'Paris Waits 1914'
by M.E. Clarke


An Englishman in Paris in 1914


Paris During the War

August 8, 1914.--The events, the emotions, the revelations, which have been packed into this first week in August 1914, will remain for ever with those who have been through them. When Germany declared war on France, Paris was indulging in dusty summer slackness and the tourists shared with the concierges the delights of the holiday season. But, on the issue of the order for general mobilisation, the whole country sprang to action with a gesture as graceful as it was orderly, and Paris put off her holiday garb for one of more martial appearance.

From the first moment, the mobilisation plans worked with clock-like regularity. The men obeyed their summons eagerly and the women bravely seconded them. In a week, Paris has been stripped of her young men, and it is impossible to walk down any street or avenue in the city without feeling the sting of sudden tears, or that grip at the throat which is even more painful. Yet no men could have gone off in better spirits, and there have been few open demonstrations of grief from the women they have left behind. Both the highly and the lowly born have shown a most admirable self-control on all occasions. I saw to-day, a tall, slim man in the pale-blue uniform of a hussar regiment walking with his wife, his two children, and a nurse; he bent to say something to his wife, then caught his little girl by the hand and ran with her down the avenue, laughing gaily. The boy stayed with his mother and as I passed I caught a glimpse of the pain in the woman's face, and my own eyes grew dim. Another day I was on the Metro' and the carriage was full of little soldiers of the line on their way to the Gare de l'Est or the Gare du Nord. Each man had a group of relations and friends with him; wife and children, mother and father, sweetheart and friends. They were all laughing and talking. The rare signs of distress came from the women, although now and then a man would begin kissing his child with passionate affection, or you would see a husband possess himself of his wife's hand and her lip would quiver as she returned his pressure. It was very painful, and even the poorest jokes were welcomed. I remember seeing a carriage full of people grow almost hysterical with laughter because an unmarried soldier with no belongings asked a married man with too many, whether he had brought the armoire à glace. It was not a brilliant effort, but it relieved the tension. All too often the last good-byes were but broken attempts at smiles, for not even love for La France could soften the pain of that last embrace. Yet how great that love is, no one can ever doubt who has seen the country mobilise.

All personal ambition, all personal grievances, have been swallowed up in that one great emotion, La France! Both the men and women have shown themselves eager and willing to offer themselves to save their country from the danger of a second defeat by Germany, and all the threats of civil war, Socialistic influence, and hooliganism have been wiped out in the splendid rhythm of battle array. Jaurès, the Socialist leader, was shot in the back as he sat in a café, by a man who was out of his mind and whose mother had died in a lunatic asylum. There was nothing grandiose in a death like that; but it was followed immediately by a noble gesture from Hervé, his fellow leader, who at once asked to be allowed to join his regiment and headed his paper, La Guerre Sociale, with 'On a assassiné Jaurès, voir qu'on n'assassine pas la France.' The effect of this move from Hervé on the French Socialists was probably immense; at any rate, the whisper of civil war, which was already alarming the timid, was drowned in the cry of 'Vive la France!' and the singing of the Marseillaise.' Bands of young men paraded the boulevards waving flags and demonstrating their sympathy with the war; but there was no undue boasting, none of the madness which marked 1870, and in a very few days the Government stopped all public expressions of enthusiasm except those which arose when a regiment went off to the front. Everywhere, by everyone, and in everything, the same splendid self-control is being shown, and the volatile Frenchman has proved himself a man of iron when the occasion demanded, even as the Frenchwoman has proved herself a steady helpmate to him in the hour of need.

English people in Paris during those first days of mobilisation went through some bad hours. Rumours came from home that England, in spite of the Triple Entente, might remain neutral. Pessimists whispered in our ears that the Government was determined to stand back until it saw its way more clearly, and French people began to look at us askance in the streets. Their eyes asked 'What are you going to do?' Their attitude was reserved, even a little defiant. Always, in the scraps of conversation which were wafted to one's ears from passing groups of people, through open windows, in cafés and from the loges of the concierges, came: 'Est-ce que les Anglais vont marcher?' Est-ce que l'Angleterre va nous trahir?' And one's own French friends asked the same questions. One woman went so far as to say: 'Est-ce que vous allez être perfide encore?' And even when Sir Edward Grey had spoken, these doubts remained for yet a day or two longer. News from England came in slowly, and once a seed of doubt is sown in a French heart it has to be thoroughly eradicated before its owner will allow that any attempt to uproot it has been made. 'Est-il vrai que l'Angleterre va marcher?' asked one man of me with obvious anxiety. 'Because they tell me that even now you can back out of it if you like.' Yet at that time our navy was known to be in the North Sea and our army was mobilising as fast as it could.

To say that the English people in France were glad when great head-lines in the morning papers announced to the French nation that England had declared war on Germany, does not give an idea of our relief. Not that England was at war, but that England was loyal to her friends and swift to punish the breakers of treaties and the invaders of neutral territories. When the Union Jack waved side by side with the Tricolour and the Russian Eagle, and all France said of 'loyal England' instead of 'perfide Albion,' was a great moment to English people who know France and French people.

Personally, I hold many tributes from French friends to my country's loyalty, and they are among my most precious possessions. Letters written spontaneously when the news was announced hold expressions of affection and appreciation for England's fine gesture which must always be immeasurably dear to me. One friend writes: 'Certes, notre union, notre sang-froid sont admirables; mais aussi la décision de la loyale Angleterre nous rend fiers et nous donne la plus absolue confiance dans la victoire.' Another, after telling me that her two sons, both married and with young families, were on the eastern frontier, says, 'I am glad that the Tricolour and the Union Jack are waving side by side. The one will give the other courage to fight and confidence in victory.' In the streets the populace showed the same quick appreciation; and everywhere frank smiles, quick gestures of politeness, were shown to English people. Workmen in the Metro' offered their seats, there was no pushing in the crowd, and rough women, of the type that sent their menkind away with a recommendation to use their fists if they lost their rifle and their bayonet, would smile kindly on an English girl and say 'Mademoiselle est anglaise, amie de la France.' And thereupon add another greengage to the pound already weighed. My own servant, a sturdy woman of the people, with a kind heart and a rude tongue when she likes, wept with joy when she knew that my country was fighting alongside her own and said naively, 'On est content avec l'Angleterre.'

Still further did the French people pay tribute to England's loyalty when they learned through Sir Edward Grey and Mr. Asquith of Germany's clumsy duplicity, and the last sitting of the French Parliament after general mobilisation was ordered was memorable for many reasons, not the least being that it was then that M. Viviani, the President du Conseil, laid bare the despicable part that Germany had played in her attempt to bribe England, and England's prompt refusal to have anything to do with her corruption. Men who were present at the last sitting came away deeply impressed. For the first time they had seen the French Chamber of one mind: Republicans, Royalists, Socialists, and these divided again into various degrees of each party's particular shade of opinion--all voted as one man for the war credits. They all stood to pay tribute to Jaurès, who had been quietly buried in the morning of that same day; the bench on which he had been accustomed to sit was left vacant and many men in the Chamber recalled his eloquence in times past with sincere emotion; those who shared the same ideas, and those who did not, alike remembered him with admiration.

The message of the President of the Republic, M. Poincaré, who came back from an official visit to Russia on the very eve of the war, was also received standing, and the house rose twice again on that day: once to do honour to gallant little Belgium, which was resisting with all her might the attacks of Germany on her frontier; and again to show its appreciation of England's loyalty and friendship to France. When the house adjourned sine die, many of the deputies joined their regiments at once, and others were prepared to do so when the order came. What a different scene from those which marked the Parliament of 1870! Then, ministers rose and fell with the culpable inconsequence of the day, and the few sane men who were forced to stand by and see them commit their follies bowed their heads in shame and humiliation. To-day, the men at the helm are less volatile and France is alertly awake to her own capabilities, and, let it be remembered, to the strength of the machine she has set out to break.



Incidents During the Mobilisation

August 12, 1914.--Side by side with the waving flags and the gay brave voices singing the 'Marseillaise' flows a strong current of pain. How could it be otherwise? All the vigorous manly life of France has been called to the colours, and the women are left, not 'to weep and to wring their hands,' but to do and to think for their families, to give what service they can to their country, and to bear, if God so wills it, the loss of all they hold most dear in the world.

There are no flags to help the women, no military music to cheer them, no splendid entraînement of camaraderie. But just hard dull routine, and the haunting dread of irreparable loss. All the more honour to them for taking up their burden so gaily, with such courage and with such determination to make the best of things. Everywhere the fine spirit of patriotism and self-sacrifice has been noticeable and only in the shadows of their eyes, or in the drawn look about their mouths, have their sufferings been obvious. It has been a revelation in human nature's possibility for heroic acts to see the French nation mobilise, and the brave attitude of the women will finely second the courageous deeds of the soldiers when the history of the war shall be written.

It is only since general mobilisation was ordered that we, of this generation, have realised the full meaning of conscription. We were accustomed to every man doing his two years (lately it has been three), and every year his twenty-eight or his twenty-one days. We agreed, more or less, that the discipline was good for him; and we thought very little more about it, unless it happened to interfere with any of our own personal plans. But when suddenly every man of one's acquaintance between the ages of eighteen and forty-eight is called up for service, the matter takes on quite another aspect. We are brought face to face with the fact that 'service' may mean death, and that every man in France between those ages is called out to meet it, to take his chance and to take it at once. There is no choice for him or for the women to whom his life is precious. The rich and the poor, the high and the low--they must all go; for the army is a great social leveller and no respecter of persons as far as service goes. You go to lunch with a friend: three sons of the house are prepared to join their regiments--one is a cavalry officer, another is an officer of the line, and the third is a little piou-piou. The footman has already gone, the chauffeur goes to-morrow, and the concierge is waiting for his orders. On the way home, you look in at a quiet courtyard where one of the cleverest cabinet-makers in the world practises the art of mending old furniture in the leisurely fashion of all true artist-craftsmen. His sheds are closely shuttered, his tools are put away; for he, too, has gone to the war. In the evening, the maid brings a pair of shoes with: 'Madame, le cordonnier est parti, où faut-il que je donne les souliers de Madame à être raccommodés?'

