Far to Seek eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 426 pages of information about Far to Seek.

Tara’s soaring ambition would carry her farther afield.  Her spirit of flame—­that rose instinctively to tragic issues and heroic demands—­could be at peace nowhere but in the splendid, terrible, unorganised thick of it all.  Without making any ado, she proposed to get there in the shortest possible time; and, in the shortest possible time, by sheer concentration and hard work, she achieved her desire.  Before Roy left England, before her best-loved brother—­a man of brilliant promise—­had finished learning to fly, she was driving her car in Belgium, besieged in Antwerp, doing and enduring terrible things ...

After Tara, Nevil—­for the Artists’ Rifles were early in the field.  After Nevil, Roy—­his exchange effected—­very slim and soldierly in cavalry uniform; his grey-blue eyes, with the lurking gleam in them, more than ever noticeable in his sunburnt face.

The last day, the last hour were at once sad and glad beyond belief; so that Lilamani’s coward heart was thankful for urgent trifles that helped to divert attention from the waiting shadow.  Even to-day, as always, dress and sari were instinctively chosen to express her mood:—­the mother-of-pearl mood; iridescence of glad and sad:  glad to give; yet aching to keep.  Daughter of Rajputs though she was, she had her moment of very human shrinking when the sharp actuality of parting was upon them; when he held her so close and long that she felt as if the tightened cord round her heart must snap—­and there an end....

But, by some miracle, some power not her own, courage held; though, when he released her, she was half blinded with tears.

Her last words—­entirely like herself though they were—­surprised him.

“Son of my heart—­live for ever,” she whispered, laying light hands on his breast.  “And when you go into the battle, always keep strongly in your mind that They must not win, because no sacred or beautiful thing would be left clean from their touch.  And when you go into the battle always remember—­Chitor.”

“It is you I shall always remember—­looking like this,” he answered under his breath.  But he never forgot her injunctions; and through years of fighting, he obeyed them to the letter....

* * * * *

That was in April, after Neuve Chapelle, when even optimists admitted that the War might last a year.

At Christmas time he came home on short leave—­a changed Roy; his skin browner; his sensitive lips more closely set under the shadow line of his moustache; the fibre of body and spirit hardened, without loss of fineness or flexibility.  Livelier on the surface, he was graver, more reticent, underneath—­even with her.  By the look in his eyes she knew he had seen things that could never be put into words.  Some of them she too had seen, through his mind; so close was the spiritual link between them.  In that respect at least, he was beautifully, unaffectedly the same....

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Far to Seek from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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