Whitlock had barely settled himself again in Brussels before the American Peace Commission under Wilson was arriving in Europe; and Belgium watched with some jealousy as the President was accorded ovations in London, Paris, and Rome. In January, 1919, the Peace Conference opened in Paris. The temper of the Allies, as Whitlock uneasily noticed, was fast hardening. Lloyd George had won a broad endorsement of a vengeful policy from the British voters; the French Chamber supported Clemenceau by a vote of three to one when he announced his belief in the "old system" of alliances for maintaining the balance of power in Europe. Belgium had her own highly nationalistic aims in connection with the peace, and was soon showing resentment over the treatment given her in Paris. Whitlock's journal is disappointing to those seeking new light on the inside history of the Peace Conference, for he was not in a position to hear much of it; it is disappointing also to those seeking a full analysis of political cross-currents in Belgium. But it contains a few sidelights on both, while it offers some interesting sketches of great public events in Brussels. The visit of President Wilson is easily the chief of these, and he does it full justice.
November 25, 1918.---This morning who but Francqui should arrive to see me. "How glad I am to see you," he cried. He is now at Spa, on a financial mission, with the representatives of the Allies and the Germans who are carrying out the terms of the armistice. Gave me in his clever way a picture of the scene in the hall of a vast hotel---American, British, French, Belgian generals, laughing, smoking, talking; General von Winterfeldt and the German delegation arrive, bow, salute; their salutes are returned---and that's all. No one will speak to them or shake hands with them.
"The reply is, no!" is the curt reply to every request they make. Villalobar came while Francqui was here---it seemed like old times!
November 26, 1918.---The President is coming to Europe to assist at the peace conference.(1) I think it a mistake. First: we have few traditions in America, and should cling to what we have, and not break them, and it is a tradition, if not a law, that the President remains in the country. Second: The President is the greatest man, the greatest moral factor in the world today; he is revered and idolized by Europe, especially by the people in Europe. Let them see him stripped of the mystery which in their minds and imagination envelops him, he becomes human and risks losing his popularity if not his prestige and influence. Third, coming here, he voluntarily surrenders his rank as a sovereign, and takes his place beside Lloyd George and Clemenceau; small politicians who do not believe in a thing the President teaches, will be jealous and spiteful and if possible drag him down. No---it's a mistake.
November 28, 1918.-----Thanksgiving Day---and much to be thankful for this year. Raining---Nell and I went for a walk in the Bois.
November 29, 1918.-----Starting for Ste.-Gudule, where there was to be a high mass sung for the dead who fell in the war, when, unannounced, Hoover arrived, accompanied by Poland and Gibson, the latter grinning like a Cheshire cat and cracking jokes as usual. Hoover I had not seen for two years. He has a fatter, flabbier look, as of a man who takes no exercise and no care of himself; his eyes have reddish rims, and he grows more negligent in his personal appearance. I had to go on to the church, where the King and Queen were, and all the diplomatic corps, and the cardinal to officiate at the mass. Nellidow(2) was there, in evidence---representing what? He has a remarkable toupée! The service very impressive. En route to the church, entering the rue Royale, the Queen went by in a motor and bowed to me.
After the mass we had a session in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, in that room which, when last I saw it, was inhabited by Von Lüttwitz. Delacroix, Hymans, Francqui, de Wouters, and another Belgian were there,(3)--- and Hoover, Poland, Gibson and I. We discussed the revictualing of Belgium, the reconstruction, and the financial situation. This is critical. Belgium has 3,000,000,000 paper francs in circulation, to which must be added 2,000,000,000 to be refunded by Germany to represent the marks they stole from the Banque Nationale and the Société Générale. Their gold reserve is only 250,000,000 francs.
We were there until one o'clock. They wished to know of Hoover when he would be back, and he did not like to say, saying that he feared they would "create a disturbance"; they do indeed wish him to accept a reception. Hymans told me that the University of Brussels was to confer on him the degree of LL.D. Finally Hoover fixed the 7th of December as the day.
Hoover, Poland, and Gibson dined here tonight. Hoover arrived at 6:30 and we talked here until dinner-time, he saying he would not dress, but just washed his hands while I went upstairs and dressed.
Most interesting, his stories of what had gone on in America. He has done a tremendous job, and is a man of great power and intelligence. He thought the President was making a big mistake in coming to Europe, and hoped that he could be induced to make his first speech to the American army and then to the people of Europe. He says that a nasty underhanded campaign is being made against the President in England and in France, and that the visits of King George and King Albert have been arranged for the purpose of taking the edge off the President's visit. I asked him the reasons for the recent defeat in the Congressional elections, and he said that it was primarily due to the utter detestation in which Congressmen are held, in America as everywhere, indeed. I spoke of this phenomenon; that at a moment when democracy is advancing, parliaments are held in such contempt as never before. He told me a saying of Governor Stuart of Virginia, who remarked to Hoover: "Congress and legislatures in general are like rail fences; every rail is crooked and they all point in the wrong direction, but together they make a good fence."
We had a pleasant time at dinner and it all went well; we thought the presence of Gibson might make it difficult, but it did not. I told Hoover that it was a pleasure to talk to a man as intelligent as he, and he waved his hand at a picture of the President, smiled, and said:
"I've been with that man for a year."
December 2, 1918.---Nell and I went walking with the dogs.
Several deaths yesterday, many of them due to carelessness of persons who find shells, grenades, and the like, and in trying to open them, blow their own heads off.
There is a rather good statue---in staff---to America in the Montagne de la Cour, by Grandmoulin. There are many such statues. The city is lovely with flags everywhere. The population is joyous. Some shudders now and then at whispers of Bolshevism, probably some discontent, with 900,000 unemployed, but as yet nothing serious.
December 3, 1918.---I have been elected a burgher of Brussels, an honour that touches me, and pleases me more than almost any I ever had. The announcement made to me by a formal letter from Max today. Villalobar has it too, and deserves it; so has Van Vollenhoven, which is the veritable fly in the ointment, but they say they couldn't give it to us and not to him.
December 4, 1918.---This morning a telegram from Hoover at Paris, saying that owing to the continued conferences necessary to set up the food control, he would have to postpone coming to Brussels another week. The telegram was to Francqui, sent through me.(4) I was not surprised after he had set the date for the 7th the other day. He said to me that he would try to get out of it. I shivered at the time. And I shivered more this morning, when immediately after the telegram had come, Grégoire of the Foreign Office arrived to discuss the plans---the King is to give a dinner on Sunday, the City of Brussels is to give the benedictional ceremony of reception at the Hôtel de Ville, with all the school children assembled in the Grande Place, the Comité National will give a banquet in his honour on Saturday night, and there will be a luncheon for him at the Foreign Office on Monday. Grégoire was in consternation, and begged me not to deliver to Francqui the fatal telegram; he was dumb with amazement and disappointment, all the arrangements have been made, and so on. I said, call them off. But said he, the King's dinner and all the school children have been notified. I saw at once that Hoover was making a deplorable gaffe, an irreparable blunder, and I sent to him at Paris a telegram couched in strong, yet friendly, terms, telling him that he could not afford lightly to wave aside such honours as the nation had never shown man before, and urging him to reconsider his unfortunate decision.
Francqui came in later, and I gave him the telegram. He was very much annoyed!!
Francqui in to ask if Heineman should be invited to dinner of the Comité National. He much embarrassed, said that there was much feeling here against Heineman, who had gone to Berlin several times and had held on to his directorship since our entrance into the war. I did not solve his problem for him, feeling that the Comité National could invite whom they pleased.
December 5, 1918.---No word from Hoover, and everybody anxious. Sent telegram to Sharp to ask if he had received my telegram.
Villalobar tells me that von Moltke is here, in the German Legation, across the street with three other Germans in civilian clothes. They come as a commission with French passports, to meet a commission of French and Belgians to dispose of a question raised by some property now in Villalobar's hands, left here by Prince Rupprecht when he fled. The property consists of money stolen from banks in Belgium and the North of France, with barrels of stolen jewels, objets d'art, and so forth. The Prince couldn't take it with him. Villalobar laid the matter before the French and Belgian Governments, and the commissions were appointed to settle it. And so von Moltke is here, but the other commission did not arrive.
Villalobar says von Moltke is terribly cast down and depressed; says his country is prostrate; and begs the Americans to send food; if not, he says, they will have Bolshevism there. He wished Villalobar to ask me to do what I can. Villalobar asked if I wished to see him. I said no, not under any circumstances.
December 6, 1918.-----We dined at Baron Janssen's last night, an elegant repast which must have cost a fortune. And in our honour too, so we cannot be critical, though it does seem selfish and heartless in these times, with so much war and suffering, such pinched faces everywhere. After dinner we retired to a gallery filled with Janssen's pictures---an excellent collection of the early Flemish and Dutch painters. Janssen gave me as a souvenir, a gold cigarette-case that King Ferdinand of Bulgaria had given him.
Villiers, by the way he was in yesterday, is very much put out with Defrance,(5) who has been a great thruster and bounder at this post---very prominent on all occasions, and in the newspapers. There are, as I told Villiers, many signs of an intention on the part of the French to gobble up Belgium. There is the action of Defrance, the constant parading of French troops through Brussels-- -the British and American troops do not find it necessary to make great detours in order to pass through Brussels---and the pretensions of the French in the case of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Villiers says that England will have to take measures, and so on. The French all evidently suffering from a terrible, attack of the swelled head since the victory that England and America gained for them---with Belgian and Italian aid.
Villalobar came in for a moment.
No word of Hoover!
December 7, 1918.---We were in a torment of apprehension and anxiety this morning. No word from Hoover, and a grand reception in his honour fixed for three o'clock this afternoon, the traditional ceremony of the Hôtel de Ville, the freedom of the city conferred on Hoover, degree of LL.D., and the like, then tonight a grand dinner of four hundred covers by the Comité National, tomorrow evening a dinner at the Palace given by the King. Francqui had said that I would have to make a speech at the Hôtel de Ville and one at the dinner, and all morning I was trying to dictate some notes for these speeches, and all morning long a stream of callers, on all sorts of errands---Baron Wintergreen, or Spearmint or whatever it is... among the first, and I turned him off; then Sadi Kirschen, to explain his actions in the Cavell case, which I fancy would require a long time, and I bundled him out; and then came Guy d'Oultremont to ask what of Hoover?
And just at that moment Swift came in with a telegram from Gibson, not for me, but for Barbour, saying that Hoover was in London, and could not come.
D'Oultremont threw up both hands, and laughed. Luckily, by some fortunate intuition, he had not sent out the invitations for the King's dinner at the Palace on Sunday night---so that dinner could be countermanded.
He had no sooner gone than Francqui and Lambert came. I told them and there was great commotion. The Grande Place is hung with the banners of the old guilds, and festooned with shields, all bright with American colours, the Hôtel de Ville is decorated with our flags in Hoover's honour, one thousand, four hundred and fifty persons are invited to the dinner for this evening---and Hoover not here and not coming! Francqui and Lambert decided at once that I must make a speech at the reception at the Hôtel de Ville and at the dinner explaining Hoover's absence, and so on, and they prepared a telegram of regret from Hoover which I was to present.
I began to prepare the speeches, but decided not to have anything to do with any manufactured telegram, and sent Swift to the Hôtel de Ville to see what was to be done there. And in the midst of all this came Captain Nickerson of our army from Spa, with the secretary of the American Chamber of Commerce at Berlin, an American who came to see Hoover to explain to him the food situation in Germany. He said that it was very serious, but perhaps not quite so bad as represented by some of the dispatches sent out from Berlin. He said that the Germans had done with the Kaiser, and that if food were provided within two months, the Bolshevists would not make much headway, but that otherwise the Spartacus group would grow. Returning soldiers are even now complicating the situation in Germany because they absorb much of the available means of transport; the rich can still procure food.
Nickerson spoke of the feeling between Americans and French; said that the French general at the Spa Conference had almost elbowed the American and British generals away from the table. He told me an interesting bit of history of the taking of Sedan. The city was in the section assigned to the Americans for the advance, but it was not expected that the advance would attain the city. The Americans fought so well, however, that they were evidently about to take the city; then Foch, seeing this, changed the orders so as to put French troops in the American sector, and let them take the city. But Pershing got angry, said, "No, damn it, no!" ordered his men on, and they entered Sedan. He announced the entry into Sedan the next day and the French thereupon issued a communiqué denying that statement in the American communiqué! Then the Americans took the affidavits of the German prisoners they had taken in Sedan---many of them while they were asleep in their beds!
But all this time the speeches were unprepared and no Hoover here for everybody to see! Then Swift came back, saying that the Burgomaster was furious and had called the whole thing off.
