September 25

24. John Adams

Philadelphia, 25 September, 1774.

I would not lose the opportunity of writing to you, though I must be short. Tedious indeed is our business—slow as snails. I have not been used to such ways. We sit only before dinner. We dine at four o'clock. We are crowded with a levee in the evening.

Fifty gentlemen meeting together, all strangers, are not acquainted with each other's language, ideas, views, designs. They are, therefore, jealous of each other—fearful, timid, skittish.

September Twenty-Fifth

We are gathered here a feeble few
Of those who wore the gray—
The larger and the better part
Have mingled with the clay:
Yet not so lost, but now and then
Through dimming mist we see
The deadly calm of Stonewall's face,
The lion-front of Lee.
Henry Lynden Flash

 

Memoirs of the Blue and Gray read at Los Angeles, 1897

 

 

I did not sleep much last night my wounds were so very  painful. I removed some of the old fractures or splinters of the teeth and jaws that were left, about 3 o'clock a. m. with my fingers, and after that my face was easier and I rested some. I started in a private wagon from Winchester at 11 o'clock a. m. for Harper's Ferry, and at dark was still on the road near Charlestown very  tired; had no scares from guerrillas; am beginning to feel weak, having eaten nothing solid since I was wounded, but I was pretty vigorous. The shock to my system has been greater than I was aware of, now that the excitement is over.

September 25, 1862

Thursday. On picket duty at Catonsville again. The people and the peaches are just as good as ever. We are glad enough of this outing, after our hard day yesterday. The six-mile walk has given us good appetites and the prospects of a good feeding when dinner time comes makes us feel like colts turned out to grass.

Night. Some of my squad, when off duty, went visiting the posts farther out, and having found some whiskey, got gloriously drunk. The sober ones have to do double duty, and the drunks are locked in an empty omnibus which stands beside the road. What sort of punishment will fit their offense I don't know. They have been so happy this afternoon, they can afford to be made miserable for a day or two. They are sound asleep now, unmindful of coming consequences. The fine record we made when here before has gone all to pieces and that is really the worst thing about it.

Friday, September 25th.—In train back to Le Mans, 9 p.m. We landed our tired, stiff, painful convoy at St Nazaire at 8.45 yesterday evening. The M.O.'s there told us our lot made 1800 that had come down since early morning; one load of bad cases took eight hours to unload. The officers all seemed depressed and overworked, and they were having a very tight fit to get beds for them at the various hospitals at St Nazaire. At about 10 p.m. the last were taken off by the motor ambulances, and we got some dinner on the station with our Civil Surgeon, who was looking forward to a night in a tent out of a train.

The R.T.O. found us an empty 1st class carriage in the station to sleep in, and the sergeant found us a candle and matches and put us to bed, after a sketchy wash provided by the buffet lady.

The din was continuous all night, so one didn't sleep much, but had a decent rest (and a flea). The sergeant called us at 6.30, and we had another sketchy wash, and coffee and rolls and jam at the buffet. Then we found our way to the hospital ship Carisbrook Castle. The Army Sister in charge was most awfully kind, showed us over, made the steward turn on hot baths for us, provided notepaper, kept us to lunch—the nicest meal we've seen for weeks! The ship had 500 cases on board, and was taking 200 more—many wounded officers.

A captain of the —— told me all his adventures from the moment he was hit till now. His regiment had nine officers killed and twenty-seven wounded. He said they knew things weren't going well in that retreat, but they never knew how critical it was at the time.

After lunch, we took our grateful leave and went to the A.D.M.S.'s office for our return warrants for the R.T.O. (I have just had to sign it for fourteen, as senior officer of our two selves and twelve A.S.C. men taking two trucks of stores, who have no officer with them!) There we heard that ten of our No.— Sisters were ordered to Nantes for duty by the 4.28, so we hied back to the station to meet them and see them off. They were all frightfully glad to be on the move at last, and we had a great meeting. The rest are still bathing at La Baule and cursing their luck.

While we were getting some coffee in the only patisserie  in the dirty little town, seven burly officer boys of the Black Watch came in to buy cakes for the train, they said, to-night. They were nearly all second lieutenants, one captain, and were so excited at going up to the Front they couldn't keep still. They asked us eagerly if we'd had many of "our regiment" wounded, and how many casualties were there, and how was the fighting going, and how long would the journey take. (The nearer you get to the Front the longer it takes, as trains are always having to shunt and go round loops to make room for supply trains.) They didn't seem to have the dimmest idea what they're in for, bless them. They are on this train in the next carriage.

