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The St. Charles herald. [volume] (Hahnville, La.) 1873-1993, October 19, 1918, Image 4

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85034322/1918-10-19/ed-1/seq-4/

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Lieutenant Pat
(Copyright. 1918. by Pat Ahra O'Brien)
a resident of Moi
Join« the British n F f y,n * ««Ps on the Jjf eeeIn £
<»* period .r n ? rr* 'S" 10 Cenadel" 1916 '
««» on tbe front* n°t He ls ""«"«I ti f
Ayers, from which h : Be enga « es in several hi actlve
German flyers Ô'Brten So? !' Ct0r,ous - Final|f" an
dea «* by a miracle a ^ Be faI,s 8 J h four
hospital, with a bullet n*, , t0 flnd himself a pf a P ,ng
hospital he is sent to his moutb - AftS erman
there he Is placed upon a frZ 2"^ Court rai f ' n ; he
He decides to take io t aln boun d for a prisdf 1 stay
the open window of t t S f erate cba nce for IIbertI many -
an hour. Bis the car w hile the train i3 rou ß h
crawls through GeïmanTî ndV* the faI1 ' 0 'B* "T
I CHAp TER IX-^ontm^
®ud of bottom
I CHAp TER IX-^ontm^
j* «retiree tod^M 0 !"" œ " al Wte
iPosite side as rZ am to the op
j"0t be taS, n" "»nid
j» sheltered clumn there. I f 0UQ d
*" * ow.„p »" p « **• rent were
Artest part th^T Ü*,? 1 "® 1 an<1 la the
to and made Ji2J d J? nd 1 5 PaWl#d
®s Possible. ThJ !?„ confortable
and kept me warm n»* 0 ?* Dp 8000
«amp |ig ht 1 Planned to
Until the B«? 1 ,ood or no food !
tor æ, t ? ot T tIred °* searching' I
«0 Æ re., to l?""' 0 -re
»topped, on each heart nearIy
dently they d-nL " 108 ' hot evl
other dlrertlon an^r Iook ln some
molested. d 1 waa n °t further I ?
1 ^ the same time I
as ahitoire*„,! me 1 Adored
EÄt=s? "
me to I
^y- I dSd^j to « 1 ; 1 0X11 ot my I
? kept in that direction fnrM^ and
1 <H«i not cot* months * ""h" 0 "
"*«. I kept .to * "Ï
and did all m T fZS™? the roads and
«elds, beet paSe^S*J2 m>ugh
.anywhere provldS' r I vary
*» K. «en MÏ „„l!r Ukto
r* Important renM jmtSi Y** I a *
ftrer ".Uretow"L* , f , the *—
"est of all tn -«-I« came near
^^TheWeuse at thls^St îflbîït' I
in nornal condition I wouldn't have I caSL
^ n? a moment to swim across.
«an Dfego bay, California, is a mile
; c ™™Kr d t' and 1 ^
S.h?, a ' "d the San Jaoquin. H *
hlch k also a mile and a half wide, ^tf
had n*er proven an obstacle to me. I
thîï V* tched *hape ln whlciT 11
*hen vas, however, the Meuse looked I Wlta
like ti# Atlantic ocean to* m^^ J aad
looked^ a boat, but could flnd none. I " d
I fried to get a piece of wood
-.I.« k r. 161 a t*** 6 °t wood upon
1 îf , ' ed 10 ferry a cr °88. but I
was e^allj unsuccessful.
Get across I must, and I decided
there i is nothing to do but to swim.
. « wp then about 3 o'clock in the
morn Là. |
t Z^
waded ln and was soon
In bey id my depth and had to swim ! 8treak
After I out an hour of it I was very *
much exhausted, and I doubted I"*?
wheth« I could make the opposite ? , me
bank, i though It was not more »frnp } i™*'7
thirty forty feet away. I choked ! , rJ
• i n— —j -
and Crawling
id my arms and legs
fagged out 1 sank a
to touch bottom with
water was still be
when everyone will
no exception. I
to make those
t and then, with all
id summon, struck
[It seemed a life
• felt the welcome
al Wte
the op
f 0UQ d
la the
food ! , 7 ueu I0r the
searching' I a^ted—fainted
0 -re
nearIy mi ? n , Wa ® now aboai
evl- "°f nln 8 and I wa
some J**?* 1 fro " observi
further I ? ad 5° me along I „
^ *«• daa
myself np to the
The bank was r
shaking so viole:
hold of the gra
the grass shook
coaid not retain m
I would faint th
sept pulling and
U P that infernal
made it
Then for the firs
Possibly two hours
to I regained consciousn
*sr^rx 5 S
my I beaUa ® Ia my face.
