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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, January 15, 1916, NOON EDITION, Image 14

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1916-01-15/ed-1/seq-14/

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i asked one of them why he did not
report a story he told me of an Eng
lish lord and a German officer having
lunch together in the English
trenches on Christmas day a year
ago. He replied that-his people didn't
want such things to be printed.
That is the way of it; a little touch
of the human feeling and decency
that is so badly needed on the mad
continent is carefully covered up, and
everything that breeds hate is blazon
ed to the world. They don't stop with
facts there are enough brutal facts.
But they invent or twist anything
they can that will stir men to kill one
I was listening to a recital by, an
old woman, proprietress of a cafe in.
a little French village, of the brutal
ity of the invading troops, when in
came an old man who confirmed it all
as an eye-witness. The woman fin
ished her story with the exclamation
"Sales Boches!" (French slang for
"dirty Germans") when the old fel
low protested, "Oh, but it was our
boys what did it!" She angrily re
plied, "Well, our boys started it, but'
the sales Boches finished it!" I left
them fighting it out between them.
On a train between London and
Liverpool I found three Englishmen,
one a soldier, listening to -a. Belgian's
story of atrocities. The Belgian had
dramatic ability. "I saw it with my
own eyes," he said, tapping the said
eyes with his fingers. "Little chil
dren, so high," and he passed his
finger across his wrist to indicate the
cutting off of a hand, "And women."
He indicated a slash of a knife across
the breast.
Then followed the most blood
curdling tale of brutality I have ever
heard. His voice was a husky whis
per and his eyes rolled wildly as he
enlarged his tale. "Did you really see
that yourself?" I asked. "Yes."
"Where?" "In Belgium." "What
part of Belgium?" "All around, lots
of places." "When?" "Several
.months ago." "How long were you
there?" "Several months." "Where
were you?" "In Antwerp." "How
did you get there?" "On a ship. I
am a sailor." "How long was the
ship there?" "Oh, several weeks."
"Did you come back on the same
ship?" "Yes." "When did the ship
sail?" "Oh, several weeks ago."
"And you were in Antwerp all the
time until the ship returned?"
"Then I turned to the Englishmen
and told them what had just been told
me in Paris by my friend G ,
who had served eight months as an
officer of the American relief commis
sion in Belgium. He had had the
privilege of moving where he pleased
throughout Belgium and in northern
France, back of the German lines,
and he told me that he had tried to
run down every atrocity story he
heard. He said that he had never
been able to find anything worse than
the hugging of a woman by a soldier,
in all the eight months he had been
I also told my little audience of an
other friend, representing a London
newspaper, who had been sent by
that journal among the Belgian re
fugees at the beginning of the war
for the express purpose of confirming
atrocities. He had been unable to
find one, and had been quietly recall
ed by the paper.
The dramatic Belgian's jaw drop
ped as I told this, and when I as gen
tly as possible asked him whether he
hadn't read that story somewhere in
stead of having really seen it, he
didn't answer.
Just as an English soldier told me,
the Turks were awful fiends in Ar
menia where he had never been,
though all he had seen and fought in
Gallipoli were decent fellows. And
wounded Germans, recuperating in
Switzerland, told me almost word for
word the same hackneyed stories of
the French that the French had told
me of them.
Yet the average, little anythine-to-

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