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TRUE STORIES OF THE GREAT WAR, VOL 3 ***




Produced by Brian Coe, Moti Ben-Ari and the Online
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TRUE STORIES OF THE GREAT WAR




TRUE STORIES
OF THE
GREAT WAR

TALES OF ADVENTURE - HEROIC DEEDS - EXPLOITS
TOLD BY THE SOLDIERS, OFFICERS, NURSES,
DIPLOMATS, EYE-WITNESSES


_Collected in Six Volumes
From Official and Authoritative Sources_
(_See Introductory to Volume I_)

VOLUME III

Editor-in-Chief
FRANCIS TREVELYAN MILLER (Litt. D., LL.D.)
Editor of The Search-Light Library

1917
REVIEW OF REVIEWS COMPANY
NEW YORK




Copyright, 1917, by

REVIEW OF REVIEWS COMPANY




CONTENTS

The Board of Editors has selected for VOLUME III this group of
stories told by Soldiers, Naval Officers, Nurses, Nuns, Refugees,
Airmen, Spies, and other participants and eye-witnesses of the Great
War. They have been collected from twenty-three of the most authentic
sources in Europe and America, and include 143 personal adventures
and episodes. The selections have been made according to the plan
outlined in the Introductory to Volume I, for selecting from all
sources the "Best Stories of the War." Full credit is given in every
instance to the original source. All numerals are for the purpose of
identifying the various episodes and do not relate to the chapters in
the original volumes. - EDITORS.

VOLUME III - TWENTY-TWO STORY-TELLERS - 143 EPISODES


WHAT I FOUND OUT IN THE HOUSE OF A GERMAN PRINCE 1
STORIES OF INTIMATE TALKS WITH THE HOHENZOLLERNS
Told by an English-American Governess
(Permission of Frederick A. Stokes Company, of New York)

"FROM CONVENT TO CONFLICT" - A VISION OF INFERNO 18
A NUN'S ACCOUNT OF THE INVASION OF BELGIUM
Told by Sister Antonia, Convent des Filles de Marie
(Permission of John Murphy Company, of Baltimore)

"WAR LETTERS OF AN AMERICAN WOMAN" - IN BLEEDING FRANCE 30
EXPERIENCES IN THE SIEGE OF PARIS
Told by Marie Van Vorst, American Novelist
(Permission of John Lane Company, London and New York)

"A GERMAN DESERTER'S WAR EXPERIENCE" - HIS ESCAPE 48
"THE INSIDE STORY OF THE GERMAN ARMY"
Told by - (Name Withheld)
(Permission of B. W. Huebsch, of New York)

"THE SOUL OF THE WAR" - TALES OF THE HEROIC FRENCH 70
REVELATIONS OF A WAR CORRESPONDENT
Told by Philip Gibbs
(Permission of Robert M. McBride and Company, New York)

"TRENCHING AT GALLIPOLI" - IN THE LAND OF THE TURKS 91
ADVENTURES OF A NEWFOUNDLANDER
Told by John Gallishaw
(Permission of the Century Company, of New York)

SCENES "IN A FRENCH HOSPITAL" 106
STORIES OF A NURSE
Told by M. Eydoux-Demians
(Permission of Duffield and Company, of New York)

"FLYING FOR FRANCE" - HERO TALES OF BATTLES IN THE AIR 126
WITH THE AMERICAN ESCADRILLE AT VERDUN
Told by James R. McConnell
(Permission of Doubleday, Page and Company, of New York)

THE LOG OF THE "MOEWE" - TALES OF THE HIGH SEAS 166
THE ADVENTURES OF A MODERN PIRATE
Told by Count Dohna-Schlodien, her Commander
(Permission of Wide-World Magazine)

PRISONER'S VOYAGE ON GERMAN U-BOAT UNDER THE SEA 196
Told by - (Name Withheld by Request)
(Permission of New York Times)

THE DARKEST HOUR - FLEEING FROM THE BULGARIANS 208
OUR EXPERIENCES IN THE GREAT SERBIAN RETREAT
Told by Alice and Claude Askew
(Permission of Wide World Magazine)

A MAGYAR PALADIN - A RITTMEISTER OF THE HUSSARS 222
ALONG THE ROAD FROM POLAND TO BUDAPEST
Told by Franz Molnar
(Permission of New York Tribune)

OUR ESCAPE FROM GERMAN SOUTH-WEST AFRICA 231
Told by Corporal H. J. McElnea
(Permission of Wide World Magazine)

