"Well," he answered, "I'll do what I can but I won't promise anything.
I'm not agoing to ask any favors of those people," i.e., the Germans.
"It is not a favor," I replied, "it is your right. For what other reason
is an American Consul if he is not to protect his people, particularly
"Oh, my dear young lady," he answered, "you must not think that you are
the only American in Liege."
"How many are there?" indignantly.
"Well, three or four," he replied, reluctantly.
That was really too much! I was in despair. What was to be done? Seeing
my hope of freedom vanishing before my eyes, I clutched at the last
straw and entreated him with what eloquence I could whip into line to
make at least some effort to get me the passport by six o'clock, when I
would come again to his house for it.
"Oh, no," he said quickly, "I don't get back here until eight o'clock,
but if you happen to pass by 'The Golden Lion' (or some such name) you
might find me there."
Choking with rage I said to him, "I see that you cannot help me, Mr. Z.,
but if you will be good enough to give me your card (he had already
suggested it) to the German passport department, I will go to the
_Kommandantur_ myself and see what I can do; in fact, I am sure I can
accomplish far more than you." He ought to have been affronted at this
but, on the contrary, seemed jolly well pleased and handed me out his
card in a hurry, glad to relieve himself of the obligation of asking any
favors of "those people."
I then made my way to the _Palais de Justice_. A man accosted me in the
square and told me if I were going for passports it would be of no use,
as there were hundreds and hundreds of people there before me. But I
kept on. With the glorious end in view, viz., to be a free person and to
see the scenes that, in a morbid way, I had begun to feel would never be
my privilege again, I kept on, threading a path through the throngs
until I stood right in front of the guard of the sacred chamber. He was
an enormously fat sentry, with the usual little round cap and fixed
bayonet. I thought he would eat me, he looked so offended, and roared
out, "_Nein, nein, das Zimmer ist voll._" Then was my moment. I pulled
out the little white card and addressed him--not too timidly either, for
hadn't I the great American people behind me? He caught the words,
"American Consul," which drew him up to salute and in the most
lamb-like voice he murmured, "_Ach, ja, Amerikaner_," and let me pass. I
cast one look at the multitude back of me--poor things, who may have
stood there two days already, and I felt despicably mean, as if I were
not playing fair.
Once inside, I was put through a category of questions, worse than an
"Inkwhich." "Why had I come to Liege?" "How long had I been there?" "Why
did I want to go away?" "Where to?" "How?" etc. Finally my inquisitor
became suspicious, or feigned it, and said, "But what have I to proveDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>