The Stanford World (Stanford, Mont.) 1909-1920, August 22, 1918, Image 2

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THE STANFORD WORLD A.steves. \OUTWITTING THE HUN\ By Lieutenant Pat O'Brien (Copyright, lOtS. by Pat Alva O'Brien) CHAPTER XVIII—Continued.' I —12— I beckoned to the chauffeur to go with me up to the office, as I had no money with which to pay him, and when he got to the consulate I told them that if they would pay the taxi fare I would tell them who I was and how I happened to im there. They knew at once that I was an escaped prisoner and they readily paid the chauffeur and invited me to give some account of myself. They treated me most cordially and were intensely interested in the brief account I gave them of my adven- tures. Word was sent to the consul general and he immediately sent for Inc. When I went in he shook hands with me, greeting me very heartily and offering me a chair. He then sat down, screwed a mon- ocle on his eye and viewed me from top to toe. I could see that only good breeding kept him from laughing at the spectacle I presented. I could see he wanted to laugh in the worst way. \Co ahead and laugh!\ I said. \You can't offend me the way I feel this blessed dey!\ and he needed no second Invitation. Incidentally it gave me a chance to laugh at him, for I was about as much amused as he was. After he had laughed himself about sick he got up iind slapped me on the back and invited me to tell hint my story. \Lieutenant he said when I had concluded, \you can have anything you niint. I think your experience entitles you to it.\ \Well consul,\ I replied, \I would like a bath. a SIMVP, 11 liniment 11111I some civilized dollies about as badly ' as a man ever needed them, I suppose, hut before that I would like to get a , cable off to America to my neither telling her that I am safe and on my way to England!\ The consul gave me the necessary Information and I had the satisfactione of knowing before I left tiw office that the cable, with its good tidings, wits ori its way to America. .Then he sent for one of the naval - men who had been interned there since the beginning of the war 11111I who was able to speak Dutch and told him to take good care of me. After I had been bathed and shaved ami hod a haircut I bought some new clothes and had something to eat, UM! I felt like a new man. As I walked through the streets of 'Rotterdam breathing tie• air of fro.- dom again and realizing that there svas nit longer any danger of being captured and taken back to prison, It was a wonderful sensathin. I don't believe there will ever be a country that will appear in my eyes quite as good as Holland did then. I had to be somewhat careful. however, because Holland was full of German spies and I knew they would be keen to learn all they .possibly could about my escape and my adventures so that the authorities In Belgium could mete out punishment to everyone who was in any respect to blame for it. As I was In Rotterdam only one day, they dialeet have very much opportunity to learn anything from me. The naval officer who accompanied - vie and acted as interpreter for me Introduced me to many other soldiers awl sailors who had escaped from Bel- gium when the Germans took Ant- werp, nail as they hall arrived in Hol- land in uniform and under arms, the laws of neutrality compelled their in- ternment and they had been there ever since. The life of a man who is Interned La a neutral county, I learned, is any - 'thing but satisfactory, lie gets one !month a year to visit his home. If he lives in England that is not so bad. but if he happens to live farther away, the time he has to spend with his folks is very short, as the month's leave does not take into consideration the time consumed in traveling to and from Holland. The possibility of escape from Hol- land is always there, but the British authorities have an agreement with the Dutch government to send refu- \gees back immediately. In this re- spect, therefore, the position of a man who Is interned is worse' than that Of a prisoner who, if he does succeed In making his escape, is naturally re- ceived with open waits in his native land. Apart from this restraint, how- ever, internment, with all its draw- backs, Is a thousand times, yes, a mil- lion times, better than being a prisoner of war in Germany. . It seems to me that when the war Is over and the men who have been Imprisoned in Germany return home. they should be given a bigger and greater reception than the newt vie- . Uniting army that ever marched into a city, for they will have suffered end gone through more than the world will ever be able to understand. 