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.The wind seemed to play with the smoke, rolling dense volumes down the slopes which dispersed only when they reached the bank along the river. Whilst the flames soared high up from the roofs, the walls of the houses stood still erect, and everywhere in the windows one saw those miserable little white flags, symbols of submission, mute prayers75 that submission should be rewarded by sparing the life and possession of the inhabitants....Among the many books published on the behaviour of the German Army in Belgium, this account by a distinguished Dutch journalist must occupy a unique place. It is written by a neutral, who held, at the start, no brief for either side. It is written by an eye-witness, who chronicles not what he heard, but what he saw. It is written also by one who mingled with the German troops and was present at the inception of the whole campaign of outrage. Mr. Mokveld took his life in his hands when, with great courage and devotion, he visited Vis茅 and Li猫ge and Louvain at the most critical moments. His character of neutral journalist was only a flimsy protection among the drunken and excited German troops. But his boldness was justified, for after many adventures he came safely through, and he was enabled in those early weeks to see the whole of Belgium from Li猫ge to the Yser and from Antwerp to Dinant. The result is an admirable piece of war-correspondence, which bears on every page the proofs of shrewd observation and a sincere love of truth and honest dealing.
I must not take that sort of thing amiss. Who knew with how much pain and how long he had been lying there, facing death, but fearing it too.235 At last someone came near, and he put all his hope in that man, but a hope that vanished. Yes, I can quite understand that a man in those conditions goes mad.There was not much traffic. Only here and there stood some German soldiers, or seriously wounded men were lying on mattresses and chairs. Nearly every house by the roadside had been turned into an emergency hospital, for from all sides they brought in soldiers wounded by shells that had exploded amidst the advancing divisions.CHAPTER IX
"'And then there is something else. The brakesman of the wagon in which I travelled was a man who had enlisted only a couple of weeks ago as a volunteer for the service on the railways, and, if I remember correctly, hailed from Hamburg. He belonged to a Trades union which had already once made a trip to Amsterdam and Rotterdam, and was for instance able to tell me that Krasnapolsky at Amsterdam was a large hotel. I also spoke to that man about what had happened, because I thought I had noticed that he was more human, but he too gave me the cynical answer: "Oh well, the French may have something to eat, they fight also for their country, but not those British, they only fight because that is their profession."The next day I got to The Netherlands with my small prot茅g茅e, after a tiring walk from Herstal to Eysden, where we could take the train to Maastricht. Here the father of the little girl came to meet his daughter, and took her to Amsterdam, to her "Mummy," of whom she had been speaking during the whole journey with so much longing.I have mentioned already the reign of terror with which the Germans ruled the wretched townlet ever since they entered it. Something fateful might happen any moment, and actually occurred during the night of August 15th and 16th.
After some firing one of the hussars was hit and fell from his horse, which ran away. A few seconds later another hussar was hit in his arm and his horse in its hind-part. Rider and horse flew away from the fire. The Germans had, of course, immediately answered the firing, and pulled me with them behind the bend of the road, where I lay down with them flat on the ground. A Belgian soldier who came out of the shrubbery with three others was shot, but as the firing went on for some time and the hussars and cyclists began to take to their heels, some order was given, and the Germans jumped up and ran away in the direction of Bilsen. I was told to come with them, so I also ran, and we all arrived at Bilsen out of breath. As soon as they had recovered their breath they gave vent to their rage."Is this then the road to Vis茅?"The hotel where I stayed that night was called H?tel de la Paix; an hotel of peace, indeed!
"8. Liberate prisoners of war.As soon as the Germans were near the coast they began to fortify it most formidably, in order to prevent eventual attempts at landing by hostile troops. Guns were soon mounted in the dunes, as I noticed during a trip which I made along the coast on Sunday, October 25th.The villages Gougnies and Biesmes had been destroyed also; of the former not one house was left undamaged; but nothing happened to the townlet Mettet. Here we were forbidden to go on, as we were already more than nine miles and a half from Charleroi. This compelled us to leave the main road, and to proceed along byways which soon took us to the Ardennes, where our motor-car rushed along in zigzags.
"Come, come," I replied, touched by the kind anxiety of these people. "Come, come; it won't be as bad as all that, and, then, I am a Netherlander."A good many soldiers were lying round about the high cement factory of Haccourt. The factory itself seemed to be used as a station for observations, for suddenly a voice roared from a top window: "Stop those people!" And we were stopped and taken to a small table where three officers were sitting drinking wine. The colonel asked for my papers, which he did not consider sufficient, as I had no passport from some German military authority. So I drew out again the bridge-commander's scrap of paper which said that I was permitted to go from Lixhe to Vis茅."A score of these men were merely wounded and fell among the dead. For greater certainty the soldiers fired once more into the mass. A few got off scot-free in spite of the double fusillade. For over two hours they pretended to be dead, remained among the corpses without budging, and when it was dark were able to fly to the mountains. Eighty-four victims remained behind and were buried in a garden in the neighbourhood.
"'6. I am convinced that on the whole the treatment of the wounded was generous and exemplary. But it is also a fact that the terrible hatred of the Germans against the British, encouraged by their military authorities (one has to think of the proclamation of Prince Rupert of Bavaria) and their scandalous comic papers, which disgust even decent Germans, induce to extravagances such as I witnessed at Landen. Did not a German officer explain to an editor of the Algemeen Handelsolad (evening issue of October 18th): "The unwritten order is to make everywhere as many French and as few English prisoners as possible; we don't try to wound, but to kill the British."'""The inhabitants, frightened and perplexed, hid themselves in the houses."Yes, all right, you may go, but we only want you to tell us what you know of this man."
I RETURNED from Louvain by military train. This one had had a most adventurous journey before it reached Louvain. It had left Cambrai in North France three days before, always going slowly and making long stops, to spare the seriously wounded at least a little. I estimated that in my train over 2,000 wounded had been loaded in a long, dismal procession of wagons. Most of them had not had their bandages renewed for a fortnight, and were still wearing the first emergency dressing; all came from the neighbourhood of Arras.2. Never seen anyone who was arrested as a franc-tireur.Quickly he summoned an orderly and gave some orders, and a few minutes later four more officers drew round the table, on which a large map of Belgium was displayed. Their tone became at once charmingly sweet and kind, and a soldier offered me some lemonade from small bottles kept cool in a basin filled with cold water.
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"All right; you may go!"
I took the liberty to explain to the officer that the man did not understand him, and stated that he did not know me."9. Van Hoeyaerden, member of the Town Council."Your Eminence visited Malines last Tuesday, I have been told. I may perhaps ask how you found the condition of the cathedral and the town?"详情
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