inhabitants themselves? Fancy the helplessness of them and their

consternation at the approach of a great army bearing down, of men

maddened with the love of conquest, of the wild beast seeking what it

may devour! Imagine the distant rumbling of wheels, drawing nearer and

nearer, the thud of horses' hoofs, the rhythmic tramp of feet, first

wafted on the wind, and finally the frightful dread confirmed by a

sudden explosion from the forts. Then the arrival--the dark--the

noise--the confusion--the terror of the women--the screams of little

children clinging to their mothers--the despair of the old ones, ill and

bedridden--fire everywhere and men torn from the arms of their loved

ones and stood up in a row and shot. What ghastly scenes, illumined

still more by those rockets of flame from the forts which cut across the

plain to stay the brutal invaders!

I saw a little girl come out from the debris to draw water from a

pump--for what? For whom? There did not seem to be a living creature in

the vicinity, though perhaps some of the poor things who fled out into

the night across the fields for safety, have come back to dig out a

little home under the crumbled stone. One or two houses remained

standing, which seems a miracle, as petrole-soaked fire-brands were

thrown systematically into every habitation. As we passed, rather

quickly, I counted ninety houses in ruins and about half a mile from the

road, a magnificent chateau, a victim as well as the meanest hovel. The

facade only was standing, though on approaching directly, the building

seemed intact, except for a curious impression of daylight shining

through the windows.

Coming back in the twilight the effect of all this misery was

accentuated, the sentinels every few hundred yards were more suspicious

than ever and when we came upon a few isolated "_Hussars de la Mort_"

with the death's head leering out from those elegant fur turbans, I

thought all was finished. Happily the men were more peaceable than their


Spa, the lovely, indolent _ville d'eaux_, which we visited, was filled

with the "military" and bristling like a porcupine with saw-edged

bayonets and pointed helmets.

_September 22nd, Tuesday._

The doctor has gone to Neufchateau in the Ardennes to bring back the

French and Belgian wounded. I wish I could have gone with him, for we

seem so useless here now that our soldiers are well, and the days are

long, since the wild excitement of a giant army on the wing has cooled

down. "On the wing" is not an idle expression when we remember those

forced marches and how they lashed the poor artillery horses which

galloped and strained in the traces without making much impression on

the wheels. It was rather like that famous chariot race in the play,

"Ben Hur," when the landscape rolled around too fast for the horses.

Certain Imperial Esprits have doubtless already arrived, but without the

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