12 No doubt you will find in the Ger- .04.. man prison camps one or two faint- te:aried individuals with a pronounced sie yellow streak who voluntarily gave •\'\. up the struggle and gave up their lib- 6° erty rather than risk their lives or limbs. These sad cases, however, are, I ant. sure, extremely few. Nine hun- dred and ninety-nine out of a thousand tot the men fighting In the allied lines would rather be in the front trenches, 1 fighting every day, with all the horrors and all the risks. than be a prisoner of war in Germany, for the men in France have a very keen realization of what that means. hut to return to tuy day in Rotter- dam. After I was fixed up I returned to the consulate and arrangements were made for my transportutbm to Eng- land at once. Fortunately there was it boat leaving that very night and I was allowed to take passage on it. Just as we were leaving Rotterdam, the boat I was on 1111111111.11 our own convoy, one of the destroyers, and in- jured it so badly that it had to put back to port. It would have been a strange climax to my. adventure if the disaster had resulted in the sinking of my boat and I had lost my life while on my wily to England after having successfully outwitted the lint my hick was with me to the Inst, mid while the accident re - suited In some delay our boat was not seriously damaged and made the trip over in schedule time and without fur- ther accident, another destroyer hav- ing been assigned I) escort its through the danger zone in 'place of the one which had been put out of commis- sion. %Viten I arrived in London, the re- action front the strain I had been under for nearly three months imme- diately became apparent. My nerves were In such a Btu te that it was abso- lutely impossible for me to cross the street witheut being in deadly fear of being run over or trampled. I stood nt the curl), like 1111 ION WOMan from the country mu her first visit to the I'll)', und I would not venture across until some knowing policeman, recog- nizing my condition, came to Illy. as- sistance and convoyed Inc across. Indeed, there was a great number of English officers llt home at all times - getting ha, k their nerves\ after a long Spell of active service at the front, so 0111t my condition was any- thing but - el to the London bob- bles. It was not many days, however, be - ton. I regained emorol of myself and felt In firseelass shape. Althieigh the British authorities In Hollund bad wired my mother from Holland that I was safe and on toy way to England, the first thing I did when we landed was to send her a cable myselfl. The cable read as follows: \Mrs. M. J. O'Brien, Momence, Ill., U. S. A. \Just escaped from Germuny. Let- ter follews.\ As I 'delivered it to the cable dis- patcher I could just imagine the ex- ultation with Mitch my. mother would receive it and the pride site would feel as she exhibited it among her neighbors and friends. I could hear the volley of \I told you so's\ that i greeted her good tid- ings. \It would take more than the kaiser to keep Pat in Germany,\ I could hear one of them saying. \Knew he'd be back for Christmas, anyway,\ I could hear another re- mark. \I had an idea that Pat rind his cienrades might spend Christmas in Berlin,\ I could hear another admit- ting, \but I did not think any other part of Gertnany would appeal to him very much.\ \Mrs. O'Brien, did Pat write you how many German prisoners he brought back with him?\ I could hear still another credulous friend inquir- ing. It was all very utilising and grati- fying to Me and I must confess I felt quite cocky as I walked into the war department to report. For the next live days I was kept very busy answering questions Put to me by the military authorities regard- ing what I had observed its to condi- tions in Germany and behind the lines. What I reperted was taken down by a stenographer and made part of the official records, host I dill not give them my story in narrative form. The information I was able to give was naturally of 4nterest to various brandies of the service, and experts in every line of government work took it in turns to question me. One morn - lug would be devoted, for instance, nature—German methods behind the front tine tretwhee, tactics, morale of troops und similar mutters. Thell the aviation experts %voted take u whack at me und discuss with me all I had observed of German (lying corps methods and equipnient. Then, again, the food eieperts would interrogate nte as to what I had learned of food conditions in Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium, anti 1111 1 1111d lived pretty close to the ground for the best part of seventy-two duys I was able to give them some fairly accurate reports as to actual agricultural conditions, many of the things I told them prob- ably having more significance to them thttn they had to me. There were many things I had ob- served which I have not referred to in these pages because their value to us might be diminished if the Germuns knew ws were aware of (hem, but they were all reported to the authori- ties unit it was very gratifying to me to hear that the experts considered some of them of the greatest value. One of the most amusing incidents of my return occurred when I called at Lily bankers in London to get my per- sonal effects. 