The Daily Courier from Connellsville, Pennsylvania on June 6, 1918 · Page 7
Get access to this page with a Free Trial
Click to view larger version
June 6, 1918

The Daily Courier from Connellsville, Pennsylvania · Page 7

Connellsville, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Thursday, June 6, 1918
Page 7
Start Free Trial

Page 7 article text (OCR)

f ' THURSDAY. JUNE 6, 191S. THE DAILY COURIER, CONNELLSVIIXE. PA. FS.GE OUTWITTING THE ni ^LIEUTENANT psrffBfliEN- ~ Anyway, they motioned me Indoors, leave me my first bot meal In more tlmn a month! True, It consisted only jut worm potatoes. They hud Wen ^previously cooked, bot the old woman ·warmed them up In milk In oce* of the 'dirtiest kettles I lad ever seen. I *ak«l for bread, but sic sbook her krad. although I think it must have Ixen for tack of it rather than be- Close she begrudged it to me. For 'U ever a man showed he was flmished, I did that night I swallowed those lorm potatoes ravenously and I drank, ^fcnr glares of water, one after ao- oher. It was the best meal I had had 'rocs th» "banquet" In the prison at (JonrtraL . The woman of the honsc was prob- «5ly seventy-five years old and had ^ rldently worn wooden shoes all her He. for The had a calloua spot on the «De of her foot the slxe of half a dol- tr and it looked 30 hard that I doubt iether you could have driven a nan Mo it with a hammer! As I cat there drying myself--for I ; TBS In no hnrrry to leave the first toman habitation I tod entered In iur weeks--I reflected on my nn- lippy lot and the unknown troubles «d dangers that lay ahead of me. fere, for more than a month, I had pen leading th* life of a hunted ·Irani--irca, worse than n hunted alraal, for nature clothes bar lesa- fjrored creatures more appropriate- 1) for the life they lead then I was cbthed for mine--and there was not tie slightest reason to hope that con- drlons would grow any better. Perhaps the Bret,worm food I had eten for over a month had released nosed springs of philosophy in me, a food sometimes does for a man. I pointed to my torn and water- amked eJotbcs and conreyod to them ·'« best I could that I would be grata- fl for an old volt,'' but apparently tfcy wen too poor to have more than tfey actnafly needed themselves, and Irose to go. 1 bad enraged them out o bed and I knew I ought not to keep tern up Inmate tain wa* nfcsolutely JKeuary. As I approached toe door I got a ajmco at myself in a mirror. I wae t».aofulest stcht I bad laid eyes on! ·She cUmcce I got of myselC startled ,n atanost as moch as tf I had seen a Beaded German helmet! My left eye 4B fairly well healed by this time ·d I was,beginning to regain sight ip U, but my face was so boggard and BY beard so lonj and unkempt that I Joked like Santa dm on a bat! As they let me oat of the door I prated to the opposite direction to Ce one I Intended taking and started d In the direction I had indicated. liter I chanced my course completely t throw off any possible pursuit. !the next daylwa»so worn out from ·rpoanre and exhaustion th»t I threw iway my coat, thinking that the less veight I had to carry tbe better it ronld be for me, bnt when night came '. regretted my mistake because tke ilght» were' now getting colder. I bootbt at first It would be better for no to retrace my steps and look for he coat I had so thonxbtles*ly dls- arded, bat I decided' to go on wlth- ·Ut It I then began to discard everything bat I bad In my pocket' finally ttrow- ng my wrist watch Into a canal. A rrlst-watch does not add much relent, bat when yon plod along and lave not eaten for a month it finally ·ecornee rather heavy. The next War 1 discarded wa* a pair of flying rittens. these mitten* I had gotten at Camp inrden, in Canada, and hud become ulte fancms, as my friends termed hem "snow shoes." . In fact, they ·'ere. a ridfcnlous pair of mittens, but he best pair I ever had and I really elt worse when I lost those mittens dan anything else. I coald not think f anybody else ever Bring them, so I ug a hole In the mod nnd buried tern and could not help bnt laugh t the thought it my friends could set le burying my mittens, because they' 'ere a standing joke^n Canada, Bnc- ind and France. I had on two shlrtu and tus they were Iways both wet and didn't keep me ·arm, It was Baeieu to wear .both. !AP"STOBB8 One of these was a shirt that-1 had bought m France, the other an American army shirt. Th«y were both khaki and one as'apt to.give me away as the other, so I discarded the French shirt. The American army shirt 1 brought back with me to England and it is still -in my possession. When I escaped from .the train t still had tbe Bavarian cap of bright red in my pocket aod wore It for many nights, but I took great care that no one saw it It also had proven very useful when swimming rivers, for I carried x my map and a few other belongings in it and I had fully made up my mind to bring It home as n souvenir. Bnt tbe farther I went the heavier my extra clothing became, so I was compelled to discard even tbe cap. I knew that it