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      Naomi saw him sweep the axe above his shoulder, and the ease and strength of his swing gave her a strange tingling sensation in her breast. The axe crashed into the wood, then Reuben pulled it up, and the muscles of his back made two long, ovoid lumps under his blue shirt. Again the axe swung and fell, again[Pg 43] Naomi's body tingled as with a physical exhilaration.

      ... Of course it's a risk, Frederick, but we're in the risk-taking business, and we always were, as your father used to say, and mine too. Between us, John is a cautious old man, and the rest of the Board is beginning to appreciate that. By next year the entire situation may have changed.

      His sons were now growing upAlbert was nearly eighteen, and Peter, though a year younger, looked a full-grown man, with his immense build and dark hairy skin. Pete was still the most satisfactory of Reuben's children, he had a huge and glad capacity for work, and took a real interest in Odiam's progress, though it was not his life, as it was his father's. It was strange, Reuben thought, that none of the other boys seemed to have a glimmer of enthusiasm. Though they had grown up under the shadow of Boarzell, and from their earliest childhood taken part in the struggle, they seemed still to think more about the ordinary things of young men's lives than the great victory before them. It was disappointing. Of course one expected it of girls, but Reuben's heart ached a little because the men children on whom he had set such hope and store cared[Pg 127] so little about what was life itself to him. It is true that Robert worked well, nearly as well as Pete, but that was only because he was of a docile, tractable nature. He did not share his father's dreamsBoarzell to him was only a piece of waste ground with some trees on it.FOR the next few days there was a puzzling maze of movements, which must have completely mystified the rebel Generalsas was intendedfor it certainly passed the comprehension of our own keen-eyed and shrewdly-guessing rank-and-file and lower oflficers.

      "Why, you little scamps you," gasped Si in amazement. "What'd you mean? Ain't you goin' to obey my orders?"


      "You must put on my coat."




      TO: James Oliver Gogarty