Lambert was in again, then Villalobar, and we drove down to see the Burgomaster. The decorations in the Grande Place and in the Cour d'Honneur were beautiful, great banners of the American colours, stars and stripes, hanging there, but the Burgomaster had gone. His secretary came and told us that the reception had been called off; police agents sent everywhere to notify the invited, and to prevent the school children from turning out.
Home to luncheon, and afterward Lord Athlone came in to call on me, and I sat and enjoyed very much a pleasant half hour with him. Then I drove to the Hôtel de Ville to express my regrets and those of Hoover, and had a chat with Max, who said that the only effect of the postponement would be to enable them to make it more imposing the next time. When I got home there was word from the Comité National to the effect that their dinner was called off.
And there we were---such a pother and trouble as Hoover had made with his boorishness; keeping us all on pins and needles for nearly a week---and such a day as this has been!
Sunday, December 8, 1918.---Met Lemonnier on his way to reassure me, to tell me not to be disappointed by the Hoover contretemps, as he had heard---and as indeed I was. Francqui and Lambert have both urged me not to feel it. Villalobar says that it will be only an amusing story. But the Belgians are rather offended, though they will not show it.
December 9, 1918.---Went to see Hymans this afternoon .... While there the question of decorations came up, he having just received the Grand Cordon of the Legion of Honour, and he said that I should wear the Order of Léopold at the formal session of the Chambers. I explained again that I could not accept it; that Congress had not authorized and never would authorize me to wear it---the sullen and envious reluctance of democracies---and that I had sent the Grand Cordon to Washington. "But wear it just the same," he said. "But it is in Washington," I said. "The decoration itself?" he asked. "Yes, indeed." "Then I shall send you another."
Thus once more I'm embarrassed. It is so difficult to be going always against the stream, and America expects so much of her diplomats. Here am I hunting a house, not permitted to accept honours as are all my colleagues, not allowed to wear a uniform, so that I shall have to appear there, with Villalobar and Van Vollenhoven in blazing uniform, and I in evening dress---like a grocer at the wedding of his fat daughter.
Long telegram from Hoover trying to explain.
December 10, 1918.-----This afternoon at three o'clock Nell and I drove to the services Villiers had organized in honour of Miss Cavell. What is left of the British colony there, reinforced by Lord Athlone---before whom Lady Villiers and Marjory curtsied there in the rainy entrance to the arsenal---and Lord Vivian. Villalobar there .... A dreary procession, passing through the armory or arsenal or school or whatever it is, in and out of doors, struggling across the rifle range, across the rifle pits and targets, and so on; in the mud and pouring rain, under a low sky of gloomy clouds, most sad and melancholy, to that distant corner, where there are forty-one graves in clay, covered with withered flowers and drenched sodden ribbons, at the head of each a wooden cross, with a number by which, on the list that the Germans furnished, they have been identified. They have now all been visited, flowers and wreaths laid on them, and in many instances, after the French and Belgian custom, photographs of the deceased placed on each cross. At the grave, standing in the deep muddy clay, bareheaded, Athlone getting under my umbrella, Sir Francis laid a wreath for his Queen, and one for his Legation, on the grave and a great bunch of chrysanthemums that we had taken from the American Legation. Gahan read a few short prayers, we sang "On the Resurrection Morning," and came away, through the mud, across the rifle pits, in the rain, under that low, dun, melancholy sky, in a fading, ugly, somehow soiled light---just such a day as that in October, 1915, Miss Cavell's last on earth.
Villiers tried to point out the spot on the wall against which she was stood when they shot her, but no one was quite sure. Poor Baucq's grave was beside hers. There were other names familiar to us, recalling tragedies. There are forty-one such graves there, victims of the firing squad, and the grave of one German soldier who refused to fire on some one of the victims, and was himself shot.
December 12, 1918.---Dined tonight at Francqui's and met his new wife. Strange it was, and very pleasant to be once more at that long table with Francqui after dinner.
December 13, 1918.-----Over to the Foreign Office .... Ravenstern read me a note expressing Belgium's protest at Paris against Foch's treatment of Belgian troops. It was agreed with the French that Belgian troops should occupy the Grand Duchy, but now Foch will not allow Belgians to enter the Grand Duchy, saying that there is no transport; though he has established his General Headquarters there and has a personal regiment which is making French propaganda in Luxembourg. The Belgian Government protested at Paris, but Foch told Pichon(6) he would study the matter later. The Belgian Government considers it all as a political move to annex the Grand Duchy. They wish the President to interfere and protect Belgium, and Pershing to help to the end that Belgian troops may be sent to the Grand Duchy, where the people want them.
December 17, 1918.-----This has been, in some ways, the most remarkable day of my life. I have had an extraordinary ovation at the Chamber. It was altogether an American day .... All morning and all afternoon, until three o'clock, I worked over my speech, and at 4:15 drove to the Palace of the Nations. I was the first of the three to arrive and was conducted to the reception room of the Senate where the President received me. Villalobar came in presently, then Van Vollenhoven, and after awhile the Cardinal--- that tall, distinguished figure in scarlet---and the tapestries for a rich background. Presented to most of the Senators there waiting. At half past four we are conducted to the Chamber---the Cardinal had gone on in. An usher cries:
"The Protecting Ministers!"
And then all the Deputies and Senators standing up to receive us---and applause breaking forth. The colleagues and others on the benches to the left. Spectators all around, and overhead, the galleries crowded with men and women. Great fauteuils were set for us on the floor of the House below the tribune. Villalobar shown to the fauteuil in the center, I to his right, Van Vollenhoven on his left---before us, facing us in a semi-circle of fauteuils, all the Ministers, Delacroix in the centre, Hymans to his right, smiling at me and talking to Vandervelde.
Favereau arrives and makes an address, very flattering to us and especially to me, and very just to America, and when he mentions the name of Wilson, there is a tremendous demonstration; the whole chamber rings with applause, "Vive Wilson! Vive Wilson!" I have to stand and acknowledge the tribute to my country: it lasts several minutes.
Then Delacroix, standing and facing us, makes an address recounting our services, and all the way through he is interrupted by applause. Then Poullet made a brief address, telling us that as a souvenir of the event and of our services, our busts would be placed in the hall of the Chamber, and a replica given to us---and there is more applause. We stand up, we have been compelled to stand again and again at the frequent outbursts of applause and cheering---and at last it is our turn.
Villalobar started it off, reading his speech, which was very flattering to me, but full of repeated reference to "My August Sovereign" who had done everything and was the "passionate friend of the workingman." He was frequently applauded.
And now my turn---I am standing and the chamber stands and applauds and cheers. Of course I had the best of the situation, because I represented the best, the biggest country, and that country had fed Belgium and had won the war---there was all that in the demonstration, but I could feel too a personal note, a personal warmth and friendliness in it all, and I felt as much at home there, and as sure of their sympathy---I might say admiration---as if I were standing up in Memorial Hall at home to address a mass-meeting of independents.
I began my address, reading it from my notes, though I knew them almost well enough to have dispensed with them; but since it was in French I was afraid to stray far from them. When I spoke of my embarrassment they smiled, and then applause began, and when I got to the period about the Cardinal---he was sitting over on the left, near the dear colleagues---there was a great ovation for him (Villalobar had mentioned no one but his August Sovereign, himself, and me). There was another great outburst at the phrase about the American children sharing their bread so that a Belgian child should not feel forgotten, and at the period about the King they all arose and there was frenzied tumult and cries of "Vive le Roi!"
At the peroration there were tears and at the end another great manifestation, such as I have never had before and shall never have, I suppose, again. Then Van Vollenhoven made his brief speech---and it was over, and deputies and ministers were crowding around with congratulations. In a great room behind the Chamber there was an enormous buffet, and more crowdings and more congratulations from every one while I got a cup of tea. It was very beautiful, very touching, gratifying, and pleasing---a perfect recompense, showing that Belgians are grateful, and know how to express their gratitude. What greater honour could man have than to be thus acclaimed by the united representatives of a whole nation! It was overwhelming. I was quite overcome. Villiers congratulated me warmly, so did the Cardinal, so did everybody.
December 18, 1918.-----This afternoon a visit from the Comtesse de Mont Blanc and the Comtesse Jeanne de Belleville, who was condemned to death with Miss Cavell. She was at the services yesterday, and I had met them, but only for an instant. Sitting in my office this afternoon. She was a thin, intelligent-looking woman, with pale face, rather weary eyes (yet something of humour in them, too).
Comtesse de Belleville began by saying that she had been presented to the King of England, somewhere, I don't know where, and that he had begun by asking her whether the American Legation at Brussels had been informed by the Germans of their intention to shoot Miss Cavell. I looked at her in stupefaction and then realized that the King... doubtless had never understood the case in the least. I told her that he had only to read the Legation's reports given to the Foreign Office and published in the Times.
She told me much of the Cavell story. She, the Countess, had been drawn into the business by the fact that she had a nephew whom she wished to get out, and came to Brussels to learn the way. She found out and later on told the Princess de Cröy, who wished to send out some English. Then ultimately the underground was established: Mlle. Thuliez sent the men from Lille to Montigny, the Countess of Belleville thence passed them on to Brussels, and thence Miss Cavell passed them to Holland. The Princess de Cröy, she said, aided in and knew all about the matter. The countess said that her movements were watched by the Germans from the 15th of January that year to the day of her arrest, and that at her instruction they told her in detail everything that she had done, every step that she had taken from the 15th of January. She told me of an adventure with her spy, whom she eluded one day in Brussels only by leaping from a train.
Miss Cavell's detective was a man named Schmidt, who had been for thirty years in the English Army! She said one day to the Countess that she had trusted him, thought him English, but perhaps had said a word "de trop." In the van on the day of their condemnation Miss Cavell even shook hands with him.
The Countess asked me if Miss Cavell had received a visit that night of her condemnation. She said that at 10:30 they, the countess and Mlle. Thuliez, had heard her cell door open, and she had spoken. "Is Miss Cavell suffering?" they asked each other. I told her that it was doubtless Gahan leaving.
December 23, 1918.----A note from d'Arschot to tell me that the King wished to see me---this evening at six o'clock at the Palace---a frock coat requested.
At six, then, or ten minutes before, I drove once more through the gilded grill at the diplomatic entrance, and across the inner court. I waited a moment in the hall, where several footmen were, then was shown to a large room (where there was a beautiful model of a steamship), then an officer, young with a black patch on one eye, came and showed me into the next room where stood the King.
He was in frock coat this afternoon and received me most cordially. In the centre of the room was a desk, almost as heavily loaded with papers as mine, and he sat down there, placing a seat for me beside his desk. He was looking exceedingly well, very ruddy and fit, and it was good to see him "in civil" again: he looks big and very handsome in a frock coat.
He began by telling me of his pleasure in my speech in the Chamber the other day, thanked me for it and for my reference to him. Then he spoke of his pleasure in the coming of the President---it was that visit, I fancy, that was the cause of his sending for me. He said that he wished to go to the frontier to meet the President and I told him that I wished to do the same. "Then we will go together," he said. Unfortunately I had no knowledge whatever of the President's intention, no hint, not a word, as to when he was coming. I felt embarrassed by the fact, and I did not like to tell His Majesty that as I was the American minister I would be the last one, naturally, to be informed.
The King talked much about the President and of his liking for him and said that he wished Belgium to turn as much as possible toward America. "I like Anglo-Saxon institutions: you have liberty and authority."...
He spoke of his admiration for the American troops. He had seen them at Audenarde; he had shaken hands and talked with them. "They are fine, big men!" he said, "they are clean and they have good manners: they are intelligent, and know what they are fighting for, I asked them. The only objection I found was that when they shook my hand they squeezed it too tight---my hand is sore still." And he laughed and held up his hand ruefully. He admired the Californians: "I felt small beside them. One is glad to have them as Allies; one would not like to have them as enemies."
From time to time we reverted to the President's trip and I told him that America would like to have him visit her shores again. He blushed deeply, with pleasure, and said that he would like to go, and spoke indeed as if he would go.
"I can't make speeches like you," he said, "I am, how do you say it?---I am a simple man."
He described his recent trip to Dinant; said that he liked to see and mingle with the people---was indignant over the atrocities there; wished the President to see it and to see the ruined factories.
He said that this was the day of democracy, all the kings and monarchs on the other side of the Rhine are off their thrones, their countries have collapsed. Of the Kaiser he said: "He must have been very badly advised; if he had known in 1914 what he knows now, he never would have begun the war."
He spoke much of democracy; has no fear of it and wishes to be of the people. I told him that he should go often among them. Of universal suffrage he said: "Some of the bourgeoisie criticize me for supporting it. They say if you give the domestic one vote and the master one vote, the domestic will have as much influence as the master. I say, if that is the case, the master doesn't amount to very much as a man, with all his means of influencing people .... The man on the bridge"---he touched his own broad breast---"must look farther ahead than those in the hold." I told him that discussions of universal suffrage were amusing to me---that seemed so obvious, so inevitable.
