of seeing death next to me. A soldier of my platoon, while digging in the trench, suddenly leaned back, began to cough like an old man, a little blood broke from his lips, and he crumpled together in a heap and lay quite still. I could not realize that this was the end, for his eyes were wide open and his face wore the stamp of complete serenity. Apparently he had not suffered at all. The man had been a favorite with all his fellows by reason of his good humor, and that he was now stretched out dead seemed unbelievable. I saw a great many men die afterwards, some suffering horribly, but I do not recall any death that affected me quite so much as that of this first victim in my platoon.
The artillery duel died out with the coming of darkness and we settled down to rest, half of the men taking watch while the others slept. At five o'clock in the morning our regiment suddenly received the order to fall in, and, together with two other regiments, was drawn out of the fighting line. Our commanding general had received news that an isolated detachment on the extreme right wing of our army, about fifteen miles east of us, had been entirely surrounded by a strong Russian body, and we were ordered to relieve them. It must not be forgotten that our men had been under a most incredible strain for the last three days with barely any rest during the nights and not more than one meal a day. They had actually welcomed entering
the firing line, as a relief from the fatigues of marching with their heavy burdens. It is curious how indifferent one becomes to danger if one's organism is worn down and brain and faculty of perception numbed by physical exertion. It was, therefore, with badly broken-down strength that we started on this relief expedition, and it was good to see how unflinchingly the soldiers undertook their unexpected new task. All we had to say to our men was: "Boys, your brothers are needing you. They are cut off from all possible relief unless you bring it. Their lives are at stake, and as they are defending one of the most strategically important points-the right wing of our army-you can turn the tide of the whole battle in our favor; so go on." And on they went, staggering and stumbling, and at the end of a few hours almost crawling, but ever forward.
Suddenly we came up with another
regiment which had been called to the same task, and the colonel of the new regiment, being older in rank than our colonel, took command of the newly formed brigade of two regiments. My company happened to march at the head of the regiment and the new brigadier rode for some time alongside of me. I was deeply impressed by his firm military and yet unassuming bearing and his deep glowing enthusiasm for his army and his men. He told me with pride that two of his sons were serving in the army, too, one as an artillery officer and the other one as an officer with the sappers. We were then approaching the point where we could hear distinctly the fire of our own batteries and the answer from the Russians, and here and there a volley of rifle fire. Our colonel urged us on to renewed energy, and knowledge that we were nearing our goal seemed to give new strength to our men. Already we
were witnessing evidences of the first fight that had passed here, for wounded men constantly passed us on stretchers. Suddenly I saw the face of-the colonel riding next to me, light up with excitement as a wounded man was borne past. He addressed a few words to the stretcher-bearers and then turned to me, saying: "The regiment of my son is fighting on the hill. It is one of their men they have brought by." He urged us on again, and it seemed to me as if I noticed-or was it my imagination-a new note of appeal in his face. Suddenly another stretcher was brought past. The colonel at my side jumped from his horse, crying out, "My boy," and a feeble voice answered, " Father." We all stopped as if a command had been given, to look at the young officer who lay on the stretcher, his eyes all aglow with enthusiasm and joy, unmindful of his own wound as he cried out,
splendid that the relief should just come from you! Go on. We held out splendidly. All we need is ammunition and a little moral support. Go on, don't stop for me, I am all right." The old colonel stood like a statue of bronze. His face had become suddenly ashen gray. He looked at the doctor and tried to catch his expression. The doctor seemed grave. But the young man urged us on, saying, "Go on, go on, I'll be all right to-morrow." The whole incident had not lasted more than five minutes, barely longer than it takes to write it. The colonel mounted his horse, sternly commanding us to march forward, but the light had died out of his eyes.
Within the next ten minutes a hail of shrapnel was greeting us, but hardly any one of us was conscious of it, so terribly and deeply were we affected by the scene of tragedy that had just been enacted before us. I remember foolishly mum-
bling something to the silent man riding next to me, something about the power of recuperation of youth, about the comparative harmlessness of the pointed, steelmantled rifle bullets which on account of their terrific percussion make small clean wounds and rarely cause splintering of the bone or blood poisoning. I remember saying that I had quite a medical knowledge and that it seemed to me that his son was not mortally wounded. But he knew better. He never said a word, only, a few minutes later, "He was my only hope"; and I can't express how ominous that word "was" sounded to me. But just then the command to deploy was given and the excitement that followed drowned for the time being all melancholy thoughts.