and 1 kaew . that I had ti
Ï™ freai ton
0 "- ™ • tow-pa ni
* "Ï -re«. . bo.,
roads and flnd me. Bui
dangerons tor me to
I vary Fortunately'
Ukto Umtbbto «to* ,1
Y** I a * T ' wreoot food or d-- 1
myself and
my chances of
I caSL D r* ht ® Ven 016 sligh
a f*°* the Bel «ia
gan to fe ar that anothi
^ woQid ab ° nt ^ "ï
H * have a distinct recoil
^tf 0101 " conversation I
I ^aginary p a t
I of
11 ° h f dDp,1 f te <* mys^if.^ r
I Wlta " m 88 1 marched dran hi
J aad h ® answ ered me back /
I " d 1*° ^.«"sagreed, I call
my one constant friend,
Star, to stand by me.
t Z^ ere , yoa are ' yo« old Noah
al r d ' "^n want m t]
^ BoUan d. don't you? But thg
^ ^"-fhls Pat O'Breln wh
himself a soldler-he'a got a
! 8treak North Star—end he «
* >e dott «l He wants me t
I"*? Ue down here for the H
? , me 800 take me back to
i™*'7 aBer a ^ you've done, No»
, rJ 1 don,t Wfl nt to follow him-»
Just want to follow you—because
yon are
, him-»
Just want to follow you—because yo off
I 7T yon are taking me away from Bieter
J Huns and this Pat O'Brien—this fefo
low who keeps after me all the .time
and leans on my neck and wants me
to lie down—this yellow Pat O'BrSn
wants me to go back to the Huns !"
After a spell of foolish chatter like
that my senses would come back to
me for a while and I would trudge
along without a word until the fever
came on me again,
I knew that I had to have food be
cause X was about on my last legs. I
was very much tempted to Ue down
tten and there and call it a beat
Things seemed to be getting worse for
me the farther I went and all the
time I had before me the spectre of
that electric barrier between Belgium
and Holland, even if I ever reached
there alive. What was the use of
further suffering when I would prob
ably he captured In the end anyway?
Before giving up, however, I decided
upon one bold move. I would ap
proach one of the houses In the vi
cinity and get food there or die ln
the effort
I picked ont a small house because
I figured there would be less likeli
hood of soldiers being billeted there.
Then I wrapped a stone ln my khaki
handkerchief as a sort of camouflaged
weapon, determined to kiU the occu
pant of the house, German or Belgian,
If that step was necessary in order
to get food. I tried the well In the
yard, but it would not work, and then
I went np to the door and knocked.
It was 1 o'clock in the. morning. An
old lady came to the window and
looked out. She could not imagine
what I was, probably, because I was
still attired In that old overcoat. She
gave a cry and her husband and a
boy came to the door. k
They could not speak English and I
could not speak Flemish, but I pointed
to my flying coat and then to the sky
and said "Fleger" (flier), which I
thought would tell them what I was.
Whether they understood or were
intimidated by the hard-looking ap
pearance, I don't know, but certainly
it would have to be a brave old man
and boy who would start an argument
with such a villainous looking char
acter as stood before them that night !
I had not shaved for a month, my
qlothes were wet, torn and dirty, my
leggings were gone—they had gotten
so heavy I had to discard them—my
hair was matted and my cheeks were
flushed with fever. In my hand I
carried the rock in my handkerchief
and I made no effort to conceal Its
presence or its mission.
Anyway, they motioned me indoors,
gave me my first hot meal in more
than a month ! True, it consisted only
of warm potatoes. They "had been
previously cooked, but the old woman
warmed them up in milk in one of the
dirtiest kettles I had ever seen. I
asked for bread, but she shook her
head, although I think it must have
been for lack of it rather than be
cause she begrudged it to me. For
if ever a man showed he was flmlshed,
did that night I swallowed those
warm potatoes ravenously and I drank
four glasses of water, one after an
other. It was the best meal I had had
since the "banquet" ln tbe prison at
The woman of the house was prob
ably seventy-five years old and had
evidently worn wooden shoes all her
life, for she had a callous spot on the
side of her foot the size of half a dol
lar and It looked so hard that I doubt
whether you could have driven a nail
Into It with a hammer!