WHAT AN AMERICAN WOMAN SAW ON THE SERBIAN FRONT 261
HOW I VIEWED A BATTLE FROM A PRECIPICE
Told by Mrs. Charles H. Farnum of New York
(Permission of New York Sun)

"KAMERADS!" - CAPTURING HUNS IN THE ALPS WITHOUT
A FIGHT 270

DIARY OF A LIEUTENANT OF ALPINE CHASSEURS
(Permission of Wide World Magazine)

LIFE ON A FRENCH CRUISER IN WAR TIME 282
"LES VAGABONDS DE LA GUERRE"
Told by René Milan
(Permission of Current History)

OVER THE TOP WITH THE AMERICANS IN THE FOREIGN LEGION 293
Told by Donald R. Thane
(Permission of New York Herald)

SECRET STORIES OF THE GERMAN SPY IN FRANCE 306
HOW SIXTY THOUSAND SPIES PREPARED FOR THE WAR
(Permission of Wide World Magazine)

HOW STRONG MEN DIE - TALES OF THE WOUNDED 329
EXPERIENCES OF A SCOTTISH MINISTER
Told by Rev. Lauchlan Maclean Watt
(Permission of The Scotsman)

THROUGH JAWS OF DEATH IN A SUNKEN SUBMARINE 336
Told by Emile Vedel in L'Illustration, Paris
(Permission of New York World)

ESCAPE OF THE RUSSIAN LEADER OF THE "TERRIBLE
DIVISION" 343
TRUE STORY OF HOW GENERAL KORNILOFF ESCAPED
ACROSS HUNGARY
Told by Ivan Novikoff
(Permission of Wide World Magazine)

THE AERIAL ATTACK ON RAVENNA 358
Told by Paoli Polettit in L'Illustrazione Italiana
(Permission of Current History)




[Illustration: Underwood & Underwood.
BRINGING IN A WOUNDED COMRADE
_Some of the Most Heroic Acts of the War Have Been Performed as Part
of the "Day's Work" of the Ambulance Corps. This French Ambulance
Attendant is Risking His Own Life During the French Offensive at Verdun
to Carry a Fellow Poilu Back Through the Woods Razed by German Gun
Fire._]

[Illustration: READING HOME NEWS BEFORE STARTING FOR THE TRENCHES]

[Illustration: HE CHARGED WITH HIS BATTALION A FEW HOURS EARLIER]

[Illustration: A FRIEND'S TURN YESTERDAY - HIS PERHAPS TODAY]




WHAT I FOUND OUT IN THE HOUSE OF A GERMAN PRINCE

_Stories of Intimate Talks with the Hohenzollerns_

_Told by an English-American Governess_

These true stories reveal for the first time the "inside workings"
of the German Court. They are told by a woman who overheard
conversations between the members of the House of Hohenzollern and
the military and diplomatic castes. She was governess in a German
princely house at the outbreak of the war, having secured her
position through Prince Henry of Prussia, whom she met in Washington,
during his visit to the United States. Her grandfather was an admiral
in the United States Navy. She tells frankly of her conversations
with the Kaiser, the Crown Prince, General von Bernhardi, the Krupps,
Count Zeppelin, General von Kluck, Herr Dernburg, and important
secret service people, who took her into their confidences. These
revelations (which have been published by _Frederick A. Stokes Co._,
of New York) are most absorbing reading. Here we are necessarily
limited to a selection of but six anecdotes from the hundreds of
entrancing stories in her book. The book is a valuable record of
her experiences as governess of two young princes at their game,
"destroying London before supper," to her final escape in disguise
after the war began.


By a coincidence, it was five years ago, on the day of my internment in
a German castle last August (1914), that I undertook to teach English
and other things to the children of that castle's owner. During four of
those years I did my duty to my three little charges as well as I knew
how. For the rest of the time, up to two days before the declaration of
war between France and Germany, my conduct may have been questionable:
but that was because I put duty to my country ahead of duty to the
family of a German prince. They were my employers; they trusted me,
and I am not sure whether I decided rightly or wrongly. All I know
is that I would do the same if I had to live through the experience
again....

As for the most important men who visited them, it is different. I
owe those persons nothing, and see no reason for disguising their
names. Most of them have now, of their own accord, thrown off their
peace-masks, and revealed themselves as enemies of England, if not of
humanity, outside German "kultur." What I have to tell will but show
how long they have held their present sentiments....


