I asked General von Bissing if there was much need for this military tribunal. I shall not forget his reply.
“We have a few serious cases,” he said. “Occasionally there is a little sedition but for the most part it is only needle pricks. They are quiet now. They know why,” and, slowly shaking his head, von Bissing, who is known as the sternest disciplinarian in the entire German Army, smiled.
We talked about the situation in America.
“The truth will come out,” said von Bissing slowly. “Your country is renowned for fair play. You will be fair to Germany, I know. Your American Relief Commission is doing excellent work. It is in the highest degree necessary. At first the German Army had to use the food they could get by foraging in Belgium, for the country does not begin to produce the food it needs for its own consumption, and there were no great reserves that our troops could use. But the German Army is not using any of the Belgian food now.”
[Illustration: H.M. MOHAMMED V.
Sultan of Turkey.
(Photo from P.S. Rogers.)]
[Illustration: H.M. VITTORIO EMANUELE III.
King of Italy.]
I asked the Governor General if the Germans had not been very glad that America was sending over food.
“It is most important,” he said, “that America regularly sends provisions to Belgium. Your country should feel very proud of the good it has done here. I welcome the American Relief Committee; we are working in perfect harmony. Despite reports to the contrary, we never have had any misunderstanding. Through the American press, please thank your people for their kindness to Belgium.
“But,” he continued impressively, referring back to the justification of Germany’s occupation and speaking with quiet force, “if we had not sent our troops into Belgium, the English would have landed their entire expeditionary army at Antwerp, and cut our line of communication. How do I know that? Simply because England would have been guilty of the grossest blunder if she had not done that, and the man who is in charge of England’s Army has never been known as a blunderer.”
By O.C.A. CHILD.
Out of the trenches lively,
Steady, steady there, number two!
Step like your feet were tiger’s pads—
Crawl when crawling’s the thing to do!