Puslapio vaizdai

Side of a bedroom taken out by a shell in the heavy Nieuport bombardment

growing sadness of Belgium almost from the beginning. I have seen thirty thousand refugees, the inhabitants of Alost, come shuffling down the road past me. They came by families, the father with a bag of clothes and bread, the mother with a baby in arms, and one, two, or three children trotting along. Aged women were walking, Sisters of Charity, religious brothers. A cartful of stricken old women lay patiently at full length while the wagon bumped on. They were so nearly drowned by suffering that one more wave made little difference. All that was sad and helpless was dragged that morning into the daylight. All that had been decently cared for in quiet rooms was of a sudden tumbled out upon the pavement and jolted along in farm-wagons past sixteen miles of curious eyes. But even with the sick and the very old there was no lamentation. In this procession of the dispossessed that passed us on the country road there was no one crying, no one angry.

When the handful of British were sent to the rescue of Antwerp, we went up the line with them. There was joy on the Antwerp road that day. Little cottages

fluttered flags at lintel and window. The sidewalks were thronged with peasants, who believed they were now to be saved. We rode in glory from Ghent to the outer works of Antwerp. Every village on all the line turned out its full population to cheer us ecstatically. A bitter month had passed, and now salvation had come. It is seldom in a lifetime one is present at a perfect piece of irony like that of those shouting Flemish peasants.

As Antwerp was falling, a letter was given to me by a friend. It was written by Aloysius Coen of the artillery, Fort St. Catherine Wavre, Antwerp. He died in the bombardment, thirty-four years old. He wrote:

Dear wife and children:

At the moment I am writing you this the enemy is before us, and the moment has come for us to do our duty for our country. When you will have received this I shall have changed the temporary life for the eternal life. As I loved you all dearly, my last breath will be directed toward you and my darling children, and with a last smile as a farewell from my beloved family am I undertaking the eternal journey.

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the road to another country. Grieved and embittered, they served under new leaders of another race. Those tired soldiers were like spirited children who had been playing an exciting game which they thought would be applauded. And suddenly the best turned out the worst.

Sing, Belgians; sing, though our wounds are bleeding,

writes the poet of Flanders; but the song is no earthly song. It is the voice of a lost cause that cries out of the trampled dust as it prepares to make its flight beyond the place of betrayal.

pathos of the Belgian army is like the pathos of an orphan-asylum: it is unconscious.

They are very lonely, the loneliest men I have known. Back of the fighting Frenchman, you sense the gardens and fields of France, the strong, victorious national will. In a year, in two years, having made his peace with honor, he will return to a happiness richer than any that France has known in fifty years. And the Englishman carries with him to the stresses of the first line an unbroken calm which he has inherited from a thousand years of his island peace. His little moment of pain and death cannot trouble that consciousness of the eternal process in which his people have been permitted to play a continuing part. For him the present turmoil is only a ripple on the vast sea of his racial history. Back of the Tommy is his Devonshire village, still secure. His mother and his wife are wait

For the Belgian soldiers no longer sang, or made merry in the evening. A young Brussels corporal in our party suddenly broke into sobbing when he heard the chorus of "Tipperary" float over the channel from a transport of untried British lads. The Belgians are a race of children whose feelings have been hurt. The ing for him, unmolested, as when he left

Our chauffeur, Baron de Maleingren them. But the Belgian, schooled in horror, faces a fuller horror yet when the guns of his friends are put on his bell-towers and birthplace, held by the invaders.

"My father and mother are inside the enemy lines," said a Belgian officer to me as we were talking of the final victory. That is the ever-present thought of an army of boys whose parents are living in doomed houses back of German trenches. It is louder than the near guns, the noise of the guns to come that will tear at Bruges and level the Tower of St. Nicholas. That is what the future holds for the Belgian. He is only at the beginning of his loss. The victory of his cause is the death of his people. It is a sacrifice almost without a parallel.

And now a famous newspaper correspondent has returned to us from his motor trips to the front and his conversations with officers to tell us that he does not highly regard the fighting qualities of the Belgians. I think that statement is not the full truth, and I do not think it will be the estimate of history on the resistance of the Belgians. If the resistance had been regarded by the Germans as half-hearted, I do not believe their re

prisals on villages and towns and on the civilian population would have been so bitter. The burning and the murder that I saw them commit throughout the month of September, 1914, was the answer to a resistance unexpectedly firm and telling. At the skirmish of Melle on September 7, when fifteen hundred Belgians stood off three thousand Germans for several hours, I counted more dead Germans than dead Belgians. The German officer in whose hands we were as captives asked us with great particularity as to how many Belgians he had killed and wounded. While he was talking with us, his stretcher-bearers were moving up and down the road for his own casualties. At Alost the street fighting by Belgian troops behind fish-barrels, with sods of earth for barricade, was so stubborn that the Germans felt it to be necessary to mutilate civilian men, women, and children with the bayonets to express in terms at all adequate their re

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times in September, the fighting of Belgians was vigorous enough to induce the Germans on entering the town to burn eleven hundred homes, house by house. If the Germans throughout their army had not possessed a high opinion of Belgian bravery and power of retardation, I doubt if they would have released so wide-spread and unique a savagery.

At Termonde, Alost, Balière, and a dozen other points in the Ghent sector, and, later, at Dixmude, Ramscappelle, Pervyse, Caeskerke, and the rest of the line of the Yser, my sight of Belgians has been that of troops as gallant as any. The


A Belgian worker in the "Océan Ambulance" and a British nurse

cowards have been occasional, the brave men many. I still have flashes of them as when I saw them. I saw a Belgian officer ride across a field within rifle range of the enemy to point out to us a market-cart in which lay three wounded. On his horse, he was a high figure, well silhouetted. Another day, I met a Belgian sergeant, with a tousled red head of hair, and with three medals for valor on his left breast.

"With my best feelings, William De Groote"

He kept going out into the middle of the road during the times when Germans were reported approaching, keeping his men under cover. If there was risk to be taken, he wanted first chance. My friend Dr. Van der Ghinst, of Cabour Hospital, captain in the Belgian army, mained three days in Dixmude under steady bombardment, caring unaided for his wounded in the Hospital of St. Jean, just at the Yser, and finally brought out thirty old men and women who had been frightened into helplessness by the flames and noise. Because he was needed in that direction, I saw him continue his walk past the point where fifty feet ahead of him a shell had just exploded. I saw him walk erect where even the renowned fighting men of an allied race were stooping and hiding, because he held his life as nothing when there were wounded to be rescued. For many weeks our group of Red Cross helpers had the privilege of working with Lieutenant Robert de Broqueville, son of the prime minister of Belgium. I saw him go into Dixmude on the afternoon when the town was leveled by German guns. He remained there under one of the heaviest bombardments of the war for three hours, picking up the wounded who lay on curbs and in cellars and under debris. The troops had been

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