[1]I - A CONVERSATION WITH THE KAISER

My two Princes and their cousin were having an English lesson with me
in a summer-house close to their earthworks. It had been raining.

I was reading aloud a boys' book by George Henty which I had brought
among others from England for that purpose, and stopping at exciting
parts to get the children to criticize it in English. We were having
an animated discussion, and all three were clamoring for me to "go
on - go on!" when I heard footsteps crunching on the gravel path which
led to the summer-house. I did not look up, because I thought it might
be Lieutenant von X - - who was coming, and my charges were too much
excited to pay attention. But presently I realized that the crunching
had ceased, close to us. My back was half turned to the doorway, and
before beginning to read again, I looked round rather impatiently.

Two gentlemen in uniform were standing in the path, one a step or
two in advance of the other. Nobody who had seen any of the later
photographs could have failed to recognize the foremost officer as the
Kaiser, though the portraits were idealized. The face of the original
was older, the nose heavier, and the figure shorter, stockier than I
had expected. Nor had I been told about the scar high up on the left
cheek. I was so taken by surprise that I lost my presence of mind.
Jumping up, I dropped my book, and knocked over the light wicker chair
which was supposed to be of British manufacture. I was so ashamed of
my awkwardness - such a bad example to the children! - that I could
have cried. To make matters worse the Emperor burst out laughing, a
good-natured laugh, but embarrassing to me, as I was the object of his
merriment.

"I have upset the United Kingdom and the United States of America!"
his Imperial Majesty haw-hawed in good English, though in rather a
harsh voice, making a gesture of the right hand toward the chair of
alleged British make, and the fallen book with George Henty's name
on its back, at the same time giving me one of the most direct looks
I have ever had, full in the face. It seemed to challenge me, and I
remembered having heard that a short cut to the Kaiser's favor was a
smart repartee. The worst of it was that like a flash I thought of one
which would be pat, if impertinent, but I dared not risk it.

Luckily my two Princes rushed past me to throw themselves upon their
sovereign, and their cousin followed suit, more timidly. Perhaps she
had discovered that his Imperial Majesty does not much care for little
girls unless they are pretty.

The Kaiser was kind but short in his greeting of the children, and
did not seem to notice that they expected to be kissed. Probably he
was not satisfied as to their state of health, as they had been sent
out of an infected town, and he has never conquered his horror of
contagious diseases. With his right hand (he seldom uses the left)
on the dark head of the elder boy, he pivoted him round with rough
playfulness. "Don't you see that Miss - - 's chair and book are on the
floor?" inquired the "All Highest." "What is a gentleman's duty - I mean
pleasure - when a lady drops anything?"

"To pick it up," replied the child, his face red as he hurried back
into the summer-house and suited the action to the word.

"Very good, though late," said the Kaiser. Then, no doubt thinking
that I had had time to recover myself, he turned to me, more
quizzical than ever. "Perhaps according to present ideas in England
I am old-fashioned? But I hope you are not English enough to be a
suffragette, Miss - - ?"

I recognized the great compliment of his knowing my name, as I am sure
he expected. I had heard already that suffragettes were to the Emperor
as red rags to a bull, and that he always brought up the subject with
Englishwomen when he met them for the first time. I ventured to remark
that to be English was not necessarily to be a suffragette.

He shook his finger at me like a schoolmaster, though he smiled.

"Ah, but you are not an Englishwoman, or you would not say that! All
these modern Englishwomen are suffragettes. Well, we should show them
what we think of them if they sent a deputation here. But while they
confine themselves to their own soil we can bless them. They are
sowing good seed for us to reap."

I had no idea what his Majesty meant by the last sentences, though
I could see that an innuendo was intended. His certainty that he
was right about all modern Englishwomen was only what I had seen in
visitors to Schloss - - , every one of whom, especially the Prussians,
knew far more about English ideas and customs than the English knew
about themselves. I had sometimes disputed their statements, though
without effect, but I could not contradict the Emperor. All I could do
was to wonder what he had meant by "sowing the good seed," and a glance
he had thrown to his aide-de-camp (or "adjutant," as the officer might
more Germanly be called), but it is only after these five years that I
have perhaps guessed the riddle. The Kaiser must even then have begun
to count on the weakening of England by its threatened "war of the
sexes."

* * * * *

The Emperor proceeded to introduce his officer attendant, who was a
Count von H - - . He informed me that he and his suite had travelled all
night in the royal train, to inspect the nearby garrison and breakfast
with the officers. Having a short time to spare, he had arranged to
motor up to Schloss - - and have a look at the children, in order that
he might report on the Princes' health to their mother and father the
next time they saw each other.