Where, indeed? For the cobblers, too, must go to the front. With the breakfast-tray in the morning come clumsy pieces of bread instead of crisp and dainty rolls--the bakers are so scarce that the authorities have sent out the order that only pain de ménage is to made. The doctors, the lawyers, the leaders of cotillons, the polo players, the tango dancers--they have all gone, or they are on the point of going. The actors, the musicians, the playwrights, the novelists, the journalists--every one who is young enough has joined his regiment, and those who are left behind are the ones who grumble.

In the streets there are no buses. Some are carrying stores to the front, some are lying idle on the Champ de Mars, waiting for orders to follow. The Metro' trains are rare and many of the ticket collectors are replaced by women. The trams, what few are still running, also have women conductors. The boulevards, the avenues, and streets show long deserted stretches where ordinarily the traffic is congested; and most of the private motors which still run fly the Tricolour or the Red Cross to show that they are commandeered. Fiacres and taxi-autos are still to be hired, but they are looked upon as luxuries rather than necessities in these days of economy and renunciation, and people who, a week ago, grumbled if they had to walk a quarter of a mile, now cheerfully trot the length of Paris rather than spend five francs on fares.

But of all the changes mobilisation has worked in Paris, none is more noticeable than the change in the manners of the Parisians; and whatever terrors war may bring in the coming days the memory of much that was pleasant during those days of preparation cannot be wiped out. Men are quick and kindly in their help to women and children; women are tender and pitiful towards each other, and from class to class there runs a chord of sympathy which expresses itself in little gestures of courtesy such as we have not seen in Paris for many years. Every soldier in the army who has passed through Paris since August 2 has experienced the pleasant thrill of brotherhood as he marched through the crowded streets, and incidents grave and gay are not wanting as the days go by and the mobilisation nears completion. Some men receive a shower of flowers from a pretty woman's hands, others have miniature flags thrust at them by children; and one soldier called to a woman of the people to give him the flag her baby was waving for luck, but the woman called back 'No, you will bring us a better than that.' Everywhere it is the same story of gaiety and eagerness for action on the part of the men; and on that of the women, a quiet acceptance of the responsibilities which are being left to them.

All that is simple and childlike in the Frenchman has been uppermost this week, and in nothing does he show these traits more obviously than in his attitude towards religion. It has so often been said that the Frenchman has no religion; but the Frenchman is like most other men, in time of great stress he turns to prayer. In a restaurant one evening, a group of ultra-Bohemian artists were giving a farewell dinner to a camarade who was to join his regiment on the following day, when some one reminded him that his regiment was likely to be one of the first engaged in action. 'Bah!' was the quick retort, 'What do I care? I confessed this morning; so it doesn't matter what happens now.' No one of all that little company of dare-devils thought it odd that he should feel like that; moreover, it is a well-known fact that since the mobilisation order came, men have been in hundreds to confess before leaving for the front. 'Monsieur le Curé must help me with the prayers. I cannot remember much of my Credo, and I have quite forgotten my Confiteor; but that doesn't matter, does it, M. le Curé? What I want is to go away with a clean slate.' Many men have said more or less the same thing, and all have gone to the priest in the same spirit. There is nothing morbid about it, but just a childlike wish to go off with their hearts and souls washed clean, according to the lights and traditions of their race.

Another pretty incident of the mobilisation happened in a crémerie at Montmartre where Willette, the painter, was drinking a bowl of chocolate with the help of a croissant. Quite by chance he heard a little midinette who was sitting near him tell some friends that she had been to have her photograph taken for her future husband to carry with him to the front, and 'figurez-vous, mon petit, it is a complete failure! J'ai l'air tellement triste, tellement malade, that it will make him unhappy even to look at it, and there is no time to have another done!' She was so sad about it, so disappointed, and so pretty, that Willette, without a word, whipped out pencil and book and in half an hour produced the most charming portrait the heart of woman could desire, and it has now gone to the front, carefully guarded in the tunic of a little piou-piou whose wit is as keen as the fun of Tommy Atkins is infectious.

Less picturesque incidents of the last two weeks were those which showed us bands of rough men and boys going round the city with hatchets, destroying all property that was marked by a German name, or anything approaching a German name. During some hours a great deal of damage was done, and several people were hurt, but the police dealt summarily with the malefactors, and since all has been calm. As a result of this momentary madness, however, every tradesman in Paris has run up a French flag above his doors and pasted on his shutters a legend to say what he is and where he is: 'Le patron est Français et a rejoint son régiment, ainsi que tout son personnel.' 'Le patron est à la frontière et laisse son magasin, sa femme et ses enfants sous la protection des citoyens de Paris.' Where the name over the shop is obviously German, the owner has put up his naturalisation papers as a proof of its right to be there, and a well-known dressmaker, whose partner was undoubtedly German, ingeniously covered the name-plate with patriotic flags, and put up a notice on the doors to say that the firm was French, and he himself was fighting for his country. A brave mattress-maker wrote on his door: 'DORMEZ EN PAIX. Le Matelassier est à la Frontière.' Another tradesman politely informed his clients that he was à la frontière, and regretted that he was unable, therefore, to receive them as usual. Here and there an old legend, dating from times of peace, states confidently that the shop will reopen in September. We doubt it, for each day's news suggests that a long and painful struggle is before us.

Stories and proofs of the discourtesy and brutality of the Germans towards foreigners, wherever they come into contact with them, have caused the French people to rise up in their wrath and denounce them as savages and cowards. The men and women of the people very naturally draw no distinction between Germans and Germans, and it has been hard for more knowledgeable people to do so when courtesy has been wanting in high German quarters. The treatment of the French Ambassador in Berlin was unheard of. Not only was he unnecessarily sent home by Copenhagen; but before he was allowed to start at all, he was robbed, insulted, and made to pay for his own train in ready money, his banking account having already been confiscated by the German Government. The Dowager Empress of Russia was rudely prevented from returning to Russia, and was also despatched to Copenhagen. The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess Constantine were treated worse than emigrants; and as to consuls and their families, ordinary travellers and people who had been residents in Germany, no indignity was spared them when they asked for their passports, and in many cases they have been made to suffer hunger and actual insults. On the frontiers, already, terrible stories are current of the German soldiers shooting down children, threatening peaceful citizens, firing on the Red Cross, and breaking the laws of war in every direction and on every occasion.

Before the German Ambassador in Paris received his passports the Parisians were tempted in every way to do him some violence. But France has herself well in hand, and the sight of Germany using the weapons and manners of savages has only made her more determined to prove her power of self-control. Nevertheless, it was trying for the Parisians to see M. de Schoen's luggage standing for nearly a week in the courtyard of the German Embassy, while he himself walked up and down outside the gates, inviting observation and, some people say, an attack on his person. It has also been said that M. de Schoen persisted in frequenting, with ostentation, the clubs of which he was a member, thereby making it extremely uncomfortable for Frenchmen with whom he had for long been on friendly terms. A frigid politeness greeted him everywhere, and from no source did he receive the slightest cause for complaint. But not until the position was strained to breaking point did Germany recall her Ambassador, and men who knew him say that when he left he was greatly changed. Much of his self-confidence and high manner had disappeared, and on more than one occasion he is reported to have broken down completely. His departure was attended by the usual ceremony, and although it was conducted with funereal silence no courtesy was omitted that was officially due to an Ambassador. M. William Martin, the chef du protocole, was rigorously ceremonious throughout; but, instead of taking the hand that was offered to him by M. de Schoen, he bowed sternly and stood immovable to watch the Ambassador on to the platform and into his special train.

The leave-taking of the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador, Count Scezsen, took place some days later; and that, too, was left until the patience of the French nation was almost at an end. The press grew sarcastic about the affection the Austrian Ambassador was showing for the delightful gardens of the historic Embassy in the Rue Vaneau, and repeatedly His Excellency was asked by the Government to explain his lingering. Finally, however, he received orders from Vienna to ask for his passports, about the delivery of which there was no delay. Once again M. William Martin was called upon to conduct the ceremony of an ambassadorial departure, and it must be said that Count Scezsen showed more savoir faire in his leave-taking than Baron von Schoen; for he did at least have the politeness to send a telegram to the French Government, thanking it for its courtesy in providing for his comforts en route, a delicate attention the German Ambassador neglected to observe. The social importance of the German and the Austro-Hungarian Ambassadors in Paris is such that their attitude and behaviour during this crisis has been much discussed.

Their rank, officially and socially, their splendid dwelling-places, their riches, are all of enormous influence in Parisian society; and the foreign diplomatic world, which is, perhaps, the leading social world in Paris, is all agog with gossip about the personalities round and about both embassies. The exclusiveness of the haughty Austrian aristocracy was only equalled by the powerful Prussian spirit which reigned at the German Embassy, and both were recognised as important factors in the land by the Parisians.

Foreigners in Paris During the War

It is now August 17, and in spite of the anxiety and tension which every one feels about what may be happening on the frontiers, life in Paris is subsiding into superficial calm. We are growing accustomed to martial law, to the complete suppression of all pleasures, to deserted streets, closed shops and the cutting down of every possible expense in our private lives. It seems almost natural that the cafés should be closed at 8 o'clock every evening, that most of the newspapers should be reduced to a single sheet, and that sheet filled solely with news about the war; news, moreover, that is told ten times over and then told again. For the Ministère de la Guerre has announced that no information from the seat of war will be forthcoming for several days.