'rhe practice in the Royal Flying corps when a pilot is reported mis- sing is III have two of his comrades assigned to go through his belongings, cheek them over, destroy anything that It might not be to his interest to preserve, ii nil send the whole busi- ness to his hanker or his home, as the' case may be. Every letter is read through, hut their contents is never afterwards discussed or rtvealed In any way. If the pilot is filially re- ported dead, his effects are forwarded to his next of kin, but while he is of- ficially only \tnissing or is known to be a prisoner of war, they are kept either at the squadron headquarters or sent to his bankers. In my case as soon as it was learned that I had fallen from the sky, it was assumed that I lind been killed mid my chum, Paul Roney, and another officer detailed to check over my ef- fects. '1'111' list they made /11111 to which they affixed their signatures, 11S I have ()riotously mentioned, is now in nay possession and is one of most treasured souvenirs of my adventure. My trunk was sent to Cox & Co. In 1111e course. anti now that I W11:4 in London I thought I would go and claim it. Wht•ti I arrived at the bank I ae- plied to tile proper window for nty mail and trunk. \Who are you?\ I was asked rather sharply. \Well I guess no one has any greater right to l'ut O'Brien's effects than I have,\ I replied, \and I would Its' obliged to you if you would look them up for me.\ \That may be all right, my friend,\ replied the clerk, \but according to our records Lieutenant O'Brien is a prisoner of war in Germany, and we can't very well turn over his effects to anyone else unless either you pre- sent proof that he is dead and that you are his lawful representative, or else deliver to us a properly authenti- fleeted order front him to give them to you.\ lIe was very positive about It all,, but quite polite, and I thought I would kid him no tnore. \Well I said, \I can't very well present proofs to you that Pat O'Brien is dead, but I will do the best I can to prove to you that he is alive, and if you haven't quite forgotten his sig- nature I guess I can write you out an order that will answer all your re- quirentents and enable you te give me Pitt O'Brien's belongings without run- ning any risks,\ and I scribbled my signature on a scrap of paper and inuided it to him. He looked at me carefully through the latticed witelnw, then jumped down from the high chair and came outside to clasp me by the haul. \Good heavens, leftenant!\ he ex- claimed, as he pumped my hand up and down, \how did you ever get away?\ anti I had to sit right down and tell him and half a dozen other people in the bank all about my ex- perlerIces. I 1111(1 been in England about five days when I received a telegram 'to answering questions of a military, which. at first. occasioned me almost A. 011.,e of Ongin 2.1 Nrerxr hats uctx... Sn INOT:011 Mr \ACC POST OFFICE TELEGIILPIIS. vo of Teleoron (inland Telegrvra ) !'or Postage Stamps. ra aprar a, or anrr e ofnal MIA Of 1/4•1•••••• WorsL4 Charge bent Al 1. Ely .4 rag aeoto T ,•,••• 'St 0.•• • rrrrr +•••51. wow.. TO cz dia-eve-R rcLa.— flz 5 L4 r r, -4 4--t2 FROM( T$111111.0 gad aid,,, Sor W Oder, POT TO of nuclurifo.o.w wilt.. kr Or Ipso. ererWed the Oa& al Go Mom I,- e 41•42146,00. 4. larra...1 I•• •. 1:.•• •••• •••t• ••• • Lieutenant O'Brien's Answer to Summons of Kind Georne. as much concern us the unexpected sight of a German spiked helmet itad caused ate in Belgium. It read as follows: \Lieut. P. A. O'Brien, Royal Flying Corps, Regent's Palace Ilotel, Lon- don: \The king is very glad to hear of your escape front Germany. If you are to be in London on Friday next, December 7th, His majesty will re- ceIvo you at Buckinghatn palace at 10:30 a. m. Please acknowledge. \CROMER.\ Of course, there was only one thing to do and that was to obey ord- ers. I was an officer in the army and the king was my commander in chief, I had to go, and so I sat down and sent off the following answer: \Earl Cromer, Buckingham Palace, London: \I will attend Buckingham palace as directed, Friday; December 7th, at 10:30. \LIEUT. PAT O'BRIEN.\ In the interval that elapsed, I must confess, the ordeal of calling on the king of England loomed up more dreadfully every day, anti I really bellertsi I would rather have spent an- other day in the empty house in the big city in Belgium or, say, two more days at Courtrai, than to go through what I believed to be in store for me. Orders were orders, however, and there was no way of getting out of it. As it turned out, it wasn't half as bad as I had feared—on the contrary, it was one of tile most agreeable expe- riences of my life. • CHAPTER XIX. I Am Presented to the King. When the dreaded 7th of December arrived, I halted a taxicab and In as matter-of-fact tone of voice as I could command. (Breves! the chauffeur to drive me to Buckingham palace, as though I wits paying iny- regular morn- ing call on the king. My friends' version of this incident, I have since heard, Is that I seated myself in the taxi and leaning through the window said: \Buckingham pal- ace!\ whereupon the taxi driver got down, opened the door and exclaimed kgreateningly: \If you don't get out quietly and chuck your drunken talk, I'll jolly quick call a bobby, bli' me, if I won't !