The wind seemed to play with the smoke, rolling dense volumes down the slopes which dispersed only when they reached the bank along the river. Whilst the flames soared high up from the roofs, the walls of the houses stood still erect, and everywhere in the windows one saw those miserable little white flags, symbols of submission, mute prayers75 that submission should be rewarded by sparing the life and possession of the inhabitants....I had to walk along the very edge of the unstable bridge in order to avoid the wheels of the passing carriages, which shook the whole bridge and made the rather loose boards clatter. In the meantime, at no considerable distance, some shells fell in the Meuse, fired at the bridge from Fort Pontisse. Yet, I did not mind it at all, as all these new experiences stunned me, so to speak; the incessant hellish noises of the batteries, the burning houses, the smoke swooping down, the excited soldiers.... 极限 I went on by myself, and arrived at last in a street where I noticed a light in a house. When I came near, I stood opposite a small café, with "Lodgings" over the door. I was hardly able to go on, and did not care whether it was "lodgings" or "hotel," if I could only get in somewhere. I had expected to meet a terrible creature, but must admit that he was as kind as possible. As soon as he had learned from my papers that I was a Netherland journalist, he jumped up and stood in the attitude as though he saw in me the personification of the Kaiser. He already probably felt the pangs of remorse, and now wanted to try and justify himself as far as possible in the eyes of the public. On that occasion the Germans arrested me at about two miles from Tirlemont. Firstly, because I travelled by bicycle, and secondly, because I was accused of having "cooked" one of my passports.
48 什么 "Near Maastricht. You know where Maastricht is?" As soon as they began to chase the men, the greater part of the inhabitants fled in dire fear, most of178 them towards the Campine. In the fields and the shrubberies the Germans must have killed a good many of the male fugitives, and made the others prisoners. Among the latter were my six fellow-victims. When I left I got a lot of addresses of relations in The Netherlands, and undertook to send a postcard to each of these. They also gave me an introduction to the proprietor of an hotel whom they knew, in which they asked him to give me a bed; and thus armed I succeeded at last. It was high time too, for at nine o'clock everyone had to be at home. In the hotel everything was dark, for there was no gas in the town. At last I could lie down on my bed, and had a good rest, although I could not sleep a wink. I was too tired and had seen and experienced too much that day.
"Oh, quite nice people, sir!" 目的 Five minutes later the smoke had disappeared almost, and I was able to see what had happened on the field in front of me. Terrible! On all sides lay scattered the lads, who but a short time ago started with so much enthusiasm, and here and there a gun knocked over, five, six corpses lying around it. 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 Liège. Belgian and German soldiers found excellent nursing here. Many convalescents were allowed to walk in the large garden, which was happily divided by a large wall, so that the one-time combatants could be separated.
He pointed to a couple of soldiers, and they laid hold of me. They took me to a small room, where I was astonished to find two soldiers with revolvers guarding a priest and a peasant. As soon as the door was closed behind me I wished to chat with my fellow-prisoners, for even in prison I was not oblivious of my journalistic duties. But they seemed not at all anxious to have anything to do with me, and I soon understood the reason why. At each question they threw timid glances at the two watch-dogs, and I saw that fear of these made them withhold all information. However, after a good deal of trouble I got to know that the priest was the parish priest, and his companion in misery the burgomaster. They had been taken as hostages, and would suffer punishment for acts the villagers might eventually commit against the German usurpers. I contented myself with this, as I felt104 that in the circumstances further questions might make things awkward for these two men. 界而 "All the women and children had been taken to a convent, where they were kept imprisoned for four days, without hearing of the fate of their beloved ones. They themselves expected to be shot in their turn. Round about them the burning of the town went on. A paralysed woman who had also been flung into the street was nursed at the hospital, and lay with many others in the chapel of the Institution, which had been turned into a ward. The man who had this experience was Mr. Coppieters, the District Commissioner, a man who had given all his life to the service of society and the good of the community.”
Is it thinkable that persons in that frame of mind would take up arms and invite the enemy's revenge upon themselves and those near and dear to them, a revenge of which they were so mortally afraid? 那血 These and similar questions were asked after a superficial examination of my papers, and, having answered them, I was allowed to go on. But at a certain moment an officer appeared, who summoned me to dismount, and asked for my papers. After a short examination he ordered a soldier to take me to the commanding officer at Riemst. On the day of my stay at Charleroi, at about seven o'clock in the evening, there was a good deal of bustle round about the station, many trains from Maubeuge arriving. One of these trains was entirely filled by officers of the garrison who had been taken prisoner. Another carried only wounded Germans, lying on light stretchers, on which they were transported through the streets to the hospitals at Charleroi. Many had fearful wounds, and convulsively held their hands on the injured parts, while others lay still, the pallor of death on their face. Maubeuge must have cost the Germans enormous sacrifices, as for many of the wretched wounded no room could be found at Charleroi, and they had to be taken farther by train, to Namur or Brussels. Only because these wretched people had not promptly obeyed the order of the military to march against the fort in front of the soldiers, Vivignes had been punished, and that morning over forty of the best houses had been set on fire.”