As I sat there drying myself—for I
was in no hurrry to leave the first
human habitation I had entered ln
four weeks—I reflected on my un
happy lot and the unknown troubles
and dangers that lay ahead of me.
Here, for more than a month, I had
been leading the life of a hunted
animal—yes, worse than a hunted
animal, for nature clothes her less
favored creatures more appropriate
ly for the life they lead than I was
clothed for mine—and there was not
the slightest reason to hope that con
ditions would grow any better.
Perhaps the first warm food I had
eatrn for over a month had released
unused springs of philosophy ln me,
as food sometimes does for a man.
I pointed to my tom and water
soaked clothes , and conveyed to them
as best I could that I would be grate
ful for an old suit, but apparently
they were too poor to have more than
they attually needed themselves, and
I rose x> go. I had aroused them out
of bed ind I knew I ought not to keep
them u? longer than was absolutely
As I approached the door I got a
glance à myself in a mirror. I was
the a widest sight I had laid eyes on !
The gllnase I got of myself startled
me almos as much as if I bad seen a
dreaded (terman helmet! My left eye
was fairly well healed by this time
and I wa? beginning to regain sight
of It, but if y face was so haggard and
my beard lo long and unkempt that I
looked im Santa Claus on a bat!
As the} let me out of the door I
I pointed tt the opposite direction to
the one I Utended taking and started
yo off iu the âlrection I had indicated.
Bieter I chawed my course completely
fefo throw off iny possible pursuit
.time The next <!kv I was so worn out from
sure and exhaustion that I threw
my coat thinking that the less
;ht I had to carry the better It
be for me, but when night came
ay mistake because the
were now getting colder. I
;ht at first it would be better for
retrace my steps and look for
at I had so thoughtlessly dis
hut I decided to go on with
lien began to discard everything
had in my pocket, tonally throw
wrist watch into a canal, A
itch does not add much
but when yon plod along and
sot eaten for a month it finally
rather heavy. The next
discarded was a pair of flying
the h
of any!
dng a
at the
were a
land and
mittens I had gotten at Camp
in Canada, and had become
moos, as my friends termed
iow shoes." In fact, they
diculous pair of mittens, but
I ever had and I really
when I lost those mittens
else. I could not think
else ever using them, so I
i in the mud and burled
could not help but laugh
ght if my friends could see
my mittens, because they
indlng Joke in Canada, Eng
I had onWo shirts and as they were
always bofc wet and didn't keep me
warm, It ias useless to wear both.
One of thele was a shirt that I had
bought in FVance, the other an Amer
ican army shirt They were both
khaki and one as apt to give me away
as the other, so I discarded the French-j
shirt The American army shirt 11
brought back with me to England and
It Is still in my possession.
When I escaped from the train I still
had the Bavarian cap of bright red in
my pocket and wore It for many
nights, but I took great care that no
one saw it It also had proven very
useful when swimming rivers, for I
carried my map and a few other be
longings in it and I had fully made
up my mind to bring it home as a
souvenir. But the farther I went
the heavier my extra clothing became,
so I was compelled to discard even
the cap. I knew that it would be a
tell-tale mark if I simply threw It
away, so one night after swimming a
river, I dug a hole in the soft mud on
the bank and buried it, too, with con
siderably less ceremony than my fly
ing mittens had received perhaps; so
that was the end of my Bavarian hat
My experience at the Belgian's
honse whetted my appetite for more
food and I figured that what had been
done once could be done again.
Diagram Showing How O'Brien Lost
Precious Hours by Swimming a Riv
er and Later Finding That He Was
on the Wrong 81de and Had to Swim
Sooner or later, I realized I would
probably approach a Belgian and find
a German instead, but ln such a con
tingency I was determined to meas
ure my strength against the Hun'a If
necessary to effect my escape.
