On Duty. Ii

Friday, February 20, and the 12th day of the Siege. — We used to debate whether this was a siege of Urfa by the French, or a siege of the French by Urfa. It has resolved itself into a siege of the French by Urfa , for the French are practically surrounded, and we are within the lines — being, as I said, the ‘first line’ to the north.

Monday, February 23. — Quiet all day. The family is gradually emerging from the cellar, as sleeping-quarters; but none have yet decided to join me upstairs. They prefer to be near the stairway. Tuesday, February 24. — It was a wild night. War has really come home to us, and I’ve watched a French soldier die on our own hearthstone. If I had any desire to see actual warfare, it has been satisfied fully, and I am willing to pass it up. At midnight, the Turks made a concerted attack on our house and the din was terrific, but they were finally driven off, although at one time Antony heard them say, ‘Allah, we have the house.’ Feeling that with the bullets flying in through doors and windows I was safest where I was, I lay still in bed for a while, listening to one splash on the wall at my head, and the fragments of stone fall to the floor. Another came bang at my north door. I did not know until daylight that it had come through my very futile defenses; it must be somewhere in the room, but I have not found it. My bed lies in the angle of the wall, head to the north, and across the north room behind mine is a door opening on space, through which the bullet came. About two feet from the head of my bed is a door also leading into this north room, which has a window exactly opposite the door, for the entrance of the Turkish bullets; thus, with my front door and window, I have four places of entrance for the bullets, and practically no part of the room is safe. Fortunately, the marksmen in front of the house are a mile away across the valley, so their aim is not so sure. I felt rather safe in bed, with a ten-inch stone wall between me and the bullets from the north; but what was my surprise this morning to find that the impact had shattered the stone on my side of the wall.

Shortly after 1 A.M., Antony came to my door and called me, saying there was a wounded soldier downstairs. I went down to the living-room, where our men had him stretched out in front of the fireplace, and were cutting off his blood-soaked clothing. At a glance I knew that he was beyond help, with a great, gaping bullet-wound in his chest. He died within a half-hour. A boy from some Algerian home; who knows who may be mourning for him! Such is war! And of such are the minds of men.

All day I have been busy bringing my medical and surgical supplies from my office downstairs to my room, for the incoming bullets were beginning to shatter my bottles, and then, too, I wanted them handy in case of need. Also, I prepared a bed in my room as a temporary resting-place for the wounded until they could be taken to the hospital at Headquarters. I further barricaded my north door with pillows; but, judging from the ease with which a bullet tore through a bag of wool close to me in my storeroom this afternoon, and shattered the opposite window leading into the hall, I doubt if pillows are much good. One can but trust in a guarding Providence and go about one’s business. I, being the only one who got much sleep last night, am sitting here writing in the living-room at 9 P.M., while all the others are lying about on chairs and couches, sleeping. If the attack comes, it will probably not be before midnight or toward dawn. Except for one dim, shaded light which burns before me, all is darkness; while at doors and windows are soldiers listening intently for the slightest sound. Indeed, I have to whisper my password, ‘ Américaine,’ to every listening sentry when I make my devious way from living-room to bedroom and return—for I intend to sit up to-night. The commandant has sent us an extra force of ten or fifteen men, and Lieutenant Soyet comforts us with the thought that with our present force we are impregnable.

Wednesday, February 25. — The attack came earlier than expected last night. Our boys had their rifles, and had picked out their places for firing, should the Moslems make a concerted rush for our doors. Their plan was to send us women to the cellar while they defended the stronghold. However, I felt that they would have had some difficulty in sending me, for I have an aversion to being trapped in a cellar, and should probably have gone up to my room, where I would have felt safer with the French soldiers outside my door. The cellar, with its present cavelike opening suggests the possibility of being smothered to death by having burning material thrown in from above.

However, all was quiet after 10 P.M. The family went to sleep on the various couches, while I sat and read Morgenthau by the much dimmed and shaded light. At 2 A.M., feeling that it was unnecessary and foolish to remain any longer, I left them there and went upstairs to bed — and slept well, too. This morning, I found a bullet-hole in my front window-frame, but I can’t decide whether it came from outside from the hills across the valley, or was made by the bullet which came through my rear door the other night and passed out the front way. That may account for my not finding the bullet.

