Belges!_"

A few yards further on we passed a group of refugees who were stumbling

aimlessly along in the dark--there were men and women, trying to console

each other, and whimpering children, sick with hunger, clinging to their

mothers' skirts. Their plaintive cry was like a knife through the heart.

After picking a toilsome way through the crowds we arrived in the

quarter of the big hotels and found there was not a room to be had. Not

at all daunted, we retraced our steps and sought the small hotels--there

were no rooms. Still, with courage--even amusement (the affair was

taking on a spirit of adventure) we attacked the _pensions de

famille_--not a cot; not a corner. Then we stopped in the _Place_ to

review the situation, which began to look dull gray. There were still

the _cabarets_, or we could sit in the street all night. We chose the

_cabarets_ and with newborn hope started on, systematically taking one

street after another, knocking at most dreadful-looking places, even

along the waterfront. A woman's voice from behind barred shutters

usually responded. Every chair, every table, every square inch of floor

was spoken for. Then the warm, brightly-lighted railroad station,

opposite the pier, leaped into our numbed consciousness--why had we not

thought of it before? The military authorities forbade loitering there.

Out in the dark, once more we looked at each other inquiringly. That was

a curious joke. Fate had never dealt us such a hand of cards before! We

viewed the landscape--half of it was water and the little waves lapping

against the _quai_ were rather mocking.

Suddenly, dark and smug, a swaying object which we had not observed till

then, took monstrous form before our eyes and in it we recognized an old

friend, the Channel boat _Elfrida_, which lay basking in the velvet

shadows like a dozing cat and gently pulling on her cables. Why not? We

did! Nothing prevented our going aboard but a sleepy guard, who was

quickly consoled with a five-franc piece, and we made ourselves

comfortable for the night on the yellow, velvet cushions in the

captain's salon, behind the wheel-house.

Who can assert that it has not all been arranged for us? Otherwise, I

fear, our own poor efforts would land us too often in the mud.

_November 10th, Tuesday._

Left Calais at nine A. M. The sun was pouring its cheerful rays

over the glorious land. It ought to be free--this smiling France!

Wherever the eye rested were soldiers drilling, building, maneuvering

and digging. Every few hundred yards the railroad was intersected by

lines of trenches. These latter appeared to be about seven feet

deep--cut true as a die into the ground and were braced with a lining of

woven reeds, like basket work. The front wall of these trenches was

crenated about every two feet, forming little niches for the soldiers

and protection against flank shots. The poppies and corn flowers blowing

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