Слике страница

A. M., also in the chest, at first remains there, where an individual dressing is applied for him. At 7 P. M. he leaves on foot and walks in the darkness until midnight; then he stretches himself out on the ground in a bit of woods and sleeps, covered by the beautiful stars. At the first trace of dawn he begins to walk again, and reaches the relay of stretcher bearers. These take him at 5 A. M., and at 8 A. M. they place him in a vehicle which bears him to the ambulance of the first line. He remains there some hours, and is finally brought to us in an automobile; he reaches us at 10 P. M., or thirty-six hours after receiving his wound.

Quite recently, in an action where a surrounded company was delivered only at the end of four days, certain wounded, their dressings done only in the most summary manner, were obliged to remain all this time on the ground.

In general, we have kept our wounded the least time possible, so as to reserve the largest number of places in our hospital ready for emergency use. However, as far as major wounds are concerned, particularly those of the extremities, we have made it a point not to discharge them before the seventh or eighth day after the time of wounding, for it is during this first week that ordinarily the worst infectious accidents supervene if they are to occur. Likewise, we have kept at least two weeks the cases of trephining, of amputation, of serious wounds of the chest, of the abdomen, and of the joints.

III. [Translated from España Médica, Madrid, for CURRENT HISTORY MAGAZINE.]

The following episode was overheard in the corridor of a hospital and was told by a Spaniard who enlisted in the French Army and was wounded:

“ The good Lalane, the merriest comrade of the region, has made an ugly death. Toward evening we had repulsed an attack of the “boches '; we had leaped out of the trench, which was turned upside down by the artillery; then we had regained our posts. Seventeen men were missing, and among these was Lalane.

When the cannonading and the fusillade had ceased we heard the usual tormenting cries of our wounded, fallen on the ground between our trench and that of the enemy

'Help, mercy, mamma! pleaded the poor wretches.

“ Uselessly we tried to aid them. Our self-denial cost us two men, because the enemies made a terrible fire every time that we repeated the attempt.

“At the dawn of day the cries had stopped; only one of our men continued to shriek tremendously. We recognized the voice of Lalane, who was roaring with pain and with anger. The unfortunate man was the prey of delirium; he pretended that nasty rats were gnawing him and that he could not free himself from them. Two days and three nights the torture of our unfortunate friend lasted. They were two days and three nights during which we did not sleep in the trench. We were obsessed. Little Cazan cried like a baby.

“ In the end there was silence, which said clearly that Lalane was dead. There was a sigh of relief for all. Poor devil! I proposed by all means to go after the corpse of our friend as soon as a favorable chance presented itself, in order to prevent it from being torn up by a flock of ravens roosting in the grove near by. The chance did not keep us waiting long; the thickest sort of a morning fog permitted Cazan to betake himself to the spot and to tie a small rope to one of his feet; pulling and pulling, we succeeded in dragging him along up to the trench. A cry of horror leaped from our throats! The eyes, empty; the nose, the ears, the lips, gnawed; all the body stripped, torn asunder, devoured—the bones could be seen here and there. Of his clothes there remained intact only his leather belt and shoes. The unhappy man had a slight wound in the spine, which had paralyzed and immobilized him; hence he could not defend himself against the trench rats, which had devoured him alive!”

At this point the narrator was interrupted by the protests of his comrades, who wished to sleep. That night I slept badly; I dreamed of struggling with all the monsters of the Apocalypse.

A Darkened Church in the War Zone

An Irish Officer's Word Picture

For SO

[ocr errors]

T a certain point at the front there to get their flocks together.

is a village where the troops many days the battalions are in the

come from time to time to rest, trenches, and for so many days in the and there the church each evening is comparative safety of the camps in the crowded with the soldiers. Lights of a little villages somewhere back from the brilliant kind are not allowed in this firing line. The day and night before a village, as it is so near the line, and it battalion goes to the trenches the chapis urgent at night to give no sign which lains are busy in the churches, for the might make the place a target for the men throng to confession, and it is a wonlong-range guns of the enemy. There derful and most faith-inspiring sight to fore the church is never lighted in the see them in hundreds approaching the evening, and it is by the flames of a altar before marching off to danger, and few candles alone on the altar of Our in many cases to death itself. Lady of Dolores that the rosary is re

When the turn in the trenches is over cited.

and the men resume their rosary in the It is a strange scene in this church at darkened church in the evenings there night. Entering it, all is dark save for are always some absent ones who were the few fluttering candles on the altar

there the week before. For this very reabefore which the priest kneels to say son, perhaps, because of the comrades the prayers.

