Timid little Madame N. asked if these things might indicate War.

Everybody scouted the idea and ridiculed the thought of the hard-headed,

common-sense, Western world doing anything so absurd. So we will leave

it to the _diplomats_ to settle the difficulty. I am glad that they can.

_July 31st, Friday._

Yesterday was only a preliminary to the seething in the tea-pot which

exists as to-day's events show--everybody is bewildered at the

tremendous things that have started and the equally tremendous things

that have stopped. What does it all mean? There is the greatest

excitement aroused by the foreign news in the evening papers, announcing

in glaring headlines a diplomatic rupture between Germany and Russia. So

it's true! Probably your seismic stock market has already foretold

coming disturbance, but for Europe it is a positive bomb. Already here

in Liege not more than half of the daily four hundred and eighty trains

have passed the city, and it is reported that none of these go beyond

the frontier.

_August 1st, Saturday._

Today the papers announce the stunning news that Germany has declared

war against Russia. The report must be sufficiently authentic, for, as

if by magic, the Belgian army is already gathering itself together with

an almost superhuman rapidity, proof of which we have had in the masses

of troops that have been passing the chateau all day. Yesterday, trouble

was a newspaper rumor; today, deadly earnestness. And what excitement

all about! The air is positively charged and the whole community is

agog; people with anxious faces accost each other in the street;

farmers neglect their crops to come into town, bank clerks lay down

their pens and shop doors are beginning to close.

_August 2nd, Sunday._

The world has suddenly become nothing but people, and the transition

from the peaceful, care-free existence of four days ago is so great that

I cannot write intelligently, today, because so much is happening.

Following on His Majesty King Albert's magnificent discourse [_Vive le

roi!_], the spirit of a great and glorious decision has set the empire

in motion. The vast machine moves--though some of the bolts creak and

protest a little in their rusty coats and the earth trembles to the

rhythm of tramping feet. Hundreds of soldiers and cannon have been

passing all night, and this morning routes in every direction are

blockaded by detachments from different regiments. There are uniforms of

all types and colors, the ensemble looking like a variegated bouquet

snatched hurriedly by the wayside; the sorting will come later, one

doesn't ask how. The old farm at the end of the garden has been turned

into a barracks, and recruits are being drilled among the apple trees in

the orchard. The excitement is intense--one treads carefully fearing to

be the first to prick the bubble. The newspapers are disquieting, as it

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