would be'a tell-tale mark if I simply threw It away, night after swimming fi .river, I dug a bole in the soft nrad on tbe bank and buried it, too, with considerably less ceremony than my fly- Ing mittens bad received perhaps; so that was the end of my Bavarian hat! ily experience at the Belgian's bouse whetted my appetite for more .food and I figured that what had been done 6nce could be done again. Sooner or later, I realized I would probably approach a Belgian and find a Oenuan' Instead, bat In such a contingency I was determined to measure my strength against the Hun's if necessary to effect my escape. As it was, however, roost of the Belgians to whom I applied for food gave It to me readily enough, and If some of them refused me it was only because they feared I might be a spy or that the Germans would shoot them if their action were gabseouently found out About the fifth day aftar I had entered Belgium I was spending the day as usual In a clump of bufltoes when I discerned In the distance what appeared to be wuething hanging on a line. All day long I strained my eyes trying to decide what It could be and arguing with myself that It might be something that I'conld add to my Inadequate wordrobe, but the distance was so great that I could not identify it.' I bad a great fear- that before night came it would probably be removed, As soon u darkness fell, however, I crawled oat of my hiding place and worked up to the line and got a pair of overalls for my industry. The parr at overalls was the first bit of dvfl- lon clothes I bad thus far nicked op with the exception of a dviUan cap which I had found at the prison and concealed on my person and whtcb I £tm hod. The overalls were rather small and very short, but when I put them on I found that they hung down far enough to cover my breeches. It was perhaps three days otter tint I akamed to searc* another house for farther clothes. Entering Belgian houses at night Is anything but a safe proposition, because their families are huge and sometimes u* many as seven or eight sleep in a single room. The barn is umally connected with the boose proper, and there WM always tbft danger of cHsrnrbtoc some dumb animal even If the Inmates of too house we're not aroused. FreQuentiy I took a chance of searching a back yard at night in the hope of finding food scraps, but my success In that direction was ao slight that I soon decided that it wasn't worth the .risk and I continued to live on raw vegetable* that I conld pick with safety In the field* and the occasional meal that I waa able to get from the Belgian peanut* In tbe daytime. | Nevertheless I waa determined to get more In the way of dathtng and when night came I picked out a house that looked as though it might furnish me with what I wanted. It was a moonlight night and If I could get In the barn I would have a fair chance of finding my way around by the moonlight -which would enter the windows. The barn adjoined the main part of the bouse, but I groped around very carefully and soon I touched tome- thing hanging on a peg. I dlCnt know what it was, bot I confiscated It and carried It out Into the field*. There III the moonlight I examined my booty and found that it was an old cont. It wag too short for nn overcoat and too long for an ordinary coat, but nevertheless I made tun of It. ' It had probably been an overcoat for the Belgian who had worn it. Some days, later I got a eccrf from · Belgian peasant and with this equipment I was able to conceal my uniform entirely. Later on, however, I decided that It was too dangerous to keep the uniform on anyway and when night came 1 dug a hye and burled It. I never realized until I had to part with it Jugt how much I thought of that uniform. It had been with me through hard trials and I felt as if I were abandoning a friend when I parted with it. I was tempted to keep the -wings, off the tunic, but thought that would be a dangerous concession to sentiment In. the event that I was ever captured. It was the only distinction I had left, as I had given the Royal Flying Corps badges and the stars of my rank to the German Hying officers as souvenirs, but I felt that It was safer to discard it As it finally turned out, through all my subsequent experiences, my escape would never have been Jeopardized had I kept my uniform but, of course, I had no Idea what was in store for me. There was one thing which surprised me very much as I Journeyed through Belgium and that was the scarcity of dogs. Apparently most of them had been taken by the Germans nnd what are left are beasts of burden who are too tired at night to bark or bother intruders. This was a mighty good thing for me, for I would certainly have stirred them up In- passing through back-yards as I sometimes did when I was making a short cut. One nlsht as I come out of a yard It was so pitch dark that I could not see ten feet ahead of me and I was right In the back of a little village, although I did cot know It. I crawled along fearing I might come to a crossroads at which there