The Padre told me he was the only one at St Nazaire for all the hospitals and all the troops in camp (15,000 in one camp alone).

He had commandeered the Bishop of Khartoum to help him, and another bishop, who both happen to be here.

We are now going to turn out the light, and hope for the best till they come to look at the warrant or turn us out to change.

a.m.—At Sablé at 4 a.m. we were turned out for two hours; a wee open station. Mr —— and our Civil Surgeon were most awfully decent to us: turned a sleepy official out of a room for us, and at 5 came and dug us out to have coffee and brioches  with them. Then we went for a sunrise walk round the village, and were finally dragged into their carriage, as they thought it was more comfortable than ours. Just passed a big French ambulance train full from Compiègne.

At Le Mans the train broke up again, and everybody got out. We motor-ambulanced up to the Hospital with the three night Sisters coming off station duty. Matron wanted us to go to bed for the day; but we asked to come on after lunch, as they were busy and we weren't overtired. I'm realising to-night that I have been on the train four nights out of six, and bed is bliss at this moment.

I was sent to No.— Stationary at the Jesuits' College to take over the officers at one o'clock.

One was an angelic gunner boy with a septic leg and an undaunted smile, except when I dressed his leg and he said "Oh, damn!" The other bad one was wounded in the shoulder. They kept me busy till Sister —— came back, and then I went to my beloved Cathedral (and vergered some Highland Tommies round it, they had fits of awe and joy over it, and grieved over "Reems"). It is awfully hard to make these sick officers comfortable, with no sheets or pillow-cases, no air ring-cushions, pricky shirts, thick cups without saucers, &c. One longs for the medical comforts of ——

I hear to-night that Miss ——, the Principal Matron on the Lines of Communication (on the War Establishment Staff) is here again, and may have a new destination for some of us details.

The heading in 'Le Matin' to-night is:—

UNE LUTTE ACHARNÉE
DE LA SOMME A LA MEUSE
LA BATAILLE REDOUBLE DE VIOLENCE

If it redoubles de violence  much longer who will be left?

September 25, 1914

IT is over a week since I wrote you. But I have really been very busy, and not had a moment.

To begin with, the very day after I wrote to you, Amélie came down with one of her sick headaches, and she has the most complete sort I ever met.

She crawled upstairs that morning to open my blinds. I gave one look at her, and ordered her back to bed. If there is anything that can make one look worse than a first-class bilious attack I have never met it. One can walk round and do things when one is suffering all sorts of pain, or when one is trembling in every nerve, or when one is dying of consumption, but I defy anyone to be useful when one has an active sick headache.

Amélie protested, of course; "the work must be done." I did not see why it had to be. She argued that I was the mistress, "had a right to be attended to—had a right to expect it." I did not see that either. I told her that her logic was false. She clinched it, as she thought, by declaring that I looked as if I needed to be taken care of.

I was indignant. I demanded the handglass, gave one look at myself, and I was inclined to let it slide off the bed to the floor, à la Camille, only Amélie would not have seen the joke. I did look old and seedy. But what of that? Of course Amélie does not know yet that I am like the "Deacon's One Hoss Shay"—I may look dilapidated, but so long as I do not absolutely drop apart, I can go.

So I told Amélie that if I were the mistress, I had a right to be obeyed, and that there were times when there was no question of mistress and maid, that this was one of those times, that she had been a trump and a brick, and other nice things, and that the one thing I needed was to work with my own hands. She finally yielded, but not to my arguments—to Nature.

Perhaps owing to the excitement of three weeks, perhaps to the fact that she had worked too hard in the sun, and also, it may be, owing to the long run she took, of which I wrote you in my letter of last week, it is the worst attack I ever saw. I can tell you I wished for a doctor, and she is even now only a little better.

However, I have had what we used to call "a real nice time playing house." Having nothing else to do, I really enjoyed it. I have swept and dusted, and handled all my little treasures, touching everything with a queer sensation—it had all become so very precious. All the time my thoughts flew back to the past. That is the prettiest thing about housework—one can think of such nice things when one is working with one's hands, and is alone. I don't wonder Burns wrote verses as he followed the plough—if he really did.

I think I forgot to tell you in my letter of last week that the people— drummed out of the towns on the other side of the Marne, that is to say, the near-by towns, like those in the plain, and on the hilltops from which the Germans were driven before the 10th—began to return on that night; less than a fortnight after they fled. It was unbelievable to me when I saw them coming back.