I told him that he should see American newspapers, with their ignoble sensations, their unbridled licence, their prying into every closet in the land. But he said that it was good in the long run; it let in the light. He spoke with contempt of the Paris newspapers.
He regrets La Panne, where he is going for Christmas. The Queen is there. "The air is better down there," he said, with a gesture that indicated the wide sweep of the ocean. He spoke of the ceremonials, so very heavy, of his court before the war. "We must change that," he said. Evidently he regrets the burden of his life at La Panne. "But there is no escape. Life is a struggle," he said.
"When there are any Americans of interest here," he said, "let me know; we'll have a little dinner. I like them. When I talk to an American I feel better, more optimistic. You are a younger, stronger people, not so cynical as the Europeans."
Christmas Day, 1918.-----At six o'clock this evening, who should appear but Coleman Ross, now Captain Ross, commanding the 148th Infantry, 37th or Buckeye Division. He was unshaven, soiled and tired, having been six hours in reaching Brussels from Dunkirk, where his Division is billeted. He was in light summer uniform, his whole kit having been lost in the Argonne. He wears the red and white emblem of his division, supposed to represent a buckeye.
Coleman said that they had endured much. For him France was only "mud and manure." He had seen nothing but fighting; the only town of importance he had known was Bar-le-Duc, which he went through in the night in a freight car.
He says that the boys hate the French---they have been so robbed, so exploited. On the other hand, the Belgians have treated them handsomely; will take nothing in payment from them. He is living in a peasant's house---no fire, nothing. We are delighted to have him with us for a few days.
December 27, 1918.---Villiers came to ask Nell and me to lunch with him. They were having General Sir Henry Rawlinson.(7) Went and found him a charming English gentleman; very enthusiastic over the Americans who had been under his command. I told him of Coleman's refusing to eat luxuries as long as his men could not have them, and he said, "Ah, the strain hasn't run out!"
January 1, 1919.---New Year's Day.
Colonel Van Schaick brought in at tea-time Colonel Kincaid, Colonel Wainwright, and Captain Bobs of the American Army, all three charming men and gentlemen, who have been serving in the New York Division with the British. They are enthusiastic over the English, as well they might be.
It is biting cold, and the house not warmed yet; not likely ever to be. We can get no workmen to arrange the fireplaces, which are filled with gas logs---and there is no gas! Tomorrow will be another holiday also, and since the war the Belgians will not work---the result of the funds for relief. There will be no resumption of normal life in Belgium until the payments for unemployment are stopped. Men have grown accustomed to idleness; they prefer living on three francs a day and doing nothing to living on ten francs a day and having to work for it. They are reduced not only physically but morally. Four years of tricking the Germans has made them adept at lying and concealment. It is a sad situation. Prices are terribly high. I never lived in such a fine house, had such a cook, spent so much money, and had so little to eat, so little comfort, in my life. The Government is rather weak; does nothing, can indeed do little, for the transport facilities of the country have to be built over. The Germans have left literally nothing. Parsons says that it offers a good and a clear field for improvement, such as electrifying the railways, and installing new modern machinery in the factories, but it will take months.
I forgot to note the visit of Bishop Brent(8) the other day. He came from Trier; says the Americans are full of hatred for the French; the feeling is rife everywhere, even in the General Staff. Pershing at the Thanksgiving Day dinner to his officers said, "The debt of La Fayette is paid." (True, of course, and overpaid; it wouldn't have cost much to pay that!) Our men, too, are disgusted with the French soldiers for their treatment of German civilians. Altogether, he thinks the situation serious and that our army should be got home as soon as possible.
January 3, 1919.---Much dissatisfaction with the Government, especially with Vandervelde for not sending away the Germans, thirty thousand of whom, it is said, are still in Belgium. Little red placards all over town today headed, "Down with the Germans!"
Colonel Luke Lea of the 11th Field Artillery, until recently Senator from Tennessee, called; a big, handsome fellow, a great friend of W. J. Bryan's. He said that he was on leave; is now stationed in the Grand Duchy---with several of his officers---for the purpose of visiting Belgium and Holland. I told him that he could not enter Holland in uniform unless he wished to be interned until the end of the peace negotiations, whereupon he said he and they had civilian clothing at Liége---"Leege," as he pronounced it. I said that if he went as a civilian I would give him passports, but I tried to dissuade him from going at all. But he was insistent, persistent, and I sent Swift with him to see Van Vollenhoven as to their rules ....
Lea interesting, big, broad white teeth showing in an open smile, broad, cheerful, good-natured countenance, handsome in uniform. Told stories and talked of Bryan. He said---what was rather pathetic ---that some time ago Bryan told him that he was "reading up" on European history, as undoubtedly he would be one of the peace commissioners.
January 7, 1919.---Captain Goelet, one of the five military attachés at The Hague (they have five, I none) came from Garrett; great scandal at The Hague. American officers in an armored car tried to kidnap the Kaiser; great newspaper sensations. Dutch Government greatly offended, and so on. Who could it have been? They had been up all night at The Hague trying to find out. No trace, no clue; the men had appeared at Amerongen, penetrated into the Château, been arrested but released on showing their passports, and so on. What passports had I viséd?
Very simple! Senator Luke Lea of Tennessee and his joy-riding party, hunting souvenirs, wished to see the Kaiser---though why I can't imagine. Sent a telegram and letter to The Hague saying that in any event, the visit and the uniforms had been authorized by the Dutch Government through its representative here.
What nuisances the traveling souvenir-hunting Americans are! Now for hell a-popping!
January 8, 1919.---Went to see Hymans at his request. He wished to talk to me about the Grand Duchy. The French carry on their propagandist campaign there, and the Belgians are furious, as well they might be after all the promises made to them by Ribot, Pichon, and Clemenceau, too. It is the work of the Echo de Paris gang, and the French General Headquarters. I spoke of the "politique Napolienne" and Hymans enjoyed the phrase.
January 10, 1919.---Many callers this afternoon; Ashley, then Sadi Kirschen,(9) to present his defence as to his actions in the Cavell case. He is a Roumanian, not so bad, but weak. Talked long and volubly, the gist of it all being that he had not considered himself as retained by the Legation, though he was, and admitted that Thomas Braun and de Leval had asked him to represent Miss Cavell when Braun withdrew, and that after the trial, he had not expected such a judgment, nor a precipitate execution, and had gone to the country---to Bois-Fleuri, indeed, to rest.
January 16, 1919.---Went to present Hoffman to Hymans, who had sent for me to tell me that the Belgian Government is terribly embarrassed by the decision at Paris to allow Belgium to have only two representatives at the Peace Conference.(10) The Government had announced the appointment of Hymans, Van der Hennel, and Vandervelde, and it will be hard to drop one of them. They will protest and I have sent this evening a message to Paris.
January 17, 1919.---Dinner at Villalobar's last night most elaborate and costly; where he gets the money is a mystery. The affair was all hollow, dull, deadly---how sick I am of this sort of life. Belgium seems to have lost its charm. The people one meets have learned nothing, nothing, the life is all bitter, cynical, cruel. Countess Elizabeth d'Oultrement said to me the other day: "People deceive themselves; we do not want universal suffrage!" We! But we are dancing, dining into perdition, revolution, and I know not why. The display is disgusting.
January 18, 1919. --- ---------, with whom I was walking most all the morning, had been to see the Cardinal, and told me of his interesting conversation. The Cardinal considers the situation very serious and very grave. Like all of the clericals, the Cardinal is at heart disappointed by the accession to the demand for universal suffrage. He says that he is only opposed to the unconstitutional method of conferring it; there was no such haste. But the interesting feature of his conversation was this. The Catholic deputies, the Right, held a meeting and decided to ask the Bishop if, in voting for an unconstitutional method of conferring universal suffrage, they were violating their oaths of office, and hence their conscience; in short, if they were committing a sin. The Bishop most solemnly considered the matter, and replied, "Yes, you would be committing a sin." Thereupon the Right decided that it would vote against the measure.
"And they will give as a reason that their consciences would be violated?" I asked.
"Not at all; they will give another reason!"...
I have this evening a letter from Dr. Heger telling me that the University of Brussels has voted to confer on the President the degree of LL.D., and as well to confer it on me, honoris causa, which pleases me greatly.
Sunday, January 19, 1919.---The Belgian Government is to have its three delegates at the Peace Conference. I wired to our Mission Friday and sent a second telegram saying that the Belgians thought, as a result doubtless of French intrigue, that the Americans were responsible for the reduction to two members. I had a wire from Paris last night saying that there was no truth in such a report, that on the contrary the American delegates had favoured three.
January 21, 1919.---At 4:30 at the Palace. The King, in khaki today, received me first, and I gave him the President's message and Lansing's reply to his invitation to the President to visit Brussels. His Majesty said he would keep them as a precious souvenir. His Majesty spoke of conditions, and I told him that there was more Bolshevism among the upper classes than the lower, that they talked of revolution all the time, and opposed all progress and reform, that like the Bourbons they never forgot anything and never learned anything.
January 22, 1919.---Prohibition has carried at home; the most extraordinary example of the tyranny of a majority that the world has ever seen.
January 25, 1919.---No word of the President's coming as yet. The row at Paris goes on and all the newspapers, like all the chancelleries of Europe, are steeped in cynicism. The difference between Wilson on the one hand and all the Lloyd Georges, Clemenceaus, and the rest on the other, is this: he is the winner of the Derby and they are a lot of selling platers.
Sunday, January 26, 1919.---Cold, snowing---and all morning shivering at the review of the 3rd British Army Corps at the Palace, before the King. The Prince of Wales rode with him---a nice, good-looking boy, smart in the uniform of a captain---a band of crêpe on his left arm, for his brother, Prince John, who died the other day, poor little chap. The spectacle of the review was magnificent, of course, as anything the English organize would be, quite the finest looking of all the armies. Our men are bigger and finer looking and generally more intelligent than the English, but their officers are superior to ours, and the general effect is finer because their uniforms are better, smarter, and they know how to wear them.
Our uniforms (I speak of the officers') are poorly cut and poorly made, they have no style, no smartness, they are too light, the tunic is too short, revealing a large wrinkled and shining bag of cloth below and behind---and they look, otherwise, as if they were bursting out of them.
The Scots were the finest of all. The Scots Guards led, and then there were the Argyll and Sutherlands with the kilts, and the pipes skirling beauty---oh 'twas a bonnie sicht! For two hours it was the roll and beat of drums, the skirl of the pipes---"The British Grenadiers," "The Campbells Are Coming," and all that.
But it was terribly cold.
January 27, 1919.---I heard that my dear John McCutcheon was in town!
Miss Margaret Wilson arrived at four.(11) Sick with a heavy cold, and went at once to bed. So she could not come down to the dinner tonight; but we had it, of course. Mr. and Mrs. Davis, McCutcheon, Will Irwin, Hoffman, Swift, and since Major Newman had not taken the trouble to reply to his invitation, we asked Mitchell and Willing; Mitchell a somewhat blowing and bloviating type.
Irwin and McCutcheon delighted.
Meanwhile I got no work done, my desk piled high, and letters settling down on me like a snowy mantle. No secretary, public or private---and the army in march on Brussels. I am in despair.
January 28, 1919.---Miss Wilson able to come down for the luncheon we gave in her honour. She is a charming, rather pretty girl, with her father's mouth and her father's smile: she is very, very, sympathetic. We had for luncheon Count and Countess de Mérode, Villalobar, the de Beughems and the Mitchells, the Baron Janssens, Princess Poniatowski, Poussette, Swift, Mme. Hymans, and Miss Wilson. I took Mme. Hymans down, had her at my right: Comtesse de Mérode at my left. We had sent the names to the Foreign Office to have the table arranged: they put de Beughems above Villalobar and Miss Wilson far down---on the flattering Belgian theory that a Belgian nobleman is the noblest work of God. I changed it: we gave Miss Wilson Nell's place, and I put Villalobar on her left, with de Mérode (in frock coat and negligé collar) on her right, as Grand Marshal of the Court.