would in all probability be a German sentry. My precaution served me In good ·tead for had I come out In the main street of the village and wlthla twenty feet of me, sitting on eorae bricks where they were building a little store, I could see the dim outline of a German spiked hornet! I could not cross tbe street and the only thing to do was to back track. It meant making a long detour and losing two hours of precious time and effort, but there was no help for It, so I plodded -wearily back, cursing the Huns at every step. The next night while crossing some fields I came to a road. It was one of tbe mala roads of Belgium and was paved with cobble stones. On these roads yon can hear a wagon or horse about a mile or two away. I listened Intently before I moved ahead and bearing nothing concluded that the way was dear. As I emerged from the field and got my first glimpse of the road, I got the shock of my lltel In either direction, were leaving It and I noticed them cross over Into the fields. At a safo distance I followed them and they had not gone very far before I saw what tboy were offer. They were committing tbe cotnrnon but heinous crime of stealing potatoes 1 -· Without the means to cook them, potatoes didn't Interest me a bit and I thought that the boat itself would probably yield .me more than the potato patch. Knowing tho canal-bands would probably tulje their time IE the fields, I climbed up the stem of the boat leisurely and without any particular plans to conceal myself. Just as my head appeared above tho stem of the boat I saw silhouetted against the sky, the dread outline of a German soldier--spiked helmet and ail! A chill ran down my upine as I dropped to tbe bonk of the canal and Elunk away. Evidently the sentry bad uot seeu me or. If he had, he had probably figured that I was one of the foraging party, but I realised that it wouldn't pay In future to take anything for granted. CHAPTER X. Experiences In Belgium, I think that one of the -worst things I bad to contend with in my Journey through Belgium was tbe number of small 'ditches. They Intercepted me at every half mile or eo, sometimes more frequently. The caaals and the Diagram Showing How O'Brien Lo*t Preolou* Hours by Swimming a River and Later Finding That He Waa on the Wrong 6id» and Had to Swim Back. . u far as I could see, the road was lined with German soldiers! What they were doing In that part of Bel- glum I did not know, but you can be mighty Euro I didn't spend any tune trying to find out Again it was' necessary to change my course and tase a certain amount of ground, but by this time I had become fairly well' reconciled to these reverses and they did not depress me ai.much as they did at first. At this period of my adventure. If a day or night passed without Its thrtll I began to feel almost dlanpolntcd, bnt men disappointment* wen rather rare. One evening as I was about to swim a canal about two hundred feet wide, I suddenly noticed about one hundred yards awjiy a canal boat moored to the side. It wag at a sort of out-of-the-way placo and I wondered what tl» canal boat had stopped for. I crawled up to see. As I neared the boat five men Burying Hit Uniform at Night big rivers I could swim. Of coarse, I got soaked to the skin every time I did It, but I was becoming hardened to that These little ditches, however, were too narrow to swim and too'wide to jump. They liad perhaps two feet of water in them and three feet of mud, aud It was almost Invariably a cose of wading through. Some of them, no doubt, I could have Jumped If I had been in decent shape, but with a bnd ankle and In the weakened condition in which I was, It was almost out of the question. One night I come to a. ditch about i eight or nine feet wide. I thought I { was strong enough to Jump It and it was worth trying as the discomfort I suffered after wading these ditches was considerable. Taking a long run, I Jumped as hard as I could, but I missed It by four or five Inches and landed ID about two feet of water and three of mud. Getting out of that mess was quite a Job. The water was too dirty and ftxj scanty to enable me to wash off the mud with which I was covered and It was too wet to scrape off. I Just had to wait anal It dried and scrape It off tbea. In many sections of Belgium through which" I had to pass I encountered large areas of swamp and marshy ground -and rather than waste the time involved In looking for better underfootlng--which I might not have found anyway--I used to pole right | through the mud. Apart from the discomfort of this method of travel- J Ing and the slow time I made, there! was on added danger to me In the fact that the "squash, gqush" noise which I made might easily be overheard by Belgians and Germans and give my position away. Nobody would cross a swamp or marsh in that part of the country onlesa he was trying to get ·jway from somebody, and I realized my danger but could not get around It. It was a common Bight In Belgium to see a small donkey and a common ordinary milch cow