: For Fatherland.

This beautiful picture, which hangs in the Luxembourg Palace in Paris,
illustrates the sacrifice which Frenchmen are always ready to make for
their dearly loved native land.]

Now I must break off my story for a few moments to explain to you that
Germany and Austria, as far back as 1879, made a treaty by which they
promised to stand by each other if either of them should go to war.
Italy joined Germany and Austria three years later, but on the
understanding that she would fight only if one or other of the three
partners should be attacked. This agreement is called the _Triple
Alliance_.

Ever since 1870, when the Germans invaded France, and in less than five
months utterly overcame her, tore from her two provinces, and fined her
two hundred million pounds, there has been ill-feeling between France
and Germany. Frenchmen have longed for the day on which they might win
back the lost provinces and pay off old scores. Germany is too rich and
powerful and has too big an army for France to be able to meet her on
equal terms, so she has formed an alliance with Russia. This is known as
the _Dual Alliance_. France and Russia have agreed to help each other if
either of them should be attacked.

During the lifetime of our late King Edward VII., who was very fond of
France, we were brought nearer and nearer to our friends across the
Channel. For centuries they have been our foes; we have fought them off
and on since the days of William the Conqueror. Our great admiral, Lord
Nelson, used to say to his midshipmen, "Your duty is to fear God, honour
the King, and hate the Frenchman." King Edward was a man who loved
peace, and he did much to bring the French and the British people
together, and make it easier for our statesmen to come to an
understanding with French statesmen. This understanding was that if the
coasts of France should be attacked by the fleet of an enemy, our Navy
would help the French Navy. Now, when we came to an understanding with
France we also came to an understanding with the ally of France--that
is, with Russia. For a long time we had only an understanding with these
countries, but not long ago we turned this understanding into an
alliance. So you see that in July last there were two triple alliances
in Europe--Germany, Austria, and Italy on the one side, and Great
Britain, France, and Russia on the other. Later on, when I tell you
something about Germany, you will understand why this new triple
alliance was formed.

[Footnote 21: _Ve-en´na_, called by the Austrians and Germans _Wien_.]

[Footnote 22: _Shar-le-mān´_ (Charles the Great), became king of the
Franks in 768, and reigned for forty-six years.]

[Footnote 23: _Ish´l_.]

[Footnote 24: _Bo-he´mi-a_, a kingdom in the north-west of the Austrian
Empire fenced in by lofty mountains.]

[Footnote 25: _Ag-a-mem´non_.]



  CHAPTER III.

  THE BEGINNINGS OF PRUSSIA.


About forty years ago a German boy, accompanied by his tutor and other
attendants, was spending a holiday at a seaside resort in the south of
England. One morning this boy went down to the beach and amused himself
by throwing stones at the bathing machines. The son of the owner of the
machines, a boy of about his own age, saw him so engaged, and, going up
to him, told him to stop throwing. Now the German boy had been brought
up to believe that he could do as he pleased, without anyone daring to
take him to task. So he drew himself up proudly, and said, "Do you know
who I am?" "No," replied the English boy, "and I don't care either. I
only know that I'm not going to let you damage our machines."

Thereupon the German boy hit out and knocked the speaker down. In a
moment the English boy was on his feet again. He pulled off his coat,
put up his fists, and a fight began. Just when the German boy was
getting the worst of it his tutor arrived, separated the fighters, and
put an end to the combat.

That German boy is now the Kaiser[26] Wilhelm, the man who has plunged
Europe into this terrible war. From the story which you have just read
you may learn something of his character when he was a boy. Later on I
shall tell you what sort of a man he became; but first you must learn
something of the history of the land over which he rules.

       *     *     *     *     *

[Illustration: The Kaiser Wilhelm and the Emperor Franz Josef.

_Photo, Topical Press._]

On a lofty, lonely crag, amidst the wilds of Swabia,[27] stands the
picturesque castle of Hohenzollern, the cradle of the family from which
the rulers of Prussia are descended. On this high rock the eagles
formerly made their home, hence the crest of the Prussian royal family
is the eagle--the boldest and fiercest of all the birds. About the
middle of the twelfth century the lord of this castle, a man named
Conrad, took service with the great Emperor of what was called the Holy
Roman Empire--that is, with the overlord of nearly all Western Europe.
Conrad served the Emperor so faithfully that as his reward he was made
governor of the city of Nuremberg[28] in Bavaria. If you were to visit
Nuremberg you would be charmed with the castle, now a royal palace, the
ancient walls and towers, the grand old buildings, including churches
which are full of priceless pictures and carvings, and the art
galleries, which contain some of the best paintings of the great
masters. The chief trade of Nuremberg to-day is the manufacture of toys,
scientific instruments, motor cars, cycles, and beer.

About the beginning of the fifteenth century the Hohenzollern who was
governor of Nuremberg was a man named Frederick. He had been very loyal
to the Emperor, who rewarded him by making him ruler of the Mark of
Brandenburg. The greatest day in the history of the Hohenzollerns was
April 17, 1417, the day on which Frederick received from the hands of
the Emperor the flag of Brandenburg, and swore to be faithful to him.

If you look at a map of Germany you will see in the middle of the North
German plain the city of Berlin, the capital of the German Empire. Round
about Berlin, in the valleys of the Middle Oder, and its tributary the
Warthe, and in the valley of the Elbe, extends the province of Prussia,
known as the Mark of Brandenburg. It was one of the first districts of
Germany to be peopled by men of German race when they came advancing
from the east in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, but it was by no
means a land flowing with milk and honey. Parts of the country were
marshy or heavily wooded, and in many places the land was so thickly
covered with sand that it was known as the "sandbox of the Holy Roman
Empire." Thin crops of rye and oats alone could be raised on this
thankless soil; nevertheless the colony prospered greatly under
Frederick and his successors.

[Illustration: Map of Modern Germany.]

The Hohenzollern prince who really founded the greatness of his house
was Frederick William, who began to reign in the year 1640. He is known
as the "Great Elector."[29] If I were to show you a coloured map of
Germany as it was when this prince began to reign, you would say that it
looked like a patchwork quilt of many colours. From the Baltic Sea to
the Alps there were no fewer than three hundred states of all sorts and
sizes, the smallest of them consisting only of a single town or village.

Frederick William was a very able man, and so well did he fight, and so
skilfully did he plot and plan during what is known as the Thirty Years'
War, that he added several of these small states to his own, and thus
became master of the largest state in all Germany. Brandenburg under
his rule spread out a little to the west, but a great deal to the
north-east, and included a stretch of coast-line on the Baltic Sea. The
present Kaiser has always revered the memory of the Great Elector. He
once said: "Of all my predecessors, he is the one for whom I feel the
greatest enthusiasm, and who from of old has stood before me as the
example of my youth."

When the Great Elector died he was succeeded by his son Frederick, who
was very eager to be called king. He attained this great object of his
life in the year 1700; but, because he was a spendthrift and a lover of
empty display, he did nothing to advance the interests of his country.
After him reigned another Frederick William, who had some talents and
did the business of his state very well, but was a thoroughly wicked
fellow, and was, indeed, next door to a madman. Nevertheless he was the
first Prussian king to set himself the task of making his kingdom strong
enough to take its place among the European Powers. Carlyle calls him
the "drill-sergeant of the Prussian nation."

[Illustration: Statue of the Great Elector in Berlin.

The present Kaiser is devoted to the memory of his ancestors, and does
everything in his power to make the Prussians believe that they owe
everything to the Hohenzollern sovereigns. Berlin is full of statues to
these princes. In one of the avenues of the chief park there is a row of
statues to all the rulers of Prussia. Of the Great Elector, who was the
real founder of Prussia, and whose statue is shown above, the Kaiser has
said, "He has stood before me as the example of my youth." He is also a
great admirer of Frederick the Great, and has imitated some of the worst
features of that monarch.

_Photo, Exclusive News Agency._]

This Frederick William stinted himself and his family of food and
clothing, in order to keep up an army of 60,000 men, and he drilled them
so well that they were the best troops of the time. The great desire of
his heart was to possess a brigade of giants, and his agents scoured all
the countries of Europe to find big men. He would pay almost anything
for men over six feet, and it is said that he gave £1,200 for an
Irishman who was more than seven feet high. These Potsdam[30] Guards
were his passion; he hoarded his money like a miser on most things, but
he spent it lavishly on buying tall men for his army.

Some day he hoped to send these huge fellows into the field, and see
them drive the whipper-snappers of other nations before them. But he was
so proud of his giants that he hated the thought of risking their lives
in battle, and while he lived they never saw any harder service than
sham fights in the fields round Berlin.

When King Frederick was gathered to his fathers, his son, one of the
most remarkable men who ever lived, came to the throne. When you are
grown up you will, if you are wise, read his life as Thomas Carlyle[31]
wrote it. Here I can only touch very lightly on his character and the
work which he did for his country. He is known to history as Frederick
the Great.

[Illustration: One of the Potsdam Guards.]

Probably no boy had ever so hard an upbringing as Prince Frederick.
Macaulay tells us that "Oliver Twist in the parish workhouse and Smike
at Dotheboys Hall were petted children when compared with this wretched
heir-apparent of a crown." This is, perhaps, an over-statement; but
there is no doubt that the boy spent a very hard and loveless boyhood.
His father was a rough, bluff man, who thought that the whole business
of life was to drill and to be drilled. He loved to drink beer, smoke
strong tobacco, play cards, hunt wild hogs, and shoot partridges by the
thousand, and he despised all the arts and graces which make life sweet
and beautiful. Carlyle tells us that the young prince was nourished on
beer soup, and that every hour of his life he was taught to be thrifty,
active, and exact in everything that he did. His very sleep was stingily
meted out to him. "Too much sleep stupefies a fellow," his gruff old
father used to say. So little sleep was the boy allowed to have that the
doctors had to interfere for the sake of his health. He had no money of
his own until he was seventeen, and then he was provided with
eighteenpence a month, and made to keep an exact account of all that he
spent.

His father was determined to make the boy a soldier from his youth up.
He thought of nothing else but soldiering; to him it was the only work
fit for a man. A hundred and ten lads about the age of the young prince,
and all sons of noble families, were formed into a tiny regiment for
little Fritz, and when he had learnt his drill he took command of them.
"Which he did duly, in a year or two; a little soldier thenceforth;
properly strict, though of small dimensions; in tight blue bit of coat
and cocked hat; miniature image of Papa (it is fondly hoped and
expected), resembling him as a sixpence does a half-crown." Later on a
little arsenal was set up for him, and in it he learnt to mount
batteries and fire small brass guns.

His governess was a very clever woman, and she had taught him to read
and enjoy French, and had given him some instruction in music. In the
brief intervals which he could snatch from his soldiering he loved to
read French books and to play on the flute; but when his father
discovered how he spent his leisure there were terrible scenes. The
flute was broken, the French books were sent out of the palace, and the
Prince was kicked and cudgelled and pulled by the hair. At dinner the
plates were hurled at his head, and sometimes his only fare was bread
and water. Once his father knocked him down, and would have strangled
him if the Queen had not interfered. At last the unhappy boy was driven
to despair, and he tried to run away to the court of his uncle, George
II. of England. At this the old tyrant his father was roused to madness.
The poor boy was an officer, and he had committed the basest crime that
the King could imagine--he had deserted. A young lieutenant who was
trying to help him to get out of the clutches of his father was seized,
and the King forced his son to look on while this friend was hanged.

The boy himself would have been shot, had not the kings of Sweden and
Poland and the Emperor of Germany pleaded for his life. As it was, he
was sent to prison; but he found his cell happier than his home. His
gaolers were kind to him; he had wholesome food and plenty of it; he
could read his French books without being kicked, and play his flute
without having it broken over his head. Nevertheless, in less than a
fortnight after the death of his friend he was ready to promise the King
that he would not misbehave in the future. He was released from prison,
but for some time was not restored to his old position in the army.

At length he became a man, and was allowed to set up a home of his own.
He married a wife, and amused himself in his country retreat by laying
out gardens and growing rare fruits and flowers. The friends whom he
gathered around him were all French, and amongst them he set up a
brotherhood called the Order of Bayard, after the name of the great
French knight who was "without fear and without reproach"--the noblest
hero of the Middle Ages.

Early in the year 1740 "Old Fritz" lay on his death-bed, and was able to
say, as he put his arms round the Prince's neck, that he was content to
die, knowing that he was leaving behind him so worthy a son and
successor. Thus Frederick became King of Prussia in his twenty-eighth
year. His subjects thought that he would prove a gentle and easy-going
king; but imagine their surprise when they found that, like Prince Hal,
he bade farewell to his companions and completely turned over a new
leaf. "No more of these fooleries," he said, and at once flung himself
into the work of making his army as strong and efficient as possible.
The men were drilled without mercy, and the officers frequently beat
them with canes; but in spite of this treatment they were full of
spirit, and in after years showed great valour on the battlefield.
Frederick was soon looking about for an opportunity of testing them in
war.

A few months after he came to the throne, Charles VI., the Holy Roman
Emperor, died, and there was no son to succeed him. He left his great
dominions--Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, parts of the Netherlands, and
parts of North Italy--to his daughter, Maria Theresa,[32] and before his
death he had persuaded the sovereigns of Europe to support her as
Empress. Amongst those who faithfully promised to do so was Frederick;
but I am sorry to say that, very shortly after Maria Theresa ascended
her throne, he suddenly assembled his army and marched at its head into
her country. He broke his plighted word; he fell upon a state which he
thought was unable to defend itself; and he plunged Europe into a long
and terrible war, simply because he was eager to increase his power and
make people talk about him. You cannot think of a baser crime than
this. Frederick used to say: "He is a fool, and that nation is a fool,
which, having the power to strike his enemy unawares, does not strike
and strike his deadliest."

It was the depth of winter when Frederick set his armies in motion. Poor
Maria Theresa was taken unawares; town after town yielded, until, before
the end of January 1741, Frederick was master of Silesia,[33] and was
able to return to Berlin, where he was received with joy by his
subjects. Then some of the other greedy sovereigns followed Frederick's
bad example, and soon all Europe was in arms.

[Illustration: Maria Theresa and the Hungarian Nobles.

When Frederick the Great was about to invade Silesia, Maria Theresa,
holding her young son in her arms, begged the Hungarian nobles to fight
for her. With one accord they drew their swords and cried, "Let us die
for our _king_, Maria Theresa!"]

Frederick had been brought up as a soldier, but up to this time he had
seen nothing of actual war, and had never commanded great bodies of men
in the field. In his first battle his cavalry was put to flight, and he
spurred his English grey out of the battle, and ran away! He took refuge
in a mill, and late at night the news was brought to him that, thanks to
an old field-marshal, his army had won a great victory. When he realized
that he had been running away while his men had been winning a battle
for him, he was filled with shame. This was the turning-point in his
career. In the next battle he showed great courage, and so diligently
did he study the art of war, that he soon became renowned as one of the
greatest generals who ever lived.

[Illustration: Frederick the Great visiting his People.

(_From the picture by von Menzel._)]

I cannot tell you here of all the long and cruel warfare which Frederick
the Great waged. He gained many victories, chiefly by making cat-like
leaps before his enemy expected an attack; but he had many defeats too,
for several nations joined together to fight him. He would have been
hopelessly beaten but for the British king, George II., who was also
Elector of Hanover,[34] one of the German states. George II. sent him
men and money, and enabled him to meet his foes on the battlefield. For
seven years Frederick held his ground against the three great
military Powers of the time--France, Austria, and Russia. In the year
1761 the British refused to help him any further, and it seemed as if he
must be forced to give up the struggle for want of means to carry it on.
But fortune favoured him; the new Emperor of Russia wished to make
peace, and thus Frederick was freed from one of his powerful enemies.
One by one his other foes dropped off, and in 1763 peace was made.

In some of his battles so many of his men were killed, and so terrible
was the condition of his country, that more than once he thought of
committing suicide as the only escape from the evils which he had
brought upon his kingdom. But when peace came Prussia was a great Power,
respected for her military strength by the whole of Europe. Thereafter,
Frederick devoted himself to building up his country anew. Before his
death he had increased his territories to an area of 75,000 square
miles, and his people numbered 5,500,000. He had made Prussia great, but
he had done it by craft and cunning and violence, and at the cost of
untold misery and suffering.

Before I conclude the story of Frederick the Great I must tell you of
another piece of wickedness which he did in the latter years of his
life. I have already mentioned the Poles as a Slav race, and have told
you that they now live partly in Austria, partly in Germany, and partly
in Russia. There is no country of Poland now, but there may be one again
when this war is over. In the reign of the English king, Edward III.,
Poland was an important and flourishing kingdom. Its capital was the old
city of Cracow,[35] now in the Austrian province of Galicia.[36] If you
were to visit its cathedral church, which stands high on a rocky hill to
the south-west of the town, you would see the tombs of many of the
Polish kings, patriots, and poets who have made Poland so famous amongst
the nations. Amongst them you would see the last resting-place of John
Sobieski,[37] who was the noblest warrior of them all. He it was who
drove back the Turks from the walls of Vienna and saved Europe from the
infidel.

In the year 1772 Poland was too weak to defend herself. Her nobles
quarrelled fiercely amongst themselves, and the land was torn with
disunion and strife. Then the cruel, crafty King of Prussia made an
agreement with Russia and Austria, whereby they were to seize part of
Poland. This was done, and the three sovereigns, like robbers in a cave,
divided the spoils between them. Frederick took a big slice, and so did
Russia, while Austria was given Galicia. This was the first mouthful.
Twenty-one years later the same three Powers gobbled up poor Poland
completely; and now, like the Jews, the Poles have no land which they
can call their own. But they still love Poland, and yearn for the day
when it will be a kingdom once more. When the present great war broke
out, the Czar of Russia sent a message to the Poles saying that if they
would help him to win he would set up the old kingdom of Poland again,
and let it have a king of its own, under his protection. This was great,
glad news to the Poles, and they eagerly agreed to help him.

[Footnote 26: _Kī´ser_, a German form of Cæsar, the name given to the
Roman emperors.]

[Footnote 27: Former duchy of Germany, consisting of what is now
Würtemberg Baden, and South-west Bavaria.]

[Footnote 28: City of Bavaria, 90 miles north by west of Mūn´ich, the
capital.]

[Footnote 29: Title given to certain princes of Germany because they had
the right to _elect_ the Emperor.]

[Footnote 30: Chief town of the province of Brandenburg, 16 miles west
of Berlin. It contains a royal palace, and is practically the German
Windsor.]

[Footnote 31: Born 1795, died 1881. A great writer of history and
philosophy. His _History of Frederick the Great_ was begun in 1852, and
occupied him for thirteen years, during which he paid two visits to
Germany.]

[Footnote 32: _Mä-rī´a Ter-e´sa_, Queen of Hungary and German Empress;
reigned from 1741 to 1780. She was the mother of Marie Antoinette
(_ong-twa-net_), wife of Louis XVI. of France.]

[Footnote 33: _Sīl-ēs´i-a_, since 1742 a province of Prussia in the
extreme south-east, between Poland and Bohemia. Most of it is in the
basin of the Oder. It is very rich in iron, coal, and metals, and is an
important manufacturing region.]

[Footnote 34: Now a province of Prussia, stretching from the Netherlands
east to the Elbe, and from the North Sea south to Westphalia and Hesse
Nassau. It contains the following German ports--Emden, Harburg,
Papenburg, and Wilhelmshaven. The town of Hanover, which still contains
the favourite residence of George I. and George II., is 112 miles by
rail south of Hamburg.]

[Footnote 35: _Krā´kō_, the old capital of Poland; stands on the left
bank of the Vistula, in the Austrian crown land of Galicia.]

[Footnote 36: _Ga-lish´i-a_, crown land of Austria, on the north side of
the Carpathians. Its north-west frontier is formed by the Vistula, and
the eastern parts are drained by the Dniester, Pruth, and Sereth. The
country is rich in petroleum, from which the spirit is made by which
motors are propelled. As motors are now so largely used in war, the
possession of Galicia is a great advantage to Austria and Germany.]

[Footnote 37: _Sō´bē-es´kē_, John III. of Poland; reigned from 1674 to
1696.]



  CHAPTER IV.

  THE GREAT WAR LORD OF EUROPE.


The noblest street in all Berlin is called the Unter den Linden, which
simply means "under the lime trees." In this fine, tree-shaded avenue
stands a splendid monument to Frederick the Great, the man who laid the
foundations of Prussia by means of force and fraud. His successor,
Frederick William II., was a weak man, who squandered the public money
on favourites. Under his rule Prussia grew poorer every day; instead of
being the best governed state in Europe, it rapidly became one of the
worst, and a clever Frenchman at his court declared that no country was
nearer to ruin. The army, however, was still kept up in the old way,
though it had lost much of its fiery spirit. Frederick William was just
as eager for war as Frederick the Great; but he was no general, and when
he did fight, was badly beaten. Then, as you will soon hear, he made
peace with his victorious foe, and had to give up a part of his country.
It was in his time, however, that further slices were taken from Poland
and added to Prussia.

[Illustration: The Kaiser and his Troops in the Unter den Linden.

_Photo, Exclusive News Agency._]

Three years after Frederick William II. came to the throne, one of the
greatest events in all history took place. For hundreds of years the
kings and nobles of France had ground down the people in all sorts of
harsh and cruel ways. At length the people rose in wrath and began to
upturn the government and try to set up a new state of things. In July
1789 a Paris mob stormed the state prison and set free the prisoners;
whereupon the peasants all over the country rose in rebellion, murdered
the nobles, and burned their castles. The king dared not interfere; all
power was taken from him, and a sort of Parliament began to pass laws
sweeping away all the old abuses. The Revolution, or great upturning of
the government, had begun.

[Illustration: The Attack on the Bastille.

_From a contemporary print._]

The leaders of the people grew more and more violent, and thousands of
nobles and gentry fled the country. The king and his family tried to
escape, but were caught and brought back as prisoners. Those who had
managed to get out of France went to the courts of the various kings,
and begged them to declare war against the country which was so cruelly
treating them and their king. At length the kings of the other European
countries began to perceive that their own thrones were in danger, and
that they must unite to protect themselves. Leopold II., Emperor of
Austria, and Frederick William of Prussia prepared to fight. At the head
of 50,000 of his own men and 30,000 Austrians, Frederick William crossed
the eastern frontier of France. At this the Paris mob was filled with
fury. They burst open the prisons in which their nobles and gentry were
confined, and killed many of them. The same dreadful scenes took place
in several other towns of France.

[Illustration: French nobles and gentry waiting the call to execution.]

The French got together an army which was little better than a rabble,
but was full of fiery zeal. It entered Belgium, and called on the people
to rise against their government and set up a republic. Another French
army advanced to the Rhine to meet Frederick. The anger of the French
was now so great that they resolved to hurl at the kings of Europe the
head of a king. On January 21, 1793, they cut off the head of their
king, and a few months later that of the queen. A thrill of horror ran
through the courts of Europe, and Great Britain, Holland, Spain,
Austria, and Prussia united to make war on France. In the summer of
1793, during the six weeks of what was called the Reign of Terror, the
French put to death more than 1,400 of their nobles and gentry, and
some of the most bloodthirsty scenes in all history took place.

During this terrible time the French raised army after army, though they
had scarcely the means of feeding and clothing and arming their men.
These armies fought with wonderful spirit, and they attacked all the
nations opposed to them. On the other hand, the Allies were jealous of
each other, and were slow to mass their armies. The Prussians, with whom
we are specially concerned, were beaten, and so were the Austrians. Then
Frederick William II. deserted his fellow kings, and made peace with the
French Republic,[38] giving up to it the whole of the left bank of the
Rhine. He died two years later, and was succeeded by Frederick William
III. At the end of the year 1795 France held the upper hand in Europe.

       *     *     *     *     *

Every boy and every girl who reads these pages must have heard the
_Marseillaise_,[39] the great French war song. Here are the words of it,
and on the next page you will find the music:--

  "Ye sons of France, awake to glory!
    Hark, hark! what myriads round you rise!
  Your children, wives, and grandsires hoary--
    Behold their tears and hear their cries!

  Shall hateful tyrants, mischief breeding,
    With hireling hosts, a ruffian band,
    Affright and desolate the land,
  While peace and liberty lie bleeding?
      To arms! To arms! ye brave.
      The avenging sword unsheathe.
      March on! March on!
      All hearts resolved on victory or death!

  "Now, now the dang'rous storm is rolling,
    Which treach'rous kings confed'rate raise;
  The dogs of war let loose are howling,
    And lo! our fields and cities blaze.
  And shall we basely view the ruin,
    While lawless Force, with guilty stride,
    Spreads desolation far and wide,
  With crime and blood his hands embruing?
      To arms! To arms! ye brave, etc.

  "With luxury and pride surrounded,
    The vile insatiate despots dare,
  Their thirst for pow'r and gold unbounded
    To mete and vend the light and air.
  Like beasts of burden would they load us,
    Like gods would bid their slaves adore;
    But man is man, and who is more?
  Then shall they longer lash and goad us?
      To arms! To arms! ye brave, etc.

  "O Liberty, can man resign thee,
    Once having felt thy gen'rous flame?
  Can dungeons, bolts, and bars confine thee,
    Or whips thy noble spirit tame?
  Too long the world has wept, bewailing
    That Falsehood's dagger tyrants wield;
    But Freedom is our sword and shield,
  And all their arts are unavailing.
      To arms! To arms! ye brave, etc."

[Illustration: THE MARSEILLAISE HYMN.

  Ye Sons of France awake to glory! Hark, hark! what myriads round
  you rise! Your children, wives, and grandsires hoary; Behold their
  tears, and hear their cries! Behold their tears and hear their cries!
  Shall hateful Tyrants, mischief breeding, With hireling hosts, a ruffian
  band. Affright and desolate the land, While peace and liberty lie
  bleeding? To arms! to arms! ye brave! Th'avenging sword unsheath,
  March on! March on!
  all hearts resolv'd On victory or death! March on! March
  on! all hearts resolv'd On victory or death!]

It will interest you to learn that this splendid marching song, which is
the French national anthem, was composed during the years when France
was fighting with almost all the other nations of Europe. In April 1792,
when war was declared on Austria, a young captain of Engineers named
Rouget de Lisle[40] was in Strassburg[41] with his company, waiting the
order to advance. He was fond of writing verse and composing music, but
up to this time he had written and composed nothing worthy of special
mention. His heart and mind were fired with the thought of giving
freedom to all the world; to him it seemed that the armies of France
were engaged in a holy crusade.

Food was scarce in Strassburg at this time, and many of the officers and
soldiers would have gone hungry but for the mayor, who did everything he
possibly could to supply them with food. Every evening he asked a number
of the officers to sup with him, and one evening Rouget de Lisle was
invited. During the meal the mayor said that he wished some one would
compose a new war song which would stir up the young soldiers about to
march on Austria. A major who was one of the company turned to Rouget
and said, "You are a poet and a musician; can't you compose something
that will do?"

Rouget was a very modest young fellow, and at once he said that a war
song was quite beyond his powers. Some of the other men seated at the
table joined in the request, and Rouget at last began to think that he
would try. He retired to his chamber, and as he thought of his beloved
France and of the great battles which she had to fight, he became
greatly excited. Then the words flowed from his pen, and as he wrote
them a tune sprang into his mind which seemed to suit the words exactly.
By seven o'clock in the morning he had composed both words and music. At
once he hastened to his friend the major, and said, "Listen to this, and
tell me what you think of it." The major listened and was delighted, and
some hours later carried him off to the mayor's house. Here Rouget sang
his song, while one of the mayor's nieces accompanied him on the piano.
Every one who heard it was thrilled. It seemed to call forth all the
fighting spirit in them.

[Illustration: Rouget de Lisle singing "The Marseillaise."

(_From the painting by Pils, in the Louvre Gallery. Photo by Mansell._)]

The same day the song was published, and next day one of the military
bands played it. Immediately it became all the rage. Through Alsace to
the south of France it spread like wildfire; but the people of Paris
knew nothing of the song until they heard the volunteers from
Marseilles[42] chanting it as they marched through the streets. They had
sung it in every town and village through which they had passed, and
everywhere it had been greeted with loud cries of delight. Because it
was first sung in Paris by the men of Marseilles, it was called the
_Marseillaise_.

Such is the story of the great French war song which all Europe learned
to know and fear in what is known as the War of the Revolution. It
worked like a charm: men marched and fought and suffered and died to its
strains. At the present time French soldiers are singing it as they
swing along the roads to engage the enemy, and you and I sing it in this
country because the French are our friends and allies, and their cause
is ours.

       *     *     *     *     *

[Illustration: Napoleon at School.

When Napoleon was a boy at a French military school he was jeered at by
his fellows, who called him a surly Corsican.]

Out of the bloodshed and terror of this time arose the figure of
Napoleon, the greatest war lord that the world has ever known. He was a
Corsican,[43] who first proved his ability by forcing the British to
give up Toulon.[44] Thereafter he rose rapidly in the service of the
Republic, and in 1796 was placed in command of the army of Italy. In two
campaigns he completely overthrew the Austrians, and was hailed by his
countrymen as the greatest general of the age. As he rose in power and
fame he began to dream of making himself the master of France, and then
of all Europe. Before long Great Britain alone stood against him. On sea
the British were then, as now, supreme, and our great Admiral Nelson,
and others worthy to be mentioned with him, defeated his fleets again
and again. Nevertheless he won so many great victories on land that in
the year 1801 the continental nations were obliged to make peace with
him. You already know that Prussia had done so six years before, and had
been forced to give up the whole of the left bank of the Rhine. Next
year Britain made peace with him too.

[Illustration: Napoleon at Austerlitz.]

On May 18, 1804, Napoleon put an end to the French Republic, and made
himself Emperor of the French. He now planned a great scheme for turning
all Europe into one vast empire, with kings and princes over the various
nations, but himself as the head of all. He sent an army into Hanover,
and overran it; but Prussia did not interfere, because she hoped that
Napoleon would hand over that state to her if she remained quiet. Great
Britain now persuaded Austria, Russia, and Sweden to join together
against France, but Frederick William III. would not unite with them. He
allowed Napoleon to do as he pleased in Germany, because he thought that
Austria would be beaten, and that the conqueror would reward him with
some of the spoils. The Emperors of Austria and Russia begged him to
desert Napoleon and join them, but he would not listen to them. When
Napoleon won the famous battle of Austerlitz, at which the three great
emperors of Christendom were present, Frederick William received his
reward--Hanover was handed over to him.

Napoleon was now master of all Europe except Great Britain. In the next
year sixteen of the German princes separated themselves from the German
Empire and joined him, and he turned many of the provinces which he had
won into kingdoms, and placed his relatives and his generals on their
thrones. As for Prussia, Napoleon had no respect for her, and very soon
showed that he was going to seize her too. Louisa, the beautiful Queen
of Prussia, had alone seen what the end of her country would be, and had
begged the king to draw the sword against the conqueror. When Napoleon
took one of the Prussian fortresses she again besought her husband to
fight. The Emperor of Russia visited him, and joined his entreaties to
hers, and at last, in 1806, he took the field against the great war
lord.

[Illustration: Napoleon with King Frederick William III. and Queen
Louisa at Tilsit.

_From the picture by von Gros._]

Napoleon struck swiftly. At Jena[45] he held the Prussians in check till
his cavalry came up, and when they dashed down on the foe all was over.
The Prussian horse and foot fled in panic; 20,000 Prussians were killed
or taken, as well as 300 guns and 60 standards. After the victory
Napoleon treated the Prussians very harshly. He said many bitter things
about the old Duke of Brunswick, who had fought so bravely against him,
and he overran his states. He insulted the queen, and he told the nobles
that he would make them so poor that they would be obliged to beg their
bread. He quickly subdued the whole country, and made Prussia pay him
some millions of money. Then the conquered states were divided into four
parts, over which he set commanders.

Leaving 60,000 French to hold beaten Prussia, he now turned on Russia,
and in February 1807 marched 100,000 men into Poland, where he met the
Russian army and the remnants of the Prussian army. On a field covered
with snow a battle was fought during the short hours of a winter day.
The slaughter was horrible, and the battle was drawn. In the following
May the armies met again, and this time Napoleon was victorious. A week
later he and the Czar met on a raft moored on the river Niemen,[46]
and made plans for the greatest scheme of robbery ever known to history:
they agreed to divide Europe between them.

Great Britain still struggled against Napoleon, and her fleet was the
only force which prevented him from becoming the unchecked master of the
whole world. Napoleon now tried to bring Great Britain to her knees.
Some years before he had gathered fleets of flat-bottomed boats at
Boulogne,[47] and had prepared a huge army for the invasion of Britain,
but could not obtain that twelve hours' mastery of the Channel which
would enable him to cross the "silver streak." Now he tried another
plan. He ordered the harbours of the Continent to be closed against the
British, so that they could not carry on trade or sell their
manufactures. In this way he hoped to make Great Britain so poor that
she would be unable to hold out against him.

By this time the Czar was tired of being Napoleon's underling, and he
now said that he would not close his ports against the British. Napoleon
was furiously angry, and marched a great army towards the Russian
frontier, which was crossed on June 23, 1812. The Russians did not
attempt to fight; they fell back, and lured him on, meanwhile wasting
the country over which he had to pass. Soon the French found themselves
short of food, and thousands died of hunger. Napoleon's line of march
was marked by the dead bodies of thousands of men and horses.

At last the Russians stood firm, and a great battle was fought some
seventy miles from Moscow. One hundred thousand men lay dead or wounded
on the field, but Napoleon was not checked. A week later his troops
entered Moscow[48] with shouts of delight. To their dismay they found it
as silent as a city of the dead. All the people had left it, but before
doing so had set fire to the place. Soon after the French marched in,
flames began to shoot up from a thousand different points. The fire
burned for five days, and the city lay in ruins. Then want of food and
shelter compelled Napoleon to retreat. When he left Moscow his army had
dwindled to about 100,000 men. The Cossacks[49] hung upon their flanks
and rear, and cut off all stragglers. Soon the snow began to fall, and
the cruel Russian winter set in. Thousands perished daily of cold and
hunger.

Napoleon's starving and frost-bitten army soon became a rabble. As he
approached the river Beresina[50] he learned that the Russians were
waiting to oppose the passage. A battery of guns commanded the bridge,
and as the French tried to cross thousands of them were mowed down, and
heaps of dead and wounded blocked the way. A miserable, crushed remnant
of 20,000 men was all that struggled back to Germany. The downfall of
Napoleon had begun.

[Footnote 38: A form of government in which the head of the state is not
a king, but a citizen elected by the people for a number of years.]

[Footnote 39: _Mar-sā-yāz´_.]

[Footnote 40: _Roo-zhā´ d´lēl´_ (1760-1836).]

[Footnote 41: Capital of Alsace-Lorraine, on a small tributary of the
Rhine. It became German in 1871.]

[Footnote 42: _Mar-selz´_, chief city of South France, on the Gulf of
Lions, one of the two great ports (the other is Genoa) on the
Mediterranean Sea.]

[Footnote 43: Native of Corsica (_Kōr´si-ka_), large French island, 110
miles south of the coast of France. The chief town is Ajaccio, in which
Napoleon's birthplace is still shown.]

[Footnote 44: _Too-lon´_. French naval port, 42 miles east of
Marseilles.]

[Footnote 45: German town on the left bank of the Saale, 14 miles E.S.E.
of Weimar.]

[Footnote 46: _Nē'men_, river rising in the Russian government of Minsk,
and flowing to the Baltic Sea in East Prussia.]

[Footnote 47: _Boo-lō'ny_, town on the English Channel, connected with
Folkestone by a daily cross-Channel service.]

[Footnote 48: Old capital of Russia, on the Moskva, a tributary of the
Oka, 390 miles south-east of Petrograd. Its huge citadel is called the
Kremlin.]

[Footnote 49: People living in the south and east of Russia who give
military service to the Czar in return for the lands on which they live.
They are very fierce and warlike, and are the best light cavalry in the
Russian army.]

[Footnote 50: _Byer-ye-zē´na_, tributary of the Dnieper, in the Minsk
government of Russia.]



[Illustration: The Retreat of Napoleon from Moscow.

(_After the picture by Meissonier._)]


  CHAPTER V.

  HOW THE GREAT WAR LORD FELL.


This unexpected blow seemed to the enslaved peoples of Europe a sign
that their hour of deliverance had struck. Everywhere they began to take
fresh courage, and ere long there was a general rising of the nations
against Napoleon. Berlin was still in the hands of the French; but when
the King of Prussia called upon his people to rise against the common
enemy, every able-bodied man was ready to throw off the hated yoke. The
news reached Napoleon's ears; but he only exclaimed, "Pah! Germans can't
fight like Spaniards." However, he got together another French army, and
many of the German princes were so terrified that they let their troops
join him. Prussia stood almost alone.

Her people, however, were filled with new hope and energy. The whole
country became an armed camp. Youths scarcely more than boys, old men
with gray hair, fathers of families, doctors, lawyers, tradesmen, even
women in men's clothing, snatched up guns and grasped swords. Never was
a nation more united. A large army sprang into being, the Tsar sent
help, and Napoleon was defied. But once more the great war lord
conquered, and in two fierce battles Prussia was beaten to the ground.

The Emperor of Austria now tried to act as a peace-maker, and sent
Metternich,[51] his chief minister, to talk the matter over with
Napoleon. As soon as he arrived, the French emperor said, "Well, Count
Metternich, how much money have you been bribed with by England to take
this part?" So saying, he threw his hat down on the floor to see if
Count Metternich would stoop to pick it up. The minister looked at the
hat and then at Napoleon, but did not stoop. Seeing this, Napoleon
turned his back on him, and Metternich knew that war would be declared
on his country.

Napoleon had now to fight Prussia, Russia, Austria, and Sweden. It may
perhaps surprise you to find Sweden amongst Napoleon's foes, especially
when you learn that the Prince of Sweden had been a French general, and
had fought for Napoleon. But he, too, was tired of Napoleon's yoke, and
was ready to help in throwing it off. Three armies were gathered
together--a northern army, a second in Bohemia, and a third in Silesia,
the last being under the command of Marshal Blücher,[52] of whom we
shall hear again.

On August 23, 1813, a battle took place between the French and the
northern army at a place called Gross-Beeren.[53] The Swedish king was
supposed to be in command of this army, but he and his Swedes looked on
without fighting. It was a battle of untrained men against a trained
army. The Prussian peasants rushed on the foe, beat down whole
battalions of them with the butt-ends of their muskets, and captured
2,400 prisoners. Three days later Marshal Blücher also won a success in
Silesia. Having lured the French across the river Neisse, he drove them
back into the stream, which was then swollen by heavy rains. The muskets
of his men were wetted, and so were of no use for firing; but Blücher
drew his sabre and dashed forward, shouting, "Forward!" The Prussians
clubbed their muskets and beat thousands of the French to death. Many
others were drowned or bayoneted, and the victory was complete. The
French general escaped almost alone, and galloped to Dresden,[54] where
Napoleon then was. "Sire," he said, "your army no longer exists."
Marshal Blücher was made a prince, and thenceforward was known as
"Marshal Forward."

While his generals were thus suffering defeat, Napoleon himself gained a
victory near Dresden. But when his army learned that elsewhere his
forces had been beaten, the Germans under his command began to waver,
and the outlook was black indeed. Napoleon knew that his end was drawing
near, and for several days he could not make up his mind whether to
fight or to return to France. At last he determined to fight, and then
took place what is known as the "battle of the nations," because
soldiers of so many different nations were engaged in it. This battle
was one of the longest and fiercest that had ever been fought up to that
time. It lasted four days, and at the end of it Napoleon was defeated.
He lost no less than 78,000 men; but the Allies, though victorious, lost
very heavily too.

Napoleon was beaten at last, and Germany was full of rejoicing. The yoke
of French bondage was broken, and many nations were free once more.

[Illustration: The Prussians fighting their way through the village of
Planchenoit to reach the field of Waterloo.

(_From the picture by Von Udolf Northen._)]

I can tell you the rest of Napoleon's story in a very few words. He
struggled hard with the remnants of his army, but in vain, and on March
31, 1814, the Allies entered Paris, where the French people received
them with shouts of joy. They had been devoted to Napoleon while he was
victorious; now that he was defeated, they remembered all the sorrow and
suffering that he had caused them, and cried, "Down with the tyrant!"
The Allies forced Napoleon to give up his throne, and sent him to reign
over the little island of Elba.[55] For eight or nine months he lived on
this island, and Europe thought that the last had been seen of him. But
he was biding his time, watching and waiting for the chance to become
Emperor of France once more. The king to whom his throne had been given
was a selfish, stupid man, and he soon disgusted the army and the
people. At the moment when they were ready to rise, Napoleon suddenly
appeared on the south coast of France, and as he travelled north to
Paris his old soldiers flocked to him. The troops sent against him
deserted and went over to his side. When he entered Paris, on the 20th
of March, the king had fled.

The Allies now bound themselves to put more than a million men into the
field against him, and never to rest until they had subdued him for
ever. Napoleon, however, gathered an army, and marched into Belgium,
where the Duke of Wellington had a mixed force of British and Belgians,
and Prince Blücher an army of Prussians. I cannot now tell you fully the
story of the great fight which followed. Napoleon's general, Ney,
attacked the British at Quatre Bras,[56] but was beaten. On the same
day, at Ligny,[57] Napoleon met Blücher, and defeated him, but not so
badly that he was unable to fight again. The Prussians were obliged to
retreat, and Wellington was forced to fall back to the field of
Waterloo,[58] at which place Blücher promised to meet him next day.

On the 18th of June the great battle took place. All day the British
held their ground, though they were fiercely assailed again and again.
At eight o'clock in the evening, just when the last desperate charge had
been driven back, Blücher and his Prussians appeared. Then the French
army turned and fled. Napoleon put spurs to his horse and rode through
the summer night to the coast, where he tried to escape to America.
Failing to do this, he gave himself up to the captain of a British
man-of-war. "Last scene of all to end this strange eventful history,"
Napoleon was banished to the lonely Atlantic island of St. Helena,[59]
where he was kept prisoner like a caged tiger for nearly six years. He
died on May 5, 1821. So much had he passed out of history that a great
Frenchman said his death was not an event, only a piece of news.

Why did we fight so hard and so long against Napoleon? First, because he
was a tyrant, bent on making himself master of Europe and ruling it as
he pleased; secondly, because he wiped out or trod underfoot many of the
smaller nations; and thirdly, because we were determined not to allow
him to gain possession of the Netherlands. Look at a map of Europe, and
you will see that the Netherlands, which now consist of Holland and
Belgium, are opposite to our east and south-east coasts. These two
countries are small, but they are very fertile, because they are mainly
formed of the rich soil brought down by the Rhine, the Meuse, and the
Scheldt.

[Illustration: Map of Northern Europe.

The thick lines show the chief trade routes.]

Thanks to the rivers, the Netherlands have some of the best ports in
the world, and through them passes much of the sea-borne trade of
Northern Europe. Antwerp, on the Scheldt, is opposite to the mouth of
the Thames, and is one of the great ports of the world. Rotterdam, at
the mouth of the Rhine, and Amsterdam, near the Zuider Zee,[60] are also
very important seaports. If an enemy held these ports, and was able to
drive our navy from the North Sea, he might invade us very easily.
Napoleon used to say that Antwerp was a pistol held at the heart of
England. We should have been very blind and very foolish if we had
allowed him to be master of the Netherlands, and permitted him to point
the pistol at our heart. As master of the Netherlands he would not only
have gained greatly in strength, but he would have been better able to
carry out an invasion of our shores than he had ever been before. When
we pressed him very hard to give up the Netherlands, he refused, and
said that he would rather surrender the French colonies than Antwerp.
His overthrow removed a great danger from our very doors.

[Illustration: The last days of the man who tried to make himself Master
of the World.

This picture, which is by the famous French artist Paul Delaroche, shows
Napoleon at St. Helena.]

Before we part from Napoleon I want you to learn a lesson from his fate.
He was one of the greatest soldiers who ever lived, and a man of
wonderful powers of mind. His ambition was boundless, and he tried to
make himself master of Europe, and therefore of the world. For many
years he succeeded, but from the first his doom was sealed. The nations
of Europe will never permit one man, however great, to be their master.
While many of the nations of the Continent were forced to yield to him,
we British never did. We fought him by sea and by land, and we were
always ready to send men and money to those nations who stood up against
him. The contest was very long; but the British people never wavered.
They held on with the courage of a British bulldog, and in the end, by
destroying his fleets at Trafalgar[61] and defeating his army at
Waterloo, they brought the tyrant low.

[Illustration: Preparing the famous signal at Trafalgar.

Just before the battle began, Nelson ordered the famous signal to be
made: "England expects every man to do his duty."

_From the picture by Thomas Davidson._]

       *     *     *     *     *

The story of how Britain saved Europe from the tyranny of Napoleon
should steel our hearts and animate our minds at this time, when we are
trying to lay a would-be tyrant low. The British people by their courage
and doggedness overthrew the most powerful man and the most powerful
nation in the world, and what they did then they can do now. Our
forefathers struggled with wonderful patience and courage for long,
weary years, but in the end they were victorious. We shall be victorious
too if we are but worthy of our sires.

[Footnote 51: _Met´ter-nich_, chief minister of Austria from 1809 to
1848.]

[Footnote 52: _Blūch´er_, field-marshal of Prussia; a very warlike,
upright, and loyal man, but no great general. He hated Napoleon.]

[Footnote 53: Village, Prussia, 12 miles south of Berlin.]

[Footnote 54: Capital of the kingdom of Saxony, on the Elbe; a great
centre of art and learning. It has given its name to a kind of
porcelain.]

