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WHEN WAR BEGAN, Issue 15627, 19 October 1914
WHEN WAR BEGAN
CONVENT GIRL’S DIARY. The London ‘ Standard ’ publishes the diary of an English schoolgirl, Miss Muriel Furness, of Blackpool, written in tho convent at Eysden, a village near Vise. Eysden is just on the Dutch side of the frontier. Miss Furness arrived recently in London with her father. The diarv reads;— August 2.—We rejoice that wc should go homo to-morrow, but at tea time la Mere came in crying like a child, and telling us that war had been actually dcclared._ The sunset to-night was most beautiful. It kept changing its color—that, wo are told, is a-sign of war. August 3.—ln tho morning we cleared the drawing room so that the soldiers might come to camp there if they rvan ted.
August 4.—At 4 o’clock this morning everyone was startled by a terrific explosion, which shook the" convent. We learned that the bridge at Vise had been blown up, as Belgium must defend her neutrality. We were told that, cannon were being brought up. People began to come in from Vise—sped on by a hail oi bullets. A German officer came to Vise. Ho commenced to road a proclamation, but before lie had finished doing so he was shot dead. This the nuns told us. This afternoon la Mere told us to put up beds in the drawing room for the wounded. We also hoisted a big white flag with a red cross. Doctors and nurses came from far and near. All the while wo could hear the crackle of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. We went to the chapel and prayed for an hour.
.august 5.-—We could not sleep at all during the night, so heavy was the fire. During one half-hour—whilo were were at Mass—we counted no fewer than 12 aeroplanes which flew over the house. We were told that the Germans were trying to build a bridge over the Meuse. Thev pulled down houses by the side of the river, and used the debris to stem the current. As soon ns they had the brid,;o half finished the Belgian fire would destroy it. It 100k■ 36' hours of hard work before the Germans had spanned tlie river. August 6.—Many fugitives arrived from Belgium. At tea time a German officer was brought in who had fainted from fatigue on the battlefield. After tea we heard the sound of .aeroplanes. One came along flying very high, but as soon as it arrived in Holland, out of range, it dipped down. One of the nuns saw’an aeroplane under fire. It kept dodging up and down with shrapnel bursting below it. It escaped, however. To-night we are to sleep in the cloak room in the basement.
August 7.— We went to bed at 9.30 last night, but could not sleep, as the floor was haid and cold, and the noice alone wae awful. At 3.30 a.ra. we went to Mass, and them back to bed again. La Mere told us to pray a groat deal: as eve might die at any moment, we must bo, prepared to die. Many wounded war© brought in. I ■was very sorry for a vountr officer who was shot through both legs. I shook hands with the Prince Consort!" who came to eoe the wounded. We could see the smoke of burning Moulan curling up toward the skv.
August B.—M e are told that Liege has been taken, but lice; are -so frequent tha 3 we don’t know what to believe. Aube! has been 'Completely burned. German and Belgian aeroplanes are said to have met in midair. The Belgian cut the oilier in two. August 9.—Some of the soldiers came in to Mass. It was so sad to eoo all the young fellows look so pale. Each had a prayer hook in his pocket, and their one desire seemed to be to get buck to the front again. I took fruit to the wounded soldiers, and I spoke to a Belgian who had a bullet right through bis cheek. Ho opened his mouth and showed me the hole. The only thing he wanted was to see his loved ones and go to the war again. Poor things! There was a deep red sky tonight, changing its color all the time. This is the sign of war. August 10.—Last night the. cannon tired in earnest, and continued nil through the night. From the roof I could r-cc three villages on fire. The wounded got on very well together. There is a Belgian soldier here who is slowly recovering. A Gorman, badly injured, was brought in, and the Belgian at once ran forward and unlaced his boots for him.
August 11.—Hoard no guns through the night. Many nuns from the Fleroh convent who have arrived say that the Gormans gave them three hours in which to leave. Thirteen mins came from Antwerp, who say that there has been a battle at Tongues', which the Germans won.
WHEN WAR BEGAN, Issue 15627, 19 October 1914
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