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in the seats of the mighty, and still is, and apparently will remain
so; but at no time was 170 to blame.

We left Alsace one morning early in February when the valleys were
filled with tinted mist and the snowy hill-slopes were glowing pink
with sunrise, and we hated doing it. Various reasons have been offered
for our departure by various persons in authority, - but none of them
satisfactory and convincing, - and we still look back upon it as the
Promised Land. We formed a convoy of twenty-three cars, in which 170
was placed immediately behind the leader - an arrangement to which
twenty-one persons objected. Every time the side boxes came open and
the extra tins of gasoline scattered over the landscape, or when the
engine stopped through lack of sympathy with the engineer, three or
four cars would manage to slip by. It was a sort of progressive-euchre
party in which 170 never held a winning hand. No one concerned had the
least idea whither we were headed. The first night we spent at Rupt,
where there is an automobile park. We took it on hearsay that there was
an automobile park, for we left the next morning without having seen
it; but when two days later we joined the Twentieth Army Corps - the
Fighting Twentieth - at Moyen, we were reported as coming straight from
the automobile park at Rupt. Consequently we were assumed to be ready
for indefinite service "to the last button of the last uniform," and
when we had explained that mechanically speaking our last uniform was
on its last button the Fighting Twentieth shook us off.

However, we spent a week at Moyen - in it up to our knees. The
surrounding country was dry and almost dusty, but Moyen has an
atmosphere of its own and local color - and the streets are not
clean. Yet to most of us the stay was intensely interesting. It lies
just back of the high-water mark of German invasion, and the little
villages and towns round about show like the broken wreckage tossed
up by the tide - long streets of roofless, blackened ruins, and in
the midst the empty skeleton of a church. The tower has usually been
pierced by shells, and the broken chimes block the entrance. Nothing
has been done to alter or disguise. The fields surrounding are pitted
with shell craters, which have a suggestive way of lining the open
roads; along the edge of the roads are rifle pits and shallow trenches
filled with a litter of cartridge boxes and bits of trampled uniform
and accoutrement, blue and red, or greenish gray, mixed together, and
always and everywhere the long grave mounds with the little wooden
crosses which are a familiar feature of the landscape. It lacks,
perhaps, the bald grim cruelty of Hartmannsweilerkopf, but it is a
place not to be forgotten.

From Moyen we moved on to Tantonville, a place not lacking in material
comforts, but totally devoid of soul; and from there we still make
our round of posts - of one, two, or four cars, and for two, four,
or eight days. In some, the work is fairly constant, carrying the
sick and second-hand wounded from post to hospital and from hospital
to railroad; in others, one struggles against mental and physical
decay - and it is from the latter of these in its most aggravated form
that the present communication is penned.

At Oëlleville, we saw the class of 1916 called out, - brave,
cheerful-looking boys, standing very straight at attention as their
officers passed down the line, and later, as we passed them on the
march, cheering loudly for "_les Américains_" - and so marching on to
the open lid of hell at Verdun. The roads were filled with soldiers,
and every day and all day the troop-trains were rumbling by to the
north, and day after day and week after week the northern horizon
echoed with the steady thunder of artillery. Sometimes, lying awake
in the stillness of dawn to listen, one could not count the separate
explosions, so closely did they follow each other. The old man who used
to open the railway gate for me at Dombasle would shake his head and
say that we ought to be up at Verdun, and once a soldier beside him
told him that we were neutrals and not supposed to be sent under fire.
I heard that suggestion several times made, and one of our men used to
carry in his pocket a photograph of poor Hall's car to refute it.

There was a momentary thrill of interest when a call came for four cars
to Baccarat - a new post and almost on the front; there was an English
Section there in need of assistance, and we four who went intended
to "show them how." But it seemed that the call had come too late and
the pressing need was over; the last batch of German prisoners had
been brought in the day before and the active fighting had ceased.
We stepped into the long wooden cabin where they waited - the German
wounded - and they struggled up to salute - a more pitiful, undersized,
weak-chested, and woe-begone set of human derelicts I hope never to
see again in uniform; and as we stood among them in our strong, warm
clothes, for it was snowing outside, all of us over six feet tall, I
felt suddenly uncomfortable and ashamed.