We quickly ascended the hill where the isolated detachment of Austrians had kept the Russians at bay for fully twenty-four hours and opened fire on
the enemy, while the second regiment tried to turn his left flank. The Russians slowly fell back but we followed them, and a sort of running fight ensued, during which my regiment lost about fifty-dead and wounded. The Russians temporarily resisted again, but soon the pressure from our other regiment on their flank began to be felt and they fled rather disorderly, leaving two machine guns, some ammunition, and four carriages full of provisions in our hands, while the regiment which had executed the flanking movement took two hundred and forty prisoners.
Around eight o'clock at night the fight was stopped for want of light, and we took up our newly acquired positions, entrenched them well, and began to make ready for the night. Orders for outpost duty were given and the officers were again called to the brigadier-colonel, who in a few words outlined the sit-
uation to us, thanking us for the pertinacity and bravery shown by the troops, and adding that the success of the expedition lay in the fact that we had arrived in time to save the situation.
Then the question of transporting prisoners to the rear came up, and while the brigadier's eyes were searching us I felt that he was going to entrust me with that mission. He looked at me, gave me the order in a short, measured way, but his eyes gazed searchingly and deeply into mine, and I thought I understood the unspoken message. So, tired as I was, I immediately set out with a guard of twenty men to transport the two hundred and forty Russian prisoners, among whom were two officers; back behind the fighting line. They seemed not unhappy over their lot-in fact, were smoking and chatting freely while we marched back. One of the Russian officers had a wound in his leg and was carried on a
stretcher, but he, too, seemed quite at ease, conversing with me in French and congratulating me upon the bravery our isolated detachment had shown against the terrific onslaught. As soon as I had delivered them safely into the hands of the commander of our reserves, I inquired the way to the nearest field hospital in search of the young officer, the son of our brigadier-colonel. It was then about nine o'clock at night, and on entering the peasant's hut where the field hospital was established, I saw at a glance that I had come too late. He lay there still, hands folded over his breast with as serene and happy an expression as if asleep. His faithful orderly sat weeping next to him, and some kind hand had laid a small bunch of field flowers on his breast.
From the doctor I got the full information. He had received a shot in the abdomen and a rifle bullet had grazed his
cheek. His last words had been a fervent expression of joy over the relief brought by his father and the knowledge that the position would not be taken by the Russians. He had died as simply as a child, without regret, and utterly happy. I took the orderly with me, asking him to carry all the belongings of the young officer with him in order to transmit them to his father.
When I returned with the orderly, the brigadier was issuing orders to his officers and conferring with them about the military situation. He saw me come, yet not a muscle moved in his face, nor did he interrupt his conversation. I was overwhelmed by the power this man showed at that minute, and admit I had not the courage to break the news to him, but it was unnecessary, for he understood. The faithful orderly stepped forward, as I had bidden him, presenting to the old man the pocketbook and
small articles that belonged to his son. While he did so he broke forth into sobs, lamenting aloud the loss of his beloved lieutenant, yet not a muscle moved in the face of the father. He took my report, nodded curtly, dismissed me without a word, and turned back to his ordnance officers, resuming the conversation.
I assumed the command of my platoon which in the mean time had been as- signed to do some outpost duty under the command of the sergeant. I inquired about their position and went out to join them. About midnight we were relieved, and when marching back, passed the place where the tent of the brigadier had been erected. I saw a dark figure lying on the floor, seemingly in deep sleep, and ordering my men to march on I crept silently forward. Then I saw that his shoulders were convulsively shaking and I knew that the mask of iron had fallen at last. The night was chilly so I
entered his tent in search of his overcoat and laid it around his shoulders. He never noticed it. The next morning when I saw him his face was as immovable as it had been the night before, but he seemed to have aged by many years.
The next day was a comparatively restful one. We fortified the entrenchments which we had taken, and as our battle lines were extended to the right, from being the extreme right we became almost the center of the new position which extended for perhaps ten miles from northwest to southeast about eighteen miles south of Lemberg.
The next few days were given to repairs, provisioning, and resting, with occasional small skirmishes and shifting of positions. Then one night a scouting aeroplane brought news of a forward movement of about five Russian army corps, which seemed to push in the di-
rection of our center. Against this force we could muster only about two army corps, but our strategical position seemed a very good one, both the extreme flanks of our army being protected by large and impassable swamps. Evidently the Russians had realized the impossibility of turning our flanks and were endeavoring to pierce our center by means of a vigorous frontal attack, relying upon their great superiority in numbers. Every preparation had been made to meet the onslaught during the night. Our trenches had been strengthened, the artillery had been brought into position, cleverly masked by means of transplanted bushes, the field in front of us had been cleared of objects obstructing the view, and the sappers had been feverishly busy constructing formidable barbed- wire entanglements and carefully measuring the shooting distances, marking the different ranges by bundles of hay
or other innocent-looking objects, which were placed here and there in the field.