[Footnote 55: Small island (area 86 square miles) off west coast of
Italy.]

[Footnote 56: _Kā-tr'brā'_, village, 19 miles south-east of Brussels. It
stands at cross-roads, whence its name (four arms).]

[Footnote 57: _Lē'ny_, village, 25 miles south-east of Brussels.]

[Footnote 58: Village in Belgium, 11 miles south of Brussels.]

[Footnote 59: Island of the South Atlantic Ocean; area, 47 square miles.
Napoleon was kept prisoner at Longwood.]

[Footnote 60: _Zoi´der_, means south.]

[Footnote 61: Cape of south-west Spain, at the entrance of the Strait of
Gibraltar, memorable for Nelson's victory over the combined fleets of
France and Spain (Oct. 21, 1805).]



  CHAPTER VI.

  THE MAN OF BLOOD AND IRON.


When Napoleon was safely imprisoned on St. Helena the Powers met to make
peace, and to rearrange the map of Europe. A large part of the left bank
of the Rhine which Napoleon had reft from Prussia was given back to her.
An arrangement was made that thirty-nine states of Germany should join
together into a _Bund_,[62] or bond, and that each state should be
represented in its ruling body. Saxony,[63] Wurtemberg,[64] and
Bavaria,[65] which had been turned into kingdoms by Napoleon, were
allowed to keep their kings, but the brothers and field-marshals whom he
had placed on other thrones were dismissed. The only one of his
marshals who retained his throne was the King of Sweden.

When peace reigned once more, a German prince said, "I have slept seven
years; now we will forget the bad dream." But the "bad dream" was a good
dream for the peoples of Europe. Though they had suffered so terribly in
the wars, the French Revolution had made men very disinclined to allow
kings to rule them as they pleased, and had encouraged them everywhere
to ask for more freedom to govern themselves. In Germany the people had
only two duties--to pay and to obey. Now they asked for many rights
which they had never possessed before, and in some of the states they
obtained them; but the King of Prussia held out to the last, and only
gave his people a Parliament when he could resist the demand no longer.

During this time, when the people were crying out for more freedom, one
very good arrangement was made. Germany, as you know, consisted of a
large number of states, some small and some large, but all of them with
their own rulers, and armies, and customs officials. It was possible to
pass through several of these states in the course of a day's ride. All
of them took toll of goods passing through them, and all of them had to
have guards at their frontiers, to see that the goods did not pass
through without paying toll.

You will get some idea of what this meant if you suppose the English
counties to be separate states, and that a wagon-load of goods is being
sent, say, from Birmingham to Carlisle. Suppose the wagon to reach the
border of Staffordshire: it would be stopped there by customs officers,
who would estimate the value of the goods in it, and make the owner pay
a certain sum before he was allowed to proceed. When the wagon came to
the Cheshire border, there would be another search and another payment;
and the same business would be repeated on the borders of Lancashire,
Westmorland, and Cumberland. I am sure you will say in a moment that
this was not only a great nuisance, but it must have interfered with
trade a great deal, and made goods very expensive to the purchaser. This
is exactly what happened in Germany. Of course, men tried to get out of
paying toll whenever they could, and smuggling goods from one state to
another became a regular business.

If I were to ask you to suggest a way out of the difficulty, you would
say: "Let all the states join together into a group, and take toll once
and for all when the goods enter the group. The money so received can be
divided up amongst the states afterwards." This is just what was done. A
Customs Union, or Zollverein, was formed by Prussia and several of the
neighbouring states, and each state sent a member to represent it in a
sort of Parliament known as the Bund Diet.[66]

When the German people began to see the advantages of joining together
in this way so as to make trade easier, they would soon come to perceive
that a union for other purposes would be good too. In the year 1848, six
hundred representatives from the German states met at Frankfort,[67] and
did away with the old Bund. They said that they wished all the German
states to be united into one empire, with one Parliament and one set of
laws. They asked the King of Prussia, Frederick William IV.,[68] to be
emperor; but he refused, because he was not going to be dictated to by
the people. "They forget," he said, "that there are princes still in
Germany, and that I am one of them." Then there were many risings,
especially in the south of Germany; but they were all put down, and the
kings and princes seemed to have gained the upper hand. As a matter of
fact, the people had gained much; they had aimed at unity, and though
many years were to pass before they obtained their desire, unity was
bound to come. In May 1851 the old Bund was restored, and once more held
its meetings at Frankfort.

Now let me introduce to you the man who brought about the union of the
German states into an empire. His name was Otto von Bismarck, and he
was born in the year of Waterloo. The title _von_ shows you that he was
of what is called gentle birth. His father was a Brandenburg squire, and
young Bismarck spent his childhood on the flat stretches of his father's
estates. As a boy he had a great reverence for kings, and thought that
those who rose against them were wicked men. For example, he believed
that William Tell,[69] whose story you are sure to remember, was a rebel
and a murderer.

[Illustration: Otto von Bismarck.

(_From the picture by Franz von Lenbach._)

This portrait shows Bismarck at a time when he was practically ruler of
Prussia.]

In 1832 he was sent to a university, where he was more renowned outside
the classroom than in it. He was a big, burly man, of great strength,
with a large, firm chin, and a look of confidence and self-control. It
is the custom for German students to fight duels as a pastime. When they
do so they protect their bodies and heads and eyes, and leave only the
face exposed. The foolish young fellows slash at each other's faces, and
are very proud of the scars which remain when their wounds have healed.
Bismarck was a great duellist; he fought and won while he was in the
university no fewer than twenty-seven duels.

He was the son of a soldier, and was very proud of the fact that his
ancestors had fought in all the great Prussian wars. Rough and bluff in
his manner, and homely in his speech, he greatly admired strong men who
could force others to do their bidding. For people who were turned from
their purpose by feelings of pity or kindness he had nothing but
contempt. He had few friends outside his own family, but he was very
fond of his dogs. Above all things he was a Prussian, and he was ready
to do anything and everything to make Prussia not only the greatest
state of Germany, but the leader of all the German states as well. By
nature he was honest and straightforward; but he did not stick at deceit
if he thought that thereby the interests of his country might be
advanced.

In the year 1847 we find him attending the Bund Diet as the member for
Prussia. He soon showed that he was a king's man, and that he had no
belief in the rule of the people. Prussia, he knew, had been created by
the power of the sword, under the sway of kings who did pretty much as
they pleased, and allowed the people to have no part or lot in the
government. No doubt his father had often told him of the black day when
Napoleon beat the Prussians at Jena, and of the sad years when his
beloved land was beneath the Corsican's yoke. It was in those days that
the great Baron Stein[70] did his great work. At the peace of Tilsit
Napoleon said that Prussia might have a standing army of 42,000 men.
Stein set his wits to work to use this army as a means of training all
the men of the nation. When 42,000 men were drilled they were dismissed,
another 42,000 were called up, and so on. In three years Prussia had
180,000 well-drilled men and 120,000 reserves. With these troops Prussia
played a large part in overthrowing Napoleon. Remembering all this,
Bismarck felt that parliaments had done nothing; strong men and a strong
army had done everything, and it was by similar means that Prussia might
be made the great overlord of Germany. Such was Bismarck's fixed belief.

Though he had made no mark at college, he possessed the biggest brain of
his time, and he now began to set it to work. Soon he was a marked man,
and the king made him ambassador, first at St. Petersburg and then at
Paris. In 1862 he was recalled to be the first minister of King William
I., brother of Frederick William IV., who had died insane. From that day
down to the year 1890 he was the foremost man, first of Prussia, then of
Germany, and finally of Europe.

At that time Prussia's great rival for chief power amongst the German
states was Austria. It was Austria who had forced the Prussian king to
set up the old Bund again, because in it she had the chief power. When
Bismarck went to the Bund in 1862, he plainly told Austria that Germany
could never be united until she ceased to interfere with German affairs,
and that she had plenty of work to do in looking after her own business.
He also told the Bund that the unity of Germany could never be brought
about by parliaments, but only by "blood and iron." By this he meant a
European war. He firmly believed that the German states could only be
welded together when their soldiers fought and died side by side on the
battlefield.

But first of all he had to build up an army so strong that it could
strike respect or fear into all the German peoples, and make them regard
Prussia as their leader and chief. You already know that when the
Prussians beat Napoleon in 1813, all the men of military age in the
country had been passed through the army. Bismarck determined that the
new army should be formed in the same way. Most of the people objected,
but Bismarck still persisted, and his old college friend von Roon[71]
began to plan an army on these lines. The Prussian Parliament would not
agree to the new army law, and at last the king said he would resign his
throne. Bismarck, however, would not give way, and one day, after he had
made a bold speech in Parliament, the king said, "Over there, in front
of the Opera House, under my windows, they will cut off your head, and
mine a little while afterwards." Bismarck, however, was not frightened.
He succeeded in getting the king to take no notice of Parliament, and
the army was created.

[Illustration: The Coronation of William I. of Prussia in the Cathedral
of Königsberg on October 18, 1861.

(_From the picture by Adolf von Menzel._)]

[Footnote 62: German word meaning alliance or league.]

[Footnote 63: _Sax´ony_, kingdom of South Germany, north of Bohemia. It
is divided into two halves by the river Elbe.]

[Footnote 64: _Vür´tem-berg_, kingdom of the German Empire, to the west
of Bavaria. It is drained for the most part by the river Neckar
(tributary of the Rhine) and its tributaries.]

[Footnote 65: _Ba-vā´ria_, kingdom of the German Empire, to the west and
south-west of Bohemia. It still has its own king, and is the most
independent part of the German Empire.]

[Footnote 66: An assembly for making laws.]

[Footnote 67: _Frank´fort_, a city of Prussia, in the province of
Hesse-Nassau, on the river Main, 22 miles above its junction with the
Rhine. The German Diet met here from 1816 to 1866.]

[Footnote 68: Succeeded to the throne on the death of his father in
1840. He was born in 1795, and died in 1861.]

[Footnote 69: The famous hero in Swiss legend who refused to reverence
the ducal hat of Austria, set up in 1307 at Altorf, and shot the apple
off his son's head. He afterwards led the successful revolt against
Austria.]

[Footnote 70: Prussian statesman, born at Nassau in 1757; died in 1831.]

[Footnote 71: Born 1803, died 1879. In 1859 he was appointed Prussian
Minister of War.]



  CHAPTER VII.

  CLEARING THE PATH.


The new Prussian army was trained by a great soldier named von
Moltke,[72] whose nephew was chief of the German staff[73] when the war
in which we are now engaged broke out. When this new army was strong
enough, Bismarck meant to go to war with Austria; but until that time
arrived he intended to keep the peace with her. In the year 1863 the
King of Denmark died, and when the new king came to the throne a dispute
arose about the two duchies of Schleswig and Holstein,[74] which you
will see on the map to the south of Denmark. I cannot explain here to
you all the rights and wrongs of this dispute. An English statesman of
the time said that only two men understood it--one was dead, and the
other was in a lunatic asylum. Both these duchies were subject to
Denmark; but the people of Holstein were Germans, while those of
Schleswig were Danes. There were constant quarrels between the Danes and
the Germans in these duchies, and Bismarck thought that the time had
come for Prussia to seize them. So, like the far-sighted man that he
was, he made preparations, and took care that none of the other nations
would interfere. He made a treaty with Russia on the eastern border, and
asked Austria to join him in fighting the Danes. The idea of joining
these duchies to Germany was very popular in all the German states, and
Austria felt bound to take part in their conquest. If she had not done
so, Prussia would have stood forward as the leader of Germany, and this
was the very thing that Austria was determined to prevent. You now begin
to perceive what a wily man Bismarck was.

To make a long story short, the two giants, Prussia and Austria,
attacked the little kingdom of Denmark; and, though the Danes fought
like heroes, they were crushed, and the two duchies were seized. But
what was to become of them?--that was the question. Prussia soon showed
that she meant to have them both. To this Austria would not agree, and
thus the robbers fell out over the division of their booty. Before they
came to blows, King William made Bismarck a count, and thus addressed
him: "In the four years which have elapsed since I summoned you to the
head of the State Government, Prussia has gained a position which is
worthy of her history, and which promises a fortunate and glorious
future."

During the spring of 1866 von Moltke was rapidly preparing his army, and
studying his plan of campaign. He had a surprise in store, not only for
Austria, but for all the world. What that surprise was you shall now
learn.

[Illustration: Chief of the Staff General von Moltke (nephew of the
great General who trained the Prussian Army for the wars against
Denmark, Austria, and France).

He is here seen with the Kaiser Wilhelm watching the manoeuvres of
German troops.

(_Photo, Oscar Tellgmann._)]

In the year 1806 a Prussian boy, named John Nicholas Dreyse, finished
his apprenticeship as a locksmith. The battle of Jena[75] had just been
fought, and Dreyse wandered on to the battlefield, where the Prussians
lay thick on the ground, with their muskets beside them. He picked up
one of these guns and examined it carefully. He was a clever and
inventive lad, and he soon saw that the musket was a poor weapon, and
that his countrymen had been beaten because Napoleon's army had a much
better gun. Thereupon he began to dream of inventing a gun for his
country that should be the best in the world. He found his way to Paris,
and obtained employment in the workshop of a Swiss gunmaker who was
trusted by the Emperor Napoleon.

The clever, hard-working Prussian boy soon gained the confidence of his
master, who one day told him that he was going to make for the Emperor a
gun that would be loaded at the breech. Dreyse had never thought of this
before. All the guns that he had ever seen were muzzle-loaders--that is,
they were loaded by pouring powder into the barrel and ramming home a
bullet. The new idea filled his mind, and night and day he thought of
ways in which such a quick-loading gun might be made. When Napoleon
heard how he was occupied, he encouraged him to further effort by
promising him a gift of money and the Cross of the Legion of Honour.[76]
Before, however, the gun was made, Napoleon was sleeping his last sleep
under the willow-tree on the island of St. Helena.

[Illustration: Cross of the Legion of Honour.]

At length, in 1835, after thirty years of thought and trial and
disappointment, Dreyse made a breech-loading gun which was fired by the
prick of a needle. At once he offered his gun to the Government of his
own country. It was tried against the Danes, and proved so successful
that the Prussian Government set up a large factory in which to
manufacture it.

By the month of June 1866, many of the Prussian soldiers were armed with
this needle-gun, and had learned how to use it. Then when all was ready
war began.

On the 23rd of June three Prussian armies entered Bohemia[77] by
different routes, with orders to drive back the Austrians and gather in
force near Sadowa.[78] These armies had to advance through the passes in
the wall of mountains which forms the natural rampart of Bohemia. What
the Austrians should have done was to fling themselves against the
Prussians as they issued from the passes; but, as of old, the Austrian
generals were slow to move, and before they did anything the Prussians
were all in Bohemia. At Sadowa, or Königgrätz,[79] as the Germans call
it, a terrible battle took place. The Austrians were posted in a strong
position, and they had good artillery, with which they caused many
losses in the Prussian ranks. After three or four hours' fighting, it
seemed as if the Austrians had driven off their foes. Suddenly, however,
the second army, under the Crown Prince,[80] arrived on the field of
battle. Regiment after regiment of Prussians in their dark-blue uniforms
advanced, all armed with the needle-gun. Then a rapid and deadly fire
burst upon the Austrian army. Nothing so terrible had been known before.
The Austrians held their ground for an hour, suffering fearful losses;
but they were obliged to give way at last, and the battle was won.
Thirty-two thousand Austrians were killed, wounded, or missing; the
Prussians had lost only nine thousand men.

The defeat was so crushing that Austria could no longer resist. The
Prussians marched on Vienna, and peace was made. Austria had to pay the
Prussians a great deal of money; she had to give up her claim to the
duchies, and agree to let the German states form a union, from which she
was excluded. The whole campaign had only lasted seven weeks. At the end
of it Prussia stood without a rival in Germany. She was now a large,
compact state of nearly thirty millions of people, stretching over the
whole of North Germany from Frankfort in the south to Kiel[81] in the
north. Not only had Prussia become the greatest state of Germany, but
she had cleared away the great obstacle that stood in the path of a
united German Empire of which she was to be the head.

[Footnote 72: _Molt´ka_, born 1800, died 1891.]

[Footnote 73: In Continental countries the "great general staff"
consists of a body of officers, who form the thinking and directing head
of the army.]

[Footnote 74: These duchies now form one Prussian province between the
North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Through the province runs the Kaiser
Wilhelm or Kiel Canal, which enables ships to pass from the North Sea to
the Baltic Sea without rounding Denmark.]

[Footnote 75: The great battle which marked the downfall of Prussia (see
page 61).]

[Footnote 76: French order of merit founded by Napoleon in 1802. The
emblem of the order is a five-rayed star of white enamel edged with
gold, bearing on one side the image of the republic, with the
inscription, _République Française_, and on the other side two flags,
with the motto, _Honneur et Patrie_. It is crowned by a wreath of oak
and laurel, and is hung from a red ribbon.]

[Footnote 77: _Bo-hē´mi-a_, a kingdom in the north-west of the Austrian
Empire. It is almost square in shape, and is shut in by lofty mountains.
It is mainly drained by the Moldau, a tributary of the Elbe.]

[Footnote 78: _Sā´do-wa_, village in Bohemia, 8 miles north-west of
Königgrätz (on the Elbe).]

[Footnote 79: _Ker´nig-grāts_, town of Bohemia, on the Elbe, 65 miles
east of Prague, the capital.]

[Footnote 80: Son of the Emperor William I., born at Potsdam in 1831,
and on the death of his father in 1888 became the Emperor Frederick
III.]

[Footnote 81: _Kēl_, seaport of Prussia, on a bay in the Baltic, near
the Baltic end of the great Kaiser Wilhelm Canal, and 70 miles by rail
north of Hamburg. It is the chief naval station of the German Empire.]



[Illustration: Place de la Concorde.]


  CHAPTER VIII.

  PREPARING FOR WAR.


The finest of all the squares of Paris is the Place de la Concorde.[82]
Let us stand in the middle of this square and look around. To the west
we see a long avenue of chestnut trees, the Champs Elysées;[83] to the
north we catch a glimpse of the Madeleine,[84] one of the most famous of
all the Parisian churches; to the south, across the river, is the noble
building in which the French Members of Parliament (Deputies) meet; and
to the east we see the terraces and trees of the Garden of the
Tuileries,[85] leading by the pond on which children sail their toy
yachts to the Louvre Museum. If we stroll in the park of the Champs
Elysées, we shall be sure to see roundabouts and swings, and hear the
squeak of our old friend Punch, whom the French children call
Guignol.[86]

The Place de la Concorde is very bright and gay now, and does not in the
least suggest sad scenes to your mind. But it was here in January 1793
that the guillotine[87] was set up, and hundreds of the nobility and
gentry of France were executed. Louis XVI. and his queen, Marie
Antoinette, here saw the light of the sun for the last time before the
cruel axe descended, and all was over. The square was then known as the
Place de la Révolution.

As you glance round the square you will see a number of statues. Each of
the following towns has its own statue--Marseilles, Lyons,[88]
Lille,[89] Rouen,[90] Brest, Nantes, Bordeaux,[91] and Strassburg. You
can look these places out for yourselves on a map of France. It is the
statue of Strassburg to which I wish to direct your special attention.
Up to the end of July in the year 1914, it was draped in black, and
mourning wreaths were placed on it. As soon as the war broke out, the
students of Paris tore away the black drapery, and replaced it with the
French flag. They also removed the mourning wreaths, and put bright,
fresh flowers in their place.

Perhaps you wonder why the statue of Strassburg remained in mourning
from the year 1871 to the end of July in the year 1914. By the time you
have read the next two chapters you will understand.

       *     *     *     *     *

Now we must return to the story of Germany. In the former chapter I told
you how Austria was overthrown, and how Prussia became the leading power
amongst the German peoples. Thus, by means of "blood and iron," the
first step towards German unity was taken. After the Austrian War the
German states north of the Main[92] were united into a Nord-Bund, with
Prussia at their head. The states south of the Main remained outside the
combination, and had still to be brought into it. Bismarck knew that
this could only be done by means of war. I will now tell you how this
war came about.

[Illustration: The Battle of Magenta (June 4, 1859).

This picture represents the second attack by the French soldiers known
as Zouaves on the town of Magenta, 15 miles west of Milan, in that part
of N. Italy known as Lombardy. A French officer carrying the flag of his
regiment is seen leading his men on to victory.

(_From the picture by Yvon. In the Versailles Gallery._)]

In the year 1852 France had once more an emperor, who was a nephew of
the great Napoleon,[93] but was by no means a man of the same military
genius. His throne was not secure, and he believed that he could make it
so by restoring the old martial glory of his country. His troops fought
along with us in the Crimea[94] against the Russians, and in 1859 he
sent them to the help of the Italians, who were then throwing off the
yoke of Austria. In the course of a few weeks he took a leading part in
winning three victories, and returned to Paris in triumph, where he was
hailed as the saviour of Italy.

For centuries the French had kept a jealous eye on Germany, and had done
everything they could to keep it from becoming a rival. Louis XIV. had
taken away from Germany the two provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, which
you will see on the map between the Moselle and the Rhine. Napoleon I.,
as you know, stole a good deal of Germany, and gave it away to his
marshals and to the members of his own family. After his fall, the
Germans began to grow in power by good government and by peaceful
industry, and France regarded this growth with a very unfriendly eye.
When Prussia beat Austria and made herself head of the North German
Bund, the French began to think that the time had come for clipping
Prussia's wings.

Soon a quarrel arose, as quarrels always do if you seek for them. The
King of Spain died, and Bismarck put forward a German prince as a
candidate for the vacant throne. The French people were much alarmed at
the prospect of a German king ruling Spain, and there was great
excitement in all parts of France. The German prince was withdrawn; but
this did not satisfy the French people, who were eager for war.

At this time King William of Prussia was at Ems,[95] enjoying a holiday,
and his chief ministers were away on holiday too. The French ambassador
went to Ems and demanded that the Prussian king should apologize, and
give a promise never to put forward a German candidate for the Spanish
throne again. King William refused to do this, and sent a telegram to
Bismarck, giving him an account of the interview. Bismarck, you will
remember, wanted war in order to unite North and South Germany into an
empire. He saw his chance, and cut out part of the telegram so as to
make it read in a way that angered both the French and the Germans. Then
he published it, and almost at once the French declared war.

On July 16, 1870, the North Bund met, and agreed to fight. Three days
later, to the great surprise of Napoleon, the South German states held a
meeting, and declared that they would join with the North states in
making war against France, under the leadership of the King of Prussia.
This was a great triumph for Bismarck, who now saw clearly that if the
united German armies could beat France, their comradeship in arms and
their common joy in victory would make a German Empire very probable.

The united armies of North and South Germany were far greater than those
of France, and the Germans were also far stronger than the French in
another important way. For years past they had prepared for war. All
their plans had been made. They had all the stores, and guns, and
ammunition, and railway trains they needed, and the whole system was
arranged like clockwork. On the other hand, the French were very badly
prepared. The Minister of War said he could place 400,000 men on the
frontier. He also said that everything was in order; that there were
huge stores of clothing, and that not even a "gaiter-button" was
missing. There were enough cartridges to kill all the Germans twice
over, and the army had a new machine gun[96] that would prove more
deadly than the needle-gun which the Prussians had used against the
Austrians. But all this was mere boasting. The French people had been
living in a fool's paradise. They were as ill-prepared for war as they
possibly could be.

When the Emperor joined the army at Metz,[97] prepared to lead his eager
troops across the Rhine to Berlin, he found to his dismay that he had
but 220,000 men in place of the 400,000 promised. The men of the
reserve[98] joined the colours very slowly, and when they appeared it
was discovered that they had not been drilled in the use of the
breech-loading rifle, and that they would not be ready to take the field
for weeks. It was discovered, too, that the officers who had learned how
to handle the machine guns had been drafted off to other duties, and
that those who were in charge of these terrible new weapons knew nothing
about them. There were huge stores of food in two or three depots, but
there were no means of bringing it rapidly to the army. The transport
wagons were stored in one place, while their wheels lay elsewhere at a
distance, and wheels and wagons could not be brought together for weeks.
The artillery[99] were without horses, and the guns could not be moved
until horses were borrowed from the cavalry.[100] The only maps which
were provided were those of Germany.

While everything was at sixes and sevens on the French side, the
Germans were massing their armies in a perfectly wonderful way. The
boast of the French minister was true as regards them: the Germans were
prepared to the last gaiter-button. Every detail had been thought out;
every difficulty had been foreseen and provided for. By night and day
railway trains followed each other to the frontier, laden with soldiers,
horses, and guns. In fourteen days 450,000 Germans, well trained, well
armed, and well fed, were ready to give battle to the ill-prepared
armies of France.

[Illustration: Belgian Soldiers of to-day.

Notice the dogs drawing the machine guns.

_Photo, Sport and General._]

[Footnote 82: _Con´cord_, peace and goodwill.]

[Footnote 83: _Shans-e-lees-ay_, the Elysian fields; amongst the Greeks
the abode of the blessed after death.]

[Footnote 84: _Mad´lenn_, in honour of Mary Magdalene.]

[Footnote 85: _Tweel´ree._]

[Footnote 86: _Ghee-nyol._]

[Footnote 87: _Gil´o-tēn_, the beheading instrument, so called from its
inventor, Joseph Ignace _Guillotin_ (1738-1814).]

[Footnote 88: _Lē´ong_, city of France, at the confluence of the Saône
and the Rhone; the great centre of French silk manufacture.]

[Footnote 89: Fortified town of France, near the Belgian frontier, 66
miles south-east of Calais. It is noted for the manufacture of linen,
cotton, velvet, and woollen goods.]

[Footnote 90: _Roo-ong´_, chief cotton port of France, on the Seine, 87
miles by rail north-west of Paris.]

[Footnote 91: _Bor-do´_, port of France, on the Gironde, 60 miles from
the sea; the great wine-exporting port.]

[Footnote 92: River of Germany, tributary of the Rhine, which it enters
at Mainz.]

[Footnote 93: (1808-73). Son of Louis Napoleon, brother of Napoleon I.
He was elected President of the French Republic in 1848, and on December
2, 1852, after he had overthrown the Government by armed force, was
proclaimed emperor as Napoleon III.]

[Footnote 94: _Krī´me-a_, peninsula of Southern Russia, in which the
British, French, and Turks fought the Russians (1854-6).]

[Footnote 95: Watering-place of Hesse-Nassau, Prussia, 11 miles by rail
east of Coblenz (at the confluence of the Rhine and its tributary the
Moselle).]

[Footnote 96: Called the mitrailleuse (_me-trah-yuse_).]

[Footnote 97: Fortified town of Lorraine, on the Moselle.]

[Footnote 98: Body of troops kept in hand to be called up when needed.]

[Footnote 99: That branch of the army which handles the big guns.]

[Footnote 100: Horse soldiers armed with sabres, carbines, and sometimes
lances.]



  CHAPTER IX.

  "THE COCKPIT OF EUROPE."


Before I tell you the story of the great struggle between France and
Germany in 1870-71, I must ask you to look for a little time at Belgium.
You know that it lies between Holland and France, and is one of the
smallest countries in the world. The five northern counties of England
cover a greater area than the whole of Belgium.

The coast is low and sandy, and is fringed with dunes. There are only
two important harbours on the coast--Nieuport, which is the same word as
our English "Newport," and Ostend, which simply means "East-end." The
eastern part of the country contains a few low ranges of forest-clad
hills, but elsewhere the surface resembles that of Holland.

Let us climb to the top of the belfry which happily still remains in the
fine old town of Bruges.[101] Looking westwards, we see the North Sea;
southwards and eastwards and northwards the country is as flat as the
sea, and only just above its level. As you glance across the plain your
eye lights upon other towers similar to that upon which you are
standing. About twenty-five miles to the south-east you make out the
belfry of Ghent,[102] and you might see, if the weather is clear, the
ruins of Ypres,[103] an old cloth-working town, far to the south.
Bruges, Ghent, Ypres, and the other towns which you see, were rich and
flourishing for centuries, and they prove very clearly that the Belgian
plain has long been famous for manufactures and trade.

We now proceed to Ghent, and climb its belfry, which is higher than St.
Paul's Cathedral. Looking around, we notice that the towns within view
are even more numerous than those which we saw from the belfry at
Bruges. Below us are two large rivers, the Scheldt[104] and the
Lys,[105] which unite and wander away eastwards in a broad, full stream.
If we look at the map, we see many other broad and deep rivers, all
tributaries or sub-tributaries of the Scheldt.

As we travel eastwards to Brussels, the capital, the flat land begins to
get tumbled and uneven. There are no real hills yet, but you feel that
you are rising to higher land.

As we proceed eastwards from Brussels we shall ascend higher and higher,
until we reach a point from which we can look down a deep valley,
through which flows a broad, clear river. This is the Meuse,[106] and
you notice at once that it is quite unlike the rivers of the east of
Belgium. The Meuse runs everywhere between steep hills, and where it
enters Belgium from France it flows through a narrow gorge. From this
gorge we can row for a long day down the river between the deep, silent
forests covering the hills, which rise hundreds of feet on both sides of
us. As we proceed, the hills sink in height, the stream becomes broader,
and the towns upon its banks become larger and more frequent. We pass
the beautiful town of Dinant,[107] and later on the larger fortified
town of Namur,[108] where the river is joined by the Sambre.[109] Still
further down the river, near the German frontier, is the great
industrial town of Liége,[110] the "Belgian Birmingham."

Beyond the Meuse we find the third and final division of Belgium. It is
quite unlike the rest of the country. The hills are lofty and are
covered with woods, which on the south are known as the Forest of the
Ardennes.[111] Where there are no forests, this part of the country
consists of heaths and moors.

If you look at an ordinary map of Belgium you will see a number of
crossed swords showing you the position of battlefields. So many battles
have been fought in Belgium that it has been called the "Cockpit of
Europe." Now why has Belgium been the scene of so many battles? You see
that the country stands between England and France and Germany, and I
must tell you that before Napoleon I. conquered Holland and Belgium they
belonged to Austria. If Germany should go to war with France, and Great
Britain should join in, their armies naturally meet in Belgium. An army
from North Germany and an army marching north from France would come
into contact somewhere on the rolling land between Brussels and the
Meuse, where you see so many crossed swords. The French would find a
shorter way into Germany, and the Germans into France, across the
Ardennes and the high land, but an army with its food and baggage trains
always avoids hill country if it can. The reason why the British have
fought battles in this district is also clear. They had to meet their
allies as rapidly as possible after crossing the sea, and the most
convenient meeting-place was the rolling country between Brussels and
the Meuse.

You can easily understand that when these armies entered Belgium to
fight their battles, the Belgians were sure to suffer. Their fair fields
would be trodden down, their industries would cease, food supplies would
be seized, houses and public buildings would be destroyed, and many
innocent townsfolk and peasants who had no part or lot in the war would
be killed by stray shots, or put to death because they gave information
to the enemy. The plight of Belgium, when her big neighbours quarrelled
and fought out their quarrels on her soil, was always terrible, so in
the year 1839 the five great European Powers--Great Britain, France,
Russia, Austria-Hungary, and _Prussia_--made a solemn treaty, by which
they promised faithfully that they would never again trespass on Belgian
soil in time of war. This is what we mean when we talk about the
neutrality[112] of Belgium.

       *     *     *     *     *

Now what has all this to do with the war between France and Germany in
1870? We shall soon see. When there was no doubt that Germany and France
were going to fight, the British Government sent a message to each of
them, saying that it would declare war against that Power which broke
its plighted word with regard to Belgium. Bismarck replied by telegraph
that she had no intention of invading Belgium, and France gave her
answer in the same strain. Thus Belgium was spared untold suffering. A
new treaty was made renewing the old one, and this treaty up to the
beginning of the present war was Belgium's charter of freedom from
foreign invasion.

The Belgian people were very much relieved when they knew that they were
to be left alone during the war, and the town council of Brussels sent a
beautiful letter of thanks to Queen Victoria. It ran as follows:--

"The great and noble people over whose destinies you preside have just
given another proof of its benevolent sentiments towards this country.
The voice of the English nation has been heard above the din of arms. It
has asserted the principles of justice and right. Next to the
unalterable attachment of the Belgian people to their independence, the
strongest sentiment which fills their hearts is that of an imperishable
gratitude to the people of Great Britain."

[Footnote 101: _Brūzh_, 63 miles north-west of Brussels, 8 miles inland
from the North Sea, with which it is connected by two canals. From the
12th to the 16th century Bruges was the largest business city of
Northern Europe. It is now a quiet, quaint old city, with many ancient
and interesting buildings.]

[Footnote 102: Sound the _g_ hard; 32 miles north-west of Brussels, on
the rivers Scheldt and Lys (_leese_). It is divided by canals into some
forty islands, and has over two hundred bridges. Though it is now a
manufacturing place, it preserves its ancient appearance, and is a most
interesting city.]

[Footnote 103: _Ep´r´_, 32 miles by rail south-south-west of Bruges. Its
Cloth Hall and St. Martin's Church date from the thirteenth century.]

[Footnote 104: _Skelt_, rises in department Aisne, France, and enters
the North Sea by two main channels formed by islands, the outermost of
which is Walcheren. Length, 250 miles, 210 of which are navigable.]

[Footnote 105: Rises in the French department of Pas de Calais, and
flows north-east through Belgium, to join the Scheldt at Ghent.]

[Footnote 106: Rises in French department of Haute Marne, flows mainly
north-east, north, north-west, and west for 500 miles. In Holland it
joins the left arm of the Rhine. The river is navigable from the sea to
Verdun, some 135 miles from its source.]

[Footnote 107: Town on right bank of the Meuse, 17 miles by rail south
by east of Namur. In the fifteenth century it was a busy manufacturing
town, but prior to the war was a quiet tourist resort. The citadel
stands on a cliff 300 feet above the river.]

[Footnote 108: _Na-mur´_, strongly fortified town, at the confluence of
the Sambre and Meuse. The citadel stands on a height in the angle
between the rivers, and the place was, before the war, encircled by nine
forts on high ground, from 3 to 5 miles apart.]

[Footnote 109: _Sān'br´_, tributary of the Meuse. It rises in French
department of Aisne, and becomes navigable 19 miles from its source.]

[Footnote 110: _Le-āzh´_, 50 miles east by south of Brussels.]

[Footnote 111: _Ar-den´_, wooded hill region between the Meuse and the
Moselle; general elevation, 1,800 feet.]

[Footnote 112: State of taking no part on either of two sides. Belgium,
by treaty, must never take sides in any war that is waged, and the Great
Powers guarantee that she shall not be conquered. She can, of course,
resist an invader.]



  CHAPTER X.

  A TERRIBLE STRUGGLE.


Now we must hark back and pick up the threads of the story which we
dropped at the end of Chapter IX. Look at the map of the French frontier
which you will find on the next page. If you trace the present boundary
line between France and Germany, you will see it running south from the
little state of Luxemburg,[113] in front of Metz, then turning
south-east, and proceeding to the Vosges[114] Mountains, along the ridge
of which it continues to the border of Switzerland. In July 1870 the
French frontier ran eastwards from Luxemburg to the right bank of the
Rhine, and continued south along that river to Basel.[115] France, you
will observe, then possessed the two frontier provinces of Lorraine and
Alsace.[116] The most important town in these provinces is Strassburg,
on the left bank of the Rhine.

[Illustration]

Now look closely at the province of Lorraine, and find Metz. You see
that it is marked with a star, which indicates that it is a fortress. It
stands on a fertile peninsula, formed by the confluence of the
Seille[117] and the Moselle, and is surrounded by low-lying meadows,
which are now rich market gardens. There is hill country to the west and
hill country to the east and south, so that it is naturally a strong
place and capable of resisting attacks. At the time of which we are
speaking it was the strongest fortress of France.

Let us suppose that we have the invisible cloak of the fairies, and are
thus enabled to enter unseen the long dining-room of the Hôtel de
l'Europe in Metz during the closing days of July 1870. The first figure
to catch our eye is that of the Emperor Napoleon III. We observe that he
is a grave, dreamy man, with nothing of the first Napoleon's power and
determination. We guess that he is seriously ill, and our guess is true;
for he is suffering from an incurable complaint, which will soon render
him incapable of directing the affairs of the army and the country. Ever
since he was a child the great Napoleon has been his ideal, and he has
long dreamed of founding an empire just as great as his uncle's, but far
more lasting. By his side you see a boy of fourteen, the Prince
Imperial,[118] his only son. Before another month is over this boy
will receive his baptism of fire, and will bear himself on the
battlefield with a coolness far beyond his years. He will, however,
never wear the crown of France, and nine years later will receive his
death-wound while fighting for Britain in South Africa.

At a glance you perceive that Napoleon and the staff officers about him
are full of anxiety; and well they may be, for not half the expected
number of soldiers have mobilized, and the reserves are coming in by
driblets. Telegrams arrive every few moments from the generals,
beseeching the Emperor to send them transport, horses, and camp
equipment. The army is utterly incapable of advancing, and it is very
clear that the great dash across the Rhine must be put off. Meanwhile
the German armies are moving like a well-oiled machine. Three great
masses of men are assembling on the Rhine, ready to invade France. Their
plan of campaign has been thought out long ago; it is now being followed
to the letter. On the other hand, Napoleon and his generals are
powerless to move, and are chopping and changing their plans every day.
The Parisians are beginning to growl: "We ought to be across the Rhine
by now. Why does the Emperor wait? On to Berlin! to Berlin!"

On the 2nd of August something had to be done to allay the impatience of
the French people, and Napoleon ordered an advance on Saarbrücken,[119]
where a Prussian detachment of 1,300 lay. After a fight of three hours
the Prussians were driven back; but they retired in good order, and were
not pursued, neither was Saarbrücken occupied. Shortly afterwards the
tide of German invasion began to roll across the frontier. It consisted
of three armies, and comprised 447,000 men. Behind these armies was a
first reserve of 188,000 men, ready to be sent forward later; and behind
them, again, a second reserve of 160,000 men. In addition, there were
226,000 men to fill up the gaps caused by the killed and wounded. Von
Moltke's plan was that the three armies should march into France
separately, and then unite to give battle.

At Weissenburg,[120] which you will see on your map almost directly east
of Metz, the 3rd German army came in contact with the French.
MacMahon,[121] the French general, had no idea of how the German armies
were disposed, and he had sent but a single division to Weissenburg.
This division had to meet a whole German army, and though it struggled
gallantly for five hours, it was crushed by overwhelming odds. The
Emperor and his staff now lost their heads completely; all was confusion
and dismay.

The victorious Germans marched southwards towards Wörth,[122] where
Marshal MacMahon was striving to draw his scattered forces together. A
careless watch was kept, and early in the morning the marshal was
painfully surprised to find himself attacked by a force which greatly
outnumbered his own. He was well and strongly posted, and had with him a
number of fine Algerian troops;[123] but the enemy attacked with such
fierceness that, in spite of the desperate bravery of his men, they
could not hold their ground. Under cover of darkness the remnants of the
French army escaped.

The same day another calamity befell the French. The 1st and 2nd German
Armies had by this time crossed the Rhine, and were marching on
Saarbrucken. When the advanced guard reached that place, about nine on
the morning of the 6th of August, it discovered that the French, under
General Frossard,[124] were strongly entrenched on a plateau with steep
wooded sides. Almost immediately the French guns opened fire, and the
German troops at a distance from the battlefield marched "to the sound
of the guns." As each regiment arrived it was hurried into action, and
one of the fiercest and most deadly battles of the war began. The French
ought to have won. There were enough of their troops in the
neighbourhood to beat back the Germans, but the commanders had not been
trained to act together, and the consequence was that several divisions
of the army never came into the fight at all.

When darkness began to fall, Frossard fell back, and the Germans had won
a victory of which they were hardly aware. The poor, distracted Emperor
sent a telegram to Paris announcing this double defeat, and doubtfully
declaring, "All may yet be regained."

All the three German armies were now on French soil. The 3rd Army, which
formed the German left, was commanded by the Crown Prince, afterwards
the Emperor Frederick; the 1st Army, on the right, was under old General
Steinmetz;[125] and the 2nd Army, forming the centre, was under King
William's nephew, Prince Frederick Charles of Hohenzollern, called by
the soldiers the "Red Prince," because of his fondness for wearing the
red jacket of the famous Death's Head Hussars. The aged King William
held supreme command of these armies, and with him as chief of the staff
was von Moltke.

So great was the anger of the Parisians at the French defeats that the
Emperor hurried to the capital, leaving Marshal Bazaine[126] to command
the "Army of the Rhine." From Paris he ordered Bazaine to retreat on
Châlons,[127] the French Aldershot, and there join the remnant of
MacMahon's army and a reserve army which was being formed.

At once Bazaine began blundering. While the Germans were sending out
their cavalry to scout in all directions and to pick up information as
to the movements of the French, Bazaine made no such use of his mounted
men, and was quite ignorant of the doings of the Germans. He ought to
have retired on Metz with all speed, but he wasted much time. Only part
of his army was across the Moselle when the Germans attacked his
rearguard at a place called Colombey.[128] After a fight of seven hours,
darkness ended the battle, and the French claimed a victory. Both sides
had lost heavily, and Bazaine was wounded for the sixth time in his long
career, during which he had fought his way up from private to
field-marshal.

[Illustration: Napoleon III.

(_From the painting by J. H. Flandrin at Versailles._)]

The Emperor now joined his victorious army, and Bazaine continued his
retreat, which was to be by way of Verdun[129] to Châlons. There were
four roads by which Bazaine might have marched through the chalk downs
to Verdun, but he had ordered his whole army, 150,000 strong, to march
by a single road until they reached the village of Gravelotte,[130]
which stands seven miles west of Metz. I think you can form a good idea
of what this meant. The road was hopelessly cumbered with guns and
wagons, mounted men and foot soldiers, and this caused great confusion
and delay. So long was the column that it took two days and nights to
pass a given point. While it was slowly plodding up the sloping road to
Gravelotte, the Emperor lay in a little inn near the village, and
Bazaine went to see him. The old marshal was doubtful whether, after
having been wounded, he was fit to command the army. "It is nothing,"
said Napoleon. "You have won a victory. You have broken the spell. Bring
the army to Châlons, and all will yet be well."

[Illustration: The Germans at Gravelotte.

_From the picture by E. J. Hünten._]

That was the difficulty--to bring the army to Châlons. I am sure you do
not suppose that the Germans were idle while the French were slowly
moving along the crowded road to Gravelotte. As soon as King William
heard of the fight at Colombey he ordered his 2nd army to cross the
Moselle at a point nine or ten miles south of Metz, from which the Roman
road runs by way of Verdun to Châlons. When the army reached the river
it discovered that the bridges had not been destroyed, and was therefore
able to cross unmolested and hasten forward to cut off the French
retreat. Not a moment was wasted. On the morning of Tuesday, August
16th, the French army left Gravelotte, and found before it two roads,
both running across the downs to Châlons, the one a few miles to the
north of the other. One column travelled by the northern road, the other
by the southern road.

Napoleon and the Prince Imperial sped along the more northern road in
their carriage, and soon after bidding them farewell Bazaine learnt that
great masses of Prussian troops were rapidly advancing northwards to
cut him off. He halted some of his troops, and rode on towards the first
village on the road--Rezonville.[131] At that time the leading cavalry
of the French were at the village of Mars-la-Tour, some miles farther
along the same road. One German corps struck at the left of the French
line, while another tried to turn its flank at Mars-la-Tour. The battle
was long and fierce, and both sides claimed the victory. Bazaine
telegraphed to the Emperor: "The enemy left us masters of the
battlefield;" while Moltke sent the following message to King William:
"Our troops, worn out by a twelve hours' struggle, encamped on the
victorious field, opposite the French lines."

The fight was largely between cavalry, and there were several
magnificent charges. Two German cavalry regiments made a charge that day
which is remembered in the Fatherland as we in Great Britain remember
the charge of the "Six Hundred" at Balaclava. They dashed down on the
French guns, and sabred or rode down all the gunners save one. Then they
charged through a line of infantry, and turned to return. Out of 600 men
who rode in that "death-ride," only 194 ever came back.

[Illustration: Metz as it was in 1870.

_From the picture by Meyret._]

Next day the French retired to a line of hills lying north of the road
from Gravelotte to Metz. Here they dug trenches and threw up
embankments, and thus fortified themselves in a strong position. The
Germans attacked this position, but again the battle was indecisive. The
hardest fighting was near the village of St. Privat,[132] on the French
right wing, where the line was fiercely bombarded for several hours.
Attack after attack was made at this point, but none was successful
until the French defenders ran short of cartridges. Even then they
fought most stubbornly with the bayonet in and around the village, but
were overcome at last, and the left wing was turned. This meant that the
whole French army had to retire for protection to the forts of Metz.

       *     *     *     *     *

Visitors to this battlefield need no guide to show them the line of
heights which the Germans stormed so desperately and the French held so
stubbornly on that day. All along the ridge are monuments and mounds
marking the graves of the dead. Beneath some of the mounds hundreds of
bodies lie buried. "They rise like green islands out of the growing corn
or the ridges of the cultivated ground." A gigantic bronze statue of St.
Michael,[133] leaning on a long sword, has been erected on the summit
within a few hundred yards of the present frontier between France and
Germany. This statue was unveiled by Kaiser William II., who said that
he wished it to be a memorial not only to those who fought and died for
the German Fatherland but to those equally brave men who gave their
lives for France. In this terrible fight the loss of the French was
7,850 killed and wounded; that of the Germans, 19,640.