This morning, just before noon, when the family was gathered in the livingroom and all seemed quiet and peaceful, a bullet came crashing through the front window, through a box of condensed milk, and gave Miss Waller a terrific blow on the shoulder-blade, bruising the skin and flesh. The milk spattered over the table, and a piece of the can was carried as far as the mantel. It was fortunate that the force of the blow had been broken by the box of milk; but it shows how unsafe we are, even with our barricade. Upstairs, a box of lima beans was shedding its contents, and a can of tomatoes its lifeblood, and a bullet had made a big dent in the wall at the head of my bed.

Thursday night, February 26, 1920. — I am beginning to feel sorry for the family. Here am I, peacefully undressing and going to bed every night, while they get what sleep they can, fully dressed, and in rather uncomfortable positions, downstairs, ready for that long-expected dash to the cellar.

To-night the sergeant came in to say that our remaining water-supply had been cut off, and that what was coming through looked suspicious. He feared poisoning; so we have sent a bottle to Dr. Vischer to be analyzed. Mr. Clements was enumerating the special provisions that Providence seemed to have made for us in this war, and the last is that our roofs are again, much to our discomfort, leaking from the snow which has gathered on them, so that we have been able to collect many gallons of rain-water for washing the dishes and such work. There is a more cheerful air in the house to-night, an improvement over last night, and a thousand per cent improvement over two nights ago, when the family morale was so low that it seemed as if the sword of Damocles were hanging over its head. I think they all expected to be massacred. There were only whispers and a dim ghostly light and a ‘hand-out’ dinner; but one gets used even to the sword of Damocles, and after a while it does not look so threatening.

Friday, February 27. — Captain Perrault wrote us a letter last night, saying they had found a well which is apparently fed by a spring, and that if we will send over the receptacles with the night-patrol, we can get all we need; so we shall not die of thirst, though the distance is considerable, and there is always the chance of a rifle bullet. Just at present, Mr. Weeden is conducting a court-martial on Miss Waller, which makes connected thinking quite difficult. We so far progressed last night that Miss Waller consented to come upstairs to sleep with me, and then Mrs. Mansfield was induced to occupy the other bed, which I had prepared for the wounded; which she did, fully dressed. She rested so well that she has decided to undress to-night.

My room is no safer than the others,

— in fact, not so safe as some of them,

— but the fact that I have occupied it through the stress of the siege makes it appear so. Naturally, I did not sleep as well as usual, and I had a very vivid dream. I dreamed that Miss Waller was snoring, and that at the apex of the snore she half-awakened and went into a fit of hysterics, laughing and crying. I tried to hush her for fear she would disturb the listening sentry in the room behind; but only succeeded in lowering her voice. Then Mrs. Mansfield wakened and came over to the bed with endearing words, answered in kind, and I saw where I got off; so getting up out of my warm bed, I let Mrs. Mansfield take my place while I prepared to get into her bed. Just then two or three children seemed to make a part of the assembly, clustering round the head of their bed; also our yellow cat. I remember saying, ’I do wish that cat would keep out of here’; for you know I am not fond of cats, and like neither cats nor dogs in the room. Mrs. M. assured me that the cat would follow her out in the morning; so, as I suddenly noticed that window and door seemed to be wide open and unprotected, I hastened to put out the candle. Then, looking at door and window more especially, I thought they seemed very strange and I said to Miss Waller, ‘Is this the same room that we went to sleep in?’ She got up and looked out and said, ‘No, it is not the same room.’ Before us was a broad, wide-open door, with a few steps leading down to a green lawn, giving a prospect on the rear lawns and gardens of a typical well-to-do American community. A side street to the left was lined with detached houses, each with its garden of flowers, vegetables, and climbing vines. In one of them was the typical American family man taking his Sundayafternoon complacent look at the result of his own handiwork and Nature’s lavish reward. We went down the steps to our side lawn and walked around the corner of the house to the front. Here, a little eight-year-old girl, playing on the street, caught sight of us, and with a yell of fright, made for her own yard across the street, screaming, ‘Mamma, mamma, look at little Cooky Sister’ — ‘Sister’ being English for nurse, and meaning in this case Miss Waller. Her evident terror made us understand that we were not supposed to be on mortal soil — much less, visible to the human eye; but we smiled at her reassuringly, and she stopped inside the fence in her flight, mamma evidently paying no attention, and gazed at us with round, wondering eyes. I thought to myself, ‘I feel very substantial; but can it be possible that we were snuffed out in that Mesopotamia affair, and that we are really disembodied spirits?’ — the reincarnation theory being upset by the evident fact that we were not supposed to be visible in earthly form. And I thought, ‘Is it possible that this New England town is built upon the plain of Mesopotamia, and that this house stands upon the site of that stone castle of ours?’ Else how could we disembodied spirits be occupying it? Miss Waller went on and in the front door, and I followed after, lingering to throw a last kiss at the youngster, who still followed us with hypnotized gaze.