As it was, however, most of the Bel
gians to whom I applied for food gave
it to me readily enough, and if some
of them refused me it was only be
cause they feared I might be a spy
or that the Germans would shoot them
if their action were subsequently
found oat
About the fifth day after I had en
tered Belgium I was spending the day
as usual in a clomp of bushes when I
discerned in the distance what ap
peared to be something hanging on
line. All day long I strained my eyes
trying to decide what it could be and
arguing with myself that it might be
sometblag that I could add to my in
adequate wordrobe, but the distance
was so great that I could not identify
it. I had a great fear that before
night came It would probably be re
As soon as darkness fell, however, I
crawled out of my hiding place and
worked np to the line and got a pair
of overalls for my Industry. The pair
of overalls was the first bit of civil
ian clothes I had thus far picked np
with the exception of a civilian cap
which I bad found at the prison and
concealed on my person and which I
still had. The overalls were rather
small and very short, bnt when I pot
them an I found that they hung down
far enough to cover my breeches.
It was perhaps three days later that
I planned to search another house for
further clothes. Entering Belgian
houses at night is anything bnt a safe
proposition, because their families are
large and sometimes as many as seven
or eight sleep ln a single room. The
bam is usually connected with the
house proper, and there was always
the danger of disturbing some dumb
animal even if the inmates of the
house were not aroused.
Frequently I took a chance of
searching a back yard at night in the
hope of finding food scraps, bnt my
success in that direction was so slight
that I soon decided that it wasn't
worth the risk and I continued to
live on raw vegetables that I could
pick with safety in the fields and the
occasional meal that I was able to get
from the Belgian peasants in the day
Nevertheless I was determined to
get more in the way of clothing and
when night came I picked out a house
that looked as though it might furnish
me with what I wanted. It was a
moonlight night and if I could get in
the bam I would ha,ve a fair chance of
finding my way around by the moon
light which would enter the windows.
The bam adjoined the main part of
the honse, but I groped around very
carefully and soon I touched some
thing hanging on a peg. I didn't
know what it was, but I confiscated
It and carried It out Into the fields
There in the moonlight I examined
my booty and found that it was an old
coat. It was too short for an over
coat and too long for an ordinary
coat, bnt nevertheless I made use of
for the Belgia
Some days I
a Belgian peas
ment I was a
form entirely.
Later on, ho
was too dangei
on anyway ai
dug a bole an
who had worn it.
I got a scarf from
l.nt and with this equlp
to conceal my uni
ever, I decided that it
ms to keep the uniform
I when night came I
buried it.
I never realised until I had to pa:
with it Just hoW much I thought o:
that uniform. Pt had been with m
through hard trlfils and I felt as if
were abandoning a friend when
parted with it I was tempted to kee_
the wings off the tunic, but though)
that would be a dnngerous concession
to sentiment in the event that I wal
ever captured. It was the only tll|
tinction I had lift, as I had glv^
the Royal Flying) Corps badges a:
the stars of my t*ank to the Germ:
flyipg officers as souvenirs, but I f|
that it was safer to discord it
it finally turned out through all
subsequent experiences, my esci
would never have been jeopardi:
had I kept my uniform but of cou
I had no idea what was In store
There was one thing which snrpr
me very much as I Journeyed thrc
Belgium and that was the scarclt
dogs. Apparently most of them
been taken by the Germans and
are left are beasts of burden wh
too tired at night to bark or b
intruders. This was a mighty
thing for me, for I would ce:
have stirred them up ln
through back-yards as I som
did when I was making a short
One night as I came out of
it was so pitch dark that I coi
see ten feet ahead of me and
right in the back of a little
although I did not know it I
along fearing I might come to
roads at which there would
probability be a German se
My precaution served me
stead for had I come out ln
street of the village and wi
feet of me, sitting on som
where they were building a liti
I could see the dim outline
man spiked helmet!
I could not cross the
only thing to do was to
It meant making a long d<
losing two hours of precious
losing two hours of precious
effort, bnt there was no h
so I plodded wearily b
the Huns at every step.
The next night while c
fields I came to a road,
the main roads of Belgl
paved with cobble stones,
roads yon can hear a wagi
about a mile or two away.
Intently before I moved
hearing nothing conclndi
way was clear.
As I emerged from the
my first glimpse of the r<
shock of my life I In e
as far aa I could see, thi
lined with German soldi
they were doing in that
ginm I did not know, bnt
mighty sure I didn't
trying to find out
Again it was necessa:
my course and lose a ce:
of ground, bnt by this ti:
come fairly well recon'
reverses and they did r
as much as they did at
At this period of my a
day or night passed wi
I began to feel almost
bnt such disappoin
rather rare.
One evening as I was
a canal about two hundi
I suddenly noticed abou
yards away a canal bo:
the side.
