时间：<2020-07-07 22:26:54 作者：ruseo外链论坛fNl 浏览量：9777
Of course I did not allow the little girl to go by herself, but took her with me. It was a wearying expedition in the excessive heat of that day. Very soon the child was no longer able to carry her small belongings, and, though already sufficiently loaded myself, I had to take her bundle as well. She was scarcely able to walk more than a thousand yards at a stretch, and had then to sit down on the grass by50 the roadside and rest. She did not quite understand what was going on, but she had an undefined feeling of fear on that long, deserted road, where we did not meet anybody except some well-hidden or stealthily moving German patrols who suddenly pointed their rifles at us.After all, this was better than walking, so I decided to make a small detour, go once more to Liège, and see how the forts were. I lost my way in a maze of by-roads, and got at last back to the main road near Jupille, where I met a patrol of Uhlans, who came in my direction at a trot.
Tuesday night, August 18th, at about 11 o'clock, a train of luggage carts passed through Canne, and in the village the Browning of one of the soldiers in the last van went off suddenly. This was the100 signal for all Germans to start shooting indiscriminately, anywhere, at anything, happily without hitting anybody. A few tipsy soldiers went to the burgomaster's house, and no sooner had his wife opened the door for the barbarians, when a shot was fired, the bullet passing through the unfortunate lady's head into the wall opposite the door. I was there early the next morning and saw the hole. It is evident that the soldiers ill-treated the dead lady with their rifles in a horrible manner, for a large part of the wall was spattered over with blood.Many clerical gentlemen connected with the University had been ill-treated in the most atrocious manner. The architect Lenertz, a native of Luxemburg, also connected with the University, had been shot, for no reason at all, before the eyes of his wife at the moment that he left the house. And Louvain was so effectively cut off from the outer world that in most convents I was asked whether the rumour was true that the Pope was dead! And at that time his successor had already been appointed."In Cherath she saved the life of a good many. As it was alleged that there had been shooting, the priest, the chaplain, a retired priest, eighty years old, the mayor, and several leading citizens were condemned to be shot. None, not even the priest, was able to defend himself, as they knew not a word of German, and could not make themselves understood. Mrs. de Villers, who speaks German fluently, explained that the spot where the shooting was alleged to have taken place was not part of Cherath at all.
The German authorities have indeed made inquiries about the matter; I shall deal with that in the next chapter."Dinant had 7,600 inhabitants, of whom ten per cent. were put to death; not a family exists which has not to mourn the death of some victims; many families have been exterminated completely."I succeeded in laying my hands on an original copy of a proclamation that ought not to have been posted before the following day. I took the document with me to The Netherlands, and it is of special interest, because in it the Germans admit to have tyrannised the people, and to have not only burned Louvain, but also ransacked the town. The proclamation had been drawn up in concert with the German authorities and was approved by them. It was in French and in Flemish, and read as follows:
"'5. My pertinent declarations are now opposed by the German official contradiction; but how weak is the argument! I have already pointed out that only comrades of the accused men have been heard, but not the accuser, nor, as is evident, the victims, nor other witnesses. There is more: "Crowding of two to three hundred soldiers near a wagon cannot occur"—thus says the communiqué—"because the station-guard's duty is to keep free the path along the train." Does anyone understand the weakness of this contradiction? It is as if one should say: "It is impossible that anything has been stolen in a town because it is the duty of the police to guard it." "Moreover there is also always an officer of the station-guard present at the departure of a train of wounded," the communiqué proceeds. But again I ask: What does this prove? It is a fact that this officer, if he was present, did not prevent what happened. "It is impossible that the soldiers aimed their rifles at the British, because the men who get their food in the dining-hall, and those of the military who distribute it, are always unarmed; no other soldiers are admitted to the station." I see that the German government simply quote the military regulations, and from them determine the facts. They cannot realise that it might be possible for their regulations not to be obeyed always.Nor did I see any inhabitants in the burning78 town. It was practically impossible to stay in the streets; burning walls and roofs and gutters crashed down with a great noise, so that the streets were as much on fire as the houses themselves. Only at the crossings were any soldiers to be seen, who, in various stages of intoxication, constantly aimed at the burning houses, and shot everything that tried to escape from the burning stables and barns: pigs, horses, cows, dogs, and so on.The commander ruled with a strong hand. They issued not only the usual proclamations about introducing German time, but the commander went even so far as to dictate at what hour the Holy Masses had to be said. In one of the proclamations I read, for example, that in future the Mass of six o'clock, Belgian time, had to be said at the same hour German time. Another proclamation said that skippers were forbidden to sail, and that all boats, including fisher-boats, had been seized.
Near Herstal the Germans were crossing by the large bridge, which the Belgians had preserved to their own disadvantage.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."Certainly, sister. Tell her that Bart of Uncle Henry is here." Again I was switched off, but the communication was this time restored after a few moments, and then I heard a joyful and surprised exclamation:
"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!"The villages Gougnies and Biesmes had been destroyed also; of the former not one house was left undamaged; but nothing happened to the townlet Mettet. Here we were forbidden to go on, as we were already more than nine miles and a half from Charleroi. This compelled us to leave the main road, and to proceed along byways which soon took us to the Ardennes, where our motor-car rushed along in zigzags."We beseech all residents in the municipality to guard the highest interests of all the inhabitants and of those who are hostages of the German Army, and not to commit any assault on the soldiers of this army.
"I cannot read a word of it! Can you read it at all yourself? Yes? Oh, but I cannot understand it. Translate some of it."I was scarcely outside the townlet when I met another little group of refugees, probably all members of one family. The mother was being supported by her daughters, all wept, and nervous exhaustion made them totter as they walked. Every moment the mother looked back pitifully at the conflagration which devoured all around, including her slender property, for which she had worked so many years.
"But when the Germans come!"After giving them some advice how to get to The Netherlands, and offering some words of sympathy, I wanted to go on, but as they realised this, the poor, kind creatures surrounded me; many women began to weep, and from all sides they cried:
Many things had happened at Visé since my first visit. Under the pretext that the church spire could indicate to Fort Pontisse in which direction to shoot, paraffin had been poured over church and spire and fire set to them. It was a venerable ancient structure, built ten centuries ago, the fine stained windows of which were well known.The Belgians left also a considerable number of dead and wounded at Wijgmaal and Rotselair. On Tuesday, September 15th, I visited the battle-fields in that neighbourhood with father Coppens, a Netherland Norbertine, born at Lieshout. The wounds of the soldiers lying there were in a most terrible condition, because the Germans forbade172 the removal of the Belgian wounded before all the German dead had been buried. In my opinion not only a proof of barbarity, but also an admission that the Germans themselves must have suffered great losses."Well"—this to a private—"you call the patrol; this man must be arrested."
They crowded threateningly round me, getting more and more excited.I went immediately to the major to give him a detailed report of the occurrence, and I believe that I may say without boasting that owing to my intervention Veldwezelt was not burned down, although other frightful things happened there.The turn things took now was not quite to my liking, and I did not feel very safe when I handed him my scribbling-pad.