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Full text of "Simon called Peter"

J.ED PETER" 



Keable 






CORNELL 
UNIVERSITY 
LIBRARY . 




FROM 



L. G. Willward 



Cornell University Library 
PR 6021.E12S5 1921a 



Simon called Peter. 




3 1924 013 633 965 




Cornell University 
Library 



The original of tliis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924013633965 



SIMON CALLED PETER 



SIMON CALLED 
PETER 

By ROBERT KEABLE 




A. L. BURT COMPANY 

'PUBLISHERS 
New York Chicago 

Published by arrangement with B. P. Dutton & Company, Inc. 
Printed In U. S. A. 



!■,> 1 V \ 






COPYRIGHT, 1 92 1, 

BY E. P. BUTTON & COMPANY 



All Rights Reserved 



k ^<\h^0' 



Printed In the TTalttA States of America 






THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED TO 

JULIE 

She never lived, maybe, but it is truer to aay 
diat she never dies. Nor shall she ever die. 
One may believe in God, though He is hard 
to find, and in Women, though siidi ae 
Julie are far to seeic 



THE AUTHOR TO THE READER 

The glamour of no other evil thing is stronger than thfc 
glamour of war. It would seem as if the cup of the world's 
sorrow as a result of war had been filled to the brim again 
and again, but still a new generation has always been found 
to forget. A new generation has always been found to 
talk of the heroisms that the divine in us can manifest in 
the mouth of hell and to forget that so great a miracle docs 
not justify our creation of the circumstance. 

Yet if ever war came near to its final condemnation it 
was in 1914-1918. Our comrades died bravely, and we had 
been willing to die, to put an end to it once and for all. 
Indeed war-weary men heard the noise of conflict die away 
on November 11, 1918, thinking that that end had been 
attained. It is not yet three years ago; a little time, but 
long enough for betrayal. 

Long enough, too, for the making of many books about 
it all, wherein has been recorded ssuch heroisms as might 
make God proud and such horror as might make the Devil 
weep. Yet has the truth been told, after all? Has the 
world realized that in a modem war a nation but moves 
in uniform to perform its ordinary tasks in a new intoxicat- 
ing atmosphere ? Now and again a small percentage of the 
whole is flung into the pit, and, for them, where one in ten 
was heavy slaughter, now one in ten is reasonable escape. 
The rest, for the greater part of the time, live an unnatural 
life, death near enough to make them reckless and far 
enough to make them gay. CoHimonly men and women 
more or less restrain themselves because of tomorrow; but 
what if there be no tonsorrow? What if the dice arts 

vii 



viii THE AUTHOR TO THE READER 

heavily weighted against it? And what of their already 
jeoparded restraint when the crisis has thrown the conven- 
tions to the winds and there is little to lighten the end of 
the day? 

Thus to lift the veil on life behind the lines in time ol 
war is a thankless task. The stay-at-homes will not believe, 
and particularly they whose smug respectability and con« 
ventional religion has been put to no such fiery trial. More- 
over they will do more than disbelieve ; they will sa/ that 
the story is not fit to be told. Nor is it. But then it should 
never have been lived. That very respectability, that very 
conventionality, that very contented backboneless religion 
made it possible — all but made it necessary. For it was 
those things which allowed the world to drift into the war, 
and what the war was nine days out of ten ought to be 
thrust under the eyes of those who will not believe. It is 
a small thing that men die in battle, for a man has but 
one life to live and it is good to give it for one's friends ; 
but it is such an evil that it has no like, this drifting of a 
world into a hell to which men's souls are driven like red 
maple leaves before the autumn wind. 

The old-fashioned pious books made hell stink of brim- 
stone and painted the Devil hideous. But Satan is not such 
a fool. Champagne and Martinis do not taste like Gregory 
powder, nor was St. Anthony tempted by shrivelled hags. 
Paganism can be gay, and passion look like love. More- 
over, still more truly, Christ could see the potentiality of 
virtue in Mary Magdalene and of strength in Simon called 
Peter. The conventional religious world does not. 

A curious feature, too, of that strange life was its lack 
of consecutiveness. It was like the pages of La Vie 
Parisienne. The friend of today was gone for ever to- 
morrow. A man arrived, weary and dirty and craving for 
excitement, in some unknown town ; in half an hour he had 
stepped into the gay glitter of wine and women's smiles ; io 
half a dozen he had been whirled away. The days lingered 



THE AUTHOR TO THE READER h 

and yet flew ; the pages were twirled ever more dazzlingly ; 
only at the end men saw in a blinding flash whither thejf 
had been led. i 

These things, then, are set out in this book. This is its 
atmosphere. They are truly set out. They are not white- 
washed ; still less are they pictured as men might have seen 
them in more sober moments, as the Puritan world would 
see them now. Nor does the book set forth the author's 
judgment, for that is not his idea of a novel. It sets out 
what Peter and Julie saw and did, and what it appeared to 
them to be while they did it. Very probably, then, the 
average reader had better read no further than this. . . . 

But at any rate let him not read further than is written. 
The last page has been left blank. It has been left blank 
for a reason, because the curtain falls not on the conclusion 
of the lives of those who have stepped upon the boards, but 
at a psychological moment in their story. The Lord has 
turned to look upon Peter, and Julie has seen that He has 
looked. It is enough; they were happy who, going down 
into the Valley of the Shadow of Death, saw a vision of 
God's love even there. For the Christ of Calvary moved 
to His Cross again but a few short years ago; and it is 
enough in one book to tell how Simon failed to follow, but 
how Jesus turned to look on Peter. p « 



PARTI 

Ah! is Thy love indeed 
A weed, albeit an amaranthine weed, 
Suffering no flowers except its own to mount? 

Ah! must — 

Designer infinite! — 
Ah I must Thou char the wood ere Thou canst limn with it? 

FsANas Thoimfson. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 



CHAPTER I 

LONDON lay as if washed with water-colour that Sunday 
morning, light blue sky and pale dancing sunlight- 
wooing the begrimed stones of Westminster like a young 
girl with an old lover. The empty streets, clean-swept, were 
bathed in the light, and appeared to be transformed from the 
streets of week-day life. Yet the half of Londoners lay 
late abed, perhaps because six mornings a week of reality 
made them care little for one of magic. 

Peter, nevertheless, saw little of this beauty. He walked 
swiftly as always, and he looked about him, but he noticed 
none of these things. True, a fluttering sheet of newspaper 
headlines impaled on the railings of St. Margaret's held him 
for a second, but that was because its message was the one 
that rang continually in his head, and had nothing at all to 
do with the beauty of things that he passed by. 

He was a perfectly dressed young man, in a frock coat 
and silk hat of -the London clergjrman, and he was on his 
way to preach at St. John's at the morning service. Walking 
always helped him to prepare his sermons, and this sermon 
would ordinarily have struck him as one well worth prepar- 
ing. The pulpit of St. John's marked a rung up in the ladder 
for him. That great fashionable church of mid- Victorian 
faith and manners held a congregation on Sunday mornings 
for which the Rector catered with care. It said a good deal 
"H" Peter that he had been invited to preach. He ought 



4 SIMON GALLED PETER 

to have had his determined scheme plain before him, and 
a few sentences, carefully polished, at hand for the beginning 
and the end. He could trust himself in the middle, and 
was perfectly conscious of that. He frankly liked preaching, 
liked it not merely as an actor loves to sway his audience, 
but Uked it because he always knew what to say, and was 
really keen that people should see his argument. And yet 
this morning, when he should have been prepared for the 
best he could do, he was not prepared at all. 

Strictly, that is not quite true, for he had a text, and the 
text absolutely focused his thought. But it was too big for 
him. Like some at least in England that day, he was con- 
scious of staring down a lane of tragedy that appalled him. 
Fragments of sentences came and went in his head. He 
groped for words, mentally, as he walked. Over and over 
again he repeated his text. It amazed him by its simplicity ; 
it horrified him by its depth. 

Hilda was waiting at the pillar-box as she had said she 
would be, and, little as she could guess it, she irritated him. 
He did not want her just then. H.f. could hardly tell why, 
except that, somehow, she ran counter to his thoughts 
altogether that morning. She seemed, even in her excellent 
brown costume that fitted her fine figure so weU, out of 
place, and out of place for the first time. 

They were not openly engaged, these two, but there was 
an understanding between them, and an understanding that 
her family was slowly recognising. Mr. Lessing, at first, 
would never have accepted an engagement, for he had other 
ideas for his daughter of the big house in Park Lane. The 
rich city merchant, church-warden at St. John's, important 
in his party, and a person of distinction when at his club, 
would have been seriously annoyed that his daughter should 
consider a marriage with a curate whose gifts had not yet 
made him an income. But he recognised that the young man 
might go far. "Young Graham?" he would say. "Yes, a 
clever young fellow, with quite remarkable gifts, sir. Bishop 
thinks a lot of him, I believe. Preaches extraordinarily 



SIMON CALLED PETER | 

•well. The Rector said he would ask him to St. John's one 
momiflg. . . ." 

Peter Graham's parish ran down to the river, and included 
slums in which some of the ladies of St. John's (whost 
congregation had seen to it that in their immediate neigh- 
bourhood there were no such things) were interested. So 
the two had met. She had found him admirable and likeable j 
he found her highly respectable and seemingly unapproach- 
able. From which cold elements much more may come than 
one might suppose. 

At any rate, now, Mrs. Lessing said nothing when Hilda 
went to post a letter in London on Sunday morning before 
breakfast. She would have mildly remonstrated if the girl 
had gone to meet the young man. The which was England 
once, and may, despite the Kaiser, be England yet once more. 

"I was nearly going," she declared. "You're a bit late." 

"I know," he replied ; "I couldn't help it. The early service 
took longer than usual. But I'm glad to see you before 
breakfast. Tell me, what does your father think of it all?" 

The girl gave a little shrug of the shoulders. "Oh, he says 
war is impossible. The credit system makes it impossible. 
But if he really thinks so, I don't see why he should say it so 
often and so violently. Oh, Peter, what do you think ?" 

The young man unconsciously quickened his pace. "I 
think it is certain," hfe said. "We must come in. I should 
say, more likely, the credit system makes it impossible for 
us to keep out. I mean, half Europe can't go to war and 
we sit still. Not in these days. And if it comes — Good 
Lord, Hilda, do you know what it means? I can't see the 
end, only it looks to me like being a fearful smash. . . . Oh, 
we shall pull through, but nobody seems to see that our 
ordinary life will come down like a pack of cards. And what 
will the poor do ? And can't you see the masses of poor souls 
that will be thrown into the vortex like, like . . ." He 
broke off. "I can't find words," he said, gesticulating ner- 
vously. "It's colossal." 

"Peter, you're going to preach about it: I can see you 



6 SIMON CALLED PETER 

are. But do take care what you say. I should hate father 
to be upset. He's so — oh, I don't know ! — British, I think. 
He hates to be thrown out, you know, and he won't think 
all that possible." 

She glanced up (the least little bit that she had to) anx- 
iously. Graham smiled. "I know Mr. Lessing," he said. 
"But, Hilda, he's got to be moved. Why, he may be in 
khaki yet !" 

"Oh, Peter, don't be silly. Why, father's fifty, and not 
exactly in training," she laughed. Then, seriously : "But for 
goodness' sake don't say such things — for my sake, anyway." 

Peter regarded her gravely, and held open the gate. "I'll 
remember," he said, "but more unlikely things may happen 
than that." 

They went up the path together, and Hilda slipped a key 
into the door. As it opened, a thought seemed to strike her 
for the first time. "What will you do?" she demanded 
suddenly. 

Mrs. Lessing was just going into the dining-room, and 
Peter had no need to reply. "Good-morning, Mr. Graham," 
she said, coming forward graciously. "I wondered if Hilda 
would meet you : she wanted to post a letter. Come in. You 
must be hungry after your walk." 

A manservant held the door open, and they all went in. 
That magic sun shone on the silver 6i the breakfast-table, 
and lit up the otherwise heavy room. Mrs. Lessing swung 
the cover of a silver dish and the eggs slipped in to boil. She 
touched a button on the table and sat down, just as Mr. 
Lessing came rather ponderously forward with a folded 
newspaper in his hand. 

"Morning, Graham," he said. "Morning, Hilda. Been 
out, eh? Well, well, lovely morning out; makes one feel 
ten years younger. But vfhat do you think of all this, 
Graham ?" waving the paper as he spoke. 

Peter just caught the portentous headline — 

"GERMANY DECLARES WAR ON RUSSIA." 



SIMON CALLED PETER 7 

as he pulled up to the table, but he did not need to see it. 
There was really no news : only that. "It is certain, I think, 
sir," he said. 

"Oh, certain, certain," said Lessing, seating himself. "The 
telegrams say they are over the frontier of Luxembourg 
and massing against France. Grey can't stop 'em now, but 
the world won't stand it — can't stand it. There can't be a 
long war. Probably it's all a big bluff again ; they know in 
Berlin that business can't stand a war, or at any rate a long 
war. And we needn't come in. In the City, yesterday, they 
said the Government could do more by standing out. We're 
not pledged. Anderson told me Asquith said so distinctly. 
And, thank God, the Fleet's ready! It's madness, madness, 
and we must keep our heads. That's what I say, anyway." 

Graham cracked an egg mechanically. His sermon was 
coming back to him. He saw a congregation of Lessings, 
and more clearly than ever the other things. "What about 
Belgium?" he queried. "Surely our honour is engaged 
there?" 

Mr. Lessing pulled up his napkin, visibly perturbed. 
"Yes, but what can we do?" he demanded. "What is the 
good of flinging a handful of troops overseas, even if we 
can? It's incredible — English troops in Flanders in this 
century. In my opinion — in my opinion, I say — we should 
do better to hold ourselves in readiness. Germany would 
aever really dare antagonise us. They know what it involves. 
Why, there's hundreds of millions of pounds at stake. Grey 
has only to be firm, and things must come right. Must — 
absolutely must." 

"Annie said, this morning, that she heard everyone in the 
streets last night say we must fight, father," put in Hilda. 

"Pooh !" exclaimed the city personage, touched now on the 
raw. "Wliat do the fools know about it? I suppose the 
Daily Mail will scream, but, thank God, this country has not 
quite gone to the dogs yet. The people, indeed ! The mass 
of the country is solid for sense and business, and trusts the 
Government. Of course, the Tory press will make the whole 



8 SIMON CALLED PETER 

question a party lever if it can, but it can't. What! Are 
we going to be pushed into war by a mob and a few journal- 
ists ? Why, Labour even will be dead against it. Come, 
Graham, you ought to know something about that. More 
in your line than mine — don't you think so ?" 

"You really ought not to let the maids talk so," said Mrs. 
Lessing gently. 

Peter glanced at her with a curiously hopeless feeling, and 
looked slowly round the room until his eyes rested on Mr. 
Lessing's portrait over the mantelshelf, presented by the 
congregation of St. John's on some occasion two years before. 
From the portrait he turned to the gentleman, but it was 
not necessary for him to speak. Mr. Lessing was saying 
something to the man — ^probably ordering the car. He 
glanced across at Hilda, who had made some reply to her 
mother and was toying with a spoon. He thought he had 
never seen her look more handsome and . . . He could not 
find the word: thought of "solid," and then smiled at the 
thought. It did not fit in with the sunlight on her hair. 

"Well, well," said Mr. Lessing ; "we ought to make a move. 
It won't do for either of us to be late, Mr. Preacher." 

The congregation of St. John's assembled on a Sunday 
morning as befitted its importance and dignity. Families 
arrived, or arrived by two or three representatives, and pro 
ceeded with due solemnity to their private pews. No one, 
of course, exchanged greetings on the way up the church, 
but every lady became aware, not only of the other ladies 
present, but of what each wore. A sidesman, with an air of 
portentous gravity, as one who, in opening doors, performed 
an office more on behalf of the Deity than the worshippers, 
was usually at hand to usher the party in. Once there, there 
was some stir of orderly bustle: kneelers were distributed 
according to requirements, books sorted out after the solemn 
unlocking of the little box that contained them, sticks and 
hats safely stowed away. These duties performed, pater- 
familias cast one penetrating glance round the church, and 
leaned gracefully forward with a kind of circular motion. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 9 

Having suitably addressed Almighty God (it is to be sup- 
posed), he would lean back, adjust his trousers, possibly 
place an elbow on the pew-door, and contemplate with a 
fixed and determined gaze the distant altar. 

Peter, of course, wound in to solemn music with the 
procession of choir boys and men, and, accorded the honour 
of a beadle with a silver mace, since he was to preadi, was 
finally installed in a suitably cushioned seat within the altar^ 
rails. He knelt to pray, but it was an effort to formulate 
an3rthing. He was intensely conscious that morning that a 
meaning hitherto unfelt and unguessed lay behind his world, 
and even behind all this pomp and ceremony that he knew 
so well. Rising, of course, when the senior curate began to 
intone the opening sentence in a manner which one felt was 
worthy even of St. John's, he allowed himself to study his 
surroundings as never before. 

The church had, indeed, an air of great beauty in the 
morning sunlight. The Renaissance galleries and woodwork, 
mellowed by time, were dusted by that soft warm glow, and 
the somewhat sparse congregation, in its magnificently 
isolated groups, was humanised by it too. The stone of the 
chancel, flecked with colour, had a quiet dignity, and even 
the altar, ecclesiastically ludicrous, had a grace of its own. 
There was to be a celebration after Matins. The historic 
gold plate was therefore arranged on the retable with some- 
thing of the effect of show pieces at Mappin and Webb's. 
Peter noticed three flagons, and between them two patens of 
great size. A smaller pair for use stood on the credence- 
table. The gold chalice and paten, veiled, stood on the 
altar-table itself, and above them, behind, rose the cross and 
two vases of hot-house lilies. Suggesting one of the great 
shields of beaten gold that King Solomon had made for the 
Temple of Jerusalem, an alms dish stood on edge, and leant 
against the retable to the right of the veiled chalice. Peter 
found himself marvelling at its size, but was recalled to his 
position when it became necessary to kneel for the Confes- 
sion. 



lo SIMON CALLED PETER 

The service followed its accustomed course, and through* 
out the whole of it Peter was conscious of his chaotic sermon. 
He glanced at his notes occasionally, and then put them 
resolutely away, well aware that they would be all hut useless 
to him. Either he would, at the last, be able to formulate 
the thoughts that raced through his head, or else he could do 
no more than occupy the pulpit for' the conventional twenty 
minutes with a conventional sermon. At times he half 
thought he would follow this easier course, but then the 
great letters of the newspaper poster seemed to frame them- 
selves before him, and he knew he could not. And so, at 
last, there was the bowing beadle with the silver mace, and 
he must set out on the little dignified procession to the great 
Jacobean pulpit with its velvet cushion at the top. 

Hilda's mind was a curious study during that sermon. At 
first, as her lover's rather close-cropped, dark-haired head 
appeared in sight, she had studied him with an odd mixture of 
pride and apprehension. She held her hymn-book, but she did 
not need it, and she watched surreptitiously while he opened 
the Bible, arranged some papers, and, in accordance with 
custom, knelt to pray. She began to think half-thoughts of 
the days that might be, when perhaps she would be the wife 
of the Rector of some St. John's, and later, possibly, of a 
Bishop. Peter had it in him to go far, she laiew. She half 
glanced round with a self-conscious feeling that people 
might be guessing at her thoughts, and then back, wondering 
suddenly if she really knew the man, or only the minister. 
And then there came the rustle of shutting books and of 
people composing themselves to listen, the few coughs, the 
vague suggestion of hassocks and cushions being made com- 
fortable. And then, in a moment, almost with the giving out 
of the text, the sudden stillness and that tense sensation which 
told that the young orator had gripped his congregation. 

Thereafter she hardly heard him, as it were, and she cer- 
tainly lost the feeling of ownership that had been hers before. 
As he leaned over the pulpit, and the words rang out almost 
harshly from their intensity, she began to see, as the rest of 



SIMON CALLED PETER il 

the congr^ation began to see, the images that the preacher 
conjured up before her. A sense of coming disaster riveted 
her— the feeling that she was already watching the end of 
an age. 

"Jesus had compassion on the multitude" — ^that had been 
the short and simple text. Simple words, the preacher had 
said, but how when one realised Who had had compassion, 
and on what? Almighty God Himself, with His incarnate 
Mind set on the working out of immense and agelong plans, 
had, as it were, paused for a moment to have compassion on 
hungry women and crying babies and folk whose petty 
confused affairs could have seemed of no consequence to 
anyone in the drama of the world. And then, with a few 
terse sentences, the preacher swung from that instance to 
the world drama of to-day. Did they realise, he asked, that 
peaceful bright Sunday morning, that millions of simple men 
were at that moment being hurled at each other to maim and 
kill ? At the bidding of powers that even they could hardly 
visualise, at the behest of world politics that not one in a 
thousand would understand and scarcely any justify, houses 
were being broken up, women were weeping, and children 
playing in the sun before cottage doors were even now being 
left fatherless. It was incredible, colossal, unimaginable, but as 
one tried to picture it. Hell had opened her mouth and Death 
gone forth to slay. It was terrible enough that battlefields 
of stupendous size should soon be littered with the dying 
and the dead, but the aftermath of such a war as this would 
be still more terrible. No one could say how near it would 
come to them all. No one could tell what revolution in 
morals and social order such a war as this might not bring. 
That day God Himself looked down on tlie multitude as 
sheep having no shepherd, abandoned to be butchered by the 
wolves, and His heart beat with a divine compassion for the 
infinite sorrows of the wodd. 

There was little more to it. An exhortation to go home 
to fear and pray and set the house in order against the Day 
of Wrath, and that was all. "My brethren," said the young 



12 SIMON CALLED PETER 

man — and the intensity of his thought lent a certain unusual 
solemnity to the conventional title — "no one can tell how the 
events of this weelc may affect us. Our feet may even now 
be going down into the Valley of the Shadow of temptation, 
of conflict, of death, and even now there may be preparing 
for us a chalice such as we shall fear to drink. Let us pray 
that in that hour the compassion of Jesus may be real to us, 
and we ourselves find a sure place in that sorrowful Heart." 

And he was gone from the pulpit without another word. 
It would have been almost ridiculous if one had noted thai 
the surprised beadle had had no "And now to God the 
Father . . ." in which to reach the pulpit, and had been 
forced to meet his victim hurrying halfway up the chancel ; 
but perhaps no one but that dignitary, whom the fall of 
thrones would not shake, had noticed it. The congregation 
paid the preacher the great compliment of sitting on in 
absolute silence for a minute or two. For a moment it still 
stared reality in the face. And then Mr. Lessing shifted in 
his pew and coughed, and the Rector rose, pompously as 
usual, to announce the hymn, and Hilda became conscious 
of unaccustomed tears in her eyes. 

The senior curate solemnly uncovered and removed the 
chalice. Taking bread and wine, he deposited the sacred 
vessels at the nprth end of the altar, returned to the centre, 
unfolded the corporal, received the alms, and as solemnly 
set the great gold dish on the corporal itself, after the un- 
meaning custom of the church. And then came the long 
prayer and the solemn procession to the vestry, while a dozen 
or two stayed with the senior curate for the Communion. 

Graham found himself in the little inner vestry, with its 
green-cloth table and massive inkstand and registers, and 
began to unvest mechanically. He got his coat out of the 
beautiful carved wardrobe, and was folding up his hood and 
surplice, when the Rector laid a patronising hand on his 
shoulder. "A good sermon, Graham," he said — "a good 
sermon, if a little emotional. It was a pity you forgot the 
doxology. But it is a great occasion, I fear a greater occasion 



SIMON CALLED PETER 13 

than we know, and you rose to it very well. Last night 1 
had half a mind to 'phone you not to come, and to preach 
myself, but I am glad now I did not. I am sure we are very 
grateful. Eh, Sir Robert?" 

Sir Robert Doyle, the other warden, was making neat piles 
of sovereigns on the green cloth, while Mr. Lessing counted 
the silver as to the manner born. He was a pillar of the 
church, too, was Sir Robert, but a soldier and a straight 
speaker. He turned genially to the young man. 

"From the shoulder. Rector," he said. "Perhaps it will 
make a few of us sit up a little. Coming down to church I 
met Arnold of the War Office, and he said war was certain. 
Of course it is. Germany has been playing up for it for years, 
and we fools have been blind and mad. But it'll come now. 
Thank God, I can still do a bit, and maybe we shall meet 
out there yet — eh, Mr. Graham?" 

Somehow or another that aspect of the question had not 
struck Peter forcibly till now. He had been so occupied with 
visualising the march of world events that he had hardly 
thought of himself as one of the multitude. But now the 
question struck home. What would he do? He was at a 
loss for the moment. 

The Rector saved him, however. "Well, well, of course. 
Sir Robert, apart from the chaplains, the place of the clergy 
will be almost certainly at home. Hospital visiting, and so 
on, will take a lot of time. I believe the Chaplain-General's 
Department is fully staffed, but doubtless, if there is any 
demand, the clergy will respond. It is, of course, against 
Canon Law for them to fight, though doubtless our young 
friend would like to do his share in that if he could. You 
were in the O.T.C. at Oxford, weren't you, Graham?" 

"Yes," said Graham shortly. 

"The French priests are mobilising with the nation," said 
Sir Robert. 

"Ah, yes, naturally," replied the Rector; "that is one 
result of the recent anti-clerical legislation. Thank God, this 
country has been spared that, and in any case we shall never 



14 SIMON CALLED PETER 

have conscription. Probably the Army will have to be 
enlarged — ^half a million will be required at least, I should 
think. That will mean more chaplains, but I should suppose 
the Bishops will select — oh, yes, surely their lordships will 
select. It would be a pity for you to go, Graham ; it's rough 
work with the Tommies, and your gifts are wanted at home. 
The Vicar of St. Thomas's speaks very highly of your gifts 
as an organiser, and doubtless some sphere will be opened up 
for you. Well, well, these are stirring times. Good-morning, 
Mr. Graham." 

He held out his hand to the young man. Mr. Lessing, 
carefully smoothing his silk hat, looked up. "Come in to 
luncheon with us, will you, Graham ?" he said. 

Peter assented, and shook hands all round. Sir Robert 
and he moved out together, and the baronet caught his eye 
in the porch. "This'U jog him up a bit, I'm thinking," he 
said to himself. "There's stuff in that chap, but he's got to 
feel his legs." 

Outside the summer sun was now powerful, and the streets 
were dusty and more busy. The crowd had thinned at the 
church door, but Hilda and Mrs. Lessing were waiting for 
the car. 

"Don't let's drive," said Hilda as they came up ; "I'd much 
sooner walk home to-day." 

Her father smiled paternally. "Bit cramped after church, 
eh?" he said. "Well, what do you say, dear?" he asked his 
wife. 

"I think I shall drive," Mrs. Lessing replied ; "but if Mr. 
Graham is coming to luncheon, perhaps he will walk round 
with Hilda. Will you, Mr. Graham?" 

"With pleasure," said Peter. "I agree with Miss Lessing, 
and the walk will be jolly. We'll go through the park. It's 
less than half an hour, isn't it?" 

It was arranged at that, and the elders drove off. Peter 
raised his hat to Sir Robert, who turned up the street, and 
together he and Hilda crossed over the wide thoroughfare 
and started down for the park. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 15 

There was silence for a little, and it was Peter who broke it, 

"Just before breakfast," he said, "yo" asked me what I 
should do, and I had no chance to reply. Well, they were 
talking of it in the vestry just now, and I've made up my 
mind. I shall write to-night to the Bishop and ask for a 
chaplaincy." 

They walked on a hundred yards or so in silence again. 
Then Hilda broke it. "Peter," she began, and stopped. He 
glanced at her quickly, and saw in a minute that the one 
word had spoken truly to him. 

"Oh, Hilda," he said, "do you really care all that? You 
can't possibly ! Oh, if we were not here, and I could tell you 
all I feel! But, dear, I love you; I know now that I have 
loved you for months, and it is just because I love you that 
I must go." 

"Peter," began Hilda again, and again stopped. Then 
she took a grip of herself, and spoke out bravely. "Oh, 
Peter," she said, "you've guessed right. I never meant you 
to — ^at least, not yet, but it is terrible to think of you going 
out there. I suppose I ought to be glad and proud, and in 
a way I am, but you don't seem the right person for it. It's 
wasting you. And I don't know what I shall do without you. 
You've become the centre of my life. I count on seeing you, 
and on working with you. If you go, you, you may . . . Oh, 
I can't say it ! I ought not to say all this. But . . ." She 
broke off abruptly. 

Graham glanced round him. They were in the park now, 
and no one in particular was about in the quiet of the side- 
walk. He put his hand out, and drew her gently to a seat. 
Then, leaning forward and poking at the ground with his 
stick, he begaa, "Hilda, darling," he said, "it's awful to 
have to speak to you just now and just like this, but I must. 
First, about ourselves. I love you with all my heart, only 
that's so little to say; I love you so much that you fill my 
life. And I have planned my life with you. I hardly knew 
it, but I had. I thought I should just go on and get a living 
and marry you — ^perhaps, if you would (I can hardly speak 



i6 SIMON CALLED PETER 

of it DOW I know you would) — and — ^and — oh, I don't know 
— ^make a name in the Church, I suppose. Well, and I hope 
we shall one day, but now this has come along. I really feel 
all I said this morning, awfully. I shall go out— I must. 
The men must be helped ; one can't sit still and imagine them 
dying, wounded, tempted, and without a priest. It's a su- 
preme chance. We shall be fighting for honour and truth, 
and the Church must be there to bear her witness and speak 
her message. There will be no end to do. And it is a chance 
of a lifetime to get into touch with the men, and understand 
them. You do see that, don't you? And, besides — forgive 
me, but I must put it so — if He had compassion on the 
multitude, ought we not to have too? He showed it by 
death ; ought we to fear even that too ?" 

The girl stole out a hand, and his gripped it hard. Then 
she remembered the conventions and pulled it away, and sat 
a little more upright. She was extraordinarily conscious of 
herself, and she felt as if she had two selves that day. One 
was Hilda Lessing, a girl she knew quite well, a well-trained 
person who understood life, and the business of society and 
of getting married, quite correctly ; and the other was some- 
body she did not know at all, that could not reason, and who 
felt naked and ashamed. It was inexplicable, but it was 
so. That second self was listening to heroics and even talking 
them, and surely heroics were a little out of date. 

She looked across a wide green space, and saw, through 
the distant trees, the procession of the church parade. She 
felt as if she ought to be there, and half unconsciously 
glanced at her dress. A couple of terriers ran scurrying 
across the grass, and a seat-ticket man came round the corner. 
Behind them a taxi hooted, and some sparrows broke out into 
a noisy chatter in a bush. And here was Peter talking of 
death, and the Cross — and out of church, too. 

She gave a little shudder, and glanced at a wrist-watch. 
"Peter," she said, "we must go. Dear, for my sake, do think 
it over. Wait a little, and see what happens. I quite under- 
stand your point of view, but you must think of others — even 



SIMON CALLED PETER tf 

your Vicar, my parents, and of me. And Peter, shall we 
say anything about our — our love? What do you think?" 

Peter Graham looked at her steadily, and as she spoke he, 
too, felt the contrast between his thoughts and ordinary life. 
The London curate was himself again. He got up. "Well, 
darling," he said, "just as you like, but perhaps not — at any 
rate until I knaw what I have to do. I'll think that over. 
Only, we shan't change, shall we, whatever happens? You 
do love me, don't you ? And I do love you." 

Hilda met his gaze frankly and blushed a little. She held 
out a hand to be helped up. "My dear boy," she said. 

After luncheon Peter smoked a cigar in the study with 
Mr. Lessing before departure. Every detail of that hour 
impressed itself upon him as had the events of the day, for 
his mind was strung up to see the inner meaning of things 
clearly. 

They began with the usual ritual of the selection of chairs 
and cigars, and Mr. Lessing had a glass of port with his 
coffee, because, as he explained, his nerves were all on edge. 
Comfortably stretched out in an armchair, blowing smoke 
thoughtfully towards the empty grate, his fat face and body 
did not seem capable of nerves, still less to be suflEering from 
them, but then one can never tell from appearances. At 
any rate he chose his words with care, and Graham, oppo- 
site but sitting rather upright, could not but sense his mean- 
ing. 

"Well) well, well," he said, "to think we should come to 
this ! A European war in this century, and we in it ! Not 
that I'll believe it till I hear it officially. While there's life 
there's hope, eh, Graham?" 

Peter nodded, for he did not know what to say. 

"The question is," went on the other, "that if we are car- 
ried into war, what is the best policy? Some fools will lose 
their keads, of course, and chuck everything to run into it. 
But I've no use for fools, Graham." 

"No, sir," said Peter. 

"Na use for fools," repeated Mr. Lessing. "I shall carry 



i8 SIMON CALLED PETER 

on with business as usual, and I hope other people will carry 
on with theirs. There are plenty of men who can fight, and 
who ought to, without disorganising everything. Hilda 
would see that too — she's such a sensible girl. Look at that 
Boer affair, and all that foolery about the C.I.V. Why, I 
met a South African at the club the other day who said we'd 
have done ten times as well without 'em. You must have 
trained men these days, and, after all, it's the men behind 
the armies that win the war. Men like you and I, Graham, 
each doing his ordinary job without excitement. That's the 
type that's made old England. You ought to preach about 
it, Graham. Come to think, it fits in with what you said 
this morning, and a good sermon too, young man. Every 
man's got to put his house in order and carry on. You 
meant that, didn't you ?" 

"Something like that," said Peter; "but as far as the 
clergy are concerned, I still think the Bishops ought to pick 
their men." 

"Yes, yes, of course," said Mr. Lessing, stretching himself 
a bit. "But I don't think the clergy could be much use ovei 
there. As the Canon said, there will be plenty to do at home. 
In any case it would be no use rushing the Bishops. Let 
them see what's needed, and then let them choose their men, 
eh? A man like London's sure to be in the know. Good 
thing he's your Bishop, Graham: you can leave it to him 
easily ?" 

"I should think so, sir," said Peter forlornly, 

"Oh, well, glad to hear you say it, I'm sure, Graham, and 
so will Mrs. Lessing be, and Hilda. We're old-fashioned 
folk, you know. . . . Well, v/ell, and I suppose I oughtn't 
to keep you. I'll come with you to the door, niy boy." 

He walked ahead of the young man into the hall, and 
handed him his hat himself. On the steps they shook hands 
to the fire of small sentences. "Drop in sonie evening, won't 
you? Don't know if I really congratulated you on the 
sermon; you spoke extraordinarily well, Graham. You've 
a great gift. After all, this war will give you a bit of a 



SIMON CALLED PETER !§ 

chance, eh? We must hear you again in St. John's. . . . 
Good-afternoon. 

"Good-afternoon, Mr. Lessing," said Graham, "and thank 
you for all you've said." 

In the street he walked slowly, and he thought of all Mr. 
Lessing had not said as well as all he had. After all, he 
had spoken sound sense, and there was Hilda. He couldn't 
lose Hilda, and if the old man turned out obstinate — well, it 
would be all but impossible to get her. Probably things 
were not as bad as he had imagined. Very likely it would 
all be over by Christmas. If so, it was not much use throw- 
ing everything up. Perhaps he could word the letter to the 
Bishop a little differently. He turned over phrases all the 
way home, and got them fairly pat. But it was a busy 
evening, and he did not write that night. 

Monday always began as a full day, what with staff 
meeting and so on, and its being Bank Holiday did not make 
much difference to them. But in the afternoon he was free 
to read carefully the Sunday papers, and was appalled with 
the swiftness of the approach of , the universal cataclysm. 
After Evensong and supper, then, he got out paper and pen 
and wrote, though it took much longer than he thought it 
would. In the end he begged the Bishop to remember him 
if it was really necessary to find more chaplains, and ex- 
pressed his readiness to serve the Church and the country 
when he was wanted. When it was written, he sat long 
over the closed envelope and smoked a couple of pipes. He 
wondered if men were killing each other, even now, just 
over the water. He pictured a battle scene, drawing from 
imagination and what he remembered of field-days at Alder- 
shot. He shuddered a little as he conceived himself crawling 
through heather to reach a man in the front line who had been 
hit, while the enemies' guns on the crest opposite were firing 
as he had seen them fire in play. He tried to imagine what 
it would be like to be hit. 

Then he got up and stretched himself. He looked round 
<a«riously at the bookcase, the Oxford group or two, the 



20 SIMON CALLED PETER 

hockey cap that hung on the edge of one. He turned to iJie 
mantelpiece and glanced over the photos. Probably Bob 
Scarlett would be out at once ; he was in some Irish regiment 
or other. Old Howson was in India; he wouldn't hear or 
see much. Jimmy — what would Jimmy do, now? He 
picked up the photograph and looked at it — the clean-shaven, 
thoughtful, good-looking face of the best fellow in the world, 
who had got his fellowship almost at once after his brilliant 
degree, and was just now, he reflected, on holiday in the 
South of France. Jimmy, the idealist, what would Jimmy 
do? He reached for a hat and made for the door. He would 
post his letter that night under the stars. 

Once outside, he walked on farther, down Westminster 
way. At the Bridge he leaned for a while and watched the 
sullen, tireless river, and then turned to walk up past the 
House. It was a clear, still night, and the street was fairly 
empty. Big Ben boomed eleven, and as he crossed in front 
of the gates to reach St. Margaret's he wondered what was 
doing in there. He had the vaguest notion where peopla 
like the Prime Minister and Sir Edward Grey would be that 
night. He thoi^ht possibly with the King, or in Downing 
Street. And then he heard his name called, and turned to 
see Sir Robert Doyle coming towards him. 

The other's face arrested him. "Is there any news. Sir 
Robert?" he asked. 

Sir Robert glanced up in his turn at the great shining dial 
above them. "Our ultimatum has gone or is just going to 
Germany, and in twenty-four hours we shall be at war," he 
said tersely. "I'm just going home; I've been promised 
a job." 



CHAPTER II 

AT 7.10 on a foggy February morning Victoria Statiorr. 
looked a place of mystery within which a mighty work 
was going forward. Electric lights still shone in the gloom, 
and whereas innumerable units of life ran this way and that 
like ants disturbed, an equal number stood about apparently 
indifferent and unperturbed. Tommies who had found a 
place against a wall or seat deposited rifle and pack close by, 
lit a pipe, and let the world go by, content that when the 
officers' leave train had gone someone, or some Providence, 
would round them up as well. But, for the rest, porters, male 
and female, rushed up with baggage; trunks were pushed 
through the crowd with the usual objurgations; subalterns, 
mostly loud and merry, greeted each other or the officials, or, 
more subdued, moved purposefully through the crowd with 
their women-folk, intent on finding a quieter place farther 
up the platforms. 

There was no mistaking the leave platform or the time of 
the train, for a great notice drew one's attention to it. Once 
there, the Army took a man in hand. Peter was entirely 
new to the process, but he speedily discovered that his fear 
of not knowing what to do or where to go, which had in- 
duced him (among other reasons) to say good-bye at home 
and come alone to the station, was unfounded. Red-caps 
passed him on respectfully but purposefully to officials, who 
looked at this paper and that, and finally sent him up to an 
officer who sat at a little table with papers before him to 
write down the name, rank, unit, and destination of each 
individual destined that very morning to leave for the Army 
in France. 

Peter at last, then, was free to walk up the platform, and 

ai 



aa SIMON CALLED PETER 

seek the rest of his luggage that had come on from the hot^l 
with the porter. He was free, that is, if one disregarded the 
kit hung about his person, or which, despite King's Regula- 
tioni, he carried in his hands. But free or not, he could nol 
find his luggage. At 7.30 it struck him that at least he had 
better find his seat. He therefore entered a corridor and 
began pilgrimage. It was seemingly hopeless. The seats 
were filled with coats or sticks or papers; every type oi 
officer was engaged in bestowing himself and his goods ; and 
the general atmosphere struck him as being precisely thai 
which one experiences as a fresher when one first enters 
hall for dinner at the 'Varsity. The comparison was very 
close. First-year men — ^that is to say, junior officers re- 
turning from their first leave — were the most encumbered, 
self-possessed, and asserting ; those of the second year, so tc 
say, usually got a corner-seat and looked out of window; 
while here and there a senior officer, or a subaltern with a 
senior's face, selected a place, arranged his few possessions, 
and got out a paper, not in the Oxford manner, as if ht 
owned the place, but in the Cambridge, as if he didn't cart 
a damn who did, 

Peter made a horrible hash of it. He tried to find a seal 
with all his goods in his hands, not realising that they migh1 
have been deposited anywhere in the train, and found wher 
it had started, since, owing to a particular dispensation ol 
the high gods, everything that passed the barrier for France 
got there. He made a dive for one place and sat in it, nevei 
noting a thin stick in the corner, and he cleared out witl 
enormous apologies when a perfectly groomed Major witl 
an exceedingly pleasant manner mentioned that it was hii 
seat, and carefully put the stick elsewhere as soon as Pete 
had gone. Finally, at the end of a carriage, he descried i 
small door half open, and inside what looked like an empt; 
seat. He pulled it open, and discovered a small, select com 
partment with a centre table and three men about it, al 
making themselves very comfortable. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 23 

"I beg your pardon," said Peter, "but is there a place 
vacant for one?" 

The three eyed him stonily, and he knew instinctively that 
he was again a fresher calling on the second year. One, a 
Captain, raised his head to look at him better. He was a 
man of light hair and blue, alert eyes, wearing a cap that, 
while not looking dissipated, somehow conveyed the impres- 
sion that its owner knew all about things — a cap, too, that 
carried the Springbok device. The lean face, with its hu- 
morous mouth, regarded Peter and took him all in : his vast 
expanse of collar, the wide black edging to his shoulder- 
straps, his brand-new badges, his black buttons and stars. 
Then he lied remorselessly : 

"Sorry, padre; we're full up." 

Peter backed out and forgot to close the door, for at that 
moment a shrill whistle was excruciatingly blown. He found 
himself in the very cab of the Pullman with the glass door 
before him, through which could be seen a sudden bustle. 
Subalterns hastened forward from the more or less secluded 
spots that they had found, with a vision of skirts and hats 
behind them; an inspector passed aggressively along; and — 
thanks to those high gods — Peter observed the hurrying hotel 
porter at that moment. In sixty seconds the door had been 
jerked open; a gladstone, a suit-case, and a kit-bag shot at 
him ; largesse had changed hands ; the door had shut again ; 
the train had groaned and started; and Peter was off to 
France. 

It was with mixed feelings that he groped for his luggage. 
He was conscious of wanting a seat and a breakfast ; he was 
also conscious of wanting to look at the station he was 
leaving, which he dimly felt he might never see again; and 
he was, above all, conscious that he looked a fool and would 
like not to. In such a turmoil he lugged at the gladstone and 
got it into a corner, and then turned to the window in the 
cleared space with a determination. In turning he caught 
the Captain's face stuck round the little door. It was with- 



24 SIMON CALLED PETER 

drawn at once, but came out again, and he heard for the 
second time the unfamiliar title : 

"Say, padre ; come in here. There's room after all." 

Peter felt cheered. He staggered to the door, and found 
the others busy making room. A subaltern of the A.S.C. 
gripped his small attache case and swung it up on to the rack. 
The South African pulle'd a British warm off the vacant seat 
and reached out for the suitcase. And the third man, with 
the rank of a Major and the badge o'f a bursting bomb, struck 
a match and paused as he lit a cigarette to jerk out : 

"Damned full train ! We ought to have missed it, Dono- 
van." 

"It's a good stunt that, if too many blighters don't try it 
on," observed the subaltern, reaching for Peter's warm. 
"But they did my last leave, and I got the devil of a choking 
off from the brass-hat in charge. It's the Staff train, and 
they only take Prime Ministers, journalists, and trade-union 
officials in addition. How's that, padre?" 

"Thanks," said Peter, subsiding. "It's jolly good of you 
to take me in. I thought I'd got to stand from here to 
Folkestone." 

H. P. Jenks, Second-Lieutenant A.S.C, regarded him 
seriously. "It couldn't be done, padre," he said, "not at this 
hour of the morning. I left Ealing about midnight more or 
less, got sandwiched in the Metro with a Brigadier-General 
and his blooming wife and daughters, and had to wait God 
knows how long for the R. T. O. If I couldn't get a seat 
and a breakfast after that, I'd be a casualty, sure thing." 

"It's your own fault for going home last night," observed 
the Major judiciously. (Peter noticed that he was little 
older than Jenks on inspection.) "Gad, Donovan, you 
should have been with us at the Adelphi ! It was some do^ 
I can tell you. And afterwards . . ." 

"Shut up. Major !" cut in Jenks. "Remember the padre." 

"Oh, he's broad-minded I know, aren't you, padre? By 
the way, did you ever meet old Drennan who was up near 
Poperinghe with the Canadians? He was a sport, I can tel* 



SIMON CALLED PETER 25 

you. Mind you, a real good chap at his job, but a white man. 
Pluck! By jove! I don't think that chap had nerves. I 
saw him one day when they were dropping heavy stuff on 
the station, and he was getting some casualties out of a Red 
Cross train. A shell burst just down the embankment, and 
his two orderlies ducked for it under the carriage, but old 
Drennan never turned a hair. 'Better have a fag,' he said to 
the Scottie he was helping. 'It's no use letting Fritz put one 
off one's smoke.' " 

Peter said he had not met him, but could not think of 
anything else to say at the moment, except that he was just 
going out for the first time. 

"You don't say?" said Donovan dryly. 

"Wish I was!" ejaculated Jenks. 

"Good chap," replied the Major. "Pity more of your sort 
don't come over. When I was up at Loos, September last 
year, we didn't see a padre in three months. Then they put 
on a little chap — forget his name — who used to bike over 
when we were in rest billets. But he wasn't much use." 

"I was in hospital seven weeks and never saw one," said 
fenks. 

"Good heavens!" said Graham. "But I've been trying to 
get out for all these years, and I was always told that every 
billet was taken and that there were hundreds on the waiting 
list. Last December the Chaplain-General himself showed 
me a list of over two hundred names." 

"Don't know where they get to, then, do you, Bevan?" 
asked Jenks. 

"No," said the Major, "unless they keep 'em at the base." 

"Plenty down at Rouen, anyway," said Donovan. "A 
sporting little blighter I met at the Brasserie Opera told me 
he hadn't anything to do, anyway." / 

"I shall be a padre in the next war," said Jenks, stretching 
out his legs. "A parade on Sunday, and you're finished for 
the week. No orderly dog, no night work, and plenty of time 
for your meals. Padres can always get leave too, and they 
always come and go by Paris." 



a6 SIMON CALLED PETER 

Donovan laughed, and glanced sideways at Peter. "Stow 
it, Jenks," he said. "Where you for, padre?" he asked. 

"I've got to report at Rouen," said Peter. "I was won- 
dering if you were there." 

"No such luck now," returned the other. "But it's a jolly 
place. Jenko's there. Get him to take you out to Dudair. 
You can get roast duck at a pub there that melts in your 
mouth. And what's that little hotel near the statue of Joan 
of Arc, Jenks, where they still have decent wine ?" 

Peter was not to learn yet awhile, for at that moment the 
little door opened and a waiter looked in. "Breakfast, 
s;entlemen?" he asked. 

"Oh, no," said Jenks. "Waiter, I always bring some 
rations with me ; I'll just take a cup of coffee." 

The man grinned. "Right-o, sir," he said. "Porridge, 
gentlemen ?" 

He disappeared, leaving the door open and, Donovan 
spening a newspaper, Graham stared out of window to wait. 
From the far corners came scraps of conversation, from 
which he gathered that Jenks and the Major were going 
over the doings of the night before. He caught a word or 
two, and stared the harder out of window. 

Outside the English country was rushing by. Little villas, 
with back-gardens running down to the rail, would give 
way for a mile or two to fields, and then start afresh. The 
fog was thin there, and England looked extraordinarily 
homely and pleasant. It was the known ; he was conscious 
of rushing at fifty miles an hour into the unknown. He 
turned over the scrappy conversation of the last few minutes, 
and found it savoured of the unknown. It was curious the 
difference uniform made. He felt that these men were 
treating him more like one of themselves than men in a 
railway-carriage had ever treated him before ; that somehow 
even his badges made him welcome ; and yet that, neverthe- 
less, it was not he, Peter Graham, that they welcomed, or at 
least not his type. He wondered if padres in France were 
different from priests in England. He turned over the uo- 



SIMON CALLED PETER 27 

known Drennan in his mind. Was it because he was a good 
priest that the men liked him, or because they had discovered 
the man in the parson ? 

The waiter brought in the breakfast — porridge, fish, toast, 
and the rest — and they fell to, a running fire of comments 
going on all the time. Donovan had had Japanese marmalade 
somewhere, and thought it better than this. The Major 
wouldn't touch the beastly margarine, but Jenks thought it 
quite as good as butter if taken with marmalade, and put it 
on nearly as thickly as his toast. Peter expanded in the air 
of camaraderie, and when he leaned back with a cigarette, 
tunic unbuttoned and cap tossed up on the rack, he felt as if 
he had been in the Army for years. He reflected how curious 
that was. The last two or three years or so of Boy Scouts 
and hospitals and extra prayer-meetings, attended by the 
people who attended everything else, seemed to have faded 
away. There was hardly a gap between that first war 
evening which he remembered so clearly and this. It was 
a common experience enough, and probably due to the fact 
that, whereas everytiiing else had made little impression, he 
had lived for this moment and been extraordinarily im- 
pressed by that Sunday. But he realised, also, that it was 
due as much to his present companions. They had, seeming- 
ly, accepted him as he had never been accepted before. They 
asked practically no questions. So far as he could see, he 
made no difference to them. He felt as if he were at last 
part of a great brotherhood, in which, chiefly, one worried 
about nothing more important than Japanese marmalade 
and margarine. 

"We're almost there, boys," said Bevan, peering out of 
window. 

"Curse!" ejaculated Jenks. "I hate getting my traps to- 
gether in a train, and I loathe the mob on the boat." 

"I don't see why you should," said Donovan. "I'm blest 
if I bother about anything. The R.T.O. and the red-caps do 
everything, and you needn't even worry about getting a 
Pullman ticket this way over. Hope it's not rough, though." 



28 SIMON CALLED PETER 

He let a window down and leaned out. "Looks all right," 
he added. 

Peter got up with the rest and began to hang things about 
him. His staringly new Sam Browne irritated him, but he 
forgot it as the train swung round the curve to the landing- 
stage. 

"Get a porter and a truck, Donovan," said the Major, who 
was farthest from the door. 

They got out nonchalantly, and Peter lit a cigarette, while 
the others threw remarks at the man as to luggage. Then 
they all trooped off together in a crowd that consisted of 
every variety of rank and regiment and section of the Brit'- 
ish Empire, plus some Waacs and nurses. 

The Pride of Folkestone lay alongside, and when they got 
there she seemed already full. The four of them got 
jammed at the gangway and shoved on board, handing in 
and receiving papers from the official at the head as they 
passed him. Donovan was in front, and as he stepped on 
deck he swung his kit-bag back to Peter, crying: 

"Lay hold of that, padre, and edge across the deck. Get 
up ahead of the funnel that side. I'll get chairs. Jenko, 
you rotter, get belts, and drop eyeing the girl 1" 

"Jolly nice bit of fluff," said Jenks meditatively, staring 
fixedly across the deck. 

"Where?" queried the Major, fumbling for his eyeglass. 

"Get on there, please, gentlemen," called a ship's official. 

"Damn it ! mind my leg !" 

"Cheerio, old son, here we are again !" 

"I say. Tommy, did you get to the Alhambra last night, 
after all? What? Well, I couldn't see you, anyhow." 

To which accompaniment, Peter pushed his way across 
the deck. "Sorry, padre," said a VA.D. who blocked the 
way, bending herself back to let him pass, and smiling. 
"Catch hold," called out Donovan, swinging a couple of 
chairs at him. "No, sir, it's not my chair"— to a Colonel 
who was grabbing at one already set out against the rail. 



blMON CALLED PETER 29 

The Colonel collected it and disappeared, Jenks appear- 
ing a moment later, red-faced, through the crush. "You 
blamed fool," he whispered, "it's that girl's. I saw her put 
one here and edged up on it, only some fool got in my 
way. Still (hopefully), perhaps she'll come back." 

Between them they got four chairs into a line and sat 
down, all, that is, save Jenks, who stood up, in a bland and 
genial way, as if to survey the crowd impartially. How im- 
partially soon appeared. "Damn!" he exploded. "She's 
met some other females, weird and woolly things, and she's 
sitting down there. No, by Jove 1 she's looking this way." 

He made a half-start forward, and the Major kicked his 
shins. "Blast!" he exploded; "why did you do that, you 
fool?" 

"Don't be an infant, Jenko, sit down. You can't start 
a flirtation across the blooming deck. Here, padre, can't 
you keep him in order?" 

Peter half raised himself from his chair at this, and 
glanced the way the other was looking. Through the crush 
he saw, clearly enough for a minute, a girl of medium height 
in a nurse's uniform, sideways on to him. The next second 
she half-turned, obviously smiling some remark to her 
neighbour, and he caught sight of dear brown eyes and a 
little fringe of dark hair on the forehead of an almost child- 
ish face. The eyes met his. And then a sailor blundered 
across his field of vision. 

"Topping, isn't she?" demanded Jenks, who had appar- 
ently been pulled down into his chair in the interval. 

"Oh, I don't know," said Graham, and added deliberately; 
"Rather ordinary, I thought." 

Jenks stared at him. "Good Lord, padre," he saidj, 
"where are your eyes?" 

Peter heard a little chuckle behind, and glanced round to 
see Donovan staring at him with amusement written all 
across his face. "You'll do, padre," he said, taking a pipe 
from his pocket and beginning to fill it. Peter smiled and 



30 SIMON CALLED PETER 

leant back. Probably for the first time in five years he for« 
got for a moment what sort of a collar it was around hi? 
neck. 

Sitting there, he began to enjoy himself. The sea glit- 
tered in the sun and the Lees stretched out opposite him 
across the shining gulf. Sea-birds dipped and screamed. 
On his left, Major Bevan was talking to a fl>'ing man, and 
Peter glanced up with him to see an aeroplane that came 
humining high up above the trees on the cliff and flew out 
to sea. 

"Damned fine type!" said the boy, whose tunic, for all 
his youth, sported wings. "Fritz can't touch it yet. Of 
course, he'll copy it soon enough, or go one better, but just 
at present I think it's the best out. Wish we'd got some in 
our circus. We've nothing but . . ." and he trailed off into 
technicalities. 

Peter found himself studying Donovan, who lay back 
beyond Jenks turning the pages of an illustrated magazine 
and smoking. The eyes interested him; they looked extra- 
ordinarily clear, but as if their owner kept hidden behind 
them a vast namber of secrets as old as the universe. The 
face was lined — good-looking, he thought, but the face of a 
man who was no novice in the school of life. Peter felt he 
liked the Captain instinctively. He carried breeding stamped 
on him, far more than, say, the Major with the eyeglass. 
Peter wondered if they would meet again. 

The siren sounded, and a bustle began as people put on 
their life-belts. "All life-belts on, please," said a young 
officer continually, who, with a brassard on his arm, was 
going up and down among the chairs. "Who's that?" asked 
Peter, struggling with his belt. 

"Some poor bloke who has been roped in for crossin' 
duty," said Jenks. "Mind my chair, padre; Bevan and 
I are going IdcIow for a wet. Coming, skipper?" 

"Not yet," said Donovan ; "the bar's too full at first for 
me. Padre and I'll come later." 

The others stepped off across the crowded deck, and 



SIMON CALLED PETER 31 

Donovan pitched his magazine into Bevan's chair to retain it. 

"You're from South Africa?" queried Peter. 

"Yes," replied the other. "I was in German West, and 
came over after on my own. Joined up with the brigade 
here." 

"What part of Africa?" asked Peter. 

"Basutoland, padre. Not a bad place in a way — decent 
climate, topping scenery, but rather a stodgy crowd in the 
camps. One or two decent people, but the majority mid- 
Victorian, without a blessed notion except the price of 
mealies, who quarrel about nothing half the time, and talk 
tuppenny-ha'penny scandal the rest. Good Lord! I wish 
we had some of the perishers out here. But they know 
which side of the bread the butter is. Bad time for trade, 
they say, and every other trader has bought a car since the 
war. Of course, there's something to be said for the other 
side, but what gets my goat is their pettiness. I'm for Brit- 
ish East Africa after the war. There's a chap written a 
novel about Basutoland called 'The Land of To-morrow,' but 
I'd call it 'The Land of the Day before Yesterday.' I sup- 
pose some of them came over with an assortment of ideas 
one time, but they've struck no new ones since. I 4on't 
advise you to settle in a South African dorp if you can 
help it, padre." 

"Don't suppose I shall," said Peter. "I've just got en> 
gaged, and my girl's people wouldn't let her out of England." 

"Engaged, are you? Thank your stars you aren't mar- 
ried. It's safer not to be out here." 

"Why?" 

Donovan looked at him curiously. "Oh, you'll find out 
fast enough, padre," he said. "Wonder what you'll make 
of it. Rum place just now, France, I can tell you. There's 
the sweepings of half the world over there, and everything's 
turned upside down. Fellows are out for a spree, of course, 
and you can't be hard on a chap down from the line if he 
goes on the bust a bit. It's human nature, and you must 
allow for it; don't you think so?" 



32 SIMON CALLED PETER 

"Human nature can be controlled," said Peter primly. 

"Can it?" retorted the other. "Even the cloth doesn't find 
it too easy, apparently." 

"What do you mean ?" demanded Peter, and then added : 
"Don't mind telling me; I really want to know." 

Donovan knocked out his pipe, and evaded. "You've got 
(o be broad-minded, padre," he said. 

"Well, I am," said Peter. "But . . ." 

"Come and have a drink then," interrupted the other. 
"Jenko and the Major are coming back." 

"Damned poor whisky!" said the latter, catching the rail 
as the boat heaved a bit, "begging your pardon, padre. Bet- 
ter try brandy. If the war lasts much longer there'll be no 
whisky worth drinking this side. I'm off it till we get to 
the dub at Boulogne." 

Peter and Donovan went off together. It was a new ex- 
perience for Peter, but he wouldn't have owned it. They 
groped their way down the saloon stairs, and through a 
crowd to the little bar. "What's yours?" demanded Dono- 
van. 

"Oh, I'll take the Major's advice," said Peter. "Brandy- 
and-soda for me." 

"Soda finished, sir," said the bar steward. 

"All right: two brandies-and-water, steward," said Dono^ 
van, and swung a revolving seat near round for Graham. 
As he took it, Peter noticed the man opposite. His badge 
was a Maltese Cross, but he wore a flannel collar and tie. 
Their eyes met, but the other stared a bit stonily. For the 
second time, Peter wished he hadn't a clerical collar. The 
next he was taking the glass from the South African. 
"Cheerio," said Donovan. 

"Here's to you," said Peter, and leaned back with an 
assumption of ease. 

He had a strange sense of unreality. No fool and no 
Puritan, he had naturally, however, been little in such an 
atmosphere since ordination. He would have had a drink 
in Park Lane with the utmost ease, and he would have ar- 



SIMON CALLED PETER 33 

gued, over it, that the clergy were not nearly so out of touch 
with men as the papers said. But down here, in the steam- 
er's saloon, surrounded by officers, in an atmosphere of in- 
difference to him and his office, he felt differently. He was 
aware, dimly, that for the past five years situations in which 
he had been had been dominated by him, and that he, as a 
clerg)rman, had been continually the centre of concern. Talk, 
conduct, and company had been rearranged when he came 
in, and it had happened so often that he had ceased to be 
aware of it. But now he was a mere unit, of no particular 
importance whatever. No one dreamed of modifying him- 
self particularly because a clergyman was present. Peter 
clung to the bdief that it was not altogether so, but he was 
sufficiently conscious of it. And he was conscious of liking 
it, of wanting to sink back in it as a man sinks back in an 
easy-chair. He felt he ought not to do so, and he made a 
kind of mental effort to pull himself together. 

Up on the deck the world was very fair. The French 
coast was now clearly visible, and even the houses of the 
town, huddled together as it seemed, but dominated by a 
church on the hill. Behind them, a sister ship containing 
Tommies ploughed steadily along, serene and graceful in 
the sunlight, and above an airship of silvery aluminium, 
bearing the tricoloured circle of the Allies, kept pace with 
the swift ship without an effort. Four destroyers were 
visible, their low, dark shapes ploughing regularly along at 
stated intervals, and someone said a fifth was out of sight 
behind. People were already beginning to take off their 
lifebelts, and the sailors were clearing a place for the gang- 
way. Peter found that Donovan had known what he was 
about, for his party would be close to the gangway without 
moving. He began to wonder uneasily what would be done 
on landing, and to hope that Donovan would be going his 
way. No one had said a word about it. He looked round 
for Jenks' nurse, but couldn't see her. 

It was jolly entering the port. The French houses and 
fishing-boats looked foreign, although one could hardly say 



34 

why. On the quay was a big notice: "All officers to report 
at once to the M.L.O." Farther on was a board bearing 
the letters "R.T.O." ... But Peter hardly liked to ask. 

In fact, everything went like clockwork. He presently 
found himself in a queue, behind Donovan, of officers who 
were passing a small window like a ticket office. Arriving, 
he handed in papers, and was given them back with a brief 
"All right." Beyond, Donovan had secured a broken-down- 
looking one-horse cab. "You'll be coming to the club, 
padre?" he asked. "Qiuck in your stuff. This chap'U take 
it down and Bevan with it. Let's walk. It isn't far." 

Jenks elected to go with his friend the Major, and Dono- 
van and Peter set off over the cobbles. They joined up 
with another small group, and for the first time Peter had 
to give his name as he was introduced. He forgot the others 
as soon as he heard them, and they forgot his. A big Dub-' 
lin Fusilier officer with a tiny moustache, that seemed lu- 
dicrous in his great face, exchanged a few sentences with 
him. They left the quay and crossed a wide space where 
a bridge debouched towards the railway-station. Donovan, 
who was walking ahead, passed on, but the Fusilier suggested 
to Peter that they might as well see the R.T.O. at once about 
trains. Entering the station gates, the now familiar initials 
appearing on a row of offices before them to the left, Peter's 
companion demanded the train to Albert. 

"Two-thirty a.m., change at Amiens, sir," said a clerk 
in uniform within, and the Fusilier passed on. 

"What time is the Rouen train ?" asked Peter in his turn, 
and was told 9.30 p.m. 

"You're in luck, padre," said the other. "It's bally rotten 
getting in at two-thirty, and probably the beastly thing won't 
go till five. Still, it might be worse. You can get on board 
at midnight, and with luck get to sleep. If I were you, I'd 
be down here early for yours — crowded always, it is. Of 
course, you'll dine at the club?" 

Peter supposed he would. 

The club entrance was full up with officers, and more and 



SIMON CALLED PETER 35 

more kept pouring in. Donovan was just leaving the counter 
on the right with some tickets in his hand as they pushed in. 
"See you later," he called out. "I've got to sleep here, and 
I want to leave my traps." 