At nine o'clock in the morning everything was ready to receive the enemy, the men taking a short and well-deserved rest in their trenches, while we officers were called to the colonel, who acquainted us with the general situation, and, giving his orders, addressed us in a short, business-like way, appealing to our sense of duty and expressing his firm belief in our victory. We all knew that his martial attitude and abrupt manner were a mask to hide his inner self, full of throbbing emotion and tender solicitude for his subordinates, and we returned to our trenches deeply moved.
The camp was absolutely quiet, the only movements noticeable being around the field kitchens in the rear, which were being removed from the battle line. A half hour later any casual observer,
glancing over the deserted fields might have laughed at the intimation that the earth around him was harboring thousands of men armed to their teeth, and that pandemonium of hell would break loose within an hour. Barely a sound was audible, and a hush of expectancy descended upon us. I looked around at my men in the trench; some were quietly asleep, some writing letters, others conversed in subdued and hushed tones Every face I saw bore the unmistakable stamp of the feeling so characteristic of the last hour before a battle,-that curious mixture of solemn dignity, grave responsibility, and suppressed emotion, with an undercurrent of sad resignation. They were pondering over their possible fate, or perhaps dreaming of their dear ones at home.
By and by even the little conversation ceased, and they sat quite silent, waiting and waiting, perhaps awed by
their own silence. Sometimes one would bravely try to crack a joke, and they laughed, but it sounded strained. They were plainly nervous, these brave men that fought like lions in the open when led to an attack, heedless of danger and destruction. They felt under a cloud in the security of the trenches, and they were conscious of it and ashamed. Sometimes my faithful orderly would turn his eye on me, mute, as if in quest of an explanation of his own feeling. Poor dear unsophisticated boy! I was as nervous as they all were, although trying my best to look unconcerned; but I knew that the hush that hovered around us like a dark cloud would give way like magic to wild enthusiasm as soon as the first shot broke the spell and the exultation of the battle took hold of us all.
Suddenly, at about ten o'clock, a dull thud sounded somewhere far away from us, and simultaneously we saw a small
white round cloud about half a mile ahead of us where the shrapnel had exploded. The battle had begun. Other shots followed shortly, exploding here and there, but doing no harm. The Russian gunners evidently were trying to locate and draw an answer from our batteries. These, however, remained mute, not caring to reveal their position. For a long time the Russians fired at random, mostly at too short a range to do any harm, but slowly the harmless-looking white clouds came nearer, until a shell, whining as it whizzed past us, burst about a hundred yards behind our trench. A second shell followed, exploding almost at the same place. At the same time, we noticed a faint spinning noise above us. Soaring high above our position, looking like a speck in the firmament, flew a Russian aeroplane, watching the effect of the shells and presumably directing the fire of the Russian artillery. This explained
its sudden accuracy. One of our aeroplanes rose, giving chase to the enemy, and simultaneously our batteries got into action. The Russians kept up a sharply concentrated, well-directed fire against our center, our gunners responding gallantly, and the spirited artillery duel which ensued grew in intensity until the entrails of the earth seemed fairly to shake with the thunder.
By one o'clock the incessant roaring, crashing, and splintering of bursting shells had become almost unendurable to our nerves, which were already strained to the snapping-point by the lack of action and the expectancy. Suddenly there appeared a thin dark line on the horizon which moved rapidly towards us, looking not unlike a huge running bird with immense outstretched wings. We looked through our field glasses; there could be no doubt,-it was Russian cavalry, swooping down upon us with incredible
impetus and swiftness. I quickly glanced at our colonel. He stared open-mouthed. This was, indeed, good fortune for us,- too good to believe. No cavalry attack could stand before well-disciplined infantry, providing the latter keep cool and well composed, calmly waiting until the riders come sufficiently close to take sure aim.
There was action for us at last. At a sharp word of command, our men scrambled out of the trenches for better view and aim, shouting with joy as they did so. What a change had come over us all! My heart beat with wild exultation. I glanced at my men. They were all eagerness and determination, hand at the trigger, eyes on the approaching enemy, every muscle strained, yet calm, their bronzed faces hardened into immobility, waiting for the command to fire. Every subaltern officer's eye hung on our colonel, who stood about thirty yards ahead
of us on a little hill, his figure well defined in the sunlight, motionless, the very picture of calm assurance and proud bearing. He scanned the horizon with his glasses. Shrapnel was hailing around him, but he seemed utterly unaware of it; for that matter we had all forgotten it, though it kept up its terrible uproar, spitting here and there destruction into our midst.