The latest governmental measure in the interest of promoting order and quelling excitement in the city is the suppression of the sale of absinthe everywhere. The green fiend is thus a prisoner of war, and there are no open protests against her imprisonment. It is also forbidden that the public shall dine or drink their coffee sitting outside the restaurants. All tables and chairs are ordered to be taken from the pavements outside the cafés, and even the ornamental shrubs and plants have been put away and the streets look very shaven and shorn in consequence.

But no one dreams of rebellion, and a calm that is almost melancholy reigns everywhere. Ten days ago, the scene was very different. Then, all was confusion, orderly confusion as far as the military authorities were concerned, and even the Government seemed quite calm and pleased with itself. But with the public, especially the foreigners, it was a very different tale. The Parisians were undecided whether to go or stay, and the foreigners were busy getting their official papers which would allow them either to leave for home or to stay in France by special permission. Men and women of all nationalities flocked to their embassies, their consulates, the police station of their particular quarter and to the stations for railway tickets. English, Americans, Austrians, Germans, Russians, Poles, Italians, Chinese, and Japanese, of all sorts, conditions, and ages, besieged the officials to know what they were to do and how they were to do it. Large printed notices set forth in curt terms how short was the time allotted for the necessary formalities to be gone through; and greatly did they alarm those who knew neither French nor the French people. Some people had money, some had none, and a great many had the wrong sort of money. Some wanted to stay, others to go, and a still greater number did not know what they wanted to do; but all, no matter what their wishes, had to stand in the streets outside the official buildings, through all weathers and for as long as eighteen hours and more, before their turn came to be questioned by one or other of those special specimens of humanity who sit in inferior official state, with authority to make 'crooked places straight' and the invariable habit of making them more twisted than ever in an extremely unpleasant manner. Old men dropped from sheer fatigue, women fainted under the strain and stress of hunger and long standing, impatient men lost their tempers, and more than once very unpleasant quarrels happened between the crowds and the police, and among the crowds themselves; for they were made up of an extremely motley collection of men and women. On the Place de l'Italie the scene was one to be forgotten as quickly as one's nose and one's imagination would allow. All the degenerates of every race seemed to collect before that particular police station; and as they waited, hour after hour, day after day, for a week and more, their appearance and atmosphere became more and more unpleasant. They have now returned to their respective eyries in Paris, or to their own countries; but the memory of them still remains with some of us, and we still ask ourselves what part many of them would play should the revolution promised by the pessimists ever burst upon us.

In the richer quarters of the city the scene was rather that of a picnic than anything else, but a picnic from which all the gaiety has been abstracted: well-dressed women sat moodily on boxes borrowed from a neighbouring grocer, and allowed themselves to be sustained with cakes and glasses of syrop and water, bought for them from the pâtissier next door by their husbands or sons. Others were fed by friends on the outside of the crowd who had already been given their papers; some went hungry all day long because they dared not lose their places and had no one to bring them anything. Men of all kinds waited and grumbled, raged, or remained silent--men whose names impress one in the big reviews--novelists, explorers, painters, illustrators; they were all in the same circumstances; and, according to their temperament and philosophy, so did they bear with the discomforts of the hour. Sudden friendships were born, unconsidered confidences were made and strong antagonisms were felt in those trying hours. A big Australian told of his happy experiences in England, an American lady related her adventures in many lands, an Englishman who had been decorated with the Legion of Honour put its value to the test and was ushered in to receive his papers irrespective of other people's numbers, patience, or devotion. Another Englishman spent two hours interpreting for the convenience of a policeman and several people who could not speak or understand French, and by so doing lost his turn to go in for his own papers. 'But, . . .'he began. 'No use!' said the policeman for whose convenience he had been so busy. 'You have lost your turn, you must now go to the back of the crowd and see you don't do it a second time.' Such is the reward of virtue!

The wit of the officials who gave out, or withheld, the passports which allowed foreigners either to go or to stay in France during the war, had full play, even during the busiest days, and no thought of the weary waiting throngs outside would make any of these important persons hurry in the very least. They nourished their pens, twirled their moustaches and gave vent to their bons mots and their sarcasms with the utmost sang-froid. They retired for their meals with great regularity, and announced the fact personally to their waiting victims. Two hours for luncheon and a pause for an occasional aperitif made pleasant intervals for them; but for the crowds outside in the drenching rain, or the burning sun (and we had both), they meant merely prolonged torture. To humiliate further the people they were supposed to be helping, these 'Jacks in office' took every opportunity to sharpen their own wits on the ignorance of foreign women both in the language and in the laws of the land, and their behaviour was all the more noticeable in that, elsewhere, politeness and courtesy are the invariable rule.

At the railway stations the confusion was even worse than at the consulates and police stations. All traffic, except for military purposes, was stopped or nearly so, and the most weird stories are told of people who slept in the stations and in the trains for several nights and days on end before leaving for England. The same weary waiting for tickets went on here as for passports at the consulates; and when, after a day or two of standing a ticket was bought, much time was spent in deciphering the written number on the back of it, which indicated the one and only train for which it was available. No luggage except hand luggage was allowed, and that was limited; no tickets except third-class ones were of any use, as there was no distinction of class, and compartments intended to hold ten people frequently carried fifteen or nineteen. The journey to England took anything from fourteen to twenty-four hours, and the people who had not put Keating's powder in their hand-bags were very unhappy indeed during that time; for the trains were all old ones which had not been in service for many months, and they were in consequence very dusty and stuffy. All these things were uncomfortable, but they were not tragic; and although some people grumbled a little, the majority took everything quite cheerfully and found nothing but praise for the general organisation of the railway authorities and the politeness of the porters, who, in times of peace, are known to be somewhat lacking in that particular virtue.

Strenuous energy was also shown at the various homes, hostels, and clubs for English and American women in Paris during all the early days of this month. They were overwhelmed by members, and people travelling through Switzerland and elsewhere, and the services they gave to helpless women and girls who suddenly became panic-stricken are countless and very valuable. They lodged and fed twice the number of people their houses were supposed to provide for, and they helped each distracted traveller to get through the formalities necessary for departure with a patience and courtesy it is impossible to praise too highly. There have been moments during these recent days when one has felt inclined to put patience, courtesy, and all the gentle arts of living, higher even than courage, energy, and brilliance; and certainly they stand higher than that terrible form of serving one's country which shows itself in pushing all things and every one aside so that a flag may be waved in a prominent position, indifferent to the fact that several people are suffering from the bruises and batterings they have received from this very energy.

Versailles During Mobilisation

Armed with special permission from the Commissaire de Police in our quarter, we went out to Versailles on a particularly beautiful August day to see the troops which were being formed for the front. We had heard that the scene was well worth seeing, and that the peaceful, summer place, with its air of past splendour, was now a busy military centre, bristling with martial law and army discipline.

The trams ran more frequently than the trains, so we went by tram: a long and jolting journey through dismal suburbs, more dismal than ever now, because so many of the shops are closed and so many of the factories are silent. All along the route we saw the women sitting at their doors and windows, sewing, while their children played at soldiers in the roadway. There was no sign of excitement anywhere and most of the villas were closed, their gardens blooming in summer loveliness, with no one but the passers by to appreciate them. It was peaceful, sunny, and a little melancholy.

At Versailles, all was bustle and dust and military activity, just as we had heard. Many thousands of men have passed through the town on their way to the front since August 2; and already not a few have answered their last roll-call, while others have been sent home invalided. Recently, the men over forty had been mobilised and Versailles was full of pères de familles waiting to march away to that vague, mysterious, unknown land called the frontière. They were drilling in squads all down the broad avenue leading to the wide Place des Armes, dominated by the immense château and the imposing statue of Louis XIV, the Roi Soleil. Some were in uniform, some in mufti, some in a quaint combination of the two: military trousers which did not fit, civilian coat and waistcoat, and a kepi worn with anything but military smartness; a pair of spotless white trousers, neatly patched, a red scarf round the waist, a workman's blue linen coat, fresh washed for the occasion, and just the kepi to give the soldierly note, knickerbockers and putties with a military tunic and an English travelling cap; and sometimes a perfectly neat civilian outfit with collar, gloves, and shining shoes.

The effect was a motley one and the men themselves were as oddly assorted as their clothes; workmen, tradesmen, professional men, artists, and dilettanti marched side by side in uneven lines to the sharp un-deux, un-deux of the sergeant. They stood to attention, they right-wheeled, they left-wheeled, and presented arms with an alertness that was as unexpected as it was admirable; for many of them had done no drill at all for several years. That their lines were ragged, their figures corpulent or clumsy, their heads bald or grizzled, and their walk none too supple, matters very little, for their moral is of the very best. Not a man among them but is glad to go to strike a blow for la patrie.

Little soldiers of the line in red trousers and long grey-blue overcoat; men of the field artillery in white breeches, putties, khaki cotton tunic with gilt buttons, a flaming shell on the left arm, and a dark-blue fatigue cap; hussar officers in cherry-coloured breeches, high black boots, and pale-blue tunic; hundreds of men in fatigue dress of brown holland, with blue caps, were swarming all over the town. Officers of all grades and of many different regiments, on foot, mounted, and in motor-cars, shot out curt orders right and left. Boy scouts ran messages or drilled each other in little companies with a solemnity their fathers could never hope to reach; and old men, wearing the 1870 medal, looked on with watery eyes and vague memories of what had happened before.

