She tried to laugh and broke down. He caught
her up in his arms.
Light as thistledown, young and lovely!
She sobbed on his heart, but she held to her high resolve. He must go—and she would stay. And at last he gave in.
He had loved her dearly, but he had not looked for this, that she would give herself to hardness for the sake of another. For the first time he saw in his little wife something of the heroic quality which had seemed to set his mother apart and above, as it were, all other women.
The Bugle Calls
The wooden trumpeters that were carved on the door blew with all their might, so that their cheeks were much larger than before. Yes, they blew “Trutter-a-trutt—trutter-a-trutt—” . . .
THE EMPTY HOUSE
Jean’s world was no longer wonderful—not in the sense that it had once been, with all the glamour of girlish dreams and of youthful visions.
She had never thought of life as a thing like this in the days when she had danced down to the confectioner’s, intent on good times.
But now, with her father away, with Derry away, with the city frozen and white, and with not enough coal to go around, with many of the rooms in the house shut that fuel might be conserved, with Margaret and the children and Nurse installed as guests at the General’s until the weather grew warmer, with Emily transforming her Toy Shop into a surgical dressings station, and with her father-in-law turning over to her incredible amounts of money for the Red Cross and Liberty Bonds and War Stamps, life began to take on new aspects of responsibility and seriousness.
She could never have kept her balance in the midst of it all, if Derry had not written every day. Her father wrote every day, also, but there were long intervals between his letters, and then they were apt to arrive all at once, a great packet of them, to be read and re-read and passed around.
But Derry’s letters, brought to her room every morning by Bronson, contained the elixir which sent her to her day’s work with shining eyes and flushed cheeks. Sometimes she read bits of them to Bronson. Sometimes, indeed, there were only a few lines for herself, for Derry was being intensively trained in a Southern camp, working like an ant, with innumerable other ants, all in olive-drab, with different colored cords around their hats.
Sometimes she read bits of the letters to Margaret at breakfast, and after breakfast she would go up to the General and read everything to him except the precious words which Derry had meant for her very own self.
And then she and the General would tell each other how really extraordinary Derry was!
It was a never-failing subject, of intense interest to both of them. For there was always this to remember, that if the world was no longer a radiant and shining world, if the day’s task was hard, and if now and then in the middle of the night she wept tears of loneliness, if there were heavy things to bear, and hard things and sad things, one fact shone brilliantly above all others, Derry was as wonderful as ever!