Eugáene Emmanuel Lemercier

The Argonne, France

The Argonne, France

(from a note-book)

This is war; here are we approaching the place of horror. We have left behind the French villages where peace was still sleeping. Now there is nothing but tumult. And here are direct victims of the war.

The soldiers: blood, mud and dirt. The wounded. Those whom we pass at first are the least suffering—wounds in arms, in hands. In most of them can clearly be seen, in the midst of their fatigue and distress, great relief at having been let off comparatively easily.

Farther on, towards the ambulances, the burying of the dead: there are six, stretched on two waggons. Smoothed out, and covered with rags, they are taken to an open pit at the foot of a Calvary. Some priests conduct, rather than celebrate, the service, military as they have become. A little straw and some holy water over all, and so we pass on. After all, these dead are happy: they are cared-for dead. What can be said of those who lie farther on and who have passed away after nights of the throes of death and abandonment.

. . . From this agony there will remain to us an immense yearning for pity and brotherhood and goodness.

 

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