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With the Allies by Richard Harding Davis

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had held it for two weeks. In 1870 they bombarded it for four days,
and there is, or was, in Soissons, in the Place de la Republique, a
monument to those citizens of Soissons whom after that siege the
Germans shot. The town lies in the valley of the River Aisne, which is
formed by two long ridges running south and north.

The Germans occupied the hills to the south, but when attacked
offered only slight resistance and withdrew to the hills opposite. In
Soissons they left a rear-guard to protect their supplies, who were
destroying all bridges leading into the town. At the time I arrived a
force of Turcos had been ordered forward to clean Soissons of the
Germans, and the French artillery was endeavoring to disclose their
positions on the hills. The loss of the bridges did not embarrass the
black men. In rowboats they crossed to Soissons and were warmly
greeted. Soissons was drawing no color-line. The Turcos were
followed by engineers, who endeavored to repair one bridge and in
consequence were heavily shelled with shrapnel, while, with the intent
to destroy the road and retard the French advance, the hills where
the French had halted were being pounded by German siege-guns.

This was at a point four kilometres from Chaudun, between the
villages of Breuil and Courtelles. From this height you could see
almost to Compiegne, and thirty miles in front in the direction of Saint-
Quentin. It was a panorama of wooded hills, gray villages in fields of
yellow grain, miles of poplars marking the roads, and below us the
flashing waters of the Aisne and the canal, with at our feet the
steeples of the cathedral of Soissons and the gate to the old abbey of
Thomas a Becket. Across these steeples the shells sang, and on
both sides of the Aisne Valley the artillery was engaged. The wind
was blowing forty knots, which prevented the use of the French
aeroplanes, but it cleared the air, and, helped by brilliant sunshine, it
was possible to follow the smoke of the battle for fifteen miles. The
wind was blowing toward our right, where we were told were the
English, and though as their shrapnel burst we could see the flash of
guns and rings of smoke, the report of the guns did not reach us. It
gave the curious impression of a bombardment conducted in utter

From our left the wind carried the sounds clearly. The jar and roar of
the cannon were insistent, and on both sides of the valley the hilltops
were wrapped with white clouds. Back of us in the wheat-fields shells
were setting fire to the giant haystacks and piles of grain, which in the
clear sunshine burned a blatant red. At times shells would strike in
the villages of Breuil and Vauxbain, and houses would burst into
flames, the gale fanning the fire to great height and hiding the village
in smoke. Some three hundred yards ahead of us the shells of
German siege-guns were trying to destroy the road, which the
poplars clearly betrayed. But their practice was at fault, and the shells
fell only on either side. When they struck they burst with a roar,
casting up black fumes and digging a grave twenty yards in

But the French soldiers disregarded them entirely. In the trenches
which the Germans had made and abandoned they hid from the wind
and slept peacefully. Others slept in the lee of the haystacks, their red
breeches and blue coats making wonderful splashes of color against
the yellow grain. For seven days these same men had been fighting
without pause, and battles bore them.

Late in the afternoon, all along the fifteen miles of battle, firing
ceased, for the Germans were falling back, and once more Soissons,
freed of them as fifteen hundred years ago she had freed herself of
the Romans, held out her arms to the Allies.

Chapter VI
The Bombardment of Rheims

In several ways the city of Rheims is celebrated. Some know her only
through her cathedral, where were crowned all but six of the kings of
France, and where the stained-glass windows, with those in the
cathedrals of Chartres and Burgos, Spain, are the most beautiful in all
the world. Children know Rheims through the wicked magpie which
the archbishop excommunicated, and to their elders, if they are rich,
Rheims is the place from which comes all their champagne.

On September 4th the Germans entered Rheims, and occupied it
until the 12th, when they retreated across the Vesle to the hills north
of the city.

On the 18th the French forces, having entered Rheims, the Germans
bombarded the city with field-guns and howitzers.

Rheims is fifty-six miles from Paris, but, though I started at an early
hour, so many bridges had been destroyed that I did not reach the
city until three o'clock in the afternoon. At that hour the French
artillery, to the east at Nogent and immediately outside the northern
edge of the town, were firing on the German positions, and the
Germans were replying, their shells falling in the heart of the city.

The proportion of those that struck the cathedral or houses within a
hundred yards of it to those falling on other buildings was about six to
one. So what damage the cathedral suffered was from blows
delivered not by accident but with intent. As the priests put it, firing on
the church was "expres."

The cathedral dominates not only the city but the countryside. It rises
from the plain as Gibraltar rises from the sea, as the pyramids rise
from the desert. And at a distance of six miles, as you approach from
Paris along the valley of the Marne, it has more the appearance of a
fortress than a church. But when you stand in the square beneath
and look up, it is entirely ecclesiastic, of noble and magnificent
proportions, in design inspired, much too sublime for the kings it has
crowned, and almost worthy of the king in whose honor, seven
hundred years ago, it was reared. It has been called "perhaps the
most beautiful structure produced in the Middle Ages." On the west
facade, rising tier upon tier, are five hundred and sixty statues and
carvings. The statues are of angels, martyrs, patriarchs, apostles, the
vices and virtues, the Virgin and Child. In the centre of these is the
famous rose window; on either side giant towers.

At my feet down the steps leading to the three portals were pools of
blood. There was a priest in the square, a young man with white hair
and with a face as strong as one of those of the saints carved in
stone, and as gentle. He was cure doyen of the Church of St.
Jacques, M. Chanoine Frezet, and he explained the pools of blood.
After the Germans retreated, the priests had carried the German
wounded up the steps into the nave of the cathedral and for them
had spread straw upon the stone flagging.

The cure guided me to the side door, unlocked it, and led the way into
the cathedral. It is built in the form of a crucifix, and so vast is the
edifice that many chapels are lost in it, and the lower half is in a
shadow. But from high above the stained windows of the thirteenth
century, or what was left of them, was cast a glow so gorgeous, so
wonderful, so pure that it seemed to come direct from the other world.

From north and south the windows shed a radiance of deep blue, like
the blue of the sky by moonlight on the coldest night of winter, and
from the west the great rose window glowed with the warmth and
beauty of a thousand rubies. Beneath it, bathed in crimson light,
where for generations French men and women have knelt in prayer,
where Joan of Arc helped place the crown on Charles VII, was piled
three feet of dirty straw, and on the straw were gray-coated Germans,
covered with the mud of the fields, caked with blood, white and
haggard from the loss of it, from the lack of sleep, rest, and food. The
entire west end of the cathedral looked like a stable, and in the blue
and purple rays from the gorgeous windows the wounded were as
unreal as ghosts. Already two of them had passed into the world of
ghosts. They had not died from their wounds, but from a shell sent by
their own people.

It had come screaming into this backwater of war, and, tearing out
leaded window-panes as you would destroy cobwebs, had burst
among those who already had paid the penalty. And so two of them,
done with pack-drill, goose-step, half rations and forced marches, lay
under the straw the priests had heaped upon them. The toes of their
boots were pointed grotesquely upward. Their gray hands were
clasped rigidly as though in prayer.

Half hidden in the straw, the others were as silent and almost as still.
Since they had been dropped upon the stone floor they had not
moved, but lay in twisted, unnatural attitudes. Only their eyes showed
that they lived. These were turned beseechingly upon the French
Red Cross doctors, kneeling waist-high in the straw and unreeling
long white bandages. The wounded watched them drawing slowly
nearer, until they came, fighting off death, clinging to life as
shipwrecked sailors cling to a raft and watch the boats pulling toward

A young German officer, his smart cavalry cloak torn and slashed,
and filthy with dried mud and blood and with his eyes in bandages,
groped toward a pail of water, feeling his way with his foot, his arms
outstretched, clutching the air. To guide him a priest took his arm, and
the officer turned and stumbled against him. Thinking the priest was
one of his own men, he swore at him, and then, to learn if he wore
shoulder-straps, ran his fingers over the priest's shoulders, and,
finding a silk cassock, said quickly in French: "Pardon me, my father;
I am blind."

As the young cure guided me through the wrecked cathedral his
indignation and his fear of being unjust waged a fine battle. "Every
summer," he said, "thousands of your fellow countrymen visit the
cathedral. They come again and again. They love these beautiful
windows. They will not permit them to be destroyed. Will you tell them
what you saw?"

It is no pleasure to tell what I saw. Shells had torn out some of the
windows, the entire sash, glass, and stone frame--all was gone; only
a jagged hole was left. On the floor lay broken carvings, pieces of
stone from flying buttresses outside that had been hurled through the
embrasures, tangled masses of leaden window-sashes, like twisted
coils of barbed wire, and great brass candelabra. The steel ropes that
supported them had been shot away, and they had plunged to the
flagging below, carrying with them their scarlet silk tassels heavy with
the dust of centuries. And everywhere was broken glass. Not one of
the famous blue windows was intact. None had been totally
destroyed, but each had been shattered, and through the apertures
the sun blazed blatantly.

We walked upon glass more precious than precious stones. It was
beyond price. No one can replace it. Seven hundred years ago the
secret of the glass died. Diamonds can be bought anywhere, pearls
can be matched, but not the stained glass of Rheims. And under our
feet, with straw and caked blood, it lay crushed into tiny fragments.
When you held a piece of it between your eye and the sun it glowed
with a light that never was on land or sea.

War is only waste. The German Emperor thinks it is thousands of
men in flashing breastplates at manoeuvres, galloping past him,
shouting "Hoch der Kaiser!" Until this year that is all of war he has
ever seen.

I have seen a lot of it, and real war is his high-born officer with his
eyes shot out, his peasant soldiers with their toes sticking stiffly
through the straw, and the windows of Rheims, that for centuries with
their beauty glorified the Lord, swept into a dust heap.

Outside the cathedral I found the bombardment of the city was still
going forward and that the French batteries to the north and east
were answering gun for gun. How people will act under unusual
conditions no one can guess. Many of the citizens of Rheims were
abandoning their homes and running through the streets leading
west, trembling, weeping, incoherent with terror, carrying nothing with
them. Others were continuing the routine of life with anxious faces but
making no other sign. The great majority had moved to the west of
the city to the Paris gate, and for miles lined the road, but had taken
little or nothing with them, apparently intending to return at nightfall.
They were all of the poorer class. The houses of the rich were closed,
as were all the shops, except a few cafes and those that offered for
sale bread, meat, and medicine.

During the morning the bombardment destroyed many houses. One
to each block was the average, except around the cathedral, where
two hotels that face it and the Palace of Justice had been pounded
but not destroyed. Other shops and residences facing the cathedral
had been ripped open from roof to cellar. In one a fire was burning
briskly, and firemen were playing on it with hose. I was their only
audience. A sight that at other times would have collected half of
Rheims and blocked traffic, in the excitement of the bombardment
failed to attract. The Germans were using howitzers. Where shells hit
in the street they tore up the Belgian blocks for a radius of five yards,
and made a hole as though a water-main had burst. When they hit a
house, that house had to be rebuilt. Before they struck it was possible
to follow the direction of the shells by the sound. It was like the
jangling of many telegraph-wires.

A hundred yards north of the cathedral I saw a house hit at the third
story. The roof was of gray slate, high and sloping, with tall chimneys.
When the shell exploded the roof and chimneys disappeared. You did
not see them sink and tumble; they merely vanished. They had been
a part of the sky-line of Rheims; then a shell removed them and
another roof fifteen feet lower down became the sky-line.

