Boulevard St. Denis. Procession after procession of recruits passed through
A STUDY IN CIVIC PSYCHOLOGY
HERBERT ADAMS GIBBONS
AUTHOR OF "THE NEW MAP OF EUROPE," "THE FOUNDA-
TION OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE," ETC.
LESTER G. HORNBY
THE CENTURY CO.
Copyright, 1915, by
THE CENTURY Co.
Published, October, 1915
WHO REMAINED IN PARIS DURING THE TRYING DAYS
OF AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER, 1914,
AND THUS SHOWED THEIR WILLINGNESS TO SHARE
THE DISCOMFORTS AND DANGERS OF THEIR DEFENDERS,
AND REFLECTED THE INTREPID SPIRIT
OF THE FRENCH AND BRITISH ARMIES BETWEEN PARIS AND THE ENEMY
It is through the kindness of Mr. Rodman
Wanamaker that I am allowed to republish
staff correspondence to the Philadelphia Even-
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I HURRYING HOME FROM FINISTERE .... 3
II PARIS ANSWERS THE CALL TO MOBILIZE . . 15
III THE CONFLAGRATION IS INEVITABLE ... 30
IV THE DAY OF THE BELGIAN ULTIMATUM ... 42
V REQUISITIONING 54
VI LIEGE HOLDS FIRM 64
VII WE HEAR THE GOOD NEWS FROM ALSACE . . 70
VIII BLIND, BUT THEY KNEW IT NOT 83
IX THOSE THEY LEFT BEHIND THEM 88
X AUGUST NIGHTS 93
XI ANONYMITY AND INDEMNITY IIO
XII FALSE HOPES Il8
XIII THE FOREIGN VOLUNTEERS I2 5
XIV PARIS PRAYS 133
XV THE FIRST DISILLUSIONMENT I3 6
XVI SILENCE: FOR THE CENSOR IS AT WORK . . . I4I
XVII THE AFRICAN TROOPS PASS THROUGH . . . I52
XVIII THE TAUBEN BRING US NEWS ! 5 8
XIX THE GOVERNMENT LEAVES US ify
XX THE FROUSSARDS I77
XXI PARIS PREPARES TO RECEIVE THE GERMANS . I94
XXII WAITING 208
XXIII AFTER THE BATTLE OF THE MARNE . . . . 2 i8
XXIV PARIS AT NOTRE DAME 227
XXV THE CAFE STRATEGISTS 233
XXVI THE DESECRATION OF REIMS 239
XXVII "ON DIT" 2 49
XXVIII A CITY SUFFERING 259
XXIX THE REFUGEES 282
XXX SPIES 293
XXXI THE NEW KULTURKAMPF 300
XXXII AND THEN THE HANDELSKAMPF 306
XXXIII RED TAPE 3II
XXXIV SHARING THE GLORY 322
XXXV THE CENSORSHIP AGAIN 328
XXXVI THE EIFFEL TOWER 33!
XXXVII RED CROSS AND RECLAME 340
XXXVIII THE TAUBEN RETURN 346
XXXIX WINTER CLOTHING FOR THE PIOU-PIOUS . . .356
XL THE BOY SCOUTS 362
XLI JUSQU'AU BOUT 368
XLII VERS LA GLOIRE! 37!
XLIII RED CROSS AND RED TAPE 377
XLIV THE FROUSSARDS COME HOME 382
XLV THE CHRISTMAS MIDNIGHT MASS AT SAINT
Boulevard St. Denis. Procession after procession of recruits
passed through the boulevards Frontispiece
Requisitioning automobiles in the Esplanade des Invalides . . 57
August Nights. In the Champs-Elysees 95
The Seine at Notre Dame 105
At a kiosk on the Grande Boulevard. Buying the latest com-
In the Garden of the Tuileries. A Taube had paid its usual
six o'clock visit 161
When the aeroplanes had certainly disappeared, the people went
back to their work 175
The Place Vendome from the Rue de la Paix. You could not
get a cab. All were bound for railroad stations . . . 185
At the fortifications. A tangle of barbed wire 203
Reims Cathedral 245
The markets are full of food-stuffs 263
The Quai aux Fleurs. As the tide of battle rolls away from
Paris, this great city resumes its usual life 273
In the Latin Quarter. En queue at a soup cantine . . . 287
Eiffel Tower. The voice of France 337
In the Garden of Luxembourg. The usual happy, care-free
Sunday afternoon crowd 351
In the quarter of the Pantheon 373
HURRYING HOME FROM FINISTERE
July thirtieth, 1914.
