impressive "impedimenta" that one used to read about in Caesar's Wars

which by its unfailing late arrival constantly threw the old Romans into

such a frightful _depit_. But happily, in this case, it comes first

instead of last.

The whole world seems to be changing place like sand on a moving disc

and my mind is losing its grip on what is real--it's a curious feeling.

Madame X. and her family, like everybody else, are extremely anxious, as

one would naturally be with his country, his home and his future in

peril, but I, in my superb (what shall I say?) Americanism or optimism,

am sure it will come out all right: nevertheless I feel confused.

_August 4th, Tuesday._

The situation, already grave, has taken a definite turn. Germany is

going to attack France through Belgium. Completely ignoring the

neutrality of the latter, she demands to "just pass through peaceably,"

but being refused permission, so much the worse for those who are in the

road. Personally speaking, I should say we are decidedly in the

road--Aix-la-Chapelle--Liege--Namur. Don't you think the crow would

agree with me?

We saw a charming spectacle this morning if anything connected with war

can be so called,--a little company of _mitrailleuses-a-chien_, that is,

small, shrapnel gun carriages drawn by the famous Belgian dogs. It sort

of made my heart crinkle up to see those magnificent animals, detailed

for fatal duty without doubt, pushing on so joyously. Straining in the

traces and really smiling with their great tongues hanging out, they

were performing their work, proud as Punch, and eager to get on.

In the afternoon we were suddenly startled by the booming of nearby

cannon. I shall never forget the first sound of it! It might have been

the Last Trumpet and we didn't know that it was not. My soul turned sick

and seemed to be tumbling down a fathomless abyss while a pair of

unprejudiced eyes watched its descent. Please do not think I am not

serious--it is a moment when one meets things face to face and the

inevitable is happening. We hear that the firing is for the purpose of

demolishing houses and churches before the forts, which might in any way

obstruct the range of the guns. Did I explain that Liege is encircled by

twelve forts, built about twenty-eight years ago under the personal

direction of General Brialmont? They are on the same principle as those

of Namur and Bucharest, and are large affairs of concrete, sunk three

stories under ground and furnished with elaborate electrical apparatus.

Covering and protecting the cannon are automatic, armored cupolas,

rising and falling with the modern, disappearing guns. Here is a tiny,

freehand map which will give you an idea of the country as well as the

situation of Chateau d'A----, where I am and which is just between the

city and the enceinte of forts. A shell overreaching this latter, from

the enemy's field cannon, would, I should say, tumble right into our

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