Page 4

The_Bravest_of_the_Brave

THE SATURDAY EVENING POST 33 Dish No. 5 Some Folks Revel in Puffed Grains One mother says: "My little boy comes back every morning for his fourth and fifth dish of Puffed Wheat." Let him have them. Never was grain food made so digesti- ble. Puffing makes all the food atoms available. If every grain food could be steam exploded it would make a twice-better food. A Million Dishes Daily But How Few Folks Get Them Lovers of Puffed Grains now consume a million dishes daily. But the wonder is how few homes get them, as revealed by our statistics. Homes that know them serve them in abundance. Children revel in them. Puffed Grains in the morning with sugar and cream. Puffed Grains at night in milk. And dish after dish of them often. But the pity is that nine children in ten never get Puffed Grains at all. That's why we tell you this story here, and repeat it month after month. Puffed Wheat and Puffed Rice are delicious. They are more than that—their delights are compelling. They are crisp and porous, bubble-like and flaky. The taste is like toasted nuts. If we knew how to tell you half their goodness you would serve them tomorrow morning. Puffed Wheat, 10c Puffed Rice, 15c Except in Extreme West CORN PUFFS /50 We ask you to try them. If you know one of them, try the rest. Each has a different flavor. Day after day, year after year, they'll bring healthful delights to your table. Your girls will use them in candy making. Your boys will fill their pockets with them when they go to play. When you once discover the joys of Puffed Grains, you will never let your folks miss them. The Quaker Oats Company Sole Makers (757) THE BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE (Continued from Page 8) without a pass. This must be presented at the railroad office to obtain a ticket, and again at the station where we get out of the train. No telegram can be sent that is not first submitted to the police; and until recently only the French language could be spoken by telephone. In Compiegne strangers are permitted to remain not longer than two days, and then only by giving a very good account of themselves, with passports and documents equal to a short biography. This is neces- sary. German spies infest the country. Besides, the town is overcrowded with the entire population of the surrounding country. The food supply is limited. The return of the Germans is hourly expected. When they occupied the town in September the people were without bread for four days. So it was not without misgivings that we approached the mayor's office. We were ushered into a big, dark room, very bare, very dirty, with a narrow bench round the *all and a long desk at one end. Two men sat behind the desk. Fifty people were contending with them for passes—peasants who wanted permission to go back for an hour to their homes in the country; citizens who wished to get away on the next train; women who were begging to go somewhere for something. Many were refused; it was like squeezing through the eye of a needle for those who succeeded. " We only want permission to take a drive in the country," I explained. The Commissary of Police spread out his hands, shrugged his shoulders, and made a sneer of his mouth, which was plainly visible through his beard. "But, a drive! Do you hear that? An American tourist wishes to look at France ! She is curious!" This to his companion. "No, monsieur; not at France. I am interested in the women and children," I explained. "Then go out and look at them. They are all here in Compiegne," he retorted. "Not all; there are a few left outside," I insisted. " Well, where do you wish to go?" he demanded. I named Choisy-au-Bac, the next village, only because it was nearer Vic-sur-Aisne, where Madame Macherez had her hospital. Very well; he would give the passes, but we must get them signed by the military authorities. We went. to the military headquarters. The gate was guarded by a French soldier who had rings in his ears and a very active bayonet in his hands, which he thrust forward at every person who approached. The Ruins Beyond Compiegne Here there was another long and desperate argument, interrupted by a woman with a basket of clothes which she said she wanted to take to her husband, a soldier in the trenches at Soissons. They were clean clothes; but tidiness is not a military requirement in France. Her husband could wear the shirt he had on. No, she could not go; certainly not! It was three o'clock before we succeeded in getting the military signature, and only then with the assurance that we should be hurried back by the first guard we met on the road. However, if one avoids taking a motor— in fact, one cannot get one; a motor car on a country road is a sin punishable with imprisonment or even death—and is contented with a