Sunday, 8th December (1918)

In the saddle from 9.30 a.m. till 6 p.m. – a trek of about 30 kilos, and very interesting.  Almost the whole route has lain through endless streets of conjoining industrial towns, coal mines and iron mines lying on all sides, their towering machinery reminding one of Brangwyn’s etchings and the mountainous slag-heaps looking like miniature Ngauruhoes, the more distant heaps suggesting the Pyramids.  The names of some of the towns were Manceau-au-pont, Charleroi, Anderloe, Dampremy, and the village we now inhabit is Lambusart.

Being Sunday, the people were in their best clothes and great gatherings watched us pass along.  We are billeted in a large school-room in charge of a most obliging and friendly little nun.  They have bountifully supplied us with straw and with coal for the stove.  After our evening meal I became the joyous recipient of a batch of N.Z. letters.  I read them all in a Cafe, to the great interest of an intelligent Belgian and his wife with whom I passed the whole evening, exchanging an amazing conversation of broken French, and gesticulations, cigarettes, and various vin rouge.

It was here that mine host of the Cafe distinguished himself.  His wife left her little girl for a moment, and the child of course meddled with the glasses and broke a small tumbler.  Mine host, his eyes blazing, his teeth clenched, strode across the room and soundly boxed his wife’s ears before the whole company!

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