At four, to Hôtel de Ville. Nell and John McCutcheon, Swift and Hoffman with me. We went to the cabinet of the burgomaster, where Max met us, then Villalobar, Van Vollenhoven and I were taken to the room of the Aldermen, and presented to them, and to the municipal councillors. They filed out, ultimately, and disappeared, leaving us to await a committee. Presently the committee returned, and informed us that they would have the honour of conducting me to the Salle Gothique, where the municipal authorities would confer on us the title of honorary burgess of Brussels. Then the procession formed and, preceded by a mace-bearer and halberdiers in medieval costumes, we went in---the great audience gathered in the Salle Gothique rising as we did so. On a high platform of red, behind a long table of red, the Burgomaster and Aldermen were standing---Max, Lemonnier, Sterns and Jacquemain in uniform and decorations, the others, with the town counsellors in place, grouped at each end of the table. Three great fauteuils were set there, below and before them. We sat down---and Max read his speech; Villalobar read his, and I mine, and Van Vollenhoven his. I had a lot of applause. Then it was over, and we went up to look at the rich diplomas...
January 30, 1919.---Arranging for Roosevelt's(12) presentation and a dinner for him on Monday night. Villiers here yesterday, said that they were in mourning thirty days for Prince John. I went out to see Athlone to ask him if he could come to the Roosevelt dinner, but he thought not, on account of the court mourning, although he has accepted for Hyman's big dinner for Saturday night. Rode back with him in his big car. Meanwhile Nell had had a note from Villiers saying that they would come; she sent then to tell them of Athlone's decision.
February 4, 1919.---Tired and depressed all day. Nasty letter from Topping this morning; this afternoon numerous calls, and finally Rickard, Shaler, and Chatfield, to tell me that Hoover will arrive Saturday but will accept no receptions or any attentions, being too modest. I told him that the impression after all that had happened would be disastrous. Also, the question of Francqui's rather nasty letter to me the other day, is up: altogether a day of unpleasant incidents.
February 5, 1919.---Richard Henry Little, tall, spare, angular, spectacled, flippant correspondent of the Chicago Tribune here today. Has been in town two days, not once beyond the place Roquin, and indignant because there are people carousing by night in the cabarets there. The sight of pleasure seems somehow to infuriate Americans, and they have all become Puritans and Prohibitionists. He was leaving, indignant, for Holland intending to write articles condemning Belgium and declaring that there was no suffering in the country. I devoted an hour to soothing him. He is coming back tomorrow and will possibly consent not to blast the historic reputation of Belgium.
February 7, 1919.---Who should arrive this morning but Rutger Jewett, and then, a few moments after, George Creel!(13) We had them both come here at once.
February 10, 1919.---George Creel left this morning, going to The Hague by motor with the courier. We were sad to see him go. He is a dear soul, whom I know well---so witty, so bubbling with fun, but with a deep nature. On leaving, he said impulsively, "Oh damn it, come on home!" I should have recorded all the witty things that he said. Last night at dinner, for instance, we were talking of the sad fate that has overtaken the Franco-American alliance. "The armorial bearings of that alliance," said George, "should be an American pocket. with two hands in it." The other day to my utter surprise he said that Howard Wheeler felt hurt that I had not written to him, and wondered if he had offended me. I exclaimed with astonishment, utterly unconscious of any feeling of having done anything to wound him. "Oh, well," said George, "Wheeler's like a wet dog; he can't imagine why you don't want him to sit in your lap all the time."
This morning we witnessed a touching little tragedy. Last night we were talking of the President, whom Creel adores and has served so faithfully and yet he feels that there is some lack of appreciation on the President's part, a certain high, frigid, and impassive impersonality---what one will. George felt it rather keenly; he has been in charge of the publicity work, and has made the President known everywhere the world over. This morning I read in the newspapers that the President had appointed William Allen White and George D. Herron to go to Prinkipo.(14) I came into the library, where before an open fire George was having his breakfast. Rutger and Nell were with him. I entered and read them the dispatch---attaching no importance to it in any way. But George looks as though hard hit. He was silent; then suddenly got up, and went hurriedly over to the window, turning his back and looking down into the street, struggling with some emotion. We were all silent.
He came back in a moment, himself again. Then he told us. He has a friend, Joe Davis, of, I think, Wisconsin, who has toiled early and late for the President, spending his own fortune, doing everything, with a personal adoration for the President, and a great belief in his principles. George had wished the President in some way to recognize him, but the President had feared that he would be accused of employing political rewards. Davis wished to be placed on some commission or other connected with the Russian situation. "And now," said George, "he sends White, a good fellow, who is always for the President, except during the time of election, and George D. Herron." He could not get over it. When he had gone we all said that his little display of emotion, so quickly concealed, did great credit to his heart.
This morning I have a letter from the President who says that he will be unable to come to Brussels and asks me to see the King and present his regrets. It is too bad, too bad. Belgium, Brussels, will be greatly disappointed. I have asked an audience of His Majesty, which has been granted for tomorrow morning at 10:30.
February 13, 1919.---This morning I had a letter from Hoover that touched me deeply. It was a note, rather, enclosing a copy of a letter that Hoover had written to the President suggesting me as ambassador to Paris---Sharp having resigned. There is no chance of my being appointed, but it is fine to have Hoover do this.
February 17, 1919.---Mme. Carton de Wiart in to see me, and then Kellogg, back from Poland via Germany, with many wonderful tales of Paderewski, President of Poland, and how, in the theatre, before cheering hundreds, he shook hands with Paderewski to impress the people, and then Paderewski, in tears, saying to him ---they were in the President's box---"I'm so homesick for America ---and I know that they'll kill him." Kellogg says Germany is in a bad way---no fight in them, no army left.
And yet for a fortnight all Brussels has been in a ferment over stories---every one knew they were true---to the effect that Germany was about to renew the war. Anyone with one lobe of a brain left would have known that these stories were all circulated by the French, that they came from Foch's General Headquarters and the Echo de Paris gang, and were for the purpose at once of discrediting and impressing Wilson ....
Athlone and Vivian and others came in after dinner and we sang a lot of American and English songs, much to the surprise of the Belgians, who never unbend from the lofty pinnacle of their rank. "Damned asses!" as Athlone remarked to me. Then we danced, the American dances are now popular---but no one but Americans can dance them.
February 20, 1919.---The Paris newspapers are full of explanations as to France's treatment of Americans. The scores of American correspondents who came over with the President have been sending dispatches home, evidently saying, at last, all that Americans have been whispering in France for a year and a half. The newspapers at home are indignant. I knew that it would come, and the greatest tragedy of this war is the disillusionment of the American people regarding France, or the French. It was inevitable.
Sunday, February 23, 1919.---This morning I had the visit of Herbert Samuel, K.C., the English liberal. Had been invited... to dine with him the other evening but couldn't. A charming man, most polished and cultured and simple. One notes, with regret, such a difference between the English in general and our men in general. There are exceptions on both sides, of course, but the English are so much more gentlemanly than our men---who seem, or so many of whom seem, to be hard, breezy, dominating.
Another interesting visitor today was Mr. Van de Kerchove, lawyer at Brussels, who is "Fidelio" of La Libre Belgique. He is to write a history of the paper, and wishes me to give him a preparatory word for it, which I promised. He told me many interesting incidents, how he contrived by an Alsatian soldier to get a copy of La Libre Belgique on the desk of von Bissing at every issue. He met by accident one day, rue de la Loi, a German officer whom he recognized as a Frenchman, an old college chum of his at Louvain. The officer put his fingers to his lips, and moved on. The next day he met him on the rue Royale, near the statue of Comte Belliard, and they spoke. The man was a French spy in German uniform .... They worked together, and sometimes visited von Bissing's bureau in the Ministry of Arts and stole the papers from his desk! There was a captain always on guard there, but at noon when von Bissing went to luncheon, the Captain went into an adjoining room to talk with a stenographer, and stayed there long enough to smoke a cigarette, sometimes two. This the spy in that uniform and with his perfect knowledge of German had discovered, and stood watch while Van de Kerchove slipped in and stole the papers.
He was never discovered, but was arrested finally, charged with complicity in publishing La Libre Belgique. The Kaiser had ordered the La Libre Belgique man shot if he was ever discovered, and a heavy price had been placed on his head. Kerchove was arrested, but even in prison contrived to continue to write his articles. His daughter used to send him tobacco, matches, food and a thermos bottle of hot coffee. He secured a match box as a souvenir, it reminded him of his daughter; one day playing with it idly and fondly, he saw that the word "thermos" was written on it. When the coffee came, he examined the thermos bottle and found that it could be unscrewed, taken apart in some manner. Then, he sent out messages, and his articles for La Libre Belgique. When in prison at Vilvorde, he communicated by means of boxes of strawberries. He was not condemned to death, but to imprisonment, ultimately.
March 12, 1919.---It is in the newspapers here that the President is coming between the 25th and the 30th. They are resuming their old tricks: they fix the date themselves, and then descant on the disappointment. It has, of course, been trying, this long wait and uncertainty. I have grown stale---and indifferent.
March 14, 1919.---Hoover here; he came in just as we were finishing luncheon, and Nell had luncheon served to him. He is here to meet with the Spa Commission, on the revictualing of Germany. He was interesting as ever. Gibson, who follows him everywhere, came in while he was here.
March 15, 1919.---Oswald Garrison Villard here at noon; just out of Germany with all sorts of terrible impressions about the conditions there and a black and despairing outlook. He sees nothing but revolution and Bolshevism everywhere. He came in for tea this afternoon---more despair, doubtless justified. I feel blue and despondent myself.
March 17, 1919.---Tea at Mme. d'Arschot's. Met there the Princess Maria de Cröy, a frail little woman, very... pleasant. Shows effects of her confinement in Germany. Talked much and with nervous excitement, her cheeks flushing, rather prettily, about her experiences. Was full of admiration for Miss Cavell. But I am to see her again---and get the story from her standpoint. What she told me today is rather confused---there was such clattering of tea cups. But I remember that she said that finding that they were suspected, she said to Miss Cavell, "We had better stop." She replied, "Are there any more?" "Yes." "Then," said Miss Cavell, "we can't stop." Then, Miss Cavell's attitude during the trial, how she took something or other---there, stupidly, I am vague; I didn't quite catch it and in passing by her, the Princess said, "Bravo!"---and how the guard scowled. Then the attitude of the judges, all four hardening when any patriotic thing was said, as when Miss Cavell said, "I am English!" And the bloodthirsty prosecutor, coming to the cell to read the judgment, "to death, to death," and so on, down the long tragic list---then asking her if she wished to make any requests for mercy---and for whom!
She had denied knowing the others, and now, on her asking for mercy for all of them---the prosecutor said, "Then you did know them?" "Yes." He told her to hurry and she did. She said, "Will not tomorrow do?" "No, it will be too late." So that he knew. The Princess said that it had been decided in Germany, two weeks before, to kill a Belgian, a Frenchman, or woman, and an English woman, that the military had decided it and that nothing could help it. They wished to catch her brother, who had escaped; asked her if she wished to take the place of the condemned---Steuben asked her---a trap she thought to lure her brother back into Belgium. She spoke too of a boy who had betrayed Baucq, a lad, worn down by sweating---she greatly admired Baucq .... I must see her again, and obtain the whole story.
Villalobar is back---came in at the luncheon hour. Says that the French are detestable, proud, offensive, and above every one---English, Belgians and Americans. Reports King Alfonso as interested in me, and wishes to give me the Grand Cordon de Carlos III.
He gave it to Villalobar, and is going to make him a Duke. He says that he is to have an Embassy later, perhaps Washington. Told a dreadful, shocking story of the French ambassador at Madrid.
April 5, 1919.---At 2:30 with Hoffman, to the formal session at the Palais d'Egmont to commemorate the work done for the children. Vast crowds---and "la Brabançonne," and the people cheering when the King came in with the Queen and Prince Léopold----cheering, the nourishment of royal persons, as I remarked to Villalobar. The King had just flown back from Paris; he was in khaki.
The Queen was lovely in white---and the big lad in khaki like his father. The cardinal was there in his red, and a row of dignitaries behind a red table .... The Cardinal made a speech---a poor one---in which he attacked the Socialists. Afterward, another ceremony, in another part of the Palace, to which we walked, I with the Cardinal, chatting the while with him, across the sun-lit garden. There was a great jam, and after the singing of "la Brabançonne" and a speech by Jacquemain, Villiers and I escaped.
April 7, 1919.---The week opens auspiciously by the announcement from Paris that thirteen members of Congress and forty members of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce are to visit us this week.
