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Red Fleece

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278 pages
The Project Gutenberg EBook of Red Fleece, by Will Levington ComfortCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloadingor redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do notchange or edit the header without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom of thisfile. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the file may be used. You can alsofind out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!*****Title: Red FleeceAuthor: Will Levington ComfortRelease Date: August, 2004 [EBook #6351] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was firstposted on November 29, 2002]Edition: 10Language: English*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK RED FLEECE ***Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.RED FLEECEBYWILL LEVINGTON COMFORTAuthor of "Midstream," "Down Among Men," "Fate Knocks At the Door,""Routledge Rides Alone," Etc., Etc.1915,TO THE HOUR—WHEN TROOPS TURN ...
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Red Fleece, by
Will Levington Comfort
Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be
sure to check the copyright laws for your country
before downloading or redistributing this or any
other Project Gutenberg eBook.
This header should be the first thing seen when
viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not
remove it. Do not change or edit the header
without written permission.
Please read the "legal small print," and other
information about the eBook and Project
Gutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included is
important information about your specific rights and
restrictions in how the file may be used. You can
also find out about how to make a donation to
Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.
**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla
Electronic Texts**
**eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By
Computers, Since 1971**
*****These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands
of Volunteers!*****
Title: Red FleeceAuthor: Will Levington Comfort
Release Date: August, 2004 [EBook #6351] [Yes,
we are more than one year ahead of schedule]
[This file was first posted on November 29, 2002]
Edition: 10
Language: English
*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG
EBOOK RED FLEECE ***
Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks and
the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
RED FLEECE
BY
WILL LEVINGTON COMFORTAuthor of "Midstream," "Down Among Men," "Fate
Knocks At the Door,"
"Routledge Rides Alone," Etc., Etc.
1915,
TO THE HOUR—WHEN TROOPS TURN HOMECONTENTS
I. THE WOMAN AND THE EXILE
II. THE COURT OF EXECUTION
III. THE HOUSE OF AMPUTATIONS
IV. IN THE BOMB-PROOF PIT
V. THE SKYLIGHT PRISON
VI. THE FIELD OF HELMETS
VII. THE GREEN OF CEDARSI
THE WOMAN AND THE EXILE
Peter Mowbray first saw her at the corner of
Palace Square nearest the river. He was not in the
least the kind of young man who appraises passing
women, very far from a starer. At the instant their
eyes met, his thoughts had been occupied with
work matters and the trickery of events. In fact,
there was so much to do that he resented the
intrusion, found himself hoping in the first flash that
she would show some flaw to break the attraction.
It may have been that her eyes were called to the
passer-by just as his had been, without warning or
volition. In any event their eyes met full, leisurely in
that stirring silence before the consciousness of
self, time, place and convention rushes in. …
Though she seemed very poor, there was
something about her beyond reach in nobility. He
was left with the impression of the whitest skin, the
blackest hair and the reddest lips, but mainly of a
gray-eyed girl—eyes that had become wider and
wider, and had filled with sudden amazement
(doubtless at her own answering look) before they
turned away.
Desolation was abroad in Warsaw after this
encounter. Mowbray thought of New York with
loneliness, the zest gone from all present activity.Presently with curious grip his thoughts returned to
a certain luncheon in New York with a tired literary
man who had talked about women with the air of a
connoisseur. The pith of the writer's observations
was restored to his mind in this form:
"If I were to marry again it would be to a Latin
woman—French, Italian, even Spanish—a close-
to-nature woman born and bred in one of the
Mediterranean countries. Not a blue-blood, for that
has to do with decadence, but a woman of the
people. They are passionate but pure, as Poe
would say. If they find a man of any value, he
becomes their world. They are strong natural
mothers—mothering their children and their
husband, too,—and immune to common
sicknesses. Given a little food, they know enough
to prepare it with art. If a man has a bit of a dream
left, such a woman will either make him forget it
painlessly, or she will make it come true."
There was no apparent relation, and none that
proved afterward. What he had seen at the corner
of Palace Square nearest the Vistula was not the
face of a Latin woman, nor was any looseness of
common birth evident in it. The key might have had
to do with the little hat she wore, just a hat for
wearing on the head, a protection against sun and
rain, and with the austerely simple black dress; but
these weathered exteriors again were effective in
contrast to the vivid freshness of her natural
coloring. As for what remained of the literary man's
picture of the ideal woman to marry, it was the last
word of decadence—the eminent selfishness of aman willing to accept the luxury of a woman who
asks little to be happy. … The next day at the
same time and place Mowbray was there, and saw
her coming from afar.
She seemed both afraid and angry, stopped
abruptly and asked in Polish what he wanted. He
was startled. It was a hard moment. He explained
with difficulty that her language was as yet an
inconvenient vehicle for him.
"You are not Russian?" she said in French.
He shook his head. She seemed to be relieved and
he wondered why.
"What do you want?" she asked, though not quite
with the original asperity.
"It did not occur to me you would notice," he said in
the language she
had ventured. "I saw you yesterday. You made me
think of New York. As
I was near to-day, I hoped to see you again—-"
"You are American?"
She spoke now in English, and with a still softer
intonation.
"Yes,—you speak English, too?"
"I like it. It is—-" she checked herself and asked
with just a shade of coldness, "Is there anything I
can do for you?"
It might be construed as a courtesy to a strangerfrom one who lived in Warsaw. Peter liked it, a
certain vista opening. However, there was no
answer within reach except the truth, and he
plunged:
"I should like to know you better."
The red lower lip disappeared beneath the other.
Her gray eyes grew very wide; something intrepid
and exquisite in her manner as she searched his
face. Whatever she knew of the world, she dared
still to trust her intuition—this was something of the
revelation he drew.
"Why?"
Many people were passing. He looked toward the
quieter center of the
Square.
"Will you walk with me there?" he asked. "It is not
easy to explain this sort of thing—-"
"No. I must go on. You may walk a little way."
"You are very good…. You see, I cannot tell just
why—as you asked. If I knew you well, I could tell
you. Yesterday I was quite unromantic—-"
She made it hard for him and did not let him see
her smile. "You mean you are romantic to-day?"
Peter laughed. "What a trap—and I was trying so
hard to tell you.""You were trying—-"
"I don't need to tell you. All there is to say is that I
want you to be my friend."
"I should have to think," she answered.
"Of course. … Do you pass here every day?"
"I should have to think," she said.
It was the third day afterward that she passed
again.

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