"'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.
CHAPTER II"Well, it seems that the civilians cannot understand that only soldiers may fight soldiers, and for that reason the whole place has been set on fire."However, the effect of these Austrian mortars was terrible enough. I could not form a correct opinion about them by the sound of the shot; and only those who were in the fort that was hit were able to realise the terrific results. Hence the interest of the report by an officer, who escaped after having been made a prisoner at Loncin. He told my colleague of De Tijd at Antwerp about it. After having related how, during nearly ten days, the fort had been defended heroically and reso64lutely, he gave the following description of the final struggle:—FRANCS-TIREURS?
We entered a stable whence we thought that a sound came. We saw, however, nothing but a heap of straw, and a pig which ran up against us near the door. Father Coppens chased it away with a:Such was the end of Fort Loncin, and by its fall the last obstacle was removed by which the undisturbed progress of the German armies might have been prevented. The brave defenders of Loncin did not surrender, but stood their ground until they were buried under the ruins of their own defences. According to information from another source, Lierce had succumbed the night before.In connection with the summons, which had been sent in the name of the archdiocese to De Tijd, and had been proclaimed in all the churches of Antwerp in the morning, his Eminence insisted that it should be printed in its entirety, as very many priests had taken refuge in The Netherlands, whose help was pressingly wanted in the arch-diocese in many of the parishes.We could not keep to the main road all the time, for it was forbidden by proclamation to go farther than nine miles and a half from the town, and we should have been stopped without fail.In the same way the list went on for a goodly length, and he became actually angry when even then I refused to believe everything. He was especially pleased with the account of the victory near Libramont. He had a friend, also a physician, who had been compelled by the Germans to go with them in the medical service, and this friend had told him this himself. It was remarkable that educated, superior persons could become so narrow-minded in times like these, and believed anything simply because they hoped that it might be true.What might happen next? Sitting on a chair in a corner of the room I began to consider my position. For the moment it was not agreeable, but by and by those officers might find time to look at my papers. The only thing I bothered about was a map marked with the places where, according to the latest news, the German and French armies were. I kept it in an inside coat-pocket, and it might be found if they should search me.They told this, while we were waiting on a couple of protruding boards of the pontoon-bridge, so as to allow some extremely wide carts to pass. Once again shells exploded, a couple of hundred yards behind us, and one made a hole in the bank quite near.The inhabitants were driven to the station, where the husbands were cruelly separated from their wives and several persons were shot. Other men were escorted to a place behind the station, and their wives and children were told that those men were going to be shot. The poor things heard indeed the click-clack of the rifles and thought that their dear ones were dead. However, many returned later, and their "shooting" seems to have been a mere sham.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.
- I showed them the way to Eysden, and they had80 scarcely started when a cavalry patrol came racing on, the men tipsy and their seat rather unstable. Seeing the refugees, they aimed their rifles at them and roared "Hands up!" The poor creatures not only put up their hands, but fell on their knees, and muttered incoherent words. The women folded their hands, and stretched them out to the cavalry, as if praying for mercy. The soldiers looked at the scene for a moment, burst out in a harsh laughter, spurred on their horses, and raced on without a word. Two of them stopped near me. I gave them, however, no time for threats, but quickly showed them the old pass to Visé. As soon as they saw the German writing they said: "All right!" and went off.
- "Who are you?"
- "On Sunday, August 23rd, at half-past six in the morning, the soldiers of the 108th regiment of the line drove the worshippers out of the Premonstratensian Church, separated the men from the women, and shot about fifty of the former164 through the head. Between seven and nine o'clock there were house-to-house looting and burning by the soldiers, who chased the inhabitants into the street. Those who tried to escape were shot off-hand.
- German officers told me, with full particulars, how the inhabitants of those burning villages had offered German soldiers poisoned cocoa, coffee, and cigarettes, for which crime three hundred civilians had been shot during the night in a Liège square.
- "This? Nothing, sir, nothing."
- "Much will be needed to repair what has been damaged in this unfortunate country."
- "4. Who in whatever way in order to harass or mislead the German forces make military or other signals, urge to flee, or prevent the reunion of straggling soldiers.
- The beastly scenes which I witnessed in the glaring, scorching heat benumbed me, and I looked on vacantly for a long time. At last I went back and called at St. Hadelin College, the Head of which I had visited already once or twice. The building was still undamaged.
- There was a general complaint in that district about the very arbitrary requisitions: for example, beds and blankets were extensively taken away from238 the convents, a thing against which the burgomaster of Bruges had already protested. Horses, cows, and other cattle were simply taken from the stables and the meadows, and paid for with paper promises. 更多 CPK 推荐