The bomb from the Taube was certainly the nearest escape I am ever likely to have in this world. I was walking over a piece of open ground, saw nothing, heard nothing, was dreaming in fact, when suddenly I heard a whirring overhead, and just above me was a German aeroplane. Before I had time to think, down came a bomb with a fearful explosion. I could not see anything for a minute, and then the smoke cleared away, and I was standing at the edge of a large hole. The bomb had fallen into a bed of soft mud, and exploded upwards. Some soldiers who were not very far off rushed to see if I were killed, and were very surprised to find that I was practically unhurt. A bomb thrown that same afternoon that exploded on the pavement killed and wounded nine people.
The wound was from a stray bit of shrapnel and was only a trifle, fortunately, and soon healed. The pleurisy was a longer job and compelled me to go to bed for a fortnight. I was very miserable at being the only idle person I knew, till it occurred to me to spend my time in writing this little book, and a subsequent short holiday in Petrograd enabled me to finish it.
My enforced holiday is over now and I am on my way back to my beloved column once more—to the life on the open road—with its joys and sorrows, its comradeship, its pain and its inexplicable happiness—back once more to exchange the pen for the more ready weapon of the forceps.
And so I will leave this brief account of what I have seen in this great war. I know better than anyone can tell me what an imperfect sketch it is, but the history of the war will have to be studied from a great many different angles before a picture of it will be able to be presented in its true perspective, and it may be that this particular angle will be of some little interest to those who are interested in Red Cross work in different countries. Those who are workers themselves will forgive the roughness of the sketch, which was written during my illness in snatches and at odd times, on all sorts of stray pieces of paper and far from any books of reference; they will perhaps forget the imperfections in remembering that it has been written close to the turmoil of the battlefield, to the continual music of the cannon and the steady tramp of feet marching past my window.
Aeroplanes, Taube, 145, 176
throwing down proclamations, 53
Affiches, of the Burgomaster of Antwerp, 53
of the Burgomaster of Brussels, 10, 11, 181, 182
forbidding a menacing look, etc., 32
German, proclaiming victories, 30, 67
German, of Von der Golst, 67, 68
instructions to citizens, 67
American Consul, help from, 66, 77
Antwerp, the forts of, 73
the heavy guns, 73
news of the downfall of, 96
Austrian prisoners, 148
Automobiles of the Flying Column, 146, 169