The officer in charge of the administration said that a car was needed
to go down the valley to Saint-Dié, but we must be very careful for
Saint-Dié was under bombardment. Once we were startled at lunch time
by an explosion near the edge of town. Three of us stepped to the
door. We were eating the rarity of blood sausage and the fourth man
kept his seat to help himself from the next man's plate. As we looked
out there came a second explosion a little farther off, and then in
a few moments a telephone call for an ambulance, with the news that
a Taube had struck a train. When I reached the place the train had
gone on, carrying ten slightly wounded to Lunéville, and I brought
back the other two on stretchers - one a civilian struck in a dozen
places, but otherwise apparently in excellent health and spirits; the
other was a soldier in pretty bad shape. It must have been excellent
markmanship for the Taube, since we had seen nothing in the clear blue
sky overhead nor heard the characteristic whir of the motor, and yet
both shell craters were very close to the tracks. In Alsace they were
constantly in sight, but seldom attacked and almost never scored a hit,
while the French gunners seemed perfectly happy to fire shrapnel at
them all afternoon with the same indecisive result. One could not even
take the white shrapnel clouds as a point of departure in looking for
the aeroplane - though the French artillery is very justly famous for
its accuracy of fire. In this instance as in all air raids the success
scored seemed pitifully futile, for it was not a military train,
and most of the wounded were noncombatants. It had added its little
unnecessary mite of suffering, and of hatred to the vast monument
which Germany has reared to herself and by which she will always be
remembered.

W. KERR RAINSFORD

[Illustration]


_Night_

You can little imagine how lonely it is here under the black,
star-swept sky, the houses only masses of regular blackness in the
darkness, the street silent as a dune in the desert, and devoid of
any sign of human life. Muffled and heavy, the explosion of a torpedo
inscribes its solitary half-note on the blank lines of the night's
stillness. I go up to my room, and sigh with relief as my sulphur match
boils blue and breaks into its short-lived yellow flame. Shadows are
born, leaping and rising, and I move swiftly towards my candle-end,
the flame catches, and burns straight and still in the cold, silent
room. The people who lived here were very religious; an ivory Christ
on an ebony crucifix hangs over the door, and a solemn-eyed, pure and
lovely head of Jeanne d'Arc stands on my mantel. What a marvellous
history - hers! I think it the most beautiful, mystic tale in our human
annals.

Silence - sleep - the crowning mercy. A few hours go by.


_Morning_

"There is a call, Monsieur Shin - _un couché à_ - - "

I wake. The night clerk of the Bureau is standing in the doorway. An
electric flashlight in his hand sets me a-blinking. I dress, shivering
a bit, and am soon on my way. The little gray machine goes cautiously
on in the darkness, bumping over shell-holes, guided by the iridescent
mud of the last day's rain. I reach a wooded stretch - - _phist!_ a
rifle bullet goes winging somewhere. A bright flash illuminates the
road. A shell sizzles overhead. I reach the _poste de secours_ and
find a soldier in the roadway. More electric hand-lamps. Down a path
comes a stretcher and a man wounded in arm and thigh. We put him into
the wagon, cover him up, and away I start on my long, dark ride to the
hospital, a lonely, nerve-tightening ride.


_Stray Thoughts_

The voice of war is the voice of the shell. You hear a perfectly
horrible sound as if the sky were made of cloth and the Devil were
tearing it apart, a screaming undulating sound followed by an explosion
of fearful violence, _bang!_ The violence of the affair is what
impresses you, the suddenly released energy of that murderous burst.
When I was a child I used to wander around the shore and pick up hermit
crabs and put them on a plate. After a little while you would see a
very prudent claw come out of the shell, then two beady eyes, finally
the crab _in propria persona_. I was reminded of that scene on seeing
people come cautiously out of their houses after a shell had fallen,
peeping carefully out of doorways, and only venturing to emerge after a
long reconnoitring.