Peter wondered where, but was too much occupied in keep- 
ing well behind the Fusilier to think much. At a kind of 
counter a girl in a W.AA.C. uniform was serving out 
tickets of one sort and another, and presently the two of 
them were before her. For a few francs one got tickets 
for lunch, dinner, bed, a bath, and whatever else one wanted, 
but Peter had no French money. The Fusilier bought him 
the first two, however, and together they forced their way 
out into the great lounge. "Half an hour before lunch," 
said his new companion, and then, catching sight of some- 
one : "Hullo, Jack, you back ? Never saw you on the 
boat. Did you . . ." His voice trailed off as he crossed 
the room. 

Peter looked around a little disconsolately. Then he made, 
his way to a huge lounge-chair and threw himself into it. 

All about him was a subdued chatter. A big fire burned 
in the stove, and round it was a wide semicircle of chairs. 
Against the wall were more, and a small table or two stood 
about. Nearly every chair had its occupant — all sorts and 
conditions of officers, mostly in undress, and he noticed some 
fast asleep, with muddied boots. There was a look on their 
faces, even in sleep, and Peter guessed that some at least 
were down from the line on their way to a brief leave. 
More and more came in continuously. Stewards with drinks 
passed quickly in and out about them. The Fusilier and 
his friend were just ordering something. Peter opened his 
case and took out a cigarette, tapping it carefully before 
lighting it. He began to feel at home and lazy and comfort- 
able, as if he had been there before. 

An orderly entered with envelopes in his hand. "Lieu- 
tenant Frazer?" he called, and looked round inquiringly. 
There was no reply, and he turned to the next. "Captain 
Saunders?" Still no reply, "Lieutenant Morcombe?" Still 



36 SIMON CALLED PETER 

no reply. "Lieutenant Morcombe," he called again. Nobcxiy 
took any interest, and he turned on his heel, pushed the 
swing-door open, and departed. 

Then Donovan came in, closely followed by Bevan. Peter 
got up and made towards them. "Hullo!" said Bevan. 
"Have an appetiser, padre. Lunch will be on in twenty 
minutes. What's yours, skipper?" 

The three of them moved on to Peter's chair, and Bevan 
dragged up another. Peter subsided, and Donovan sat on 
the edge. Peter pulled out his cigarette-case again, and of- 
fered it. Bevan, after one or two ineffectual attempts, got an 
orderly at last. 

"WeU, here's fun," he said. 

"Cheerio," said Peter. He renSembered Donovan had 
said that in the saloon. 



CHAPTER III 

JENKS being attached to the A.S.C. engaged in feeding 
daily more than 100,000 men in the Rouen area, Peter 
and he travelled together. By the latter's advice they 
reached the railway-station soon after 8.30, but even so the 
train seemed full. There were no lights in the siding, and 
none whatever on the train, so that it was only by matches 
that one could tell if a compartment was full or empty, 
except in the case of those from which candle-light and 
much noise proclaimed the former indisputably. At last, 
however, somewhere up near the engine, they found a 
second-class carriage, apparently unoccupied, with a big 
tidiet marked "Reserved" upon it. Jenks struck a match 
and regarded this critically. "Well, padre," he said, "as 
it doesn't say for whom it is reserved, I guess it may as 
well be reserved for us. So here goes." He swung up and 
tugged at the door, which for some time refused to give. 
Then it opened suddenly, and Second-Lieutenant Jenks, 
A.S.C., subsided gracefully and luridly on the ground out- 
side. Peter struck another match and peered in. It was 
then observed that the compartment was not empty, but that 
a dark-haired, lanky youth, stretdied completely along one 
seat, was regarding them solemnly. 

"This carriage is reserved," he said. 

"Yes," said Jenks cheerfully, "for us, sir. May I ask 
what you are doing in it?" 

The awakened one sighed. "It's worked before, and if 
you chaps come in and shut the door quickly, perhaps it 
will work again. Three's not too bad, but I've seen six 
in these perishing cars. Come in quickly, for the Lord's 
sake!" 

37 



38 SIMON CALLED PETER 

Peter looked round him curiously. Two of the four win^ 
dows were broken, and the glory had departed from the 
upholstery. There was no light, and it would appear that 
a heavier body than that designed for it had travelled upon 
the rack. Jenks was swearing away to himself and trying 
to light a candle-end. Peter laughed. 

"Got any cards?" asked the original owner. 

"Yes," said Jenks. "Got any grub?" 

"Bath-olivers and chocolate and half a water-bottle of 
whisky," replied the original owner. "And we shall need 
them." 

"Good enough," said Jenks. "And the padre here has 
plenty of sandwiches, for he ordered a double lot." 

"Do you play auction, padre?" queried what turned out, 
in the candle-light, to be a Canadian. 

Peter assented; he was moderately good, he knew. 

This fairly roused the Canadian. He swung his l^s off 
the seat, and groped for the door. "Hang on to this dug- 
out, you men," he said, "and I'll get a fourth. I kidded some 
fellows of ours with that notice just now, but I know them, 
and I can get a decent chap to come in." 

He was gone a few minutes only ; then voices sounded out- 
side. "Been looking for you, old dear," said their friend. 
"Only two sportsmen here and a nice little show all to 
ourselves. Tumble in, and we'll get cheerful. Not that 
seat, old dear. But wait a jiffy ; let's sort things out first." 

They snorted out of the dreary tunnel into Rouen in the 
first daylight of the next morning. Peter looked eagerly at 
the great winding river and the glory of the cathedral as it 
towered up above the mists that hung over the houses. 
There was a fresh taste of spring in the air, and the smoke 
curled clear and blue from the slow-moving barges on the 
water. The bare trees on the island showed every twig and 
thin branch, as if they had been pencilled against the leaden- 
coloured flood beneath. A tug puffed fussily upstream, red 
and yellow markings on its grimy black. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 39 

Jenks was asleep in the corner, but he woke as they dat- 
tered across the bridge. "Heigh-ho !" he sighed, stretching. 
"Back to the old graft again." 

Yet once more Peter began to collect his belongings. It 
seemed ages since he had got into the train at Victoria, and 
he felt particularly grubby and unshaven. 

"What's the next move?" he asked. 

Jenks eyed him. "Going to take a taxi ?" he queried. 

"Where to?" said Peter. 

"Well, if you ask me, padre," he replied, "I don't see 
what's against a decent clean-up and breakfast at the club. 
It doesn't much matter when I report, and the club's handy 
for your show. I know the A.C.G.'s ofifice, because it's in the 
same house as the Base Cashier, and the club's just at the 
bottom of the street. But it's the deuce of a way from the^ 
station. If we can get a taxi, I vote we take it." 

"Right-o," agreed Peter. "You lead on." 

They tumbled out on the platform, and produced the 
necessary papers at the exit labelled "British Ofificers Only." 
A red-capped military policeman wrote down particulars on 
a paper, and in a few minutes they were out among the 
crowd of peasantry in the booking-hall. Jenks pushed 
through, and had secured a cab by the time Peter arrived. 
"There isn't a taxi to be got, padre," he said, "but this'll do." 

They rolled off down an avenue of wintry trees, passed a 
wooden building which Peter was informed was the Eng- 
lish military church, and out on to the stone-paved quay. To 
Peter the drive was an intense delight. A French blue- 
coated regiment swung past them. "Going up the line," 
said Jenks. A crowd of black troops marched by in the 
opposite direction. "Good Lord!" said Jenks, "so the S.A, 
native labour has come." The river was full of craft, but 
his mentor explained that the true docks stretched mile oi» 
mile downstream. By a wide bridge lay a camouflaged 
steamer. "Hospital ship," said Jenks. Up a narrow street 
could be seen the buttresses of the cathedral; and if Peter 
craned his head to glance up, his companion was more occu- 



46 SIMON CALLED PETER 

pied in the great cafe at the corner a little farther on. But 
it was, of course, deserted at that early hour. A flower-stall 
at the corner was gay with flowers, and two French peasant 
women were arranging the blooms. And then the fiacre 
swung into the Rue Joanne d'Arc, and opposite a gloomy- 
looking entrance pulled up with a jerk. "Here we are," 
said Jenks. "It's up an infernal flight of steps." 

The officers' club in Rouen was not monstrously attrac- 
tive, but they got a good wash in a little room that looked 
out over a tangle of picturesque roofs, and finally some 
excellent coffee and bacon and eggs. 

Jenks lit a cigarette and handed one to Peter. "Better 
leave your traps," he said. "I'll go up with you ; I've nothing 
to do." 

Outside the street was filling with the morning traffic, and 
the two walked up the slight hill to the accompaniment of a 
running fire of comments and explanations from Jenks 
"That's Cox's — ^useful place for the first half of a month, but 
not much use to me, anyway, for the second. . . . You 
ought to go to that shop and buy picture post-cards, padre ; 
there's a topping girl who sells 'em. . . . Rue de la Grosse 
Horloge— you can see the clock hanging over the road. The 
street runs up to the cathedral: rather jolly sometimes, but 
nothing doing now. . . . What's that ? I don't know. Yes, 
I do; Palais de Justice or something of that sort. Pretty 
old, I believe. ... In those gardens is the picture gallery; 
not been in myself, but I believe they've got some good stuff. 
. . . That's your show, over there. Don't be long; I'll 
hang about." 

Peter crossed the street, and, following directions as- 
cended some wooden stairs. A door round the corner at the 
top was inscribed "A.C.G. (C. of E.)," and he went up to 
it. There he cogitated: ought one to knock, or, being in 
uniform, walk straight in? He could not think of any rea- 
son why one should not knock being in uniform, so he 
knocked. 

"Come in," said a voice. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 41 

He opened the door and entered. At a desk before him 
sat a rather elderly man, clean-shaven, who eyed him keenly. 
On his left, with his back to him, was a man in uniform 
pattering away busily on a typewriter, and, for the rest, the 
room contained a few chairs, a coloured print of the Light 
of the World over the fireplace, and a torn map. Peter again 
hesitated. He wondered what was the rank of the officer in 
the chair, and if he ought to salute. While he hesitated, the 
other said: "Good-morning. What can I do for you?" 

Peter, horribly nervous, made a half-effort at saluting, and 
stepped forward. "My name's Graham, sir,", he said. "I've 
just come over, and was told in the C.G.'s office in London 
to report to Colonel Chichester, A.C.G., at Rouen." 

The other put him at his ease at once. He rose and held 
a hand out over the littered desk. "How do you do, Mr. 
Graham?" he said. "We were expecting you. I am the 
A.C.G. here, and we've plenty for you to do. Take a seat, 
won't you ? I believe I once heard you preach at my brother's 
place down in Suffolk. You were at St. Thomas's, weren't 
you, down by the river?" 

Peter warmed to the welcome. It was strangely familiar, 
after the past twenty-four hours, to hear himself called 
"Mr.," and, despite the uniforms and the surroundings, he 
felt he might be in the presence of a vicar in England. Some 
of his old confidence began to return. He replied freely 
to the questions. 

Presently the other glanced at his watch. "Well," he 
said, "I've got to go over to H.Q., and you had better be 
getting to your quarters. Where did I place Captain Graham, 
Martin?" 

The orderly at the desk leaned sideways and glanced at 
a paper pinned on the desk. "No. S Rest Camp, sir," he said. 

"Ah, yes, I remember now. You can get a tram at the 
bottom of the street that will take you nearly all the way. 
It's a pretty place, on the edge of the country. You'll find 
about one thousand men in camp, and the O.C.'s name is— « 
what is it. Martin?" 



^42 SIMON CALLED PETER 

"Captain Harold, sir." 

"Harold, that's it. A decent diap. The men are con- 
Btantly coming and going, but there's a good deal to do." 

"Is there a chapel in the camp?" asked Peter. 

"Oh, no, I don't think so. You'll use the canteen. There's 
a quiet room there you can borrow for celebrations. There's 
a P.O.W. camp next door one way and a South African Na- 
tive Labour Corps lot the other. But they have their own 
chaplains. We'll let you down easy at first, but you might 
see if you can fix up a service or so for the men in the forest. 
There's a Labour Company out there cutting wood. Maybe 
you'll be able to get a lift out in a car, but get your O.C. to 
indent for a bicycle if there isn't one. Drop in and see me 
some day and tell me how you are getting on. I'll find you 
some more work later on.'' 

Peter got up. The other held out his hand, which Peter 
took, and then, remembering O.T.C. days at Oxford, firmly 
and unblushingly saluted. The Colonel made a little mo- 
tion. "Good-bye," he said, and Peter found himself outside 
the door. 

"No. 5 Rest Camp," said Jenks a moment later : "you're 
in luck, padre. It's a topping camp, and the skipper is an 
awfully good sort. Beast of a long way out, though. You'll 
have to have a taxi now." 

"The A.C.G. said a tram would do," said Peter. 

"Then he talked through his blooming hat," replied the 
other. "He's probably never been there in his little life. 
It's two miles beyond the tram terminus if it's a yard. My 
place is just across the river, and there's a ferry that pretty 
well drops you there. Tell you what 111 do. I'll see you 
down and then skip over." 

"What about your stuff, though?" queried Peter. 

"Oh, bless you, I can get a lorry to collect that. That's 
»ne use in being A.S.C., at any rate." 

"It's jolly decent of you," said Peter. 

"Not a bit, old dear," returned the other. "You're the 



SIMON CALLED PETER 43 

right sort, padre, and I'm at a loose end just now. Besides, 
I'd like to see old Harold. He's one of the best. Come on." 

They found a taxi this time, near the Gare du Vert, and 
ran quickly out, first over cobbles, then down a wide avenue 
with a macadamised surface which paralleled the river, 
downstream. 

"Main road to Havre," volunteered Jenks. "I've been 
through once or twice with our stuff. It's a jolly pretty 
run, and you can lunch in Candebec with a bit of luck, 
which is one of the beauty-spots of the Seine, you know." 

The road gave on open country in a few miles, though 
there were camps to be seen between it and the river, with 
wharves and buildings at intervals, and ahead a biggish wa- 
terside village. Just short of that they pulled up. A notice- 
board remarked "No. 5 Rest Camp," and Peter saw he had 
arrived. 

The sun was well up by this time, and his spirits with it. 
The country smiled in the clear light. Behind the camp 
fields ran up to a thick wood through which wound a road, 
and the river was just opposite them. A sentry came to at- 
tention as they passed in, sloped arms, and saluted. Peter 
stared at him. "You ought to take the salute, padre," said 
Jenks; "you're senior to me, you know." 

They passed down a regular street of huts, most of which 
had little patches of garden before them in which the green 
of some early spring flowers was already showing, and 
stopped before the orderly-room. Jenks said he would look 
in and see if "the skipper" were inside, and in a second or 
two came out with a red-faced, cheerful-looking man, whom 
he introduced as Captain Harold. With them was a tall 
young Scots officer in a kilt, whom Peter learned was Lieu- 
tenant Mackay of their mess. 

"Glad to see you, padre," said Harold. "Our last man 
wasn't up to much, and Jenks says you're a sport. I've 
finished in there, so come on to the mess and let's have a 
spot for luck. Come on, Scottie. Eleven o'clock's all right 
for you, isn't it?" 



44 SIMON CALLED PETER 

"Shan't say no," said the gentleman addressed, and they 
passed behind the orderly-room and in at an open door. 

Peter glanced curiously round. The place was very cheer- 
ful—a fire burning and gay pictures on the wall. "Rather 
neat, isn't it, padre?" queried Harold. "By the way, you've 
got to dub up a picture. Everyone in the mess gives one. 
There's a blank space over there that'll do nicely for a 
Kirschner, if you're sport enough for that. Jenko'U show 
you where to get a topper. What's yours, old son ?" 

"Same as usual, skipper," said Jenks, throwing himself 
into a chair. 

Harold walked across to a little shuttered window and 
tapped. A man's face appeared in the opening. "Four 
whiskies. Hunter — ^that's all right, padre?" 

"Yes," said Peter, and walked to the fire, while the talk 
became general, 

"First time over?" queried Mackay. 

"Well, how's town?" asked Harold. "Good shows on? 
I ought to be due next month, but I think I'll wait a bit. 
Want to get over in the spring and see a bit of the country 
too. What do they think of the war over there, Jenko ?" 

"It's going to be over by summer. There's a big push 
coming off this spring, and Fritz can't stand much more. 
He's starving, and has no reserves worth talking of. The 
East does not matter, though the doings at Salonika have 
depressed them no end. This show's going to be won on 
the West, and that quickly. Got it, old bean?" 

"Good old Blighty!" ejaculated Harold. "But they don't 
really believe all that, do they, padre?" 

"They do," said Peter. "And, to tell you the truth, I 
wondered if I'd be over in time myself. Surely the Yanks 
must come in and make a difference." 

"This time next year, perhaps, though I doubt it. What 
do you think, Scottie?" 

"Oh, ask another! I'm sick of it. Say, skipper, what 
about that run out into the forest you talked of ?" 

"Good enough. Would you care to go, padre? There's 



SIMON CALLED PETER 43 

a wood-cuttin' crowd out there, and I want to see 'em about 
firewood. There's a car possible to-day, and we could all 
pack in." 

"Count me out," said Jenks. "I'll have to toddle over and 
report. Sorry, all the same." 

"I'd love it," said Peter. "Besides, the A.C.G. said I was 
to look up those people." 

"Oh, well done. It isn't a joy-ride at all, then. Have 
another, padre, and let's get off. No ? Well, I will. How's 
yours, Scottie?" 

Ten minutes later the three of them got into a big car and 
glided smoothly off, first along the river, and then up a 
steep road into the forest. Peter, fresh from London, lay 
back and enjoyed it immensely. He had no idea Normandy 
boasted such woods, and the world looked very good to him. 
It was all about as different from what he had imagined 
as it could possibly have been. He just set himself to 
appreciate it. 

The forest was largely fir and pine, and the sunlight 
glanced down the straight trunks and patterned on the car- 
pet beneath. Hollies gleamed green against the brown back- 
ground, and in an open space of bare beech trees the littered 
ground was already pricked with the new green of the wild 
hyacinth. Now and again the rounded hills gave glimpses 
of the far Normandy plain across the serpentine river, then 
would as suddenly close in on them again until the car 
seemed to dart between the advancing battalions of the 
forest as though to escape capture. At length, in one such 
place, they leaped forward up a short rise, then rushed swift- 
ly downhill, swung round a corner, and came out on what 
had become all but a bare tableland, set high so that one 
could see distant valleys — Boscherville, Duclair — ^and yet 
bare, for the timber had been all but entirely cut down. 

Five hundred yards along this road brought them to a 
small encampment. There were some lines of Nysson huts, 
a canteen with an inverted triangle for sign, some tents, 
great stacks of timber and of smaller wood, a few lorries 



46 SIMON CALLED PETER 

drawn up and silent, and, beyond, two or three buildings of 
wood set down by themselves, with a garden in front, and 
a notice "Officers' Quarters." Here, then. Captain Harold 
stopped the car, and they got out. There were some jovial 
introductions, and presently the whole party set off across 
the cleared space to where, in the distance, one could see 
the edge of the forest. 

Peter did not want to talk, and dropped a little behind. 
Harold and the O.C. of the forestry were on in front, and 
Mackay, with a junior local officer, were skirmishing about 
on the right, taking pot-shots with small chunks of wood 
at the stumps of trees and behaving rather like two school- 
boys. 

The air was all heavy with resinous scent, and the carpet 
beneath soft with moss and leaves and fragrant chips of 
pine. Here and there, on a definite plan, a small tree had 
been spared, and when he joined the men ahead, Peter 
learned how careful were the French in all this apparently 
wholesale felling. In the forest, as they saw as they 
reached it, the lines were numbered and lettered, and in 
some distant office every woodland group was known, with 
its place and age. There are few foresters like the French, 
and it was cheering to think that this great levelling would, 
in a score of years, do more good than harm. 

Slowly biting into the untouched regiments of trees were 
the men, helped in their work by a small power engine. The 
great trunks were lopped and roughly squared here, and 
then dragged by motor traction to a slide, which they now 
went to view. It was a fascinating sight. The forest ended 
abruptly on a high hill, and below, at their feet, wound the 
river. Far down, working on a wharf that had been con- 
structed of piks driven into the mud, was a Belgian detach- 
ment with German prisoners, and near the wharf rough 
sheds housed the cutting plant. Where they stood was the 
head of a big slide, with back-up sides, and the forest giants, 
brought to the top from the place where they were felled. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 47 

were levered over, to swish down in a cloud ef dust to the 
"Vaiting men beneath. 

"Well, skipper, what about the firewood?" asked Harold 
as they stood gazing. 

"How much do you want?" asked the O.C. Forestry. 

"Oh, well, what can you let me have? You've got stacks 
of odd stuff about ; surely you can spare a bit." 

"It's clean agin regulations, but could you send for it?" 

"Rather ! There's an A.S.C. camp below us, and the men 
there promised me a lorry if I'd share the spoils with them. 
Will that do?" 

"All right. When will you send up?" 

"What's to-day? Wednesday? How about Sunday? I 
could put some boys on to load up who'd like the jaunt. 
How would Sunday do?" 

"Capital. My chaps work on all day, of course, and I 
don't want to give them extra, so send some of yours." 

Peter listened, and now cut in. 

"Excuse me, sir," he said, "but I was told I ought to try 
and get a service of some sort out here. Could I come out 
on the lorry and hold one?" 

"Delighted, padre, of course. I'll see what I can do for 
you. About eleven? Probably you won't get many men, 
as there are usually inspection parades and some extra fa- 
tigues on Sunday, but I'll put it in orders. We haven't had 
a padre for a long time." 

"Eleven would suit me," said Peter, "if Captain Harold 
thinks the lorry can get up here by that time. Will it, sir ?" 

"Oh, I should think so, and, anyway, an hour or so won't 
make much difference. If I can, I'll come with you myself. 
But, I say, we ought to be getting back now. It will be 
infernally late for luncheon." 

"Come and have a drink before you start, anyway," said 
the O.C. ; and he led the way back to the camp and into an 
enclosure made of bushes and logs in the rear of the mess, 
where rustic seats and a table had been constructed under 



48 SIMON CALLED PETER 

the shade of a giant oak. "It's rattling here in summer," he 
said, "and we have most of our meals out of doors. Sit 
down, won't you? Orderly!" 

"Sy Jove! you people are comfortable out here," said 
Harold. "Wish I had a job of this sort." 

"Oh, I don't know, skipper; it would feed you up after 
a while, I think. It's bally lonely in the evening, and we 
can't always get a car to town. It's a damned nuisance get- 
ting out again, too." Then, as the orderly brought glasses 
and a bottle : "Have a spot. It's Haig and Haig, Mackay, 
and the right stuff." 

"Jolly good, sir," said that worthy critically. "People 
think because I don't talk broad Scots I'm no Highlander, 
but when it comes to the whisky I've got a Scottish thirst. 
Say when, sir." 

Peter had another because he was warm with the sense 
of good comradeship, and was warmer still when he climbed 
into the car ten minutes later. Life seemed so simple and 
easy, and he was struck witli the cheer iness of his new 
friends, and the ready welcome to himself and his duty. He 
waved to the O.C. "See you Sunday, sir," he called out, 
" 'bout eleven. You won't forget to put it in orders, will 
you? Cheerio." 

"Let's go round by the lower road, skipper," said Mackay. 
"We can look in at that toppin' little pub — what's its name, 
Croix something? — and besides, the surface is capital down 
there." 

"And see Marie, eh ? But don't forget you've got a padre 
aboard." 

"Oh, he's all right, and if he's going to be out here, it's 
time he knew Marie." 

Graham laughed. "Carry on," he said. "It's all one 
to me where we go, skipper." 

He lay back more comfortably than ever, and the big car 
leaped forward through the forest, ever descending towards 
the river level. Soon the trees thinned, and they were skirt- 
ing ploughed fields. Presently they ran through a little vil- 



SIMON CALLED PETER 49 

lage, where a German prisoner straightened himself from his 
work in a garden and saluted. Then through a wood which 
suddenly gave a vista of an avenue to a stately house, tur- 
reted in the French style, a quarter of a mile away; then 
over a little stream ; then round a couple of corners, past a 
dreamy old church, and a long immemorial wall, and so out 
into the straight road along the river. The sun gleamed 
on the water, and there were ships in view, a British and 
a couple of Norwegian tramps, ploughing slowly down to 
the sea. On the far bank the level of the land was low, but 
on this side only some narrow apple-orchards and here and 
there lush water-meadows separated them from the hills. 

The Croix de Guerre stood back from the road in a long 
garden just where a forest bridle-path wound down through 
a tiny village to the main road. Their chauffeur backed the 
car all but out of sight into this path after they climbed out, 
and the three of them made for a sidedoor in a high wall. 
Harold opened it and walked in. The pretty trim little gar- 
den had a few flowers in bloom, so sheltered was it, and 
Mackay picked a red rosebud as they walked up the path. 

Harold led the way without ceremony into a parlour that 
opened off a verandah, and, finding it empty, opened a door 
beyond. "Marie! Marie!" he called. 

"Ah, Monsieur le Capitaine, I come," came a girl's voice, 
and Marie entered. Peter noticed how rapidly she took 
them all in, and how cold were the eyes that nevertheless 
sparkled and greeted Harold and Mackay with seeming 
gaiety. She was short and dark and not particularly good- 
looking, but she had all the vivacity and charm of the French. 

"Oh, monsieur, where have you been for so long? I 
thought you had forgotten La Croix de Guerre altogether. 
It's the two weeks— no, three — since you come here. The 
gentlemen will have dejeuner? And perhaps a little aperitif 
before?" 

"Bon jour, Marie," began the Captain in clumsy French, 
and then abandoned the attempt. "I could not come, Marie, 
you know. C'est la guerre. Much work each day." 



so SIMON CALLED PETER 

"Ah, non, monsieur cannot cheat me. He had found an- 
other cafe and another girl. . . . Non, non, monsieur, it is 
not correct ;" and the girl drew herself up with a curiously 
changed air as Harold clumsily reached out towards her, 
protesting. "And you have a cure here — ^how do you say, a 
chapelain?" and Marie beamed on Peter. 

The two officers looked at him and laughed. "What can 
I bring you. Monsieur le Capitaine le Cure ?" demanded the 
girl. "Vermuth? Cognac?" 

Mackay slipped from the edge of the table on which he 
had been sitting and advanced towards her, speaking fluent 
French, with a curious suggestion of a Scotch accent that 
never appeared in his English. Peter watched with a smile 
on his face and a curious medley of feelings, while the 
Lieutenant explained that they could not stop to lunch, that 
they would take three mixed vermuth, and that he would 
come and help her get them. They went out together, Marie 
protesting, and Harold, lighting a cigarette and offering one 
to Peter, said with a laugh : "He's the boy, is Mackay, Wish 
I could sling the lingo like him. It's a great country, padre." 

In a minute or two the pair of them came back. Marie 
was wearing the rose at the point of the little decolletS of 
her black dress, and was all over smiles. She carried a tray 
with glasses and a bottle. Mackay carried the other. With 
a great show, he helped her pour out, and chatted away in 
French while they drank. 

Harold and Peter talked together, but the latter caught 
scraps of the others' conversation. Mackay wanted to know, 
apparently, when she would be next in town, and was urging 
a date on her. Peter caught "Rue Jeanne d'Arc," but little 
more, and Harold was insistent on a move in a few minutes. 
They skirmished at the door saying "Good-bye," but it was 
with an increased feeling of the warmth and jollity of his 
new life that Peter once more boarded the car. This time 
Mackay got in front and Harold joined Graham behind. As 
they sped off, Peter said : 

"By Jove, skipper, you do have a good time out here!" 



SIMON CALLED PETER 51 

Harold flicked off the ash of his cigarette. "So, so, padre," 
he said. "But the devil's loose. It's all so easy ; I've never 
met a girl yet who was not out for a spree. Of course, 
we don't see anything of the real French ladies, though, and 
this isn't the line. By God! when I think of the boys up 
there, I feel a beast sometimes. But I can't help it; they 
won't pass me to go up, and it's no use growling down here 
because of it." 

"I suppose not," said Peter, and leaned back reflecting for 
the rest of the way. He felt as if he had known these men 
all his days, and as if his London life had been lived on 
another planet. 

After lunch he was given a cubicle, and spent an hour or 
two getting unpacked. That done, just as he was about to 
sit down to a letter, there came a knock at the door, and 
Mackay looked in. 

"You there, padre?" he asked. "There's a lorry going 
up to town that has just brought a batch of men in: would 
you care to come? I've got to do some shopping, and we 
could dine at the club and come back afterwards." 

Peter jumped up. "Topping," he said. "I want to get 
one or two things, and I'd love it." 

"Come on, then," said the other. "I'll meet you at the 
gate in five minutes." 

Peter got on his Sam Browne and went out, and after a 
bit Mackay joined him. They jolted up to town, and went 
first to the Officers' Store at the E.F.C. Mackay bought 
some cigarettes, and Peter some flannel collars and a tie. 
Together the pair of them strolled round town, and put 
their heads in at the cathedral at Peter's request. He had 
a vision of old grey stone and coloured glass and wide soar- 
ing spaces, but his impatient companion hauled him out. "Of 
course, youll want to see round, padre," he said, "but you 
can do it some other time and with somebody else. I've seen 
it once, and that's enough for me. Let's get on to the club 
and book a table ; there's usually a fearful crowd." 

Peter was immensely impressed with the crowd of men, 



52 SIMON CALLED PETER 

the easy greetings of acquaintances, and the way in which 
one was ignored by the rest. He was introduced to several 
people, who were all very cheerful, and in the long dining- 
room they eventually sat down to table with two more offi- 
cers whom the Scotsman knew. Peter was rather taken with 
a tall man, slightly bald, of the rank of Captain, who was 
attached to a Labour Corps. He had travelled a great deal, 
and been badly knocked about in Gallipoli. In a way, he 
was more serious than the rest, and he told Peter a good 
deal about the sights of the town — ^the old houses and 
churches, and where was the best glass, and so on. Mackay 
and ^e fourth made merry, and Mackay, who called the 
W.A.A.C. waitress by her Christian name, was plainly get- 
ting over-excited. Peter's friend was obviously a little 
scornful. "You'll meet a lot of fools here, padre," he said, 
"old and young. The other day I was having tea here when 
two old buffers came in — dug-outs, shoved into some job or 
another — ^and they sat down at the table next mine. I 
couldn't help hearing what they said. The older and fatter, 
a Colonel, looked out of window, and remarked ponderously : 

" 'By the way, wasn't Joan of Arc born about here ?' 

" 'No,' said the second ; 'down in Alsace-Lorraine, I be- 
lieve. She was burnt here, and they threw her ashes into 
the Grand Pont' " 

Peter laughed silently, and ithe other smiled at him. 
"Fact," he said. "That's one type of ass, and the second 
is (dropping his voice) your friend here and his like, if 
you don't mind my saying so. Look at him with that girl 
now. Somebody'll spot it, and they'll keep an eye on him. 
Next time he meets her on the sly he'll be caught out, and 
be up for it. Damned silly fool, I think ! The bally girl's 
only a waitress from Lyons." 

Peter glanced at Mackay. He was leaning back holding 
the menu, which she, with covert glances at the cashier's 
desk, was trying to take away from him. "Isobel," he said, 
"I say, come here — no, I really want to see it— tell me, 
when do you get out next?" 



SIMON CALLED PETER S3 

"We don't get no leave worth talking of, you know," 
she said. "Besides, you don't mean it. You can't talk to 
me outside. Oh, shut up! I must go. They'll see us," 
and she darted away. 

"Damned pretty girl, eh?" said Mackay contentedly. 
"Don't mind me, padre. It's only a bit of a joke. Come on, 
let's clear out." 

The four went down the stairs together and stood in a 
little group at the entrance-door. "Where you for now, 
Mac?" asked the second officer, a subaltern of the West 
Hampshires. 

"Don't know, old sport. I'm with the padre. What you 
for, padre?" 

"I should think we had better be getting back," said Peter, 
glancing at the watch on his wrist. "We've a long way to 
go. 

"Oh, hang it all, not yet ! Its a topping evenin'. Let's 
stroll up the street." 

Peter glanced at the Labour Corps Captain, who nodded, 
and they two turned off together. "There's not much to do," 
he said. "One gets sick of cinemas, and the music-hall is 
•worse, except when one is really warmed up for a razzle- 
dazzle. I don't wonder these chaps go after wine and woriien 
more than they ought. After all, most of them are just loose 
from home. You must make allowances, padre. It's human 
nature, you know." 

Peter nodded abstractedly. It was the second time he had 
heard that. "It's aill so jolly different from what I ex- 
pected," he said meditatively. 

"I know," said the other. "Not much danger or poverty 
or suffering here, seemingly. But you never can tell. Look 
at those girls : I bet you would probably sum them up alto- 
gether wrongly if you tried." 

Peter glanced at a couple of French women who were 
passing. The pair were looking at them, and in the light 
of a brilliantly lit cinema they showed up clearly. The 
paint was laid on shamelessly; their costumes, made in one 



54 SIMON CALLEi^ PETER 

piece, were edged with fur and very gay. Each carried a 
handbag and one a tasselled stick. "Good-night, cherie," 
said one, as they passed. 

Peter gave a little shudder. "How ghastly!" he said. 
"How can anyone speak to them? Are there many like 
that about ?" He glanced back again : "Why, good heavens," 
he cried, "one's Marie!" 

"Hullo, padre," said his friend, the ghost of a smile be- 
ginning about his lips. "Where have you been? Marie! 
By Jove ! I shall have to report you to the A.C.G." 

Peter blushed furiously. "It was at an inn," he said, "this 
morning, as we were coming back from the forest. But 
she seemed so much better then. Mackay knew her ; why, I 
heard him say . . ." 

He glanced back at the sudden recollection. The two 
girls were speaking to the two others, twenty paces or so 
behind. "Oh," he exclaimed, "look here ! . . ." 

The tall Labour man slipped his arm in his and interrupted. 
"Come on, padre," he said ; ''yo" can't do anything. Mac- 
kay's had a bit too much as it is, and the other chap is 
looking for a night out. We'll stroll past the cathedral, and 
I'll see you a bit of the way home." 

"But how damnable, how beastly !" exclaimed Peter. "It 
makes one sick! . . ." He broke off, and the two walked 
on in silence. 

"Is there much of that?" Peter demanded suddenly. 

The other glanced at him. "You'll find out without my 
telling you," he said ; "but don't be too vehement till you've 
got your eyes open. There are worse things." 

"There can't be," broke in Peter. "Women like that, and 
men who will go with them, aren't fit to be called men and 
women. There's no excuse. It's bestial, that's what it is." 

"You wouldn't speak to one?" queried the other. 

"Good heavens, no! Do you forget what I am?" 

"No, I don't, padre, but look here, I'm not a Christian» 
and I take a common-sense view of these things, but I'm 
bound to say I think you're on the wrong tack, too. Didn'J 



SIMON CALLED PETER 55 

Christ have compassion on people like that? Didft't He 
eat and drink with publicans and sinners?" 

"Yes, to convert them. You can't name the two things 
in the same breath. He had compassion on the rnultitude 
of hungry women and children and misguided men, but He 
hated sin. You can't deny that." Peter recalled his ser- 
mon; he was rather indignant, unreasonably, that the sug- 
gestion should have been made. 

"So ?" said the other laconically. "Well, you know more 
about it than I do, I suppose. Come on ; we go down here." 

They parted at the corner by the river again, and Peter 
set out for his long walk home alone. It was a lovely 
evening of stars, cool, but not too cold, and at first the 
streets were full of people. He kept to the curb or walked 
in the road till he was out of the town, taking salutes auto- 
matically, his thoughts far away. The little cafes debits 
were crowded, largely by Tommies. He was not accosted 
again, for he walked fast, but he saw enough as he went. 

More than an hour later he swung into camp, and went 
to his room, lit a candle, and shut the door. Tunic off, he 
sat on the edge of the camp-bed and stared at the light. He 
seemed to have lived a year in a day, and he felt unclean. 
He thought of Hilda, and then actually smiled, for Hilda 
and this life seemed so incredibly far apart. He could not 
conceive of her even knowing of its existence. Yet, he 
supposed, she knew, as he had done, that such things were. 
He had even preached about them. ... It suddenly struck 
him that he had talked rot in the pulpit, talked of things of 
which he knew nothing. Yet, of course, his attitude had been 
right. 

He wondered if he should speak to Mackay, and, so won- 
dering, fell forward on his knees. 



CHAPTER IV 

HILDA'S religion was, like the religion of a great many 
Englishwomen of her class, of a very curious sort. 
She never, of course, analysed it herself, and conceivably 
she would object very strongly to the description set down 
here, but in practical fact there is no doubt about the analy- 
sis. To begin with, this conventional and charming young 
lady of Park Lane had in common with Napoleon Bona- 
parte that Christianity meant more to them both as the secret 
of social order than as the mystery of the Incarnation. Hilda 
was convinced that a decent and orderly life rested on cer- 
tain agreements and conclusions in respect to marriage and 
class and conduct, and that these agreements and conclusionsi 
were admirably stated in the Book of Common Prayer, and 
most ably and decorously advocated from the pulpit of St. 
John's. She would have said that she believed the agree- 
ments and conclusions because of the Prayer Book, but in 
fact she had primarily given in her allegiance to a social 
system, and supported the Prayer Book because of its sup- 
port of that. Once a month she repeated the Nicene Creed, 
but only because, in the nature of things, the Nicene Creed 
was given her once a month to repeat, and she never really 
«:onceived that people might worry strenuously about it, any 
more than she did. Being an intelligent girl, she knew, of 
course, that people did, and occasionally preachers occupirf 
the pulpit of St. John's who were apparently quite anxious 
that she and the rest of the congregation should understaw|* 
that it meant this and not that, or that and not this, according 
to the particular enthusiasm of the clergyman of the moment. 
Sentence by sentence she more or less understood what these 
gentlemen keenly urged upon her; as a whole she under' 

£6 



SIMON CALLED PETER 55 

stood nothing. She was far too much the child of her en- 
vironment and age not to perceive that Mr. Lloyd George's 
experiments in class legislation were vastly more important. 

Peter, therefore, had always been a bit of an enigma to 
her. As a rule he fitted in with the scheme of things per- 
fectly well, for he was a gentleman, he liked nice things, 
and he was splendidly keen on charity organisation and the 
reform of abuses on right lines. But now and again he 
said and did things which perturbed her. It was as if she 
had gradually become complete mistress of a house, and 
then had suddenly discovered a new room into which she 
peeped for a minute before it was lost to her again and the 
door shut. It was no Bluebeard's chamber into which she 
looked; it was much more that she had a suspicion that the 
room contained a live mistress who might come out one day 
and dispute her own title. She could tell how Peter would 
act nine times out of ten ; she knew by instinct, a great deal 
better than he did, the conceptions that ruled his life; but 
now and again he would hesitate perplexedly as if at the 
thought of something that she did not understand, or act 
suddenly in response to an overwhelming flood of impulse 
whose spring was beyond her control or even her surmise. 
Women mother all their men because men are on the wholt 
such big babies, but from a generation of babies is born 
occasionally the master. Women get so used to the rule 
that they forget the exception. When he comes, then, they 
are troubled. 

But this was not all Hilda's religion. For some mysteri- 
ous reason this product of a highly civilised community 
had the elemental in her. Men and women both have got 
to eliminate all trace of sex before they can altogether es- 
cape that. In other words, because in her lay latent the 
power of birth, in which moment she would be cloistered 
alone in a dark and silent room with infinity, she clung un- 
reasonably and all but unconsciously to certain superstitions 
which she shared with primitive savages and fetish-wor- 
shippers. All of which seems a far cry from the War Inter- 



58 SIMON CALLED PETER 

cession Services at wealthy and fashionable St. John's, but 
it was nothing more or less than this which was causing 
her to kneel on a high hassock, elbows comfortably on the 
prayer-rail, and her face in her hands, on a certain Friday 
evening in the week after Peter's arrival in France, while 
the senior curate (after suitable pauses, during which her 
mind was uncontrollably busy with an infinite number of 
things, ranging from the doings of Peter in France to the 
increasing difficulty of obtaining silk stockings), intoned the 
excellent stately English of the Prayers set forth by Au- 
thority in Time of War. 

Two pews ahead of her knelt Sir Robert Doyle, in uni- 
form. That simple soldier was a b^ger child than most 
men, and was, therefore, still conscious of a number of 
unfathomable things about him, for the which Hilda, his 
godchild, adored and loved him as a mother will adore her 
child who sits in a field of buttercups and sees, not minted 
nor botanical, but heavenly gold. He was all the more 
lovable because he conceived that he was much b^gerand 
stronger than she, and perfectly capable of looking after her. 
In that he was like a plucky boy who gets up from his butter- 
cups to tell his mother not to be frightened when a cow 
comes into the field. 

They went out together, and greeted each other in the 
porch. "Good-evening, child," said the soldier, with a 
smile. "And how's Peter?" 

Hilda smiled back, but after a rather wintry fashion, which 
the man was quick to note. "I couldn't have told you fresh 
news yesterday," she said, "but I had a letter this morning 
all about his first Sunday. He's at Rouen at a rest camp foi 
the present, though he thinks he's likely to be moved almost 
at once ; and he's quite well." 

"And then?" queried the other affectionately. 

"Oh, he doesn't know at all, but he says he doesn't think 
there's any chance of his getting up the line. He'll be sent 
to another part where there is likely to be a shortage of 
chaplains soon." 



SIMON CALLED PETER 59 

"Well, that's all right, isn't it? He's in no danger at 
Rouen, at any rate. If we go on as we're going on now, 
they won't even hear the guns down there soiih. Come, lit- 
tle girl, what's worrying you ? I can see there's something." 

They were in the street now, walking towards the park, 
and Hilda did not immediately reply. Then she said: 
"What are you going to do? Can't you come in for a little? 
Father and mother will be out till late, and you can keep 
me company." 

He glanced at his watch. "I've got to be at the War Office 
later," he said, "but my man doesn't reach town till after 
ten, so I will. The club's not over-attractive these days. 
What with the men who think one knows everything and 
won't tell, and the men who think they know everything and 
want to tell, it's a bit trying." 

Hilda laughed merrily. "Poor Uncle Bob," she said, giv- 
ing him her childhood's name that had never been discon- 
tinued between them. "You shall come home with me, and 
sit in father's chair, and have a still decent whisky and a 
cigar, and if you're very good I'll read you part of Peter's 
letter." 

"What would Peter say?" 

"Oh, he wouldn't mind the bits I'll read to you. Indeed, 
I think he'd like it: he'd like to know what you think. You 
see, he's awfully depressed; he feels he's not wanted out 
there, and— though I don't know what he means — ^that 
things, religious things, you know, aren't real." 

"Not wanted, eh?" queried the old soldier. "Now, I 
wonder why he resents that. Is it because he feels snubbed ? 
I shouldn't be surprised if he had a bit of a swelled head, 
your young man, you know, Hilda." 

"Sir Robert Doyle, if you're going to be beastly, you cap 
go to your horrid old club, and I only hope you'll be wor- 
ried to death. Of course it isn't that. Besides, he says 
everyone is very friendly and welcomes him — only he feel- 
that that makes it worse. He thinks they don't want — ^well 
what he has to give, I suppose." 



6o SIMON CALLED PETER 

"What he has to give ? But -What in the world has he to 
give? He has to take parade services, and visit hospitals 
and" (he was just going to say "bury the dead," but thought 
it hardly sounded pleasant), "make himself generally decent 
and useful, I suppose. That's what chaplains did when I 
was a subaltern, and jolly decent fellows they usually were." 

"Well, I know. That's what I should feel, and that's 
what I don't quite understand. I suppose he feels he's re- 
sponsible for making the men religious — ^it reads like that. 
But you shall hear the letter yourself." 

Doyle digested this for a while in silence. Then he gave 
a sort of snort, which is inimitable, but always accompanied 
his outbursts against things slightly more recent than the 
sixties. It had the effect of rousing Hilda, at any rate. 

"Don't, you dear old thing," she said, clutching his arm. 
"I know exactly what you're going to say. Young men of 
your day minded their business and did their duty, and 
didn't theorise so much. Very likely. But, you see, our 
young men had the misfortune to be born a little later than 
you. And they can't help it." She sighed a little. "It is 
trying sometimes. . , . But they're all right really, and 
they'll come back to things." 

They were at the gate by now. Sir Robert stood aside 
to let her pass. "I know, dear," he said, "I'm an old fogey. 
Besides, young Graham has good stuff in him — I always 
said so. But if he's on the tack of trying to stick his 
fingers into people's souls, he's made a mistake in going to 
France. I know Tommy — or I did know him. (The Lord 
alone knows what's in the Army these days.) He doesn't 
want that sort of thing. He swears and he grouses and he 
drinks, but he respects God Almighty more than you'd think, 
and he serves his Queen — I mean his King. A parade service 
is a parade, and it's a bore at times, but it's discipline, and 
it helps in the end. Like that little 'do' to-night, it helps. 
One comes away feelin' one can stand a bit more for the 
sake of the decent, clean things of Hfe." 

Hilda regarded the fine, straight old man for a second as 



SIMON CALLED PETER 6l 

tfiey stood on the top of the steps. Then her eyes grew a 
little misty. "God bless you, Uncle Bob," she said. "You 
do understand." And the two went in together. 

Hilda opened the door of the study. "I'm going to make 
you comfortable myself," she said. She pulled a big arm- 
chair round; placed a reading-lamp on a small table and 
drew it close ; and she made the old soldier sit in the chair. 
Then she unlocked a little cupboard, and got out a decanter 
and siphon and glass, and a box of cigars. She placed these 
by his side, and stood back quizzically a second. Then she 
threw a big leather cushion at his feet and walked to the 
switches, turning off the main light and leaving only the 
shaded radiance of the reading-lamp. She turned the shade 
of it so that the light would fall on the letter while she sat 
on the cushion, and then she bent down, kissed her godfather, 
and went to the door. "I won't be a moment. Uncle Bob," 
she said. "Help yourself, and get comfortable." 

Five minutes later the door opened and she came in. As 
she moved into the circle of light, the man felt an absurd 
satisfaction, as if he were partly responsible for the dignified 
figure with its beautifully waved soft, fair hair, of which 
he was so proud. She smiled on him, and sat down at his 
feet, leaning back against his chair and placing her left el- 
bow on his knees. He laid a caressing hand on her arm, 
and then looked steadily in front of him lest he should see 
more than she wished. 

Hilda rustled the sheets. "The first is all about me," she 
explained, "and I'll skip that. Let me see — yes, here we are. 
Now listen. It's rather long, but you mustn't say anything 
till I've finished." 

"'Saturday' (Peter's letter ran) 'I gave up to getting 
ready for Sunday, though Harold' (he's the O.C. of the 
camp, Peter says, a jolly decent sort of man) "wanted me 
to go up town with him. I had had a talk with him about 
the services, and had fixed up to have a celebration in the 
morning in the Y.M.C.A. in camp — they have a quiet room, 
and there is a table in it that one puts against the wall and 



62 SIMON CALLED PETER 

uses for an altar — ^and an evening service in the canteen- 
^all part of the place. I couldn't have a morning service, 
as I was to go out to the forest camp, as I have told you.' 
He said in his first letter how he had been motored out to 
see a camp in the forest where they are cutting wood for 
something, and he had fixed up a parade," said Hilda, look- 
ing up. Doyle nodded gravely, and she went on reading: 
'"Harold said he'd like to take Conununion, and that I 
could put up a notice in the anteroom of the Officers' Mess. 

" 'Well, I spent the morning preparing sermons. I thought 
I'd preach from "The axe is laid to the root of the tree" i^ 
the forest, and make a sort of little parable out of it for 
the men. I planned to say how Christ was really watching 
and testing each one of us, especially out here, and to b^in 
by talking a bit about Germany, and how the axe was being 
laid to that tree because it wouldn't bear good fruit. I 
couldn't get much for the evening, so I thought I'd leave it, 
and perhaps say much the same as the morning, only differ- 
ently introduced. I went and saw the hut manager, a very 
decent fellow who is a Baptist minister at home, and he said 
he'd like to come in the morning. Well, I didn't know what 
to say to that; I hated to hurt him, and, of course, he has 
no Baptist chapel out here ; but I didn't know what the reg- 
ulations might be, and excused myself on those grounds. 

" "Then in the afternoon I went round the camp. Oh, 
Hilda, I was fearfully nervous — I don't know why exactly, 
but I was. The men were playing "crown and andior," and 
sleeping, and cleaning kit (this is a rest camp you know), 
and it seemed so cold-blooded somehow. I told them any- 
one could come in the evening if he wanted to, but that in 
the morning the service was for Church of England com- 
municants. I must say I was very bucked up over the result 
I had no end of promises, and those who were going to be 
out in the evening said so stra^ht out. Quite thirty said 
they'd come in the morning, and they were very respectful 
and decent. Then I wrote out and put up my notices. The 
mess ragged a bit about it, but quite decently ("Here's the 



SIMON CALLED PETER 63 

padre actually going to do a bit of work!" and the usual 
"I shall be a chaplain in the next war !") ; and I mentioned 
to one or two whom I knew to be Church of England that 
' Captain Harold had said he would come to the early service. 
Someone had told me that if the O.C. of a camp comes, the 
others often will. After dinner we settled down to bridge, 
and about ten-thirty I was just going off to bed when Harold 
came in with two or three other men. Well, I hate to tell 
vou, dear, but I promised I'd write, and, besides, I do want 
to talk to somebody. Anyway, he was what they call 
"merry," and he and his friends were full of talk about 
what they'd done up town. I don't know that it was any- 
thing very bad, but it was awful to me to think that this 
chap was going to communicate next day. I didn't know 
what to do, but I couldn't say anything dien, and I slipped 
off to bed as soon as I could. They made a huge row in 
the anteroom for some time, but at last I got to sleep. 

" 'Next morning I was up early, and got things fixed up 
nicely. At eight o'clock one man came rather sheepishly — a 
young chap I'd seen the day before — ^and I waited for some 
five minutes more. Then I began. About the Creed, Har- 
old came in, and so we finished the service. Neither of 
them seemed to know the responses at all, and I don't think 
I have ever felt more miserable. However, I had done all 
I could do, and I let it go at that. I comforted myself that 
I would get on better in the forest, where I thought there 
was to be a parade. 

" 'We got out about eleven o'clock, and I went to the 
O.C.'s hut. He was sitting in a deck chair reading a novel. 
He jumped up when he saw me, and was full of apologies. 
He'd absolutely forgotten I was coming, and so no notice 
had been given, and, anyway, apparently it isn't the custom 
in these camps to have ordered parade services. He sent 
for the Sergeant-Major, who said the men were mostly 
cleaning camp, but he thought he could get some together. 
So I sat and talked for about twenty minutes, and then went 
over. The canteen had been opened, and there were about 



64 SIMON CALLED PETER 

twenty men there. They all looked as if they had been 
forced in, except one, who turned out to be a Wesleyan, and 
chose the hymns out of the Y.M.C.A. books in the place. 
They had mission hymns, and the only one that went well 
was "Throw out the life-line," which is really a rather 
ghastly thing. We had short Matins, and I preached as I 
had arranged. The men sat stiffly and looked at me. I 
don't know why, but I couldn't work up any enthusiasm 
and it all seemed futile. Afterwards I tried to talk to this 
Wesleyan corporal. He was great on forming a choir to 
learn hymns, and then I said straight out that I was new to 
this sort of work, and I hoped what I had said was all right. 
He said: "Yes, sir, very nice, I'm sure; but, if you'll ex- 
cuse me, what the men need is converting." 

" 'Said I : "What exactly do you mean by that, corporal ?"" 

" ' "Well, sir," he said "they want to be led to put their 
trust in the Lord and get right with God. There's many a 
rough lad in this camp, sir. If you knew what went on, 
you'd see it." 

"'I said that I had told them God was watching them, 
and that we had to ask His daily help to live clean, honest 
lives, and truly repent of our sins. 

" ' "Yes, you did, sir," he said. "That's what I say, sir, 
it was very nice ; only somehow these chaps have heard that 
before. It don't grip, sir. Now, we had a preacher in our 
chapel once . . ." And he went on to tell me of some re- 
vival mission. 

" 'Well, I went back to the O.C. He wanted me to have 
a drink, and I did, for, to tell you the truth, I felt like it. 
Then I got back to camp. 

" 'In the afternoon I went round the lines again. Hilda, 
I zmsh I could tell you what I felt. Everyone was decent 
enough, but the men would get up and salute as I came up, 
and by the very sound of their voices you could tell how their 
talk changed as soon as they saw me. Mind you, they were 
much more friendly than men at home, but I felt all the 
tmie out of toucli. They didn't want me, and somehow 



SIMON CALLED PETER 6j 

Christ and the Gospel seemed a long way oflf. However, we 
had the evening service. The hut was fairly full, which 
pleased me, and I preached a much more "Gospel" address 
than in the morning. Some officers came, and then after- 
wards two or three of us went out for a stroll and a talk. 

" 'Among these officers was a tall chap I had met at the 
club, named Langton. He had come down to see somebody 
in our mess, and had come on to service. He is an extra- 
ordinarily nice person, diflferent from most, a man who 
thinks a lot and controls himself. He did most of the talk- 
ing, and began as we strolled up the hill. 

" ' "Padre," he said, "how does Christ save us ?" 

"'I said He had died to obtain our forgiveness from 
God, and that, if we trusted in Him, He would forgive and 
help us to live nobler and manlier lives. (Of course, I said 
much more, but I see plainly that that is what it all comes to.) 

" 'When I had done, he walked on for a bit in silence, 
and then he said, "Do you think the men understand that?" 

" 'I said I thought and hoped they might. It was simple 
enough. 

" ' "Well," he said, "it's hopeless jargon to me. If I try 
to analyse it, I am knocked out right and left by countless 
questions ; but leave that. It is when I try to take you prac- 
tically at your word that I find you are mumbUng a fetish. 
Forgive me, but it is so." 

" 'I was a little annoyed and very troubled. "Do explain," 
I said. 

" ' "All right, only you mustn't mind if I hurt you," he 
said. "Take Trust in Christ — well, that either means that 
a man gets intoxicated by an idea which does control his 
life, just as it would if he were intoxicated by the idea Trust 
in Buddha, or else it comes to nothing. I can't really trust 
in a dead man, or a man on the right hand of the throne of 
God. What Tommy wants is a pal to lean on in the can- 
teen and the street. He wants somebody more real and 
more lovable and more desirable than the girl who tempts 
him into sin. And he can't be found. Was he in 3'our serv- 



66 SIMON CALLED PETER 

ke to-night? Can he be emotionally conjured up by 'Yidd 
not to temptation' or 'Dare to be a Daniel'? Be honest, 
padre — the thing is a spectre of the imagination." 

" 'I was absolutely silent. He went on : 

" ' "You make much talk of sin and forgiveness. Well, 
Tonany doesn't understand what you mean by sin. He is 
confused to bits about it; but the main thing that stands 
out is that a man may break all the Ten Commandments 
theologically and yet be a rattling good pal, as brave as a 
lion, as merry as a cricket, and the life and soul and Christ 
of a platoon. That's the fact, and it is the one thing that 
matters. But there is another thing: if a man sins, how 
is he to get forgiveness ? What sort of a God is it Who will 
wipe the whole blessed thing out because in a moment of 
enthusiasm the sinner says he is sorry? If that's all sin is, 
it isn't worth worrying about, and if that is all God is. He's 
not got the makings of a decent O.C." 

" ' "Good for you, skipper," said the other man. 

" 'Langton rounded on him. "It isn't good for me or fot 
anyone," he said. "And III tell you what, my boy: all that 
I've said doesn't justify a man making a beast of himself, 
which is what the majority of us do. I can see that a man 

may very wisely get drunk at times, but he's a fool to 

get himself sodden with drink." (And he went on to more, 
Hilda, that I can't write to you.) 

" 'Well, I don't know what I said. I went back utterly 
miserable. Oh, Hilda, I think I never ought to have come 
out here. Langton's right in a way. We clergy have said 
the same thing so often that we forget how it strikes a 
practical common-sense man. But there must be an answer 
somewhere, if I only knew it. Meantime I'm like a doctor 
among the dying who cannot diagnose the disease. I'm like 
a salesman with a shop full of goods that nobody wants 
because they don't fulfil the advertisement. And I never 
felt more utterly alone in my life. 

"'These men talk a different language from mine; they 
belong to another world. They are such jolly good fellows 



SIMON CALLED PETER 6? 

that they are prepared to accept me as a comrade without 
question, but as for my message, I might as well be tr3dng 
to cure smallpox by mouthing sonorous Virgil — only it is 
worse than that, for they no longer even believe that the 
diagnosis is what I say. And what gets over me is that they 
are, on the whole, decent chaps. There's Harold — ^he's prob- 
ably immoral and he certainly drinks too much, but he's as 
unselfish as possible, and I feel in my bones he'd do any- 
thing to help a friend. 

" 'Of course, I hate their vices. The sights in the streets 
make me feel positively sick. I wouldn't touch what they 
touch with a stick. When I think of you, so honest and up- 
right and dean . . .' Oh, but I needn't read that. Uncle 
Bob." She turned over a page or so. "I think that's all. 
No, just this: 

" 'I've been made mess secretary, and I serve out coffee in 
the canteen for a couple of hours every other day. That's 
about all there is to do. I wish to Heaven I had an ordinary 
commission !" 

The girl's voice ceased with a suspicious suddenness, and 
the man's hand tightened on her arm. For a minute they 
remained so, and then, impulsively and unrestrained, she 
half-turned and sobbed out against his knees : 

"Oh, Uncle Bob, I'm so unhappy! I feel so sorry for 
him. And — ^and — the worst is, I don't really understand, 
... I don't see what worries him. Our religion is good 
enough, I'm sure. Oh, I hate those beasts of men out there ! 
Peter's too good for them. I wish he'd never gone. I feel 
as if he'd never come back!" 

"There, there, my dear," said the old soldier, uncomforti 
ably. "Don't take on so. He'll find his feet, you know, 
It's not so bad as that. You can trust him, can't you?" 

She nodded vigorously. "But what do you think of it 
all?" she demanded. 

Sir Robert Doyle cleared his throat. "Well," he b^an, 
but stopped. To him it was an extraordinarily hard thing 
to speak of religion, partly because he cherished so whole* 



68 SIMON CALLED PETER 

heartedly what he had got, and partly because he had never 
formulated it, probably for that very reason. Sir Robert 
could hardly have told his Maker what he believed about 
Him. When he said the Creed he always said it with low- 
ered voice and bowed head, as one who considered very 
deeply of the matter, but in fact he practically never con- 
sidered at all. . . . 

"Well," he began again, "you see, dear, it's a strange time 
out there, and it is a damned unpleasant age, if you'll excuse 
me. People can't take anything these days without asking an 
infernal number of questions. Some blessed Socialist'U be- 
gin to ask why a man should love his mother next, and, not 
getting a scientific answer, argue that one shouldn't. As for 
the men, they're all right, or they used to be. 'Love the 
Brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the King' — ^that's about 
enough for you and me, I take it, and Grahara'U find it's 
enough for him. And he'll play the game, and decent men 
will like him and get — er — helped, my dear. That's all there 
is to it. But it's a pity," added the old Victorian Regular, 
"that these blessed labour corps, and rest camps, and all the 
rest of it, don't have parade services. The boy's bound to 
miss that. I'm hanged if I don't speak about it ! . , . And 
that reminds me . . . Good Lord, it's ten o'clock ! 1 must 
go" 

He started up. Hilda rose, smiling a little. 

"That's better," said the old fellow; "must be a man, 
what? It's all a bit of the war, you know." 

"Oh, Uncle Bob, you are a dear. You do cheer one up, 
somehow. I wish men were more like you." 

"No, you don't, my dear, don't you think it. I'm a back 
number, and you know it as well as any." 

"You're not. Uncle Bob. I won't have you say it. Give 
me a kiss and say you don't mean it." ' 

"Well, well, Hilda, there is life in the old dog yet, and I 
must be off and show it. No, I won't have another, not 
before duty. Good-night, dear, and don't worry." 

Hilda saw him off, and waved her hand from the door. 



SIMON CALLEP PETER 69 

Then she went back slowly to th6 study and looked round. 
She stood a few moments and then switched off the lights, 
and went out and slowly upstairi The maid was in the 
bedroom, and she dismissed her, li^eeping her face turned 
away. In front of her glass, she he\d her letter irresolutely 
a moment, and then folded it and slipped it into a drawer. 
She lifted a photo from the dressing-table and looked at it for 
a few minutes earnestly. Then she went to her window, 
threw it up, and leaned on the sill, staring hard over the 
dark and empty park. 

Outside, the General walked some distance before he 
found a taxi. He walked fast for a man of his age, and 
ruminated as he went. It was his way, and the way of his 
kind. Most of the rnodern sciences left him unmoved, and 
although he would vehemently have denied it, he was the 
most illogical of men. He held fast by a few good, sound, 
old-fashioned principles, and the process of thought, to him, 
meant turning over a new thing until he had got it into line 
with these principles. It was an excellent method as far as 
it went, and it made him what he was — a thoroughly sound 
and dependable servant of the State in any routine business. 

At the War Office he climbed more slowly up the steps 
and into the lobby. An oflficer was just coming out, and 
they recognised each other under the shaded lights. "Hullo, 
Chichester, what are you doing here?" demanded Doyle 
heartily. "Thought you were in France." 

"So I was, up to yesterday. I've just arrived. Orders." 

"Where have you been ?" 

"Rouen. It's a big show now. Place full of new troops 
and mechanics in uniform. To tell you the truth, Doyle, the 
Army's a different proposition from what it was when you 
and I were in Egypt and India. But that's a long time ago, 
old friend." 

"Rouen, eh? Now, that's a coincidence. A young chap 
I know has just gone there, in your department. Graham — 
Peter Graham. Remember him?" 

"Oh, quite well. A very decent chap, I thought. Joined 



70 SIMON CALLED PETER 

us ten days ago or so. What about it? I farget for the 
moment where we put Hm." 

"Oh, nothing, nothing. He'll find his feet all right. But 
what's this about no parade services these days?" 

"No parade services? We have 'em all right, when we 
can. Of course, it depends a bit on the O.C, and in the 
Labour Corps especially it isn't usually possible. It isn't 
like the line, old fellow, and even the line isn't what we 
knew it. You can't have parade services in trenches, and 
you can't have them much when the men are off-loading 
bully beef or mending aeroplanes and that sort of thing. 
This war's a big proposition, and it's got to go on. Why? 
Young Graham grousing?" 

"No, no — oh, no," hastily asserted Doyle, the soul of 
honour. "No, not at all. Only mentioned not getting a 
parade, and it seemed to me a pity. There's a lot in the 
good old established religion." 

"Is there?" said the other thoughtfully. "I'm not so 
sure to-day. The men don't like being ordered to pray. 
They prefer to come voluntarily." 

Doyle got fierce. "Don't like being ordered, don't they? 
Then what the deuce are they there for? Good Lord, man! 
the Army isn't a debating society or a mothers' meeting. 
You might as well have voluntary games at a public school !" 
^ « The A.C.G. smiled. "That's it, old headstrong ! No, my 
boy, the Army isn't a mothers' meeting — ^at any rate, Fritz 
doesn't think so. But times have changed, and in some 
ways they're better. I'd sooner have fifty men at a volun- 
tary service than two hundred on a parade." 