NO more interesting visitor has dropped in upon
us at "Ty Coz" than the eminent American
journalist who came for tea this afternoon. Every
line in his alert face, the pose of his head, the flash
of his eye, marked the man who had mounted the
rungs of the Park Row ladder by the ability of
keeping continually on the qui vive. He was posi-
tive, like all men of his type, and confident in the
infallibility of his sixth sense.
Conversation turned upon the anxious weeks since
the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand at
Sarajevo. Helen and I were full of apprehension.
The immediate future appalled us. Were we never
to get away from the trail of blood we had been
following ever since those fateful days of April,
1909, when we saw the hopes of a regenerated
Turkey disappear in the horror of the Armenian
massacres at Adana*? Was there before us another
chapter this time on a much larger scale of agony
and misery through the clash of nations'? We
could not help unburdening our hearts to the guest
who sat calmly sipping his tea.
The American journalist would have none of our
presentiment. "I have been waiting," said he,
"twenty-five years for your European war. Many
a time it has seemed as imminent as this. But it
will not come! Europe cannot afford a war.
There is to-day such a close interrelationship between
big business in the capitals of Europe that an actual
conflict is beyond the realm of possibility. The
diplomats will fume and fuss. But they know bet-
ter than to plunge their countries into a colossal
struggle that will ruin Europe and set back civiliza-
After our friend had gone, I looked at my wife.
"What do you think now*?" I asked her.
"I think that I am going to take the first train to-
morrow morning to Morlaix to get some money,"
she answered, "and that the summer at the seashore
for which you have been waiting and dreaming for
six years is going to end rather suddenly."
Helen was as good as her word. At daybreak
HURRYING HOME FROM FINISTERE
she was off to the nearest town where there are
branches of the Paris banks. To persuade myself
that I was not at all apprehensive, and that all this
war talk was nonsense, I spent the morning writing
about the influence of Walt Whitman upon the
younger contemporary French poets. How refresh-
ing it is to be able to close your mind to rumors
and ephemeral excitement! The Bard of Camden
is a welcome refuge in times like these. There is
no more tiring question, even when you ask it of
yourself, than, "What do you think is going to hap-
The afternoon was glorious. Among the summer
people none was caring about how Servia answered
the ultimatum of Austria-Hungary, or what the Ger-
man ambassador at St. Petersburg was saying. In
the little shop, the Paris newspapers lay on the
counter. They had just arrived from Plougasnou.
But the people from the hotel across the road were
not crowding around, eager for the latest word.
I took the children in the donkey-cart to meet the
train from Morlaix. A laughing group of young
people, French and English, were just leaving the
hotel with bathing-suits and a tea-basket. As we
crossed the brook, a voice hailed me from the
bushes. I persuaded the donkey to stop. Looking
down, I saw a member of the London Stock Ex-
change busily painting a landscape.
" Didn't you go back to England yesterday 1 ?" I
asked in surprise.
"Why 1 ?" he answered, and paused to light a ciga-
The shrill whistle of the train on the hill warned
me to hurry. I was glad, for it is unpleasant to be
taken as an alarmist. Perhaps I was a fool. The
future is always uncertain. It is just when you are
surest that you make the biggest mistakes. I can
imagine no more disheartening situation than that
of a pupil in the old Hebrew school of Prophets
unless it be going out to practise the profession
As she alighted from the train, Helen said to me,
"War is inevitable. You will have to work hard
and fast, if you want to finish your History of the
Ottoman Empire while there is still an Ottoman Em-
pire. The crash is coming."
She had got her money just twenty minutes be-
fore word arrived by telegraph to cash no more checks
on Paris. Gresham's law was at work in Morlaix.
Over night money had disappeared. No one would
change a bank-note. The earth seemed to have swal-
lowed up all the gold and silver. Business was com-
pletely stopped until small paper money could arrive
The babies caught the drift of our conversation.
Christine, who is scarcely more than five, looked up
HURRYING HOME FROM FINISTERE
and said, 'There are n't going to be any more sol-
diers hurting each other, are there*?"
When we were driving into the village, an Ameri-
can woman stopped us.
"Do give me your advice," she said. "I have
places reserved for New York next week on the
Vaterland for Thursday and the 'France for Satur-
day. Which do you think I had better take*?"
"You have a more important question than that
before you," I answered. "Have you got any
"Money 4 ? What do you mean*? I have my let-
ter of credit, and travelers' checks besides."