carriage drawn by a creeping horse, the guards appear to despise the whole affair too much to interfere. So we moved out along the road to Choisy in the direction of Soissons and Vic-sur-Aisne. The wide plain, rimmed with the great forest of Compiegne, lay deserted. Every house was vacant, with staring windows, like bodies from which the spirit has departed. Once I saw what seemed to be a long flower bed rising out of the meadow grass. "The grave of the French soldiers who died there in the battle before Choisy," the coachman explained—not graves, you understand, but one great mound beneath which the hearts of many brave men were turning back to dust. On All Saints' Day the peasants had slipped out and covered it with flowers, still fresh, though more than a week had passed—as though they drew immortal life and beauty from the heroes below. The bridge across the Oise leading into Choisy was broken in the middle—the two ends of it sticking up, a webbed mass of crumpled steel and beams. We made a detour and crossed over the temporary military bridge, stanchioned below by old boats. Here we came on the first trenches I had seen—narrow ditches about three feet deep, with the earth thrown up in front and roofed over with a frail shelter of poles and straw. It was there the French made their last stand. And from these dark veins were taken the dead who now lay beneath the flowers in the meadow. How very alive they had been! With what noise and fierceness they had met death! Now how still—how far removed from that terrific fury of battle! Choisy-au-Bac is literally in ruins. Scarcely a house stands. There was not a living soul in sight until we came on two boys about fourteen years of age who were engaged in rebuilding one of the houses. What a mark for the Germans if they did return! And we could hear them bombarding Soissons, only a few miles distant. On the edge of the town we saw an old woman, sitting with folded hands on a bench beside the walls of her home. The roof was gone, the windows broken, the doors, lying on the ground, were half burned. She looked up at us vaguely, as though she were now accustomed to seeing ghosts; as though we, too, were shades—not real. The Old Woman's Story "We did not go to bed that first night," she replied to a question. " We sat in our houses waiting for what the Germans would do to us. We were terrified; the children too—they listened." She sighed; and I could see those little children clinging in the dark to their mothers, listening fearfully to the uproar of soldiers. "The next night they burned the town," she went on. "We fled to the forest—all the women and children. We were there two days without food. We came back when we heard they were about to shoot our employer. We went down on our knees to those Germans, all of us—the children too— and begged them not to kill our employer, a good old man; so they spared him," she concluded. "But they took six young boys from Choisy," she added after a pause. "One tried to escape and they shot him. We do not know what they have done with our sons. We have only the one they killed." We left her staring into the gloom between the blackened walls of fallen houses, a motionless figure, very old and very calm. Shortly after this the coachman halted. We had reached the limit of distance specified by the authorities. This was the moment for which we had waited. We explained to his motionless back that we wished to go on to Vic-sur- Aisne. The effect was electrical. He flirted his head round and stared at us in astonishment. "You can make the distance before dark," I urged. "But no; it is impossible!" he cried with despairing gestures. "You are not permitted to go one yard farther on this road." "Try it!" I pleaded. "But we shall be arrested, thrown into prison, shot for spies." I offered him more than the worth of his horse and carriage to take us a little farther— only to Vic-sur-Aisne. "But madame is mad. Don't you hear the guns—not the cannons, but the guns? They are coming nearer. We have been in the firing line for an hour. The shells, madame!" He flung his hand up wildly at a whistling, zooning sound which I had mistaken for motors passing on another road. I felt very queer—a kind of disappointment. Was this the red rage of battle I had imagined to myself many times—these empty trenches behind; that grave in the meadow; these whining, invisible messen- gers of death that were falling over there somewhere on the left? Where were the guns? Above all, where was everybody? Not a soul was in sight; not a sound, ex- cept that thunder which came like the muttering of a rising storm from the horizon, and those secret things that we could not see, only hear, screaming like lost spirits overhead.


The_Bravest_of_the_Brave
To see the actual publication please follow the link above