"Oh no, sir, not at all!"Starting in the early morning of August 15th, I arrived at Vis茅 without much trouble, after having been led across the Lixhe bridge once more. Since my first visit the bridge had been destroyed three times over, and this new one seemed very weak. As I stood there looking at it, a motor lorry had to cross it, and the bridge gave way near the bank. Another motor had then to pull the lorry up to the top of the bank, and this made the bridge give way still further."No, I've none to sell."
"Wait! wait! wait!"
"And did you not get anything to eat?"21Men and young women in the prime of life sat whole days in a chair, or lay abed, because in the most literal sense of the word they were unable to stand on their feet for fear and terror, caused by the incessant menaces.
"Great German defeat at Libramont鈥攏ine thousand prisoners taken."They sang and shouted and waved their arms. Most of them carried bottles full of liquor, which they put to their mouths frequently, smashed them on the ground, or handed them to their comrades, when unable to drink any more themselves. Each of a troop of cavalry had a bottle of pickles, and enjoyed them immensely.Now the major jumped up and shouted at his subordinate that he had to treat a Netherlander as he ought to be treated.
"Des ouvriers volontaires seront embauch茅s 脿 partir du 21 Ao?t sur la rive gauche de la Meuse, où on fera conna?tre les conditions d茅taill茅es":"2. Who surrender to the enemy of the German forces187 defensive works, ships or transports of the fleet, public funds, stocks of arms, munitions, or other war material, as also bridges, railways, telegraphs, or other means of communication; or who destroy them or make them useless on behalf of the enemy.My opinion on the matter is still the same as when I first wrote about it to De Tijd, and in Vrij Belgi?; and from my own personal knowledge and after mixing with the people I consider the allegation that the Belgians acted as francs-tireurs an absolute lie.
Before those on the Naamsche Vest found out their mistake, the shooting was going on in the144 greater part of the town, and the excited men, who at first had been shooting at each other, soon joined the rest. Some wounded troopers were taken to one of the convents on the Vest, but a couple of hours later they were suddenly fetched away again.This book does not attempt to give more than evidence of the truth. It does not claim to have14 literary distinction; I have not even tried to give it that stamp. By relating various events successively witnessed, which have no mutual connection, this would be very difficult."What does that matter? What do I care for life? I come from Dinant; they have murdered my dear parents, burned our house. What good is it to me to be alive? I requested them to give me this dangerous outpost. When the Germans come, I'll shoot, and then my comrades at Lanaeken will be warned. Then I'll kill three or four of them, but after that I shall be ready to die myself."
Bang! The shutter was closed again. But I did not give it up, for I needed the sisters' assistance to find a shelter somewhere. Once more I made the bell to clang, and although I was kept waiting a little longer, at last I heard voices whispering behind the gate and once more something appeared behind the trellis."It mourns the lost liberty, the happiness, the peace, the brightness of her past prosperity which has vanished for a long season to come, it laments on account of the prisoners of war, the wounded, the dead.... And every morning the155 brilliant sun rises on the scene, the warm rays bathe town and country, both alike cruelly lashed by the frightful scourge.Is it thinkable that persons in that frame of mind would take up arms and invite the enemy's revenge upon themselves and those near and dear to them, a revenge of which they were so mortally afraid?
I felt very sick, for the sweet rye-bread which I had forced down my throat in the morning did not agree with me at all. At last I felt so ill that I162 was obliged to lie down on the floor of the car, and it took my colleague all his time to convince me that he did not think that my last hour had struck.Back at Bruges we attended in the market the concert given by a German military band near the statues of Breydel and de Koninck. At the commander's office I witnessed a remarkable incident. A German post-official and a soldier had just brought in a decently dressed gentleman. The postman began to relate that he was taking away the telephone instrument at that gentleman's house in order to fix it up at the commander's office, and that the gentleman had said: "Why do you steal that instrument?" As the postman said this the commander jumped up in a fury, and called out:"'On October 9th no train with two thousand wounded arrived at the station of Landen, but only small transports whose number can be checked accurately by the lists of wounded. Rioting by two to three hundred soldiers near a carriage could not take place, as the station guard was instructed to keep free a path along the train. There is, moreover, always an officer of the station-guard present, when a train with wounded leaves. It is impossible that the soldiers could have aimed their rifles at the British, as the men who get their food in the dining-hall, as also the serving military personnel, are always unarmed. Other soldiers are not admitted to the station. The British have neither been beaten, nor stabbed, nor spit at; on the contrary plates full of hot soup have been offered them which were refused by two of them. This has been confirmed by the declarations of people who were present.'"
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There lay also a woman, with one leg amputated. Her husband had been murdered, another bullet had entered the leg of the baby in her arms. Another woman had her child murdered in her arms.131Although 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.
"After having protested their peaceful sentiments the inhabitants of Andenne made a treacherous attack on our troops.But the German troops had ample provisions for themselves, and as an officer noticed that I went all over the town to find some food in one of the58 restaurants, he offered me, the "friendly" Netherlander, something to eat at the Guard House. This I declined, however, for I could not have enjoyed bread taken from the starving population.Just as at Louvain and other towns, the Germans indulged in looting and plundering also at Charleroi; and probably this explains why here too the finest houses were destroyed. Moreover, many atrocious cases of rape occurred here as at Dinant, about which town more anon. At a caf茅, where the proprietor unburdened his mind to me, with tears in his eyes, I read a statement in which they were impudent enough to write that they had passed a pleasant night in circumstances described in detail, whilst the father had been locked up.详情
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