April 9, 1919.---The King sent word that he would receive the Congressmen and the members of the Chamber of Commerce of Cleveland at twelve. At noon, then, to the Palace, where we lined up the statesmen along the wall of one of the great halls of reception overlooking the park, with the fifty members of the C. of C. and the King and I passed down the line, I presenting them. The Congressmen, of course, were for the most part impossible, no manner and no manners, mostly dressed with a native ill-taste, without distinction, and yet full of pomposity and vanity. One of them, before the King entered, importuned me and finally Guy d'Oultremont to arrange to have the King pose with them for a photograph. I refused, and the fellow insisted---and I kept on refusing, until he at last desisted. After the Congressmen had been presented and as I was beginning on the long line of Clevelanders, one of the Congressmen, Ashbrooke of my State, said to me, "I suppose we can go now?" I said, "Certainly not." "But do we have to wait until he shakes hands with all these fellows?" "Certainly," I said. "But we have engagements," he said. "You haven't any engagement more important than this." And all this while I was trying to conduct the presentations. The Congressman, became obstreperous, and I said, "Look here, Ashbrooke, you're from Ohio, and so am I. Let us not disgrace our native State." He said, "But we're not accustomed to knee-breeches." "Then let us pretend that we are," I replied. The King was speaking to a little Belgian who was attached to the party, standing there, red-faced and rigid, answering the King's questions, "Yes, Sire!" "Yes, Sire!" and yet happy at seeing his sovereign. The King was in khaki, tall and rugged, and in good form this morning, with an intelligent word for each---after I had told him in French what each did. To one, a paper manufacturer, he spoke about the rarity and the high cost of paper; the next man was a banker, and to him the King said:
"You are the only ones who give us plentiful cheap paper nowadays!"
If the Congressmen were all impossible, the Cleveland businessmen were a rather fine-looking body; for the most part better dressed, with good manners and more intelligent than the statesmen.
This afternoon we had them all---more than sixty-here to tea. This evening we dined with the Congressmen at the Chamber, with after-dinner speeches, and I suddenly called upon to translate into French a stump-speech that the Honorable Mr. Summers of Texas had just delivered. I did it, then there was a roar, and more speeches and I had to translate them. So endeth a hard, hard day!
April 10, 1919.---The Chamber has voted universal suffrage, with votes for women who are widows or mothers of soldiers killed at the front---a compromise for the sake of union.
Sunday, April 13, 1919.---Every one is furious with the President -and Americans are hated in Brussels, because of the selection of Geneva as a seat for the League of Nations.(15) Why didn't they select the moon as the seat of the sublime dream! The President, also, is no diplomat. Paul de Reul here for tea this afternoon; says that l'Académie Royale de Belgique was about to elect Wilson when they elected me, but now would not, being too angry. And the visit to Brussels! He might as well abandon that now!
April 15, 1919.---La Nation Belge today published a long article entitled: "Have we struggled against Germany to fall under the domination of the United States and England?" reflecting the bitterness and rising feeling against the President. Sir Francis Villiers greeted me today with the statement that we must stick together, that Englishmen and Americans are very unpopular just now. Well, we're in good company, anyhow.
April 16, 1919.---Adatci came in---back from Paris. Told me that everything is arranged satisfactorily down there. He has been on the commission for dealing with Kaiser Bill. It has been decided that his extradition will be demanded of Holland, that he will be tried before a court consisting of a judge from each of the five large countries---England, Italy, France, Japan, and America; that the accusation will be that of having violated the neutrality of Belgium and Luxembourg, and that Belgium will be the prosecutor! The penalty to be left to the judgment of the five judges. What a spectacle such a trial would be! Will it ever take place?
April 22, 1919.---Daniels and party, consisting of Mrs. Daniels, Josephus Jr., Mrs. Daniels' brother, Commander Bayley, three admirals, a general of marines, and so on, thirteen in all, arrived today. We had them all to dinner tonight, with Renkin and his wife. The Daniels are not so bad; he a very intelligent and honest if narrow man, of good ideals, not lacking a certain distinction in appearance.
April 25, 1919.---Frank Vanderlip here for luncheon. Vanderlip much better sort than I supposed: since he agrees with me on many things, as for instance, the abolition of inheritances. He had seen Lincoln Steffens at Paris; I had a letter from Lincoln Steffens about Bolshevism, and so on, but couldn't tell what he thought of it. Vanderlip says that Steffens is cured---wants none of it, which is good news.
The President has cut the Gordian Knot at Paris---the Italy-Yugoslav row---and is out with a splendid statement, setting forth in clear, convincing terms, his irreproachable and splendid attitude on the Italian claim to Fiume.(16) Whereat Orlando is striking attitudes, acting like a man in the cinema and threatening to go home, though at last accounts, he hadn't got off. Every one with a trace of honesty and decency in him supports the President. I am sorry that the thing has happened, or that it had to happen, but glad that the President took the bold attitude that he did. Liberals everywhere will support him. It places Clemenceau and Lloyd George in a pretty pickle, but it is refreshing that those three couldn't cheat the President. But what of peace?
April 26, 1919.---Oh, the insatiable, ineradicable, incorrigible cabotinage of the Latin races! And the Paris newspapers puling about "l'élégance Latin," etc., etc., all the time. Vanitas vanitatum! Poor President! To have to live and function in such a foul false atmosphere, reeking of garlic and of pretences and proud flesh and fly-blown pride, that combination of Italian and French degeneracy. Let the Italians go and be damned to them! Good riddance of bad rubbish! They'll be back Tuesday or Wednesday.
May 2, 1919.---The newspapers still criticising the President. I sent a telegram to Paris telling of the situation here, the second of the sort that I have sent this week, and wrote to Colonel House in the hope that something can be done for Belgium, or if it can't that whatever is done be done in such a way that America won't get all the blame. The President's excursion into European diplomacy has been rather disastrous. He and all Americans are hated in France; we are on the verge of war with Italy, and are disliked in Belgium. As a result of the work that I started, and with the help of others, carried on in Belgium, America was like a star to Belgium, the President a very god, and our flag a symbol of light. Now, as a result of Hoover's boorishness, the failure of the President to visit Belgium, his seeming contempt of Belgium, his action in having Geneva chosen instead of Brussels, and so on, we are the most unpopular nation in Belgium. And now if the Conference does nothing for this little land---it is finished, that's all.
May 3, 1919.---I went over to the Foreign Office. Found de Broqueville smiling but excited .... He said the Flemish activists are already taking advantage of the feeling against us to say that the Germans would have treated Belgium better, and so on. Furthermore, he said that the Government had been told that if it did not sign the peace "as we are instructed"---"you know that we are almost under orders now"---that the revictualing would be cut off. I said to him, "that's humbug," that I knew the President had no such intention and would be a party to no such proceeding, and so on. I asked him who had told him that, and he said, shrugging his shoulders, "Do you really want me to tell you?" Bassompierre came in and talked in the same strain; they were very much depressed, and thought that Belgium had been abandoned.
Villiers had told me that having read in the newspapers a dispatch from Paris to the effect that Lloyd George was to visit Belgium, he had asked de Broqueville, who had said that it was not an auspicious moment, and Villiers had so telegraphed to his Government. I asked de Broqueville if it was true that Lloyd George was coming, and he replied, "I do not know; this is not the moment." Then he told me that Lloyd George had threatened to publish a statement saying that Belgium had not done her part in the war, that Australia, New Zealand, Canada, each had done more, and so on. "That passes my comprehension!" At the end he said that it remained to be seen whether Belgium could fight. He was very much disturbed and expressed the extraordinary state of opinion that exists here in this moment. The Belgians are very childish, of course, very naïve and very excitable; they have never got over the vote for Geneva, and the newspapers, especially the Catholic newspapers, like La Nation Belge, Le XXième Siècle, and La Gazette, are full of violent articles, abusing President Wilson, calling him a "monster," and so on. It is saddening and depressing.
Sunday, May 4, 1919.---At six we went to the Palace. The Queen spoke of the feeling here and said: "We know that President Wilson is our friend, that he is a good friend of Belgium. We know that. Maybe the people don't know it: the newspapers are so poor. These are anxious times!"
Poor little woman, standing there, frail, timid, sad, but smiling ---anxious times indeed!
May 5, 1919.---Last night there was a Crown Council at the Palace lasting until midnight. It was decided unanimously to accept the conditions as "honourable and satisfactory," while calling the attention of the Allies to the financial condition of Belgium, especially the 6,000,000,000 marks in circulation.
And today, the feeling is much better!
The truth is that they had never formulated their demands and had the most exaggerated notions of what the Allies should do for them. The Belgians are to receive: (1) 2.5 billions in gold at once; (2) their war debt is assumed by the Allies; (3) Germany is to replace all the tools and factories, and so forth; (4) to give her 800,000,000 tons of coal; (5) Malmédy is to be annexed to Belgium; (6) France renounces her pretensions to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg; (7) the Allies rescind the Treaty of 1839; and (3) ask Holland to arrange the question of the Scheldt. The terms are really very good.
However, when I went to the Foreign Office this afternoon, I saw Hymans, and he said that Norman Davis had objected to the assumption by the Allies of the war debt, and insisted that it was to be paid at once out of Belgium's 2.5 billions. Hymans was in despair, as could be imagined. I sent another dispatch tonight about it, although that will do no good, for my dispatches are never answered. Villiers and de Margerie(17) I say that theirs are never answered either.
May 8, 1919.---Telegram today from the President saying that he is disturbed as to the impression that prevails in Belgium as to the way in which the Allies have been acting toward Belgium. Goes on to say they have been very generous with Belgium; have given her more than any other nation, and so on. Says it is not true that any threat was made to cut off food, and so forth.
May 10, 1919.---Ray Stannard Baker flew up from Paris. He reports the situation in Italy as grave; Page is in Paris---and says that his Embassy is being guarded by four hundred Italian soldiers. The French are all down on the Americans.
May 13, 1919.---Today the remains of Edith Cavell were borne on a British gun-carriage under the Union Jack from the Tir National to the Gare du Nord, and sent thence to England. At 9:30 I drove over to the British Legation to pick up Villiers, and we went to the Tir, where the authorities were already gathered---Max, Lemonnier, and a host of lesser burgomasters, aldermen and so forth. Villalobar was there, having brought Herbert Samuel with him, in his open car---painted bright red and green with white tyres, his footmen in showy liveries and the Spanish flag flying, a most conspicuous turn-out. There were no other flags save the British flag that wrapped the small coffin. I had not put mine out because I felt that it was not in taste. At my request a detachment of American troops were there; there were British troops and Belgian. At 10:15 the march began; a band, the gun-carriage with the coffin under the Union Jack, drawn by six fine horses, then a motor with Dr. and Mrs. Wainwright and Miss Cavell; then Villiers and I in my motor, then Villalobar's circus chariot, and so on.
The streets were thronged with silent crowds. The school children had all turned out with flags, tied with crêpe; the flags were everywhere at half-mast, and what I had never seen before, the street-lamps were swathed in black crêpe and lighted.
At the Gare du Nord the dear colleagues were gathered, a catafalque was set up. Gahan read some prayers, the body was put in a van of the train for Ostend, and when the band had played "God Save the King" the train was off.
It was a moving and affecting and dignified ceremony, organized as only the English can organize such solemn occasions. And of what significance, of what immense implications! The obscure little English nurse, whom the stupid Germans thought to suppress, goes now to immortal glory and fame, in her apotheosis to Westminster Abbey, the centre of civilization on this planet.
Sunday, May 25, 1919.---Pershing's visit has been postponed. We have no luck with visits of distinguished Americans here. Everybody now asks me if the President is coming. I wish I knew! What a strain it has been---a weary six months waiting for him!
June 4, 1919.---President to arrive Tuesday morning at Adinkerke, met there by the King and by me; that day visit the Belgian front, Ypres, and so on, coming to Brussels Tuesday evening ....
Coming home, found a confidential letter from Lansing under three seals---saying that the President wishes to appoint me to Rome as Ambassador! Never so surprised in my life---delighted too---in a sober way. Rome would be a hard place, since Americans are hated there now, and yet it is good to be recognized---and it's not half bad to be an Ambassador!
I shall tell Lansing that I accept.
June 13, 1919.---Call from Lieut. James Breeze, of our navy, who was of the crew of the N.-C. 4, a fine-looking, upstanding lad, very modest, and very interesting as he talked of his wonderful and historic experience. Amusing too as he told of the reception at the Azores, where the population was wild; they think that their islands are now to become important, and there is already rivalry between the two towns.
June 17, 1919.---At 2:30 Hoffman and I started for La Panne, driving without incident to Ghent, then to Bruges, which we reached at five and stopped for tea in the famous old Grand Place at the Toison d'Or---sitting there across from the belfry about which Longfellow wrote. Then on through lovely Flanders by Ghistelle to Fumes, just across the Yser; all earth once flooded, turning green, but the land ruined, they say, for years to come. We reached La Panne at 7:45.