It is only when the men who will never kneel by their side again, join in that one becomes aware that the the men pray all the more fervently and church is really full, and it is solemn with ever-increasing earnestness say, and appealing beyond words to describe “May the souls of the faithful departed when up from the darkness rise the through the mercy of God rest in peace! great chords from hundreds of voices in While some of the chaplains attend the prayers. The darkness seems to add the men who are resting in the back impressiveness to the prayers, and from villages, others follow the men into the the outside are heard the rumble and line, and there, in some ruined house roar of the guns which, not so very close by or in a shelter or dugout in far away, are dealing out death and the trench itself, they are always at agony to the comrades of the men who hand to minister to the suffering and pray. Sometimes the church is mo the dying. Who can measure the conmentarily illuminated by the flashes of solation they bring, or who can describe the guns and the windows are lighted the comfort and happiness of the soldier up as though by lightning.

whose eyes, before they close forever, The writer of these lines has seen rest upon the face of the priest of his many an impressive spectacle of large own faith? If the priest in peace is the congregations at prayer in great and ever-sought comforter of the afflicted spacious churches in many lands, but and dying, how much more so is the nothing more truly touching, impressive, priest in time of war and in the battle and moving has ever been witnessed than line! The writer has met at the front the darkened church behind the lines, many chaplains, and the dominant feelthronged with troops fervently invoking ing of one and all is thankfulness that the intercession of the Mother of God they were able to go out with the men under almost the very shadow of the and share their lot. wings of the Angel of Death! In France Of all the actors in the great tragedy and Belgium the Catholic troops are of the war none stand out more heroically fortunate in having at hand so many than the chaplains, none fill a greater churches of their own faith, and this place in what has come to be called the makes it easier for the devoted chaplains theatre of war. No wonder so many of

them have received decorations, and no wonder the men highly value the presence and the consolation and the encouragement of the “padre," as the officers call the minister of religion. To the Catholic soldiers, however, the priest remains “father,” and it is good to see them smile as he approaches and to hear the sound ring of the old faith in their voices as they reply to his salutation and address him always “father." Mass has been said in the very trenches, and the writer has attended mass in many a ruined church and many a shellwrecked shelter. And ever and always the men are the same, devoted and earnest, and the more wretched their surroundings the more eager they are.

Nothing is more noticeable than the

way the Catholic soldier holds by his beads. The writer has seen men who were killed in the line. Their little personal belongings are carefully collected by comrades and safely kept to be sent home, but the rosary when found in the pocket is often, usually indeed, reverently placed round the dead man's neck before he is wrapped in his blanket for burial. “I put his beads about his neck, Sir,” is the report often given by the stretcher bearer to the chaplain or other officer, as a man is given to the grave. How many Catholic soldiers lie in their lonely graves today in the war with their beads about their necks! How very, very many! And so, indeed, one feels sure would they wish to be buried.



The Great Work of the Belgian

Relief Commission


HE breaking off of diplomatic re

lations between the United States and Germany threatened to in

terrupt, if not entirely end, the valuable work of the American Commission for Relief in Belgium, which has become equally well known by its initials, “ C. R. B.When the German invasion cut off the 80 per cent. of Belgium's food imported from over the seas, nearly ten million people, including those in the invaded part of France, were in danger of starving to death. Something had to be done to help the Belgians, and somebody had to do it.

