Page 3445

3445 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

route, to see that no attack or insult was

offered, moved the police and special

constables. Many of the inhabitants had

fled the city; others remained within doors;

and the audience who watched the march

was made up largely of caretakers and

servants.

First came three men, a captain and two

privates, with rifles slung over their shoulders, and then "the Uhlans, infantry, and

the guns. For two hours I watched them,

and then, bored with the monotony of it,

returned to the hotel. After an hour,

from beneath my window I still could

hear them; another hour and another

went by. They still were passing. Boredom gave way to wonder. The thing

fascinated you, against your will dragged

you back to the sidewalk and held you there

open-eyed. No longer was it regiments

of men marching, but something uncanny,

inhuman; a force of nature like a landslide, a tidal wave, or lava sweeping down

a mountain. It was not of this earth, but

mysterious, ghostlike. The uniform aided

this impression. In it each man moved

under a cloak of invisibility. To describe

its grey-green color is impossible, because

it has no color, and yet it absorbs all colors,

and reflects no light. At all times the

men clothed in it were indistinguishable.

They blended with the grey stones of the

streets, with the green of the trees; they

shifted and merged like drifting fog. Even

as you pointed, they dissolved into thin

air. It was like a conjuring trick. It

is a fact that often you would see advancing

toward you a troop of horses and you

could not see the men who rode them.

"All through the night, like the tumult

of a river when it races between the cliffs

of a canyon, in my sleep I could hear the

steady roar of the passing army. And

when early in the morning I went to the

window the chain of steel was still unbroken ....This was a machine, endless,

tireless, with the delicate organization of

a watch and the brute power of a steam

roller. And for three days and three

nights through Brussels it roared and

rumbled, a cataract of molten lead. The

infantry marched singing, with their iron shod boots beating out the time. In each

regiment: there were two thousand men,

and at the same instant, in perfect unison,

two thousand iron brogans struck the

granite street. It was like the blows from

a giant pile-driver. The Uhlans followed,

the hoofs of their magnificent horses ringing like thousands of steel hammers breaking stones in a road; and after them the

giant siege-guns, rumbling, growling, the

mitrailleuse with drag-chains clanking,

the field-pieces with creaking axles, complaining brakes, the grinding of steel rimmed wheels against the stones, echoing

and re-echoing from the house-front."

The war in Belgium had already taken

on a savage aspect, and it was to continue

of this character in the days that followed.

We have seen that Germany at first hoped

that the Belgians would not resist their

passage, and, even after the Belgian Government had returned a negative to the

German ultimatum, the hope seems to

have persisted that at least the resistance

would not be very determined. But

the Belgians ignored General Von Emmich's proclamation and at Liege and elsewhere displayed a stubborn determination

to resist the enemy to the best of their

power. The Belgian Government issued

proclamations warning the civil population

to abstain from hostilities, but there is

no doubt that now and then individuals,

carried away by indignation or love of

country, disregarded these instructions

and attacked the invaders when favorable

opportunity offered. The right of a civil

population to rise against an invader is

conceded by international law and even

by the "German War Book", but it was

a right which the Belgian Government

decided that it was best not to exercise,

and it was a right which the Germans

now refused to recognize.

In excusing their rigorous course in

Belgium, the Germans have alleged that

the Belgian civil population was guilty of

many cruel acts and of other acts not warranted by the laws of war. They assert that

in some cases Belgian men and women murdered the wounded or even put out their

eyes; that they poisoned German soldiers