It was the first time that it had ever been sug-
gested to this woman that she might lack money. I
could not explain to her that bankable paper was for
the time being no good to her. She smiled incredu-
lously. We left her standing in the middle of the
road. She looked offended, and her eyes echoed
what her lips had kept insisting, "I can always get
all the money I want." *
On the Brest-Paris Express,
Saturday noon, August -first.
We reached Morlaix just in time for a hurried
1 1 learned later that this woman rode across France to Paris in
a motor car the following week. When she arrived at the Astoria
Hotel on the Champs-Elysees, where her trunks were awaiting
her, she had two francs in her pocket. She found the hotel shut,
bite at the hotel. Helen came over to the station to
see me off. After I had registered my baggage, we
entered the waiting-room. A guard of soldiers had
stacked their arms in the center of the room.
"Is it mobilization 4 ?" I asked the corporal.
"Not yet," he responded. "We were sent here
just an hour ago. Detachments have also been sta-
tioned at each end of the bridge across the valley."
So I am off for Paris. It does not seem real, this
sudden ending of my vacation in midsummer. I re-
member vividly the day, scarcely more than a year
ago, I spent on board the Austrian battleship Ra-
detzky^ in the harbor of Gravosa. After lunch in
the wardroom, the Austrian officers spoke freely to
me about what was ahead of their government if
Servia was successful in the Second Balkan War,
just entered upon two days before against Bulgaria.
When I got back to the hotel that night, I found a
telegram asking me to leave immediately for Bel-
grade to follow the Servian operations. I did not
go. For there was a baby ten weeks old in Paris,
and her father had not yet seen her. A year ago
I went away from war to Paris to my family. To-
day I am going away from my family to Paris to
The only other occupants of the compartment are
and was greeted with the news that the proprietor had been put in
jail as a German spy.
HURRYING HOME FROM FINISTERE
a young Breton couple who have been married three
weeks. He has a position in Paris, and is taking
her for the first time away from her home to the
Great City. They tell me about the apartment that
he has fitted up for her, and ask me if I know the
quarter in which they are to live.
But, since they left St. Pol-de-Leon this morning,
the first thought of disaster has crept into their
minds. He will be called out on the second day,
if there is a mobilization. They ask me the old
question, "Do you think there will be war*?" The
answer they want is a negative. What am I to say 1 ?
Rennet, 2 p. m.
Coming into the station, we passed barracks and
an artillery park. The wheels were off the gun car-
riages, and men were greasing the hubs. Officers
were inspecting horses.
The bride has asked me to see if I can buy a news-
paper. She does not want her husband to leave her.
I try to cheer her by pointing out that the station
employees are not wearing the brassard? which is the
first sure sign of mobilization on the railway. Let
us have hope as long as possible.
Vitre, 4.15 p. m.
Here the news has reached us. As our train en-
tered the station, the call for a general mobilization
was being posted. I do not dare to leave my place
to read the proclamation. I know well that I should
never get a seat on this train again. The crowds on
the platform are enormous. Some men entering the
compartment say they have been waiting at the sta-
tion since morning for the word to come. At the
very moment given in their instructions, they want
to be at their recruiting stations. There is exulta-
tion on their faces. They seem glad to go. The
moment for which they have been living ever since
they were born has come. The feeling communi-
cates itself to me.
But I look across to my companions, who had been
anticipating this mobilization call, not as a thing of
joy, but as the death knell. There will be no honey-
moon in the little nest that he has prepared for his
bride. He must go within forty-eight hours. Her
head is on his shoulder. The slender hand with
fingers clasped tightly round his wrist shows what
she is passing through.
I have reached this little hotel near the Gare du
Montparnasse, and am thankful to have found a
From Vitre to Paris the train was no longer the
ordinary Paris-Brest express. It was transformed
into a military train, jammed full of men answering
HURRYING HOME FROM FINISTERE
the call to arms. At every station, we were besieged
by crowds of reservists, until there was no more room
and the engine could draw no more extra carriages.
Then we crept slowly towards Paris, bearing our
offering of human lives. One could feel, mingled
with the effervescence, the excitement, the joy of ap-
proaching conflict, an undertone of anguish and sor-
row, strikingly typified in that white-faced bride
who in the course of the day's journey had seen her
goal of happiness changed to an imprisonment of
weary waiting in a strange city.
An hour ago we reached the Gare du Montpar-
nasse. Fete-day crowds in a Paris railway station
are worse than a Bank Holiday crowd trying to get
out of London. But nothing in my experience has
approached the Gare du Montparnasse as I found it
this evening. Every one, including officials, seemed
to be moving in some direction without knowing
where or why he was walking. Every one was talk-
ing to every one else about the subject which made
the trial of Madame Caillaux seem a hundred years
in the past.
