On the collar of his jacket, soiled in the heavy seas of the convoys, worn by mud and dust, the red regimental badge of the artilleryman shines out.
It is unlikely, however, that this expression of torpor ever carried into combat his leaden eyes, whether they were dazzled by the violent glow of batteries in action, whether they glimpsed from a distance the heavy smoke of bombardments, or flickered among the angry whining of shellfire. He must have been employed in the hard labour of a porter carrying heavy loads; along the quays where the transports for the Orient were moored, he carried on his shoulders streaming with sweat cases of munitions, piled up with grenades, loaded with fine piles of shells, geometrically ordered and looking harmless. Lying in the southern sunshine he prolonged his siesta where no doubt he dreamt of simple rustic scenes, dusty palm trees, views of golden sands, and on the riverbank women in their variegated skirts coming to fill their water pots. A humble servant of France, it was hardly possible to make a soldier of him, but he gave of the best that his simple soul could give. Among so many heroic faces, the war gave us some bowed heads that were nonetheless most touching.