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      "Small beings make it," Dara corrected him. "There are such small beings, not slaves and not masters. They have no speech but they make sound."

      Meanwhile the South African War dragged its muddled length from Stormberg to Magersfontein, through Colenso to Spion Kop. It meant more to Reuben than any earlier warmore than the Crimea, for then there were no newspaper correspondents, more than the Indian Mutiny, for that was with blacks, or the Franco-Prussian, for that was between furriners. Besides, there were two additional factors of tremendous importancehe could now spell out a good deal of his daily paper, and his sons were both fighting. They had gone out early in November, and were very good about writing to him."Roseyou knowhow can you?that's worse than alone, surelye!"

      He broke into his own verse, pouring it out deliriously:

      For a moment she yielded to the kiss, then suddenly tore herself away.

      "No!how can I?"

      Towards evening uneasiness sprang up again, with the old questionwould he return? She told herself that if he did, she would not hold back, she would not let her inexperience and timidity rob her or him of their love. She would let him kiss her as he pleasedlove was too good a thing to risk for a few qualms. But would he come?would he give her the chance of reparation? The sun dipped behind Castweasel, the hot sky cooled into a limpid greenstars specked it in the north, and the moon came up behind Iden Woods, huge and dim."Oh, f?ather, d?an't be so hard!"


      "I've been to a wedding," he said conversationally; "a proper wedding with girls and kisses."


      Then suddenly an honour fell on Odiam. The War Office itself sent it a telegram. But the honour was taken sadly, for the telegram announced that Sergeant David Backfield had been killed in action at Laing's Nek.


      Meantime he was worried about Naomi. It says much for the ineffectiveness of her emotions that he had not till just then realised her hostility towards him. Now that he saw it, he put it down to her ill-health, and re-established the tyrannous watch over her which he had kept up in the old days. He was sorry for her, and knew now that he had made a mistake in marrying her. He should have chosen a sturdier, more ambitious mate. However, there was no help for it, he could not give up the battle because his fellow-fighter had no stomach for it. He was grieved for the loss of her beauty, and would make things as easy for her as possible, but he could not let her off altogether. She must do her share in the struggle which was so much greater than either of them. She had rested from child-bearing a year, but he still longed desperately for children, and she became a mother again at the end of '49.