The emergency produced the man, Herbert C. Hoover, an American mining engineer and business organizer resident in London, and the head of industrial undertakings employing 125,000 men. Mr. Hoover marshaled a small legion of fellow-Americans-business men, sanitary experts, doctors, social workers—who as unpaid volunteers set about the great task of feeding the people of Belgium and Northern France. Today the C. R. B., which Mr. Hoover and his colleagues have built up, is a great institution, rec

ognized by all Governments, receiving contributions from all parts of the earth, with its own ships in every great port, and in the eyes of the Belgians and French who receive their daily bread through its agency a monument of what Americans can do in social organization and business efficiency, for Americans have furnished the entire personnel of the commission from the beginning.

The initial negotiations with the various belligerent Governments in 1914 were conducted on behalf of the commission by the American Ambassadors and Ministers in London, Brussels, and Berlin. Mr. Hoover, early recognizing the possibility that the United States might be. come involved in the war, obtained the patronage of the Spanish and Dutch Ambassadors and Ministers in London, Berlin, and Brussels, and at every crisis which has threatened America in the war the commission has had the support of the Spanish and Dutch diplomats, who have been ready, if necessary, to find a new staff to replace the American personnel. The commission is a distinct organization from the Belgian National

Committee, through and with which it the world, including Madagascar, remote works in Belgium itself. Its functions places in China, the Solomon Islands, are those of direction, supervision, and Greenland, Liberia, and Tasmania. Tasall matters that have to be dealt with mania, the smallest of the States of the outside Belgium. In the occupied terri- Australian Commonwealth, has the honor tories it has the help of thousands of of heading the per capita contributions, Belgian and French workers, many of with $6.53 subscribed for every inhabthem women.

itant. The commission does not depend upon

When Mr. Hoover and his fellowany one of its American members for Americans began the work of saving Belleadership, since, as Mr. Hoover says, gium from starvation, they made their any one of them could at any time take first appeal to the people of the United charge and carry on the work. “Hon- States. They considered that they were nold, Poland, Gregory, Brown, Kellogg,

working on behalf of America in the Lucey, White, Hunsiker, Connet, Young,

name of humanity, and they felt that and many others who at various periods they were in this way writing a page of have given of their great ability and ex

true Americanism in Europe.” But the perience in administration could do it.” American response to the appeal for At the same time it is admitted that the contributions has thus far been sadly discommission would never have been so

appointing. It has amounted to only successful if Belgium had not already $9,000,000, less than 9 cents per capita, had in existence a well-developed com

while Canada has contributed 28 cents, munal system. The base of the commis

Australia $1.25, and New Zealand $1.98. sion's organization is a committee in The miners of Johannesburg, South every commune, or municipality. The Africa, gave 10 per cent. of their wages, communal committees consist of repre

which was added to by a similar amount sentatives of the trade unions, the com

from the owners of the mines. munal authorities, the medical profes- During his stay in America in the sion, and the business or professional early part of 1917, Mr. Hoover more than class. Through their knowledge once expressed himself on the subject of everybody in their communes and of local his own country's niggardliness, pointing conditions the committees are able to es- out at the same time that the chief proftimate exactly the extent of the relief its made out of providing food for Belrequired.

gium had gone into American pockets. “ You can have no idea what a great Out of the $250,000,000 spent by the C. blessing it has been in Belgium and R. B., $150,000,000 had been used in the Northern France to have the small and United States to purchase supplies, and intimate divisions which exist under the on these orders America had made a war communal system,” says Mr. Hoover. profit of at least $30,000,000. Yet in “ It is the whole unit of life and a po- two years the American people had conlitical entity much more developed than tributed only $9,000,000. On these facts in America. It has been not only the Mr. Hoover based this indictment of his basis of our relief organization, but the fellow-countrymen: salvation of the people.” Altogether Thousands of contributions have come to us there are 4,000 communal committees, from devoted people all over United which are linked up in larger groups un.

States, but the truth is that, with the exder district and provincial committees,

ception of a few large gifts, American con

tributions have been little rills of charity of which in turn come under the Belgian the poor toward the poor. Everywhere abroad National Committee.