Then I wakened, after seemingly dragging my soul back from an illimitable distance, and could not believe that I should still find myself in bed with Miss Waller, so vivid had been the dream that I had surrendered it to Mrs. Mansfield and gone into her bed. I had my two trusting guests on my mind, however, and hearing what I thought unusual noises downstairs, which sounded like falling boxes and scuffling of feet, I wondered if by chance the Kurds had surprised our sentries and had come in the front way; so, hurriedly slipping on my blanket-wrapper, I went out into the hall. All was quiet, however, and the landscape looked very peaceful under the stars; so I just put out my candle and went back to bed to wait for the morning light. The occasional banging of a door accounted for the noise of the falling boxes, and the imagined scuffling was probably the flapping of the Red Cross Flag on the roof, which sounds sometimes like the distant report of the machine-guns.

Yesterday, I had the cheerful feeling that we had reached the turning-point of the campaign, and to-day’s quietness confirms the impression, though we may have one or two flurries yet. The soldiers come to me with their minor ailments, sore throats, tonsillitis, Aleppo or Urfa ‘buttons,’ frost-bite, and the like. Most of them have no stockings, which makes me wish I had a few Red Cross ones. I gave one man to-day my pair of bed-socks.

Saturday, February 28. — Captain Perrault appeared to be a bad prophet this morning, for the Turks still had a few tricks up their sleeves, as we learned on being awakened by a bombardment, just after sunrise, of Captain Marcerau’s headquarters, five hundred yards to our right. It was finally repulsed with some loss to the Turks, but we do not know Captain Marcerau’s losses. Mr. Woodward, and later Mr. Weeden, came rushing to our room upstairs to hurry us below. The others went, but I refused to be stampeded, thinking that only a bombardment of our house could send me down. I little knew how soon it was coming. Captain Marcerau’s headquarters building was quite a wreck, with gaping holes in walls and parapet, but they still held the fort. During the midst of the firing, about 10.30, came the whir of an aeroplane above the city, letting loose a paroxysm of rejoicing in the house, and doubtless a greater one in town. All the children rushed up out of the cellar with smiling faces to embrace me, and the family was happy as well. Their joy was rather short-lived, however, for just after luncheon, perhaps about 2.30, the bombardment began again, sending everyone scurrying to shelter. I saw from my door some more of Captain Marcerau’s headquarters collapse; but being busy just then, compounding some carbolized zinc-oxide ointment for the frost-bites, I kept on till I heard the sudden, heavy crash of a bomb against our house, and then another, and in the bathroom across the hall was a great gaping hole through the 28-inch stone wall. The second one shattered the stone near the floor in Mr. Clements’s room, but did not come through. Of course, under these circumstances, there was nothing for me to do but gather some personal effects and medicaments together and follow the family into the cellar, where the soldiers are preparing loop-holes through the narrow windows, to repel the expected bombardment and attack to-night.

I forgot to say that the aeroplane, after circling about and apparently dropping some kind of a signal for headquarters, disappeared again. I suppose the reinforcements must be two or three days away, and the Turks will make the best use of their time meanwhile.

At present, 4 P.M., I am in my own room again; for the confusion and the dirt, the boys digging up the earth to make sand-bags, and the crowd did not appeal to me, and the cannon seems quiet just at present. Later, doubtless toward morning, it will begin again.

9.30 p.m.—A letter from Dr. Vischer tells us to try the water on the dog, which we have already done. We are getting it now from a very dirty hole in the back yard: snow-water, at which our palates and reason would have rebelled a month ago.