I walked to the edge of the city, to the northeast, but at the outskirts
all the streets were barricaded with carts and paving-stones, and
when I wanted to pass forward to the French batteries the officers in
charge of the barricades refused permission. At this end of the town,
held in reserve in case of a German advance, the streets were
packed with infantry. The men were going from shop to shop trying to
find one the Germans had not emptied. Tobacco was what they

They told me they had been all the way to Belgium and back, but I
never have seen men more fit. Where Germans are haggard and
show need of food and sleep, the French were hard and moved
quickly and were smiling.

One reason for this is that even if the commissariat is slow they are
fed by their own people, and when in Belgium by the Allies. But when
the Germans pass the people hide everything eatable and bolt the
doors. And so, when the German supply wagons fail to come up the
men starve.

I went in search of the American consul, William Bardel. Everybody
seemed to know him, and all men spoke well of him. They liked him
because he stuck to his post, but the mayor had sent for him, and I
could find neither him nor the mayor.

When I left the cathedral I had told my chauffeur to wait near by it, not
believing the Germans would continue to make it their point of attack.
He waited until two houses within a hundred yards of him were
knocked down, and then went away from there, leaving word with the
sentry that I could find him outside the gate to Paris. When I found
him he was well outside and refused to return, saying he would sleep
in his car.

On the way back I met a steady stream of women and old men
fleeing before the shells. Their state was very pitiful. Some of them
seemed quite dazed with fear and ran, dodging, from one sidewalk to
the other, and as shells burst above them prayed aloud and crossed
themselves. Others were busy behind the counters of their shops
serving customers, and others stood in doorways holding in their
hands their knitting. Frenchwomen of a certain class always knit. If
they were waiting to be electrocuted they would continue knitting.

The bombardment had grown sharper and the rumble of guns was
uninterrupted, growling like thunder after a summer storm or as the
shells passed shrieking and then bursting with jarring detonations.
Underfoot the pavements were inch-deep with fallen glass, and as
you walked it tinkled musically. With inborn sense of order, some of
the housewives abandoned their knitting and calmly swept up the
glass into neat piles. Habit is often so much stronger than fear. So is
curiosity. All the boys and many young men and maidens were in the
middle of the street watching to see where the shells struck and on
the lookout for aeroplanes. When about five o'clock one sailed over
the city, no one knew whether it was German or French, but every
one followed it, apparently intending if it launched a bomb to be in at
the death.

I found all the hotels closed and on their doors I pounded in vain, and
was planning to go back to my car when I stumbled upon the Hotel
du Nord. It was open and the proprietress, who was knitting, told me
the table-d'hote dinner was ready. Not wishing to miss dinner, I halted
an aged citizen who was fleeing from the city and asked him to carry
a note to the American consul inviting him to dine. But the aged man
said the consulate was close to where the shells were falling and that
to approach it was as much as his life was worth. I asked him how
much his life was worth in money, and he said two francs.

He did not find the consul, and I shared the table d'hote with three
tearful old French ladies, each of whom had husband or son at the
front. That would seem to have been enough without being shelled at
home. It is a commonplace, but it is nevertheless true that in war it is
the women who suffer. The proprietress walked around the table, still
knitting, and told us tales of German officers who until the day before
had occupied her hotel, and her anecdotes were not intended to
make German officers popular.

The bombardment ceased at eight o'clock, but at four the next
morning it woke me, and as I departed for Paris salvoes of French
artillery were returning the German fire.

Before leaving I revisited the cathedral to see if during the night it had
been further mutilated. Around it shells were still falling, and the
square in front was deserted. In the rain the roofless houses,
shattered windows, and broken carvings that littered the street
presented a picture of melancholy and useless desolation. Around
three sides of the square not a building was intact. But facing the
wreckage the bronze statue of Joan of Arc sat on her bronze charger,
uninjured and untouched. In her right hand, lifted high above her as
though defying the German shells, some one overnight had lashed
the flag of France.

The next morning the newspapers announced that the cathedral was
in flames, and I returned to Rheims. The papers also gave the two
official excuses offered by the Germans for the destruction of the
church. One was that the French batteries were so placed that in
replying to them it was impossible to avoid shelling the city.

I know where the French batteries were, and if the German guns
aimed at them by error missed them and hit the cathedral, the
German marksmanship is deteriorating. To find the range the artillery
sends what in the American army are called brace shots--one aimed
at a point beyond the mark and one short of it. From the explosions of
these two shells the gunner is able to determine how far he is off the
target and accordingly regulates his sights. Not more, at the most,
than three of these experimental brace shots should be necessary,
and, as one of each brace is purposely aimed to fall short of the
target, only three German shells, or, as there were two French
positions, six German shells should have fallen beyond the batteries
and into the city. And yet for four days the city was bombarded!

To make sure, I asked French, English, and American army officers
what margin of error they thought excusable after the range was
determined. They all agreed that after his range was found an artillery
officer who missed it by from fifty to one hundred yards ought to be
court-martialled. The Germans "missed" by one mile.

The other excuse given by the Germans for the destruction of the
cathedral was that the towers had been used by the French for
military purposes. On arriving at Rheims the question I first asked
was whether this was true. The abbe Chinot, cure of the chapel of the
cathedral, assured me most solemnly and earnestly it was not. The
French and the German staffs, he said, had mutually agreed that on
the towers of the cathedral no quick-firing guns should be placed, and
by both sides this agreement was observed. After entering Rheims
the French, to protect the innocent citizens against bombs dropped
by German air-ships, for two nights placed a search-light on the
towers, but, fearing this might be considered a breach of agreement
as to the mitrailleuses, the abbe Chinot ordered the search-light
withdrawn. Five days later, during which time the towers were not
occupied and the cathedral had been converted into a hospital for the
German wounded and Red Cross flags were hanging from both
towers, the Germans opened fire upon it. Had it been the search-light
to which the Germans objected, they would have fired upon it when it
was in evidence, not five days after it had disappeared.

When, with the abbe Chinot, I spent the day in what is left of the
cathedral, the Germans still were shelling it. Two shells fell within
twenty-five yards of us. It was at that time that the photographs that
illustrate this chapter were taken.

The fire started in this way. For some months the northeast tower of
the cathedral had been under repair and surrounded by scaffolding.
On September 19th a shell set fire to the outer roof of the cathedral,
which is of lead and oak. The fire spread to the scaffolding and from
the scaffolding to the wooden beams of the portals, hundred of years
old. The abbe Chinot, young/alert, and daring, ran out upon the
scaffolding and tried to cut the cords that bound it.

In other parts of the city the fire department was engaged with fire lit
by the bombardment, and unaided, the flames gained upon him.
Seeing this, he called for volunteers, and, under the direction of the
Archbishop of Rheims, they carried on stretchers from the burning
building the wounded Germans. The rescuing parties were not a
minute too soon. Already from the roofs molten lead, as deadly as
bullets, was falling among the wounded. The blazing doors had
turned the straw on which they lay into a prairie fire.

Splashed by the molten lead and threatened by falling timbers, the
priests, at the risk of their lives and limbs, carried out the wounded
Germans, sixty in all.

But, after bearing them to safety, their charges were confronted with a
new danger. Inflamed by the sight of their own dead, four hundred
citizens having been killed by the bombardment, and by the loss of
their cathedral, the people of Rheims who were gathered about the
burning building called for the lives of the German prisoners. "They
are barbarians," they cried. "Kill them!" Archbishop Landreaux and
Abbe Chinot placed themselves in front of the wounded.

"Before you kill them," they cried, "you must first kill us."

This is not highly colored fiction, but fact. It is more than fact. It is
history, for the picture of the venerable archbishop, with his cathedral
blazing behind him, facing a mob of his own people in defence of their
enemies, will always live in the annals of this war and in the annals of
the church.

There were other features of this fire and bombardment which the
Catholic Church will not allow to be forgotten. The leaden roofs were
destroyed, the oak timbers that for several hundred years had
supported them were destroyed, stone statues and flying buttresses
weighing many tons were smashed into atoms, but not a single
crucifix was touched, not one waxen or wooden image of the Virgin
disturbed, not one painting of the Holy Family marred.

I saw the Gobelin tapestries, more precious than spun gold, intact,
while sparks fell about them, and lying beneath them were iron bolts
twisted by fire, broken rooftrees and beams still smouldering.

But the special Providence that saved the altars was not omnipotent.
The windows that were the glory of the cathedral were wrecked.
Through some the shells had passed, others the explosions had
blown into tiny fragments. Where, on my first visit, I saw in the stained
glass gaping holes, now the whole window had been torn from the
walls. Statues of saints and crusader and cherubim lay in mangled
fragments. The great bells, each of which is as large as the Liberty
Bell in Philadelphia, that for hundreds of years for Rheims have
sounded the angelus, were torn from their oak girders and melted into
black masses of silver and copper, without shape and without sound.
Never have I looked upon a picture of such pathos, of such wanton
and wicked destruction.

The towers still stand, the walls still stand, for beneath the roofs of
lead the roof of stone remained, but what is intact is a pitiful, distorted
mass where once were exquisite and noble features. It is like the face
of a beautiful saint scarred with vitriol.

Two days before, when I walked through the cathedral, the scene
was the same as when kings were crowned. You stood where Joan
of Arc received the homage of France. When I returned I walked
upon charred ashes, broken stone, and shattered glass. Where once
the light was dim and holy, now through great breaches in the walls
rain splashed. The spirit of the place was gone.

Outside the cathedral, in the direction from which the shells came, for
three city blocks every house was destroyed. The palace of the
archbishop was gutted, the chapel and the robing-room of the kings
were cellars filled with rubbish. Of them only crumbling walls remain.
And on the south and west the facades of the cathedral and flying
buttresses and statues of kings, angels, and saints were mangled
and shapeless.

I walked over the district that had been destroyed by these accidental
shots, and it stretched from the northeastern outskirts of Rheims in a
straight line to the cathedral. Shells that fell short of the cathedral for
a quarter of a mile destroyed entirely three city blocks. The heart of
this district is the Place Godinot. In every direction at a distance of
a mile from the Place Godinot I passed houses wrecked by shells
--south at the Paris gate, north at the railroad station.

There is no part of Rheims that these shells the Germans claim were
aimed at French batteries did not hit. If Rheims accepts the German
excuse she might suggest to them that the next time they bombard, if
they aim at the city they may hit the batteries.

The Germans claim also that the damage done was from fires, not
shells. But that is not the case; destruction by fire was slight. Houses
wrecked by shells where there was no fire outnumbered those that
were burned ten to one. In no house was there probably any other
fire than that in the kitchen stove, and that had been smothered by
falling masonry and tiles.

Outside the wrecked area were many shops belonging to American
firms, but each of them had escaped injury. They were filled with
American typewriters, sewing-machines, and cameras. A number of
cafes bearing the sign "American Bar" testified to the nationality and
tastes of many tourists.

I found our consul, William Bardel, at the consulate. He is a fine type
of the German-American citizen, and, since the war began, with his
wife and son has held the fort and tactfully looked after the interests
of both Americans and Germans. On both sides of him shells had
damaged the houses immediately adjoining. The one across the
street had been destroyed and two neighbors killed.