hitched together, pulling a wagon. When I first observed the unusual combination, I thought It was a donkey and ox or bull, but closer Inspection revealed to me that cows were being used for tho purpose. From that I was able to observe there must be very fow horses left In Belgium except those owned by tho; Germans. Cows and donkeys are now i horses and mules. Altogether I spent nearly eight weeks wandering through Belgium, and In all that time I don't believe I saw more than bait a dozen horses In the possession of j the native population. | One of the scarcest things in Germany, apparently, Is rubber, for I noticed that their motor trucks, or lorries, unlike our own, had no rabbet i ttrss. Instead heavy iron bands were employed. I could hear them coma rumbling along the stone roadB for miles before they reached the spot where I happened to be in hilding. "When I saw thege military roads la Belgium for the first ttmo, with their heavy cobblestones that looked as If they would, last for centuries, I realized at once why it was that the Germans had been able to make such a rapid advance Into Belgium at the start of the war. I noticed that the Belgians used dogs to a considerable extent to pull their carts, ami I thought many times that li I could have stolen one of those dogs it would have been a very good companion for nre and might, if tho occasion arose, help me out In a fight But I had no way of feeding it and the animal would probftbiy have starved to death. I could live ou vegetables, which I could always depend upon finding in the fields, but a dog couldn't, and so I gave up the Idea. The iaiack of making fire with two- pieces of dry wood I had often read about, bnt I had never put It to a test and for various reasons I concluded, that It would be -unsafe for me to build a fire even if I had matches. In. the first place, there was no absolute need for it. I didn't hove anything to cook nor utensils to cook It in even li I had. While the air was getting to be rather cool at night,' I was usually on tho go at that time and didn't notice it In the daytime, when I was resting or sleeping, the Bun was : usually out. To have borrowed matches from X ASdgian peasant would have been feasible, but when I was willing to take the chanco of approaching anyone, It was Just as easy to aek for food as I matches. It tho second place. It would have been extremely dangerous to havo built a flro even if I had needed it Sou can't build a fire in Belgium, ·wblch Is tbe most thickly populated country in Burbpe, without everyone- knowing it, and I was far from anxious to advertising my whereabouts. The villages In that part of Belgium through which I -was making my course were so close -together that there waa hardly ever on hour passed without my hearing some clock strike. Every village has Its clock. Many times I could hear the clocks striking In two vOlages at tbe same time. But the hour had very little Interest to me. My program was to travel as | fast as I could from sunset to sunrise and pay no attention to the hours in between, and in th« · daytime I bad only two things to worry about: keep concealed and get as much Bleep as poelble. Tbe cabbage that I got in Belgium consisted of the small beads that the peasants had not cot. All the strength had concentrated in these little heads and they would be as hitter an gall. X would have to be pretty hungry today before I could ever eat cabbage again and the Borne observation ai- plles to carrots, turnips and sugar beets--especially sugar beets. It Is rather a remarkable thing that today even a smell of turnips, raw or cooked, makes me sick, and yet a fe-w short months ago my life depended upon them. Night after night as I searched for food, I was always in hopes that I might come upon some tomatoes or celery--vegetables which I really liked, but with the exception of once, when I found some celery, I -was never so fortunate. I ate so much of the celery the night I come upon It that I -was sick for two days thereafter, but I carried several bunches away with me find used to chew on it as I walked along. Of course, I kept my eyes open all the time for fruit trees, hut apparently It was too late ID the year for frnlt, as all that I ever was able to find were two pears, which I got out of a tree. ! That was one of my red-letter days, [ but I was never able to repeat it In the brooks and ponds that I passed I often noticed flsh of different kinds. That was either In the- early morning just before I turned la for the day, or on moonlight nights when the water scorned UB clear in spots as in the daytime. .It occurred to me that It would be a simple matter to rig a hook and line and catch some fish, bnt I had no means of cooking them and it wns useless to fieh for the sake of It One night In Belgium my course took me through a defiolato stretch of country which seemed to be absolutely uncultivated. I . must have covered twelve miles during the night, without passing a single farm or cultivated field. My stock of turnips which I had