"Well, in any case, your Eminence, I promise to bring it to the knowledge of the Catholics in The Netherlands, and you may rely upon their readiness. But now I will not take more of your valuable time, which you give so zealously to the poor and the unfortunate. I thank you very much for having granted me this audience.""Then a frightful thing happened. The men had finished65 breakfast, some were sleeping quietly in spite of the thundering noise. The assault was expected to commence during the next night.The bridge-command at the pontoon-bridge near Lixhe allowed me to cross, after requesting me very pressingly to make very clear what swine these Belgians were, who fired so treacherously at unsuspecting soldiers, put out the eyes of the wounded, cut off their hands and genitals. When I asked where all these things had happened, the answer was: "Everywhere!" Of course, I promised them to do everything they wanted.48
Professor and Mrs. Noyons were busy day and night on behalf of their fellow-men, and one could quite well tell by their looks that they were overworked. They took their rest in the kitchen, which141 was built in the basement. All male and female voluntary nurses took their meals there.The game of shooting and looting went on all through the night of the 20th. Not a window or door remained whole even if the house was not burned down altogether.On that occasion the Germans arrested me at about two miles from Tirlemont. Firstly, because I travelled by bicycle, and secondly, because I was accused of having "cooked" one of my passports.In Louvain people would not believe that Antwerp was on the point of surrendering, and persisted in the opinion that the fortress would hold out much longer, and was in a better position than ever before.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."Well, sir, not much beyond what you are sure to know already: that Japan declared war against Germany; that the Russians invaded Germany; that the French gained some important victories in Alsace; that the German fleet lost some ships...."There it appeared that my papers were in good order, but at the same time I was informed that I was to be taken to the commanding officer at the station and could not be allowed to leave Bilsen for the present. I was escorted through the townlet, which appeared to be entirely deserted; but now and then somebody came to his front-door to watch the latest victim of the Germans being led past. At the station I was pushed without much courtesy into a keep where six other civilians sat, who had been picked up as being at large, and whose faces were now covered with a cold perspiration from fear, because they were firmly convinced that by and by they would be shot."Didn't hear either about it?""How much is it, madame?"
- "Whilst some soldiers committed these murders, others looted and wrecked the houses, smashed the safes or blew them up with dynamite. They forced their way into the Banque Centrale de la Meuse, seized the manager, Mr. Xavier Wasseige, and called upon him to open the safe. As he refused to do so, they tried to force it open, but in vain. Thereupon they took Mr. Wasseige and his two eldest sons to the Place d'Armes, where they and 120 of their fellow-citizens were shot by means of a mitrailleuse. The youngest three children of Mr. Wasseige were held by soldiers and forced to attend the slaughter of their father and brothers. We were also informed that one of the young Wasseiges lay dying for an hour and nobody dared to come to his assistance.
- I could not say or do anything, for I felt as if stunned, and let them lead me where they liked; so they gave me a glass of claret, and that revived me.
- 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.
- "The Netherlands is a generous country. How grateful, how immensely grateful am I to the Netherland people for what they have done for poor refugees. I cannot sufficiently express my gratitude. I have received reports from priests who came back, and I am deeply moved by them. They told me how at Roosendaal the Netherland soldiers gave all their bread to the refugees, knowing well that for some time they themselves would not get any other. No! I can never be sufficiently grateful for such sacrifices. And Catholics and non-Catholics all joined in it. That is beautiful, very, very beautiful."
- Bicycling was of course out of the question; I shouldered my bicycle and stepped across the glowing cinders, which singed my soles. One spot could still be recognised as a street corner. Three soldiers emerged there suddenly and aimed at me with their rifles.
- The man who bears the full responsibility for the destruction of Louvain, General von Manteuffel, had left already when I visited the town this time, and nobody has ever been able to find out what became of him. The latest proclamations were all signed: "By order of the General Government of Brussels—the Etappe-Commander."
- A good many lads had been able to escape from Bilsen and the environs to Antwerp; in the aggregate, 500 from this district, and more went every day. They were driven to the Belgian army by all they had seen and experienced. Often one heard women and girls say: "Oh, if I were a man, if I were a boy, I should be in the army to-morrow!"
- I believe that this made him angry; at least he ordered me to take off my shoes also, and their inside was carefully examined.
- "Oh, bosh! Stop it! These are, of course, all lies from Reuter; they did not come from Wolff. Japan is not going to declare war against us; much rather against Russia!"
- As darkness was coming on I asked him whether it was not dangerous to pass the night in the house of that little old man, whom I mentioned above. He saw nothing dangerous in it, as by far the greater part of the town was deserted, and no attack need be feared. 更多 CPK 推荐