a candle the scene was comic; there we were, fourteen of us huddled

together in a twelve by twenty foot vault, earthen floor and stone

walls. Expecting at any moment an onslaught of we did not know what,

each one was bracing himself for the blow, in different attitudes of

mind and body. Madame X. was pale, her daughter stolid and ready for the

defensive--the true, fighting blood of the Belgians on fire: the old

butler, attentive to the slightest sound, was shaking his gray head with

ominous pessimism and one of the maids was weeping hysterically and

audibly in the arms of her husband, the young footman. At first we just

stood and looked at each other as periodic volleys resounded now and

again. Then we relaxed as well as we could on dusty cases and rounding

barrels or whatever was at hand. An hour passed before the shooting

ceased and then we discovered that we were cramped and uncomfortable and

cold--chilled through with that deathlike dampness which pervades

subterranean chambers. What misery for those who had to live in them for

days! Another hour elapsed before the danger was really over and we

dared to come out from cover; then we crawled upstairs to bed on our

hands and knees to keep below the level of the window ledges.[2]

Madame de H. made an attempt to go to Brussels by a military train

which, however, was derailed ten kilometres from here. Some disagreeable

officers took the second automobile for military service, in spite of

the signed permission which Count Moltke has given the family. Did I

tell you that Madame X.'s children are related by marriage to a high

official of the Imperial Court? I do not know at all if this fact

accounts for the extreme courtesy which they have always received from

the soldiers, but at any rate some of their friends have not been so


Madame T., who had a charming Villa at S., was one of the unfortunate

ones. She was obliged to entertain the officers of some passing troops

at lunch recently, after which they had coffee in the garden. The

Captain glanced around at the flowers and said, "Madame, very pretty,

very pretty, tomorrow, nothing." That night her villa and several other

neighboring ones were burned to the ground.

The Germans are constantly forcing the Belgian old men, women and

children to march in front of their attacking armies. What kind of

soldiers can it be that does these things, but brutes and barbarians?

My revulsion for it all is so great that the words fairly scorch my

fingers as I write them.


[2] We never heard what really started the commotion, whether it was

premeditated or accidental, but this illustrates what a furor a rifle

shot creates instantly. The nervous tension of both the invader and

invaded is tremendous.

_September 2nd, Wednesday._

Very early this morning we were awakened by the most remarkable sound--a

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