To-day a walk along the Marne. Charming weather after a little rain.
A welcome interlude in these troubled times. We are still without news, like you, but we have happily a large stock of patience. I have had some pleasure in the landscape, notwithstanding the invasion of red and blue. These fine men in red and blue have given the best impression of their moral. Great levies will be made upon our dépôts, to be endured with fortitude.
August 16 (from a note-book).
The monotony of military life benumbs me, but I don’t complain. After nine years these types are to be rediscovered, a little less marked, improved, levelled down. Just now every one is full of grave thoughts because of the news from the East.
The ordinary good-fellowship of the mess has been replaced by a finer solidarity and a praiseworthy attempt at adaptation. One of the advantages of our situation is that we can, as it were, play at being soldiers with the certainty of not wasting our time. All these childish and easy occupations, which are of immediate result and usefulness, bring back calm to the mind and soothe the nerves. Then the great stay which supports the men is a profound, vague feeling of brotherhood which turns all hearts towards those who are fighting. Each one feels that the slight discomfort which he endures is only a feeble tribute to the frightful expense of all energy and all devotedness at the front.