The street in front of the consulate is a mass of fallen stone, and the
morning I called on Mr. Bardel a shell had hit his neighbor's chestnut-
tree, filled his garden with chestnut burrs, and blown out the glass of
his windows. He was patching the holes with brown wrapping-paper,
but was chiefly concerned because in his own garden the dahlias
were broken. During the first part of the bombardment, when firing
became too hot for him, he had retreated with his family to the corner
of the street, where are the cellars of the Roderers, the champagne
people. There are worse places in which to hide in than a champagne

Mr. Bardel has lived six years in Rheims and estimated the damage
done to property by shells at thirty millions of dollars, and said that
unless the seat of military operations was removed the champagne
crop for this year would be entirely wasted. It promised to be an
especially good year. The seasons were propitious, being dry when
sun was needed and wet when rain was needed, but unless the
grapes were gathered by the end of September the crops would be

Of interest to Broadway is the fact that in Rheims, or rather in her
cellars, are stored nearly fifty million bottles of champagne belonging
to six of the best-known houses. Should shells reach these bottles,
the high price of living in the lobster palaces will be proportionately

Except for Red Cross volunteers seeking among the ruins for
wounded, I found that part of the city that had suffered completely
deserted. Shells still were falling and houses as yet intact, and those
partly destroyed were empty. You saw pitiful attempts to save the
pieces. In places, as though evictions were going forward, chairs,
pictures, cooking-pans, bedding were piled in heaps. There was none
to guard them; certainly there was no one so unfeeling as to disturb

I saw neither looting nor any effort to guard against it. In their
common danger and horror the citizens of Rheims of all classes
seemed drawn closely together. The manner of all was subdued and
gentle, like those who stand at an open grave.

The shells played the most inconceivable pranks. In some streets the
houses and shops along one side were entirely wiped out and on the
other untouched. In the Rue du Cardinal du Lorraine every house
was gone. Where they once stood were cellars filled with powdered
stone. Tall chimneys that one would have thought a strong wind
might dislodge were holding themselves erect, while the surrounding
walls, three feet thick, had been crumpled into rubbish.

In some houses a shell had removed one room only, and as neatly
as though it were the work of masons and carpenters. It was as
though the shell had a grievance against the lodger in that particular
room. The waste was appalling.

Among the ruins I saw good paintings in rags and in gardens statues
covered with the moss of centuries smashed. In many places, still on
the pedestal, you would see a headless Venus, or a flying Mercury
chopped off at the waist.

Long streamers of ivy that during a century had crept higher and
higher up the wall of some noble mansion, until they were part of it,
still clung to it, although it was divided into a thousand fragments. Of
one house all that was left standing was a slice of the front wall just
wide enough to bear a sign reading: "This house is for sale; elegantly
furnished." Nothing else of that house remained.

In some streets of the destroyed area I met not one living person.
The noise made by my feet kicking the broken glass was the only
sound. The silence, the gaping holes in the sidewalk, the ghastly
tributes to the power of the shells, and the complete desolation, made
more desolate by the bright sunshine, gave you a curious feeling that
the end of the world had come and you were the only survivor.

This-impression was aided by the sight of many rare and valuable
articles with no one guarding them. They were things of price that one
may not carry into the next world but which in this are kept under lock
and key.

In the Rue de l'Universite, at my leisure, I could have ransacked shop
after shop or from the shattered drawing-rooms filled my pockets.
Shopkeepers had gone without waiting to lock their doors, and in
houses the fronts of which were down you could see that, in order to
save their lives, the inmates had fled at a moment's warning.

In one street a high wall extended an entire block, but in the centre a
howitzer shell had made a breach as large as a barn door. Through
this I had a view of an old and beautiful garden, on which oasis
nothing had been disturbed. Hanging from the walls, on diamond-
shaped lattices, roses were still in bloom, and along the gravel walks
flowers of every color raised their petals to the sunshine. On the
terrace was spread a tea-service of silver and on the grass were
children's toys--hoops, tennis-balls, and flat on its back, staring up
wide-eyed at the shells, a large, fashionably dressed doll.

In another house everything was destroyed except the mantel over
the fireplace in the drawing-room. On this stood a terra-cotta statuette
of Harlequin. It is one you have often seen. The legs are wide apart,
the arms folded, the head thrown back in an ecstasy of laughter. It
looked exactly as though it were laughing at the wreckage with which
it was surrounded. No one could have placed it where it was after the
house fell, for the approach to it was still on fire. Of all the fantastic
tricks played by the bursting shells it was the most curious.

Chapter VII
The Spirit Of The English

When I left England for home I had just returned from France and
had motored many miles in both countries. Everywhere in this
greatest crisis of the century I found the people of England showing
the most undaunted and splendid spirit. To their common enemy they
are presenting an unbroken front. The civilian is playing his part just
as loyally as the soldier, the women as bravely as the men.

They appreciate that not only their own existence is threatened, but
the future peace and welfare of the world require that the military
party of Germany must be wiped out. That is their burden, and with
the heroic Belgians to inspire them, without a whimper or a whine of
self-pity, they are bearing their burden.

Every one in England is making sacrifices great and small. As long
ago as the middle of September it was so cold along the Aisne that I
have seen the French, sooner than move away from the open fires
they had made, risk the falling shells. Since then it has grown much
colder, and Kitchener issued an invitation to the English people to
send in what blankets they could spare for the army in the field and in
reserve. The idea was to dye the blankets khaki and then turn them
over to the supply department. In one week, so eagerly did the
people respond to this appeal, Kitchener had to publish a card stating
that no more blankets were needed. He had received over half a

The reply to Kitchener's appeal for recruits was as prompt and
generous. The men came so rapidly that the standard for enlistment
was raised. That is, I believe, in the history of warfare without
precedent. Nations often have lowered their requirements for
enlistment, but after war was once well under way to make recruiting
more difficult is new. The sacrifices are made by every class.

There is no business enterprise of any sort that has not shown itself
unselfish. This is true of the greengrocery, the bank, the department
store, the Cotton Exchange. Each of these has sent employees to the
front, and while they are away is paying their wages and, on the
chance of their return, holding their places open. Men who are not
accepted as recruits are enrolled as special constables. They are
those who could not, without facing ruin, neglect their business. They
have signed on as policemen, and each night for four hours patrol the
posts of the regular bobbies who have gone to the front.

The ingenuity shown in finding ways in which to help the army is
equalled only by the enthusiasm with which these suggestions are
met. Just before his death at the front, Lord Roberts called upon all
racing-men, yachtsmen, and big-game shots to send him, for the use
of the officers in the field, their field-glasses. The response was
amazingly generous.

Other people gave their pens. The men whose names are best
known to you in British literature are at the service of the government
and at this moment are writing exclusively for the Foreign Office. They
are engaged in answering the special pleading of the Germans and in
writing monographs, appeals for recruits, explanations of why
England is at war. They do not sign what they write. They are, of
course, not paid for what they write. They have their reward in
knowing that to direct public opinion fairly will be as effective in
bringing this war to a close as is sticking bayonets into Uhlans.

The stage, as well as literature, has found many ways in which it can
serve the army. One theatre is giving all the money taken in at the
door to the Red Cross; all of them admit men in uniform free, or at
half price, and a long list of actors have gone to the front. Among
them are several who are well known in America. Robert Lorraine has
received an officer's commission in the Royal Flying Corps, and Guy
Standing in the navy. The former is reported among the wounded.
Gerald du Maurier has organized a reserve battalion of actors, artists,
and musicians.

There is not a day passes that the most prominent members of the
theatrical world are not giving their services free to benefit
performances in aid of Belgian refugees, Red Cross societies, or to
some one of the funds under royal patronage. Whether their talent is
to act or dance, they are using it to help along the army. Seymour
Hicks and Edward Knoblauch in one week wrote a play called
"England Expects," which was an appeal in dramatic form for recruits,
and each night the play was produced recruits crowded over the

The old sergeants are needed to drill the new material and cannot be
spared for recruiting. And so members of Parliament and members of
the cabinet travel all over the United Kingdom--and certainly these
days it is united--on that service. Even the prime minister and the first
lord of the admiralty, Winston Churchill, work overtime in addressing
public meetings and making stirring appeals to the young men. And
wherever you go you see the young men by the thousands marching,
drilling, going through setting-up exercises. The public parks, golf-
links, even private parks like Bedford Square, are filled with them, and
in Green Park, facing the long beds of geraniums, are lines of cavalry
horses and the khaki tents of the troopers.

Every one is helping. Each day the King and Queen and Princess
Mary review troops or visit the wounded in some hospital; and the day
before sailing, while passing Buckingham Palace, I watched the
young Prince of Wales change the guard. In a businesslike manner
he was listening to the sentries repeat their orders; and in turn a
young sergeant, also in a most businesslike manner, was in whispers
coaching the boy officer in the proper manner to guard the home of
his royal parents. Since then the young prince has gone to the front
and is fighting for his country. And the King is in France with his

As the song says, all the heroes do not go to war, and the warriors at
the front are not the only ones this war has turned out-of-doors. The
number of Englishwomen who have left their homes that the Red
Cross may have the use of them for the wounded would fill a long roll
of honor. Some give an entire house, like Mrs. Waldorf Astor, who
has loaned to the wounded Cliveden, one of the best-known and
most beautiful places on the Thames. Others can give only a room.
But all over England the convalescents have been billeted in private
houses and made nobly welcome.

Even the children of England are helping. The Boy Scouts, one of the
most remarkable developments of this decade, has in this war scored
a triumph of organization. This is equally true of the Boy Scouts in
Belgium and France. In England military duties of the most serious
nature have been intrusted to them. On the east coast they have
taken the place of the coast guards, and all over England they are
patrolling railroad junctions, guarding bridges, and carrying
despatches. Even if the young men who are now drilling in the parks
and the Boy Scouts never reach Berlin nor cross the Channel, the
training and sense of responsibility that they are now enjoying are all
for their future good.

They are coming out of this war better men, not because they have
been taught the manual of arms, but in spite of that fact. What they
have learned is much more than that. Each of them has, for an ideal,
whether you call it a flag, or a king, or a geographical position on the
map, offered his life, and for that ideal has trained his body and
sacrificed his pleasures, and each of them is the better for it. And
when peace comes his country will be the richer and the more

Chapter VIII
Our Diplomats In The War Zone

When the war broke loose those persons in Europe it concerned the
least were the most upset about it. They were our fellow countrymen.
Even to-day, above the roar of shells, the crash of falling walls, forts,
forests, cathedrals, above the scream of shrapnel, the sobs of
widows and orphans, the cries of the wounded and dying, all over
Europe, you still can hear the shrieks of the Americans calling for their
lost suit-cases.

For some of the American women caught by the war on the wrong
side of the Atlantic the situation was serious and distressing. There
were thousands of them travelling alone, chaperoned only by a man
from Cook's or a letter of credit. For years they had been saving to
make this trip, and had allowed themselves only sufficient money
after the trip was completed to pay the ship's stewards. Suddenly
they found themselves facing the difficulties of existence in a foreign
land without money, friends, or credit. During the first days of
mobilization they could not realize on their checks or letters. American
bank-notes and Bank of England notes were refused. Save gold,
nothing was of value, and every one who possessed a gold piece,
especially if he happened to be a banker, was clinging to it with the
desperation of a dope fiend clutching his last pill of cocaine. We can
imagine what it was like in Europe when we recall the conditions at

In New York, when I started for the seat of war, three banks in which
for years I had kept a modest balance refused me a hundred dollars
in gold, or a check, or a letter of credit. They simply put up the
shutters and crawled under the bed. So in Europe, where there
actually was war, the women tourists, with nothing but a worthless
letter of credit between them and sleeping in a park, had every
reason to be panic-stricken. But to explain the hysteria of the hundred
thousand other Americans is difficult--so difficult that while they live
they will still be explaining. The worst that could have happened to
them was temporary discomfort offset by adventures. Of those they
experienced they have not yet ceased boasting.

