Saint's Progress eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 367 pages of information about Saint's Progress.
simply must, Daddy, just one.”  He remembered Leila brewing Turkish coffee—­very good, and how beautiful her white arms looked, hovering about the cups.  He remembered her making the padre sit down at the piano, and play to them.  And she and the girl on the divan together, side by side, a strange contrast; with just as strange a likeness to each other.  He always remembered how fine and rare that music sounded in the little room, flooding him with a dreamy beatitude.  Then—­he remembered—­Leila sang, the padre standing-by; and the tall child on the divan bending forward over her knees, with her chin on her hands.  He remembered rather vividly how Leila turned her neck and looked up, now at the padre, now at himself; and, all through, the delightful sense of colour and warmth, a sort of glamour over all the evening; and the lingering pressure of Leila’s hand when he said good-bye and they went away, for they all went together.  He remembered talking a great deal to the padre in the cab, about the public school they had both been at, and thinking:  ’It’s a good padre—­this!’ He remembered how their taxi took them to an old Square which he did not know, where the garden trees looked densely black in the starshine.  He remembered that a man outside the house had engaged the padre in earnest talk, while the tall child and himself stood in the open doorway, where the hall beyond was dark.  Very exactly he remembered the little conversation which then took place between them, while they waited for her father.

“Is it very horrid in the trenches, Captain Fort?”

“Yes, Miss Pierson; it is very horrid, as a rule.”

“Is it dangerous all the time?”

“Pretty well.”

“Do officers run more risks than the men?”

“Not unless there’s an attack.”

“Are there attacks very often?”

It had seemed to him so strangely primitive a little catechism, that he had smiled.  And, though it was so dark, she had seen that smile, for her face went proud and close all of a sudden.  He had cursed himself, and said gently: 

“Have you a brother out there?”

She shook her head.

“But someone?”


Someone!  He had heard that answer with a little shock.  This child—­this fairy princess of a child already to have someone!  He wondered if she went about asking everyone these questions, with that someone in her thoughts.  Poor child!  And quickly he said: 

“After all, look at me!  I was out there a year, and here I am with only half a game leg; times were a lot worse, then, too.  I often wish I were back there.  Anything’s better than London and the War Office.”  But just then he saw the padre coming, and took her hand.  “Good night, Miss Pierson.  Don’t worry.  That does no good, and there isn’t half the risk you think.”

Her hand stirred, squeezed his gratefully, as a child’s would squeeze.

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Saint's Progress from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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