The King and Queen there, having come from Brussels in an aëroplane. The Countess Elizabeth d'Oultremont with them, and several of the King's aides, detached to attend the President, had arrived. They and Hoffman and I dined together, at the Hôtel Tirlenck, where we are all quartered, including Their Majesties. It was pleasant, that dinner, overlooking the grey-blue sea, with the sun going down---precisely the scene we used to have every evening at Ste.-Adresse. While we were dining Their Majesties went for a walk on the beach accompanied by one of the King's aides. A curious crowd gathered to see them and shouted: "Vive le Roi!" and even more enthusiastically "Vive la Reine!" Then they gathered near the window where we were dining---the word, I was told, having gone about that the President was at the hotel and that they mistook me for him.
June 18, 1919.---The familiar haze that lay on the calm sea this morning betokened, as I could recall from our experience at Ste.-Adresse, a warm day.
The King was up early, and had a swim in the sea, then went for a walk, leaving word that he wished to see me on his return. I was standing on the sidewalk before the hotel when he came back, and he approached with a hearty greeting. He said that the hotel was too noisy.
"I never sleep well," he said.
I refrained from making the obvious remark, and he began asking questions about the President. Did he like to smoke? Would he find the programme too fatiguing? etc. The schedule, indeed, indicates a terrible day.
The motors were drawing up as we stood there and His Majesty said, "I must get my wife."
They appeared presently, the King going off in his big Renault car and the Queen following in a closed car.
Then Hoffman and I and all the others, went off to Adinkerke.
We were there at nine: troops were drawn up along the platforms of the little station, with a band; there were flowers and red carpets and the Burgomaster was there in his sash, and the aldermen. There was also an army of photographers and anxious spectators, the miserable army that spoils every public function in these days.
The train rolls slowly in---stops---the King and Queen are waiting near the President's coach. I see de Cartier, who has got off the train, bareheaded, bowing to his sovereigns. They board the train, I follow. There is the President, smiling, looking very well; he sees me, smiles a welcome---I shake his hand, am presented to Mrs. Wilson, Miss Benham, Admiral Grayson. General Harts is there, we are huddled in the little salon of the coach. The President wears a morning coat; a valet is handing him with almost reverential solicitude a freshly ironed high-hat; he dons it and we get off.
The band has been playing "The Star-Spangled Banner," over and over and over; we walk slowly down before the troops, uncovering to the Belgian flags. Hoover is beside me; Vance McCormick is there, and the tall, grinning, white-haired, thin-lipped Jew, Barney Baruch, and Norman Davis. I chat a moment with Margaret Wilson.
As they get into the big car, the President and the King, I tell the President that he will be most uncomfortable in that high hat; he thanks me with relief; says, "I was not quite sure what would be expected."
And we wait while a traveling cap is produced and a long, new, linen duster. Then, thus attired, they drove off, and we enter our cars to follow.
In my car were Hoffman, de Cartier, and, Vance McCormick. The large caravan moves swiftly off, the King setting a terrific pace. A great cloud of dust arises and floats off over the fields of Flanders, where poppies and bluets are blooming.
We stop at Nieuport and scramble about, among, and over the ruins. Nothing remains of the town but piles of brick and stones and mortar. We look at the locks, the canal---it was there that the King said, "We will retreat no further," in 1914. As we walked along I said to the President that there was something infinitely pathetic in the spectacle of the ruins of so many houses, when we thought of the happiness that had existed in each of them. He replied that houses were always being destroyed; that it was sadder to see the means of common life destroyed, such as the canals.
We drove on---along the road I had taken in May 1917, the depressing road from Ramscapelle, Fumes and on to Dixmude, where we stopped, then to Mercken, where the Belgians won their victory last autumn, and at noon were at la Forêt de Houtholst. Here we paused for luncheon.
It was a strange scene. A tent had been erected, also an awning, and then a table was spread with the dishes from the Palace, brought down in a motor lorry from Brussels, by the faithful maître-d'hotel with black mutton-chop whiskers whom one sees at the Palace.
We waited while the servants set the table; indeed, we had gone so fast that we had arrived somewhat ahead of time. There were newspaper correspondents, American and Belgian, secret service men, the army of photographers and cinema operator--s-who hung on the outskirts of the presidential and royal parties as we sat down to luncheon.
Then another army appeared, an army of enormous black flies, that bit us like mad. It was terrible. "There are no flies on you!" said Norman Davis across the table to the Queen. She looked astonished, and perplexed and turned to me helplessly. "What does he mean?" she asked. I explained, and said something about the prevalence of slang in America. The President was disgusted; "Much of our slang had better not be used," he said. The Queen then said there were no flies on her because she was in white. "They do not like white," she said, "that is why I took off my dust coat."
She asked us to keep on our hats. The luncheon was simple---chicken, cold, bread, sandwiches, a salad, coffee, and red wine. During the meal the Queen arose, and joining the industrious photographers, took several snap-shots of us.
The President was very gay during luncheon, laughed a great deal, and told several delightful anecdotes of Dr. Jowett of Oxford. I related one of him that I had recently read, and I think the King and Queen were rather uncertain as to who Dr. Jowett was.
Alone with the President, he spoke of the Senate at home. "Did you ever hear of such actions?" he said. He spoke of the Irish question, and I said that the action of the Senate in voting on it at all was unspeakable in its disregard of international comity, and he agreed. "The trouble in Ireland is," I said, "that the people pity themselves, and when a nation pities itself, it is lost." "That is what ails the French," he said. "They suffer from self-pity and from fear---a craven fear of the Germans." He was bitter against Poincaré, whom he called a ------, and to Medill McCormick he referred as a -------. I told him of McCormick's failure to go to La Panne when the day had been fixed for the audience he had requested, and the President was disgusted.
The President was reciting a limerick to me---and we kept the column waiting. Then on, to that desolate lunar landscape toward Ypres---and Mt. Kemmel blue in the distance! Tommies along the roadside, and German prisoners piling up and sorting ammunition and duds---great heaps of it. Then Ypres, a mass of whitish stones. The Burgomaster showed the President about, a great crowd following: English, Americans, Canadians, New Zealanders, and our own troops, and many Belgians living somehow among the ruins of the destroyed town. Mrs. Wilson asked me to go and interpret for the President, which I did, as he strolled along; the Burgomaster speaking in French.
The caravan started, but our car would not budge. We waited half an hour, then got into another car and started on, far behind and late. We had an open car this time, not so comfortable as the limousine, and we had an officer and Swope of the World in the car with us. Through Menin and Thourout and Roulers, always behind the others and witnessing thereby the aftermath of the receptions; flags, and dispersing crowds. We had a puncture and lost more time; the party was going to Ostend and thence to Zeebrugge, where we were to take a train at six to return to Brussels. Fearing we would be too late, we did not go to Ostend but drove on through Bruges and so to Zeebrugge, arriving there before the others, and in time to have tea at a Y.W.C.A. hut.
It was a strange, almost wild ride; hot and hazy---"this typical landscape of Flanders," as de Cartier said over and over during the day. He had an eye for all the beauty of the scene---though McCormick had not; or at least gave no evidence of it, if he did.
The party arrived after awhile and we drove out upon the mole, where we were received by British naval officers. The King had said to me earlier in the day:
"I selected Zeebrugge not because the Belgians did anything there, but because the English did, and I thought that as Anglo-Saxons you might have a pride in their exploit."
I told this to the President, and he was pleased.
On the mole were Captain Evans, who had been with Scott on his Antarctic expedition---a brisk, black-eyed, bright little chaps and Captain Carpenter, who was in command of the Vindictive; standing there on the mole, he told me the story---there on the very spot where the most picturesque and daring scene of the war was enacted.
We took the train at 6:15. I had a long talk with Hoover, still very bitter against the Belgians. Then dinner in the restaurant car, a table for a dozen of us---the King and Queen, the President and Mrs. Wilson, Margaret Wilson, Miss Benham, de Cartier, Hoover, Grayson, Harts, and Mme. de Wouters, who had joined the party at Zeebrugge ....
At Bruges and at Ghent the municipal authorities were at the train with welcomes; at Alost, while we were at table, the crowd cheered outside.
"They're cheering for you, Sir," said the President.
"Oh, no," said the King, "it's for you. I go about and there is never any one at the station."
The train rolled into the Luxembourg station at 9:15. Max was there and the Governor of Brabant, and troops and the band playing the "Star-Spangled Banner." Nell was there with Armour, and we drove to the Palace between dense crowds, flags, and lines of troops. The presentation of the Ministers and His Majesty's household was over when we arrived, but we lingered, gossiping awhile. Then home---tired, ah how tired!
June 19, 1919.---The King and the President went to Charleroi and to la Providence this morning to see the ruins of the factories destroyed systematically by the Germans. But I remained in town, concerned about the luncheon and fearing that I might be late if I went. (I had explained to the King and the President.)
The luncheon was set for 12:30 We had flowers everywhere, and a red carpet spread at the entrance; there were two lines of American soldiers as a guard of honour, and to present arms, and the headquarters band of the Third Army in the Park, playing all morning and ready to give the President and the King their flourishes and ruffles when they arrived. (I had asked for the band; it gave a concert in the Parc Royal yesterday afternoon, and another this afternoon.) Our flags, of course, were up, and we had placed another staff, and had posted Gordon there to break out the Belgian flag just as the King drove up. The guests were all gathered---Max, the Cardinal, Villalobar (because he had had charge of our interests here), de Mérode the Grand Maréchal, M. and Mme. Delacroix, M. and Mme. Paul Hymans, and others. The guests, then, had gathered when we heard the bugles and the drums and then the band playing the "Star-Spangled Banner"---the President! And Nell and I took our places at the foot of the steps, and received the President and Mrs. Wilson, Margaret and Miss Benham, Admiral Grayson, and General Harts. We ushered them into the salon, the presentations were then made. The bugles and drums again, and "la Brabançonne"--- Their Majesties were coming! The President went with me to the foot of the steps and as the King alighted, the President said: "I am pleased to welcome you on American soil."
Luncheon was almost immediately announced.
"Leurs Majestés sont servis."
The President had my seat and Mrs. Wilson Nell's; the Queen on the President's right, and Mme. Delacroix on his left. The King was on Mrs. Wilson's right, the Cardinal on her left. I was at the Queen's right, Nell next to Hymans, and so on. It all passed off well, and rapidly. The President could not talk with Mme. Delacroix, he speaking no French, she no English; he talked to the Queen and to me instead. I don't recall what was said; it was all light, touch and go, and pleasant. Because the Queen suffers from hay fever, Nell had not had roses, for which the Queen expressed her gratitude; there were, I think, sweet peas instead ....
Coffee in the salon---and the King and royal party were away, and the other guests; the President remaining for the reception to the American colony and various delegations, the press, some clergymen, and so forth.
I hurried this along, and he was off in half an hour.
At 2:30 we went to Parliament; vast crowds in the sunshine and troops all along the way and great ovations as the King and the President drove up. We went to the Chamber of Deputies; its galleries were full. Seats were set for the King and President and a chair behind the President for me. When the Queen and Mrs. Wilson came in there was applause, and when Hoover appeared he had a little ovation. Then, Belgian soldiers bearing the battle flags of the Belgian army, mounting to the tribune; the flags have the names of the battles .... There was tumultuous applause, and there were tears. Then the King and the President---and thunder.
After a bit, silence. His Majesty mounts the tribune, and reads a speech, in French; then Hymans in English, making a pretty reference to me, at which the Chamber arose, and I arose and bowed my acknowledgement. Then the President, making a splendid, solemn address, extempore, very decisive, notable in thought and diction, perfectly suited to the occasion, saying just what should be said.
Incidentally, he undid all the French propaganda---and announced that the American Legation here would be raised to an Embassy.
Out then, and away to Malines, racing over the familiar road. Great crowds at Malines, children lining all the sidewalks, and Denys ringing the carillon. The Cardinal received us, read a little allocution in English, referring to his visit to America, the President responded; then, tea and small talk, and we ran off to Louvain.
The King drives so fast that we could not keep up with him; the ceremony in the old Hôtel de Ville was in progress when we made our way through the great crowds up to the entrance. The old Burgomaster read his allocution, the President signed the "golden book," then we followed on foot to the environs of the University. There, in the midst of those tragic ruins... where the library was---only its broken walls remain standing, the roof is open to the sky ---a carpet was spread, and a table and chairs were placed and the Rector, Mgr. Ladeuze, read an address conferring on the President the degree of Doctor honoris causa. The President replied, accepting and excommunicating German scientific men from the brotherhood of scholars. It was an impressive scene, of immense implications, and the President much touched. He told me afterwards that he had a sensation of unreality, as though he were looking on at some scene and not participating in it. "Was ever a degree conferred in such circumstances?"
The diploma was a beautiful ornamented parchment, handsomely bound. We ran back to Brussels, we arriving by some hazard before the others. I learned or noted afterwards that Mrs. Wilson had gone to the Palace to change her gown---and as we entered the Hôtel de Ville, Nell and I, the choir of girls thought it was the Presidential party and began singing the "Star-Spangled Banner." The audience assembled in the Salle Gothique, across---and laughed as we alone entered.
