And that proud conviction was no mere myth born of his young adoration. In all the County, perhaps in all the Kingdom, there could be found no mother in the least like Lilamani Sinclair, descendant of Rajput chiefs and wife of an English Baronet, who, in the face of formidable barriers, had dared to accept all risks and follow the promptings of his heart. One of these days there would dawn on Roy the knowledge that he was the child of a unique romance, of a mutual love and courage that had run the gauntlet of prejudices and antagonisms, of fightings without and fears within; yet, in the end, had triumphed as they triumph who will not admit defeat. All this initial blending of ecstasy and pain, of spiritual striving and mastery, had gone to the making of Roy, who in the fulness of time would realise—perhaps with pride, perhaps with secret trouble and misgiving—the high and complex heritage that was his.
* * * * *
Meanwhile he only knew that he was fearfully happy, especially in summer time; that his father—who had smiling eyes and loved messing with paints like a boy—was kinder than anyone else’s, so long as you didn’t tell bad fibs or meddle with his brushes; that his idolised mother, in her soft coloured silks and saris, her bangles and silver shoes, was the “very most beautiful” being in the whole world. And Roy’s response to the appeal of beauty was abnormally quick and keen. It could hardly be otherwise with the son of these two. He loved, with a fervour beyond his years, the clear pale oval of his mother’s face; the coils of her dark hair, seen always through a film of softest muslin—moon-yellow or apple-blossom pink, or deep dark blue like the sky out of his window at night spangled with stars. He loved the glimmer of her jewels, the sheen and feel of her wonderful Indian silks, that seemed to smell like the big sandalwood box in the drawing-room. And beyond everything he loved her smile and the touch of her hand, and her voice that could charm away all nightmare terrors, all questionings and rebellions, of his excitable brain.
Yet, in outward bearing, he was not a sentimental boy. The Sinclairs did not run to sentiment; and the blood of two virile races—English and Rajput—was mingled in his veins. Already his budding masculinity bade him keep the feelings of ‘that other Roy’ locked in the most secret corner of his heart. Only his mother, and sometimes Tara, caught a glimpse of him now and then. Lady Sinclair, herself, never guessed that, in the vivid imaginations of both children, she herself was the ever-varying incarnation of the fairy princesses and Rajputni heroines of her own tales. Their appetite for these was insatiable; and her store of them seemed never ending: folk tales of East and West; true tales of Crusaders, of Arthur and his knights; of Rajput Kings and Queens, in the far-off days when Rajasthan—a word like a trumpet call—was holding her desert cities against hordes of invaders, and heroes scorned to die in their beds. Much of it all was frankly beyond them; but the colour and the movement, the atmosphere of heroism and high endeavour quickened imagination and fellow-feeling, and left an impress on both children that would not pass with the years.