On August 5th, one day after England declared war, the American
Government announced that it would send the Tennessee with a
cargo of gold. In Rome and in Paris Thomas Nelson Page and Myron
T. Herrick were assisting every American who applied to them, and
committees of Americans to care for their fellow countrymen had
been organized. All that was asked of the stranded Americans was to
keep cool and, like true sports, suffer inconvenience. Around them
were the French and English, facing the greatest tragedy of centuries,
and meeting it calmly and with noble self-sacrifice. The men were
marching to meet death, and in the streets, shops, and fields the
women were taking up the burden the men had dropped. And in the
Rue Scribe and in Cockspur Street thousands of Americans were
struggling in panic-stricken groups, bewailing the loss of a hat-box,
and protesting at having to return home second-class. Their suffering
was something terrible. In London, in the Ritz and Carlton
restaurants, American refugees, loaded down with fat pearls and
seated at tables loaded with fat food, besought your pity. The imperial
suite, which on the fast German liner was always reserved for them,
"except when Prince Henry was using it," was no longer available,
and they were subjected to the indignity of returning home on a nine-
day boat and in the captain's cabin. It made their blue blood boil; and
the thought that their emigrant ancestors had come over in the
steerage did not help a bit.

The experiences of Judge Richard William Irwin, of the Superior
Court of Massachusetts, and his party, as related in the Paris Herald,
were heartrending. On leaving Switzerland for France they were
forced to carry their own luggage, all the porters apparently having
selfishly marched off to die for their country, and the train was not
lighted, nor did any one collect their tickets. "We have them yet!" says
Judge Irwin. He makes no complaint, he does not write to the Public-
Service Commission about it, but he states the fact. No one came to
collect his ticket, and he has it yet. Something should be done. Merely
because France is at war Judge Irwin should not be condemned to
go through life clinging to a first-class ticket.

In another interview Judge George A. Carpenter, of the United States
Court of Chicago, takes a more cheerful view. "I can't see anything
for Americans to get hysterical about," he says. "They seem to think
their little delays and difficulties are more important than all the
troubles of Europe. For my part, I should think these people would be
glad to settle down in Paris." A wise judge!

For the hysterical Americans it was fortunate that in the embassies
and consulates of the United States there were fellow country-men
who would not allow a war to rattle them. When the representatives of
other countries fled our people not only stayed on the job but held
down the jobs of those who were forced to move away. At no time in
many years have our diplomats and consuls appeared to such
advantage. They deserve so much credit that the administration will
undoubtedly try to borrow it. Mr. Bryan will point with pride and say:
"These men who bore themselves so well were my appointments."
Some of them were. But back of them, and coaching them, were first
and second secretaries and consuls-general and consuls who had
been long in the service and who knew the language, the short cuts,
and what ropes to pull. And they had also the assistance of every lost
and strayed, past and present American diplomat who, when the war
broke, was caught off his base. These were commandeered and put
to work, and volunteers of the American colonies were made
honorary attaches, and without pay toiled like fifteen-dollar-a-week

In our embassy in Paris one of these latter had just finished struggling
with two American women. One would not go home by way of
England because she would not leave her Pomeranian in quarantine,
and the other because she could not carry with her twenty-two trunks.
They demanded to be sent back from Havre on a battle-ship. The
volunteer diplomat bowed. "Then I must refer you to our naval
attache, on the first floor," he said. "Any tickets for battle-ships must
come through him."

I suggested he was having a hard time.

"If we remained in Paris," he said, "we all had to help. It was a choice
between volunteering to aid Mr. Herrick at the embassy or Mrs.
Herrick at the American Ambulance Hospital and tending wounded
Turcos. But between soothing terrified Americans and washing
niggers, I'm sorry now I didn't choose the hospital."

In Paris there were two embassies running overtime; that means from
early morning until after midnight, and each with a staff enlarged to
six times the usual number. At the residence of Mr. Herrick, in the
Rue Francois Ier, there was an impromptu staff composed chiefly of
young American bankers, lawyers, and business men. They were
men who inherited, or who earned, incomes of from twenty thousand
to fifty thousand a year, and all day, and every day, without pay, and
certainly without thanks, they assisted their bewildered, penniless,
and homesick fellow countrymen. Below them in the cellar was stored
part of the two million five hundred thousand dollars voted by
Congress to assist the stranded Americans. It was guarded by quick-
firing guns, loaned by the French War Office, and by six petty officers
from the Tennessee. With one of them I had been a shipmate when
the Utah sailed from Vera Cruz. I congratulated him on being in Paris.

"They say Paris is some city," he assented, "but all I've seen of it is
this courtyard. Don't tell anybody, but, on the level, I'd rather be back
in Vera Cruz!"

The work of distributing the money was carried on in the chancelleries
of the embassy in the Rue de Chaillot. It was entirely in the hands of
American army and navy officers, twenty of whom came over on the
warship with Assistant Secretary of War Breckinridge. Major Spencer
Cosby, the military attache of the embassy, was treasurer of the fund,
and every application for aid that had not already been investigated
by the civilian committee appointed by the ambassador was decided
upon by the officers. Mr. Herrick found them invaluable. He was
earnest in their praise. They all wanted to see the fighting; but in other
ways they served their country.

As a kind of "king's messenger" they were sent to our other
embassies, to the French Government at Bordeaux, and in command
of expeditions to round up and convoy back to Paris stranded
Americans in Germany and Switzerland. Their training, their habit of
command and of thinking for others, their military titles helped them to
success. By the French they were given a free road, and they were
not only of great assistance to others, but what they saw of the war
and of the French army will be of lasting benefit to themselves.
Among them were officers of every branch of the army and navy and
of the marine and aviation corps. Their reports to the War
Department, if ever they are made public, will be mighty interesting

The regular staff of the embassy was occupied not only with
Americans but with English, Germans, and Austrians. These latter
stood in a long line outside the embassy, herded by gendarmes. That
line never seemed to grow less. Myron T. Herrick, our ambassador,
was at the embassy from early in the morning until midnight. He was
always smiling, helpful, tactful, optimistic. Before the war came he
was already popular, and the manner in which he met the dark days,
when the Germans were within fifteen miles of Paris, made him
thousands of friends. He never asked any of his staff to work harder
than he worked himself, and he never knocked off and called it a
day's job before they did. Nothing seemed to worry or daunt him;
neither the departure of the other diplomats, when the government
moved to Bordeaux and he was left alone, nor the advancing
Germans and threatened siege of Paris, nor even falling bombs.

Herrick was as democratic as he was efficient. For his exclusive use
there was a magnificent audience-chamber, full of tapestry, ormolu
brass, Sevres china, and sunshine. But of its grandeur the
ambassador would grow weary, and every quarter-hour he would
come out into the hall crowded with waiting English and Americans.
There, assisted by M. Charles, who is as invaluable to our
ambassadors to France as are Frank and Edward Hodson to our
ambassadors to London, he would hold an impromptu reception. It
was interesting to watch the ex-governor of Ohio clear that hall and
send everybody away smiling. Having talked to his ambassador
instead of to a secretary, each went off content. In the hall one
morning I found a noble lord of high degree chuckling with pleasure.

"This is the difference between your ambassadors and ours," he said.
"An English ambassador won't let you in to see him; your American
ambassador comes out to see you." However true that may be, it was
extremely fortunate that when war came we should have had a man
at the storm-centre so admirably efficient.

Our embassy was not embarrassed nor was it greatly helped by the
presence in Paris of two other American ambassadors: Mr. Sharp,
the ambassador-elect, and Mr. Robert Bacon, the ambassador that
was. That at such a crisis these gentlemen should have chosen to
come to Paris and remain there showed that for an ambassador tact
is not absolutely necessary.

Mr. Herrick was exceedingly fortunate in his secretaries, Robert
Woods Bliss and Arthur H. Frazier. Their training in the diplomatic
service made them most valuable. With him, also, as a volunteer
counsellor, was H. Perceval Dodge, who, after serving in diplomatic
posts in six countries, was thrown out of the service by Mr. Bryan to
make room for a lawyer from Danville, Ky. Dodge was sent over to
assist in distributing the money voted by Congress, and Herrick,
knowing his record, signed him on to help him in the difficult task of
running the affairs of the embassies of four countries, three of which
were at war. Dodge, Bliss, and Frazier were able to care for these
embassies because, though young in years, in the diplomatic service
they have had training and experience. In this crisis they proved the
need of it. For the duties they were, and still are, called upon to
perform it is not enough that a man should have edited a democratic
newspaper or stumped the State for Bryan. A knowledge of
languages, of foreign countries, and of foreigners, their likes and their
prejudices, good manners, tact, and training may not, in the eyes of
the administration, seem necessary, but, in helping the ninety million
people in whose interest the diplomat is sent abroad, these
qualifications are not insignificant.

One might say that Brand Whitlock, who is so splendidly holding the
fort at Brussels, in the very centre of the conflict, is not a trained
diplomat. But he started with an excellent knowledge of the French
language, and during the eight years in which he was mayor of
Toledo he must have learned something of diplomacy, responsibility,
and of the way to handle men--even German military governors. He
is, in fact, the right man in the right place. In Belgium all men,
Belgians, Americans, Germans, speak well of him. In one night he
shipped out of Brussels, in safety and comfort, five thousand
Germans; and when the German army advanced upon that city it was
largely due to him and to the Spanish minister, the Marquis Villalobar,
that Brussels did not meet the fate of Antwerp. He has a direct way of
going at things. One day, while the Belgian Government still was in
Brussels and Whitlock in charge of the German legation, the chief
justice called upon him. It was suspected, he said, that on the roof of
the German legation, concealed in the chimney, was a wireless outfit.
He came to suggest that the American minister, representing the
German interests, and the chief justice should appoint a joint
commission to investigate the truth of the rumor, to take the
testimony of witnesses, and make a report.

"Wouldn't it be quicker," said Whitlock, "if you and I went up on the
roof and looked down the chimney?"

The chief justice was surprised but delighted. Together they
clambered over the roof of the German legation. They found that the
wireless outfit was a rusty weather-vane that creaked.

When the government moved to Antwerp Whitlock asked permission
to remain at the capital. He believed that in Brussels he could be of
greater service to both Americans and Belgians. And while diplomatic
corps moved from Antwerp to Ostend, and from Ostend to Havre, he
and Villalobar stuck to their posts. What followed showed Whitlock
was right. To-day from Brussels he is directing the efforts of the rest
of the world to save the people of that city and of Belgium from death
by starvation. In this he has the help of his wife, who was Miss Ella
Brainerd, of Springfield, 111, M. Gaston de Levai, a Belgian
gentleman, and Miss Caroline S. Larner, who was formerly a
secretary in the State Department, and who, when the war started,
was on a vacation in Belgium. She applied to Whitlock to aid her to
return home; instead, much to her delight, he made her one of the
legation staff. His right-hand man is Hugh C. Gibson, his first
secretary, a diplomat of experience. It is a pity that to the legation in
Brussels no military attache was accredited. He need not have gone
out to see the war; the war would have come to him. As it was,
Gibson saw more of actual warfare than did any or all of our twenty-
eight military men in Paris. It was his duty to pass frequently through
the firing-lines on his way to Antwerp and London. He was constantly
under fire. Three times his automobile was hit by bullets. These trips
were so hazardous that Whitlock urged that he should take them. It is
said he and his secretary used to toss for it. Gibson told me he was
disturbed by the signs the Germans placed between Brussels and
Antwerp, stating that "automobiles looking as though they were on
reconnoissance" would be fired upon. He asked how an automobile
looked when it was on reconnoissance.