Sunday morning, February 29. — The sergeant came in at 3.35 A. M., to bring us the message of good cheer which the aeroplane had dropped off: ‘Good courage. We are coming to your aid. The evil days are nearing their end. You will soon be reinforced and revictualed.’ (It also dropped a signal code for the next planes which are to come.) ‘February 29. [Note this date.] Signed, GEN. DUFFIEUX.’

The sun has been up an hour or two now, and nothing has happened, so I am going to bathe and go to bed — au revoir.

Later. — I did not go to bed, and you might doubt my cleanliness could you see the muddy water in which we bathe; but it is very refreshing to us. The Turks moved their cannon to the city this morning, and seem to be bombarding the ‘cantonment.’ There has been much noise and firing, but we are quiet here except for an occasional sniper. Mr. Clements found the nosepiece of the bomb that came into our bathroom.

I think it is fully five weeks, perhaps six, since we have been able to send out any mail, for to-day begins the fourth week of the siege. This afternoon two soldiers went boldly over to the mill in broad daylight, to get some drinking water. My, but it tasted good!

9.30 p.m.—Quiet, so far, to-night. The French are accepting our offer of milk, chocolate, confitures, and a few other good articles. I went out of the front door and round to the back of the house to-day without drawing fire. Stones of the house are badly shattered by the shells that struck. My little silk American flag still flies, but is only a shadow.

Thursday, March 4 (25th day). — It has rained all day, a fine drizzle which turns our lawn and fields into a deep sticky mud, as I learned tonight when I accompanied the squad that goes for the food to French Headquarters, to call on the Sisters, taking them some more supplies of cotton and bandage material. I could hardly lift my feet out of the mud. I could not have chosen a worse night underfoot for the journey, but the rain and the darkness overhead were a protection against the fire of the Turks, since they could not see us as they could on the bright moonlight nights we are having just now. I found the Sisters in their little underground room, 6X6, the other two Sisters having gone to the barracks a little farther on, to do the dressings. The shelling of the Turks did so much damage that all are living underground as far as possible. I think, perhaps, our whole circle of defense inside the French lines is not more than three fourths of a mile in diameter, so you can see how easily they could demolish every one of our scattered and detached houses, had they even ammunition enough for one small cannon, which we hope they have not. Its voice has not been heard for two days.

Friday, March 5 (26th day). — I did not have to go to France and get into the war. I fell into it right here. It is now 3 P.M., and the bombardment has been kept up all day from, presumably, the Khan near the Telebiad road, not 200 yards away. The tall Headquarters building is riddled with great gaping holes, and we thought a little while ago that the big barracks had been taken, for we saw the men pouring out of the rear door which faces us; but a soldier tells me the French still hold it. The French position looks very precarious; for nothing can stand this bombardment at such close quarters, and, of course, all there have taken to the cellars and safe shelters, for they have no cannon with which to answer. Evidently the machine-guns repelled an attack just a short time ago, for there was rapid and continuous fire.

We see many men out on the plain not far away, less than two miles — horsemen also. It appears to me that they are digging a trench to get at us from that side. How long the French can hold out is becoming a serious problem, for there is yet no word from the reinforcements. The Turks seem to have more than one cannon. At least two are firing, Mr. Woodward says, and perhaps three or four. The shells come every minute or so, sometimes more often. Many have gone screaming past our house, but so far none have struck, grace à Dieu. The shells are still screaming, but the French flag yet flies. We know what they are praying for — ‘An avion!’ even only one, to drop a few bombs in appropriate places.

This is not like the war in France, where there was always room to retreat — here there is none. We are cooped up in a small circle, or oval, from half to three quarters of a mile, north to south, and even less from east to west. I think a quarter-mile would cover that diameter, and we are exposed on all sides to fire, so that any bullet or ball can travel from end to end; and when bombardment begins, it is just a case of holding out. There is no way to retreat, for there are hostile tribes all round, and I think it would be impossible even to get out of town without being annihilated. I rather think the French underrated their foe, and I am wondering if there are not German brains behind this affair.

Saturday, March 6 (27th day). — The very breath of spring is in the air this morning, and after I have dismissed all my patients, I am going to remove my whole barricade and open wide the door for the air and sunlight to enter. I have opened it a little every day, but this time it is to be a full bath. Last night, as usual, I slept upstairs, and the others down, because the terrible bombardment of yesterday brought fear to everyone. Somehow, when I get inside the walls of my own room, it seems as safe to me as if it were specially protected; and with one sentinel at the window in the hall outside my door, watching to the south, and another in the room at my back with his eye noting every movement to the north, I go to sleep in peace, and whatever fears I may have imbibed downstairs vanish.

