he rumor of it, more terrifying often than the thing itself, had swept through all Flanders. Along the level highways leading into Courtrai trooped whole families carrying babies and what few household things they could fling together in blankets. Covered wagons overflowed with men, women, and children. The speed with which rumor spread was incredible. In one village a group of half-drunken men, who insisted on jeering the Germans were put at the head of a column and compelled to march several miles before they were released. The word at once ran the length of dozens of highroads that the Germans "were taking with them every one between fifteen and fifty." I heard the same warning repeated on several of the roads about Courtrai by men and women, panting, red-faced, stumbling blindly on from they knew not what. Later, I met the same people, straggling back to their villages, good-naturedly accepting the jibes of those who had stayed behind.
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