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"made friends" lightly. They did not the enemy's artillery when our ammunihave the reserve and arrogance of the tion began moving up the road. I found English, the spiritual pride of the Ger- a hundred houses in Termonde among the mans. Some of them have German blood, ruins of eleven hundred, and those houses, some French, some Dutch. Part of the spared in the house-to-house burning, were race is gay and volatile, many are heavy chalked in German script with directions and inarticulate; it is a mixed race of not to burn. In that town of thirteen which any iron-clad generalization is false. thousand people, certain of those houseBut I have seen many thousands of them holds were friends and spies of the Gerunder crisis, seen them hungry, dying, men from every class and every region; and the Perhaps it was better that people should mass impression is that they are affec- perish by the villageful in honest physical tionate, easy to blend with, open-handed, death through the agony of the bayonet trusting, immature.
and the flame than that they should go on This kindly, haphazard, unformed folk bartering away their nationality by piecewere suddenly lifted to a national self- meal. Who knows but Albert saw in his sacrifice. By one act of defiance Albert made Belgium a nation. It had been a mixed race of many tongues, selling itself little by little, all unconsciously, to the German bondage. I saw the marks of this spiritual invasion on the inner life of the Belgians-marks of a destruction more thorough than the shelling of a city. The ruins of Termonde are only the outward and visible sign of what Germany has attempted on Belgium for perhaps two generations.
Wherever I turned in Belgium, I found traces of this clever, silent German invasion. My Flemish driver, when we were surrounded by Uhlans, suddenly broke into voluble German, expressing his abject friendliness for them. At a hotel in Ghent the proprietor, believing me to be a neutral, told me he was a German with German sympathies. He had been living in Ghent for many years, making his money out of the town, but looking forward to this day of his own people. In Melle an officer pointed out to me the house of their German spy. I talked with the man.
At a café in Ghent, while the enemy was still distant, the proprietor entertained the Belgians, and took their
A ruined church at Pervyse money, announcing to all, as he announced to me, that he was a Swiss. Now that the silent heart that the only thing to weld his Germans have taken possession, he has people together, honeycombed as they bloomed out into a full-blooded German, were, was the shedding of blood ? Perand with pride daily presides over his café haps nothing short of a supreme sacrifice, filled with German officers. Nightly back amounting to a martyrdom, could restore of our Pervyse line some spy signaled to a people so tangled in German intrigue, so
netted into an ever-encroaching system of swering thrill in the heart of every commerce, carrying with it a habit of Antwerp clerk who for years has been thought and a mouthful of guttural leaking Belgian government gossip into phrases. Let no one underestimate that German ears in return for a piece of power of language. If the idiom has
money. Secret sin was eating away Belpassed into one, it has brought with it gium's vitality--the sin of being bought by molds of thought, leanings of sympathy. German money, bought in little ways, for Who that can even stumble through the small bits of service, amiable passages de“Marchons! Marchons!” of the “Mar- stroying nationality. By one act of full seillaise” but is a sharer for a moment in sacrifice Albert has cleared his people from the rush of glory that every now and again a poison that might have sapped them in a has made France the light of the world ? few more years without the firing of one So, when the German phrase rings out, gun. "Was wir haben bleibt Deutsch" ("What That sacrifice to which they are called we are now holding by force of arms shall is an utter one, of which they have experiremain forever German"), there is an an- enced only the prelude. I have seen this Side of a bedroom taken out by a shell in the heavy Nieuport bombardment growing sadness of Belgium almost from fluttered flags at lintel and window. The the beginning. I have seen thirty thou- sidewalks were thronged with peasants, sand refugees, the inhabitants of Alost, who believed they were now to be saved. come shuffling down the road past me. We rode in glory from Ghent to the outer They came by families, the father with a works of Antwerp. Every village on all bag of clothes and bread, the mother with the line turned out its full population to a baby in arms, and one, two, or three cheer us ecstatically. A bitter month had children trotting along. Aged women passed, and now salvation had come. It were walking, Sisters of Charity, religious is seldom in a lifetime one is present at a brothers. A cartful of stricken old wo- perfect piece of irony like that of those men lay patiently at full length while the shouting Flemish peasants. wagon bumped on. They were so nearly As Antwerp was falling, a letter was drowned by suffering that one more wave given to me by a friend. It was written made little difference. All that was sad by Aloysius Coen of the artillery, Fort St. and helpless was dragged that morning Catherine Wavre, Antwerp. He died in into the daylight. All that had been the bombardment, thirty-four years old. decently cared for in quiet rooms was of a He wrote: sudden tumbled out upon
pavement and jolted along in farm-wagons past six- Dear wife and children: teen miles of curious eyes. But even with At the moment I am writing you this the sick and the very old there was no
enemy is before us, and the moment has lamentation. In this procession of the come for us to do our duty for our country. dispossessed that passed us on the country When you will have received this I shall road there was no one crying, no have changed the temporary life for the angry.
eternal life. As I loved you all dearly, my When the handful of British were sent last breath will be directed toward you and to the rescue of Antwerp, we went up the my darling children, and with a last smile line with them. There was joy on the as a farewell from my beloved family am I Antwerp road that day. Little cottages undertaking the eternal journey.
the road to another country. Grieved and pathos of the Belgian army is like the embittered, they served under new leaders pathos of an orphan-asylum: it is unconof another race. Those tired soldiers were scious. like spirited children who had been play- They are very lonely, the loneliest men ing an exciting game which they thought I have known. Back of the fighting would be applauded. And suddenly the Frenchman, you sense the gardens and best turned out the worst.
fields of France, the strong, victorious
national will. In a year, in two years, Sing, Belgians; sing, though our wounds having made his peace with honor, he will are bleeding,
return to a happiness richer than any that
France has known in fifty years. And the writes the poet of Flanders; but the song Englishman carries with him to the is no earthly song. It is the voice of a lost stresses of the first line an unbroken calm cause that cries out of the trampled dust which he has inherited from a thousand as it prepares to make its fight beyond the years of his island peace. His little moplace of betrayal.
ment of pain and death cannot trouble For the Belgian soldiers no longer sang,
that consciousness of the eternal process in or made merry in the evening. A young which his people have been permitted to Brussels corporal in our party suddenly play a continuing part. For him the broke into sobbing when he heard the present turmoil is only a ripple on the vast chorus of "Tipperary" Aoat over the chan- sea of his racial history. Back of the nel from a transport of untried British Tommy is his Devonshire village, still selads. The Belgians are a race of children cure.
His mother and his wife are waitwhose feelings have been hurt.