       *     *     *     *     *

[Illustration: Advance of the German Grenadiers at Nuits.

(_From the picture by G. Emelé._)

[This battle took place near Dijon, in December 1870.]]

When Bazaine reached Metz with his army he discovered that the railway
running north had been cut, and that he was surrounded. Two German
armies, numbering 160,000 men, were left to hem him in and wait until
starvation drove him to surrender. Two other armies were sent to meet
MacMahon, who was supposed to be at Châlons. The cavalry, however, soon
discovered that Châlons was deserted; MacMahon had marched north, with
what purpose could only be guessed. The cavalry hunted the country for
him, and at last found him trying to reach Metz so as to relieve
Bazaine. Had he pushed on with all speed he might have relieved Metz,
and, with the troops in that city, have formed a strong army which could
have faced the German legions once more. But he had wasted ten precious
days on the road, and this gave the Germans time to catch him up. They
came upon him unawares, for his watch had been carelessly kept, and his
men were cooking their dinners as the advance guards of the enemy burst
upon them. MacMahon found to his dismay that the Germans were between
him and Metz and that he was obliged to retreat. They drove him
northwards to the town of Sedan,[134] which you will find on the Meuse,
in a corner of the country from which there was no escape unless he
crossed the Belgian border. He might have done this and avoided the
onslaught of the Germans; but, as you know, the French had promised that
they would not trespass on Belgian soil, and they kept their word,
though it cost them dear.

Through the dark night, amidst a heavy downpour of rain, the men toiled
along the heavy roads in great confusion, and reached Sedan at nine next
morning. The Emperor, who was following MacMahon's army, arrived late at
night, without baggage or escort, and walked almost alone from the
railway station to the little town. Next day MacMahon tried to restore
some sort of order in his ranks and prepare his forces to meet the
enemy; but by nightfall the two German armies had so completely hemmed
them in that he could neither hope to break through nor escape if
defeated. His army was massed under the walls of Sedan in a valley known
as the Sink of Givonne,[135] in a sort of horse-shoe line, concave to
the enemy.

At five the next morning, on all the hills around, appeared the dark
masses of the German troops. Two hundred and fifty thousand men were in
a circle on the heights round the Sink of Givonne. They had come as
stealthily as serpents. They were there when the sun rose, and when the
French saw them they knew that all was over. The German guns commanded
every part of the crowded valley, and when they opened fire the result
was a massacre. One of the first to fall was MacMahon, who was struck
down by a bursting shell, and was carried from the field. Another
commander took his place, but no general, however great, could save the
French army, which was now a helpless, beaten mob.

That night the miserable Emperor, worn out by fatigue and suffering,
sent an aide-de-camp to the King of Prussia with a note containing this
message: "Not having been able to die in the midst of my troops, it only
remains for me to place my sword in the hands of your Majesty.--I am,
your Majesty's good brother, Napoleon."

Next day the fallen Emperor and Bismarck met in a weaver's house upon
the banks of the Meuse. Chairs were brought out, and they talked in the
open air. It was a glorious autumn morning. The Emperor looked careworn,
as well he might. He wished to speak with the King of Prussia before the
terms of surrender were drawn up, but William refused to see him. When,
however, terms had been arranged, the king visited the Emperor, who had
taken refuge in a country house, and showed him much kindness. The next
day the royal prisoner was sent to a palace in Germany, where he
remained until the end of the war.

Thus, on September 2, 1870, 80,000 French soldiers yielded, and were
marched as prisoners into Germany.

But what of Bazaine, who was shut up in Metz with 170,000 men? Several
times he tried to break through the ring of steel surrounding him, but
in vain. Famine and fever struck down his soldiers every day, and after
ten weeks he too was obliged to yield. On the 27th of October he handed
over the fortress, 170,000 prisoners, including three marshals of
France, and more than 1,500 guns. From this second great blow France
could not recover.

As soon as MacMahon's army had yielded at Sedan, the Germans without
loss of time began their march on Paris. When the news of the disaster
arrived, the Parisians deposed the Emperor and set up a republic. The
new government at once determined to defend Paris to the last.
Meanwhile, the Germans had entirely surrounded the city, and had begun
to starve it into submission. They did not fire on the city. There was
no need to do that, for hunger and disease were far more deadly weapons.
During four months the Parisians held out. When all the meat in the city
was consumed, they slaughtered the animals in the Zoological Gardens,
and at length were so short of food that a sewer rat was a delicacy.
From time to time balloons were sent up, and men and letters thus found
their way to the outer world. Carrier pigeons were also used to carry
messages, which were tucked into quills and concealed beneath their
wings. The new French Government, which had its headquarters at Tours,
called out every able-bodied man in the country, and strove with all its
might to relieve Paris. But the new soldiers, though full of heroism,
could not stand against the well-drilled and well-tried armies of
Germany. One by one the new French armies were defeated, and all hope of
relieving the capital vanished. At length Paris could hold out no
longer. On January 30, 1871, she yielded, and the hosts of Germany
marched through the streets in triumph and took possession of the city.
The ruin of France was complete.

       *     *     *     *     *

At this point let us pause a moment to notice with what great rapidity
the French were overcome. On the 4th of August the Germans crossed the
frontier; by the 22nd of the same month Bazaine was shut up in Metz; and
on the 2nd of September Napoleon and 80,000 men surrendered at Sedan.
Thirteen days later the siege of Paris began. Bazaine surrendered at
Metz on the 27th of October, and when Paris fell on the 30th of January
all was over. The whole campaign, from the moment the first gun was
fired to the day Paris fell, lasted only six months. As we shall see
later, the Germans believed that what they did in 1870-71 they could do
again in 1914.

[Illustration: The Defence of Paris.

[This picture does not represent an actual scene, but is intended to
illustrate the heroism of the defenders who freely gave their lives for
their city and country. France is shown in the centre of the picture as
a female figure. The angel of destruction, attended by a carrion crow is
seen on the upper corner on the left.]

_From the picture by J. L. Meissonier._]

[Footnote 113: Independent Grand Duchy (area 997 sq. m.) between France,
Belgium, and Germany. It forms a low plateau, and is drained by the
Moselle and its tributary the Sauer. Mining and iron smelting are the
chief occupations of the people.]

[Footnote 114: _Vōzh._ You will see their position on the map. The
highest point (4,680 ft.) is at the south end. The western slopes of the
mountains are thickly wooded, and the valleys give pasturage to many
cattle.]

[Footnote 115: _Bāl_, largest and richest town of Switzerland, on the
north bank of the Rhine, where it sweeps eastward.]

[Footnote 116: _Lor-rān´, āl-säs´._]

[Footnote 117: _Say._]

[Footnote 118: Born 1856; died 1879. After 1870 he lived with his mother
at Chislehurst in Kent, and entered the Royal Military Academy at
Woolwich.]

[Footnote 119: _Zar´brūk-en_, on left bank of Saar, 38 miles east of
Metz, in a coal-mining district.]

[Footnote 120: _Vīs´en-boorg_, 33 miles north-east of Strassburg.]

[Footnote 121: Born 1808; died 1893. He was made duke and field-marshal
after saving the day at Magenta (see p. 88).]

[Footnote 122: _Vaert_, village, 12 miles south of Weissenburg.]

[Footnote 123: From Algeria (_Al-jē´ri-a_), African colony of France
fronting the Mediterranean Sea, inhabited chiefly by Moors.]

[Footnote 124: _Fross-ar_, born 1807; died 1875. He had been a colonel
in the Crimean War.]

[Footnote 125: _Stīn´mets_, born 1796; died 1877. Was in command of the
Prussian army which gained victories over the Austrians in 1866.]

[Footnote 126: _Baz-ane´_, born 1811; died 1888. Marshal of France;
previously saw service in Algeria, Spain, Italy, Morocco, the Crimea and
Mexico. In 1873 he was denounced as a traitor and sentenced to death,
but let off with twenty years' imprisonment. In August 1874 he escaped
to Madrid, where he died.]

[Footnote 127: _Sha-lon_, on the Marne, 92 miles east of Paris. The camp
(45 sq. m.) is 12 miles north of the town.]

[Footnote 128: Called by the French the battle of Borny; village 2½
miles from Metz.]

[Footnote 129: _Vār-dun´_, town and fortress of France on right bank of
the Meuse; 35 miles by rail west of Metz.]

[Footnote 130: _Grav´lot_.]

[Footnote 131: _Reh-zon-veel´_.]

[Footnote 132: Nine miles north-west of Metz.]

[Footnote 133: One of the seven archangels, considered to be the
guardian of Israel.]

[Footnote 134: _Seh-don´_.]

[Footnote 135: _Gee-von´_.]



  CHAPTER XI.

  FRANCE UNDER THE HARROW.


Before Paris fell, Bismarck's hour of triumph had arrived. The
headquarters of the German armies around Paris was at Versailles,[136]
where King William held his court in the palace of the French emperors.
Early in December King Ludwig of Bavaria proposed that a German empire
should be established, and that the King of Prussia should be its first
emperor. All the leading states gladly agreed, and on January 18, 1871,
an imposing ceremony took place in the great gallery of the palace at
Versailles. Every regiment around Paris sent its colours in charge of
an officer and two non-commissioned officers, and all the chiefs of the
army were present. A chaplain read a special service, and then the king,
ascending a dais, announced himself German Emperor, and called upon
Bismarck to read a proclamation addressed to the whole German nation.

[Illustration: Proclaiming the German Emperor at Versailles, January 18,
1871.

_From the picture by Anton von Werner._

1. Duke Ernest of Saxe-Coburg-Gortha. 2. Crown Prince, afterwards
Frederick II. 3. William I. 4. Grand Duke of Boden. 5. Bismark. 6.
Molke.]

The Crown Prince, as the first subject of the empire, came forward and
kneeled before his father in homage. The Emperor raised him, and clasped
in his arms the son who had toiled and fought and borne so great a share
in bringing about that unity which the German peoples had so long
desired.

       *     *     *     *     *

On the 24th of February terms of peace were arranged, and on the 15th of
March peace was signed. Before I tell you how France was punished by her
conqueror, I wish to introduce to you two men who fought in this
war--the one a Frenchman, the other an Englishman. If you were to see
the Frenchman to-day you would find him a sturdy, thick-set man, with a
heavy white moustache, huge eyebrows, and teeth that flash when he
speaks. His head is massive, his neck is short and thick, and he gives
you the idea of a trustworthy watch-dog. He is General Joffre,[137]
Commander-in-Chief of the French army.

[Illustration: General Joffre, Commander-in-Chief of the French Armies.]

He was a lad of eighteen, a cadet at a military school, when the
Franco-German War broke out. At once he was promoted second lieutenant
and attached to a regiment of artillery. During the siege of Paris he
fought his gun bravely against the Germans. Since that time he has seen
much fighting, and his countrymen know him to be strong and silent--"a
great soldier and a great man." He now commands the armies of France
against the foe with whom he fought as a boy of eighteen. France and her
soldiers have laid to heart the lessons of those terrible days, and the
present war sees them no less brave, but far better prepared to meet
their old enemy.

When the war began, an English boy of twenty, a cadet of the Royal
Military Academy at Woolwich, was staying with his father in Brittany.
Without waiting to consult his father or his masters at Woolwich, he
enlisted in the French army as a private, and joined the 2nd Army of the
Loire. An attack of pneumonia put an end to his services, but not before
he had realized the terrible peril which a nation runs when unprepared
for war. One of his experiences with the French army was a perilous
ascent in a war balloon; forty-three years later he made his first
aeroplane flight.

That boy is now Field-Marshal Earl Kitchener,[138] the British Secretary
of State for War, the man whom we all regard as our organizer of
victory. Since the days when he fought against the Germans in France he
has seen warfare in many lands, especially in Africa. In 1898 he
overcame the Mahdi[139] in the Sudan, and it was largely due to him that
the Boers were forced to make peace after the long war of 1899-1902. A
German general who was with him in the Sudan said: "Lord Kitchener was
cool and perfectly calm; he gave his orders without in the least raising
his voice; he always made the right arrangements at the right moment. He
seemed to be absolutely indifferent to personal danger, and never did
anything out of bravado. Acting is out of the question with him; he is
always perfectly natural." Such is the man who is the Secretary for War
at this time of national stress and anxiety. The Germans were his first
foes. Let us hope that they will be his last.

       *     *     *     *     *

France paid dearly for her defeat. Germany demanded £200,000,000, and
ordained that a German army should remain on French soil until this huge
sum was paid. It seemed at first sight quite impossible for France to
find the money; but so rich is her soil, and so thrifty are her
peasants, that the whole of it was paid by the end of the year 1874. To
most Frenchmen this was by no means the heaviest blow which France
suffered. When Germany took back Eastern Lorraine and Alsace, which, you
will remember, had once been her own, there was the deepest shame and
sorrow throughout the land, and thousands of Frenchmen swore they would
never rest until these provinces had been recovered. Though forty-three
years have come and gone since that black day, Frenchmen have never
forgotten the shame which they then endured. They have mourned without
ceasing for Alsace and Lorraine, and that is why the statue of
Strassburg in the Place de la Concorde has been draped in black for so
many years. Every patriotic Frenchman believes that, when the present
war is over, the tricolour will once more wave from the towers of Alsace
and Lorraine.

       *     *     *     *     *

[Illustration: Field-Marshal Lord Kitchener, British Secretary for War.]

Most of the people in Alsace were French by descent and by sympathy, and
they were greatly distressed when they found that they must become
subjects of Germany. When the Germans tried to force the German language
on them, they were reduced to despair. I think the best way to explain
to you their feelings is to ask you to read the following pathetic
little story, which was written by a great French novelist, named
Alphonse Daudet.[140] It is entitled--

"The Last French Lesson."

"This morning I was late in going to school, and I was very much afraid
of a reprimand, as Mr. Hamel had said he would question me on the
participles, and I had not prepared a single word. For a moment I
thought of playing truant; the day was warm and bright, the blackbirds
were whistling, and the Prussian soldiers were at drill in the park. I
managed to resist all these attractions, however, and hurried on to
school.

"In passing the mayor's house, I saw that a new notice was posted up on
the board, which every one stopped to read. Many a sad notice had been
posted up there during the last two years--news of battles lost, and
orders for men and money for the war. As I passed on, the blacksmith,
who was standing there, called to me, 'Don't hurry, my boy; you will be
at your school soon enough to-day.' I thought he was making fun of me,
and ran on.

"When I reached the playground, I did not hear that buzz of noise which
I had counted on to enable me to get to my place unnoticed. Everything
was quiet. You may imagine how frightened I was at having to open the
door and enter in the midst of this silence. But Mr. Hamel only looked
at me, and said in a kindly voice, 'Hurry to your place, my little
Franz; we were about to commence without you.'

"When I was seated at my own desk, I had time to notice that the master
had on his handsome green coat, his finely-embroidered shirt-front, and
his black silk skull-cap, all of which he wore in school only on
examination days and at the distribution of prizes. But what surprised
me most was to see the benches at the end of the room, which were
usually unoccupied, filled by the old people of the town, all sitting
silent like ourselves.

"Mr. Hamel took his seat, and in a grave, sweet voice he said, 'My
children, this is the last time I shall teach you. The order has come
from Berlin that nothing but German is to be taught in the schools of
Alsace. The new master will come to-morrow. To-day is your last lesson
in French. Be very attentive, I pray you.'

"Now I understood why he had put on his fine Sunday clothes, and why the
old men were seated at the end of the room. My last French lesson! Why,
I could hardly write. How I regretted the time I had wasted in
bird-nesting and in sliding on the Saar! My books, that I had found so
wearisome, now seemed old friends that were about to leave me.

[Illustration: Alsace.

(_From the picture by Henriette Browne._)]

"I heard my name called. What would I not have given to be able to
recite all those rules of the participles without a blunder! But I could
only stand silent, with a swelling heart, not daring to look up.

"'I will not scold you, my little Franz,' said Mr. Hamel, in a sad tone;
'you are punished enough. Every day you have said, 'I have time
enough--I will learn to-morrow;' and now what has happened? This putting
off instruction till to-morrow has been the fault of us all in Alsace.
Now the invaders say to us, 'How can you pretend to be French, when you
cannot read and write your own language?'

"Mr. Hamel went on to speak of the French language, saying that it was
the most beautiful, the most polished, and the richest language in the
world, and that we must now watch over each other and see that we never
forgot it; for even when a people become slaves, while they keep their
own language it is as if they held the key to their prison.

"Then he took up a grammar, and went over our lesson with us. I was
astonished to find that I could understand it quite easily. I had never
listened so eagerly, and the master had never explained so patiently. It
seemed as if he wished to make all his knowledge enter our heads at
once.

"Next we passed to writing. He had prepared an entirely new exercise for
us, to be written in round hand: 'France, Alsace; France, Alsace.' How
eagerly each one applied himself! Nothing could be heard but the
scratching of the pens upon the paper. A butterfly entered, but no one
stopped to watch it.

"Mr. Hamel sat silent in the chair he had occupied for forty years.
To-morrow he would leave the country for ever; even now we could hear
his sister in the room above packing the trunks. Yet he had the courage
to go through the school work to the end.

"Suddenly the clock struck noon. At the same time the bugles of the
Prussian soldiers sounded under our windows, where they had come to
drill.

"Mr. Hamel rose, pale, but full of dignity.

"'My friends,' he said in a low voice--'my friends, I--' But he was not
able to finish the sentence.

"He turned to the blackboard, and with a piece of chalk wrote, in
letters that covered the whole board, '_Vive la France!_'

"Then he stopped, leaned against the wall, and without saying a word, he
waved his hand as if to say, 'The end has come; go!'"


[Footnote 136: _Vār-sa´y´_, French town, 11 miles south-west of Paris,
containing a famous palace of Louis XIV., said to have cost
£40,000,000.]

[Footnote 137: _Jofr_, born 1852.]

[Footnote 138: Born 1850.]

[Footnote 139: _Mah´di_, false prophet of the Mohammedans, who preached
a holy war in the Sudan, that part of Africa south of Egypt and the
Sahara. He was conquered by a British and Egyptian force at Omdurman in
1885.]

[Footnote 140: _Dō-dā´_, born 1840, died 1897, one of the greatest
French novelists of the later nineteenth century. He has been compared,
not unjustly, with Dickens.]



  CHAPTER XII.

  THE BOYHOOD OF THE KAISER.


I must now redeem the promise which I made to you at the beginning of
Chapter III., and tell you the story of the present Kaiser. His father
was that young prince whom we saw clasped in his father's arms at the
great moment when the German Empire was proclaimed at Versailles. His
mother was Princess Victoria, the eldest child of our own Queen Victoria
and the Prince Consort. So you see that the Kaiser and King George are
first cousins.

Princess Victoria was a clever, sprightly girl when the Crown Prince
came to woo her at Balmoral, and Queen Victoria in her _Journal_ gives
the following charming account of how the two young people plighted
their troth:--

      "_September 29, 1855._

    "Our dear Victoria was this day engaged to Prince Frederick
    William of Prussia, who had been on a visit to us since the
    14th. He had already spoken to us on the 20th of his wishes; but
    we were uncertain, on account of her extreme youth, whether he
    should speak to her himself, or wait till he came back again.
    However, we felt it better he should do so, and during our ride
    up Craig-na-Ban this afternoon he picked a piece of white
    heather (the emblem of 'good luck'), which he gave to her; and
    this enabled him to make an allusion to his hopes and wishes as
    they rode down Glen Girnock, which led to this happy
    conclusion."

The Princess was a little more than seventeen years of age when she thus
became engaged, and her lover was twenty-four. At this time his uncle,
Frederick William IV., was King of Prussia, and his father, afterwards
the first German Emperor, was Crown Prince. The happy pair were married
at Windsor with great pomp and circumstance on January 25, 1858. Three
years later the bridegroom's uncle died, his father was crowned King of
Prussia, and he became Crown Prince.

[Illustration: Prince William (afterwards Emperor William I.) with his
wife and family at the Castle of Babelsberg.

[The little boy with the sword afterwards became the Crown Prince and
the father of the present Kaiser.]]

When the young bride arrived in Berlin her youth and happy disposition
won her many friends; but Bismarck was not among them. He did not like
her--first, because she was British, and secondly, because she was
clever, and had a great influence over her husband. He thought with the
present Kaiser that women should give all their attention to _Kinder_,
_Küche_, _Kirche_,[141] and not meddle in matters of State. The Princess
had come from a land where her mother reigned as queen, and she
naturally expected to be something more than the mere mistress of a
household. Bismarck did his best to keep her in the background, and no
love was lost between them. As time went by, the Princess was much
misunderstood.

Her first child--the present Kaiser--was born on January 27, 1859. When
Queen Victoria heard the news, she telegraphed, "Is it a _fine_ boy?" It
was a fine boy, for an old field-marshal who saw him when he was but a
few hours old declared that he was as strapping a recruit as one could
ever wish for. There is a story told that when the little prince, still
in long clothes, was shown by his proud father to a group of princes and
generals and statesmen, one of them took out his watch to amuse the
baby. Instantly the little fellow grabbed the prize, and would not let
it go. "You see, gentlemen," said the father, "that when a Hohenzollern
once gets hold of a thing he does not easily let it go."

Though the child was a fine boy, he had one defect--his left arm was
shorter and weaker than his right, and even to this day he cannot raise
it to his shoulder, though he can use it in driving or playing the
piano. This withered arm has always been a great source of bitterness to
him.

As a baby he had an English nurse, and his mother devoted herself to
him. His early upbringing was far too English to suit many of the
Germans, and all sorts of stories were told about the harshness of the
Princess to her children. There was not a word of truth in them. The
Princess loved her children greatly, and spared no pains to bring them
up in the best possible way.

The boy was reared amidst wars and the rumours of wars. He was only a
few months old when King William and Bismarck were struggling with the
Parliament over the army law, which you read about on page 79. He was
only five years old when the war broke out with Denmark, and seven years
old when the Austrian War began. In his tenth year, according to the
custom of his House, he was made second lieutenant of the 1st Foot
Guards. A little more than a year later his regiment marched away to the
war in France, and the little lieutenant was eager to accompany them.
When his father told him that he was too young, he burst into tears.
Many years later he said that he well remembered the day on which war
was declared.

[Illustration: Views in Potsdam.

1. Palace of Sans-Souci. 2. Castle of Babelsberg. 3. Brandenburg Gate.
4. The Orangery. 5. The New Palace.]

"It was at Potsdam. We were about to take our places at table for
dinner, when my father, pale and much overcome, came suddenly into the
room. 'It is all over,' he said, in a broken voice, as he embraced us.
'France wishes for war. Ah, my children, what a frightful misfortune!'"

I do not think that the children would be able to understand what their
father meant when he spoke of the frightful misfortune of war. At
Potsdam, the beautiful country place near Berlin where they lived, they
saw only the bright and dashing side of war. Little William loved to
strut with drawn sword by the side of his regiment, and try to keep pace
with the long-legged guardsmen as they performed the high and prancing
step in which the German army indulges. Especially did he love to be
with his regiment when the king came to review the troops. His
grandfather would pass in front of his soldiers and say, "Good morning,
Uhlans, or Cuirassiers," as the case might be, and then would come a
noise like thunder, as every man in the regiment shouted at the top of
his voice, "Good morning, your Majesty!" How the boy's eyes flashed, and
how his heart leaped within him at all this martial parade! One day,
perhaps, he would command the German army, and then--.

Cannot you imagine how the boy swelled with pride as the story of
victory after victory came to his ears? When they told him that his
grandfather was now German Emperor, he could not fail to remember that
some day he would be German Emperor too.

His grandfather had added great glory to the House of Hohenzollern. When
his turn came to sit on the throne, he would give it even greater glory.

On his twelfth birthday he received as a present a wonderful panorama of
the Franco-German War. He delighted in this toy, and no doubt it made
him long more than ever to be a leader of armies and a victor in battle.

By this time it was clear to his parents and tutors that he was a very
clever boy. He was exceedingly quick, and he took the greatest possible
interest in his sports and studies. He desired to shine in them all. His
mother determined that he should be brought up as an English boy, and
that he should live an outdoor life, and learn to play outdoor games. A
number of other boys were chosen as his playmates, and he and his
brothers spent many merry hours in the park at Sans-Souci. He became a
good fencer, a good shot, a good rider, a good swimmer, and a good
oarsman. On horseback he accustomed himself to hold the reins with his
weak left arm, so that he might have his sword-arm free.

His younger brother Henry was to become a sailor, so masts and rigging
were set up in the park, and many a mimic battle was fought round this
ship on dry land. Better still, on the lake there was a complete frigate
mounted with guns, which the boys loved to fire. A little steam tender
was provided to tow the frigate home in case the wind should fail, and a
party of bluejackets was always on duty to look after the vessels.

This is what his English tutor wrote about him at this time:--

    "After an experience of teaching many hundreds of English boys
    of the same age, I do not hesitate to say that Prince William
    could read English as well, and knew as much of English history
    and English literature, as boys of fifteen at an ordinary
    English public school. Since then I have given hundreds of
    lessons to many hundreds of boys, but a more promising pupil
    than Prince William, or more gentlemanly, frank, and natural
    boys than both Prince William and his younger brother I can
    honestly say it has never been my lot to meet."

When the Prince was fifteen he was sent to a German public school, where
he was made to study very hard. This was the kind of day which he spent.
He rose before six in the morning, and prepared his lessons until it was
time to go to school. At twelve he returned home for lunch, and then
went back to school until five. Bedtime was at nine. The rest of his
time was taken up with lessons in French, English, music, shooting, and
in riding or taking walks. Sometimes he and his brother were allowed to
play with their schoolfellows, and this was a great treat to them. On
their birthdays, and on the birthdays of their near relations, they were
usually taken to a theatre. By way of pocket-money, Prince William
received five shillings a week and Prince Henry two shillings and
sixpence.

Though William was a clever and diligent lad, he was not a brilliant
pupil. When the time came for him to leave school for the university he
had to pass an examination; he was tenth out of seventeen candidates,
and his certificate was marked "satisfactory." Shortly afterwards he was
sent to a university.

[Illustration: The Prussian Guard, the flower of the German army, and
the pride of the Kaiser.

_Photo, Record Press._]

At the University of Bonn he was accompanied by an aide-de-camp, who
did everything in his power to foster the young man's already keen
interest in soldiering. At this time he also received instruction from
the three men who, more than any others, had made German history--the
Emperor William, Bismarck, and Moltke. The Emperor taught him to
reverence the name and fame of the Hohenzollerns; to believe himself
chosen specially by God for his high office; to do his duty without fear
or favour, and not to be turned from his path by the wishes of his
people if he thought them wrong. Bismarck deeply impressed upon him the
policy of "blood and iron;" taught him how to manage Parliament and the
people; and how to deal with foreign countries, so that the name and
fame of the Fatherland might grow in greatness. Moltke instructed him in
the art of war.

The Crown Prince himself had none of the high and mighty notions of
Bismarck. He had no desire to prevent the people from obtaining freedom
to rule themselves, and many Germans believed that his wife had taught
him that the British way of governing was the wisest and best. The upper
classes in Germany, and especially the great land-owning nobles, hated
these ideas of liberty for the people. They believed that the whole duty
of the middle and working classes was to pay and obey, and they grew
more and more angry with the Princess, who was supposed to be leading
the Crown Prince astray. Meanwhile Bismarck was doing his best to teach
Prince William that he must be a man of blood and iron. How well the
young man learnt the lesson we now know--only too well.

While he was at Bonn he joined the "crack" fencing club, and proudly
wore its colours and its white cap. He attended its beer-drinking bouts
and "sing-songs," and watched his companions fighting duels. Though he
did not fight himself, he greatly admired seeing others do so; and in
later years, when he was old enough to know better, he hoped that the
students would always take delight in handling the duelling blade,
because it made them strong and courageous.

[Footnote 141: Children, Cooking, Church.]



  CHAPTER XIII.

  CROWN PRINCE AND KAISER.


In the autumn of 1878 Prince William paid a visit to his royal
grandmother at Balmoral. As he passed through London he met Princess
Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, who happened to be staying with her
uncle in England, and on February 27, 1881, he married her. Bismarck
approved of the marriage, for the bride's father had all along claimed
Schleswig-Holstein[142] as his own, and had continually objected to
Prussia's action in seizing these provinces. The marriage put an end to
the Duke's claims, and was, in Bismarck's words, "the concluding act of
joy in a drama otherwise rich in strife."

The Germans were specially pleased that the young Prince had chosen a
German bride, and they cheered the happy pair to the echo. After the
wedding the Prince and Princess made their home in the Marble Palace at
Potsdam, and there, on May 6, 1882, their first son, the present Crown
Prince, was born. When old King William heard the news, he cried, "God
be praised and thanked! Four generations of kings!"

Prince William now threw himself with energy into his military duties.
He became colonel of the famous Hussar regiment, the Garde du Corps, and
was speedily renowned as a brilliant and dashing cavalry officer. When
he led his regiment for the first time before the old Emperor at a
review, his uncle, the famous "Red Prince," who was a man very difficult
to please, said, "You have done very well; I should never have believed
it."

Not only did the Prince give his nights and days to the study of war,
but he also began to study the business arrangements of the Empire, and
to make himself acquainted at first hand with the work of the Foreign
Office. Old Bismarck watched his progress keenly. He believed that the
young Prince would prove an emperor after his own heart; that he would
care nothing for parliaments, and stand up for his imperial rights like
a rock of bronze. So popular did he become, and so much was he admired,
that the people began to overlook his father, the Crown Prince,
altogether. Military men had never regarded the Crown Prince with
favour, and he was now almost eclipsed by his strong-willed, eager,
gifted son. The ruling classes of Prussia saw in him the man who would
surely lead them on to military glory.

In the spring of 1887 a growth appeared in the Crown Prince's throat. It
increased so rapidly that soon he could only speak in a strained, husky
voice. He gradually grew worse, and an English doctor was summoned by
the Crown Princess to examine him. She was much blamed for putting her
faith in an English doctor rather than in German doctors, and many
bitter things were said about her. When the old Emperor heard of his
son's affliction he was overwhelmed with grief. "I have only one wish,"
he said, "which I should like to be gratified before I die, and that is
to hear my poor son Fritz speak as clearly as he used to do." Alas! this
was a wish never to be realized. The poor Crown Prince had lost his
voice for ever.

At the first sign of his father's serious illness all eyes were turned
to Prince William, who began to appear on all sorts of public occasions,
and make speeches about the military glories of his house, and its
bulwark, the Army. At this time there was some trouble with France and
Russia, and the German army was increased by more than half a million
men. Bismarck, who had made a secret treaty with Austria as far back as
1879, went to Parliament and explained the situation in what is thought
to be his greatest speech. He thus concluded: "We Germans fear God, and
nothing else in the world." There was no more delighted listener in the
assembly than Prince William. This defiant speech exactly suited his
temper of mind. He was all for military glory, and though in after years
he constantly declared himself the friend of peace, and more than once
strove to preserve it, we now know that towards the end of the year 1913
he was ready to stake all upon a war which would make him master of
Europe.

[Illustration: "Four Generations of Kings."

The old Emperor William I. is seated, nursing his great-grandson, the
present Crown Prince, who was born in 1882. On the left stands the Crown
Prince, who became the Emperor Frederick III. on the death of William I.
in 1888. On the right stands his son, the baby's father, Prince William,
who became Emperor on the death of his father, after a brief reign of
eighty-four days (1888). When the old Emperor learnt that a
great-grandson had been born to him, he cried, "God be praised and
thanked! Four generations of kings!" He could not, of course, foresee
the present war, which may bring about the ruin of his house and make
his prophecy false. You will learn something of the present Crown Prince
later on.]

The sands of the old Emperor's life were now fast running out. He was
ninety-one years of age, and he had felt his son's affliction very
keenly. It was Prince William who watched over the last few years of the
old Kaiser's life. It was to him that the aged monarch gave warning and
counsel for the future. He advised his grandson to be patient and
dutiful during his father's reign, which could not last long, and he
begged him to be "considerate" to Russia, for he had always feared to
make an enemy of that great Power. He knew full well that if ever
Germany should come to blows with Russia, France would attack her, and
thus she would have to fight two wars, one on each frontier, at the same
time. Then the old man begged Bismarck to remain in office, no matter
what should befall; and a few days later he died, full of years and
honour, leaving the imperial crown to his poor afflicted son. His dying
words were, "Fritz, lieber[143] Fritz."

William was now Crown Prince, and he knew that he would soon be Emperor.
His poor father was a doomed man. He reigned eighty-four days, and bore
his sufferings with the greatest fortitude. He once wrote to the Crown
Prince: "Learn to suffer without complaint, for that is all that I can
teach you." With his broken-hearted wife and some of his devoted
servants kneeling round him, he breathed his last on June 15, 1888, and
the Crown Prince in his twenty-ninth year became Kaiser as William II.

How he received the news of his father's death we do not know, but in
less than half an hour he called out a squadron of Hussars in their red
jackets, and sent them clattering to the Palace where the dead Emperor
lay. They surrounded the building, and behind them came a company of
infantry at the double. The place was thus sealed up, and no one was
allowed to go in or come out. Before his poor mother had recovered from
her first transports of grief the home in which her dead husband lay was
in a state of siege.

[Illustration: The Emperor Frederick III.

(_From the picture by Heinrich von Angeli._)]

The late Emperor had issued his first proclamation to his people, and
his second to his Army, but the new Emperor reversed the order. On the
day of his father's death he sent messages to the Army and Navy, and
kept his people waiting three days before they received their
proclamation. To the Army he wrote as follows:--

"I and the army belong to one another; we are born for one another, and
we will stand together in an indissoluble bond in peace or storm, as God
may will. I swear always to remember that the eyes of my ancestors look
down upon me from the other world, and that one day I shall have to give
an account to them of the honour and glory of the army."

Then he proceeded to bury his father, but there was none of the military
pomp which had been seen at the Emperor William's funeral. It looked as
though the new sovereign thought lightly of his own father because he
was a peace-loving monarch, and had determined to follow the example of
the "War Lord" who had brought France to her knees, and by doing so had
created the German Empire.

In the passage quoted above the Emperor spoke of the bond which united
him with the Army. Let us see what this bond is. As King of Prussia he
is supreme over the Prussian army; he can declare peace or war as he
pleases, though, of course, his people must vote him "the sinews of
war"--that is, money, before he can set his armies in motion. In
ordinary times the Prussian army forms about two-thirds of the whole
German army, so you see that as King of Prussia the Kaiser is a very
powerful "war lord" indeed.

As German Emperor his position is quite different. He is the leader of
the five-and-twenty sovereigns and free cities which are united into the
German Empire, and before he can declare war he must call together the
representatives of all these states, and obtain their consent. Each of
the states has to send to the German army a certain number of troops,
according to its population. In peace time the Kaiser has the right to
inspect them, and to see that they are properly trained and ready to
take the field. As soon as war is declared, he takes the supreme
command, not only of the Prussian soldiers, but also of all the other
German troops.

I cannot now tell you the Kaiser's story in detail. I can only dwell on
a few incidents that reveal his character. When he first opened the
Prussian Parliament in state he declared, amidst a perfect storm of
applause, that he should be guided by the maxim of Frederick the
Great--that the King of Prussia was but the first servant of the state.
To do him justice, he has devoted himself unsparingly to the duties of
his high office; and though he has made many mistakes, and has brought
his Empire to the edge of the precipice over which it bids fair to
topple in utter ruin, he has always laboured, according to his lights,
to make Germany overwhelmingly strong in war and prosperous in peace.
But from the first he meant to do this in his own way. He clearly told
the Prussian Parliament that, while he had no desire to take away such
liberties as the people had, he would never yield one jot or tittle of
his rights as king. British sovereigns know that they derive all their
power from their people, but the Kaiser has always held that he holds
his throne directly from God. Some years later he said:--

"_The German people are the chosen of God. On me, on me as German
Emperor, the Spirit of God has descended. I am His weapon, His sword,
and His viceregent. Woe to cowards and unbelievers!_"

"_There is only one master in this country. I am he, and I shall suffer
no other beside me._"

"_There is only one law--my law, the law which I myself lay down._"

Four years ago, at Königsberg, he repeated his claim to "divine right"
in the following words:--

"_It was on this spot that my grandfather placed the royal crown of
Prussia on his head,[144] insisting once again that it was bestowed upon
him by the grace of God alone, and not by Parliaments and meetings and
decisions of the people. He thus regarded himself as the chosen
instrument of Heaven. I consider myself such an instrument of Heaven,
and shall go my way without regard to the views and opinions of the
day._"

[Illustration: The Kaiser Wilhelm II. opening his First Parliament.

(_From the picture by Anton von Werner._)]

Now to you and me such statements as this seem to be the ravings of a
madman, and we wonder why the Prussians permit one man to lord it over
them in this fashion. The explanation is that the Prussians have never
known any other condition of things; that though every man over
twenty-five has a vote, matters are so arranged that a hundred rich men
have more voting power than two thousand poor men. The nobles and the
officials dislike popular liberty, and they do their utmost to prevent
any further rights being granted to the people. Then, again, as every
Prussian must be a soldier for one or more years, the nation has been
well drilled into submission. All Prussians know that the Empire was
founded by the sword, and they believe that it can only be maintained in
the same way. The majority of them, therefore, regard the Emperor as
their commanding officer, and are prepared to obey him with
unquestioning obedience.

       *     *     *     *     *

William had not been long on the throne before he quarrelled with
Bismarck, the wily old Chancellor who had served his grandfather so long
and so faithfully, and had taught the young Emperor all the tricks of
government. The fact was, that while Bismarck remained Chancellor,
William could not truthfully say, "There is only one master in this
country. I am he." All the Prussians who were not jealous of Bismarck
knew that he was the chief maker of the German Empire, and they,
therefore, held him in the greatest honour and esteem. The old man was
very strong and self-willed; so was the young monarch, who was extremely
vain as well, and quite confident that he could do everything he turned
his hand to better than anybody else. William therefore determined to
dismiss Bismarck, and treated the old man in such a manner that he
resigned office. When the Chancellor went to the Palace to give up his
seals he still thought that the Emperor would give way. He was soon
undeceived. After listening to the Kaiser for some time, Bismarck said,
"Then I am in your way, sir?" To which William replied, "Yes." He had
already got rid of Moltke.

In the early part of his reign William had treated his mother very
harshly, probably because he thought this would be pleasing to those of
his subjects who hated Britain. He now began to behave better to his
mother, and then suggested to his grandmother, Queen Victoria, that he
should pay her a visit in England. She agreed, and he came amongst us
for the first time as German Emperor. He was present at a naval review,
and the Queen made him, to his great delight, a British admiral. In
return, he made the old Queen colonel of one of his regiments.
Thereafter he professed great friendship for our country. When Queen
Victoria died he walked behind her coffin along the streets of Windsor,
side by side with his uncle, King Edward VII., and showed great grief.

[Illustration: King Edward VII. and the Kaiser following the coffin of
Queen Victoria through the streets of Windsor.]

On his return to Germany the Emperor shone in the full blaze of the
limelight as the one only man in the whole land. He made many speeches,
declaring over and over again that he was the chosen of God, and
assuring his subjects that all who would help in his great task would be
heartily welcomed, but those who attempted to oppose him would be dashed
in pieces. Of course there were many Germans who greatly disliked the
acts and speeches of their boastful and meddlesome sovereign. On one
occasion he told these critical persons that if they were dissatisfied
they should "shake the dust of Germany from their feet." A newspaper
pointed out that if all those who were dissatisfied in the German Empire
were to emigrate, his Imperial Majesty would be left entirely alone, and
then he also would be dissatisfied and would leave too!

At various times during his reign the Emperor has tried hard to win the
favour of the peoples who have been forcibly included in the German
Empire. He went to Alsace, and made a gracious speech in Strassburg; but
later on, at Metz, he harshly told the people of Lorraine, "German you
are, and German you will remain. May God and our German sword help us to
effect this." These words were meant to crush any hopes that the people
might entertain of one day being reunited with France. He also went
amongst the Poles,[145] who have never been satisfied with German rule,
and severely rebuked the nobles and the citizens. When he was leaving
one of the Polish towns he said to the Mayor, "I hope that my words will
be well borne in mind, for you know that I can be very disagreeable
too."

Not content with being supreme in government, William now set up to be a
judge of art and poetry in the Empire. He wrote a set of verses of pagan
fierceness, and sent for an artist, and gave him the idea of the picture
which you see on page 142. It represents the civilized nations of Europe
standing in the midst of mountains, valleys, and cities, with the castle
of Hohenzollern in the foreground. Confronting the nations is a sea of
flames and clouds of smoke, which are twisted into the form of terrible
faces, representing the Chinese and Japanese. Buddha[146] sits enthroned
in the midst of this framework as the demon of destruction. The
Archangel Michael with a flaming sword appears in front of the civilized
nations, urging them to prepare for a terrific conflict. Underneath the
original picture the Emperor wrote, "Nations of Europe, defend your
holiest possessions." You will observe that in this picture, which is
supposed to warn us of what is called the Yellow Peril,[147] Germany is
the chief figure, and that clinging to her is her ally, Austria.

Early in the year 1895 the Kaiser began to turn his thoughts to the
Navy. Already he had the finest and best-organized army in the world;
now he desired to win the sovereignty of the seas as well. "Germany's
future," he said, "is upon the waters." The navy which he proposed to
build was out of all proportion to the number of merchant ships which
Germany possessed, and from the first many people in this country
rightly guessed that it was meant to be the means of overcoming Great
Britain. The Kaiser also caused a canal to be dug through
Schleswig-Holstein, so as to unite the North Sea with the Baltic Sea, in
order that his warships might rapidly pass from one to the other. The
work of enlarging and deepening this canal was only finished in June
1914, within six weeks of the outbreak of war.

       *     *     *     *     *

All this time envy and hatred of Britain was growing in Germany. Thanks
to hard work, great perseverance, and much thought, Germany had become a
great manufacturing nation, the rival of Great Britain. She felt that
she was marked out to be the head of a world-empire, yet there were many
drawbacks in her way. If you look at a map of Europe you will see that
Germany has a very poor sea coast, and but few good harbours. The bulk
of the Baltic Sea, which fronts the greater part of her coast, is frozen
up for months every year. Every day Germany feels the necessity of
possessing ports on the open ocean; yet she can only secure them by
conquest. She is surrounded by old-established nations: by France on the
west, Russia on the east, Austria-Hungary on the south. Two small
states, one of them neutralized by a treaty to which she was a party,
lie between her and the North Sea, and both of them possess ports which
rank amongst the world's finest havens. The bulk of her sea-borne trade
must pass through Belgium, the more southerly of these states, and she
has never concealed her eager desire to possess it. Holland has long
been regarded by her as a "brave bit of the Fatherland."

Germany, therefore, cannot expand in Europe without conquest, and she
has found many difficulties in the way of expanding overseas. When she
was ready to make herself a world-power, all the best parts of the earth
had been taken up by other nations. She found that she had been born too
late. She managed to found several colonies in Africa; but, with the
exception of Togoland and the Kamerun, they were unfruitful and
thankless regions of sand and stones. In Asia she set up the colony of
Kiao-chau, in North China, and thereby aroused the anger of the
Japanese. When she tried to get territory elsewhere she found herself in
conflict with one or other of the Great Powers. Then, too, she saw
hundreds of thousands of her people departing for America or for the
colonies of other Powers, and there becoming lost to her. All this has
been very galling to the Germans, and the Prussian military class has
never ceased to point out that Germany can only expand by means of
warfare.

[Illustration: Kiel Canal.]

Though the Kaiser has frequently declared himself the friend of peace,
he has always made the most warlike speeches to his own subjects. When
he addresses his Army and Navy he does so in a defiant and boastful
manner, and is fond of talking about the "mailed fist" and "shining
armour" of Germany. For many years past this kind of talk has been very
irritating to the other nations of Europe. On the eve of the Boer War he
sent a telegram to Mr. Kruger, the President of the South African
Republic, which plainly showed that he was no friend to Great Britain.
When the war went against us in its early stages he and his advisers
thought that we should be beaten, and that the British Empire would fall
to pieces. It was openly said by Germans that if they had then possessed
a strong navy they would have been able to capture some of the British
colonies. The Kaiser seized the opportunity to press his Parliament to
give him a big grant for building warships. He plainly told his people
that his navy was to be so strong that "the next greatest naval
power"--that is, Great Britain--would not be able to attack it without
grave risk. So a big navy, costing more than 300 millions of money, was
built.

[Illustration: "Nations of Europe, defend your most sacred possessions."

(_Painted by H. Knackfuss from a sketch by the Kaiser._)]

I have already told you that for many years past Germany has been very
envious of the British Empire. A great German historian was never tired
of teaching that Britain was _the_ enemy of Germany. She was, he said, a
"robber state;" she had become mistress of one-fifth of the whole world
by making cat's paws of other races; and she had no real right to all
this territory. She could not even rule it properly. If ever she had
been strong and warlike, that time had long gone by. Though she appeared
to be strong, she was really very weak, and quite unable to hold her
Empire against such a strong Power as Germany. The Germans have come to
believe this teaching, and for years past they have looked forward to
"the day" on which they would challenge the power of Great Britain, and,
after having defeated her, would enter into her heritage. They have also
been taught that there is nothing wrong in trying to seize the territory
of other nations. Might, they believe, is right, and the spoils of the
world are for the strongest.

Newspaper writers in Germany have constantly preached this doctrine to
the people, and several Prussian officers have written books showing how
Germany ought to go to work to beat down Great Britain, and tear her
Empire from her. War has become the religion of Germany, and she has
prepared for it with wonderful foresight and zeal. While she has grown
to be a great manufacturing and trading nation, she has never for a
moment neglected her Army nor ceased to build up her Navy.

