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3451 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

When we left Owele shots were fired; but

there, women and everything were fired

upon. At the frontier they have today

shot a Hussar and destroyed the bridge.

The bridge has been rebuilt by the gallant

infantry."

"In this way we destroyed eight houses

with their inmates," says another captured

diary. "In one of them two men with

their wives and a girl of 18 were bayoneted.

The little one almost unnerved me, so

innocent was her expression, but it was

impossible to check the crowd, so excited

were they. For in such moments you

are no longer men but wild beasts."

The following extracts are from the

diary of a German officer in the 178th

Regiment of the Twelfth Saxon Corps:

"August 17th. In the afternoon I

had a look at the little chateau belonging

to one of the King's secretaries (not at

home). Our men had behaved like regular

vandals. They had looted the cellar

first, and then they had turned their attention to the bedrooms and thrown things

about all over the place. They had even

made fruitless' efforts to smash the safe

open. Everything was topsy-turvy-magnificent furniture, silk, and even china.

That's what happens when the men are

allowed to requisition for themselves.

I am sure they must have taken away a

heap of useless stuff simply for the pleasure

of looting.

"August 23d. ...Our men came back

and said that at the point where the valley

joined the Meuse we could not get on any

further as the villagers were shooting at

us from every house. We shot the whole

lot-16 of them. They were drawn up

in three ranks; the same shot did for three

at a time. . . .

"The sight of the bodies of all the inhabitants who had been shot was indescribable. Every house in the whole

village was destroyed. We dragged the

villagers one after another out of the most

unlikely corners. The men were shot

as well as the women and children who were

in the convent, since shots had been fired

from the convent windows; and we burnt

it afterwards.

"The inhabitants might have escaped

the penalty by handing over the guilty

and paying 15,000 francs.

"The inhabitants fired on our men

again. The division took drastic steps

to stop the villages being burnt and the

inhabitants being shot. The pretty little

village of Gue d'Ossus, however, was

apparently set on fire without cause. A

cyclist fell off his machine and his rifle

went off. He immediately said he had

been shot at. All the inhabitants were

burnt in the houses. I hope there will

be no more such horrors.

"At Leppe apparently 200 men were

shot. There must have been some innocent men among them. In future we

shall have to hold an inquiry as to their

guilt instead of shooting them.

"In the evening we marched to Maubert-Fontaine. Just as we were having

our meal the alarm was sounded-everyone

is very jumpy.

"September 3d. Still at Rethel, on

guard over prisoners ....The houses are

charming inside. The middle class in

France has magnificent furniture. We

found stylish pieces everywhere and beautiful silk, but in what a state. . . .Good God!

.. .. Every bit of furniture broken, mirrors

smashed. The Vandals themselves could

not have done more damage. This place

is a disgrace to our army. The inhabitants

who fled could not have expected, of course,

that all their goods would have been left

intact after so many troops had passed.

But the column commanders are responsible for the greater part of the damage,

as they could have prevented the looting

and destruction. The damage amounts

to millions of marks; even the safes have

been attacked.

"In a solicitor's house, in which, as

luck would have it, all was in excellent

taste, including a collection of old lace

and Eastern works of art, everything was

smashed to bits.

"I could not resist taking a little

memento myself here and there. ...One

house was particularly elegant, everything

in the best taste. The hall was of

light oak; I found a splendid raincoat