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For the rest most houses in the market-place were on fire. Soldiers were billeted on one of the corner houses, and I was of course detained there, but released again, after having been requested to show up the francs-tireurs. I had to consider also where I might pass the night in this burning city? I asked an officer's consent to stay the night with the soldiers. He gave his permission if I could get the consent of the commanding officer, whom I might find at the station; he told me that he was sure to grant it.

来源: 南方日报网络版     时间: 2020-01-28 15:24:38
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 A few days later I had to go to Canne, a Belgian hamlet near the frontier, south of Maastricht. In the evening of August 18th an atrociously barbarous crime had been committed there, a cool-blooded murder. At Canne live some good, kind Flemings, who would not hurt a fly. The kind-hearted burgomaster had, moreover, tried for days to comfort his fellow-citizens, and was for ever saying: 

 

And at the same moment he turned round and joined the others.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."1. The young men need not fear that they will be taken to Germany in order to serve in the German army, or be compelled to do any work.

The first time when the Germans had only been there for about ten days, and huge masses were sent to the scene of battle, because they had decided to break through at any cost.The hotel where I stayed that night was called H?tel de la Paix; an hotel of peace, indeed!Round about Louvain everything was prepared for defensive purposes, artillery being hidden under straw-roofs, only a few yards away from the farm-houses, and the sentries were very alert. I never saw them before I was quite near; then they jumped suddenly from behind a tree, summoning me to stop by lowering their rifle. In the meadows were a good many newly cut trenches."If you don't drink with us you are not our friend." At the same time he beat the ground with his rifle-butt and, willy-nilly, I had to drink.Of course I did not withhold my answer, pilloried the hardly serious inquiry of the Germans, and published immediately an extensive contradiction in De Tijd. I quote the following from it:—I also asked the inn-keeper whether he felt no fear in those surroundings. But, shrugging his shoulders, he answered: "All we can do is to wait quietly. I do all in my power to keep them in a good temper, give them beer and cigars, and yesterday killed one of my two cows for them. I may have lost everything at the end of the war, ... but even so, let it be, if I can only save the life of my family and keep a roof over my head. But my anxiety is great enough, for, you understand, I have two daughters ... and ... and...."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.A little farther on a few houses were left undamaged, because they stood outside the town proper. A woman who had remained in her house stood outside with cigar-boxes under her arm. She offered cigars from an open box to the soldiers of the passing divisions. To me she seemed to be out of her mind, as she stood there trembling, her face distorted from hypernervousness. Her cringing kindness was of no avail, for I noticed a couple of days afterwards that her house too had been totally destroyed.Later on people from Louvain came with carts, which we had ordered before leaving. Thirteen of these carried the wounded away, whilst a German patrol went all over the village, setting everything on fire.


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