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Gaspar, a refugee baby ordered to evacuate the town, and it was a 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, wet trenches and tinned food, and still they go out with hope.
And the helpers of the army have shown good heart. Breaking the silence of Rome, the splendid priesthood of Bel
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 The spirit of the best of the race is spoken in what King Albert said recently in an unpublished conversation to the gentlemen of the English mission: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 the Belgians. If there is talk of yielding,
there will be no yielding by any of the Western Allies. The truth is still as true as it was at Liège that the Belgians held up the enemy till France was ready to receive them. And the price Belgium paid for that resistance was the massacre of women and children and the house-to-house burning of homes.
Since rendering that service for all time to France and England, through sixteen months of such a life as exiles know the Belgians have fought on doggedly, recovering from the misery of the Antwerp retreat, and showing a resilience of spirit equaled only by the Fusiliers Marins of France. One afternoon in late June my friend Robert Toms, who came four thousand miles to lend a hand with the wounded, was sitting on the beach at La Panne, watching the soldiers swimming in the channel. Suddenly he called to me, and aimed his camera. There on the sand in the sunlight the Belgian army was changing its clothes. The faithful suits of blue, rained on and trench-worn, were being tossed into great heaps on the beach, and brand-new yellow khaki, clothes and cap, was buckled on. It was a transformation. We had learned to know that army, and their uniform had grown familiar and pleasant to us. The dirt, ground in till it
became part of the texture; the worn cloth, shapeless, but yet molded to the man by long association-all was an expression of the stocky little soldier inside. The new khaki hung slack. The caps were too large for Flemish heads. To us, watching the change, it was the loss of the last possession that connected them with their past; with homes and country gone, now the very clothing that had covered them through famous fights was shuffled off. It was as if the Belgian army had been swallowed up in the sea at our feet, like Pharaoh's phalanx, and up from the beach to the barracks scuffled an imitation English corps, spattering their ill-fitting garments with jest, writing and singing a poem in praise. This is the chorus which a Belgian soldier, clad in his fresh yellow, sang to us as we grouped around him on a sand-dune:
"Regardez nos p'tits soldats,
D'la tête jusquaux pieds
By DOROTHY PAUL
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,
The ecstasy of pomegranates aglow,
And I shall go across the hills to greet
Not with veiled eyes, nor forehead bared
But heart to heart, as women who have shared
And lip to lip, as sisters meet.
Again the night shall come across the wilderness of Paran,
As an Egyptian dancing-girl, with languorous, wooing arms
And I shall see the firelight leap and redden
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.
The Lost Phoebe
By THEODORE DREISER
HEY lived together in a part of the country which was not so prosperous as it had once been, about three miles from one of those small towns that, instead of increasing in population, are steadily decreasing. The territory was not very thickly settled; perhaps a house every other mile or so, with large areas of corn- and wheat-land and fallow fields that at odd seasons had been sown to timothy and clover. Their particular house was part log and part frame, the log portion being the old original home of Henry's grandfather. The new portion, of now rain-beaten, time-worn slabs, through which the wind squeaked in the chinks at times and which several overshadowing elms and a butternut-tree made picturesque and reminiscently pathetic, but a little damp, was erected by Henry when he was twenty-one and just married.
That was forty-eight years before. The furniture inside, like the house outside, was old and mildewy and reminiscent of an earlier day. You have seen the whatnot of cherry wood, perhaps, with spiral legs and fluted top. It was there. The old-fashioned heavy-posted bed, with balllike protuberances and deep curving incisions, was there also, a sadly alienated descendant of an early Jacobean ancestor. The bureau was of cherry also, high and wide and solidly built, but faded-looking, and with a musty odor. The rag carpet that underlay all these sturdy examples of enduring furniture was a weak, faded, lead-and-pink-colored affair woven by Phœbe Ann's own hands when she was fifteen years younger than she was when she died. The creaky wooden loom on which
it had been done now stood like a dusty, bony skeleton, along with a broken rocking-chair, a worm-eaten clothes-press, — Heaven knows how old,-a lime-stained bench that had once been used to keep flowers on outside the door, and other decrepit factors of household utility, in an east room that was a lean-to against this so-called main portion. All sorts of broken-down furniture were about this place: an antiquated clothes-horse, cracked in two of its ribs; a broken mirror in an old cherry frame, which had fallen from a nail and cracked itself three days before their youngest son, Jerry, died; an extension hat-rack, which once had had porcelain knobs on the ends of its pegs; and a sewing-machine, long since outdone in its clumsy mechanism by rivals of a newer generation.