She has also tried to win the mastery of the air. When Count Zeppelin,
about the year 1899, invented a great airship which could travel for
hundreds of miles and carry some thirty or forty men, the Kaiser saw at
once that it might become a great weapon of war. Germany now possesses
about thirty of these airships, and they are meant to play a large part
in an invasion of Britain. On the opposite page you will see a picture
of a modern Zeppelin, with a part of the covering removed to show you
the framing of the interior, and the many separate gas chambers which it
contains. It is said that even if half these chambers were destroyed the
airship would still float and answer its helm. The outside covering is
made of light metal known as aluminium. It costs some thousands of
pounds to inflate a Zeppelin, and two hundred pounds a week to restore
the gas lost by evaporation.

The _Victoria Luise_, one of the crack Zeppelins, has made some
wonderful trips, and she could no doubt fly from Kiel or Hamburg over
any part of the British Isles and back again. But fog and storm are her
deadly enemies, and there are many other difficulties to be overcome
before she could make a raid upon Britain, drop bombs on her cities, and
return in safety.

[Footnote 142: See p. 81.]

[Footnote 143: _Lē´ber_, dear.]

[Footnote 144: See p. 80.]

[Footnote 145: For the story of how part of Poland was included in
Prussia, see p. 48.]

[Footnote 146: _Boo´d´ha_, the founder of a religion largely professed
in Tibet, parts of N. India, Ceylon, Burma, China, and Japan.]

[Footnote 147: The danger arising from the growing power of the Yellow
peoples, chiefly the Chinese and Japanese.]



[Illustration: A Zeppelin with part of the covering removed to show the
interior.]


  CHAPTER XIV.

  THE DAWN OF "THE DAY."


The great instrument of the Kaiser's ambition is his army. Every male
who is a German subject can be called upon to serve as a soldier from
his seventeenth to his forty-fifth year. Though this is the law, men who
are not strong, or have to support a family, or intend to be ministers
of the Church, are excused from serving. Most German boys, however, know
from childhood that they will have not only to learn a trade or prepare
themselves for a profession, but become soldiers as well. As a rule,
Germans begin their military training at twenty-one. If a young man has
done well at one of the higher-grade schools, and can afford to keep
himself, he need only spend one year with the colours; all others must
be trained for two years if they are in the infantry, and three years if
they are in the cavalry and horse artillery. When this time is over they
go back to their work, and belong to the reserve. The two-year men serve
five years with the first-line reserve, and the three-year men four
years. Large bodies of the reserve are called up each year for exercise,
but the same men are not called up more than once in two years, and, as
a rule, their service amounts to two periods of about thirty days each.
From the first-line reserve men pass into the _Landwehr_,[148] or second
reserve, for five or six years if infantry, and for a longer period if
cavalry. They, too, are called up from time to time for training, which
lasts from a week to a fortnight. Finally, they pass into the
_Landsturm_, and are only called up now and then for roll-call. Except
in such special times of stress as the present war, the _Landsturm_ are
not required to serve in the field. Under ordinary conditions they leave
the army altogether at the age of forty-five.

If you look at the diagram on page 150 you will see a comparison of the
war strength of the great Powers of Europe. Germany has a population of
65,000,000, and her war strength is given as 4,500,000 men. As a last
resource she can probably put into the field 7,500,000 men. Russia has a
population of 141,000,000 in Europe alone; her war strength is given as
5,500,000 men, but as a last resource she can probably call to the
colours about 15,000,000 men. You thus see that the great military
Power which stands in the way of Germany's overlordship of Europe is
Russia. Bismarck knew this well, and he constantly insisted that Germany
should always keep on good terms with Russia. Since the Kaiser took the
helm into his own hands, he has regarded the growth of the Russian army
as a great menace to his power, and has come to the conclusion that
unless something is done, and done quickly, to check it, he cannot
realize his ambitions.

He and his advisers have always regarded Germany as the heir of Austria.
For long it has been thought that Austria-Hungary would go to pieces on
the death of Franz Josef, and that Austria would then be included in the
German Empire. Now Austria, as you know, possesses Bosnia and
Herzegovina, which would give Germany a footing in the Balkan Peninsula,
and enable her to push her way southward to warm water ports on the
Mediterranean Sea. Should Germany be able to capture Constantinople she
would soon be mistress of Asia Minor, and would hold a very powerful
position on the sea road to India. Her dreams of world-empire would then
be likely to come true.

[Illustration: The Kaiser as a Yachtsman.

_Photo, Record Press._]

Germany has already obtained a footing in Asia Minor. As far back as
1898 the Emperor and the Empress visited the Sultan at Constantinople,
where they were received with all honour, and the Empress accepted from
the Commander of the Faithful[149] a present of diamonds worth £25,000.
Then the Kaiser and his wife visited the Holy Land, and entered
Jerusalem to take part in the dedication service of a German church
within the walls of the Holy City. At this service His Majesty was
attired in the white uniform of the Garde du Corps, with a white silk
mantle such as was worn by the Crusaders. Before him was borne aloft the
German Imperial standard.

In the following year, thanks to the Kaiser, the Sultan gave a German
company permission to build a railway line from Konieh[150] to the
Persian Gulf, by way of Bagdad.[151] You can easily understand that a
German railway through Asia Minor to the head of the Persian Gulf would
practically make Germany master of all the resources of this part of the
world. France was not willing that the railway should be entirely
German, so she was allowed to provide some of the money for it. Great
Britain pointed out that the proposed line would be the shortest route
to India, and that it would end in the territory of a chief with whom
she had a special treaty, and that, therefore, Britain ought to have a
hand in it too. There was a great deal of debate over the question, and
at last it was agreed that the Germans should own four-tenths of the
line, and that the other six-tenths should be owned by Frenchmen,
Austrians, Swiss, Italians, and Turks. The railway was to end at
Basra,[152] and was not to be continued to the Persian Gulf without
Great Britain's consent. The Germans have spent between £16,000,000 and
£18,000,000 on this railway, which was begun in 1912, and is now half
built. In addition to the Bagdad railway, Germany has other important
undertakings in Asia Minor, which is rich in coal and copper, oil and
timber. The Russians, it should be noticed, have also large business
interests in the same part of the Turkish Empire.

What connection has all this with the present war? Let us see. You
already know that the late Sultan of Turkey was the friend of the
Kaiser, and that he had given the Germans some very valuable rights in
Asia Minor. Since that time German soldiers have trained the Turkish
army, German money has been lent to the Turkish Government, and German
influence has become so strong that we may almost regard Turkey as a
German province. In 1908 there was a revolution in Turkey, the Sultan
was forced from his throne, and his younger brother was chosen to take
his place. In the autumn of 1912 the Balkan States declared war on
Turkey, and beat her very badly. When the war was over all that remained
of her territory in Europe was a little country less than twice the size
of Wales. Serbia had become very powerful in the Balkan Peninsula.

Now this did not suit Germany at all. The Kaiser saw very clearly that
if Serbia became the chief power in the Balkan Peninsula, Germany would
be crushed out, and her interests in Asia Minor would be in great
jeopardy. From the German point of view it was necessary that Serbia
should be crippled as soon as possible.

You remember the murder of the Archduke Ferdinand, which I described to
you in Chapter I. of this book. Austria was naturally very angry with
Serbia, and was bent on making her pay dearly for her part in the crime.
The Kaiser egged on Austria to fight Serbia, because he thought that a
war would give him an excellent chance of reducing Serbia's strength,
and of beginning that career of conquest on which he was now bent.

[Illustration: Great Britain 572

France 342

Russia 167

Japan 152

Germany 327

Austria-Hungary 115

Italy 177

Navies of the Great Powers in January 1914 (_The figures give the total
numbers of serviceable war vessels_)

Great Britain 800,000

France 4,500,000

Russia 5,500,000

Belgium 340,000

Servia 300,000

Japan 1,400,000

Germany 4,500,000

Austria-Hungary 2,500,000

Italy 2,250,000

War Strength of the Great Powers in June 1914

The above diagram compares the armies and navies of the chief European
Powers.]

We know, from a French Yellow Book[153] which was published on December
1, 1914, why the Germans wanted war, and what preparations they made for
it. From a dispatch written by the French Ambassador at Berlin, we
gather that even in July 1913 the Germans thought war was "inevitable,"
for the following reasons. Since the Franco-German War the national
pride of the Germans has been fostered to such an extent that they
really do believe themselves to be the greatest, strongest, and most
efficient nation of the world. They believe that they must have colonies
in order to provide new markets and an outlet for their surplus
population, and they are very sore at the failure of their attempts to
win them. In this respect they are specially angry with us and with
France, because they consider that we and the French gained a victory
over them in 1911, when they tried to secure a part of Morocco,[154] and
were prevented from doing so. They cannot bear to think that a country
which they beat so badly in 1870 should dare to stand in their way. The
great manufacturers of guns and armour plate, and the chief merchants,
believe that war is "good business," and in this belief they are
strongly backed up by the nobles and military class. The soldiers are
naturally anxious for war because it is their profession, and because
war brings that quick promotion which is impossible in time of peace.
The nobles fear the growing power of the people, and believe that they
will only be able to preserve their "rights" by means of a war which
will turn the nation's thoughts away from plans of reform. Armed peace
such as Germany has maintained for many years past is a crushing burden
to the nation; it swallows up the money which might be expended on
improving the condition of the people, and turns many of them into
Socialists.

From a secret report to the German Government, which somehow fell into
French hands in April 1914, we learn how Germany proposed to prepare for
this "inevitable" war. Since 1906 she has increased her Army four
times, and in 1913 she raised from her people a war levy of £50,000,000.
Her object in increasing the Army and raising this money is clearly
revealed in the course of the report--namely, to fortify and extend
German power "throughout the whole world." In order to do this, the
people were to be taught that Germany must begin a war because her foes
were threatening her, and that such a war would make their burdens
lighter, and give them many years of peace and prosperity. When the mind
of the people was thus prepared, discontent was to be stirred up amongst
the native peoples in the French and British possessions of North Africa
and Egypt, as well as in Russia, so that these countries would be full
of revolt when war was declared. As for the small states, such as
Belgium and Holland, they must be forced to follow Germany, or be
conquered. If Belgium should prepare to resist, she would be invaded, in
spite of the treaty which guaranteed her neutrality. All this was
arranged as far back as May 1913.

In November of the same year King Albert of Belgium[155] had an
interview with the Emperor and General von Moltke. It was then very
clear that the Kaiser had been won over by the war party. The French
Minister suggests that the Kaiser was jealous of the popularity of his
son, the Crown Prince, who was then the rising hope of the soldiers. If
so, history had repeated itself. The Kaiser as a young man had played
for popularity against his father; the Crown Prince had followed his
father's example, and had tried to throw him into the shade. It is
probable, too, that the Emperor was very angry with France, because she
had strengthened her army by making her soldiers serve three years
instead of two.

[Illustration: King Albert of Belgium.

Photo, Newspaper Illustrations Limited.]

During this interview with King Albert the Kaiser and von Moltke threw
off the mask. They told the King that the time had come to "finish" with
France, and they assured him that the German army was bound to win. The
object of this conversation was to show the King of the Belgians that he
would be wise not to resist if war with France should arise. We shall
see later on that King Albert was not moved from the path of honour
either by threats or promises.

Meanwhile Germany was busy asking her ambassadors to find out what the
other Powers would be likely to do if Austria and Germany were to join
together to fight Serbia. Germany's agents at St. Petersburg[156] said
that Russia would not stir; there were serious labour troubles in that
country, and the Czar would be afraid to call his troops together for
fear they would join with the strikers. From France came the news that
the French army was not fit to fight. On the 13th of July a speaker in
the French Parliament declared that the forts were weak; that there was
not sufficient ammunition for the guns; and that the soldiers were
without a sufficient supply of boots. If war broke out the men would
have to take the field with one pair of boots, and only one reserve boot
in their knapsacks, and that one would be thirty years old. Thus the
Kaiser believed that Russia dared not fight, and that France could not
fight, because, as in 1870, she was unprepared.

But what of Britain? The Kaiser had flooded the British Isles with
spies, who kept him informed of every movement of our fleet and troops,
and gave him full information about all our political affairs. These
spies told him that civil war was about to break out in Ireland, and
that the Government would have its hands so full at home that it could
not possibly spare troops to fight on the Continent. The German
ambassador in London did not believe all this talk about civil war, and
he advised his Government not to rely upon it. The German Government,
however, would not listen to him. The Kaiser knew better; he believed
his spies.

Feeling sure, then, that Russia would not fight, that France could not
resist, and that Great Britain would not interfere in what seemed to be
a far-off quarrel, the Kaiser decided that "The Day," so long hoped for
and prepared for, had come. In July of the present year he was ready to
"let slip the dogs of war."

[Footnote 148: _Land´vair_.]

[Footnote 149: The Sultan of Turkey is the religious head of Mohammedans
throughout the world.]

[Footnote 150: _Kō´ni-ā_, town, Asia Minor, about 300 m. east of
Smyrna.]

[Footnote 151: Town of Mesopotamia, on the Tigris.]

[Footnote 152: Town on the Shat-el-Arab, 70 m. from the Persian Gulf.]

[Footnote 153: So called from the colour of its cover. It contains State
documents explaining how the war arose.]

[Footnote 154: Country of N. Africa. In 1911 the Germans made a treaty
with France, by which they agreed to let the French rule Morocco as a
protectorate in return for territory in the French Congo.]

[Footnote 155: Born 1875, nephew of Leopold, King of the Belgians, whom
he succeeded in 1909. He is a student, has travelled widely, and is
greatly interested in improving the lot of his people. He is very
popular with all classes of his subjects. The Socialists, of whom there
are many in Belgium, say that when Belgium becomes a republic Albert
will be their first president. His wife, Elizabeth, is a princess of
Bavaria; she has qualified as an oculist.]

[Footnote 156: Since the war began its name has been changed to
Petrograd.]



  CHAPTER XV.

  FATEFUL DAYS.


Every visitor to London knows Trafalgar Square, with its huge column
guarded by four bronze lions. On the top of the column is a statue to
the "little, one-armed, one-eyed hero of a hundred fights," our greatest
seaman, Lord Nelson. South of Trafalgar Square is the broad, fine street
known as Whitehall. On the right-hand side of Whitehall, just before you
come to Westminster, is Downing Street, and on the left-hand side of
Downing Street is the handsome pile of buildings known as the Foreign
Office.

The head of the Foreign Office is the Foreign Secretary, that member of
the British Cabinet who looks after British interests abroad. All
letters sent by the British Government to foreign Governments are
written and dispatched by him and his officials, and all communications
from foreign Governments are received by him. He appoints and controls
all the ambassadors and ministers and consuls who represent us in
foreign countries. They are his agents and his eyes and ears in the
countries to which they are sent. It is their duty to keep him well and
promptly informed of all matters which directly or indirectly affect the
British Empire in its relation to other Powers. So widespread is the
British Empire, and so world-wide are its interests, that very little
happens abroad that does not concern us in some way or other.

Our present Foreign Secretary is Sir Edward Grey.[157] He is the
grandson of a famous statesman, and has been a member of Parliament
since 1885, when he was twenty-three years of age. No Briton has studied
foreign affairs more diligently than he, and all parties have the
fullest confidence in him as a cool, prudent, far-seeing statesman. He
is a great lover of peace, and it is due to him that the representatives
of the warring nations of the Balkan Peninsula were induced to meet in
conference and come to terms in May 1913.

Let me remind you once again of the murder of the Archduke Ferdinand at
Sarajevo on the 23rd of June 1914.[158] When Sir Edward Grey heard the
tragic news, he saw at once that it might lead to a great war. He was
anxious to know what Austria proposed to do in the matter, but was kept
in the dark. He spoke to the German Ambassador about it, and was told
that Austria was certainly going to take some step, and that the outlook
was grave. On the 22nd of July our representative in Berlin told him
that the German Secretary of State[159] thought that Austria and Serbia
alone were concerned in the quarrel, and that outsiders ought not to
interfere. Next day Sir Edward Grey met the Austrian Ambassador, who
explained to him what Austria was going to demand[160] from Serbia. He
also informed him that Austria would fix a time limit within which
Serbia was to reply in a manner satisfactory to Austria, and that if the
reply was not satisfactory, war would be declared.

At once Sir Edward Grey pointed out that the time limit was really a
threat of war, and that it might anger Russia, and make her get ready to
fight against Austria. You can easily see what the result would be. If
Russia joined Serbia against Austria, Germany, as Austria's ally, would
fight for her; and if this came about, France would be sure to help her
ally, Russia, so that a vast and terrible European war would arise--the
vastest and most terrible conflict that the world has ever known. To
this the Austrian Ambassador replied that it all depended on Russia; but
Sir Edward Grey reminded him that it takes two to keep the peace, as
well as two to make a quarrel.

As we already know, the Note was sent to Serbia with a time limit of
forty-eight hours. As soon as Russia received a copy of the Note, she
felt that it was meant as an indirect challenge to her. A Council of
Ministers was held to consider the question. It was fortunate that the
President of the French Republic was then paying a visit to the Czar,
and that the two allies could take immediate counsel together.

On the 24th of July the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs told the
British Ambassador in Petrograd that Austria was trying to bring about
war with Serbia, and that she would never have done this had Germany not
been backing her up. He also said that France would stand side by side
with Russia if war should break out.

During the forty-eight hours allowed by the Austrian Note Sir Edward
Grey made three attempts to bring about peace. First, he tried to get
the time limit extended, and Great Britain, France, and Russia united in
urging Austria to give Serbia more time. He begged Germany to join with
the other Powers in trying to persuade Austria to do this, but all that
Germany would consent to do was to "pass on" the message to Vienna.
Next, Sir Edward Grey tried to get Great Britain, France, Germany, and
Italy--all of whom had no interest in Serbia--to unite in an attempt to
bring Russia and Austria to a friendly agreement. All the Powers
mentioned were ready to do this except Germany. She said that she had
no objection to the course proposed if war should be threatened between
Austria and Russia. Sir Edward Grey's third effort was to advise Serbia
to do as much as possible to meet Austria's demands.

I have already told you that on the 25th of July Serbia accepted all
Austria's terms, and only asked for delay in order to make new laws by
which she could carry them out, and for information as to the way in
which Austrian officials were to take part in Serbia's police and
law-court work. Every one hoped that this would end the quarrel; but the
same evening the Serbian reply was declared unsatisfactory, and the
Austrian Minister left Belgrade, thus showing clearly that war would
follow. Serbia at once ordered her troops to mobilize.

[Illustration: French Infantry.

[These soldiers are French regulars, who, unlike the conscripts, serve
for more than three years in the army.]

Photo, Central News.]

Sir Edward Grey learnt what the Serbian reply was to be an hour or two
before it was handed to Austria. At once he begged Germany to press
Austria to accept it, but again Germany would only pass on his
suggestion to Vienna. Directly afterwards the German Ambassador in
Vienna told our ambassador that Serbia had merely pretended to give way,
and that her promises were only a sham.

During the next four days--26th July to 29th July--Sir Edward Grey
strove with all his might to bring Russia and Austria to agreement. On
the evening of the 28th the German Chancellor[161] told our ambassador
that he was trying to bring the Russians and Austrians to agreement.
This was very good news to Sir Edward Grey, who now thought that he saw
a chance of staving off the European war which was threatening. He had
already proposed that the German, French, and Italian ambassadors should
meet him in London, to try to bring about a settlement; but though
France and Italy had agreed to this proposal, Germany had refused, and
had said that it would be better if Austria and Russia could be
persuaded to come to some agreement between themselves. Now that Germany
declared that she was working for peace at Vienna and Petrograd, Sir
Edward Grey sent a telegram to the German Government, on the afternoon
of the 29th, telling them that he would agree to any method of bringing
Russia and Austria together that might be proposed. All that Germany had
to do was to "press the button in the interests of peace."

A strange reply came to this telegram. It came from Sir Edward
Goschen,[162] our ambassador in Berlin, towards midnight of the same
day. He had just seen the German Chancellor, who said that if Austria
should be attacked by Russia, Germany would have to fight for Austria,
her ally. He then made an amazing offer to Britain. If Great Britain
would promise not to fight, Germany on her part would promise to take no
part of France from her. "But what about the French colonies?"[163]
asked Sir Edward Goschen. To which the Chancellor replied that he could
give no such promise with regard to them. In answer to other questions,
he said that the action of France might force Germany to invade Belgium.

Now this was very startling. For the first time we knew that Germany was
about to invade France, and that she would probably march her troops
through Belgium for that purpose. We also knew that Germany was so
anxious to keep us out of the war that she was prepared to make a
bargain with us. "What the German Chancellor asks us in effect," said
Sir Edward Grey, "is to engage to stand by while French colonies are
taken and France is beaten, so long as Germany does not take French
territory as distinct from the colonies." What answer should you have
given to Germany if you had been our Foreign Secretary? I think it would
have been just the answer which Sir Edward Grey gave. He told Germany
that we could not possibly accept such a proposal, nor could we permit
Germany to break her solemn pledge to Belgium and advance through that
country.

On July 31 there was a gleam of hope in the darkness. Russia offered to
stop all her military preparations if Austria would agree that all the
European Powers were now concerned in her quarrel with Serbia, and if
she would strike out of the Note those demands[164] which would destroy
Serbia's independence. Strange to say, Austria agreed to this
proposal--to the very thing she had refused to do in the early days of
the crisis--that is, to discuss the whole question of the Note to
Serbia. Perhaps you wonder why Austria should give way at the last
moment. The fact was that Austria had been assured by the German
Ambassador that Russia would not and could not fight. She now discovered
that Russia was quite prepared for war. She had been deceived and
misled, and she was eager to draw back. You will soon see that no chance
was given to her of doing this.

Just at the moment when men were beginning to breathe more freely, and
to believe that war might yet be averted, the thunderbolt fell from the
blue. On the very day when the horizon was brightening, the Kaiser sent
an impudent message to the Czar, ordering him to cease mobilizing his
troops within twelve hours under pain of war! No answer was returned,
and at midnight on the 1st of August Germany declared war against
Russia. Armageddon had begun.


[Footnote 157: Born 1862. He was Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs
from 1892 to 1895, and became Foreign Secretary in Dec. 1905.]

[Footnote 158: See p. 13.]

[Footnote 159: Herr von Jagow (Ya-go), born 1863. He is a close personal
friend of the Kaiser's, and has been the German Secretary of State for
Foreign Affairs since 1913.]

[Footnote 160: See p. 30.]

[Footnote 161: Bethmann-Hollweg (_Betman-Holvech_), born 1856. He has
been Chancellor--that is, chief minister of the German Empire--since
1909.]

[Footnote 162: Born 1847. In 1905 he became ambassador at Vienna, but
was transferred to Berlin in 1908.]

[Footnote 163: France has colonies in Asia, Australasia, Africa, and
certain islands of America, comprising in all an area of more than 4½
million square miles, with an estimated population of 41 millions.]

[Footnote 164: See p. 30.]



  CHAPTER XVI.

  WHY BRITAIN WENT TO WAR.


Do you remember the week-end between Friday, 31st July, and Monday, 3rd
August? It was the most anxious and exciting time that living Britons
have ever known. On every tongue there was the same question: "Are we
going to war?" Everywhere you saw people feverishly buying edition after
edition of the evening papers, and gathering into little groups to
discuss the situation.

London, as you know, is the chief money market of the world, and the
effect of wars and rumours of wars in any country on the globe is felt
at once in the City of London. When it was evident that the four
greatest continental nations were setting their armies in motion, stocks
and shares fell to such a low price that dealing in them became
impossible. Many of the stockbroking firms failed, and business was
suspended, not only in London, but on almost every exchange throughout
the world. It was thought that there would be a shortage of gold, and
from noon onwards on the 31st of July the court-yard of the Bank of
England was crowded with people eager to exchange notes for gold.
Nevertheless "the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street," as the Bank of
England is sometimes called, remained perfectly calm, and inside the
building business went on as usual. On the 1st of August the bank
rate[165] rose to 10 per cent., and the Stock Exchange was closed.

[Illustration: Naval Reserves passing through Portsmouth to join their
ships.

_Photo, Sport and General._]

On Sunday, 2nd August, the Naval Reserves[166] were called up, and the
War Office became very active. A number of the London Territorial[167]
regiments were on their way to camp for their annual training, but they
were ordered to return and remain within reach of headquarters. It was
very clear to everybody that the issue of war or peace was hanging in
the balance.

       *     *     *     *     *

On Sunday, 2nd August, the first important act of war was committed.
Look at the map on page 38, and find the river Moselle. Not far from its
left bank you will see the city of Luxemburg, which stands in the little
independent duchy of the same name, at the south-east corner of Belgium.
This state is about as large as the county of Essex, and its population
is less than that of the city of Edinburgh. It is a country of low
ridges and meadow land, and more than a quarter of its surface is
covered with forests. There are good deposits of iron, and many of the
people are engaged in mining and smelting the ore. From 1825 to 1867 the
state belonged to Germany, and down to 1872 its fortress was in the
hands of the Prussians. In that year the garrison was withdrawn, the
fortress was dismantled, and the state was neutralized. The army of
Luxemburg only consists of 150 soldiers and the same number of armed
policemen. Its Grand Duchess is Marie Adelaide, who is now in her
twenty-first year.

I want you to notice especially that the Germans did not propose to
invade France by the routes which they followed in 1870. In that year,
you will remember, they crossed the frontier in the direction of Metz,
and south of it. They had determined not to do this during the present
war, because, as you will gather from the map on page 98, the country is
hilly, and therefore difficult to traverse, and because the frontier is
protected by a chain of very powerful fortresses. As we shall see later,
they wished to enter France very quickly, and beat her as rapidly as
possible. Time was all-important to them, and they could not afford to
waste it in the long business of besieging barrier fortresses. They
therefore decided to invade France by the easy route through Belgium,
even though they would have to break a solemn treaty by so doing.

The frontier between Belgium and Germany is very narrow, only about
forty miles in width. As this space is insufficient for the quick and
orderly transfer of the huge armies which the Germans proposed to send
into France, they determined to break another treaty, and enter through
Luxemburg as well. This would give them another forty miles of line
across which to advance, and would place them in possession of a town in
which the whole network of railways uniting Germany, France, and Belgium
forms a junction. Once in Luxemburg, they were in command of the whole
system of roads and railways leading from North Germany into France and
Belgium.

When the inhabitants of Luxemburg awoke on the hot Sunday morning of 2nd
August, they were surprised to find that the Adolf Bridge, which leads
to the city across the river Alzette, was in the hands of the Germans. A
little later, armed motor cars, filled with German officers and men,
were seen approaching the city. It was the vanguard of the 39th
Regiment. A member of the Luxemburg Government met the invaders, and
handed them a copy of the treaty guaranteeing the neutrality of the
state. They told him that they knew all about the treaty, but that they
had their orders. The Archduchess now drove up, and tried to block the
path of the Germans with her motor car. She was told to go home at
once; and, having no force behind her, was obliged to obey.

On and on came the Germans, and the people were greatly surprised to see
amongst them many men who up to that time had been clerks in the offices
of Luxemburg. These men, while pretending to be peaceful citizens, had
made themselves thoroughly acquainted with the geography of the country,
had carefully noted the best points for the Germans to occupy, and the
places where they could procure provisions. Before nightfall the whole
state was in their hands; the roads and railways were guarded by
sentries; and houses, woods, and standing crops which might afford cover
to the enemy were destroyed.

That same day German cavalry crossed the French border near Longwy,[168]
and farther south, near Strassburg, they pushed across the frontier to
the town of Cirey-les-Forges.[169] Still farther south, near the Swiss
boundary, another raid was made. You will remember that the French had
promised to keep their troops back from the border as long as there was
the slightest chance of bringing Austria and Russia to agreement.

       *     *     *     *     *

Monday, 3rd August, was the most remarkable Bank Holiday ever known in
Britain. All Bank Holiday excursions were cancelled, for the railways
were in the hands of the military authorities. Hundreds of thousands of
persons, who would otherwise have spent the day at the seaside or in the
country, were forced to remain in London. Great crowds gathered at
Westminster to see the members of Parliament enter Palace Yard. It was
known that a Cabinet Council had been held on the previous day, and that
a very important statement was to be made that very afternoon.

       *     *     *     *     *

Let us peep into the House of Commons on that memorable occasion. The
Chamber, which is far too small to accommodate all the members of
Parliament, is crowded to excess. All the green benches are filled, the
side galleries are thronged, and there are rows of chairs in the
gangways. It is evident that a matter of great pith and moment is now
about to arise. There is some preliminary business to be got through,
and the House is impatient to see the end of it. Then Sir Edward Grey
rises, and amidst loud cheering advances to the table, and begins the
most fateful speech that was ever made in all our long history. He is
very grave, and his set face shows traces of the anxious and laborious
days through which he has recently passed. He speaks without passion,
and with no attempt at fine language; but every word that he utters is
full of deep meaning, and the House listens with eager attention.

He tells his fellow-members that the Government has worked with a single
mind, and with all the earnestness in its power, to preserve the peace,
but that its labours have proved vain--Germany and Russia have declared
war on each other. Then he goes on to speak of our friendship with
France--that warm and cordial friendship, which has replaced the enmity
of long ages. This friendship, he declares, entails duties upon us. The
French fleet is in the Mediterranean Sea, because of the good feeling
and confidence that has grown up between us, and the northern and
western coasts of France are without defence. "My own feeling is," he
says, "that if a foreign fleet, engaged in a war which France had not
sought, and in which she had not been the aggressor, came down the
English Channel and bombarded and battered the unprotected coasts of
France, we could not stand aside." The loud cheers which immediately
break forth show that the great majority of the members thoroughly agree
with him. When the cheers have subsided, he proceeds: "We could not see
this going on practically within sight of our eyes, with our arms
folded, doing nothing, and I believe that would be the feeling of this
country."

France, he says, is entitled to know at once whether she can depend upon
British support should her northern and western coasts be attacked. He
has therefore given an assurance to the French Government that, should
the German fleet come into the Channel or through the North Sea to
undertake hostile operations against the French coasts or shipping, the
British fleet, if Parliament approves, will give all the protection in
its power. The cheers that follow this statement clearly show that the
House of Commons fully approves of the undertaking which he has given to
France.

Then he turns to the all-important question of Belgium. He tells the
House what you already know--namely, that in 1870 we made a stand for
the neutrality of that little country, and were thus able to save her
from the horrors of invasion. What we did then, we are trying to do now.
France has given us her assurance that she will not enter Belgium if it
is not invaded by another Power, but Germany refuses to reply. She has
already asked King Albert to grant unopposed passage for her troops
through his country, and has promised to guarantee its independence if
he will consent to this course; but, at the same time, she has
threatened to treat Belgium as an enemy if the request is refused. The
Belgians are determined to resist the invasion of their land by every
means in their power.

Our treaty with Belgium binds us in honour to take her part. If in a
crisis like this we run away, we shall lose the respect of the
nations--a respect which we can never regain. Though we might, by
husbanding our resources, be able at the end of the war to prevent the
whole of western Europe from falling into the hands of Germany, our
moral position would be such----. The rest of the sentence is lost
amidst a loud burst of cheering. Almost to a man the members of the
House of Commons are convinced that we should sink to the lowest depths
of dishonour were we to abandon Belgium in her dark hour of trial.

The cheers are renewed when Sir Edward Grey declares that our Fleet has
been mobilized, and that our Army is mobilizing. Britain is ready to
play her part, whatever that may be. Then the speaker points out the one
bright spot in the whole terrible situation. Formerly, when Britain has
been engaged in war, the Irish people have seized the opportunity to
rise in revolt. At this time we have no such fear. Finally, he believes
that, should war come, the Government will be supported, not only by the
House of Commons, but by the determination, the resolution, the courage,
and the endurance of the whole country. Amidst loud and prolonged cheers
the speaker resumes his seat.

Then the Leader of the Opposition[170] rises and pledges the loyalty of
his followers in this great and grave crisis. So, too, does the leader
of the Irish Nationalists,[171] and only one voice is heard disapproving
of the course which the Government proposes to take. In the face of
national peril the vast majority of the men of every party, creed, and
sect stand shoulder to shoulder--forgetting their differences of
opinion, and only remembering that they are Britons, faced with the
greatest danger that has ever threatened their land. When Lord
Macaulay, in his ballad _Horatius_, wished to show us the Romans in
their noblest aspect, he said,--

  "Then none was for a party;
  Then all were for the State;...
  The Romans were like brothers
  In the brave days of old."

So it is with Britons all over the world in these days of anxiety and
peril. None is for a party, and all are for the State; and so it will be
until the war clouds roll away, and peace once more smiles upon us.

       *     *     *     *     *

[Illustration: Sir Edward Grey making his great Speech in the House of
Commons on August 3, 1914.

"My own feeling is this, that if a foreign fleet, engaged in a war which
France had not sought, and in which she had not been the aggressor, came
down the English Channel and bombarded and battered the unprotected
coasts of France, we could not stand aside [loud cheers] and see this
going on practically within sight of our eyes, with our arms folded,
looking on dispassionately doing nothing; and I believe that would be
the feeling of this country [cheers]. ...If, in a crisis like this, we
ran away [loud cheers] from our obligations of honour and interest with
regard to the Belgian Treaty, I doubt whether whatever material force we
might have at the end of it would be of very much value in face of the
respect that we should have lost."

[_By permission of the illustrated London News._]

That afternoon the King and Queen drove from Buckingham Palace along the
Mall, and were everywhere greeted with the heartiest of cheers,
especially when they passed the German Embassy.[172] His Majesty could
not fail to understand the meaning of these cheers--the nation was one
in heart and mind in the great task which lay before it. In the evening,
thousands of people gathered outside Buckingham Palace, singing
patriotic songs and cheering again and again. Just after nine o'clock
the King, accompanied by the Queen and the Prince of Wales, appeared on
the balcony above the entrance to the north side of the Palace. Then the
cheers grew louder than ever. The King and Queen bowed again and again
to the people, and the Prince waved his hand. By this time it was clear
to all the world that the people of Britain were ready to face the
future, as Sir Edward Grey had prophesied, with determination,
resolution, courage, and endurance.

       *     *     *     *     *

Next morning Sir Edward Grey telegraphed to Sir Edward Goschen, bidding
him request an immediate assurance from the German Government that
Belgium would not be invaded. Later in the day he telegraphed again,
telling our Ambassador that Belgium had already been invaded, and asking
for a satisfactory reply by twelve o'clock that night. If such a reply
was not forthcoming, Sir Edward Goschen was told to ask for his
passports, and say that Great Britain would do everything in her power
to uphold those treaty rights of Belgium to which Germany was a party as
well as Great Britain.

Sir Edward Goschen accordingly called upon the German Secretary of
State, Herr von Jagow, about seven o'clock that evening, and
delivered his message. The Secretary at once replied that he was sorry
to say that he could give no such undertaking, for the German troops
were already in Belgium. He then explained why his Government had been
obliged to take this step, and, in so doing, revealed the German plan of
campaign. They had to advance into France, he said, by the quickest and
easiest way, so as to be able to strike a decisive blow as soon as
possible. It was a matter of life and death to them; for, if they had
gone by the more southern route, they would have had bad roads to cross
and strong fortresses to take, and would, therefore, have wasted much
time. This loss of time would mean that the Russians would be able to
bring up their troops to the German frontier before the German conquest
of France was complete. As Russia had an almost endless number of
soldiers, they were bound to overthrow France as quickly as possible
before the Russians could muster in full strength.

Sir Edward Goschen then asked if there was not still time for the
Germans to draw back, and so avoid bringing Great Britain into the war.
To this, Herr von Jagow replied that it was now too late. Thus there was
nothing left for Sir Edward Goschen to do but to demand his passports.
Before doing so, however, he went to see the Chancellor, the man next in
authority to the Kaiser himself. Then followed one of the most dramatic
interviews known to history.

Sir Edward Goschen tells us that he found the Chancellor much upset, and
that he at once began a loud, angry speech, which lasted twenty minutes.
He said that the step taken by the British Government was terrible to a
degree. We were going to war just for a word--"neutrality"--a word which
had so often been set aside in time of war. Just for a treaty--"_a scrap
of paper_"--we were going to fight a kindred nation which desired
nothing better than to be friends with us. What we had done was like
striking a man from behind while he was struggling for his life against
two foes. He should hold Great Britain responsible for all the terrible
events that might happen.

Sir Edward Goschen strongly protested against this statement, and said
that in the same way that the Chancellor and Herr von Jagow thought the
violation of Belgium's neutrality was a matter of life and death to
them, so it was a matter of life and death to the honour of Great
Britain that she should keep her solemn engagements, and do her utmost
to defend Belgium if she should be attacked. If Great Britain did not
keep faith, what confidence would other nations have in her word for the
future? To which the Chancellor replied, "Has the British Government
thought of the price at which this compact will be kept?" Sir Edward
Goschen replied that no fear of consequences could be regarded as an
excuse for breaking solemn engagements; and he would have said more, but
the Chancellor was so agitated by the news that Great Britain would
fight for her honour, that he was incapable of listening to reason.

So the painful interview ended. A report of what had passed was drawn up
and handed in at a telegraph office a little before 9 p.m., but was
never dispatched.

You can now understand how the German Government regards its solemn
agreements. When they stand in the way of its ambitions they are but
"scraps of paper," to be torn into shreds. You can also understand how
anxious Germany was to keep us out of this war. Up to the last she
believed that we should not fight, and that she would be allowed to work
her wicked will on Belgium and France, while we stood by without lifting
a finger. We want no other charter of right for taking part in this war
than the speech of the German Chancellor which you have just read.

By our action we had put a spoke in the German wheel, and it was soon
evident that the Berlin crowds understood this, for they gathered before
the British Embassy and hurled stones at the windows. Police were
summoned, and the street was cleared; but large crowds assembled at the
stations, and jeered at Sir Edward Goschen as he travelled to the Dutch
frontier. Just before he left Berlin the Kaiser sent him a message,
regretting what had taken place, and saying that he would no longer
retain his rank as a British field-marshal and a British admiral.

       *     *     *     *     *

Later on, the Chancellor made a speech in Parliament, and tried to
explain why Germany had broken her plighted word with regard to the
neutrality of Luxemburg and Belgium. He said, "We are now in a state of
necessity, and necessity knows no law. We were compelled to override the
just protest of the Luxemburg and Belgian Governments. The wrong--I
speak openly--that we are committing we will endeavour to make good as
soon as our military goal is reached. Anybody who is threatened as we
are threatened, and is fighting for his highest possessions, can only
have one thought--how he is _to hack his way through_." Thus Germany
began the war by a confession of wrongdoing. Since the Chancellor spoke,
nothing more has been said of the "wrong;" but attempts have been made
to prove that Germany only invaded Belgium because Great Britain and
France were about to do so, and she wished to be ahead of them. There is
not a particle of truth in this excuse.

       *     *     *     *     *

[Illustration: The Scrap of Paper.

This is a copy of the really important part of the treaty of 1839 which
guaranteed the neutrality of Belgium. It is signed by the
representatives of Britain, Belgium, Austria, France, Prussia, and
Russia. The French words which are written above the seals may be
translated as follows: "Belgium, within the limits indicated by Articles
I., II., and IV., shall form an independent and perpetually neutral
State. She will be bound to observe this same neutrality towards all the
other States."]

_At 11 p.m. on the 4th of August Great Britain declared war on Germany._

The order for placing the British Army on a war footing was signed the
same day, and immediately all the reservists of the Regular army and the
Territorials were called to the colours. At once the country became an
armed camp. Everywhere we heard the tramp of soldiers, the rattle of
moving guns, and the rumble of baggage trains. The railways passed into
the hands of the Government, and time-tables were suspended in order
that the troops might be moved to and fro without loss of time. The
Territorials took over the work of home defence, and guards were
stationed at arsenals, reservoirs, bridges, and docks. The country was
so full of German spies that it was feared attempts would be made to do
damage to the railways and other important public works; but thanks to
the careful guard kept by our citizen soldiers, no harm was done. Even
the Boy Scouts, whose motto is "Be Prepared," were pressed into service.
In a hundred different ways they proved useful, especially as
messengers.

Next day Lord Kitchener was appointed Secretary of War, with the
approval of the whole nation. Everybody felt that the right man was in
the right place, and that he would see us through. It is said that, when
he entered the War Office for the first time as Secretary, he asked the
porter, "Is there a bed here?" "No, sir," replied the man. "Then get
one," he said, clearly showing that he meant to spend his nights as
well as his days in the laborious work of raising armies and fitting
them for the work of war. At the same time Sir John Jellicoe[173] was
appointed to command the Grand Fleet in home waters.

[Illustration: Sir John Jellicoe.

Our artist has here shown him as "the man at the wheel," for he is in
supreme command of the Grand Fleet in home waters. He is fifty-five
years of age, and has been in the Navy for forty-two years. He has the
full confidence of every officer and man in the service, and Britons
everywhere believe that he will uphold the fame of the great admirals
who gave Britain command of the seas.]

       *     *     *     *     *

On the 6th of August the Prime Minister asked the House of Commons for a
war vote of a hundred millions of money, and seized the occasion to
reply to the question, What are we fighting for? In the first place, he
said, we are fighting to keep our solemn promise--a promise which, had
it been made between private persons in the ordinary course of life,
would have been thought so binding in law and honour that no
self-respecting man would have dreamed of setting it aside. In the
second place, we are fighting on behalf of the little nations. When
their safety has been guaranteed by treaty, we are determined that they
shall not be crushed out of existence by any Power, however strong and
over-mastering it may be. No nation, he said, has ever entered into a
great war with a clearer conscience or with a more certain knowledge
that it is fighting for the right. We are not battling for power or land
or gold, not even for our own selfish interests, but we are struggling
to maintain that good faith amongst the nations without which the world
would sink back into barbarism.

The war vote was at once granted, and it was quickly agreed that the
Army should be increased by half a million men. On the next day Lord
Kitchener called for a first army of 100,000 men, and instantly recruits
of high quality came flocking to the colours. Men waited in front of the
London recruiting offices hour after hour for days together, in order to
offer their services to the country. From the Colonies and from India
came the most loyal of messages, and the most generous offers of men and
money. The whole Empire was united as never before, in this the most
righteous war that has ever been waged.

I have already told you that there was what is called a "run" upon the
Bank of England at the prospect of war. In order that the nation should
be steadied at this crisis, the Bank Holiday was continued for three
days longer, and an order was made that no one need pay his business
debts for a month. To keep gold in the banks for the service of the
Government, paper money was introduced, and postal orders passed from
hand to hand instead of coin. The newspapers were not allowed to print
anything they pleased about the war, for fear that the enemy might gain
important information. All war news was to be passed by what is called a
censor before being printed.


[Footnote 165: The rate which the Bank of England charges for giving
ready money for a legal promise to pay money at a future date. The rise
of the bank rate shows that money is scarce; its fall, that money is
plentiful.]

[Footnote 166: Sailors who have left the Navy, but must return to it
when required to do so.]

[Footnote 167: The Territorials are citizen soldiers from 17 to 35 years
of age, who enlist for four years, and may be required to serve in any
part of the United Kingdom, but not out of it without their own consent.
They must put in a certain number of drills each year, and attend an
annual camp. At the outbreak of war they numbered about 250,000.]

[Footnote 168: _Lon-wee´_, fortified town of France on the Belgian
border, called by Louis the Fourteenth the "iron gate of France."]

[Footnote 169: _See-ra-lay-Forge_, manufacturing town in France, 33
miles east of Nancy.]

[Footnote 170: In the House of Commons the party or parties which
support the Government sit on the Speaker's right; the party or parties
which oppose the Government sit on the Speaker's left.]

[Footnote 171: Those Irishmen who desire Home Rule for Ireland.]

[Footnote 172: Residence of the German Ambassador in London. It was in
Carlton House Terrace.]

[Footnote 173: Born 1859. He has been in the Navy since 1872, and has
seen service in Egypt, and in China where he was wounded. When called to
take chief command of the Fleet he was Second Sea Lord at the Admiralty,
the headquarters of the Navy in Whitehall, London.]



  CHAPTER XVII.

  THE SUBMARINE THAT FAILED.


Meanwhile our Grand Fleet was watching and waiting for the German Navy
to come out and fight. Our sailors seized many German merchant vessels
on the seas, and those that were in our ports were captured; but the
warships of the enemy were nowhere visible. We soon began to understand
that the Germans did not propose to risk their ships in battle for some
time to come. One of their military writers had recommended that they
should try to reduce our Navy to the strength of their own by means of
submarine[174] and destroyer[175] attacks before coming out to fight. On
the second day after war was declared, we discovered that they had
planned another method of sinking our ships without endangering their
own.

[Illustration: Floating Mine.]

Here is a little picture of what is known as a floating mine. It
consists of a hollow, pear-shaped case, containing an electric battery
and a large amount of gun-cotton, or some other high explosive. This
mine is thrown into the sea, and by means of an iron weight is made to
float three or four feet below the surface. If the mine is struck hard,
it will cant over sixty-five or seventy degrees. Then the mercury in a
little cup would overflow, and by so doing would complete an electric
circuit and explode the gun-cotton. So terrible is the explosive force
of gun-cotton, that it will tear asunder the biggest ship, and either
cripple it or send it to the bottom. Never before has any nation strewn
the open seas with such floating mines, and their use in this way is
against all the laws of war which are observed by civilized nations.

[Illustration: Sweeping up mines in the North Sea.]

