"General Leman, Commander Naessens, and all the officers were splendid in their imperturbable courage. They found the words that went straight to the hearts of their men. These fellows looked more like bronze statues than human beings. The projectiles hammered at the walls and smashed huge pieces, penetrating into the parts near the entrance. The rest of the fort withstood splendidly the hurricane of hostile steel and fire. During the night the bombardment stopped, and then the commanding officer went to inspect the cupolas.Netherland soldiers and inhabitants of the village bustled about along the opposite river-bank. I shouted as loudly as possible; and when at last I succeeded in drawing their attention, I made them understand that I wanted to be pulled across in the little boat, which in ordinary times served as a ferry. A short consultation took place now on the opposite side, after which a soldier, who clearly possessed a strong voice, came as near as possible to the waterside and, making a trumpet of his two hands, roared:"'"What is this civilian doing here?" The young man could not explain his presence satisfactorily, and a couple of soldiers got hold of him, and, in the literal sense of the word, threw him away. When he waited at a short distance a little longer, with an angry face, one of the soldiers ran at him, threatening him with his bayonet. I might have been able to find that young man at the time, but now, a month later, this will be much more difficult. There was also another group of civilians packed as densely as herrings in a cattle-truck on another line; they must have seen the beastly occurrence as well.
"It was in the interests of our suffering country, and we are those who ought to be grateful. May I insist once more that you ask our refugees to come back to Antwerp and don't omit to state the three favourable regulations...."On Thursday everyone, even the persons staying in the Institution and hospitals, were ordered to leave the town, as it was to be shelled. They seemed to have no pity even on the wretched wounded men. Only the male and female nurses remained with these, of their own free will, determined to die with them if necessary.A little to the north of this town many had been lying wounded in the trenches for over eight days, without being able to get their wounds bandaged. They had to admit the success of the French field artillery, which produced a most serious effect.
The work of these sisters is the education of neglected children, and they spoke about their fears during the last momentous days. During the bombardment they stayed night and day with all those little ones in the heavily vaulted cellars of the nunnery, praying all the time before the Blessed Sacrament that had been removed from the chapel and taken into the cellar for safety.My contradiction became known in Germany, and it was an eye-opener to a great many people231 there. The editor of De Tijd received many letters from that country, and printed some of them with the name of the writer added. From these it seems that even there it was acknowledged in some circles that the German inquiry had been extremely one-sided, and that it would have been wiser to admit what had happened at Landen, and punish the culprits.
From the other side came two soldiers, one of whom she recognised, as he had been billeted on her. Constantly weeping, her face distorted, she sent another glance towards that fiery blaze, looked at the soldier as if reprovingly, hesitated a moment, but then pressed the enemy's hand, sobbing: "Adieu!鈥攁dieu!"I could not say or do anything, for I felt as if stunned, and let them lead me where they liked; so they gave me a glass of claret, and that revived me."The Reverend Head has been notified already ten times that he would be shot, and he is frequently being arrested for alleged shooting from the building. This shooting is actually done by German soldiers alone, who are loafing and looting, as I myself noticed a short time ago. The Head took me to a room where an old man of ninety, who had just received the extreme unction, lay dying. By his side sat a broken-hearted little old woman, his wife. This old man had been taken prisoner with other men of Vis茅, and forced to work at a new bridge. The poor fellow broke down under the strain; it cost him his life."
Our passport had to be stamped by this same commander, and my colleague had to ask him for a permit to take photographs. The commander would not hear of this, but finally agreed, after my colleague had snapshotted him and his staff in front of the office. Our passport was marked: "1. Landsturm Infantry Battalion, Dresden."Some of the soldiers were furious and others distressed on account of the great number of comrades left on the battle-field, while they hardly made any progress against the tenacity of the Allies. Those who were not seriously wounded were not even put up in hospitals or similar buildings, as there was only room for a few, although many private houses had been turned into supplementary hospitals. In the streets and the caf茅s I saw therefore hundreds of men in bandages."The Russians advanced fifty miles into East Prussia."
The answer is, surely, not very convincing!143On the Thursday of the week of destruction the inhabitants were notified that they had to leave the town, but Professor Noyons and his wife decided to stay on, as they could not leave the one hundred and fifty wounded men who were laid up at the Institution.
The battle I saw that day on the Yser was the beginning of the trench-war in that district. Many Belgian troops had dug themselves in, and later on this system was extended, in consequence of which the Belgian line there became impregnable.I have, happily, not seen much of the distressing flight of the Antwerp population, as I happened to be at Li猫ge when the fortress fell into German hands. I went to Zundert via Maastricht and Breda, in order to go to the conquered fortress from that Netherland frontier-town, north-east of Antwerp.I found sailors also in Brussels, but for the rest there was only a little military display there. In this town reigned a certain oppressive silence and157 the caf茅s were not much frequented. The Brussels people did not hide their patriotic sentiments, and nearly every house displayed the Belgian flag, thanks chiefly to the strong attitude of Burgomaster Max. Outwardly Brussels had not suffered by the war; not a house was damaged and nobody had been killed yet. Nor was there lack of provisions, as was proved by the fact that at the "M茅tropole," one of the largest restaurants, I paid only seventy-five centimes (sevenpence-halfpenny) for bread, cold beef, and pickles.
"'I might quote another small detail. Before the train228 arrived at Landen I had had a very pleasant chat in the corridor with a German soldier, who seemed tolerably humane and civilised, even in his talk. After the departure from Landen I again got into conversation with him, and did not fail to express my indignation; and then he gave me the following reply: "Oh well, one must think of the position of our soldiers, who have been for days in the trenches under the murderous fire of the enemy. Later on they will themselves repent for what has happened." Perhaps the German government may be able to discover who that soldier is, if I add that he went home for good because he was suffering from heart-disease."Is there any further news about the war in The Netherlands?""I am a Netherland journalist, and want to ask the commander's permission to go to Li猫ge."
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In this way I got into conversation with a middle-aged lady. Her husband had been shot, and she got a bullet in her arm, which had to be amputated in consequence. The poor creature had lost all courage, and lived on her nerves only. It was remarkable to hear this father find the right words, and succeed in making her calm and resigned.138 Before she left us, she had promised that for her children's sake she would do all in her power to control herself.When I arrived in Louvain I heard of a young Fleming who was then being nursed in a hospital established by the Norbertine Fathers, and had been serving at two pieces of ordnance near Corbeek-Loo. As the army was forced to retreat in the evening his comrades were compelled to abandon the two guns, but he had to stay, being wounded in the leg by a grape shot. The Germans made him prisoner, and tied him to a tree. By an immense effort he succeeded in tearing himself loose, and dragged himself towards a farm-house. At a short distance from this goal he was stopped, however, by a German soldier. The Fleming, putting forth all his remaining strength, gave the other such a tremendous blow in the face with his rifle-butt that he fell down dead. Subsequently this boy reached the farm-house, where he was charitably received. Later on he was fetched away by the Sisters from Boven-Loo, and finally from that institution by the Norbertine Fathers."Oh yes, I am a Netherland journalist."
At Tirlemont they were very busy rebuilding the burnt houses, although all day long the air shook from the heavy roar of the cannon near Antwerp."ENOUGH DESTROYED, ENOUGH DISTRESSED!On Monday, September 14th, I took with me a larger number than ever to Louvain.详情
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