时间：<2020-07-06 07:58:54 作者：2b杭州到上海高铁Pzq 浏览量：9777
The Germans did themselves great injury undoubtedly by their vulgar and barbarous demeanour, for that lost them every claim on the sympathy of the people."Hm! Hm! All right. So you intend to write friendly about us?"
But as soon as these "tender-foots" came alongside our train and were not met with the same impetuous enthusiasm as they displayed themselves, but, on the contrary, saw sick, discouraged, exhausted faces gazing at them distressedly, their boisterousness suddenly extinguished, and a nervous, terrified expression pursed up their mouths. And the trains were already at some distance from each other before the young soldiers remembered that they ought to shout and to wave to those who had already done so much for the Fatherland.But the Germans were efficient, for during the night they had laid down the rails on which in the morning they transported parts of the heavy ordnance that would demolish all the Belgian defences."Then, why did you want to stay at the man's house?—what brought you here?"
We waited in the street for two of the soldiers who went to fetch the old man. After waiting a good while the poor wretch appeared between them. He wept profusely, and between his loud sobs affirmed repeatedly that he was innocent, that he did not know me, that I told him I was a Netherland journalist, and so on, and so on: "Oh, gentlemen!—oh, gentlemen!" he exclaimed, "I must not leave my little boy ... my laddie; ... he is quite alone.... Oh, let me go!" ...The Fathers were already in bed, but I soon got them out again. Within ten minutes I was enjoying what, in the circumstances, was a splendid meal, and the Fathers were absorbed in the daily and illustrated papers which I had brought for them.The man became quite excited, and took hold of my sleeve. He looked me straight in the face, as if he wanted to find out by the expression of my eyes whether I spoke the truth. I could easily stand the scrutinising look, for I knew too well how utterly false those suspicions were. So I replied with great emphasis:
"His face, unshaven since ever so long, is quite emaciated, and presents all the symptoms of nervous exhaustion. Once more twenty German soldiers are being nursed in his college, where only once a German doctor came to see them. He (Dr. Goffin) and a couple of Sisters have to manage everything by themselves, and the Germans do not even dream of providing food for their own wounded, although the college is so inadequately provisioned that the Head and the Sisters have to deny themselves the necessary nourishment that they may feed the wounded.After this game had been going on for some time, the order was given: "Everybody must come outside." Doors and windows were forced open and broken, and men, women, and children driven out of the houses. They were at once ruthlessly separated. Men who assisted their aged mothers, or carried their little babies, were taken away from their families, and driven away, leaving their wailing and weeping wives and children behind, while the flames from burning houses threw a lurid light on the sad scenes of that terrible evening."Here rest 140 soldiers, French, I.R. 36. fell 22.8. R.I.P."
I sent the motor back to The Netherlands, and went with my companion to the commander's office, where we got a permit to go on by military train.At the "Oud Slot van Vlaanderen," a large, ancient castle, there was a lot of hustle and bustle of carriages and motor-cars. We had not gone another two hundred yards, when someone came after us and stopped us as suspects. We were escorted back to the castle, where a general command was established, and an aviators-division, with the motor-section attached to it. Happily our detention did not last long, and after examination we were released. On the road was an infernal noise, as the violent roar of the cannon was mixing with the roar of the wheels of the heavily-loaded convoys and the whirr and hooting of the army motors. Long processions of field-kitchens passed us also, most of them brand-new; but it was remarkable245 that all carts arranged for a team of two were drawn with great difficulty by only one horse, and also that so many civilians have been compelled to act as drivers, or to gather the wounded."'Finally, the contention that no riot could have taken place because the soldiers were fed in the dining-hall is entirely incorrect. That dining-hall was nothing but a shed entirely open at the front, in which there were a few seats. There the slightly wounded soldiers were fed first, and when they had supplied those, food was taken to the seriously wounded, who had to stop in the train, as also to myself and my little companion. The slightly wounded and the soldiers of the guard walked off with the distributors of the soup along the train in order to have a chat with their comrades in it. In that way they also came to the British when the wagon-door had been opened. It will be evident that I observed closely and retained in my memory all that had happened there and in the neighbourhood.
The Germans all agreed that their right wing lacked artillery. The German soldiers who fell there were all killed in their trenches by the falling bombs, there was not sufficient field artillery to answer this murderous fire efficiently, and they could not do anything with their rifles against the218 invisible enemy. The artillery fire of the French was most serious from the 1st to the 4th of October, and during those days the German trenches must have been a real hell. On October 4th a general "sauve qui peut" began from the trenches.Many civilians had been put to death, accused of having shot from the houses, and others for refusing to give up requisitioned food. Probably they had none, as preceding military divisions had already taken away all there was. Then some civilians were killed for refusing to work for the enemy. The houses of all these "condemned" had been burnt, and everything the soldiers fancied was looted. As a matter of fact, nearly all the soldiers I met later on were drunk, and they worried me constantly. Only when I had proved to be a Netherlander, they behaved a little better, and started abusing "the cursed Belgians," who, according to them, were all francs-tireurs.
At Visé many men had been commanded to do certain kinds of work, cutting down trees, making of roads, bridges, and so on. Many of them never returned, because they refused to do the humiliating work and were shot. Among these there were even aged people; and I myself stood by the death-bed of a man of ninety, who had been forced to assist in building a bridge, until the poor wretch broke down and was carried to St. Hadelin College, turned into a hospital by Dr. Goffin; there he died.CHAPTER VI"The town-clerk, Eug. Marguery.
Pastor Claes, mentioned in the above proclamation, has done very much for the miserable Louvain population; they owe him especially much gratitude for an act of devotion with regard to the murdered victims.The officer assured me that a new effort would be made soon, as they were commanded to take Pontisse and Lierce at any price, the seventh and ninth regiment of foot-artillery of Cologne being selected for the purpose.Other soldiers kept on running into the burning houses, carrying out vases, pictures, plate, or small pieces of furniture. They smashed everything on81 the cobbles and then returned to wreck more things that would have been destroyed by the fire all the same. It was a revelry of drunken vandalism. They seemed mad, and even risked being burned alive at this work of destruction. Most of the officers were also tipsy; not one of them was saluted by the soldiers.
What happened at Landen made a very deep222 impression upon me; it shocked me more than all the terrible things which I had seen during the war and all the dangers which I went through. When the train went on again, and the soldiers began to speak to me once more, I was unable to utter a word and sat there musing."Have they given you back everything?"Need I say that I did all I could to make the woman a little more reasonable, and make her understand that it would not do to let a child of ten walk by itself from Liège to Maastricht, and least of all in these dire times. But I could not make her see this, and this instance proves all the more, perhaps, how upset the inhabitants of Liège were that morning; they were nearly out of their senses for fear.
In Brussels the people seemed to be of a different opinion. German reports about successes obtained were simply not believed, and people persisted in their opinion that Antwerp would be invincible. The more reports of victories the Germans posted on the walls, the more excited people became, and205 palmed off upon each other all sorts of victories of the Allies.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."Yes, but you see they may be forged, you see. They may shoot me, you see, but a traitor, you see, no, then I would knock you down, you see...."