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Under The Red Terror
by [?]

What of the night, O Antwerp bells,

Over the city swinging,

Plaintive and sad, O kingly bells,

In the winter midnight ringing?

And the winds in the belfry moan

From the sand-dunes waste and lone,

And these are the words they say,

The turreted bells and they–

“Calamtout, Krabbendyk, Calloo,”

Say the noisy, turbulent crew;

“Jabbeke, Chaam, Waterloo;

Hoggerhaed, Sandvaet, Lilloo,

We are weary, a-weary of you!

We sigh for the hills of snow,

For the hills where the hunters go,

For the Matterhorn, Wetterhorn, Dom,

For the Dom! Dom! Dom!

For the summer sun and the rustling corn,

And the pleasant vales of the Rhineland valley

The Bells of Antwerp.”
I am writing this for my friend in Scotland, whose strange name I cannot spell. He wishes to, put it in the story-book he is writing. But his book is mostly lies. This is truth. I saw these things, and I write them down now because of the love I have for him, the young Herr who saved my brother’s life among the black men in Egypt. Did I tell how our Fritz went away to be Gordon’s man in the Soudan of Africa, and how he wrote to our father and the mother at home in the village–“I am a great man and the intendant of a military station, and have soldiers under me, and he who is our general is hardly a man. He has no fear, and death is to him as life”? So this young Herr, whom I love the same as my own brother, met Fritz when there was not the thickness of a Wurst-skin between him and the torture that makes men blanch for thinking on, and I will now tell you the story of how he saved him. It was–

But the Herr has come in, and says that I am a “dumbhead,” also condemned, and many other things, because, he says, I can never tell anything that I begin to tell straightforwardly like a street in Berlin. He says my talk is crooked like the “Philosophers’ Way” after one passes the red sawdust of the Hirsch-Gasse, where the youngsters “drum” and “drum” all the Tuesdays and the Fridays, like the donkeys that they are. I am to talk (he says violently) about Paris and the terrible time I saw there in the war of Seventy.

Ah! the time when there was a death at every door, the time which Heidelberg and mine own Thurm village will not forget–that made grey the hairs of Jacob Oertler, the head-waiter, those sixty days he was in Paris, when men’s blood was spilt like water, when the women and the children fell and were burned in the burning houses, or died shrieking on the bayonet point. There is no hell that the Pfaffs tell of, like the streets of Paris in the early summer of Seventy-one. But it is necessary that I make a beginning, else I shall never make an ending, as Madame Hegelmann Wittwe, of the Prinz Karl, says when there are many guests, and we have to rise after two hours’ sleep as if we were still on campaign. But again I am interrupted and turned aside.

Comes now the young Herr, and he has his supper, for ever since he came to the Prinz Karl he takes his dinner in the midst of the day as a man should.