our journeys 'round, having previously experienced cold plunges in the
dark, the fascination of "chance" lets us hope.
"War!" What other lone factor could bring about at the same moment, such
circumstances, the absolute cessation of every living element of our
existence? I know that you will be amused at my sudden plunging into the
psychological realm, but it all makes me wonder. Oh, our dear
civilization and the convenient things we are used to! A puff of smoke,
a hostile shot and they are gone. And here we are, groping like the
veriest savage for a hole to hide in and something to eat. I assure you,
nothing else occupies us for the moment. How is it that the whole house
of cards falls down together? In all these centuries of Struggle and
Learning and Science and Dissent has nobody found a common leaven for
It is not yet decided if we shall go to Brussels considering what is
rather sure to happen. Several days ago large quantities of gasoline
were buried in the garden under the shrubbery in the event of our
leaving quickly by automobile. However, Brussels is an open city and it
is a question if we would be as well off there as here in this strongly
But Dieu! If they do come--? There is the sub-cellar of the chateau
whose fine arches and solid vaulting two hundred years old, would hold
even if the house were burned down about our ears. But no! To be
suffocated under burning ruins, no, no! We will not think of that!
A moment of reckless mirth assails me: I want to scream! I feel like the
fair Dido mounting her funeral pyre.
One other hiding place has been thought of. Up in the woods on the
hill-side is a long tunnel about four feet in diameter which conducts a
tiny mountain stream down to the lake. It is dark and wet. Could we stay
there on our knees in the water for many hours, perhaps days? Heavens!
It is unthinkable. Let us die in the open, if die we must.
I am writing this morning in my room, which looks out on the highroad
and the hurrying troops. It is not a time that one would choose for
composition, but I want you to get as vivid an impression as possible of
events as they occur, _et enfin_, I must do something. The booming of
cannon has commenced again, which is sufficiently frequent and of a
certain terrifying decision to assure us that fighting has really
This ceased during the early evening and we went to bed in peace. That
is, we went to bed. Madame X.'s oldest son was detailed for sentinel
duty on the little road at the side of the chateau leading up to the
plateau from where the sound of guns came during the day. Monsieur J.,
the other son, with a friend of his, was carrying messages from one fort
to another in his auto, miraculously scooting between the shots.
About 10 P. M. we were violently awakened by furious sounds of
shots in the distance which must have been rifle fire and which grewDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>