I was now escorted to a spot where on some straw several soldiers were sleeping, who had to do sentry-go at two o'clock that night. It was a part of the platform which was not even roofed, and entirely under the open sky. But they anyway had straw to lie on, and sufficient cover, but I had to lie down between them on the flags, without any blanket. A separate sentry was commanded to watch me; every two hours another was charged with the task. I was allowed to try and sleep, with the warning that I should be shot at the slightest attempt to escape.At Jupile I saw a pontoon-bridge, not in use for38 the moment. Just before this place a slightly sloping road leads from the hills to the eastern bank of the Meuse and the main road Vis茅-Li猫ge. Along this road descended at that moment an immense military force鈥攗hlans, cuirassiers, infantry, more cuirassiers, artillery, munition and forage-carts. The train seemed endless, and although I stood there looking at it for quite a long time, the end had not passed me."Is that so? I beg your pardon, but won't you come with me? I suppose that you want a passport. I will take you to the commander."
135After I had collected some information in the town and my colleague of Het Leven had taken several snapshots, we thought that it was time to look for lodgings and to get our motor-car repaired.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 funeral had deeply moved me, and full of emotion I approached the edge of the graves. I saw three corpses in each of them, simply wrapped in a clean, white sheet. The only decorations were some green palm branches ... the branches telling of peace.1. Never seen anything of a franc-tireur-guerilla.On this day, August 8th, the reign of terror was still in full force. There were repeated threats to burn the town and to kill the inhabitants if they objected to do work or to deliver certain goods, especially wine and gin, of which thousands of bottles were requisitioned daily. Several times a day they were summoned by a bell and informed what the invader wanted, the necessary threats being added to the command. And the inhabitants, in mortal fear, no longer trusted each other, but searched each other's houses for things that might be delivered to satisfy the Germans.
"I suppose, madame, that you have an old 'bike' to sell?"Dr. Beckers, Government veterinary surgeon at Veldwezelt, had also been taken to Bilsen as a hostage. The Germans asserted that the Belgians in Lanaeken had taken prisoner a German military veterinary surgeon who looked after the horses, and now intended to keep Dr. Beckers until the Belgians191 should have released the German military veterinary surgeon."Vis茅? Do you mean to say, sir, that the whole of Vis茅 has been set on fire?"
"The municipal Government of Li猫ge remind their fellow-citizens, and all staying within this city, that international law most strictly forbids civilians to commit hostilities against the German soldiers occupying the country.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.ROUND ABOUT BILSEN
Just outside Tongres I met a fleet of Red Cross cars loaded with wounded. Cavalry escorted them. I was stopped and ordered to go back, as they expected the Belgians to attack Tongres.The German artillery had taken up their positions here, and bombarded the forts in their immediate neighbourhood. These did not fail to answer, and rained shells on the enemy's batteries. One heard their hissing, which came nearer and nearer, until they fell on the slopes or the tops of the hills and burst with a terrific explosion. Many a time we saw this happen only a few hundred yards away. Then the air trembled, and I felt as if my legs were blown from underneath me. Broken windows too fell clattering on the "stoeps.""8. de Ponthi猫re, member of the Town Council.
"2. That all who are in possession of any arms, of whatever description, or any munition must at once deliver everything at the town-hall.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.""The German military authority have promised us that on these conditions no further burning and looting shall take place and that the population shall no longer be threatened or embarrassed.
56A walking excursion of one day took me to201 Brussels. I might have done it in a few hours less, but I lost my way in the wood-paths near Brussels, for at a certain moment I read on a finger-post, "Brussels four miles"; and after walking for a long time, and wondering whether I should ever finish those four miles, I read suddenly: "Brussels鈥攅ight miles!" That gave me such a shock that once more I had nearly taken the wrong way.56
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"'Instead of facing such an impartial inquiry with an examination of all available witnesses and punishment of the guilty, the German government finds the courage only to call me, a month after the event, "a liar," and the whole story a fairy-tale!"The town-clerk, Eug. Marguery.I believe that this made him angry; at least he ordered me to take off my shoes also, and their inside was carefully examined.
On the day of my stay at Charleroi, at about seven o'clock in the evening, there was a good deal of bustle round about the station, many trains from Maubeuge arriving. One of these trains was entirely filled by officers of the garrison who had been taken prisoner. Another carried only wounded Germans, lying on light stretchers, on which they were transported through the streets to the hospitals at Charleroi. Many had fearful wounds, and convulsively held their hands on the injured parts, while others lay still, the pallor of death on their face. Maubeuge must have cost the Germans enormous sacrifices, as for many of the wretched wounded no room could be found at Charleroi, and they had to be taken farther by train, to Namur or Brussels.21Suddenly several shots sounded in the neighbourhood. The three took their rifles and looked round, somewhat scared. They assured me that they would protect me. If there had been occasion for it, it would have been against their own comrades,117 for a troop of soldiers came sailing along, swinging about their rifles and shooting at the burning houses as they walked on, without rhyme or reason, anyhow and anywhere. These were drunk also. At last I was able to shake off my "friends," and got through another street into the market-place, at the town-hall and St. Peter's Church. The beautiful town-hall happily was not destroyed, as the first reports intimated, but St. Peter's had been damaged most cruelly. The spire had disappeared, the roof collapsed, windows broken, the altar burned, the pulpit badly damaged, and so forth. The two last-named parts were fine works of art.详情
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