Gibson is one of the few men who, after years in the diplomatic
service, refuses to take himself seriously. He is always smiling,
cheerful, always amusing, but when the dignity of his official position
is threatened he can be serious enough. When he was charge
d'affaires in Havana a young Cuban journalist assaulted him. That
journalist is still in jail. In Brussels a German officer tried to
blue-pencil a cable Gibson was sending to the State Department.
Those who witnessed the incident say it was like a buzz-saw
cutting soft pine.

When the present administration turned out the diplomats it spared
the consuls-general and consuls. It was fortunate for the State
Department that it showed this self-control, and fortunate for
thousands of Americans who, when the war-cloud burst, were
scattered all over Europe. Our consuls rose to the crisis and rounded
them up, supplied them with funds, special trains, and letters of
identification, and when they were arrested rescued them from jail.
Under fire from shells and during days of bombardment the American
consuls in France and Belgium remained at their posts and protected
the people of many nationalities confided to their care. Only one
showed the white feather. He first removed himself from his post, and
then was removed still farther from it by the State Department. All the
other American consuls of whom I heard in Belgium, France, and
England were covering themselves with glory and bringing credit to
their country. Nothing disturbed their calm, and at no hour could you
catch them idle or reluctant to help a fellow countryman. Their office
hours were from twelve to twelve, and each consulate had taken out
an all-night license and thrown away the key. With four other
Americans I was forced to rout one consul out of bed at two in the
morning. He was Colonel Albert W. Swalm, of Iowa, but of late years
our representative at Southampton. That port was in the military zone,
and before an American could leave it for Havre it was necessary that
his passport should be viseed in London by the French and Belgian
consuls-general and in Southampton by Colonel Swalm. We arrived
in Southampton at two in the morning to learn that the boat left at
four, and that unless, in the interval, we obtained the autograph and
seal of Colonel Swalm she would sail without us.

In the darkness we set forth to seek our consul, and we found that,
difficult as it was to leave the docks by sea, it was just as difficult by
land. In war time two o'clock in the morning is no hour for honest men
to prowl around wharfs. So we were given to understand by very
wide-awake sentries with bayonets, policemen, and enthusiastic
special constables. But at last we reached the consulate and laid
siege. One man pressed the electric button, kicked the door, and
pounded with the knocker, others hurled pebbles at the upper
windows, and the fifth stood in the road and sang: "Oh, say, can you
see, by the dawn's early light?"

A policeman arrested us for throwing stones at the consular sign. We
explained that we had hit the sign by accident while aiming at the
windows, and that in any case it was the inalienable right of
Americans, if they felt like it, to stone their consul's sign. He said he
always had understood we were a free people, but, "without meaning
any disrespect to you, sir, throwing stones at your consul's coat of
arms is almost, as you might say, sir, making too free." He then told
us Colonel Swalm lived in the suburbs, and in a taxicab started us
toward him.

Scantily but decorously clad, Colonel Swalm received us, and
greeted us as courteously as though we had come to present him
with a loving-cup. He acted as though our pulling him out of bed at
two in the morning was intended as a compliment. For affixing the
seal to our passports he refused any fee. We protested that the
consuls-general of other nations were demanding fees. "I know," he
said, "but I have never thought it right to fine a man for being an

Of our ambassadors and representatives in countries in Europe other
than France and Belgium I have not written, because during this war I
have not visited those countries. But of them, also, all men speak
well. At the last election one of them was a candidate for the United
States Senate. He was not elected. The reason is obvious.

Our people at home are so well pleased with their ambassadors in
Europe that, while the war continues, they would keep them where
they are.

Chapter IX
"Under Fire"

One cold day on the Aisne, when the Germans had just withdrawn to
the east bank and the Allies held the west, the French soldiers built
huge bonfires and huddled around them. When the "Jack Johnsons,"
as they call the six-inch howitzer shells that strike with a burst of black
smoke, began to fall, sooner than leave the warm fires the soldiers
accepted the chance of being hit by the shells. Their officers had to
order them back. I saw this and wrote of it. A friend refused to credit
it. He said it was against his experience. He did not believe that, for
the sake of keeping warm, men would chance being killed.

But the incident was quite characteristic. In times of war you
constantly see men, and women, too, who, sooner than suffer
discomfort or even inconvenience, risk death. The psychology of the
thing is, I think, that a man knows very little about being dead but has
a very acute knowledge of what it is to be uncomfortable. His brain is
not able to grasp death but it is quite capable of informing him that his
fingers are cold. Often men receive credit for showing coolness and
courage in times of danger when, in reality, they are not properly
aware of the danger and through habit are acting automatically. The
girl in Chicago who went back into the Iroquois Theatre fire to rescue
her rubber overshoes was not a heroine. She merely lacked
imagination. Her mind was capable of appreciating how serious for
her would be the loss of her overshoes but not being burned alive. At
the battle of Velestinos, in the Greek-Turkish War, John F. Bass, of
The Chicago Daily News, and myself got into a trench at the foot of a
hill on which later the Greeks placed a battery. All day the Turks
bombarded this battery with a cross-fire of shrapnel and rifle-bullets
which did not touch our trench but cut off our return to Velestinos.
Sooner than pass through this crossfire, all day we crouched in the
trench until about sunset, when it came on to rain. We exclaimed with
dismay. We had neglected to bring our ponchos. "If we don't get back
to the village at once," we assured each other, "we will get wet!" So
we raced through half a mile of falling shells and bullets and, before
the rain fell, got under cover. Then Bass said: "For twelve hours we
stuck to that trench because we were afraid if we left it we would be
killed. And the only reason we ever did leave it was because we were
more afraid of catching cold!"

In the same war I was in a trench with some infantrymen, one of
whom never raised his head. Whenever he was ordered to fire he
would shove his rifle-barrel over the edge of the trench, shut his eyes,
and pull the trigger. He took no chances. His comrades laughed at
him and swore at him, but he would only grin sheepishly and burrow
deeper. After several hours a friend in another trench held up a bag
of tobacco and some cigarette-papers and in pantomime "dared" him
to come for them. To the intense surprise of every one he scrambled
out of our trench and, exposed against the sky-line, walked to the
other trench and, while he rolled a handful of cigarettes, drew the fire
of the enemy. It was not that he was brave; he had shown that he
was not. He was merely stupid. Between death and cigarettes, his
mind could not rise above cigarettes.

Why the same kind of people are so differently affected by danger is
very hard to understand. It is almost impossible to get a line on it. I
was in the city of Rheims for three days and two nights while it was
being bombarded. During that time fifty thousand people remained in
the city and, so far as the shells permitted, continued about their
business. The other fifty thousand fled from the city and camped out
along the road to Paris. For five miles outside Rheims they lined both
edges of that road like people waiting for a circus parade. With them
they brought rugs, blankets, and loaves of bread, and from daybreak
until night fell and the shells ceased to fall they sat in the hay-fields
and along the grass gutters of the road. Some of them were most
intelligent-looking and had the manner and clothes of the rich. There
was one family of five that on four different occasions on our way to
and from Paris we saw seated on the ground at a place certainly five
miles away from any spot where a shell had fallen. They were all in
deep mourning, but as they sat in the hay-field around a wicker tea
basket and wrapped in steamer-rugs they were comic. Their lives
were no more valuable than those of thousands of their fellow
townsfolk who in Rheims were carrying on the daily routine. These
kept the shops open or in the streets were assisting the Red Cross.

One elderly gentleman told me how he had been seized by the
Germans as a hostage and threatened with death by hanging. With
forty other first citizens, from the 4th to the 12th of September he had
been in jail. After such an experience one would have thought that
between himself and the Germans he would have placed as many
miles as possible, but instead he was strolling around the Place du
Parvis Notre-Dame, in front of the cathedral. For the French officers
who, on sightseeing bent, were motoring into Rheims from the battle
line he was acting as a sort of guide. Pointing with his umbrella, he
would say: "On the left is the new Palace of Justice, the facade
entirely destroyed; on the right you see the palace of the archbishop,
completely wrecked. The shells that just passed over us have
apparently fallen in the garden of the Hotel Lion d'Or." He was as cool
as the conductor on a "Seeing Rheims" observation-car.

He was matched in coolness by our consul, William Bardel. The
American consulate is at No. 14 Rue Kellermann. That morning a
shell had hit the chestnut-tree in the garden of his neighbor, at No.
12, and had knocked all the chestnuts into the garden of the
consulate. "It's an ill wind that blows nobody good," said Mr. Bardel.

In the bombarded city there was no rule as to how any one would act.
One house would be closed and barred, and the inmates would be
either in their own cellar or in the caves of the nearest champagne
company. To those latter they would bring books or playing-cards
and, among millions of dust-covered bottles, by candle-light, would
wait for the guns to cease. Their neighbors sat in their shops or stood
at the doors of their houses or paraded the streets. Past them their
friends were hastening, trembling with terror. Many women sat on the
front steps, knitting, and with interested eyes watched their
acquaintances fleeing toward the Paris gate. When overhead a shell
passed they would stroll, still knitting, out into the middle of the street
to see where the shell struck.

By the noise it was quite easy to follow the flight of the shells. You
were tricked by the sound into almost believing you could see them.
The six-inch shells passed with a whistling roar that was quite
terrifying. It was as though just above you invisible telegraph-wires
had jangled, and their rush through the air was like the roar that rises
to the car window when two express-trains going in opposite
directions pass at sixty miles an hour. When these sounds assailed
them the people flying from the city would scream. Some of them, as
though they had been hit, would fall on their knees. Others were
sobbing and praying aloud. The tears rolled down their cheeks. In
their terror there was nothing ludicrous; they were in as great physical
pain as were some of the hundreds in Rheims who had been hit. And
yet others of their fellow townsmen living in the same street, and with
the same allotment of brains and nerves, were treating the
bombardment with the indifference they would show to a summer

We had not expected to spend the night in Rheims, so, with
Ashmead Bartlett, the military expert of the London Daily Telegraph, I
went into a chemist's shop to buy some soap. The chemist, seeing I
was an American, became very much excited. He was overstocked
with an American shaving-soap, and he begged me to take it off his
hands. He would let me have it at what it cost him. He did not know
where he had placed it, and he was in great alarm lest we would
leave his shop before he could unload it on us. From both sides of
the town French artillery were firing in salvoes, the shocks shaking
the air; over the shop of the chemist shrapnel was whining, and in the
street the howitzer shells were opening up subways. But his mind
was intent only on finding that American shaving-soap. I was anxious
to get on to a more peaceful neighborhood. To French soap, to soap
"made in Germany," to neutral American soap I was indifferent. Had it
not been for the presence of Ashmead Bartlett I would have fled. To
die, even though clasping a cake of American soap, seemed less
attractive than to live unwashed. But the chemist had no time to
consider shells. He was intent only on getting rid of surplus stock.

The majority of people who are afraid are those who refuse to
consider the doctrine of chances. The chances of their being hit may
be one in ten thousand, but they disregard the odds in their favor and
fix their minds on that one chance against them. In their imagination it
grows larger and larger. It looms red and bloodshot, it hovers over
them; wherever they go it follows, menacing, threatening, filling them
with terror. In Rheims there were one hundred thousand people, and
by shells one thousand were killed or wounded. The chances against
were a hundred to one. Those who left the city undoubtedly thought
the odds were not good enough.