When they were drummed out, they took a roundabout route, to leave the main roads free for the army. They came back over the route nationale. They fled en masse. They are coming back slowly, in family groups. Day after day, and night after night the flocks of sheep, droves of cattle, carts with pigs in them, people in carts leading now and then a cow, families on foot, carrying cats in baskets, and leading dogs and goats and children, climb the long hill from Couilly, or thread the footpaths on the canal.

They fled in silence. I remember as remarkable that no one talked. I cannot say that they are coming back exactly gaily, but, at any rate, they have found their tongues. The slow procession has been passing for a fortnight now, and at almost any hour of the day, as I sit at my bedroom window, I can hear the distant murmur of their voices as they mount the hill.

I can't help thinking what some of them are going to find out there in the track of the battle. But it is a part of the strange result of war, borne in on me by my own frame of mind, that the very fact that they are going back to their own hearths seems to reconcile them to anything.

Of course these first people to return are mostly the poorer class, who did not go far. Their speedy return is a proof of the morale of the country, because they would surely not have been allowed to come back by the military authorities if the general conviction was not that the German advance had been definitely checked. Isn't it wonderful? I can't get over it.

Even before they began to return, the engineers were at work repairing the bridges as far as Chalons, and the day I wrote to you last week, when Amélie went down the hill to mail your letter, she brought back the news that the English engineers were sitting astride the telegraph poles, pipes in mouth, putting up the wires they cut down a fortnight ago. The next day our post-office opened, and then I got newspapers. I can tell you I devoured them. I read Joffre's order of the day. What puzzled me was that it was dated on the morning of September 6, yet we, with our own eyes, saw the battle begin at noon on the 5th,—a battle which only stopped at nine that night, to begin again at four the next morning. But I suppose history will sometime explain that.

Brief as the news was in the papers, it was exciting to know that the battle we had seen and heard was really a decisive fight, and that it was considered won by the English and French—in a rainstorm—as long ago as the 10th, and that the fighting to the east of us had been far more terrible than here.

I suppose long before this our myriads of "special telegraph" men have sent you over details and anecdotes such as we shall never see. We get a meagre "communiqué official" and have to be content with that. It is now and then hard for me, who have been accustomed to something different.

None of our shops is open yet. Indeed almost no one has returned to Couilly; and Meaux, they say, is still deserted. Yet I cannot honestly say that I have suffered for anything. I have an abundance of fruit. We have plenty of vegetables in Père's garden. We have milk and eggs. Rabbits and chickens run about in the roads simply asking to be potted. There is no petrol, but I, luckily, had a stock of candles, and I love candlelight—it suits my house better than lamps. It is over a fortnight since we had sugar or butter or coffee. I have tea. I never would have supposed that I could have got along so well and not felt deprived. I suppose we always have too much—I've had the proof. Perhaps had there been anyone with me I should have felt it more. Being alone I did not give it a thought.

Sunday afternoon, the weather being still fine and the distant booming of the cannon making reading or writing impossible—I am not yet habituated to it—I went for a walk. I took the road down the hill in the direction of the Marne. It is a pretty walk—not a house all the way.

It leads along what is called the Pavé du Roi, dropping down into the plain of the valley, through the woods, until the wheat fields are reached, and then rising from the plain, gently, to the high suspension bridge which crosses the canal, two minutes beyond which lies the river, here very broad and sluggish.

This part of the canal, which is perfectly straight from Condé to Meaux, is unusually pretty. The banks are steep, and "tall poplar trees" cast long shadows across grass-edged footpaths, above which the high bridge is swung. There is no bridge here across the Marne; the nearest in one direction is at the Iles-lès-Villenoy, and in the other at Meaux. So, as the Germans could not have crossed the Marne here, the canal bridge was not destroyed, though it was mined. The barricades of loose stones which the English built three weeks ago, both at the bridgehead and at a bend in the road just before it is reached, where the road to Mareuil sur Marne turns off, were still there.

The road along the canal and through Mareuil is the one over which the German cavalry would have advanced had von Kluck's army succeeded in crossing the Marne at Meaux, and it was patrolled and guarded by the Yorkshire boys on September 2, and the Bedfords from the night of the 3d to the morning of the 5th.

The road from the canal to the river, separated here by only a few yards, leads through a wide avenue, across a private estate belonging to the proprietor of the plaster quarries at Mareuil, to a ferry, beside which was the lavoir. There is a sunken and terraced fruit garden below the road, and an extensive enclosure for fancy fowl.

