18    


WITH THE morning he came out to walk a road shaded by a file of deodars, that coiled the hill round like importunate love.

        He held the first letter from his newly wedded wife in their village home, begging him to come to her, and come soon.

        The touch of an absent hand haunted him as he walked, and the air seemed to take up the cry of the letter: 'Love, my love, my sky is brimming with tears!'

        He asked himself in wonder, 'How do I deserve this?'

        The sun suddenly appeared over the rim of the blue hills, and four girls from a foreign shore came with swift strides, talking loud and followed by a barking dog.

        The two elder turned away to conceal their amusement at something strange in his insignificance, and the younger ones pushed each other, laughed aloud, and ran off in exuberant mirth.

He stopped and his head sank. Then he suddenly felt his letter, opened and read it again.