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the ground with my face gone - and II
the blood pumping itself out of the The Armistice came along in a few pieces of the boy who had laughed at days, and I was assigned to command me. I would wake up and not sleep any a field-artillery regiment that was to more. Then breakfast and no appetite march into Germany. I was glad, as I - and always that damnable ache, and wanted to make that historic trip. But throb, and the vise would squeeze my I wished to high heaven that my head head. would quit aching. We got ready for
Food became more scarce, transporthe march in, gathering horses here and tation was not adequate, the Boche was there, resting our men, sprucing up all moving fast, and we must keep up to we could under the circumstances, hat- him. My horses had been gassed from ing the quiet and inactivity of it all, grazing in gassed areas back of the wishing we could go home for a week or
front; they had not had sufficient nourso, talking about the past already. And ishment, and were weak. My men were still I wished to high heaven that my very weary. One time we were told that head would stop its ache, its throb, its the next day's march was forty-two feeling as if it were in a vise.
miles. It almost broke my heart to Then our orders came, and in we make the regiment turn out at 4 A.M., went. Through miles of horribly dev- and march those forty-two long miles. astated France, past miles on miles of Horses died, men were evacuated to the barbed-wire entanglements, over roads hospitals, and between nine and ten full of shell-holes, past utterly ruined that night we staggered into our billets, towns. And then into beautiful Luxem- almost all in. And the hill we climbburg, with fields of grain, wonderful ed that day — what a pull for those forests; through quaint towns, and then horses! I love horses, and as I rode up to Luxemburg City, where, as I rode at that hill, I thought of how little these the head of my regiment, the children drafted men knew of driving a six-line ran along and threw flowers under my team up a hill with a jack-knife turn at horse's feet — flags waving from the the top. So I stopped, spread the regiwindows, people cheering, until my ment out so that there was road-room heart came into my throat and tears to between the carriages, and personally my eyes, and I realized that never in drove every gun-carriage around that my life again would I feel as I did then. turn. There were only three men in the And always my head ached and throb- regiment who knew how to keep six bed, always I wished to high heaven it horses in draft around a turn like that. would some time stop.
The two majors knew, one a West PointThe regimental surgeon began to er, the other an old-type field-artillery dope me. Every night he would stick first sergeant. I was the other one. It something into me, or give me some took six hours to get the two miles of thing to drink, feel my pulse, chat a regiment over the top of that hill. They while. Next morning he would stop in got there, though. and ask how I slept, and sometimes how Across the river into Germany! How I ate. I did n't sleep, I could n't eat. I do remember that day. From the And always the ache. And then that laughter, the waving flags, the hapdream! It would wake me up in a py children strewing flowers in Luxemsweat. Every now and then I would burg, into Germany - silent, sullen Gerhear that fluttering, whimpering squeal, many. The women turned their backs, - and then I would see myself lying on the children clung to their mothers
skirts, and stared, or scampered into the The next thing I remember I was at house, looking backward as they ran. Saint-Nazaire, waiting in the hospital How quiet it all was! How sullenly for a transport to take me home, with a antagonistic! My men joked and kid- lot of wounded and sick men. They ded each other about the way the girls told me afterward that I acted all right; turned their backs, and comments were but the five weeks intervening between made on how that would all change the hospital in Germany and Saintwhen the Q.M. furnished us with new Nazaire are a blank I simply rememuniforms. It did change, too, almost ber nothing at all. overnight, as if it had been ordered The trip across was fine — did me from the German Great Headquar- lots of good. I was looking forward ters. Then we were treated well, almost with a great deal of happiness to meetas guests. The sullenness vanished, to ing some dear friends on this side, and be replaced by a welcoming hand and subconsciously waiting for the kind offers of food and shelter if we did not welcome they would give me, and the have enough. My orderly came to me rest and peace that I would have. A and said, 'Colonel, we've been fighting wireless came to me from a girl who had the wrong people!' It shocked me for a written to me a good deal. If only my moment and made me think, and has head would have let up a bit, — and the
made me think a good deal since nausea have stopped, I could have that remark. I began to learn how many been quite happy. of my men spoke German, how many had been born in Germany, or were of
III German parentage.