3 p.m.—As the Turks celebrated the coming of the avion last Saturday by a fierce bombardment on Captain Marcereau and on us, they did it again today by another terrific bombardment on General Headquarters. About 11.30 A.M., just as I was finishing a dressing, the whir of the aeroplane could be heard; , regardless of the Turkish bullets, we rushed for the ladder leading to the roof—at least, I did, and the others followed; and soon eight or ten of us were lying flat on our backs behind the shelter of the parapet, gazing up into the sky, where, far away, we saw it coming over the hills from the west. It circled two or three times right over our heads, till it got its message of distress (food and ammunition wanted) by panneaux from Commander Hanger, then turned again westward and was soon lost in the distance. It brought rejoicing to all foreign hearts; but, as I said, it seemed to cause the Turks to let loose their deadly shells and shrapnel again, mostly directed at F.G.H.; but those that missed there came screaming by us and burst in the field beyond.

My door had been wide open about an hour when the first shell was fired; and much as I disliked to shut out the sunlight, I thought discretion the better part of valor, and again built up my halfway barricade of boxes. The upper half of the door, which is glass, and the upper half of the window, I cover only at night with a blanket, to keep the light from being seen.

8.30 P.M. — Just at moonrise, about 7.15 P.M., the cannon began to boom, and the attack was on, to capture the ruined post to the east (quatre-cenidouze), at our left, facing the town; and the firing was fast and furious for a half-hour or so, with our house joining in. We were at dinner, but quit in a hurry — the others to go downstairs while I went up. We resumed dinner after it was over and finished our dessert. The moon looks big and protecting again to-night, and gives us the advantage of her light to prevent surprise.

Sunday (28th day of the Siege, which began February 9, Monday). — A perfect summer day; and so, regardless of gun-fire, I removed my barricade and my door has stood open all day. It is delightful to let in the sun and the brightness of the daylight. I think it has much to do with one’s morale. Being so closely confined, we are a very touchy crowd here, and argument is the order of the day. I just sat back in my chair a while ago and laughed at the idea that we would dare to grouch at a menu of Mrs. Richard Mansfield’s providing from our rather scant variety, though abundant quantity, of tinned stores. She has got so that she expects it now, and is rather pleased and elated when we find something to praise. Dear Mrs. Mansfield — she is learning to be very patient with us, and to make excuses for our mental irritability. We soon recover.

Our clothing has been pretty sombre — just heavy gray dress and sweater, which we have clung to religiously; but to-day, as it was Sunday and warm, I gave the family a surprise by appearing at dinner in white. It helped to take the gloom away. I do not mean that we are always gloomy — not by any means: we are usually pretty jolly, and often you can hear Mr. Weeden and Mr. Clements going through their repertoire of funny songs, as they did to-night. Indeed, we are getting quite used to the scream of the shells; and as for the rifle-bullets, we don’t seem to mind them any more. The Turks have been too busy firing at French G.H.Q. to pay much attention to us.

Monday, March 8 (29th day).— The wind whistling through the broken windows sounds very much like rain, but the moon rides high in a cloudless sky over the dark and silent earth. We had a very lovely quiet day, and everyone felt so cheerful that he and she went to the trouble of changing their siege-clothing to get into something more in keeping with the weather. I got my soldier, who carries all my supplies and messages to the Hospital for me, to put my door barricade on the balcony outside my door, instead of inside; so now I can keep my door open day and night, and my room is cheery.

From our stores, especially of milk, we have been able to supply the needs of the French officers. Mr. Clements attends to that, but I attend especially to the needs of the Sisters and of the wounded, sending them, besides medical and surgical supplies, milk and sugar, of which they have none, and occasionally some cans of fruit and vegetables; so I get a nice little letter in French every night. To-day, March 8, is the day that I should be in Beirut, taking passage for America. Man proposes — God disposes.

