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A Strange Kind Of War

From a letter of Eugène Lemercier, the French painter who fought and died in World War I.

November 17, 1914

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.

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