CHAPTER VThe whole evening and the next day the Germans went on shooting people and firing houses. It is worth recording that the library was already set on fire that same evening of the fray on the Naamsche Vest; it was burning at eight o'clock.I woke up in the morning, and when going downstairs saw that the doors of all the rooms stood open, and everything inside was in great disorder. In the caf茅 tables and chairs were overturned, and broken looking-glasses lay on the floor. The front door was also open, and I walked away.
170"Yes, that the French are advancing towards Li猫ge, and that the British have landed in Belgium.""'3. I published the facts and insisted upon an impartial inquiry, in order to prevent, if possible, that only guilty soldiers should be heard should a complaint about the occurrence be lodged with the highest military authority.
They yelled and shouted and said that Bilsen and the whole district must be burned down, that the major was far too kind, that they were cowardly soldiers who hid themselves in houses and dared not fight an honest fight in the open, that civilians189 had also been shooting, and so on. I pointed out that the firing did not come from the house, but from the shrubbery near the house; that nobody could have seen a civilian shooting. As they insisted, I said with a laugh that they had seen ghosts. That excited them so, that they came on to me in a rage, and asked whether this was a laughing matter? And they would surely have used violence had not the sergeant intervened.They crowded threateningly round me, getting more and more excited.They behaved tolerably well during the first few days after the occupation of Tongres; but that did not last long, and soon they began here also to commit atrocious acts of terrorism. One evening96 at about the middle of August several civilians were killed, a dozen houses along the road to Maastricht were fired, and in the town the windows of several shops smashed, which was followed by general looting. That lost them whatever sympathy they might have met with in the district.
Although I had been commanded to return "at once" to Maastricht, I succeeded in having a chat here and there with the inhabitants of Riemst. I had visited the village about eight days ago, but what a change! Then the people assured me that "die Duutschen" were not so bad after all, that they were compelled to do their duty, and were kind to the inhabitants if these were kind to them.I had to walk along the very edge of the unstable bridge in order to avoid the wheels of the passing carriages, which shook the whole bridge and made the rather loose boards clatter. In the meantime, at no considerable distance, some shells fell in the Meuse, fired at the bridge from Fort Pontisse. Yet, I did not mind it at all, as all these new experiences stunned me, so to speak; the incessant hellish noises of the batteries, the burning houses, the smoke swooping down, the excited soldiers...."Where is that knife?" Von Manteuffel asked the sergeant who had fetched my belongings.
Only because these wretched people had not promptly obeyed the order of the military to march against the fort in front of the soldiers, Vivignes had been punished, and that morning over forty of the best houses had been set on fire."'2. The soup had been offered to the British, but two refused to take it, says the German Government. Yes, it was offered these wretched people, but, as I have said already, the German soldiers kept the steaming soup before them, shouting at them: "You want to eat, you swine!鈥攜ou swine! you ought to be killed! This is what you may have!" And as they said the latter they aimed their rifles at the unfortunate men, whilst others who were not armed lifted up their fists and threatened them, or spat at them.43 "Oh! Bart, is it you?"
"What, a Netherlander!鈥攁 Netherlander! All traitors! You are helping the Germans, but we are not afraid of either German or Netherlander."CHAPTER IXCHAPTER VII
CHAPTER III myself was not very safe either, for frequently236 bursting shells fell near me. I therefore thought it safer to cross to a farm-house a hundred yards farther on, where I might find shelter. Before I got there an officer of a passing division took me violently by the arm and asked who I was and what I was doing there? His eyes glittered savagely, and he as well as his men seemed to be fearfully excited.To avenge this alleged shooting by civilians the fires had been kindled in the houses, maxims placed in the streets, women and children beaten, men imprisoned or murdered.
CHAPTER XI43 "Oh! Bart, is it you?""Near Maastricht. You know where Maastricht is?"
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There was a continuous coming and going at the bridge-command, for when I left the shrubberies a great many soldiers of high and low rank, with portfolios and documents, were waiting outside. The soldiers were to escort me back across the bridge, so that I might go on to Vis茅 along the other bank.During the fights round the forts I made a good many tours and was able to contradict several German reports about alleged successes. The atrocities in the villages around Li猫ge did not cease, and constantly fresh crowds of refugees came to Maastricht.
116The road was quite deserted, for the people, who live in great fear, do not venture out.VIS茅 DESTROYED: A PREMEDITATED CRIME详情
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