"Well, I wouldn't," exploded Doyle. "I know your vol- 
untary services — Moody and Sankey hymns on a Sunday 
night. The men had better be in a decent bar. But turn 
'em out in the moriflng, clean and decent an parade, and 
give 'em the old service, and it'll tighten 'em up and do 
'em good. Voluntary service ! You'll have volunteer evan- 
gelists instead of Army chaplains next !" 

Colonel Chichester still smiled, but a little grimly. "We'vfl 



SIMON CALLED PETER 7s 

got them," he said. "And no doubt there's something in 
what you say ; but times change, and the Church has got to 
keep abreast of the times. But, look here, I must go. What 
about a luncheon ? I've not got much leave." 

"So must I ; I've an appointment," said Doyle. "But all 
right, old friend, to-morrow at the club. But you're younger 
than I, Chichester, or perhaps you parsons don't get old 
as quickly!" 

They shook hands and parted. Sir Robert was busy for 
an hour, and came out again with his head full of the pro- 
posed plans for the aerial defence of London. "Taxi, sir ?" 
he was asked at the door. "No," he replied; "I'll walk 
home," 

"Best way to think, walking at night," he said to himself 
as he turned down Whitehall, through tfie all but empty 
streets, darkened as they were. The meaning of those great 
familiar spaces struck him as he walked. Hardly formu- 
lating it, he became aware of a sense of pride and responsi- 
bility as he passed scene after scene of England's past glory. 
The old Abbey towered up in the moonlight, solemn and 
still, but almost as if animate and looking at him. He felt 
small and old as he passed into Victoria Street. There the 
Stores by night made him smile at the contrast, but in 
Ashley Gardens Westminster Cathedral made him frown. If 
he hated anything, it was that for which it stood. Romanism 
meant to him something effeminate, sneaking, tnonstrous. 
. . . That there should be Englishmen to build such a place 
positively angered him. He was not exactly a bigot or a 
fanatic ; he would not have repealed the Emancipation Acts ; 
and he would have said that if anyone wanted to be a Ro- 
manist, he had better be one. But he would not have had 
time for anyone who did»so want, and if he should have had 
to have by any chance dealings with a priest, he would havt 
been so frigidly polite that the poor fellow would probably 
have been frozen solid. Of course, Irishmen were different, 
and he had known some capital fellows, Irish priests and 
chaplains. , . < 



72 SIMON CALLED PETER 

And then he saw two men ahead of him. They were 
privates on leave and drunk, but not hopelessly drunk. They 
were trying to negotiate the blank of the entrance to the 
Catholic Soldiers' Hut in the protecting wall which guarded 
the pavement just beyond the cathedral. As Sir Robert 
eame within earshot, one of them stun^bled through it and 
collapsed profanely. He halted for a second irresolutely, 
with the officer's hesitancy at meddling with a drunken man. 

The fellow on the ground tried to raise himself, and got 
one elbow on the gravel. This brought him into such a 
position that he stared straight at the illuminated crucifix 
across the path, and but little farther in. 

"Lor', blimey, Joe," he said, "I'm blasted drunk, I am! 
Thought I was in old Wipers, I did, and see one of them 
Messed cru-crushifixes 1" 

The other, rather less away, pulled at his arm. "So yer 
did, ole pal," he said. "It's there now. This 'ere's some 
Cartholic place or other. Come hon." 

"Strike me dead, so it is, Joe, large as life ! Christ ! oo'd 
'ave thought it? A bloody cru-cru-chifix ! Wat's old Eng- 
land comin' to, Joe?" And with drunken solemnity he 
began to make a sign of the cross, as he had seen it done 
in Belgium. 

The other, in the half-light, plainly started. "Shut your 
bloody jaw, 'Enery," he said. "It's bad luck to swear near 
a cruchifix. I saw three chaps blotted out clean next second 
for it, back behind Lar Basay. Come on, will yer? We 
carn't stay 'ere all the blasted night." 

"You are down on a chap, you are," said the other. "Hi 
don't mean no 'arm. 'E ought to know that, any'ow." He 
got unsteadily to his feet. " 'E died to save us, 'E did. I 
'eard a Y.M.C.A. bloke say them very words. 'E died on 
the cru-cru-chifix to save us." 

" 'Ere, cheese it, you fool ! We'll have somebody out next. 
Come away with yer. I've got some Bass in my place, if 
We git there." 

At this the other consented to come. Together they stag* 



SIMON CALLED PETER 73 

gered out, not seeing Sir Robert, and went off down the 
street, " 'Enery" talking as they went. The General stood 
and listened as the man's voice died down. 

"Good for yer, old pal. But 'E died to save us hall, 'E did. 
Made a bloomer of it, I reckon. Didn't save us from the 
bloody trenches — not as I can see, any'ow. If that chap 
could 'ave told us 'ow to get saved from the blasted rats an' 
bugs an' . . ." 

Sir Robert pulled himself together and walked away 
sharply. By the cathedral the carven Christ hung on in the 
wan yellow light, very still. 



CHAPTER V 

PETER lay on a home-made bed between the blankets 
and contemplated the ceiling while he smoked his first 
cigarette. He had been a fortnight at Rouen, and he was 
beginning to feel an old soldier — ^that is to say, he was 
learning not to worry too much about outside things, and not 
to show he worried particularly about the interior. He was 
learning to stand around and smoke endless cigarettes; to 
stroll in to breakfast and out again, look over a paper, sniff 
the air, write a letter, read another paper, wander round the 
camp, talk a lot of rubbish and listen to more, and so do a 
morning's work. Occasionally he took a service, but his real 
job was, as mess secretary, to despatch the man to town for 
the shopping and afterwards go and settle the bills. Just 
at present he was wondering sleepily whether to continue 
ordering fish from the big merchants, Biais Freres et Cie, or 
to go down to the market and choose it for himself. It was 
a very knotty problem, because solving it in the latter way 
meant getting up at once. And his batman had not yet 
brought his tea. 

There came a knock at the door, and the tea came in. 
With it was a folded note. "Came last night, sir, but you 
was out," said the man. He collected his master's tunic and 
boots, and departed. 

Peter opened the note and swore definitely and unclerically 
when he had read it. It was from some unknown person, 
who signed himself as Acting Assistant Chaplain-General, 
to the effect that he was to be moved to another base, and 
that as the A,C.G. was temporarily on leave, he had better 
apply to the Colonel of his own group for the necessary 
movement order. On the whole this was unintelligible to 



SIMON CALLED PETER 7S 

Peter, but he was already learning that there was no need 
to wotry about that, for somebody would be able to read the 
riddle. What annoyed him was the fact that he had got to 
move just as he was settling down. It was certainly a matter 
for another cigarette, and as he lit it he perceived one gleam 
of sunshine : he need worry no more about the fish. 

Peter waited till Harold had finished his breakfast before 
he imparted the news to the world a couple of hours or so 
later. "I say, skipper," he said, "I've got to quit." 

"What, padre? Oh, hang it all, no, man! You've only 
just taken on the mess secretary's job, and you aren't doing 
it any too badly either. You can't go, old dear." 

"I must. Some blighter's written from the A.C.G.'s office, 
and I've got to get a movement order from the Colonel of 
the group, whatever that means. But I suppose you can put 
me straight about that, anyway." 

"Sure thing. Come up to the orderly-room 'bout eleven, 
and you can fill up the chit and I'll fire it in for you. It's only 
a matter of form. It goes through to Colonel Lear at La 
Croisset. Where to?" 

Peter told him moodily. 

"Eh ?" said Harold. "Well, you can cheer up about that. 
Havre's not at all a bad place. There are some decent shows 
about there and some very decent people. What you got 
to do?" 

"I don't know; I suppose I shall find out when I get 
there. But I don't care what it's like. It's vile having to 
leave just now, when I'm getting straight. And what'll you 
do for a four at bridge ?" 

Harold got up and fumbled in his pockets. As usual, there 
was nothing there. "Why that damned batman of mine 
won't put my case in my pocket I can't think," he said. "I'll 
have to fire the blighter, though he is T.T. and used to be a 
P. and O. steward. Give me a fag, somebody. Thanks. 
Well, padre, it's no use grousing. It's a beastly old war, and 
you're in the blinkin' British Army, me lad. Drop in at 
eleven, then. Cheerio till then." 



76 SIMON CALLED PETER 

At eleven Peter found Harold signing papers. He glanced 
up. "Oh, sergeant," he said, "give Captain Graham a Move- 
ment Order Application Form, will you ? Sit down, padre ; 
there's a pen there." 

Peter wrestled with the form, which looked quite pretty 
when it was done. Harold endorsed it. "Fire this through 
to the orderly-room, loth Group, sergeant," he said, and rose 
wearily. "Come along, padre," he said: "I've got to go 
round the camp, and you can come too, if you've nothing 
better to do." 

"When'll I have to go, do you think ?" asked Peter as they 
went out. 

"Oh, I don't know. In a day or two. You'll have to hang 
about, for the order may come any time, and I don't know 
how or when they'll send you." 

Peter did hang about, for ten days, with his kit packed. 
His recently acquired calm forsook him about the sixth day, 
and on the tenth he was entirely mutinous. At lunch he 
voiced his grievances to the general mess. 

"Look here, you men," he said, "I'm fed up to the back 
teeth. I've hung round this blessed camp for more than a 
week waiting for that infernal movement order, and I'm 
hanged if I'm going to stay in any more. It's a topping 
afternoon. Who'll come down the river to La Bouille, or 
whatever it is called?" 

Harold volunteered. "That's a good line, padre. I want 
to go there myself. Are the boats running now ?" 

"Saw 'em yesterday," volunteered somebody, and it was 
settled. 

The two of them spent a decent afternoon on the river, 
and at Harold's insistence went on back right up to town. 
They dined and went to a cinema, and got back to camp 
about midnight. Graham struck a match and looked at the 
board in the anteroom. "May as well see if there is anything 
for me," he said. There was, of course. He tore the en- 
velope open. "Good Lord, skipper !" he said. "Here's my 
blessed movement order, to report at the Gare du Vert at 



SIMON CALLED PETER 77 

eight p.m. this very day. I'm only four hours too late. 
What the dickens shall I do?" 

Harold whistled. "Show it me," he said. " 'The following 
personnel to report at Gare du Vert ... at 8 p.m. 28th 
inst.'" he read. "You're for it, old bird," he continued 
cheerfully. "But what rot! Look here, it was handed in 
to my orderly-room at six-thirty. You'd have hardly had 
time to get there at any rate." 

Graham looked over his shoulder. "Thai's so," he said. 
"But what '11 I do now?" 

"Haven't a notion," said the other, "except that they'll 
let you know quick enough. Don't worry — that's the main 
thing. If they choke you off, tell 'em it came too late to get 
to the station." 

Peter meditated this in silence, and in some dismay. He 
saw visions of courts-martial, furious strafing, and unholy 
terrors. He was to be forgiven, for he was new to comic 
opera; and besides, when a page of Punch falls to one in 
real life, one hardly realises it till too late. But it was plain 
that nothing could be done that night, and he went to bed 
with what consolation he could derive from the cheerful 
Harold. 

Next morning his breakfast was hardly over when an 
orderly came in. Harold had been earlier than usual, and 
had finished and gone out. "Captain Graham, sir ?" queried 
the man. "Captain Harold's complinientSj and a telephone 
message has just come in that you are to report to H.Q. 
loth Group as quickly as possible." 

Peter brushed himself up, and outwardly cheerful but 
inwardly quaking, set off. Half an hour's walk brought him 
to the place, a little office near a wharf in a tangle of trolley 
lines. He knocked, went in, came to attention, and saluted. 

Colonel Lear was a short, red-faced, boorish fellow, and 
his Adjutant sat beside him at the desk, for the Colonel was 
not particularly well up in his job. The Adjutant was tall, 
slightly bald, and fat-faced, and he leaned back throughout 
the interview with an air of sneering boredom, only 



78 SIMON CALLED PETER 

vouchsafing laconic replies to his superior's occasional ques- 
tions. Peter didn't know which he hated the more ; but he 
concluded that whereas he would like to cut the Colonel in 
Regent Street, he would enjoy shooting the Adjutant. 

"Ah!" said the Colonel. "Are you Captain Graham? 
Well, sir, what's the meaning of this? You applied for a 
movement order, and one was sent you, and you did not 
report at the station. You damned padres think you can do 
any bally thing you choose ! Out here for a picnic, I suppose. 
What is the meaning of it?" 

"Well, sir," said Peter, "I waited ten days for the order 
and it did not come. At last I went out for the afternoon, 
and got back too late to execute it. I'm very sorry, but can't 
I go to-day instead?" 

"Good God, sir ! do you think the whole British Army is 
arranged for your benefit? Do you think nobody has any- 
thing else to do except to arrange things to suit your con- 
venience? We haven't got troopers with Pullman cars every 
day for the advantage of you chaplains, though I suppose 
you think we ought to have. Supposing you did have to 
wait, what about it? What else have you to do? You'd have 
waited fast enough if it was an order to go on leave ; that's 
about all you parsons think about. I don't know what you 
can do. What had he better do, Mallony?" 

The Adjutant leaned forward leisurely, surveying Peter 
coolly. 

"Probably he'd better report to the R.T.O., sir," he said. 

"Oh, very well. It won't be any good, though. Go up 
to the R.T.O. and ask him what you can do. Here's the 
order." (He threw it across the table, and Peter picked it 
up, noting miserably the blue legend, "Failed to Report — 
R.T.O., Gare du Vert.") "But don't apply to this office 
again. Haven't you got a blessed department to do your own 
damned dirty work?" 

"The A.C.G.'s away, sir," said Peter. 

"On leave, I suppose. Wish to God I were a padre, eh, 
Malloney? Always on leave or in Paris, and doin' nothing 



SIMON CALLED PETER 79 

in between. . . Got those returns, sergeant? . . . What 
in hell are you waiting for, padre?" 

For the first time in his life Peter had an idea of what 
seeing red really means. But he mastered it by an effort, 
saluted without a word, and passed out. 

In a confused whirl he set off for the R.T.O., and with 
a sinking heart reached the station, crowded with French 
peasantry, who had apparently come for the day to wait for 
the train. Big notices made it impossible to miss the Railway 
Transport Officer. He passed down a passage and into an 
office. He loathed and hated the whole wide world as he 
went in. 

A young man, smoking a cigarette and reading a magazine, 
glanced up at him. Peter observed in time that he had two 
stars only on his shoulder-strap. Before he could speak, 
the other said cheerily: "Well, padre, and what can I do 
for you?" 

Peter deprecatingly told him. He had waited ten days, 
etc., and had at last gone out, and the movement order had 
come with . . . 

The other cut him short : "Oh, you're the chap who failed 
to report, are you ? Blighted rotters they are at these Group 
H.Q.'s. Chuck us over the chit." 

Peter brightened up and obeyed. The other read it. "I 
know," ventured Peter, "but I got the dickens o{ a strafe 
from the Colonel. He said he had no idea when I could get 
away, and had better see you. What can I do?" 

"Silly old ass ! You'd better go to-night. There are plenty 
of trains, and you're all alone, aren't you? I might just 
alter the date, but I suppose now you had better go to his 
nibs the Deputy Assistant Officer controlling Transport. He's 
in the Rue de la Republique, No. 153 ; you can find it easily 
enough. Tell him I sent you. He'll probably make you out 
a new order." 

Peter felt enormously relieved. He relaxed, smiled, and 
got out a cigarette, offering the other one. "Beastly lot of 
fuss they make over nothing, these chaps," he said. 



8o SIMON CALLED PETER 

"I know," said the R.T.O.; "but they're paid for it, my 
boy, and probably your old dear had been strafed himself 
this morning. Well, cheerio ; see you again to-night. Come 
in time, and I'll get you a decent place." 

The great man's office was up two flights of wooden stairs 
in what looked like a deserted house. But Peter mounted 
them with an easy mind. He had forgiven Lear, and the 
world smiled. He still didn't realise he was acting in Punch. 

Outside a suitably labelled door he stood a moment, listen- 
ing to a well-bred voice drawling out sarcastic orders to some 
unfortunate. Then with a smile he entered. A Major looked 
up at him, and heard his story without a word. Peter got 
less buoyant as he proceeded, and towards the end he was 
rather lame. A silence followed. The great man scrutinised 
the order. "Where were you?" he demanded at last, 
abruptly. 

It was an awkward question. Peter hedged. "The O.C. 
of my camp asked me to go out with him," he said at last, 
feebly. 

The other picked up a blue pencil and scrawled further 
on the order. "We've had too much of this lately," he said 
icily. "Officers appear to think they can travel when and 
how they please. You will report to the D.A.Q.M.G. at 
Headquarters, 3rd Echelon." He handed the folded order 
back, and the miserable Peter had a notion that he meant to 
add: "And God have mercy on your soul." 

He ventured a futile remonstrance. "The R.T.O. said you 
could perhaps alter the date." 

The Major leaned back and regarded him in silence as a 
remarkable phenomenon such as had not previously come his 
way. Then he sighed, and picked up a pen. "Good-morn' 
ing," he said. 

Peter, in the street, contemplated many things, including 
suicide. If Colonel Chichester had been in Rouen he would 
have gone there; as it was, he did not dare to face that 
unknown any more than this other. In the end he set ou<- 



SIMON CALLED PETER 81 

slowly for H.Q., was saluted by the sentry under the flag, 
climbed up to a corridor with many strangely labelled doors, 
aijd finally entered the right one, to find himself in a big 
room in which half a dozen men in uniform were engaged 
at as many desks with orderlies moving between them. A 
kind of counter barred his farther passage. He stood at it 
forlornly for a few minutes. 

At last an orderly came to him, and he shortly explained 
his presence and handed in the much-blued order. The man 
listened in silence, asked him to wait a moment, and departed. 
Peter leaned on the counter and tried to look indifferent. 
With a detached air he studied the Kirschner girls on the 
walls. These added a certain air to the otherwise forlorn 
place, but when, a little later, W.A.A.C.'s were installed, a 
paternal Government ordered their removal. But that then 
mattered no longer to Peter. 

At the last the orderly came back. "Will you please follow 
me, sir?" he said. 

Peter was led round the barrier like a sheep to execution, 
and in at a small door. He espied a General Officer at a desk 
by the window, telephone receiver in one hand, the fateful 
order in the other. He saluted. The other nodded. Peter 
waited. 

"Ah, yes! D.A.Q.M.G. speaking. That loth Group 
Headquarters? Oh yes; good-morning, Mallony. About 
Captain Graham's movement order. When was this order 
applied for at your end? . . . What? Eighteenth? 
Humph! What time did your office receive it? ... Eh? 
Ten a.m.? Then, sir, I should like to know what it was 
doing in your office till six p.m. This officer did not receive 
it till six-thirty. What? He was out? Yes, very likely, 
but it reached his mess at six-thirty : it is so endorsed. . . . 
Colonel Lear has had the matter under consideration ? Good, 
Kindly ask Colonel Lear to come to the telephone." 

He leaned back, and glanced up at Graham, taking him 
in with a grave smile. "I understand you waited ten days 



§2 SIMON CALLED PETER 

for this, Captain Graham," he said. "It's disgraceful that it 
should happen. I am glad to have had an instance brought 
before me, as we have had too many cases of this sort of 
thing lately. . . ." He broke off. "Yes? Colonel Lear? 
Ah, good-morning, Colonel Lear. This case of the movement 
order of Captain Graham has just been brought to me. This 
officer was kept waiting ten days for his order, and then 
given an impossibly short time to report. Well, it won't do. 
Colonel. There must be something very wrong in your 
orderly-room ; kindly see to it. Chaplains have other things 
to do than sit around in camps waiting the convenience of 
Group Headquarters. The application for this order reached 
us on the 27th, and was sent off early next morning, in 
ample time for the officer to travel. I am very displeased 
about it. You will kindly apply at once for a fresh order, 
and see that it is in Captain Graham's hands at least six hours 
before he must report. That is all. Good-morning." 

Peter could hardly believe his ears, but he could barely 
keep a straight face either. The D.A.Q.M.G. hung up the 
receiver and repeated the latter part of the message. Peter 
thanked him and departed, walking on jiir. A day later an 
orderly from the group informed him at 11 a.m. that the 
order had been applied for and might be expected that day, 
and at i o'clock he received it. Such is the humour of the 
high gods who control the British Army. But he never saw 
Colonel Lear again, and was thankful. 

Peter reached his new base, then, early in March in a 
drizzle of rain. He was told his camp and set off to find 
it, and for an hour walked through endless docks, over 
innumerable bridges, several of which, being open to admit 
and let out ships, caused him pretty considerable delay. It 
was a strange, new experience. The docks presented tsrpes 
of nearly every conceivable nationality and of every sort of 
shipping. French marines and seamen were, of course, 
everywhere, but so were Chinese, South African natives, 
Egyptians, Senegalese, t)rpes of all European nationalities, 
a few of the first clean, efficient-looking Americans in tight- 



SIMON CALLED PETER 8^ 

fltting uniforms, and individual officers of a score of regi- 
ments. 

The old town ended in a row of high, disreputable-looking 
houses that were, however, picturesque enough, and across 
the pave in front of them commenced the docks. Ona 
walked in and out of harbours and waterways, the main 
stretch of harbour opening up more and more on the right 
hand, and finally showing two great encircling arms that 
nearly met, and the grey Channel beyond. Tossing at anchor 
outside were more than a dozen ships, waiting for dark to 
attempt the crossing. As he went, a seaplane came humming 
in from the mists, circled the old town, and took the harbour 
water in a slither of foam. He had to wait while a big 
Argentine ship ploughed slowly in up a narrow channel, and 
then, in the late afternoon, crossed a narrow swing foot- 
bridge, and found himself on the main outer sea-wall. 

Following directions, he turned to the right and walked 
as if going out to the harbour mouth a mile or so ahead. It 
seemed impossible that his camp should be here, for on the 
one hand he was close to the harbour, and on the other, over 
a high wall and some buildings, was plainly to be espied the 
sea. A few hundred yards on, however, a crowd of Tommies 
were lined up and passing embarkation officers for a big 
trooper, and Peter concluded that this was the leave boat by 
which he was to mark his camp across the road and more or 
less beyond it. 

He crossed a railway-line, went in at a gate, and was there. 

The officers' quarters had a certain fascination. You 
stepped out of the anteroom and found yourself on a raised 
concrete platform at the back of which washed the gea. Very 
extensive harbour works, half completed, ran farther out in 
a great semicircle across a wide space of leaden water, over 
which gulls were circling and crying ; but the thin black line 
of this wall hardly interrupted one's sense of looking straight 
out to sea, and its wide mouth away on the right let in the 
real invigorating, sea-smelling wind. The camp itself was 
a mere strip between the railway-line and the water, a camp 



84 SIMON CALLED PETER 

of R.E.'s to which he was attached. He was also to work a 
hospital which was said to be dose by. 

It was pointed out to him later. The railway ran out all 
but to the harbour mouth, and there ended in a great covered, 
wide station. Above it, large and airy, with extensive 
verandahs parallel to the harbour, was the old Customs, and 
it was this that had been transformed into a hospital. It 
was an admirable place. The Red Cross trains ran in below, 
and the men could be quickly swung up into the cool, cleah 
wards above. These, all on one level, had great glass doors 
giving access to the verandahs, and from the verandahs broa4 
gangways could be placed, running men, at high tide, on to 
the hospital ship alongside. The nurses' quarters were be- 
yond, and their sitting-room was perched up, as it were, sea 
on one side and harbour on the other. 

At present, of course, Peter did not know all this. He 
was merely conducted by an orderly in the dusk to the 
anteroom of the mess, and welcomed by the orderly-officer^ 
who led him into a comfortable room already lit, in a comer 
of which, near a stove, four officers sat at cards. 

"Hearts three," said one as Peter came in. 

"Pass me," said another, and it struck Peter that he knew 
the tone. 

The four were fairly absorbed in their game, but the 
orderly officer led Peter towards the table. At that they 
looked up, and next minute one had jumped up and was 
greeting him. 

"By all that's wonderful ! It's you again," he said. 

"Donovan!" exclaimed Peter. "What are you doing 
here?" 

The South African held out his hand. "I've got attached 
to one of our nigger outfits," he said, "just up the dock from 
here. But what are you doing?" 

"Oh, I've been moved from Rouen," said Peter, "and 
told to join up here. Got to look after the hospital and a few 
camps. And I was told." he added, "I'd live in this camp." 



SIMON CALLED PETER 83 

"Good enough," said Donovan. "Let me introduce you. 
This is Lieutenant Pennell, R.E. — Lieutenant Pennell, Cap- 
tain Graham. This is a bird of your kidney, mess secretary 
and a great man. Padre Arnold, and this is one Ferrars, 
Australian Infantry. He tried to stop a shell," went on 
Donovan easily, "and is now recovering. The shock left him 
a little insane, or so his best friends think ; hence, as you may 
have heard, he has just gone three hearts. And that's all 
anyone can do at present, padre, so have a cigarette and sit 
down. I hope you haven't changed your old habits, as you 
are just in time for a sun-downer. Orderly !" 

He pulled up a large easy-chair, and Peter subsided into 
it with a pleasant feeling of welcome. He remembered, now, 
having heard that Donovan was at Havre, but it was none 
the less a surprise to meet him. 

Donovan played a good hand when he liked, but when he 
was not meeting his mettle, or perhaps when the conditions 
were not serious enough, he usually kept up a diverting, 
unorthodox run of talk the whole time. Peter listened and 
took in his surroundings lazily. "Come on," said his friend, 
playing a queen. "Shove on your king, Pennell; everyone 
knows you've got him. What? Hiding the old gentleman, 
are you? Why, sure it's myself has him all the time" — 
gathering up the trick and leading the king. "Perhaps some- 
body's holding up the ace now . . ." and so on. 

Pennell played well too, but very differently. He was 
usually bored with his luck or the circumstances, and until 
you got to know him you were inclined to think he was bored 
with you. He was a young-looking man of thirty-five, 
rather good-looking, an engineer in peace-time who had 
knocked about the world a good deal, but hardly gave you that 
impression. The Australian played poorly. With curly dark 
hair and a perpetual pipe, his face was almost sullen in 
repose, but it lit up eagerly enough at any chance excitement, 
Arnold was easily the eldest, a short man with iron-grey hair 
and very kindly eyes, a man master of himself and his cir- 



86 SIMON CALLED PETER 

cumstances. Peter watched him eagerly. He was likely to 
see a good deal of him, he thought, and he was glad there 
would be a padre as well in camp. 

Donovan and Ferrars won the game and so the rubber 
easily, and the former pushed his chair back from the table. 
"That's enough for me, boys," he said. "I must trek in a 
minute. Well, padre, and what do you think of the Army 



now.' 



■?" 



"Mixed biscuits rather," Peter said. "But I had a rum 
experience getting here. You wouldn't have thought it pos- 
sible," and he related the story of the movement order. At 
the close, Pennell nodded gloomily. "Pack of fools they 
are !" he said. "Hardly one of them knows his job. You can 
thank your lucky stars that the D.A.Q.M.G. had a down on 
tliat Colonel What's-his-name, or it would have taken you 
another month to get here, probably — eh, Donovan?" 

"That's so, old dear," said that worthy. "But I'm hanged 
if I'd have cared. Some place, Rouen. Better'n this hole." 

"Well, at Rouen they said this was better," said Peter. 

Arnold laughed. "That's the way of the Army," he said. 
"It's all much the same, but you would have to go far to 
beat this camp." 

Pennell agreed, ""iou're right there, padre," he said. 
"This is as neat a hole as I've struck. If you know the road," 
he went on to Peter, "you can slip into town in twenty-five 
minutes or so, and we're much better placed than most camps. 
There's no mud and cinders here, is there, Donovan? His 
camp's built on cinders," he added. 

"There are not," said that worthy, rising. "And you're 
very convenient to the hospital here, padre. You better get 
Arnold to show you round ; he's a dog with the nurses." 

"What about the acting matron. No. i Base?" demanded 
Arnold. "He has tea there every Sunday," he explained to 
Peter, "and he a married man, too." 

"It's time I went," said Donovan, laughing ; "all the same, 
there's a concert on Tuesday in next week, a good one, I 



SIMON CALLED PETER 8? 

oelieve, and I've promised to go and take some people. 
Who'll come? Pennell, will you?" 

"Not this child, thanks. Too many nurses, too much tea, 
and too much talk for me. Now, if you would pick me out 
a pretty one and fix up a little dinner in town, I'm your man, 
old bean." 

"Well, that might be managed. It's time we had a flutter 
of some sort. I'll see. What about you, Graham? You 
game to try the hospital? You'll have to get to know the 
ropes of them all, you know." 

"Yes, I'll come," said Peter— "if I can, that is." He looked 
inquiringly at Arnold. 

"Oh, your time is more or less your own," he replied — "at 
least, it is our side of the house. Are you C.G. or P.C. ?" 

"Good God, padre!" said the Australian, getting up too, 
"what in the world do you mean?" 

"Chaplain-General's Department or Principal Chaplain's 
Department, Church of England or Nonconformist. And it's 
sixpence a swear in this mess." Arnold held out a hand. 

Donovan caught his friend by the arm. "Come on out of 
k," he said. "You won't get back in time if you don't. The 
padre's a good sort ; you needn't mind him. So long every- 
body. Keep Tuesday clear, Graham. I'll call for you." 

"Well, I'd better fix you up, Graham," said Arnold. "For 
my sins I'm mess secretary, and as the president's out and 
Ekely to be, I'll find a place for yoa." 

He led Peter into the passage, and consulted a board on 
the wall. "I'd like to put you next tne, but I can't," he said, 
"Both sides occupied. Wait a minute. No. lo Pennell, and 
No. ii's iree. How would you like that? Pennell," he 
called through the open door, "what's the next room to yours 
like? Light all right?" 

"Quite decent," said Pennell, coming to the door. "Going 
to put him there, padre ? Let's go and see." Then the three 
went off together down the passage. 

The little room was bare, except for a table under tbe 



88 SIMON CALLED PETER 

window. Arnold opened it, and Peter saw he; looked out 
over the sea. Pennell switched on the light and found it 
working correctly, and then sauntered across the couple of 
yards or so of the cubicle's width to look at the remains of 
some coloured pictures pasted on the wooden partition. 

"Last man's made a little collection from La Vie Parisienne 
for you, padre," he said. "Not a very bright selection, either. 
You'll have to cover them up, or it'll never do to bring your 
A.C.G. or A.P.C., or whatever he is, in here. What a life !" 
he added, regarding them. "They are a queer people, the 
French. . . . Well, is this going to do?" 

Graham glanced at Arnold. "Very well," he said, "if it's 
all right for me to have it." 

"Quite all right," said Arnold. "Remember, Pennell is 
nextdoor left, so keep him in order. Nextdoor right is the 
English Channel, more or less. Now, what about your 
traps?" 

"I left them outside the orderly-room," said Peter, "except 
for some that a porter was to bring up. Perhaps they'll be 
here by now. I've got a stretcher and so on." 

"I'll go and see," said Pennell, "and I'll put ray man on 
to ^et you straight, as you haven't a batman yet." And he 
strolled off. 

"Come to my room a mmute," said Arnold, and Petef 
followed him. 

Arnold's room was littered with stuff. The table was 
spread with mess accounts, and the corners of the little place 
were stacked up with a gramophone, hymn-books, lantern- 
slides, footballs, boxing-gloves, and such-like. The chairs 
were both littered, but Arnold cleared one by the simple 
expedient of piling all its contents on the other, and motioned 
his visitor to sit down. "Have a pipe ?" he asked, holding out 
his pouch. 

Peter thanked him, filled and handed it back, then lit his 
pipe, and glanced curiously round the room as he drew on it. 
"You're pretty full up," he said. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 89 

"Fairly," said the other. "There's a Y.M.C.A. here, and 
I run it more or less, and Tommy likes variety. He's a fine 
chap, Tommy ; don't you think so ?" 

Peter hesitated a second, and the other glanced at hins 
shrewdly. 

"Perhaps you haven't been out long enough," he said. 

"Perhaps not," said Peter. "Not but what I do like him. 
He's a cheerful creature for all his grousing, and has sterling 
good stuff in him. But religiously I don't get on far. To 
tell you the truth, I'm awfully worried about it." 

The elder man nodded. "I guess I know, lad," he said. 
"See here. I'm Presb)^erian and I reckon you are Anglican, 
but I expect we're up against much the same sort of thing. 
Don't worry too much. Do your job and talk straight, and 
the men '11 listen more than you think." 

"But I don't think I know what to tell them," said Peter 
miserably, but drawn out by the other. 

Arnold smiled. "The Prayer Book's not much use here, 
eh? But forgive me; I don't mean to be rude. I know 
what you mean. To tell you the truth, I think this war is 
what we padres have been needing. It'll help us to find our 
feet. Only — ^this is honest — if you don't take care you may 
lose them. I have to keep a tight hold of that" — and he laid 
his hand on a big Bible — "to mind my own." 

Peter did not reply for a minute. He could not talk easily 
to a stranger. But at last he said : "Yes ; but it doesn't seem 
to me to fit the case. Men are different. Times are different. 
The New Testament people took certain things for granted, 
and even if they disagreed, they always had a common basis 
with the Apostles. Men out here seem to me to talk a differ- 
ent language : you don't know where to begin. It seems to 
me that they have long ago ceased to believe in the authority 
of anyone or anything in religion, and now to-day they 
actually deny our very commonplaces. But I don't know 
how to put it," he added lamely. 

Arnold puffed silently for a little. Then he took his pipe 



90 SIMON CALLED PETER 

out of his mouth and regarded it critically. "God's in the 
soul of every man still," he said. "They can still hear Him 
speak, and speak there. And so must we too, Graham." 

Peter said nothing. In a minute or so steps sounded in the 
passage, and Arnold looked up quickly. "Maybe," he said, 
"our ordinary life prevented us hearing God very plainly 
ourselves, Graham, and maybe He has sent us here for that 
purpose. I hope so. I've wondered lately if we haven't cot>;e 
to the kingdom for such a time as this." 

Pennell pushed the door open, and looked in. "You therCi 
Graham?" he asked. "Oh, I thought I'd find him here, 
padre; his stuff's come." 

Peter got up. "Excuse me, Arnold," he said; "I must 
shake in. But I'm jolly glad you said what you did, and I 
hope you'll say it again, and some more." 

The older man smiled an answer, and the door closed. 
Then he sighed a little, and stretched out his hand again for 
ihe BiUe. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE great central ward at No. i Base Hospital looked 
as gay as possible. In the centre a Guard's band sat 
among palms and ferns, and an extemporised stage, draped 
with flags, was behind, with wings constructed of Japanese- 
figured material. Pretty well all round were the beds, 
although many of them had been moved up into a central 
position, and there was a space for chairs and forms. The 
green-room had to be outside the ward, and the performers, 
therefore, came and went in the public gaze. But it was not 
a critical public, and the men, with a plenitude of cigarettes, 
did not object to pauses. On the whole, they were extraordi- 
narily quiet and passive. Modern science has made the 
battlefield a hell, but it has also made the base hospital some- 
thing approaching a Paradise. 

There were women in plenty. The staff had been aug- 
mented by visitors from most of the other hospitals in the 
town, and there was a fair sprinkling of W.A.A.C.'s, 
Y.M.C.A. workers, and so on, in addition. Jack Donovan 
and Peter were a little late, and arrived at the time an ex- 
ceedingly popular subalternjwas holding the stage amid roars 
of laughter. They stood outside one of the many glass doors 
and peered in. 

Once inside, one had to make one's way among beds and 
chairs, and the nature of things brought one into rather more 
than the usual share of late-comers' scrutiny, but nothing 
could abash Donovan. He spotted at once a handsome 
woman in nurse's indoor staff uniform, and made for her. 
She, with two others, was sitting on an empty bed, and she 
promptly made room for Donovan. Graham was introduced, 
and a quiet girl moved up a bit for him to sit down; but 

ai 



93 SIMON CALLED PETER 

there was not much room, and the girl would not talk, so 
that he sat uncomfortably and looked about him, listening 
with one ear to the fire of chaff on his right. Donovan was 
irrepressible. His laugh and voice, and the fact that he was 
talking to a hospital personage, attracted a certain amount of 
attention. Peter tried to smile, but he felt out of it and 
observed. He stared up towards the band, which was just 
striking up again. 

Suddenly he became conscious, as one will, that someone 
was particularly looking at him. He glanced back over the 
chairs, and met a pair of eyes, roguish, laughing, and unques^ 
tionably fixed upon him. The moment he saw them, their 
owner nodded and telegraphed an obvious invitation. Peter 
glanced at Donovan : he had not apparently seen. He looked 
back; the eyes called him again. He felt himself getting hot, 
for, despite the fact that he had a kind of feeling that he had 
seen those eyes before, he was perfectly certain he did not 
know the girl. Perliaps she had made a mistake. He turned 
resolutely to his companion. 

"Jt)lly good band, isn't it?" he said. 

"Yes," she rephed. 

"But I suppose at a hospital like this you're always hearing 
decent music ?" he ventured. 

"Not so often," she said. 

"This band is just back from touring the front, isn't it? 
My friend said something to that effect." 

"I believe so," she said. 

Peter could have cursed her. It was impossible to get 
anything out of her, though why he had not a notion. The 
answer was really simple, for she wanted to be next Donovan, 
and wasn't ?-nd she was all the while scheming how to get 
there. But Peter did not tumble to that ; he felt an ass and 
very uncomfortable, and he broke into open revolt. 

_ He looked steadily towards the chairs. The back of the 
girl who had looked at him was towards him now, for she 
was talking sideways to somebody; but he noted an empty 



SIMON CALLED PETER 93 

chair just next her, and that her uniform was not that of the 
nurses of this hospital. He felt confident that she would 
look again, and he was not disappointed. Instantly he made 
up his mind, nodded, and reached for his cap. "I see a girl 
I know over there," he said to his neighbour. "Excuse me, 
will you?" Then he got up and walked boldly over to the 
vacant chair. He was fast acclimatising to war conditions. 

He sat down on that empty chair and met the girl's eyes 
fairly. She was entirely at her ease and laughing merrily. 
"I've lost my bet," she said," and Tommy's won." 

"And you've made me tell a thundering lie," he replied, 
laughing too, "which you know is the first step towards losing 
one's soul. Therefore you deserve your share in the loss." 

"Why ? What did you say ?" she demanded. 

"I said I saw a girl I knew," he replied. "But I haven't 
any idea who you are, though I can't help feeling I've seen 
you before." 

She chuckled with amusement, and turned to her com- 
panion. "He doesn't remember. Tommy," she said. 

The second girl looked past her to Peter. "I should think 
not," she said. "Nobody would. But he'll probably say in 
two minutes that he does. You're perfectly shameless, Julie." 

Julie swung round to Peter. "You're a beast, Tommy," 
she said over her shoulder, "and I shan't speak to you again. 
You see," she went on to Peter, "I could see you had struck 
a footling girl, and as I don't know a single decent boy here, 
I thought I'd presume on an acquaintance, and see if it 
wasn't a lucky one. We've got to know each other, you 
know. The girl with me on the boat — oh, damn, I've told 
you! — and I am swearing, and you're a parson, but it can't 
be helped now — well, the girl told me we should meet again, 
and that it was probably you who was mixed up with my 
fate-line. What do you think of that?" 

Peter had not an idea, really. He was going through the 
most amazing set of sensations. He felt heavy and dull, and 
as if he were utterly at a loss how to deal with a female of so 
obviously and totally different a kind from any he had met 



94 SIMON CALLED PETER 

before; but, with it all, he was very conscious of being glad 
to be there. Underneath everything, too, he felt a bit of a 
dare-devil, which was a delightful experience for a London 
curate ; and still deeper, much more mysteriously and almost 
a little terrifyingly, something stranger still, that he had 
known this girl for ages, although he had not seen her for a 
long time. "I'm highly privileged, I'm sure," he said, and 
could have kicked himself for a stupid ass. 

"Oh Lord !" said Julie, with a mock expression of horror ; 
"for goodness' sake don't talk like that. That's the worst of 
a parson: he can't forget the drawing-room. At any rate, 
I'm not sure that I'm highly fortunate, but I thought I ought 
to give Fate a chance. Do you smoke?" 

"Yes," said Peter wonderingly. 

"Then for goodness' sake smoke, and you'll feel better. 
No, I daren't here, but I'm glad you are educated enough to 
ask me. Nurses aren't supposed to smoke in public, you 
know, and I take it that even you have observed that I'm a 
nurse." 

She was quite right. Peter drew on his cigarette and felt 
more at ease. "Well, to be absolutely honest, I had," he said. 
"And I observe, moreover, that you are not wearing exactly 
an English nurse's uniform, and that you have what I might 
venture to call a zoological badge. I therefore conclude that, 
like my friend Donovan, you hail from South Africa. What 
hospital are you in?" 

"Quai de France," she said. "Know it?" 

Peter repressed a start. "Quai de France?" he queried. 
"Where's that, now?" 

At this moment a song started, but his companion dropped 
her voice to stage whisper and replied : "End of the harbour, 
near where the leave-boat starts. Know it now?" 

He nodded, but was saved a reply. 

She looked away toward the platform, and he studied her 
face surreptitiously. It seemed very young till you looked 
closely, especially at the eyes, and then you perceived some 



SIMON CALLED PETER 95 

thing lurking there. She was twenty-seven or twenty-eight, 
he concluded. She looked as if she knew the world inside 
out, and as if there were something hidden below the gaiety. 
Peter felt curiously and intensely attracted. His shyness 
vanished. He had, and had had, no intimations of the doings 
of Providence, and nobody could possibly be more sceptical 
of fate-lines than he, but it dawned on him as he stared at 
her that he would fathom that look somehow, somewhere. 

"I'm practically not made up at all," she whispered, with- 
out turning her head, "so for Heaven's sake don't say there's 
too much powder on my nose." 

Peter shook silently. "No, but a faint trace on the right 
cheek," he whispered back. She turned then and looked at 
him, and her eyes challenged his. And yet it is to be supposed 
that Hilda knew nothing whatever about it. 

" 'Right on my mother's knee . . .' " sang the platform. 

" 'Without a shirt, without a shirt,' " gagged Peter, sotto 
Voce, and marvelled at himself. But he felt that her smoth- 
ered laughter amply rewarded him. 

The song ceased in time, and the encore, which they both 
vigorously demanded. And immediately she began again. 

"I hope to goodness tea isn't far off," she said. "By the 
way, you'll have to tajke me to it, now, you know. We go 
out of that door, and up a flight of steps, and there's the 
matron's room on the top and a visitor's room next to it, 
and tea '11 be there. It will be a fiendish squash, and I 
wouldn't go if I hadn't you to get me tea and take me away 
afterwards as soon as possible." 

"I'm highly privileged, I'm sure," said Peter again, quite 
deliberately. She laughed. "You are," she said. "Look 
how you're coming on ! Ten minutes ago you were a bored 
curate, and now you're — ^what are you ?" 

Peter hesitated perceptibly. He felt he might say many 
things. Then he said "A trapped padre," and they both 
laughed. 

"Thank goodness you're not sentimental, anyway," she 



96 SIMON CALLED PETER 

said. "Nor's your friend; but the matron is. I know her 
sort. Look at them." 

Peter looked. Donovan appeared still entirely at his ease, 
but he was watching Peter, who realised why he had been 
m^de to look. He brazened it out, smiled back at him, and 
turned perfectly deliberately to his companion. 

"Julie," he said, "don't look over there any more, for 
goodness' sake, or we'll have Donovan here. And if he comes 
he'll sail in and take you to tea without a word. I know him. 
He's got an unfair advantage over me. I'm just waking up, 
and he's been awake for years. Please give me a chance." 

She leaned back and regarded him humorously. "You're 
not doing so badly," she said. "I don't know that a man has 
ever called me 'Julie' before in the first quarter of an hour. 
Do you know that, Solomon?" 

"It's your fault. I've never been introduced, and I must 
call you something, so why not the name your friend called 
you ? Julie's very pretty and suits you. Somehow I couldn't 
■•all you 'Miss' anything, though it may be convenient to know 
the rest. Do you think you could call me the Rev. Peter 
Graham ?" 

"I couldn't," she confessed, slightly more solemnly. 
"Queer, isn't it? But don't talk about it: it isn't lucky. I 
shall call you Solomon for ever now. And you can only 
call me Miss Gamelyn when you've got to. See?" 

"But why in the world 'Solomon'? It doesn't fit me a bit." 

"Oh," she said, "it does, but don't worry why. Perhaps 
because, as the old man said to the vicar when he heard 
of Solomon's wives, you are a highly privileged Christian. 
You can't deny that, since you've said it twice. Praises be, 
here is tea. Come on ; come on. Tommy. Oh, Tommy, this 
is the Very Reverend Peter Graham. Mr. Graham, this is 
one Raynard, commonly known as Tommy, my half -section, 
so try to be polite." 

There was a general movement, and Peter shook hands as 
he got up. The other girl struck him at once as a good sort 



SIMON CALLED PETER 97 

•You're booked to take us to tea, I suppose?" she said. 
"Julie's far more practical than you'd imagine, padre." 

They left the row of chairs together, Julie well in front and 
apparently forgetful of their existence. As they came abreast 
of the empty bed, Peter noticed that the assistant matron had 
gone, and that Donovan was drifting in the stream alongside 
her in front. But before they were out of the great ward, 
Julie and he were laughing together. Peter felt absurdly 
hurt, and hated himself for feeling it. The other girl was 
talking at his elbow, but he made ridiculous and commonplace 
replies and hardly noticed her. She broke off at last abruptly, 
and he roused himself to carry on. He caught her expression, 
and somehow or other it landed him deeper in the business. 
He made a deliberate move. 

"Where are you going after this ?" he asked. 

"Down town to do some shopping ; then I suppose home, 
unless a fit seizes Julie and we run a risk once more of being 
summarily repatriated." 

He laughed. "Does that often happen?" 

"Quite often. You see ours is an English hospital, though 
we are South Africans attached to it. I thinlt they're much 
more strict than Colonial hospitals. But they give us more 
latitude than the rest, at any rate. Julie had a fearful row 
once, and simply declared she would do some things, and 
since then they turn a blind eye occasionally. But there are 
limits, and one day she'll step over them — I know she will." 

"Let's hope not," said Peter ; "but now let me get you 
some tea." 

The little room was packed, but Peter got through some- 
how and made his way to a series of tables spread with cakes 
and sandwiches. He got a cup and seized a plate, and shoul- 
dered his way back. In the crush he saw only the top of 
Miss Raynard's head, and made for that. "Here you are," 
he said cheerfully, as he emerged. "Have a sandwich?" 

"Thanks," she said as she took it; "but why didn't you 
bring two cups?" 



98 SIMON CALLED PETER 

"Why?" he asked. 

She nodded towards a comer and there was Julie, wedged 
in between people, and refusing tea from a subaltern. "She 
expects you to bring it," said Miss Ra3mard. 

Peter looked puzzled. "Where's Donovan?" he said. "I 
thought she came in with him." 

The girl smiled. "She did, but she arranged for you to 
bring her tea, whoever Donovan is, and she'll wait for it. 
She's that sort. Besides, if Donovan was that officer with 
the matron, he's probably got other fish to fry." 

Peter waited for no more, but plunged into the press again. 
As he emerged, he crossed the track of his friend, who was 
steering about with cakes. "Hullo, padre," that individual 
said; "you're a smart one, you are. Let's take those girls 
out to dinner. They'll come all right." 

Peter mumbled something, and went on with his tea to- 
wards the corner. The other's readiness and eflErontery 
staggered him, but he wasn't going to give himself away. 

"You're a brute !" said Julie promptly. "Where have you 
been?" 

"It's where have you been, you mean," retorted Peter. 
"I thought I was to take you in to tea. When last I saw you, 
you had Donovan in tow." 

"And you had Tommy. Don't you like her ?" 

"Awfully," said Peter ; "I think she wants something now. 
But do come across to our side. Aren't you going soon?" 

"Yes, when we can get away. Remember, everyone is 
watching. You go on out, and we can meet you below." 

"Right," said Peter; "I'll collect Donovan." 

He found him after a bit, and the two made their adieux 
and thanks. 

As they went down the steps. Jack outlined the campaign. 
"I just joked to her about dinner," he said, "but I think 
they'll rise. If they do, we'll go to Travalini's, if they dare. 
That girl of yours is up to anything : she knows a thing or 
two. You've some nerve, old thing." 

"Nothing to yours," retorted Graham, still not at all sure 



SIMON CALLED PETER 99 

of himself. "But, look here, what about Travalini's? I 
don't know that I care to go there." 

"Oh, it's all right, old dear. You haven't a vast collar on 
now, and you ought to see life. I've seen scores of chaplains 
there, even old Arnold. I'll look after your morals. Come 
on; let's get out and across the road. We shall see them 
coming down the steps." 

The hospital fronted on to the sea and the promenade that 
once was so fashionable. The sun was setting, blood red, 
H)ver the Channel, the ships at anchor looking dark by con- 
trast. But there was still plenty of light, and Peter was 
inwardly conscious of his badges. Still, he told himself that 
he was an ass, and the two of them sauntered slowly town- 
wards. 

In a few minutes Jack glanced back. "They're coming," 
he said, and as the girls crossed on to the pavement behind 
them, turned round. "Good for you," he said. "You got 
out quicker than I thought you would. Shall we tram or 
walk?" 

"Walk, I think," said Julie ; "it's topping here by the sea. 
I want to get a pair of shoes, and the shop's not too far. 
Besides, you can buy shoes by artificial light, which won't do 
for some things. Tommy bought a hat the other night, and 
she nearly had a fit in the morning. She's keeping it for the 
next fancy-dress stunt." 

She ran on, and, despite Peter, Donovan annexed her. 
ThSy set off gaily ahead, Julie's clear laugh coming back 
now and again. Peter felt depressed and angry. He told 
himself he was being let in for something he did not want, 
and he had not much to say. To make conversation, he asked 
about South Africa. 

It appeared the girls came from Natal. Miss Raynard was 
enthusiastic, and he gathered they had been trained together 
in Pietermaritzburg, but lived somewhere on the coast, whqre 
there was tennis all the year and moonlight bathing picnics 
in the season, and excellent river boating. He could not 
catch the twrrM" but it was not too far from Durban. He 



lOO SIMON CALLED PETER 

said, in the end, that he had always wanted to visit South 
Africa, and should certainly come to Natal. . , . 

They turned off the promenade into a boulevard lined with 
the usual avenue of trees. It was dusk now, and looked 
darker by contrast with the street lamps. Small tram-cars 
rushed by now and again, with clanging bells and platforms 
crowded before and behind, and there were plenty of people 
in the street. Julie turned abruptly. 

"I say, Tommy," she said, "Captain Donovan wants us 
to go out to dinner. What do you say? My shoes can wait, 
and we needn't be in till eight-thirty. It's nbt more than six 
now. It will be a spree." 

"I'm game; but where are we going?" 

"I suggest Travalini's, padre," said Donovan. 

"Not for me," said Miss Paynard; "it's too public, and 
you seem to forget. Captain Donovan, that we are forbidden 
to dine with officers." 

"Nobody is likely to give us away. Tommy," said Miss 
Gamelyn. 

"I'm not going to take the risk in uniform. Let's go to 
a quiet hotel, or else to some very French place. That would 
be fun." 

"A jolly good idea," cried Donovan, "and I know what 
will just fix us up. Come on." 

Tommy smiled. "Probably it wUl fix us up. Tell us about 
it first." 

"It's absolutely safe," Donovan protested. "It's quite 
French, and we shall get one knife and fork each. There's 
a cinema on top, and billiards underneath, and practically no 
officers go. A Belgian Captain I came out with took me. 
He said you could 'eat well' there, and you can, for the cook- 
ing is a treat. I swear it's all right." 

"Lead on," said Julie; "we'll trust you," and she ma- 
noeuvred so that her ,half-section was left with Donovan. 

The four walked briskly through the duslc. "Don't you 
love France in the evening ?" demanded Julie. 



SIMON CALLED PETER loi 

"Yes," said Peter, but dubiously. "I don't know it much 
yet," he added. 

"Oh, I do. Even a girl can almost do what she likes out 
here. I've had some awful fun in Havre. I think one ought 
to take one's pleasure when one has the chance, don't you? 
But some of these girls give me the hump ; they're so narrow. 
They can't see you with a man without imagining all sorts of 
things, whereas I've had some rattling good pals among men 
out here. Then they're so afraid of doing things — the girls, 
I mean. Do you know I went to Paris when I came up here 
from Boulogne? Had absolutely the time. Of course, 
nobody knows, so don't speak of it — except Tommy, oi 
course." 

"How did you do it ?" demanded Peter, amused. 

"Well, you see, I and another girl, English, were sent over 
by Boulogne, as you know, because you saw us on the boat, 
and we were supposed to come straight here. In the train 
we met a Canadian in the French Air Service, and he put 
us wise about changing, and so on. But it appeared you have 
to change at Amiens in the middle of the night, and he said 
the thing was to sleep in the train and go right on to Paris. 
Then you got twenty-four hours there, and left next day by 
the Havre express. The girl was horribly scared, but I said 
we'd try it. Nothing happened at all. We had a carriage 
to ourselves, and merely sat still at Amiens. When we got 
to Paris we simply walked out, bold as brass. I showed our 
tickets at Havre and told the French inspector we had over- 
slept. He merely told us the time to leave next day. We 
went to an hotel, and then strolled up the Avenue d I'Opera. 
And what do you think? Who should I see but an old dear 
of a General I knew out in South Africa who is in the French 
Red Cross. He was simply delighted to see us. He motored 
us out to the Bois in the afternoon, dined us, and took us to 
the theatre — only, by Jove ! I did curse that other girl. She 
was in a ferment all the time. Next morning he had a job 
on, but he sent a car for us with a subaltern to put us on the 
train, and we went to the R.T.O. this time. He couldn't do 



I02 SIMON CALLED PETER 

enough for us when he heard the name of General de Villiers 
and saw his card. We got into Havre at midday, and nobody 
was a penny the wiser." 

Peter laughed. "You were lucky," he said ; "perhaps you 
always are." 

"No, I'm not," she said, "but I usually do what I want 
and get through with it. Hullo, is this the place?" 

"I suppose so," said Peter. "Now for it. Look as if you'd 
been going to such places all your life." 

"I've probably been more often than you, anyhow, Solo- 
mon," said Julie, and she ran lightly up tfie steps. 

They passed through swing-doors into a larger hall, bril- 
liantly lit and heavy with a mixed aroma of smoke and food. 
There was a sort of hum of sound going on all the time, and 
Peter looked round wonderingly. He perceived immediately 
that there was an atmosphere about this French restaurant 
Vinlike that of any he had been in before. He was, in truth, 
utterly bewildered by what he saw, but he made an effort 
not to show it. Julie, on the other hand, was fairly carried 
away. They seated themselves at a table for four near the 
end of the partition, and she led the party in gaiety. Donovan 
hardly took his eyes off her, and cut in with dry, daring re- 
marks with a natural ease. Tommy played a good second 
to Julie, and if she had had any fears they were not visible 
now. 

"What about an appetiser?" demanded Donovan. 

"Oh, rather! Mixed vermuth for me; but Tommy must 
have a very small one : she gets drunk on nothing. Give me 
a cigarette now, padre; I'm dying to smoke." 

Peter produced his case. "Don't call him 'padre' here," 
said Donovan ; "you'll spoil his enjoyment." 

"A cigarette, Solomon, then," whispered Julie, as the othe» 
turned to beckon a gargon, flashing her eyes on him. 

Peter resisted no longer. "Don't," he said. "Call me 
anything but that." It seemed to him that there was some- 
thing inevitable in it all. He did not formulate his sensa- 
tions, but it was the lure of the contrast that won him. Ever 



SIMON CALLED PETER 103 

since he had landed in France he had, as it were, hung on to 
the old conventional position, and he had felt increasingly 
that it was impossible to do so. True, there seemed little 
connection between a dinner with a couple of madcap girls 
in a French restaurant and religion, but there was one. He 
had felt out of touch with men and life, and now a new 
phase of it was offered him. He reached out for it eagerly. 

Julie leaned back and blew out a thin stream of smoke, her 
eyes daring him, picking up the litde glass as she did so. 

"Her^s to the girl with the little grey shoes," she chanted 
merrily. 

"Don't Julie, for Heaven's sake !" pleaded Tommy. "He'll 
be shocked." 

"Oh, go on," said Peter; "what is it?" 

"Captain Donovan will finish," laughed Julie. 

" 'Deed I can't, for I don't know it," he said. "Let's have 
it, little girl ; I'm sure it's a sporting toast." 

" 'Who eats your grub and drinks your booze,' " continued 
she. 

"Shut up, Julie," said Tommy, leaning over as if to snatch 
her glass. 

" 'And then goes home to her mother to snooze,' " called 
Julie breathlessly, leaning back. 

" 'I don't thmk,' " ejaculated Donovan. 

Julie tipped down the drink. "You knew it all the time," 
she. said. And they all burst out laughing. 

Peter drank, and called for another, his eyes on Julie. He 
knew that he could not sum her up, but he refused to believe 
that this was the secret behind the eyes. She was too gay, 
too insolent. What Donovan thought he could not say, but 
he almost hated him for the ease with which he kept pace 
with their companions. 

They ordered dinner, and the great dish of hors d'ceuvres 
was brought round by a waiter who seemed to preside over 
it with a fatherly solicitude. Julie picked up an olive in her 
fingers, and found it so good that she grumbled at only having 
taken one. 



I04 SIMON CALLED PETER 

"Have mine," said Donovan, shooting one on to her plate. 

"Thanks," she said. "Oh, heavens ! I forgot that patch 
on my left cheek— or was it my right, Solomon ? Let's see." 

She dived into her pocket, and produced a tiny satin beaded 
box. "Isn't it chic?" she demanded, leaning over to show 
Donovan. "I got it in the Nouvelles Galleries the other day." 
She took off the lid, which revealed its reverse as a tiny 
mirror, and scrutinised herself, patting back a stray lock on 
her forehead. 

"Oh, don't," said Donovan, and he slipped the hair out 
again with his finger. 

"Be quiet ; but I'll concede that. This won't do, though." 
Out came a tiny powder-puflf. "How's that?" she demanded, 
smiling up at him. 

"Perfect," he said. "But it's not fair to do that here." 

"Wait for the taxi then," she said. "Besides, it won't 
matter so much then." 

"What won't matter ?" demanded Peter. 

"Solomon, dear, you're as innocent as a new-born babe. 
Isn't he?" she demanded of his friend. 

Donovan looked across at him. "Still waters run deep," 
he said. "I don't know, but excuse me!" 

He had been sitting next Julie and opposite Miss Raynard, 
but he was now on his feet and begging her to change places 
with him. She consented, laughing, and did so, but Julie 
pretended to be furious. 

"I won't have it. You're a perfect beast. Tommy. Captain 
Donovan, I'll never come out with you again. Solomon, 
come and sit here, and you. Tommy, go over there." 

Peter hadn't an idea why, but he too got up. Tommy pro- 
tested. "Look here," she said, "I came for dinner, not fol 
a dance. Oh, look out. Captain Graham; you'll upset the 
cutlets!" Peter avoided the waiter by an effort, but came 
on round her to the other side. 

"Get out of it, Tommy," said Julie, leaning over and push- 
ing her. "I will have a man beside me, anyhow." 

"I'd sooner be opposite," said Donovan. "I can see yoa 



SIMON CALLED PETER 105 

better, and you can't make eyes at the Frenchman at the 
other table quite so well if I get my head in the way." 

"Oh, but he's such a dear," said Julie. "I'd love to flirt 
with him. Only I must say his hair is a bit greasy." 

"You'll make his lady furious if you don't take care," said 
Donovan, "and it's a shanie to spoil her trade." 

Peter glanced across. A French officer, sitting opposite 
a painted girl, was smiling at them. He looked at Julie ; she 
was smiling back. 

"Julie, don't for Heaven's sake," said her half-section. 
"We shall have him over here next, and you remember onc« 
before how awkward it was." 

Julie laughed. "Give me another drink, then. Captain 
Ponovan," she said, "and I'll be good." 

Donovan filled up her glass. She raised it and challenged 
him. " 'Here's to we two in Blighty,' " she began. 

Miss Raynard rose determinedly and interrupted her. 
"Come on," she said; "that's a bit too much, Julie. We 
must go, or we'll never get back, and don't forget you've got 
to go on duty in the morning, my dear." She pulled out a 
little watch. "Good heavens!" she cried. "Do you know 
the time ? It's eight-twenty now. We ought to have been in 
by eight, and eight-thirty is the latest time that's safe. For 
any sake, come on." 

Julie for once agreed. "Good Lord, yes," she said. "We 
must have a taxi. Can we get one easily ?" 

"Oh, I expect so," said Donovan. "Settle up, Graham, 
will you? while I shepherd them out and get a car. Come 
on, and take care how you pass the Frenchman." 

In a few minutes Peter joined them on the steps outside. 
The restaurant was in the corner of a square which con- 
tained a small public garden, and the three of them were 
waiting for him on the curb. A taxi stood by them. The 
broad streets ran away to left and right, gay with lights 
and passers-by, and the dark trees stood out against a starry 
sky. A group of British officers went laughing by, and 
one of them recognised Donovan and hailed him. Two 



106 . SIMON CALLED PETER 

spahis crossed out of the shade into the light, their red and 
gold a picturesque splash of colour. Behind them glared 
the staring pictures of the cinema show on a great hoarding 
by the wall. 

"Come on, Graham," called Donovan, "hop in." 

The four packed in closely, Peter and Tommy opposite 
the other two, Julie farthest from Peter. They started, and 
he caught her profile as the street lights shone in and out 
with the speed of their passing. She was smoking, puffing 
quickly at her cigarette, and hardly silent a moment. 

"It's been a perfect treat," she said. "You're both dears, 
aren't they. Tommy? You must come and have tea at the 
hospital any day: just walk in. Mine's Ward 3. Come 
about four o'clock, and you'll find me any day tiiis week- 
Tommy's opposite. There's usually a crush at tea, but yow 
must come. By the way, where's your camp? Aren't you. 
going heaps out of your way? Solomon, where do you live? 
Tell me." 

Peter grinned in the dark, and told her. 

"Oh, you perfect beast !" she said. "Then you knew the 
Quai de France all the time. Well, you're jolly near, any- 
way." "Oh, Lord!" she exclaimed suddenly, "you aren't 
the new padre?" 

"I am," said Peter. 

"Good Lord! what a spree! Then you'll come in en 
<iuty. You can come in any hour of the day or night. 
Tommy, do you hear that? Solomon's our spiritual pastor. 
He's begun well, hasn't he?" 

Peter was silent. It jarred him horribly. But just then 
the car slowed down. 

"What's up now ?" demanded Donovan. 

"Only the sentry at the swing bridge," said Tommy. 
"They stop all cars at night. He's your side, dear; give 
him the glad eye." 

The door opened, and a red-cap looked in. "Hospital, 
corporal ; it's all right," said Julie, beaming at him. 

"Oh, all right, miss. Good-night," said the man, stepping 



SIMON CALLED PETER 107 

back and saluting in the light of the big electric standard 
at the bridgehead. "Carry on, driver !" 

"We're just there," said Julie; "I am sorry. It's been 
rippin'. Stop the car, Solomon, somewhere near the leave- 
boat ; it won't do to drive right up to the hospital ; we might 
be spotted." 