Those who on account of the bombs that fell from the German
aeroplanes into Paris left that city had no such excuse. The chance of
any one person being hit by a bomb was one in several millions. But
even with such generous odds in their favor, during the days the
bomb-dropping lasted many thousands fled. They were obsessed by
that one chance against them. In my hotel in Paris my landlady had
her mind fixed on that one chance, and regularly every afternoon
when the aeroplanes were expected she would go to bed. Just as
regularly her husband would take a pair of opera-glasses and in the
Rue de la Paix hopefully scan the sky.

One afternoon while we waited in front of Cook's an aeroplane sailed
overhead, but so far above us that no one knew whether it was a
French air-ship scouting or a German one preparing to launch a
bomb. A man from Cook's, one of the interpreters, with a horrible
knowledge of English, said: "Taube or not Taube; that is the
question." He was told he was inviting a worse death than from a
bomb. To illustrate the attitude of mind of the Parisian, there is the
story of the street gamin who for some time, from the Garden of the
Tuileries, had been watching a German aeroplane threatening the
city. Finally, he exclaimed impatiently:

"Oh, throw your bomb! You are keeping me from my dinner."

A soldier under fire furnishes few of the surprises of conduct to which
the civilian treats you. The soldier has no choice. He is tied by the leg,
and whether the chances are even or ridiculously in his favor he must
accept them. The civilian can always say, "This is no place for me,"
and get up and walk away. But the soldier cannot say that. He and
his officers, the Red Cross nurses, doctors, ambulance-bearers, and
even the correspondents have taken some kind of oath or signed
some kind of contract that makes it easier for them than for the
civilian to stay on the job. For them to go away would require more
courage than to remain.

Indeed, although courage is so highly regarded, it seems to be of all
virtues the most common. In six wars, among men of nearly every
race, color, religion, and training, I have seen but four men who failed
to show courage. I have seen men who were scared, sometimes
whole regiments, but they still fought on; and that is the highest
courage, for they were fighting both a real enemy and an imaginary

There is a story of a certain politician general of our army who, under
a brisk fire, turned on one of his staff and cried:

"Why, major, you are scared, sir; you are scared!"

"I am," said the major, with his teeth chattering, "and if you were as
scared as I am you'd be twenty miles in the rear."

In this war the onslaughts have been so terrific and so unceasing, the
artillery fire especially has been so entirely beyond human
experience, that the men fight in a kind of daze. Instead of arousing
fear the tumult acts as an anaesthetic. With forests uprooted, houses
smashing about them, and unseen express-trains hurtling through
space, they are too stunned to be afraid. And in time they become
fed up on battles and to the noise and danger grow callous. On the
Aisne I saw an artillery battle that stretched for fifteen miles. Both
banks of the river were wrapped in smoke; from the shells villages
miles away were in flames, and two hundred yards in front of us the
howitzer shells were bursting in black fumes. To this the French
soldiers were completely indifferent. The hills they occupied had been
held that morning by the Germans, and the trenches and fields were
strewn with their accoutrement. So all the French soldiers who were
not serving the guns wandered about seeking souvenirs. They had
never a glance for the villages burning crimson in the bright sunight or
for the falling "Jack Johnsons."

They were intent only on finding a spiked helmet, and when they
came upon one they would give a shout of triumph and hold it up for
their comrades to see. And their comrades would laugh delightedly
and race toward them, stumbling over the furrows. They were as
happy and eager as children picking wild flowers.

It is not good for troops to sup entirely on horrors and also to
breakfast and lunch on them. So after in the trenches one regiment
has been pounded it is withdrawn for a day or two and kept in
reserve. The English Tommies spend this period of recuperating in
playing football and cards. When the English learned this they
forwarded so many thousands of packs of cards to the distributing
depot that the War Office had to request them not to send any more.
When the English officers are granted leave of absence they do not
waste their energy on football, but motor into Paris for a bath and
lunch. At eight they leave the trenches along the Aisne and by noon
arrive at Maxim's, Voisin's, or La Rue's. Seldom does warfare present
a sharper contrast. From a breakfast of "bully" beef, eaten from a tin
plate, with in their nostrils the smell of camp-fires, dead horses, and
unwashed bodies, they find themselves seated on red velvet
cushions, surrounded by mirrors and walls of white and gold, and
spread before them the most immaculate silver, linen, and glass. And
the odors that assail them are those of truffles, white wine, and
"artechant sauce mousseline."

It is a delight to hear them talk. The point of view of the English is so
sane and fair. In risking their legs or arms, or life itself, they see
nothing heroic, dramatic, or extraordinary. They talk of the war as
they would of a cricket-match or a day in the hunting-field. If things
are going wrong they do not whine or blame, nor when fortune smiles
are they unduly jubilant. And they are so appallingly honest and frank.
A piece of shrapnel had broken the arm of one of them, and we were
helping him to cut up his food and pour out his Scotch and soda.
Instead of making a hero or a martyr of himself, he said confidingly:
"You know, I had no right to be hit. If I had been minding my own
business I wouldn't have been hit. But Jimmie was having a hell of a
time on top of a hill, and I just ran up to have a look in. And the
beggars got me. Served me jolly well right. What?"

I met one subaltern at La Rue's who had been given so many
commissions by his brother officers to bring back tobacco, soap, and
underclothes that all his money save five francs was gone. He still
had two days' leave of absence, and, as he truly pointed out, in Paris
even in war time five francs will not carry you far. I offered to be his
banker, but he said he would first try elsewhere. The next day I met
him on the boulevards and asked what kind of a riotous existence he
found possible on five francs.

"I've had the most extraordinary luck," he said. "After I left you I met
my brother. He was just in from the front, and I got all his money."

"Won't your brother need it?" I asked.

"Not at all," said the subaltern cheerfully. "He's shot in the legs, and
they've put him to bed. Rotten luck for him, you might say, but how
lucky for me!"

Had he been the brother who was shot in both legs he would have
treated the matter just as light-heartedly.

One English major, before he reached his own firing-line, was hit by a
bursting shell in three places. While he was lying in the American
ambulance hospital at Neuilly the doctor said to him:

"This cot next to yours is the only one vacant. Would you object if we
put a German in it?"

"By no means," said the major; "I haven't seen one yet."

The stories the English officers told us at La Rue's and Maxim's by
contrast with the surroundings were all the more grewsome. Seeing
them there it did not seem possible that in a few hours these same fit,
sun-tanned youths in khaki would be back in the trenches, or
scouting in advance of them, or that only the day before they had
been dodging death and destroying their fellow men.

Maxim's, which now reminds one only of the last act of "The Merry
Widow," was the meeting-place for the French and English officers
from the front; the American military attaches from our embassy,
among whom were soldiers, sailors, aviators, marines; the doctors
and volunteer nurses from the American ambulance, and the
correspondents who by night dined in Paris and by day dodged arrest
and other things on the firing-line, or as near it as they could motor
without going to jail. For these Maxim's was the clearing-house for
news of friends and battles. Where once were the supper-girls and
the ladies of the gold-mesh vanity-bags now were only men in red
and blue uniforms, men in khaki, men in bandages. Among them
were English lords and French princes with titles that dated from
Agincourt to Waterloo, where their ancestors had met as enemies.
Now those who had succeeded them, as allies, were, over a sole
Marguery, discussing air-ships, armored automobiles, and

At one table Arthur H. Frazier, of the American embassy, would be
telling an English officer that a captain of his regiment who was
supposed to have been killed at Courtrai had, like a homing pigeon,
found his way to the hospital at Neuilly and wanted to be reported
"safe" at Lloyds. At another table a French lieutenant would describe
a raid made by the son of an American banker in Paris who is in
command of an armed automobile. "He swept his gun only once--so,"
the Frenchman explained, waving his arm across the champagne
and the broiled lobster, "and he caught a general and two staff-
officers. He cut them in half." Or at another table you would listen to a
group of English officers talking in wonder of the Germans' wasteful
advance in solid formation.

"They were piled so high," one of them relates, "that I stopped firing.
They looked like gray worms squirming about in a bait-box. I can
shoot men coming at me on their feet, but not a mess of arms and

"I know," assents another; "when we charged the other day we had to
advance over the Germans that fell the night before, and my men
were slipping and stumbling all over the place. The bodies didn't give
them any foothold."

"My sergeant yesterday," another relates, "turned to me and said: 'It
isn't cricket. There's no game in shooting into a target as big as that.
It's just murder.' I had to order him to continue firing."

They tell of it without pose or emotion. It is all in the day's work. Most
of them are young men of wealth, of ancient family, cleanly bred
gentlemen of England, and as they nod and leave the restaurant we
know that in three hours, wrapped in a greatcoat, each will be
sleeping in the earth trenches, and that the next morning the shells
will wake him.

Chapter X
The Waste of War

In this war, more than in other campaigns, the wastefulness is
apparent. In other wars, what to the man at home was most
distressing was the destruction of life. He measured the importance
of the conflict by the daily lists of killed and wounded. But in those
wars, except human life, there was little else to destroy. The war in
South Africa was fought among hills of stone, across vacant stretches
of prairie. Not even trees were destroyed, because there were no
trees. In the district over which the armies passed there were not
enough trees to supply the men with fire-wood. In Manchuria, with the
Japanese, we marched for miles without seeing even a mud village,
and the approaches to Port Arthur were as desolate as our Black
Hills. The Italian-Turkish War was fought in the sands of a desert, and
in the Balkan War few had heard of the cities bombarded until they
read they were in flames. But this war is being waged in that part of
the world best known to the rest of the world.

Every summer hundreds of thousands of Americans, on business or
on pleasure bent, travelled to the places that now daily are being
taken or retaken or are in ruins. At school they had read of these
places in their history books and later had visited them. In
consequence, in this war they have a personal and an intelligent
interest. It is as though of what is being destroyed they were part

Toward Europe they are as absentee landlords. It was their pleasure-
ground and their market. And now that it is being laid low the utter
wastefulness of war is brought closer to this generation than ever
before. Loss of life in war has not been considered entirely wasted,
because the self-sacrifice involved ennobled it. And the men who
went out to war knew what they might lose. Neither when, in the
pursuits of peace, human life is sacrificed is it counted as wasted.
The pioneers who were killed by the Indians or who starved to death
in what then were deserts helped to carry civilization from the Atlantic
to the Pacific. Only ten years ago men were killed in learning to
control the "horseless wagons," and now sixty-horsepower cars are
driven by women and young girls. Later the air-ship took its toll of
human life. Nor, in view of the possibilities of the air-ships in the
future, can it be said those lives were wasted. But, except life, there
was no other waste. To perfect the automobile and the air-ship no
women were driven from home and the homes destroyed. No
churches were bombarded. Men in this country who after many years
had built up a trade in Europe were not forced to close their mills and
turn into the streets hundreds of working men and women.

It is in the by-products of the war that the waste, cruelty, and stupidity
of war are most apparent. It is the most innocent who suffer and
those who have the least offended who are the most severely
punished. The German Emperor wanted a place in the sun, and,
having decided that the right moment to seize it had arrived, declared
war. As a direct result, Mary Kelly, a telephone girl at the Wistaria
Hotel, in New York, is looking for work. It sounds like an O. Henry
story, but, except for the name of the girl and the hotel, it is not
fiction. She told me about it one day on my return to New York,
on Broadway.