It was at a sort of
place and I wondered
boat had stopped for.
to see. As I neared the
were leaving it and I
cross over into the
distance I followed the:
not gone very far
they were after. 1
ting the common but b
stealing potatoes !
Without the means
potatoes didn't Interest
I thought that the bo:
probably yield me mon
tato patch. Knowing
would probably take th
fields, I climbed up th
boat leisurely and wi
ular plans tp conceal
my head appeared abo
the boat I saw silhoi
the sky, the dread <
man soldier—spiked
A chill ran down
dropped to the bank
slunk away. Evidently
not seen me or, if he
ably figured that I
foraging party, but I
wouldn't pay in futu
thing for granted.
Experiences in
I think that one of
I had to contend witl
through Belgium wasj
w - ( -
[ and
small ditches. They intercepted mg
at every half mile or so, sometimes
more frequently. The canals and th»
big rivers I could swim. Of course, I
got soaked to the skin every time I
did it, but I was becoming harden«]
to that
These little ditches, however, wer»
too narrow to swim and too wide to
Jump. They had perhaps two feet ot 1 ,
water in them and three feet of mud,
and It was almost invariably a case of
wading through. Some of them, no
doubt, I could have Jumped if I had'
been in decent shape, but with a bad
ankle and in the weakened condition
In which I was, it was almost out of
the question.
One night I came to a ditch about
eight or nine feet wide. I thought I
was strong enough to Jump it and it
was worth trying as the discomfort I
suffered after wading these ditches
was considerable. Taking a long run,
I Jumped as hard as I could, but I
missed It by four or five Inches and
anded In about two feet of water and
ree of mud. Getting out of that
ess was quite a Job. The water waa
oo dirty and too scanty to enable me
o wash off the mud with which I was
overed and it was too wet to scrape
that it
came I
though) 0 "' A * us t ba( l to "wait until it dried
and scra P e It then,
wal In many sections of Belgium through
tll| whlcli I had to pass I encountered
glv^ large areas of swamp and marshy
ground and
I f|
rather than waste the
time involved In looking for better
underfooting—which I might not have
found anyway—I used to pole right
through the mud. Apart from the
discomfort of this method of travel
lng and the slow time I made, there
was an added danger to me in the fact
that the "squash, squash" noise which
I made might easily be overheard by
Belgians and Germans and give my
position away. Nobody would cross
a swamp or marsh In that part of the
country unless he was trying to get
away from somebody, and I realized
my danger but could not get around it
It was a common sight In Belgium
to see a small donkey and a common
ordinary milch cow hitched together,
pulling a wagon. When I first ob
served the unusual combination, ]
thought It was a donkey and ox oc
bull, but closer inspection revealed te
me that cows were being used for th«
From that I was able to observa
uiere mast be very few horses left in
Belgium except those owned by th«
Germans. Cows and donkeys are now
horses and mules. Altogether I spent
nearly eight weeks wandering through
Belgium, and in all that time I don't
believe I saw more than half a dozes
horses ln the possession of the nativ«
One of the scarcest things In Ger
many, apparently, is rubber, for |
noticed that their motor trucks, or lo*»
nes, unlike our own, had no rubbai
tires. Instead heavy iron bands wer«
employed. I could hear them com«
rumbling along the stone roads fo*
miles before they reached the spo)
where I happened to be in hildlna
When I saw these military roads ia
Belgium for the first time, with theil
heavy cobblestones that looked as U
they would last for centuries, I real
ized at once why It was that the Ger
mans had been able to make such •
rapid advance into Belgium at th<
8tart of the war.
I noticed that the Belgians ase4
dogs to a considerable extent to pull
their carts, and I thought many time»
Burying His Uniform at Night.
that If I could have stolen one o)
those dogs it would have been a vert
good companion for me and might 1)
the occasion arose, help me out in a
fight. But I had no way of feeding 1(
and the animal would probably hava
starved to death. I could live on veg>
etables, which I could always depend
upon finding in the fields, but a dofl
couldn't, and so I gave up the idea.
In Belgium, after weeks of
hardships and narrow escapes
from recapture, O'Brien finally
finds a man whom he believes
to be his friend. Cheered by
the prospect of final escape, he
gains courage to continue hrs
heartbreaking tramp through
Belgium. Don't miss the next
A new oil-burning apparatus heats
[ and lights the room at the same time»

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