Peter leaned out of the window on his side. The lights 
on the quay glowed steadily across the dark water, and 
made golden flicking streaks upon it as the tide swelled 
slowly in. In the distance a great red eye flashed in and 
out solemnly, and on their side he could see the shaded lights 
of the hospital ship, getting ready for her night crossing. 
He judged it was time, and told the man to stop^ 

"Where's my powder-puff?" demanded Julie. "I believe 
you've bagged it, Captain Donovan. No, it's here. Skip 
out. Tommy. Is anyone about?" 

"No," said the girl from the step. "But don't wait all 
night. We'd best run for it." 

•'Well, good-night," said Julie. "You have both been 
dears, but whether I'm steady enough to get in safely I 
don't know. Still, Tommy's a rock. See you again soon. 
Good-bye-ee !" 

She leaned forward. "Now, if you're good," she said to 
Donovan. He kissed her, laughing; and before he knew 
what she was doing, she reached over to Peter, kissed him 
twice on the lips, and leaped lightly out. "Be good," she said, 
"and if you can't, be careful." 



CHAPTER VII 

FOLLOWING a delay of some days, there had been a 
fairly heavy mail, and Peter took his letters to the little 
terrace by the sea outside the mess, and sat in the sun to read 
them. While he was so occupied Arnold appeared with a 
pipe, but, seeing him engaged, went back for a novel and a 
deck-chair. It was all very peaceful and still, and beyond 
occasional hammering from the leisurely construction of 
the outer harbour wall and once or twice the siren of a 
signalling steamer entering the docks, there was nothing 
to disturb them at all. Perhaps half an hour passed. Then 
Peter folded up some sheets, put them in his pocket, and 
walked moodily to the edge of the concrete, staring down 
at the lazy slushing of the tide agfiinst the wall below him. 

He kicked a pebble discontentedly into the water, and 
turned to look at Arnold. The older man was stretched out 
in his chair sftioking a pipe and regarding him. A slow 
smile passed between them. 

"No, hang it all," said Peter; "there's nothing to smile 
about, Arnold. I've pretty well got to the end of my tether." 

"Meaning what exactly?" queried the other. 

"Oh, well, you know enough already to guess the rest. 
. . . Look here, Arnold, you and I are fairly good pals 
now. I'd just like to tell you exactly what I feel." 

"Sit down then, man, and get it out. There's a chair 
yonder, and you've got the forenoon before ye. I'm a 
heretic and all that sort of thing, of course, but perhaps 
that'll make it easier. I take it it's a kind of heretic you're 
becoming yourself." 

Peter pulled up a chair and got out his own pipe. 
"Arnold," he said, "I'm too serious to joke, and I don't 

io8 



SIMON CALLED PETER 109 

know that I'm even a Christian heretic. I don't know what 
I am and where I stand. I wish I did ; I wish I even knew 
how much I disbelieved, for then I'd know what to do. But 
it's not that my dogmas have been attacked and weakened. 
I've no new light on the Apostles' Creed and no fresh doubts 
about it. I could still argue for the Virgin Birth of Christ 
and the Trinity, and so on. But it's worse than that. I 
feel . . ." He broke off abruptly and pulled at his pipe. 
The other said nothing. They were friends enough by now 
to understand each other. In a little while the younger man 
found the words he wanted. 

"Look here, it's like this. I remember once, on the East 
Coast, coming across a stone breakwater high and dry in a 
field half a mile from the sea. There was nothing the 
matter with the breakwater, and it served admirably for 
certain purposes — a seat, for instance, or a shady place for 
a p»icnic. But it was no longer of any vital use in the 
world, for the sea had receded and left it there. Now, that's 
just what I feel. I had a religion; I suppose it had its 
weaknesses and its faults; but most of it was good sound 
stone, and it certainly had served. But it serves no longer, 
not because it's damaged, but because the need for it has 
changed its nature or is no longer there." He trailed off into 
silence and stopped. 

Arnold stirred to get out his pouch. "The sea is shifty, 
though," he said. "If they keep the breakwater in decent 
repair, it'll come in handy again." 

"Yes," burst out Peter. "But, of course, that's where 
illustrations are so little good: you can't press them. And 
in any case no engineer worth his salt would sit down by 
his breakwater and smoke a pipe till the sea came in handy 
again. His job is to go after it." 

"True for ye, boy. But if the old plan was so good, 
why not go down to the beach and get on with building oper- 
ations of the same sort?" ' 

"Arnold," said Peter, "you couldn't have put it better. 
That's exactly what I came here to do. I knew in London 



no SIMON CALLED PETER 

that the sea was receding to some extent, and I thought that 
there was a jolly good chance to get up with it again out 
here. But that leads straight to my second problem : I can't 
build on the old plan, and it doesn't seem any good. It's 
as if our engineer found quicksands that wouldn't hold his 
stone, and cross-currents that smashed up all his piles. . . . 
I mean, I thought I knew what would save souls. But I find 
that I can't because my methods are — I don't know, faulty 
perhaps, out of date maybe, possibly worse; and, what is 
more, the souls don't want my saving. The Lord knows 
they want something; I can see that fast enough, but what 
it is I don't know. Heavens! I remember preaching in the 
beginning of the war from the text 'Jesus had compassion 
on the multitude.' Well, I don't feel that He has changed, 
and I'm quite sure He still has compassion, but the multi- 
tude doesn't want it. I was wrong about the crowd. It's 
nothing like what I imagined. The crowd isn't interested 
in Jesus any more. It doesn't believe in Him. It's a differ- 
ent sort of crowd altogether from the one He fed." 

"1 wonder," said Arnold. 

Peter moved impatiently. "Well, I don't see how you 
can," he said. "Do you think Tommy worries about his 
sins? Are the men in our mess miserable? Does the girl 
the good books talked about, who flirts and smokes and 
drinks and laughs, sit down by night on the edge of her little 
white bed and feel a blank in her life? Does she, Arnold?" 

"I'm blest if I know; I haven't been there! You seem 
to know a precious lot about it," he added dryly. 

"Oh, don't rag and don't be facetious. If you do, I 
shall clear. I'm trying to talk sense, and at any rate it's 
what I feel. And I believe you know I'm right too." Peter 
was plainly a bit annoyed. 

The elder padre sat up straight at that, and his tone 
changed. He stared thoughtfully out to sea and did not 
smoke. But he did not speak alt at once. Peter glanced at 
him, and then lay back in his chair and waited. 

Arnold spoke at last; possibly the harbour works in- 



SIMON CALLED PETER in 

spired him. "Look here, boy," he said, "let's get back to 
your illustration, which is no such a bad one. What do 
you suppose your engineer would do when he got down 
to the new sea-beach and found the conditions you described ? 
It wouldn't do much good if he sat down and cursed the 
blessed sea and the sands and the currents, would it? It 
would be mighty little use if he blamed his good stone and 
sound timber, useless though they appeared. I'm thinking 
he'd be no much of an engineer either if he chucked his 
job. What would he do, d'you think?" 

"Go on," said Peter, interested. 

"Well," said the speaker in parables, "unless I'm mighty 
mistaken, he'd get down first to studying the new conditions. 
He'd find they'd got laws governing them, same as the 
old — different laws maybe, but things you could perhaps 
reckon with if you knew them. And when he knew them, 
I reckon he'd have a look at his timber and stone and iron, 
and get out plans. Maybe, these days, he'd help out with a 
few tons of reinforced concrete, and get in a bit o' work 
with some high explosive. I'm no saying. But if he came 
from north of the Tweed, my lad," he added, with a twinkle 
in his eye and a touch of accent, "I should be verra surprised 
if that foreshore hadn't a breakwater that would do its duty 
in none so long a while." 

"And if he came from south of the Tweed, and found 
himself in France?" queried Peter. 

"I reckon he'd get down among the multitude and make 
a few inquiries," said Arnold, more gravely. "I reckon 
he wouldn't be in too great a hurry, and he wouldn't be- 
lieve all he saw and heard without chewing on it a bit, as 
our Yankee friends say. And he'd know well enough that 
there was nothing wrong with his Master, and no change in 
His compassion, only, maybe, that he had perhaps misunder- 
stood both a little." 

A big steamer hooted as she came up the river, and the 
echoes of the siren died out slowly among the houses that 
climbed up the hill behind them. 



112 SIMON CALLED PETER 

Then Peter put his hand up and rested his head upon it, 
shading his face. 

"That's difficuh— and dangerous, Arnold," he said, 

"It is that, laddie," the other answered quickly. "There 
was a time when I would have thought it too difficult and 
too dangerous for a boy of mine. But I've had a lesson oi 
twp^to learn out here as well as other folks. Up the line 
men have learnt not to hesitate at things because they are 
difficult and dangerous. And I'll tell you something else 
we've learnt — that it is better for half a million to fall in the 
trying than for the thing not to be tried at all." 

"Arnold," said Peter, "what about yourself? Do you 
mind my asking? Do you feel this sort of thing at all, and, 
if so, what's your solution?" 

The padre from north of the Tweed knocked the ashes 
out of his pipe and got up. "Young man," he said, "1 
don't mind your asking, but I'm getting old, and my an- 
swering wouldn't do either of us any good. If I have a 
solution I don't suppose it would be yours. Besides, a 
man can't save his brother, and not even a father. can save 
his son. . . . I've nothing to tell ye, except, maybe, this— 
don't fear and don't falter, and wherever you get to, re- 
member that God is there. David is out of date these days, 
and very likely it wasn't David at all, but I don't know any- 
thing truer in the auld book than yon verse where it says; 
'Though I go down into hell, Thou art there also.' " 

"I beg your pardon, padre," said a drawling voice behind 
them. "I caught a word just now which I understand no 
decent clergyman uses except in the pulpit. If, therefore, 
you are preaching, I will at once and discreetly withdraw, 
but if not, for his very morals' sake, I will v(rithdraw your 
congregation — that is, if he hasn't forgotten his engagement." 

Graham jumped up. "Good Heavens, Pennell!" he ex- 
claimed, "I'm blest if I hadn't." He pushed his arm out 
and glanced at his watch. "Oh, there's plenty of time, any- 
way. I'm lunching with this blighter down town, padre, at 
some special restaurant of his," he explained, "and I take 



SIMON CALLED PETER 113 

it the sum and substance of his unseemly remarks are that 
he thinks we ought to get a move on." 

"Don't let me stand in the way of your youthful pleas- 
ures," said Arnold, smiling; "but take care of yourself, 
Graham. Eat and drink, for to-morrow you die; but don't 
eat and drink too much in case you live to the day after." 

"I'll remember," said Peter, "but I hope it won't be nec- 
essary. However, you never know 'among the multitude,' 
do you?" he added. 

Arnold caught up the light chair and lunged out at him. 
"Ye unseemly creature," he shouted, "get out of it and 
leave me in peace." 

Pennell and Peter left the camp and crossed the swing 
bridge into the maze of docks. Threading their way along 
as men who knew it thoroughly they came at length to the 
main roadway, with its small, rather smelly shops, its narrow 
side-streets almost like Edinburgh closes, and its succession 
of sheds and offices between which one glimpsed the water. 
Just here the war had made a difference. There was less 
pleasure traffic up Seine and along Channel, though the 
Southampton packet ran as regularly as if no submarine had 
ever been built. Peter liked Pennell. He was an observant 
creature of considerable decencies, and a good companion. 
He professed some religion, and although it was neither 
profound nor apparently particularly vital, it helped to link 
the two men. As they went on, the shops grew a little 
better, but no reg+aurant was visible that ofifered much ex- 
pectation. 

"Where in the world are you taking me ?" demanded Peter. 
"I don't mind slums in the way of business, but I prefer 
not to go to lunch in them." 

"Wait and see, my boy," returned his companion, "and 
don't protest till it's called for. Even then wait a bit longer, 
and your sorrow shall be turned into joy — and that's Scrip- 
ture. Great Scott! see what comes of fraternising with 
padres ! Now." 

So saying he dived in to the right down a dark passage, 



114 SIMON CALLED PETER 

into which the amazed Peter followed him. He had al- 
ready opened a door at the end of it by the time Peter got 
there, and was halfway up a flight of wood stairs that curved 
up in front of them out of what was, obviously, a kitchen. 
A huge man turned his head as Peter came in, and surveyed 
him silently, his hands dexterously shaking a frying-pan over 
a fire as he did so. 

"Bon jour, monsieur," said Peter politely. 

Monsieur grunted, but not unpleasantly, and Peter gripped 
the banister and commenced to ascend. Half-way up he 
was nearly sent flying down again. A rosy-cheeked girl, 
short and dark, with sparkling eyes, had thrust herself 
down between him and the rail from a little landing above, 
and was shouting : 

"Une omelette aux champignons. Jambon. Pommes 
sautes, s'il vous plait." 

Peter recovered himself and smiled. "Bon jour, inade- 
moiselle," he said this time. In point of fact, he could say 
very little else. 

"Bon jour, monsieur," said the girl, and something else 
that he could not catch, but by this time he had reached 
the top in time to witness a little 'business' there. A second 
girl, taller, older, slower, but equally smiling, was taking 
Pennell's cap and stick and gloves, making play with her 
eyes the while. "Merci, cherie," he heard his friend say; 
and then, in a totally different voice: "Ah! Bon jour, 
Marie." 

A third girl was before them. In her presence the other 
two withdrew. She was tall, plain, shrewd of face, with 
reddish hair, but she smiled even as the others. It was little 
more than a glance that Peter got, for she called an order 
(at which the first girl again disappeared down the stairs), 
greeted Pennell, replied to his question that there were two 
places, and was out of sight again in the room, seemingly aH 
at once. He too, then, surrendered cap and stick, and fol- 
lowed his companion in. 

There were no more than four tables in the little room— 



SIMON CALLED PETER iiS 

two for six, and two for four or five. Most were filled, but 
he and Pennell secured two seats with their backs to the 
vail opposite a couple of Australian officers who had ap- 
parently just commenced. Peter's was by the window, and 
he glanced out to see the sunlit street below, the wide spark- 
ling harbour, and right opposite the hospital he had now 
visited several times and his own camp near it. There wag 
the new green of spring shoots in the window-boxes, snowy 
linen on the table, a cheerful hum of conversation about him, 
and an oak-panelled wall behind that had seen the Revolu- 
tion. 

"Pennell," he said, "you're a marvel. The place is per- 
fect." 

By the time they had finished Peter was feeling warmed 
and friendly, the Australians had been joined to their com- 
pany, and the four spent an idle afternoon cheerfully enough. 
There was nothing in strolling through the busy streets, 
joking a little over very French picture postcards, quizzing 
the passing girls, standing in a queue at Cox's, and finally 
drawing a fiver in mixed French notes, or in wanderii^ 
through a huge shop of many departments to buy some 
toilet necessities. But it was good fun. There was a com- 
radeship, a youthfulness, carelessness, about it all that 
gripped Peter. He let himself go, and when he did so he 
was a good companion. 

One little incident in the Grand Magasin completed his 
abandormient to the day and the hour. They were ostensibly 
buying a shaving-stick, but at the moment were cheerily 
wandering through the department devoted to lingerie. The 
attendant girls, entirely at ease, were trying to persuade the 
taller of the two Australians, whom his friend addressed 
as "Alex," to buy a flimsy lace nightdress "for his fiancee," 
readily pointing out that he would find no difficulty in get- 
ting rid of it elsewhere if he had not got such a desirable 
possession, when Peter heard an exclamation behind him. 

"Hullo!" said a girl's voice; "fancy finding you here!" 
He turned quickly and blushed. Julie laughed merrily. 



lib SIMON CALLED PETER 

"Caught out," she said. "Tell me what you're buying, and 
for whom. A blouse, a camisole, or worse?" 

-'I'm not buying," said Peter, recovering his ease. "We're 
just strolling round, and that girl insists that my friend the 
Australian yonder should buy a nightie for his fiancee. He 
says he hasn't one, so she is persuading him that he can 
easily pick one up. What do you think?" 

She glanced over at the little group. "Easier than some 
people I know, I should think," she said, smiling, taking in 
his six feet of bronzed manhood. "But it's no use your 
buying it. I wear pyjamas, silk, and I prefer Venns'." 

"I'll remember," said Peter. "By the way, I'm coming 
to tea again to-morrow." 

"That will make three times this week," she said. "But 
I suppose you will go round the ward first." Then quickly, 
for Peter looked slightly unhappy: "Next week I've a 
whole day off." 

"No?" he said eagerly. "Oh, do let's fix something up. 
Will you come out somewhere?" 

Her eyes roved across to Penndl, who was bearing down 
upon them. "We'll fix it up to-morrow," she said. "Bring 
Donovan, and I'll get Tomtny. And now introduce me 
nicely." 

He did so, and she talked for a few minutes, and then went 
oif to join some friends, who had moved on to another de- 
partment. "By Jove," said Pennell, "that's some girl! I 
see now why you are so keen on the hospital, old dear. 
Wish I were a padre." 

"I shall be padre in . . ." began Alex, but Peter cut him 
short. 

^Oh, Lord," he said, "I'm tired of that! Come on out 
of it, and let's get a refresher somewhere. What's the club 
like here?" 

"Club's no good," said Pennell. "Let's go to Travalini's 
and introduce the padre. He's not been there yet." 

"I thought everyone knew it/' said the other Australian— 
rather contemptuously, Peter thought. What with one thing 



SIMON CALLED PETER 117 

and another, he felt suddenly that he'd like to go. He re- 
membered how nearly he had gone there in other company. 
"Come on, then," he said, and led the way out. 

There was nothing in Travalini's to distinguish it from 
many other such places — indeed, to distinguish it from the 
restaurant in which Peter, Donovan, and the girls had dined 
ten days or so before, except that it was bigger, more garish, 
more expensive, and, consequently, more British in patron- 
age. The restaurant was, however, separated more completely 
from the drinking-lounge, in which, among palms, a string- 
band played. There was an hotel above besides, and that 
helped business, but one could come and go innocently enough, 
for all tliat there was "anything a gentleman wants," as the 
headwaiter, who talked English, called himself a Belgian, 
and had probably migrated from over the Rhine, said. Every- 
body, indeed, visited the place now and again. Peter and 
his friends went in between the evergreen shrubs in their 
pots, and through the great glass swing-door, with every as- 
surance. The place seemed fairly full. There was a sub- 
dued hum of talk and dink of glasses; waiters hurried to 
and fro ; the band was tuning up. British uniforms predom- 
inated, but there were many foreign officers and a few civil- 
ians. There were perhaps a couple of dozen girls scattered 
about the place besides. 

The friends found a corner with a big plush couch which 
took three of them, and a chair for Alex. A waiter bustled 
up and they ordered drinks, which came on little saucers 
marked with the price. Peter lay back luxuriously. 

"Chin-chin," said the other Australian, and the others re- 
sponded. 

"That's good," said Pennell. 

"Not so many girls here this afternoon," remarked Alex 
carelessly. "See, Dick, there's that little Levantine with 
the thick dark hair. She's caught somebody." 

Peter looked across in the direction indicated. The girl, 
in a cerise costume with a big black hat, short skirt, and 
dainty bag, was sitting in a chair halfway on to them and 



ii8 SIMON CALLED PETER 

leaning over the table before her. As he watched, she threw 
her head back and laughed softly. He caught the gleam of 
a white throat and,of dark sloe eyes. 

"She's a pretty one," said Pennell. "Ckid! but the/re 
queer little bits of fluff, these girls. It beats me how they're 
always gay, and always easy to get and to leave. And tiiey 
get rottenly treated sometimes." 

"Yes, I'm damned if I understand them," said Alex, 
"Now, padre, I'll tell you something that's more in your 
way than mine, and you can see what you make of it. I 
was in a maison toleree the other day — ^you know the sort 
of thing — and there were half a dozen of us in the sitting- 
room with the girls, drinking fizz. I had a little bit of a 
thing with fair hair — she couldn't have been more than sev- 
enteen at most, I reckon — with a laugh that did you good 
to hear, and, by gum! we wanted to be cheered just then, 
for we had had a bit of a gruelling on the Ancre and had 
been pulled out of the line to refit. She sat there with an 
angel's face, a chemise transparent except where it was 
embroidered, and not much else, and some of the women 
were fair beasts. Well, she moved on my knee, and I spilt 
some champagne and swore — ^"Jesus Christ 1' I said. Do you 
know, she pushed back from me as if I had hit her ! 'Oh, 
don't say His Name!' she said. 'Promise me you won't 
say it again. Do you not know how He loved us?' I was 
so taken aback that I promised, and to tell you the truth, 
padre, I haven't said it since. What do you ihink of that?" 

Peter shook his head and drained his glass. He couldn't 
have spoken at once; the little story, told in such a place, 
struck him so much. Then he asked: "But is that all? 
How did she come to be there?" 

"Well," Alex said, "that's just as strange. Father was 
in a French cavalry regiment, and got knocked out on the 
Marne. They lived in Arras before the war, and you can 
guess that there wasn't much left of the home. One much 
older sister was a widow with a big family; the other was 
a kid of t«ri o^ eleven, so this one went into the businea 



SIMON CALLED PETER iig 

to keep the family going. Fact. The mother used to come 
and see her, and I got to know her. She didn't seem to 
mind : said the doctors looked after them well, and the girl 
was making good money. Hullo!" he broke off, "there's 
Louise," and to Peter's horror he half-i-ose and smiled across 
at a girl some few tables away. 

She got up and came over, beamed on them all, and took 
the seat Alex vacated. "Good-evening," she said, in fair 
English, scrutinising them. "What is it you say, 'How's 
things'?" 

Alex pressed a drink on her and beckoned the waiter. She 
took a syrup, the rest martinis. Peter sipped his, and 
watched her talking to Alex and Pennell. The other Aus- 
tralian got up and crossed the room, and sat down with 
some other men. 

The stories he had heard moved him profoundly. He 
wondered if they were true, but he seemed to see confirma' 
tion in the girl before him. Despite some making up, it was 
a clean face, if one could say so. She was laughing and 
talking with all the ease in the world, though Peter noticed 
that her eyes kept straying round the room. Apparently 
Ms friends had all her attention, but he could see it was not 
so. She was on the watch for clients, old or new. He 
thought how such a girl would have disgusted him a few 
short weeks ago, but he did not feel disgusted now. He could 
tiot. He did not know what he felt. He wondered, as he 
looked, if she were one of "the multitude," and then the 
fragment of a text slipped through his brain : "The Friend 
of publicans and sinners." "The Friend": the little adjec- 
tive struck him as never before. Had they ever had another ? 
He frowned to himself at the thought, and could not help 
wondering vaguely what his Vicar or the Canon would have 
done in Travalini's. Then he wondered instantly what that 
Other would have done, and he found no answer at all. 

"Yes, but I do not know your friend yet," he heard the 
girl say, and saw she was being introduced to Pennell. She 
held out a decently gloved hand with a gesture that startled 



«30 SIMON CALLED PETER 

him — it was so like Hilda's. Hilda ! The comparison dazed 
him. He fancied he could see her utter disgust, and then 
he involuntarily shook his head; it would be too great for 
him to imagine. What would she have made of the story he 
had just heard? He concluded she would flatly disbelieve 
it. . . . 

But Julie? He smiled to himself, and then, for the first 
time, suddenly asked himself what he really felt towards 
Julie. He remembered that first night and the kiss, and 
how he had half hated it, half liked it. He felt now, chiefly, 
anger that Donovan had had one too. One ? But he, Peter, 
had had two. . . . Then he called himself a damned fool; 
it was all of a piece with her extravagant and utterly un- 
conventional madness. But what, then, would she say to 
this? Had she anything in common with it? 

He played with that awhile, blowing out thoughtful rings 
of smoke. It struck him that she had, but he was fully 
aware that that did not disgust him in the least. It almost 
fascinated him, just as — ^that was it — Hilda's disgust would 
repel him. Why? He liadn't an idea. 

"Monsieur le Capitaine is very dull," said a girl's voice 
at his elbow. He started: Louise had moved to the sofa 
and was smiling at him. He glanced towards his compan- 
ions. Alex was standing, finishing a last drink; Pennell 
staring at Louise. 

He looked back at the girl, straight into her eyes, and 
could not read them in the least. The darkened eyebrows 
and the glitter in them baffled him. But he must speak. "Am 
I?" he said. "Forgive me, mademoiselle; I was thinking." 

"Of your fiancee — is it not so? Ah! The Capitaine has 
his fiancee, then? In England? Ah, well, the girls in 
England do not suffer like we girls in France. . . . They 
are proud, too, the English misses. I know, for I have been 
there, to — how do you call it? — Folkestone. They walk 
with the head in the air," and she tilted up her chin so com- 
ically that Peter smiled involuntarily. 

"No. I do not like them." went on the girl deliberatel^r. 



SIMON CALLED PETER lai 

"They are only half alive, I think. I almost wish the Boche 
had been in your land. . . . They are cold, la! And not 
so very nice to kiss, eh?" 

"They're not all like that," said Pennell. 

"Ah, non? But you hke the girls of France the best, 
mon ami; is it not so?" She leaned across towards him 
significantly. 

Pennell laughed. "Now, yes, perhaps," he said deliber- 
ately; "but after the war . . ." and he shrugged his shoul- 
ders, like a Frenchman. 

A shade passed over the girl's face, and she got up. "It 
is so," she said lightly. "Monsieur speaks very true — oh, 
very true ! The girls of France now — ^they are gay, they are 
alive, they smile, and it is war, and you men want these 
things. But after — oh, I know you English — ^you'll go 
home and be — ^hoT)\r do you say ? — 'respectable,' and marry an 
English miss, and have — oh! many, many bebes, and wear 
the top-hat, and go to church. There is no country like 
England. . . ." She made a little gesture. "What do you 
believe, you English? In le bon Dieu? Non. In love? 
Ah, non ! In what, then ? Je ne sais !" She laughed again. 
"What 'ave I said? Forgive me, monsieur, and you alsd^ 
Monsieur le Capitaine. But I do see a friend of mine. See, 
I go I Bon soir." 

She looked deliberately at Peter a moment, then smiled 
comprehensively and left them. Peter saw that Alex had 
gone already; he asked no questions, but looked at Pennell 
inquiringly. 

"I think so, padre; I've had enough of it to-night. Let's 
clear. We can get back in time for mess." 

They went out into the darkening streets, crossed an 
open square, and turned down a busy road to the docks. 
They walked quickly, but Peter seemed to himself conscious 
of everyone that passed. He scanned faces, as if to read a 
riddle in them. There were men who lounged by, gay, reck- 
less, out for fun plainly, but without any other sinister 
thought, apparently- There were Tommies who saluted and 



122 SIMON CALLED PETER 

trudged on heavily. There were a couple of Yorkshire boys 
who did not notice them, flushed, animal, making determine 
edly for a destination down the street. There was one man 
at least who passed walking alone, with a tense, greedy, hard 
face, and Peter all but shuddered. 

The lit shops gave way to a railed space, dark by contrast, 
and a tall building of old blackened stone, here and there 
chipped white, loomed up. Moved by an impulse, Peter 
paused. "Let's see if it's open, Pennell," he said. "Do 
jrou mind? I won't be a second." 

"Not a scrap, old man," said Pennell, "I'll come in too." 

Peter walked up to a padded leather-covered door and 
pushed. It swung open. They stepped in, into a faintly 
broken silence, and stood still. 

Objects loomed up indistinctly — great columns, altars, 
pews. Far away a light flickered and twinkled, and from 
the top of the aisle across the church from the door by which 
they had entered a radiance glowed and lost itself in the 
black spaces of the high roof and wide nave. Peter crossed 
towards that side, and his companion followed. They trod 
softly, like good Englishmen in church, and they moved up 
the aisle a little to see more clearly ; and so, having reached 
a place from which much was visible, remained standing for 
a few seconds. 

The light streamed from an altar, and from candles above 
it set around a figure of the Mother of God. In front 
knelt a priest, and behind him, straggling back in the pews, 
a score or so of women, some children, and a blue-coated 
French soldier or two. The priest's voice sounded thin 
and low : neither could hear what he said ; the congregatioo 
made rapid responses regularly, but eliding the, to them, 
familiar words. There was, then, the murmur of repeated 
prayer, like muffled knocking on a door, and nothing more. 

"Let's go," whispered Pennell at last. 

They went out, and shut the door softly behind them. As 
they did so, some other door was opened noisily and banged, 
v/hile footsteps began to drag slowly across the stone floo* 



SIMON CALLED PETER 12? 

and up the aisle they had come down. The new-comer suo- 
sided into a pew with a clatter on the boards, but the mur- 
mured prayers went on unbroken. 

Outside the street engulfed them. The same faces passed 
by. A street-car banged and clattered up towards the centre 
of the town, packed with jovial people. Pennell looked 
towards it half longingly. "Great Scott, Graham! I wish, 
«ow, we hadn't come away so soon," he said. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE lower valley of the Seine is one of the most beau- 
tiful and interesting river-stretches in Northern Eu- 
rope. It was the High Street of old Normandy, and feudal 
barons and medieval monks have left their mark upon it. 
From the castle of Tancarville to the abbey of Jumieges 
you can read the story of their doings; or when you stand 
in the Roman circus at LiUebonne, or enter the ancient 
cloister of M. Maeterlinck's modern residence at St. Wan- 
drille, see plainly enough the writing of a still older legend, 
such as appeared, once, on the wall of a palace in Babylon. 
On the left bank steep hills, originally wholly clothed with 
forest and still thickly wooded, run down to the river with 
few breaks in them, each break, however, being garrisoned 
by an ancient town. Of these, Caudebec stands unrivalled. 
On the right bank the flat plain of Normandy stretches to 
the sky-line, pink-and-white in spring with miles of apple- 
orchards. The white clouds chase across its fair blue sky, 
driven by the winds from the sea, and tall poplars rise in 
their uniform rows along the river as if to guard a Paradise. 

Caudebec can be reached from Le Havre in a few hours, 
and although cars for hire and petrol were not abundant in 
France at the time, one could find a chauffeur to make the 
journey if one was prepared to pay. Given fine weather, it 
was an ideal place for a day off in the spring. And Peter 
knew it. 

In the Grand Magasin Julie had talked of a day off, and 
a party of four had been mooted, but when he had leisure 
to think of it, Peter found himself averse to four, and par- 
ticularly if one of the four were to be Donovan. He ad- 
Biitted it freely to himself. Donovan was the kind of a 

124 S' 



SIMON CALLED PETER 12s 

man, he thought, that Julie must like, and he was the kind 
of man, too, to put him, Peter, into the shade. Ordinarily 
he asked for no better companion, but he hated to see Julie 
and Jack together. He could not make the girl out, and 
he wanted to do so. He wanted to know what she thought 
about many things, and — incidentally, of course — what she 
thought about him. 

He had argued all this over next morning while shaving, 
and had ended by cutting himself. It was a slight matter, 
but it argued a certain absent-mindedness, and it brought 
him back to decency. He perceived that he was scheming 
to leave his friend out, and he fought resolutely against the 
idea. Therefore, that afternoon, he went to the hospital, 
spent a couple of hours chatting mth the men, and finally 
wound up in the nurses' mess-room for tea as usual. It 
was a little room, long and narrow, at the end of the biggest 
ward, but its windows looked over the sea amd it was con- 
venient to the kitchen. Coloured illustratiojis cut from 
tnagazines and neatly mounted on brown paper decorated 
the walls, but there was little else by way of furniture or 
ornament except a long table and chairs. One could get but 
Httle talk except of a scrappy kind, for nurses came continu- 
ally in and out for tea, and, indeed, Julie had only a quar- 
ter of an hour to spare. But he got things fixed up for the 
following Thursday, and he left the place to settle with 
Donovan. 

That gentleman's company of native labour was lodged 
a mile or so through the docks from Peter's camp, on the 
banks of the Tancarville Canal. It was enlivened at fre- « 
quent intervals, day and n%ht, by the sirens of tugs bring- 
ing strings of barges to the docks, whence their cargo was 
borne overseas in the sea7going tramps, or, of course, taking, 
equally long strings to the Seine for Rouen and Paris. It 
was mud and cinders underfoot, and it was walled off with 
corrugated-iron sheeting and barbed wire from the atten- 
tions of some hundreds of Belgian refugees who lived along 
the canal and parallel roads in every canceivable kind of 



ia6 SIMON CALLED PETER 

resting-place, from ancient bathing-vans to broken-down 
railway-trucks. But there were trees along the canal and 
reeds and grass, so that there were worse places than Dono- 
van's camp in Le Havre. 

Peter found his friend surveying the endeavours of a gang 
of boys to construct a raised causeway from the officers'" 
mess to the orderly-room, and he promptly broached his 
object. Donovan was entranced with the proposal, but he 
could not go. He was adamant upon it. He could possibly 
have got off, but it meant leaving his something camp for a 
whole'' day, and just at present he couldn't. Peter could 
get Pennell or anyone. Another time, perhaps, but not now. 
For thus can the devil trap his victims. 

Peter pushed back for home on his bicycle, but stopped at 
the docks on his way to look up Pennell. That gentleman 
was bored, weary, and inclined to be blasphemous. It ap- 
peared that for the whole infernal day he had had to watch 
the off-loading of motor-spares, that he had had no lunch, 
and that he could not get away for a day next week if he 
tried. "It isn't everyone can get a day off whenever he 
wants to, padre," he said. "In the next war I shall be . . ." 
Peter turned hard on his heel, and left him complaining to 
the derricks. 

He was now all but cornered. There was nobody else 
he particularly cared to ask unless it were Arnold, and he 
could not imagine Arnold and Julie together. It appeared 
to him that fate was on his side; it only remained to per- 
suade Julie to come alone. He pedalled back to mess and 
dinner, and then, about half-past eight, strolled round to the 
hospital again. It was late, of course, but he was a padre, 
and the hospital padre, and privileged. Me knew exactly 
what to do, and that he was really as safe as houses in doing 
it, and yet this intriguing by night made him uncomfortable 
still. He told himself he was an ass to think so, but he could 
not get rid of the sensation. 

Julie would be on duty till 9.30, and he could easily have 
a couple of minutes' conversation with her in the ward. He 



SIMON CALLED PETER 127 

followed the railway-track, then, along the harbour, and 
went in under the great roof of the empty station. On the 
far platform a hospital train was being made ready for its 
return run, but, except for a few cleaiiers and orderlies, the 
place was empty. 

An iron stairway led up from the platform to the wards 
above. He ascended, and found himself on a landing with 
the door of the theatre open before him. There was a light 
in it, and he caught the sound of water; some pro. wa? 
cleaning up. He moved down the passage and cautiously 
opened the door of the ward. 

It was shaded and still. Somewhere a man breathed 
heavily, and another turned in his sleep. Just beyond the 
red glow of the stove, with the empty armchairs in a circle 
before it, were screens from which came a subdued light. 
He walked softly between the beds towards them, and looked 
over the top. 

Inside was a little sanctum : a desk with a shaded reading- 
lamp, a chair, a couch, a little table with flowers upon it and 
a glass and jug, and on the floor by the couch a work- 
basket. Julie was at the desk writing in a big official book, 
and he watched her for a moment unobserved. It was almost 
as if he saw a different person from the girl he knew. She 
was at work, and a certain hidden sadness showed clearly 
in her face. But the little brown fringe of hair on her fore- 
head and the dimplfed chin were the same. . . . 

"Good-evening," he whispered. 

. She^looked up quickly, with a start, and he noticed curi- 
ously how rapidly the laughter came back to her face. "You 
did startle me, Solomon," she said. "What is it?" 

"I want to speak to you a minute about Thursday," he 
said. "Can I come in?" 

She got up and came round the screens. "Follow me," 
she said, "and don't make a noise." 

She led him across the ward to the wide verandah, open- 
ing the door carefully and leaving it open behind her, and 
then walked to the balustrade and glanced down. The hos- 



128 SIMON Called peter 

pital ship had gone, and there was no one visible on the 
wharf. The stars were hidden, and there was a suggestion 
of mist on the harbour, through which the distant lights 
seemed to flicker. 

"You're coming on, Solomon," she said mockingly. 
"Never tell me you'd have dared to call on the hospital to 
see a nurse by night a few weeks ago! Suppose matron 
came round? There is no dangerous case in my ward." 

"Not among the men, perhaps," said Peter mischievously. 
"But, look here, about Thursday: Donovan can't go, nor 
Pennell, and I don't know anyone else I want to ask." 

"Well, I'll see if I can raise a man. One or two of the 
doctors are fairly decent, or I can get a convalescent out 
of the officers' hospital." 

She had the lights behind her, and he could not see her 
JEace, but he knew she was laughing at him, and it spurred 
him on. "Don't rag, Julie," he said. "You know I want 
you to come alone." 

There was a perceptible pause. Then: "I can't cut 
Tommy," she said. 

"Not for once?" he urged. She turned away from him 
and looked down at the water. It is curious how there 
come moments of apprehension in all our lives when we 
want a thing, but know quite well we are mad to want it. 
Julie looked into the future for a few seconds, and saw 
plainly, but would not believe what she saw. 

When she turned back she had her old manner completdy. 
"You're a dear old thing," she said, "and I'll do it. But 
if it gets out that I gadded about for a day with an officer, 
even though he is a padre, and that we went miles out of 
iown, there'll be some row, my boy. Quick now ! I must get 
back. What's the plan?" 

"Thanks awfully," said Peter. "It will be a rag. What 
ime can you get off?" 

"Oh, after breakfast easily — say eight-thirty." 

"Right. Well, take the tram-car to Harfleur — you know? 



SIMON CALLED PETER 129 

—as far as it goes. I'll be at the terminus with a car. 
What time must you be in?" 

"I can get late leave till ten, I think," she said. 

"Good! That gives us heaps of time. We'll lunch and 
tea in Caudebec, and have some sandwiches for the road 
home." 

"And if the car breaks down?" 

"It won't," said Peter. "You're lucky in love, aren't 
you?" 

She did not laugh. "I don't know," she said. "Good- 
night." 

And then Peter had walked home, thinking of Hilda. And 
he had sat by the sea, and come to the conclusion that he 
was a rotter, but in the web of Fate and much to be pitied, 
which is like a man. And then he had played auction till 
midnight and lost ten francs, and gone to bed concluding 
that he was certainly unlucky — at cards. 

As Peter sat in his car at the Harfleur terminus that 
Thursday it must be confessed that he was largely indifferent 
to the beauties of the Seine Valley that he had professedly 
come to see. He was nervous, to begin with, lest he should 
be recognised by anyone, and he was in one of his troubled 
moods. But he had not long to wait. The tram came out, 
and he threw away his cigarette and walked to meet the 
passengers. 

Julie looked very smart in the grey with its touch of scar- 
let, but she was discontented with it. "If only I could put 
on a few glad rags," she said as she climbed into the car, 
"this would be perfect. You men can't know how a girl 
comes to hate uniform. It's not bad occasionally, but if you 
have to wear it always it spoils chalpces. But I've got my 
new shoes and silk stockings on," she added, sticking out 
a neat ankle, "and my skirt is not vastly long, is it ? Besides, 
underneath, if it's any consolation to you, I've really pretty 
things. Uniform or not, I see no reason why one should 
not feel joyful next the skin. What do you think?" 



13b SIMON CALLED PETER 

Peter agreed heartily, and tucked a rug round her, 
"There's the more need for this, then," he said. 

"Oh, I don't know: silk always makes me feel so com- 
fortable that I can't be cold. Isn't it a heavenly day? We 
are lucky, you know ; it might have been beastly. Lor', but 
I'm going to enjoy myself to-day, my dear! I warn you 
I've got to forget how Tommy looked when I put her oft 
with excuses. I felt positively mean." 

"What did she say?" asked Peter. 

"That she didn't mind at all, as she had got to write let- 
ters," said Julie. "Solomon, Tommy's a damned good sort! 
. . . Give us a cigarette, and don't look blue. We're right 
out of town." 

Peter got out his case. "Don't call me Solomon to-day," 
he said. 

Julie threw herself back in her comer and shrieked with 
laughter. The French chauffeur glanced rotmd and gri- 
maced appreciatively, and Peter felt a fool. "What am I to 
call you, then?" she demanded. "You are a funny old thing, 
and now you look more of a Solomon than ever." 

"Call me Peter," he said. 

She looked at him, her eyes sparkling with amusement. 
"I'm really beginning to enjoy myself," she said. "But, 
look here, you mustn't begin like tiiis. How in the world 
do you think we shall end up if you do? You'll have 
nothing left to say, and I shall be worn to a rag and a 
temper warding off your sentimentality." 

"Julie," said Peter, "are you ever serious? I can't help 
it, you know. I suppose because I am a parson, though 
I am such a rotten one." 

"Who says you're a rotten one?" 

"Everybody who tells the truth, and, besides, I know it. 
I feel an absolute stummer when I go around the wards. I 
never can say a word to the men." 

"They like you awfully. You know little Jimmy, that 
kiddie who came in the other day who's always such a 
brick? Well, last night I went and sat with him a bit 



SIMON CALLED PETER 131 

because he was in such pain. I told him where I was going 
to-day as a secret. What do you think he said about you?" 

"I don't want to know," said Peter hastily. 

"Well, you shall. He said if more parsons were lik* 
you, more men would go to church. What do you make oi 
that, old Solomon?" 

"It isn't true to start with. A few might come for a 
little, but they would soon fall off. And if they didn't, they'd 
get no good. I don't know what to say to them." 

Julie threw away her cigarette-stump. "One sees a lot 
of human nature in hospitals, my boy," she said, "and it 
doesn't leave one with many illusions. But from what I've 
seen, I should say nobody does much good by talking." 

"You don't understand," said Peter, "Look here, I 
shouldn't, call you religious in a way at all. Don't be angry, 
I don't knoWj but I don't think so, and I don't think you can 
possibly know what I mean." 

"I used to do the flowers in church regularly at home," 
she said. "I believe in God, though you think I don't." 

Peter sighed. "Let's change the subject," he said. "Have 
you seen any more of that Australian chap lately ?" 

"Rather! He's engaged to a girl I know, and I reckon 
I'm doing her a good turn by sticking to him. He's a bit of 
a devil, you know, but I think I can keep him off the French 
girls a bit." 

Peter looked at her curiously. "You know what he is, 
and you don't mind then?" he said. 

"Good Lord, no!" she replied. "My dear boy, I know 
what men are. It isn't in their nature to stick to one girl 
only. He loves Edie all right, and he'll make her a good 
husband one day, if she isn't too particular and inquisitive. 
If I were married, I'd give my husband absolute liberty— ^ 
and I'd expect it in return. But I shall never marry. There 
isn't a man who can play fair. They'll take their own 
pleasures, but they are all as jealous as possible. I've seen it 
hundreds of times." 

"You amaze me," said Peter. "Let's talk straight. Do 



132 SIMON CALLED PETER 

you mean to say that if you were married and your hus- 
band ran up to Paris for a fortnight, and you knew exactly 
what he'd gone for, you wouldn't mind?" 

"No," she declared roundly. "I wouldn't. He'd come 
back all the more fond of me. I'd know I'd be a fool to 
expect anything else." 

Peter stared at her. She was unlike anything he had ever 
seen. Her moral standards, if she had any, he added men- 
tally, were so different from his own that he was absolutely 
floored. He thought grimly that alone in a motor-car he 
had got among the multitude with a vengeance. "Have you 
ever been in love?" he demanded. 

She laughed. "Solomon, you're the quaintest creature. 
Do you think I'd tell you if I had been ? You never ought 
to ask anyone that. But if you want to know, I've been in 
love hundreds of times. It's a queer disease, but hot seri- 
ous — at least, not if you don't take it too seriously." ' 

"You don't know what love is at all," he said. 

She faced him fairly and unashamed. "I do," she said. 
"It's an animal passion for the purpose of populating the 
earth. And if you ask me, I think it is rather a dirty trick 
on the part of God." 

"You don't mean that," he said, distressed. 

She laughed again merrily, and slipped her hand into his 
under the rug. "Peter," she said — "there, am I not good? 
You aren't made to worry about these things. I don't know 
that anyone is. We can't help ourselves, and the best 
thing is to take our pleasures when we can find them. I 
suppose you'll be shocked at me, but I'm not going to pre^ 
tend. I wasn't built that vray. If this were a dosed car 
I'd give you a kiss." 

"I don't want that sort of a kiss," he said. "That was 
what you gave me the other night. I want . . ." 

"You don't know what you want, my dear, though you 
think you do. You shouldn't be so serious. I'm sure I kiss 
very nicely— plenty of men think so, anyway, and if there 
is nothing in that sort of kiss, why not kiss."* Is there a 



SIMON CALLED PETER 133 

Commandment against it? I suppose our grandmothers 
thought so, but we don't. Besides, I've been east of Suez, 
where there ain't no ten Commandments. There's only one 
real rule left in life for most of us, Peter, and that's this; 
'Be a good pal, and don't worry.' " 

Peter sighed. "You and I were turned out differently, 
Julie," he said. "But I like you awfully. You attract me 
so much that I don't know how to express it. There's 
nothing mean about you, and nothing sham. And I admire 
your pluck beyond words. It seems to me that you've 
looked life in the face and laughed. Anybody can laugh at 
death, but very few of us at life. I think I'm terrified of it. 
And that's the awful part about it all, for I ought to know 
the secret, and I don't. I feel an absolute hypocrite at times 
— when I take a service, for example. I talk about things 
I don't understand in the least, even about God, and I begin 
to think I know nothing about Him. . . ." He broke off, 
utterly miserable. 

"Poor old boy," she said softly; "is it as bad as that?" 

He turned to her fiercely. "You darling!" he said, car- 
ried away by her tone. "I believe I'd rather have you than— 
than God!" 

She did not move in her corner, nor did she smile now. 
"I wonder," she said slowly. "Peter, it's you that hate 
shams, not I. It's you that are brave, not I. I play with 
shams because I know they're shams, but I like 'playing 
with them. But you are greater than I. You are not con- 
tent with playing. One of these days — oh, I don't know, 
, . ." She broke off and looked away. 

Peter gripped her hand tightly. "Don't, little girl," he 
said. "Let's forget for to-day. Look at those primroses; 
they're the first I've seen. Aren't they heavenly?" 

They ran into Caudebec in good time, and lunched at au 
hotel overlooking the river, with great enthusiasm. To 
Peter it was utterly delicious to have her by him. She was 
as gay as she could possibly be, and made fun over every- 
thing. Sitting daintily before him, her daring, unconven- 



134 SIMON CALLED PETER 

tional talk carried him away. She chose the wine, and after 
dejeuner sat with her elbows on the table, puffing at a 
cigarette, her brown eyes alight with mischief, apparently 
without a thought for to-morrow. 

"Oh, I say," she said, "do look at that party in the cor- 
ner. The old Major's well away, and the girl'll have a 
job to keep him in hand. I wonder where they're from? 
Rouen, perhaps; there was a car at the door. What do 
you think of the girl?" 

Peter glanced back. "No better than she ought to be," he 
said. 

"No, I don't suppose so, but they are gay, these French 
girls. I don't wonder men like them. And they have a 
hard time. I'd give them a leg up any day if I could. I 
can't, though, so if ever you get a chance do it for me, will 
you?" 

Peter assented. "Come on," he said. "Finish that glass 
if you think you can, and let's get out." 

"Here's the best, then. I've done. What are we going 
to see?" 

For a couple of hours they wandered round the old town, 
with its narrow streets and even fifteenth-century houses, 
whose backs actually leaned over the swift little river that 
ran all but under the place to the Seine. They penetrated 
through an old mill to its back premises, and climbed precari- 
ously round the water-wheel to reach a little moss-grown 
platform from which the few remaining massive stones of 
the Norman wall and castle could still be seen. The old 
abbey kept them a good while. Julie interested Peter enor- 
mously as they walked about its cool aisles, and tried to make 
out the legends of its ancient glass. She had nothing of 
that curious kind of shyness most people have in a church, 
and that he would certainly have expected of her. She 
joked and laughed a little in it — at a queer row of mutilated 
statues packed into a kind of chapel to keep quiet out of 
the way till wanted, at the vivid red of the Red Sea en- 
gulfing Pharaoh and all his host — but not in the least ir« 



SIMON CALLED PETER 133 

reverently. He recalled a saying of a book he had once 
read in which a Roman Catholic priest had defended the 
homeliness of an Italian congregation by saying that it was 
right for them to be at home in their Father's House. It 
was almost as if Julie were at home, yet he shrank from 
the inference. 

She was entirely ignorant of everything, except perhaps, 
of a little biblical history, but she made a most interested 
audience. Once he thought she was perhaps egging him 
on for his own pleasure, but when he grew more silent she 
urged him to explain. "It's ripping going round with some- 
body who knows something," she said. "Most of the men 
one meets know absolutely nothing. They're very jolly, but 
one gets tired. I could listen to you for ages." 

Peter assured her that he was almost as ignorant as they, 
but she was shrewdly insistent. "You read more, and you 
understand what you read," she said. "Most people don't, 
I know." 

They bought picture post-cards of a queer old woman 
a a peasant head-dress, and then came back to the river 
and sat under the sh^de of a line of great trees to wait for 
the tea the hotel had guaranteed them. Julie now did all 
the talking — of So^ith Africa, of gay adventures in France 
and on the voyage,, and of the men she had met. She was 
as frank as possible, but Peter wondered how far he was 
getting to know the real girl. 

Tea was an unusiial success for France. It was real tea, 
but then there was reason for that, for Julie had insisted 
on going into the big kitchen, to madame's amusement and 
monsieur's open admiration, and making it herself. But 
the chocolate cakes, the white bread and proper butter, and 
the cream, were a miracle. Peter wondered if you could 
get such things in England now, and Julie gaily told him 
that the French made laws only to break them, with several 
instances thereof. She declared that if a food-ration officer 
existed in Caudebec he must be in love with the landlady's 
daughter and that she only wished she could get to know 



136 SIMON CALLED PETER 

such an official in Havre. The daughter in question waited 
on them, and Julie and she chummed up immensely. Finally 
she was despatched to produce a collection of Army badges 
and buttons — scalps Julie called them. When they came they 
turned them over. All ranks were represented, or nearly so, 
and most regiments that either could remember. There were 
Canadian, Australian, and South African badges, and at last 
Julie declared that only one was wanting. 

"What will you give for this officer's badge?" she de- 
manded, seizing hold of one of Peter's Maltese crosses. 

The girl looked at it curiously. "What is it ?" she said 

"It's the badge of the Sacred Legion," said Julie gravely. 
"You know Malta ? Well, that's part of the British Empire, 
of course, and the English used to have a regiment there to 
defend it from the Turks. It was a great honour to join, 
and so it was called the Sacred Legion. This officer is a 
Captain in it." 

"Shut up, Julie," said Peter, sotto voce. 

But nothing would stop her. "Come now," she said. 
"What will you give ? You'll give her one for a kiss, won't 
you, Solomon?" 

The girl laughed and blushed. "Not before mademoiselle," 
ehe said, looking at Peter. 

"Oh, I'm off," cried Julie. "I'll spare you one, but only 
one, remember," and she deliberately got up and left them. 

Mademoiselle was "tres jolie," said the girl, collecting 
her badges. Peter detached a cross and gave it her, and 
she demurely put up her mouth. He kissed her lightly, and 
walked leisurely out to settle the bill and call the car. He 
had entirely forgotten his depression, and the world seemed 
good to him.. He hummed a little song by the water's edge 
as he waited, and thought over the day. He could never 
remember having had such a one in his hfe. Then he recol- 
lected that one badge was gone, and he abstracted the other. 
Without his badges he would not be known as a chaplain. 

When Julie appeared, she made no remark, as he had 



SIMON CALLED PETER 137 

half-expected. They got in, and started off back in the 
cooling evening. Near ,Tancarville they stopped the car to 
have the hood put up, and strolled up into the grounds of 
the old castle while they waited. 

"Extraordinary it must have been to have lived in a 
place like this," said Peter. 

"Rather," said Julie, "and beyond words awful to the 
women. I cannot imagine what they must have been like, 
but I think they must have been something like native 
African women." 

"Why?" queried Peter. 

"Oh, because a native woman never reads and hardly goes 
iive miles from her village. She is a human animal, who 
bears children and keeps the house of her master, that's all. 
That's what these women must have done." 

"The Church produced some different types," said Peter ; 
"but they had no chance elsewhere, perhaps. Still, I ex- 
pect they were as happy as we, perhaps happier." 

"And their cows were happier still, I should think," 
laughed Julie. "No, you can't persuade me. I wouldn't 
have been a woman in those days for the world." 

"And now?" asked Peter. 

"Rather! We have much the best time on the whole. 
We can do vPhat we like pretty well. If we want to be men, 
we can. We can put on riding-breeches, even, and run a 
farm. But if we Uke, we can wear glad rags and nice 
undies, and be more women than ever." 

"And in the end thereof ?" Peter couldn't help asking. 

"Oh," said Julie lightly, "one can settle down and have 
babies if one wants to. And sit in a drawing-room and 
talk scandal as much as one likes. Not that I shall do either, 
thank you. I shall — oh, I don't know what I shall do. 
Solomon, you are at your worst. Pick me some of those 
primroses, and let's be going. You never can tell: we may 
have to walk home yet." 

Peter plucked a few of the early blooms, and she pushed 



138 SIMON CALLED PETER 

them into her waist-belt. Then they went back to the car, 
and got in again. 

"Cold?" he asked, after a little. 

"A bit," she said. "Tuck me up, and don't sit in that far 
corner all the time. You make me feel chilly to look at 
you. I hate sentimental people, but if you tried hard and 
were nice I could work up quite a lot of sentiment just now." 

He laughed, and tucked her up as required. Then he lit 
a cigarette and slipped his arm round her waist. "Is that 
better?" he said. 

"Much. But you can't have had much' practice. Now 
tell me stories." 

Peter had a mind to tell her several, but he refrained, and 
they grew silent. "Do you think we shall have another day 
like this?" he demanded, after a little. 

"I don't see why not," she said. "But one never knows, 
does one? The chances are we shan't. It's a queer old 
world." 

"Let's try, anyway; I've loved it," he said. 

"So have I," said Julie. "It's the best day I've had for 
a long time, Peter. You're a nice person to go out with, 
you know, though I mustn't flatter you too much. You 
should develop the gift; it's not everyone that has it." 

"I've no wish to," he said. 

"You are an old bear," she laughed ; "but you don't mean 
all you say, or rather you do, for you will say what you 
mean. You shouldn't, Peter. It's not done nowadays, and 
it gives one away. If you were like me, now, you could 
say and do anything and nobody would mind. They'd never 
knbW^ what you meant, and of course all the time you'd mean 
ttothing." 

"So you mean nothing all the time ?" he queried. 

"Of course," she said merrily. "What do you think?" 

That jarred Peter a little, so he said nothing and silence 
fell on them, and at the Hotel de Ville in the city he asked 
if she would mind finishing alone. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 139 

"Not a bit, old thing, if you want to go anywhere," she 
said. 

He apologised. "Arnold — he's our padre — is likely to be 
at the club, and I promised I'd walk home with him," he 
lied remorselessly. "It's beastly rude, I know, but I thought 
you'd understand." 

She looked at him, and laughed. "I believe I do," she 
said. 

He stopped the car and got out, settling with the man, 
and glancing up at a clock. "You'll be in at nine-forty-five," 
he said, "as proper as possible. And thank you so much 
for coming." 

"Thank you, Solomon," she replied. "It's been just top- 
ping. Thanks awfully for taking me. And come in to tea 
soon, won't you?" He promised and held out his hand. 
She pressed it, and waved out of the window as the car 
drove off. And no sooner was it in motion than he cursed 
himself for a fool. Yet he knew why he had done as he 
had, there, in the middle of the town. He knew that he 
feared she would kiss him again — as before. 

Not noticing where he went, he set off through the streets, 
making, unconsciously almost, for the sea, and the dark 
boulevards that led ifrom the gaily lit centre of the city 
towards it. He walked slowly, his mind a chaos of thoughts, 
and so ran into a curious adventure. 

Ag he passed a side-street he heard a man's uneven steps 
on the pavement, a girl's voice, a curse, and the sound of a 
fall. Then followed an exclamation in another woman's 
voice, and a quick sentence in French. 

Peter hesitated a minute, and then turned down the road 
to where a small group was faintly visible. As he reached 
it, he saw that a couple of street girls were bending over a 
man who lay sprawling on the ground, and he quickened his 
steps to a run. His boots were rubber-soled, and all but 
noiseless. "Here, I say," he said as he came up. "Let 
that man alone. What are you doing?" he added in halting 



I40 SIMON CALLED PETER 

French. One of the two girls gave a little scream, but the 
other straightened herself, and Peter perceived that he knew 
her. It was Louise, of Travalini's. 

"What are you doing?" he demanded again in English. 
"Is he hurt?" 

"Non, non, monsieur," said Louise. "He is but 'zig-zag.' 
We found him a little way down the street, and he cannot 
walk easily. So we help him. If the gendarme — how do you 
call him? — ^the red-cap, see him, maybe he will get into 
trouble. But now you come. You will doubtless help him. 
Vraiment, he is in luck. We go now, monsieur." 

Peter bent over the fallen man. He did not know him, 
but saw he was a subaltern, though a middle-aged man. 
The fellow was very drunk, and did little else than stutter 
curses in which the name of our Lord was frequent. 

Peter pulled at his arm, and Louise stooped to help him. 
Once up, he got his arm round him, and demanded where 
he lived. 

The man stared at them foolishly. Peter gave him a 
bit of a shake, and demanded the address again. "Come 
on," he said. "Pull yourself together, for the Lord's sake. 
We shall end before the A.P.M. if you don't. What's your 
camp, you fool?" 

At that the man told him, stammeringly, and Peter sighed 
his relief. "I know," he said to Louise. "It's not far. I'll 
maybe get a taxi at the corner." She pushed him towards a 
doorway. "Wait a minute," she said. "I live here ; it's all 
right. I will get a fiacre. I know where to find one." 

She darted away. It seemed long to Peter, but in a few 
minutes a horn tooted and a cab came round the corner. 
Between them, they got the subaltern in, and Peter gave 
the address. Then he pulled out his purse before stepping 
in himself, opened it, found a ten-franc note, and offered 
it to Louise. 

The girl of the street and the tavern pushed it away. 
"La !" she exclaimed. "Vite ! Get in. Bon Dieu ! Should 
I be paid for a kindness? Poor boy! he does opt know 



SIMON CALLED PETER 141 

what he does. He will 'ave a head — ah! terrible — in the 
morning. And see, he has fought for la patrie." She pointed 
to a gold wound-stripe on his arm. "Bon soir, monsieur." 

She stepped back and spoke quickly to the driver, who 
was watching sardonically. He nodded. "Bon soir, mon- 
sieur," she said again, and disappeared in the doorway. 



CHAPTER IX 

A FEW weeks later the War Office — if it was the War 
Office, but one gets into the habit of attributing these 
things to the War Office — had one of its regular spasms. 
It woke up suddenly with a touch of nightmare, and it got 
fearfully busy for a few weeks before going to sleep again. 
All manner of innocent people were dragged into the vortex 
of its activities, and blameless lives were disturbed and ter- 
rorised. This particular enthusiasm involved even such 
placid and contented souls as the Chaplain-General, the 
Principal Chaplain, their entire staffs, and a great many oi 
their rank and file. It created a new department, acquired 
many additional offices for the B.E.F., dragged from their 
comfortable billets a certain number of high-principled base 
officers, and then (by the mercy of Providence) flickered out 
almost as soon as the said officers had made themsdves a 
little more comfortable than before in their new posts. 

It was so widespread a disturbance that even Peter 
Graham, most harmless of men, with plenty of his own fish 
to fry, was dragged into it, as some leaf, floating placidly 
downstream, may be caught and whirled away in an excited 
eddy. More definitely, it removed him from Havre and 
Julie just when he was beginning to want most definitely 
to stay there, and of course, when it happened, he could 
hardly know that it was to be but a temporary separation. 

He was summoned, then, one fine morning, to his A.C.G.'s 
office in town, and he departed on a bicycle, turning over in 
his mind such indiscretions of which he had been guilty 
and wondering which of them was about to trip him. Pen- 
nell had been confident, indeed, and particular. 

"You're for it, old bean," he had said. "There's a limit 

142 



SIMON CALLED PETER 143 

to the patience even of the Church. They are going to say 
that there is no need for you to visit hospitals after dark, 
and that their padres mustn't be seen out with nurses who 
smoke in public. And all power to their elbow, I say." 

Peter's reply was certainly not in the Prayer-Book, and 
would probably have scandalised its compilers, but he 
thought, secretlyj that there might be something in what his 
friend said. Consequently he rode his bicycle carelessly, and 
was indifferent to tram-lines and some six inches of nice 
sticky mud on parts of the pave. In the ordinary course, 
therefore, these things revenged themselves upon him. He 
came off neatly and conveniently opposite a small cafe debit 
at a turn in the dock road, and the mud prevented the pavS 
from seriously hurting him. 

A Frenchman, minding the cross-lines, picked him up, 
and he, madame, her assistant, and a customer, carried him 
into the kitchen off the bar and washed and dried him. The 
least he could do was a glass of French beer all round, with 
a. franc to the dock labourer who straightened his handle- 
bars and tucked in a loose spoke, and for all this the War 
Office — ^if it was the War Office, for it may, quite possibly, 
have been Lord Northcliffe or Mr. Bottomley, or some other 
controller of our national life — was directly responsible. 
When one thinks that in a hundred places just such dis- 
turbances were in progress in ten times as many innocent 
lives, one is appalled at their effrontery. They ought to eat 
and drink more carefully, or take liver pills., 

However, in due time Peter sailed up to the office of his 
immediate chief but little the worse for wear, and was 
ushered in. He was prepared for a solitary interview, but 
he found a council of some two dozen persons, who included 
an itinerant Bishop, an Oxford Professor, a few Y.M.C.A. 
ladies, and — triumph of the A.C.G. — a Labour member. 
Peter could not conceive that so great a weight of intellect 
could be involved in his affairs, and took comfort. He seated 
himself on a wooden chair, and put on his most intelligent 
appearance; and if it was slightly marred by a mud streaK 



144 SIMON CALLED PETER 

at the back of his ear, overlooked by madame's kindly as- 
sistant who had attended to that side of him, he was not 
really to blame. Again, it was the fault of Lord Northcliffe 
or — or any of the rest of them. 

It transpired that he was slightly late: the Bishop had 
been speaking. He was a good Bishop and eloquent, and, 
as the A.C.G. who now rose to take the matter in hand 
remarked, he had struck the right note. In all probability it 
was due to Peter's having missed that note that he was so 
critical of the scheme. The note would have toned him up. 
He would have felt a more generous sympathy for the lads 
in the field, and would have been more definitely convinced 
that something must be done. If not plainly stated in the 
Holy Scriptures, his lordship had at least found it indicated 
there, but Peter was not aware of this. He only observed 
that the note had made everyone solemn and intense except 
the Labour member. That gentleman, indeed, interrupted 
the A.C.G. before he was fairly on his legs with the remark? 
"Beggin' your pardon, sir, but as this is an informal con- 
ference, does anyone mind if I smoke?" . . . 

