here only to plunge into a wild vortex of experiences there. Two days
ago she saw a battle in the air between two aeroplanes and yesterday the
locomotives on the trains had chains of roses around their necks to
celebrate some good news for the enemy. It sounds wild, doesn't it? And
last week--well, one does not dare to think what might have happened at
her home, Chateau de H., when four different companies of soldiers
pursued each other in quick succession on the road.
First a regiment of German light infantry passed who stopped just long
enough for some hot coffee and were off again. About half an hour later
a brigade of Belgian bicycle _carabiniers_ appeared and stayed to
"lunch." They were not so _presses_ and were leisurely laughing and
joking when one of the stable-men rushed panting into the kitchen and
said a company of Uhlans could be seen galloping hard in the distance.
Then ensued a kaleidoscopic performance which took less time than my
writing it, and they all escaped, safely guided by Baron de H. himself,
down a narrow path hidden by trees behind the stables which led them
eventually right out across the heart of that famous beet-root country.
When the last man was safely hidden from view, one breathed a sigh of
relief which only changed to an exclamation of terror as, turning from
this window to look out of another, one saw a hundred fierce horsemen
dash up, hard on the scent of their prey.
When Madame de H. (senior) looked down from her room and saw the Uhlans
ride into the court, she went right off her head, literally, and drawing
a tiny pearl-handled revolver from a secret drawer in her desk, started
to shoot from the window. But thanks to the presence of mind and rapid
action of her daughter-in-law, who pushed her unceremoniously into her
dressing-room and locked the door, she was prevented in time, which
without the least doubt saved all their lives.
It is just such circumstances as these that have given the troops
opportunities and excuses to shoot peace loving citizens and burn down
many a town.
Madame de H. (junior) then went down stairs and placated the men, who
were very insolent, as well as she could with what was left to eat in
the house. As the latter were deep in this occupation of refreshing
themselves, the sentry espied a troop of Belgian lanciers coming on the
gallop and gave the alarm.
To horse! and away they went, bridles clinking, lances clashing. Then
commenced a phantom race as they flew over the ground like the wind, the
Belgians following hot in pursuit, until they both disappeared over the
edge of the world.
_October 19th, Monday._
I went to see the American Consul, to explain that I do exist and to ask
his advice about getting back to France. He did not seem to second my
enthusiasm, which surprised me, and said, "In the first place what would
you go in, and in the second, why should you want to go, with ParisDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>