Far to Seek eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 591 pages of information about Far to Seek.

On a slab near an arcaded opening Roy sat gratefully down; while Terry, bored to extinction with the whole affair, curled himself up in a shadowed corner and went fast asleep.  “Unfriendly little beast,” thought Roy; and promptly forgot his existence.

For below him, in the silvery moonlight of morning, lay Chitor; her shattered arches and battlements, her temples and palaces dwarfed to mere footstools for the gods.  And beyond, and again beyond, lay the naked strength and desolation of northern Rajputana—­white with poppy-fields, velvet-dark with scrub, jagged with outcrops of volcanic rock; the gaunt warrior country, battered by centuries of struggle and slaughter; making calamity a whetstone for courage; saying, in effect, to friend and enemy, ‘Take me or leave me.  You cannot change me.’

The Border had fascinated Roy.  The Himalayas had subjugated him.  But this strong unlovely region of rock and sand, of horses and swords, of chivalry and cruelty and daring, irresistibly laid siege to his heart; gave him the authentic sense of being one with it all.

On a day, in that summer of blessed memory, his mother had almost promised him that, once again she would revisit India if only for the joy of making a pilgrimage with him to Chitor.  And here he sat on the summit of Khumba Rana’s Tower—­alone.  That was the way of life....

Gradually there stole over him a great weariness of body and spirit; pure reaction from the uplift of his strange adventure.  His lids drooped heavily.  In another moment he would have fallen sound asleep; but he saved himself, just in time.  When he craved the thing, it eluded him; now, undesired, it assailed him.  But it would never do.  He might sleep for hours.  And at the back of his mind lurked a clear conviction that he was waiting for more than the dawn....

To shake off drowsiness he rose, stretched himself, paced to and fro several times—­and did not sit down again.  Folding his arms, he leaned his shoulders against the stone embrasure; and stood so, a long while, absorbing—­with every faculty of flesh and spirit—­the stillness, the mystery, the pearl-grey light and bottomless gulfs of shadow; his mind emptied of articulate thought ... his soul poised motionless, as it were a bird on outspread wings....

Was it fantasy, this gradual intensifying of his uplifted mood, this breathless stir in the region of his heart, till some vital part of him seemed gradually withdrawn—­up into the vastness and the silence...?

And suddenly, in every nerve, he knew—­he was not alone.  In the seeming emptiness of the place, something, some one hovered near him.  Amazed, yet exultant, he held his breath; and an answering leap of the heart set him tingling from head to foot.

It was more than a vague ‘sense of presence.’  Fused in the central happiness that flooded him—­as the moonlight flooded the desert—­was an almost startling awareness; not the mere emotional effect of music or a poem; but sure knowledge that she was there with him in that upper room; her disembodied tenderness yearning towards him across a barrier of empty space that neither she nor he could traverse, for all their nearness, for all their longing....

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Far to Seek from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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