They came after awhile. Max made his speech, the President replied, then we went into the Burgomaster's room, where the President signed the book, then out onto the balcony to look down on that loveliest of all scenes---the Grand Place. The banners of the corporations hung from the. old guild-houses and all around were the crowds. Across the Place, before the Maison du Roi, was a great military band, and a male chorus: the "Star-Spangled Banner" was played, then choruses were sung, then the crowds joined in the singing. It was most moving.
Then to the Palace for the reception to the diplomatic corps. We had to wait until the dear colleagues could all assemble; then I presented them to the President. He talked long with Sir Francis and Lady Villiers, and with Villalobar.
It was eight o'clock; dinner at the Palace was to be at 8:15, and I found that the military motor that had brought me had gone!
I ran all the way home, tired and sore and lame. Villalobar took Nell in his car. I took a bath, dressed, drove back to the Palace and we entered just at 8:15. I was never so weary in my life, didn't know my own name. The dinner was brilliant, uniforms, laces, jewels, footmen in scarlet coats, great numbers of tiny pink roses, and one hundred and fifty guests; speeches by the King and the President. Then, standing about in one of the great salons until the hour for departure, when we drove to the station---Gare de Luxembourg---where the Burgomaster and Villalobar and others were gathered, troops presented arms and the "Star-Spangled Banner" was sung, and good-byes, and the train pulled out. The President smiling in the salon of the coach and giving salutes, and it was over!
And what weariness! But it was a success, not an unpleasantness had marred his visit.
June 20, 1919.---After the luncheon yesterday I took advantage of a moment when I happened to be alone with the President, to thank him for the suggestion that I go to Rome. He was very generous, said that he had instantly thought of me when Page---"apropos," he said, "I'll tell you a story."
Then he said that during the recent incident---Orlando furioso, and so on---the Pages, and especially Mrs. Page, had warmly espoused the Italian cause, and that Mrs. Page had made many indiscreet remarks, so indiscreet that Harry White(18) had told her that she was making a fool of herself. Though, as the President said, the fact had nothing to do with Page's resignation, the feeling and belief prevailed that he had been removed because of his wife's indiscretions. On this Mrs. Page induced Page to seek to withdraw his resignation and he wrote to the President to that effect.
"I was very glad," said the President with a smile, "to be able to write to him that the post had already been tendered to you and accepted. Still," he continued, "I wish to let him down easily, and so I have told him that he could announce his own retirement when he goes home, and then I shall make the appointment."
One of the President's stories about Dr. Jowett was this:
When Lord Curzon was paying his ceremonial calls on leaving Oxford, and was calling on Jowett, the Doctor said:
"Mr. Curzon, we are sorry to have you leave Oxford. The university authorities have formed a very high opinion of your abilities, sir, the faculty has formed a very high opinion of your abilities, the undergraduate body have formed a very high opinion of your abilities; but none I believe, sir, has formed a higher opinion of your abilities than you yourself."
June 21, 1919.---Telegram from Page this morning asking if I am to be in Paris Monday. No.
Took my usual walk with the dogs, and this afternoon Nell and I went out for a walk, and seeing the views of the President's visit advertised at a cinema in the avenue Louise, went in, and sat for two mortal hours, while some preposterous and villainous melodrama was unrolled---but no views of the President's visit. The cinema is the best extant proof of the utter depravity and hopelessness of the human race.
Sunday, June 22, 1919.---The Germans have changed their government, which means that they are to sign. There is general relief at the prospect. The Allies, though, are all ready to advance.
June 23, 1919.---My usual walk, and at noon to luncheon as de Leval's guest at the Royale, where he had assembled the boards of the two chambers of commerce now to be united in one.
Went to the cinema to see the views of the President's visit, and saw them but hear now that there are better films at another theatre.
Guy d'Oultremont, by the way, told Hoffman that the President left as tips for the servants at the Palace but three hundred francs, whereas the President of Brazil left two thousand francs. The King of Denmark left three thousand and the Kaiser ten thousand francs.
The Germans have sunk their ships at Scapa Flow. What cads and rotters that race is composed of!
They will sign, it is announced.
June 25, 1919.---This morning, at His Majesty's request, I drove to the summer palace at eleven. The Queen received me in her private salon. I was shown in by the Countess Elizabeth d'Oultremont, who immediately withdrew. Her Majesty wished to consult me about a message that Charlotte Kellogg wished her to write to the American women.
June 24, 1919.---Copying my notes, I made a mistake, and omitted this day.
I have charming letters from the President.
He has sent two thousand, two hundred francs for the servants at the Palace, thus raising the Brazilian two thousand, three hundred francs.
We have an order to send all the President's things to Washington, books, letters.
June 26, 1919.---Call from Villalobar, who is going to Spain.
De Margerie is to be French Ambassador here, and Villalobar says that he will not stay as Minister; wishes Spain to raise its Legation to an Embassy.
"And you stay too," he added; "as Ambassador. No need to go to Italy now."
June 27, 1919.---Commander Jewett, United States Navy, here to see about retaining consent of Belgian Government to the establishment of a wireless between New Jersey and Belgium.
The spirit here is of the pettiest in its dishonesty. I gave out, after the President's visit, a statement to the press expressing his appreciation. The Peuple and l'Etoile deliberately suppressed that part of it which related to the Cardinal and the University of Louvain. The Catholic papers are commenting on it.
And the Political Department is printing lies, notably in la Nation Belge about their interview with the President, saying that when they presented their petition he appeared never to have heard of the Limbourg question, and that "at the end of the interview," they had changed their policy, or programme, leaving the impression that they had discussed the matter with the President. As a matter of fact, they had no discussion with him whatever, were simply presented to him in the long line, and left their petition with Armour. The President never saw it, made no comment, and only said, "It will receive consideration."
June 28, 1919.---The Germans are to sign the treaty at Versailles at three this afternoon.
Sunday, June 29, 1919.---The Germans signed the treaty yesterday afternoon at three o'clock---so the war is over; and there is peace. I decided to go to church, but took the dogs for a little walk beforehand ....
The Catholics had a ceremony this morning at the Basilica at Koekelberg in honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which the King and Queen attended, and to which the diplomatic corps had been invited, but Villiers and I had agreed with each other not to go. The observance of the cult has created much newspaper discussion and a great deal of opposition.
A few flags today are the only notice the Belgians take of the signing of peace yesterday. The Belgians are pouting.
July 2, 1919.---Nell and I walking in the rain, and met Hymans, looking weary, having just come from the Chamber where he had laid the treaty before the deputies. He told me of the ceremony at the Salle des Glaces at Versailles, said it was dull, uninteresting, and lacked beauty, everybody in black coats.
July 4, 1919.---Up an hour earlier than usual this morn of the Glorious Fourth, and away by 8:40 with Nell and Armour in a motor with a nice young major of the regular army to Antwerp to take part in the celebration by our soldiers there. I was to speak in a theatre, under the auspices of the Knights of Columbus. Great crowds in the soft rain, and the theatre filled, half of the audience English soldiers; there were French, too, and Belgian soldiers. A quartette sang American songs. Then I was introduced and spoke for half an hour with difficulty, having to change my speech because of the Allied soldiers there .... Speech poor upon the whole; I am sadly out of practice.
Home, arriving here at 12:59. We had invited Max and the aldermen of Brussels and their wives to luncheon, and they were waiting. I had asked them because during the occupation; they never failed to come to the Legation on this day to felicitate us, and I wished to have them here the first Fourth after the deliverance. I made a little speech in French and Max responded beautifully.
At four reception to the American colony. There were forty or fifty present. One of those social efforts for which one receives no credit or evidence of appreciation, but the lack of which would have given cause for complaint and criticism.
July 9, 1919.---I am not very enthusiastic about going to Rome---dread it, in fact. If this Legation is raised to an Embassy, I'd rather remain here.
July 10, 1919.---Went and posed for Volk for an hour---he has asked to make a sketch of me---and then we had the Tucks for luncheon.
July 11, 1919.---Went to see Hymans at the Foreign Office this afternoon. He wished me to tell our Legation at The Hague to send a man here to obtain the information regarding Luxembourg, for which they had asked the Belgian Legation at The Hague, and also to ask me to do something to help the University of Brussels to get some money in America.
This evening dined at the British Legation, and had the pleasure of meeting and of talking for an hour with Mr. Asquith. He is rather heavier, I thought, than when I saw him in the House of Commons in---was it in 1917?---or at any rate not so tall as I thought him. But a distinguished figure, with his shock of snow-white hair falling over his collar, his dear, ruddy skin and his mild, but bright and humorous, blue eyes. There is a sturdiness in his frame, and something about his mouth and nose and general expression that suggests the Celtic, though it can't be that, since he is a Yorkshireman. He has a humorous way of looking at one---and is full of humour to justify the expression. After dinner we stood there and had a long talk. He showed a perfect knowledge of American politics; asked me who would be the candidates for President, a question that I could not answer. "I suppose the third term would make Wilson impossible," he observed. He said that he hoped that a general would not be selected as candidate. Spoke of his hour's talk with the President at London at Christmas time, and had told him that all the talk in Italy and in France of adherence to the idealistic---"what I should call the Liberal part of his program"---was the severest pretence and hypocrisy.
He told a story which the President had told him of Lincoln, who after a cabinet meeting at which he put a policy to vote, and the Cabinet members had voted unanimously for it, said "the noes have it." All this apropos of a discussion that we had had concerning the parliamentary system as in England, and our system. I told him the story of Governor Stuart of Virginia, who said, "I have had experience with legislatures and Congresses all my life, they are like a rail fence, each member is crooked and points in a different direction, but it makes a good fence." He laughed, and repeated the story over and over, as if fixing it in his memory. "Any one who has ever hunted would understand that," he said. I greatly enjoyed my evening with him.
Italy has raised her Legation here to an Embassy, and Ruspoli is named an Ambassador.
July 12, 1919.---Cablegram from Washington this evening granting leave of absence with permission to visit the United States. We have taken passage on the liner Amsterdam, sailing from Rotterdam on the 26th.
July 16, 1919.---Terribly blue at the thought of leaving Brussels. Italy has no charm, with the present state of things down there!
July 17, 1919.---Everybody congratulates me on being an Ambassador, which I don't understand; my salary remains the same.
July 18, 1919.---Vast and feverish preparations for the reception of the President of the French Republic, one Poincaré, and as Sharp when Ambassador so happily said in a public speech, the lady who is now his wife.
July 19, 1919.---Trying to get troops for the review on Thursday, but Pershing can't send them. I shall be humiliated, or at least disappointed. Our crack troops are all in England.
Hoffman back from The Hague. While there he saw our military attaché at Rome, who predicts revolution in Italy, and an alliance with Germany. All of which makes me more and more reluctant to go there. I wish it had never come up. I could never endure another experience of tumult such as I have already had.
Sunday, July 20, 1919.---This afternoon Colonel Buckey, military attaché at Rome, came with Hoffman to call. He is full of the darkest, gloomiest, and even tragic forebodings about Italy, painting a black picture. Nice mess I have got myself into, accepting that post!
July 21, 1919.---Took occasion to make an observation to Vesnitch about the fact that Serbia has never even thanked me for having had charge of her interests here during the occupation. Buckey here to luncheon, with more depressing news about Italy. Ah me, what a fool I have been!
At 2:30 to Hôtel de Ville, introduced, Nell and I, by a mistaken usher, into the tribune, where were Prince Léopold, the Princess Marie Josef and Prince Charles. Max asked me to remain, but we fled, and finally found the others on another balcony. Very pretty scene---the children singing and pirouetting in the Grande Place. Great crowds. Poincaré and Foch and Pétain arrived at six this evening; vast holiday enthusiasm.
Telegram from Pershing saying, in response to my urgent appeal of yesterday, that he had ordered a battalion of American troops here from Coblentz, so that situation is saved.
July 22, 1919.---Pouring rain, this morning, and the streets black with tossing, shining umbrellas. At 9:30 to the Palace for the review. A red tribune for royalty and the presidential party, but for the diplomatic corps reserved places on the pavement near by, with no covering but high hats. We waited an hour---then the King and Marshal Foch arrived, with Poincaré. Foch warmly acclaimed, a distinguished grey man Foch, looking the part, as he saluted with his Marshal's baton. Then the review: first the Americans, a battalion having arrived from Coblentz at midnight, with General Allen, General Harts and other Generals. Before them were borne a dozen American battle flags, which turned out and took their places facing the reviewing stand. Then the French; then the British, their flags turning out, then Italians, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, Polish, Russians, Czechoslovaks, Siamese, Roumanians---all the tribes from the uttermost parts of the earth---and then the Belgian army, horse, foot, and dragoons, for an hour in the rain, until the flags of all the allied nations were massed there against the green of the Place Royal, and at the end coming forward to be lowered in salute---a beautiful spectacle.
