类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-11-27 21:28:20


"Well ...! The Nieuwe Zijds Voorburgwal.""In agreement with the German Military authority I invite the inhabitants of Louvain to return to the city, and to take up again their usual occupations.

"1. That it is prohibited to be out of doors after seven o'clock (Belgian time) in the evening.No wonder that the inhabitants were afraid and looked askance at me as they mistook me for a German.CHAPTER XIII

Well, I did not quite fancy the prospect of being shot like a dog, and as I had not yet come into touch with the Germans, it was difficult to say whether these people exaggerated or not. But just opposite was Eysden, and I made up my mind to go there for further information."No."76

As soon as they had got all the information they required, the commanding officer ordered a patrol of cyclists of six men to leave their kit and rifles behind, but to take a Browning, and deliver a rapidly written letter at Li猫ge.At Vis茅 many men had been commanded to do certain kinds of work, cutting down trees, making of roads, bridges, and so on. Many of them never returned, because they refused to do the humiliating work and were shot. Among these there were even aged people; and I myself stood by the death-bed of a man of ninety, who had been forced to assist in building a bridge, until the poor wretch broke down and was carried to St. Hadelin College, turned into a hospital by Dr. Goffin; there he died.For quite a quarter of an hour they seemed to proceed successfully, as obviously not one shell exploded in their neighbourhood. But suddenly all along their line dark masses several yards high rose up. This was the effect of numerous exceedingly well-aimed shells on the dry, loose sand. Soon the men were surrounded by those thick clouds of dust, and only during the first few minutes I saw here and there one of those shades in human form tumble down, evidently hit by one of the projectiles. Then I saw nothing for a long while, excepting the thick wall of dust, which seemed to remain standing up, for constantly the shells threw up anew the earth that had only just fallen down.

"What," I exclaimed, "you dare to say that the Netherlanders act with the Germans? No, shall I tell you something? The Germans have asked206 the Netherland Government for permission to place a 42 cm. gun on their territory to shell Antwerp from that side, but the Netherland Government have refused."I roamed about aimlessly in a scorching heat. Whither? I did not know myself. I did not know Louvain and met nobody whom I might ask something. I came near a couple of streets that were only ruins; the walls collapsed against each other and filled the roadway with rubbish, so that sometimes I could not see whether I walked on or beside the place where the houses used to stand.We first drove through the suburb Montigny-sur-Sambre, which shared the fate of Jumet, and was entirely destroyed by fire. After leaving the town we went in the direction of Chatelet, where we found an immense battle-field. Terrific fighting must have taken place here, for the number of buried was enormous. On a wide stretch of land we saw a great number of mounds, with crosses, and covered with quicklime. On the crosses the numbers are given of the brave who fell there. So I read, for example:鈥

I myself ran great risks too, but I did not mind, and walked on, moved by a consuming desire to get to Li猫ge, and then back to Maastricht, to be able to wire to my paper that I had been to Li猫ge only just after it was taken by the Germans, and that the news, wired from Germany to the Netherland papers, that the forts had been taken was untrue."Are they tolerably kind?"They took me to two officers who stood near the bridge, and told them that I "pretended" to be a Netherland journalist. Having proved this by my papers, the officers gave me an escort of three men, who conducted me to the bridge-commander, on the other side of the Meuse.

"They were all unrecognisable, their faces were black from smoke, their uniforms in rags, their hands covered with blood. The general was put on a stretcher, and carried outside the fort across the heaps of obstacles; there he was attended to by a surgeon. He had lost consciousness. As soon as he recovered it, he pressed the hands of two Belgian officers. 'It is all over; there is nothing left to defend. But we did our utmost courageously.'Women and children had frequently been ill-treated in a most atrocious manner, aged and sick people were dragged out of the houses, and flung down in the street. This happened, for example, to an old man, who lay dying in his cellar. In spite of the supplications of his wife and two sons, he was flung on the cobbles, where he died soon. The sons were taken prisoners and sent away. His widow assists at present nursing other unfortunates at Professor Noyons' hospital."The Burgomaster."

CHAPTER IINext day I was already back in Li猫ge, where much was changed after my last visit. The Germans went on terrorising the inhabitants, and these, being extremely frightened, looked with suspicion at every stranger. In the streets was the smoke of burning houses, especially from Outre-Meuse.Yet I am glad to have witnessed the terrible fights near the Yser a couple of times where the German invasion was stopped, and where we may hope that soon victory may dawn on the brave Belgian army.

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By and by I began to feel that I had already walked about twenty miles in this great heat, but I would not think of stopping before reaching my goal.When the Germans entered Bilsen for the first time, four persons were shot in front of the town-hall; fifteen holes were still to be seen in the wall. Amongst these four was also the brother-in-law of the editor of the Bilsenaar. He was dragged out of his house, accused of having shot, although he and his wife and children were at that moment saying the rosary. His wife had got up that day for the first time after her confinement.That is not evidence however, for how did they get the information? From my own experience I make bold to say with the greatest confidence that these reports came from German sources only, whereas there was not any ground for them.

"The next day all remained quiet, the French keeping the surrounding places occupied; not one fight took place between the two armies and nothing happened which might be looked upon as a hostile action by the populations, and there were no German troops near Dinant.53As soon as I heard about the horrors that took place at Louvain, I hastened to try and get there to find out, if possible, by personal observation the truth of the numberless conflicting stories that would undoubtedly grow up from the facts. I expected that the situation round about the town would be rather critical, and decided to proceed cautiously. It is rather a long stretch of nearly forty-five miles, but I succeeded in getting to Louvain in the afternoon.




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