All down one side of the Place des Armes and up a long avenue were the stables. Hundreds of horses stood waiting for their orders like the men; omnibus-horses, cart-horses, race-horses, ponies, useful cobs, well-groomed carriage-horses, and nearly all of them in good condition. Here and there a bony, unhappy-looking beast appeared extremely ill at ease among his plumper comrades and showed an ill-bred eagerness to poke his nose into other horses' bags; but, speaking generally, the class of horse commandeered was strong, useful, and fit for heavy work. The mules looked as obstinate as they are supposed to look, and the race-horses as delicately disdainful. The number of dapple and flea-bitten greys was noticeable, and almost invariably they were of the sturdy weight-carrying build. It was strange to see these patient, unquestioning animals munching hay where, as a rule, we had been accustomed to see men and women drinking syrops or sipping apéritifs, and to find that the blue-painted stalls bearing the inscription 'Afternoon Tea' were turned into forage stores. It was inspiring to see the activity in the barrack yards of the Engineers and the Artillery, once known as the Écuries du Roi and Écuries de la Reine. Still more extraordinary was it to see the quiet greensward round the Swiss waters lively with baggage wagons, pontoons, and the continual coming and going of men, horses, and motors. And overlooking them all, the château where, forty-four years ago, the German Empire was proclaimed.

In the golden sunshine of the afternoon, standing among the brilliant flower-beds overlooking the Grand Canal, with the splendour of the château in the background, it was impossible to think of war. Everything was so calm, so beautiful, so dignified. The wood- pigeon's note sounded in the trees, the children laughed as they played with bucket and spade on the gravel walks, the women talked as they sat sewing, and the château completely screened away all noise and dust of the military camp in the town below. Even the aeroplanes, circling high in the blue of the sky, struck no unfamiliar note until you remembered that they were out on serious business; and to see a soldier of the line walking arm-in-arm with a woman was nothing new, only to-day the woman looked anxious and the man more protecting than usual. They were spending their last hour together before his regiment left for the front. He was to march out of the town as the sun set, with a bunch of green leaves stuck into the barrel of his rifle and his haversack on his back. There would be no music, no cheering, but silent crowds would wish him luck, and the woman he was leaving would hug her baby very closely, so closely that it would cry, and in comforting her baby's pain her own would be a little lessened.

At 5 o'clock in the afternoon, military discipline was relaxed and the squads dispersed to eat their evening meal according to the possibilities or limitations of their purse. Some sat astride on the public benches and discussed the delicacies of the regimental gamelle, or lounged picnic-fashion on the dusty grass of the roadside. Some converted war material into a dining-table and seats; and others, with more money at their command, went to the restaurants and paid dearly for meals that were not too plentiful and not at all first-rate.

The good humour and patience of men of all ranks, during the trying days of waiting to be sent into action, cannot be too highly praised. Men who have to face financial ruin if the war lasts longer than four months are perfectly calm, even optimistic, and men whose health is already suffering from the sudden wrench from comfort and a sedentary life are equally ready to leave the solution of their personal problems to fate. The spirit of the middle-aged man has been as gay and steady as that of the youngest and most enthusiastic, and the last days of the mobilisation were as full of confidence as the first.



A Picture of Paris

August 21.--Paris has stiffened her back to the rigorous necessities of martial law, and the attitude suits her well. She wears very few fine feathers in these days and her jewels are put away altogether. Her gardens bloom and her fountains play and the glory of the sunset gilds her domes and turns her river into a liquid stream of light. But there are no night-time revelries, and the poetry that is born of the fumes of absinthe is no longer written; for the cafés still close at 8 o'clock and the restaurants at 9.30. All the theatres are shut, not even a cinema is open. Music is never heard, either in private or in public, even children have set aside their scales, and students of singing their exercises. The museums are closely shuttered, and we know that many of the treasures of the Louvre have been safely put away in iron or steel cases, so that if a German aeroplane should drop bombs there is every chance that they will not be injured. The streets are swept and patriotic flags wave from every window, and most of the shops are closed in the Rue de la Paix and along the boulevards. Big shops like the Printemps and the Bon Marché are open, but with a very much reduced staff of assistants. No motor-buses dash about the streets, no luxurious private cars, and even the taxi-autos and fiacres are rare in comparison to what we see in ordinary times. Heavy commercial traffic no longer exists, but military traffic is considerable and extremely swift. A notice has been put up that civil traffic is to give way before it, and we now slow down at all corners to avoid being crushed by some motor-car flying the Tricolour or the Union Jack and going at break-neck speed. All the private cars have been requisitioned for military service and great grey lorries, charged with foodstuffs, uniforms, wire netting, barbed wire, ammunition and every possible kind of war material, rush through Paris night and day.

The markets and the flower kiosks still brighten the boulevards, the fruit barrows and little flower wagons continue to tempt foot passengers to buy, but the gaiety and the mocking wit of the boulevard population have now turned to a quiet strained anxiety. As far as actual material needs are concerned, we have little to grumble about. Food is plentiful and moderate in price, and fruit has never been cheaper or better. In the early days of the month we had something rather like a panic about provisions, as everybody recalled the stories of 1870 and prepared for a siege. The French house-wives waited in hundreds outside the provision shops for many days on end, and the result was a shortness of all dry foods and preserves. It was not a pleasant sight to see; for many of the women were still red-eyed from saying good-bye to their menkind, and the shop-men were sometimes unable to make out their bills from sheer emotion and anxiety. 'You will excuse me, Madame,' said one man to me, 'but my son left last night and I have not slept, c'est malheureux, but I am incapable of adding up the simplest sum to-day!'

Poor man, his son was killed in his first action, and the last time I went by the shop all the women assistants were wearing mourning. The masses of stores which were collected in those first days of the war must still be lying in the cupboards of those who secured them at such pain of limb and with such wonderful patience. Certainly they have not been used; for half the people who bought so recklessly in their prudence are now flying away to the provinces, to England, or to America. One woman I know carried off her daughter and child and left her servant with a houseful of eatables. 'Ask your brother, the policeman, to come with his wife and family to help you eat up that great big ham,' said her mistress, 'and there is cheese enough to last you six months.' Other mistresses were less considerate and left both servants and dogs to fend as best they could, with disastrous results.

Money, also, was difficult to get in those early days, for there was as great a rush on the banks as there was on the provision shops, and crowds waited all day outside the bank buildings to pass before the caisse to draw out what they could. Foreigners inundated American and British banks, clamouring for money to leave the country, and it was almost funny to see millionaires going about with enormous cheques which they could not change, and aggrieved expressions at being forced to walk or take the Metro' because their small change would not allow of them hiring a cab. Later on, when the paper money was issued, things righted themselves somewhat; but it is still difficult to get anything over a twenty-franc note changed in a restaurant, and for the first time I have seen an English sovereign fetch less than its face value: there were days when the exchange was as low as 21 francs 50 centimes.

People with children began to get very scared when milk supplies became limited, and the authorities were obliged to take the matter up seriously. For a week or two, only families with children were sure of getting any milk at all; and they had to register at the mairie, stating how many children there were and what were their ages. In some cases, the officials demanded to see the children, fearing that they were being deceived. What was over of milk when the accredited people had been served was sold to those who got there first; but milkless tea and black coffee were the breakfast drinks of many of us for quite a lengthy period. We even boasted about it a little, thus proving that our hardships were not very grievous.

August 28.--Beyond the fact that English troops are being landed all along the northern coast of France we have had no news from the front for days. The communiqués tell us nothing; the rest of the paper, no matter what its name, is just 'packing.' Regularly, our household devours seven or eight papers a day, and if we read one of the seven we should be just as wise. In the morning, for breakfast, we search diligently through the Echo de Paris, the Figaro, and the Matin. At mid-day we buy Paris Midi, before that we study the Daily Mail and the New York Herald. In the afternoon we buy the Temps and sometimes we indulge in the Liberté and the Intransigeant. Whenever The Times or the Morning Post comes our way, we feel as if we had been talking to the General Staff, until we realise that, after all, we are none the wiser as to the real way things are going. Then there are the rumours which come through the soldiers, the journalists, the ministries and the scaremongers. To tell a tithe of what we hear would fill a volume. But it is obvious that every one is getting more and more anxious every day, and there is even fear for the safety of Paris. Some one in the Ministry' advises a friend of his to leave Paris. 'Some one against the Government' hints darkly at treachery. The man who serves you with coffee berries mutters angrily that it is useless to provision yourself, for all Paris will be in the flames of revolutionary fire before another week has gone. A letter from England says that it is rumoured in London that the flower of the British Army is already 'wiped out.' How I have learned to hate that phrase since the war began! Then all at once we hear that the Belgian Government has retired from Brussels to Antwerp, and immediately afterwards we know that the Germans are in Brussels. Following sharply on this comes the burning of Louvain! And not only Paris, but all the civilised world, stands aghast before such vandalism. Then come Malines and Termonde, and before we have hardly realised that the British Expeditionary Force is in France we learn that it has already suffered great loss in the fighting line and the great, decisive attack near Waterloo has failed. Just how and when we learned all these things in Paris I cannot say, for the great feature of our lives during these last weeks in August is our complete ignorance of the real state of the military position. Fact and rumour jostle each other from one end of the city to the other, and many strong-nerved men and women are put to the most severe test by the cross currents which sway their opinions and judgments backwards and forwards without leaving them a single point d'appui of which reason can be proud. Instinct is the only thing left to us in these days, and the men come off badly in consequence.

With every bad communiqué the nervousness of the population increases very rapidly, and in one day over 40,000 people left the city. They poured out in motor-cars and thronged the stations in search of trains.