The bank of the river showed me a sad sight. The wash-houses were sunk. They lay under water, with their chimneys sticking out. The little river piers and all the row-boats had been smashed and most of them sunk. A few of them, drawn up on the bank, were splintered into kindling wood. This work of destruction had been done, most effectively, by the English. They had not left a stick anywhere that could have served the invaders. It was an ugly sight, and the only consolation was to say, "If the Boches had passed, it would have been worse!" This was only ugly. That would have been tragic.

The next day I had my first real news from Meaux. A woman arrived at Amélie's, leading two dogs tied together with rope. She was a music teacher, living at Meaux, and had walked over thirty miles, and arrived exhausted. So they took her in for the night, and the next morning Père harnessed Ninette and took her and her weary dogs to Meaux. It was over two hours each way for Ninette, but it was better than seeing an exhausted woman, almost as old as I am, finishing her pilgrimage on foot. She is the first person returning to Meaux that we have seen. Besides, I imagine Père was glad of the excuse to go across the Marne.

When he came back we knew exactly what had happened at the cathedral city.

The picturesque mill bridges across the Marne have been partly saved. The ends of the bridges on the town side were blown up, and the mills were mined, to be destroyed on the German approach. Père was told that an appeal was made to the English commanders to save the old landmarks if possible, and although at that time it seemed to no one at all likely that they could be saved, this precaution did save them. He tells me that blowing up the bridge- heads smashed all the windows, blew out all the doors, and damaged the walls more or less, but all that is reparable.

Do you remember the last time we were at Meaux, how we leaned on the stone wall on that beautiful Promenade des Trinitaires, and watched the waters of the Marne churned into froth by the huge wheels of the three lines of mills lying from bank to bank? I know you will be glad they are saved. It would have been a pity to destroy that beautiful view. I am afraid that we are in an epoch where we shall have to thank Fate for every fine thing and every well-loved view which survives this war between the Marne and the frontier, where the ground had been fought over in all the great wars of France since the days of Charlemagne.

It seems that more people stayed at Meaux than I supposed. Monsignor Morbeau stayed there, and they say about a thousand of the poor were hidden carefully in the cellars. It had fourteen thousand inhabitants. Only about five buildings were reached by bombs, and the damage is not even worth recording.

I am sure you must have seen the Bishop in the days when you lived in Paris, when he was curé at St. Honoré d'Eylau in the Place Victor Hugo. At that time he was a popular priest—mondain, clever and eloquent. At Meaux he is a power. No figure is so familiar in the picturesque old streets, especially on market day, Saturday, as this tall, powerful-looking man in his soutane and barrette, with his air of authority, familiar yet dignified. He seems to know everyone by name, is all over the market, his keen eyes seeing everything, as influential in the everyday life of his diocese as he is in its spiritual affairs, a model of what a modern archbishop ought to be.

I hear he was on the battlefield from the beginning, and that the first ambulances to reach Meaux found the seminary full of wounded picked up under his direction and cared for as well as his resources permitted. He has written his name in the history of the old town under that of Bossuet—and in the records of such a town that is no small distinction.

The news which is slowly filtering back to us from the plains is another matter.

Some of the families in our commune have relatives residing in the little hamlets between Cregy and Monthyon, and have been out to help them re-install themselves. Very little in the way of details of the battle seems to be known. Trees and houses dumbly tell their own tales. The roads are terribly cut up, but road builders are already at work. Huge trees have been broken off like twigs, but even there men are at work, uprooting them and cutting the wood into lengths and piling it neatly along the roadside to be carted away. The dead are buried, and Paris automobiles are rapidly removing all traces of the battles and carrying out of sight such disfigurements as can be removed.

But the details we get regarding the brief German occupation are too disgusting for words. It is not the actual destruction of the battle—for Barcy alone of the towns in sight from here seems to be practically destroyed—which is the most painful, it is the devastation of the German occupation, with its deliberate and filthy defilement of the houses, which defies words, and will leave a blot for all time on the records of the race so vile-minded as to have achieved it. The deliberate ingenuity of the nastiness is its most debasing feature. At Penchard, where the Germans only stayed twenty-four hours, many people were obliged to make bonfires of the bedding and all sorts of other things as the only and quickest way to purge the town of danger in such hot weather.

I am told that Penchard is a fair example of what the Germans did in all these small towns which lay in the line of their hurried retreat.

It is not worth while for me to go into detail regarding such disgusting acts.

Your imagination, at its most active, cannot do any wrong to the race which in this war seems determined to offend where it cannot terrorize.