Peter's A.C.G. was anything but a fool, and the night- 
mare from Headquarters had genuinely communicated itself 
to him. He felt all he said, and he said it ably. He lacked 
only in one regard: he had never been down among the 
multitude. He knew exactly what would have to have been 
in his own mind for him to act as he believed some of theffi 
were acting, and he knew exactly how he would, in so deplor- 
able a condition of affairs, have set about remedying it 
These things, then, he stated boldly and clearly. As he pre 
ceeded, the Y.M.C.A. ladies got out notebooks, the Professor 
allowed himself occasional applause, and the Labour mem' 
ber lit another pipe. 

It appeared that there was extreme unrest and agit^on 
among the troops, or at least a section of the troops, for 
no one could say that the armies in the field were not mag- 
nificent. They had got to remember that the Tommy of 
to-day was not as the Tommy of yesterday — not that he 



SIMON CALLED PETER 145 

suffered by comparison, but that he was far better edu- 
cated and far more inclined to think for himself. They 
were well aware that a little knowledge was a dangerous 
thing, or, again, as his friend the Bishop would have doubt- 
less put it, how great a matter a httle fire kindleth. There 
was no escaping it : foreign propaganda, certain undesirable 
books and papers — books and papers, he need hardly say, out- 
side the control of the reputable Press — ^and even Socialistic 
agitators, were abroad in the Army. He did not wish to say 
too much; it was enough to remind them of what, possibly, 
they already knew, that certain depots on certain occasions 
had refused to sing the National Anthem, and were not con- 
tent with their wages. Insignificant as these things might 
be in detail, G.H.Q. had felt there was justifiable cause for 
alarm. This meeting had gathered to consider plans for a 
remedy. 

Now he thanked God that they were not Prussians. There 
must be no attempt at coercion. A war for liberty must be 
won by free people. One had, of course, to have discipline 
in the Army, but theirs was to-day a citizen Army. His 
friend who had left his parliamentary duties to visit France 
might rest assured that the organizations represented there 
that morning would not forget that. In a word. Tommy had 
a vote, and he was entitled to it, and should keep it. One day 
he should even use it; and although no one could wish to 
change horses crossing a stream, still, they hoped that day 
would speedily come — the day of peace and victory. 

But meantime, what was to be done? As the Bishop had 
rightly said, something must be done. Resolute on this 
point, H.Q. had called in the C.G. and the P.C. and, he 
believed, expert opinion on both sides the House of Com- 
mons ; and the general opinion agreed upon was that Tommy . 
should be educated to vote correctly when the time came, and 
to wait peacefully for that time. The Professor could tell 
them of schemes even now in process of formation at home 
in order that the land they loved might be cleaner, sweeter, 
better and happier, in the days to come. But Tommy, mean- 



146 SIMON CALLED PETER 

time, did not know of these things. He was apparentij 
under the delusion that he must work out his own salvation, 
whereas, in point of fact, it was being worked out for him 
scientifically and religiously. If these things were clearly 
laid before him, H.Q. was convinced that agitation, dissat- 
isfaction, and even revolution — for there were those who 
thought they were actually trending in that direction — would 
be nipped in the bud. 

The scheme was simple and far-reaching. Lectures would 
be given all over the areas occupied by British troops. Every 
base would be organised in such a way that such lectures 
and even detailed courses of study should be available for 
everyone. Every chaplain, hutworker, and social entertainer 
must do his or her bit. They must know how to speak wisely 
and well — not all in public, but everyone as the occasioi, 
offered, privately, in hut or camp, to inquiring and dissat- 
isfied Tommies. They would doubtless feel themselves in* 
sufficient for these things, but study-circles were to be 
formed and literature obtained which would completely fur- 
nish them with information. He would conclude by merely 
laying on the table a bundle of the splendid papers and 
tracts already prepared for this work. The Professor would 
now outline what was being attempted at home, and then 
the meeting would be open for discussion. 

The Professor was given half an hour, and he made an 
excellent speech for a cornered and academic theorist. The 
first ten minutes he devoted to explaining that he could not 
explain in the time; in the second, tempering the wind tc 
the shorn lamb, he pointed out that it was no use his out- 
lining schemes not yet completed, or that they could read 
for themselves, or that, possibly, without some groundwork, 
they could not understand ; and in the third ten minutes he 
outlined the committees dealing with the work and con- 
taining such well-known names as Robert Smiley, Mr. But- 
ton, and Clydens. He sat down. Everyone applauded — ^the 
M.P., and possibly the A.C.G., because they honestly knew 
and respected these gentlemen, and the rest because they 



SIMON CALLED PETER 147 

felt they ought to do so. The meeting was then opened 
for discussion. 

Peter took no part in what followed, and, indeed, nothing 
over-illuminating was said save one remark, cast upon the 
waters by the Labour member, which was destined to be 
found after many days. They were talking of the lectures, 
and one of the ladies (Peter understood a Girton lecturer) 
was apparently eager to begin without delay. The M.P, 
begged to ask a question : Were there to be questions and 
a discussion? 

The A.C.G. glanced at a paper before him, and rose. He 
apologised for omitting to mention it before, but H.Q. 
thought it would be subversive of all discipline if, let us say, 
privates should be allowed to get up and argue with the 
officers who might have addressed them. They all knew 
what might be said in the heat of argument. Also, if he 
might venture to say so, some of their lecturers, though 
primed with the right lecture, might not be such experts 
that they could answer every question, and plainly failure 
to satisfy a questioner might be disastrous. But questions 
could be written and replies given at the next lecture. He 
thought, smiling, that some of them would perhaps find 
that convenient. 

The M.P. leaned back in his chair. "Well, sir," he said, 
"I'm sorry to be a wet-blanket, but if that is so, the scheme 
is wrecked from the start. You don't know the men ; I do. 
They're not going to line up, like the pupils of Dotheboys 
Academy, for a spoonful of brimstone and treacle." 

The meeting was slightly scandalised. The chairman, how- 
ever, rose to the occasion. That, he said, was a matter for 
H.Q. They were there to do their duty. And, being an 
able person, he did his. In ten minutes they were formed 
into study-bands and were pledged to study, with which 
conclusion the meeting adjourned. 

Peter was almost out of the door when he heard his name 
called, and turning, saw the A.C.G. beckoning him. He 
went up to the table and shook hands. 



148 SIMON CALLED PETER 

"Do you know the Professor?" asked his superior. 
"Professor, this is Mr. Graham." 

"How do you do?" said the man of science. "You are 
Graham of Balliol, aren't you? You read Political Science 
and Economics a little at Oxford, I think? You ought to 
be the very man for us, especially as you know how to 
speak." 

Peter was c nfused, but, being human, a little flattered. 
He confessed tc "he sins enumerated, and waited for more. 

"Well," said tht A.C.G.. "I've sent in your name already, 
Graham, and they wapt you to go to Abbeville for a few 
weeks. A gathering is to be made there of the more prom- 
ising material, and you are to get down to the work of 
making a syllabus, and so on. You will meet other officers 
from all branches of the Service, and it should be interesting 
and useful. I presume you will be willing to go? Of 
course it is entirely optional, but I may say that the men 
who volunteer will not be forgotten." 

"Quite so," said the Professor. "They will render ex- 
tremely valuable service. I shall hope to be there part of 
the time myself." 

Peter thought quickly of a number of things, as one does 
at such a moment. Some of them were serious things, and 
some quite frivolous — like Julie. But he could hardly do 
otherwise than consent. He asked when he should have 
to go. 

"In a few days. You'll have plenty of time to get ready, 
I should advise you to write for some books, and begin to 
read up a little, for I expect you are a bit rusty, like the 
rest of us. And I shall hope to have you back lecturing in 
this Army area before long." 

So to speak, bowed out, Peter made his way home. In 
the Rue de Paris Julie passed him, sitting with a couple of 
other nurses in an ambulance motor-lorry, and she waved her 
hand to him. The incident served to depress him still more, 
and he was a bit petulant as he entered the mess. He flung 
his cap on the table, and threw himself into a chair. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 149 

'Well," said Pennell, who was there, "on the peg all 
right?" 

"Don't be a fool !" said Peter sarcastically. "I'm wanted 
on the Staff. Haig can't manage without me. I've got to 
leave this perishing suburb and skip up to H.Q., and don't 
you forget it, old dear. I shall probably be a Major-Gen- 
eral before you get your third pip. Got that ?" 

Pennell took his pipe from his mouth. "What's in the 
wind now?" he demanded. 

"Well, you might not have noticed it, but I'm a political 
and economic expert, and Haig's fed up that you boys don't 
tumble to the wisdom of the centuries as you ought. Con- 
sequently I've got to instruct you. I'm going to waltz around 
in a motor-car, probably with tabs up, and lecture. And 
there aren't to be any questions asked, for that's subversive 
of discipline." 

"Good Lord, man, do talk sense! What in the world 
do you mean?" 

"I mean jolly well what I say, if you want to know, or 
something precious like it. The blinking Army's got dry- 
rot and revolutionary fever, and we may all be murdered 
in our little beds unless I put a shoulder to the wheel. That's 
a bit mixed, but it'll stand. I shall be churning out this 
thing by the yard in a little." 

"Any extra pay?" demanded Pennell anxiously. "I can 
lecture on engineering, and would do for an extra sixpence. 
Whisky's going up, and I haven't paid my last mess bill." 

"You haven't, old son," said Arnold, coming in, "and 
you've jolly well got to. Here's a letter for you, Graham." 

Peter glanced at the envelope and tore it open. Pennell 
knocked his pipe out with feigned dejection. "The fellow 
makes me sick, padre," he said. "He gets billets-doux 
every hour of the blessed day." 

Peter jumped up excitedly. "This is better," he said. 
"It's a letter from Langton at Rouen, a chap I met there 
who writes occasionally. He's been hauled in for this 
stunt himself, and is to go to Abbeville as well. By Jove. 



ISO SIMON CALLED PETER 

I'll go up with him if I can. Give me some paper, somebody. 
I'll have to write to him at once, or we'll boss it." 

"And make a will, and write to a dozen girls, I should 
think," said Pennell. "I don't know what the blooming 
Army's coming to. Might as well chuck it and have peace, 
I think. But meantime I've got to leave you blighted slackers 
to gad about the place, and go and do an honest day's work. 
/ don't get Staff jobs and red tabs. No; I help win the 
ruddy war, that's all. See you before you go, Graham, I 
suppose? They'll likely run the show for a day or two 
more without you. There'll be time for you to stand a 
dinner on the strength of it yet." 

A week later Peter met Langton by appointment in the 
Rouen club, the two of them being booked to travel that 
evening via Amiens to Abbeville. His tall friend was 
drinking a whisky-and-soda in the smoke-room and talking 
with a somewhat bored expression to no less a person than 
Jenks of the A.S.C. 

Peter greeted them. "Hullo!" he said to the latter. 
"Fancy meeting you here again. Don't say you're going to 
lecture as well?" 

"The good God preserve us!" exclaimed Jenks blas- 
phemously. "But I am off in your train to Boulogne. Been 
transferred to our show there, and between ourselves, I'm 
not sorry to go. It's a decent hole in some ways, Boulogne, 
and it's time I got out of Rouen. You're a lucky man, padre, 
not to be led into temptation by every damned girl you meet. 
I don't know what they see in me," he continued mournfully, 
"and, at this hour of the afternoon, I don't know what I 
see in them." 

"Nor do I." said Langton. "Have a drink, Graham? 
There'll be no getting anything on the ruddy train. We 
leave at six-thirty, and get in somewhere about four a.m. 
next morning, so far as I can make out." 

"You don't sound over-cheerful," said Graham. 

"I'm not. I'm fed up over this damned lecture stunt! 
The thing's condemned to failure from the startj and at 



SIMON CALLED PETER 15X 

any rate it's no time for it. Fritz means more by this push 
than the idiots about here allow. He may not get through ; 
but, on the other hand, he may. If he does, it's UP with 
us all. And here we are to go lecturing on economics and 
industrial problems while the damned house is on fire!" 

Peter took his drink and sat down, "What's your par- 
ticular subject?" he asked. 

"The Empire. Colonies. South Africa. Canada. And 
why ? Because I took a degree in History in Cambridge, and 
have done surveying on the C.P.R. Lor' ! Finish that drink 
and have another." 

They went together to the station, and got a first to them- 
selves, in which they were fortunate. They spread their kit 
about the place, suborned an official to warn everyone else 
off, and then Peter and Langton strolled up and down the 
platform for half an hour, as the train was not now to start 
till seven. Somebody told them there was a row on up the 
line, though it was not plain how that would affect them. 
Jenks departed on business of his own. A girl lived some- 
where in the neighbourhood. 

"How're you getting on jjow, padre ?" asked Langton, 

"I'm not getting on," said Peter. "I'm doing my job as 
best I can, and I'm seeing all there is to see, but I'm more 
in a fog than ever. I've got a hospital at Havre, and I 
distribute cigarettes and the news of the day. That's about 
all. I get on all right with the men socially, and now and 
again I meet a keen Nonconformist who wants me to pray 
with him, or an Anglican who wants Holy Communion, but 
not many. When I preach I rebuke vice, as the Apostle says, 
but I'm hanged if I really know why." 

Langton laughed. "That's a little humorous, padre," he 
said. "What about the Ten Commandments ?" 

Peter thought of Julie. He kicked a stone viciously. 
"Commandments are no use," he said — "not out here." 

"Nor anywhere," said Langton, "nor ever, I think, too. 
Why do you suppose I keep moderately moral? Chiefly 
because I fear natural consequences and have a wife and 



152 SIMON CALLED PETER 

kiddies that I love. Why does Jenks do the opposite? 
Because he's more of a fool or less of a coward, and chiefly 
loves himself. That's all, and that's all there is in it for 
most of us." 

"You don't fear God at all, then?" demanded Peter. 

"Oh that I knew where I might find him !" quoted Lang- 
ton. "I don't believe He thundered on Sinai, at any rate." 

"Nor spoke in the Sermon on the Mount?" 

"Ah, I'm not so sure ; but it seems to me that He said too 
much or He said too little there, Graham. One can't help 
'looking on' a woman occasionally. And in any case it 
doesn't seem to me that the Sermon is anything like the 
Commandments. Brotherly love is behind the first, fear of 
a tribal God behind the second. So far as I can see, Christ's 
creed was to love and to go on loving, and never to despair 
of love. Love, according to Him, was stronger than hate, 
or commandments, or preaching, or the devil himself. If 
He saved souls at all. He saved them by loving them what- 
ever they were, and I reckon He meant us to do the same 
What do you make of the woman taken in adultery, and the 
woman who wiped His feet with her hair? Or of Peter? 
or of Judas ? He saved Peter by loving him when he thought 
he ought to have the Ten Commandments and hell fire 
thrown at his head, and I reckon He'd have saved Judas by 
giving him that sop-token of love if he hadn't had a soul that 
could love nothing but himself." 

"What is love, Langton ?" asked Peter, after a pause. 

The other looked at him curiously, and laughed. "Ask the 
Bishops," he said. "Don't ask me. I don't know. Living 
with the woman to whom you're married because you fear 
to leave her, or because you get on all right, is not love at 
any rate. I can't see that marriage has got much to do with 
it. It's a decent convention of society at this stage of de- 
velopment perhaps, and i<- may sign and seal love for some 
people. But I reckon love's love — a. big positive thing that's 
bigger than sin, and bigger than the devil. I reckon that if 
God sees that anywhere, He's satisfied. I don't think 



SIMON CALLED PETER 1S3 

Cranmer's marriage service affects Him much, nor the laws 
of the State. If a man cares to do without either, he runs a 
risk, of course. Society's hard on a woman, and man's meant 
to be a gregarious creature. But that's all there is in it." 

"But how can you tell lust from love?" demanded Peter. 

"You can't, I think," said Langton. "Most men can't, 
anyway. Women may do, but I don't know. I reckon that 
what they lust after mostly is babies and a home. I don't 
think they know it any more than men know that what 
they're after is the gratification of a passion ; but there it is. 
We're sewer rats crawling up a damned long drain, if you 
ask me, padre ! I don't know who said it, but it's true." 

They turned in their walk, and Peter looked out over the 
old town. In the glow of sunset the thin iron modem spire 
of the cathedral had a grace not its own, and the roofs below 
it showed strong and almost sentient. One could imagine 
that the distant cathedral brooding over the city heard, saw, 
and spoke, if in another language than the language of men. 

"If that were all, Langton," said Peter suddenly, "I'd 
./.loot myself." 

"You're a queer fellow, Graham," said Langton. "I 
almost think you might. I'd like to know what becomes 
of you, anyway. Forgive me — I don't mean to be rude — ^but 
you may make a parson yet. But don't found a new religion 
for Heaven's sake, and don't muddle up man-made laws and 
God-made instincts — if they are God-made," he added. 

Peter said nothing, until they were waiting at the carriage- 
door for Jenks. Then he said: "Then you think out here 
men have simply abandoned conventions, and because there is 
no authority or fear or faith left to them, they do as they 
please ?" 

Langton settled himself in a corner. "Yes," he said, 
"that's right in a way. But that's negatively. I'd go farther 
than that. Of course, there are a lot of Judas Iscariots 
about for whom I shouldn't imagine the devil himself has 
much time, though I suppose we ought not to judge 'em, but 
there are also a lot of fine fellows — and fine women. They 



154 SIMON CALLED PETER 

are men and women, if I understand it, who have sloughed 
off the conventions, that are conventions simply for conven- 
tion's sake, and who are reaching out towards the realities. 
Most of them haven't an idea what those are, but dumbly 
they know. Tommy knows, for instance, who is a good 
chum and who isn't; that is, he knows that sincerity and 
unselfishness and pluck are realities. He doesn't care a damn 
if a chap drinks and swears and commits what the Statute- 
Book and the Prayer-Book call fornication. And he cer- 
tainly doesn't think there is an ascendinng scale of sins, or at 
any rate that you parsons have got the scale right." 

"I shouldn't be surprised if we haven't," said Peter. "The 
Bible lumps liars and drunkards and murderers and adulter- 
ers and dogs — whatever that may mean — ^into hell altogether." 

"That's so," said Langton, sticking a candle on the 
window-sill ; "but I reckon that's not so much because they 
lie or drink or murder or lust or — or grin about the city like 
our friend Jenks, who'll likely miss the boat for that very 
reason, but because of something else they all have in 
common." 

"What's that?" demanded Peter. 

"I haven't the faintest idea," said Langton. 

At this moment the French guard, an R.T.O., and Jenks 
appeared in sight simultaneously, the two former urging the 
latter along. He caught sight of them, and waved. 

"Help him in," said the R.T.O., a jovial-looking subaltern, 
genially — "and keep him there," he added under his voice. 
"He's had all he can carry, and if he gets loose again he'll 
be for the high jump. The wonder is he ever got back in 
time." 

Peter helped him up. The subaltern glanced at his badges 
and smiled. "He's in good company anyway, padre," he 
said, "li you're leaving the ninety-and-nine in the wilder- 
ness, here's one to bring home rejoicing." He slammed the 
door. "Right-o !" he said to the guard ; "they're all aboard 
now." The man comprehended the action, and waved a flag. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 155 

The train started after the manner of French trains told off 
for the use of British soldiers, and Jenks collapsed on the 
seat. 

"Damned near thing that!" he said unsteadily; "might 
have missed the bloody boat! I saw my little bit, though. 
She's a jolly good sort, she is. Blasted strong stuff that 
French brandy, though! Whiskies at the club first, yer 
know. Give us a hand, padre; I reckon I'll just lie down 
a bit. . . . Jolly good sort of padre, eh, skipper? What?" 

Peter helped him into his place, and then came and sat 
at his feet, opposite Langton, who smiled askance at him. 
"I'll read a bit," he said. "Jenks won't trouble us further; 
he'll sleep it off. I know his sort. Got a book, padre ?" 

Peter said he had, but that he wouldn't read for a little, 
and he sat still looking at the country as they jolted past in 
the dusk. After a while Langton lit his candle, and con- 
trived a wind-screen, for the centre window was broken, of 
a newspaper. Peter watched him drowsily. He had been up 
early and travelled already that day. The motion helped, 
too, and in half an hour or so he was asleep. 

He dreamt that he was preaching Langton's views on the 
Sermon on the Mount in the pulpit of St. John's, and that 
the Canon, from his place beside the credence-table within 
the altar-rails, was shouting at him to stop. In his dream 
he persisted, however, until that irate dignitary seized the 
famous and massive offertory-dish by his side and hurled it 
in the direction of the pulpit. The clatter that it made on the 
stone floor awoke him. 

He was first aware that the train was no longer in motion, 
and next that Langton's tall form was leaning half out of 
the window. Then confused noises penetrated his conscious- 
ness, and he perceived that light flickered in the otherwise 
darkened compartment. "Where are we?" he demanded, 
now fully awake. "What's up?" 

Langton answered over his shoulder. "Somewhere outside 
of a biggish town," he said ; "and there's the devil of a strafe 



156 SIMON CALLED PETER 

on. The whole sky-line's lit up, but that may be twenty 
miles off. However, Fritz must have advanced some." 

He was interrupted by a series of much louder explosions 
and the rattle of machine-gun' fire. "That's near," he said. 
"Over the town, I should say — an air-raid, though it may be 
long-distance firing. Come and see for yourself." 

He pulled himself back into the carriage, and Peter leaned 
out of the window in his turn. It was as the other had said. 
Flares and sudden flashes, that came and went more like 
summer-lightning than anything else, lit up the whole 
sky-line, but nearer at hand a steady glow from one 
or two places showed in the sky. One could distinguish 
flights of illuminated tracer bullets, and now and again what 
he took to be Very lights exposed the countryside. Peter 
saw that they were in a siding, the banks of which reached 
just above the top of the compartments. It was only by 
craning that he could see fields and what looked like a house 
beyond. Men were leaning out of all the windows, mostly 
in silence. In the compartment next them a man cursed the 
Huns for spoiling his beauty sleep. It was slightly overdone, 
Peter thought. 

"Good God!" said his companion behind him. "Listen!" 

It was difficult, but between the louder explosions Petet 
concentrated his senses on listening. In a minute he heard 
something new, a faint buzz in the air. 

"Aeroplanes," said Langton coolly. "I hope they don't 
6pot us. Let me see. Maybe it's our planes." He craned 
out in Peter's place. "I can't see anything," he said, "and 
you can hear they're flying high." 

Down the train everyone was staring upwards now. 
"Christ !" exclaimed Langton suddenly, "some fool's lighting 
a pipe ! Put that match out there," he called. 

Other voices took him up. "That's better," he said in a 
minute. "Forgive my swearing, padre, but a match might 
give us away." 

Peter was silent, and, truth to tell, terrified. He tried hard 
not to feel it. and glanced at Jenks. He was still asleep, and 



SIMON CALLED PETER j,>^ 

breathing heavily. He pressed his face against the pap^e, and 
tried to stare up too. 

"They're coming," said Langton suddenly and quickly. 
"There they are, too — Hun planes. They may not see us, of 
course, but they may. . . ." He brought his head in again 
and sat down. 

"Is there anything we can do?" said Peter. 

"Nothing," said Langton, "unless you like to get under 
the seat. But that's no real good. It's on the knees of the 
gods, padre, whatever gods there be." 

Just then Peter saw one. Sailing obliquely towards them 
and lit by the light of a flare, the plane looked serene and 
beautiful. He watched it, fascinated. 

"It's very low — two hundred feet, I should say," said 
Langton behind him. "Hope he's no pills left. I wonder 
whether there's another. Let's have a look the other side." 

He had scarcely got up to cross the compartment when 
the rattle of a machine-gun very near broke out. "Our 
fellows, likely," he exclaimed excitedly, struggling with the 
sash, but they knew the truth almost as he spoke. 

Langton ducked back. A plane on the other side was 
deliberately flying up the train, machine-gunning. "Down, 
padre, for God's sake !" he exclaimed, and threw himself on 
the floor. 

Peter couldn't move. He heard the splintering of glass 
and a rending of woodwork, some oaths, and a sudden cry. 
The whirr of an engine filled his ears and seemed, as it were, 
on top of them. Then there was a crash all but at his side, 
and next instant a half -smothered groan and a dreadful gasp 
for breath. 

He couldn't speak. He beard Langton say, "Hit, anyone ?" 
and then Jenks' "They've got me, skipper," in a muffled 
whisper, and he noticed that the hard breathing had ceased. 
At that he found strength and voice and jumped up. He 
bent over Jenks. "Where have you got it, old man?" he 
«aid, and hardly realised that it was himself speaking. 

The other was lying just as before, on his back, but he 



^jf^^ SIMON CALLED PETER 

had pulled his knees up convulsively and a rug had slipped 
off. In a flare Peter saw beads of sweat on his forehead 
and a white, twisted face. 

He choked back panic and knelt down. He had imagined 
it all before, and yet not quite like this. He knew what he 
ought to say, but for a minute he could not formulate it. 
"Where are you hit, Jenks ?" was all he said. 

The other turned his head a little and looked at him. 
"Body — lungs, I think," he whispered. "I'm done, padre; 
I've seen chaps before." 

The words trailed off. Peter gripped himself mentally, 
and steadied his voice. "Jenks, old man," he said. "Just a 
minute. Think about God — you are going to Him, yoq 
know. Trust Him, will you? 'The blood of Jesus Christ, 
God's Son, saveth us from all sin.' " 

The dying man moved his hand convulsively. "Don't you 
worry, padre," he said faintly. "I've been — confirmed." 
The lips tightened a second with pain, and then." "Reckon I 
won't — shirk. Have you — got — a cigarette?" 

Peter felt quickly for his case, fumbled and dropped one, 
then got another into his fingers. He h^itated a second, 
and then put it to his own lips, struck a match, and puffed 
at it. He was in the act of holding it to the other when 
Langton spoke behind him: 

"It's no good now, padre," he said quietly; "it's all over." 

And Peter saw that it was. 

The planes did not come back. The officer in charge of 
the train came down it with a lantern, and looked in. "That 
makes three," he said. "We can do nothing now, but we'll 
be in the station in a bit. Don't show any lights ; they may 
come back. Where the hell were our machines, I'd like to 
know?" 

He went on, and Peter sat down in his corner. Langton 
picked up the rug, and covered up the body. Then he 
glanced at Peter. "Here," he said, holding out a flask, "have 
some of this." 

Peter shook his head. Langton came over to him. "Yotf 



SIMON CALLED PETER 159 

must," he said ; "it'll pull you together. Don't go under now, 
Graham. You kept your nerve just now— come on." 

At that Peter took it, and drained the httle cup the other 
poured out for him. Then he handed it back, without a 
word. 

"Feel better ?" queried the other, a trifle curiously, staring 
at him. 

"Yes, thanks," said Peter — "a damned sight better ! Poor 
old Jenks! What blasted luck that he should have got 
it! . . . Langton, I wish to God it had been me!" 



PART II 

"Aad the Lord turned and looked upon Peter." 

St. Luke's Goscxb, 



CHAPTER I 

THE charm of the little towns of Northern France is 
very difficult to imprison on paper. It is not exactly 
that they are old, although there is scarcely one which has 
not a church or a chateau or a quaint medieval street worth 
coming far to see ; nor that they are particularly picturesque, 
for the ground is fairly flat, and they are all but always set 
among the fields, since it is by agriculture far more than 
by manufacture that they live. But they are clean and 
cheerful; one thinks of them under the sun; and they are 
very homely. In them the folk smile simply at you, but not 
inquisitively as in England, for each bustles gaily about his 
own affairs, and will let you do what you please, with a 
shrug of the shoulders. Abbeville is very typical of all this. 
It has its church, and from the bridge over the Somme the 
backs of ancient houses can be seen leaning half over the 
river, which has sung beneath them for five hundred years ; 
and it is set in the midst of memories of stirring days. Yet 
it is not for these that one would revisit the little town, but 
rather that one might walk by the still canal under ';he high 
trees in spring, or loiter in the market-place round what the 
Hun has left of the statue of the famous Admi'al with his 
attendant nymphs, or wander dowi. the winding streets that 
skirt the ancient church and give glimpses of its unfinished 
tower. 

Peter found it very good to be there in the days that 
followed the death of Jenks, True, it was now nearer to 
the seat of war thai it had been for years, and air-raids began 
to be common, but in a sense the sound of the guns fitted 
in with his mood. So great a battle was being fought within 
him that tb;? world could not in any case have seemed wholly 

163 



i64 SIMON CALLED PETER 

at peace, and yet in the quiet fields, or sauntering of an after- 
noon by the river, he found it easier than at Havre to think. 
Langton was almost his sole companion, and a considerable 
intimacy had grown up between them. Peter found that his 
friend seemed to understand a great deal of his thoughts 
without explanation. He neither condoled nor exhorted; 
rather he watched with an almost shy interest the other's 
inward battle. 

They lodged at the Hotel de I'Angleterre, that hostelry in 
the street that leads up and out of the town towards Saint 
Riquier, which you enter from a courtyard that opens on 
the road and has rooms that you reach by means of narrow, 
rickety flights of stairs and balconies overhanging the court. 
The big dining-room wore an air of gloomy festivity. Its 
chandeliers swathed in brown paper, its faded paint, and its 
covered upholstery, suggested that it awaited a day yet to be. 
when it should blossom forth once more in glory as in the 
days of old. Till then it was as merry as it could be. Its 
little tables filled up of an evening with the new cosmopolitan 
population of the town, and old Jacques bustled round with 
the good wine, and dropped no hint that the choice brands 
were nearly at an end in the cellar. 

Peter and Langton would have their war-time apology for 
petit dejeuner in bed or alone. Peter, as a rule, was up early, 
and used to wander out a little and sometimes into church, 
coming back o offee as good as ever, but war-time bread 
instead of rolls, on a small iable under a low balcony in the 
courtyard if it were fine. He would linger over it, and have 
chance conversations with passing strangers of all sorts, from 
clerical personages belonging to the Church Army or the 
Y.M.C.A. to officers who came and went usually on nnre- 
vealed affairs. Then Langton would come down, and they 
would stroll round to the newly-fitted-up office which had 
been prepared for the lecture campaign, and glance at maps 
of districts, and exchange news with the officer in charge, 
who, having done all he could, had now nothing to do but 
stand by and wait for the next move from a War Office 



SIMON CALLED PETER 163 

that had either forgotten his existence or discovered some 
hitch in its plans. They had a couple of lectures from 
people who were alleged to know all about such topics aar 
ihe food shortage at home or the new plans for housing, 
but who invariably turned out to be waiting themselves for 
the precise information that was necessary for successful 
lectures. After such they would stroll out through the town 
into the fields, and Langton would criticise the thing in lurid 
but humorous language, and they would come back to the 
club and sit or read till lunch. 

The club was one of the best in France. It was an old 
house with lovely furniture, and not too much of it, which 
stood well back from the street and boasted an old-fashioned 
garden of shady trees and spring flowers and green lawns. 
Peter could both read and write in its rooms, and it was 
there that he finally wrote to Hilda, but not until after much 
thought. 

After his day with Julie at Caudebec one might have 
supposed that there was nothing left for him to do but break 
off his engagement to Hilda. But it did not strike him so. 
For one thing, he was not engaged to Julie or anything like 
it, and he could not imagine such a situation, even if Julie 
had not positively repudiated any desire to be either engaged 
or married. He had certainly declared, in a fit of enthusiasn^ 
that he loved her, but he had not asked if she loved him. He 
had seen her since, but although they were very good friends, 
nothing more exciting had passed between them. Peter was 
conscious that when he was with Julie she fascinated him, 
but that when he was away— ah ! tiiat was it, when he was 
away? It certainly was not that Hilda came back and took 
her place; it was rather that the other things in his mind 
dominated him. It was a curious state of affairs. He was 
less like an orthodox parson than he had ever been, and 
yet he had never thought so much about religion. He 
agonised over it now. At times his thoughts were almost 
more than he could bear. 

It came, then, to this, that he had not so much changed 



i66 SIMON CALLED PETER 

towards HUda as changed towards life. Whether he had 
really fundamentally changed in such a way that a break 
with the old was inevitable he did not know. Till then 
Hilda was part of the old, and if he went back to it she 
naturally took her old place in it. If he did not — well, there 
he invariably caine to the end of thought. Curiously enough, 
it was when faced with a mental blank that Julie's image 
began to rise in his mind. If he admitted her, he found 
himself abandoning himself to her. He fdt sometimes that 
if he could but take her in his arms he could let the world 
go by, and Grod with it. Her kisses were at least a reality. 
There was neither convention nor subterfuge nor divided 
allegiance there. She was passion, naked and unashamed, 
and at least real. 

And then he would remember that much of this was 
problematical after all, for they had never kissed as that 
passion demanded, or at least that he had never so kissed 
her. He was not sure of the first. He knew that he did not 
understand Julie, but he felt, if he did kiss her, it would 
be a kiss of surrender, of finality. He feared to look beyond 
chat, and he could not if he would. 

He wrote, then, to Hilda, and he told of the death of Jenks, 
and of their arrival in Abbeville. "You must understand, 
dear," he said, "that all this has had a tremendous effect 
upon me. In that train all that I had b^un to feel about 
the uselessness of my old religion came to a head. I could 
do no more for that soul than light a cigarette. . . . Possibly 
no one could have done any more, but I cannot, I will not 
believe it. Jenks was not fundamentally evil, or at least I 
don't think so. He was rather a selfish fool who had no 
control, that is all. He did not serve the devil ; it was much 
more that he liad never seen any master to serve. And I 
could do nothing. I had no master to show him. 

"You may say that that is absurd: that Christ is my 
Master, and I could have shown Him. Hilda, so He is.' 
I cling passionately to that. But listen : I can't express Him, 



SIMON CALLED PETER 167 

I don't understand Him. I no longer feel that He was 
animating and ordering the form of religion I administered. 
It is not that I feel Anglicanism to be untrue, and something 
else — say Wesleyanism — to be true ; it is much more that I 
feel them all to be out of touch with reality. Thafs it. I 
don't think you can possibly see it, but that is the main 
trouble. 

"That, too, brings me to my next point, and this I find 
harder still to express. I want you to realise that I feel as 
if I had never seen life before. I feel as if I had been 
shown all my days a certain number of pictures and told 
that they were the real thing, or given certain descriptions 
and told that they were true. I had always accepted that 
they were. But, Hilda, they are not. Wickedness is not 
wicked in the way that I was told it was wicked, and what 
I was told was salvation is not the salvation men and women 
want. I have been playing in a fool's paradise all these 
years, and I've got outside the gate. I am distressed and 
terrified, I think, but underneath it all I am very glad. . . . 

"You will say, 'What are you going to do?' and I can 
only reply, I don't know. I'm not going to make any vast 
change, if you mean that. A padre I am, and a padre I 
shall stay for the war at least, and none of us can see beyond 
that at present. But what I do mean to do is just this : I 
mean to try and get down to reality myself and try to weigh 
it up. I am going to eat and drink with publicans and 
sinners ; maybe I shall find my Master still there." 

Peter stopped and looked up. Langton was stretched out 
in a chair beside him, reading a novel, a pipe in his mouth. 
Moved by an impulse, he interrupted him. 

"Old man," he said, "I want you to let me read you a bit 
of this letter. It's to my girl, but there's nothing rotten in 
reading it. May I ?" 

Langton did not move. "Carry on," he said shortly. 

Peter finished and put down the sheet. The other smoked 
placidly and said nothing. "Well?" demanded Peter im- 
patiently. 



i68 SIMON CALLED PETER 

"I should cut out that last sentence," pronounced the judge. 

"Why? It's true." 

"Maybe, but it isn't preitty." 

"Langton," burst out Peter, "I'm sick of prettinesses ! 
I've been stuffed up with them all my life, and so has she. 
I want to break with them." 

"Very likely, and I don't say that it won't be the best thing 
for you to try for a little to do so, but she hasn't been where 
you've been, or seen what you've seen. You can't expect 
her wholly to understand. And more than that, maybe she 
is meant for prettinesses. After all, they're pretty." 

Peter stabbed the blotting-paper with his pen. "Then she 
isn't meant for me," he said. 

"I'm not so sure," said Langton. "I don't know that 
you've stuff enough in you to get on without those same 
prettinesses yourself. Most of us haven't. And at any rate 
I wouldn't burn my boats yet awhile. You may want to 
escape yet." 

Peter considered this in silence. Then he drew the sheets 
to him and added a few more words, folded the paper, put it 
in the envelope, and stuck it down. "Come on," he said, 
"let's go and post this and have a walk." 

Langton got up and looked at him curiously, as he some- 
times did. "Peter," he said, "you're a weird blighter, but 
there's something damned gritty in you. You take life too 
strenuously. Why can't you saunter through it like I do?" 

Peter reached for his cap. "Come on," he said again, 
"and dont talk rot." 

Out in the street, they strolled aimlessly on, more or less 
in silence. The big bookshop at the corner detained them 
for a little, and they regarded its variegated contents through 
the glass. It contained a few good prints, and many more 
poorly executed coloured pictures of ruined places in France 
and Belgium, of which a few, however, were not bad. 
Cheek by jowl with some religious works, a statue of Notre 
Dame d'Albert, and some more of Jeanne d'Arc, were a 
line of pornographic novels and beyond packets of picture 



SIMON CALLED PETER 169 

postcards entitled Theatreuses, Le Bam de la Parisienne, 
Les Seins des Marbre, and so on. Then Langton drew 
Graham's attention to one or two other books, one of which 
had a gaudy cover representing a mistress with a birch-rod 
in her hands and a number of canes hung up beside her, 
while a girl of fifteen or so, with very red cheeks, was ap- 
parently about to be whipped. "Good Lord," said Langton, 
"the French are beyond me. This window is a study for 
you, Graham, in itself. I should take it that it means that 
there is nothing real in life. It is utterly cynical. 

" 'And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press, 
End in what All begins and ends in — Yes; 
Think then you are To-day what Yesterday 
You were — To-morrow you shall not be less,'" 

he quoted. 

"Yes," said Peter. "Or else it means that there are only 
two realities, and that the excellent person who keeps this 
establishment regards both in a detached way, and conceives 
it her business to cater for each. Let's go on." 

They turned the corner, and presently found themselves 
outside the famous carven door of the church. "Have you 
ever been round?" asked Peter. 

"No," said Langton ; "let'* go in." 

They passed through the door into the old church, which, 
in contrast to that at Le Havre, was bathed in the daylight 
that streamed through many clear windows. Together they 
wandered round it, saying little. They inspected an 
eighteenth-century statue of St. Roch, who was pulling up 
his robe to expose a wound and looking upwards at the 
same time seraphically — or, at least, after the manner that 
the artist of that age had regarded as seraphic. A number 
of white ribbons and some wax figures of feet and hands and 
other parts of the body were tied to him. They stood before 
a wonderful coloured alabaster- reredos of the fourteenth 
century, in which shepherds and kings and beasts came to 
worship at the manger. They had a little conversation as to 
the architectural periods of the nave, choir, and transepts, and 



I70 SIMON CALLED PETER 

Langton was enthusiastic over a noble pillar and arch. Be- 
yond they gazed in silence at a statue of Our Lady Immacu- 
late in modern coloured plaster, so arranged that the daylight 
fell through an unseen opening upon her. Among the objects 
in front were a pair of Reraissance candlesticks of great 
beauty. A French officer came up and arranged and lit a 
votive candle as they watched, and then went back to stand 
in silence by a pillar. The church door banged and two 
peasants came in, one obviously from the market, with a 
huge basket of carrots and cabbages and some long, thin 
French loaves. She deposited this just inside the door, took 
holy water, clattered up towards the high altar, dropped a 
curtsy, and made her way to an altar of the Sacred Heart, at 
which she knelt. Peter sighed. "Come on," he said ; "let's 
get out." 

Langton marched on before him, and held the door back 
as they stepped into the street. "Well, philosopher," he 
demanded, "what do you make of that?" 

Peter smiled. "What do you?" he said. 

"Well," said Langton, "it leaves me unmoved, except when 
I'm annoyed by the way their wretched images spoil the 
church, but it is plaift that they like it. I should say one of 
your two realities is there. But I find it hard to forgive the 
bad art." 

"Do you ?" said Peter. "I don't. It reminds me of those 
appalling enlargements of family groups that you see, for 
example, in any Yorkshire cottage. They are unutterably 
hideous, but they stand for a real thing that is honest and 
beautiful — the love of home and family. And by the same 
token, when the photographs got exchanged, as they do in 
Mayfair, for modern French pictures of nude women, or 
some incredible Futurist extravagance, that love has usually 
flown out of the window." 

"Humph!" said Langton^— "not always. Besides, why 
tan't a family group be made artistically, and so keep both 
art and love ? I should think we ought to aim at that." 



SIMON CALLED PETER 171 

"I suppose we ought," said Peter, "but in our age the 
two don't seem to go together. Goodness alone knows why. 
Why, hullo !" he broke off. 

"What's up now?" demanded Langton. 

"Why, there, across the street, if that isn't a nurse I know 
from Havre, I don't know who it is. Wait a tick." 

He crossed the road, and saw, as he got near, that it was 
indeed Julie. He came up beliind her as she examined a 
shop-window. "By all that's wonderful, what are you doing 
here?" he asked. 

She turned quickly, her eyes dancing. "I wondered if I 
should meet you," she said. "You see, your letter told me 
you were coming here, but I haven't heard from you since 
you came, and I didn't know if you had started your tour 
or not. / came simply enough. There's a big South African 
hospital here, and we had to send up a batch of men by motor. 
As they knew I was from South Africa, they gave me the 
chance to come with them." 

"Well, I am glad," said Peter, devouring the sight of her. 
"Wait a minute ; I must introduce you to Langton. He and 
I are together, and he's a jolly good chap." 

He turned and beckoned Langton, who came over and was 
introduced. They walked up the street a little way together. 
"Where are you going now ?" asked Peter. 

"Back to the hospital," said Julie. "A car starts from the 
square at twelve-forty-five, and I have to be in for lunch." 

"Have you much to do up there ?" asked Peter. 

"Oh no," she said, "my job's done. I clear off the day 
after to-morrow. We only got in last night, so I get a 
couple of days' holiday. What are you doing? You don't 
look any too busy." 

Peter glanced across at Langton and laughed. "We 
aren't," he said. "The whole stunt's a wash-out, if you ask 
me, and we're really expecting to be sent back any day. 
There's too much doing now for lectures. Is the hospital 
full?" 



173 SIMON CALLED PETER 

"Packed," said Julie gravely. "The papers say we're 
falling back steadily so as not to lose men, but the facts don't 
bear it out. We're crammed out. It's ghastly; I've never 
known it so bad." 

Peter had hardly ever seen her grave before, and her face 
showed a new aspect of her. He felt a glow of warmth steal 
over him. "I say," he said, "couldn't you dine with us 
to-night? We're at the Angleterre, and its tremendously 
respectable." 

She laughed, her gravity vanishing in a minute. "I must 
say," she said, "that I'd love to see you anywhere really 
respectable. He's a terrible person for a padre — don't you 
think so. Captain Langton?" 

"Terrible," said Langton. "But really the Angleterre is 
quite proper. You don't get any too bad a dinner, either. 
Do come. Miss Gamelyn." 

She appeared to consider. "I might manage it," she said 
at last, stopping just short of entering the square; "but I 
haven't the nerve to burst in and ask for you. Nor will it 
do for you to see me all the way to that car, or we shall have 
a dozen girls talking. If you will meet me somewhere," she 
added, looking at Peter, "I'll risk it. I'll have a headache and 
not go to first dinner; then the first will think I'm at the 
second, and the second at the first. Besides, I've no duty, and 
the hospital's not like Havre. It's all spread out in huts and 
tents, and it's easy enough to get in. Last, but not least, it's 
Colonial, and the matron is a brick. Yes, I'll come." 

"Hurrah!" said Peter. "I tell you what: I'll meet you 
at the cross-roads below the hospital and bring you on. 
Will that do? What time? Five-thirty?" 

"Heavens! do you dine at five-thirty?" demanded Julie. 

"Well, not quite, but we've got to get down," said Peter, 
laughing. 

"All right," said Julie, "five-thirty, and the saints preserve 
us. Look here, I shall chance it and come in mufti if pos- 
sible. No one knows me here." 



SIMON CALLED PETER 173 

"Splendid!" said Peter. "Good-bye, five-thirty." 

"Good-bye," said Langton; "we'll go and arrange our 
menu." 

"There must be champagne," called Julie merrily over her 
shoulder, and catching his eye. 

The two men watched her make for the car across the 
sunlit square, then they strolled round it towards a cafe. 
"Come on," said Langton; "let's have an appetiser." 

From the little marble-topped table Peter watched the car 
drive away. Julie was laughing over something with another 
girl. It seemed to conclude the morning, somehow. He 
raised his glass and looked at Langton. "Well," he said, 
■'here's to reality, wherever it is." 

"And here's to getting along without too much of it," said 
Langton, smiling at him. 

The dinner was a great success — at least, in the beginning. 
Julie wore a frock of some soft brown stuff, and Peter could 
hardly keep his eyes off her. He had never seen her out 
oi uniform before, and although she was gay enough, she 
said and did nothing very exciting. If Hilda had been there 
she need hardly have behaved differently, and for a while 
Peter was wholly delighted. Then it began to dawn on 
him that she was playing up to Langton, and that set in train 
irritating thoughts. He watched the other jealously, and 
noticed how tlie girl drew him out to speak of his travels, 
and how excellently he did it, leaning back at coffee with his 
cigarette, polite, pleasant, attractive. Julie, who usually 
smoked cigarette after cigarette furiously, only, however, 
getting through about half of each, now refused a second, 
and glanced at the clock about 8.30. 

"Oh," she said, "I must go." 

Peter remonstrated. "If you can stay out later at Havre," 
he said, "why not here?" 

She laughed lightly. "I'm reforming," she said, "in the 
absence of bad companions. Besides, they are used to my 



174 SIMON CALLED PETER 

being later at Havre, but here I might be spotted, and then 
there would be trouble. Would you fetch my coat. Captain 
Graham?" 

Peter went obediently, and they all three moved out into 
the court. 

"Come along and see her home, Langton," he said, though 
he hardly knew why he included the other. 

"Thanks," said his friend; "but if Miss Gamelyn will 
excuse me, I ought not. I've got some reading I must do for 
to-morrow, and I want to write a letter or two as well. 
You'll, be an admirable escort, Graham." 

"Good-night," said Julie, holding out her hand ; "perhaps, 
we shall meet again some time. One is always running uf 
against people in France. And thank you so much for yout 
share of the entertainment." 

In a few seconds Peter and she were outside. The street 
was much darkened, and there was no moon. They walked 
in silence for a little. Suddenly he stopped. "Wouldn't you 
like a cab?" he said; "we might be able to get one." 

Julie laughed mischievously, and Peter gave a little start 
in the dark. It struck him that this was the old laugh, and 
that he had not heard it that night before. "It's convenient, 
of course," she said mockingly. "Do get one by all means. 
But last time I came home with you in a cab, you let me 
finish alone. I thought that was to be an invariable rule." 

"Oh, don't Julie," said Peter. 

Her tone changed. "Why not?" she demanded. "Solo- 
mon, what's made you so glum to-night? You were cheerful 
enough when you met me, and when we began ; then you got 
silent. What's the matter?" 

"Nothing," he said. 

She slipped her hand in his arm. "There Is something," 
she said. "Do tell me." 

"Do you like Langton?" he asked. 

"Oh, immensely — why? Oh, Lord, Solomon, what do 
you mean ?" 



SIMON CALLED PETER 175 

"You were different in his presence, Julie, from anything 
you've been before." 

They took a few paces in silence ; then Peter had an idea, 
and glanced at her. She was laughing silently to herself. 
He let her hand fall from his arm, and looked away. He 
knew he was behaving like an ass, but he could not help it. 

She stopped suddenly. "Peter," she said, "I want to talk 
to you. Take me somewhere where it's possible." 

"At this hour of the evening? What about being late?" 

She gave a little stamp with her foot, then laughed again. 
"What a boy it is!" she said. "Don't you know anywhere 
to go?" 

Peter hesitated; then he made up his mind. There was 
an hotel he knew of, out of the main street, of none too good 
a reputation. Some men had taken Langton and him there, 
once, in the afternoon, between the hours in which drinks 
were legally sold, and they had gone through the hall into 
a little back-room that was apparently partly a sitting-room, 
partly part of the private rooms of the landlord, and had 
been served there. He recalled the description of one of the 
men : "It's a place to know. You can always get a drink, and 
take in anyone you please." 

"Come on, then," he said, and turned down a back-street 

"Where in the world are you taking me ?" demanded Julie. 
"I shall have no reputation left if this gets out." 

"Nor shall I," said Peter. 

"Nor you will ; what a spree ! Do you think it's worth it, 
Peter?" 

Under a shaded lamp they were passing at the moment, he 
glanced at her, and his pulses raced. "Good God, Julie!" 
he said, "you could do an)rthing with me." 

She chuckled with laughter, her brown eyes dancing. 
"Maybe," she said, "but I'm out to talk to you for your 
good now." 

They turned another corner, into an old street, and under 
an arch. Peter walked forward to tke hotel entrance, and 



176 SIMON CALLED PETER 

entered. There was a woman in the office, who glanced up, 
and looked, first at Peter, then at Julie. On seeing her behind 
him, she came forward. "What can I do for monsieur?" 
she asked. 

"Good-evening, madame," said Peter. "I was here the 
other day. Give us a bottle of wine in that little room at 
the back, will you?" 

"Why, certainly, monsieur," said she. "Will madame 
follow me ? It is this way." 

She opened the door, and switched on the light. "Shall 
I light the fire, madame ?" she demanded. 

Julie beamed on her. "Ah, yes ; that would be jolly," she 
said. "And the wine, madame — Beaune." 

The woman smiled and bowed. "Let madame but seat 
herself, and it shall come," she said, and went out. 

Julie took off her hat, and walked to the glass, patting her 
hair. "Give me a cigarette, my dear," she said, "It was 
jolly hard only to smoke one to-night." 

Peter opened and handed her his case in silence, then 
pulled up a big chair. There was a knock at the door, and 
a girl came in with the wine and glasses, which she set on 
the table, and then knelt down to light the fire. She with- 
drew and shut the door. They were alone. 

Peter was still standing. Julie glanced at him, and pointed 
to a chair opposite. "Give me a drink, and then go and sit 
there," she said. 

He obeyed. She pulled her skirts up high to the blaze and 
pushed one foot out to the logs, and sat there, provocative, 
sipping her wine and puffing little puffs of smoke from her 
cigarette. "Now, then," she said, "what did I do wrong 
to-night?" 

Peter was horribly uncomfortable. He felt how littie he 
knew this girl, and he felt also how much he loved her. 

"Nothing, dear," he said ; "I was a beast." 

"Well," she said, "if you won't tell me, I'll tell you. 1 
was quite proper to-night, immensely and intensely proper, 
and you didn't like it. You had never seen me so. You 



SIMON CALLED PETER 177 

thought, too, that I was making up to your friend. Isn't 
that so?" 

Peter nodded. He marvelled that she should know so well, 
and he wondered what was coming. 

"I wonder what you really think of me, Peter," she went 
on. "I suppose you think I never can be serious — no, I 
won't say serious — conventional. But you're very stupid; 
we all of us can be, and must be sometimes. You asked me 
just now what I thought of your friend — well, I'll tell you. 
He is as different from you as possible. He has his thoughts, 
no doubt, but he prefers to be very tidy. He takes refuge in 
the things you throw overboard. He's not at all my sort, 
and he's not yours either, in a way. Goodness knows what 
will happen to either of us, but he'll be Captain Langton 
to the end of his days. I envy that sort of person intensely, 
and when I meet him I put on armour. See ?" 

Peter stared at her. "How is he different from Donovan ?" 
he asked. 

"Donovan ! Oh, Lord, Peter, how dull you are 1 Donovan 
has hardly a thought in his head about anything except Dono- 
van. He was born a jolly good sort, and he's sampled pretty 
well everything. He's cool as a cucumber, though he has his 
passions like everyone else. If you keep your head, you can 
say or do anything with Donovan. But Langton is delib- 
erate. He knows about things, and he refuses and chooses. 
I didn't want . . ." She broke off. "Peter," she said 
savagely, "in two minutes that man would know more about 
toe than you do, if I let him." 

He had never seen her so. The childish brown eyes had 
a look in them that reminded him of an animal caught in a 
trap. He sprang up and dropped on his knees by her side, 
catching her hand. 

"Oh, Julie, don't," he said. "What do you mean ? What 
is there about you that I don't know ? How are you different 
from either of them?" 

She threw her cigarette away, and ran her fingers through 
his hair, then made a gesture, almost as if pushing something 



178 SIMON CALLED PKTER 

away, Peter thought, and laughed her old ringing trill of 
laughter. 

"Lor', Peter, was I tragic ? I didn't mean to be, my dear. 
There's a lot about me that you don't know, but something 
that you've guessed. I can't abide shams and conventions 
really. Let's have life, I say, whatever it is. Heavens! 
I've seen street girls with more in them than I pretended to 
your friend to have in me to-night. They at least deal with 
human nature in the raw. But that's why I love you ; there's 
no need to pretend to you, partly because, at bottom, you 
like real things as much as I, and partly because — oh, never 
mind." 

"Julie, I do mind — ^tell me," he insisted. 

Her face changed again. "Not now, Peter," she said. 
"Perhaps one day — who can say? Meantime, go on liking 
me, will you?" 

"Like you!" he exclaimed, springing up. "Why, I adore 
you ! I love you ! Oh, Julie, I love you ! Kiss me, darling, 
now, quick!" 

She pushed him oflf. "Not now," she cried ; "I've got to 
have my revenge. I know why you wouldn't come home in 
the cab ! Come ! we'll clink glasses, but that's all there is to 
be done to-night !" She sprang up, flushed and glowing, and 
held out an empty glass. 

Peter filled hers and his, and they stood opposite to each 
other. She looked across the wine at him, and it seemed 
to him that he read a longing and a passion in her eyes, deep 
down below the merriness that was there now. "Cheerio, 
old boy," she said, raising hers. "And 'here's to the day 
when your big boots and my little shoes lie outside the same 
closed door !' " 

"Julie !" he said, "you don't mean it!" 

"Don't I? How do you know, old sober-sides. Come, 
buck up, Solomon ; we've been sentimental long enough. I'd 
like to go to a music-hall now or do a skirt-dance. But 
neither's really possible; certainly not the first, and you'd 
be shocked at the second. I'm half a mind to shock yoU( 



SIMON CALLED PETER 179 

though, only my skirt's not long and wide enough, and I've 
not enough lace underneath. I'll spare you. Come on !" 

She seized her hat and put it on. They went out into the 
hall. There was a man in uniform there, at the office, and a 
girl, French and unmistakable, who glanced at Julie, and 
then turned away. Julie nodded to madame, and did not 
glance at the man, but as she passed the girl she said dis- 
tinctly, "Bon soir, mademoiselle." The girl started and 
turned towards her. Julie smiled sweetly and passed on. 

Peter took her arm in the street, for it was quite dark 
and deserted. 

"Why did you do that?" he said. 

"What?" she demanded. 

"Speak to that girl. You know what she is?" 

"I do — a poor devil that's playing with Fate for the sak« 
of a laugh and a bit of ribbon. I'm jolly sorry for her, for 
they are both worth a great deal, and it's hard to be cheated 
into thinking you've got them when Fate is really winning 
the deal. And I saw her face before she turned away. Why 
do you think she turned away, Peter? Not because she was 
ashamed, but because she is begiiming to know that Fate 
wins. Oh, la! la! what a world! Let's be more cheerful. 
'There's a long, long trail a-winding.' " she hummed. 

Peter laughed. "Oh, my dear," he said, "was there ever 
anyone like you ?" 

Langton was reading in his room when Peter looked in 
to say good-night. 

"Hullo!" he said. "See her home?" 

"Yes," said Peter. "What did you think of her?" 

"She's fathoms deep, I should say. But I should take 
tare if I were you, my boy. It's all very well to eat and 
drink with publicans and sinners, though, as I told you, it's 
better no one should know. But they are dangerous company, 

"Why especially?" demanded Peter. 

Langton stretched himself. "Oh, I don't know," he said. 
"Perhaps because society's agin 'em." 

"Leok here, Langton," said Peter. "Do you hear what 



l8o SIMON CALLED PETER 

I say? DowM society ! Besides, dp you think your descrip- 
tion applies to that girl ?" 

Langton smiled. "No," he said, "I shouldn't think so, 
but she's not your sort, Peter. When you take that tunic 
off, you've got to put on a black coat. Whatever conclusions 
you come to, don't forget that." 

"Have I?" said Peter; "I wonder." 

Langton got up. "Of course you have," he said. "Life's 
a bit of a farce, but one's got to play it. See here, I believe 
in facing facts and getting one's eyes open, but not in making 
oneself a fool. Nothing's worth that." 

"Isn't it ?" said Peter ; and again, "I wonder." 

"Well, I don't, and at any rate I'm for bed. Good-night." 

"Good-night," said Peter ; "I'm off too. But I don't agree 
with you. I'm inclined to think exactly the opposite — ^that 
anything worth having is worth making oneself a fool over. 
What is a fool, anyway? Good-night." 

He closed the door, and Langton walked over to the 
window to open it. He stood there a few minutes listening 
to the silence. Then a cock crew somewhere, and was 
answered far away by another. "Yes," said Langton to 
himself, "what is a fool, anyMi^?' 



CHAPTER II 

THE Lessing family sat at dinner, and it vas to oe ob- 
served that some of those incredible wonders at which 
Peter Graham had once hinted to Hilda had come about. 
There were only three courses, and Mr. Lessing had but one 
glass of wine, for one thing; for another he was actually 
in uniform, and was far more proud of his corporal's stripes 
than he had previously been of his churchwarden's staff of 
office. Nor was he only in the Volunteers ; he was actually 
in training to some extent, and the war had at any rate done 
him good. His wife was not dressed for dinner either; she 
had just come in from a war committee of some sort. A 
solitary maid waited on them, and they had already given up 
fires in the dining-room. Not that Mr. Lessing's income had 
appreciably diminished, but, quite honestly, he and his were 
out to win the war. He had come to the conclusion at last 
that business could not go on as usual, but, routed out of that 
stronghold, he had made for himself another. The war was 
now to him a business. He viewed it in that light. 

"We must stop them," he was saying. "Mark my words, 
lihey'll never get to Amiens. Did you see Haig's last order 
to the troops? Not another inch was to be given at any 
cost. We shan't give either. We've got to win this war; 
there's too much at stake for us to lose. Whoever has to 
foot the bill for this business is ruined, and it's not going to 
be Great Britain. They were saying in the Hall to-night 
that the Army is as cheerful as possible: that's the best sign. 
I doubt the German Army is. Doesn't Graham say anything 
about it, Hilda?" 

"No, father," said Hilda shortly, and bent over her plate. 

" 'Xtraordinary thing. He's a smart chap, and I should 

iSi 



i82 SIMON CALLED PETER 

have thought he'd have been full of it. Perhaps he's too 
iar back." 

"He was in a big town he doesn't name the other day, in 
an air-raid, and a man was killed in his carriage." 

"Good Lord ! you don't say so ? When did you hear that? 
I thought we had command of the air." 

"I got a letter to-night, father. He just mentioned that, 
but he doesn't say much else about it. He's at Abbeville 
now, on the Somme, and he says the Germans come over 
fairly often by night." 

"Impossible !" snorted the old man. "I have it on the best 
possible authority that our air service is completely up to 
date now, and far better than the German. He must be 
exaggerating. They would never allow the enemy to out- 
distance us in so important a department. What else does 
he sSy?" 

"Oh, nothing," said Hilda, "or at least nothing about the 
war in a way. It's full of — of his work." She stopped 
abruptly. 

"Well, well," said Mr. Lessing, "I was against his going 
at first; but it's all shoulders to the wheel now, and it was 
plain he ought to see a little life out there. A young man 
who doesn't won't have much of a look in afterwards — ^that's 
how I reasoned it. And he works hard, does Graham; I've 
always said that for him. I expect he's of great service to 
them. Eh, Hilda?" 

"I don't know," said the girl; "he doesn't say. But he's 
been chosen for some special work, lecturing or something, 
and that's why he's at Abbeville." 

"Ah! Good! Special work, eh? He'll go far yet, that 
fellow. I don't know that I'd have chosen him for you, 
Hilda, at first, but this business has shaken us all up, and I 
shouldn't be surprised if Graham comes to the front over it." 
He stopped as the maid came in. "I think I'll have my coffee 
in the study, my dear," he said to Mrs. Lessing ; "I have some 
teading to do." 



SIMON CALLED PETER 183 

When the two women were once more alone Mrs. Lessing 
put her cup down, and spoke. "What is it, dear?" she 
questioned. 

Hilda did not look at her. The two, indeed, understood 
each other very well. "I can't tell you here, mother," she 
said. 

"Come, then, dear," said Mrs. Lessing, rising. "Let's go 
to my room. Your father will be busy for some time, and 
we shall not be disturbed there." 

She led the way, and lit a small gas fire. "I can't be cold 
m my bedroom," she said ; "and though I hate these things, 
they are better than nothing. Now, dear, what is it ?" 

Hilda seated herself on a footstool on the other side of 
the fire, and stared into it. The light shone on her fair skin 
and hair, and Mrs. Lessing contemplated her with satisfac- 
tion from several points of view. For one thing, Hilda was 
so sensible. . . . 

"What is it ?" she asked again. "Your father saw nothing 
— ^men don't; but you can't hide from me, dear, that your 
letter has troubled you. Is Peter in trouble?" 

Hilda shook her head. Then she said: "Well, at least, 
mother, not that sort of trouble. I told father truly ; he's 
been picked for special service." 

"Well, then, what is it?" Mrs. Lessing was a trifle im- 
patient. 

"Mother," said Hilda, "I've known that he has not been 
happy ever since his arrival in France, but I've never properly 
understood why. Peter is queer in some ways, you know, 
You remember that sermon of his? He won't be content 
with things; he's always worrying. And now he writes 
dreadfully. He says . . ." She hesitated. Then, suddenly, 
she pulled out the letter. "Listen, mother," she said, and 
read what Peter had written in the club until the end. " 'I 
am going to eat and drink with publicans and sinners ; maybe 
I shall find my Master still there.' " 

If Langton could have seen Mrs. Lessing he would have 



lS4 SIMON CALLED PETER 

smiled that cynical smile of his with much satisfaction. She 
was frankly horrified — rendered, in fact, almost speechless. 

"Hilda !" she exclaimed. "What a thing to write to you ! 
But what does he mean? Has he forgotten that he is a 
clergyman ? Why, it's positively blasphemous ! He is speak- 
ing of Christ, I suppose. My poor girl, he must be mad. 
Surely you see that, dear." 

Hilda stared on into the fire, and made no reply. Her 
mother hardly needed one. "Has he met another woman, 
Hilda?" she demanded. 

"I don't know ; he doesn't say so," said Hilda miserably. 
"But anyhow, I don't see that that matters." 

"Not matter, girl ! Are you mad too ? He is your fiance, 
isn't he ? Really, I think I must speak to your father." 

Hilda turned her head slowly, and mother and daughter 
looked at each other, Mrs. Lessing was a woman of the 
world, but she was a good mother, and she read in her daugh- 
ter's eyes what every mother has to read sooner or later. It 
was as one woman to another, and not as mother to daughter, 
that she continued lamely : "Well, Hilda, what do you make 
of it all ? What are you going to do ?" 

