over the edges were holding on for dear life to their tiny inch of soil

and nearly obliterated those brutal gashes in the earth which had

swallowed up their brothers and sisters. An unsuspecting army might well

be lured into such a pleasant bear-trap.

Train progress was very slow for we had to switch off continually to

allow ammunition trains and troops to pass. All the railroad stations

were packed with soldiers and grieving women, though there was nothing

in the way of heroics in these leave-takings, just grim resolve on the

faces of the men and silent sorrow on the lips of the women. It seemed

as if clasped hands could not release each other and eyes held eyes in a

long farewell. Husbands were tearing themselves from their wives;

white-haired mothers were adding one word more of caution to their

departing sons; and there were young boys, of perhaps the last class,

who, touched at the moment to say _au revoir_, were yet eager to plunge

out into the future. I shall never know how many last good-byes I

witnessed this day.

Train after train of cattle cars passed us, with a big cannon in the

middle, three horses stabled in one end and three in the other. Along

the road were several regiments of Indian troops--the _Girkhas_. They

were tall, splendidly handsome men of fine features, light,

chocolate-colored skin and brilliant, black eyes. They wore long, khaki

coats, belted in like a Russian blouse, and khaki turbans and they waved

their hands and smiled continually, showing flashing, white teeth. They

were evidently well pleased with the turn of events which had led them

to this wondrous, new world, where was plenty of opportunity for

killing--this reputed trait, however, was quite belied by their amiable

faces.

About four P. M. (three hours yet to Paris) I was dead with

fatigue and seeing so much. Also I had not had a bite to eat since eight

A. M., having counted on a basket lunch on the road, or at

least a solitary sandwich, but all the convenient station buffets have

been closed up since the war and civilians are tacitly understood to

look after themselves and not to bother the Government by racing

needlessly over the country. But I do not think there were many making

aimless journeys.

Since noon the cars had been steadily filling up, until the compartments

destined for ten persons were accommodating twenty, not including

bundles, lapdogs, bandboxes and bird-cages--even then there was always

room for one more. And nobody was indignant, but rather complacent and

obliging, for had they not all sons at the front and the same great

grief at heart? The conversation was general as to people and on one

sole topic, the "War," including the strategic achievements of the

French army, "Eux" (they, i.e., the Germans), and the marvellous

qualities of their beloved General Joffre, affectionately termed

"Grandpere" by the soldiers.

And so we rolled slowly and more slowly on, packed like sardines, the

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