It is wonderfully characteristic of the French that they have accepted this feature of their disaster as they have accepted the rest—with courage, and that they have at once gone to work to remove all the German "hall-marks" as quickly as possible—and now have gone back to their fields in the same spirit.

It was not until yesterday that I unpacked my little hat-trunk and carefully put its contents back into place.

It has stood all these days under the stairs in the salon—hat, cape, and gloves on it, and shoes beside it, just as I packed it.

I had an odd sensation while I was emptying it. I don't know why I put it off so long. Perhaps I dreaded to find, locked in it, a too vivid recollection of the day I closed it. It may be that I was afraid that, with the perversity of inanimate things, it had the laugh on me.

I don't believe I put it off from fear of having to repack it, for, so far as I can know myself, I cannot find in my mind any signs, even, of a dread that what had happened once could happen again. But I don't know.

I wish I had more newsy things to write you. But nothing is happening here, you see.

IlI

October 2, 1914

Well, Amélie came back yesterday, and I can tell you it was a busy day. I assure you that I was glad to see her about the house again. I liked doing the work well enough,—for a little while. But I had quite all I wanted of it before the fortnight was over. I felt like "giving praise" when I saw her coming into the garden, looking just as good as new, and, my word for it, she made things hum yesterday.

The first thing she did, after the house was in order, and lunch out of the way, was to open up the cave in which she had stored her household treasures a month ago, and I passed a rare afternoon. I spent a good part of it getting behind something to conceal my silent laughter. If you had been here you would have enjoyed it—and her.

I knew something was as it should not be when I saw her pushing the little wheelbarrow on which were all my waste-baskets—I have needed them. But when I got them back, it about finished my attempts at sobriety. I told her to put them on the dining-room table and I would unpack them and put the contents in place. But before that was done, I had to listen to her "tale of woe."

She had hidden practically everything—clocks, bed and table linen, all her mattresses, except the ones she and Père slept on, practically all their clothes, except what they had on their backs and one change. I had not given it much thought, though I do remember her saying, when the subterranean passage was sealed up: "Let the Boches come! They'll find mighty little in my house."

Well—the clocks are rusted. They are soaking in kerosene now, and I imagine it is little good that will do them. All her linen is damp and smelly, and much of it is mildewed. As for the blankets and flannels— ough!

I felt sympathetic, and tried to appear so. But I was in the condition of "L'homme qui rit." The smallest effort to express an emotion tended to make me grimace horribly. She was so funny. I was glad when she finished saying naughty words about herself, and declaring that "Madame was right not to upset her house," and that the next time the Boches thought of coming here they would be welcome to anything she had. "For," she ended, "I'll never get myself into this sort of a mess again, my word of honor!" And she marched out of the house, carrying the bottle of eau de Javelle with her. The whole hamlet smells of it this minute.

I had a small-sized fit of hysterics after she had gone, and it was not cured by opening up my waste-baskets and laying out the "treasures" she had saved for me. I laughed until I cried.

There were my bouillion cups, and no saucers. The saucers were piled in the buffet. There were half-a-dozen decorated plates which had stood on end in the buffet,—just as color notes—no value at all. There were bits of silver, and nearly all the plated stuff. There was an old painted fan, several strings of beads, a rosary which hung on a nail at the head of my bed, a few bits of jewelry—you know how little I care for jewelry,—and there were four brass candlesticks.

The only things I had missed at all were the plated things. I had not had teaspoons enough when the English were here—not that they cared. They were quite willing to stir their tea with each other's spoons, since there was plenty of tea,—and a "stick" went with it.

You cannot deny that it had its funny side.

I could not help asking myself, even while I wiped tears of laughter from my eyes, if most of the people I saw flying four weeks ago might not have found themselves in the same fix when it came to taking stock of what was saved and what was lost.

I remember so well being at Aix-les-Bains, in 1899, when the Hotel du Beau-Site was burned, and finding a woman in a wrapper sitting on a bench in the park in front of the burning hotel, with the lace waist of an evening frock in one hand, and a small bottle of alcohol in the other. She explained to me, with some emotion, that she had gone back, at the risk of her life, to get the bottle from her dressing-table, "for fear that it would explode!"

It did not take me half an hour to get my effects in order, but poor Amélie's disgust seems to increase with time. You can't deny that if I had been drummed out and came back to find my house a ruin, my books and pictures destroyed, and only those worthless bits of china and plated ware to "start housekeeping again," it would have been humorous. Real humor is only exaggeration. That would surely have been a colossal exaggeration.