At 2:30---reception at the Chamber. The same scenes, same protocol as when the President was here, but more emotion, more Latin sobbing and thrilling, as when Foch entered. Then the King and little Poincaré, who looks like a shopkeeper. He made a beautiful speech, such perfect French, though he said nothing.
At 7:15 reception at Palais de Bellevue to corps diplomatique; presented to Poincaré and his wife. At eight gala dinner---very brilliant. Presented to Foch after dinner; throughout the dinner I had looked at him, that grey, serious face, that splendid, thoughtful head. I was much impressed.
After dinner Prince Léopold came up to me and talked a long while.
"Your soldiers looked splendid this morning," he said, "I liked their formation." (They were in massed column of platoons.)
Talked to him of Eton, and of the visit the King paid him the other day, surprising him by dropping down in an aëroplane.
Then the King came up, and speaking of my trip home, said: "I want to go to America." I asked him when. "As soon as possible." He was very much animated and smiling, leaning on a table and highly enthusiastic over the thought of going. Said he wanted to devote three days to official things, and then spend his time in studying our institutions, going to the Pacific coast, and so on, wished me to make arrangements to go with him, etc. Gave me carte blanche to arrange affairs.
I was quite delighted.
I have sent a dispatch to the President about raising this Legation to an Embassy, and calling his attention to the feeling that will be created if I am not first Ambassador---that is, hinting at it; I have many expressions of it. The Belgians are very touchy. All the three colleagues in their new grand cordons this evening.
July 23, 1919.---The Poincaré celebration goes on. He has had a tremendous ovation---he and Foch. The Belgians are strange---gloomy one day, the next rejoicing like children.
We are to sail early Saturday morning.
July 24, 1919.---Word that the New Amsterdam cannot sail tomorrow night---the crew is on strike. No notion when she will put to sea.
July 25, 1919.---It has rained now every day for nearly a month.
No news as to when the ship will sail.
Posed this afternoon for Volk. He is a good sort, full of stories about Lincoln and about Douglas, for whom he was named.
July 26, 1919.---Walking religiously this afternoon, almost running, to get away from dyspepsia. Met Guy d'Oultremont, who told me that the King wishes to sail the middle of August, and suggested that I have him invited. I suggested that Prince Léopold go with him and he agreed, so I have cabled the President suggesting that invitations be sent Their Majesties and the Prince, and that a man-of-war be sent to fetch them.
Sunday, July 27, 1919.---Swift here to luncheon. A dispatch from the President inviting Their Majesties to visit America as guests of the nation. Sent Swift to find d'Arschot or d'Oultremont to ask an audience. D'Oultremont came and will arrange for an audience tomorrow.
July 28, 1919.---The King having fixed two o'clock for the audience I had asked last night, I drove to Laeken this afternoon immediately after luncheon, and was received at the summer palace, in the King's cabinet on the ground floor, a large room with a great roll-top desk and swivel chair, the desk all littered. A great parrot was balancing on a perch.
I delivered the President's invitation and His Majesty was delighted, called it good news, and kept me for an hour talking of the visit. Asked me to obtain for him some books on America---school histories, and children's books, he said, for he could thus glean facts more easily. Saw that he was afraid of making speeches; asked if there was not some book like L'Art de Bien Écrire in English that gives models of letters, and so on, and I said that I would attend to all that for him. He was afraid too of reporters, a more difficult problem.
Speaking of the President's visit here, he said that considering the campaign against the President, he thought that it had been a success. He said: "You have had great men as President in your country .... If Mr. Wilson had been born in France, he would never have been elected President."
He wished to visit Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Cañon, but wished the Queen preserved from fatigue as much as possible. He wished me to accompany him. I was there an hour. D'Arschot came about dinner time to ask me to put into English a telegram that the King had written accepting the President's invitation. I did so and as he was going he said:
"Your vacation is a little compromised!"
July 29, 1919.---Today the announcement is made that the British Legation here is to be raised to the rank of an Embassy, and that Sir Francis is to be Ambassador. Nell and I congratulated Sir Francis on his appointment. He had threatened to resign because of the delay in making his Legation an Embassy. On December 3, 1920, he will have completed fifty years in public office. Meanwhile no news about making this an Embassy, though the newspaper dispatches say that the Senate has voted it. I wish that I might be left here instead of going into that hell of Italy! I fear there is no hope now. What an ass I was to accept Rome. The King's visit complicates it!---though in favour, perhaps, of my remaining here.
July 30, 1919.---Telegram from Washington, saying that the President appreciates my point of view and will take no action until I reach Washington. But I want him to take action, and leave me here; and how am I to get to Washington when ships' crews mutiny? Senator Saulsbury of Delaware and wife here to luncheon. He is a good sort. Talked to him about the Rome appointment, knowing that he was a candidate for the post, and consequently, as I knew he would, he feels that by all means I should stay here as Ambassador. Said that he would talk to Polk, who is now at Paris.
August 1, 1919.---Five years ago today we came in from Bois Fleuri ---to what a terrible five years, or perhaps more, since this world is still quite mad, No news of the sailing. We dine with the Hymans tonight.(19)
November 13, 1919.---Back in Brussels; the town cold, and drab and dull. Arrived at 7:50 this morning, Gare du Midi; all the Ministers there, and Max and the reporters and the cinemamen, and a red carpet---all as usual, unchanged---and a small crowd, and after the greetings, we were off in one of the royal motors for the Embassy, as we must learn to call it .... Colonel Thomas, our new military attaché, with his wife, came to tea. They are good, simple folk, and I like them.
November 19, 1919.---The Socialists will have nearly as many seats as the Catholics, who are first, with greatly diminished representation, and their majority, which they had had for thirty years, quite gone; the Liberals are a poor third.(20) No party has a majority, and the coalition will be continued. The Catholics and the nobles think the end of the world has come, and the... aristocracy of the Quartier Léopold goes about very much down in the mouth.
The Brussels press is publishing the accounts of the royal journey to America; nearly all of them are ill-natured, and filled with ignorant and impudent criticism of America and American institutions. I am not surprised; I expected as much from that pack of silly asses who were permitted to go along.
November 21, 1919.---It is one year ago today that we left Ste.-Adresse for Brussels, full of hope at last about the peace. And now the Senate adjourns having well-nigh accomplished its work of political sabotage. What a spectacle!
The Brussels newspapers continue the publication of their articles about the royal journey. Today they tell of our visit to Porta Delgada. Belgian journalists, of course, enchanted, and bursting with florid phrases about the island. "Joy of the latinity recovered again!" exclaims one of them in his enthusiasm. The island of St. Miguel is lovely, of course, and the town picturesque with its huddle of houses in all their delicate tints, but what I saw in Porta Delgada was poor mangy, diseased dogs, beggars everywhere dragging their misery and displaying their sores, diseased women with swollen feet---our consul told me that the whole population is syphilitic---and the filth everywhere beyond words. All very Latin, no doubt, but I couldn't share the ebullient enthusiasm of the Belgian correspondents. The fact is that those journalists saw nothing in America, and brought back with them only what they took.
November 27, 1919.---I have been reading George Moore again, his two books Story-Teller's Holiday and Avowals, and have been so interested that I have gone back to Vale, which I had never read, although I was very much interested in the other volumes of the trilogy. His style is excellent, and he is interesting, though he has a vulgar Irish streak in him.
December 5, 1919.---After I had had my morning walk with the dogs, Villalobar came and we had a long chat until lunch time. I have been reading Frank Harris's book on Oscar Wilde; and Villalobar told me of meeting Wilde and of dining with him, or of supping with him, in Paris, after Wilde had come out of Reading Gaol. Wilde was there under an assumed name, and Villalobar having told him how interesting he had found The Picture of Dorian Grey, Wilde afterwards sent him a copy of the book with a letter signed by his true name. Villalobar said that Wilde was very disgusting in his personal appearance, with heavy jowls, very fat, had black teeth, and "spit," as Villalobar said, at the corners of his mouth. But he talked in the most fascinating way.
Harris's book is interesting, and quite as interesting as the portrait he draws of Wilde is the portrait that he draws of himself. He---Harris (Bern Dailey knew and admired him)---is a reformer, hot and eager, who goes through life butting his head against a stone wall; and is doubtless a disagreeable person, with no humour, save of the mordant kind. Wilde was bad, repulsively bad, and all his work is thereby tainted; but the criminal courts and prisons of England are bad too. Reading of Wilde's trial and punishment, I felt again the old indignation with which I used to burn, and that led to the writing of The Turn of the Balance.
Nell and I have finished reading Mr. Creevey.(21) Dear, charming, delightful, human Mr. Creevey! We disliked to put the book down, were really sad, we had come to know the old diner-out so well.
December 8, 1919.---I went to the Foreign Office this morning---to talk to Hymans about the reports in the papers this morning to the effect that England and France are to guarantee Belgium's territorial integrity during five years and until the League of Nations is going strong; Belgium to promise to be neutral during that time. I talked a while with him, and after luncheon he telephoned, asking me to return to the Foreign Office, as he wished to continue the conversation. He was more communicative this afternoon than he had been in the morning...
We talked a long while. He showed me a dispatch from Washington saying that Lodge was uncompromising in his attitude, and that the situation was rendered more difficult by the uncertainty regarding the President's condition.(22) Ah me!
And he showed me another dispatch from Copenhagen, saying that the chargé d'affaires for Holland there had had an interview with Litvinoff in which the latter had said that the Bolsheviks were ready to make peace provided they be permitted to maintain in some neutral country an agent who will be free to correspond with agents of the Bolshevik Government in other countries, and so on.
Reading the Nation (London) today. Strange! How all has changed in this world! Or is it I? So much of their radicalism seems so silly to me now---much of it, not all. Am I growing old? Ah, well, radicalism, like flirting, in a youth is attractive; in an old man it is disgusting.
December 11, 1919.---We had a pleasant evening at Laeken. We had been summoned for 7:30, and arrived duly; were met by one of the King's aides, and by a new dame d'honneur. It was cold in those marble halls, and we crossed a great salon and were taken into a smaller salon, all red satin and gilded empire chairs, on which the fire blazing in a chimney glinted pleasantly. Their Majesties after a few minutes came into the great salon, where we were at that moment summoned .... The King was in khaki, and the Queen in white satin, with a long string of pearls; they were very gracious. We went without ceremony out to dinner, Nell walking with the Queen and I with the King ....
We talked of the Treaty, of course, and he observed that it made little difference what was in it, or what was taken out of it by reservations. The principal thing was to get some treaty signed and ratified, and get back to work: "Production is what is needed," he said.
The Queen has taken up golf.
Sunday, December 28, 1919.---L'Étoile Belge has a nasty article on America today; and La Nation Belge published the other morning a bitter attack on Americans, apropos the loan of the Guaranty Trust Company. All of the fine feeling that existed here during the occupation has vanished quite, and the people are quarreling, squabbling, backbiting; nothing but jealousy, bitterness, and scandal-mongering. And as for all that America did---quite forgot!
December 30, 1919.---This afternoon to see Hymans, to find out what news there was in the matter of the Anglo-French guarantee of Belgium .... He was bitter about the Allies and about America; said that Belgium's troubles were all due to us, especially to Lansing, who had upheld Holland at every turn, which is of course true.
After tea, went over to see Villiers, and was with him for two hours. He showed me all the recent dispatches between Lord Curzon and Sir Eyre Crowe at Paris, so that I was enabled to prepare a dispatch giving the full story. Washington's advices from London had not been accurate.
Villiers had told me, too, a long story of Delacroix's discomfiture over his loan. After the failure of the negotiation with the Guaranty Trust, Delacroix entered into negotiations with an English syndicate headed by Lord Willoughby de Broke for fifty million issued bonds, and now find that the British syndicate has no money.
January 2, 1920.---This morning at ten to the Palace, to present Morgan to the King. His Majesty kept us half an hour, his blue eye on the clock most of the time; he was bored, and so was I .... Morgan spoke of prohibition as a "crime," but the King didn't agree with him; spoke of certain groups in France today as a people ruined by alcohol. Of course the King, when he speaks of prohibition, means mere restriction of the sale of strong drink; he would permit light wines and beers, and would therefore, if the Anti-Saloon League fanatics knew of this heresy, be at once accused by them of being in the pay of the brewing interests.
As we were leaving His Majesty was speaking of the way in which every one in America works (he had been talking about the necessity of increased production in Europe; "we must produce," as he said); "even the highest," he said.