The anxiety is particularly noticeable among the foreigners and bourgeoisie, and every day sees the residents in the richer quarters of the city closing their shutters and bidding their concierges good- bye. Mysterious rumours are, to a great extent, answerable for this state of things, and never has the old proverb about the danger of a little knowledge had better demonstrations. Everybody has a special source of information, and those which come from ministerial circles are all pessimistic. The advice is 'Leave Paris,' in the majority of cases, and the foreign embassies do all they can to persuade people to go. The American Embassy, in particular, has been besieged by inquiring subjects of the United States, and the patience and courtesy of the many officials are being severely taxed. 'You advise me to go, then?' 'Yes.' 'Then you think there is danger?' 'As to that, I should not care to say, but the Ambassador advises all people who are not obliged to stay, to go.' 'But if I stay, I shall be safe?' 'That I cannot be answerable for.' 'Then you think Paris will be bombarded?' By this time the unhappy attaché or whatever he might be, is edging the lady to the door, and it is probably on account of such encounters that a notice has been put into the New York Herald to advise Americans 'for obvious reasons' to leave Paris as quickly as possible. Already the stampede has begun; and, as the French and English have received information of much the same kind, there is much confusion in the land and not a little terror.

In the working quarters of the city the scene is quite different. Every one is calm and no one thinks of moving. Very few people are in employment, and those who have no economies are obliged to live on the State grant of 1 franc 25 centimes a day, with 50 centimes extra for each child under sixteen. In the warm August weather the women sit at their doors and windows sewing patiently; the children play in the streets, where there is no traffic to speak of. The old men and boys lounge about reading the newspapers, or do odd jobs about the house, and the great event of the day is the publication of the evening papers. At five o'clock every one rushes to the boulevards in the hope of news.

In spite of their outward calm, however, the people, as well as the bourgeoisie, realise that things are not going well at the front, and there is not one among them but recalls the treachery of 1870 and fears that it may be the same this time. The panic sowers are getting very active and some of them are extremely dangerous. They sit in the wine shops and talk, they buttonhole people in the streets and whisper, they even hold forth on the box-seat of the cabs they drive, and we ourselves, on one occasion, were much reviled by other drivers because our cabman would insist on turning his back to his horse the better to address us with much eloquence and no sense on the subject of the war. He poured forth volumes of recrimination against every one in power, and accused all the world of treachery against France. 'You will see,' he said, 'in two weeks the Prussians will be in Paris. Already they are at Reims.' We scoffed at him. In the meantime, he nearly ran into several motor- cars, just failed to knock over two foot passengers, and missed by a hair's-breadth ever so many lamp-posts. With so many excitable elements in our midst, the situation is a nervous one, and no one realises the danger more than those steady women in the streets, who go about their daily tasks with such calmness and dignity. In their hearts they fear terribly for the husband who is fighting and for the children who are left in their charge; but they do not show it, and it is for that reason they have my most profound admiration. They will scarcely speak of the war, although they devour the daily papers, and to all inquiries as to what they think, they answer: 'Qu'est-ce que vous voulez? If they come, they come!' And they go on with their stitching, calmly, but not very hopefully.

In the midst of all this anxiety and mystery the papers have suddenly woken up all Paris to something like excitement by announcing that there are great governmental changes. A National Defence Government has been formed, and the Military Governor has been changed. M. Millerand is Minister of War, M. Briand is Minister of Justice, and M. Delcassé is Minister of Foreign Affairs. In place of General Michel, as Governor of Paris, we now have General Gallieni. The uninitiated are extremely surprised and not a little alarmed at this sudden announcement; and the rumours which follow on its heels of the dangers we have all been running, and may still run, are not reassuring. Apparently, neither General Michel nor M. Messimy were the best men for the posts, but we are assured that General Gallieni and M. Millerand will soon strengthen all the weak points. As to the Government in general! Well, we all know what every one always thinks of the Government, no matter what it happens to be. Moreover, M. Caillaux is said to be dictating even now, and there are stories going round which declare him to be Paymaster-General of the Forces. It is all very uncomfortable and nerve-racking, and that we are walking on very thin ice seems the only fact about which we can be positive. The immediate result of General Gallieni's appointment as Governor of Paris is the suppression of all special newspaper editions and the order that no paper is to be cried in the streets. The difference this order has made to the life of the city is extraordinary. We have been for so long accustomed to the false excitement of those raucous cries, 'La Patrie!' 'La Presse!' and a dozen others, that not to hear them is as remarkable as not to hear the crashing of the motor-buses and the rushing of traffic in general. No longer do we see those peculiarly alarming men rushing along the streets with their loads of papers and their harsh voices. In their places, we have all sorts of quaint newspaper sellers: small boys, little girls, gentle old women and pretty young ones. A few of the irrepressible spirits have found ways of drawing special notice to their particular paper by writing the name in large letters and sticking it in their caps. Others sing in low tones, 'Will you buy my paper, the name of which I am not allowed to cry?' A patient, silver-haired old woman moans pathetically, 'La Guerre Sociale!'--and a nice little boy offers you Le Bonnet Rouge much as he might ask you to tell him the story of Red Riding Hood. Newspaper selling is, indeed, almost a gentle art under General Gallieni's stern rule.

Undoubtedly, we are passing through curious times in Paris, and occasionally we realise it, in spite of much that is apparently normal. A certain amount of business goes on, the charities are very active, the weather is glorious and the food is plentiful and cheap. It would be delightful to wander about the gardens and parks if our minds were less anxious, and the long, broad, silent avenues are pleasant places in which to loiter in the twilight. Every evening brings us a sunset that is more beautiful than the last, and the nights fall 'as a benediction.'

Yet, for all our outward calm, we are most unhappy about the future of Paris. Anxiety is mounting to a flood; and, with every new move from the military authorities or the Government, the entire population lifts its head in alarm. Rumours of very unpleasant things come from the front, and the emphasis with which the writers of articles in the daily papers implore us to have confidence, patience, and calm begins to irritate us. The only consolation we have is the invariable report that the nearer you get to the fighting line the more cheerful is the outlook. All the soldiers are confident and in good spirits, and the idea of anything but victory never enters their heads, or if it does, they certainly never let it find expression in words. Further consolation came to us with the public announcement of the new treaty between the Allies, which was a security against peace being concluded with Germany unless agreed upon by all three Powers. But then, as we sighed with relief at the present precaution, we shivered in thinking of the dangers which had necessitated it. The fantastic stories which grew up round the making of that treaty were worthy of the hour in which they were born No wild invention was too wild to be believed, and what General Joffre had threatened, what Lord Kitchener had sworn, what Sir John French had affirmed, and what politicians of evil repute had failed to achieve, made up a volume of sensational literature suggestive of a cinema drama. Moreover, we did not yet know if Paris was to be defended or not in case of a German advance, everything hung uncomfortably in the balance, and we were the helpless spectators who, at any moment, might be forced into active members of the struggle or unwillingly passive victims of Prussian brutality.


The last Sunday in August was one of those particularly golden summer days when Nature seems to throw out her beauties with an almost too generous hand. In the early morning, Paris was a symphony of blue and silver mists, which later on unfolded into golden splendour. The way out to St. Germain-en-Laye showed the river and surrounding hills in all their rich and peaceful beauty, and as the train crossed the three bridges before climbing the steep hill which leads to the grey old town, a series of delightful pictures was discovered to us. Grey houses clustering along the river banks, gardens glowing with summer flowers, peaceful meadows, vine-clad terraces and, brooding over all, the wooded hills already touched with autumn gold. Everything seemed to breathe of a beauty so intense that it was almost painful, for behind it all came the question: 'Will it soon be a scene of desolation instead of peace?' It is that question at the back of our minds which makes us look at every familiar object in and around Paris with a touch of pain and a great increase of affection in these days. Up in the old provincial town, with its château, its church, its historic houses, and its countless memories of Royal France, the same spirit of anxiety which prevails in Paris was found to prevail there. Very few people walked down the cool green alleys of the woods, the terrace was almost deserted, the blue distances sang their harmonies to an unobservant population, and Paris lay before them with something ominously mysterious in her landmarks. The sun touched Sacré-Cœur into a gleaming, opal-like beauty, the Eiffel tower took on an almost human meaning as a receiver of news from the scene of war, Mont Valérien frowned with an air of comfortable strength; but is it as strong as it looks, and will it stand against those terrible German siege guns? The test is, perhaps, to come; but in the meantime all is peace.



Just at the foot of the terraced hill, on a quiet reach of the Seine, lie a string of barges, immobile, waiting, with the heights of Marly and the aqueduct of Louveciennes rising in the background. Hidden among the woods are several little forts and away behind them all is the entrenched camp of Paris, which has a circumference of 145 kilometres and the strength of which, when fortified by our armies, is estimated as sufficient to hold the enemy back from Paris. It is only within the last two days or so that we have seriously considered the invasion of Paris. For a month and more, every one has said, 'They will not see Paris this time.' But we are not so sure now, and once again the Parisians have to face the possibilities of a siege and the probability of an attack.

Only this morning General Gallieni sent out an order to the effect that all people living within the dangerous zone of the forts must be prepared to evacuate their houses at an hour's notice and the inhabitants of St. Germain are already moving into Paris or going to further fields of safety. It is sad to think that the stately little town may be bombarded, that its charming old-world houses may be destroyed, that the ugly church, in which lies the tomb of James Stuart, may be burnt and that the château may go with the rest. The woods, the terrace, the broad parterre, are all familiar paths to us; and our hearts sink as we turn our backs on them and on our own particular dwelling--a small white house standing in a walled garden, shaded by beautiful trees, and at present gay with flowers. It is a painful moment to close the garden door behind us, to leave our field-spaniel, Jimmie, in the care of a forest guard; and still more painful is it to listen to our humble neighbours whose faces are grave with anxiety for those they have sent to fight and for those who remain at home. There is not a father or mother who is not haunted by alarming tales of Belgian atrocities, and many are planning to take their children to places of safety, even if they themselves come back to face what may happen, as many of them must. The older people in the town remember 1870, and it was one of them who told us that although the Prussians did no harm to the town, they levied a heavy tax on the inhabitants and demanded that it should be paid within twenty-four hours.