It is not the first time I have had to ask myself, seriously, "Why this mania for possession?" The ferryman on the Styx is as likely to take it across as our railroad is to "handle" it today. Yet nothing seems able to break a person born with that mania for collecting.

I stood looking round at it all when everything was in place, and I realized that if the disaster had come, I should have found it easy to reconcile myself to it in an epoch where millions were facing it with me. It is the law of Nature. Material things, like the friends we have lost, may be eternally regretted. They cannot be eternally grieved for. We must "—be up and doing, With a heart for any fate."

All the same, it was a queer twist in the order of my life, that, hunting in all directions for a quiet retreat in which to rest my weary spirit, I should have ended by deliberately sitting myself down on the edge of a battlefield,—even though it was on the safe edge,—and stranger still, that there I forgot that my spirit was weary.

We are beginning to pick up all sorts of odd little tales of the adventures of some of the people who had remained at Voisin. One old man there, a mason, who had worked on my house, had a very queer experience. Like all the rest of them, he went on working in the fields all through the menacing days. I can't make out whether he had no realization of actual danger, or whether that was his way of meeting it. Anyway, he disappeared on the morning the battle began, September 5, and did not return for several days. His old wife had made up her mind that the Germans had got him, when one morning he turned up, tired, pale, and hungry, and not in any state to explain his absence.

It was some days before his wife could get the story out of him. He owns a field about halfway between Voisins and Mareuil, close to the route de Pavé du Roi, and on the morning that the battle began he was digging potatoes there. Suddenly he saw a small group of horsemen riding down from the canal, and by their spiked helmets he knew them for Germans.

His first idea, naturally, was to escape. He dropped his hoe, but he was too paralyzed with fear to run, and there was nothing to hide behind. So he began walking across the field as well as his trembling old legs would let him, with his hands in his pockets.

Of course the Uhlans overtook him in a few minutes, and called out to him, in French, to stop. He stopped at once, expecting to be shot instantly.

They ordered him to come out into the road. He managed to obey. By the time he got there terror had made him quite speechless.

They began to question him. To all their questions he merely shook his head. He understood well enough, but his tongue refused its office, and by the time he could speak the idea had come to him to pretend that he was not French—that he was a refugee—that he did not know the country,—was lost,—in fact, that he did not know anything. He managed to carry it off, and finally they gave him up as a bad job, and rode away up the hill towards my house.

Then he had a new panic. He did not dare go home. He was afraid he would find them in the village, and that they would find out he had lied and harm his old wife, or perhaps destroy the town. So he had hidden down by the canal until hunger drove him home. It is a simple tale, but it was a rude experience for the old man, who has not got over it yet.

I am afraid all this seems trivial to you, coming out of the midst of this terrible war. But it is actually our life here. We listen to the cannon in ignorance of what is happening. Where would be the sense of my writing you that the battle-front has settled down to uncomfortable trench work on the Aisne; that Manoury is holding the line in front of us from Compiègne to Soissons, with Castelnau to the north of him, with his left wing resting on the Somme; that Maud'huy was behind Albert; and that Rheims cathedral had been persistently and brutally shelled since September 18? We only get news of that sort intermittently. Our railroad is in the hands of the Minister of War, and every day or two our communications are cut off, from military necessity. You know, I am sure, more about all this than we do, with your cable men filling the newspapers.

But if I am seeing none of that, I am seeing the spirit of these people, so sure of success in the end, and so convinced that, even if it takes the whole world to do it, they will yet see the Hohenzollern dynasty go up in the smoke of the conflagration it has lighted.

Of course, the vicious destruction of the great cathedral sends shivers down my back. Every time I hear the big guns in that direction I think of the last time we were there. Do you remember how we sat, in the twilight of a rainy day, in our top-floor room, at the Lion d'Or, in the wide window-seat, which brought us just at a level with that dear tympanum, with its primitive stone carving of David and Goliath, and all those wonderful animals sitting up so bravely on the lacework of the parapet? Such a wave of pity goes over me when I think that not only is it destroyed, but that future generations are deprived of seeing it; that one of the greatest achievements of the hands of man, a work which has withstood so many wars in what we called "savage times," before any claims were made for "Kultur," should have been destroyed in our days. Men have come and men have gone (apologies to Tennyson)—it is the law of living. But the wilful, unnecessary destruction of the great works of man, the testimony which one age has left as a heritage to all time—for that loss neither Man nor Time has any consolation. It is a theft from future ages, and for it Germany will merit the hatred of the world through the coming generations.