The girl looked away again, and a silence fell between 
them. Then she said, speaking in short, slow sentences: 

"I will tell you what I make of it, mother. Peter's gone 
beyond me. I think, now, that I have always feared a little 
that he might. Of course, he's impetuous and headstrong, 
but it is more than that. He feels differently from me, from 
all of us. I can see that, though I don't understand him a 
bit. I thought" (her voice faltered) "he loved me more. 
He knows how I wanted him to get on in the Church, and 
how I would have helped him. But that's nothing to him, 
or next to nothing. I think he doesn't love me at all, mother, 
and never really did." 

Mrs. Lessing threw her head back. "Then he's a fool, my 
dear," she said emphatically. "You're worth loving; you 
know it. I should think no more about him, Hilda," 



SIMON CALLED PETER i8s 

Hilda's hands tightened round her knees. "I can't do 
that," she said. 

Mrs. Leasing was impatient again. "Do you mean, Hilda, 
that if he persists in this — this madness, if he gives up the 
Church, for example, you will not break off the engagenient ? 
Mind you, that is the point. Every young man must have a 
bit of a fling, possibly even clergymen, I suppose, and they 
get over it. A sensible girl knows that. But if he ruins his 
prospects— surely, Hilda, you are not going to be a fool?" 

The word had been spoken again. Peter had had some- 
thing to say on it, and now the gods gave Hilda her chance. 
She stretched her fine hands out to the fire, and a new note 
came into her voice. 

"A fool, mother ? Oh no, I shan't be a fool. A fool would 
follow him to the end of the world. A fool of a woman 
would give him all he wants for the sake of giving, and be 
content with nothing in return. I see that. But I'm not 
made for that sort of foolery. . . . No, I shan't be a fool." 

Mrs. Lessing could not conceal her satisfaction. "Well, I 
am sure I am very glad to hear you say it, and so would your 
father be. We have not brought you up carefully for noth- 
ing, Hilda. You are a woman now, and I don't believe in 
trying to force a woman against her will, but I am heartily 
glad, my dear, that you are so sensible. When you are as 
old as I am and have a daughter of your own, you will be 
glad that you have behaved so to-night." 

Hilda got up, and put her hands behind her head, which 
was a favourite posture of hers. She stood looking down 
at her mother with a curious expression on her face. Mrs. 
Lessing could make nothing of it ; she merely thought Hilda 
"qtieer"; she had travelled farther than she knew from 
youth. 

"Shall I, mother?" said Hilda. "Yes, I expect I shall. I 
have been carefully brought up, as you say, so carefully that 
even now I can only just see what a fool might do, and I 
know quite well that I can't do it. After a while I shall na 



1 86 SIMON CALLED PETER 

more see it than you do. I shall even probably forget that 
I ever did. So that is all. And because I love him, really, 
I don't think I can even say 'poor Peter!' That's curious, 
isn't it, mother ? . . . Well, I think I'll go to my room for 
a little. I won't come in again. Good-night." 

She bent and kissed Mrs. Lessing. Her mother held her 
arms a moment more. "Then, what are you going to do?" 
she demanded. 

Hilda freed herself. "Write and try to persuade him not 
to be a fool either, I think. Not that it's any good. And 
then — wait and see." She walked to the door. "Of course, 
this is just between us two, isn't it, dear ?" she said, playing 
with the handle. 

"Of course," said her mother. "But do be sensible, dear, 
and don't wait too long. It is much better not to play with 
these things — much better. And do tell me how things go, 
darling, won't you ?" 

"Oh yes," said Hilda slowly. "Oh yes, I'll tell you. . . . 
5ood-night." 

She passed out and closed the door gently. "I wonder why 
S can't cry to-night?" she asked herself as she went to her 
?oom, and quite honestly she did not know. 

Across the water Peter's affairs were speeding up. If 
Hilda could have seen him that night she would probably 
fiave wept without difficulty, but for a much more superficial 
reason than the reason why she could not weep in London. 
And it came about in this way. 

On the morning after the dinner Peter was moody, and 
declared he would not go down to the office, but would take 
a novel out to the canal. He was in half a mind to go up and 
call at the hospital, but something held him back. Reflection 
showed him how near he had been to the fatal kiss the night 
before, and he did not wish, or, with the morning, he thought 
he did not wish, to see Julie so soon again. So he got his 
novel and went out to the canal, finding a place where last 
year's leaves still lay thick, and one could lie at ease and 



SIMON CALLED PETER 187 

read. We do these things all our days, and never learn the 
lesson. 

Halfway through the morning he looked up to see Langton 
striding along towards him. He was walking quickly, with 
the air of one who brings news, and he delivered his message 
as soon as they were within earshot of each other. "Good 
news, Graham," he called out. "This tomfoolery is over. 
They've heard from H.Q. that the whole stunt is postponed, 
and we've all to go back to our bases. Isn't it like 'em?" 
he demanded, as he came up. "Old Jackson in the office is 
swearing like blazes. He's had all his maps made and plans 
drawn up, etcetera and etcetera, and now they're so mach 
waste-paper. Jolly fortunate, any road." He sat down and 
got out a pipe. 

Peter shut his book. "I'm glad," he said. "I'm sick of 
foolin' round here. Not but what it isn't a decent enough 
place, but I prefer the other. There's more doing. When 
do we go?" 

"To-morrow. They're getting our movement orders, yours 
to Havre, mine to Rouen. I put in a spoke for you, to get 
one via Rouen, but I don't know if you will. It's a vile 
journey otherwise." 

"By Jove !" cried Peter. "I've an idea ! Miss Gamelyn's 
troop of motor-buses goes back to Havre to-morrow empty. 
Why shouldn't I travel on them? Think I could work it?" 

Langton puffed solemnly. "Sure, I should think," he said, 
"being a padre, anyway." 

"What had I best do?" 

"Oh, I should go and see Jackson and get him to 'phone 
the hospital for you — that is, if you really want to go that 
way." 

"It's far better than that vile train," said Peter. "Besides, 
one can see the country, which I love. And I've never been 
in Dieppe, and they're to go through there and pick up scan* 
casualties." 

"Just so," said Langton, still smoking. 



i88 SIMON CALLED PETER 

"Well," said Peter, "reckon I'll go and see about it. 
Jackson's a decent old stick, but I'd best do it before he 
tackles the R.T.O. Coming?" 

"No," said Langton. "Leave that novel, and come back 
for me. You won't be long." 

"Right-o," said Peter, and set off. 

It was easily done. Jackson had no objections, and rang 
up the hospital while Peter waited. Oh yes, certainly they 
could do it. What was the name? Captain Graham, C.F. — 
certainly. He must be at the hospital early — eight-thirty the 
next morning. That all right ? Thank you. 

"Thank you," said Peter. "Motoring's a long sight bettei 
than the train these days, and I'll get in quicker, too, as a 
matter of fact, or at any rate just as quickly." He turned 
to go, but a thought struck him. "Have you an orderly tp 
spare?" he asked. 

"Any quantity," said the other bitterly. "They've been 
detailed for weeks, and done nothing. You can have one 
with pleasure. It'll give the perisher something to do." 

"Thanks," said Peter; "I want to send a note, that's all. 
May I write it here?" 

He was given pen and paper, and scribbled a little note to 
Julie. He did not know who else might be on the lorry, or 
if she would want to appear to know him. The orderly was 
called and despatched and he left the place for the last time. 

Langton and he walked out to St. Riquier in the afternoon, 
had tea there, and got back to dinner. A note was waiting 
for Peter, a characteristic one. 

"Dearest Solomon (it ran), 

"You are really waking up 1 There will be three of us 
nurses in one lorry, and they're sure to start you off in 
another. We lunch at Eu, and I'll be deligjited to see you. 
Then you can go on in our car. Dieppe's on the knees of 
the gods, as you say, but probably we can pull off something, 

"Julie." 

He smiled and put it in his pocket. Langton said nothing 
till the coffee and liqueurs came in. Then he lit a cigarette 



SIMON CALLED PETER 189 

and held the match out to Peter, ^'Wonder if we shall meet 
again ?" he said. 

"Oh, I expect so," said Peter. "Write, anyway, won't 
you ? I'll likely get a chance to come to Rouen." 

"And I likely won't be there. I'm putting in again for 
another job. They're short of men now, and want equip- 
ment officers for the R.A.F. It's a stunt for which engineer-- 
ing's useful, and I may get in. I don't suppose I'll see much 
of the fun, but it's better than bossing up a labour company, 
any road." 

"Sportsman," said Peter. "I envy you. Why didn't you 
tell me? I've half a mind to put in too. Do you think I'd 
have a chance?" 

"No," said Langton brutally. "Besides, it's not your line. 
You know what yours is ; stick to it." 

"And you know that I'm not so sure that I can," said 
Peter. 

"Rot !" said the other. "You can if you like. You won't 
gain by running away. Only I give you this bit of advice, 
old son : go slow. You're so damned hot-headed ! You can't 
remake the world to order in five minutes ; and if you could, 
I bet it wouldn't be a much better old world. We've worried 
along for some time moderately well. Don't be too ready to 
turn down the things that have worked with some success, 
at any rate, for the things that have never been tried." 

Peter smoked in silence. Then he said: "Langton you're 
a bit different from what you were. In a way, it's you who 
have set me out on this racket, and it's you who encouraged 
me to try and get down to rock-bottom. You've always been 
a cautious old rotter, but you're more than cautious now. 
Why?" 

Langton leaned over and touched the other's tunic pocket 
in which lay Julie's note. \ Then he leaned back and went 
on with his cigarette. 

Peter flushed. "It's too late," he said judicially, flicking 
off his ash. 

"So? Well, I'm sorry, frankly— -sorry for her and sorry 



igo SIMON CALLED PETER 

for you. But if it is, I'll remernber my own wisdom: it's no 
use meddling with such things. For all that, you're a fool, 
Peter, as I told you last night." 

"Just so. And I asked what was a fool." 

"And I didn't answer. I reckon fools can be of many 
sorts. Your sort of fool chucks the world over for the quest 
of an ideal." 

"Thank you," said Peter quietly. 

"You needn't. That fool is a real fool, and bigger than 
most. Ideals are ideals, and one can't realise them. It's 
waste of time to try." 

"Is it?" said Peter. "Well, at any rate, I .don't know 
that I'm out after them much. I don't see any. All I Know 
is that I've looked in the likely places, and now 111 look in 
the unlikely." 

Langton ground his cigarette-end in his coffee-cup. "Yoti 
will," he said, "whatever I say. . . . Have another drink > 
After all, there's no need to 'turn down the empty glass' 
yet." 

They did not see each other in the morning, and Peter 
made his way early to the hospital as arranged. The P.M.O. 
met him, and he was put in nominal charge of the three 
Red-Cross ambulance-cars. While he was talking to the 
doctor the three nurses came out and got in, Julie not looking 
in his direction; then he climbed up next the driver of the 
first car. "Cheerio," said the P.M.O., and they were off. 

It was a dull day, and mists hung over the water-meadows 
by the Somme. For all that Peter enjoyed himself im- 
mensely. They ran swiftly through the little villages, under 
the sweeping trees all new-budded into green, and sobn had 
vistas of the distant sea. The driver of Peter's car was an 
observant fellow, and he knew something of gardening. It 
was he who pointed out that the fruit-trees had been in- 
differently pruned or not pruned at all, and that there were 
fields no longer under the plough that had been plainly so 
not long before. In a word, the country bore its war scars, 
although it needed a clever eye to see them. 



SIMON CALLED PETER m 

But Peter had tittle thought for this. Now and again, at 
a corner, he would glance back, his mind on Julie in the 
following car, while every church tower gave him pause for ' 
thought. He tried to draw the man beside him on religion, 
but without any success, though he talked freely enough of 
other things. He was for the Colonies after the war, he said. 
He'd knocked about a good deal in France, and the taste for 
travel had come to him. Canada appeared a land of promise ; 
one could get a farm easily, and his motor knowledge would 
be useful on a farm these days. Yes, he had a pal out there, 
a Canadian who had done his bit and been invalided out of 
it. They corresponded, and he expected to get in with him, 
the one's local knowledge eking aut the ewer's technical. 
No, he wasn't for marrying yet awhile; he'd wait till he'd 
got a place for tlie wife a^nd kiddies. Then he would. The 
thought made him expand a bit, and Peter smiled to himself 
as he thought of his conversation with Langton over the 
family group. It struck him to test the man, and as they 
passed a wayside Calvary, rudely painted, he drew his atten- 
tion to it. "What do you think of that?" he asked. 

The man glanced at it, and then away. "It's all right for 
them as like it," he said. "Religion's best in a church, it 
«eems to me. I've seen chaps mock at them crucifixes, sir, 
same as they wouldn't if they'd only been in church." 

"Yes," said Peter; "but I suppose some men have been 
helped by them who never would have been if they had only 
been in church. But don't you think they're rather gaudy?" 

"Gaudy, sir ? Meanin' 'ighly painted ? No, not as I knows 
on. They're more like what happened, I reckon, than thent 
brass crosses we have in our churches." 

They ran into Eu for lunch, and drew up in the market- 
square. Peter went round to the girls' car, greeted Julici, 
and was introduced. He led them to an old inn in the square,^ 
and they sat down to luncheon in very good humour. The: 
other girls were ordinary enough, and Julie rather subdued; 
for her. Afterwards they spent an hour in the church and 
a picture-postcard shop, and it was there that Julie whis- 



i92 SIMON CALLED PETER 

pered : "Go on in your own car. At Dieppe, go to the Hotel 
Trois Poissons and wait for me. I found out yesterday that 
a woman I know is a doctor in Dieppe, and she lives there. 
I'll get leave easily to call. Then I can see you. If we 
travel together these girls '11 talk ; they're just the sort." 

Peter nodded understanding, and they drifted apart. He 
went out to see if the cars were ready and returned to call 
the nurses, and in a few minutes they were oflf again. 

The road now ran through forests nearly all the way, 
except where villages had cleared a space around them, as 
was plain to see. They crossed little streams, and finally 
came downhill through the forest into the river valley that 
leads to Dieppe. It was still early, and Peter stopped the 
cars to suggest that they might have a look at the castle of 
Arques-le-Bataille. The grand old pile kept them nearly 
an hour, and they wandered about the ruins to their hearts' 
content. Julie would climb a buttress of the ancient keep 
when their guide had gone on with the others, and Peter 
went up after her. She was as lissom as a boy and seemingly 
as strong, swinging up by roots of ivy and the branches of a 
near tree, in no wise impeded by her short skirts. From the 
top one had, indeed, a glorious view. The weather had 
cleared somewhat, and one could see every bit of the old 
castle below, the village at its feet, and the forest across the 
little stream out of which the Duke of Mayenne's infantry 
had debouched that day of battle from which the village 
took its name. 

"They had some of the first guns in the castle, which was 
held for Henry of Navarre," explained Peter, "and they did 
great execution. I suppose they fired one stone shot in about 
every five minutes, and killed a man about every half -hour. 
The enemy were more frightened than hurt, I should think 
Anyway, Henry won." 

"Wasn't he the King who thought Paris worth more than 
a Mass ?" she demanded. 

"Yes," said Peter, watching her brown eyes as she stared 
out over the plain. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 193 

"I wonder what he thinks now," she said. 

He laughed. "You're likely to wonder," he said. 

"Funny old days," said Julie. "I suppose there were 
girls in this castle watching the fight, I expect they cared 
more for the one man each half-hour the cannon hit than 
for either Paris or the Mass. That's the way of women, 
Peter, and a damned silly way it is ! Come on, let's go. I'll 
get down first, if you please." 

On the short road remaining Peter asked his chauffeur if 
he knew the Trois Poissons, and, finding that he did, had 
the direction pointed out. They ran through the town to 
the hospital, and Peter handed his cars over. "I'll sleep in 
town," he said. "What time ought we to start in the morn- 
ing?" He was told, and walked away. Julie had disap- 
peared. 

He found the Trois Poissons without difficulty, and made 
his way to the sitting-room, a queer room opening from the 
pavement direct on the one side, and from the hall of the 
hotel on the other. It had a table down the middle, a weird 
selection of chairs, and a piano. A small woman was sitting 
in a chair reading the Tatler and smoking. An empty glass 
stood beside her. 

She looked up as he came in, and he noticed R.A.M.C. 
badges. "Good-evening," he said cheerily. 

"Good-evening, padre," she replied, plainly willing to talk. 
"Where have you sprung from?" 

"Abbeville via Eu in a convoy of Red Cross cars," he 
said, "and I feel like a sundowner. Won't you have another 
with me?" 

"Sure thing," she said, and he ordered a couple from the 
French maid who came in answer to his ring. "Do you live 
here?" he asked. 

"For my sins I do," she said. "I doctor Waac's, and I 
don't think much of it. A finer, heartier lot of women I 
never saw. Epsom salts is all they want. A child could 
do it." 



194 SIMON CALLED PETER 

Peter laughed. "Well, I don't see why you should grum- 
ble," he said. 

"Don't you? Where's the practice? This business out 
here is the best chance for doctors in a lifetime, and I have 
to strip strapping girls hopelessly and endlessly." 

"You do, do you ?" said a voice in the doorway, and there 
stood Julie. "Well, at any rate you oughtn't to talk about 
it like that to my gentleman friends, especially padres. How 
do you do, my dear ?" 

"Julie, by all that's holy ! Where have you sprung from?" 

She glanced from one to the other. "From Abbeville vis> 
Eu in a convoy of Red Cross cars, I dare bet," she said. 

"Julie, you're beyond me. If you weren't so strong I'd 
smack you, but as it is, give me another kiss. And introduce 
us. There may as well be propriety somewhere." 

They sorted themselves out and sat down. "What do you 
think of my rig?" demanded Dr. Melville (as Julie had 
introduced her). 

"Toppin'," said Julie critically. "But what in the world is 
It? Chiefly Waac, with three pukka stars and an R.A.M.C. 
badge. Teanie, how dare you do it?" 

"I dare do all that doth become a woman," she answered 
complacently. "And it doth, doth it not? Skirt's a trifle 
short, perhaps," she added, sticking out a leg and examining 
the effect critically, "but upper's eminently satisfactory." 

Julie leaned over and prodded her. "No corsets?" she 
inquired innocently. 

"Julie, you're positively indecent. You must have tamed 
your padre completely. You're not married by any chance?" 
she added suddenly. 

Julie screamed with laughter. "Oh, Teanie, you'll be the 
death of me," she said at last. "Solomon, are we married? 
I don't think so, Teanie. There's never no telling these days, 
but I can't recollect it." 

"Well, it strikes me you ought to be if you're jogging 
round the country together," said the other, her eyes 
twinkling, "But if you're not, take warning, padre. A girl 



SIMON CALLED PETER 19S 

that talks about corsets in public isn't respectable, especially 
as she doesn't wear them herself, except in the evening, for 
the sake of other things. Or she used not to. But perhaps 
you know?" 

Peter tried to look comfortable, but he was completely out 
of his depth. He finished his drink with a happy inspiration, 
and ordered another. That down, he began to feel mote 
capable of entering into the spirit of these two. They were 
the sort he wanted to know, both of them, women about as 
different from those he had met as they could possibly be. 

Another man dropped in after a while, so the talk became 
general. The atmosphere was very free and easy, bantering, 
careless, jolly, and Peter expanded in it. Julie led them all. 
She was never at a loss, and apparently had no care in the 
world. 

The two girls and Peter went together to dinner and sat 
at the same table. They talked a good deal together, and 
Peter gathered they had come to know each other at a hos- 
pital in England. They were full of reminiscences. 

"Do you remember ducking Pockett?" Teanie asked Julie. 

"Lor', I should think I do! Tell Peter. He won't be 
l^orrified unless you go into details. If I cough, Solomon, 
you're to change the subject. Carry on, Teanie." 

"Well, Pockett was a nurse of about the last limit. She 
was fearfully snobby, which nobody of that name ought to 
be, and she ruled her pros, with a rod of iron. I expect that 
was good for them, and I say nothing as to that, but she vras 
a beast to the boys. We had some poor chaps in who were 
damnably knocked about, and one could do a lot for them in 
roundabout ways. Regulations are made to be broken in 
some cases, I think. But she was a holy terror. Sooner 
than call her, the boys would endure anything, but some of 
us knew, and once she caught Julie here . . ." 

"It wasn't — it was you, Teanie." 

"Oh, well, one of us, anyway, in her ward when she was 
on night duty, sitting with a poor chap who pegged out a 
few days after. It soothed him to sit and hold her hand. 



196 SIMON CALLED PETER 

Well, anyway, she was furious and reported it. There was 
a bit of a row — had to be, I suppose, as it was against 
regulations — ^but thank God the P.M.O. knew his job, so 
there was only a strafe with the tongue in the cheek. How- 
ever, we swore revenge, and we had it — eh, Julie?" 

"We 3id. Go on. It was you who thought of it." 

"Well, we filled a bath with tepid water and then went to 
her room one night. She was asleep, and never heard us. 
We had a towel round her head in two twinks, and carried 
her by the legs and arms to the bathroom. Julie had her 
legs, and held 'em well up, so that down went her head under 
water. She couldn't yell then. When we let her up, I 
douched her with cold water, and then we bolted. We saw 
to it that there wasn't a towel in the bathroom, and we 
locked her bedroom door. Oh, lor', poor soul, but it was 
funny! She met an orderly in the corridor, and he nearly 
had a fit, and I don't wonder, for her wet nightie clung to her 
figure like a skin. She had to try half a dozen rooms before 
she got anyone to help her, and then, when she got back, 
we'd ragged her room to blazes. She never said a word, and 
left soon after. Ever hear of her again, Julie?" 

"No," said she, looking more innocent than ever, Peter 
thought; "but I expect she's made good somewhere. She 
must have had something in her or she'd have kicked up 
a row." 

Miss Melville was laughing silently. "You innocent babe 
unborn," she said ; "never shall I forget how you held . . ." 

"Come on. Captain Graham," said Julie, getting up; 
"you've got to see me home, and I want a nice walk by the 
sea-front." 

They went out together, and stood at the hotel door in 
the little street. There was a bit of a moon, with clouds 
scurrying by, and when it shone the road was damp and 
glistening in the moonlight. "What a heavenly night !" said 
Julie. "Come on with us along the sea-front, Teanie — do 1" 

Miss Melville smiled up at them. "I reckon you'd prefer 
to be alone." she said. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 197 

Peter glanced at Julie, and then protested. "No," he 
said ; "do come on," and Julie rewarded him with a smile. 

So they set out together. On the front the wind was higher, 
lashing the waves, and the moonlight shone fitfully on the 
distant cliffs, the harbour mouth, and the sea. The two girls 
clung together, and as Peter walked by Julie she took his 
arm. Conversation was difficult as they battled their way 
along the promenade. There was hardly a soul about, and 
Peter felt the night to fit his mood. 

They went up once and down again, and at the Casino 
grounds Teanie stopped them. " 'Nough," she said ; "I'm 
for home and bed. You two dears can finish up without me." 

"Oh, we must see you home," said Peter. j 

The doctor laughed. "Think I shall get stolen?" she de- 
manded. "Someone would have to get up pretty early for 
that. No, padre, I'm past the need of being escorted, thanks. 
Good-night. Be good, Julie. We'll meet again sometime, 
I hope. If not, keep smiling. Cheerio." 

She waved her hand and was gone in the night. "If 
there was ever a plucky, unselfish, rattling good woman, 
there she goes," said Julie. "I've known her sit up night 
after night with wounded men when she was working like 
a horse all day. I've known her to help a drunken Tommy 
into a cab and get him home, and quiet his wife into the 
bargain. I saw her once walk off out of the Monico with a 
boy of a subaltern, who didn't know what he was doing, 
and take him to her own fiat, and put him to bed, and get 
him on to the leave-train in time in the morning. She'd 
give away her last penny, and you wouldn't know she'd done 
it. And yet she's not the sort of woman you'd choose to 
run a mother's meeting, would you, Solomon ?" 

"Sure thing I wouldn't," said Peter, "not in my old parish, 
but I'm not so sure I wouldn't in my new one." 

"What's your new one?" asked Julie curiously. 

"Oh, it hasn't a name," said Peter, "but it's pretty big. 
Something after the style of John Wesley's parish, I reckon. 
And I'm gradually getting it sized up." 



198 SIMON CALLED PETER 

"Where do I come in, Solomon ?" denianded Julie. 

They were passing by the big Calvary at the harbour gates, 
and there was a light tiiere. He stopped and turned so that 
the light fell on her. She looked up at him, and so they 
stood a minute. He could hear the lash of the waves, and 
the wind drumming in the rigging of the flagstaff near them. 
Then, deliberately, he bent down, and kissed her on the lips. 
"I don't know, Julie," he said, "but I believe you have the 
biggest part, somehow." 



A 



CHAPTER III 

LL that it is necessary to know of Hilda's return letter 
to Peter ran as follows: 



"My Dear Boy, 

"Your letter from Abbeville reached me the day before 
yesterday, and I have thought about nothing else since. It 
is plain to me that it is no use arguing with you and no good 
reproaching you, for once you get an idea into your head 
nothing but bitter experience will drive it out. But, Peter, 
you must see that so far as I am concerned you are asking 
me to choose between you and your strange ideas and all 
that is familiar and dear in my life. You can't honestly 
expect me to believe that my Church and my parents and my 
teachers are all wrong, and that, to put it mildly, the very 
strange people you appear to be meeting in France are all 
right. My dear Peter, do try and look at it sensibly. The 
story you told me of the death of Lieutenant Jenks was 
terrible — ^terrible; it brings the war home in all its ghastly 
reality ; but really, you know, it was his fault and not yours, 
and still less the fault of the Church of England, that he did 
not want you when he came to die. If a man lives without 
God, he can hardly expect to find Him at the point of sudden 
death. What you say about Christ, too, utterly bewilders 
me. Surely our Church's teachings in the Catechism and the 
Prayer-Book is Christian teaching, isn't it? Nothing is 
perfect on earth, and the Church is human, but our Church 
is certainly the best I know of. It is liberal, active, moderate, 
and — I don't like the word, but after all it is a good one — 
respectable. I don't know much about these things, but 
surely you of all people don't want to go shouting in the 
street like a Salvation Army Captain. I can't see that that is 

199 



200 SIMON CALLED PETER 

more 'in touch with reaUty.' Peter, what do you mean? 
Are not St. John's, and the Canon, and my people, and 
myself, real? Surely, Peter, our love is real, isn't it? Oh, 
how can you doubt that ? 

"Darling boy, don't you think you are over-strained and 
over-worried ? You are in a strange country, among strange 
people, at a very peculiar time. War always upsets every- 
thing and makes things abnormal. London, even, isn't 
normal, but, as the Canon said the other day, a great many 
of the things people do just now are due to reaction against 
strain and anxiety. Can't you see this? Isn't there any 
clergyman you can go and talk to? Your Presbyterian and 
other new friends and your visits to Roman Catholit 
churches can't be any real help. 

"Peter, dear, for my sake, do, do try to see things like 
this. I hate that bit in your letter about publicans and 
sinners. How can a clergyman expect them to help him? 
Surely you ought to avoid such people, not seek their com- 
pany. It is so like you to get hold of a text or two and run 
it to death. It's not that I don't trust you, but you are so 
easily infltfcnced, and you may equally easily go aad do 
something that will separate us and ruin your life, Peter, 
I hate to write like this, but I can't help it. . . ." 

Peter let the sheets fall from his hands and stared out of 
the little window. The gulls were screaming and fighting 
over some refuse in the harbour, and he watched the beat of 
their wings, fascinated. If only he, too, could catch the 
wind and be up and away like that ! 

He jumped up and paced up and down the floor restlessly, 
and he told himself that Hilda was right and he was a cad 
and worse. Julie's kiss on his lips burned there yet. That 
at any rate was wrong; by any standards he had no right to 
behave so. How could he kiss her when he was pledged to 
Hilda — Hilda to whom everyone had looked up, the capable, 
lady-like, irreproachable Hilda, the Hilda to whom Park 



SIMON CALLED PETER 201 

Lane and St. John's were such admirable setting. And who 
was he, after all, to set aside all that for which both those 
things stood? 

And yet. ... He sat down by the little table and 
groaned. 

"What the dickens is the matter with you, padre?" 

Peter started and looked round. In the doorway stood 
Pennell, regarding him with amusement. "Here am I trying 
to read, and you pacing up and down like a wild beast. 
What the devil's up?" 

"The devil himself, that's what's up," said Peter savagely. 
"Look here. Pen, come on down town and let's have a spree. 
I hate this place and this infernal camp. It gets on my 
nerves. I must have a change. Will you come ? It's my do." 

"I'm with you, old thing. I know what you feel like; I 
get like that myself sometimes. It's a pleasure to see that 
you're so human. We'll go down town and razzle-dazzle 
for once. I'm off duty till to-night. I ought to sleep, I 
suppose, but I can't, so come away with you. I won't be 
a second." 

He disappeared. Peter stood for a moment, then slipped 
his tunic off and put on another less distinctive of his office. 
He crossed to the desk, unlocked it, and reached for a roll of 
notes, shoving them into his pocket. Then he put on his 
cap, took a stick from the corner, and went out into the 
passage. But there he remembered, and came quickly back. 
He folded Hilda's letter and put it away in a drawer ; then he 
went out again. "Are you ready, Pennell ?" he called. 

The two of them left camp and set out across the docks. 
As they crossed a bridge a one-horse cab came into the road 
from a side-street and turned in their direction. "Come on," 
said Peter. "Anything is better than this infernal walk 
over this paue always. Let's hop in." 

They stopped the man, who asked where to drive to. 

"Let's go to the Bretagne first and get a drink," said 
Pennell. 



202 SIMON CALLED PETER 

"Right," said Peter— "any old thing. Hotel de la 
Bretagne," he called to the driver. 

They set off at some sort of a pace, and Pennell leaned 
back with a laugh. "It's a funny old world, Graham," he 
said. "One does get fed-up at times. Why sitting in a 
funeral show like this cab and having a drink in a second- 
rate pub should be any amusement, I don't know. But it is. 
You're infectious, my boy. I begin to feel like a rag myself. 
What shall we do?" 

"The great thing," said Peter judiciously, "is not to know 
what one is going to do, but just to take anything that comes 
along. I remember at the 'Varsity one never set out to rag 
anything definitely. You went out and you saw a bobby and 
you took his hat, let us say. You cleared, and he after you. 
Anything might happen then." 

"I should think so," said Pennell. 

"I remember once walking home with a couple of men, 
and one of them suggested dousing all the street lamps in 
the road, which was a residential one leading into town. 
There wasn't anything in it, but we did it. One man put 
his back against a post, while the second went on to the next 
post. Then the third man mounted the first man's back, 
shoved out the light, jumped clear, and ran on past the next 
lamp-post to the third. The first man jumped on No, 2's 
back and doused his lamp, and so on. We did the street in 
a few minutes, and then a constable came into it at the top. 
He probably thought he was drunk, then he spotted lights 
going out, and like an ass he blew his whistle. We were 
round a corner in no time, and then turned and ran back to 
see if we could offer assistance!" 

"Some gag!" chuckled Pennell; "but I hope you won't go 
on that sort of racket to-night. It would be a little more 
serious if we were caught. . . . Also, these blighted gen- 
darmes would probably start firing, or some other damned 
thing." 

"They would," said Peter; "besides, that doesn't appeal 



SIMON CALLED PETER 303 

to me now. I'm getting too old, or else my tastes have 
become depraved." 

The one-horse cab stopped with a jerk. "Hop out," said 
Peter. He settled the score, and the two of them entered 
the hotd and passed through into the private bar. 

"What is it to be?" demanded Pennell. 

"Cocktails to-day, old son," said Peter; "I want bucking 
up. What do you say to martinis ?" 

The other agreed, and they moved over to the bar. A 
monstrously fat woman stood behind it, like some bloated 
spider, and a thin, weedy-looking girl assisted her. A couple 
of men were already there. It was too early for official 
drinks, but the Bretagne knew no law. 

They ordered their drinks, and stood there while madame 
compounded them and put in the cherries. Another man 
came in, and Petei recognised the Australian Ferrars, whom 
he had met before. He introduced Pennell and called for 
another martini. 

"So you frequent this poison-shop, do you ?" said Ferrars. 

"Not much," laughed Peter, "but it's convenient." 
I "It is, and it's a good sign when a man like you wants a 
drink. I'd sooner listen to your sermons any day than 
some chaps' I know." 

"Subject barred here," said Pennell. "But here's the very 
best to you, Graham, for all that." 

"Same here," said Ferrars, and put down his empty glass. 

The talk became general. There was nothing whatever in 
it — mild chaffing, a yarn or two, a guarded description by 
Peter of his motor drive from Abbeville, and then more 
drinks. And so on. The atmosphere was warm and genial, 
but Peter wondered inwardly why he liked it, and he did 
not like it so much that Pennell's "Well, what about it? 
Let's go on, Graham, shall we?" found him unready. The 
two said a general good-bye, promised madame to look in 
again, and sauntered out. 

They crossed the square in front of Travalini's, lingered 



ao4 SIMON CALLED PETER 

at the flower-stalls, refused the girls' pressure to buy, and 
strolled on. "I'm sick of Travalini's," said Penndl. "Don't 
let's go in there." 

"So am I," said Peter. "Let's stroll down towards the 
sea." 

They turned down a side-street, and stood for a few min- 
utes looking into a picture and book shop. At that moment 
quick footsteps sounded on the pavement, and Pennell 
glanced round. 

Two girls passed them, obviously sisters. They were not 
flashily dressed exactly, but there was something in theii 
furs arid their high-heeled, high-laced boots that told its 
own story, "By Jove, that's a pretty girl !" exclaimed Pen- 
nell; "let's follow them." 

Peter laughed; he was reckless, but not utterly so. "If 
you like," he said. "I'm on for any rag. We'll take them 
for a drink, but I stop at that, mind. Pen." 

"Sure thing," said Pennell. "But come on; we'll miss 
them." 

They set out after the girls, who, after one glance back, 
walked on as if they did not know they were being followed. 
But they walked slowly, and it was easy for the two men 
to catch them up. 

Peter slackened a few paces behind. "Look here. Pen," 
he said, "what the deuce are we going to do? They'll ex- 
pect more than a drink, you know." 

"Oh no, they won't, not so early as this. It's all in the 
way of business to them, too. Let's pass them first," he 
suggested, "and then slacken down and wait for them t» 
speak. 

Peter acquiesced, feeling rather more than an ass, but 
the drinks had gone slightly to his head. They executed 
their share of the mancEUvre, Pennell looking at the girls 
and smiling as he did so. But the two quickened their pace 
and passed the officers without a word. 

"If you ask me, this is damned silly," said Peter. "Let's 
chuck it." 



SIMON CALLED PETER aoj 

"No, no; wait a bit," said Pennell excitedly. "You'll see 
what they'll do. It's really an amusing study in human 
nature. Look! I told you so. They live there." 

The girls had crossed the street, and were entering a house. 
One of them unlocked the door, and they both disappeared. 
"There," said Peter, "that finishes it. We've lost them." 

"Have we?" said his companion. "Come on over." 

They crossed the street and walked up to the door. It was 
open and perhaps a foot ajar. Pennell pushed it wide and 
walked in. "Come on," he said again. Peter followed re- 
luctantly, but curious. He was seeing a new side of life, he 
thought grimly. 

Before them a flight of stairs led straight up to a landing, 
but there was no sign of the girls. "What's next?" de- 
manded Peter. "We'll be fired out in two twos if nothing 
worse happens. Suppose they're decent girls after all ; what 
would you say?" 

"I'd ask if Mile. Lucienne lived here," said Pennell, "and 
apologise profusely when I found she didn't. But you 
can't make a mistake in this street, Graham. I'm goii^ 
up. It's the obvious thing, and probably what they wanted. 
Coming?" 

He set off to mount the stairs, and Peter, reassured, fol- 
lowed him, at a few paces. When he reached the top, Pen- 
nell was already entering an open door. 

"How do you do, ma cherie?" said one of the girls, 
smiling, and holding out a hand. 

Peter looked round curiously. The room was fairly de- 
cently furnished in a foreign middle-class fashion, half bed- 
room, half sitting-room. One of the girls sat on the arm 
of a big chair, the other was greeting his friend. She was 
the one he had fancied, but a quick glance attracted Peter 
to the other and elder. He was in for it now, and he was 
determined to play up. He crossed the floor, and smiled 
down at the girl on the arm of the chair. 

"So you 'ave come," she said in broken English. "I told 
Lucienne that you would not." 



ao6 SIMON CALLED PETER 

"Lucienne !" exclaimed Peter, and looked back at Pennell, 

That traitor laughed, and seated himself on the edge oi 
the bed, drawing the other girl to him. "I'm awfully sorry, 
Graham," he said ; "but I couldn't help it. You wanted to 
see life, and you'd have shied off if I hadn't played a game. 
I do just know this little girl, and jolly nice she is too. Give 
me a kiss. Lulu." 

The girl obeyed, hea- eyes sparkling. "It's not proper 
before monsieur," she said. " 'E is — ^how do you say? — 
shocked ?" 

She seated herself on Pennell's knee, and, putting an arm 
round his neck, kissed him again, looking across at Peter 
mischievously. "We show 'im French kiss," she added to 
Pennell, and pouted out her lips to his. 

"Well, now you 'ave come, what do you want?" de^ 
manded the girl on the arm of Peter's chair. "Sit down," 
she said imperiously, patting the seat, "and talk to me." 

Peter laughed more lightly than he felt. "Well, I want 
a drink," he said at random. "Pen," he called across the 
room, "what about that drink?" The girl by him reached 
over and touched a bell. As she did so, Peter saw the curls 
that clustered on her neck and caught the perfume of her 
hair. It was penetrating and peculiar, but not distasteful, 
and it did all that it was meant to do. He bent and kissed 
the back of her neck, still marvelling at himself. 

She straightened herself, smiling. "That is better. You 
aren't so cold as you pretended, cherie. Now kiss me prop- 
erly," and she held up her face. 

Peter kissed her lips. Before he knew it, a pair of arms 
were thrown about his neck, and he was being half-suffo- 
cated with kisses. He tore himself away, disgusted and 
ashamed. 

"No !" he cried sharply, but knowing that it was too late. 

The girl threw herself back, laughing merrily. "Oh, you 
are funny!" she said. "Lucienne, take your boy away; I 
want to talk to mine." 



SIMON CALLED PETER 207 

Before he could think of a remonstrance, it was done. 
Pennell and the other girl got up from the bed where they 
had been whispering together, and left the room. "Pennell !" 
called Peter, too late again, jumping up. The girl ran 
round him, pushed the door to, locked it, and dropped the 
key down the neck of her dress. "Voila !" she said gaily. 

There came a knock on the door. "Non, non!" she cried 
in French. "Take the wine to Mile. Lucienne ; I am busy." 

Peter walked across the room to her. "Give me the key," 
he ^aid, holding out his hand, and changing his tactics. 
"Please do. I won't go till my friend comes back. I 
promise." 

The girl looked at him. "You promise? But you will 
'ave to find it." 

He smiled and nodded, and she walked deliberately to the 
bed, undid the front of her costume, and slipped it off. 
Bare necked and armed, she turned to him, holding open 
the front of her chemise. "Down there," she said. 

It was a strange moment and a strange thing, but a curi- 
ous courage came back to Peter in that second. Without 
hesitation, he put his hand down and sought for the key 
against her warm body. He found it, and held it up, smiling. 
Then he moved to the door, pushed the key in the keyhole, 
and turned again to the girl. "There!" he said simply. 

With a gesture of abandon, she threw herself on the bed, 
propping her cheek on her hand and staring at him. He sat 
down where Pennell had sat, but made no attempt to touch 
hsr, leaning, instead, back and away against the iron bed- 
post. She pulled up her kniees, flung her arms back, and 
laughed. "And now, monsieur?" she said. 

Peter had never felt so cool in his life. His thoughts 
raced, but steadily, as if he had dived into cold, clear water. 
He smiled again, unhesitatingly, but sadly. "Dear," he said 
deliberately, "listen to me. I have cheated you by coming 
here to-day, though you shan't suffer for it. I did not want 
anything, and I don't how. But I'm glad I've come- even 



2o8 SIMON CALLED PETER 

though you do not understand. I don't want to do a^bit 
what my friend is doing. I don't know why, but I don't. 
I'm engaged to a girl in England, but it's not because of that, 
I'm a chaplain too — a cure, you know — in the English Army ; 
but it's not because of that." 

"Protestant?" demanded the girl on the bed. 

He nodded. "Ah, well," she said, "the Protestant min- 
isters have wives. They are men ; it is different with priests. 
If your fiancee is wise, she wouldn't mind if you love me a 
little. She is in England ; I am here — is it not so ? You love 
me now ; again, perhaps, once or twice. Then it js finished. 
You do not tell your fiancee, and she does not know. It is 
no matter. Come on, cherie!" 

She held out her hands and threw her head back on the 
pillowr 

Peter smiled again. "You do not understand," he said> 
"And nor do I, but I must be different from some men. I 
do not want to." 

"Ah, well," she exclaimed brightly, sitting up, "another 
time! Give me my dress, monsieur le cure." 

He got up and handed it to her. "Tell me," he said, "do 
you like this sort of life?" 

She shrugged her white shoulders indifferently. "Some- 
times," she said — "sometimes not. There are good boys 
and bad boys. Some are rough, cruel, mean ; some are kind, 
and remember that it costs much to live these days, and one 
must dress nicely. See," she said deliberately, showing him, 
"it is lace, fine lace; I pay fifty francs in Paris!" 

"I will give you that," said Peter, and he placed the note 
on the bed. 

She stared at it and at him. "Oh, I love you !" she cried. 
"You are kind ! Ah, now, if I could but love you always !" 

"Always ?" he demanded. 

"Yes, always, always, while you are here, in Le Havre. 
I would have no other boy but you. Ah, if you would! 
You do not know how one tires of the music-hall, the drinks. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 209 

the smiles ! I would do just all you please— be gay, be sol- 
emn, talk, be silent, just as you please ! Oh, if you would !" 

Half in and half out of her dress, she stood there, plead- 
ing, Peter looked closely at the little face with its rouge 
and powder. 

"You hate that!" she exclaimed, with quick intuition. 
"See, it is gone. I use it no more, only a leetle, leetle, for 
the night." And she ran across to the basin, dipped a 
little sponge in water, passed it over her face, and turned 
to him triumphantly. 

Peter sighed. "Little girl," he said sadly, hardly knowing 
that he spoke. "I cannot save myself : how can I save you ?" 

"Pouf !" she cried. "Save! What do you mean?" She 
drew herself up with an absurd gesture. "You think me a 
bad girl ? No, I am not bad ; I go to church. Le bon Dieu 
made us as we are ; it is necessaire." 

They stood before each other, a strange pair, the product 
of a strange age. God knows what the angels made of it. 
But at any rate Peter was honest. He thought of Julie, and 
he would not cast a stone. 

There came a Hght knock at the door. The girl disre- 
garded it, and ran to him. "You will come again?" she 
said in low tones. "Promise me that you will ! I will not 
ask you for anything ; you can do as you please ; but come 
again! Do come again!" 

Peter passed his hand over her hair. "I will come if I 
can," he said; "but the Lord knows why." 

The knock came again, a little louder. The girl smiled and 
held her face up. "Kiss me," she demanded. 

He complied, and she darted away, fumbling with her 
dress. "I come," she called, and opened the door. Lucienne 
and Pennell came in, and the two men exchanged glances. 
Then Pennell looked away. Lucienne glanced at them and 
shrugged her shoulders. "Come, Graham," said Pennell; 
"let's get out! Good-bye, you two." 

The pair of them went down and out in silence. No one 



2IO SIMON CALLED PETER 

had seen them come, and there was no one to sec them go. 
Peter glanced at the number and made a mental note of it, 
and they set off down the street. 

Presently Pennell laughed. "I played you a dirty trick. 
Graham," he said. "I'm sorry." 

"You needn't be," said Peter ; "I'm very glad I went." 

"Why?" said Pennell curiously, glancing sideways at him. 
"You are a queer fellow, Graham." But there was a note 
of relief in his tone. 

Peter said nothing, but walked on. "Where next?" de- 
manded Pennell. 

"It looks as if you are directing this outfit," said Peter; 
'"I'm in your hands." 

"All right," said Pennell; "I know." 

They took a street running parallel to the docks, and en- 
tered an American bar. Peter glanced round curiously. 
"I've never been here before," he said. 

"Probably not," said Pennell. "It's not much at this tim« 
of the year, but jolly cool in the summer. And you can 
get first-class cocktails. I want something now; what's 
yours ?" 

"I'll leave it to you," said Peter. 

He sat down at a little table rather in the corner and lit 
a cigarette. The place was well lighted, and by means of 
mirrors, coloured-glass ornaments, paper decorations, and a 
few palms, it looked in its own way smart. Two or three 
ofificers were drinking at the bar, sitting on high stools, and 
Pennell went up to give his order. He brought two glasses 
to Peter's table and sat down. "What fools we are, padre !" 
he said. "I sometimes think that the man who gets simply 
and definitely tight when he feels he wants a breather is 
wiser than most of us. We drink till we're excited, and 
then we drink to jet over it. And I suppose the devil sits 
and grins. Well, it's a weary world, and there isn't any 
good road out of it. I sometimes wish I'd stopped a bullet 
earlier on in the day. And yet I don't know. We do get 
some excitement Let's go to a music-hall to-night." 



SIMON CALLED PETER ai, 

"What about dinner?" 

*Oh, get a quiet one in a decent hotel. I'll have to clear 
out at half-time if you don't mind." 

"Not a bit," said Peter. "Half will be enough for me, 
I think. But let's have dinner before we've had more of 
these things." 

The bar was filling up. A few girls came and went. 
Pennell nodded to a man or two, and finished his glass. And 
they went off to dinner. 

The music-hall was not much of a show, but it glittered, 
and people obviously enjoyed it. Peter watched the audi- 
ence as much as the stage. Quite respectable French fam- 
ilies were there, and there was nothing done that might not 
have been done on an English stage — ^perhaps less, but the 
words were different. The women as well as the men 
.screamed with laughter, flushed of face, but an old fellow, 
with his wife and daughter, obviously from the country, sat 
as stiffly as an English farmer through it all. The daughter 
glanced once at the two officers, but then looked away; she 
was well brought up. A half-caste Algerian, probably, came 
on and danced really extraordinarily well, and a negro from 
the States, equally ready in French and English, sang songs 
which the audience demanded. He was entirely master, how- 
ever, and, conscious of his power, used it. No one in the 
place seemed to have heard of the colour-bar, except a couple 
of Americans, who got up and walked out when the comedian 
clasped a white girl round the waist in one of his songs. 
The negro made some remark that Peter couldn't catch, and 
the place shook with laughter. 

At half-time everyone flocked into a queer kind of semi- 
underground hall whose walls were painted to represent a 
cave, dingy cork festoons and "rocks" adding to the illusion. 
Here, at long tables, everyone drank innocuous French beer, 
that was really quite cool and good. It was rather like part 
of qn English bank holiday. Everybody spoke to everybody 
else, and there were no classes and distinctions. You could 
only get one glass of beer, for the simple reason that there 



212 SIMON CALLED PETER 

were too many drinking and too few supplying the drinks 
for more in the time. 

"I must go," said Pennell, "but don't you bother to come." 

"Oh yes, I will," said Peter, and they got up together. 

In the entrance-hall, however, a girl was apparently wait- 
ing for someone, and as they passed Peter recognised her. 
"Louise!" he exclaimed. 

She smiled and held out her hand. Peter took it, and 
Pennell after him. 

"Do you go now ?" she asked them. "The concert is not 
half finished." 

"I've got to get back to work," said Pennell, "worse luck. 
It is la guerre, you know !" 

"Poor boy!" said she gaily. "And you?" turning to 
Peter. 

Moved by an impulse, he shook his head. "No," he said, 
"I was only seeing him home." 

"Bien! See me home instead, then," said Louise. 

"Nothing doing," said Peter, using a familiar phrase. 

She laughed. "Bah! cannot a girl have friends without 
that, eh? You have a fiancee, 'ave you not? Oh yes, I re- 
member — I remember very well. Come! I have done for 
to-day; I am tired. I will make you some coffee, and we 
shall talk. Is it not so?" 

Peter looked at Pennell. "Do you mind. Pen?" he asked. 
"I'd rather like to." 

"Not a scrap," said the other cheerfully; "wish I could 
come too. Ask me another day, Louise, will you?" 

She regarded him with her head a little on one side. "I 
do not know," she said. "I do not think you would talk 
with me as he will. You like what you can get from the 
girls of France now; but after, no more. Monsieur, 'e is 
different. He want not quite the same. Oh, I know! 
AUons." 

Pennell shrugged his shoulders. "One for me," he said. 
*'Well, good-night. I hope you both enjoy yourselves." 



SIMON CALLED PETER 213 

In five minutes Peter and Louise were walking together 
down the street. A few passers-by glanced at them, or es- 
pecially at her, but she took no notice, and Peter, in a little, 
felt the strangeness of it all much less. He deliberately 
crossed once or twice to get between her and the road, as 
he would have done with a lady, and moved slightly in 
front of her when they encountered two drunken men. She 
chatted about nothing in particular, and Peter thought to 
himself that he might almost have been escorting Hilda home. 
But if Hilda had seen him! 

She ushered him into her flat. It was cosy and nicely 
furnished, very different from that of the afternoon, A 
photograph or two stood about in silver frames, a few easy- 
chairs, a little table, a bookshelf, and a cupboard. A firp 
was alight in the grate ; Louise knelt down and poked it into 
a flame. 

"You shall have French coffee," she said. "And I have 
even lait for you." She put a copper kettle on the fire, and 
busied herself with cups and saucers. These she arranged 
on the little table, and drew it near the fir? Then she offered 
him a cigarette from a gold case, and took one hersdf. 
"Ah !" she said, sinking back into a chair. "Now we are, as 
you say, comfy, is it not so ? We can talk. Tell me how you 
like la France, and what you do." 

Peter tried, but failed rather miserably, and the shrewd 
French girl noticed it easily enough. She all but inter- 
rupted him as he talked of Abbeville and the raid. "Mon 
ami," she said, "you have something on your mind. You 
do not want to talk of these things. Tell me." 

Peter looked into the kindly keen eyes. "You are right, 
Louise," he said. "This is a day of trouble for me." 

She nodded. "Tell me," she said again. "But first, what 
is your name, mon ami ? It is hard to talk if one does not 
know even the name." 

He hardly hesitated. It seemed natural to say it. "Peter," 
he said. 



ai4 SIMON CALLED PETER 

She smUed, rolling the "r." "Peterr. Well, Peterr, go 
on. 

"I'll tell you about to-day first," he said, and, once 
launched, did so easily. He told the little story well, anc 
presently forgot the strange surroundings. It was all but 
a confession, and surely one was never more strangely made. 
And from the story he spoke of Julie, but concealed her 
identity, and then he spoke of God. Louise hardly said a 
word. She poured out coffee in the middle, but that was 
all. At last he finished. 

"Louise," he said, "it comes to this : I've nothing left but 
Julie. It was she restrained me this afternoon, I think. I'm 
mad for her; I want her and nothing else. But with her, 
somehow, I lose everything else I possess or ever thought I 
possessed." And he stopped abruptly, for she did not know 
his business in life, and he had almost given it away. 

When he had finished she slipped a hand into his, and 
said no word. Suddenly she looked up. "Peterr, mon ami," 
she said, "listen to me. I will tell you the story of Louise, 
of me. My father, he lived — oh, it matters not ; but he had 
some money, he was not poor. I went to a good school, and 
I came home for the holidays. I had one sister older than 
me. Presently I grew up ; I learnt much ; I noticed. I saw 
there were terrible things, chez nous. My mother did not 
care, but I — I cared. I was mad. I spoke to my sister: it 
.vas no good. I spoke to my father, and, truly, I thougH 
he would kill me. He beat me — ah, terrible — and I ran 
from the house. I wept under the hedges: I said I would 
no more go 'ome. I come to a big city. I found work in a 
big shop — much work, little money — ah, how little! Then 
I met a friend: he persuade me, at last he keep me — ^two 
months, three, or more ; then comes the war. He is an offi- 
cer, and he goes. We kiss, we part — oui, he love nje, that 
officer. I pray for him : I think I nevair leave the church ; 
but it is no good. He is dead. Then I curse le bon Dieu. 
They know me in that place : I can do nothing unless I will 



SIMON CALLED PETER 215 

go to an 'otel-^to be for the officers, you understand? I 
say, Non. I sell my things and I come here. Here I do 
well — you understand? I am careful; I have now my 
home. But this is what I tell you, Peterr : one does wrong 
to curse le bon Dieu. He is wise — ah, how wise! — it is not 
for me to say. And good — ^ah, Jesu! how good! You 
think I do not know ; I, how should I know ? But I know. 
I do not understand. For me, I am caught; I am like the 
bird in the cage. I cannot get out. So I smile, I laugh — 
and I wait." 

She ceased. Peter was strangely moved, and he pressed 
the hand he held almost fiercely. The tragedy of her life 
seemed so great that he hardly dare speak of his own. But : 
"What has it to do with me?" he demanded. 

She gave a little laugh. " 'Ow should I say?" she said. 
"But you think God not remember you, and, Peterr, He 
remember all the time." 

"And Julie?" quizzed Peter after a moment. 

Louise shrugged her shoulders. "This love," she said, 
"it is one great thing. For us women it is perhaps the 
only great thing, though your English women are blind, are 
dead, they do not see. Julie, she is as us, I think. She is 
French inside. La pauvre petite, she is French in the 
heart." 

"Well?" demanded Peter again. 

"C'est tout, mon ami. But I am sorry for Julie." 

"Louise," said Peter impulsively, "you're better than I — 
a thousand times. I don't know how to thank you." And 
he lifted her hand to his lips. 

He hardly touched it. She sprang up, withdrawing it. 
"Ah, non, non." she cried. "You must not. You forget. 
It is easy for you, for you are good— yes, so good. You 
think I did not notice in the street, but I see. You treat 
me like a lady, and now you kiss my hand, the hand of the 
girl of the street. . . . Non, non !" she protested vehemently, 
her eyes alijrht. "I would kiss your feet !" 



2i6 SIMON CALLED PETER 

Outside, in the darkened street, Peter walked slowly home. 
At the gate of the camp he met Arnold, returning from a 
visit to another mess. "Hullo!" he called to Peter, "and 
where have you been?" 

Peter looked at him for a moment without repl)dng, "I'm 
not sure, but seeing for the first time a little of what Christ 
saw, Arnold, I think," he said at last, with a catch in his 
voice. 



CHAPTER IV 

LOOKING back on them afterwards, Peter saw the 
months that followed as a time of waiting between two 
periods of stress. Not, of course, that anyone can ever 
stand still, for even if one does but sit by a fire and warm 
one's hands, things happen, and one is imperceptibly led 
forward. It was so in this case, but, not unnaturally, 
Graham hardly" noticed in what way his mind was moving. 
He had been through a period of storm, and he had to a 
certain extent emerged from it. The men he had met, and 
above all Julie, had been responsible for the opening of his 
eyes to facts that he had before passed over, and it was 
entirely to his credit that he would not refuse to accept 
them and act upon them. But once he had resolved to do so 
things, as it were, slowed down. He went about his work 
in a new spirit, the spirit not of the teacher, but of the 
iearner, and ever since his talk with Louise he thought— 
or tried to think — ^more of what love might mean to Julie 
than to himself. The result was a curious change in their 
relations, of which the girl was more immediately and con- 
tinually conscious than Peter. She puzzled over it, but 
could not get the clue, and her quest irritated her. 
Peter had always been the least little bit nervous in hef 
presence. She had known that he never knew what she 
would do or say next, and her knowledge had amused and 
carried her away. But now he was so sdf-possessed. Very 
friendly they were, and they met often — in the ward for a 
few sentences that meant much to each of them ; down 
town by arrangement in a cafe, or once or twice for dinner ; 
and once for a day in the country, though not alone; and 

313 



2i8 SIMON CALLED PETER 

he was always the same. Sometimes, on night duty, she 
would grope for an adjective to fit him, and could only think 
of "tender." He was that. And she hated it, or all but 
hated it. She did not want tenderness from him, for it 
seemed to her that tenderness meant that he, was, as it were, 
standing aloof from her, considering, helping when he could. 
She demanded the fierce rush of passion with which he would 
seize and shrine her in the centre of his heart, deaf to her 
entreaties, careless of her pain. She would love then, she 
thought, and sometimes, going to the window of the ward 
and staring out over the harbour at the twinkling lights, 
she would bite her lip with the pain of it. He had thought 
she dismissed love lightly when she called it animal passion. 
Good God, if he only knew! . . . 

Peter, for his part, did not realise so compiletely the change 
that had come over him. For one thing, he saw himself 
all the time, and she did not. She did not see him when 
he lay on his bed in a tense agony of desire for her. She 
did not see him when life looked like a tumbled heap of 
ruins to him and she smiled beyond. She all but only saw 
him when he was staring at the images that had been pre- 
sented to him during the past months, or hearing in imagin- 
ation Louise's quaintly accepted Ei^lish and her quick and 
vivid "La pauvte petite!" 

For it was Louise, curiously enough, who affected him. 
most in these days. A friendship sprang up between them 
of which no one knew. Pennell and Donovan, with whom 
he went everywhere, did not speak of it either to him or to 
one another, with that real chivalry that is in most men, but 
if they had they would have blundered, misunderstanding. 
Arnold, of whom Peter saw a good deal, did not know, or, 
if he knew, Peter never knew that he knew. Julie, who 
was well aware of his friendship with the two first men, 
knew that he saw French girls, and, indeed, openly chaffed 
him about it. But under her chaff was an anxiety, typical 
of her. She did not know how far he went in their <:om- 



SIMON CALLED PETER 219 

pany, and she would have given anjothing to know. She 
guessed that, despite everything, he had had no physical 
relationship with any one of thean, and she almost wished it 
might be otherwise. She knew well that if he fell to them, 
he would the more readily turn to her. There was a strength 
about him now that she dreaded. 

Whatever Louise thought she kept wonderfully hidden. 
He took her out to dinner in quiet places, and she would 
take him home to coffee, and they would chat, and there 
was an end. She was seemingly well content. She did her 
business, and they would even speak of it. "I cannot come 
to-night, mon ami," she would say; "I am busy." She 
would nod to him as she peissed out of the restaurant with 
someone else, and he would smile back at her. Nor did he 
ever remonstrate or urge her to change her ways. And she 
knew why. He had no key with which to open her cage. 

Once, truly, he attempted it, and it was she who refused 
the glittering thing. He rarely came uninvited to her flat, 
for obvious reasons; but one night she heard him on the 
stairs as she got ready for bed. He was walking unsteadily, 
and she thought at first that he had been drinking. She 
opened to him with the carelessness her life had taught her, 
her costume off, and her black hair all about her shoulders. 
"Go in and wait, Peterr," she said; "I come." 

She had slipped on a coloured silk wrap, and gone in to 
the sitting-room to find him pacing up and down. She 
smiled. "Sit down, mon ami," she said; "I will make the 
coffee. See, it is ready. Mais vraiment, you shall drink 
cafe noir to-night. And one leetle glass of this — is it not 
so?" and she took a green bottle of peppermint liqueur from 
the cupboard. 

"Coffee, Louise," he said, "but not the other, I don't 
Want it." 

She turned and looked more closely at him then. "Non," 
she said, "pardon. But sit you down. Am I to have the 
wild beast prowling up and down in my place?" 



220 SIMON CALLED PETER 

"That's just it, Louise," he cried ; "I am a wild beast tO' 
night. I can't stand it any longer. Kiss me." 

He put his arms round her, and bent her head back, 
studying her French and rather inscrutable eyes, her dark 
lashes, her mobile mouth, her long white throat. He put his 
hand caressingly upon it, and slid his fingers beneath the 
loose lace that the open wrap exposed. "Dear," he said, "I 
want you to-night." 

"To-night, cherie?" she questioned. 

"Yes, now," he said hotly. "Arid why not ? You give 
to other men — why not to me, Louise?" 

She freed herself with a quick gesture, and, brave heart, 
she laughed merrily. The devil must have started at that 
laugh, and the angels of God sung for joy. "Ah, non," 
she cried. "It is the mistake you make. I sell myself to 
other men. But you — ^you are my friend; I cannot sell 
myself to you." 

He did not understand altogether why she quibbled ; how 
should he have done? But he was ashatried. He slid into 
the familiar chair and ran his fingers through his hair. 
"Forgive me, dear," he muttered. "I think I am mad to- 
night, but I am not drunk, as you thought, except with wor- 
rying. I feel lost, unclean, body and soul, and I thought you 
would help me to forget — ^no, more than that, help me to feel 
a man. Can't you, won't you?" he demanded, looking up. 
"I am tired of play-acting. I've a body, like other men. Let 
me plunge down deep to-night, Louise. It will do me good, 
and it doesn't matter. That girl was right after all. Oh, 
what a fool I am!" 

Then did the girl of the streets set out to play her chosen 
part. She did not preach at all — ^how could she? Besides, 
neither had she any use for the Ten Commandments. But 
if ever Magdalene broke an alabaster -box of very precious 
ointment, Louise did so that night. She was worldly wise, 
and she did not disdain to use her wisdom. And when he 
had gone she got calmly into bed, and slept — ^not all at once, 
it is true, but as resolutely as she had laughed and talked. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 221 

It was only when she woke in the morning that she found 
her pillow wet with tears. 

It was a few days later that Louise took Peter to church. 
His ignorance of her reUgion greatly amused her, or so at 
least she pretended, and when he asked her to come out of 
town to lunch one morning, and she refused because it was 
Corpus Christi, and she wanted to go to the sung Mass, it 
was he who suggested that he should go with her. She 
looked at him queerly a moment, and then agreed. They 
met outside the church and went in together, as strange a 
pair as ever the meshes of that ancient net which gathers 
of all kinds had ever drawn towards the shore. 

Louise led him to a central seat, and found the place for 
him in her Prayer-Book. The building was full, and Peter 
glanced about him curiously. The detachment of the wor- 
shippers impressed him immensely. There did not appear 
to be any proscribed procedure among them, and even when 
the Mass began he was one of the few who stood and knelt 
as the rubrics of the service directed. Louise made no at- 
tempt to do so. For the most part she knelt, and her beads 
trickled ceaselessly through her fingers. 

Peter was, if anything, bored by the Mass, though he 
would not admit it to himself. It struck him as being a 
ratherly poorly played performance. True, the officiating 
ministers moved and spoke with a calm regularity which im- 
pressed him, familiar as he was with clergymen who gave 
out hymns and notices, and with his own solicitude at home 
that the singing should go well or that the choirboys should 
not fidget. But there was a terrible confusion with chairs, 
and a hideous kind of clapper that was used, apparently, to 
warn the boys to sit and rise. The service, moreover, as a 
reverential congregational act of worship such as he was 
used to hope for, was marred by innumerable collections, and 
especially by the old woman who came round even during 
the Sanctus to collect the rent of the chairs they occupied, 
and dianged money or announced prices with all the zest of 
the market-place. 



