Puslapio vaizdai

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, wo

men, and children with the bayonets to Our chauffeur, Baron de Maleingren

express in terms at all adequate their rethem. 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 conversa

André Simont of the Obusiers Lourds (Heavy tions with officers to tell us that he does Guns), a typical high-class Belgian boy soldier not highly regard the fighting qualities of The present Belgian army is largely composed of boys,

as the first army was cut to pieces the Belgians. I think that statement is not the full truth, and I do not think it

sentment. I am of course speaking of will be the estimate of history on the what I know.1 Around Termonde, three resistance of the Belgians. If the resistance had been regarded by the Germans as

1 What the writer and a companion witnessed of Ger

man atrocities will be found in the Bryce Report, under half-hearted, I do not believe their re- the heading of Alost.



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


"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, remained 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 A Belgian worker in the “Océan Ambulance"

nothing when there were wounded to be and a British nurse

rescued. For many weeks our group of cowards have been occasional, the brave Red Cross helpers had the privilege of men many. I still have flashes of them as working with Lieutenant Robert de when I saw them. I saw a Belgian officer Broqueville, son of the prime minister of ride across a field within rifle range of the Belgium. I saw him go into Dixmude on enemy to point out to us a market-cart in the afternoon when the town was leveled which lay three wounded. On his horse, by German guns. He remained there unhe was a high figure, well silhouetted. der one of the heaviest bombardments of Another day, I met a Belgian sergeant, the war for three hours, picking up the with a tousled red head of hair, and with wounded who lay on curbs and in cellars three medals for valor on his left breast. and under debris. The troops had been gium, from the cardinal to the humblest curé, has played the man. On the front line near Pervyse, where my wife lived for three months, a priest has remained through the daily shell-fire to administer last rites to his dying soldiers and to comfort the fighting men. Just before leaving Flanders, I called on the sisters in the convent school of Furnes. They were still cheery and busy in their care of sick and wounded civilians. Every few days the Germans shell the town from seven miles away, but the sisters will continue there through the coming months as through the last year. The spirit of the best of the race is spoken in what King Albert said recently in an unpublished conversation to the gentlemen of the English mission :

"The English will cease fighting before Gaspar, a refugee baby

the Belgians. If there is talk of yielding, ordered to evacuate the town, and it was à lonely job that this youngster of twenty-seven years carried on through that day.

Our corps has seen the Belgians every day for several months. We have seen several skirmishes and battles and many days of shell-fire, and the impression of watching perhaps twenty thousand Belgians in action is that of excellent fighting qualities, starred with bits of sheer daring as astonishing as that of any other races. With no country left to fight for, homes either in ruin or soon to be shelled, relatives under an alien rule, the home Government on a foreign soil, still this second army, the first having been killed, fights on in good spirit. Every morning of the summer I have watched those of them that have been resting in La Panne, boys between eighteen and twenty-five, clad in fresh khaki, go riding down the poplar lane from La Panne to the trenches, the first twenty with bright silver bugles, their cheeks puffed and red with the blowing. Twelve months of wounds and wastage,

Dr. Van der Ghinst, a Belgian surgeon. He wet trenches and tinned food, and still

was decorated by the French for bravery

in the Dixmude bombardment they go out with hope.

And the helpers of the army have it will come from the English, not from shown good heart. Breaking the silence of Rome, the splendid priesthood of Bel- That was a playful way of saying that



[graphic][merged small]

there will be no yielding by any of the became part of the texture; the worn Western Allies. The truth is still as true cloth, shapeless, but yet molded to the man as it was at Liège that the Belgians held up by long association-all was an expression the enemy till France was ready to receive of the stocky little soldier inside. The them. And the price Belgium paid for new, khaki hung slack. The caps were too that resistance was the massacre of women large for Flemish heads. To us, watching and children and the house-to-house burn- the change, it was the loss of the last posing of homes.

session that connected them with their Since rendering that service for all time past; with homes and country gone, now to France and England, through sixteen the very clothing that had covered them months of such a life as exiles know the through famous fights was shuffled off. It Belgians have fought on doggedly, recov- was as if the Belgian army had been swalering from the misery of the Antwerp lowed up in the sea at our feet, like retreat, and showing a resilience of spirit Pharaoh's phalanx, and up from the beach equaled only by the Fusiliers Marins of to the barracks scuffled an imitation EngFrance. One afternoon in late June my lish corps, spattering their ill-fitting garfriend Robert Toms, who came four thou- ments with jest, writing and singing a sand miles to lend a hand with the poem in praise. This is the chorus which wounded, was sitting on the beach at La a Belgian soldier, clad in his fresh yellow, Panne, watching the soldiers swimming in sang to us as we grouped around him on the channel. Suddenly he called to me, a sand-dune: and aimed his camera. There on the sand in the sunlight the Belgian army was "Regardez nos p'tits soldats, changing its clothes. The faithful suits of Ils ont l'air d'être un peu là, blue, rained on and trench-worn, were

Habiller. being tossed into great heaps on the beach,

D'la tête jusquaux pieds and brand-new yellow khaki, clothes and

En khaki, en khaki, cap, was buckled on. It was a transforma

Ils sont contents de servir, tion. We had learned to know that army,

Mais non pas de mourir, and their uniform had grown familiar and Et cela c'est parce que on leur a mis, pleasant to us. The dirt, ground in till it En quelque sorte, la t'nue khaki."




GAIN the Spring shall come across the date-groves of El-Jerid,
With slender feet a-tinkle with her anklet-bells

Of hillside rain,
With lips that laugh beneath a veil of mist, and eyes above it

Deep with pain;
And all the wild, sweet gladness of her coming,
That thrills the brooks of Jordan into flood,
And sends along the twisted olive branches
The old glad pain of sap and leaf and bud,

Is mine. And, lo!

The ecstasy of pomegranates aglow,
The secret the wild-almond boughs have kept,

My heart shall know;
And I shall go across the hills to greet

The woman Spring
Not with veiled eyes, nor forehead bared

To touch her feet,
But heart to heart, as women who have shared

Some wondrous thing,
And lip to lip, as sisters meet.

Again the night shall come across the wilderness of Paran,
The desert night, as purple as a lotus-bud,

And dusky-fair
As an Egyptian dancing-girl, with languorous, wooing arms

And jeweled hair.
And I shall see the firelight leap and redden
Against the dusk before the old black tent
Where Sarai sits among her serving-maidens,
Dumb and bitter-eyed and uncontent,

While I, the bond-maid, know

Why women cannot sing before the glow
Of evening fires, with empty arms, the runes

That women know:
For I have shared with Earth the common pain

That makes me part
Of her great womanhood, -akin to Spring

And to the Sun,-
Upon my lips the songs that women sing,

And on my heart
The kiss of Life; for we are one.

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