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Newspaper Page Text
THE DEATH SONG OF BRUSSELS-PATHETIC
STORY OF ABANDONMENT OF CAPITAL
BY MARY BOYLE-O'REILLY.
Brussels, Belgium, Aug. 19, 1914.
Editor Day Book: This note goes to
you by a friend, who will post it in
France. There are no longer any
mails. The Prussians are closing in.
Today all the journalists left except
a few Americans and the staff of the
Sunday the war council of the
allies decided the fate of Brussels.
American Minister of Belgium Who
Stuck to His Post.
About 3 o'clock I was walking in the
deserted Boulevard de Grand Trion
when a low-hung racing, car slid
slowly past. In it stood the king,
King Albert, one knee against the
seat, looking absorbedly eaBt and
west down the wide parklike avenues.
An officer beside him indicated by
a gesture that his majesty's way to
camp lay through the Arc de Tri
umph. But the soldier king brooded
over his capital as if trying to fix a
loved picture on his brain.
Then he sat, and the motor rolled
Beside me an old gentleman with
white head still uncovered spoke
from a full heart. "Is it possible
they think to abandon our city?"
That was Sunday about three. At
eight o'clock I dined at the American
legation. It was midnight when our
minister, Brand Whitlock of Toledo,
saw me to a motor The streets of
shuttered houses were deserted. Only
down the great road to Antwerp sped
a company of cyclist riflemen. Their
muskets were strapped to their backs.
The moonlight shone on their bayo
nets. In their midst moved three motor
vans laden with state papers from the
palace of government. The ministers
of state, of finance and of war were
The American minister (who re
fuses to desert his post) watched the
escort out of sight "They plan to
abandon Brussels to the German
army," he said sadly.
Twelve hours later I went by ap
pointment to a relief station, from
which the queen's ladies-in-waiting
direct assistance for war refugees.
Presently her majesty appeared,
silent and sad, dressed for traveling.
In her open motor car sat the three
royal children; the little Princes
Marie Joseph (who is a big girl now) ,
quite absorbed in holding on a new
cartwheel hat, the ten-year-old
Count of Flanders and the grave lad
who will one day be King of Belgium.
"I must go, leaving our stricken
poor and the new hospital," said the
queen; "it is the wish of the minis
ters that I take the children to our
fortress at Antwerp."
The royal car rolled through the
city and those who saw it pass said
to each other: "The war lords have
abandoned Brussels to the enemy."