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be beset, while Feisal himself, at Wejh, stood ready to

time:2023-12-07 05:39:39 source:check net author:knowledge read:687次

All this week, while the flames of the flung fire-brand began to spread, the English public waited, incredulous of the inevitable. Michael, among them, found himself unable to believe even then that the bugles were already sounding, and that the piles of shells in their wicker-baskets were being loaded on to the military ammunition trains. But all the ordinary interests in life, all the things that busily and contentedly occupied his day, one only excepted, had become without savour. A dozen times in the morning he would sit down to his piano, only to find that he could not think it worth while to make his hands produce these meaningless tinkling sounds, and he would jump up to read the paper over again, or watch for fresh headlines to appear on the boards of news- vendors in the street, and send out for any fresh edition. Or he would walk round to his club and spend an hour reading the tape news and waiting for fresh slips to be pinned up. But, through all the nightmare of suspense and slowly-dying hope, Sylvia remained real, and after he had received his daily report from the establishment where his mother was, with the invariable message that there was no marked change of any kind, and that it was useless for him to think of coming to see her, he would go off to Maidstone Crescent and spend the greater part of the day with the girl.

be beset, while Feisal himself, at Wejh, stood ready to

Once during this week he had received a note from Hermann, written at Munich, and on the same day she also had heard from him. He had gone back to his regiment, which was mobilised, as a private, and was very busy with drill and duties. Feeling in Germany, he said, was elated and triumphant: it was considered certain that England would stand aside, as the quarrel was none of hers, and the nation generally looked forward to a short and brilliant campaign, with the occupation of Paris to be made in September at the latest. But as a postscript in his note to Sylvia he had added:

be beset, while Feisal himself, at Wejh, stood ready to

"You don't think there is the faintest chance of England coming in, do you? Please write to me fully, and get Mike to write. I have heard from neither of you, and as I am sure you must have written, I conclude that letters are stopped. I went to the theatre last night: there was a tremendous scene of patriotism. The people are war-mad."

be beset, while Feisal himself, at Wejh, stood ready to

Since then nothing had been heard from him, and to-day, as Michael drove down to see Sylvia, he saw on the news-boards that Belgium had appealed to England against the violation of her territory by the German armies en route for France. Overtures had been made, asking for leave to pass through the neutral territory: these Belgium had rejected. This was given as official news. There came also the report that the Belgian remonstrances would be disregarded. Should she refuse passage to the German battalions, that could make no difference, since it was a matter of life and death to invade France by that route.

Sylvia was out in the garden, where, hardly a month ago, they had spent that evening of silent peace, and she got up quickly as Michael came out.

"Ah, my dear," she said, "I am glad you have come. I have got the horrors. You saw the latest news? Yes? And have you heard again from Hermann? No, I have not had a word."

"No, I have not heard either," he said. "I expect he is right. Letters have been stopped."

"And what do you think will be the result of Belgium's appeal?" she asked.


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