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The Spike or Victoria University College Review Silver Jubilee 1924

(4) Of Such is the Kingdom

(4) Of Such is the Kingdom.

Late night had fallen upon Salonica and with it that great quiet in the stony streets that was such a contrast to the clatter of the incessant traffic by day. It was hard to believe that within two miles were great encampments of the armies of the nations spreading over the hills and stretching further day by day.

At the railway station a small party of women were 'getting Primus Stoves to go' and cutting bread and slicing lemons in preparations for gruel of some sort. In the early hours, you might see the guests arrive—Serbians who had long ago begun that weary journey away from the advancing foe and still were wandering on not knowing the end of it. They formed peculiarly pathetic little groups with those rescued 'bits of things' from the home, that somehow made the outcasts seem more homeless. Many scenes of pain, sorrow and suffering will have passed from our minds, before we forget those little family groups with all that they could now call home carried with them.

They get out of the train—old men, women and many tiny children. They are quite friendless and have no idea what to do or where to go. They accept the tea and bread and seem glad to be directed to a tent pitched among some frees by the station. Here they settle down on the straw and the little children sit down with a biscuit and a mug of milk and look quite content.

One night among the crowds in the tent, there was a group of two women with two tiny infants and two little toddlers; the babies were laid among the straw and the little boy and girl sat quietly beside them, making a very appealing picture. Some French soldiers were invited to come in and look, and with caressing voices began to murmur ' Les pauvres petits!' 'Les pauvres petits!' One stretched out his arms to the little boy, and the next moment the weary little soul got up from his bed of straw and climbed straight up into the arms of the Frenchman. Then carrying the little fellow, the big man walked out of the tent on to the platform and the two began petting each other and talking to each other, the one in French and the other in Serbian, but apparently with perfect understanding. The soldier would take off his hat and place it on the little child's head, and the little child would lift his two hands and draw them down the big man's cheeks and kiss him. And then they laughed together and pointed to the big train and explained things to each other, and some that were there could not take their eyes off that scene as long as the big French soldier walked on the dark platform with the little Serbian child in his arms.