Lady Harriet Jephson

Altheim, Germany

Altheim, Germany

I went into the Park Strasse this morning to buy a “Frankfurter Zeitung.” Outside the shop where I bought it some American women stood gazing at a map of the war, and one said: “I am disgusted with England, just disgusted. So degrading of her to help a country like Russia, and side with assassins, just degrading! All we Americans despise her now.” I thought to myself: “If I go to prison for it, I will not allow anyone to call my country ‘degraded and disgusting.'” So I said, trembling with wrath, “There is nothing ‘degrading’ in being honourable, nor despicable in keeping true to your word. England promised to protect Belgium’s frontier, and she is bound to do it.”

Several Germans were gathered round the map, and they scowled at me until I faced them calmly and said: “Jeder man für sein Land” (Every man for his country), and they answered quite civilly: “Gewiss!” (Certainly). The Americans in Altheim, I found afterwards, were chiefly of German extraction, which accounted for the woman’s behaviour.

Early this morning three men arrived to search my room for weapons. I was in bed, but they pushed past the maid Käthchen, forced their way in, pried into every corner, and departed. Emile the housemaid here has four brothers at the war. Dreadful rumours are flying about as to our destination. One day we hear we are to go to Denmark, another to Holland. Sometimes we are told that we shall not be allowed to leave Germany until the war is over; again that we shall be sent away at a moment’s notice; that we shall be left at the frontier, and have to walk for six hours, and carry our own luggage, etc.

The German papers are perfectly horrible in their violent abuse of England, and we are so miserably anxious, not about ourselves, but about our dear, dear country, and how she is faring. Käthchen said this morning, “Die deutschen in Ausland sind sehr schlecht behandelt” (Germans abroad are very badly treated). “See how well the foreigners are treated here,” by way of impressing upon me how thankful I ought to be for my mercies.

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