Page 3606

3606 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

and stragglers had been cared for and

secreted by the inhabitants of the district,

and Miss Cavell had aided them to escape

from Belgium to Holland. She had also

assisted some Belgians who wished to

join the Allied forces to escape through

the German lines. When friends protested and pointed out the risk she ran,

she only answered, "Nothing but physical

impossibility, lack of space, or lack of

money would make me close my house

to Allied fugitives." In the end, her

activities became known to the German

authorities, and, on August 5, 1915, she

was arrested and was confined in the

prison of St. Gilles.

On October 7, she was brought to trial,

together with more than a score of others.

Though she was only a tiny thing, who

looked as if she could be blown away with

a breath, she had a dauntless spirit. She

frankly admitted that she had aided the

men to escape into Holland because she

thought that had she not done so they

would have been captured and shot by

the Germans and that she felt that she

had done her duty in helping to save their

lives. When the interpreter of the court

rudely bawled at her the question, "What

have you to say in your defense?" she

quietly answered, "Nothing." She was

condemned to be shot the following night.

The American representative in Belgium

had watched the case carefully. The

German authorities endeavored to conceal

the fact: of the sentence, but Mr. Hugh

Gibson, the American First Secretary,

learned the facts and set out with the

Spanish Minister for the German Governor's headquarters. There they argued

for a long time with the staff of the political

department, appealing to the German

sense of humanity and pointing out

the effect that the execution of such a

woman would have upon neutral opinion,

but wholly without avail. One of the

Germans, Count Harrach, even declared

that his only regret was that they did not

have "three or four old Englishwomen

to shoot." Mr. Gibson and the Spanish

Minister remained until midnight and did

not depart until, in Gibson's words, "it

was only too clear that there was no hope."

Shortly before the end, Mr. Gahan, an

English chaplain, was allowed to see the

condemned nurse. In the words of Gibson,

"they partook together of the Holy Communion, and she who had so little need for

preparation was prepared for death. She

was free from resentment and said, 'I realize

that patriotism is not enough. I must have

no hatred or bitterness toward anyone.'"

Before daybreak, she was taken out and

shot, together with a Belgian named

Baucq. The English chaplain was not

permitted to remain with her until the

end, but the German military chaplain

witnessed the execution and saw to her

burial within the precinct of the prison.

He testified that she faced the firing squad

courageously and "died like a heroine."

The execution of Miss Cavell sent a

thrill of horror and indignation through

Great Britain and the neutral world. It

helped to stiffen the determination of

the British never to cease fighting until

the Teutons were beaten. It was another

act in the world's count against German

"ruthlessness." After Belgium had been

redeemed from the German heel, Miss