The Half-Hearted eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 341 pages of information about The Half-Hearted.
detail.  And meantime he had fallen an easy victim.  Marooned in this frontier fort, the world might be turned topsy-turvy at Bardur, and he not a word the wiser.  Things were slipping from his grasp again.  He had an intense desire to shut his eyes and let all drift.  He had done enough.  He had come up here at the risk of his neck; fate had fought against him, and he must succumb.  The fatal wisdom of proverbs was all on his side.

But once again conscience assailed him.  Why had he believed Marker, knowing what he knew?  He had been led by the nose like a crude school-boy.  It was nothing to him that he had to believe or remain idle in Bardur.  Another proof of his folly!  This importunate sense of weakness was the weakest of all qualities.  It made him a nervous and awkward follower of strength, only to plunge deeper into the mud of incapacity.

Andover looked at him curiously.  His annoyance was of a different stamp—­a little disappointment, intense boredom, and the ever-present frontier anxiety.  But such were homely complaints to be forgotten over a pipe and in sleep.  It struck him that his companion’s eyes betrayed something more, and he kicked him on the shins into attention.

“Been seedy lately?  Have some quinine.  Or if you can’t sleep I can tell you a dodge.  But you know you are looking a bit cheap, old man.”

“I’m pretty fit,” said Lewis, and he raised his brown face to a glass.  “Why I’m tanned like a nigger and my eye’s perfectly clear.”

“Then you’re in love,” said the mysterious Andover.  “Trust me for knowing.  When a man keeps as quiet as you for so long, he’s either in love or seedy.  Up here people don’t fall in love, so I thought it must be the other thing.”

“Rot,” said Lewis.  “I’m going out of doors.  I must be off pretty soon, if I’m to get to Nazri by sundown.  I wish you’d come out and show me the sort of lie of the land.  There are three landmarks, but I can’t remember their order.”

An hour later the two men returned, and Lewis sat down to an early dinner.  He ate quickly, and made up sandwiches which he stuffed into his pocket.  Then he rose and gripped his host’s hand.

“Good-bye, Andy.  This has been a pleasant meeting.  Wish it could have been longer.”

“Good-bye, old chap.  Glad to have seen you.  My love to George, if you get to Nazri.  Give you three to one in half-crowns you won’t get there to-night.”

“Done,” said Lewis.  “You shall pay when I see you next.”  And in the most approved style of the hero of melodrama he lit a short pipe and went off into Immensity.



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The Half-Hearted from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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