I was made military governor of an We were met in New York by a rearea, was treated well by my host, the ception committee, and handed newsmayor of the town where I made my papers. Officers came to me, saying headquarters. I remember how deli- that the men were angry at something cious his Frau's outing-flannel sheets felt and wanted my opinion. I happened to to me at night, after the variety I had be the senior officer on board and, albeen accustomed to at the front. But I though on sick-report, was, neverthecould not sleep well at all, nor could I less, asked about this thing that bothereat well. The doctor began to talk of ed the men. After hearing it out, I put my taking a rest, a few days in the hos- it up to the men themselves, and they pital, and so forth, to ease up a bit. voted to a man that they did not want And there was more dope in my arm, to be received by a committee headed or something to drink. But the throb by a New York newspaper man whom in my head kept on - and so did the they considered worse than a Boche. dream. For about three months that The Boche at least would fight - this continued; my nerves were getting bad, man stayed home and did all he could I was becoming more and more irri- to mess up our work apparently. So I table. I was ill, but did not quite know told the committee that the men wantit. I was sent to the hospital, was trans- ed no reception from them, and they deferred to another, fainted once, was put parted. How odd it seemed to me that to bed. And then things began to fade we should be met by a pro-German at away at times. They were kind to me such a time! As I look back, I rememthere, very kind. I shall always remem- ber this as the first of the disappointber the kindness of those nurses and ments which my country had in store doctors.
for its men from overseas.
I was feeling a bit rocky, and dodged That thought rang through my brain the good people who met us. The sur- in the long months that followed! Back geon, who had been sleeping in the in my own country, back among my same room with me on the way across, friends, among scenes that I loved, that took me to a receiving hospital in New meant everything to me, and yet not York City. A friend of mine, an officer back at all. I know that I am but re who had been shell-shocked, was miss peating a thing that has been told many ing, and I asked for him. The surgeon times, but the big fact remains, that the said that he had jumped overboard. quick abandonment of interest in our Then it dawned upon me why the doc- overseas men by Americans in general tor had slept in my room.
is an indictment against us as a nation, I want to give all credit to the won- not soon to be forgotten by the men in derful staff of the hospital. The nurses
uniform from the other side. This fact and doctors were all one could want. burns in the minds of the thousands of They were kindness itself, thought- men who at this very moment are livful, and most considerate. At times in ing their broken lives in almshouses, the months to follow there were other jails, insane asylums, and hospitals, or bright lights of happiness that shine wandering, hopeless, about the streets. forth as I look back; but, in the main, I wanted relaxation, rest, anything to the year that followed was dominated take my mind away from myself. I by misery, physical pain, and mental wanted to see musical comedies, read anguish. If I knew that I was doomed light books; I wanted to laugh and play. to go through that period again, I would These were difficult things to obtain, not face it.
however. My best friends wanted to see For some reason I shrank from meet- heavier plays - they wanted to see ing my friends — and the girl. But Nazimova writhe and squirm about the after a bit I was allowed to go out, and stage; they wanted to hear Heifetz play I called on her. She was apparently exquisite music, over which they raved. glad to see me, and for a while I enjoyed Exquisite music, yes, but not the sort her company; but some intuition made to feed to a man who was in dire need of me feel uncomfortable - why, I could something vastly different. not tell. Gradually this began to be I had friends who were intellectual, come clearer to me, however, as I who were interested in things of real to realize how far apart we were, how worth; but they could not discuss them different her sheltered life had been on in the human terms that interested me. this side, and how utterly impossible it In New York drawing-rooms I met was for her to appreciate how I felt. I musicians of international repute, men closed up like an oyster, finding it out of letters, of travel, who were interestof the question to tell what wanted to ing to most people and would have been be told. I tried to a few times, only to to me, normally; but I was only bored. catch the look of conscious interest Back my mind wandered to France; and and again shut up.
now and then that old dream came This was my second disappointment. back, and I saw the red blood streaming It surprised me - it hurt me. The from the ripped, torn body of the boy longer I remained in this country, the who had laughed at me. I became more more it hurt, until, finally, I became nervous as sleep kept away, and food callous to the fact; for I realized, lost its interest. much against my will, that my friends, A party of us drove up the Hudson my country, spoke a different language! and spent a few hours at my old Alma
Mater, to me the most beautiful spot night exhausted in mind and body, and in America, from which have come so could not sleep, though the doctor gave many of our most famous men: the me an opiate. That element of proschool, founded by George Washington, Germanism at that time was extremely 'which gave us Grant, Lee, Sheridan, distasteful to me- I had seen too much, Sherman, Taylor, Pershing, and many had felt too much, to be kindly disothers of international fame in civil as posed. Besides, it was a distinct shock well as military life. There is something to learn that my own friends felt so about that school that holds its gradu- friendly toward those people with reates with a loyalty that exceeds any- spect to whom I felt quite the oppothing I have seen.
site, because of things I had seen and
been through myself. I learned later The Corps! Bare-headed, salute it!
that that feeling was very prevalent With eyes up, thanking our God That we of the Corps are treading
among people calling themselves good Where they of the Corps have trod. Americans. We sons of to-day salute you,
After a bit I was assigned to duty You sons of its earlier day;
with the General Staff in Washington. We follow close order behind you, Where you have pointed the way.