By this time the avalanche of tramping horses had come perceptibly nearer. Soon they would sweep by the bundle of hay which marked the carefully measured range within which our fire was terribly effective. Suddenly the mad stampede came to an abrupt standstill, and then the Cossacks scattered precipitately to the right and left, only to disclose in their rear the advancing Russian infantry, the movements of which it had been their endeavor to veil.
The infantry moved forward in loose
lines, endlessly rolling on like shallow waves overtaking each other, one line running forward, then suddenly disappearing by throwing itself down and opening fire on us to cover the advance of the other line, and so on, while their artillery kept up a hellish uproar spreading destruction through our lines. Simultaneously a Russian aeroplane swept down upon us with a noise like an angered bird of prey and pelted us with bombs, the effects of which, however, were more moral than actual, for we had regained the security of the trenches and opened fire on the approaching enemy, who in spite of heavy losses advanced steadily until he reached our wire entanglements. There he was greeted by a deadly fire from our machine guns. The first Russian lines were mowed down as if by a gigantic scythe, and so were the reserves as they tried to advance. The first attack had collapsed. After a short
time, however, they came on again, this time more cautiously, armed with nippers to cut the barbed wire and using the bodies of their own fallen comrades as a rampart. Again they were repulsed. Once more their cavalry executed a feigned attack under cover of which the Russian infantry rallied, strongly reinforced by reserves, and more determined than ever.
Supported by heavy artillery fire their lines rolled endlessly on and hurled themselves against the barbed-wire fences. For a short time it almost seemed, as if they would break through by sheer weight of numbers. At that critical moment, however, our reserves succeeded in executing a flanking movement. Surprised and caught in a deadly cross-fire, the Russian line wavered and finally they fled in disorder.
All these combined artillery, infantry, cavalry, and aeroplane attacks had ut-
terly failed in their object of dislodging our center or shaking its position, each one being frustrated by the resourceful, cool alertness of our commanding general and the splendid heroism and stoicism of our troops. But the strain of the continuous fighting for nearly the whole day without respite of any kind, or chance for food or rest, in the end told on the power of endurance of our men, and when the last attack had been successfully repulsed they lay mostly prostrated on the ground, panting and exhausted. Our losses had been very considerable, too, stretcher-bearers being busy administering first aid and carrying the wounded back to the nearest field hospital, while many a brave man lay stark and still.
By eight o'clock it had grown perceptibly cooler. We now had time to collect our impressions and look about us. The Russians had left many dead on the
field, and at the barbed-wire entanglements which our sappers had constructed as an obstacle to their advance, their bodies lay heaped upon each other, looking not unlike the more innocent bundles of hay lying in the field. We could see the small Red Cross parties in the field climbing over the horribly grotesque tumuli of bodies, trying to disentangle the wounded from the dead and administer first aid to them.
Enthusiasm seemed suddenly to disappear before this terrible spectacle. Life that only a few hours before had glowed with enthusiasm and exultation, suddenly paled and sickened. The silence of the night was interrupted only by the low moaning of the wounded that came regularly to us. It was hideous in its terrible monotony. The moon had risen, throwing fantastic lights and shadows over the desolate landscape and the heaped-up dead. These grotesque piles
of human bodies seemed like a monstrous sacrificial offering immolated on the al- tar of some fiendishly cruel, antique deity. I felt faint and sick at heart and near swooning away. I lay on the floor for some time unconscious of what was going on around me, in a sort of stupor, utterly crushed over the horrors about me. I do not know how long I had lain there, perhaps ten minutes, perhaps half an hour, when suddenly I heard a gruff, deep voice behind me-the brigadier, who had come around to inspect and to give orders about the outposts. His calm, quiet voice brought me to my senses and I reported to him. His self-assurance, kindness, and determination dominated the situation. Within five minutes he had restored confidence, giving definite orders for the welfare of every one, man and beast alike, showing his solicitude for the wounded, for the sick and weak ones, and mingling praise and admonition in
just measure. As by magic I felt fortified. Here was a real man undaunted by nervous qualms or by over-sensitiveness. The horrors of the war were distasteful to him, but he bore them with equanimity. It was, perhaps, the first time in my life that I regretted that my artistic education had over-sharpened and over-strung my nervous system, when I saw how manfully and bravely that man bore what seemed to me almost unbearable. His whole machinery of thinking was not complicated and not for a moment did qualms of "Weltschmerz" or exaggerated altruism burden his conscience and interfere with his straight line of conduct which was wholly determined by duty and code of honor. In his private life he was an unusually kind man. His solicitude for his subordinates, for prisoners, and for the wounded was touching, yet he saw the horrors of the war unflinchingly and without weakening, for