The Germans soon discovered that large mine-layers ran a great risk of
being sunk by the guns of our warships, so they employed fishing-boats
and other small craft to lay these deadly engines in the sea. Many of
these ships flew the flag of a neutral Power, and thus pretended that
they were engaged on lawful and peaceful business. The North Sea became
a death-trap, and our Admiralty had to meet the danger by employing a
large number of trawlers to sweep up the mines.

The work is done in the following way. Two trawlers sailing parallel
with each other drag through the sea a steel hawser which is attached to
each of them. The hawser drags the mines along, and they are then picked
up. You can readily understand how dangerous this work is. The trawlers
themselves may strike a mine, and be blown up; or two mines drawn
along by the hawser may collide when they are near to the trawlers, in
which case the same result follows. Many gallant smacksmen have lost
their lives in trying to free the sea from this terrible peril. We ought
to think of them as heroes of the best and highest type. Always remember
that it is more glorious to save life than to destroy it.

On the 6th of August a flotilla of British destroyers, accompanied by
the light cruiser[176] _Amphion_,[177] sighted a German vessel off the
Dutch coast engaged in throwing out floating mines. The _Lance_, a
British destroyer, at once attacked this vessel, and in four shots
destroyed her bridge, tore away her stern, and sank her--all within the
space of six minutes. Some fifty members of the crew were saved by the
British boats. Though the mine-layer was at the bottom of the sea, she
had done her deadly work, and was soon to achieve a victory. As the
_Amphion_ was steaming towards Harwich, and was about thirty miles off
Aldeburgh, she struck one of the mines laid by the sunken ship, and was
instantly blown up. The bow of the ship was shattered, and in less than
twenty minutes she sank, with a loss of 131 lives. The captain, sixteen
officers, and 135 men were saved; but twenty German prisoners confined
in the bow were killed by the explosion of their own mine. Since the
_Amphion_ went down, many peaceful merchant ships and trawlers, both
British and neutral, have been sunk by these mines, as well as two other
British warships.

       *     *     *     *     *

Here is a section of a submarine, a type of vessel which is now being
used for the first time in warfare. You see that it is shaped like a
rather fat cigar, tapering towards its after or tail end. In the centre
of the top of the hull we see a small conning-tower. At the stern there
is a propeller, and also a series of rudders which enables it to steer
to and fro, or up and down. If you study the picture, you will see what
the interior of a submarine is like. By means of tanks, which can be
filled with water or emptied, the submarine can sink or rise at will.
When she comes near an enemy, she sinks until only a short mast appears
above the surface. This mast is a hollow tube fitted with a lens and
mirrors, so arranged that images of objects outside the boat and above
the surface are thrown on to another mirror, where they are examined by
means of a magnifying glass. This "periscope," as the hollow mast is
called, is the eye of the submarine. It enables her to see when her hull
is beneath the waves. If she sinks altogether, or if the periscope
should be carried away, she is blind and can see nothing.

[Illustration: Section of a Submarine.]

Some submarines have a gun on deck, but their real weapon is the
torpedo. There is a picture of one on page 183. It is really a little
warship in itself, with its own hull, propeller, rudders, engines, and a
mass of gun-cotton in the place of guns. This explosive is stored in the
head of the torpedo, which is provided with a striker-rod of steel. When
this rod hits the target it is forced back and explodes a little charge,
which in its turn explodes the gun-cotton which lies behind it. A
torpedo is fired from a tube, and immediately it strikes the water its
engines begin to work. It then rushes towards its target at the rate of
forty or fifty miles an hour for a distance of three miles or more. By
means of a very remarkable piece of apparatus, it is steered back to its
line of fire if it should be turned out of its course. If the aim is
sure, and the torpedo hits its mark, the gun-cotton explodes with such
terrific force that it will sink or cripple the biggest ship afloat.

On ordinary warships a torpedo can be fired from a tube either above or
below water. The tube can be moved just like a gun, and so a correct aim
can be taken. The tubes of a submarine, however, are all below water,
and they are fixed so that the submarine itself must be moved into the
right position before it can discharge a torpedo with correct aim.

Submarines have been called, with good reason, "the deadliest things
that keep the sea." With only the thin periscope showing above the
waves, they can silently and secretly creep within range of a warship,
and send off a torpedo on its deadly errand. To detect the thin
periscope from the bridge of a warship is not easy, and during the
present war several gallant ships have been taken unawares and sent to
the bottom.

       *     *     *     *     *

Now let me tell you the story of a submarine that failed.

On the 9th of August a flotilla of German submarines was in the North
Sea. Their narrow gray bodies were furrowing the waves at a speed of
about fifteen knots an hour. On the little deck of each of them stood a
commander, sweeping the horizon through powerful glasses for signs of
the enemy. Down below men were standing by the motors, examining the
gauges, filling the compressed air chambers, and making sure that the
torpedoes were "ship-shape."

Yonder is Submarine U 9. Suddenly her commander closes his glasses with
a snap. He has sighted the funnels of British cruisers, and the hour of
action has arrived. The long-expected signal rings out below, and the
commander leaves the tiny deck and withdraws into the interior through a
hatch, which is carefully closed behind him. He takes his place in the
conning-tower, where, under his hand and eye, is all the apparatus
needed for steering and controlling the boat.

A valve is opened, and air is allowed to escape from the water-ballast
tanks in the bottom of the vessel. Water flows in, and the submarine
sinks until she is running "awash," with the base of the conning-tower
only just clear of the waves. She is now ready to dive. This she must do
before getting within range of the cruisers out yonder. There are
hundreds of keen eyes on the British warships, and even the
conning-tower of a submarine a mile away will be seen. A wheel is
moved, the boat tilts downward slightly at the bows, and in a few
moments the water is swirling round the windows of the conning-tower.
Diving has begun. Down, down she goes. Presently the wheel is moved
again, and the boat returns to an even keel. The only part of her that
now shows above the water is the periscope.

The commander glues his eyes to the mirror which gives him a view of the
sea around. The images of the cruisers grow larger and larger; one of
them, H.M.S. _Birmingham_, is now within range. He moves his boat so
that the torpedo tube at her bow points directly towards the
_Birmingham_. His hand hovers over the switch which will launch a
torpedo on its death-dealing errand. Why risk missing to avoid the
slight danger of discovery? Another five hundred yards, and then----

The fateful moment has come. His hand slightly trembles with excitement
as he prepares to make the trifling movement which may send some
hundreds of men to a watery grave, and a gallant ship, worth more than a
million of money, to the bottom.

[Illustration: This picture gives an excellent view of a torpedo and its
tube on board a destroyer. The tube, you will observe, can be trained
like a gun, and thus a correct aim can be taken.]

[Illustration: This diagram gives a section of a torpedo, which has been
well described as a complete little warship. It has engines to drive it
along; rudders to steer it; a special apparatus to make it return to the
line of fire, if it should swerve; a supply of explosives to damage the
enemy, and apparatus for firing the explosive at the right moment. A
torpedo such as is used in our navy costs £1,000. Warships at anchor
have steel nets around them as a protection against torpedoes. Some
torpedoes, however, are fitted with a pair of powerful wire cutters,
which enable them to pierce the net and strike the ship.]

He presses the button; a flap opens in the tube in the bows; a valve
admits compressed air into the rear end of it, and a shining torpedo
leaps forward towards the quarry.

_Crash!_ The image in the periscope has disappeared, and the submarine
rocks slightly. The periscope has been sighted by a keen eye on the
_Birmingham_, and a superb shot has carried it away. The submarine is
now as blind as the giant after Ulysses had bored into his one eye. The
biter has been bitten. It cannot remain under water, for a touch of the
cruiser's steel bow will be the stroke of doom. If it comes up, a storm
of shell will rage about it. The commander has a choice of perils.
Desperately he decides to come up and endeavour to fire another
torpedo.

The horizontal rudders are set in motion; compressed air is admitted to
the ballast chambers, and some of the water is blown out. The
conning-tower rises above the level of the water; but, before she can
use her sting, all is over. The cruiser's quick-firing guns have been
waiting, and the moment the deck appears a four-inch shell is discharged
at it. The armour at the base of the conning-tower is cleft through as
though it were a biscuit-box. Water rushes in, and a minute later the
ill-fated craft, a marvel of ingenuity, lies on the bottom, twenty
fathoms deep. There it will rust away long after the war in which it
played such a brief part has passed into history.

       *     *     *     *     *

Such is the story of how H.M.S. _Birmingham_ sank the German submarine U
9. Some accounts tell us that the periscope was not shot away, but that
when the torpedo from the submarine missed its mark, the cruiser made a
rapid turn and drove straight at her, crumpling her to pieces by the
terrible force of its weight and speed. This is the method which our
cruisers usually adopt when attacked by submarines. They steam rapidly
in a zigzag course, so as to disconcert those who are aiming the
torpedo, and, at the first sign of the submarine's presence, charge down
upon her and sink her.

[Illustration: A cruiser ramming a submarine.]


[Footnote 174: See p. 181.]

[Footnote 175: Destroyers are fast warships, smaller than cruisers, and
are meant to act against torpedo boats of the enemy. They also engage in
scouting and patrol work. Some of them have a speed of more than 40
knots, and carry 105 men. All are armed with quick-firing guns and
torpedoes.]

[Footnote 176: War vessels built mainly for speed. They were originally
used for scouting, but nowadays they are little inferior in strength and
gun power to battleships. A battle cruiser is really a battleship with
high speed. The _Lion_, for example, has a tonnage of 26,350 tons, and
steams over 30 miles an hour. She carries eight 13.5-inch guns, and
sixteen 4-inch guns. The _Lion_, the _Tiger_, the _Queen Mary_, and the
_Princess Royal_ are the most powerful battle cruisers in existence.]

[Footnote 177: _Am-fī´on._]



  CHAPTER XVIII.

  INFANTRY AND ITS WORK.


Before I describe the German invasion of Belgium, I must explain
certain military terms which will crop up again and again in the
following pages. Unless you understand these terms, you cannot read war
news intelligently.

An army, you know, is a body of armed men, trained and organized and
disciplined for the work of war. Most of the fighting men in an army are
either infantry, cavalry, or artillery. Let me tell you something about
each of these "arms."

_Infantry_ are foot-soldiers armed with rifles and bayonets. In time of
peace you have seen them marching by in their scarlet and blue uniforms
and smart spiked helmets. You have also seen the Highlanders, with their
waving feather bonnets, short scarlet coats with yellow facings, white
belts and gaiters, plaid stockings, and bare knees. In time of war all
these fine uniforms are discarded, and the men are dressed in khaki.

Every foot-soldier belongs to a _regiment_, and is one of a _company_
of that regiment. A company consists of 227 men of all ranks, and is
commanded by a captain or major, with a captain as second in command.
Every company is divided into four platoons under lieutenants, each of
whom has a sergeant as second in command, and each platoon consists of
four sections under junior sergeants, corporals, or lance-corporals.

In the British Army four companies form a _battalion_, which has been
well called the household or family to which the soldier belongs. It
consists, when at war strength, of 1,007 men, including what is called
headquarters--that is, the battalion staff, the men of the machine-gun
section, the signallers, pioneers, and the bandsmen who in time of war
serve as stretcher-bearers. A battalion is commanded by a
lieutenant-colonel, who is assisted by a major, an adjutant, a
quartermaster, together with a number of sergeants, orderlies, and
clerks. The adjutant is specially responsible for the book-keeping of
the battalion, for issuing the orders, and for seeing that all military
duties are properly performed. The quartermaster has charge of the
stores, clothing, and the equipment of the men.

The strength of an infantry force is reckoned in battalions, not in
regiments. Four battalions--that is, 4,000 men--form a _brigade_ of
infantry, which is commanded by a brigadier-general, who is assisted by
a brigade-major and a staff-captain.

Foot-soldiers are now armed with what is called a magazine rifle. The
short Lee-Enfield,[178] which our infantry carry, can fire a dozen aimed
shots in a minute; and if the magazine is opened, the ten cartridges in
it can be discharged in less than thirty seconds. With this rifle, which
is sighted up to 2,800 yards, a man can hit a large object a mile and a
half away, and if he is a good shot, can kill a man at half a mile. The
cartridge--which contains bullet and powder in one case--is so light
that a man can carry his one hundred and twenty cartridges without much
discomfort. The powder used is smokeless, so that it is almost
impossible to tell where the shots come from if the riflemen take
_cover_--that is, if they conceal themselves behind bushes, rocks, or
hedges. British soldiers are exceedingly good at taking cover, and they
learnt the art from the Boers in South Africa. They are careful to
notice the folds and waves of the ground, and to take advantage of
everything which will hide them from the enemy. A skilful leader can
march his company or platoon across country so that a man sitting still
half a mile away from his route cannot catch as much as a glimpse of it.

[Illustration: Territorial Infantry marching along Fleet Street, London.
Most of these men in private life are lawyers.

_Photo, Record Press._]

Before a man can fire accurately at a distant enemy he must know the
range, and must sight his rifle accordingly. To show you how this range
is found, let us suppose that a platoon sees a party of the enemy on a
ridge in front of it. At one end of this ridge there is a little sand
heap. "The lieutenant calls for three good shots from your section, of
whom you are one. You go up and lie down, and your section commander
tells you that you are to fire at the sand hill to get the range, which
he thinks is 800 yards. You fire at 800 yards, and see no result; the
next man fires at 750--no result. The third man fires at 700, and the
sergeant, with a field-glass, sees a splash of dust on the sand heap.
That settles the range."[179] When the troops occupy a position some
time before the enemy is in sight, it is usual to mark distances. "Half
a dozen men are told to cut sticks from the nearest trees, and to tie
red rags on to each of them. Then they are to pace 600 yards in a
straight line to the front, stepping yards as well as they can, and then
to plant their sticks so that the line of red sticks may mark the 600
yards line from where their comrades are lying down."[179]

Each infantryman carries a short bayonet, about twelve inches long. When
a charge is ordered, the bayonet is fixed on to the end of the
rifle-barrel, and is used as a thrusting-sword. British soldiers have
always been famous for their prowess with the bayonet. A bayonet charge
usually occurs when an enemy has been beaten by gun fire, and his
trenches are carried by a final rush.

Each battalion has with it two machine guns, manned by an officer, a
sergeant, and sixteen men. Two wagons accompany this section to convey
the guns and their ammunition.

A machine gun is nothing but a rifle barrel fixed into a machine so that
it becomes self-firing. The barrel is surrounded by a large tube filled
with water, to keep the barrel from getting too hot. The gun is so
fixed on a tripod stand that it can be turned round in any direction.
One man carries the gun, which weighs about sixty pounds, to the
selected position, and the other carries the tripod on which it is
fixed. On the march, both gun and tripod are carried in a wagon. Each
gun is supplied with boxes containing 3,500 rounds, and 8,000 more
rounds are kept in reserve.

On the next page you will see a picture of this gun at work. When it is
fixed and sighted, a button is pressed, and the first shot is fired. The
recoil of this shot empties and reloads the gun, and so the process goes
on just as long as the button is pressed. Some three hundred shots can
be fired in a minute very accurately, and the effect on a body of men
advancing along a road or across a bridge is deadly in the extreme.

[Illustration: A concealed machine gun in action.

_Photo, Newspaper Illustrations Ltd._]

Besides their rifles and bayonets, each infantryman carries a light,
short-handled shovel attached to his belt. This is for making trenches
and rifle pits to afford protection against the enemy's bullets. In a
very short time a battalion can "dig itself in," and, thus protected,
fire on the enemy from shelter. A trench a hundred yards long, three
feet deep, and two feet wide, can be dug in easy soil by forty men in
about three hours. Every battalion is accompanied by mules or carts,
carrying picks and additional shovels.

[Illustration: A trench made by infantry.

In the drawing the trench has been cut through vertically to show how it
is made. "a" is the parapet piled up behind the hedge to protect the
firer, who is shooting through a loophole ("d") made of bags of earth.
"b" is the bank of earth thrown up behind the trench to protect the men
from the "back blast" of shells, for when they burst, their effect is
felt as severely behind them as in front. "c" is the bank of earth at
the end of the trench to protect the men from enfilade fire--that is,
from fire along the length of the trench. Frequently trenches are made
in zigzags to avoid this danger.]

A good infantryman must be able to shoot well and march well. If you are
in good condition, you perhaps think nothing of a ten-mile walk. But
suppose you are loaded up, as the soldier is, with rifle, bayonet, and
knapsack, ammunition pouches, haversack, water-bottle, and entrenching
tool, a total weight of about sixty-one pounds, you will find ten miles
a long and very tiring distance. Our infantry usually march at about two
and three-quarter miles an hour on a fourteen-mile march. The French
are famous for what are called "forced marches"--that is, for marches
more than twenty miles in one day--but British soldiers have done even
better. In 1898, before the Battle of Atbara, some of our infantrymen
covered 134 miles--mostly desert--in six and a half days, ninety-eight
miles being covered in four successive days. The men were in fine
condition, otherwise they could not have stood the strain. As it was,
many of them arrived at their destination barefooted, the soles of their
boots having come off owing to the rough nature of the country. This, of
course, made the march all the more creditable.

In South Africa the 2nd Shropshire Light Infantry once marched
forty-three miles in thirty-two hours. When pursuing De Wet in August
1900, the City Imperial Volunteers (C.I.V.) marched thirty miles in
seventeen hours.

[Illustration: The Lee-Enfield Rifle.

A spring (A) at the bottom of the magazine pushes the cartridges up
towards the top. By pushing forward the bolt (B) in the direction of the
arrow, you shove the top cartridge (C) into the chamber (D). After you
have fired, you pull back the bolt, and this pulls out the empty
cartridge case. A small metal leaf can be pushed across the top of the
magazine at E, so that you can load and fire the rifle without using the
cartridges in the magazine. This leaf is called the "cut-off."]


[Footnote 178: For diagram see p. 192.]

[Footnote 179: Quoted from "First Lessons in War," by Spenser
Wilkinson.]



  CHAPTER XIX.

  CAVALRY AND ARTILLERY.


Cavalry are soldiers mounted on horses. One of the finest of our cavalry
regiments is the 12th Lancers. In peace time the troopers of this
regiment wear blue tunics with red fronts and cuffs, helmets with
square-cut tops and red feathery plumes, and carry long, slender lances
with red and white pennons. As they ride by, bolt upright on their
splendid chargers, in all the glory of scarlet, blue, and gold, you
cannot imagine a gayer and more gallant sight. None of this finery,
however, is worn in war time; they are clad in the same kind of khaki as
the infantry.

The fighting part of a cavalry regiment consists of three squadrons,
each divided into four troops, with some additional officers and men. A
troop consists of one officer and thirty-two men, and a squadron of 160
officers and men, so that a cavalry regiment numbers 480. At the head of
the regiment is a lieutenant-colonel, and the "second in command" is a
major, who takes the place of the colonel if he should be killed or put
out of action. In every cavalry regiment there are also shoeing-smiths,
saddlers, etc., as well as a doctor and a veterinary surgeon. Every
cavalry regiment is accompanied by a machine-gun section. In the British
Army three regiments form a cavalry brigade.

Each cavalryman is armed with a rifle and a sabre. In a Lancer regiment
all the men carry lances as well; in a Dragoon regiment the front rank
men alone are armed with these weapons. The rifle is carried with its
butt in a leather case, and its barrel passes through a loop around the
cavalryman's left arm. As you will see from the drawing on p. 194, he
carries many other things as well. In time of peace a British cavalry
regiment marches in double file, the officers riding on the flank of
their respective troops or squadrons. On ordinary marches the horses
"walk" at the rate of four miles an hour, and the "trot" of eight miles
per hour is only resorted to when time presses, or when men and horses
are becoming chilled. If for any reason the "gallop" becomes necessary,
the men at once form fours, and dash along at the rate of fifteen miles
an hour. In time of war a cavalry regiment usually operates at the
"trot."

[Illustration: Troopers and their Equipment.

The trooper's uniform is the same as that of the infantryman. Until a
few years ago he was armed with a carbine (3), which he carried in a
leather bucket (4), attached to the right side of the saddle by straps.
He is now armed with the infantry rifle. This is not shown in the
pictures, but is carried as the carbine was, with its butt in a leather
case hanging by straps from the saddle near the man's left heel. Its
barrel passes through a loop around his right arm, as the lance is
carried. (See picture on the right.) 1 is the loop attaching lance to
the arm; 2, the sabre; 3, the carbine; 4, the bucket; 5, the bandolier,
carrying cartridges; 6, a pair of boots; 7, a cloak; 8, a saddlebag,
holding knife, fork, spoon, brush, comb, towel, emergency ration, etc.;
9, a saddlebag, holding shirt, drawers, socks, currycomb, stable-brush,
etc.; 10, breeches and puttees rolled in waterproof sheet; 11, hay net;
12, nosebag, holding corn; 13, picketing ropes; 14, haversack with man's
food; 15, water-bottle; 16, two horse-shoes in leather case; 17, numnah
(felt to save horse's back) and horse-blanket under the saddle; 18,
halter; 19, halter-rope twisted up.]

Cavalry used to be the most important of all "arms," and in the great
historical wars cavalry charges usually carried the day. But with the
coming of quick-firing rifles their importance has greatly lessened. In
recent times they became the "eyes and ears" of the army, and nearly
all the scouting was done by them. Though a good deal of scouting is now
done by aeroplanes, cycles, and motor cars, it is still the duty of
cavalry to precede the main body, and "feel" for the enemy. What is
called a "cavalry screen" is pushed forward in the hope of drawing the
enemy's fire, and thus showing his position. When cavalry are engaged in
this work, they are said to conduct a _reconnaissance_. When our cavalry
conduct a reconnaissance, they ride in scattered formation, so as to
offer as small a target as possible to the enemy. Unfortunately, in dry
weather the advance of such a force is often revealed to the enemy by
the clouds of dust raised by the horses' hoofs.

[Illustration: Cavalry held up by Infantry.

This illustration shows a body of German horsemen attempting to attack
infantry who have taken cover in a shallow trench. The Germans have had
to charge across an open field, and the infantry, by rapid rifle fire,
have shot down many of the men and their horses. Only a handful have
been able to come within fifty yards of the trench, and these, as you
see, have been thrown into confusion. Two of them are holding up the
hand in token of surrender. From this drawing you will easily understand
that "if infantry keep cool and collected, have plenty of ammunition,
and can see the mounted men for some minutes before they arrive at close
quarters, they can shoot down horses and troopers, and probably save
themselves from being ridden over."]

Generally speaking, cavalry secure the main body of the army from
surprise. They also do good work by moving rapidly, and occupying
positions in which they can hamper or delay the enemy. Sometimes they
make raids far behind the enemy's army, and are able to blow up bridges,
destroy railways, or capture stores of food and ammunition wagons.
Cavalry are perhaps more useful than cyclists and men in motor cars,
because they can travel across all kinds of country, while cycles and
motor cars are chiefly confined to roads.

Sometimes cavalry are able to take the enemy's artillery unawares, or
fall upon his infantry while it is in disorder. When this happens, their
charge is very effective; guns are captured, and the infantry is
dispersed. If, however, infantry keep cool and collected, have plenty of
ammunition, and can see the mounted men for some minutes before they
arrive at close quarters, they can shoot down horses and troopers, and
probably save themselves from being ridden over. Cavalry has its best
chance of success when it suddenly attacks infantry from a flank, and at
the same time is secure from being taken in _flank_ by the fire of other
infantry or machine guns. When cavalry are called upon to charge, they
do so in a line of two ranks, with the officers riding in front.
Sometimes cavalrymen fight on foot, much as infantry do.

       *     *     *     *     *

Now let us learn something of the guns and the men who work them. The
gunner's weapon is simply a big rifle, very thick as compared with its
length, and so heavy that it has to be hauled along by horses or motors.
Guns meant for use in the field are mounted on a two-wheeled carriage.
When the gun is in action the end of the trail or steel beam at its rear
rests on the ground. On the march this trail is lifted up and hooked on
to another two-wheeled carriage, called the limber. The four-wheeled
carriage thus formed is drawn by six horses, driven by men riding on
three of them. Along with every gun there are two carriages for
transporting the shell and shrapnel which are fired from it.

Field guns are of various sorts and sizes, according to the work which
they have to do. Our Royal Field Artillery is armed with a quick-firing
gun, called an eighteen-pounder, because it throws a shot weighing
eighteen pounds. This gun is made by winding strong ribbons of steel
round a long steel tube. It can throw its charge for about three and a
half miles, but it is most effective when the range is not more than
about two and a quarter miles.

Most of the guns fire shells which are shaped like bullets, but are, of
course, very much bigger. They consist of a hollow steel case, with
rings of soft copper, some of which fit into the rifling or grooves of
the gun. The shell, like the bullet from a rifle, is given a spinning
motion by the grooving in the barrel, and this makes the shot travel
point foremost.

Inside the shell there is a high explosive. When the shell reaches its
target this substance explodes with such terrific force that it will
smash a wall, a house, or an earthwork.

[Illustration: Shrapnel Shell. (Section.)]

When the gunners are firing against troops they usually use shrapnel,
which is so called from the name of its inventor, the English colonel
Henry Shrapnel.[181] This also consists of a thin steel bullet-shaped
case, which is divided into two parts. One part of it is filled with
round bullets, and in the other part there is a charge of powder.
Attached to this charge of powder is a fuse made of a slow-burning
material which is lighted by the firing of the gun. The gunners "set"
this fuse--that is, they make it of such a length that the burning part
will reach the powder when the shell is some distance in front of its
target. If a shot is aimed at troops which are two miles away, it will
take about ten seconds to reach them. As the gunner wishes the shrapnel
to burst about fifty yards before reaching the troops, he makes his fuse
of such a length that it will explode the powder in a little less than
ten seconds after the shell has left the gun.

[Illustration: Royal Field Artillery in Action.

Notice that the gun is hidden behind bushes. Sometimes the guns are
covered with straw or branches of trees in order to hide them from
observers in aeroplanes.

_Photo, Exclusive News Agency._]

When the powder explodes, it blows out the bullets, which fly forward in
a cone-shaped shower. A shrapnel shell contains 375 bullets, and when it
has burst they travel fifty yards over a space about five yards wide and
fifty yards long. As you may imagine, the bullets work great havoc on
men and horses within this area. Sometimes the fuse does not explode the
powder at the right time. In order that the shot may not be wasted, it
is provided with a cap, which causes the shell to explode when it
strikes the ground. A quick-firing gun, such as is used by the Royal
Field Artillery, fires about six times a minute. When necessary it can
fire much more rapidly than this. As many as twenty shots a minute have
been fired from a British field gun.

You already know that the shells and cartridges are carried on wagons,
each of which contains one hundred rounds. When a battery goes into
action, each section has one of its wagons a few yards behind it. When
all the shells and cartridges in that wagon are used, another wagon is
brought up. When that is empty, the forty rounds carried in each gun
limber are fired, and finally the two rounds in each gun carriage. After
that, unless a fresh supply of ammunition is brought up, the gun is
useless.

The 75 mm.[182] field gun used by the French is said to be the best in
existence. It is a little over 8 feet 1 inch in length, fires a
projectile weighing 15-2/3 pounds, and has a range of 7,110 yards. As
each piece can fire twenty shots per minute, a perfect hail of shells
can be kept up on an enemy's position.

       *     *     *     *     *

It is a splendid sight to see a Royal Horse battery come into action.
The teams advance at the gallop. At the signal "Halt! Section front,"
the gunners jump down from their seats on the gun carriages and limbers.
Two of them lift the trail of the gun off the hook at the back of the
limber, and two others man the wheels of the gun; the teams drive on
with the limbers, the guns are spun round, and in three seconds are
ready for firing.

Before the gun can do its work properly, the range--that is, the
distance between the gun and the target--must be found. For this purpose
trial shots are fired. The gunners guess the range, and then fire at a
point some hundred yards less than the supposed distance. They watch for
the puff of smoke which arises when the shell strikes the ground. If
they see it in front of their target, they know that the range is short.
Then another shell is fired one hundred yards beyond the supposed range.
If this falls behind the target, they know that the range is too long.
The next shot is fired at a distance midway between the short shot and
the long shot, and thus the correct range is found. In order that the
puffs of smoke may be distinctly seen, observers are sent forward to the
right or left of the line of fire to watch where the shells fall.
Sometimes they are provided with telescopic iron ladders, which they
mount in order to have a better view. Field telephones are sometimes
laid so that the observers can communicate with the batteries.

If an enemy has dug himself in and is firing from concealed trenches,
aeroplanes are sent up to spy out the land. When the aviators discover a
trench they drop down bits of tinsel, which glitter in the sunshine, or
a bomb, which ignites when it strikes the ground, and sends up a cloud
of smoke. The gunners then know where their target is. Sometimes the
range is found by means of an instrument known as the range-finder. When
firing begins the aviator watches the shots, and signals to the gunners
until they are aiming correctly. The aeroplanes also discover the
position of the enemy's artillery, so that it can be fired at. In order
to deceive the airmen, the guns are covered with straw or boughs, so
that they cannot be easily detected from above.

Another type of gun which is used in the field is called a _howitzer_.
The great difference between the action of an ordinary gun and that of a
howitzer is the difference between a boy throwing a stone at a mark
which he can see and the same boy pitching a stone over a wall so that
it will fall on something hidden from his view. The ordinary field gun
has a long flat sweep of fire, and is therefore unable to shoot over
hills, trees, or houses, or to drop shells on men lying close beside a
bank or in a deep, narrow trench. Field guns can burst their shrapnel so
that such men would not dare to look over the bank in front of their
trenches and aim their rifles at the enemy, but they cannot actually hit
the men in the trenches. In order to do this, the shots must be thrown
high into the air, so that they will drop straight down on the trenches.
Howitzers are used for this purpose. They are so made that the barrel
can be tilted and the shots fired at a high angle.

[Illustration: Heavy German Howitzer for siege work.

(_Photo, Newspaper Illustrations._)]

[Illustration: The left-hand picture shows the advantage possessed by a
howitzer over a field gun when firing over a hill at some troops at T. I
is the howitzer, and _a_, _a_, _a_ is the track of its shell. 2 is the
field gun, and _b_, _b_ would be the path of its shell were it not
stopped at B by the hill.

The right-hand picture compares the effects on a trench of a shell from
a howitzer and a shell from a field-gun. 3 is the howitzer's shrapnel
shell bursting and pouring its bullets into the trench; but you will
notice that the parapet of earth protects the occupants of the trench
from the bullets of the field-gun's shrapnel shell, which is bursting at
4.

Both of these shells are fitted with "time fuses," which make them
explode in the air as shown. If they were fitted with "percussion
fuses," the howitzer shell would fall to the bottom of the trench, and
explode at H; while the field-gun shell would not burst until it hit the
ground at S.

In both pictures the howitzer is firing at a range of 2¾ miles--that is,
it is 2¾ miles from the target--and the field gun at a range of 2¼
miles.]

You can easily understand that howitzers are very useful when troops
are advancing on the enemy. They can be fired behind the advancing line,
for the shots from them fly high over the men's heads. Ordinary guns
cannot be used at such a time, for they must be in line with the
infantry or in front of them. These guns are usually held in reserve
until the enemy shows himself. Then they are brought forward, and open
fire. The barrel of a howitzer has a wider bore than that of a field
gun, and its shell is not so long. The 5-inch howitzer with which the
Royal Garrison Artillery is armed is so heavy that eight horses are
needed to haul it along good roads. When it is taken over broken country
the team must at least be doubled. Six-inch howitzers are also used.

For battering down fortresses very heavy howitzers are brought up. The
Germans have reserved as the surprise of this war a howitzer with a
calibre of seventeen inches, which throws a huge weight of metal for a
tremendous distance. The gun is so heavy that it is provided with
caterpillar wheels, and is hauled by motor or by thirty-six or forty
horses. It is fired by electricity, and it is said that the gunners
stand four hundred yards behind it when it is discharged.

[Illustration: Armoured Train.

(_Photo, Central News_.)]

Guns for firing high at aeroplanes are also used, and some of them are
mounted on motor cars. On the railways naval guns are placed on armoured
trains, which dash along the line and harass the enemy. Armoured motor
cars are sometimes provided with machine guns, but these belong to the
infantry, and not to the artillery.

Now let us see what part artillery plays in a modern battle. Its first
object is to help the movements of its own infantry, and to harass the
movements of the enemy's infantry. Guns are thus the handmaids of
infantry. Almost every modern battle opens with what is called an
artillery duel. The guns of the one side engage those of the other, so
as to keep them busy, and prevent them from hampering the movements of
the infantry when they are forming line of battle or are advancing.

[Illustration: Columns marching along one road and deploying.]

Infantry march to the battlefield in columns, one behind the other; but
before they can attack they must _deploy_--that is, unfold, open out,
and extend into a line so as to face the enemy with their full force.
Suppose the six columns, from A to B, are marching along a road, and are
required to attack. They must "deploy"--that is, march as shown in the
figure to take up the positions indicated by the dotted blocks from E to
F. I need not tell you that the deeper the columns are the longer they
will take to deploy. A general, therefore, tries to choose a line of
advance where there are many more or less parallel roads or railways
leading in the desired direction. When his troops move in this way his
deployment may be very rapid (see figure below). This is one reason why
the Germans violated the neutrality of Belgium. They wished to have as
wide a front as possible to advance their troops into France.

When the line E F begins to advance, its guns will bombard the position
which it hopes to capture. They will also try to put out of action any
guns firing on their troops, and will crush all attempts of the enemy's
infantry to make a counter-attack. They thus prepare the way for an
advance, and protect the advance while it is being made. If they are
successful, their infantry will probably reach the goal in such
condition that they can make a bayonet charge. When this time arrives
the artillery cannot fire straight forward, because by so doing they
will hit their own men. They therefore sweep the ground to the right and
left in order to prevent the enemy from making flank attacks on the
advancing force. When the position has been won the guns hurry up and
begin the business all over again. Always remember that a battle is
nothing but a great shooting match, in which both guns and rifles are
used.

[Illustration: Columns marching along three parallel roads and
deploying.]

Guns work in groups or batteries of six guns each, and three batteries
form a brigade. If you see artillery on the march, you will notice that
the guns and their wagons always follow each other, and never go two
abreast. In battle the artillery form a line of guns, with about
nineteen yards between gun and gun. Three men work each gun, and they
are protected by a steel shield. The horses and drivers take cover some
distance in the rear of the guns, but within easy reach of them.
Artillery officers always try to secure a position in which their guns
are not easily seen, and yet have in front of them a large area of open
country over which they can direct their fire.

       *     *     *     *     *

In addition to riflemen, horsemen, and gunners, an army needs other
services in order to make it an effective fighting machine. For example,
it needs engineers to remove those obstacles in its path which prevent
it from advancing quickly and easily. Engineers make roads and light
railways, bridge rivers, or blow up bridges in order to delay the enemy.
They also make fortifications and set up telegraphs and telephones, so
that a general may know what is going on in all parts of his line, and
transmit his orders as quickly as possible to the various commanders.

What is called a field company of Engineers is, roughly, of the same
strength as an infantry company. It carries with it shovels for digging
trenches, axes for cutting down trees, wire for making entanglements,
sand-bags for protecting men firing from trenches, explosives,
carpenters' and smiths' tools, water-supply stores, signalling
apparatus, and the materials for making maps. All these things are
carried in four-horsed carts and on the backs of pack animals.
Six-horsed wagons are laden with the materials for building bridges,
such as pontoons, trestles, planks, and so forth. An Engineer company
can erect a bridge across a stream in a very short time, and take it
down even more rapidly.

[Illustration: Engineers at work erecting a pontoon bridge over a river.

_Photo, Newspaper Illustrations, Ltd._]

An army must be fed, or it cannot fight. This is what Napoleon meant
when he said that an army marches on its stomach. The work of bringing
food to an army or part of an army is entrusted to a very important
branch of the service known as the Army Service Corps. Then there must
be a Medical Corps, to look after the sick and wounded; a Flying Corps,
for scouting purposes; and a Signalling Corps, to transmit messages from
one part of the field to another. Signalling is done by "flag-wagging,"
by flashes of light sent from mirrors (heliographs[183]) or lamps, or by
means of telegraphs, both wire and wireless, and by telephones. Our army
is famous all over the world for its expertness in signalling. By means
of relays of flag-waggers messages can be conveyed for fifty miles with
great speed and certainty.

[Illustration: Signalling by means of two flags. Most signalling is now
done by means of one flag.]

       *     *     *     *     *

On page 208 you will see a little picture which compares a man with an
army. An army in the field is very like a man, as you will plainly see
if you study the drawing.

First, let us look at the man's brain. By means of it he thinks, makes
his plans, and orders all the movements of his body. What is called the
_staff_ of an army is the brain of the army. It plans how to outwit the
enemy, thinks out ways and means, and controls the movements of all the
troops.

Now consider the man's eyes and ears. With these he obtains information
as to what is going on around him. Without them he is at the mercy of
those who are better provided than he. The eyes and ears of the army are
the _Flying Corps_, the _motor cyclists_, and the _cavalry_. They
discover the enemy's movements, and keep the staff well informed of his
doings.

When a man is boxing, he usually leads off with a blow at the head from
his left arm. We may call his left arm the _artillery_, for with its
artillery an army strikes hard and far.

[Illustration: A comparison between a man and an army.]

A man's feet enable his body to advance. We may call the _Engineers_,
the _Army Service Corps_, and the _Royal Medical Corps_ the feet of the
army.

There now only remains the man's body, in which lies all his power.
The body of an army is the mass of _Infantry_ which comprises its chief
force.


[Footnote 180: Born 1761, died 1842. He invented shrapnel in 1787, and
it was first employed by the British in 1804. Some of our victories in
the Peninsular War were largely won by means of it, and it played an
important part in the battle of Waterloo. The Prussians first used it in
1864.]

[Footnote 181: Millimetre. A millimetre is 1/1000 of a metre (3-1/3
ft.). Seventy-five millimetres is about three inches. This is the bore
or _calibre_ of the gun.]


[Footnote 182: Apparatus for signalling by flashing the sun's rays.]



  CHAPTER XX.

  SOME MILITARY TERMS.


Before we proceed, we must clearly understand some terms which are used
in war. In reading newspapers we frequently meet with the term army
corps. A modern army is made up of a certain number of _army corps_,
each of which is a complete army in itself. At the beginning of a
campaign we may reckon an army corps to consist roughly of 40,000 men of
all arms, under the command of a general.

An army corps is divided as a rule into two _divisions_, and each
division is also a complete little army in itself.

Study this little table, and you will see the composition of a British
division.

                 Total Officers  No. of  No. of Guns, No. of Vehicles,
                    and Men.     Horses.  including   including
                                           Machine    those of
                                            Guns.     the Artillery.

  1 Headquarters         82        54        --            7

  3 Infantry Brigades 12,165      741        24          309

  1 Headquarters
    Divisional
    Artillery            22        20        --            2

  3 Field Artillery
    Brigades          2,385     2,244        54          240

  1 Field Artillery
    (Howitzer)
    Brigade             755       697        18           67

  1 Heavy Battery
    and Ammunition
    Column              198       144         4           19

  1 Divisional
    Ammunition
    Column              568       709        --          110

  1 Headquarters
    Divisional
    Engineers            13         8        --            3

  2 Field Companies
    of Engineers        434       152        --          102

  1 Signal Company      162        80        --           53

  1 Cavalry Squadron    159       167        --            9

  1 Divisional Train    428       378        --          176

  3 Field Ambulances    702       198        --           72

                     18,073     5,592       100        1,169

Such a division on the march would cover from head to tail about 15¾
miles.

The supreme head of all the army corps which form an army is a
commander-in-chief, or generalissimo, who is assisted by what is called
the supreme general staff. The commander-in-chief and his staff are the
brain and driving force of the army as a whole. It will interest you to
learn how the commander-in-chief and his staff are linked up with every
part of the army.

The commander-in-chief and his staff occupy what is called the general
headquarters of the army, which is stationed in some town behind the
area in which fighting is actually going on. Battles are now waged over
so many miles that a commander-in-chief cannot possibly see for himself
what is happening all along his line. He has to rely upon others, who
bring him or send him information by telegraph, telephone, motor car,
motor cycle, or aircraft. All day, and all night too, a constant stream
of information as to the movements of the enemy, the position of his own
troops, the progress of the fighting, and so forth, arrives at the
headquarters of a commander-in-chief, and officers are set apart to
receive this information and arrange it so that he may have a clear and
full knowledge of all that is going on. Large maps are spread out on
tables, and officers are constantly engaged in marking the movements
of each side by means of flags or coloured chalks, so that at a glance
the situation at any given moment may be seen. It is by the study of
these marked maps that the commander and his staff decide what movements
the army shall make to resist or attack the enemy.

[Illustration: This picture represents the headquarters of a French
division in a village. Notice the cavalry and cyclist scouts and the men
receiving messages by telephone. Notice also the officers writing orders
and poring over maps.]

Each army corps, division, and brigade has a similar headquarters, where
the same kind of work is done and information is gathered up to be sent
to the general headquarters, or the G.H.Q., as soldiers call it.

As the army moves backwards or forwards, general headquarters is moved
from one place to another; but it is always far enough in the rear not
to be disturbed by the guns of the enemy, and in such a position that it
can easily be in touch with every part of the fighting line. It often
happens that the commander wishes to be in closer touch with the
operations that are going on, or perhaps he desires to meet his generals
in order to consult with them, and to receive their reports in person.
For this purpose he has report-centres, or what are called _postes de
commandement_, nearer the front than general headquarters. Between the
general headquarters and the headquarters of army corps officers
constantly travel to and fro in motor cars. They carry messages to the
various generals, and, if necessary, explain the commander's wishes to
them more fully than could be done in writing.

[Illustration: In Trenches.

These trenches have been occupied for a considerable time, and much has
been done to make them habitable. Notice the parapet behind which the
men stand to fire, and the dug-out in which they take refuge when the
trench is heavily shelled.

Photopress.]

Behind each army corps, and some way in front of general headquarters,
but also sufficiently far from the turmoil of the fighting, are the army
corps headquarters, which are exactly like general headquarters, though
on a smaller scale. Here are stationed the corps commanders and their
staffs. They, too, have _postes de commandement_ nearer the front, and
officers who go to and fro with messages and orders.

The headquarters of each _division_ is pushed as far forward as
possible without coming within range of the enemy's artillery. In the
neighbourhood of divisional headquarters we first see signs that
fighting is going on. The soldiers themselves we cannot see, because
they are hidden away in villages, in woods, or in folds of the ground.
But we shall probably see houses wrecked by the enemy's shells, and
strings of wagons moving along the roads with food and ammunition for
the fighting men.

Still nearer the fighting line are the _brigade_ headquarters, which are
usually within range of the enemy's guns. Four or five hundred yards
farther on is the irregular line of trenches, occupied by the men
engaged in firing on the enemy, or by the supports which are rushed up
when the attack becomes too hot for the defenders. When the hostile
forces have been facing each other in trenches for some time, the ground
which they occupy is seamed with dug-outs, burrows, and holes of all
sorts. The line of trenches is fringed with barbed wire, and is broken
here and there by what are called "saps"--that is, by narrow trenches
which are dug forward from the main trench towards the enemy's trenches.

Between the trenches of the hostile forces is a No Man's Land, strewn
with the dead of both sides. When darkness falls, a patrol or a solitary
"sniper" creeps out of his trench without a sound, and crawls along this
dread space until he reaches some point from which he can, while
concealed, examine the enemy's position, or fire with advantage on his
foes. All that he can see in the light of the moon is a fringe of wire
and long rows of low mounds marking the trenches occupied by the enemy.

Frequently in front of the firing line a secret position is found, which
enables an officer or man to observe the enemy's movements. From these
observation posts to the headquarters of the battalion, thence to those
of the brigade, and onward to the divisional headquarters and the
general headquarters, runs a long trail of telegraph wire, through which
information is constantly being sent or orders are being transmitted.
Away in front of the trenches this wire lies half hidden in the mud by
the roadside; farther back it is looped from tree to tree or along the
hedges. Still farther back it is carried on slender black-and-white
poles, and finally it reaches the general headquarters on permanent
posts.

These telegraph wires, you will observe, are just like the nerves which
branch out from your brain to the uttermost parts of your body. Along
them comes all the information which your brain can receive from
outside. Your brain decides what action you will take, and messages
flash along the nerves to the muscles which set the various parts of
your body in motion. If you think of the commander and his staff as the
brain of the army, and of the telegraph, telephone, motor car, motor
cycle, and aircraft as the nerves of the army, you will have a good idea
of how hundreds of thousands of men are moved and controlled by one
master mind.

       *     *     *     *     *

Another important term which you continually meet with is the word
_communications_. Every army moves forward from what is called its
base--that is, the place where its ammunition, food, and general
supplies are stored. These stores must be continually brought up to the
army as it needs them; otherwise it would starve. There must, then, be a
speedy and safe road or system of roads and railways between the army
and its base. As the army advances this _line of communications_ becomes
longer and longer. It must be kept safe from the attacks of the enemy:
for if a part of it between the _base_ and the _army_ were to be
captured, the army would be cut off from its food and stores; and if it
could not find a new line of communication, it would very soon be forced
to surrender. Large numbers of soldiers are required to guard these
lines of communications. You may think of them as the air-tube which
supplies a diver with air. If by any means the air-tube should be cut or
stopped up, the diver must immediately come to the surface, or perish.

Along the lines of communication there is a constant coming and going.
Food, ammunition, general supplies, and new bodies of men are
continually passing from the base to the front, and the wounded and the
empty trains are continually being moved from the front to the base.
When an army so spreads out that it has a wide front, it must have
several parallel lines of communication, so as to keep itself supplied
with the necessities of war.