"No sign of the malady coming out in them?" he inquired. "And the
youngest? He, too, is all right?"

On hearing that the baby was not as well as could be wished, he looked
anxious, but cheered up when he heard that the feverishness was caused
by cutting teeth.

"That is not contagious!" said he. "Though some of us might be glad to
'catch' a wisdom tooth."

When he made a "witticism," he laughed out aloud, opening his mouth,
throwing back his head slightly with a little jerk, and looking one
straight in the eyes to see if one had appreciated the fun of the
saying. The more one laughed the better he seemed pleased, and the more
lively he became, almost like a merry child. But when the subject was
dismissed, and he began to think of something else, I noticed - not only
on that day, but on others, later - that occasionally an odd, wandering,
strained expression came into his eyes. For a moment he would appear
older than his age; though when his mind was fixed upon himself, and
he was "braced" by self-consciousness, he looked almost young and very
vital, if fatter than his favorite photographs represented him.

That day at Schloss - - the Emperor did not stay with us longer than
twenty minutes at most, but he managed to chat about many things
in that time, the latter part of which was spent in talking with
Lieutenant von X - - , to find whom he sent the younger of my Princes.

* * * * *

I have heard that the Kaiser is always anxious as to the first
impression he makes, even upon the most insignificant middle-class
person; and having delivered himself of this harangue, he set to
work to smooth me down before departing. He asked questions about
myself, and the family (his friends) with whom I had lived in England.
With his head thrust forward and wagging slightly, he mentioned
several advantages which an English governess had over a German one;
and then he blurted out, sharply and suddenly, that, if my little
Princes' parents had listened to his advice, they would have had an
Englishwoman for their children two years sooner. "But the Princess
- - is the most self-willed woman I know," he said. "You may think I
am indiscreet! I am forever accused by newspapers of being indiscreet,
because I speak what I think. But this is no secret. You will learn
it for yourself if you are as intelligent as I suppose. She never
was intended by nature to be a wife and mother, though she would be
a charming person if she were neither. As it is she will do what
she likes in spite of everything and everyone. There! I have said
enough - or too much. Where is von X - - ?"

The Lieutenant was hovering in the background, ready for an auspicious
moment: and the Emperor turned his attention to the governor of my
elder Prince. It was not till he was ready to go that he had another
word for me, and then it was only "Auf wiedersehen." He graciously
put out his hand, palm down, for me to shake. I noticed how large
it was in contrast with the left, which he kept out of the way. It
was beautifully cared for, and there were more rings on it than an
Englishman or American would wear, but it was not an attractive shape,
and looked somehow unhealthy. As if in punishment to me for such a
thought, the big hand gave mine a fearful grip. It was like the closing
of a vise, and I could almost hear my bones crack. I wondered if the
Emperor had cultivated this trick to show how strong he was; but I
should have been glad to take his strength on faith.

I could not help wincing, though I tried not to let my face change. If
it did, he appeared to take no notice. He had finished with me, after a
military salute; and letting the children run by his side, he and his
attendant, with Lieutenant von X - - , walked down the path....


II - STORY OF BERNHARDI AND THE KRUPPS

One of the most interesting things that happened to me in my first
year was a visit (with the Princess, of course) to Villa Hügel, the
house of Herr and Frau Krupp von Bohlen, in the Ruhr valley near
Essen. Bertha Krupp, the "Cannon Queen" and richest German heiress
in Germany, if not the world, had been married to the South German
diplomat, Gustav von Bohlen und Halbach, less than four years. She was
only about twenty-four, but the coming of children had aged her as it
does all German women apparently, and she had already ceased to look
girlish. Her husband, who is sixteen or seventeen years senior to his
wife, might have been no more than ten years older, to judge by their
appearance when together. He put the name of Krupp in front of his own
immediately after his marriage with the heiress, and few people add the
"und Halbach" now, except officially....

While I was in the "Spatzenhaus" with the boys, Herr Krupp von Bohlen
brought in these four gentlemen and another, to see the celebrated
visitors' book kept there since Bertha and Barbara were children.
General von Bernhardi had arrived the night previous, and this was
my first sight of him, as well, of course, of Herr Eccius and Doctor
Linden.

