FOREWORD Herbert Clark Hoover, chairman of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, once called that amazing organization, the door in the wall of steel. Between November, 1914, and March, 1917, when America entered the world war, there had passed through that door millions of dollars in money, thousands of tons of foodstuffs and clothing, and four or five dozen young Americans, most of them just out of their 'teens, who played a part in Belgian history which they are still trying to explain in words of one syllable to admiring relatives and friends! Theirs is a story of sweet romance, gallant adventure, grotesque comedy, and grim tragedy. The tales which are here set down are a part of their story. These tales are t strictly truth, but they are t fiction. They are both. They try to describe the state of mind, the atmosphere in which History-both truth and fiction-is made; the atmosphere behind long lines of barbed-wire and bayonets, behind waves of poisoned gas, in a famished land where ten million heroic people, both French and Belgians, have silently and steadily fought to keep their self-respect, their sanity, and their courage. These tales have been written in a spirit of gratitude and love; with gratitude and love first of all to Herbert Clark Hoover, then to the other officers and members of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, and then, and perhaps most of all, to those unnamed French, Walloon, and Flemish millions with whom we Americans stood shoulder to shoulder on the inside of the door in the wall of steel. E. E. H. 4 Place de la Concorde, Paris New Year's Day, 1918.