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Alpine NCO
Emilio Dones (Milan)

The straight feather in his hat gives him a quaint air, a bit archaic. With his thin mocking face, his close cut moustache, his fine hair, one could be seeing one of those minstrels, one of those jugglers of times gone by who, for the honour of Our Lady, made the populace marvel at their acts and their songs. Is he not anyway, a bit of their lineage, he, the fearless alpinist, unhindered by vertigo, the acrobat astounding the Milan crowd, the heart beating, to be seen climbing the highest spires of the Cathedral. Now he is a soldier, of an elite corps. He has undertaken this prodigious mountain campaign where, not content just ascending inaccessible peaks, the gunners hauled even heavy pieces there; he has known the hard stations in the icy trenches, the patrols in the summit winds that cut the face and burn clenched hands to the rifle; he has seen the pure white peaks abruptly redden to the flash of the shells; he has seen blood on the snow. He has seen the war.