_Soeur Anastasie_ appears with a bottle of red wine, half concealed

under her cape, and with a motherly, "_Ca vous fera du bien_," (that

will do you good) pours us out a generous glassful. That puts the blue

in the sky again and keeps the shafts of golden sunshine from creating

zigzag patterns in our brain. Oh, Shades of my New England Ancestors!

Would you say, "Better to slip down in a swoon?"--and give everybody a

lot of trouble--

_August 27th, Thursday._

Madame de H. and I again went to Liege early this morning about her

passports. The hotels and cafes were just seething humanity, beds

improvised in every corner, and I saw officers paying their hotel bills

with cheques and notes. The poor proprietor blinked and swallowed hard

for a moment and said nothing. The city was literally packed with troops

going in all directions. _Uhlans_, _chasseurs_, artillery and the

infantry, singing and executing that foolish-looking goose-step--it

probably has its advantages, but at eight A. M. in the pouring

rain it did appear ridiculous.

In the afternoon we took a walk into the country, following the

railroad. The soldiers were working everywhere, putting up temporary

buildings for any emergency. We saw one of those open dining halls--only

three walls with a shed roof where a regiment can step out of a train to

eat while another jumps quickly in and no time lost. We passed the

lovely chateau of the Marquis de T. who is Minister Plenipotentiary

from Costa Rica. Of course, this is neutral property and flies a

neutral flag, but the place is filled with officers and, according to

the _maitre d'hotel_, the wine cellar is undergoing a thorough

inventory.

_August 28th, Friday._

This morning there was excitement at the Convent; someone was reading a

three weeks' old journal to the soldiers and for a moment everybody

forgot his particular aches and black heads lifted themselves from their

pillows and gaunt forms swayed to and fro on shaky elbows. The lust of

battle lit up wooden countenances, fire sprang from eyes yet heavily

veiled by crusted lids and a fervent "_bien fait_" or "_vivent les

Belges_," trembled from heretofore silent corners.

Madame Andre, who comes to see her boy every day, remarked my looking at

her dress which was all darned and mended in the most unaccountable

places, "O, Mademoiselle," she said. "I suppose you are wondering about

my waist? But wasn't it lucky I was here with Andre when the troops

passed through our village? The soldiers fired haphazard in the windows

and the wardrobe in which my clothes were hanging caught seven bullets

and the headboard of my bed, four."

All the afternoon troops were coming back from Namur in evident haste

and apparent rout, for they had such a tired, bedraggled look. About

five o'clock a company with ammunition wagons, Red Cross ambulances and

baggage trucks dashed madly into the orchard among the apple trees,

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