So vastly important are these lines of communication that the opposing
generals strive to cut them, and by so doing deprive their enemy of his
supplies of food and ammunition.

Another important way in which a general seeks to overcome his enemy is
by breaking through the line opposed to him in one or more places. If he
succeeds in doing this, he has no longer a strong, united force opposed
to him, but two or more fragments which he can overcome separately with
his own united and unbroken force.

There are two ways of breaking an enemy's line. The first way is by
holding the enemy all along his line, and suddenly bringing against one
part of it a large, powerful force. If this force breaks through, it
divides the opposing army, and can beat it in detail. Such an attack is
known as a _frontal attack_. Napoleon tried it at Waterloo, but could
not break through the "thin red line" of Wellington's heroes.

The other way of breaking the enemy's line is to _outflank_ it, and then
_envelop_ or surround his forces. I have already used the word _flank_
several times in these pages. It simply means the side or wing. If a man
attacks you when you are sideways, you cannot well resist him. In order
to do so you must turn your face towards him. So it is with an army. If
it is attacked on its side or wing, it cannot properly resist until it
forms a line facing the attacker. While it is doing this it runs the
risk of being thrown into confusion, and perhaps destroyed.

Look at the diagram on p. 216. Let A-F be a British force, and _a-f_ a
German force equal in strength. While these forces are fighting front to
front, suppose a new British force, G H I, should appear, and attack the
flank _a_. It is clear that the soldiers at _a_ can only defend
themselves if they swing round to meet the attack of G H I. If they
remain where they are, they will very soon have the foe behind them as
well as in front of them, and they will then be between two fires, in
which case they can hardly escape destruction.

[Illustration]

Suppose they swing round the two bodies _a_, _b_, as in Figure 1 (p. 217)
to meet G H I, what happens? The German line is weakened. Instead of
having six bodies to meet six bodies, they have now only four to oppose
the six of the attacking force. Immediately E F will try to take _f_ in
flank, and soon the line will assume the position shown in Figure 2 (p.
217). You can easily see that the line of the enemy's communications is
now in danger, and that if the movement continues the whole force will
be surrounded. You will remember that the Germans managed to surround a
large French army at Sedan and force it to surrender.[183] When a
general finds himself being outflanked by a superior force, he is bound
to retreat and straighten out his line again, if he is to save himself
from disaster.

[Illustration: Fig. 1.]

[Illustration: Fig. 2.]

In reading war news you will often meet with the word _strategy_, which
means the art of generalship, of moving and arranging great bodies of
troops in order to put the enemy at a disadvantage, and so overcome him.
I have given you some examples of strategy above.

Do you play draughts? When you do so, you and your opponent resemble the
generals of two opposing armies. You think out every move of the game,
and your object in making the move is to capture all your opponent's
men, or to hem them in so that they cannot move without being taken.
This is _strategy_, but the strategy of war is a far more puzzling
business. In the game of draughts all the men are of the same value at
the beginning, and you can only move them along certain fixed paths laid
down by the rules. All the moves are open and above board, and if you
and your opponent are equally skilful at the game, neither of you ought
to be taken by surprise. The better strategist will win, or, if you are
equally good, the game will end in a draw.

In the great game of war the opposing generals have to deal with men of
flesh and blood, and not with wooden pieces. These men are bodies of
infantry, cavalry, and artillery, which do different kinds of work on
the battlefield, and move at different speeds. Before the general can
make his first move--which may be the successful move or the fatal
move--he must study the map of the country in which he is to operate,
and must choose the line or lines of his advance, always taking care to
have good and well-protected communications in his rear. Though he may
fix on his plan of campaign beforehand, he must always be ready with
another, to suit altered circumstances. Then he must calculate carefully
the time which each "arm" will take to come into its required position,
and in order to do this he must know the kinds of roads over which the
men are to march, and the state they are in. And at the same time he
must get all the information possible about the strength and movements
of his enemy. He must form an idea of what the opposing general is
aiming at, and must make arrangements to thwart him. He must make his
moves as silently and secretly as possible, and whenever he can he must
put his enemy on a false scent, so that he may fall upon him unawares.
You can easily understand from this very imperfect account of a
general's duty that he must be a man of great powers of mind and of much
experience in war.

The commander-in-chief along with his staff settles the strategy, but
the commanders of divisions, and battalions, and squadrons, and
batteries must carry his plans into effect. The art of doing this is
known as _tactics_. The way in which the battle line is formed at a
particular place, the manner in which cavalry or artillery are used for
a particular purpose, and generally the methods by which marches are
conducted, camps are laid out, fortifications are made, and the actual
fighting is done, come under the head of _tactics_. It has been well
said that the art of strategy consists in getting two men to a place
where only one man is ready to oppose them. The arrangements by which
the two men would best attack the one man when they meet him, or by
which the one man could resist the two, belong to the art of tactics.


[Footnote 183: See p. 109.]



  CHAPTER XXI.

  THE INVASION OF BELGIUM.


You already know that the Germans thought it a matter of life and death
to get into France and strike a decisive blow as speedily as possible.
For this reason they meant to make their way through Belgium. We know
that they had long intended to take this route when they went to war
with France. Along that part of their frontier which marches with
Belgium they had built many railways, so that troops might be brought
rapidly to the border. At all the stations, even those of small towns,
long platforms, often five or six hundred yards long, and special
sidings, had been made, so that men and guns could be rapidly detrained
within a few miles of Belgian soil. Ever since the time of Frederick the
Great, German soldiers have believed that the worst place to make war is
their own country, and the best the enemy's.

On Sunday evening, 2nd August, the German Government sent a long message
to the Belgian Government, declaring that the French were going to march
through Belgium to attack Germany, and that it feared the Belgians would
be unable to resist them. It had, therefore, decided to enter Belgium,
so as to anticipate the attack of the enemy. This statement, as you
know, was quite untrue. The French had never intended to do anything of
the kind.

Then the message went on to say that the German Government would keenly
regret if Belgium should consider the proposed invasion as an unfriendly
act. If Belgium would agree to let the Germans pass through unopposed,
they would promise neither to take away the independence of Belgium nor
to deprive her of any of her territory, and would pledge themselves to
leave the country as soon as peace was made. They would pay ready cash
for any provisions that their troops might need, and would make good any
damage that they might do. If, however, the Belgians should oppose the
German soldiers in any way, especially by firing on them from the forts
on the Meuse, or by destroying roads, railways, or tunnels, they would
be compelled to consider Belgium an enemy, and when the country was
conquered they would hold it as their own. The message ended by hoping
that Belgium would do as Germany wished, and that the friendly relations
which united the two neighbouring nations would become closer and more
lasting. Belgium was given only twelve hours in which to reply--that is,
until 7 a.m. the next day.

Can you imagine a more anxious twelve hours for the Belgian King and
Government? Here was a little unoffending state of seven and a half
millions of people, with a little army of about 263,000 men, threatened
by a state of 67,000,000 of people, with the most powerful, the best
organized, and the best prepared army the world has ever seen. The
Belgians knew full well that, if they resisted, they could not hope to
overcome the vast hordes that would be hurled against them. They knew
that they would be at the mercy of a ruthless conqueror; that thousands
of their people would be slain; that their fair fields would be trodden
down, their industries destroyed, their homes rendered desolate, and
perhaps the name of Belgium blotted out of the book of nations. Had they
bowed the head and cried, "We are weak and you are terribly strong; pass
on, we dare not resist you," no one could have blamed them. But to their
eternal honour they did no such thing. The Belgian ministers met during
the night, and about four in the morning returned the noble reply that
they were ready to fight to the death to maintain their independence;
that they were prepared to perish as a nation rather than sell their
freedom. Never before has a nation made such a heroic choice. At one
bound little Belgium rose to grandeur. She threw aside all thought of
self, and prepared to suffer for the right. And she has already reaped
her reward. All the nations of the world, outside Germany and Austria,
have united to do her honour. She has written her name high on the
scroll of history in letters of gold that can never fade.

  "Wherever men are staunch and free,
    There shall she keep her fearless state,
  And, homeless, to great nations be
    The home of all that makes them great."

       *     *     *     *     *

In times of peace Belgium is much divided by political strife. In the
face of the great danger which now threatened her, all parties united as
one man and prepared for the terrible struggle. The head and front of
the nation in this desperate endeavour was the "hero king," Albert,
nephew of Leopold II. "A country that defends itself," he said, "cannot
perish."

When he ascended the throne, in December 1909, he was almost a stranger
to his people. They knew little more of him than that he was a tall man,
a student, very intelligent, shy, and simple in manner and tastes, and
that he had travelled widely, and had striven hard to make himself
acquainted with the daily life of the Belgian people. One day the Press
would tell of the Prince going down a coal-mine; another day of his
driving a railway engine; again another day of his mountaineering
exploits in the Tyrol.[184] His wife was a Bavarian princess, who had
qualified as an oculist.

When he became king he soon won the favour, and indeed the admiration,
of his people. So divided were the Flemings of the northern provinces
and the Walloons of the southern provinces that it seemed likely they
would set up separate governments. The king, however, acted as umpire
and peace-maker, and by his wisdom and tact saved Belgium from this
misfortune. Then there was trouble with regard to Belgium's great
African possession, the Congo Free State.[185] In this matter, too, King
Albert was able to bring peace out of discord. So popular did he become
that the Belgian Socialists said, "When Belgium becomes a republic,
Albert will be its first president."

[Illustration: King George walking with King Albert in the main street
of a Belgian town.

(_Photo, Newspaper Illustrations, Ltd_.)]

He also threw himself whole-heartedly into the work of army reform. His
father had clearly seen that, sooner or later, a war cloud would burst
over Europe, and he had persuaded Parliament to agree to two important
military measures. One was the building of forts along the Meuse; the
other was the reform and increase of the army, which was then small in
numbers and far from good in quality. At that time all men of military
age were liable to serve in the army; but as only a certain number was
needed, the men drew lots, and those on whom the lots fell were obliged
to serve. But any man so chosen by lot could buy a substitute to take
his place, and in this way the well-to-do men escaped service. King
Leopold put an end to this system, and, just before his death, signed a
law which made Belgian gentlemen and farmers serve their country in
their own person. The army, which was soon to be at death grips with the
Germans, was recruited partly under the old system and partly under the
new. The new contingents, however, were not properly supplied with
weapons and equipment, nor was the artillery well prepared for the
terrible task which awaited it.


[Footnote 184: The Austrian Switzerland, north of Italy and east of
Switzerland. Its capital is Innsbrück, on the Inn.]

[Footnote 185: Belgian West Africa, mainly drained by the Congo and
covering an area of some 800,000 square miles. It was explored by H.
M. Stanley on behalf of Leopold, King of the Belgians, and became his
property with the consent of the Great Powers. In 1889 Leopold
bequeathed it to Belgium, and it was taken over by that country in
1908.]



  CHAPTER XXII.

  HOW LIÉGE WON THE LEGION OF HONOUR.


On the next page you will see a map of Belgium. I want you to examine it
carefully. You will notice that Belgium's real line of defence on the
south and east is the river Meuse. After the war of 1870-71 the great
military engineer, Brialmont,[186] was called upon to fortify the Meuse
valley in such a way that an enemy advancing from the south or east
might at least be delayed until other nations could come to the help of
Belgium. He had already made Antwerp the chief citadel of the country.

In the neighbourhood of Liége the Meuse runs in a deep wide trench
between masses of upland. On the north lies a tableland which extends
for fifty miles to the neighbourhood of Louvain. On the east and south
is the hill country of the Ardennes, a land of ridges and forests seamed
by swiftly running streams, and sinking eastwards to the plains of the
Rhine. The tableland to the north is flat, and is covered with fields of
beetroot and cereals. An invader can cross it with ease. But the hill
region to the east and south is too rough and broken for large armies to
traverse without considerable difficulty. From the map you can readily
see that the easy road from Germany into Belgium lies between the
northern limit of the Ardennes and the Dutch frontier. Here stands
Liége, and Brialmont naturally chose it as the site of a great fortress
which should bar the way from Germany.

[Illustration: Map illustrating the War in Belgium (Aug. 9-20).]

The sides of the wide valley in which the Meuse runs are sharply cut,
and are clothed for the most part with scrub, oak, and beeches. Here we
find the Black Country of Belgium, the chief coal-mining district of the
country, where the smoke from many factory and colliery chimney-stacks
darkens the sky. The chief centre of this Black Country is Liége, which
stands in a strikingly picturesque situation on the lofty banks of the
broad Meuse not far from its junction with the Ourthe. Most of the city
stands on the left bank of the river, and here we find noble public
buildings, stately churches, pretty parks, broad boulevards, and
spacious streets. On the right bank is the industrial quarter, with many
factories and the homes of the workers. There is an island in the river,
by means of which several bridges unite the two portions of the city.
Firearms are largely manufactured by the people in their own homes; and
zinc foundries, engine shops, motor-cycle works, a gun factory, a cannon
foundry, and flax-spinning mills give employment to thousands of other
workmen. The inhabitants are Walloons, who have always been renowned for
their independence and love of freedom.

Brialmont fortified Liége by building around it a series of twelve
forts in a ring some ten miles across. From the little plan on page 236
you will see that these forts were at distances varying from 6,500 yards
to 10,000 yards from the centre of the city. In the old days forts were
strong castles, usually built on a high rock or hill; but when guns of
great range and force came into use, engineers sank their forts into the
earth as much as possible. To outward appearance a Liége fort seemed to
be nothing but a low, grassy mound rising from a deep ditch. The mound
was cased in with concrete and masonry, and its top was broken by a pit
in which was fitted a "cupola," or gun-turret, which could be made to
slide up and down by means of a piston. When the cupola was down,
nothing was visible but the low mound; when it was up, the muzzles of
the guns were seen sticking out of portholes. Inside this great molehill
were the quarters for the garrison, the machinery for moving the guns
and cupolas, the ammunition and supply stores, the electric-lighting
arrangements, and the ventilating fans. The engineers and gunners
entered and left the fort by means of a tunnel. You will see a diagram
showing the structure of one of the most powerful of the Liége forts on
page 229.

Brialmont meant the various forts which defended Liége to be joined to
each other by means of trenches and gun-pits, so as to prevent the enemy
from rushing in between them at night or in misty weather. Unfortunately
these lines of trenches were never completed. Nevertheless the position
was thought to be one of the strongest in Europe. Five years ago a
German general reported that his army had no gun strong enough to
destroy one of the Liége forts, and added that such a gun must be made.
We shall soon see that his advice was taken.

       *     *     *     *     *

Turn to the map on page 226, and find the position of
Aix-la-Chapelle,[187] which the Germans call Aachen. It is an important
military centre of Germany, and is on the great railway route from
Berlin to Paris. Follow the railway, and you will see that it curves
round by way of Verviers, and then runs along the valley of the Vesdre
to Liége. As the crow flies, Aix-la-Chapelle is only twenty-five miles
from Liége. About the same distance south of Aix-la-Chapelle is
Malmedy,[188] the German Aldershot, where several army corps are always
in training. About three years ago the Germans persuaded the Belgian
Government to let them make a branch line connecting Malmedy with the
Belgian railway system at the little town of Stavelot.[189]

       *     *     *     *     *

On the morning of Tuesday, 4th August, German advance guards suddenly
seized Stavelot and began to march upon Liége from the south-eastward.
At the same time, troops from Aix-la-Chapelle crossed the frontier and
occupied Verviers.[190] Picked soldiers in motor cars were also hurried
across the plain towards Visé.[191] The invasion of Belgium had begun.
Before the vast armies of Germany could advance, Liége must be captured.
The eastern forts of the city commanded all the railways, and all the
roads but one, and that was the road leading from Aix-la-Chapelle to
Visé. The Germans expected little opposition from the Belgians, and
believed that they had an easy task before them. There were no Belgian
soldiers on the frontier to oppose them, and they advanced unmolested.
They tried to make friends with the people in the towns and villages
through which they passed; but many of the townsfolk and villagers at
once fled by road and rail into Holland or towards Brussels.

[Illustration: Diagram of a Liége Fort.]

At this time the Belgian army was mobilizing along the line of the river
Dyle,[192] to the east of Brussels. At midnight on the 4th of August the
church bells were still ringing to call the soldiers to arms, and dogs
were being collected to draw the machine guns. When news arrived that
the Germans were marching on Liége a division and a brigade were hurried
to the city; but, along with the Civic Guard of the town, they did not
number more than 20,000 men. It had long been known that at least 50,000
men were needed to hold the forts and the intervals between them. It was
a "scratch" force that attempted the task--infantry of the line, in
their blue and white dress; cavalry in their peaked caps, green and
yellow uniform, and flowing capes; and the Civic Guard,[193] in their
high round hats and red facings. Already gangs of colliers and navvies
were at work digging trenches and throwing up breastworks, and already
houses, spinneys, and even churches in the line of fire from the guns
of the forts were being levelled to the ground. Engineers were also at
work blowing up bridges, viaducts, and tunnels in the Belgian Ardennes,
so as to prevent the enemy from using the railways. By the afternoon of
Wednesday, 5th August, the Belgians held in strength the line of the
south-eastern forts, and cavalry covered the gap between the most
northerly of these forts and the Dutch border. The army was under the
command of General Leman,[194] an officer of Engineers, who had worked
under Brialmont. He was a grave, silent man, more than sixty years of
age, and was highly respected by his fellow-countrymen. Every Belgian in
the trenches was a patriot, eager to defend his country, his wife,
children, and home with his life.

Wednesday morning (5th August) dawned hot and rather dull. Soon the
sound of firing was heard north of Liége. It came from the neighbourhood
of the little town of Visé, where Belgian troops were holding the
crossing of the Meuse. Watchers on the high ground above Liége saw black
clouds of smoke drifting along the river. German guns were pounding the
little town, and the shells had set fire to the houses. The Belgians,
however, held the bank of the river and the houses near it with great
bravery. They had blown up the bridges, and the enemy was forced to
build others. In one place a number of Belgian troops lay concealed
while a pontoon was being erected, and just as the work was completed
they opened fire. The bridge was destroyed, and with it many of the
engineers who were building it. After fierce fighting the Belgians were
obliged to withdraw, and the Germans entered Visé.

[Illustration: General von Emmich, commanding the German Army in
Belgium.]

Every one expected that the main attack on Liége would come from this
direction; but it began after dark next day on the southern side, along
the wooded heights broken by the course of the little river Ourthe.
About 11.30 p.m. shells came screaming through the darkness, and burst
over the southern forts. The German guns were some three miles away, and
they were firing in the blackness of the night at targets which they
could not see. Nevertheless, by means of large-scale maps, they were
able to aim their guns with great accuracy, and shell after shell
exploded on the ramparts of the forts. Their heavy siege pieces had not
yet come up, and they were using their field guns. The shells fired from
them were filled with some high explosive which gave forth a bright
greenish light as they burst. The guns of the forts replied to the
German fire; but they probably did little damage, as the enemy's guns
were carefully concealed. For nearly three hours the bombardment
continued.

Towards three in the morning of 6th August a rattle of infantry fire was
heard in the woods on both sides of the river Ourthe. The Germans were
advancing to attack the trenches between Fort Boncelles and Fort
Embourg. Parties of Belgians were sent forward to check them, but were
driven back, and just as dawn was breaking the Germans bore down on the
trenches in dense masses, shoulder to shoulder, believing that they
could carry them by sheer force of numbers. Upon these closely-knit
ranks the Belgians poured volley after volley, cutting wide lanes
through them until the dead were heaped high before the trenches. "It
was death in haystacks," said a Belgian soldier, who played his part in
the fight.

Again and again, like sheep driven to the slaughter, the Germans
advanced, while the Belgian rifles cracked and the guns of the forts
thundered. Again and again they were driven back, and more than once,
when the Germans were but fifty yards away and the whites of their eyes
could be seen, the Belgians left their trenches and swept the foe before
them at the point of the bayonet. At the sight of the gleaming steel
many of the Kaiser's men turned and ran or held up their hands and
surrendered. At eight in the morning they withdrew, and the wearied
Belgians cheered and cheered again, for they had won a victory.

Meanwhile, however, the fort of Fléron[195] had been silenced. A shell
had burst on the turret, and had smashed the machinery of the cupola. A
furious bombardment was also kept up on Fort Chaudfontaine,[196] at the
point where the railway line from Aix-la-Chapelle passes through a
tunnel. The German artillery fire reduced the fort to a heap of ruins,
but it never surrendered. Its heroic commander blocked the tunnel by
causing railway engines to collide within it, and then, in order that
the German flag should never fly over even the broken remains of his
fort, he set fire to his ammunition magazine, and thus completed its
destruction. The fall of Chaudfontaine opened up the railway to the
invaders.

       *     *     *     *     *

Long ago Julius Cæsar wrote, "Bravest of all peoples are the Belgæ." One
who knows the Belgian soldier well says: "Greater even than my
admiration of his careless courage is my liking for the man. For all his
manhood, he has much of the child in him; he is such a chatterbox, and
so full of laughter; and never are his laugh and his chaff so quick as
when he has the sternest work in hand. Unshaven, mud-bespattered,
hungry, so tired that he can hardly walk or lift his rifle to his
shoulder, he will bear himself with a gallant gaiety which I think is
quite his own, and altogether fascinating." No doubt in the eyes of the
Germans the Belgian soldiers, almost untrained, clothed in a quaint
jumble of curious uniforms, slovenly in appearance, and without any of
the smartness of the drill-ground, appeared absurd; but they were
patriots, every man of them, fighting freely, and indeed gladly, for all
that they held dear.

During the fighting which I have just described, a lad of nineteen
actually managed to capture a German general single-handed. When the
general surrendered, his captor found that he was carrying a satchel
containing not only papers but six thousand pounds in notes and gold.
The young Belgian handed over the money to the Red Cross Society, to aid
it in its splendid work of tending the wounded. He kept for himself,
however, the satchel and the general's silver helmet.

While the forts were being bombarded, an examination was going on at the
university. Most of the candidates finished their papers, and then
trooped from the hall to the battlefield, where many of them lay dead a
few hours later.

       *     *     *     *     *

During that day and the next the Germans tried to "rush" the forts by
hurling dense masses of men against them. Let me tell you the story of
one of these attacks, from the lips of a Belgian officer.

"As line after line of the German infantry advanced we simply mowed them
down. It was terribly easy, monsieur, and I turned to a brother officer
of mine more than once and said, 'Voilà![197] they are coming on again,
in a dense, close formation. They must be mad!' They made no attempt at
deploying, but came on, line after line, almost shoulder to shoulder,
until, as we shot them down, the fallen were heaped one on top of the
other in an awful barricade of dead and wounded men that threatened to
mask our guns and cause us trouble. I thought of Napoleon's saying, if
he said it, 'It is magnificent, but it is not war.' No, it was
slaughter--just slaughter!...

"But, would you believe it, this wall of dead and dying actually enabled
these wonderful Germans to creep closer, and actually charge up the
glacis! They got no farther than half-way, for our Maxims and rifles
swept them back. Of course, we had our own losses, but they were slight
compared with the carnage inflicted upon our enemies."

       *     *     *     *     *

On Thursday, 6th August, most of the forts were still holding out; but
the Germans had brought up two more army corps from the south and
south-east, and it was now clear that the garrison of Liége was too
small in numbers to hold the forts and the intervals between them. At
nightfall, though the forts remained intact, bodies of German troops
pushed through the spaces between the two forts which look south-east
towards the German frontier. On the morning of the 7th it was discovered
that a considerable force of Germans had got within the ring of forts,
and was in the town of Liége itself. Nevertheless, until the forts were
silenced the roads and railways which they commanded could not be used,
and the German advance was, therefore, held up.

General von Emmich,[198] who was in command of the German forces, now
brought up 8.4-inch howitzers, and probably one or two still heavier
mortars, and began a furious cannonade of the forts. These guns fired
shells which burst with such terrible power that they crashed through
twelve feet of concrete, and crushed the sides of the forts as though
they were sand castles on the seashore. They howled through the air,
exploded with a terrific thunderclap, and then gigantic clouds of dust
and smoke arose above the trembling ground. Nothing could resist them;
the forts of Liége were doomed as soon as the Germans brought up their
siege guns.

Yet, terrible as the cannonade was, the garrisons of the forts stuck to
their guns with marvellous courage. Here is a passage from the diary of
an officer who served in one of the forts during that awful time:--

"_At 8 p.m._--Two German officers asking us in French to surrender. This
is about what they said: 'You've been able to judge of the formidable
power of our guns; you have been struck by 278 shells; but we have still
bigger and more powerful guns, and they will destroy you in a moment.
Surrender!' Reply of our officers was, 'Our honour forbids us to
surrender; will resist to the end.' Our men all cheered."

Think of it--"Our men all cheered." Though the great shells were
smashing the forts to pieces and grinding them to powder, though the
solid concrete was crumbling into dust, and the place was strewn with
dead and dying, their honour forbade them to surrender, and when their
officer told the enemy so, the doomed men cheered. Never was greater
courage shown.

[Illustration: Bringing Provisions to Forts.

_Photo, Central News_.]

By the evening of the 6th General Leman had decided that his troops
could make no further resistance, and that they would be shut up in
Liége unless they were got away at once. He therefore ordered them to
fall back from the city towards the Dyle, and so hurried was their
retreat that they had only time to blow up one of the twelve Meuse
bridges, and were obliged to leave an ambulance train and some twenty
engines in the railway station. But the army had done its work. It had
made a great and gallant stand; it had proved that the Germans were not
invincible, and had won priceless time for the Allies. A time-table
found on a German showed that they proposed to be in Brussels on 3rd
August, and in Lille on 5th August. Already they were three days behind
time. Not only had the gallant little Belgian army upset the German
time-table, but it had inflicted such loss on the enemy that on the
evening of Friday, 7th August, General von Emmich asked for a truce of
twenty-four hours in which to bury his dead. This was refused.

       *     *     *     *     *

[Illustration: Liége and its Forts.

Note that the forts are not shown in their proper positions, but only
indicate their direction with reference to the city.

(_By permission of the Illustrated London News_.)]

The city of Liége was now in the hands of the Germans. The cannonade had
done but little harm to the buildings of the city; the inhabitants had
taken to their cellars, and but few of them had been killed. When the
German infantry marched in, the Burgomaster and the Bishop arranged
terms with them. They behaved themselves well, and paid for all
supplies. The people of Liége were surprised to see how young the German
troops were, and how spick and span they looked in their new
greenish-gray uniforms. They were housed in barracks, schools, convents,
and other public buildings, and good order was kept.

Now that Liége was in their hands, vast quantities of stores were
poured into the city, and brigade after brigade came flocking in from
North Germany. The hill roads of the Ardennes were choked with troops
and convoys; the railways which the Belgians had destroyed were
repaired, and over these, and over the undamaged lines from Luxemburg,
came an almost endless stream of men, guns, and supplies.

       *     *     *     *     *

Meanwhile the Germans were able to attack all the forts on the right
bank of the river from the rear. These soon fell; but those on the west
of the city still held out. The most powerful of them was Fort Loncin,
situated on the great main road to Brussels. On 11th August the
bombardment of this fort began. A German officer with signal flags
advanced up to about two hundred yards from it, and directed the fire of
the big guns. During the whole night, at intervals of ten minutes, the
Germans threw their shells into the fort, causing great damage. The
outer works were destroyed, and the armour plating of the windows was
crushed. All the outer works were so filled with the fumes from the
shells that the men were driven into the fort. Soon the suffocating
smoke found its way inside, and almost choked the men working the guns.

[Illustration: Fort Loncin after Bombardment.

_Photo, Alfieri Picture Service_.]

On the morning of the 15th the end came. A large number of heavy German
guns were trained on the fort, and they literally smothered it with
explosive shells. The vault occupied by General Leman and his staff
suffered terrific blows which made the whole place tremble. The
ventilating apparatus was destroyed, and the room was filled with deadly
fumes and dust. During an interval in the firing the general left the
fort to view the awful destruction around him. When the bombardment
began again he started to return to the vault, but had hardly moved a
few paces when a strong and powerful rush of air threw him to the
ground. He rose and tried to go, but was kept back by a flood of
poisonous fumes which nearly suffocated him. Then he tried to save the
garrison, but fell down in a swoon, and was discovered by the enemy
pinned to the ground by fallen beams. When he recovered he found himself
in the hands of the Germans, who gave him water, and carried him from
the ruins which he had so nobly defended.

At the moment when he was stricken down the fort was blown up, and the
Germans scrambled over the broken masses of concrete. Suddenly from one
of the galleries which the explosion had not wrecked came the sound of
shots. The Germans stopped in their advance. By the light of their
torches they saw, massed at the end of the corridor, all that was left
of the garrison. Black with powder, their faces streaked with blood,
their clothes in ribbons, their hands grasping their shattered rifles,
stood twenty-five men, all prepared to sell their lives dearly. Touched
by the sight of such splendid heroism, the Germans made no attempt to
attack. Instead of firing, they flung aside their weapons, and ran to
the aid of the brave Belgians, who were already half choked by the
poisonous gases set free by the explosion. Of the 500 men who formed the
garrison of Fort Loncin, 350 were dead and more than 100 severely
wounded.

Meanwhile General Leman had been carried in an ambulance to the
headquarters of General von Emmich. He had sworn not to be taken alive,
and he had only been captured while unconscious. Sadly he handed his
sword to the general, who, with a courteous bow and generous words of
congratulation, immediately returned it to him, as a tribute to the
glorious courage which he had displayed.

To spare the fallen, to show mercy and kindness to the conquered, is the
duty and pride of every soldier worthy of the name. In the following
pages we shall read of many black and shameful deeds done by the
Germans; but let us here honour them for their treatment of General
Leman and the gallant twenty-five who fought with him to the end.

General Leman was carried prisoner into Germany; but before he left
Belgium he was allowed to send the following touching letter to King
Albert:--

    "Your Majesty will learn with sorrow that Fort Loncin was blown
    up yesterday at 5.20 p.m., and that the greater part of the
    garrison is buried under the ruins.

    "That I did not lose my life in the catastrophe is owing to the
    fact that my duty called me from the stronghold. Whilst I was
    being suffocated by gas after the explosion a German captain
    gave me drink. I was made prisoner and taken to Liége.

    "For the honour of our armies I have refused to surrender the
    fortress and the forts. May your Majesty deign to forgive me. In
    Germany, where I am going, my thoughts will be, as they have
    always been, with Belgium and her king. I would willingly have
    given my life the better to serve them, but death has not been
    granted me.

      "Lieutenant-General Leman."

[Illustration: General Leman, the heroic defender of Liége.

_Photo, Alfieri Picture Service_.]

       *     *     *     *     *

All the world applauded the heroism of the Belgians in this first great
encounter with the vastly superior forces of the enemy, and President
Poincaré bestowed upon the city which had held out so nobly the highest
honour which the French can bestow upon a civilian--the Legion of
Honour.[199]


[Footnote 186: _Brē-äl-mon´_, Henry Alexis, Belgian military engineer;
born 1821, died 1903. The works which he planned along the Meuse were
completed after his death.]

[Footnote 187: _Āks-la-shä-pel´_, or _Äch´en_, ancient city of Prussia,
formerly the capital of Charlemagne, forty miles west-south-west of
Cologne.]

[Footnote 188: _Mal-may-de_.]

[Footnote 189: _Stä´ve-lot_.]

[Footnote 190: _Vār-vi-ā´_.]

[Footnote 191: _Vee-zā´_.]

[Footnote 192: River of Belgium; after a north and west course of fifty
miles joins the Nethe to form the Rupel, four miles north-west of
Malines.]

[Footnote 193: Citizen soldiers for the defence of a town.]

[Footnote 194: _Lay-man_, born 1852; one of Belgium's most scientific
soldiers.]

[Footnote 195: _Flair-on_.]

[Footnote 196: _Shōd-fon-taine_, means warm spring.]

[Footnote 197: French for _behold!_]

[Footnote 198: Born 1848; said to have been killed in a subsequent
action.]

[Footnote 199: See p. 84.]



[Illustration: Belgian Cavalry.

(_Photo, Underwood and Underwood_.)]


  CHAPTER XXIII.

  THE RAID INTO ALSACE.


Perhaps you wonder, as the Belgians did, what the French and the British
were doing while the Germans were battering down the forts of Liége. You
will probably ask why they did not rush at once to the help of the
gallant Belgians, and fight the Germans on their own frontier. The
answer is that neither France nor Britain was prepared for war. Both
were hoping against hope that Russia and Austria would come to some
peaceful arrangement. The fact that neither we nor the French were
prepared shows clearly that we had no desire for war. The fact that
within twenty-four hours after the declaration of war the Germans had
three army corps in front of Liége shows equally clearly that they had
long determined to fight.

All that the Belgians could do was to hold up the German advance for a
short time. As the terrible hours slipped by, the people grew very
anxious, and on every lip were the questions, "Où sont les Anglais?" "Où
sont les Français?" A solitary motor car appeared, decorated with the
Union Jack, and as it passed through the towns and villages the people
cheered it to the echo. "The British are coming!" they cried. "Hurrah!
hurrah!" Alas! both the French and the British were too far away to help
the gallant Belgians struggling in the forts at Liége.

While the French were mobilizing as rapidly as possible they sent a
brigade, with some cavalry and artillery, into Upper Alsace. I need not
tell you what their object was. You will remember that ever since 1871
most Frenchmen have longed for the day when Alsace should again belong
to France. The Alsatians have been harshly treated by the Germans. The
German soldiers stationed in their towns have always been bitter against
them because of their French sympathies.

In the year 1913, at the little Alsatian town of Zabern, a German
lieutenant is said to have offered a reward to any of his men who
stabbed a "Wacke," the German nickname for a native of Alsace.
Disturbances arose, and in the course of them the lieutenant drew his
sword and cut a lame cobbler over the head. The people of the town were
very angry at this treatment, but when they protested their chief men
were seized and imprisoned. An appeal was made to the Prussian
Parliament. The War Minister supported the soldiers, but the Parliament
stood up stoutly for the people of Zabern, and a military court
sentenced the lieutenant to forty-three days' imprisonment. A higher
court, however, did away with this sentence, and also found that no
blame attached to the colonel of the regiment. While the trials were
taking place the Crown Prince sent a telegram to the colonel praising
him for what he had done. Thus, you see, the Germans had overthrown the
rule of law in Alsace, and in place of it had set up the rule of the
sword. Knowing all this, the French thought that the Alsatians would
welcome their former fellow-countrymen with open arms, and would rise as
one man against their oppressors. The appearance of French soldiers in
Alsace would be a sign to them that the day of deliverance had arrived.

We must not think of this advance into Alsace as part of a
well-thought-out plan by the French commander-in-chief. The forces
employed in the work were far too weak to hold Alsace, even if they had
been able to conquer it. From the point of view of strategy it was a
mistake.

Look at the map on page 98, and find, to the south of the Vosges
Mountains, the great French fortress of Belfort. From this place you
will see a little plain across which an army can move easily to the
Upper Rhine. While the Germans were advancing on Liége, French airmen
flew across the plain and discovered that only a few of the enemy's
troops were on the left bank of the Rhine. The French thereupon
determined to occupy the country up to the left bank of the river. On
the evening of Friday, 7th August, the day on which von Emmich asked
General Leman for a truce so that he might bury his dead, a French
brigade marched out of Belfort and crossed the frontier. Just before
sunset it reached the little town of Altkirch, about a dozen miles
inside German territory, and there found small bodies of Germans lining
the trenches and awaiting an attack. The French infantry advanced with
great spirit, carried the trenches, and by bayonet charges put the
Germans to flight. Cavalry at once followed up the retreating enemy, and
worked great havoc on them.

Then the French entered Altkirch, bearing before them the tricolour.
The townsfolk rushed out of their houses to welcome them, and when they
saw the flag under which they had lived and prospered forty-four years
ago, they raised cheer after cheer. Already some of the villagers on the
frontier had torn up the poles which marked the border-line between
France and Germany.

In less than an hour the French were on the outskirts of Mulhouse, the
largest and most important manufacturing town of Alsace, nine miles to
the north of Altkirch. The people of Mulhouse have always been deeply
attached to France. When the town became German in 1871, large numbers
of them left their homes and settled in France and Algeria, in order
that they might not be severed from the country which they loved so
well. Mulhouse was occupied with but little resistance next day, and
that evening General Joffre sent out the following message to the
people:--

    "Children of Alsace,--After forty-four years of sorrowful
    waiting, French soldiers once more tread the soil of your noble
    country. They are the pioneers in the great work of revenge. For
    them, what emotions it calls forth, and what pride!

    "To complete the work, they have made the sacrifice of their
    lives. The French nation as one man urges them on, and in the
    folds of their flag are inscribed the magic words, 'Right and
    Liberty.' Long live Alsace! Long live France!

      "General-in-chief of the French Armies,

        "Joffre."

The news that the French army had entered Alsace was received in Paris
with pride and delight. Men were thrilled with the thought that the lost
provinces were on the eve of being restored to them. The Alsatians
living in Paris, led by Alsatian women in Alsatian costume, and carrying
palm branches, went in procession to the Place de Concorde. Ladders were
placed against the monument, and an Alsatian climbed up and wound a
broad tricolour sash around the statue. The crowd below cried, "Away
with the crape!" and in an instant all the signs of mourning that had
been on the statue since 1871 were torn away. After hearing a patriotic
speech, the crowd sang the Marseillaise, and marched away cheering.

       *     *     *     *     *

On Sunday morning, August 9th, came bitter disappointment. Large bodies
of Germans, very nearly a whole army corps, were seen closing in upon
the town from the north and east. The French were too few to hold them
back, and were obliged to retire. "To retreat," said the French report,
"was the wisest course."

When the French retreated the Germans lost no time in taking vengeance
on the Alsatians. One of the deeds which they did was so terribly cruel
that you will hardly be able to believe it. Yet the story was told in
one of the German newspapers, and the writer actually gloried in the
dastardly crime that he there set forth. It seems that a German column
was passing along a wooded defile when it met a French boy scout, who
was seized, and asked where the French troops were. He refused to say.
At this moment a French battery opened fire from a wood only fifty yards
away. The Germans managed to get into cover, and took the boy with them.
When they asked him if he knew that the French were in the wood, he did
not deny it. They told him that they were going to shoot him, but he
showed no fear. He walked with firm steps to a telegraph post, stood
against it, and with the green vineyard behind him, smiled as they shot
him dead.

[Illustration: The Brave Boy Scout.

"He walked with firm steps to a telegraph post, stood against it, and
with the green vineyard behind him, smiled as they shot him dead."]

The German who told the story said that "it was a pity to see such
wasted courage." The boy's courage was not wasted. It has inspired many
a French boy and girl, as I am sure it will inspire you, to be just as
fearless as he was, and to prefer death to the betrayal of one's
countrymen.

       *     *     *     *     *

Now let me tell you an incident of quite another character. During one
of the fights the Germans retired, leaving behind them a young wounded
officer. The French soldiers picked him up and treated him with that
kindness which the Allies always show to those who fall into their
hands. The young man, however, was dying, and nothing could save his
life. His last words were, "Thank you, gentlemen. I have done my duty. I
have served my country as you are serving yours."

This young man was the son of a former German ambassador in London, and
up to a short time before the outbreak of war was a Rhodes scholar[200]
at Oxford.

       *     *     *     *     *

So the raid into Alsace ended. The French had gained nothing, but they
had not fought in vain. They now knew that Alsace was not strongly held
by the Germans, and they had proved that their artillery was far better
than that of the enemy. They had shown, too, that the French infantry
was just as gallant and dashing as it had been in the brave days of old,
and they had encouraged the Alsatians to expect that the yoke of the
tyrants would soon be broken.

On the day that the French retired from Mulhouse, General Joffre decided
that the raid should be followed by an invasion. The forces brought
together for this purpose were commanded by General Pau, an old soldier
who had fought in the war of 1870-71. Like Nelson, he had lost an arm.
He was considered one of the best of French commanders.

The French advanced to the north of their former route, and carried all
before them. On 19th August they again attacked Mulhouse. There was a
good deal of fierce fighting, but the Germans were driven out of the
town, and no fewer than twenty-four of their guns were captured. On 20th
August Mulhouse was in the hands of the French once more.

Then they marched south to Altkirch, and the Germans, who were afraid of
being cut off from the bridges of the Rhine, retreated before them. The
French seized the heads of the bridges on the left bank of the river,
and then began to move northward along the plain towards the fortress of
Colmar, which protects the main crossing of the Rhine. All the time more
and more French troops were swarming across the passes of the Vosges,
and were threatening to cut off the Germans from Strassburg. Things were
looking extremely well for the French. It seemed that before long they
would be in front of Strassburg and Metz.

All this time, however, the Germans were bringing up an overwhelming
number of troops, and on 20th August they began their counter-attack. It
was at once successful; the French were driven back, and the Germans
claimed to have captured 10,000 prisoners and fifty guns. On the Belgian
border, as we shall learn in the following pages, the Germans were also
winning victories, and France needed all her troops to defend her own
soil. By the 25th of August the French had left Alsace. The invasion was
over. It had failed.

[Illustration: The Fight at Mulhouse on August 9, 1914, during the
French Raid into Alsace.]


[Footnote 200: Under the will of Cecil Rhodes, a former Premier of Cape
Colony, a sum of money was set aside to send colonial students to the
University of Oxford. In addition, Oxford scholarships were founded for
two students from each of the states of the United States and for
fifteen students from Germany. The students were not to be merely
bookworms, but clever youths, manly, truthful, upright, and successful
in outdoor sports.]



[Illustration: Uhlans on the March.

_Photo, Newspaper Illustrations, Ltd._]


  CHAPTER XXIV.

  THE GERMANS IN BELGIUM.


Now we must return to Belgium, and see what was happening there. The
heroic manner in which Fort Loncin had held out had delayed the Germans
for a whole week. Until the last of the forts fell they had no command
of the railways, and therefore could not push forward great masses of
men across the plains to the north of the Meuse. But they could push
forward cavalry with emergency rations,[201] and bid them take food
wherever they could find it. Some artillery, a few machine guns, and
infantry accompanied them.

The object of sending forward this cavalry screen was to prepare the way
for the slower advance of infantry when Liége should be in German hands.
The cavalry advanced westwards to Tongres,[202] which was occupied on
Sunday, 9th August. Though this little town was within hearing of the
guns of Liége, the appearance of the enemy came as a great surprise to
the inhabitants. They were streaming out of their churches when there
was a sudden cry, "The Germans are coming!" and almost immediately a
squadron of the 35th Uhlans[203] trotted into the main street. They told
the people that they had come from Danzig,[204] at the other end of
Germany. Riding up to the town hall, they ordered the mayor to give up
his money chest, and to pull down the flag floating above the building.
He refused to strike his flag, so the Germans pulled it down for him.
They seized the town's money and all that they could find in the post
office; then they ordered food, for which they paid, and the troops
camped in the market-place. Later on a cavalry division made the town
its headquarters.

The behaviour of these men was good. The Germans did not yet believe
that the Belgians were going to hold out. They thought that when the
last of the Liége forts fell, the Belgians would consider that they had
done enough to protest against the invasion of their country, and that
they would then permit the Germans to pass through unmolested. They
were soon to be undeceived.

Westwards from Tongres the German cavalry, in small detached bodies,
spread over the country, and soon came in touch with detachments of the
Belgian army. It was not the business of these bands of horsemen to
fight battles but to skirmish, so that when they met Belgian riflemen
they usually withdrew. Now and then one of them would miss his way, and
would be captured in a starving condition. Rumours began to spread that
the Germans were without food. A Belgian scout said, "One does not want
a rifle to catch these Germans. They will surrender if you hold out a
piece of bread."

On Wednesday, the 12th, German cavalry had pushed forward to a line
extending from Hasselt, through St. Trond, to Huy, a town on the Meuse,
about sixteen miles south-west of Liége. Huy is a picturesque old town,
with a citadel standing on a rock high above the river, but it has long
ceased to be a fortress. At the foot of the citadel-rock close by the
river is a fine old church, and in the neighbourhood is a monastery, in
which Peter the Hermit, the preacher of the First Crusade,[205] lies
buried. The German cavalry were at first beaten back at Huy by the Civic
Guard, but they afterwards seized the town and held the bridge. The
capture of the town gave the Germans possession of an important railway
connecting Luxemburg with the Belgian plain.

On the same day the Belgians won a real victory over the invaders. Look
at the map on page 226, and find the town of Diest, which stands about
twelve or thirteen miles to the north-west of Hasselt. A few miles east
of Diest is the village of Haelen, at the junction of the two rivers
Gethe and Velpe. News reached the Belgian headquarters at Louvain that a
strong force of German cavalry was trying to pass between Hasselt and
Haelen, in order to turn the flank of the Belgian army, which, you will
remember, was lying along the river Dyle. The Belgians determined to
meet the Germans at Haelen. They hurriedly threw up barricades, dug
trenches, placed guns in position, and waited for the appearance of the
enemy.

About eleven o'clock in the morning the Germans drew near to the Belgian
position. They were allowed to come quite close before the Belgian guns
began to speak. At once the Germans unlimbered, and an artillery duel
began. The Belgians had previously found their ranges, and they were
able to burst their shrapnel amongst the German cavalry with great
effect. The fighting grew very fierce, and both sides showed great
courage. The Belgian Lancers forded the Gethe and tried to charge the
Uhlans, but were foiled by the broken ground. In turn, the German
cavalry charged down on the Belgian barricades, but were met by a
withering fire from rifles and concealed machine guns that swept large
numbers of them down. Again and again they tried to break through the
barricades, but every time they were repulsed, and about six in the
evening they withdrew, having lost three-fifths of their fighting
strength.