When we got back to Paris in the evening, after a journey of one hour and a half instead of the usual thirty-five minutes, we heard that a German aeroplane had flown over the city and had dropped two bombs, neither of which had done any harm, and at the same time, a written message, signed by a lieutenant of the German army, telling the Parisians they had nothing to do but surrender as they, the Germans, were at the gates. His Prussian pride must have been distinctly hurt to see how little effect his bombs and his insolence had on the Parisian population. People were curious to see the hole in the street which the bomb had made, and in the evening it was visited by crowds of interested spectators. Otherwise, no notice was taken of the event; and on the boulevards, between seven and eight, people were sitting on the terraces quite calmly, discussing the evening papers and the incident of the bombs. No official news had come through, but there were many rumours and none of them were good. 'We are going to have an interesting time now,' said a newspaper man, and a French playwright at once told us stories of the charming life that some people led during the siege of 1870. 'In those days we grew used to bombs. I was a small boy; but I can remember how the women used to pick them up and how, as they stood in lines waiting for their daily rations, they watched expectantly and without any fear, for the falling of the shells round about them. Believe me, Madame,' he said, turning to me, 'you will be as well in Paris as anywhere else, even if there should be a siege.' And I believed him.

Under all the persiflage, however, there was a note of acute anxiety, and men who were usually calm and indifferent showed signs of nervous excitement. The steady advance of the enemy, the obstinate silence of the War Office, the rumours, General Gallieni's orders to the inhabitants of the surrounding neighbourhood that they were to evacuate their dwellings and the bomb-throwing episode, were all disquieting factors, and in spite of the one ray of light which came from every one who has been near the front, that 'the armies were confident and full of good spirits,' pessimism was gradually mounting in many hearts. The German strength took on enormous proportions and there were hints that things were not going well with us in many ways. Quarrels in the administrations, traitors among the military staff, political intrigues (of course), and even une histoire de femme! Spies loomed large before our eyes. They marched alongside our men in khaki, they positively swarmed the hospitals as doctors and nurses, and who knew but what they were hobnobbing with the General Staff! When pessimism reigns, it is more optimistic than optimism itself; for nothing is impossible in its eyes and it believes almost anything, so long as that anything tends towards the line upon which it is basing its miserable theories.

On Monday, things were even worse, for we were told that the Government was leaving for Bordeaux, that the Banque de France had gone; and, in the afternoon, came yet another avion, who threw us three or four bombs and was received with a brisk cannonading from the Eiffel Tower as well as rifle shots from soldiers in the town. A slight panic occurred near the Opera and the Gare St. Lazare, but of such short duration that it was hardly realised before it ended; and at Passy, where I happened to be sitting in a quiet, shady garden, drinking afternoon tea with some French friends, the whole thing was treated much as if it had been a sportive event prearranged for the amusement of the suburbs. From every window heads appeared to watch the curly-tailed Taube on its way; and the quiet streets were thronged with people rushing to an open space from which the wide sweep of sky round the Eiffel Tower is fully commanded. At certain moments it looked as if the machine had been hit, and there were cries that it was falling; but alas! it sailed away quite happily towards the north, and we watched it with extreme annoyance but small emotion. The only irritation that was shown was towards the authorities, who had not sent out French machines to keep the insolent visitor away. Already Notre-Dame had been aimed at, the Opera, the Gare St. Lazare, and the Gare du Nord! 'Where are our aviateurs?' was a question everyone asked. And the answer came very promptly the next day, for the sky gleamed with four or five armed machines all ready to meet the German should he appear in sight. But he has not come near Paris again, and we hope he will not be allowed to now. 'L'heure des Bombes,' or 'L'heure des Taubes,' as it was called at once by the Parisians, was a very short-lived, perilous pleasure, and one we were not sorry to dispense with; for it was discovered that at least one woman had been killed and several were wounded, either by the bombs or by the bullets of those who shot at the machine from the streets.

The three worst days of the week were Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; and they were depressing beyond words. The bourgeoisie and the foreigners became thoroughly alarmed, and the authorities encouraged: every one to leave precipitately. To describe the confusion of those days is beyond me. Hurried packings, clamouring crowds for motor-cars at any price, to take whole families to the coast, to Bordeaux, to anywhere as far away from the Prussian hordes as possible. Thousands waited hours for tickets at the railway stations for Havre, or for the south; and, as fast as people poured out of the city, others poured in from the surrounding neighbourhood, in the fulfilment of General Gallieni's orders. There were moments when a dreadful desire to laugh came over one, it seemed so inconsistent to see the exodus and the advent going on at the same time, and for the same reason. All were seeking safety from the enemy, and yet some were coming and others were going.

'The Germans will be in the city in three days' was what one heard on all sides, and 'the city is not going to be defended' was another affirmation. Yet, in the same breath, some one else declared that the bombardment was going to be fearful; and lurid pictures of fire, murder, and sudden death were drawn by imaginative minds. Most of us felt unhappy in our hearts for a few days and it is not surprising that everyone who could, and who had no duties to tie them to Paris, should leave it as quickly as possible, especially those who had children and who had money with which to fly. But to watch the flight was not an encouraging sight for those who were forced to stay behind, and there was something a little grim in the faces of the working population of the city as it helped to send away the very people upon whom it depended for its very existence. 'Ah, vous êtes toujours là,' said a fruit-seller to a friend of ours. 'Je pensais que tous les gens bien étaient partis!'

The discomforts of getting away were extreme, and it was pitiful to see the children and old people standing for hours and hours waiting for their trains and then, when the trains arrived, to see them carried along in a mad rush for the carriages. What the journey, no matter where to, must have been to many, it is painful to think; for not only was it three times longer than in ordinary times, but the heat and overcrowding of the carriages must have been appalling. Marvels of quick packing were achieved in those days; for many people who had lived in Paris for years started for America within a notice of three hours, and English people with families were known to be ready within an hour after the decision to go had been made. French people departed with the same rapidity and by every imaginable mode of transport, from a motor-car and a train to a bateau parisien and a bicycle. The diligent, far-seeing business-man who can seize his opportunities must have made quite a small fortune during those days; for people were ready to pay anything to get away. Three thousand francs for a motor-car to go to Touraine was nothing; and £10 to sail down the Seine to Havre, providing your own food and hotel expenses on the way, was considered a mere bagatelle, even by people of very moderate means. There was something very fascinating about that flight in the bateau parisien. The little pleasure-boat looked so important in its new rôle, and the surroundings were so peaceful. The sunny river, the smiling city, the lazy lapping of the little waves against the banks, and the passengers waiting on deck with none of the bustle and dustiness of the airless railway stations which tend equally to depress the spirits of those who are leaving and of those who are being left behind. Luggage was piled in the middle of the boat and passengers sat round on the wooden seats as if they were off to St. Cloud; so they were, but the journey did not end there. They would sail down past Sèvres, Suresnes, St. Germain, and on for thirty-six hours. The journey must have been extremely trying, and the last boat was attended by some nerve-racking moments.

Not far from Rouen it was stated there were Uhlans in the neighbourhood, and for a time the boat was held up under a bridge that was mined. The passengers on board did not feel happy, and some were very scared; but nothing further happened, and they finally reached Rouen in safety. The discomforts of the stations were of a still more gloomy kind, and I shall never forget the tired, scared faces, the dirty trains, the crowds, the confusion, and the smells. One train was bombarded by apaches as it was about to leave the station. They swarmed all over it, and nothing could dislodge them; so eventually the train went off with them sitting on the steps, the roof, and the buffers, crowding every carriage, and as determined as they were numerous. Thus loaded, it crawled from Paris to Lyons, stopping at every station en route, and at every stop more passengers tried to get in. The misery of that journey is still a nightmare to many who were forced to make it.

On Wednesday, the Government went to Bordeaux; and directly after its departure General Gallieni made his proclamation that he was going to defend Paris. The relief of every one who remained, when the proclamation was made public, seemed a little inadequate when one examined the defences and heard the opinions as to the strength of the forts; but for the pride of the nation it was impossible even to think of allowing the Germans to walk into Paris without a protest. Moreover, General Gallieni counted on holding out for at least fifteen days, and there was always the factor of the armies. Some men said that they, not the guns, were our firmest grounds for hope in holding out. 'There will be house-to-house fighting,' said one man, and another declared that the very women would take up arms if it came to that. Many wild things were uttered in those days and wilder dreams were dreamed, but nothing desperate was done. We simply sat and talked and waited, feeling very isolated and a little dreary; but for each other's sakes we kept cheerful countenances. Stories from the suburbs came in to keep our fears alive, and stories from the front came in to feed our hopes that things were not as black as they were painted. From Maisons- Laffitte we heard that Uhlans had been seen at Pontoise and the Gare d'Achères had been destroyed. Every one was fleeing fast from all the neighbourhood and even the Croix Rouge had departed. From Versailles, from St. Germain, from Chantilly, from everywhere, the well-to-do-world had fled.



People ride out on bicycles at the risk of being arrested and come back with the story that they have seen a battle at Senlis. Others describe the German occupation of Compiègne. Every hour we feel the danger growing, and we watch the defence preparations with interest. Trenches are being dug about the city gates, trees are being felled to strew the roads, barbed wire is being stretched along all railings and chevaux de frise bristle in many directions. Guns are to be mounted on the fortifications and we gaze at the old fortress of Vincennes doubtfully but hopefully, and speculate as to the possibilities of Mont Valérien for holding out against German guns.

