Five or six shadowy forms in long cloaks stood out against this background of light.
In the darkness, like a group of fantastic hunch-backs, the men stood round, leaning on their sticks and arching their backs under the amazing weight of their packs, crammed with miscellaneous paraphernalia. For the trenches were a desert island. How could you tell what you might want there? So the men took down everything they could carry.
A hand was placed on my shoulder. It was Vignerte's.
Since our Captain left us after Craonne to command a battalion of another regiment, Raoul Vignerte, senior to me in the service, had been in command of the company. He was a man of twenty-five, slight, with a splendid dark head. Two months of war had done more than ten years of peace could have done to draw us together. We did now know each other before August, 1914, yet we had common memories of those bygone days. I came from Béarn, he from Landes.
The men, hitherto silent, could no longer restrain a hasty comment.
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