\ But I can only give my word that nothing of the kind occurred. When I arrivt•ti at the palace gate, the sentry on guard asked qte who I was and then let me pass at once up to the front entrance of the palace. There I was met by an elaborately uniformed and equally elaborately decorated personage who, judging by the long row of medals he wore, must. have seen long and distinguished serv- ice for the king. I wits relieved of my overcoat, hat and stick and conducted up a long stairway, where I was turned over to another functionary, who led me to the reception room of Earl Cromer, the king's secretary. There I was Introduced to another earl and a duke, whose name I do not remember. I was becoming so bewil- dered, in fact, that it is a wonder that I remember as much as I do of this t•ventful day. I had heard many times that•before being presented to the king a - man is coached carefully as to just how he is to act and what he is to say and do, and all this (line I was wondering when this drilling would cotnrnence. I certainly had no idea that I was to he ushered into the august presence of the king without some preliminary instrucnon. Earl Cromer and the other noblemen talked to nie for a while and got me to relate in brief the story of my ex- perience, and they appeared to be very much interested. Perhaps they did it only to give ow confidence and as a sort of rehearsal for the main performance, which was scheduled to take. place much sooner than I ex- pected. I had barely completed my story when the door opened and an attend- ant entered anti announced: \The king will receive Leftenant O'Brien!\ If he had announced that the kaiser was outside with a squad of German guards to take me back to Courtrai my heart could not have sunk deeper. Earl Cromer beckoned me to follow hirn and we went into a large room, where I supposed I was at last to re- ceive my coaching, but I observed the earl bow to n man standing there and realized that I wits standing In the presence of the king of England. \Your majesty-, Leftenant O'Brien!\ the earl announced, and then immedi- ately backed - frotn the room. I be- lieved I would have followed right behind him, btit by that time the king had me by the hand and was congratulating me, and he spoke so very cordially and democratically that he put me at my ease at once. Ile then asked me how I felt and whether I was in a condition to con- verse, and when I told him I Was, he said he would be yeti , much pleaked to hear My story In detail. , \Were yea treated tiny Worse by the Germans. wftenant?\ he asked, \on account of being an American? I've heard that the Germans had threat- ened to shoot Americans serving in the British army if they captured them, classing them as murderers, because America was a neutral coun- try and Americans had tto right to mix in the war. Did you find that to be the case?\ I told him that I had heard similar reports, but that I did not notice ally appreciable difference in my teent- merit front that accorded Britisher& The king declared that lie believed my escape was due to my pluck and will pourer and that it was one of the most remarkable escapes he had ever heard of, which I thought was quite a t•ompliment, coining as it did film the king of England. \I hope that all the Americans will give as good an account of themselves as you have, leftenant,\ he said, \and I feel quite sure they will. I fully appreciate all the service rendered us by Ane•ricans before the States en- tered the war.\ At this moment I asked him if I was taking too much time. \Not at all, leftenant, not at all!\ he replied, most cordially. \I WOS extremely interested in the brief re- port that came to me of your wonder- ful escape and I sent for you because I n - anted to hear the whole story first- hand, and I am very glad you wele able to come.\ I had not expected to remain more than a few minutes. as I understood that four minutes is considered a long audience with the king. Fifty-two minutes elaosed before I finally left (lucre! During all this time I had done most of the talking, in response to the king's request to tell my story. Occa- sionally he interrupted to ask ft CIllyfk 11011 ll`TOST a )10iIIT lie wanted into to make clear, but . for the most part he W1IS content to play the part of a lis- tener. Ile seemed to be very keen on every- thing and when I described some of the tight holes I got into during my escape he evinced his sympathy. Oc- casionally I introduced some of the ft•w humorous incidents of my atIven: titre und in every Instance he laughed heartily. Altogether the impression' I got of him was that hue is a very genial, gracious and alert sovereign. I know I have felt more ill at ease when talk- ing to a major than when speaking to the king—but perhaps I had more cause to. Duriag the whole interview we were left entirely alone, which im- preesed nte as significant of the dem- ocratic manner of the present king of England, and I certainly came away with the utmost respect for him. In all my conversation, I recalled afterwards, I never addressed the king as \Your Majesty,\ but used the military \sir.\ As I was a British of- ficer and he was the head of the army, he protiably appreciated this manner of address more than if I had used the usual \Your Majesty.\ Perhaps he attributed it to the fact that I was an American. At any rate, he didn't evince any displeasure at my departure from what I understand is the usual form of address. Before I left he asked me What my pittns for the future were. \Why- sir, I !tope to rejoin my squadron at the earifest possible mo- ment!\ I replied. \No Leftenant,\ he rejoined, \that is out of the question. We can't risk losing you for good by sending you back to a part of the front opposed by Germans, because if you were Un- fortunate enough to be capttired again they would undoubtedly shoot you.