It is all very unreal, because alongside these warlike preparations the peaceful life of the citizens goes on unmoved. The women of the working population cook and clean and sew, look after their children, and send their men off to the daily routine, wherever they are lucky enough to have any men to send. The women employees of the Metro' punch the tickets with expedition and the marchande de quatre saisons cries her belles foires with a voice as steady and sonorous as ever. There is no excitement anywhere, and in the Avenue des Champs Elysées there are still enough babies to keep the Punch and Judy show going; and the woman who takes the pennies for the chairs on the footpaths still insists upon 20 centimes for an arm-chair and 10 centimes for a chair without arms. In the Bois itself, the cattle graze thousands strong, and sheep in equal numbers 'stop as they crop' on the lawns of Bagatelle. Barges of good, sweet-smelling hay lie waiting down the Seine for their consumption, and whichever way one turns are proofs of the splendid measures which have been put into force in case of a siege. We shall certainly not want food for many months. To-day, we filled up our carnet de ménage, by which we shall be entitled to certain rations when the time shall come to have them dealt out; but that time has not yet come. We shall have to fetch them, and we shall have to make them fit our needs. They may not be just what we like, but they will be sufficient to keep us healthy. It is wonderful what a fine digestive powder is real hunger! At least so the soldiers tell us, for they are the only ones who have experienced it yet.

The extraordinary calm of the city under the test of imminent investment, under the trial of an exodus that was almost a panic, under the test of pessimistic rumours and no official news that can be called good, is simply marvellous. Wherever one goes among the working people's quarters--and there, it must be remembered, no one has moved--there is no sign of disorder. Even if the city had been sacked, even if it be yet sacked, burned, or invested peacefully, the 'people' must stand steady or cause yet greater disaster. That it will stand, and very steadily, there is very little doubt and to its attitude the whole civilised world will pay tribute. It is, indeed, impossible to pay a tribute that is high enough to the working population of Paris; for in spite of all the rumours, all the scares, all the reports of German atrocities in Belgium, it has never wavered from its steady stand and its magnificent calm. I have wandered about almost all over the city, and I have talked with all sorts and conditions of men and women; and although I have listened to the most appalling stories of treachery in the army, treachery in the Government, treachery everywhere, I have never heard one soul among them flinch before the task of standing steady in the place where they happen to be. With the women one would say it is a case of having suffered so much, of still suffering so much, at the thought of their men who are out there fighting, that nothing very much matters. They live with the soldiers and for their own skins they have no fear. For their children, yes, but the Parisienne of the Faubourg is capable of fighting for her children, even against a German soldier at bay. They have no fear, and they have a touch of disdain. One is glad to have lived alongside such heroism and to have learned something from it oneself.

As the days go by, a wave of optimism is rising, there are even hints from the War Office that things are going well at the front; and all our cheerful rumours, which last week seemed so vain, are this week gaining ground. One night, as we were going to call on a lonely friend, we ran across newly arrived Algerian troops and we stood to watch them for an hour. They had a tremendous reception from the people. Cries of 'Bring us back William's head!' rang all down the boulevards, and promises were not wanting. 'William' will need to have a legion of heads if the Turcos do all they say they are going to do. They were a gay dare-devil crowd, not disciplined troops. They marched in loose order, and to watch them in the mass as they swept by was like watching the swinging movement of a wave. The mules, with their delicate legs, carried the mitrailleuses, and the splendid cloak of a spahi flung a splash of colour among the holland overalls with baggy legs which formed the uniform of the men. Now and then, when they were forced to halt to let a tram go by, the café keepers and the crowd would bring them refreshments, and the women would thrust flowers and fruit into their hands. The excitement ran high, and now and then the officers had to interfere with the merrymaking to prevent it from getting out of bounds. The march past went on all through the night, and on the following night more troops went by. We are told that reinforcements are coming from all directions, from Africa, from England, from India, and from all corners of France. In Paris, we have the Marines, and outside Paris we have the Armée de Paris, which, according to all accounts, is increasing in volume every day, almost every hour, and our hopes rise as their numbers swell.

A Respite

After the suspense of the first week in September, when every day seemed to bring the invasion of Paris nearer and rumour made cowards of us all, there came a reaction. The enemy's terrific march was stayed, and the battle of the Marne ended in the Allies pushing back the German lines to the Aisne. There, as I write, the Germans are making a stand which, we are told, may be a long one. The violence of the fighting both on the Marne and now on the Aisne is being demonstrated to us by the wounded who are being brought into the Paris hospitals. Terrible stories are told by men who come direct from the fighting line, and visions of that awful battle-field are with all of us night and day. The German losses are said to be heavier than ours, but we are taught to believe only part of all we hear about the diminishing strength of Germany. The Imperial Guard has been 'wiped out' three times already, and on three different occasions! The starving German soldiers are, alas! all too capable of resistance; and even if their rifle shooting be inferior to ours, it is not of any great moment as long as they can do so much damage with their big guns. On the other hand, men come back with stories that the French have no more ammunition, that everywhere we are outnumbered, that the Russians are being beaten all along the line, and so on for ever! It is more consoling to hear the soldiers, ill and weary though they are; for they are neither foolishly optimistic nor depressingly pessimistic. They mean to win, and they do not reason how or why. It is something they have to do at no matter what cost, and words are not going to help much.

I never realised how ill men could be from sheer fatigue until I saw a Seaforth Highlander and a Rifle Brigade man utterly prostrate in a French hospital after that awful retreat on Paris. They had marched 25 miles a day during four days, with practically nothing to eat and fighting all the way. The Highlander had been five years in India and had seen a good deal of active service on the frontier, but he frankly owned that he had never seen anything approaching the recent fighting in Belgium and Northern France. Both men spoke in the highest terms of the Belgians, and only wished that they had been able to march as lightly: 'A bandolier and a rifle, that's all they carry, it's nothing to what we have!' They had been in hospital ten days when we found them, and they were still unable to stand on their feet, although, beyond fatigue, there was nothing the matter with them. They craved food, rest, and forgetfulness of all they had seen. Their pity for the Belgian refugees was very real, and whatever English soldier you meet it is always the same: they will never forget those heart-rending scenes of mutilated women and children, burning villages, and roads streaming with frightened groups of human beings seeking safety by walking away from their own dwellings into the unknown. Above all, they will never forget or forgive the Germans for driving the women and children before their guns as protection for themselves against the fire of the Allies. Even the laconic Highlander talked about that, and the Rifle Brigade man became eloquent. When we asked them what they would like as a little addition to hospital fare, both men asked for jam or cake; and we could not keep back a smile, for it has grown into a joke with our French friends that the English soldier must have his pot of jam and his tea or he can't fight.



In the early days of the war we found that the English soldiers were very glad to have visitors, especially when they were in French hospitals; but as the time went on and the English Red Cross took over the management of the English wounded, visitors, haphazard ones at any rate, were superfluous. The men neither needed them nor appreciated them. The nurses and their own friends saw to it that they had all they wanted and gifts could always be left at the door of the hospital. But in the early days, when only the Hertford British Hospital was in full working order, and Paris was empty of all the gros bonnets, there was plenty to be done in the way of hospital visiting. Tommy is clever enough to get all he wants without knowing any French, when he is strong and well--the language of gesture even amuses him; but when he is ill, he prefers to ask for what he wants in his own language, and he was relieved beyond measure to find himself in an English hospital, being nursed by English nurses and treated by English doctors. That the hospital was open at that particular time is something to be thankful for; and it is entirely due to the energy and insistence of the hospital doctors and the chaplain, that it was not closed in the first days of the scare.

The committee had decided to send the nursing staff to England, and preparations were being made for a general dispersion, when the doctors and the chaplain demanded that the hospital should not only remain open, but that its accommodation should be increased; with the result that since then it has held the honourable position of being the head hospital of the British Red Cross in Paris--a position it was certainly indicated to take when one remembers that it was practically born out of the events of 1870. Sir Richard Wallace, whose work for France in 1870 is well known, built it and endowed it for the use of the English poor; and it is only as a result of litigation that it is now less richly endowed and unable to march with the times, in supplying the English poor in Paris with all they need. In times of peace it is not allowed to receive subscriptions, but in time of war this rule has been relaxed; otherwise it could have been but of little use to the British soldier, whose needs, when he is ill, are great. The matron could tell you what an appetite he has, and how her housekeeping books have gone up in consequence; and we all know what calls must have been made on the surgical stores, the linen-room, and pharmacy.

In a suburban hospital of the Dames Françaises, one of three divisions of the French Red Cross, we found among many wounded, all of whom were quietly cheerful, two Englishmen, one a man of the Royal Flying Corps, suffering from dysentery, and the other a man of the Cheshires, who had half his cheek blown off. In his dry north-country way he told us how ingloriously it happened. He had been through Mons, Le Cateau, and the battle of the Marne. He had seen his officers and comrades fall all round him, and he had escaped from a hundred dangers without a scratch. But when, after the enemy had been turned back, he was given a day's leave, and had spent it sightseeing in Paris, he nearly lost his life in the most stupid way imaginable. He was sitting in a café, resting his chin on the muzzle of his rifle, his fingers playing with the trigger, when the thing went off and took with it half his cheek. How or why the rifle was loaded, he could not explain. To the end of his days he will have a crooked smile and a scar, but otherwise he has come off easily, and he was well on the way to getting better when we saw him.

