We Are Embarked On The Adventure

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

September 7, 1914

. . . We are embarked on the adventure, without any dominant feeling except perhaps a sufficiently calm acceptance of this fatality. But sensibility is kept awake by the sight of the victims, particularly the refugees. Poor people, truly uprooted, or rather, dead leaves in the storm, little souls in great circumstances.

Whole trains of cattle-trucks, which can hardly be said to have changed their use! Trains in which is heaped up the desolation of these people torn from their homes, and how quickly become as beasts! Misery has stripped them of all their human attributes. We take them food and drink, and that is how they become exposed: the man drinks without remembering his wife and children. The woman thinks of her child. But other women take their time, unable to share in the general haste. Among these waifs there is one who assails my heart,—a grandmother of eighty-seven, shaken, tossed about by all these blows, being by turns hoisted into and let down from the rolling cages. So trembling and disabled, so lost . . . 


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