I am staying here. It was my design to leave at the beginning of the
year, but why should I go? I am very happy to be able to do something
here, very proud to feel that I am doing something. In times to come
when more Americans realize their lost opportunity, there will be many
regrets, but you and I will be content. So wish me the best. Not that
there is anything attractive to keep me here. To live continually under
shell fire is a hateful experience, and the cheerless life, so empty
of any domesticity, and the continuous danger are acid to any one with
memories of an old, beloved New England hearth and close family ties
and friendships. To half jest, I am enduring war for peace of mind.

How lonely my old house must be when the winter storms surge round it
at midnight. How the great flakes must swirl round its ancient chimney,
and fall softly down the black throat of the fireplace to the dark,
ungarnished hearth. The goblin who polished the pewter plates in the
light of the crumbling fire-brands has gone to live with his brother in
a hollow tree on the hill. But when you come to Topsfield, the goblin
himself, red flannel cap and all, will open the door to you as the
house's most honored and welcome guest.

A _fusée éclairante_ has just run over the wood - the _bois de la
mort_ - the wood of the hundred thousand dead. And side by side with
the dead are the living, the soldiers of the army of France, holding,
through bitter cold and a ceaseless shower of iron and hell, the
far-stretching lines. If there is anything I am proud of, it is of
having been with the French army - the most devoted and heroic of the
war.

H. SHEAHAN

[Illustration]


_A Gallant Blessé_

I was stationed at one of our _postes de secours_ the other night
during a terrible rainstorm. The wind does blow on top of these
mountains when it begins! About bedtime, which is at 7.30 (we eat our
dinner at 4.30 - it is pitch dark then), a call came from one of our
_postes_ three kilometres nearer the line. There was a captain wounded
and they asked me to go for him. I cannot speak French well, but I made
them understand. The _poste_ is at the foot of the mountain, hidden
from the _Boches_ by the trees in the woods only. At night we cannot
use lights, for the Germans would see us easily, and then there would
be a dead American in short order. Of course, I told them I would go,
but it would be dangerous for the _blessé_. I could jump out in case I
should run into a ravine, but I could not save the man on the stretcher
if anything happened. They understood, and, after about half an hour,
we heard another knock on the cabin door, and they brought the captain
in - four men, one on each corner of a stretcher. They put him on the
floor, and in the lantern light of the room (made of rough timbers) one
could see he was vitally stricken by the death color of his face and
lips. He had his full senses. It was my duty then to take him down the
opposite slope of the mountain to the hospital. I started my car and
tried to find my way through the trees in the dark. The wind was almost
strong enough to blow me off the seat, and the rain made my face ache.
The only light I had was that of the incendiary bombs of the French and
the Germans at the foot of the hill, about one and a half kilometres
away. These bombs are so bright they illuminate the whole sky for miles
around like a flash of lightning. I must admit my nerves were a little
shaken, taking a dying man into my car under such conditions, almost
supernatural. It did seem like the lights of the spirits departing
mixed with the moaning wind and the blackness of the night, and the
pounding of the hand-grenades in the front lines so near. They gave
me another _blessé_ with the captain. This man had been shot through
the mouth only, and was well enough to sit up in back and watch the
captain. I could use my lights after I had passed down the side a short
distance out of sight of the lines. We must run our motors in low speed
or we use up our brakes in one trip. All the poor _capitaine_ could say
during the descent was "_J'ai soif_," except once when he requested
me to stop the car, as the road was too rough for him, and we had to
rest. When we reached the hospital, I found a bullet had struck one
shoulder and passed through his back and out the other shoulder. He
also had a piece of shell in his side. A few hours before he had walked
back from the trenches into the woods to see a position of the Germans;
they saw him - and seldom does a man escape when seen at fairly close
range. He was vitally wounded. I climbed up the mountain watching the
fire-flashes in the sky, feeling pretty heavy-hearted and homesick, but
with strengthened resolve to help these poor chaps all I possibly could.

