in the morning.
Dear Mother,— . . . I write to you in the happiness of the dawn over my dear village. The night, which began with rain, has brought us again a pure and glorious sky. I see once more my distant horizons, my peaked hills, the harmonious lines of my valleys. From this height where I stand who would guess that agricultural and peaceful village to be in reality nothing but a heap of ruins, in which not a house is spared, and in which no human being can survive the hell of artillery!
As I write, the sun falls upon the belfry which I see framed in the still sombre tree close beside me, while far away, beneath the last hills, the last swelling of the ground, the plain begins to reveal its precious detail in the rosy and golden atmosphere.
The splendid weather is my great consolation. I live rather like an invalid sent to some magnificent country, whom the treatment compels to unpleasant and fatiguing occupations. Between Leysin and the trench where I am at present there has been only uncertainty. Nothing new has happened to our company since October 13.
This is a strange kind of war. It is like that between neighbours on bad terms. Consider that some of the trenches are separated from the enemy by hardly 100 metres, and that the combatants fling projectiles across with their hands: you see that these neighbours make use of violent methods.
As for me, I really live only when I am with you, and when I feel the splendour of the surroundings.
Even in the middle of conversations, I am able to preserve the sensation of solitude of thought which is necessary to me.