322 SIMON CALLED PETER 

But at the close there was a procession which is worth 
considerable description. Six men with censers of silver 
lined up before the high altar, and stood there, slowly swing- 
ing the fragrant bowls at the end of their long chains. The 
music died down. One could hear the rhythmical, faint 
clangour of the metal. And then, intensely sudden, away 
in the west gallery, but almost as if from the battlements of 
heaven, pealed out silver trumpets in a fanfare. The cen- 
sers flew high in time with it, and the sweet clouds of smoke, 
caught by the coloured sunlight of the rich painted windows, 
unfolded in the air of the sanctuary. Lights moved and 
danced, and the space before the altar filled with the white 
of the men and boys who should move in the procession. 
Again and again those trumpets rang out, and hardly had 
the last echoes died away than the organ thundered the 
Pange Lingua, as a priest in cloth of gold turned from the 
altar with the glittering monstrance in his hand. Even from 
where he stood Peter could see the white centre of the Host 
for Whom all this was enacted. Then the canopy, borne by 
four French laymen in frock-coats and white gloves, hid It 
from his sight; and the high gold cross, and its attendant 
tapers, swung round a great buttress into view. 

Peter had never heard a h)min sung so before. First the 
organ would peal alone ; then the men's voices unaided would 
take up the refrain; then the organ again; then the clear 
treble of the boys ; then, like waves breaking on immemorial 
cliffs, organ, trumpets, boys, men, and congregation woidd 
thunder out together till the blood raced in his veins and 
his eyes were too dim to see. 

Down the central aisle at last they came, and Peter knelt 
with the rest. He saw how the boys went before throwing 
flowers; how in pairs, as the censers were recharged, the 
thurifers walked backward before the three beneath the 
canopy, of whom one, white-haired and old, bore That in 
the monstrance which all adored. In music and light and 
colour and scent the Host went by, as It had gone for cen- 
turies in that ancient place, and Peter knew, all bewildered 



SIMON CALLED PETER 223 

as he was, there, by the side of the girl, that a new vista 
was opening before his eyes. 

It was not that he understood as yet, or scarcely so. In 
a few minutes all had passed them, and he rose and turned 
to see the end. He watched while, amid the splendour of 
that court, with singers and ministers and thurifers ar- 
ranged before, the priest ascended to enthrone the Sacrament 
in the place prepared for It. With banks of flowers behind, 
and the glitter of electric as well As of candle light, the 
jewelled rays of the monstrance gleaming and the organ 
pealing note on note in a triumphant ecstasy, the old, bent 
priest placed That he carried there, and sank down before It. 
Then all sound of singing and of movement died away, and 
from that kneeling crowd one lone, thin voice, but all un- 
shaken, cried to Heaven of the need of men. It was a short 
prayer and he could not understand it, but it seemed to Peter 
to voice his every need, and to go on and on till, it reached 
the Throne. The "Amen" beat gently about him, and he 
sank his face in his hands. 

But only for a second. The next he was lifted to his feet. 
All that had gone before was as nothing to this volume 
of praise that shook, it seemed to him, the very carven roof 
above and swept the ancient walls in waves of sound. 

Adoremus m aternum Sanctissimum Sacramenfum, cried 
men on earth, and, as it seemed to him, the very angels of 
God. 

But outside he collected his thoughts. "Well," he said. 
"I'm glad I've been, but I shan't go again." 

"Why not?" demanded Louise. "It was most beautiful. 
I have never 'eard it better." 

"Oh yes, it was," said Peter ; "the music and singing were 
wonderful, but — forgive me if I hurt you, but I can't help 
saying it — I see now what our people mean when they 
Say it is nothing less than idolatry." 

"Idolatry?" queried Louise, stumblingly and bewildered. 
"But what do you mean ?" 

"Well," said Peter, "the Sacrament is, of course, a holy 



SS24 SIMON CALLED PETER 

thitig, a very holy thing, the sign and symbol of Christ Him- 
self, but in that church sign and symbol were forgotten; 
the Sacrament was worshipped as if it were very God." 

"Oui, oui," protested Louise vehemently, "It is. It is le 
bon Jesu. It is He who is there. He passed by us among 
them all, as we read He went through the crowds of 
Jerusalem in the holy Gospel. And there was not one He 
did not see, either," she added, with a little break in her 
voice. 

Peiter all but stopped in the road. It was absurd that so 
simple a thing should have seemed to him new, but it is so 
with us all. We know in a way, but we do not understand, 
and then there comes the moment of illumination — some- 
times. 

"Jesus Himself!" he exclaimed, and broke ofi abruptly. 
He recalled a fragment of speech: "Not a dead man, not 
a man on the right hatjd of the throne of God." But "He 
can't be found," Langton had said. Was it so ? He walked 
on in silence. What if Louise, with her pitiful story and 
her caged, earthy life, had after all found what the other 
had missed? He pulled himself together; it was too good 
to be true. 

One day Louise asked him abruptly if he had been to see 
the girl in the house which he had visited with Pennell. He 
told her no, and she said — ^they had met by chance in the 
town — "Well, go you immediately, then, or you will not 
see her." 

"What do you mean?" he asked. "Is she ill — djring?" 

"Ah, non, not dying, but she is ill. They will take her 
to a 'ospital to-morrow. But this afternoon she will be in 
bed. She like to see you, I think." 

Peter left her and made for the house. On his way he 
thought of something, and took a turning which led to the 
market-place of flowers. There, at a stall, he bought a big 
bunch of roses and some sprays of asparagus fern, and set 
off aga'"-» Arriving, he found the door shut. It was a di- 



SIMON CALLED PETER 223 

lemma, for he did not even know the girl's name, but he 
knocked. 

A grim-faced woman opened the door and stared at him 
and his flowers. "I think there is a girl sick here," said 
Peter. "May I see her?" 

The woman stared still harder, and he thought she was 
going to refuse him admission, but at length she gave way. 
"Entrez," she said. "Je pense que vous savez le chambre. 
Mais, le bouquet— c'est incroyable." 

Peter went up the stairs and knocked at the door. A 
voice asked who was there, and he smiled because he could 
not say. The girl did not know his name, either. "A 
friend," he said: "May I come in?" 

A note of curiosity sounded in her voice. "Oui, certaine- 
ment. Entrez," she called. Peter turned the handle and 
entered the remembered room. 

The girl was sitting up in bed in her nightdress, her hair 
in disorder, and the room felt hot and stuffy and looked 
more tawdry than ever. She exclaimed at the sight of his 
flowers. He deposited the big bunch by the side of her, and 
seated himself on the edge of the bed. She had been 
reading a book, and he noticed it was the sort of book that 
Langton and he had seen so prominently in the book-shop 
at Abbeville. 

If he had expected to find her depressed or ashamed, he 
was entirely jristaken. "Oh, you darling," she cried in 
clipped English. "Kiss me, quick, or I wiU forget the orders 
of the doctor and jump out of bed and catch you. Oh, that 
you should bring me the rose so beautiful 1 Helas ! I may 
not wear one this night in the cafe ! See, are they not beau- 
tiful here?" 

She pulled her nightdress open considerably more than the 
average evening dress is cut away and put two or three 
of the blooms on her white bosom, putting her head on onfe 
side to see the result. "Oui," she exclaimed, "je suis ex- 
quise! To-night I 'ave so many boys I do not know what 



226 SIMON CALLED PETER 

to do ! But I forget : I cannot go. Je suis malade, tres ma^ 
lade. You knew? You are angry with me — ^is it not so?" 

He laughed; there was nothing else to do. "No," he said; 
"why should I be? But I am very sorry." 

She shrugged her shoulders. "It is nothing," she said, 
"C'est la guerre for me. I shall not be long, and when I 
come out you will come to see me again, will you not? And 
bring me more flowers? And you shall not let me 'ave the 
danger any more, and if I do wrong you shall smack me 'ard, 
Per'aps you will like that. In the bocAs men like it much. 
Would you like to whip me?" she demanded, her eyes 
sparkling as she threw herself over in the bed and looked 
up at him. 

Peter got up and moved away to the window. "No," he 
said shortly, staring out. He had a sensation of physical 
nausea, and it was as much as he could do to restrain him- 
self. He realised, suddenly, that he was in the presence of 
the world, the flesh, and the devil's final handiwork. Only 
his new knowledge kept him quiet. Even she might be Uttle 
to blame. He remembered all that she had said to him be- 
fore, and suddenly his disgust was turned into overwhelming 
pity. This child before him — for she was little more than 
a child — ^had bottomed degradation. For the temporary 
protection and favour of a man that she guessed to be kind 
there was nothing in earth or in hell that she would not do. 
And in her already were the seeds of the disease that was 
all but certain to slay her. 

He turned again to the bed, and knelt beside it. "Poor 
little girl," he said, and lightly brushed her hair. He cer- 
tainly never expected the result. 

She pushed him from her. "Oh, go, go!" she cried. 
"Quick go! You pretend, but you do not love me. Why 
you give me money, the flowers, if you do not want me? 
Go quick. Come never to see me again!" 

Peter did the only thing he could do; he went. "Good- 
bye," he said cheerfully at the door. "I hope you will be 
better soon. I didn't mean to be a beast to you. Give the- 



SIMON CALLED PETER 227 

flowers to Lucienne if yoii don't want them; she will be 
able to wear them to-night. Cheerio. Good-bye-ee !" 

"Good-bye-ee!" she echoed after him. And he closed the 
door on her life. 

In front of the Hotel de Ville he met Arnold, returning 
from the club, and the two men walked off together. In a 
moment of impulse he related the whole story to him, 
"Now," he said, "what do you make of all that?" 

Arnold was very moved. It was not his way to say much, 
but he walked on silently for a long time. Then he said: 
"The Potter makes many vessels, but never one needlessly. 
I hold on to that. And He can remake the broken clay." 

"Are you sure?" asked Peter. 

"I am," said Arnold. "It's not in the Westminster Con- 
fession, nor in the Book of Common Prayer, nor, for all I 
know, in the Penny Catechism, but I believe it. God Al- 
mighty must be stronger than the devil, Graham." 

Peter considered this. Then he shook his head. "That 
won't wash, Arnold," he said. "If God is stronger than 
the devil, so that the devil is never ultimately going to suc- 
ceed, I can see no use in letting him have his fling at all. 
And I've more respect for the devil than to think he'd take 
it. It's childish to suppose the existence of two iBUch forces 
at a perpetual game of cheat. Either there is no devil and 
there is no hell — in which case I reckon that there is no 
heaven either, for a heaven would not be a heaven if it were 
not attained, and there would be no true attainment if there 
were no possibility of failure — or else there are all three. 
And if there are all three, the devil wins out, sometimes, in 
the end." 

"Then, God is not almighty?" 

Peter shrugged his shouldd-s. "If I breed white mice, 
I don't lessen my potential power if I choose to let some 
loose in the garden to see if the cat will get them. Besides, 
in the end I could annihilate the cat if I wanted to." 

"You can't think of God so," cried Arnold sharply. 

"Can't I?" demanded Peter, "V^ell, maybe not, Amoldi 



228 SIMON CALLEO'PETER 

I don't know that I can think of Him at all. But I can 
face the facts of life, and if I'm not a coward, I shan't run 
away from them. That's what I've been doing these days, 
and that's what I do not think even a man like yourself does 
fairly. You think, I take it, that a girl like that is damned 
utterly by all Vhe canons of theology, and then, forced on 
by pity and tenderness, you cry out against them all that she 
is God's making and He will not throw her away. Is that 
it?" 

Arnold slightly evaded an. answer. "How can you save 
her, Graham?" he asked. 

"I can't. I don't pretend I can. I've nothing to say or 
do. I see only one flicker of hope, and that lies in the fact 
that she doesn't understand what love is. No shadow of the 
truth has ever come her way. If now, by any chance, she 
could see for one instant — in fact, mind you — ^the face of 
God. ... If God is Love," he added. They walked a 
dozen paceSi "And even then she might refuse," he said. 

"Whose fault would that be ?" demanded the older man. 

Peter answered quickly. "Whose fault? Why, all our 
faults — ^yours and mine, and the fault of men like Pennell 
and Donovan, as well as her own, too, as like as not. We've 
dU helped build up the scheme of things as they are, and we 
are all responsible. We curse the Germans for making this 
damned war, and it is the war that has done most to make 
that girl ; but they didn't make it. No Kaiser made it, and 
no Nietzsche. The only person who had no hand in it that 
I know of was Jesus Christ." 

"And those who have left all and followed Him," said 
Arnold softly. 

"Precious few," retorted Peter. 

The other had nothing to say. 

!^ring tftese months Peter wrote often to Hilda, and with 
increasing frankness. Her replies grew shorter as his 
letters grew longer. It was strange, perhaps, that he should 
continue to write, but the explanation was not far to seek. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 229 

it was by her that he gauged the extent of his separation 
from the old outlook, and in her that he still clung, desper- 
ately, as it were, to the past. Against reason he elevated hei 
into a kind of test position, and if her replies gave him m 
encouragement, they at least served to make him feel the in 
evitableness and the reality of his present position. It woulc 
have been easy to get into the swim and let it carry hin^ 
carelessly on — moderately easy, at any rate. But with 
Hilda to refer to he was forced to take notice, and it wai 
she, therefore, that hastened the end. Just after Christmas, 
in a fit of temporary boldness, he told her about Louise, so 
that it was Louise again who was the responsible person 
during these months. Hilda's reply was delayed, nor had 
she written immediately. When he got it, it was brief but 
to the point. She did not doubt, she said, but that what he 
had written was strictly true, and she did not doubt his 
honour. But he must see that their relationship was im- 
possible. She couldn't marry the man who appeared actually 
to like the company of such a woman, nor could she do other 
than feel that the end would seem to him as plain as it did 
to her, and that he would leave the Church, or at any rate 
such a ministry in it as she could share. She had told her 
people that she was no longer engaged in order that he 
should feel free, but she would ever remember the man 
as she had known him, whom she had loved, and whom she 
loved still. 

It was in the afternoon that Peter got the letter, and he 
was just setting off for the hospital. When he had read it, 
he put on his cap and set off in the opposite direction. There 
was a walk along the sea-wall a few feet wide, where the 
wind blew strongly laden with the Channel breezes, and on 
the other side was a waste of sand and stone. In some 
places water was on both sides of the wall, and here one 
could feel more alone than anywhere else in the town. 

Peter set off, his head in a mad whirl. He had felt that 
such a letter would come for weeks, but that did not, in a 
way, lessen the blow when it came. He had known, too> 



aso SIMON CALLED PETER 

that Hilda was not to him what she had been, but he had 
not altogether felt that she never could be so again. Now 
he knew that he had gone too far to turn back. He felt, 
he could not help it, released in a sense, with almost a sense 
of exhilaration behind it, for the unknown lay before. And 
yet, since we are all so human, he was intensely unhappy be- 
low all this. He called to mind little scenes and bits of 
scenes: their first meeting; the sight of her in church as he 
preached; how she had looked at the dining-table in Park 
Lane; her walk as she came to meet him in the park. And 
he knew well enough how he had hurt her, and the thought 
maddened him. He told himself that God was a devil to 
treat him so ; that he had tried to follow the right ; and that 
the way had led him down towards nothing but despair. Hg 
was no nearer answering the problems that beset him. He 
might have been in a fool's paradise before, but what was 
the use of coming out to see the devil as he was and men 
and women as they were if he could see no more than that? 
The throne of his heart was empty, and there wjis none to 
fill it. 
Julie? 



CHAPTER V 

THE sea-wall ended not far from Donovan's camp of 
mud and cinders, and having got there, Peter thought 
he would go on and get a cup of tea. He crossed the rail- 
way-lines, steered through a great American rest camp, 
crossed the canal, and entered the camp. It was a cheer- 
less place in winter, and the day was drawing in early with 
a damp fog. A great French airship was cruising around 
overhead and dropping down towards her resting-place in 
the great hangar near by. She looked cold and ghostly up 
aloft, the more so when her engines were shut off, and Peter 
thought how chilly her crew must be. He had a hankering 
after Donovan's cheery humour, especially as he had not 
seen him for some time. He crossed the camp and made 
for the mess-room. 

It was lit and the curtains were drawn, and, at the door, 
he stopped dead at the sound of laughter. Then he walked 
quickly in. "Caught out, by Jove!" said Donovan's voice. 
"You're for it, Julie." 

A merry party sat round the stove, taking tea. Julie and 
Miss Raynard were both there, with Pennell and another 
man from Donovan's camp. Julie wore furs and had plainly 
just come in, for her cheeks were glowing with exercise. 
Pennell was sitting next Miss Raynard, but Donovan, on a 
wooden camp-seat, just beyond where Julie sat in a big 
cushioned chair, looked out at him from almost under 
Julie's arm, as he bent forward. The other man was stand- 
ing by the table, teapot in hand. 

One thinks quickly at such a time, and Peter's mind raced. 
Something of the old envy and almost fear of Donovan that 
he had had first that day in the hospital came back to him. 
He had not seen the two together for so long that it struck 
him like a blow to hear Donovan call her by her Christian 



232 SIMON CALLED PETER 

name. It flashed across his mind also that she knew that It 
was his day at the hospital, and that she had deliberately 
gone out ; but it dawned on him equally quickly that he musv 
hide all that. 

"I should jolly well think so," he said, laughing. "How 
do you do. Miss Raynard? Donovan, can you give me some, 
tea? I've come along the sea-wall, and picked up a regular 
appetite. Are you in the habit of taking tea here, Julie? 1 
thought nurses were not allowed in camps." 

She looked at him quickly, but he missed the meaning of 
her glance. "Rather," she said ; "I come here for tea about 
once a week, don't I, Jack? No, nurses are not allowed in 
camps, but I always do what's not allowed as far as possible. 
And this is so snug and out of the way. Mr. Pennell, you 
can give me a cigarette now." 

The other man offered Peter tea, which he took. "And 
how did the festivities go off at Christmas?" he asked. 

"Oh, topping," said Julie. "Let me see, you were at the 
play, so I needn't talk about that; hut you thought it good, 
didn't you?" 

"Rippin'!" said Peter. 

"Well," said Julie, "then there was the dance on Boxing 
Night. We had glorious fun. Jack, here, behaved per- 
fectly abominably. He sat out about half the dances, and I 
should think he kissed every pretty girl in the room. Then 
we went down to the nurses' quarters of the officers' hos^ 
pital and made cocoa of all things, and had a few more 
dances on our own. They made me dance a skirt dance on 
the table, and as I had enough laces on this time, I did. 
After that — ^but I don't think I'll tell you what we did after 
that. Why didn't you come?" 

Peter had been at a big Boxing Night entertainment for 
the troops in the Y.M.C.A. Central Hall, but he did not say 
so. "Oh," he said, "I had to go to another stunt, but I 
must say I wish I'd been at yours. May I have another 
cup of tea?" 

The third man gave it to him again, and then, apolog^zing^^ 



SIMON CALLED PETER 233 

left the room. Donovan exchanged glances with Julie, and 
she nodded. 

"I say, Graham," said Donovan, "I'll tell you what we've 
really met here for to-day. We were going to fix it up and 
then ask you; but as you've dropped in, we'll take it as a 
dispensation of Providence and let you into the know. What 
do you say to a really sporting dinner at the New Year?" 

"Who's to be asked?" queried Peter, looking round. 
"Fives into a dinner won't go." 

"I should think not," cried Julie gaily. "Jack, here, is 
taking me, aren't you?" Donovan said "I am" with great 
emphasis, and made as if he would kiss her, and she pushed 
him off, laughing, holding her muff to his face. Then she 
went on: "You're to take Tommy. It is Tommy's own 
particular desire, and you ought to feel flattered. She says 
your auras blend, whatever that may be ; and as to Mr. Pen- 
nell, he's got a girl elsewhere whom he will ask. Three 
and three make six; what do you think of that?" 

"Julie," said Tommy Raynard composedly, "you're the 
most fearful liar I've ever met. But I trust Captain Graham 
knows you well enough by now." 

"I do," said Peter, but a trifle grimly, though he tried not 
to show it — "I do. I must say I'm jolly glad Donovan will 
be responsible for you. It's going to be 'some' evening, I 
can see, and what you'll do if you get excited I don't know. 
Flirt with the proprietor and have his wife down on us, as 
like as not. In which event it's Donovan who'll have to 
make the explanations. But come on, what are the details ?" 

"Tell him. Jack," said Julie. "He's a perfect beast, and 
I shan't speak to him again." 

Peter laughed. "Pas possible," he said. "But come on, 
Donovan ; do as you're told." 

"Well, old bird," said Donovan, "first we meet here. Got 
that ? It's safer than any other camp, and we don't want to 
meet in town. We'll have tea and a chat and then clear off. 
We'll order dinner in a private room at the Grand, and it'll 
be a dinner fi^- for the occasion. They've got some priceless 



234 SIMON CALLED PETER 

sherry there, and some old white port. Cognac fine cham. 
pagne for the liqueur, and what date do you think? — 1833 
as I'm alive. I saw some the other day, and spoke about it. 
That gave me the idea of the dinner really, and I put it to 
the old horse that that brandy was worthy of a dinner to 
introduce it. He tumbled at once. Veuve Cliquot as the 
main wine. What about it?" 

Peter balanced himself on the back of his chair and blew 
out cigarette-smoke. 

"What time are you ordering the ambulances?" he de 
manded. 

"The beds, you mean," cried Julie, entirely forgetting her 
last words. "That's what I say. / shall never be able to 
walk to a taxi even." 

"I'll carry you," said Donovan. 

"You won't be able, not after such a night; besides, I 
don't believe you could, anyhow. You're getting flabby from 
lack of exercise." 

"Am I?" cried Donovan. "Let's see, anyway." 

He darted at her, slipped an arm under her skirts and 
another under her arms, and lifted her bodily from the chair. 

"Jack," she shrieked, "put me down! Oh, you beast! 
Tommy, help, help ! Peter, make him put me down and I'll 
forgive you all you've said." 

Tommy Rajmard sprang up, laughing, and ran after Dono- 
van, who could not escape her. She threw an arm round 
his neck and bent his head backwards. "I shall drop her," 
he shouted. Peter leaped forward, and Julie landed in his 
arms. 

For a second she lay still, and Peter stared down at her. 
With her quick intuition she read something new in his eyes, 
and instantly looked away, scrambling out and standii^ there 
flushed and breathing hard, her hands at her hair. "You 
perfect brute!" she said to Donovan, laughing. "Ill pay 
you out, see if I don't. All my hair's coming down." 

"Capital 1" said Donovan. "I've never seen it down, and 
I'd love to. Here, let me help." 



SIMON CALLED PETER 23s 

He darted at her ; she dodged behind Peter ; he adroitly 
put out a foot, and Donovan collapsed into the big chair. 

Julie clapped her hands and rushed at him, seizing a 
cushion, and the two struggled there till Tommy Raynard 
pulled Julie forcibly away. 

"Julie," she said, "this is a positive bear-garden. You 
must behave." 

"And I," said Pennell, who had not moved, "would like 
to know a little more about the dinner." He spoke so dryly 
that they all laughed, and order was restored. Donovan, 
however, refused to get out of the big chair, and Julie de- 
liberately sat on his knee, smiling provocatively at him. 

Peter felt savage and bitter. Like a man, he was easily 
deceived, and he had been taken by surprise at a bad 
moment. But he did his best to hide it, and merely threw 
any remnants of caution he had left at all to the winds. 

"I suppose this is the best we can hope for. Captain 
Graham," said Miss Raynard placidly. "Perhaps now 
you'll give us your views. Captain Donovan never gets 
beyond the drinks, but I agree with Mr. Pennell we want 
something substantial." 

"I'm blest if I don't think you all confoundedly ungrate- 
ful," said Donovan. "I worked that fine champagne for 
you beautifully. Anyone would think you could walk in 
and order it any day. If we get it at all, it'll be due to me 
and my blarney. Not but what it does deserve a good 
introduction," he added. "I don't suppose there's another 
bottle in the town." 

Tommy sighed. "He's off again, or he will be," she said. 
"Do be quick. Captain Graham." 

"Well," said Peter. "I suggest, first, that you leave the 
ordering of the room to me, and the decorations. I've most 
time, and I'd like to choose the flowers. And the smokes and 
crackers. And I'll worry round and get some menu-cards, 
and have 'em printed in style. And, if you like, I'll inter- 
view the chef and see what he can give us. It's not much 
use our discussing details without him." 



236 SIMON CALLED PETER 

" 'A Daniel come to judgment,' " said Pennell. "Padre, 
I didn't know you had it in you." 

"A Solomon," said Julie mischievously. 

"A Peter Graham," said Miss Rajmard. "I always knew 
he had more sense in his little finger than all the rest of 
you in your heads." 

Donovan sighed from the depths of the chair. "Graham," 
he said, "for Heaven's sake remember those . . ." 

Juhe clapped her hand over his mouth. He kissed it. She 
withdrew it with a scream. 

". . . Drinks," finished Donovan. "The chef must sug- 
gest accordin'." 

"Well," said Pennell, "I reckon that's settled satisfac- 
torily. I'll get out my invitation. In fact, I think, if I may 
be excused, I'll go and do it now." He got up and reached 
for his cap. 

They all laughed. "We'll see to it that there's mistletoe," 
cried Julie. 

"Ah, thanks!" said Pennell; "that will be jolly, though 
some people I know seem to get on well enough without it. 
So long. See you later, padre." 

He avoided Julie's flung cushion and stepped through the 
door. Miss Ra3mard got up. "We ought to get a move on 
too, my dear," she said to Julie. 

"Oh, not yet," protested Donovan. "Let's have some 
bridge. There are just four of us." 

"You can never have played bridge with Julie, Captain 
Donovan," said Miss Raynard. "She usually flings the 
cards at you half way through the rubber. And she never 
counts. The other night she played a diamond instead of 
a heart, when hearts were trumps, and she had the last and 
all the rest of the tricks in her hand." 

"Ah, well," said Donovan, "women are like that. They 
often mistake diamonds for hearts." 

"Jack," said Julie, "you're really clever. How do you 
do it ? I had wc vdea. Does it hurt ? But don't do it again ; 



SIMON CALLED PETER 23? 

you might break something. Peter, you've been praised 
this evening, but you'd never think of that." 

"He would not," said Miss Raynard. . . . "Come on, 
Julie." 

Peter hesitated a second. Then he said: "You're going 
my way. May I see you home?" 

"Thanks," said Miss Raynard, and they all made a move. 

"It's deuced dark," said Donovan. "Here, let me. I'll go 
first with a candle so that you shan't miss the duck-boards." 

He passed out, Tommy Raynard after him. Peter stood 
back to let Julie pass, and as she did so she said: "You're 
very glum and very polite to-night, Solomon. What's the 
matter?" 

"Am I ?" said Peter ; "I didn't know it. And in any case 
Donovan is all right, isn't he?" 

He could have bitten his tongue out the next minute. She 
looked at him and then began to laugh silently, and, still 
laughing, went out before him. Peter followed miserably. 
At the gate Donovan said good-bye, and the three set out 
for the hospital. Miss Raynard walked between Peter and 
Julie, and did most of the talking, but the ground was rough 
and the path narrow, and it was not until they got on to the 
dock road that much could be said. 

"This is the best Christmas I've ever had," declared Miss 
Raynard. "I'm feeling positively done up. There was 
something on every afternoon and evening last week, and 
then Julie sits on my bed till daybreak, more or less, and 
smokes cigarettes. We've a bottle of benedictine, too, and 
it always goes to her head. The other night she did a Salome 
dance on the strength of it." 

"It was really fine," said Julie. "You ought to have 
seen me." 

"Till the towel slipped off : not then, I hope," said Tommy 
dryly. 

"I don't suppose he'd have minded — would you, Peter?" 

"Not a bit," said Peter cheerfully — "on the contrary." 



'238 SIMON CALLED PETER 

"I don't know if you two are aware that you are positively 
indecent," said Tommy. "Let's change the subject. What's 
your news, Captain Graham?" 

Peter smiled in the dark to himself. "Well," he said, "not 
much, but I'm hoping for leave soon. I've pushed in for it, 
and our Adjutant told me this morning he thought it would 
go through." 

"Lucky man ! I've got to wait three months. But yours 
ought to be about now, Julie." 

"I think it ought," said Julie shortly. Then: "What about 
the menu-cards, Peter? Would you like me to help you 
choose them?" 

"Would you?" said he eagerly. "To-morrow?" 

"I'ni on duty at five o'clock, but I can get off for an hour 
in the afternoon. Could you come. Tommy?" 

"No. Sorry ; but I must write letters. I haven't written 
one for ages." 

"Nor have I," said Julie, "but I don't mean to. I hate 
letters. Well, what about it, Peter?" 

"I should think we had better try that stationer's in the 
Rue Thiers," he said. "If that won't do, the Nouvelles 
Galleries might. What do you think?" 

"Let's try the Galleries first. We could meet there. Say 
at three, eh ? I want to get some baby-ribbon, too." 

Tommy sighed audibly. "She's off again," she said. 

"Thank God, here's the hospital! Good-night, Captain 
Graham. You mustn't cross the Rubicon to-night." 

"You oughtn't to swear before him," said Julie in mock 
severity. "And what in the world is the Rubicon?" 

"Materially, to-night, it's the railway-line between his 
camp and the hospital," said Tommy Raynard. "What else 
it is I'll leave him to decide." 

She held out her hand, and Peter saw a quizzical look on 
her face. He turned rather hopelessly to Julie. "I say," 
he said, "didn't you know it was my afternoon at the 
hospital?" 



SIMON CALLED PETER 239 

"Yes," said Julie, "and I knew you didn't ccmie. At least 
I couldn't see you in any of the wards." 

"Oh," he exdaimed, "I thought you'd been out al' le 
afternoon. I'm sorry. I am a damned fool, Julie!" 

She laughed in the darkness. "I've known worse, Peter, 
«he said, and was gone. 

Next day Julie was in her most provocative of moods. 
Peter, eminently respectable in his best tunic, waited ten 
minutes for her outside the Nouvelles Galleries, and, like 
most men in his conditkMi, considered that she was never 
coming, and that he was the cynosure of neighbouring eyes. 
When she did come, she was not apparently aware that she 
was late. She ran her eyes over him, and gave a pretended 
gasp of surprise. "You're looking wonderful. Padre 
Graham," she said. "Really, you're hard to live up to. 
I never know what to expect or how to behave. Those black 
buttons terrorise me. Come on." 

She insisted on getting her ribbon first, and turned over 
everything there was to be seen at that counter. The French 
girl who served them was highly amused. 

"Isn't that chic?" Julie demanded of Peter, holding up a 
lacy camisole and deliberately putting it to her shoulders. 
"Wouldn't you love to see me in it?" 

"I would," he said, without the ghost of a smile. 

"Wdl, you never will, of course," she said. "I shall never 
marry or be given in marriage, and in any case, in that 
uniform, you've nothing whatever to hope for. . . Yes, I'll 
take that ribbon, thank you, ma'm'selle. Peter, I suppose 
you can't carry it for me. Your pocket? Not a bad idea; 
but let me put it in." 

Peter stood while she undid his breast-podcet and stuffed 
it inside. 

"Anything more?" demanded the French saleswoman 
interrogatively. 

"Not to-day, merci," said Julie. "You see, Peter, yot» 



240 SIMON CALLED PETER 

couldn't carry undies for me, even in your pocket ; it wouldn't 
be respectable. Do come on. You will keep us here the 
entire day." 

They passed the smoking department, and she stopped 
suddenly. "Peter," she said, "I'm going to give you a pipe. 
Those chocolates you gave me at Christmas were too de- 
licious for anything. What sort do you like? A briar? Let 
me see if it blows nicely." She put it to her lips. "I swear 
I shall start a pipe soon, in my old age. By the way, I don't 
believe you have any idea how old I am — ^have you, Peter? 
Guess." 

She was quick to note the return to his old manner. He 
was nervous with her, not sure of himself, and so not sure 
of her either. And she traded on it. At the stationery 
department she made eyes at a couple of officers, and 
insisted on examining Kirschner picture-postcards, some of 
which she would not show him. "You can't possibly be seen 
looking at them with those badges up," she whispered. "Dear 
me, if only Donovan were here ! He wouldn't mind, and I 
don't know which packet I like best. These have got very 
little on, Peter — very little, but I'm not sure that they are 
not more decent than those. It's much worse than a camisole, 
you know. . . ." 

Peter was horribly conscious that the men were smiling at 
her. "Juhe," he said desperately, "do be sensible, just for 
a minute. We must get those menu-cards." 

"Well, you go and find the books," she said merrily. "1 
told you you ought not to watch me buy these. I'll take 
the best care of myself," and she looked past him towards 
the men. 

Peter gave it up. "Julie," he said savagely, "if you make 
eyes any more, I'll kiss you here and now — I swear I will." 

Julie laughed her little nearly silent chuckle, and looked 
at him. "I believe you would, Peter," she said, "and I 
certainly mustn't risk that. I'll be good. Are those the 
books ? Fetch me a chair, then, and I'll look through them." 

He bent over her as she turned the leaves. She wore a 



SIMON CALLED PETER 241 

little toque that had some relation to a nurse's uniform, but 
was distinctive of Julie. Her fringe of brown hair lay along 
her forehead, and the thick masses of the rest of it tempted 
him almost beyond endurance. "How will that do?" she 
demanded, her eyes dancing. "Oh, do look at the cards and 
not at me! You're a terrible person to bring shopping, 
Peter !" 

The card selected, she had a bright idea. "What about 
candle-shades?" she queried. "We can't trust the hotel. I 
want some with violets on them: I love violets." 

"Do you?" he said eagerly. "That's just what I wanted 
to know. Yes, it's a fine idea ; let's go and get them." 

Outside, she gave a sigh of relief, and looked at the little 
gold wrist-watch on her arm. "We've time," she said. 
"Take me to tea." 

"You must know it's not possible," he said. "They're 
enforcing the order, and one can't get tea anywhere." 

She shook her head at him. "I think, Peter," she said, 
"you'll never learn the ropes. Follow me." 

Not literally, but metaphorically, he followed her. She 
led him to a big confectioner's with two doors and several 
windows, in each of which was a big notice of the new law 
forbidding teas or the purchase of chocolates. Inside, she 
walked up to a girl who was standing by a counter, and who 
greeted her with a smile. "It is cold outside," she said. 
"May I have a warm by the fire?" 

"Certainly, mademoiselle," said the girl. "And monsieur 
«lso. Will it please you to come round here?" 

They went behind the counter and in at a little door. 
There was a fire in the grate of the small kitchen, and a kettle 
singing on the hob. Julie sat down on a chair at the wooden 
table and looked round with satisfaction. 

"Why, it's all ready for us!" she exclaimed. "Chocolate 
cakes, Suzanne, please, and hot buttered scones. I'll butter 
them, if you bring the scones." 

They came, and she went to the fire, splitting them open 
and spreading the butter lavishly. "I love France," she said. 



242 SIMON CALLED PETER 

"All laws are made to be broken, which is all that laws are 
good for, don't you think ?" 

"Yes," he said deliberately, glancing at the dosed door, 
and bent and kissed her neck. She looked up imperiously. 
"Again," she said; and he kissed her on the lips. At that 
she jumped up with a quick return to the old manner: 
"Peter! For a parson you are the outside edge. Go and 
sit down over there and recollect yourself. To begin with, 
if we're found here, therell be a row, and if you're caught 
kissing me, who knows what will happen?" 

He obeyed gaily. "Chaff away, Julie," he said, "but I 
shan't wear black buttons at the dinner. You'll have to look 
out that night." 

She put the scones on the table, and sat down. "And if 
I don't ?" she queried. Peter said nothing. He had suddenly 
thought of something. He looked at her, and for the first 
time she would not meet his eyes. 

It was thought better on New Year's Eve that they should 
go separately to Donovan's camp, so Peter and Pennell set 
out for it alone. By the canal Pennell left his friend to go 
and meet Elsie Harding, the third girl. Peter went on alone, 
and found Donovan, giving some orders in the camp. He 
stood with him till they saw the other four, who had met 
on the tow-path, coming in together. 

"He's a dark horse," called Julie, almost before they had 
come up, "and so's she. Fancy Elsie being the third! I 
didn't know they knew each other. We're a Colonial party 
to-night, Jack — all except Peter, that is, for Mr. Pennell is 
more Canadian than English. We'll teach them. By the 
way, I can't go on saying 'Mr. Pennell' all night. What 
shall I call him, Elsie?" 

Peter saw that the newcomer wore an Australian brooch, 
and caught the unmistakable but charming accent in her 
reply. "He's 'Trevor' to me, and he can be to you, if you 
like, Julie," she said. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 24J 

Tommy sighed audibly. "They're beginning early," she 
said; "but I suppose the rest of us had better {<)llow the 
general example— eh, Peter?" 

In the anteroom, where tea was ready, Peter saw that 
Elsie was likely to play Julie a good second. She was tall, 
taller than Pennell himself, and dark skinned, with black 
hair and full red lips, and rather bigly built. It appeared 
that her great gift was a set of double joints that allowed 
her to play the contortionist with great effect. "You should 
just see her in tights," said Julie. "Trevor, why didn't you 
say whom you were bringing, and I'd have made her put 
them on. Then we could have had an exhibition, but, as it 
is, I suppose we can't." 
"I didn't know you knew her," he said, 
"You never have time to talk of other people when youVe 
together, I suppose," she retorted. "Well, I've no doubt yois 
make the most of your opportunities, and you're very wise. 
But to-night you've got to behave, more or less — ^at least, 
till after the coffee. Otherwise all our preparations will be 
wasted^ — won't they, Peter?" 

After tea they set off together for the tram-car that ran 
into town. It was Julie who had decided this. She said 
she liked to see the people, and the cars were so perfectly 
absurd, which was true. Also, that it would be too early to 
enjoy taxis, the which was very like her. So they wallted in 
a body to the terminus, where a crowd of Tommies and 
French workmen and factory girls were waiting. The night 
was cloudy and a little damp, but it had the effect of adding 
mystery to the otherwise ugly street, and to the great ships 
under repair in the dockyards close by. The lights of the 
tram appeared at length round the corner, an engine-car and 
two trailers. There was a bolt for them. They were packed 
on the steps, and the men had to use elbows freely to get the 
whole party in, but the soldiers and the workmen were in 
excellent humour, and the French girls openly admiring of 
Julie. In the result, then, they were all hunched up in the 



344 SIMON CALLED PETER 

find of a "first" compartment, and Peter found himself wit 
his back to the glass door, Julie on his rights Elsie on his left 

"Every rib I have is broken," said the former. 

"The natural or the artificial?" demanded Elsie. "Per- 
sonally, I think I broke a few of other people's." 

They started, and the rattling of the ramshackle cars 
stopped conversation. Julie drew Peter's attention to a 
little scene on the platform outside, and he looked through 
the glass to see a big French linesman with his girl. The 
man had got her into a corner, and then, coolly putting his 
arms out on either side to the hand-rail and to the knob of 
their door, he was facing his amorata, indifferent to the 
world. Peter looked at the girl's coarse face. She was a 
factory hand, bareheaded, and her sleeves were rolled up 
at her elbows. For all that, she was neat, as a Frenchwoman 
invariably is. The girl caught his gaze, and smiled. The 
linesman followed the direction of her eyes and glanced 
friendlily at Peter too. Then he saw Julie. A look of ad- 
miration came over his face, and he put one hand comically to 
his heart. The girl slapped it in a pretended fury, and Julie 
doubled up with laughter in her corner. Peter bent over her. 
" 'Everybody s doing it, doing it, doing «*/" he quoted 
merrily. 

The tram stopped in the square before the Hotel de VilK 
There was a great air of festivity and bustle about as they 
stepped out, for the New Year is a great time in France. 
Lights twinkled in the misty dark; taxis sprinted across the 
open spaces; and people greeted each other gaily by the 
brightly-lit shops. Somehow or another the whole thing 
went to Peter's head like wine. The world was good and 
merry, he thought exultantly, and he, after all, a citizen of 
it. He caught Julie's arm. "Come on," he called to the 
others. "I know the way." And to her: "Isn't it topping? 
Do you feel gloriously exhilarated? I don't know why, 
Julie, but I could do anything to-night." 

She slipped her fingers down into his hand. "I'm so 
glad," she said. "So could I." 



SIMON CALLED PETER 245 

They whirled across the road, the others after them, round 
the little park in the centre of the square, and down an 
empty side-street. Peter had reconnoitred all approaches, 
he said, and this was the best way. Begging him to give 
her time to breathe. Tommy came along with Donovan, and 
it suddenly struck Peter that the latter seemed happy enough. 
He pressed Julie's hand : "Donovan's dropped into step with 
Tommy very easily," he said. "Do you mind?" 

She laughed happily and glanced back. "You're as blinc 
as a bat, Peter, when all's said and done," she said ; "but oh, 
my dear, I can't play with you to-night. There's only one 
person I want to walk with Peter." 

Peter all but shouted. He drew her to him, and for once 
Julie was honestly alarmed. 

"Not now, you mad boy!" she exclaimed, but her eyes 
were enough for him. 

"All right," he laughed at her; "wait a bit. There's 
time yet." 

In the little entrance-hall the maitre d'hotel greeted them. 
They were the party of importance that night. He ushered 
them upstairs and opened a door. The mademoiselles might 
make the toilette there. Another door : they would eat here. 

The men deposited their caps and sticks and coats on pegs 
outside, and the girls, who had had to come in uniform also, 
were ready as soon as they. They went in together. Elsie 
gave a little whistle of surprise. 

Peter had certainly done well. Holly and mistletoe were 
round the walls, and a big bunch of the latter was placed in 
such a way that it would hang over the party as they sat 
afterwards by the fire. In the centre a silver bowl held 
glorious roses, white and red, and at each girl's place was 
a bunch of Parma violets and a few sprigs of flowering 
mimosa. Bon-bons were spread over the white cloth. Julie's 
candle-shades looked perfect, and so did the menu-cards. 

"I trust that monsieur is satisfied," said the maitre d'hotel, 
bowing towards the man who had had the dealings with 
him. He got his answer, but not from Peter, and. being 9 



246 SIMON CALLED PETER 

Frenchman, smiled, bowed again, and discreetly left the 
room ; for Elsie, turning to Peter cried : "Did you do it — 
even the wattle?" and kissed him heartily. He kissed her 
back, and caught hold of Julie. "Tit for tat," he said to her 
under his breath, holding her arms ; "do yoa remember our 
first taxi ?" Then, louder : "Julie is responsible for most of 
it," and he kissed her too. 

They sorted themselves out at last, and the dinner, that 
two of them at least who were there that night were never 
to forget, began. They were uproariously merry, and the 
two girls who waited came and went wreathed in smiles. 

With the champagne came a discussion over the cork„ 
"Give it to me," cried Julie ; "I want to wear it for luck." 

"So do I," said Elsie ; "we must toss for it." 

Julie agreed, and they spun a coin solemnly. 

"It's mine," .cried Elsie, and pounced for it. 

Julie snatched it away. "No, you don't," she said. "A 
man must put it in, or there's no luck in it. Here you are, 
Trevor." 

Pennell took it, laughing, and pushed back his chair. The 
others stood up and and craned over to see. Elsie drew up 
her skirt and Trevor pushed it down her stocking amid 
screams of laughter, arid the rattle of chaff. 

"No higher or I faint," said Tommy. 

Trevor stood up, a little flushed. "Here," said Peter, filling 
his glass with what was left in the bottle, "drink this, Pen. 
You sure want it." 

"It's your turn next," said Trevor, "and, by Jove, the 
bottle's empty! Encore le vin," he called. 

"Good idea. It's Julie's next cork, and Graham's the man 
to do it," said Jack Donovan. "And then it'll be your tiu-n 
Tommy." 

"And yours," she said, glancing at him. 

"Bet you won't dar«," said Elsie. 

"Who won't?" retorted Julie. 

"Peter, of course." 



SIMON CALLED PETER j^, 

"My dear, you don't know Peter. Here you are, Peter ; 
let's show them." 

She tossed the cork to him and stood up coolly, put up her 
foot on the edge of the table, and lifted her skirt. Peter 
pushed the cork into its traditional place amid cheers, but 
he hardly heard. His fingers had touched her skin, and he 
had seen the look in her eyes. No wine could have intoxi- 
cated him so. 'He raised his glass. "Toasts!" he shouted. 

They took him up and everyone rose to their feet. 

"'Here's to all those that I love; 
Here's to all those that love me; 
Here's to all those that love them that love those 
That love those that love them that love me!'" 

he chanted. 

"Julie's turn," cried Elsie. 

"No," she said; "they know all my toasts." 

"Not all," said Donovan; "there was one you never fin- 
ished — something about Blighty." 

"Rhymes with nighty," put in Tommy coolly ; "don't you 
remember, Julie?" 

It seemed to Peter that he and Julie stood there looking 
it each other for seconds, but probably no one but Tommy 
noticed. "Take it as read," cried Peter boisterously, and 
emptied his glass. His example was infectious, and they all 
followed suit, but Donovan remarked across the table to him : 

"You spoiled a humorous situation, old dear." 

Dinner over, they pushed the table against the wall, and 
pulled chairs round the fire. Dessert, crackers, chocolates 
and cigarettes were piled on a small table, and the famous 
liqueur came in with the coffee. They filled the little glasses. 
"This is a great occasion," said Donovan; "let's celebrate it 
properly. Julie, give us a dance first." 

She sprang up at once. "Right-o," she said. "Clear the 
table." 

They pushed everything to one side, and Peter held out 



248 SIMON CALLED PETER 

his hand. Just touching his fingers, she leaped up, and next 
minute circled there in a whirl of skirts. A piano stood in 
a comer of the room, and Elsie ran to it. Looking over her 
shoulder, she caught the pace, and the notes rang out merrily. 

Julie was the very spirit of devilment and fun. So light ■ 
that she seemed hardly to touch the table, she danced as if 
bom to it. It was such an incarnation of grace and music 
that a little silence fell on them all. To Peter she appeared 
to dance to him. He could not take his eyes off her; he 
cared nothing what others thought or saw. There was a 
mist before him' and thunder in his ears. He saw only her 
flushed, childlike face and sparkling brown eyes, and a wave 
of her loosened hair that slipped across them. . . , 

The music ceased. Panting for breath, she leaped down 
amid a chorus of "Bravo's !" and held out her hand for the 
liqueur-glass. Peter put it in her fingers, and he was 
trembling more than she, and spilt a little of it. "Well, 
here's tlie best," she cried, and raised the glass. Then, with 
a gay laugh, she put her moistened fingers to his mouth and 
he kissed them, the spirit on his lips. 

And now Elsie must show herself off. They sat down to 
watch her, and a more insidious feeling crept over Peter as 
he did so. The girl bent her body this way and that ; arched 
herself over and looked at them between her feet; twisted 
herself awry and made faces at them. They laughed, but 
there was a new note in the laughter. An intense look had 
come into Pennell's Jace, and Donovan was lolling back, his 
head on one side, smiling evilly. 

She finished and straightened herself, and they had more 
of the liqueur. Then Tommy, as usual, remembered herself. 
"Girls," she said, "we must go. It's fearfully late." 

Donovan sat up. "What about taxis ?" he demanded. 

Peter went to the door. "They'll fetch them," he said. 
"I've made an arrangement." 

He went a little unsteadily to find the maitre d'hotel, and 
a boy was despatched, while he settled the bill. They were 
tramping down the stairs as he came out of the little offi*"* 



SIMON CALLED PETER 249 

Julie leading and laughing uproariously at some joke. 
Donovan and Tommy were the steadiest, and they came 
down together. It seemed to Peter that it was natural for 
them to do so. 

Pennell and Elsie got into one taxi. She leaned out of 
the window and waved her hand. "We're the luckkst," 
she called ; "we've the farthest to go. Good-nigljt everyone, 
and thanks ever so much." 

A second taxi came up. "Jump in, Julie," said Tommy. 

She got in, and Peter put his hand on the door. "I've 
settled everything, Donovan," he said. "See you to-morrow. 
Good-night, Tommy." 

"Good-night," she called back, and he got in. And next 
minute he was alone with Julie. 

In the closed and darkened taxi he put his arm round her 
and drew her to him. "Oh, my darling," he murmured. 
"Julie, do you love me as I love you ? I can't live without 
you." He covered her face with hot kisses, and she kissed 
him back. 

"Julie," he said at length, breathlessly, "listen. My leave's 
come. I knew this morning. Couldn't you possibly be in 
England when I am? I saw you first on the boat coming 
over — remember ? And you're due again." 

"When do you go?" she queried. 

"Fourteenth," he answered. 

She considered. "I couldn't get off by then," she said, 
"but I might the twenty-first or thereabouts. I'm due, as 
you say, and I think it could be managed" 

"Would you ?" he demanded, and hung on her words. 

She turned her face up to him, and even in the dark he 
could see her glowing eyes. "It would be heaven, Peter," 
she whispered. 

He kissed her passionately. 

"I could meet you in town easily," he said, 

"Not the leave-boat train," she replied; "it's not safe. 
Anyone might be there. But I'll run down for a day or two 
to some friends in Sussex, and then come up to visit more in 



250 SIMON CALLED PETER 

town. I know very few people, of course, and ali my rela- 
tions are in South Africa. No one would know to whom I 
went, and if I didn't go to them, Peter, why nobody would 
know either.' 

"Splendid!" he answered, the blood pounding in his 
temples. "I'll make all the arrangements. Shall I take a 
flat, or shall we go to an hotel? An hotel's more fun, 
perhaps, and we can have a suite." 

She leaned over against him and caught his hand to her 
breast, with a little intake of breath. 

"I'll leave it all to you, my darling," she whispered. 

The taxi swung into the clearing before the hospital. 
"Peter," said Julie, "Tommy's so sharp; I believe she'll 
suspect something." 

"I don't care a damn for anyone!" said Peter fiercdy; 
"let her. I only want you." 



CHAPTER VI 

JpETER secured his leave for Monday the 21st from 
-I- Boulogne, which necessitated his leaving Le Havre at 
least twenty-four hours before that day. There were two 
ways of travelling— across country in a troop-train, or by 
French expresses via Paris. He had heard so much of the 
latter plan that he determined to try it. It had appeared to 
belong to the reputation of the Church. 

His movement order was simply from the one port to the 
other, and was probably good enough either way round with 
French officials ; but there was a paper attached to it indicat- 
ing that the personnel in question would report at such a 
time to the R.T.O. at such a station, and the time and the 
station spelt troop-train unmistakably. Now, the troop-train 
«et out on its devious journey an hour later than the Paris 
express from the same station, and the hour of the Paris 
express corresponded with the time that all decent officers 
go to dinner. Peter therefore removed the first paper, folded 
it up thoughtfully, and put it in his pocket. He then re- 
ported to the R.T.O. a quarter of an hour before the Paris 
train started, and found, as he expected, a N.C.O. in sole 
charge. The man took his paper and read it. He turned 
it over ; there was no indication of route anywhere. "Which 
train are you going by, sir ?" he asked. 

"Paris mail," said Peter coolly. "Will you please put my 
stuff in a first?" 

"Certairdy, sir," said the man, endorsed the order to that 
effect, and shouldered a suit-case. Peter followed him. He 
was given a first to himself, and the Deputy R.T.O. saw 
the French inspector and showed him the paper. Peter 
strolled off and collected a bottle of wine, some sandwiches, 

251 



252 SIMON CALLED PETER 

and some newspapers; then he made himself comfortable. 
The train left punctually. Peter lay back in his corner and 
watched the country slip by contentedly. He had grown up, 
had this young man. 

He arrived in Paris with the dawn of Sunday morning, 
and looked out cautiously. There was no English official 
visible. However, his papers were entirely correct, and he 
climbed up the stairs and wandered along a corridor in which 
hands and letters from time to time indicated the lair of 
the R.T.O. Arriving, he found another officer waiting, but 
no R.T.O. The other was "bored stiff," he said; he had 
sat there an hour, but had seen no sign of the Transport 
Officer. Peter smiled, and replied that he had no intention 
whatever of waiting; he only wanted to know the times of 
the Boulogne trains. These he discovered by the aid of a 
railway guide on the table, and selected the midnight train, 
which would land him in Boulogne in time for the first 
leave-boat, if the train were punctual and the leave-boat not 
too early. In any case, he could take the second, which 
would only mean Victoria a few hours later that same day. 
And these details settled, he left his luggage in a corner and 
strolled off into the city. 

A big city, seen for the first time by oneself alone when 
one does not know a soul in it, may be intensely boring or 
intensely interesting. It depends on oneself. Peter was in 
the mood to be interested. He was introspective. It pleased 
him to watch the early morning stir ; to see the women come 
out in shawls and slipshod slippers and swill down their bit 
of pavement; to see sleepy shopkeepers take down their 
shutters and street-vendors set up their stalls ; to try to gauge 
the thoughts and doings of the place from the shop-windows 
and the advertisements. His first need was a wash and a 
shave, and he got both at a little barber's in which monsieur 
attended to him, while madame, in considerable nigUgee, 
made her toilette before the next glass. His second was 
breakfast, and he got it, h I'anglaise, with an omelette and 
jam, in a just-stirring hotel ; and then, set up, he strolled off 



SIMON CALLED PETER 253 

for the centre of things. Many Masses were in progress 
at the Madeleine, and he heard one or two with a curious 
contentment, but they had no lesson for him, probably be- 
cause of the foreign element in the atmosphere, and he did 
not pray. Still, he sate, chiefly, and watched, until he felt 
how entirely he was a stranger here, and went out into the 
sun. 

He made his way to the river, and lingered there long. 
The great cathedral, with its bare January trees silhouetted 
to the last twig against the clear sky, its massive buttresses, 
and its cluster of smaller buildings, held his imagination. 
H« went in, but they were beginning to sing Mass, and he 
soon came out. He crossed to the farther bank and found 
a seat and lit a pipe. Sitting there, his imagination awoke. 
He conceived the pageant of faith that had raised those 
walls. Elings and lords and knights, all the glitter and gold 
of the Middle Ages, had come there — and gone ; Bishops and 
Archbishops, and even Popes, had had their day of splendour 
there — ^and gone; the humbler sort, in the peasant dress of 
the period, speaking quaint tongues, had brought their sor- 
rows there and their joys — and gone; yet it seemed to him 
that they had not so surely gone. The great have their indi- 
vidual day and disappear, but the poor, in their corporate 
indistinguishableness remain. The multitude, petty in their 
trivial wants and griefs, find no historian and leave no 
monument. Yet, ultimately, it was because of the Christian 
faith in the compassion of God for such that Notre-Dame 
lifted her towers to the sky. The stage for the mighty doings 
of Kings, it was the home of the people. As he had seen 
them just now, creeping about the aisles, lighting little tapers, 
crouched in a corner, so had they always been. Kings and 
Bishops figured for a moment in pomp before the altar, and 
then monuments must be erected to their memory. But it 
was not so with the poor. Peter, in a glow of warmth, con- 
sidered that he was in truth one of them. And Jesus had 
had compassion on the multitude, he remembered. The text 
recalled him, and he frowned to himself. 



254 SIMON CALLED PETER 

He knocked out his pipe, and set out leisurely to find 
luncheon. The famous book-boxes held him, and he bought 
a print or two. In a restaurant near the Chatelet he got 
dijeuner, and then, remembering Julie, bought and wrote a 
picture-postcard, and took a taxi for the Bois. He was 
driven about for an hour or more, and watched the people 
lured out by the sun, watched the troops of all the armies, 
watched an aeroplane swing high over the trees and soar off 
towards Versailles. He discharged his car at the Arc de 
Triomphe, and set about deciphering the carven pictures. 
Then he walked up the great Avenue, made his way to the 
Place de la R^publique, wandered through the gardens of 
the Louvre, and, as dusk fell, found himself in the Avenue 
de I'Opera. It was very gay. He had a bock at a little 
marble table, and courteously declined the invitations of a 
lady of considerable age painted to look young. He at first 
simply refused, and finally cursed into silence, a weedy, flash 
youth who offered to show him the sights of the city in an 
apparently ascending scale till he reached the final lure of a 
cancan, and he dined greatly at a palace of a restaurant. 
Then, tired, he did not know what to do. 

A girl passing, smiled at him, and he smiled back. She 
came and sat down. He looked bored, she told him, which 
was a thing one should not be in Paris, and she offered to 
assist him to get rid of the plague. 

"What do you suggest?" he demanded. 

She shrugged her shoulders — anything that he pleased- 

"But I don't know what I want," he objected. 

"Ah, well, I have a flat near," she said — "a charming flat. 
We need not be bored there." 

Peter demurred. He had to catch the midnight train. 
She made a little gesture ; there was plenty of time. 

He regarded her attentively. "See, mademoiselle," he 
said, "I do not want that. But I am alone and I want com- 
pany. Will you not stroll about Paris with me for an hour 
or two, and talk?" 



SIMON CALLED PETER 25s 

She smiled. Monsieur was unreasonable. She had her 
time to consider; she could not waste it. 

Peter took his case from his pocket and selected a note, 
folded it, and handed it to her, without a word. She slipped 
it into her bag. "Give me a cigarette," she said. "Let us 
have one little glass here, and then we will go on to an 'otel 
I know, and hear the band and see the dresses, and talk — is 
it not so?" 

He could not have found a better companion. In the 
great lounge, later on, leaning back by his side, she chatted 
shrewdly and with merriment. She described dresses and 
laughed at his ignorance. She acclaimed certain pieces, and 
showed a real knowledge of music. She told him of life in 
Paris when the Hun had all but knocked at the gates, of the 
gaiety of relief, of things big and little, of the flowers in the 
Bois in the spring. He said little, but enjoyed himself. 
Much later she went with him to the station, and they stood 
outside to say good-bye. 

"Well, little girl," he said, "you have given me a good 
evening, and I am very grateful. But I do not even know 
your name. Tell it me, that I may remember." 

"Mariette," she said. "And will monsieur not take my 
card? He may be in Paris again. He is tres agreable; I 
should like much to content him. One meets many, but 
there are few one would care to see again." 

Peter smiled sadly. For the first time a wistful note had 
crept into her voice. He thought of others like her that he 
knew, and he spoke very tenderly. "No, Mariette," he said. 
"If I came back I might spoil a memory. Good-bye. God 
bless you!" and he held out his hand. She hesitated a 
second. Then she turned back to the taxi. 

"Where would you like to go ?" he demanded. 

She leaned out and glanced up at the clock. "L' Avenue 
de rOpera," she said, "s'il vous plait." 

The man thrust in the clutch with his foot, and Mariette 
was lost to Peter for ever in the multitude. 



258 SIMON CALLED PETER 

In Boulogne he heard that he was late for the first boat, 
but caught the second easily. Remembering Donovan's 
advice, he got his ticket for the Pullman at once, and was 
soon rolling luxuriously to town. The station was bustling 
as it had done what seemed to him an age before, but he 
stepped out with the feeling that he was no longer a fresher 
in the world's or any other university. Declining assistance, 
he walked over to the Grosvenor and engaged a room, dined, 
and then strolled out into Victoria Street. 

It was all so familiar and it was all so diflEerent. He 
stood aloof and looked at himself, and played with the 
thought. It was incredible that he was the Peter Graham 
of less flian a year before, and that he walked where he 
had walked a score of times. He went up Whitehall, and ' 
across the Square, and hesitated whether or not he should 
take the Strand. Deciding against it, he made his way to 
Piccadilly Circus and chose a music-hall that advertised a 
world-famous comedian. He heard him and came out, still 
laughing to himself, and then he walked down Piccadilly to 
Hyde Park Corner, and stood for a minute looking up Park 
Lane. Hilda ought to come down, he said to himself 
amusedly. Then, marvelling that he could be amused at all 
at the thought, he turned off for his hotel. 

It is nothing to write down, but to Peter it was very much. 
Everything was old, but everything was new to him. At 
his hotel he smoked a cigarette in the lounge just to watch 
the men and women who came and went, and then he de- 
clined the lift and ascended the big staircase to his room. 
As he went, it struck him why it was that he felt so muda 
wiser than he had been ; that he looked on London from the 
inside, whereas he had used to look from the outside only; 
that he looked with a charity of which he had never dreamed, 
and that he was amazingly content. And as he got into bed 
he thought that when next he slept in town he would not be 
alone. He would have crossed Tommy's Rubicon. 

Next morning he went down into the country to relations 
who did not interest him at all ; but he walked and rode and 



SIMON CALLED PETER 257 

enjoyed the English countryside with zest. He went to the 
little country church on the Sunday twice, to Matins and 
Evensong, and he came home and read that chapter of Mr. 
Wells' book in which Mr. Britling expounds the domestica- 
tion of God. And he had some fierce moments in which he 
thought of Louise, and of Lucienne's sister, and of Mariette, 
and of Pennell, and, last of all, of Jenks, and asked himself 
of what use a domesticated God could be to any of them. 
And then on the Thursday he came up to meet Julie. 

It thrilled him that she was in England somewhere an( 
preparing to come to him. His pulses beat so as he thoughft 
of it that every other consideration was temporarily driven 
from his mind; but presently he caught himself thinking 
what ought to be done, and of what she would be like. He 
turned it over in his mind. He had known her in France, 
in uniform, when he was not sure of her; but now, what 
would she be like ? He could not conceive, and he banished 
the idea. It would be more splendid when it occurred if he 
had made no imaginary construction of it. 

His station was King's Cross, and he took a taxi to a 
big central hotel in the neighbourhood of Regent Street. 
And as he passed its doors they closed irrevocably on his past. 

The girl at the bureau looked up and smiled. "Good- 
morning," she said, "What can I do for you? We are 
very full." 

"Good-morning," he replied. "I expect you are, but my 
wife is coming up to town this afternon, and we have only 
a few days together. We want to be as central as possible. 
Have you a small suite over the week-end?" 

"I don't know," she said, and pulled the big book toward 
her. She ran a finger down the page. "Four-twenty," she 
said — "double bedroom, sitting-room, and bathroom, how 
would that do?" 

"It sounds capital," said Peter. "May I go and see it?" 

She turned in her seat, reached for a key, and touched 
a button, A man appeared, soundlessly on the thick, rich 
carpet. "Show this officer four-twenty, will you ?" she said. 



258 SIMON CALLED PETJKJR 

and turned to someone else. What means so much to some 
of us is everyday business to others. 

Peter followed across the hall and into a lift. They went 
ap high, got out in a corridor, took a turn to the right, and 
stopped before a' door numbered 420. The man opened it. 
Peter was led into a little hall, with two doors leading from 
it. The first room was the sitting-room. It was charmingly 
furnished and very cosy, a couple of good prints on the 
walls, a wide fireplace, a tall standard lamp, some delightfully 
easy chairs — ^all this he took in at a glance. He walked to 
the window and looked out. Far below was the great thor- 
oughfare, and beyond a wilderness of roofs and spires. He 
stood and gazed at it. London seemed a different place up 
there. He felt remote, and looked again into the street. Its 
business rolled on indifferent to him, and unaware. He 
glanced back into the snug pretty little room. How easy it 
all was, how secure! "This is ^cellent," he said. "Show_ 
me the bedroom." 

"This way, sir," said the man. 

