The next morning I was still not able to get up, but several of my people came in to say good-bye to me in bed, and I wished them good luck and a safe passage back to England. By 1 P. M. they were all gone, and a great peace fell over the house. I struggled out of bed, put all traces of uniform away, and got out my civilian dress. I was no longer an official, but a private person out in Belgium on my own account, and intended to walk to Charleroi by short stages as soon as I was able. I returned to bed, and at five o’clock I was half asleep, half picturing my flock on their way to England, when there was a great clamour and clatter, and half a dozen of them burst into my room. They were all back once more!
They told me they had gone down to the station as they were told, and found the special train for Americans going off to the Dutch frontier. Their names were all read out, but they were not allowed to get into the train, and were told they were not going that day after all. The German officials present would give no reason for the change, and were extremely rude to the nurses. They told me my name had been read out amongst the others. They had been asked why I was not there, and had replied that I was ill in bed.
Just then a letter arrived marked “Urgent,” and in it was an order that I should be at the station at 12 P. M. the next day without fail, accompanied by my nurses. I was very sad that they had discovered I did not want to go, because I knew now that they would leave no stone unturned to make me, but I determined to resist to the last moment and not go if I could help it. So I sent back a message to the Head Doctor of the Red Cross unit, asking him to convey to the German authorities the fact that I was ill in bed and could not travel the next day. Back came a message to say that they regretted to hear I was ill, and that I should be transferred at once to a German hospital and be attended by a German doctor. That, of course, was no good at all—I should then probably have been a German prisoner till the end of the war, and not have been the slightest use to anyone.
I very reluctantly gave in and said I would go. We were told that we should be safely conducted as far as the Dutch frontier, and so I determined to get across to Antwerp if I could from there and work my way back to Brussels in private clothes.