[Illustration: The Huns marching through a Belgian village.

_Photo, Record Press_.]

There was great joy amongst the Belgians when the battle was over. The
whole nation felt proud of the success of its little army. You must
remember that few of the men who so bravely met the Germans were regular
soldiers. Most of them were reservists called hurriedly from the
factory, the shop, and the field to the work of war. All these men
showed the highest courage. Their hearts beat high because they were
fighting in a holy war; they were defending their native land against a
greedy and grasping foe.

       *     *     *     *     *

Many notable deeds of bravery were done that day. A farrier sergeant at
the head of eight men charged a whole squadron of Uhlans, who scattered
in all directions and fled, leaving many dead and wounded. He and his
brave comrades were able to return to Haelen in safety, leading with
them a dozen German horses as the spoils of victory.

During the afternoon a lieutenant, who was told off to defend Diest, was
asked to send reinforcements to a neighbouring village which was
threatened with attack. He had no men to spare, so he called together
the Fire Brigade, and picking from them as many soldiers as he needed,
sent them forward to the village, where they pumped lead on the Germans
as skilfully as they had pumped water on burning houses in days of
peace.

       *     *     *     *     *

Numerous other small fights took place, and in all of them the Belgians
fought like heroes. One such skirmish took place at Eghezee, a village
about ten miles north of Namur. A party of 350 Uhlans and about sixty
cyclists rode into this place, and put up in it for the night. Early in
the morning a Belgian airman flew over the cornfield where they had
encamped their horses. He was fired at, and thus the position of the
Germans was revealed. Hearing the rattle of rifle fire, a number of
Belgian scouts rode towards the place, and took the Germans completely
by surprise. Most of them were sitting quietly in cafés when the alarm
was sounded. Instantly they took to their heels, leaving horses, rifles,
machine guns, and three motor cars behind them.

Seeing their comrades decamp, the few Germans who were guarding the
horses set them loose, and a bugler who was with the men who were
running away sounded a call. The horses trotted towards the sound of the
bugle, and just as the Belgian scouts, who were only thirty in number,
came into view, the Uhlans flung themselves on their horses and began to
gallop off. About five hundred yards away there was a trench in a field
of beetroot, and to this the Belgians dashed. They opened fire on the
Uhlans, and shot down many of them.

       *     *     *     *     *

By this time the Germans knew that the Belgians would fight to the last
for their hearths and homes. Their pretended friendship now turned to
bitter hate, and they went from village to village killing and looting.
Goaded to frenzy by their terrible treatment, the Civic Guards and the
peasants lay in wait for the Germans, and killed them whenever they
could. About four miles north of Liége is the village of Herstal, the
Belgian Woolwich, in which there is a great national factory for the
manufacture of small arms. Most of the men engaged in this factory were
with the army, so the women and children made up their minds to defend
the factory. They armed themselves with revolvers and other weapons, and
several times beat back the attacks of the Uhlans. When their ammunition
was all gone they kept the Germans out by pouring boiling water on them
from the windows. For two days they kept their flag flying. At last the
Germans burst in and took a terrible vengeance on the women and children
who had defied them so long.

       *     *     *     *     *

With the fall of Fort Loncin the great German advance into Belgium
began. Wave after wave of troops rolled over the frontier and surged
across the open country towards Brussels. King Albert knew that his
little army would be wiped out if it attempted to fight this vast array.
His only hope was that the French would come to his assistance; but, as
you know, they were not ready to take the field.

On the 14th of August the Belgians withdrew from the river Gethe, where,
as you will recollect, they had beaten the advance guard of the Germans.
They now strove manfully to stem the torrent of the invaders near the
town of Aerschot, a few miles north of Louvain. All their efforts,
however, were in vain.

[Illustration: Belgians defending a Barricade.

_Photo, Sport and General._]


[Footnote 201: On active service soldiers are supplied with compressed
food which they may only eat when they cannot otherwise obtain supplies.
In the British army the emergency ration is kept in a small sealed tin
cylinder about five inches long. It consists of a cake of beef and a
tablet of cocoa paste.]

[Footnote 202: _Ton´gr_. For this and other Belgian names, see map on
page 226.]

[Footnote 203: German Lancers. The name comes from a Polish word derived
from the Turkish.]

[Footnote 204: Seaport and first-class fortress, capital of province of
West Prussia, 3 miles from the Baltic Sea and 285 miles by rail
north-east of Berlin.]

[Footnote 205: So called from the cross which the Crusaders wore when
they set out to free the Holy Land from the infidel. The First Crusade
was preached in 1095, and lasted from 1096 to 1099.]



  CHAPTER XXV.

  DEEDS OF SHAME AND HORROR.


I could fill a whole book with the stories which have been told of the
dreadful cruelty shown by the Germans to the Belgians as the days went
by and they discovered that they could not advance as rapidly as they
had hoped to do. In order to delay the Germans the Belgians not only
fought bravely, but wrecked their railways and bridges and blew up their
roads. All this angered the Germans, for it was a matter of life and
death to them to strike a blow at France as quickly as possible. We are
told of babies slaughtered, of old men hanged and burnt alive, of
mothers with little children hanging to their skirts shot down, and
young women and girls tortured in the most horrible manner. Perhaps all
these terrible stories are not true; but no one can deny the gross
cruelty of the Germans in Belgium.

In the year 1900, when the Emperor William sent his troops to China, he
addressed them in the following words: "Whoever falls into your hands is
a forfeit to you, just as a thousand years ago the Huns under King
Attila[206] made a name for themselves in tradition and story." What
sort of man was this Attila whom the Kaiser thus set up as his model? He
was a ruthless, obstinate savage, who never felt the "dint of pity."
Wherever he passed he left his mark in wasted lands, blazing cities,
ruined homesteads, and heaps of slain. He was called the "Scourge of
God," and at the very mention of his name men trembled. The modern Huns,
urged on by their pitiless War Lord, have beaten even the shameful
record of Attila.

The Germans try to excuse themselves by declaring that the townsfolk
brought this harsh punishment on themselves. According to the laws which
civilized nations observe in war, civilians are only free from violence
if they remain quiet and peaceful. What are called "lawful combatants"
are men under the command of an officer, wearing some fixed badge or
uniform, carrying arms openly, and fighting according to the rules and
customs of warfare. All others who attack the enemy are unlawful
combatants, and are liable to be put to death if they are caught.

Now there is no doubt that some Belgian civilians, maddened by the
destruction of their homes, did actually fire on the enemy; but this is
no excuse for the awful vengeance which the Germans took upon men,
women, and children who were innocent of any such offence. Even in war
it cannot be right to punish innocent and guilty alike, nor is it lawful
to burn down whole cities because some of the inhabitants have offended.
We know, however, from the War Book which the Germans issued to their
officers, that they were encouraged to be pitiless, and to do all sorts
of deeds of "frightfulness." According to this book, any deed may be
done, however black or shameful, if it helps to defeat the enemy.

You now begin to see what the victory of Germany would mean. Not only
would the conquered lands lose their independence and be treated as
provinces of Germany, but there would be a return to the days of
savagery in warfare. Men would thereafter fight like wild beasts in the
jungle. A soldier would no longer be a knight but a fiend. We should bid
farewell to that noble ideal which Tennyson set before the warrior in
his "Idylls of the King":--[207]

  "To break the heathen, and uphold the Christ,
  To ride abroad redressing human wrongs,
  To speak no slander, no, nor listen to it,
  To honour his own word as if his God's."

       *     *     *     *     *

I must now tell you how the Germans behaved in some of the Belgian
cities. You already know that even in the Middle Ages Belgium was a rich
and flourishing land. The wealthy merchants of Flanders built themselves
stately houses, and filled them with costly and beautiful things. They
also gave their money freely to build glorious churches, quaint
belfries, and noble town halls. Artists were encouraged to paint
pictures for their adornment, and craftsmen vied with each other in
beautifying them with lovely designs in wood and metal. Before the war
there was hardly a village in the whole land which could not show some
beautiful building or some priceless work of art.

[Illustration: Germans in the Church at Aerschot.

(From the painting by E. Matania. By permission of _The Sphere_.)]

Let me tell you what happened at Aerschot when the Germans marched into
the town. The men broke into the houses, stole everything of value, and
destroyed the furniture. In the cellars they found stores of wine, and
large numbers of them were soon mad with drink. They stabled their
horses in the beautiful church, broke down the carved woodwork, and
showed the utmost contempt for the sacred place. While the German
commander was standing on the balcony of the mayor's house he was shot
dead, it is said, by the mayor's fourteen-year-old son, though probably
it was the act of a drunken German soldier firing his rifle in sport. At
once one hundred and fifty of the men of the town were seized, and in
their presence the mayor, his son, and brother were shot. Then the males
of the town were forced to run towards the river while the Germans fired
at them. More than forty of these poor fellows were killed.

There is an old monkish rhyme which tells us that Brussels rejoices in
noble men, Antwerp in money, Ghent in halters, Bruges in pretty girls,
Louvain in learned men, and Malines in fools. The monks were not very
complimentary to Ghent and Malines, but you will notice that they gave
praise to the other cities. I will now tell you the fate of the city
that was famed for learned men--Louvain. You will find it on the map, by
the side of the river Dyle, about eighteen miles east of Brussels.

If you had visited Louvain in July 1914, you would probably have called
it a dull town, and said that its inhabitants were either priests or
students or landladies. But if you had been interested in history, you
would have found Louvain anything but dull. Its university, which is one
of the oldest and most famous in the world, has been called the Oxford
of Belgium. It was founded in the days when Chaucer was writing his
"Canterbury Tales," and amongst its students were many who have made a
great mark in history. For hundreds of years English scholars flocked to
it, and amongst them was our own Sir Thomas More,[208] who wrote an
account of his visit. You perhaps know that his greatest work is
"Utopia,"[209] a fanciful picture of a land in which everybody had a
chance of being healthy, happy, wise, and good. More tells us at the
beginning of his book that his friend Peter Gillies, who lived at
Louvain, introduced him to a sunburnt sailor with a black beard, and
that this man gave him that account of Utopia which he set down in his
book. When the book was written More had it printed at Louvain, for the
city was famous for its printers and booksellers. Some people think that
More built his house at Chelsea on the model of a friend's house in the
old city.

Another famous scholar who was very fond of visiting Louvain was
Erasmus.[210] You can read his very interesting story in Charles Reade's
novel "The Cloister and the Hearth." Erasmus loved Louvain, and was
charmed with its delicious skies and its studious quiet. Indeed,
scholars in all ages have loved the city. One of them wrote: "Hail, our
Athens, the Athens of Belgium! O faithful, fruitful seat of the arts,
shedding far and wide thy light and thy name!" Every year up to the time
of the war thousands of people from all parts of the world used to visit
this "Athens of Belgium."

Since 1432 the university has been housed in a handsome hall which was
first built as a warehouse for the Clothmakers' Guild. Its library,
which was founded in 1724, was one of the most valuable in Belgium. It
contained 150,000 volumes, in addition to many priceless manuscripts.

There are several other beautiful buildings in Louvain. There is the
town hall, the finest building of its kind in Belgium; and the Church of
St. Peter, which was finished in the early part of the sixteenth
century, and stands on the site of a much earlier church. Before the war
St. Peter's was full of art treasures, the wood-carving and the metal
work being specially fine. The carved rood screen and the cross were
said to be without equal in Europe, and a bronze font was specially
prized because it was the work of Quentin Matsys,[211] who was born in
Louvain, and began life as a blacksmith. As a young man he fell in love
with an artist's daughter, and asked her hand in marriage. Her father,
however, refused it, and said she should only marry an artist. Quentin
loved the girl very much, so he threw down his hammer and took up the
paint-brush. Soon he was a better painter than his future father-in-law,
and the marriage took place. In the cathedral at Antwerp there is a
tablet to his memory, setting forth that it was love that taught the
smith to paint.

[Illustration: The Town Hall of Louvain.

_Photo, Newspaper Illustrations, Ltd._]

The Germans have always told us that they are great lovers of art and
learning, and they constantly boast of their culture. You would have
thought that when they entered this glorious old city of Louvain they
would have done everything in their power to preserve it from harm. What
they actually did was to burn down a large part of it, and in a few
hours reduce several of its glorious old buildings to charred and
blackened ruins. Mr. Asquith, our Prime Minister, described their work
at Louvain as "the greatest crime against civilization and culture since
the Thirty Years' War."[212]

You know that the Germans have laid the blame for some of their crimes
on the townsfolk, whom they accuse of firing on them. They had no such
excuse in the case of Louvain, for _all the arms had been handed in by
the people some days before the Germans arrived_. The mayor had posted
placards warning the people that if they attacked the enemy in any way
they would bring down vengeance upon themselves and their city.

When the Germans in overwhelming force had beaten back the Belgians who
were trying to defend Louvain, and had placed their guns in position to
bombard it, they sent an officer to the mayor offering to spare the
place if the townsfolk would find food and lodgings for their soldiers.
They promised that if this was done the soldiers would not molest the
townsfolk, and that those of them who were not billeted in private
houses would pay cash for all the goods which they needed. To this the
mayor agreed, and the Germans marched in. Soon, however, they broke all
their promises. The German soldiers rushed into private houses and took
what they fancied, without any payment but worthless paper. They broke
open the cellars and drank the wine in them as though it were beer.
Their officers ordered the city treasurer to give them 100,000 francs,
and grumbled greatly when he could only find part of the money.
Meanwhile, though the city was full of drunken Germans, the people
remained very quiet and orderly.

On Tuesday evening, 25th August, the foul deed was done. That day the
Belgians had made an attack on a body of Germans outside the town, and
had driven them helter-skelter into it. The drunken Germans in Louvain
thought that the fugitives were Belgians, and began firing on them. This
was a bad mistake, which would be certain to bring down blame on the
officer in command. In order to cover up the mistake, he pretended that
the townsfolk had attacked his soldiers, and proceeded to punish them
for a crime which they had not committed. A number of the male
inhabitants were shot, and then he ordered his men to burn the city
down.

An eye-witness, who was threatened with death, tells us the terrible
story. "At six o'clock," he says, "when everything was ready for dinner,
alarm signals sounded, and the soldiers rushed into the streets; shots
whistled through the air; cries and groans arose on all sides; but we
did not dare leave our houses, and took refuge in the cellars, where we
stayed through long and fearful hours.

"At break of day I crawled from the cellar to the street door, and saw
nothing but a raging sea of fire. At nine o'clock there was a lull in
the shooting, and we resolved to make a dash for the station. Leaving
our home and all our goods except what we could carry, and taking all
the money we had, we rushed out. No pen can describe what we saw on our
way to the station. Everything was burning; the streets were covered
with bodies, shot dead and half burnt...

"The station was crowded with people, and I was just trying to show an
officer my papers when the soldiers separated me from my wife and
children. All protests were useless, and a lot of us were marched off to
a big shed in the goods yard, from which we could see the finest
buildings in the city burning fiercely.

"Shortly afterwards German soldiers drove before them 300 men and lads
to the corner of a street, where they were shot. The sight filled us
with horror. The Burgomaster,[213] two magistrates, the rector of the
university, and all police officials had been shot already.

"With our hands bound behind our backs we were then marched off by the
soldiers, still without having seen our wives and children. We were
taken out of the town to a neighbouring hill, from which we had a full
view of the burning town. St. Peter's was in flames, and the guns were
firing shot after shot into the unhappy place."

       *     *     *     *     *

Louvain was not burned down by accident. The soldiers worked on a plan.
They began in the heart of the city and set the place on fire house by
house and street by street. For thirty-six hours or more they continued
to fire the houses. A student of Oxford, who was in the town on 29th
August, tells us that "burning houses were every moment falling into the
roads; shooting was still going on. The dead and dying, burnt and
burning, lay on all sides. Over some of them the Germans had placed
sacks. I saw the bodies of half a dozen women and children. In one
street I saw two little children walking hand in hand over the bodies of
dead men. I have no words to describe these things.

[Illustration: The Destruction of Louvain.

_Photo, Newspaper Illustrations, Ltd._]

"The town hall was standing on Friday morning last, and, as we plainly
saw, every effort was being made to save it from the flames. We were
told by German officers that it was not to be destroyed. I have no doubt
that it is still standing. The German officers dashing about the streets
in fine motor cars made a wonderful sight. They were well dressed,
shaven, and contented looking; they might have been attending a
fashionable race-meeting. The soldiers were looting everywhere;
champagne, wines, boots, cigars--everything was being carried off."

Until the Germans are driven out of the city we shall not know the full
extent of the ruin which they have wrought. The Church of St. Peter has
been terribly damaged, but not, perhaps, beyond repair; but the
buildings of the university have been almost wiped out. The great
library has been given to the flames. I think you can imagine the
anguish of a professor who watched the burning from his garden, and saw
the charred leaves of priceless manuscripts floating past him. About the
time that the English were winning England a Saracen chief named 'Amr
burned the great library at Alexandria, and the world has never
forgotten his infamous deed. What will it say of the burning of the
Louvain library, more than twelve and a half centuries later, by men of
a race which boasts of its culture?

       *     *     *     *     *

Let me tell you something of the heroism of a famous citizen of
Louvain--Dr. Noyons, head of the medical school of the university. When
the Germans marched in he was in charge of the hospital, which was
filled to overflowing with wounded, both Germans and Belgians. The Red
Cross flag flew above the building, and according to all the rules of
civilized warfare the hospital should have been spared. Nevertheless the
Germans set it on fire. While some of his helpers were trying to put out
the flames, the doctor and his wife calmly went on attending to the
wounded. Next morning the hospital staff was ordered to leave the town,
as it was to be bombarded; but Dr. Noyons and his wife decided to
disobey the order and remain. They could not bear the thought of leaving
their poor wounded to perish, so they and their assistants carried them
into the cellars of the hospital, and for two days ministered to them
underground. When, however, all danger of bombardment was past they
brought the men up to their wards again, and continued to attend them as
before.

       *     *     *     *     *

Now we must turn to the story of Malines, the city which, according to
the old monkish rhyme, rejoices in fools. I have spent some time in this
city, and have seen something of its people, and I can assure you that
they are very far from being fools. Malines is renowned through Belgium
for its love of education and for the large number of its citizens who
are eager to make life better and happier for toiling men and women.
Before the war, the heart and centre of the town was the Grand'-Place.
On the right as you enter it stood a sixteenth-century Cloth Hall; to
the left was the town hall; behind it the huge tower of the cathedral.
All round were quaint gabled houses. During the day the Grand'-Place was
almost deserted, but at night, when the lights began to glow in the
little cafés, the people gathered at the tables outside them in little
family groups to drink "Bock" and listen to the band. I remember
wandering through the old-world streets, peeping into little narrow
byways, stopping to examine painted shrines at the street corners,
crossing the Dyle with its many bridges, and admiring the quaint
riverside houses and the gaudy, broad-beamed barges that lay at the
quays. Everywhere I saw the little milk-carts drawn by dogs. One Sunday
afternoon the school children gathered in the Grand'-Place for a
festival. I shall never forget the heartiness with which they sang the
Belgian National Anthem, while the townsfolk, bareheaded, swelled the
strain:--

  "Again, O Belgium, still our Mother,
    We pledge thee in blood and in song;
  Surely to thee and to no other
    Our swords, our hearts, our lives belong!
  While thy deeds live in history's pages,
    Deathless thy fame shall ever be;
  And the cry still ring through the ages:
    'For King and Law and Liberty.'"

On that bright September day the Malinoise had no thought of war and
bloodshed. They could not possibly foresee that, before many months had
passed, Belgians would be called upon to give their swords and hearts to
their Mother, and that in their heroic strife they would add such a
glorious page to their history that thenceforward throughout the ages
they would win deathless fame.

Before the war, the glory of Malines was its cathedral. Its huge tower,
which soared above the city, was 318 feet high, and was intended to be
the highest tower in Christendom, but was never finished. No one could
be within the bounds of the city for more than a few minutes without
hearing the wonderful chimes that floated out from this tower. The dials
of its clock were 44 feet in diameter, and the carillon was famous all
over the world. Every Monday evening in summer it performed a programme
of music, and every quarter of an hour, day and night, it played a tune.
Robert Browning, in his poem "How they brought the Good News from Aix to
Ghent," refers to the bells of Malines Cathedral in the following
line:--

  "And from Mecheln church steeple we heard the half-chime."

Mechlin is the Flemish name of Malines. All the girls who read this book
have heard of Mechlin lace, which was formerly made in the city. Now its
chief manufactures are woollen goods and "Gobelin"[214] tapestry.

The cathedral was built with money collected from pilgrims who flocked
to the city in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Within it were
more treasures than in any other Belgian cathedral, except in the most
famous church of Brussels and in the cathedral at Antwerp. The pulpit
was a miracle of wood-carving, and the altar-piece was a picture of the
Crucifixion, by Van Dyck,[215] who was a pupil of the great Rubens,[216]
and court painter to Charles I. of England, by whom he was knighted. The
stained-glass windows were of wonderful richness. There were three or
four other churches in Malines of great interest and beauty, and several
public buildings with historic memories.

[Illustration: Malines Cathedral before the Bombardment.]

Now I must tell you how the Germans treated this interesting old city.
Four separate times they bombarded it; yet there does not appear to be
any good reason why they should have turned their guns upon it at all.
It was not fortified, and it offered no resistance. The first
bombardment was on 27th August, when the town hall was battered down,
and the roof, walls, and stained glass of the cathedral suffered
greatly. The people deserted the city, and when the guns were silent it
was as quiet as the grave. A second time it was bombarded, and still
more damage was done. Happily the Malinoise had removed some of their
treasures, including Van Dyck's altar-piece, to the safety of bomb-proof
cellars.

On 2nd September the third bombardment took place. Over a hundred shells
were burst over the place: great gaping holes were blown through the
tower of the cathedral, and its superb gateway was battered into a heap
of ruins. The bells of the carillon were knocked to pieces, and never
again will the ancient chimes of Malines be heard.

Though the Germans had worked such havoc on the unoffending town, they
could not forbear to assault it a fourth time. On 26th September Belgian
troops attacked a German detachment not far from the city and drove it
back in disorder. In revenge for this reverse, the Germans next morning
shelled the place again. It was on a Sunday morning that the deadly rain
began to fall. Many of the people had returned to the city, and were
leaving the ruined cathedral after Mass, when a shell fell amongst them
and killed some of them. Shortly afterwards another shell exploded in
a café, and wounded some of the people who had taken refuge in it. The
railway station, the barracks, several public buildings, factories, and
many private houses were utterly destroyed, either by the guns or by the
fires which afterwards broke out.

On page 272 you will see a picture of the little town of Termonde as it
appeared when the Germans had wreaked their vengeance upon it. A
Scottish member of Parliament, who visited it a few weeks after the
bombardment, tells us that he went through street after street and
square after square, and found every house entirely destroyed with all
its contents. In the early days of August it was a beautiful little town
of 16,000 inhabitants; now it was utterly destroyed and completely
deserted, save for a blind old woman and her daughter who groped amongst
the ruins.

When we look at this sad picture we can realize in some degree the
sufferings of the poor Belgians. Their houses have been destroyed, their
cherished belongings have been given to the flames; tens of thousands of
their bravest and best have been slain, in some cases with the foulest
cruelty, and hundreds of thousands of those who survive are homeless and
ruined. All over the land ancient monuments of art and learning are in
shapeless ruin. The love and labour and pride of centuries have been
swept away, and a prosperous land has been reduced to beggary. And what
have the Belgians done to deserve this hideous treatment? They have
dared to defend their own country; they have dared to stand in the way
of a ruthless nation that had sworn not to trespass on their soil; they
have refused to sell that which was dearer to them than life itself--the
independence of their land; and for this they have suffered martyrdom.
Let us never forget that the Belgians have fought and suffered for us.
Had they given the Germans free passage through their country, or had
they feebly resisted them, a great and sudden swoop would have been made
upon France at the very moment when she was unprepared to meet it. Not
only might France have gone down, and the work of the Allies in
overcoming the enemy been made doubly difficult, but the Germans might
have established themselves on the north coast of France, from which
they could have seriously threatened our shores. By her splendid courage
and staunchness Belgium has saved Europe, and the civilization of the
world is her debtor.

  "They gave their homes for the Huns to tread,
    Their homes for the Huns to burn;
  For our very lives they gave their dead,
    _And what shall we give in turn?_"

[Illustration: Termonde.

_Photo, Central News._]


[Footnote 206: Ruled over Hungary, with his capital at Budapest. Became
King of the Huns, 434 A.D.; died of intemperance, 453.]

[Footnote 207: An idyll is a story poem. The king is Arthur, who "in
twelve great battles overcame the heathen hordes, and made a realm and
reigned."]

[Footnote 208: Born 1478, died 1535; became Lord Chancellor of England.
Was beheaded by Henry VIII.]

[Footnote 209: Means "Nowhere" (written 1516).]

[Footnote 210: Born 1466, died 1536; a native of Antwerp, and the
greatest scholar and critic of his age.]

[Footnote 211: Born 1466, died 1530. His best pictures are in Antwerp.]

[Footnote 212: Fought in Germany between 1618 and 1648.]

[Footnote 213: The chief officer of a Dutch or Belgian town; the mayor.]

[Footnote 214: _Go-b'lan´_, so called from Gilles Gobelin, a famous
tapestry maker of Paris in the fifteenth century.]

[Footnote 215: Sir Anthony Van Dyck, born 1599, died 1641. Many of his
best portraits are to be found in private galleries in England.]

[Footnote 216: Peter Paul Rubens, born 1577, died 1640; the greatest
painter of the Flemish school.]



  CHAPTER XXVI.

  THE RALLY OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE.


What was the British Empire doing while the Germans were overrunning
Belgium? At home, the War Office[217] was working night and day to equip
and dispatch an army for service in France. The Territorials were
stationed at all the points which needed defence, and the recruiting
offices were very busy. On all the hoardings appeared placards calling
upon men between the ages of nineteen and thirty-eight to serve their
king and country. Every day fine, stalwart recruits, full of energy and
zeal, flocked to the colours. Large camps were formed in the south of
England, and the work of training the new armies was carried on with
the utmost speed.

But what of Britain overseas? The Germans had been taught to believe
that the British Empire was only a very loose collection of states, with
no bond of union between them and the mother country. It was a
jerry-built empire, so they thought, and they were assured that when the
time of stress came it would tumble to pieces like a house of cards.
Canada, they said, was drifting towards the United States, and would one
day be part of that country; Australia had long wished to "cut the
painter;" South Africa was yearning to throw off the yoke; India was a
powder magazine which would explode with a spark; Egypt was only waiting
for a chance of rising in revolt. The moment a great trial of strength
came there would be an end of the British Empire. Such was the belief of
the Germans. What really happened you shall now hear.

[Illustration: Men of the New Army drilling in Hyde Park, London.

_Photo, Central News._]

One of our poets speaks of the peoples of the Dominions as

  "Children of Britain's island-breed,
  To whom the Mother in her need
    Perchance may one day call."

That day had arrived. The Mother in her need had called, and with one
heart and one voice her sons across the seas replied, "Lo! we come."

When war began to threaten, the Dominions lost no time in sending offers
of help and words of cheer to the Home Government. Britons beyond the
seas rallied gloriously to the old flag. In Canada men of all parties
at once forgot their differences and stood shoulder to shoulder, just as
they were doing in Great Britain and Ireland. On the day that Germany
declared war on Russia (1st August), Sir Robert Borden, the Prime
Minister of the Dominion of Canada, held a Cabinet Council, at which
arrangements were made for guarding all the points of danger, and for
calling up the Militia, which correspond to the Territorials of the
British Isles. In time of peace these number about 44,500 men. Within a
few hours fifteen regiments had volunteered for active service, and
thousands of men were begging to be allowed to serve. Never before had
such enthusiasm been seen in the Canadian cities. The Duke of Connaught,
the Governor-General of the Dominion, spoke the simple truth when he
said, "Canada stands united, from the Pacific to the Atlantic, in her
determination to uphold the honour and traditions of our Empire." On
Tuesday, 3rd August, news arrived that Britain had declared war on
Germany. The crowds which had gathered about the newspaper offices stood
silent for a moment, and then turned to go. The time for shouting had
gone by; the hour of work and sacrifice had arrived.

In a few days, more than 100,000 men had offered themselves. Old members
of Strathcona's[218] Horse, and the Royal Canadians, who had fought so
gallantly in South Africa, pressed forward eagerly to re-enlist. From
all parts of the Dominion they came--French Canadians from Lower Canada;
farmers, and artisans, and clerks from Ontario; the hardest riders and
the best shots of the prairies; the miners, trappers, and pioneers of
the west and north. Every province sent its quota of men. Two hundred
frontiersmen from Moosejaw,[219] finding that they could not be enlisted
as cavalry, took the road to Ottawa at their own expense, and having
purchased their outfits, declared that, if they were not accepted for
service, they would hire a cattle ship and sail for Europe "on their
own." It is pleasant to note that 60,000 citizens of the United States
offered to enlist in the Canadian army.

Nor were the Redskins behindhand. Many applied for enlistment, and a few
were allowed to join. Some of the tribes sent money to the war funds,
and the Blood Indians of Alberta passed the following resolution: "The
first citizens of Canada, the old allies of warring French and British,
the Redskins, the devoted wards of Victoria the Good and of her
grandson, King George, are no whit behind the Sikhs of India, the men
from South Africa, or the British Regulars in testifying to their
loyalty to the Crown or to the unity of the British Empire." Two chiefs
sent £200 from their tribal funds, and hoped that Great Britain would
ever remain the guardian of the weak. Other tribes also sent money and
proffers of help.

Rich citizens opened their cheque-books freely to fit out the regiments.
One Montreal[220] millionaire offered to provide all the money for
raising, equipping, and supporting Princess Patricia's Light Infantry,
or "Princess Pat's," as they are known in Canada. A Calgary[221]
cattle-dealer offered fifty thousand dollars to equip a legion of
frontiersmen, and the various provinces vied with each other in sending
money and provisions for the use of the British forces. The Canadian
Government offered a million bags of flour, Ontario 250,000 bags, and
Manitoba 50,000 bags. Alberta and Prince Edward Island sent oats, Nova
Scotia coal, Quebec cheese, New Brunswick potatoes, British Columbia
tinned salmon, and Saskatchewan horses. In addition, Canada offered her
two cruisers, the _Niobe_ and the _Rainbow_, for general service, and
her two submarines for duty on the Pacific coast.

[Illustration: Views in Quebec.

1. Dufferin Terrace. 2. The Citadel and Château Frontenac. 3. Plains of
Abraham, and Wolfe Monument. 4. Sous-le-Cap Street. 5. Montmorency
Falls. 6. Church of Notre-Dame des Victoires. 7. Parliament Buildings.
8. French Cathedral.]

The women of Canada subscribed for naval hospitals, and the Canadian Red
Cross Society sent a fully-equipped field hospital and £10,000 in money.
When Canadians learned that the Belgians were in distress, they opened
their purses most generously. Everybody did his or her "little bit." A
newsboy of Toronto[222] gave a street car ticket worth a few cents; it
was afterwards sold for a thousand dollars. The citizens of Berlin,[223]
Ontario, sent the following cable message to Lord Kitchener:--

"Berlin, Ontario, a city of 15,000 population, of which 12,000 are
Germans or of German descent, purposes raising £15,000 or more for the
National (Canadian) Patriotic Fund. The German people want to see
militarism[224] in Germany smashed for good, and the people set free to
shape a greater and better Germany. We feel confident that England has
appointed the right men in Mr. Churchill[225] and Lord Kitchener to boss
the job."

At first the Canadians intended to raise a force of 22,000 men to be
sent overseas, and another 10,000 men to guard the Dominion; but so many
men wished to go to the front that the strength of the first force sent
to Britain was largely increased. The men were fitted out with the best
of everything. Their clothes and weapons were as good as money could
buy, and their horses were especially fine. Motor transport and an
ammunition train were provided, and more than a hundred fully qualified
nurses went with the troops. Wealthy men provided the regiments with
machine guns; they had their own aviators, doctors, and chaplains. By
the end of September the force was ready to be transported overseas. It
numbered 31,250 men, with 7,500 horses, and everything necessary for
taking the field. The force was assembled at the Valcartier[226] Camp,
near Quebec.[227]

The departure of the troops from Valcartier at the end of September was
a sight never to be forgotten. At various times in the day trumpets
sounded, the battalions packed their kits, and long lines of khaki-clad
men marched along the road to Quebec amidst crowds of cheering
Canadians. The bands struck up "It's a Long Way to Tipperary," and the
troops trudged off in the highest possible spirits.

The greater part of the artillery marched late in the afternoon and at
night. Rain fell heavily, and they arrived in Quebec soaked and
mud-spattered, but as full of enthusiasm as ever. The guns, ammunition
wagons, transports, and horses filed along narrow roads flanked by
autumn-tinted trees and fringed by quaint French-Canadian villages. At
one point, we are told, the white-haired old curé[228] of a French
village stood for nearly half an hour up to his knees in the wet grass
of his orchard, plucking apples from the trees, and throwing them to the
men as they swung along. They cheered him, and a French-Canadian battery
which passed sang the Marseillaise.

Never since the days of Wolfe[229] had Quebec witnessed such martial
scenes as when the troops tramped through the steep streets of the old
city to embark on board the thirty-two transports which were to convey
them to the mother country. Everywhere one heard cheering and the music
of bands and bagpipes. Wives and sweethearts bade farewell to their dear
ones, and then crept away from the noisy throng to weep in solitude or
to return to their homes, where the long, anxious hours of waiting were
to be passed until the war should end and the heroes return. Alas! many
of them were destined never to return, but to find a last resting-place
in the clay of France and Flanders.

At last came the day when all the troops were on board ready to depart.
Dufferin Terrace, overlooking the harbour, was black with thousands of
men and women waving handkerchiefs, and ever and anon breaking into loud
cheers, as the transports steamed slowly one by one down the river and
past Point Levis.[230] The cheers did not cease until the last of the
big vessels, carrying the pride of Canada's soldiery, disappeared from
view between the Isle of Orleans[231] and the mainland.

Guarded by grim warships, the transports crossed the ocean, and on the
morning of October 15th arrived in Plymouth Sound. It was very fitting
that the gallant sons of Canada should tread English soil in the port
from which their sires in the brave days of old had gone forth to
discover new homes for British people in the great continent of the
West. Those of them who knew anything of British history must have felt
their hearts swell as they gazed at the grassy slopes of Plymouth Hoe.
The list of great seamen who trod that greensward before sailing to the
New World is in itself a page of romance--Sir Richard Grenville[232]
for Virginia, Sir Humphrey Gilbert[233] for Newfoundland, Sir Martin
Frobisher[234] for the North-West Passage, and, above and beyond all,
Sir Francis Drake[235] for the circumnavigation of the world.

In the days following their arrival the Canadians were landed, and
marched through the streets to the railway station, _en route_ for
Salisbury Plain, where their training was to be completed. As they
passed along the Plymouth streets between the lines of townsfolk all
sorts of gifts were pressed upon them. "We were snowed under with good
things," said one of the men.

While the first contingent was hard at work in the mud of Salisbury
Plain, a second and a third contingent were being raised in Canada. As
soon as it was announced that more men were needed, a far larger number
of recruits flocked to the standard than could be accepted. Within a
little more than four months after the outbreak of war Canada had raised
over 90,000 men for the service of king and country.

       *     *     *     *     *

[Illustration: Transports arriving at Plymouth.

_Photo, Central News_.]

The island of Newfoundland stands outside the Dominion of Canada; so she
made a special effort of her own, for she was just as eager to come to
the help of the mother country as any other of our overseas possessions.
The coasts of Newfoundland, as you know, are inhabited by
fishermen--fine, hardy fellows, who are at home in stormy seas, and can
turn their hands to almost anything. In the old days the Newfoundlander
was the backbone of our navy, and a branch of the Royal Naval Reserve
has long been established in the island. On the outbreak of war
Newfoundland offered to increase her naval reserves up to 3,000 men, and
to provide and equip 500 soldiers for active service overseas.

       *     *     *     *     *

In this rally of the Empire Australia played her part right manfully.
The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth spoke for all when he said: "We
must sit tight now and see the thing through at whatever difficulty and
whatever cost. We must be steadfast in our determination. Our resources
are great, and British spirit is not dead. We owe it to those who have
gone before to preserve the great fabric of British freedom and hand it
on to our children. Our duty is quite clear. Remember, we are Britons."
Mr. Andrew Fisher, who became Premier a little later, spoke in the same
strain. "Australia," said he, "will support Great Britain with her last
man and her last shilling."

Australia and New Zealand were in a better position to send assistance
to the mother country than any other members of our overseas empire.
Australia possesses a navy of her own, consisting of one battle cruiser,
three light cruisers, three destroyers, and two submarines, and these
she at once placed at the disposal of the Admiralty. Every able-bodied
male in Australia and New Zealand is obliged to serve as a cadet from
twelve to eighteen years of age, and in the Citizen Defence Corps
during manhood. When war broke out Australia had 85,000 cadets under
training, and 50,000 men in the Citizen Defence Corps, the latter being
fully armed and equipped. One of our generals, who inspected the
Australian artillery some time ago, was much struck with the smartness
and skill of the men. "I would not be afraid," he said, "to take them
into action against European troops to-morrow."

The Commonwealth at once asked for 20,000 volunteers, and immediately
twice as many men as were needed rushed to enlist. They were such fine
fellows that it was difficult to decide which of them to accept and
which to reject. The Queensland Bushmen offered to provide a regiment,
and were prepared to supply their own horses, while the yachtsmen of
Australia were ready to join the Royal Naval Reserve. Even the German
settlers stood by their fellow-Australians in this crisis, and declared
that they were prepared, if the necessity arose, to sacrifice their
property and their lives for the welfare of the British Empire. Instead
of "cutting the painter," Australia doubled it, and made it more secure
than ever.

[Illustration: Canadian Troops on Salisbury Plain.

_Photos, Alfieri and Central News_.

The King reviews Canadian troops on Salisbury Plain (top). Three cheers
for his Majesty the King! (middle). The armoured motor cars of the
Canadians (bottom).]

Gifts of money and produce were most generously made to the Belgians, to
the Red Cross Society, and in aid of other war funds. The sheep farmers
of New South Wales gave 40,000 carcasses of mutton, 1,500 sheep,
1,000,000 cartridges, 20 tons of dried fruit, and 1,500 horses up to the
end of September, and in November added another 7,600 carcasses of
mutton. From all parts of Australia came flour, wine, bacon, beef,
condensed milk, butter, arrowroot, biscuits, sheep, fruit, and clothing.

[Illustration: Australians for the Front.

_Photo, Central News_.]

Before long 20,000 men, together with a Light Horse Brigade of 6,000
men, were ready to embark. Meanwhile many thousands of other men were
being trained, and it was decided to send 2,000 of them regularly to
Great Britain to repair the wastage of war.

The troops departed in silence and secrecy. There was a squadron of
German warships in the Pacific Ocean, and had the commanders of these
vessels known when and by what route the transports were to set sail,
you may be sure that they would have tried to sink them. When the
vessels arrived off the Cocos-Keeling Islands[236] in the Indian Ocean,
Japanese warships warned them that the Germans were near at hand, and
that part of their route had been strewn with mines.

Perhaps you are surprised to learn that Japanese warships were then
policing the Pacific Ocean for Britain. In the year 1905 we came to an
agreement with the Japanese that if any Power made an unprovoked attack
upon us or upon them both countries would join their forces to fight the
enemy. On 15th August Japan gave notice to Germany that if she did not
clear out of Kiao-chau[237] war would be declared. Germany refused, and
on 23rd August war was declared. At once Kiao-chau was attacked, and the
ships of the fine Japanese fleet took over the work of patrolling the
Pacific Ocean. In the next volume we shall learn how Japan played her
part in the war.

One of the Australian soldiers tells us that the Japanese warned them
that German cruisers were about, in the evening, and that orders were at
once given to the men to put on life-belts and fall in at their messes.
At eight o'clock they were all lined up on deck; the ship's lights
were put out, and in the pitch-black darkness they waited for the
enemy's attack. All were bare to the waist, and had their trousers
rolled up to their knees. Thus they stood for a full hour, without a
word being spoken except by the officers. Suddenly they heard the boom
of a gun some distance astern, and soon afterwards saw the dark form of
a cruiser dash across their bows and disappear in the darkness. It was
the famous German cruiser _Emden_, of which we shall hear in our next
volume. She was in too great a hurry to stop and attack the transport,
for the biggest and fastest vessel of the Australian Navy, H.M.S.
_Sydney_, was chasing her. The danger had passed away, and the rest of
the voyage was uneventful.

[Illustration: Australians near the Pyramids.

This picture shows Sir George Reid, High Commissioner of Australia,
visiting the camp of the Australian contingent in Egypt. In the course
of a speech he said, "The Pyramids have been silent witnesses of many
strange events, but never before have looked upon such a splendid array
of troops."

_Photo, Record Press._]

When the transports arrived in the Suez Canal the men learned that they
were not to proceed to the front, but were to disembark and help to
protect Egypt. This was, of course, a disappointment to them; but they
were somewhat consoled when they learned that they might see active
service very soon, for the Turks had joined the Germans, and were
talking of attacking Egypt.

       *     *     *     *     *

You know that New Zealand has also her cadets and her Citizen Defence
Corps, and was, therefore, able to send trained men overseas without
delay. Long before volunteers were asked for, men were besieging the
Minister of Defence with offers of service. By eleven o'clock on the
morning of 6th August, a thousand volunteers had handed in their names
in the city of Auckland[238] alone. Gifts of money and produce, horses,
and motor cars were at once forthcoming, and a few weeks later New
Zealand presented the mother country with an aeroplane.

Less than three weeks after the declaration of war, a cable message was
sent to the War Office in London, saying that New Zealand had 8,000 men
ready to go to any part of the world at a moment's notice. These troops
consisted of mounted rifles, field artillery, and infantry, and along
with them were 500 Maoris,[239] who were most eager to fight for
Britain. Two hundred of them were sent to Egypt to be trained, and it
was thought that they would prove admirable scouts. Amongst the white
volunteers were five members of the famous "All Black" football team
which played so well in Great Britain a few years ago, and three Rhodes
scholars. All the men were splendid specimens of young manhood. Their
voyage was without incident, and they were landed in Egypt to join the
Australians and British Territorials in the defence of that country.

       *     *     *     *     *

British South Africa found herself, on the outbreak of war, with German
forces on her frontiers. In the German colony of South-West Africa there
was a large and well-equipped German army, and in German East Africa
there were other forces. Further, there were some Boers who had not yet
become resigned to British rule, and it was thought--as afterwards
proved to be the case--that they had been bribed by the Germans, and
would seize the opportunity to rise in rebellion. South Africa could
not, therefore, send forces to help the mother country; but, under the
command of General Botha,[240] who himself had been a leader of the
Boers[241] in the late war, she undertook to guard herself and attack
the Germans on her borders without the help of soldiers from Great
Britain or from any of the Dominions. We shall see in the next volume
how she carried out this duty. Meanwhile she sent many gifts of money
and produce to Great Britain.

       *     *     *     *     *

There was no part of the British Empire, however small, which did not,
to the best of its ability, help the mother country in her hour of need.
From the Barbadoes came £20,000; from the Falkland Islands, £1 per head
of the population, as well as £750 for the Prince of Wales's Fund.[242]
St. Kitts and Nevis, in the West Indies, sent £5,000 to the same fund;
Mauritius, British Guiana, and Jamaica sent large gifts of sugar;
Southern Rhodesia sent maize, and Hong Kong a large donation to the
Prince of Wales's Fund. Take a map of the world and search out one by
one the overseas possessions of Great Britain. You cannot find a single
place under the Union Jack that did not rally to the Empire as soon as
the call to arms was sounded. No wonder the King was deeply touched by
these tenders of loyal service, and no wonder that he thanked his
overseas subjects in a noble message. The hearts of all Britons in the
mother country were deeply stirred to feelings of joy and pride when
they knew that the men of the Dominions were

      "Welded, each and all
  Into one Imperial whole,
  One with Britain, heart and soul--
  One life, one flag, one fleet, one throne!
  Britons, hold your own!"


[Footnote 217: The home of the Army Council and of the Headquarters
Staff in Whitehall, London. The Army Council completely controls the
army. At the head of it is the Secretary of State for War, who is a
member of one of the Houses of Parliament and of the Cabinet.]

[Footnote 218: So called because raised by Lord Strathcona (1820-1914)
who rose from a clerk in the Hudson Bay Company to be head of the
company and High Commissioner for Canada. The construction of the
Canadian Pacific Railway was almost entirely due to him.]

[Footnote 219: City of Saskatchewan, Canada; 400 miles west of Winnipeg,
on the Canadian Pacific Railway.]

[Footnote 220: Chief city and commercial capital of Canada, on the St.
Lawrence, Province of Quebec.]

[Footnote 221: Town, Canada, Province of Alberta; on the Canadian
Pacific Railway, 2,262 miles west of Montreal.]

[Footnote 222: Capital of Ontario, Canada; second city of the Dominion;
on north-west shore of Lake Ontario.]

[Footnote 223: Town, 60 miles south-west of Toronto.]

[Footnote 224: An over-great love of war.]

[Footnote 225: Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, born 1874, First Lord
of the Admiralty since 1911. He first became a minister in 1906.]

