or five--and perhaps three. The soldiers are in such a blue fear of

being shot that recently in Aerschot all the villagers were put into the

church on bread and water. Some of the men were shot before their wives

and most of the houses burned. And they say, "the heart of the Imperial

Empire bleeds." It is not surprising that it does when one considers

what is happening right here at Liege, where houses are burned and

innocent men shot for murder. Afterward one finds German bullets in

German soldiers, which proves what you will.

What a story we heard to-day--such a pitiful little story of somebody's

blue-eyed boy who ran out with his toy gun and aimed it at the passing

troops.

They shot him dead, the little fellow, but he will sleep in a hero's

grave as truly as another, for his loyal wee might.

_September 18th, Friday._

A memorable day! We went in the auto to Spa. As we drove out of the

court yard we were obliged to let some horsemen pass, who were out for

their morning exercise. I think it is somebody's body guard, for we see

them often at a distance. There are about thirty of them and at close

range they are rather beautiful, that is, their uniforms of spotless

white broadcloth with gold trimmings. _En route_ we passed by Fort

d'Embourg, which still has some of its cupolas, and Fort Chaudefontaine,

which our burned soldiers defended and which is demolished. For miles

around the country has been flattened, one may say, from the operation

of the cannon and looks as if a cyclone had hurried across it. Every bit

of shrubbery has been swept off the soil as if by a blast of magic and

the singed earth has a very shorn-lamb aspect.

Our route was a veritable _via dolorosa_--destruction on both sides, in

front and behind. Many houses and trees had eight inch shells half

sticking in them which have not exploded and nobody knows when they may.

The churches were without fail demolished more or less and the most

astonishing thing was to see, again and again, the marble statue of the

Christ standing intact on the crumbling remains of an altar. It fills

one with awe and reverence to see this figure repeatedly spared by a

supernatural power from an otherwise pitiless devastation. We passed

through the now famous Louvigne which was entirely burned by the

Prussians on their way to Liege. It was the same old story of the

"civilians firing on the troops," or rather the excuse of the

delinquents to martyr innocent villagers who instinctively took up a

rifle to defend their homes, as any one of us would. And revenge came

quickly.

As we neared this spot which scarred the face of Nature, we were seized

with silent horror. If, in the smiling sunshine and in the quiet of the

beautiful country, we shivered at the sight of such destruction and the

thought of that dastardly work which marked the destiny of hundreds of

human beings, what must the awful realization have been to the

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