The orchard to the east of the house was full of gnarled old apple-trees, wormeaten as to trunks and branches, and fully ornamented with green and white lichens, so that it had a sad, greenish-white, silvery effect in moonlight. The low outhouses, which had once housed chickens, a horse or two, a cow, and several pigs, were covered with patches of moss as to their roof, and the sides had been free of paint for so long that they were blackish gray as to color, and a little spongy. The picketfence in front, with its gate squeaky and askew, and the side fences of the stakeand-rider type were in an equally rundown condition. As a matter of fact, they had aged synchronously with the persons. who lived here, old Henry Reifsneider and his wife Phoebe Ann.
They had lived here, these two, ever
since their marriage, forty-eight years before, and Henry had lived here before that from his childhood up. His father and mother, well along in years when he was a boy, had invited him to bring his wife here when he had first fallen in love and decided to marry; and he had done so. His father and mother were the companions of him and his wife for ten years after they were married, when both died; and then Henry and Phoebe were left with their five children growing lustily apace. But all sorts of things had happened since then. Of the seven children, all told, that had been born to them, three had died; one girl had gone to Kansas; one boy had gone to Sioux Falls, and never been heard of after; another boy had gone to Washington; and the last girl lived five counties away in the same State, but was so burdened with cares of her own that she rarely gave them a thought. Time and a commonplace home life that had never been attractive had weened them thoroughly, so that, wherever they were, they gave little thought as to how it might be with their father and mother.
Old Henry Reifsneider and his wife Phoebe were a loving couple. You perhaps know how it is with simple natures that fasten themselves like lichens on the stones of circumstance and weather their days to a crumbling conclusion. The great world sounds widely, but it has no call for them. They have no soaring intellect. The orchard, the meadow, the corn-field, the pig-pen, and the chicken-lot measure the range of their human activities. When the wheat is headed it is reaped and threshed; when the corn is browned and frosted it is cut and shocked; when the timothy is in full head it is cut, and the hay-cock erected. After that comes winter, with the hauling of grain to market, the sawing and splitting of wood, the simple chores of fire-building, meal-getting, occasional repairing, and visiting. Beyond these and the changes of weather-the snows, the rains, and the fair days—there are no immediate, significant things. All the rest of life is a far-off, clamorous phantasmagoria, flickering like Northern lights
in the night, and sounding as faintly as cow-bells tinkling in the distance.
Old Henry and his wife Phoebe were as fond of each other as it is possible for old people to be who have nothing else in this life to be fond of. He was a thin old man, seventy when she died, a queer, crotchety person with coarse gray-black hair and beard, quite straggly and unkempt. He looked at you out of dull, fishy, watery eyes that had deep-brown crow's-feet at the sides. His clothes, like the clothes of many farmers, were aged and angular and baggy, standing out at the pockets, not fitting about the neck, protuberant and worn at elbow and knee. Phoebe Ann was thin and shapeless, a very umbrella of a woman, clad in shabby black, and with a black bonnet for her best wear. As time had passed, and they had only themselves to look after, their movements had become slower and slower, their activities fewer and fewer. The annual keep of pigs had been reduced from five to one grunting porker, and the single horse which Henry now retained was a sleepy animal, not overnourished and not very clean. The chickens, of which formerly there was a large flock, had almost disappeared, owing to ferrets, foxes, and the lack of proper care, which produces disease. The former healthy garden was now a straggling memory of itself, and the vines and flower-beds that formerly ornamented the windows and dooryard had now become choking thickets. Yet these two lived together in peace and sympathy, only now and then old Henry would become unduly cranky, complaining almost invariably that something had been neglected or mislaid which was of no importance at all.
"Phoebe, where 's my corn-knife? You ain't never minded to let my things alone no more."
"Now you hush, Henry," his wife would caution him in a cracked and squeaky voice. "If you don't, I'll leave yuh. I'll git up and walk out of here some day, and then where would y' be? Y' ain't got anybody but me to look after yuh, so yuh just behave yourself."
Old Henry, who knew that his wife