My duties began at once - getting
The long gray line of us stretches
ready for another war. Another war! I Through the years of a century told, used to sit at my desk in the War De And the last man feels to his marrow
partment, thinking it over. Another The grip of your far-off hold.
war - God, what a thought! How unIt was good to be back, but those der high heaven it could be that we with whom I was did not understand. should
for another war was beThey had no realization of the value of yond my powers of comprehension. I such a school to the nation. Somebody could not keep my mind on my work,
. remarked that West Point was a place I thought of other things, fumbled with where men were taught to kill Germans my papers, dreamed and took walks who had done us no harm. That grated during office hours, trying to get my on me, and I replied that, if I knew any- mind clear and get away from that one who was pro-German at the time, I damnable ache in my head. I would go would most certainly report him to the to sleep at my desk, making up for the authorities.
night before. To the Department I was 'Would you report me?' asked an practically useless. American woman in the party.
Occasionally I went to New York, 'I most certainly would,' I answered. but had best have stayed away. I met
'Well,' she replied, 'you know my an editor of a newspaper which had as friend Fritz — is a German, and I its object the uplift of people; but I have a great deal of sympathy for never got to know exactly what he Germany.'
wanted - he seemed a bit vague himMy comments were a bit sharp, I am self on that score. I listened to many afraid, and were apparently distasteful conversations on the subject of the imto another member of the party, who provement of the condition of this and said that I was a coward if I were will- that. Then came Germany and the ing to report to the Secret Service such a indemnity, and how awful it all was to friend as the other woman was to me. make poor Germany pay. I went to Things grew disagreeable, but we drove hear a preacher of the gospel, and was back to New York in peace, though I disgusted with his ideas. I heard him ad
. was worried and tired out. I retired that dress a meeting in Madison Square, at
tended by hundreds of men and women. that we had to give - our safety, hosAs I looked around, I saw not one face pitality, music and art, the associations that I took to be American; and as this which meant most to her. And yet, in American preacher remarked that the conversation with me one evening, Bolsheviki must succeed, he was cheer- holding her aristocratic arms aloft, she ed to the echo, hats were thrown in the loudly proclaimed that REVOLUTION air — the crowd went mad. I told my was what was needed to cure my councompanions that I would not stay in try's ills! Some things are beyond comsuch a place in an American uniform – prehension, beyond the power of huand left. They came, too, not because man understanding. they did not sympathize with the speaker, but because they would not stay
IV alone, without the protecting influence of that same uniform.
Back in Washington, we still worked The drive home started in silence, on war, preparing for the next one. I but became a nightmare memory to me. did my best, but one day things broke. Two women, one an American, one I was sitting at my desk, and suddenly a foreigner of aristocratic birth, began realized that there was something radito talk - and such talk! Again were cally wrong. I got to my feet, laughing my eyes opened very wide, and I was and feeling silly. I saw little white stunned and shocked by the opinions circles chasing each other in front of my expressed. I was told that America eyes. They came slowly into view from should never have entered the war at nowhere and tumbled from left to right, all; that we should have accepted things scurrying along one after another; and peacefully; that, even if the Germans as I looked after them, they hurried on, came over here, they would make always from left to right. I turned my themselves so hated that they would head — and still they rolled over and soon depart whence they came! I was over, those soft, round things that came informed that I should be ashamed of out of nothing and fled away just as I myself for ever going to the front; that turned my head to see where they were my decorations were a disgrace to wear, hurrying. I grew tense, and laughed. as being tokens given to me for killing Then I began to play with them as they Germans! It was a disgrace to be a rolled along from left to right, always soldier at all, killing helpless women and just a little ahead of me. I grabbed at children! I was a liar when I said that them -- and laughed and giggled in my American troops were not accustom- play. I turned my head, but they rolled ed to doing such things. And this too on, always just a bit ahead. I turned from well-bred women - intellectuals, around myself, grabbing at those damso-called.
nably elusive things that seemed to This was the beginning of the end of mock me in this game. And as I jumpmy association with these people, ofed for them, I laughed and chuckled whom I had been very fond before I delightedly. sailed overseas. I reported them to the In the middle of it all I stoppedSecret Service in Washington, and be there came a noise outside that brought lieve that their pernicious activities me up sharp. I stopped and listened ceased. The foreigner had taken refuge everything was very still for an instant. on our shores from the violence and Then a car-bell rang on the street beanarchy which reigned in her own coun- low; then came steps in the hall outtry; had for three years accepted all side, and the subdued voices of officers