"I'm looking for work," she said, "and I thought if you remembered me
you might give me a reference. I used to work at Sherry's and at the
Wistaria Hotel. But I lost my job through the war." How the war in
Europe could strike at a telephone girl in New York was puzzling; but
Mary Kelly made it clear. "The Wistaria is very popular with
Southerners," she explained, "They make their money in cotton and
blow it in New York. But now they can't sell their cotton, and so they
have no money, and so they can't come to New York. And the hotel
is run at a loss, and the proprietor discharged me and the other girl,
and the bellboys are tending the switchboard. I've been a month
trying to get work. But everybody gives me the same answer. They're
cutting down the staff on account of the war. I've walked thirty miles a
day looking for a job, and I'm nearly all in. How long do you think this
war will last?" This telephone girl looking for work is a tiny by-product
of war. She is only one instance of efficiency gone to waste.

The reader can think of a hundred other instances. In his own life he
can show where in his pleasures, his business, in his plans for the
future the war has struck at him and has caused him inconvenience,
loss, or suffering. He can then appreciate how much greater are the
loss and suffering to those who live within the zone of fire. In Belgium
and France the vacant spaces are very few, and the shells fall among
cities and villages lying so close together that they seem to touch
hands. For hundreds of years the land has been cultivated, the fields,
gardens, orchards tilled and lovingly cared for. The roads date back
to the days of Caesar. The stone farmhouses, as well as the stone
churches, were built to endure. And for centuries, until this war came,
they had endured. After the battle of Waterloo some of these stone
farmhouses found themselves famous. In them Napoleon or
Wellington had spread his maps or set up his cot, and until this war
the farmhouses of Mont-Saint-Jean, of Caillou, of Haie-Sainte, of the
Belle-Alliance remained as they were on the day of the great battle a
hundred years ago. They have received no special care, the
elements have not spared them nor caretakers guarded them. They
still were used as dwellings, and it was only when you recognized
them by having seen them on the post-cards that you distinguished
them from thousands of other houses, just as old and just as well
preserved, that stretched from Brussels to Liege.

But a hundred years after this war those other houses will not be
shown on picture post-cards. King Albert and his staff may have
spent the night in them, but the next day Von Kluck and his army
passed, and those houses that had stood for three hundred years
were destroyed. In the papers you have seen many pictures of the
shattered roofs and the streets piled high with fallen walls and lined
with gaping cellars over which once houses stood. The walls can be
rebuilt, but what was wasted and which cannot be rebuilt are the
labor, the saving, the sacrifices that made those houses not mere
walls but homes. A house may be built in a year or rented overnight; it
takes longer than that to make it a home. The farmers and peasants
in Belgium had spent many hours of many days in keeping their
homes beautiful, in making their farms self-supporting. After the work
of the day was finished they had planted gardens, had reared fruit-
trees, built arbors; under them at mealtime they sat surrounded by
those of their own household. To buy the horse and the cow they had
pinched and saved; to make the gardens beautiful and the fields
fertile they had sweated and slaved, the women as well as the men;
even the watch-dog by day was a beast of burden.

When, in August, I reached Belgium between Brussels and Liege, the
whole countryside showed the labor of these peasants. Unlike the
American farmer, they were too poor to buy machines to work for
them, and with scythes and sickles in hand they cut the grain; with
heavy flails they beat it. All that you saw on either side of the road that
was fertile and beautiful was the result of their hard, unceasing
personal effort. Then the war came, like a cyclone, and in three
weeks the labor of many years was wasted. The fields were torn with
shells, the grain was in flames, torches destroyed the villages, by the
roadside were the carcasses of the cows that had been killed to feed
the invader, and the horses were carried off harnessed to gray gun-
carriages. These were the things you saw on every side, from
Brussels to the German border. The peasants themselves were
huddled beneath bridges. They were like vast camps of gypsies,
except that, less fortunate than the gypsy, they had lost what he
neither possesses nor desires, a home. As the enemy advanced the
inhabitants of one village would fly for shelter to the next, only by the
shells to be whipped farther forward; and so, each hour growing in
number, the refugees fled toward Brussels and the coast. They were
an army of tramps, of women and children tramps, sleeping in the
open fields, beneath the hayricks seeking shelter from the rain, living
on the raw turnips and carrots they had plucked from the deserted
vegetable gardens. The peasants were not the only ones who
suffered. The rich and the noble-born were as unhappy and as
homeless. They had credit, and in the banks they had money, but
they could not get at the money; and when a chateau and a
farmhouse are in flames, between them there is little choice.

Three hours after midnight on the day the Germans began their three
days' march through Brussels I had crossed the Square Rogier to
send a despatch by one of the many last trains for Ostend. When I
returned to the Palace Hotel, seated on the iron chairs on the
sidewalk were a woman, her three children, and two maid servants.
The woman was in mourning, which was quite new, for, though the
war was only a month old, many had been killed, among them her
husband. The day before, at Tirlemont, shells had destroyed her
chateau, and she was on her way to England. She had around her
neck two long strings of pearls, the maids each held a small hand-
bag, her boy clasped in his arms a forlorn and sleepy fox-terrier, and
each of the little girls was embracing a bird-cage. In one was a
canary, in the other a parrot. That was all they had saved. In their way
they were just as pathetic as the peasants sleeping under the
hedges. They were just as homeless, friendless, just as much in
need of food and sleep, and in their eyes was the same look of fear
and horror. Bernhardi tells his countrymen that war is glorious, heroic,
and for a nation an economic necessity. Instead, it is stupid,
unintelligent. It creates nothing; it only wastes.

If it confined itself to destroying forts and cradles of barbed wire then
it would be sufficiently hideous. But it strikes blindly, brutally; it
tramples on the innocent and the beautiful. It is the bull in the china
shop and the mad dog who snaps at children who are trying only
to avoid him. People were incensed at the destruction in Louvain
of the library, the Catholic college, the Church of St. Pierre that dated
from the thirteenth century. These buildings belonged to the world,
and over their loss the world was rightfully indignant, but in Louvain
there were also shops and manufactories, hotels and private houses.
Each belonged, not to the world, but to one family. These individual
families made up a city of forty-five thousand people. In two days
there was not a roof left to cover one of them. The trade those people
had built up had been destroyed, the "good-will and fixings," the
stock on the shelves and in the storerooms, the goods in the
shop-windows, the portraits in the drawing-room, the souvenirs and
family heirlooms, the love-letters, the bride's veil, the baby's first
worsted shoes, and the will by which some one bequeathed to his
beloved wife all his worldly goods.

War came and sent all these possessions, including the will and the
worldly goods, up into the air in flames. Most of the people of Louvain
made their living by manufacturing church ornaments and brewing
beer. War was impartial, and destroyed both the beer and the church
ornaments. It destroyed also the men who made them, and it drove
the women and children into concentration camps. When first I visited
Louvain it was a brisk, clean, prosperous city. The streets were
spotless, the shop-windows and cafes were modern, rich-looking,
inviting, and her great churches and Hotel de Ville gave to the city
grace and dignity. Ten days later, when I again saw it, Louvain was in
darkness, lit only by burning buildings. Rows and rows of streets were
lined with black, empty walls. Louvain was a city of the past, another
Pompeii, and her citizens were being led out to be shot. The fate of
Louvain was the fate of Vise, of Malines, of Tirlemont, of Liege, of
hundreds of villages and towns, and by the time this is printed it will
be the fate of hundreds of other towns over all of Europe. In this war
the waste of horses is appalling. Those that first entered Brussels with
the German army had been bred and trained for the purposes of war,
and they were magnificent specimens. Every one who saw them
exclaimed ungrudgingly in admiration. But by the time the army
reached the approaches of Paris the forced marches had so depleted
the stock of horses that for remounts the Germans were seizing all
they met. Those that could not keep up were shot. For miles along
the road from Meaux to Soissons and Rheims their bodies tainted the

They had served their purposes, and after six weeks of campaigning
the same animals that in times of peace would have proved faithful
servants for many years were destroyed that they might not fall into
the hands of the French. Just as an artillery-man spikes his gun, the
Germans on their retreat to the Aisne River left in their wake no horse
that might assist in their pursuit. As they withdrew they searched each
stable yard and killed the horses. In village after village I saw horses
lying in the stalls or in the fields still wearing the harness of the
plough, or in groups of three or four in the yard of a barn, each with a
bullet-hole in its temple. They were killed for fear they might be useful.

Waste can go no further. Another example of waste were the motor-
trucks and automobiles. When the war began the motor-trucks of the
big department stores and manufacturers and motor-buses of
London, Paris, and Berlin were taken over by the different armies.
They had cost them from two thousand to three thousand dollars
each, and in times of peace, had they been used for the purposes for
which they were built, would several times over have paid for
themselves. But war gave them no time to pay even for their tires.
You saw them by the roadside, cast aside like empty cigarette-boxes.
A few hours' tinkering would have set them right. They were still good
for years of service. But an army in retreat or in pursuit has no time to
waste in repairing motors. To waste the motor is cheaper.

Between Villers-Cotterets and Soissons the road was strewn with
high-power automobiles and motor-trucks that the Germans had
been forced to destroy. Something had gone wrong, something that
at other times could easily have been mended. But with the French in
pursuit there was no time to pause, nor could cars of such value be
left to the enemy. So they had been set on fire or blown up, or
allowed to drive head-on into a stone wall or over an embankment.
From the road above we could see them in the field below, lying like
giant turtles on their backs. In one place in the forest of Villers was a
line of fifteen trucks, each capable of carrying five tons. The gasolene
to feed them had become exhausted, and the whole fifteen had been
set on fire. In war this is necessary, but it was none the less waste.
When an army takes the field it must consider first its own safety; and
to embarrass the enemy everything else must be sacrificed. It cannot
consider the feelings or pockets of railroad or telegraph companies. It
cannot hesitate to destroy a bridge because that bridge cost five
hundred thousand dollars. And it does not hesitate.

Motoring from Paris to the front these days is a question of avoiding
roads rendered useless because a broken bridge has cut them in
half. All over France are these bridges of iron, of splendid masonry,
some decorated with statues, some dating back hundreds of years,
but now with a span blown out or entirely destroyed and sprawling in
the river. All of these material things--motor-cars, stone bridges,
railroad-tracks, telegraph-lines--can be replaced. Money can restore
them. But money cannot restore the noble trees of France and
Belgium, eighty years old or more, that shaded the roads, that made
beautiful the parks and forests. For military purposes they have been
cut down or by artillery fire shattered into splinters. They will again
grow, but eighty years is a long time to wait.

Nor can money replace the greatest waste of all--the waste in "killed,
wounded, and missing." The waste of human life in this war is so
enormous, so far beyond our daily experience, that disasters less
appalling are much easier to understand. The loss of three people in
an automobile accident comes nearer home than the fact that at the
battle of Sezanne thirty thousand men were killed. Few of us are
trained to think of men in such numbers--certainly not of dead men in
such numbers. We have seen thirty thousand men together only
during the world's series or at the championship football matches. To
get an idea of the waste of this war we must imagine all of the
spectators at a football match between Yale and Harvard suddenly
stricken dead. We must think of all the wives, children, friends
affected by the loss of those thirty thousand, and we must multiply
those thirty thousand by hundreds, and imagine these hundreds of
thousands lying dead in Belgium, in Alsace-Lorraine, and within ten
miles of Paris. After the Germans were repulsed at Meaux and at
Sezanne the dead of both armies were so many that they lay
intermingled in layers three and four deep. They were buried in long
pits and piled on top of each other like cigars in a box. Lines of fresh
earth so long that you mistook them for trenches intended to conceal
regiments were in reality graves. Some bodies lay for days uncovered
until they had lost all human semblance. They were so many you
ceased to regard them even as corpses. They had become just a
part of the waste, a part of the shattered walls, uprooted trees, and
fields ploughed by shells. What once had been your fellow men were
only bundles of clothes, swollen and shapeless, like scarecrows
stuffed with rags, polluting the air.