Tuesday, March 9 (30th day). — Mrs. Mansfield lost five piastres to me, for she bet that the column would reach here to-day. So hopeful are she and Miss Waller, that both have gathered courage to come upstairs to my room again to-night to sleep. They have been gone for about a week, and life finally got not quite worth living downstairs. Mrs. Mansfield’s expression for it this morning was short and emphatic, might even have been called profane. Trying to sleep night after night, fully dressed, on a sofa, gets to be rather wearisome to the flesh.

Wednesday, March 10 (31st day). — To-night I made another trip to the cantonment with the food squad. In their little underground room, I found the three Sisters, who seemed happy and cheerful.

Tuesday, March 11 (32d day).— There was a portentous quiet to-day — broken at intervals by rifleand machine-gun fire, which seems to bode ill for to-morrow, the feast day of the Moslems, which they usually signalize by some kind of unexpected attack, Friday being also the favorite day for the beginning of massacres, probably in imitation of our maxim, ‘The better the day, the better the deed,’ and killing Christians being a work of virtue. At any rate, the girls are going to leave me to my fate upstairs, while they seek their favorite resting-places again on the couches in the living-room — fully dressed. I really do not think I am so foolhardy as I seem, for I do give the French soldiers credit for being able to hold off an attack on our own house long enough to let me get dressed. However, a bombardment is another matter — but I took Miss Waller’s bet that they would bombard before 6.30 A.M. to-morrow.

Friday, March 13 (33d day).— Antony’s prophecy and the family’s expectation of a bad day and night were happily not fulfilled. Antony said yesterday to Mrs. Mansfield, ‘I fear we will have a bad day to-morrow, for I heard the Muezzin’s call to prayer from the city, and after the Moslems pray, they fight and kill.’ Mrs. M. was so encouraged by her quiet night in my room that she decided that she and Miss Waller would occupy her room tonight; so Antony has been busy to-day, replacing the boxes of milk in her window by sand-bags, so that to-night it is a fortress indeed, but correspondingly gloomy. Two windows have loop-holes for the riflemen, should attack come from the south or west. Just now, 10 P.M., she came in and said she wished she were back here. There is something a bit cheerful about my room. To-day we could see two sentinels on the highest pinnacle of rock-mountain to the southwest — Turks, doubtless, watching to give notice of the first appearance of the advancing column. Signals again to-night, from Telebiad way, but we no longer think they are French signals — Turkish, they must be. There is a wild rumor in the kitchen, of signals seen from the direction of Seroudj, and the hoped-for appearance of the column before midnight. Vain hope, say I — I have a bet on with Mrs. M. that it does not come to-morrow. I think the avion will come, however.

The 33d day of the siege, and we ’ve watched the plain turn from brown to white, and then to brown again. Even the near-by snow-covered mountains have shed their white mantle and appear once more either as ledge on ledge of gray rock or as rounded heaps of grain. Patches of lovely green are seen on the plain, the first outcroppings of the spring wheat. In fact, beyond rifle-range, the whole plain teems with life, where the country people are going about their ordinary business, ploughing and planting; for this is a highly cultivated country, this Asia of the Turks, regardless of their ancient instruments and their primitive methods. Wherever one may turn, in the lowlands or far out on the desert, are cultivated patches of land, one after the other, covering the whole plain, and the red-brown of the earth is very pleasing to one’s eyes; while every available space on hill and mountaintop, up to the barren rocks, is covered with vineyards — well cared for in times of peace. They are the garden and the granary of the world, these great plains of Asia Minor; and under a just and fair government they could produce untold wealth.

Saturday, March 13 (34th day). — Being besieged is getting to be a normal condition with us, the family having almost given up speculating on the arrival of reinforcements. Miss Waller is now putting it at May 3, and Mr. Clements at July 4.

Sunday, March 14 (35th day). — I was awakened this morning from a dream of flight and massacre — massacre of little children — by the plop of the bullets outside my door and the vicious swish or the musical whir of those which passed us by. Above the gray rock-tops, the storm-clouds hang low, sending down streamers that almost trail their barren summits. On the plain, the patches of lovely soft green increase and spread, bidding fair, as Frère Raphael has told us, to carpet soon the whole expanse. Then perhaps we shall see the tapis of blue flowers he has promised us.

