时间：<2020-07-06 06:42:59 作者：qk闲妻多夫yaq 浏览量：9777
I had expected to meet a terrible creature, but must admit that he was as kind as possible. As soon as he had learned from my papers that I was a Netherland journalist, he jumped up and stood in the attitude as though he saw in me the personification of the Kaiser. He already probably felt the pangs of remorse, and now wanted to try and justify himself as far as possible in the eyes of the public.CHAPTER XVI
82"The miserable behaviour of the men has been the cause that a non-commissioned officer and a private were seriously wounded by German ammunition."All right, sir."
"Where is De Tijd printed?"Although 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.I found sailors also in Brussels, but for the rest there was only a little military display there. In this town reigned a certain oppressive silence and157 the cafés were not much frequented. The Brussels people did not hide their patriotic sentiments, and nearly every house displayed the Belgian flag, thanks chiefly to the strong attitude of Burgomaster Max. Outwardly Brussels had not suffered by the war; not a house was damaged and nobody had been killed yet. Nor was there lack of provisions, as was proved by the fact that at the "Métropole," one of the largest restaurants, I paid only seventy-five centimes (sevenpence-halfpenny) for bread, cold beef, and pickles.
It was an imposing sight to see all these various divisions in their brilliant uniforms coming down along the road, the soldiers' uniforms still without a stain, the horses in new, fine, strong leather harness, and the rumbling and jolting guns. The soldiers sang patriotic songs, and among them rode the officers, proud and imperious, many with a monocle, looking round superciliously.I understood and respected the restraint of the Belgian primate, who went on then:"We did our utmost to the last, but it was impossible to go on."
It was a chilly night, and a dense heavy fog made it impossible to see anything.... My "bed-fellows" raged and fumed at me, saying that I was one of those villains who had treacherously shot at them. I shivered from the cold, and felt, as it were,128 the dampness of the wet stone floor entering my system.At Fort Pontisse or Lierce they seemed to have noticed that the factory was a station for observation. As the officer was still thinking about my case, one of those infernal monster shells crashed down among a group of soldiers, only some yards away. Those who were not hit ran away, but they came back soon, and took up seven or eight comrades, whom they carried into the factory. I shuddered when I saw what had happened, and through the shock the sight gave me I involuntarily jerked my arms.
"Oh, you are a journalist? And what came you here for?"And the commanding officer gave me a pass, on which this very same colonel who had prohibited me to write in my paper what troops were at Riemst, put a stamp on that pass, which contained the German eagle, and besides this the words: "Royal Prussian 8, Reserve Infantry Regiment, II Battalion." This confirmed what the rumours said, that the troops who had passed through Visé and other places during the last days and committed those atrocities there, were the reserves which had been called up, among whom discipline is less strict than among the younger men, who arrived in these districts during the earlier days."A glass of beer, madame."
During the evening I was granted an audience by the Right Reverend Monseigneur Rutten, Bishop of Liège. The venerable, aged prelate received me very affably, but he was deeply impressed by the terrible fate that had overwhelmed his poor native country. He himself had suffered exceedingly bad treatment at the hands of the Germans. First he and the other hostages were imprisoned in the citadel, where he was locked up in a small shanty, with a leaking roof, so that the torrential rain entered it freely. Wet and cold, the Bishop passed that day without being offered any food, and, as stated above, was at last allowed to go home.But he did not take any notice of all my exhortations and was entirely impervious to them in his grief. So I went to the station side by side with the weeping man, and surrounded by the six soldiers. The crackle of the flames, the sound of collapsing houses seemed more terrifying in the night than in day-time, and now and again I got a shock when suddenly, by the uncertain light of the flames, I saw the corpse of a civilian lying in the dark shade of the tall trees on the Boulevard.The people had been in deadly terror, and women and old men, fearing that they would be killed, had fallen on their knees beseeching the soldiers to spare them. At present many women and old men,69 and even strong men, were laid up with violent feverish attacks of nerves.
19ALONG THE MEUSE TO HUY, ANDENNE, AND NAMURWhen I told the doctor that I had to go to the station, he explained to me how I could get there without walking across red hot cinders, and I followed his advice. I walked through quarters which used to be the pride of the city, but were now turned into heaps of rubbish.
I had wished to publish this book a long time ago, because I think it my duty to submit to the opinion of the public the things which I witnessed in the unfortunate land of the Belgians, and where I was present at such important events as an impartial spectator. I call myself an impartial spectator, for if this book be anti-German, it should not be forgotten that the facts give it that tendency.On the Thursday of the week of destruction the inhabitants were notified that they had to leave the town, but Professor Noyons and his wife decided to stay on, as they could not leave the one hundred and fifty wounded men who were laid up at the Institution.CHAPTER VI
But the shell-fire of the French overtook them then, as they were retreating, while many others were killed by bombs from French aeroplanes, which were in action in great numbers. The retreat had not stopped before the Germans arrived in Cambray, where the thousands of wounded could at last be put in long trains and sent to Aix-la-Chapelle. A great many bombs from aeroplanes also hit these trains and killed a great many; my own train was everywhere pierced by fragments of those bombs. Within the carriages it was unendurable; the wounded men and their malodorous bandages had occupied them such a long time that the atmosphere was simply insupportable. Happily there was a corridor, where I stood all the time, with the little girl, in the company of some German military men who were sent home, not on account of wounds, but because of internal complaints.In every quarter I met Belgian refugees from the south, and Netherlanders who wanted to escape to their safe native country. The Liège people themselves were not allowed to leave.