The wounded were hardly less pitiful. They were so many and so
thickly did they fall that the ambulance service at first was not
sufficient to handle them. They lay in the fields or forests sometimes
for a day before they were picked up, suffering unthinkable agony.
And after they were placed in cars and started back toward Paris the
tortures continued. Some of the trains of wounded that arrived
outside the city had not been opened in two days. The wounded had
been without food or water. They had not been able to move from the
positions in which in torment they had thrown themselves. The foul air
had produced gangrene. And when the cars were opened the stench
was so fearful that the Red Cross people fell back as though from a
blow. For the wounded Paris is full of hospitals--French, English, and
American. And the hospitals are full of splendid men. Each one once
had been physically fit or he would not have been passed to the front;
and those among them who are officers are finely bred, finely
educated, or they would not be officers. But each matched his good
health, his good breeding, and knowledge against a broken piece of
shell or steel bullet, and the shell or bullet won. They always will win.
Stephen Crane called a wound "the red badge of courage." It is all of
that. And the man who wears that badge has all my admiration. But I
cannot help feeling also the waste of it. I would have a standing army
for the same excellent reason that I insure my house; but, except in
self-defence, no war. For war--and I have seen a lot of it--is waste.
And waste is unintelligent.

Chapter XI
War Correspondents

The attitude of the newspaper reader toward the war correspondent
who tries to supply him with war news has always puzzled me.

One might be pardoned for suggesting that their interests are the
same. If the correspondent is successful, the better service he
renders the reader. The more he is permitted to see at the front, the
more news he is allowed to cable home, the better satisfied should be
the man who follows the war through the "extras."

But what happens is the reverse of that. Never is the "constant
reader" so delighted as when the war correspondent gets the worst of
it. It is the one sure laugh. The longer he is kept at the base, the more
he is bottled up, "deleted," censored, and made prisoner, the greater
is the delight of the man at home. He thinks the joke is on the war
correspondent. I think it is on the "constant reader." If, at breakfast,
the correspondent fails to supply the morning paper with news, the
reader claims the joke is on the news-gatherer. But if the milkman
fails to leave the milk, and the baker the rolls, is the joke on the
milkman and the baker or is it on the "constant reader"? Which goes

The explanation of the attitude of the "constant reader" to the
reporters seems to be that he regards the correspondent as a prying
busybody, as a sort of spy, and when he is snubbed and suppressed
he feels he is properly punished. Perhaps the reader also resents the
fact that while the correspondent goes abroad, he stops at home and
receives the news at second hand. Possibly he envies the man who
has a front seat and who tells him about it. And if you envy a man,
when that man comes to grief it is only human nature to laugh.

You have seen unhappy small boys outside a baseball park, and one
happy boy inside on the highest seat of the grand stand, who calls
down to them why the people are yelling and who has struck out. Do
the boys on the ground love the boy in the grand stand and are they
grateful to him? No.

Does the fact that they do not love him and are not grateful to him for
telling them the news distress the boy in the grand stand? No. For no
matter how closely he is bottled up, how strictly censored, "deleted,"
arrested, searched, and persecuted, as between the man at home
and the correspondent, the correspondent will always be the more
fortunate. He is watching the march of great events, he is studying
history in the making, and all he sees is of interest. Were it not of
interest he would not have been sent to report it. He watches men
acting under the stress of all the great emotions. He sees them
inspired by noble courage, pity, the spirit of self-sacrifice, of loyalty,
and pride of race and country.

In Cuba I saw Captain Robb Church of our army win the Medal of
Honor, in South Africa I saw Captain Towse of the Scot Greys win his
Victoria Cross. Those of us who watched him knew he had won it just
as surely as you know when a runner crosses the home plate and
scores. Can the man at home from the crook play or the home run
obtain a thrill that can compare with the sight of a man offering up his
life that other men may live?

When I returned to New York every second man I knew greeted me
sympathetically with: "So, you had to come home, hey? They wouldn't
let you see a thing." And if I had time I told him all I saw was the
German, French, Belgian, and English armies in the field, Belgium in
ruins and flames, the Germans sacking Louvain, in the Dover Straits
dreadnoughts, cruisers, torpedo destroyers, submarines,
hydroplanes; in Paris bombs falling from air-ships and a city put to
bed at 9 o'clock; battle-fields covered with dead men; fifteen miles of
artillery firing across the Aisne at fifteen miles of artillery; the
bombardment of Rheims, with shells lifting the roofs as easily as you
would lift the cover of a chafing-dish and digging holes in the streets,
and the cathedral on fire; I saw hundreds of thousands of soldiers
from India, Senegal, Morocco, Ireland, Australia, Algiers, Bavaria,
Prussia, Scotland, saw them at the front in action, saw them
marching over the whole northern half of Europe, saw them wounded
and helpless, saw thousands of women and children sleeping under
hedges and haystacks with on every side of them their homes blazing
in flames or crashing in ruins. That was a part of what I saw. What
during the same two months did the man at home see? If he were
lucky he saw the Braves win the world's series, or the Vernon Castles
dance the fox trot.

The war correspondents who were sent to this war knew it was to
sound their death-knell. They knew that because the newspapers that
had no correspondents at the front told them so; because the
General Staff of each army told them so; because every man they
met who stayed at home told them so. Instead of taking their death-
blow lying down they went out to meet it. In other wars as rivals they
had fought to get the news; in this war they were fighting for their
professional existence, for their ancient right to stand on the firing-
line, to report the facts, to try to describe the indescribable. If their
death-knell sounded they certainly did not hear it. If they were licked
they did not know it. In the twenty-five years in which I have followed
wars, in no other war have I seen the war correspondents so well
prove their right to march with armies. The happy days when they
were guests of the army, when news was served to them by the men
who made the news, when Archibald Forbes and Frank Millet shared
the same mess with the future Czar of Russia, when MacGahan slept
in the tent with Skobeleff and Kipling rode with Roberts, have passed.
Now, with every army the correspondent is as popular as a floating
mine, as welcome as the man dropping bombs from an air-ship. The
hand of every one is against him. "Keep out! This means you!" is the
way they greet him. Added to the dangers and difficulties they must
overcome in any campaign, which are only what give the game its
flavor, they are now hunted, harassed, and imprisoned. But the new
conditions do not halt them. They, too, are fighting for their place in
the sun. I know one man whose name in this war has been signed to
despatches as brilliant and as numerous as those of any
correspondent, but which for obvious reasons is not given here. He
was arrested by one army, kept four days in a cell, and then warned if
he was again found within the lines of that army he would go to jail for
six months; one month later he was once more arrested, and told if
he again came near the front he would go to prison for two years.
Two weeks later he was back at the front. Such a story causes the
teeth of all the members of the General Staff to gnash with fury. You
can hear them exclaiming: "If we caught that man we would treat him
as a spy." And so unintelligent are they on the question of
correspondents that they probably would.

When Orville Wright hid himself in South Carolina to perfect his flying-
machine he objected to what he called the "spying" of the
correspondents. One of them rebuked him. "You have discovered
something," he said, "in which the whole civilized world is interested.
If it is true you have made it possible for man to fly, that discovery is
more important than your personal wishes. Your secret is too
valuable for you to keep to yourself. We are not spies. We are
civilization demanding to know if you have something that more
concerns the whole world than it can possibly concern you."

As applied to war, that point of view is equally just. The army calls for
your father, husband, son--calls for your money. It enters upon a war
that destroys your peace of mind, wrecks your business, kills the men
of your family, the man you were going to marry, the son you brought
into the world. And to you the army says: "This is our war. We will
fight it in our own way, and of it you can learn only what we choose to
tell you. We will not let you know whether your country is winning the
fight or is in danger, whether we have blundered and the soldiers are
starving, whether they gave their lives gloriously or through our lack
of preparation or inefficiency are dying of neglected wounds." And if
you answer that you will send with the army men to write letters home
and tell you, not the plans for the future and the secrets of the army,
but what are already accomplished facts, the army makes reply: "No,
those men cannot be trusted. They are spies."

Not for one moment does the army honestly think those men are
spies. But it is the excuse nearest at hand. It is the easiest way out of
a situation every army, save our own, has failed to treat with
intelligence. Every army knows that there are men to-day acting, or
anxious to act, as war correspondents who can be trusted absolutely,
whose loyalty and discretion are above question, who no more would
rob their army of a military secret than they would rob a till. If the army
does not know that, it is unintelligent. That is the only crime I impute
to any general staff--lack of intelligence.

When Captain Granville Fortescue, of the Hearst syndicate, told the
French general that his word as a war correspondent was as good as
that of any general in any army he was indiscreet, but he was merely
stating a fact. The answer of the French general was to put him in
prison. That was not an intelligent answer.

The last time I was arrested was at Romigny, by General Asebert. I
had on me a three-thousand-word story, written that morning in
Rheims, telling of the wanton destruction of the cathedral. I asked the
General Staff, for their own good, to let the story go through. It stated
only facts which I believed were they known to civilized people would
cause them to protest against a repetition of such outrages. To get
the story on the wire I made to Lieutenant Lucien Frechet and Major
Klotz, of the General Staff, a sporting offer. For every word of my
despatch they censored I offered to give them for the Red Cross of
France five francs. That was an easy way for them to subscribe to the
French wounded three thousand dollars. To release his story Gerald
Morgan, of the London Daily Telegraph, made them the same offer. It
was a perfectly safe offer for Gerald to make, because a great part of
his story was an essay on Gothic architecture. Their answer was to
put both of us in the Cherche-Midi prison. The next day the censor
read my story and said to Lieutenant Frechet and Major Klotz: "But I
insist this goes at once. It should have been sent twenty-four hours

Than the courtesy of the French officers nothing could have been
more correct, but I submit that when you earnestly wish to help a man
to have him constantly put you in prison is confusing. It was all very
well to dissemble your love. But why did you kick me down-stairs?

There was the case of Luigi Barzini. In Italy Barzini is the D'Annunzio
of newspaper writers. Of all Italian journalists he is the best known.
On September 18, at Romigny, General Asebert arrested Barzini, and
for four days kept him in a cow stable. Except what he begged from
the gendarmes, he had no food, and he slept on straw. When I saw
him at the headquarters of the General Staff under arrest I told them
who he was, and that were I in their place I would let him see all there
was to see, and let him, as he wished, write to his people of the
excellence of the French army and of the inevitable success of the
Allies. With Italy balancing on the fence and needing very little urging
to cause her to join her fortunes with France, to choose that moment
to put Italian journalists in a cow yard struck me as dull.

In this war the foreign offices of the different governments have been
willing to allow correspondents to accompany the army. They know
that there are other ways of killing a man than by hitting him with a
piece of shrapnel. One way is to tell the truth about him. In this entire
war nothing hit Germany so hard a blow as the publicity given to a
certain remark about a scrap of paper. But from the government the
army would not tolerate any interference. It said: "Do you want us to
run this war or do you want to run it?" Each army of the Allies treated
its own government much as Walter Camp would treat the Yale
faculty if it tried to tell him who should play right tackle.

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