Monday, March 15 (36th day). — The bullets sang very close to us several times to-day. At the cantonment, they have for some time been eating their cavalry horses, and the captain promised to send some to the family; but I’m a bit uncertain about my desire to eat any of it. Luckily, we just found a box of deviled tongue—Underwood’s—among the boxes used for barricades; for we had finished our supply of meat, except one small can of corned beef, which I am withholding for the ‘great day.’ Three days ago the captain thought they had supplies enough to last them fifteen days. We can hold out longer than that, but our diet would be rather restricted.

Tuesday, March 16 (37th day).— Our captivité, as Sister Alice calls it, rather palls on the family. Mr. Clements amuses himself by writing sonnets, and he has finished what he calls his ‘Epic of Urfa,’ which reminds me of that blank verse on the last page of the American. Mrs. Mansfield has also epitomized the family in rhyme. Numbers of horsemen have been seen on the plains, going north toward Severik and Diarbekr; but whether they are wending their way homeward, or whether they are finding their way around us through the hills to meet our fabled ‘column,’ we do not know. The French sent us over some horse-meat, and asked for some feed for their remaining horses. Wednesday, March 17 (38th day). — Captain Perrault is always optimistic about the lowering of the Turkish morale, but we usually find that the Turk has still something up his sleeve. Nous verrons. At any rate, if we are going to be shut up for another week or two, I am going to have a little more sun and breathing-space, for Anthony is going to build my barricade on the outer edge of my six-foot balcony.

Thursday, March 18 (39th day). — A day of comparative quiet and a peaceful evening. The construction of my sun-parlor on the veranda goes on, but was not finished to-night for lack of sand-bags. Our water-supply is again cut off, so that we get only half our usual quantity. The boys go to the mill outside our gate, about 150 yards away. Most of the wheat is ground by waterpower. When Lieutenant Soyet came over to-night, he brought some letters from Misses Holmes—one dated February 22. We have been cut off from them for over three weeks, so a letter from there was as unusual an event as would have been one from America some time ago. As for America — nothing has come through for two months.

Friday, March 19 (40th day). — The attack last night was of corresponding intensity with the fervor of the prayers in the mosques earlier in the evening. The din was terrific, and as I was by this time in my own room, I debated what I should do, finally deciding that I might as well undress then as later, and get into bed rather than sit up in the cold; which I proceeded to do, depending on our trusty soldiers to defend the house. Since the windows have been sand-bagged, the danger of one of them being shot is greatly lessened. As the soldiers were firing from Mrs. Mansfield’s room, the family remained downstairs. At sunrise, I was peacefully sleeping, despite the hubbub of soldiers’ voices outside my doors, when suddenly came a heavy double explosion which seemed to portend another bombardment: I even thought I heard the scream of the shells going by; but Allah was merciful, as it was only the whir of the rifle-grenades from our windows and the sound of their explosion.

The babel of voices suddenly ceased, as their owners separated and went to their posts, and silence reigned except for the cawing of the crows in the vineyard beyond. Unlike our American crows, those here are slaty-gray-bodied with black heads, wing-tips, and tails. They are a larger species, too.

As the bombing lasted only about a half-hour, I went to sleep again, having first got up to take a look from my balcony at the sun just risen above the eastern plains.

The water-supply at the mill is entirely cut off, and we can see it flowing in a broad but shallow river over the plain. For our personal supply to-day, we were given only drinking-water, and glad enough we are to get that. The boys went to the ‘post’ to the west of us to-night for a few pailfuls, and will go again at midnight over to Headquarters with the soldiers, in the hope of getting more.

Saturday, March 20 (41st day). — We have come to the conclusion that that ‘relief column’ is coming from France; so, if I reach America by the first of June, I shall do well. However, that will be in time to let the other members of the office force go on their vacations. So far we have been able to keep an oil-lamp in the living-room, but now that our supply of kerosene is gone, we shall have to use the oil-torches we have used in the rest of the house, made by floating a piece of cord in some of the thick automobile oil we fortunately have on hand.

To-night, for the fourth time, I made the trip across the vineyards — about a quarter of a mile — with the food-squad to Headquarters. We march in silence and in single file, I following the leader, and the other two soldiers bringing up the rear. Mr. Clements accompanied me. The others, quite wisely, do not care to take the risk yet. Somehow, to me, there does not seem to be any risk: one just marches along as one would any dark night.