I was more interested in the last of the three, because I had listened
while Frau Krupp von Bohlen repeated to the children a wonderful story
about the intelligence of some fish in the Naples Aquarium; and all I
knew then of General von Bernhardi was that he was considered a great
soldier, and had been the first officer to ride into Paris in 1871, or
some tale of that sort. However, the minute I saw him I felt that here
was a tremendous personality, and an intensely repellent one, a man to
be reckoned with. I determined to ask a great many questions concerning
him of the Countess, who knew everything about everybody, and did not
object to telling what she knew with embellishments.

My name was politely mentioned by the host, and the visiting gentlemen
all bowed to me. The only one who did so stiffly, as if he grudged
bending his thick, short neck for my benefit, was General von
Bernhardi. He gave me one sharp look from under his rather beetling
eyebrows, and I wondered if he despised all women, or had merely taken
a distaste to me.

"You are English?" he asked shortly, in German, his tone being that of
a man accustomed to throw out commands as you might throw a battle-ax.

"She was born in Washington," said Herr Krupp von Bohlen, in his
pleasant, cultivated voice. "Washington is the most interesting city
of the United States, and holds pleasant memories for me. Miss - - 's
grandfather was a distinguished American naval officer."

As he said this, he gave me a faint, rather humorous smile, which
I interpreted as a warning or request not to try explaining my
antecedents.

"Ach! That is better!" grunted the General. And I knew that, whatever
might be his attitude toward women in general, Englishwomen were anyhow
beyond the pale.

(Later I heard from the Countess that women were not much higher
than the "four-footed animal kingdom" for Bernhardi; that he loudly
contradicted his wife, even at hotel tables, when they traveled
together; that he always walked ahead of her in the street, and pushed
past her or even other ladies, if strangers to him, in order to go
first through a doorway.)

The General condescended to glance at me, and I thought again that he
was the most ruthless, brutal-looking man I had ever met, the very type
of militarism in flesh and blood - especially blood.

"You are a friend of the English?" he inquired.

I dared to stand up for England by answering that I thought her the
greatest country in the world.

"That is nonsense," was his comment. I shall never forget it, or the
cutting way in which it was spoken.

The Prince, though knowing me to be English (which Bernhardi, to do him
justice, did not), backed the General up, explaining for my benefit
as well as the children's that England might once have been nominally
the most powerful nation, owing to her talent for grabbing possessions
all over the world, and the cleverness of her diplomacy. But, he said,
that was different now, under the Liberal Government. England was going
down exactly as Rome had gone down, and the knell of her greatness was
sounding already. Not one of her colonies would stand by her when her
day of trouble should come, and most of them would go against her.

"You have only to read their own newspapers," said General Bernhardi,
"to see that the English know they are degenerating fast. But the hand
of Fate is on them. They are asleep, and they will wake up with a rude
shock only when it is too late."


III - STORY OF THE CROWN PRINCE AND THE CROWN PRINCESS

Some quite innocent tales were told by the tattlers, of the Crown
Princess. One was, that she had determined from the moment of her
engagement to his Imperial Highness, to be the most beautiful and best
dressed royal lady in Europe, as he strongly desired her to be, and
that it almost broke her heart when she began to realize that being
the mother of one baby after another was enlarging her slender waist.
She was supposed to have had a wax model of herself made, soon after
the birth of her first boy: face, hair, and figure all resembling her
own as faithfully as possible. According to the story, she had every
new fashion of hairdressing tried on this model, before deciding to
use it herself, and would have milliners fit it with hats, rather than
choose one to suit her own style merely from seeing it in the mirror.
Gowns were shown to her in the same way when they arrived from Paris
or Vienna, said the gossip who told me the tale, and the first time
the measurements which fitted the figurine proved too small for the
Princess's waist, there were tears.[2]

I did not fall in love with noisy Berlin, though Unter den Linden is
so fine and imposing, with all its beautiful shops and trees. The
city was so neat and square, so stolid and self-respecting that the
capital of Prussia made me think of the Prussian character as I soon
began to judge it. Potsdam I found more interesting because it is old
and historic. We spent a good deal of time in both places, and I used
often to see the Emperor motoring in a yellow car with a very small
Prussian royal standard on it to show who was the owner. The Crown
Prince was always dashing about, too, generally driving himself, very
recklessly, with a cigarette in his mouth, and looking about here and
there, everywhere except where he was going. He had a black imp for a
"mascot" on his automobile, a thing that waved its arms in a way to
frighten horses, though it never seemed to do so. And sometimes the
car would be full of ladies and children and several quite large dogs



Online LibraryVariousTrue Stories of The Great War Volume III → online text (page 1 of 26)