"Of all the peoples of Gaul, the Belgians are the bravest." You see, the
old warrior knew that long ago.
Near by was a small, shrapnel gun carriage, by which stood a toothless,
old man who told, in that excruciating _Wallon_ tongue, a pathetic story
of one of the dogs which had probably drawn it. His mate doubtless was
killed in battle, but he returned three days later, lay down beside the
broken wheels and defied anyone to approach.
_Monday, August 10th._
Monsieur S. came home to-day laden down with bags of gold like Ali Baba.
How he is going to do away with it so that the ferret eyes of the enemy
will not spy it out, is a problem to me. And I do not want it explained
for I am sure I should look right into the forbidden corner at the wrong
moment and give the secret away.
Although there are thousands of German soldiers who have come into the
city and who control it, they are like rats in a trap. On account of the
twelve surrounding forts they cannot leave it and for the same reason no
one can come to their aid. So they have mounted machine guns in corner
houses of many streets and it is horrible to see those deadly mouths
gaping out of the windows. In case of an uprising among the civilians
the soldiers' revenge will be to kill the women and children. But no!
that is not possible in these days, from men who are neither savages nor
A heavy cannonading began at 4.30 A. M.--it literally tore us
from sleep, for it seemed as if the very house were tumbling down about
our ears and the singing and whizzing of those big shells was _bizarre_,
to put it mildly. One did not know whether to get up or efface one's
self in the blankets. I remember having the utmost confidence in the
headboard of my bed, which was toward the window. But that did not
obliterate the siren whistle of those big shells and the moment of
suspense between the lightning and the thunder. After each deafening
burst I kept reiterating to myself, "Saved again," as one would repeat a
chronological table of something important. About 8.00 A. M. we
straggled into the breakfast room--all of us rather lifeless and with
very white faces and little appetite for either eating or talking. There
seemed to be only one thing to say, which was, "Did you hear that?" It
was the same sensation again of the thread between heaven and earth. I
wonder if it will break!
This afternoon we took a little walk into the city along the river,
Madame X., her two sons--Monsieur S. and Monsieur J., her daughter,
Baronne de H., and myself. We passed several Prussian guards on the
bridges and Monsieur S. talked with one of them. It appears that the men
are very disheartened. This man said he had started with a company of
seven hundred soldiers and entered Liege with sixty four. That's what it
means to "take cities without difficulty"--and nobody remembers the
seven hundred mothers, or wives, or children that are left. TheDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>