The next day I had another trip from the same station on the mountain
to the same hospital at five o'clock in the afternoon - then dark as
midnight. The sisters told me the _capitaine_ was better; the ball had
not severed the vertebra and there was hope for him. They told me also
that the general had arrived and conferred upon him the Cross of the
_Légion d'Honneur_. It was reassuring to hear that he was better and
had distinguished himself so well, and I went back up the trail this
night with a lighter heart. I had felt really guilty, for I did not
have a thing in my car to give him the night before when he asked me
to stop the car and said, "_J'ai soif_." Never did I want a spoonful
of whiskey more and never have I regretted not having it more. I could
not give him water - he had some fever; besides, though there are many
streams of it running down the mountain, no one dares to touch it.
Water is dangerous in war-time, and we have all been warned against it.

I was called the next morning for the same trip and when I reached the
hospital at eight o'clock it was still raining - now for three days! I
met Soeur Siegebert in the hall - carrying her beads, her prayer-book
and a candle. She is one of the good nuns who always gives me hot
soup or tea with rum in it when I come in cold, wet, and hungry - and
many times I and the others have blessed her! My first question was:
"_Comment ça va avec le capitaine ce matin?_" All she said and could
say was "_Fini_." He had passed out a short time before I got there.
He was only thirty years old, tall and handsome, and they say he led a
whole battalion with the courage of five men.


A little later I stepped into the death chamber in a little house
apart from the hospital. It was cold, wet, and smelled strongly of
disinfectant, just as such places should, and in a dim, small room
lighted by two candles, upon a snowy white altar made by the nuns,
there he lay on a bier of the purest linen beautifully embroidered,
whiter even than the pallor of his features and hands, and as I came
near him the only color in the room was the brilliant touch of red
and silver in his _Légion d'Honneur_ medal, which was pinned over his
heart. His peaceful expression assured me he was happy at last, and
made me realize that this is about the only happiness left for all
these poor young chaps I see marching over these roads in companies for
the trenches, where their only shelter is the sky and their only rest
underground in dug-outs. When they go into the trenches they have a
slim chance of coming out whole again, and they pass along the road in
companies with jovial spirits, singing songs and laughing as though
they were going to a picnic. I see them come back often, too; they are
still smiling but nearly always in smaller numbers. What can they have
in view when they see their numbers slowly but surely dwindling! I
marvel at their superb courage!

LUKE C. DOYLE

[Illustration: WHAT NIGHT TRIPS WITHOUT LIGHTS SOMETIMES MEAN]

[Illustration: THE DANGERS OF THE ROAD]


