The day’s training is over. Albert collapses exhausted onto his camp-bed. He’s fuming! He sees very little of the war from inside these walls, here where the recruits receive their military training. He has no real connection with his comrades. Albert makes no effort. Being of strong and independent character, he longs for something more. His heart is not in it. The training is demanding! The frustrations keep growing. His performance is not up to scratch! His instructors don’t think much of him. Albert feels once again that he’s going to have to make things change. If he wants to fight, to prove himself, he’s going to have come to a decision? But what can he do? Everything seems to be against him!
One day he hears that deserters are being sent to the front. That’s the sign he’s been waiting for! It’s decided. Albert escapes but makes sure that he is quickly caught. He’s locked in a cell where a terrible anguish grips him. Has he gone too far? He is taken unceremoniously to an officer who’s looking at his notes. Raising his head, he curtly asks him the reason for his desertion. Albert answers frankly: “The bad soldiers are sent up there (that is, to the front), and I want to go where the fighting is.”
The shot achieves its objective. He receives his assignment with the 27th Alpine Battalion of Foot Soldiers, stationed in Lorraine! Hurrah!
The train is full of soldiers and equipment. An interminable journey is taking shape. Albert feels that this time he is facing a destiny that he himself has chosen. He is finally being sent into battle!
The rest will follow soon…