The Flying Corps man had also seen some hard service, boy though he looked. He was the chief mechanic of a unit, and everything about him expressed dexterity and despatch, allied to the most splendid courage. They are fine expressions of our race, these flying men, and as that slim boy told his story he infected us all with his own enthusiasm for the art of war. He told us how, on one occasion, he had to fix a new engine to a machine within the minimum time allowed for such an operation. 'How long will it take you?' asked the officer. 'Three hours, sir.' 'Then you'll just do it. The enemy should be here by then. Save the car as well, if you can, and remember that the bridge you have to cross at ----- is to be blown up at a given time.' With one eye on a ridge on the opposite side of the valley, over which the German cavalry would appear, our boy worked with his men. It was a nervous moment; but nerves in the Flying Corps do not seem to hamper action, for it was not until the machine had flown away, and the boy with his last man beside him was turning his car at full speed round a fork in the road, that he saw German cavalry descending on them. He tried to turn the car in the direction of another road; and in doing so the clutch jammed, and they were held up. Two revolver shots laid low the Uhlan officer; and the car, as cars will sometimes, pulled itself together and they set off at top speed, followed by a rain of German bullets which whistled all round, but never touched them. It was a case of flying from the devil to fall perhaps into a deep river; for if the bridge should be already blown up, they were done. But the bridge was not blown up until a second or so after the car was on the right side of it. What the men did when they were once in the English lines, I do not know; but when the boy reached that point of his story, I heaved one of the deepest sighs of relief I have ever heaved in my life. 'I do hope you won't have any more tight corners like that,' I said sincerely, but foolishly, in my womanish way, and I was duly snubbed for my incapacity to understand that, to the Flying Corps, tight corners are the breath of life.

September 21.--We heard to-day that Reims cathedral had been bombarded and destroyed by the Germans. All Paris is stupefied at the news, and to-morrow the whole world will stand aghast before such vandalism. We are still aflame at the Belgian atrocities and the burning of Louvain; Malines and Termonde are fresh in our minds, with the still more inhuman crimes committed on women, children, and old men. Now there is the burning of Reims to add to the list; and with it, much loss of human life and destruction of private property. The first brief account of this crime was given in last night's communiqué, but it is only this morning that we know the full extent of the damage. The very printed words seem to halt before our eyes as we read them. It seems as if they hesitate to convey to us all they mean. Wherever one goes in Paris to-day, consternation and revolt are to be read on the faces of men and women, for the destruction of Reims cathedral is to each one of them a personal disaster. The world may mourn it as a universal loss, but France mourns it as an irreparable disaster. Only M. Maurice Barrés seems to have struck a note of hope into French hearts by saying: 'They may destroy our cathedrals, but they will never destroy the spirit which caused them to be built.'

September 23.--The infamous way in which the Germans have behaved in Reims is now described in detail and none of their excuses for their vandalism is worth consideration. To say that the cathedral towers were used as posts of observation and that guns were placed in the tower is absurd. They have said the same thing about every village belfry they have destroyed in France, and they have been proved wrong. They have excused their murdering and plundering by calling it self-defence--self-defence for the Kaiser's army against women and children! In Reims, they put up a notice to say that any citizen resenting in any way German authority would be hanged in front of the cathedral. We have heard terrible stories of people saving themselves from their burning houses and of the roads round the city being crowded with refugees. It is the same awful tale as has been told throughout Belgium. Here, as elsewhere, the German soldiers are said to have drunk heavily, and in their drunkenness they have rioted and pillaged. But strangest of all are the spy stories that have been disclosed. Apparently Reims was a nest of spies, and cement-beds for the big German guns were ready everywhere. Underground tunnels have been found for secret communications to be made from the centre of the city to the outskirts, wireless installations have been discovered; and, to be brief, there was nothing about Reims that was worth knowing that the Germans did not know. They had their knowledge from their spies, who were acknowledged as good citizens of Reims, hidden under the disguise of almost any nationality but the proper one.

'What would they have done in Paris?' is a question often asked in these days, and the pessimist retorts, 'What will they do in Paris even now?' But pessimists are not in favour just now, and while the Government is at Bordeaux and the bourgeoisie remains wherever it happens to be, Paris is fairly free from discouraging opinions in spite of Reims. Optimists are nice people to live with, we find, and our most confirmed optimists are, of course, the soldiers--the men who come in from the front, wounded or sick. I was visiting a French friend the other day, and after we had exhausted ourselves in saying just what we felt about modern warfare, we were diverted by the arrival of a very pretty and very witty Frenchwoman, who had just come back from the provinces, where she had been spending two weeks with her husband and her brother, both of whom were in the same hospital, one wounded, the other ill. 'Ils sont épatants' was her first comment. 'Never have I seen them so gay. My husband has lost half his foot and my brother looks a gaunt wreck; yet to hear them talk you would think they had been away on a holiday, and they are dying to get back. My husband certainly won't be fit for a long time, but my brother will.'

Everyone was amazed at the account of her brother, for he was well known to be one of the most neurasthenic of Parisians. Nothing pleased him for more than five minutes, and he spent his days in grumbling, taking scented baths, dabbling in the arts, and trying on new clothes. 'You should see him now. He refuses to shave, he thinks baths are superfluous, and we had to have a private dining- room in the hotel when he left the hospital because he refused to use a knife and fork. He says they complicate existence, and he told his wife she did too. C'est épatant, because, you understand, if he has to go back, it is much better that he should go feeling like that. He will be safer and we shall be less unhappy.' Charming person, and such a delightful point of view! French, and of the very best! There are moments when I think she has no equal, this gay and courageous Parisienne!



Another rare personality which is making itself felt in the war is that of an Englishwoman I know who, at the first call to arms, joined the French Red Cross and set about preparing herself for useful hospital work. She was like the workmen, she dropped her tools--for in times of peace she makes beautiful etchings and dreams beautiful dreams--and she went off to the war. For some weeks she was in Brussels and her impressions of the Belgians came to me in a letter written a week before the Germans occupied the city. 'The Belgians are most sympathiques. Just at the gate of our new hospital is a café where the soldiers come to refresh themselves. They are the gayest of people. Rushing in all dusty and untidy, they fling off their heavy knapsacks and in five seconds are deep in a strange card game, at which about twenty can play. Then, in half an hour, off they go again. These, of course, are the garde civique who protect the city, how I don't know, since it isn't fortified.'

'Yesterday, a German aeroplane flew over the town and caused a certain excitement, but not very much. One gets accustomed to everything. We all stood by, obviously to catch a bomb and put it in water before it touched the ground (isn't that the correct treatment of bombs?). But none came, a delicacy which one does not expect from a German.'

'When the Germans marched into Brussels my friend stood to watch them for hours, and for days she listened to the rattle and rumble of their guns going by. She says that she was forcibly and unpleasantly impressed by the splendour and strength of that great army. It was then in all its pride, scarcely touched by the struggle and purposely displayed to impress. The magnificent uniforms, the fine horses, the extremely aggressive attitude of the officers (this was most noticeable) combined to give the impression of unbreakable power, backed up, as they were, by uncountable numbers. The people of Brussels silently watched them pass. Hour after hour they marched past and the hearts of those who watched must have been heavy. There was no manifestation of any kind.'

'Only once did the nerves of the people break and that was in an unexpected way. Suddenly, a German officer gave the word for the goose step, and as the men broke into this fantastic exhibition, the irrepressible Belgians broke into fits of merriment. They laughed till they cried, they rolled on the ground, they held their sides, and nothing would stop them. After such a strain as they had experienced before, the reaction was necessarily violent.'

As the days went on and the nursing of German wounded grew monotonous, my friend decided to return to Paris if she could. She was tired of observing German regulations and of avoiding hurting their many susceptibilities. Her patients were not sympathiques like the Belgians. They went to bed with their guns, and insisted that their nurses should taste whatever food was brought to them before they could be persuaded to put it to their lips. They were heavy, dull, uninteresting, suspicious people, with shaven heads covered with 'ignominious bumps.' Besides, she wanted to nurse French or English soldiers, not Germans. So she began to make her preparations to leave. Her first trouble was with the Red Cross authorities, who strongly objected to her attitude and who would take no responsibilities for her safety should she decide to go. Another recreant member of the society also broke the chains and went away. This left my friend more than ever alone; and not possessing the characteristics of the ant, she had recklessly spent her money in the early days and was getting to the end of her stock of gold and silver. A visit to the American Legation soon revealed to her that officialdom was of no use to her. She was very curtly told that they could neither wire to Paris nor to London for money for her; they were philosophical about her starving, in the way people have of being philosophical about other people's troubles. Her only friends were six Belgian ladies who kept a tea shop, her peasant landlady, and the soldier son of that same good creature. Every day her little stock of money grew less, although she strenuously checked her appetite with strong and very cheap cigarettes. She was advised to go to the German governor to ask for a pass for Ostend, but he said 'No,' Ostend and Antwerp were just the two places to which he could not give passes. So she left him. Then she was advised by the old ladies at the tea shop to go to Cook's manager, who, although no longer acting openly, was ready to give advice.

To her surprise this official saw her at once, and was apparently ready to do all he could. He advised her to leave by simply walking out of the town early in the morning. At that time, there were comparatively few Germans in the town, and he suggested that she should find out which gates were in Belgian hands so that she might pass through easily. 'You will then have to walk to Ostend, and if you get there safely let me know and I will send others.' The idea appealed to her and she went home to count up her money, only to find that even if she got to Ostend she had not enough to pay her passage over to England. This meant that she must use an introduction she had to a lady whom she believed to be still in the city, and ask her to lend her the necessary extra money with which to get to England.

The experience was not a pleasant one, and with a solid banking account of her own it seemed absurd; but banking accounts in those circumstances were of little avail. So, with a desperation born of necessity, she set out to beg for the first time in her life. The lady was not in; twice the same message was sent out to her, and if it had been given a third time I believe she would have been in Brussels now; for begging, even under t