_Perils of a Blizzard_

The other night, just as I was going to crawl in, three _blessés_
arrived from the trenches, another was down the road in a farmhouse
waiting for the _médecin chef_; he was too badly wounded to go farther.
They asked me to take the men to the hospital at Krût, which is back
over the mountains twenty miles, and of course I said I would. I
dressed again (I hated to because it was warm in the little log shack
and it had begun to rain outside); I lit my lantern, and went out to
the shelter where the cars were, got my tank filled with gas, and my
lights ready to burn when I could use them. It was so black one could
see nothing at all. We put two of the _blessés_ on stretchers and
pushed them slowly into the back of the car; the other sat in front
with me. We did this under the protection of the hill where the _poste
de secours_ is located. When one goes fifty yards on the road beyond
the station there is a valley, narrow but clear, which is in full view
of the trenches, and it is necessary to go over this road going and
coming. In the daytime one cannot be seen because the French have put
up a row of evergreens along it which hides the road. I started and
proceeded very carefully, keeping my lantern under a blanket, and we
soon arrived at the house where the other _blessé_ was waiting for
the doctor. It was a typical French farmhouse, little, old, and dirty
inside, and white outside. I pushed in the door and stepped down into
the flagstone kitchen. On the floor lay the _chasseur_ on a stretcher,
his face pale under the lamplight from the table. The _médecin chef_
was bending over him injecting tetanus (lockjaw) anti-toxin into his
side, and with each punch of the needle the poor fellow, already
suffering from terrible wounds, would squirm but not utter a word. The
soldiers stood around the tiny room, their heads almost touching the
brown rafters above. We took the man out to my car on the stretcher,
carrying the light under the coat of one of the stretcher-bearers. If
the Germans see a light moving anywhere in the French territory, they
will fire on it if they think it near enough. I started up the mountain
with my load of wounded. On either side of the road the French guns at
certain places pounded out their greetings to the _Boches_, and the
concussion would shake the road so that I could feel it in my car. I
could light my lights after about a mile, so I proceeded slowly up the
mountain in low speed. The heat from my motor kept the _blessés_ and
myself warm. About halfway up, we ran into the clouds and it became
so foggy one could scarcely see; farther up it became colder and began
to snow. I had no chains on my car (none to be had). They need so many
things here, if they only had the money to buy them. I thought of the
time you and I got stuck at Princeton, and it worried me to be without
chains, especially since I had three helpless men inside and one out.
I kept climbing up and the higher I went the more it snowed and the
harder it blew. Near the top it became veritably blinding - snow, sleet,
and wind - a typical northeasterly American blizzard. The little car
ploughed on bravely; it stuck only once on a sharp turn, and by backing
it I was able to make it by rushing it. I could not see the road, the
sleet was blowing into my face so and the snow was so thick. At last
I reached the summit and the wind was so strong there it actually
lifted my car a little at one time. On one side of the road was a high
embankment and on the other a ravine sloping down at least one thousand
feet. I was scared to death, for without chains we were liable to skid
and plunge down this depth. The snow had been falling all day, and it
had drifted in places over a yard deep. Twice I took a level stretch to
be the road, but discovered my mistake in time to back up; the third
time was more serious; I plunged ahead through a drift which I thought
was the road, and finally I stuck and could move neither way. I could
not leave these men there all night wounded, and the blizzard did not
stop, so my only means was to find help. I walked back to what I
thought was the road and kept on toward a slight, glimmering light I
could see in the right direction. It was an enclosure for mules which
haul ammunition over the mountains, and I felt safe again, for I knew
there were a lot of Territorial soldiers with them. I hauled them out
of bed; it was then 10.30. They came with me and pushed me back on
the road, also pushed me along - ten of them - until they got me on the
descent, and from there on the weight of my car carried me down through
the drifts. I arrived at the hospital at 12.30 and was the happiest man
you have ever seen to get those poor fellows there safely.

I was sent back to Mittlach the next day to get four more wounded. They
were what are called _assis_, not _couchés_, fortunately, because the
snow on top of Trekopf had been falling and drifting all day and night.
When I got to the top of the mountain and started down, the roads had
been broken and beaten down by munition wagons and were like a sheet
of ice. I started down without chains, and with all my brakes on the
car began to slide slowly down the road. It slid toward the edge of the
ravine and the two front wheels went over; it stopped, I got it back on
the road, and turned the radiator into the bank on the other side and
tried tying rags on the rear wheels to keep the car from going down,
when a big wagon with four horses came down the hill behind me. It was
so slippery that the horses started to slide down on their haunches,
and, with brakes on, the driver could not stop them. The horses came
on faster and they slid into the rear of my car, pushed it along for
about six feet, and then nothing could stop it. It started down the
road. I yelled to the wounded, "_Vous, jetez vous._" They understood
and piled out just in time. The car ran across the road and plunged
down into the ravine. There was a lot of snow on the side of the
ravine, and it had piled up so that it stopped the car part way down,
and it was not injured very much. It took nine men and as many mules
to pull it out. Now that the snow has come, I think our service to
Mittlach will have to be abandoned.

L. C. D.

[Illustration: MULE CONVOY IN ALSACE]

[Illustration: THE "POSTE" NEAR HARTMANNSWEILERKOPF AFTER A BOMBARDMENT]


At Tomansplatz the other day an officer and I started for - - , one
of our _postes_. We took a short cut over a high hill from which one
could look easily down on - - , where all the fighting had been going
on. There is a path over this hill which is hidden by trees, and on
the top is a long _boyau_ to pass through so as to keep out of sight
of the Germans in clear weather. When we reached the top, we stepped
out of the path to get a view of the valley, and it was wonderful
looking down on the French and German trenches, and to see the hill
all shot to pieces and the trees broken to stubs - living scars of the
fighting that had gone on. We did not get by unseen, for the Germans
are always on the job. They have observation posts in the trees, hard
to be seen, but easy to see from. There was a lot of firing going
on, and we could see the French shells landing in the German lines.
I had a premonition that something was going to happen and stepped


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