I saw the Sisters, who have deserted their ‘cave’ for the present, and are in a little room above-ground, which formerly served for a hospital. Here they have partitioned off one end for a chapel, where the altar-light was burning. For a lamp on their table, they had one of the shells, into which they had fitted one of my solid-alcohol tins, using a cartridge-shell for burner and string for wick. They were burning gasoline and getting a very good light. From this compound, through a low gateway broken in the wall, where I nearly dislocated my neck by bumping my head against the top, we crossed an open space protected by a low wall to the next compound, where Commander Hanger has his headquarters, and thence by labyrinthine ways and dark passages, through stables and open spaces, we reached Dr. Vischer’s hospital and visited the wounded.

Sunday, March 21 (42d day). — It being Sunday, and there being no possibility of going to church, — the sixth Sunday, — I was sleeping calmly, though the sun had long been up, when Mrs. Mansfield knocked at my door, saying she could not wait longer to bring me my letters from the city and good news. The good news was that peace-terms had been signed at Paris or Constantinople, and that the ‘column’ was once more at Telebiad, — at least, so some friendly Kurds had informed the Armenians,— and that it was expected here in town to-day or to-morrow. It has not come to-day. The children at the Orphanage have eaten the millhorses and the donkeys, Yester writes me; so that my scabies problem will be indeed grave after the siege is over — 110 cases now on hand.

Monday, March 22 (43d day). — I am sitting out on my little balcony to catch the last gleams of daylight for my writing. Straight in front of me, to the west, the beautiful new crescent moon hangs in the sky, with the faint outline of the old moon in its arms. At my left are the sand-bags, which give security from the bullets that occasionally whiz by. The family even felt reassured enough to take tea out here with me this afternoon, but I think Mrs. Mansfield is really the only one who shares its pleasures of sun and air with me.

Tuesday, March 23. (44th day). — Rain all day, much to our advantage, for we have gathered many cans of rainwater, much cleaner and purer than the water we have been using. Sharp-shooting as usual. Dr. Vischer sent us about a gallon of kerosene with which to replenish our lamps, which gave out entirely two nights ago. Since then, we have used tall jelly-jars nearly filled with water, upon which we have superimposed some of my precious cottonseed oil; then, for a floater, I’ve used the cork and metal seal of the ‘alkalol’ bottles, with a hole punched in the centre, through which I have put a piece of cord for a wick. It gives a very good light; the heavy automobile oil refused to burn.

The family is teaching me to play poker. We play with buttons at present.

Wednesday, March 24 (45th day).— The sergeant has been experimenting with home-made flares to-day, fired from a rifle; but they were a failure. The moment the Campbell’s soup can left the gun, its flare was extinguished, and it fell flat and dark. This afternoon I’ve been copying odes on the Siege of Urfa — by Mrs. Mansfield and Mr. Clements. Perhaps you will have the privilege of reading them. I have n’t been moved to poetry myself, but this is a very poetic family. Everyone, except Mr. Woodward, does it — and he’s British and prosaic, not meaning by that dull, but matter-of-fact.

10 P.M. — I’ve been trying to read, but there’s been a discussion going on all evening about ‘art,’ and the artist’s life, and the pull of art on a man— the divine fire that leads him on and compels him to choose poverty and cold and hunger, rather than give up his art. Mr. Clements has the artistic soul and Mr. Weeden was arguing against him.

Friday, March 26 (47th day). — Mrs. Mansfield whispered me last night that she must get over to the cantonment at least once before the ‘column’ arrived, else she would miss the thrill of the dangerous passage; so to-night I arranged with mon soldat, and Mr. Woodward joined the file. I am getting to feel quite at home in the cantonments by this time, but everything was new and strange and thrilling to Mrs. Mansfield, who felt that she was having quite a wonderful adventure.

Missing the family about luncheon, I went in search and found the whole group lying flat on their backs on the roof, having a sun-bath. Soon after I came down a bullet whizzed by, and then there was a hurried exit over my head. It looked to me to-night as if the French were on very short rations, and like the rest of us, they seem to be getting a bit thin — not that we do not have enough to eat, for we do. Mrs. Mansfield does wonders with the cuisine.

Saturday, March 27. The 48th day of the Siege, which begins to seem as if it would last forever; so we might as well let the world go by. Boston will look for me in vain during April.

(To be concluded)