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The White Road to Verdun

We left Paris determined to undertake the journey to the Front in the true spirit of the French Poilu, and, no matter what happened, "de ne pas s'en faire." This famous "motto" of the French Army is probably derived from one of two slang sentences, de ne pas se faire des cheveux ("to keep one's hair on,") or de ne pas se faire de la bile, or, in other words, not to upset one's digestion by unnecessary worrying. The phrase is typical of the mentality of the Poilu, who accepts anything and everything that may happen, whether it be merely slight physical discomfort, or intense suffering, as part of the willing sacrifice which he made on the day that, leaving his homestead and his daily occupation, he took up arms "offering his body as a shield to defend the heart of France."

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