I had foolishly registered my baggage at Mor-
laix. When I went into the baggage-room, I soon
saw the hopelessness of waiting. "If you want your
baggage," said the sole official I could buttonhole,
"the only way you '11 get it is to go out on the plat-
form and find it yourself." I took a look at the plat-
form. The vans had been emptied pell-mell.
Mountains of trunks and bags loomed up before me.
I should have needed a ladder or a crowbar prob-
ably both. So I decided to allow the hotel porter
to wrestle with the problem to-morrow.
The Salle des Pas Perdus was almost empty.
When I had gone down the outer stairway, and
passed into the Place de Rennes, I caught my first
glimpse of Paris in wartime. The great square was
black with people. Soldiers had cleared the terrace
in front of the station. The entrances were
guarded. A host of men, each with his womenfolk
around him, formed a long line, waiting to enter.
Paris was already responding to the call. Women
were already rising to the occasion. Enthusiasm,
confusion, and lamentation are the three words which
best describe what I saw. But enthusiasm predom-
On the wall, beside the exit door, my eye caught
the huge poster whose words I had been burning to
read ever since leaving Vitre.
ARMY OF LAND AND ARMY OF SEA
OF GENERAL MOBILIZATION
By decree of the President of the Republic, the
mobilization of the armies of land and sea is
ordered, as well as the requisition of animals,
HURRYING HOME FROM FINISTERE
carriages and harness necessary to the supplying
of these armies.
THE FIRST DAY OF THE MOBILIZATION IS
Sunday, August 2, 1914.
Every Frenchman, subject to military obliga-
tions, must, under penalty of being punished with
all the rigor of the laws, obey the prescriptions
of his book of mobilization.
Subject to this order are ALL MEN not at
present under the flag.
The civil and military Authorities are respon-
sible for the execution of this decree.
THE MINISTER OF WAR. THE MINISTER
OF THE NAVY
The date was inserted with a rubber stamp.
These posters had long been printed. In every com-
mune in France, in Corsica, in Algeria, and in the
distant colonies, in every railway station, in every
post-office, they had been tucked away for years,
waiting for this moment that was bound to come.
A man who had arrived on my train crowded up
beside me. He read the poster through from begin-
ning to end. I watched him curiously. His only
comment was the brief but expressive phrase, un-
translatable, "Ca y estT He then took from his
pocket the little "book of mobilization" which every
Frenchman carries, and looked to see what he was
to do, and where he was to go. This man typified
all France on the evening of August first. If
France is not ready, it will be munitions and not
soldiers that are lacking.
Another small poster announced that the military
authorities had taken over the railways, and that
passenger services were suspended. I had come
through from Finistere on the last train.
As I crossed the Place de Rennes to find a hotel,
my way was barred at every step by family groups.
Women and children, old and young, were clinging
desperately to those who were waiting to enter the
station on their way to suffering and death. I do
not say to glory, for I have witnessed these scenes
at the old Sirkedji station in Constantinople, at
Sofia, at Salonika, at Athens and at Cettinje, and I
have lived through their aftermath. War is the
placing of human affections upon the altar. The
sacrifice acceptable in the sight of Mars is the broken
woman turning homeward when the man has gone.
PARIS ANSWERS THE CALL TO MOBILIZE
Sunday ', midnight, August second.
A MAN ought to be disgusted with himself for
not waking until nine o'clock on the most
memorable day of modern history. It was some
minutes before I could adjust myself to where I was,
and why I was there. The events of the journey
from Finistere, more than the journey itself, had
proved a severe drain on nervous eneugy. But when
I looked at the clock, I was up with a start. I had
no baggage, so my toilet was quickly accomplished.
As I stepped out of the elevator, a woman spoke
"Pardon me," she asked, "but are you an Ameri-
can 1 ?"
"I certainly am," I answered.
"How are you planning to get out of Paris'? The
clerk at the desk seems too busy to tell me more than
that trains are not running, and the hall porter
stupidly shrugs his shoulders, and pretends not to
understand English. I must get to London or some-
where. They say the Germans are coming, and that
we shall be besieged."
"How am I planning to get out? Why, I just
got in with difficulty last night."