picked the night before was gone [ and I planned, of course, to got enouith 1 INDIAN PRINCESS TO SINti HERE WRING CHAUTAUQW PFHNCESS WATAHWASO (BRIGHT STAR). Princess WetabTniso, Indian priran donna. Is to be one of the featured attractions at tho coming Chautauqua. The word "Princess," as used In connection with Wntnhwaso, is not Ibe invention of a press agent, but really belongs to her aa a rightful title, for sfte is tbe daughter of a chieftain of toe Penobscot trfbe of Maine. Besides belof chief of tils tribe, Wntahwaso's father also was a member of tbe "white man's council,"'as the Maine Legislature wue known among the Indians. In presenting her songs and Todinn legends Watnhwaso wf!3 appear in native costume \vhlch harmonizes splendidly with her olive skin and dark eyes. Some of her best Indian songs are "By the Waters of MInnetonka," "Her BUmket," "By the Weeping Waters" and 'The Sacrifice," all of which were composed by Thurlow Lleurance, with whom Watolrwajso only a few weeks ugo completed second trans-continental tour. to carry me through the following' day. The North Star -was shining brightly ; thnt night aod there was absolutely ! nothing to prevent my steering an ab-1 Rolutely direct course for Holland and ! liberty, bat my path seemed to lie] through arid postures. Fnr to the : east or to tho west I could bear faintly the striking of viJlage bells, ! and I knew that 1:E I changed my ! course I would undoubtedly striko ; farms and vegetables, bafc the North ; Star seemed to plead with rns to fol-! low It and I would not torn aside. ' When daylight came, the cause- i cjuence was 1 was empty handed and 11 bad to find a hiding plncc for the day. ! I thought I would approach the first! peasant I came to and ask for food, but that day I had misgivings--a hnncb--that I would get info trouble If I did, and I decided to go without food altogether for that day. It was a foolish rlilng to do, I found, because I not only suffered greatly from hunger all that day, but it Interfered with my sleep. I would Crop off lo sleep for half an hour, perhaps, and during that time I would dream that I was free, buck home, living a life of comparative ease, and then 1 would wake up with a start and catch a glimpse of the bushes surrounding me, feel the hard ground beneath me and the hunger pangs gnawing at my Bides, and then I would realize bow far from home I really was, and I would He there and wonder whether I would ever really see my home again. Then I would fall asleep again and dream this time, perhaps of the! dtiys I spent in Courtral, or ray l e n p j from the train window, of the Bava- j rian pilot whom I sent 10 eternity i n : my lost air fight, of my tracer bullets getting closer and closer to his head, · and then I would wnke up again with a start and thank the Lord that I was | ~ only dreaming It all fljaln Instead of j living through It I ! That night I got an early start be-, cause 1 knew I buti to have food, and I decided thnt rather than look for vegetables I would take a chance and apply to the flrst Belgian peasant whom I came to, I It was about S o'clock when I came to a small house. I had picked up a heavy stone and had bound it in my handkerchief and I was resolved to use It as a v.2apon if it became necessary. After all I hud gone through, I was resolved to wJu my liberty eventually at whatever cost. AR it happened, I found that night the first real friend I had encountered In all my traveling. When I knocked timidly on the door, It was opened by a Belgian peasant, about fifty years of age. He asked me in Flemish what I ·wanted, but I shook my head and pointing i my cars and mouth intimated that I was deaf and dumb, and then I opened and closed my mouth several times to show him that I wanted food. He showed me Inside and sat me at the table. He apparently lived alone, for his Ill-furnished room had but one chair, and the plate and knife and fork he put before me seemed to be all ho had. He brought me some colQ potatoes and several slices of stale bread, and lie warmed me some milk on a small oil stove. I ate ravenously and all the time I was engaged I knew that he was eyeing me closely. Before I was half through he came over to :ne. touching me on the shoulder, and stooping: over BO that bis lips almost touched my ear, he said In broken Bnglish. "You are an Englishman--I know It--and you can hear and talk If you wish--am I not right?" There was a smile on his face and a friendly attitude about him thnt told me instinctively thnt he could be trusted, and I replied: "You have guessed right--only I am an American, not an Englishman." He locked at me pityingly and filled my cup npaln with warm milk. TO EE CONTINUED. TOODS COKIAWING ·a/HEAT.. PA GOT THE IBEAI By EDWIKA 1 you HNOW JAMKW -Sorrow weu., HC'A T»V wonsr Ben'.. two? HPS JCST-TORWBV.E;?- - , WASN'T 330IN. A u THIN*, MISSUS STU-B35, VM5- ·«OR 'C«P* VICIOUSLY c ATTACKED HIM: I TELL I WON'T ir--;--

Get full access with a Free Trial

Start Free Trial

What members have found on this page