\ \Well if I can't serve in France, sir,\ I suggested, \wouldn't it be feas- ible for me to fly in Italy or Salon - ice?\ \No he replied, \that would be almost as bad. The only thing that I can suggest for you to do is either to take up instruction—a very valu- able form of service—or perhaps it might be safe enough for you to serve in Egypt, hut just at present, leftenant, I think you have done enoutit anyway.\ Then he rose and shook hands with me and wished me the best of luck, and we both said \Good -by.\ In the adjoining room I met Earl Cromer again, and as he accompanied time to the door seemed to be . surprised at tite length of my visit. As I left the palace a policeman and a sentry outside came smartly to attention. Perhaps they figured I had been made it general. As I W118 riding back to the hotel in a - taxi I reflected on the remark- able course of events which In. the short space of nine months had taken me through so much and ended up, like the finish of a book, with my be- ing received by his majesty, the king! When I first jollied the Royal Flying corps I never expected to see the inside of Buckingham palace, much less being received by the king. CHAPTER XX, Home Again. That same day, In the evening, I was tendered a banquet at the Hotel Savoy by a f bet three othe I would be hon wager had been heard that I wu and the dinner The first loth safe return trot fact that he had telegram I sent lows: \Lieut. Louis Grit \War bread bad, Ile said be wou that message for a ()titer banquets fol cession. After I had them I figured that much danger of slice felt of rich food as been of dying frotn for my own protectio leave London. Moreove and my heart were tu the land of my birth, there was a loving mot w officer who had lends of mine that (y Christmas. This ade at the time he a prisoner of war, the stake, on he Itud of my ermany and the n his bet was a reading as fel- I came home. \PAT.' not part with ousand dollars. ed in fast suc- rvived nine of as now in as bung to a mir- ed previously rvation, and I decided to my thoughts ng back to ere I knew r who was longing for more substan ti eildence of my safe escape than th catles and letters she had received. Strangely enough, on the oat which carried me across the Atha te, I saw an R. F. C. man—Lieutenat Luscel- les. , I walked over to him, hel out my band and said \Hello!\ Ile looked at me steadily fu at least a minute. \My friend, you certainly lee like Pat O'Brien,\ he declared, \buil can't believe my eyed. Who are you\ I quickly convinced him tlitt his eyes were still to be relied upt4 and then he stared at me for anothelmin- ute or two, shaking his head lubi- ousty. His mystification was mete e1 le' cable. The last time he had seen :11 a I was going down to earth wit, a bullet in my face and my machine i e . lag a spinning -nose dive. He was o e of my comrades in the flying con , , • J 101 1 1 The King Had Me by the Hand. and was in the fight which resulted in my capture. Ile said he had read the report that I was a prisoner of war, but he had never believed it, as lie did not think it possible for me to survive that fall. He was one of the few men living out of eighteen who were originally in nty squadron—I do not mean the eighteen with whom I sailed from (':made last May, but the squadron I joined in France. As we sat on the deck exchanging experiences, I would frequently no- tice him gazing intently In my face as if he were not quite sure that the n - hole proposition was not a hoax and that I n•ns an imposter. Outside of this unexpected meet- ing, my trip was uneventful, I arrived at St. John, New Bruns- wick, and eventually in the little town of Momence, Ill., on the Kan- kakee river. I have said that I was never so happy to arrive in a country as I was when I set foot on Dutch soil. Now. I'm afraid I shall have to take that statement back. Not 'until I finally landed in Momence and realized that I urns again in the town of my child- hood days did I enjoy that feeling of absolute security which one never really appreciates until after a visit to foreign • that eigi t lil I at arts n N back, the whole ad' r venture constantly recurs to me as a dream, and I'm never quite sure that I won't wakeu i p m and E find so. (r Just a Flower. Here comes n market basket filled with meat, potatoes, turnips, onions. cauliflowers and radishes. a substan- tial supply for the hungry household, hut peeping out from these varied table needs is a flower, blooming from a little pot down among the potatoes. 1V1int a world of melody Its happy presence impels! There is n soul in that fnmlly desir.) sure enough. We looked at the good woman who carried the bnsket and saw In her countenance something fairer titan appetite; a sense of beauty that put e smile on her face and n goodness in her heart. That was a sign of the love that she Mid for her family responsibility; somewhat to grace the table and lend a charm to the family life. Amid the dull neeee- Rifles of life she had planted a little flower. What radiance it would bring to her ma:cleat household, and how QM would thank her for it I—Columbus State Journah

The Stanford World (Stanford, Mont.), 22 Aug. 1918, located at <>, image provided by MONTANA NEWSPAPERS, Montana Historical Society, Helena, Montana.