Perhaps it was rude not to satisfy the astonished
question in her eyes, but I was thinking of other
things. I hurried into the reading-room. There
was the Matin, with the headline across the front
GERMANY DECLARES WAR ON RUSSIA
The Rubicon is crossed. A lea jacta estl All
Europe will be soon in arms. I can see only one
thing with certainty. It was foreshadowed on a
Sunday morning in November, two years ago, when
I stood on the hill behind my home in Constantinople
and heard the Bulgarian cannon thundering at Tcha-
taldja. It is inevitable now. The Crescent will
wane no more, for there will be no more Crescent to
wane. The new map of Europe, drawn in accord-
ance with the decisions of this gigantic struggle, will
have no place for Turkey.
Across the street from the open door of the hotel
I saw a debit, where one finds coffee for two sous, and
delicious croissants or petits pains for a sou. I had
in my pocket just fifty centimes (ten cents), so I was
saved from enduring lukewarm cafe au lait served
by a supercilious waiter who would lift his eyebrows
if you asked for more than one roll and more than a
quarter-teaspoonful of butter. You do not know
PARIS ANSWERS THE CALL TO MOBILIZE
the life of Paris until you have learned to lean your
elbows on the zinc counter of a debit, and to order
a two sou cup of coffee without allowing the bar-
tender to work off on you with it a petit verre of ex-
It was a woman with swollen eyes, whose tears
were still falling, that served me. She explained
that one boy was doing his military service at Belfort,
and the other had just left half an hour ago for
"Tell me," she said, "is there any hope that it will
not be war? If Austria attacks Servia, and Russia
attacks Austria, why should that mean that France
must attack Germany and my boys go to be killed"?
Servia is nothing but a name to me. And yet I must
suffer this. Tell me, is such a thing possible? Is
it really war for us because Germany has declared
war on Russia 1 ?"
There was nothing I could say. What explana-
tion would have satisfied that mother's heart of the
reasonableness of her sacrifice"? At that moment, a
newsboy came along the street, calling "La Patrie!
La Patrie!" This was an evening newspaper, and
here it was not yet ten in the morning. I went to
the door, and bought a copy. My answer was in the
A German cavalry patrol had crossed the border
at Joncherey, and killed the corporal commanding
/ PARIS REBORN
the post. Near Longwy, another violation of French
territory is reported. Across the zinc, I read the
news to the mother in tears. Her expression
changed. The face grew hard. A feverish hand
grasped my wrist. "Monsieur," she said, "I am
ashamed of my weakness. Ever since I was a little
girl I have known that it would be my duty, my priv-
ilege indeed, to bear sons to save France from the
Germans. I am glad that I have two !"
-At the telegraph window in the post-office, I found
a notice stating that telegrams must bear no code ad-
dress and no code words, and that they are accepted
only after having been vised at police headquarters.
This censorship! How often I have wrestled with
it, and enjoyed with keen zest the game of matching
wits with the clever stupidity and the obstinacy of
officialdom. But my experience heretofore had al-
ways been with the southern temperament, with
Spaniards, with Italians, Greeks and Turks. I had
never failed to find some loophole. It took me less
than two hours to-day to realize that here was a dif-
ferent proposition. Rien a dis cuter, Monsieur!
There will be no "indiscretions" in this war. Only
hopeless banalities will go out over the wires. News
as we understand that word in America is taboo.
I confess that my greatest disappointment was not
that I am, for the moment, at least, relieved of the
feverish tension of censors and cables, but that I
PARIS ANSWERS THE CALL TO MOBILIZE
could not use the excuse of a cable for getting a hun-
dred franc note changed. I had only two copper
sous. The bank-notes in my pocket were worth ab-
solutely nothing. At every cafe, an intentionally
huge sign on the terrace invites you to refrain from
eating and drinking unless you are able to give the
exact change. It was either go back to the hotel,
where I would not have to pay cash, or go hungry.
I had a vision of the hotel corridor crowded with ex-
cited tourists. "Do you mind telling me just in a
few words what all this war is about 1 ?" "Will the
American Express Company cash their checks'?
What shall I do if I can get no money?" "Do you
think that Cook's will be open to-morrow?" There
is a limit to what one is willing to do even for a
Who would be in town on a Sunday in midsum-
mer'? It was then that I got a happy inspiration.
The Lawyer, of course ! Down the Boulevard Ras-
pail I hurried; for it was high noon, and with the
happy inspiration came the fearful thought that he
might already have gone out. It was not only that
he would stake me to lunch. The Lawyer's heart
is matched by his brain. Neither could be bigger.
No American knows Europe better. No American
loves France more passionately. With whom could
I spend a more illuminating afternoon on the first
day of the mobilization?