[Footnote 226: _Val-kar-tyā´._]

[Footnote 227: Capital of Province of Quebec, on north bank of St.
Lawrence, 145 miles north-east of Montreal.]

[Footnote 228: Parish priest.]

[Footnote 229: James Wolfe (1727-59) defeated the French on the Heights
of Abraham, to the west of Quebec, and by this victory won Canada for
the British. He is referred to in the first verse of "The Maple Leaf,"
Canada's national song, which runs as follows:--

  "In days of yore from Britain's shore
    Wolfe, the dauntless hero, came,
  And planted firm Britannia's flag
    On Canada's fair domain!
  Here may it wave, our boast, our pride;
    And joined in love together,
  The Thistle, Shamrock, Rose entwine
    The Maple Leaf for ever!"]

[Footnote 230: Opposite to Quebec, on the other side of the river.]

[Footnote 231: To the east of Point Levis.]

[Footnote 232: Seaman of Devonshire, a relation of Sir Walter Raleigh,
whom he assisted in founding Virginia. In 1591 he engaged a whole
Spanish fleet with his single ship the _Revenge_, and was fatally
wounded in the fight.]

[Footnote 233: Cousin of Sir Walter Raleigh. He took possession of
Newfoundland (1583), but went down in the _Golden Hind_ on the return
voyage.]

[Footnote 234: Served under Drake, and fought against the Spanish
Armada. Perished in the Arctic Ocean, 1594.]

[Footnote 235: Francis Drake (1540-1596), the greatest of English
admirals, the first Englishman to sail round the world (1577-1580). He
singed the King of Spain's beard in 1587, and fought against the Spanish
Armada (1588).]

[Footnote 236: Group of twenty coral islands in the Indian Ocean, 700
miles south-west of Sumatra. They produce cocoanuts.]

[Footnote 237: German protectorate on the east coast of the Chinese
province of Shantung. It was seized from China in 1897. The port is
Tsing-tau. The Japanese first attacked this place on August 23, and
declared that at the end of the war they would give it up to China.]

[Footnote 238: Largest city of New Zealand, in a fine harbour in the
north of North Island.]

[Footnote 239: Tall, brown-skinned natives of New Zealand. They are a
clever, cheerful race, very fond of games, riding, and feasting. Some of
them visited this country in 1889, as members of a New Zealand football
team.]

[Footnote 240: Louis Botha, born 1863, first Prime Minister of the Union
of South Africa.]

[Footnote 241: Dutch farmers of what was formerly the South African
Republic (Transvaal) and the Orange Free State.]

[Footnote 242: On August 7, 1914, the Prince of Wales founded a National
Fund to relieve distress brought about by the war. He was its first
treasurer, and he generously offered to pay the whole cost incurred in
working the fund. Early in December 1914 it had reached £4,000,000.]



  CHAPTER XXVII.

  HOW INDIA ANSWERED THE CALL.


  "Sons of Shannon, Tamar, Trent,
  Men of the Lothians, men of Kent,
  Essex, Wessex, shore and shire,
  Mates of the net, the mine, the fire,
  Lads of desk and wheel and loom,
  Noble and trader, squire and groom,
  Come where the bugles of Britain play,
  _Over the hills and far away!_

  "Southern Cross and Polar Star--
  Here are the Britons bred afar;
  Serry,[243] O serry them. See, they ride
  Under the flag of Britannia's pride;
  Shoulder to shoulder, down the track,
  Where, to the unretreating Jack,
  The victor bugles of Britain play,
  _Over the hills and far away!"_

In Chapter XXVI. you learned how Britons all over the world answered the
call to arms. The verses which you have just read might almost have been
written to describe the great rally. But the greatest surprise of all
was the response of India. It is a vast land, equal in area to the whole
of Europe outside Russia, and containing nearly one in five of all
people that on earth do dwell. These people consist of many races and
many religions, and large numbers of them are ruled by their own
princes. During recent years many educated Indians have asked for a
larger share in the government of their own country, and this has been
granted to them in some measure. Nevertheless, there are still many of
them who are not satisfied with our rule, and the Germans, as you know,
hoped and expected that when Great Britain was in straits these
dissatisfied persons would rise and throw off the British yoke.

[Illustration: Types of our Indian Soldiers: Sikhs are seen above, and
Cavalry below.

_Photo, Central News_.]

Even in this country some people feared that there would be trouble in
India; but their fears were soon set at rest, for in the course of a few
hours India showed clearly that Britain's quarrel was her quarrel, and
that she was as loyal to the Empire and as eager to help it in the hour
of trial and stress as any of the Dominions. It is remarkable to note
that several of those who had been most bitter against British rule at
once ceased their work of stirring up the people, and called upon them
to rally in Britain's cause. Thus India, instead of being a weakness to
the Empire, proved a tower of strength; instead of a danger, she became
a staunch bulwark.

In times of peace we maintain in India 70,000 British troops and a
native army of about 160,000 men, recruited from many castes and races.
Chief amongst these are the Sikhs, a fierce warrior caste, whose home is
in the Punjab.[244] Long and bitter strife was necessary to overcome
them; but when they were finally conquered they threw in their lot with
the British, and ever since have proved themselves faithful and skilful
allies. Our native army also contains fine fighting men from the lofty
mountainous country on the north-west frontier of India, and from the
rugged tableland of Beluchistan. Perhaps the best known of all our
native Indian troops are the Gurkhas, little, tireless mountaineers of
Nepal,[245] famous for their marching and shooting. I remember seeing
some thousands of these fine little soldiers in Burma. They were clad in
dark green, and armed with a murderous-looking knife, known as the
kukri, in place of the bayonet. They marched on to the parade ground,
behind the bagpipes, to the strains of the "Cock o' the North."

The Indian army is highly trained, and is under the command of British
officers, who know and respect their men, and are trusted and esteemed
by them. It has seen much fighting, not only against rebellious Indian
tribes, but in Afghanistan, Uganda, the Sudan, Egypt, Persia, and China.
It was in China, in the year 1900, that Indian soldiers made the
acquaintance of the Germans, with whom we were then engaged in fighting
the Boxers.[246] German officers and men during that expedition looked
down upon our Indian troops with contempt, and talked of them as
"coolies" and "niggers." As you know, they belong to the oldest and
proudest races on earth, and their British officers always show them the
highest possible respect. You can easily understand how deeply they were
offended by this treatment. They have long memories, and when they were
told that they were to fight in Europe against those who had insulted
them in China, they were not only proud and glad to stand shoulder to
shoulder with their British comrades, but eager to pay off old scores.

[Illustration: Gurkha Soldiers and Officer.

_Photo, Underwood and Underwood_.]

Some of the Indian princes are allowed to maintain bodies of Imperial
Service troops, which they equip and train at their own expense. These
troops number in all some 22,000. As soon as the princes knew that
Britain had need of soldiers, they gladly offered their troops to fight
for their King-Emperor. The Maharajah of Mysore[247] gave £330,000 to
fit out a force, and other princes sent large sums of money and
thousands of horses, while little hill states in the Punjab and
Baluchistan[248] offered camels and drivers. The Maharajah of Rewa[249]
instantly asked, "_What orders has my King for me?_" and forthwith
placed his troops, treasury, and even his private jewels at the disposal
of his Majesty. Nor were the smaller chiefs behindhand. All were eager
to help, even beyond the measure of their ability. Even the Dalai
Lama[250] of Tibet, whose country was invaded by British troops as
recently as 1904, offered soldiers, and ordered the priests throughout
the length and breadth of the land to pray for the success of British
arms and for the souls of the fallen. From private persons came money
gifts, and from Indian societies blessings on the campaign. Almost every
Indian prince desired to fight for us, and the Agha Khan,[251] the
spiritual leader of 60,000,000 Mohammedans, offered to take his place as
a private in the ranks. Many of the princes were accepted for service,
and amongst them was Sir Pertab Singh,[252] who long ago swore that he
would not die in his bed. Though seventy years of age, he was as eager
as a boy to ride forth to the last and greatest of his wars. In this
muster-roll of princes every great name in India was represented. Chiefs
whose line of descent went back to the days of Alexander the Great, and
whose forefathers had fought many a good fight against us in the days
when we were winning India, were now assembled in battle array to do and
die for Britain and her King.

       *     *     *     *     *

I am sure that you have read with feelings of great pride and
thankfulness this brief account of how the Empire rallied as one man in
the day of trial. What an effect this splendid response must have had
upon the Germans! They had sent their agents with bribes and lying tales
into every part of the Empire where they thought men were discontented
with British rule, and they hoped that when war broke out we should be
so troubled with risings in many lands that we should be quite unable to
fight them on the continent of Europe. A bitter disappointment awaited
them. Except in South Africa, where there was a small rebellion which
was easily put down without a single soldier being sent from Great
Britain, the Empire proved as firm as a rock and as staunch as steel.
Our Allies, the French and the Russians, were much struck by this
wonderful unity. It proved to them, as it has proved to all the world,
that, though we may have made mistakes in the government of our Empire,
the races under the Union Jack know that we have honestly tried to do
our duty by them, and have made their welfare our first and foremost
consideration. So in this great and fateful struggle they stand by us,
one in heart and mind, and we are knitted closer to them, and they to
us, by their splendid loyalty in this hour of danger.

The Germans call the British army "a multicoloured travelling circus."
One of their writers has said that the British have got together the
peoples of the earth to fight them, and have shipped to France a
variegated white, black, brown, yellow, and red medley of races. What
else did they expect when they challenged an Empire that has possessions
in every continent on the face of the globe? We have every right to be
proud that men of such diverse races, creeds, and colours have united so
gladly and freely against the common foe. In an earlier chapter of this
book I told you how the states of Germany were welded together into an
empire after they had fought side by side in the war against France. As
Lord Rosebery tells us, "blood shed in common is the cement of nations."
Now that miners of the Yukon, trappers of Athabasca, backwoodsmen of
British Columbia, cowboys of Alberta, stalwart sons of Manitoba,
Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland, stockmen
and sheep farmers of Australia and New Zealand, Boers of South Africa,
and men of a thousand towns and villages in the old country, stand
shoulder to shoulder with Sikhs of the Punjab, tribesmen of the Khyber,
Gurkhas of Nepal, Egyptians of the Nile, and Maoris of the Southern
Seas, may we not hope that hereafter a new and stronger bond will unite
all the scattered states of the British Empire? The war of 1870-71 made
the German Empire; the great war in which we are engaged bids fair to
make the British Empire.


[Footnote 243: Close them up in ranks. The verses are adapted from W. E.
Henley's "A New Song to an Old Tune."]

[Footnote 244: The Land of the Five Rivers, on the north-west frontier
of India.]

[Footnote 245: Independent state of India, on the southern slopes of the
Himalayas. It includes Mount Everest, the highest mountain of the
world.]

[Footnote 246: Members of a secret society in China with the cry, "China
for the Chinese." The German minister at Peking was murdered, and
foreigners were besieged, and an expedition, in which British, French,
Germans, Russians, Americans, and Japanese took part, relieved them
(August 1900). China was forced to pay 64 millions of money.]

[Footnote 247: Native state of Madras, India; about as large as
Scotland.]

[Footnote 248: Native state of Central India; nearly twice as large as
Wales.]

[Footnote 249: Part of the Indian Empire, to the south of Afghanistan.]

[Footnote 250: The high priest and ruler of Tibet, and the head of the
religion known as Lamaism. He lives at Lhassa, the capital of Tibet, a
country of Central Asia north of the Himalayas.]

[Footnote 251: Aga Sultan Mohammed Shah, born 1875. He is a man of lofty
character and great influence. He attended the coronation of Edward VII.
as a guest of the nation.]

[Footnote 252: Ruler of Kashmir, the most northerly state of India.]



  CHAPTER XXVIII.

  THE GERMAN ADVANCE ON BRUSSELS.


Now we must return to Belgium, and follow the progress of the German
forces in that country. There were two armies in Belgium--the one under
General von Buelow,[253] and the other under General Alexander von
Kluck.[253] We shall hear much of the latter general in the next volume
of this work. If you were to examine his portrait, you would say that he
is a man of sullen fierceness and great doggedness. This is by no means
his first war: he fought against Austria in 1866, and was wounded at
Metz in 1870. You already know that most of the officers holding high
command in the German army are of noble birth. Von Kluck is an
exception: he was only ennobled after he became a colonel.

The two German armies in Belgium were only part of the vast force
intended for the invasion of France. This force consisted of six main
armies, which, on 7th August, were stationed as follows:--The Sixth Army
was assembled in and around Strassburg; the Fifth Army, under the
Bavarian Crown Prince, lay just south of Metz; the Fourth Army, under
the Crown Prince of Germany, was on the border of Luxemburg; the Third
Army was in the Moselle valley, facing the Ardennes; the Second Army was
south of Aix-la-Chapelle; and the First Army was in and around that
city.

[Illustration: Indian Troops camping in a London Park.

_Photo, Topical Press_.]

We shall not know for many years to come what was the exact manner in
which the Germans meant to move these armies into France. Some say they
intended to mass nearly all of them on a wide front in Belgium, north
and west of the Meuse, and then march them south into France. It is more
likely, however, that they meant to use Metz as a pivot and swing the
first five armies in a great circling movement to the west, like a gate
upon its hinges; while the Sixth Army defended Alsace, and checked any
advance of the French through the Vosges. Lay your pencil on the map
with the point on Metz. Hold the point in your fingers, and sweep round
the rest of the pencil to your left, and you will see exactly what I
mean. It is said that the Germans had about two millions of men in the
armies which were to make this movement. Of course, many of them would
be required to mask[254] the fortresses and guard the lines of
communication. Probably the actual German fighting line consisted of
something between one million and one million and a half men. The
Emperor, as War Lord, was in supreme command; but the real conduct of
the campaign was in the hands of Count Helmuth von Moltke, the Chief of
the General Staff. His uncle had brought France to its knees in 1870-71;
he was to shatter the forces of France and Britain in 1914.

[Illustration: Map showing how the German Armies were stationed on the
Western Frontier.]

Now let us turn our attention to the First and Second Armies, which, as
you know, were actually in Belgium when I broke off my story to tell
you how the British Empire girded up its loins for the fray. Von Kluck's
army (the First Army), which was to form the extreme right of the German
line, had crossed the Dyle on 19th August, and von Buelow's army (the
Second Army) was rapidly advancing towards the strong fortress of Namur,
which stands at the point where the Meuse and the Sambre unite. The
Belgian army at this time stood in danger of being enveloped; so it
withdrew, much reduced in numbers, but still unbroken and undefeated, to
the shelter of the Antwerp forts, leaving the capital, Brussels, open to
the enemy. The Belgian Government had already left the city, and its
headquarters were now in Antwerp.

       *     *     *     *     *

Brussels, as you know, stands on the river Senne, and is one of the
finest cities in Europe. It has noble buildings--churches, libraries,
museums, picture-galleries--and broad boulevards, with a carriage drive
down the middle, and a riding track on either side, shaded by rows of
trees. Some of these boulevards have been made on the site of the old
walls, which were pulled down many years ago. At one end of a pretty but
not large park stands the king's palace, and at the other end are the
Houses of Parliament. Much of Brussels is modern, but the Grand' Place
belongs to the Middle Ages. On one side of it stands the town hall,
which was built in the fifteenth century, and is a glorious old
building, with a high steep roof, pierced by many little windows, and a
front dotted with statues. Above its lofty and graceful spire is a
gilded figure of the Archangel Michael, which serves as a wind-vane.

The other sides of the square are enclosed by quaint gabled houses,
which formerly belonged to the Merchant Guilds. Some of them have gilded
mouldings, and one of them is shaped like the stern of a ship. In the
paved middle of the square a flower market is held, and here you may see
the women of Brabant[255] in their white caps and large gold earrings.
The largest and finest of all the modern buildings is the Palace of
Justice, in which the law courts sit. It is said to have cost
£2,000,000. As it stands on a little hill, and is so big and tall, it
can be seen from every part of the city. The people of Brussels are
perhaps the gayest and most lively in all Europe. Nowhere do you find
men and women so fond of jokes and fun, and so eager for amusement. They
call their city "Little Paris."

Brussels is very well known to British people, not only because the city
is frequently visited by our tourists, but because some of our great
writers have described it in their books. Laurence Sterne,[256] the
Irish novelist, tells us much about Flanders in his "Tristram Shandy."
The finest character in the book is Captain Shandy, or Uncle Toby, as he
was more commonly called. This delightful old soldier was wounded at
Namur,[257] and spent his peaceful old age in following Marlborough's
campaigns[258] with the help of maps, books, and models. On his
bowling-green he made trenches, saps, barricades, and redoubts, just as
Marlborough was then doing; and he and his servant, Corporal Trim,
fought many great battles on the greensward before his house.

William Makepeace Thackeray,[259] in his "Vanity Fair," gives us a
wonderful picture of Brussels in the year 1815, when the great battle of
Waterloo was fought; and in his "Esmond" there is an exquisite account
of the hero's visit to his mother's grave in a convent cemetery of the
city. Charlotte Brontë,[260] in what is perhaps her best story,
"Villette," describes her own experiences as a girl in Brussels very
fully and vividly--so much so that many British readers cannot think of
the city without thinking of "Villette." Here is her picture of Brussels
on a festal night: "Villette is one blaze, one broad illumination; the
whole world seems abroad; moonlight and heaven are banished; the town by
her own flambeaux[261] beholds her own splendour--gay dresses, grand
equipages, fine horses, and gallant riders throng the bright streets. I
see even scores of masks.[262] It is a strange scene, stranger than
dreams...Safe I passed down the avenues; safe I mixed with the crowd
where it was deepest. To be still was not in my power, nor quietly to
observe. I drank the elastic night air--the swell of sound, the dubious
light, now flashing, now fading."

       *     *     *     *     *

On Monday, 17th August, the people of Brussels knew for certain that the
Germans were approaching the city. Crowds of refugees came pouring in
from the villages and towns which the enemy had destroyed, and the
condition of these poor folks would have melted a heart of stone.
Mothers, weary and footsore, carried or dragged by the hand little
children, weeping with weariness and hunger. Old men struggled along
with bundles on their backs, or in wheelbarrows, or even in
perambulators, containing all the little store of worldly goods which
they had been able to save from the wreck of their homes. There were
many widows and many fatherless in the sad throng, and they had terrible
tales of sorrow and suffering to tell. Peasant women sent a shudder
through the townsfolk by relating how their sons or husbands had been
hanged for resisting the Uhlans. Young boys told how the priest, the
doctor, and the schoolmaster of their villages had been shot, and the
rest of the men carried off as prisoners of war. Still, in spite of all
these alarms, the people of Brussels kept their heads. The Government
put up notices warning them not to resist the German troops, and
ordering them to stay in their houses with closed doors and windows, so
that the enemy might have no excuse for shooting them down.

[Illustration: Belgian Civic Guards]

All Belgian towns have what is known as a Civic Guard, composed of men
who prepare themselves to defend their homes in case of attack. If you
had seen these men on parade you would probably have smiled. Many of
them were stout, elderly shopkeepers or workmen, and they wore on their
heads a hard bowler hat, sometimes decorated with a bunch of dark green
glossy feathers at the side. But in spite of their unsoldierlike
appearance, they were brave fellows, all ready to lay down their lives
in defence of hearth and home. While the Germans were approaching
Brussels, the Civic Guard drilled daily in the park, dug trenches in the
outskirts and even in the streets, and set up barricades of wire all
along the roads by which the enemy could enter the city. The townsfolk
constantly heard the dull roar of explosions as bridges and roadways
were blown up to check the German advance. In the suburbs the people
gladly gave the contents of their houses to form barricades. "Hundreds
of people," we are told, "sacrificed all their household furniture in
the common cause. Beds, pianos, carts, boxes, baskets of earth--one
child I saw filling up a basket from the gutter--are all piled up."

Soon, however, it was clear that Brussels could not be defended. Even if
all the Civic Guards fell, they could not hope to beat off the German
army that was hourly drawing nearer and nearer. The only result would be
that the city would suffer the fate of Louvain--all its grand buildings
would be battered down, and Brussels would be no more.

At once there was a great exodus from the city. Motors, carts,
carriages, and all kinds of conveyance were pressed into service, and
were filled with people all bent on reaching the coast. Most of the
vehicles were plastered with huge red crosses cut out of wall paper or
old petticoats. Thousands of the poor people who had no means of escape
went aimlessly to and fro in the streets, weeping and wailing. Every
train was packed with people, and the roads leading to Holland were
black with men, women, and children tramping onwards towards safety.

[Illustration: M. Adolphe Max, Burgomaster of Brussels.]

The greater part of the townsfolk, however, remained, and went about
their work as of yore, hoping against hope that the British or French
would soon arrive. On Thursday, 19th August, the brave Mayor, M. Adolphe
Max, posted a notice telling the people that, despite the heroic
efforts of the Belgian troops, it was to be feared that the enemy would
occupy Brussels. He advised the people to be calm, and avoid all panic,
and he promised them that as long as he was alive he would try to
protect their rights and dignity. "Citizens," he said, "whatever may
befall, listen to your burgomaster. He will not betray you. Long live a
free and independent Belgium! Long live Brussels!"

M. Max was as good as his word. By his fearless dealing with the Germans
he won a renown which will last long after Belgium is free again.
Whoever in future days writes the history of the war in this little
heroic country will give M. Max a place beside King Albert and General
Leman.

[Illustration: German Soldiers parading the Streets of Brussels.

_Photo, Sport and General._]


[Footnote 253: Both these generals were born in 1846.]

[Footnote 254: Surround them with troops, and thus form a screen behind
which other troops can advance to engage the enemy.]

[Footnote 255: Province of Belgium, between the Meuse and the Scheldt,
with Brussels as its chief town.]

[Footnote 256: Born 1713, died 1768. "Tristram Shandy" fills out nine
volumes.]

[Footnote 257: Besieged in 1695.]

[Footnote 258: John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough, born 1650,
died 1722, was one of the most brilliant of British soldiers. He was
sent to Flanders to protect Holland against French invasion, and in
1702-3 seized the line of the Meuse. Afterwards he joined Prince Eugène
on the Danube, and inflicted a crushing defeat on the Franco-Bavarian
armies at Blenheim, 1705.]

[Footnote 259: Born 1811, died 1863. "Vanity Fair" and "Esmond" are his
two greatest novels.]

[Footnote 260: Born 1816, died 1855. Her other great novel is "Jane
Eyre."]

[Footnote 261: _Flam´-bō_, flaming torches.]

[Footnote 262: A disguise for the face worn during revels.]



  CHAPTER XXIX.

  HOW THE GERMANS ENTERED BRUSSELS.


One Thursday morning, attired in his scarf of office, M. Max drove out
in a motor car, along with several other city officers, to meet the
German general, and to arrange terms of surrender. He was received with
that lack of politeness for which the German officer is notorious. After
roughly ordering him to remove his scarf, the German general asked him
if he was ready to surrender the city. If not, it would be shelled. M.
Max replied that he had no choice in the matter; and was then informed
that he and the other city officers would be held responsible for the
good behaviour of the people, and that if they offended they would
suffer. It was then arranged that the Germans were to march in next day,
and that they were to be housed and fed at the expense of the city.
When the burgomaster returned to Brussels, the Civic Guard, to their
great disappointment, were ordered to give up their arms.

The German General Staff meant to make the entry into Brussels a matter
of great pomp and display, so as to impress the citizens. They therefore
arranged that an army corps which had not yet been engaged in fighting
should be marched through the streets. The men were halted outside the
town and given time to furbish themselves up for the occasion. The
people of Brussels were not to be allowed to see the Germans against
whom their fellow-countrymen had fought so bravely. There were to be no
thinned ranks, no scarred, wounded, or war-weary soldiers in their
streets, but an army as fresh and spick and span as though it were
parading before the Kaiser at Potsdam.

[Illustration: Germans in Grand'-Place, Brussels.

_Photo, Central News._]

The news that Brussels was in German hands had been flashed to every
corner of the Fatherland, and had been received with loud rejoicings.
Surely some of the more sober-minded Germans, even in that hour of
rapture, must have remembered the remark of Napoleon, "The capture of an
undefended city is no glory."

Try to realize the feelings of the people of Brussels as they gathered
in the streets on that black day to see a ruthless and faithless enemy
take possession of their beautiful and beloved capital. "Belgians," said
an old soldier, with tears in his eyes, "can never forget this." They
suffered then what their forefathers had suffered on the eve of
Waterloo:--

     "While thronged the citizens with terror dumb,
  Or whispering with white lips, 'The foe!--they come, they come!'"

At two o'clock in the afternoon of 20th August the distant sound of guns
announced the coming of the foe. Imagine the surprise of the people when
the news flitted from mouth to mouth that their own M. Max was riding at
the head of the German army. He had insisted on taking this place,
because he was, as he reminded his captors, the first citizen of
Brussels. On the wan, strained faces of the townsfolk there was the
ghost of a smile when they saw him appear. Their quick-witted
burgomaster was receiving the Germans not as a captive but as a host! It
was a good joke, and the people could appreciate it, even on such a sad
occasion.

Now the sound of bands was heard, and the advance guards of the Germans
entered the city. By the side of M. Max rode a Prussian general--"a
swarthy, black-moustached, ill-natured brute, dressed in khaki gray," as
a bystander described him. I am sure that if he had been an angel of
light the people of Brussels would have found fault with him at such a
time. On came the waves of men, singing "Die Wacht am Rhein."[263]

  "The wind-tost banners proudly fly;
   While runs the river, sounds the cry,--
  'We all will guard with heart and hand
   The German Rhine for German land.'
       Dear Fatherland, untroubled be,
       Thy Rhine Watch stand true, firm, and free."

Anon they broke into the strains of "Deutschland über Alles,"[264] the
first verse of which I translate roughly as follows. It is sung to the
air of the Austrian National Anthem, composed by Joseph Haydn, the
greatest of Austrian musicians, in the year 1797.

  "First in all the world, my Germany,
   First and foremost shalt thou be.
   When thy sons in soul united
   Grasp the shining sword for thee,
   From the Maas, yea to the Mernel,[265]
   From the Adige[266] to the sea,
   First in all the world, my Germany,
   First and foremost shalt thou be."

The Brunswick,[267] Death's Head, and Zieten[268] Hussars led the way;
then came the infantry, followed by artillery with siege howitzers, and
a hundred motor cars armed with quick-firing guns. As the men moved into
the main streets they broke into that stiff-legged parade step which has
been the triumphal march of the German army since the days of Frederick
the Great.

The townsfolk in deep dismay watched the Germans filing into the
Grand'-Place, and many of them muttered under their breath, "They will
never come back again; the Allies will do for them." It is said that the
German officers behaved very rudely to the people, and laughed
scornfully in their faces, as though they wished to goad them into acts
which would excuse an attack upon the city. The people, however,
restrained themselves, and there was no bloodshed or destruction.

The city was placarded with notices threatening stern punishment to all
those who opposed the troops, and a fine of £8,000,000 was levied on the
place. Food and lodging were provided for the troops, and when the Staff
arrived they made the town hall their headquarters. M. Max was ordered
to furnish three hundred beds for them. "I will provide three hundred
and one beds," said he, "for, of course, _I_ shall sleep there too."

When he was ordered to hand over a hundred of the chief men of the city
as hostages[269] for the good behaviour of the people, the brave
burgomaster refused to do anything of the sort. "I will be your
hostage," he said, "and I will provide you with no others." On every
occasion he was more than a match for the German officers. When one of
the generals tried to browbeat him, and laid a revolver on the table to
show him what his fate would be if he did not do as he was told, the
burgomaster calmly picked up a pen and laid it beside the weapon. Even
the slow, heavy Germans saw the meaning of this action. "The pen is
mightier than the sword." Mr. Max meant them to understand that though
they might kill him, writers in the future would tell the story of their
shameful deeds, and brand their name with infamy for ever.

The Germans could do nothing with this brave, gay Belgian, who stood up
so sturdily for the rights of his people; so at last they removed him
from his office, and sent him to a German fortress in what they called
"honourable custody." You may be sure that the townsfolk grieved
greatly when their burgomaster was thus removed, and the Germans soon
discovered that they were far more difficult to handle than when they
had been under the care and guidance of the good M. Max.

       *     *     *     *     *

The Germans occupied Brussels in force for a single day only. A garrison
was left to hold the city, and the march through Belgium was continued.
Meanwhile huge bodies of men, under the command of von Buelow, were
passing unnoticed along the north bank of the Meuse towards Namur. At
the same time two other armies were marching through the leafy Ardennes,
where the overhanging foliage hid them from the eyes of the Belgian
airmen. The great line was slowly but surely deploying for the
long-delayed march into France.

With the occupation of Brussels by the Germans the first stage of the
war comes to an end.


[Footnote 263: "The Watch on the Rhine."]

[Footnote 264: It was written by Hoffmann von Fallenleben at Heligoland
in 1841. There is a monument to the composer in Heligoland.]

[Footnote 265: German name for the Niemen.]

[Footnote 266: Tributary of the Po, North Italy. The sea is the Baltic.]

[Footnote 267: Sovereign duchy of the German Empire, chiefly surrounded
by the provinces of Hanover, Saxony, and Westphalia.]

[Footnote 268: Named after the Prussian general Zieten (_tsĕt'en_), who
gained great renown in the wars of Frederick the Great.]

[Footnote 269: Persons left with the enemy as pledges that certain
conditions will be fulfilled.]



  CHAPTER XXX.

  HOW THE BRITISH ARMY WAS CARRIED OVERSEAS.


On the morning of 18th August, when the fate of Brussels was hanging in
the balance, our newspapers contained a brief paragraph which was read
by Britons all over the world with great satisfaction--our army had been
landed on French soil without the loss of a single man. It was a great
feat, and we were rightly proud of it. To many of us the news came as a
great surprise. We British are not good at keeping secrets; but on this
occasion, like Brer Rabbit, we lay low and said "nuffin." Thousands of
people knew what was going on, but they did not talk about it, and in
the newspapers there was scarcely a hint of what was happening. For once
we kept a secret; and we were rewarded, for our transports crossed the
narrow seas without the slightest attempt on the part of the enemy to
molest them.

But for our navy this feat could never have been performed. A naval
writer once said: "I consider that I have command of the sea when I am
able to tell my Government that they can move an expedition to any point
without fear of interference from an enemy's fleet." This is exactly
what Admiral Jellicoe was able to tell his Government. He had "bottled
up" the German navy in its ports, and the Channel and the Strait of
Dover were as safe as ever they had been. From the first we had the
great advantage of the command of the sea.

Let me tell you how our army of about 110,000 men, with guns, horses,
and stores, was carried in safety to France. You know that the army was
mobilized on 3rd August, and in a day or two most of the regiments were
ready to depart with everything necessary for the grim work of war.
Outside the barracks, in the early mornings, wives and mothers might
have been seen bidding farewell to their husbands or sons; but there
were few other signs that a great movement of troops was in progress.
The Government had taken over the railways, and as soon as each unit was
ready it was hurried off by train towards the south coast. Never were
the railways so busy as at that time, and never did they work more
smoothly; yet all was done with the utmost secrecy. Even the drivers of
the engines were not told beforehand the name of the place to which they
were bound. You can form some idea of the great strain upon the railways
when I tell you that the London and South-Western dispatched three
hundred and fifty trains each of thirty-five cars to Southampton in
forty-five hours. During the first three weeks of the war seventy-three
such trains arrived at the quays every fourteen hours. Every ten
minutes, day and night, they steamed in, all up to time. We ought not to
forget the splendid part which our railwaymen played at this time.

The men stationed in the Irish camp at Curragh sailed from Dublin; the
men in the camp on Salisbury Plain boarded the transports at Avonmouth;
while those at Aldershot found ships awaiting them at Southampton. Other
bodies of men were embarked at Plymouth, Newhaven, Folkestone, Dover,
and London. The busiest port of all was Southampton, which was entirely
handed over to the army. On the outskirts of the town a rest camp had
been formed, and in it the men who had travelled long distances were
allowed some time to recover. Many of the trains were run directly to
the quayside; in other cases the soldiers marched through the streets.
Night and day for more than a week the streets of Southampton echoed to
the tramp of khaki-clad men, the rattle of baggage-wagons, and the
rumbling of guns.

All sorts of passenger ships were pressed into service--the
Holyhead-North Wall steamers, the Fishguard boats, the Channel packets,
vessels plying between Harwich and the Hook of Holland, Antwerp, and
Hamburg, and many others. One Atlantic liner carried three thousand men
on a single trip. When the soldiers were on board, the transports
steamed off, and not even the captains knew the port to which they were
to sail until they were ten miles out at sea. Then they opened sealed
envelopes, and for the first time knew their destination. Think of the
foresight and arrangement needed to engage all these ships and send them
to their proper stations at the right time and in the right order
without confusion and delay.

But this was not all. Arrangements had to be made for the troops to be
landed at the various French ports, and to be encamped until they could
be carried by rail to the front. Some of our officers were sent across
to France before the troops arrived to prepare for their coming; and
French officers came to England to arrange matters on this side.
Everything was done according to a carefully-thought-out plan, and it
worked as smoothly as a well-oiled machine. Long before the troops
landed, enormous quantities of stores had been shipped to the French
ports, so that depôts for the supply of the army might be established.

Our troops were landed on the Continent at the French ports of Havre,
Dieppe, Boulogne, Calais, and Dunkirk. All day long, and all night too,
streams of transports crossed and recrossed the Channel. The weather was
perfect, and the men were packed on board the ships like Bank Holiday
trippers. They suffered no discomfort, for the passage did not in any
case occupy more than about fifteen hours. Many of the men were
surprised to find that no armed vessels accompanied them as an escort.
British warships, however, were keeping their Watch on the Brine, though
the soldiers could not see them. A squadron of cruisers patrolled the
narrow seas between the North Foreland and the French coast, and thus
closed the North Sea entrance to the Channel. Aeroplanes and a naval
airship hovered above the same waters, keeping a bright lookout for
enemy craft. It is said that the crew of one seaplane engaged in this
work did a most daring deed in mid-air. Something went wrong with the
propeller, and it had to be changed. The pilot thought he would be
obliged to descend for the purpose, but two of the crew offered to do
the work in the air. They climbed out on to the bracket carrying the
propeller, and actually changed the blade while soaring two thousand
feet above the sea!

[Illustration: A daring feat in mid-air.

(_From the picture by Cyrus Cuneo._)]

On former occasions, when our soldiers have been sent abroad to fight
for their country, we have gathered in crowds to give them a hearty
"send off." They have departed to the noise of ringing cheers, the blare
of bands, the waving of banners, the flutter of handkerchiefs. But those
were days when we did not fear the secret menace of mines, submarines,
and aeroplanes. On this occasion there were no public farewells. The
men, however, were not allowed to depart without a fervent "God speed"
from him who speaks in the name of us all. Before embarking, each
soldier was presented with two printed messages--one from the King, the
other from Lord Kitchener.

Here is the King's message. You will notice how quietly confident it is,
and how full of dignity. It is just the message which we should expect a
British king to send to British soldiers.

    "You are leaving home to fight for the safety and honour of my
    Empire. Belgium, which country we are pledged to defend, has
    been attacked, and France is about to be invaded by the same
    powerful foe. I have implicit confidence in you, my soldiers.
    Duty is your watchword, and I know your duty will be nobly done.
    I shall follow your every movement with deepest interest, and
    mark with eager satisfaction your daily progress. Indeed, your
    welfare will never be absent from my thoughts. I pray God to
    bless you and guard you, and bring you back victorious.

      "George, R. et I."[270]

The men also received a little printed letter of counsel and guidance
from Lord Kitchener. It has been rightly called the noblest message ever
sent to fighting men. Read the following three paragraphs very
carefully, and try to remember them. Never before has so fine an ideal
been set before the British soldier.

    "Remember that the honour of the British Empire depends on your
    individual conduct, and you can do your country no better
    service than in showing yourself in France and Belgium in the
    true character of a British soldier.

    "Be invariably courteous, considerate, and kind. Always look
    upon looting as a disgraceful act. You are sure to meet with a
    welcome, and to be trusted; your conduct must justify that
    welcome and that trust.

    "Do your duty bravely. Fear God. Honour the King.

      "Kitchener, Field-Marshal."

       *     *     *     *     *

More of our soldiers were landed at Boulogne than at any other French
port. Boulogne has a special interest for us: it was the port at which
Napoleon made his preparations, between June 1803 and September 1805,
for the invasion of England. He marched a hundred thousand men--a very
large army in those days--to Boulogne, and every road by which his
soldiers passed bore the sign-post, "To England." A huge flotilla of
flat-bottomed boats was collected, and the men were exercised in
embarking and disembarking within sight of the white cliffs of Dover.
"The Channel," said Napoleon, "is but a ditch, and anyone can cross it
who has but the courage to try." You know that he never tried to cross
it. He could not win that command of the narrow seas on which the
success of his invasion depended. His fleet lured Nelson to the West
Indies, and then sailed rapidly back; but it was met off Ferrol, and was
so crippled that Napoleon was forced to give up his project in disgust.
He broke up the camp at Boulogne, and marched his army against the
Austrians and Russians instead.

Many of our soldiers at Boulogne rested almost in the shadow of a tall
column, 172 feet high, which stands about two miles from the port on the
road to Calais. It was erected in 1804 to commemorate the invasion which
never came off, and was left unfinished until 1841. On the summit is a
statue of the emperor. Our men must also have been much interested in
the crumbling forts which were built by Napoleon to protect his
flat-bottomed boats from attack.

       *     *     *     *     *

A friend who was in Boulogne when the transports were expected, tells me
that weather-beaten sailors watched the sea eagerly for days on end, and
at last, when they saw the hulls of our ships on the horizon, broke into
loud cries: "Les Anglais arrivent!"[271] At once the townsfolk flocked
to the quays, and as our men marched down the gangways they received
them like old friends. They were full of admiration for the fine, trim,
well-set-up Britons who had come to their help, and they loudly praised
their arms, clothing, horses, and guns. They flocked around them,
shaking them by the hand and patting them on the shoulder. "So milord
Kitchener has sent you," they said. "He is indeed a fine fellow, a tough
customer."

Many of the soldiers were marched straight from the boat to the train,
which they boarded in their usual business-like fashion. "Those
English," said an admiring townsman, "take their departure as if they
were going for a walk. They are indeed brave soldiers." You can imagine
the bustle and excitement on the quays and in the streets of the town as
infantry, cavalry, artillery, Army Service corps, and nurses came
ashore, and the delight of the people as they saw aeroplanes hovering
overhead like huge dragon flies.

Some of our soldiers were sent to a rest camp on the low hills outside
the town, and before long they won the hearts of the townsfolk by their
cheery good humour and excellent behaviour. All sorts of presents were
exchanged; little French tricolours, bonbons, flowers, and cigarettes
were pressed upon them, in return for which our men parted with their
buttons and badges. "They are English gentlemen--that's what they are,"
said French men and women alike. Many of the French soldiers in the town
could speak English well, and with these our men struck up a close
comradeship at once. "Hallo!" said one "Tommy" to a French corporal,
"does your mother know you're out?" To which came the quick reply in
perfect English, "Well, she ought to, for there are six of us out."

Those early days in France were delightful to our men. The weather was
perfect, their surroundings were novel, they had little to do, and they
were surrounded by hosts of friends. "This isn't like war," said one of
them; "it's just a bit of a holiday, with nothing to pay." All our
soldiers were provided with a sheet of paper containing the French words
and phrases which they were likely to need. As you may imagine, the
attempts of some of the Tommies to speak French with this slender
equipment were amusing in the extreme.

       *     *     *     *     *

And now, while our army is being rapidly carried by train to the front,
where it is to form the extreme left of the Allied battle-line, let us
learn something of its commander-in-chief, Field-Marshal Sir John
French.[272] The general public knew little of him before the war, but
he has always been most popular in all branches of the service. In 1866
he joined the navy as a cadet, and served as a midshipman for four
years; but he gave up the sea in his twenty-second year, and obtained a
commission in the 8th Hussars, because he wished to see active service,
and there seemed little likelihood of naval warfare for a long time to
come. He soon showed himself a keen cavalry officer, but he had to wait
many years for the chance to draw his sword against an enemy. When
General Gordon[273] was shut up in Khartum, Major French, as he was
then, commanded the single cavalry squadron in the little army which was
sent--alas! too late--to save him. Though the expedition was a failure,
several desperate battles were fought, and Major French came home with a
very good record. In 1885 he was promoted lieutenant-colonel, and later
on was sent to India, where he made a great name as a leader of cavalry.

When he joined the army most officers believed that the work of cavalry
was to wait until the guns had shaken the enemy's infantry, and then to
charge down upon it in a solid mass, and put it to flight. French did
not think that this was the chief part which cavalry had to play in
modern warfare. He believed that it ought to be the "eyes and ears" of
the army, and that it should devote itself largely to scouting and to
"feeling for the enemy." He trained his regiment on these lines, and
though there were some of the "old school" who opposed him, he found a
warm friend and supporter in the Duke of Connaught.

[Illustration: British soldiers making friends with the people of
Boulogne.

_By permission of the Illustrated London News._]

It was during the South African War that General French was able to put
his principles into practice, and by so doing he showed how valuable
they were. He only just escaped being shut up in Ladysmith;[274] he left
it by the last train to take charge of the cavalry division which
relieved Kimberley,[275] stopped the retreat of Cronje at
Paardeburg,[276] and entered Pretoria.[277] His striking success in
South Africa marked him out as the greatest of our cavalry leaders.
Naturally we should expect him to be fond of horses. The charger which
carried him through the South African War wore a medal round its neck,
with a record of its services. When this charger died Sir john was much
grieved, and he buried it under a memorial stone at Aldershot.

[Illustration: Sir John French.]

Those who know General French well tell us that he has real genius. When
he has a problem to solve he seems more like a dreamer than a man of
action. Suddenly, however, when he has fully grasped the situation, he
springs to his feet, having fully made up his mind what he is going to
do and how he is going to do it. He sketches out his plan in the fewest
possible words, and frequently astonishes his staff by the daring and
novelty of his plans. "Deeds, not words," is his motto, and he fully
deserves his nickname, "Silent French." He loves his profession, and no
general has ever been so ready to pay such generous tributes to those of
his officers and men who deserve them. Amongst the rank and file he is
known as "Johnny," and all of them know that their welfare is his chief
concern. A chaplain at the front tells us that "no matter how hard he
has worked during the day, he always tries to spend a little time in a
field hospital at night with the wounded."

Our French allies were delighted that Sir John French had been made
commander-in-chief of the British army which was to fight side by side
with them. Most of the leading French officers knew him well, and
admired him greatly. They were specially pleased that his name was
French, and they said that he must be a Frenchman by descent. When they
discovered that he had Irish blood in his veins they found a new reason
for giving him a hearty welcome. Many Irish soldiers, as you know, have
fought bravely and died nobly for France. Before setting out for the
front, he paid a flying visit to Paris, and was greeted with loud cheers
by the Parisians who lined the streets in his honour.

       *     *     *     *     *

And now, while millions of men are grasping their rifles, ready for the
first clash of arms in this gigantic struggle which will decide the fate
of Europe, the first volume of this book comes to an end. The greatest
story of the world has yet to be told--a story of strife on a scale far
beyond the experiences of mankind, of combats so vast and long enduring
that the battles of history seem in comparison but puny skirmishes, of
slaughter that has horrified the watching world, and of heroisms that
have thrilled it with pride.

  "Troops to our Britain true
     Faring to Flanders,
   God be with all of you
     And your commanders.

  "Fending a little friend,
     Weak but unshaken--
   Quick! there's no time to spend,
     Or the fort's taken.

  "He hath his all at stake;
     More can have no man.
   Quick, ere the barrier break,
     On to the foeman.

  "Troops to this Britain true,
     And your commanders,
   God be with all of you
     Fighting in Flanders."


[Footnote 270: _Rex et Imperator_, Latin for "King and Emperor." Our
King is also Emperor of India.]

[Footnote 271: The English come.]

[Footnote 272: Born 1852.]

[Footnote 273: Governor of the Sudan. He defended Khartum, at the
junction of the Blue and White Niles, for several months against the
followers of the Mahdi, and was killed by them two days before the
relieving force came in sight of Khartum (1885).]

[Footnote 274: Town of Natal, on the Klip River; besieged by the Boers
from November 2, 1899, to February 25, 1900.]

[Footnote 275: Diamond-mining centre of British South Africa, 646 miles
by rail north-east of Cape Town. It was besieged by the Boers from
October 15, 1899, to February 16, 1900.]

[Footnote 276: Thirty miles south-east of Kimberley, on the Modder
River. The Boer leader Cronje was here forced to surrender with 4,000
men, February 27, 1900.]

[Footnote 277: Capital of the Transvaal. It surrendered to Lord Roberts
on June 5, 1900.]


  End of Volume I.


  =Transcriber's Notes:=
  original hyphenation, spelling and grammar have been preserved as in
    the original
  Contents: page number for Chapter 1 changed from 3 to 1
  Page 1, "hurried into eternity" changed to "hurried into eternity,"
  Page 24, "Photo, Cribb" changed to "Photo, Cribb."
  Page 27, "Photo, Ernest Brooks" changed to "Photo, Ernest Brooks."
  Page 36, "Photo, Topical Press" changed to "[Photo, Topical Press."
  Page 55, "lie bleeding" changed to "lie bleeding?"
  Page 107, "guardian of Israel" changed to "guardian of Israel."
  Page 135, "his weapon" changed to "His weapon"
  Page 292, "large as Wales" changed to "large as Wales."
  Page 303, "give M Max" changed to "give M. Max"





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