Page:Pierre and Luce.djvu/13

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PIERRE AND LUCE

devouring nature—this breeding sow that gobbles up her litter of pigs.

In every growing youth between sixteen and eighteen there is a bit of the soul of Hamlet. Don't ask him to understand the war! (All right for you men, who have had your fill!) He has all he can do to understand life and forgive its existence. As a rule he digs himself in with his dream and with the arts, until the time comes when he has got used to his incarnation, and the grub has achieved its agonizing passage from larva to winged insect. What a need he has for peace and meditation during these April days so full of the trouble of maturing life! But they come after him to the bottom of his burrow, look him up, drag him from the dark while still so tender in his new-made skin. They toss him into the raw air amongst the hard human race whose follies and hatreds he is expected at the very first moment to accept without understanding them and, not understanding, to atone for them.

Pierre had been called to military service