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DREADFUL SUFFERING, Issue 15678, 17 December 1914
WOMEN IN WAK. The iolknvinjr letter was published in 'Life' (New York):—• As an American woman who has spent nine happy summers with many others of her compatriots iu lliis beautiful corner of Prauce, I feel that we all owe it a debt iu this hour of adversity. Day after day I see hundreds of refugees poiu- in from Belgium and Prance, starving, ragged, despairing, from ecenes'of caruage aud murder, bereft of lio.net, relative?, and resources. They are largely peasants, but many from Louvain and Charleroi are cultivated, finely-bred, aged men and women and children of all ages. They are thrown like bits of wreckage by the storm raging over Europe up to this isolated corner of Brittany, where even the riih find money scarce, and where in a few weeks ioal and wood will bo scarce also. This disaster is far worse than that of Messina, fo.- now thero i 3 no other land to (iy to, no other people to aid. We Americans and English, having laid aiide fine raiment and social pie* sures, are at work at the once smart Hotel Royal, now a hospital for tLo wounded, which arrive daily by hundreds, two dean, 011 straw. But tho Croix Kouge has them in their care. These refugees arc adrift like leaves iu a slorm, ehorn of everything which makes life possible. They sleep alco on eiraw, in garages, cafes, and villas, whose chatelaines succor them. listen to rales which I have heard, and of tights my eyes have seen, and which Monsieur Crolard, Mayor of Diuard, will vouch for, and let your hearts leap to aid them: Last night, Jn the garage, of the Grand Hotel, stent, seven little girls, all under seven, whose ragged daintiness proved former lore and luxury. They have lost all—parents and home—and do not even know the names of their villages. Their fi'ot iitb Weeding from tramping fields; their tca.i'staineri faces pinched from starvation four others, more fortunate, caruo 70 miles in a Belgian bread cart, pulled by a dog. I have talked with a young mother whose baby we buried last night. A German muskot battered ill its chest when its mother tried to push asido the barrel which shot her husband. A child of seven has one hand gone, cut from his mother's clasp because he detained her flight from a home the Germans" were in haste to bum. An old man is living
and here, because he was so clever as to •lie down as -though dead when Germans, who had locked 40 such in a room, told them to " dsinc'j f"r their lives," while they shot at them through the shutters from tho street. This story is corroborated by four witnesses. A bake" of Mons was bidden to bake by Germans. He complied until flour was exhausted, and was shot, before nis wife, because they claimed he refused to tell where more floor was hidden. Then his wife vi-as bidden 10 divulge, and to punish her "obstinacy" her husband, before hc-r eye*, was thrust into the furnace. She is quite demented, and sits gazin" silently at unknown horror. These people, to earn food, aro being placed on farms to work iu fields, and many will work as pensnnis who were o/ofessors and_ gentlewomen of refinement. " Thero is uot 'enough fine- work to go round. AH are innocent victims of an unrighteous war, and for many nights slept in the fields, dug for carrots with bare hands, drank from muddied pools, with the flames of burning hr.mes on iho sky behind them and despair ahead. Their clothing is in tatters, tlTsh- shoos in pieces. With our best efforts we cannot clothe these hundreds, who increase daily. Troops at. the front send for food. Oiir horses and motors have all been requisitioned by the srmy, and this formerly bright little town of luxury and gaiety is now just a shelter for the hunted who 'arc at bay against misfortune. What will become of them ? I brg yon in happy, safe America to deny vonisohcs a. cigar, a theatre seat, and an extra hat. and help iu to help them. Ten cents will buy a "child 10 ro'ls of bread. Fiftv cents will cover little feet, which never again will bo caressed by a mother. A dollar will buy a shawl for a widow. Give, give, I beg of your generous hearts. America has led the world iu charity for less worthy causes. Compassion knows no nationality* Pity blesses the giver and the poor. You mothers, when you tuck your children safely into bed at night, remember theso little beings, reared iu uo less care and luxury, who aro adrift in a world which has used them ill. The too. lik« older children, having lived, have earned rest before death, yet they too arc cast out from homes, knowing nothing cf where dear ones are, their sons at the front fighting the cnemv which has d-3stroved them, for honor's sake." All Europe is one great slaughter-house. Pans 110 longer can send us money from cur bank accounts, and could you see this tragic precession file out from beneath St. Male's eleventh-century gate*, all one's wealth is not enough to heal their broken hearts and bodies. In the name of pity and human sympathy T implore your aid, for America is the* only place which we can turn to now. Dry" these tears. Comfort theso children. Assuago this tragic oW age National prejudice is forgotten here. I have (.ecu German prisoners at Diiian better housed than these for whom I plead, for Franco has proved nor civilisation in chivalrcfque kindnfcss to the fallen cuemy. Theso v.'cMais have'harmed'no living creature, yet have seen their loved ones shot down like dogs, their daughters insulted and maimed past help. One couple hero carried a consumptive daughter 30 kilometres in a handcart; but. at 'F.stest the Germans overtook them and detained tha daughter. Will you Rive? Of courso you will give, quickly, before the tide of suffering swamps our powers to compete with it. Please send any subscription to Banque Boutin, D-nard, Illa-afc-ViUins, Franco. Nik* Latjkst DrfBTBA. Dinard, IIU-ct-Yilajitf," September 4.
DREADFUL SUFFERING, Issue 15678, 17 December 1914
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