This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: lept well, ate well and surged with the passions
and longings of his youth. Had any one said to him, "What is there to live for?" he would have had no answer
ready merely because it would have never occurred to him that any one could really ask so foolish a question.
Came the war. Full of the ardor of patriotism and the longing for the great experience, he enlisted. He took the
"hardships" of camp life, the long hikes, the daily drills, the food dished out in tins, as a lark, and his hearty
fellowship identified him with the army, with its profanity, its rough friendliness, its grumbling but quick
obedience and its intense purpose to "show 'em what the American can do." He went overseas and learned that
French patriotism, like the American brand, did not prevent profiteering, and that enlistment in a common
cause does not allay or abate racial prejudices and antagonisms. This, however, did not prey on his mind, for
he took his Americanism as superior without argument and was not especially disappointed because of French
customs and morals. He took part in several battles, made night attacks, bayonetted his first man with a horror
that however disappeared under the glory of victory.
One day as he and a few comrades were in a front line trench, "Jerry" placed a high explosive "plump in the
middle of it." When S. recovered consciousness, he found himself half covered with dirt and debris of all
kinds, and when he crawled out and brushed himself off, he saw that of all his comrades he alone survived,
and that they were mangled and mutilated in a most gruesome way. "Pieces of my friends everywhere," is his
terse account. He lay in the trench, not daring to move for hours, the bitterest thoughts assailing him,--anger,
hatred and disgust for war, the Germans, his own countrymen; and he even cursed God. When he did this he
shuddered at his blasphemy, became remorseful and prayed for forgiveness. A little later he crawled out of the CHAPTER XVII. 154 trench and back to where he was picked up by the medical corps and taken to a hospital. He was examined,
View Full Document
- Spring '11