America has been getting the credit for keep

ing alight the lamp of humanity, but what Up to date the commission has spent

are the facts? America's contributions have $250,000,000, most of which has been pro- been pitifully inadequate, and, do not forget vided by the British and French Govern- it, other peoples have begun to take stock of ments. The remainder has come from

We have been getting all the credit.

Have we deserved it? We lay claim the Belgians and French themselves, and

idealism, to devotion to duty, and to great from contributions sent from all parts of benevolence; but now the acid test is being




applied to us. This has a wider import than lar a month for each one of these children mere figures. Time and time again when

is needed to stop the gradual degenerathe door to Belgium threatened to close we have defended its portals by the assertion

tion of the youth of Belgium. that this was an American enterprise, that

One of the first noteworthy results of the sensibilities of the American people would

Mr. Hoover's criticism was that the be wounded beyond measure, would be outraged, if this work were interfered with. Rocky Mountain Club of New York, Our moral strength has been based upon this whose members are mostly men interassertion. I believe it is true, but it is diffi

ested in mining enterprises, decided to cult in the face of the figures to carry conviction, and in the last six or eight months

turn over to the commission the $500,000 time and again we have felt our influence which they had raised for a new clubslip from under us.

house costing $1,000,000, and voted that The result of the war will be that America every one of their 1,200 members should will be rich, prosperous, wealthy, and will

go to work to get contributions. In other have made untold millions out of the woe and swelter of Europe.

directions Mr. Hoover made his presence The justification of any rich man in the community is his trusteeship

felt, and there was an improvement in to the community for his wealth. The justi American subscriptions to the funds of fication of America to the world-community

the commission. today is her trusteeship to the world-community for the property which she holds. The statement that the Germans have There is growing up and there has grown up taken food intended for the Belgians was in Europe a note of bitterness which will

disposed of by Mr. Hoover in a speech in seriously affect our whole relations with Europe for years to come. The only ameliora

New York City on Feb. 13. “ We are tion to this bitterness possible is for this satisfied,” he said, “ that the German country to properly assume its burden toward

Army has never eaten one-tenth of 1 per the helpless in Europe.

cent. of the food provided. The Allied Speaking at Washington, D. C., on

Governments never would have supplied Feb. 17, Mr. Hoover said it made him feel

us with $200,000,000 if we were supplyashamed when he heard Belgian children

ing the German Army. If the Germans expressing their gratitude by singing

had absorbed any considerable quantity “ The Star-Spangled Banner,” and he

of this food, the population of Belgium knew that the food they were eating had

would not be alive today.” not been paid for by Americans.

When the break came between the The commission's requirements have United States and Germany, it was statgrown to between $18,000,000 and $19, ed that the feeding of the people of Bel000,000 a month. Of this amount the gium and Northern France would go on, Allied Governments are contributing because the C. R. B. had become a unique $14,000,000, leaving between four and international society, supported by confive million dollars a month to be raised tributions from both belligerents and by public charity. The Belgians resent neutrals, and represented by American bitterly the very suggestion of charity, citizens in the occupied territories. If and have continued to borrow heavily America became involved in the war, the with British and French support. Nev citizens of some other neutral country, ertheless, they have had to leave 3,000, such as Spain or Holland, would carry 000 of their people, who are totally desti on the work. tute, as well as 1,250,000 adolescent chil Immunity from blockade measures for dren, to depend upon the commission's the commission's steamers was secured efforts. Mr. Hoover's mission during his by Mr. Hoover after negotiation with visit to America included a plan to get Germany and Great Britain. At the out-' the United States to undertake the pro break of the war foodstuffs were not vision of $1,250,000 a month for the contraband, and the commission was free wants of the 1,250,000 adolescent chil to transport its supplies in neutral ships dren. The commission has had to cope to Holland. But sufficient neutral ships with an alarming increase in tuberculo could not be obtained, and belligerent sis and other diseases among adolescents, vessels had also to be chartered. The caused by the lower power of resistance German Government agreed to consider consequent upon inadequate diet. A dol immune from attack all ships flying the

« ПретходнаНастави »