He rose and took the letter from where he had placed it on the mantelpiece. He stooped and held it out above the fire and a little flame leaped up and seemed to take it from his hand.
They neither spoke during the short walk between the two hotels. But at the door she turned and held out her hands to him.
"Thank you," she said, "for being so kind--and wise. I shall always love and honour her."
He kissed her, promising to take care of himself.
She ran against Phillips, the next day, at one of the big stores where she was shopping. He had obtained a commission early in the war and was now a captain. He had just come back from the front on leave. The alternative had not appealed to him, of being one of those responsible for sending other men to death while remaining himself in security and comfort.
"It's a matter of temperament," he said. "Somebody's got to stop behind and do the patriotic speechifying. I'm glad I didn't. Especially after what I've seen."
He had lost interest in politics.
"There's something bigger coming," he said. "Here everything seems to be going on much the same, but over there you feel it. Something growing silently out of all this blood and mud. I find myself wondering what the men are staring at, but when I look there's nothing as far as my field-glasses will reach but waste and desolation. And it isn't only on the faces of our own men. It's in the eyes of the prisoners too. As if they saw something. A funny ending to the war, if the people began to think."