“Must I give a ’broidered bodice’?”
“I will broider a bodice—the most beautiful; and you shall give it. Remember, Roy, it is not a little matter. It is for always.”
“Even when I’m a grown-up man?”
“Yes, even then. If she shall ask from you any service, you must not refuse—ever.”
Roy wrinkled his forehead. He had forgotten that part of it. Tara might ask anything. You couldn’t tell with girls. He had a moment of apprehension.
“But, Mummy, I don’t think—Tara didn’t mean all that. It’s only—our sort of game of play——”
Unerringly she read his thoughts, and shook her head at him with smiling eyes, as when he made naughty faces about Aunt Jane.
“Too sacred thing for only game of play, Roy. By keeping the bracelet, you are bound.” Her smile deepened. “You were not afraid of the big rude boy. Yet you are just so much afraid—for Tara.” She indicated the amount with the rose-pink tip of her smallest finger. “Tara—almost like sister—would never ask anything that could be wrong to do.”
At this gentle rebuke he flushed and held his head a shade higher.
“I’m not afraid, Mummy. And I will keep the bracelet—and I am bound.”
“That is my brave son.”
“She said—I am Prithvi Raj.”
“She said true.” Her hand caressed his hair. “Now you can run down and tell you are forgiven.”
“You too, Mummy?”
“In a little time. Not just now. But see——” Her brows flew up. “I was coming to mend your poor bruises!”
“I haven’t got any bruises.”
The engaging touch of swagger delighted her. A man to-day—in very deed. Her gaze dwelt upon him. It was as if she looked through the eyes of her husband into the heart of her son.
Gravely she entered into his mood.
“That is good. Then we will just make you tidy—and one littlest dab for this not-bruise on your cheek.”
So much he graciously permitted: then he ran off to receive the ovation awaiting him from Tara and Chris.
“Thy bosom is endeared with
For there reigns love, and all love’s loving parts.”
“Women are not only deities
of the household fire, but the flame of
the soul itself.”—RABINDRANATH TAGORE.
Left to herself, Lilamani moved back to the window with her innate, deliberate grace. There she sat down again, very still, resting her cheek on her hand; drinking in the serenity, the translucent stillness of clear green spaces robed in early evening light, like a bride arrayed for the coming of her lord. The higher tree-tops were haloed with glory. Young leaves of beeches and poplars gleamed like minted gold; and on the lawn, the great twin beeches cast a stealthily encroaching continent of shadow. Among the shrubs, under her window, birds were trilling out their ecstasy of welcome to the sun, in his Hour of Union with Earth—the Divine Mother, of whom every human mother is, in Eastern eyes, a part, a symbol, however imperfect.