The bedroom was large and airy. A pretty light paper 
covered the walls, and two beds stood against one of them, 
side by side. The sun shone in at the big double windows 
and fell on the white paint of the woodwork, the plate-glass 
tops of the toilet-tables, and the thick cream-coloured carpet. 
A door was open on his right. He walked across, and looked 
in there too. A tiled bathroom, he saw it was, the clean 
towels on the highly polished brass rail heated by steam, the 
cork-mat against the wall, the shower, douche, and spray all 
complete, even the big cake of delicious-looking soap on its 
sliding rack across the bath. He looked as a man in a fairy- 
story might look. It was as if an enchanted palace, with 
the princess just round the corner, had been offered him. 
SmiUng at the conceit, he turned to the man. "I didn't 
notice the telephone," he said ; "I suppose it is installed ?" 

"In each room, sir," said the man. 

"That will do," said Peter. "It will suit me admirably. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 259 

Have my baggage sent up, will you, and say that I engage 
the suite. I will be down presently." 

"Yes, sir," said the man, and departed. 

Peter went back to the sitting-room, and threw himself 
into a chair. Then he had an idea, got up, went to the 
telephone, ordered a bottle of whisky to be sent up, and a 
siphon, and went back to his seat. Presently he was pouring 
himself out a drink and smoking a cigarette on his own 
(temporary) hearth-rug. The little incident increased his 
satisfaction. He was reassuring himself. Here he was 
really safe and remote and master, with a thousand servants 
and a huge palace at his beck and call, and all for a few 
pounds! It was absurd, but he thought to himself that he 
was feeling civilised for the first time, perhaps. 

He looked roimd, and considered Julie. What would 
she want ? Flowers to begin with, heaps of them ; she liked 
violets for one thing, and by hook or by crook he would get 
a little wattle or mimosa to remind her of Africa. Then 
chocolates and cigarettes, both must never be lacking, and 
a few books — no, not books, magazines ; and he would have 
some wine sent up. What else ? Biscuits ; after the theatre 
they might be jolly. Ah, the theatre! he must book seats. 
Well, a box would be better; they did not want to run too 
great a risk of being seen. Donovan was quite possibly in 
town, to say nothing of — older friends. Possibly, consider- 
ing the run on the theatres, he had better book up fairly 
completely for the days they had together. But what would 
she like ? Julie would never want to go if she did not spon- 
taneously fancy a play. It was a portentous question, and 
he considered it long. Finally he decided on half-and-half 
measures, leaving some time free. . . . Time! how did it 
go? By Jove! he ought to make a move. Luncheon first; 
his last meal alone for some time; then order the things; 
and Victoria at 5.30. He poured himself another short 
drink and went out. 
He lunched in a big public grill-room, and chatted with 



26o SIMON CALLED PETER 

a naval officer at his table who was engaged in mine-sweeping 
with a steam-tramp. The latter was not vastly enthusiastic 
over things, but was chiefly depressed because he had to 
report at a naval base that night, and his short London leave 
was all but run out. 

"Tell you what," he said, "I've seen a good many cities 
one way and another, from San Francisco to Singapore, and 
I know Paris and Brussels and Berlin, but you can take my 
word for it, there's no better place for ten days' leave than 
this same old blessed London. You can have some spree 
out East if you want it, but you can get much the same, if 
not better, here. If a fellow wants a bit of a skirt, he can 
get as good a pick in London as anywhere. If you want a 
good show, there isn't another spot in the universe that can 
beat it, whatever it is you feel like. If you want to slip out 
of sight for a bit, give me a big hotel like this in London. 
They don't damn-well worry about identification papers 
much here — ^too little, p'raps, these days. Did you hear of 
those German submarine officers who lived in an hotel 
in Southampton?" 

Peter had ; there were few people who hadn't, seeing that 
the same officers lived in most of the coast towns in England 
that year; but it is a pity to damp enthusiasm. He said 
he had heard a little. 

"Walked in and out cool as you please. When they were 
drowned and picked up at sea, they had bills and theatre 
tickets in their pockets, and a letter acknowledging the book- 
ing of rooms for the next week! Fact. Had it from the 
fellow who got 'em. And I ask you, what is there to prevent 
it? You come here: 'Will you write your name and regi- 
ment, please.' You write the damned thing — any old thing, 
in fact — and what happens ? Nothing. They don't refer to 
them. In France the lists go to a central bureau every day, 
but here — Lord bless you, the Kaiser himself might put up 
anywhere if he shaved his moustache!" 

Peter heard him, well content. He offered a cigarette, 
feeling warmly disposed towards the world at large. The 



SIMON CALLED PETER 261 

naval officer took it. "Thanks," he said. "You in town 
for long?" 

"No," said Peter — "a week end. I've only just happened. 
What's worth seeing?" 

"First and last all the way, Carminetta. It's a dream. 
Wonderful. By Gad, I don't know how that girl does it! 
Then I'd try Zigzag — oh ! and go to You Never Know, You 
Know, at the Cri. Absolutely toppin'. A perfect scream all 
through. The thing at Daly's' good too ; but all the shows 
are good, though, I reckon. Lumme, you wouldn't think the 
war was on, 'cept they all touch it a bit ! The Better 'Ole I 
like, but you mightn't, knowing the real thing. But don't 
miss Carminetta if you have to stand all day for a seat in 
the gods. Well, I must be going. Damned rough luck, but 
no help for it. Let's have a last spot, eh ?" 

Peter agreed, and the drinks were ordered. "Chin-chin," 
said his acquaintance. "And here's to old London town, 
and the Good Lord let me see it again. It's less than even 
chances," he added reflectively. 

"Here's luck," said Peter; then, for he couldn't help it: 
"It's you chaps, by God, that are winning this war !" 

"Oh, I don't know," said the other, rising. "We get more 
leave than you fellows, and I'd sooner be on my tramp than 
in the trenches. The sea's good and clean to die in, anyway. 
Cheerio." 

Peter followed him out in a few minutes, and set about 
his shopping. He found a florist's in Regent Street and 
bought lavishly. The girl smiled at him, and suggested this 
and that. "Having a dinner somewhere to-night?" she 
queried. "But I have no violets." 

"Got my girl comin' up," said Peter expansively; "that's 
why there must be violets. See if you can get me some and 
send them over, will you ?" he asked, naming his hotel. She 
promised to do her best, and he departed. 

He went into a chocolate shop. "Got some really decent 
chocolates?" he demanded. 

The girl smiled and dived under the counter. "These are 



262 SIMON CALLED PETER 

the best," she said, holding out a shovelful for Peter to taste. 
He tried one. "They'll do," he said. "Give me a couple of 
pounds, in a pretty box if you've got one." 

"Two pounds!" she exclaimed. "What are you thinking 
of ? We can only sell a quarter." 

"Only a quarter!" said Peter. "That's no good. Come 
on, make up the two pounds." 

"If my boss comes in or finds out 111 be fired," said the 
girl ; "can't be done." 

"Well, that doesn't matter," said Peter innocently. "You'll 
easily get a job — something better and easier, I expect." 

"It's easy enough, perhaps," said the girl, "but you never 
can tell. And it's dangerous, and uncertain." 

Peter stared at her. When he bought chocolates as a 
parson, he never had talks like this. He wondered if London 
had changed since he knew it. Then he played up : "You're 
pretty enough to knock that last out, anyway ?" he said. 

"Am I?" she demanded. "Do you mean you'd like to 
keep me?" 

"I've got one week-end left of leave," said Peter. "What 
about the chocolates?" 

"Poor boy!" she said. "Well, I'll risk it." And she made 
up the two pounds. 

* He wandered into a tobacconist's, and bought cigarettes 
which Julie's soul loved, and then he made for a theatre 
booking-office. 

Outside and his business done, he looked at his watch, 
and found he had a bit of time to spare. He walked down 
Shaftesbury Avenue, and thought he would get himself 
spruced up at a hairdresser's. He saw a little place with a 
foreigner at the door, and he went in. It was a tiny room 
with three seats all empty. The man seated him in one and 
began. 

Peter discovered that his hair needed this and that, and 
being in a good temper and an idle mood acquiesced. Pres- 
ently a girl came in. Peter smelt her enter, and then saw 
her in the glass. She was short and dark and foreign, too. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 263 

and she wore a blouse that appeared to have remarkably- 
little beneath it, and to be about to slip off her shoulders. 
She came forward and stood between him and the glass, 
smiling. "Wouldn't you like your nails manicured?" she 
demanded. 

"Oh, I don't know," said Peter ; "I had not meant to . . ." 
and was lost. 

"Second thoughts are best," she said ; "but let me look at 
your hands. Oh, I should think you did need it ! Whatever 
will your girl say to you to-night if you have hands like 
this?" 

Peter, humiliated, looked at his hands. They did not 
appear to him to differ much from the hands Julie and others 
had seen without visible consternation before, but he had n(> 
time to say so. The young lady was now seated by his side 
with a basin of hot water, and was dabbling his hand in it 
"Nice ? Not too hot ?" she inquired brightly. 

Peter watched her as she bent over her work and kept up 
a running fire of talk. He gathered that many officers, 
habitually were manicured by her, many of them in their 
own rooms. It was lucky for him that she was not out. 
Possibly he would like to make an appointment; she could 
come early or late. No? Then she thought his own mani- 
cure-set must be a poor one, judging from these hands, and 
perhaps she could sell him another. No? Well, a little 
cream. Not to-day? He would look in to-morrow? He 
hadn't a chance? She would tell him what: where was he 
staying? (Peter, for the fun of it, told her he had a private 
suite in the hotel.) Well, that was splendid. She would 
call in with a new set at any time, before breakfast, after 
the theatre, as he pleased ; bring the cream and do his hands 
once with it to show him how. How would that suit him? 

Peter was not required to say, for at that mi.mte the 
shop-bell rang and a priest came in, a little old man, tired- 
looking, in a black cassock. He was apparently known, 
though he seemed to take no notice of anyone. The man 
was all civility, but put on an expression meant to indicate 



a64 SIMON CALLED PETER 

amusement, to Peter, behind the clerical back. The girl put 
one of Peter's fingers on her own lips by way of directing 
caution, and continued more or less in silence. The room 
became all but silent save for the sound of scissors and the 
noise of the traffic outside, and Peter reflected again on many 
things. When he had had his hair cut previously, for 
instance, had people made faces behind his back? Had 
young ladies ceased from tempting offers that seemed to 
include more than manicuring? 

He got up to pay. "Well," she demanded, sotto voce. 
"what of the arrangement? She could do him easily at 
any . . ." 

He cut her short. No; it was really impossible. His 
wife was coming up that afternoon. It was plain that she 
now regarded it as impossible also. He paid an enormous 
sum wonderingly, and departed. 

Outside it struck him that he had forgotten one thing. He 
walked briskly to the hotel, and went up to his rooms. In 
the sitting-room was the big bunch of flowers and a maid 
unwrapping it. She turned and smiled at him. "These have 
just come for you, sir," she said. "Shall I arrange them 
for you?" 

"No, thank you," said Peter. "I'd rather do them myself. 
I love arranging flowers, and I know just what my wife likes. 
I expect you'd do them better, but I'll have a shot, if you 
don't mind. Would you fill the glasses and get me a few 
more? We haven't enough here." 

"Certainly, sir. There was a gentleman here once who 
did flowers beautifully, he did. But most likes us to do it 
for them." 

She departed for the glasses. Peter saw that the florisl 
had secured his violets, and took them first and filled a bowl 
Then he walked into the bedroom and contemplated for a 
minute. Then he put the violets critically on the little table 
by the bed nearest the window, and stood back to see the 
result. Finding it good, he departed. When next he came 
in, it was to place a great bunch of roses on the mantelsheli 



SIMON CALLED PETER 265 

and a few sprays of the soft yellow and green mimosa on the 
dressing-table. For the sitting-room he had carnations and 
delphiniums, and he placed a high towering duster of the 
latter on the writing-table, and a vase of the former on the 
mantelpiece. A few roses, left over, went on the small table 
that carried the reading-lamp, and he and the chambermaid 
surveyed the results. 

"Lovely, I do think," she said ; "any lady would love them. 
I likes flowers myself, I do. I come from the country, sir, 
where there's a many, and the wild flowers that Jack and I 
liked best of all. Specially primroses, sir." There was a 
sound in her voice as she turned away, and Peter heard it. 

"Jack ?" he queried softly. 

" 'E's been missing since last July, sir," she said, stopping 
by the door. 

"Has he?" said Peter. "Well, you must not give up hope, 
you know ; he may be a prisoner." 

She shook her head. "He's dead," she said, with an air 
of finality. "I oughtn't to have spoke a word, but them 
flowers reminded me. I'm glad as how I have to do these 
rooms, sir. Most of them don't bother with flowers. Is 
*here anything else you might be wanting, sir ?" 

"Light fires in both the grates, please," he said. "I'm so 
sorry about Jack," he added. 

She gave him a look, and passed out. 

Peter wandered about touching this and that. Suddenl;' 
he remembered the" magazines. He ran out and caught a 
lift about to descend, and was once more in the street. Near 
Leicester Square was a big foreign shop, and he entered it, 
and gathered of all kinds. As he went to pay, he saw La 
Vie Parisienne, and added that also to the bundle; Julie 
used to say she loved it. Back in the hotel, he sent them to 
his room, and glanced at his watch. He had time for tea. 
He went out into the lounge and ordered it, sitting back 
under the palms. It came, and he was in the act of pouring 
out a cup when he saw Donovan. 

Donovan was with a girl, but so were most men; Peter 



266 , SIMON CALLED PETER 

could not be sure of her. It was only a glimpse he had, for 
the two had finished and were passing out. Donovan stood 
back to let her first through the great swing-doors, and then., 
pulling on his gloves, followed. They both disappeared. 

Peter sat on, in a tumult. He had been too busy all day 
to reflect much, but now just what he was about to do began 
to overwhelm him. If Donovan met him with Julie ? Well, 
they could pretend they had just met, they could even part, 
and meet again. Could they? Would Donovan be deceived 
for a minute? It seemed to him impossible. And he might 
be staying there. Suppose he met someone else. Langton ? 
Sir Robert Doyle? His late Vicar? Hilda? Mr. Lessing? 
And Julie would have acquaintances too. He shook himself 
mentally, and lit a cigarette. Well, suppose they did; he 
was finished with them. Finished? Then, what lay ahead 
— what, after this, if he were discovered? And if he were 
not discovered? God knew. . . . 

His mind took a new train of thought : he was now just 
such a one as Donovan. Or as Pennell. As Langton ? He 
wasn't sure; no, he thought not; Langton kept straight 
because he had a wife and kids. He had a centre. Donovan 
and Pennell had not, apparently. Well, he, Peter Graham, 
would have a centre; he would marry Julie. It would be 
heavenly. They hid not spoken of it, of course, that night 
of the dinner, but surely Julie would. There could be no 
doubt after the week-end. ... "I shan't marry or be given 
in marriage," she had said. It was like her to speak so, but 
of course she didn't mean it. No, he would marry; and 
then? 

He blew out smoke. The Colonies, South Africa; he 
would get a job schoolmastering ? He hated the idea; it 
didn't interest him. A farm? He knew nothing about it — 
besides, one wanted capital. What would he do? What 
did he want to do? Want — ^that was it; how did he want 
to spend his life? Well, he wanted Julie; everjrthing else 
would fit round her, everything else would be secondary 
beside her. Of course. And as he got old it would still be 



SIMON CALLED PETER 267 

the same, though he could not imagine either of them old. 
But still, when they did get old, his work would seem more 
important, and what was it to be? Probably it would have 
to be schoolmastering. Teaching Latin to little boys — His- 
tory, Geography, Mathematics. He smiled ruefully; even 
factors worried him. They would hardly want Latin and 
Greek much in the Colonies, either. Perhaps at home; but 
would Julie stop at home? What womW Julie do? He must 
ask her, sometime before Monday. Not that night — no, not 
that night. . . . 

He ground his cigarette into his cup, and pushed his hands 
into his pockets, his feet out before him. That night! He 
saw the sitting-room upstairs; they would go there first. 
Then he would suggest a dinner to her, in Soho ; he knew a 
place 4at Pennell had told him of. Bohemian, but one 
could take anyone — ^at least, take Julie. It would be jolly 
watching the people, and watching Julie. He saw her, 
mentally, opposite him, and her eyes sparkling and alluring. 
And afterwards, warmed and fed — why, back to the hotel, 
to the sitting-room, by the fire. They would have a little 
supper, and then . . . 

He pictured the bedroom. He would let Julie go first. 
He remembered reading in a novel how some newly married 
wife said to the fellow : "You'll come up in half an hour or 
so, won't you, dear?" He could all but see the words in 
print. And so, in half an hour or so, he would go in, and 
Julie would be in bed, by the violets, and he— he would 
know what men talked about, sometimes, in the anteroom. 
... He recalled a red- faced, coarse Colonel : "No man's a 
man till he's been all the way, I say. . . ." 

And he was a chaplain, a priest. Was he? The past 
months spun before him, his sermons, his talks to the 
wounded at the hospital, the things he had seen, the st9ries 
he had heard. He sighed. It was all a dream, a sham. 
There was no reality in it all. Where and what was Christ? 
An ideal, yes, but no more than an ideal, and unrealisable— 
a vision of the beautiful. He thought he had seen that once. 



268 SIMON CALLED PETER 

but not now. The beautiful! Ah! What place had His 
Beauty in Travalini's, in the shattered railway-carriage, in 
the dinner at the Grand in Havre with Julie? 

Julie. He dwelt on her, eyes, hair, face, skin, and lithe 
figure. He felt her kisses again on his lips, those last 
burning kisses of New Year's Night, and they were all to 
be his, as never before. . . . Julie. What, then, was she? 
She was his bride, his wife, coming to him consecrate — ^not 
by any State convention, not by any ceremony of man-made 
religion, but by the pure passion of human love, virginal, 
clean. It was human passion, perhaps, but where was higher 
love or greater sacrifice? Was this not worthy of all his 
careful preparation, worthy of the one centre of his being? 
Donovan, indeed ! He wished he had stopped and told him 
the whole story, and that he expected Julie that night. 

He jumped up, and walked out in the steps of Donovan, 
but with never another thought of him. A boy in uniform 
questioned him: "Taxi, sir?" He nodded, and the com- 
missionaire pushed back the great swing-door. He stood on 
the steps, and watched the passers-by, and the lights all 
shaded as they were, that began to usher in a night of 
mystery. His taxi rolled up, and the man held the door 
open. "Victoria!" cried Peter, and to himself, as he sank 
back on the seat, "Juli« !" 



CHAPTER VII 

JULIE!" exclaimed Peter, "I should hardly have known 
you; you do look topping!" 

"Glad rags make all that difference, old boy? Well, I 
am glad you did know me, anyhow. How are you? Had 
long to waitr' 

"Only ten minutes or so, and I'm very fit, and just dying 
for you, Julie." 

She smiled up at him and blushed a little. "Are you, 
Peter? It's much the same here, my dear. But don't you 
think we had better get a move on, and not stop here talking 
all night?" 

Peter laughed excitedly. "Rather," he said. "But I'm so 
excited at seeing you that I hardly know if I'm on my head 
or my heels. What about your luggage? What have you? 
Have you any idea where it is ? There's a taxi waiting." 

"I haven't much : a big suit-case, most important because 
it holds an evening dress — it's marked with my initials; a 
small leather trunk, borrowed, with a big star on it; and 
my dressing-case, which is here. And I think they're behind, 
but I wouldn't swear, because we've seemed to turn round 
three times in the course of the journey, but it may havd 
been four !" 

Peter chuckled. She was just the old Julie, but yet with 
a touch of something more shining in her eyes, and under- 
lying even the simplest words. 

"Well, you stand aside just a moment and I'll go and see," 
he said, and he hurried off in the crowd. 

Julie stood waiting patiently by a lamp-stand while the 
world bustled about her. She wore a little hat with a gay 

369 



270 SIMON CALLED PETER 

pheasant's wing in it, a dark green travelling dress and neat 
brown shoes, and brown silk stockings. Most people looked 
at her as they passed, incltiding several officers, but there 
was a different look in her brown eyes from that usually 
there, and they all passed on unhesitatingly. 

It seemed to her a good while before Peter came up again, 
in his wake a railway Amazon with the trunk on her shoulder 
and the suit-case in her hand. "Sorry to keep you, dear," 
he said. "But there was a huge crush and next to no 
porters, if these are porters. It feels rotten to have a woman 
carrying one's luggage, but I suppose it can't be helped. 
Come on. Aren't you tired? Don't you want tea?" 

"I am a little," she said. "And I do a bit. Where are 
we going to get it? Do they sell teas in London, Peter, or 
have you taken a leaf out of my book?" 

They laughed at the reminiscence. "Julie," said Peter, 
"this is my outfit, and you shall see what you think of it. 
Give me your ticket, will you? I want to see you through 
myself." 

She handed him a little purse without a word, and they 
set off together. She was indulging in the feeling of sur- 
render as if it were not a victory she had won, and he was 
glowing with the sense of acquisition, as if he had really 
acquired something. 

Julie got into the taxi while Peter settled the luggage, gave 
directions, and paid the Amazon. Then he climbed in and 
pulled the door to, and |hey slipped out of the crowded 
station-yard into the roar of London. Julie put her hand in 
his. "Peter," she said, "do tell me where we're going. I'm 
dying to know. What arrangements have you made? *Is it 
safe?" 

He leaned over her, his eyes sparkling. "A kiss, first, 
Julie: no one will see and it doesn't matter a damn if they 
do. That's the best of London. My dear, I can hardly 
believe we're both here at last, and that I've really got you." 
Their lips met. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 271 

Julie flung herself back with a laugh. "Oh, Peter," she 
said, "I shall never forget that first taxi. If you could have 
seen your own face! Really it was too comic, but I must 
say you've changed since then." 

"I was a fool and a beast," he said, more gravely; "I'm 
only just begirming to realise how much of a fool. But 
don't rub it in, Julie, or not just now. I'm starting to live 
at last, and I don't want to be reminded of the past." 

She pressed his hand and looked out of window. "Where 
are we, Peter? Whitehall? Where are we off to?" 

"I've got the snuggest little suite in all London, darling," 
he said, "with a fairy palace at our beck and call. I've been 
revelling in it all day — not exactly in it, you know, biit in 
the thought of it. I've been too busy flopping to be in 
much; and Julie, I hope you notice my hands: I've had a 
special manicure in preparation for you. And the girl is 
coming round to-morrow before breakfast to do me again — 
or at least she wanted to." 

"What are you talking about? Peter, what have you 
been doing to-day?" She sighed a mock sigh. "Really, 
you're getting beyond me; it's rather trying." 

Peter launched out into the story to fill up time. He really 
did not want to speak of the rooms, that they might give 
her the greater surprise. . So he kept going till the taxi 
stopped before the hotel. He jiimped out gaily as the com- 
missionaire opened the door. 

"Come on," he said, "as quick as ever you can." Then, 
to the man: "Have these sent tip to No. 420, will you, 
please?" And he took Julie's arm. 

They went in at the great door, and crossed the wide en- 
trance-hall. Everyone glanced at Julie, Peter noted proudly, 
even the girls behind the sweet-counter, and the people wait- 
ing about as always. Julie held her head high and walked 
more sedately than usual. She was a bit different, thought 
Peter, but even nicer. He glowed at the thought. 

He led her to the lift and gave his landing number. Thev 



272 SIMON CALLED PETER 

walked down the corridor in silence and in at their door. 
Peter opened tlie door on the left and stood back. Julie 
went in. He followed and shut the door behind them. 

The* maid had lit a fire, which blazed merrily. Julie took 
it all in — ^the flowers, the pile of magazines, even the open 
box of cigarettes, and she turned enthusiastically to him 
and flung her arms round his neck, kissing him again and 
again. "Oh, Peter darling," she cried, "I can't tell you how 
I love you ! I could hardly sit still in the railway carriage, 
and the train seemed worse than a French one. But now I 
have you at last, and all to myself. Oh, Peter, my darling 
Peter!" 

There came a knock at the door. Julie disengaged her 
arms from his neck, but dipped her hand in his, and he said, 
"Come in." 

The maid entered, carrjring tea. She smiled at them. "I 
thought madame might Iflce tea at once, sir," she said, and 
placed the tray on the little table. 

"Thank you ever so much," said Julie impulsively; "that 
is good of you. I'm longing for it. One gets so tired in 
the train." Then she walked to the glass. "I'll take off my 
hat, Peter," she said, "and my coat, and then we'll have tea 
comfortably. I do want it, and a cigarette. You're an 
angel to have thought of my own De Reszke." 

She threw herself into a big basket chair, and leaned over 
to the table. "Milk and sugar for you, Peter ? By the way, 
I ought to know these things ; not that it much matters ; ours 
was a war marriage, and I've hardly seen you at all !" 

Peter sat opposite, and watched her pour out. She leaned 
back with a piece of toast in her hands, her eyes on him, and 
they smiled across at each other. Suddenly he could bear it 
no longer. He put his cup down and knelt forward at her 
feet, his arms on her knees, devouring her. "Oh, Julie," he 
said, "I want to worship you — I do indeed. I can't believe 
my luck. I can't think that you love me." 

Her white teeth bit into the toast. "You old silly," she 



SIMON CALLED PETER 273 

said. "But I don't want to be worshipped ; I won't be wor- 
shipped ; I want to be loved, Peter." 

He put his arms up, and pulled her head down to his, 
kissing her again and again, stroking her arm, murmuring 
foolish words that meant nothing and meant everything. It 
was she who stopped him. "Go and sit down," she said, 
"and tell me all the plans." 

"Well," he said, "I do hope you'll like them. First, I've 
not booked up anything for to-night. I thought we'd go 
out to dinner to a place I know and sit over it, and enjoy 
ourselves. It's a place in Soho, and quite humorous, I 
think. Then we might walk back: London's so perfect at 
night, isn't it? To-morrow I've got seats for the Coliseum 
matinee. You know it, of course; it's a jolly place where 
one can talk if one wants to, and smoke ; and tlien I've seats 
in the evening for Zigzag. Saturday night we're going to 
see Carminetta, which they say is the best show in town, 
and Saturday morning we can go anywhere you please, or do 
an3rthing. And we can cut out any of them if you like," he 
added. 

She let her arms lie along the chair, and drew a breath of 
delight. "You're truly wonderful," she said. "What a 
blessing not having to worry what's to be done ! It's a per- 
fect programme. I only wish we could be in Paris for 
Sunday; it's so slow here." 

He smiled. "You're sure you're not bored about to- 
night ?" he asked. She looked him full in the eyes and said 
nothing. He sprang up and rushed towards her. She 
laughed her old gay laugh, and avoided him, jumping up 
and getting round the table. "No," she warned ; "no more 
now. Come and show me the rest of the establishment." 

Arm in arm they made the tour of inspection. In the 
bathroom Julie's eyes danced. "Thank tlie Lord for that 
bath, Peter," she said. "I shall revel in it. That's one 
thing I loathe about France, that one can't get decent baths, 
and in the country here it's no better. I had two inches of 



274 SIMON CALLED PETER 

water in a fopt-bath down in Sussex, and when you sit in 
the beastly tfiin^ bnly about three inches of yourself get wet 
and those the least important inches. I shall lie in this for 
hours and smoke, and you shall feed me with chocolates 
and read to me. How will you like that?" 

Peter made the only possible answer, and they went back 
to the bedroom. The man was bringing up her luggage, 
and he deposited it on the luggage-stool. "Heavens !" said 
Julie, "where are my keys? Oh, I know, in my purse. I 
hope you haven't lost it. Do give it to me. The suit-case is 
beautifully packed, but the trunk is in an appalling mess. I 
had to throw my things in anyhow. By the way, I wonder 
what they'll make of different initials on all our luggage? 
Not that it matters a scrap, especially these days. Besides, 
I don't suppose they noticed." 

She was on her knees by the trunk, and had undone it. 
She lifted the lid, and Peter saw the confusion inside, and 
caught sight of the unfamiliar clothes. Julie was rummag- 
ing everywhere. "I know I've left them behind!" she ex- 
claimed. "Whatever shall I do ? My scent and powder-puff ! 
Peter, it's terrible! I can't go to Soho to dinner without 
them." 

"Let's go and get some," he suggested ; "there's time." 

"No, I can't," she said. "You go. Don't be long. I 
want to sit in front of the fire and be cosy." 

Peter set off on the unfamiliar errand, smiling grimly to 
himself. He got the scent easily enough, and then inquired 
for a powder-puff. In the old days he would scarcely have 
dared; but he had been in France. He selected a little 
French box with a mirror in the lid and a pretty rosebud 
pattern, and paid for it unblushingly. Then he returned. 

He opened the door of their sitting-room, and stood trans- 
fixed for a minute. The shaded reading-lamp was on, the 
other lights off. The fire glowed red, and Julie lay stretched 
out in a big chair, smoking a cigarette. She turned and 
looked up at him over her shoulder. She had taken off her 
dress and slipped on a silk kimono, letting her hair down, 



SIMON CALLED PETER 273 

which fell in thick tumbled masses about her. The arm that 
held the cigarette was stretched up above her, and the wide, 
loose sleeve of the kimono had slipped back, leaving it bare 
to her shoulder. Her white frilled petticoat showed beneath, 
as she had pushed her feet out before her to the warmth of 
the fire. Peter's blood pounded in his temples. 

"Gk)od boy," she said ; "you haven't been long. Come and 
show me. I had to get comfortable : I hope you don't mind." 

He came slowly forward without a word and bent over 
her. The scent of her rose intoxicatingly around him as he 
bent down for a kiss. Their lips clung together, and the 
wide world stood still. 

Julie made room for him beside her. "You dear old 
thing," she exclaimed at the sight of the powder-puff. "It's 
a gem. You couldn't have bettered it in Paris." She opened 
it, took out the little puff, and dabbed her open throat. 
Then, laughing, she dabbed at him: "Don't look so 
wlemn," she said, "Solomon!" 

Peter slipped one arm round her beneath the kimono, and 
felt her warm relaxed waist. Then he pushed his other 
hand, unresisted, in where her white throat gleamed bare 
and open to him, and laid his lips on her hair. "Oh, Julie," 
he said, "I had no idea one could love so. It is almost more 
than I can bear." 

The clock on the mantelpiece struck a half-hour, and 
Julie stirred in his arms and glanced up. "Good Lord, 
Peter!" she exclaimed, "do you know what the time is? 
Half-past seven! I shall never be dressed, and we shall 
get no dinner. Let me up, for goodness sake, and give me 
a drink if you've got such a thing. If not, ring for it. I 
shall never have energy enough to get into my things other- 
wise." 

Peter opened the little door of the sideboard and got out 
decanter, siphon, and glasses. Julie, sitting up and arrang- 
ing herself, smiled at kim. "Is there a single thing you 
haven't thought of, you old dear?" she said. 

"Say when," said Peter, coming towards her. Then he 



aye SIMON CALLED PETER 

poured himself out a tumbler and stood by the fire, looking 
at her. 

"It's a pity we have to go out at all," he said, "for I sup- 
pose you can't go like that." 

"A pity? It's a jolly good thing. You wait till you've 
seen my frock, my dear. But, Peter, do you think there's 
likely to be anyone there that we know?" 

He shook his head. "Not there, at any rate," he said. 

"Here?'' 

"More likely, but it's such a big place we're not likely 
to meet them, even so. But if you feel nervous, do you 
know the best cure? Come down into the lounge, and see 
the qrowd of people. You sit there and people stream by, 
and you don't know a face. It's the most comfortable feel- 
ing in the world. One's more alone than on a desert island. 
You might be a ghost that no one sees." 

Julie shuddered. "Peter, don't! You make me feel 
creepy." She got up. "Go and find that maid, will you? 
I want her to help me dress." 

Peter walked to the bell and rang it. "Where do I come 
in?" he asked. 

"Well, you can go and wash in the bathroom, and if you're 
frightened of her you can dress there!" And she walked 
to the door laughing. 

"I'll just finish my drink," he said. "You will be heaps 
longer than I." 

Five minutes later, having had no (answer to his ring, he 
switched off the light, and walked out into the hall. He 
hesitated at Julie's door, then he tapped. "Come in," she 
said. 

She was standing half-dressed in front of the glass doing 
her hair. "Oh, it's you, is it?" she said. "Wherever is that 
maid? I can't wait all night for her; you'll have to help." 

Peter sat down and began to change. Half -surreptitiously 
he watched Julie moving about, and envied her careless 
abandon. He was much the more nervous of the two. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 37^ 

Presently she called him from the bathroom to fasten hei 
dress. When it was done, she stood back for him to exam- 
ine her. 

"That all right ?" she demanded, putting a touch here and 
there. 

Not every woman could have worn her gown. It was a 
rose pink with some rich flame-coloured material in front, and 
was held by two of the narrowest bands on her shoulders. 
In the deep decollete she pushed two rosebuds from the big 
bunch, and hung round her neck a pendant of mother-of- 
pearl and silver. She wore no other jewellery, and she 
needed none. She faced him, a vision of loveliness. 

They went down the stairs together and out into the crush 
of people, some of the women in evening dress, but few 
of the men. The many uniforms looked batter, Peter 
thought, despite the drab khaki. They had to stand for 
awhile while a taxi was found, Julie laughing and chatting 
vivaciously. She had a wrap for her shoulders that she 
had bought in Port Said, set with small metallic points, and 
it sparkled about her in the blaze of light. She flattered him 
by seeming unconscious of anyone else, and put her hand 
on his arm as they went out. 

They drove swiftly through back-streets to the restaurant 
that Peter had selected, and stopped in a quiet, dark, narrow 
road off Greek Street. Julie got out and looked around 
with pretended fear. "Where in the world have you brought 
me?" she demanded. "However did you find the place? 
It's worse than some of your favourite places in Havre." 

Inside, however, she looked round appreciatively. 
"Really, Peter, it's splendid," she said under her breath — 
"just the place," and smiled sweetly on the padrone who 
came forward, bowing. Peter had engaged a table, and 
they were led to it. 

"I had almost given you up, sir," said the man, "but by 
good fortune, some of our patrons are late too." 
They sat down opposite to each other, and studied the 



278 SIMON CALLED PETER 

menu held out to them by a waiter. "I don't know the 
meaning of half the dishes," laughed Julie. "You order. 
It'll be more fun if I don't know what's coming." 

"We must drink Chianti," said Peter, and ordered a 
bottle. "You can think you are in Italy." 

Elbows on the table as she waited, Julie looked round. 
In the far corner a gay party of four were halfway through 
dinner. Two officers, an elderly lady and a young one, she 
found rather hard to place, but Julie decided the girl was 
the fiancee of one who had brought his friend to meet her. 
At other tables were mostly couples, and across the room 
from her, with an elderly officer, sat a well^made-up woman, 
very plainly demimonde. Immediately before her were four 
men, two of them foreigners, in morning dress, ta:lking and 
eating hard. It was evidently a professional party, and one 
of the four now and again hummed out a little air to the 
rest, and once jotted down some notes on the back of a 
programme. They took no notice of anyone, but the eyes 
of the woman with the officer, who hardly spoke to her, 
searched Julie unblushingly. 

Julie gave a little sigh of happiness. "This is lovely, 
Peter," she said. "We'll be ages over dinner. It's such fun 
to be in nice clothes just for dinner sometimes, and not to 
have to worry about the time, and going on elsewhere. But 
I do wish my friends could see me, I must say. They'd be 
horrified. They thought I was going to a stodgy place in 
West Kensington. I was most careful to be vague, but that 
was the idea. Peter, how would you like to live in a suburb 
and have heaps of children, and dine out with city men and 
their wives once or twice a month for a treat?" 

Peter grimaced. Then he looked thoughtful. "It 
wouldn't have been any so remarkable for me at one time, 
Julie," he said. 

She shook her head. "It would, my dear. You're not 
made for it." 

"What am I made for, then?" 



SIMON CALLED PETER 279 

She regarded him solemnly, and then relaxed into a 
smile. "I haven't a notion, but not that. The thing is never 
to worry. You get what you're made for in the end I 
think." 

"I wonder," said Peter. "Perhaps, but not always. The 
world's full of square pegs in round holes." 

"Then they're stodgy pegs, without anything in them 
If I was a square peg I'd never go into a round hole." 

"Suppose there was no other hole to go into," demanded 
Peter. 

"Then I'd fall out, or I wouldn't go into any hole at all. 
I'd sooner be anything in the world than stodgy, Peter. I'd 
sooner be like that woman over there who is staring at me 
so!" 

Peter glanced to one side, and then back at Julie. He 
was rather grave. "Would you really?" he questioned. 

The waiter brought the Chianti and poured out glasses. 
Julie waited till he had gone, and then lifted hers and looked 
at Peter across it. "I would," she said. "I couldn't live 
without wine and excitement and song. I'm made that 
way. Cheerio, Solomon!" 

They drank to each other. Then: "And love?" queried 
Peter softly. 

Julie did not reply for a minute. She set her wine-glass 
down and toyed with the stem. Then she looked up at him 
under her eyelashes with that old daring look of hers, and 
repeated: "And love, Peter, But real love, not stodgy 
humdrum liking, Peter. I want the love that's like the hot 
sun, and the wide, tossing blue sea east of Suez, and the 
nights under the moon where the real world wakes up and 
doesn't go to sleep, like it does in the country in the cold, 
hard North. Do you know," she went on, "though I love 
the cities, and bands, and restaurants, and theatres, and 
taxis, and nice clothes, I love best of all the places where 
one has none of these things. I once went with a shooting- 
party to East Africa, Peter, and that's what I love. I shall 



28o SIMON CALLED PETER 

never forget the nights at Kilindini, with the fireflies dancing 
among the bushes, and the moon glistening on the pabns as 
if they were wet, and the insects shrilling in the grass, and 
the hot, damp air. Or by day, up in the forest, camped under 
the great trees, with the strange few flowers and the silence, 
while the sun trickled through the leaves and made pools of 
light on the ground. Do you know, I saw the most beauti- 
ful thing I've ever seen or, I think, shall see in that forest." 

"What was that?" asked Peter, under her spell, for she 
was speaking like a woman in a dream. 

"It was one day when we were marching. We came on 
a glade among the trees, and at the end of it, a little de- 
pression of damp green grass, only the grass was quite hid- 
den beneath a sheet of blue — such blue, I can't describe it — 
that quivered and moved in the sun. We stood quite still, 
and then a boy threw a little stone. And the blue all rose 
in the air, silently, like magic. It was a swarm of hundreds 
and hundreds of blue butterflies, Peter. Do you know what I 
did? I cried — I couldn't help it. It was too beautiful to 
see, Peter." 

A little silence fell between them. She broke it in another 
tone. 

"And the natives — I love the natives. I just love the all 
but naked girls carrying the water up to the village in the 
evening, tall and straight, like Greek statues; and the men, 
in a string of beads and a spear. I wanted to go naked 
myself there — at least, I did till one day I tried it, and the 
sun skinned me in no time. But at least one needn't wear 
much — cool loose things, and it doesn't matter what one 
does or says." 

Peter laughed. "Who was with you when you tried the 
experiment?" he demanded. 

Julie threw her head back, and even the professional four 
glanced up and looked at her. "Ah, wouldn't you like to 
know?" she laughed. "Well, I won't tease you— two native 
girls if you want to know, that was all. The rest of the 



SIMON CALLED PEl £R 281 

party were having a midday sleep. But I never can sleep 
at midday. I don't mind lying in a hammock or a deck- 
chair, and reading, but I can't sleep. One feels so beastly 
when one wakes up, doesn't one ?" 

Peter nodded, but steered her back. "Tell me more," he 
said. "You wake something up in me; I feel as if I was 
suborn to be there." 

"Well," she said reflectively, "I don't know that anything 
can beat the great range that runs along our border in 
Natal. It's different, of course, but it's Very wonderful. 
There's one pass I know — see here, you go up a wide valley 
with a stream that runs in and out, and that you have to 
cross again and again until it narrows and narrows to a 
small footpath between great kranzes. At first there are 
queer stunted trees and bushes about, with the stream, that's 
now a tiny thing of clear water, singing among them, and 
there the trees stop, and you climb up and up among the 
boulders, until you think you can do no more, and at the 
last you come out on the top." 

"And then?" 

"You're in wonderland. Before you lies peak on peak, 
grass-grown and rocky, so clear in the rare, still air. There 
is nothing there but mountain and rock and grass, and the 
blue sky, with perhaps little clouds being blown across it, 
and a wind that's cool and vast — ^you feel it fills everything. 
And you look down the way you've come, and there's all 
Natal spread out at your feet like a tiny picture, lands and 
woods and rivers, till it's lost in the mist of the distance." 

She ceased, staring at her wine-glass. At last the chatter 
of the place broke in on Peter. "My dear," he exclaimed, 
"one can see it. But what do you do there?" 

She laughed and broke the spell. "What would one do ?" 
she demanded. "Eat and drink and sleep, and make love, 
Peter, if there's anybody to make love to." 

"But you couldn't do that all your life," he objected. 

"Why not? Why do anything else? I never can see. 



282 SIMON CALLED PETER 

And when you're tired — for you do get tired at last — ^bacfc 
to Durban for a razzle-dazzle, or back farther still, to Lon- 
don or Paris for a bit. That's the life for me, Peter 1" 

He smiled: "Provided somebody is there with the nec- 
essary, I suppose?" he said. 

"Solomon," she mocked, "Solomon, Solomon! Why do 
you spoil it all ? But you're right, of course, Peter, though 
I hate to think of that." 

"I see how we're like, and how we're unlike, Julie," said 
Peter suddenly. "You like real things, and so do L You 
hate to feel stuffy and tied up in conventions, and so do I. 
But you're content with just that, and I'm not." 

"Am I ?" she queried, looking at him a little strangely. 

Peter did not notice; he was bent on pursuing his argu- 
ment. "Yes, you are," he said. "When you're in the grip 
of real vital things — nature naked and unashamed — ^you 
have all you want. You don't stop to think of to-morrow. 
You live. But I, I feel that there is something round the 
corner all the time. I feel as if there must be something 
bigger than just that. I'd love your forest and your range 
and your natives, I think, but only because one is nearer 
something else with them than here. I don't know how to 
put it, but when you think of those things you feel full, and 
I still feel empty." 

"Peter," said Julie softly, "do you remember Caudebec ?" 

He looked up at her then. "I shall never forget it, dear," 
he said. 

"Then you'll remember our talk in the car?" 

He nodded. "When you talked about marriage and 
human nature and men, and so on," he said. 

"No, I don't mean that. I did talk of those things, and 1 
fave you a little rather bitter philosophy that is more true 
than you think; but I don't mean that. Afterwards, when 
we spoke about shams and playing. Do you remember, 1 
hinted that a big thing might come along — do you remem* 
ber?" 

He nodded again, but he did not speak. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 283 

"Well," she said, "it's come— that's all." 

"Another bottle of Chianti, sir?" queried the padrone at 
his elbow. 

Peter started. "What? Oh, yes, please," he said. "We 
can manage another bottle, Julie ? And bring on the dessert 
now, will you? Julie, have a cigarette." 

"If we have another bottle you must drink most of it," 
she laughed, almost as if they had not been interrupted, but 
with a little vivid colour in her cheeks. "Otherwise, my 
dear, you'll have to carry me upstairs, which won't look any 
too well. But I want another glass. Oh, Peter, do look at 
that woman now!" 

Peter looked. The elderly ofiScer had dined to repletion 
and drank well too. The woman had roused herself; she 
was plainly urging him to come on out; and as Peter 
glanced over, she made an all but imperceptible sign to a 
waiter, who bustled forward with the man's cap and stick. 
He took them stupidly, and the woman helped him up, but 
not too noticeably. Together they made for the door, which 
the waiter held wide open. The woman tipped him, and he 
bowed. The door closed, and the pair disappeared into the 
street. 

"A damned plucky sort," said Julie; "I don't care what 
anyone says." 

"I didn't think so once, Julie," said Peter, "but I believe 
you're right now. It's a topsy-turvy world, little girl, and 
one never knows where one is in it." 

"Men often don't," said Julie, "but women make fewer 
mistakes. Come, Peter, let's get back. I want the walk, and 
I want that cosy little room." 

He drained his glass and got up. Suddenly the thought 
of the physical Julie ran through him like fire. "Rather!" 
he said gaily. "So do I, little girl." 

The waiter pulled back the chairs. The padrone came up 
all bows and smiles. He hoped the Captain would come 
again — ^any time. It was better to ring up, as they were 
often Ta-y full. A taxi? No? Well, the walk through 



284 SIMON CALLED PETER 

the streets was enjoyable after dinner, even now, when 
the lights were so few. Good-evening, madame; he hoped 
everything had been to her liking. 

Julie sauntered across the now half-empty little room, 
and took Peter's arm in the street. "Do you know the way ?" 
she demanded. 

"We can't miss it," he said. "Up here will lead us to 
Shaftesbury Avenue somewhere, and then we go down. 
Sure you want to walk, darling?" 

"Yes, and see the people, Peter. I love seeing them. 
Somehow, by night they're more natural than they are by 
day. I hate seeing people going to work in droves, and men 
rushing about the city with dollars written all across their 
faces. At night that's mostly finished with. One can see 
ugly things, but some rather beautiful ones as well. Let's 
cross over. There are more people that side." > 

They passed together down the big street. Even the 
theatres were darkened to some extent, but taxis were about, 
and kept depositing their loads of men and smiling women. 
The street-walks held Tommies, often plainly with a sweet- 
heart from down east ; men who sauntered along and 
scanned the faces of the women ; a newsboy or two ; a few 
loungers waiting to pick up odd coppers; and here and 
there a woman by herself. It was the usual crowd, but they 
were in the mood to see the unusual in usual things. 

In the Circus they lingered a little. Shrouded as it was, 
an atmosphere of mystery hung over everything. Little 
groups that talked for a while at the corners or made ap- 
pointments, or met and broke up again, had the air of con- 
spirators in some great affair. The rush of cars down Re- 
gent Street, and then this way and that, lent colour to the 
thought, and it affected both of them. "What's brooding 
over it all, Julie?" Peter half-whispered. "Can't you feel 
that there is something?" 

She shrugged her shoulders, and tlien gave a little shiver. 
"Love, or what men take for love," she said. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 28s 

He clasped the hand that lay along his arm passionately. 
"Come along," he said. 

"Oh, this is good, Peter," said Julie a few minutes later. 
She had thrown off her wrap, and was standing by the fire 
while he arranged the cigarettes, the biscuits, and a couple 
of drinks on the little table with its shaded light. "Did you 
lock the door ? Are we quite alone, we two, at last, with all 
the world shut out?" 

He came swiftly over to her, and took her in his arms 
for answer. He pressed kisses on her hair, her lips, her 
neck, and she responded to them. 

"Oh, love, love," he said, "let's sit down and forget that 
there is anything but you and I." 

She broke from him with a little laugh of excitement. 
"We will, Peter," she said; "but I'm going to take oft 
this dress and one or two other things, and let my hair down. 
Then I'll come back." 

"Take them off here," he said ; "you needn't go away." 

She looked at him and laughed again. "Help me, then," 
she said, and turned her back for him to loosen her dress. 

Clumsily he obeyed. He helped her off with the shim- 
mering beautiful thing, and put it carefully over a chair. 
With deft fingers she loosened her hair, and he ran his 
fingers through it, and buried his face in the thick growth 
of it. She untied a ribbon at her waist, and threw from 
her one or two of her mysterious woman's things. Then, 
with a sigh of utter abandonment, she threw herself into 
his arms. 

They sat long over the fire. Outside the dull roar of the 
sleepless city came faintly up to them, and now and again 
a coal fell in the grate. At long last Peter pushed her back 
a little from him. "Little girl," he said, "I must ask one 
thing. Will you forgive me? That night at Abbeville, 
after we left Langton, what was it you wouldn't tell me? 
What was it you thought he would have known about you, 
but not I ? Julie, I thought, to-night— was it anything to do 



386 SIMON CALLED PETER 

with East Africa — those tropical nights under the moon' 
Oh, tell me, Julie!" 

The girl raised her eyes to his. That look of pain and 
knowledg'e that he had seen from the beginning was in them 
again. Her hand clasped the lappet of his tunic convulsively, 
and she seemed to him indeed but a little girl. 

"Peter! could you not have asked? But no, you couldn't, 
not you. . . . But you guess now, don't you? Oh, Peter, 
I was so young, and I thought — oh, I thought the big thing 
had come, and since then life's been all one big mockery. 
I've laughed at it, Peter: it was the only way. And then 
you came along. I haven't dared to think, but there's some- 
thing about you — oh, I don't know what! But you don't 
play tricks, do you, Peter? And you've given me all, at 
last, without a question. . , . Oh, Peter, tell me you love 
me still ! It's your love, Peter, that can make me clean and 
save my soul — if I've any soul to save," she added brokenly, 

Peter caught her to him. He crushed her so that she 
caught her breath with the pain of it, and he wound his 
hand all but savagely in her hair. He got up — ^and she 
never guessed he had the strength — and carried her out in 
his arms, and into the other room. 

And hours later, staring into the blackness while she slept 
as softly as a child by his side, he could not help smiling a 
little to himself. It was all so different from what he had 
imagined. 



CHAPTER VIII 

PETER awoke, and wondered where he was. Then his 
eye fell on a half-shut, unfamiliar trunk across the room, 
and he heard splashing through the open door of the bath- 
room. "Julie!" he called. 

A gurgle of laughter came from the same direction and 
the splashing ceased. Almost the next second Julie appeared 
in the doorway. She was still half-wet from the water, 
and her sole dress was a rosebud which she had just tucked 
into her hair. She stood there, laughing, a perfect vision 
of unblushing natural loveliness, splendidly made from her 
little head poised lightly on her white shoulders to her slim 
feet. "You lazy creature!" she exclaimed; "you're awake 
at last, are you ? Get up at once," and she ran over to him 
just as she was, seizing the bed-clothes and attempting to 
strip them off. Peter protested vehemently. "You're a 
shameless baggage," he said, "and I don't want to get up yet. 
I want some tea and a cigarette in bed. Go away I" 

"You won't get up, won't you ?" she said. "All right ; I'll 
get into bed, then," and she made as if to do so. 

"Get away!" he shouted. "You're streaming wet! 
You'll soak everything." 

"I don't care," she retorted, laughing and struggling at 
the same time, and she succeeded in getting a foot between 
the sheets. Peter slipped out on the other side, and she ran 
round to him. "Come on," she said; "now for your bath. 
Not another moment. My water's steaming hot, and it's 
quite good enough for you. You can smoke in your bath oi- 
after it. Come on !" 

She dragged him into the bathroom and into that bath, 

287 



288 SIMON CALLED PETER 

and then she filled a sponge with cold water and trickled it 
on him, until he threatened to jump out and give her a cold 
douche. Then, panting with her exertions and dry now, she 
collapsed on the chair and began to fumble with her hair 
and its solitary rose. It was exactly Julie who sat there 
unashamed in her nakedness, Peter thought. She had kept 
the soul of a child through everything, and it could burst 
through the outer covering of the woman who had tasted 
of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and laugh in the 
sun. 

"Peter," she said, "wouldn't you love to live in the Fiji^ 
no, not the Fiji, because I expect that's civilised these days, 
but on an almost desert island ? — though not desert, of 
course. Why does one call Robinson Crusoe sort of islands 
desert? Oh, I know, because it means deserted, I suppose. 
But I don't want it quite deserted, for I want you, and three 
or four huts of nice savages to cut up wood for the fire and 
that sort of thing. And I should wear a rose— no, a hibiscus 
— in my hair all day long, and nothing else at all. And you 
should wear — well, I don't know what you should wear, but 
something picturesque that covered you up a bit, because 
you're by no means so good-looking as I am, Peter." She 
jumped up and stretched out her arms. "Am I not good- 
looking, Peter ? Why isn't there a good mirror in this 
horrid old bathroom? It's more necessary in a bathroom 
than anywhere, I think." 

"Well, I can see you without it," said Peter. "And J 
quite agree, Julie, you're divine. You are like Aphrodite, 
sprung from the foam." 

She laughed. "Well, spring from the foam yourself, old 
dear, and come and dress. I'm getting cold. I'm going to 
put on the most thrilling set of undies this morning that 
you ever saw. The cami- . . ." 

Peter put his fingers in his ears. "Julie," he said, "in 
one minute I shall blush for shame. Go and put on some- 
thing, if you must, but don't talk about it. You're like a 
Greek goddess just now, but if you begin to quote advertise- 



SIMON CALLED PETER 289 

ments you'll be like — well, I don't know what you'll be like, 
but I won't have it, anyway. Go on ; get away with you. I 
ehall throw the sponge at you if you don't." 

She departed merrily, singing to herself, and Peter lay a 
(ittle longer in the soft warm water. He dwelt lovingly on 
the girl in the other room ; he told himself he was the hap- 
piest man alive; and yet he got out of the bath, without 
apparent rhyme or reason, with a little sigh. But he was 
only it little quicker than most men in that. Julie had 
attained and was radiant ; Peter had attained — and sighed. 

She was entirely respectable by contrast when he rejoined 
her, shaven and half-dressed, a little later, but just as delect- 
able, as she stood in soft white things putting up her hair 
with her bare arms. He went over and kissed her. "You 
never said good-morning at all, you wretch," he said. 

She flung her arms round his neck and kissed him again 
many times. "Purposely," she said. "I shall never say 
good-morning to you while you're horribly unshaven — ^never. 
You can't help waking up like it, I know, but it's your duty 
to get clean and decent as quickly as possible. See?" 

"I'll try always to remember," said Peter, and stressed the 
word. 

She held him for an appreciable second at that; then 
loosed him with a quick movement. "Go, now," she said, 
"and order breakfast to be brought up to our sitting-room. 
It must be a very nice breakfast. There must be kippers 
and an omelette. Go quick ; I'll be ready in half a minute." 

"I believe that girl is sweeping the room," said Peter. 
"Am I to appear like this ? You must remember that we're 
not in France." 

"Put on a dressing-gown then. You haven't got one 
here? Then put on my kimono; you'll look exceedingly 
beautiful. . . . Really, Peter, you do. Our island will have 
to be Japan, because kimonos suit you. But I shall never 
live to reach it if you don't order that breakfast." 

Peter departed, and had a satisfactory interview with the 
Jelephone in the presence of the maid. He returned with 



290 SIMON CALLED PETER 

a cigarette between his lips, smiling, and Julie turned to 
survey him. 

"Peter, come here. Have you kissed that girl ? I believe 
you have! How dare you? Talk about being shameless, 
with me here in the next room !" 

"I thought you never minded such things, Julie. You've 
told me to kiss girls before now. And you said that you'd 
always allow your husband complete liberty — ^now, didn't 
you?" 

Julie sat down on the bed and heaved a mock sigh. 
^'What incredible creatures are men!" she exclaimed. 
"Must I mean everything I say, Solomon? Is there no 
difference between this flat and that miserable old hotel in 
Caudebec? And last, but not least, have you promised to 
forsake all other and cleave unto me as long as we both 
shall live? If you had promised it, I'd know you couldn't 
possibly keep it; but as it is, I have hopes." 

This was too much for Peter. He dropped into the posi- 
tion that she had grown to love to see him in, and he put 
his arms round her waist, looking up at her laughingly. 
"But you will marry me, Julie, won't you?" he demanded. 

Before his eyes, a lingering trace of that old look crept 
back into her face. She put her hands beneath his chin, and 
said no word, till he could stand it no longer. 

"Julie, Julie, my darling," he said, "you must." 

"Must, Peter?" she queried, a little wistfully he thought. 

"Yes, must; but say you want to, say you will, Julie!" 

"I want to, Peter," she said — "oh, my dear, you don't 
know, you can't know, how much. The form is nothing to 
me, but I want you — if I can keep you." 

"If you can keep me!" echoed Peter, and it was as if 
an ice-cold finger had suddenly been laid on his heart. For 
one second he saw what might be. But he banished it, 
"What!" he exclaimed. "Cannot you trust me, Julie? 
Don't you know I love you? Don't you know I want to 
make you the very centre of my being, Julie ?" 

"I know, dearest," she whispered, and he had never heard 



SIMON CALLED PETER 291 

her speak so before. "You want, that is one thing; you 
can, that is another." 

Peter stared up at her. He felt like a little child who 
kneels at the feet of a mother whom it sees as infinitely 
loving, infinitely wise, infinitely old. And, like a child, he 
buried his head in her lap. "Oh, Julie," he said, "you must 
marry me. I want you so that I can't tell you how much. 
I don't know what you mean. Say," he said, looking up 
again and clasping her tightly — "say you'll marry me, Julie !" 

She sprang up with a laugh. "Peter," she said, "you're 
Mid-Victorian. You are actually proposing to me upon 
your knees. If I could curtsy or faint I would, but I can't. 
Every scrap of me is modern, down to Venns' cami-knickers 
that you wouldn't let me talk about. . Let's go and eat kip- 
pers ; I'm dying for them. Come on, old Solomon." 

He got up more slowly, half-smiling, for who could resist 
Julie in that mood? But he made one more effort. He 
caught her hand. "But just say 'Yes' Julie," he said — "just 
'Yes.' " 

She snatched her hand away. "Maybe I will tell you on 
Monday morning," she said, and ran out of the room. 

As he finished dressing, he heard her singing in the next 
room, and then talking to the maid. When he entered the 
fiitting-room the girl came out, and he saw that there were 
tears in her eyes. He went in and looked sharply at Julie; 
idiere was a suspicion of moisture in hers also. "Oh, Peter," 
she said, and took him by the arm as the door closed, "why 
didn't you tell me about Jack? I'm going out immediately 
after breakfast to buy her the best silver photo-frame I can 
find, see? And now come and eat your kippers. They're 
half -cold, I expect. I thought you were never coming." 

So began a dream-like day to Peter. Julie was the centre 
of it. He followed her into shops, and paid for her pur- 
chases and carried her parcels: he climbed with her on. to 
buses, which she said she preferred to taxis in the day- 
time; he listened to her talk, and he did his best to find out 
what she wanted and get just that for her. They lunched. 



292 SIMON CALLED PETER 

at her request, at an old-fashioned, sober restaurant in 
Regent Street, that gave one the impression of eating lunch- 
eon in a Georgian dining-room, in some private house of 
great stolidity and decorum. When Julie had said that she 
wanted such a place Peter had been tickled to think how 
she would behave in it. But she speedily enlightened him. 
She drew off her gloves with an air. She did not laugh 
once. She did not chat to the waiter. She did not hurry 
in, nor demand the wine-list, nor call him Solomon. She 
did not commit one single Colonial solecism at table, as 
Peter had hated himself for half thinking that she might. 
Yet she never had looked prettier, he thought, and even 
there he caught glances which suggested that others might 
think so too. And if she talked less than usual, so did he, 
for his mind was very busy. In the old days it was almost 
just such a wife as Julie now that he would have wanted. 
But did he want the old days? Could he go back to them? 
Could he don the clerical frock coat and with it the clerical 
system and outlook of St. John's ? He knew, as he sat there, 
that not only he could not, but that he would not. What, 
then? It was almost as if Julie suggested that the alternative 
was madcap days, such as that little scene in the bathroom 
suggested. He looked at her, and thought of it again, and 
smiled at the incongruity of it, there. But even as he smiled 
the cold whisper of dread insinuated itself again, small and 
slight as it was. Would such days fill his life ? Could they 
offer that which should seize on his heart, and hold it? 

He roused himself with an effort of will, poured himself 
another glass of wine, and drank it down. The generous, 
full-bodied stuff warmed him, and he glanced at his wrist- 
watch. "I say," he said, "we shall be late, Julie, and J 
don't want to miss one scrap of this show. Have you fin- 
ished? A little more wine?" 

Julie was watching him, he thought, as he spoke, and she, 
too, seemed to him to make a little effort. "I will, Peter," 
she said, not at all as she had spoken there before — "a full 



SIMON CALLED PETER 393 

glass too. One wants to be in a good mood for the Coliseum. 
Well, dear old thing, cheerio !" 

Outside he demanded a taxi. "I must have it, Julie," he 
said. "I want to drive up, and have the old buffer in gold 
braid open the door for me. Have a cigarette?" 

She took one, and laughed as they settled into the car. "I 
know the feeling, my dear," she said. "And you want to 
stroll languidly up the red carpet, and pass by the pictures 
of chorus-girls as if you were so accustomed to the real 
thing that really the pictures were rather borin', don't you 
know. And you want to make eyes at the programme-girl, 
and give a half-crown tip when they open the box, and take 
off your British warm in full view of the audience, and 

"Kiss you," said Peter uproariously, suiting the action to 
the word. "Good Lord, Julie, you're a marvel ! No more 
of those old restaurants for me. We dine at our hotel to- 
night, in the big public room near the band, and we drink 
champagne." 

"And you put the cork in my stocking?" she queried. 
Stretching out her foot. 

He pushed his hand up her skirt and down to the warm 
place beneath the gay garter that she indicated, and he 
kissed her passionately again. "It doesn't matter now," he 
said. "I have more of you than that. Why, that's nothing 
to me now, Julie. Oh, how I love you !" 

She pushed him off, and snatched her foot away also, 
laughing gaily. "I'm getting cheap, am I?" she said. "We'll 
see. You're going to have a damned rotten time in the 
theatre, my dear. Not another kiss, and I shall be as prim 
as a Quaker." 

The car stopped.i "You couldn't," he laughed, helping 
her out. "And what is more, I shan't let you be. I've got 
you, old darling, and I propose to keep you, what's more." 
He took her arm resolutely. "Come along. We're goinf 
to be confoundedly late." 



294 SIMON CALLED PETER 

Theirs was a snug little box, one of the new ones, placed 
as in a French theatre. The great place was nearly dark as 
they entered, except for the blaze of light that shone through 
the curtain. The odour of cigarette-smoke and scent greeted 
them, with the rustle of dresses and the subdued sound of 
gay talk. The band struck up. Then, after the rolling over- 
ture, the curtain ran swiftly up, and a smart young person 
tripped on the stage in the limelight and made great play 
of swinging petticoats. 

Julie had no remembrance of her promised severity at any 
rate. She hummed airs, and sang choruses, and laughed, 
and was thrilled, exactly as she should have been, while the 
music and the panorama went on and wrapped them round 
with glamour, as it was meant to do. She cheered the 
patriotic pictures and Peter with her, till he felt no end of a 
fellow to be in uniform. The people in front of them 
gla^jced round amusedly now and again, and as like as not 
Julie would be discovered sitting there demurely, her child's 
face all innocence, and a big chocolate held between her 
fingers at her mouth. Peter would lean back in his corner 
convulsed at her, and without moving a muscle of her face 
she would put her 1^ up on his seat and push him. One 
scene they watched well back in their dark box, his arm 
round her waist. It was a little pathetic love-play and well 
done, and in the gloom he played with the curls at her ears 
and neck with his lips, and held her hand. 

When it was over they went out with the crowd. The 
January day was done, but it was bewildering for all that 
to come out into real life. There was no romance for the 
moment on the stained street, and in the passing traffic. The 
gold braid of the hall commissionaire looked tawdry, and 
the pictures of ballet-girls but vulgar. It is the common 
experience, but each time one feels it there is a new surprise. 
Julie had her own remedy: 

"The liveliest tea-room you can find, Peter," she "ie- 
manded. 

"It will be hard to beat our own," said Peter. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 295 

•^Well, away there, then ; let's get back to a band again, 
anyhow." 

The great palm-lounge was full of people, and for a few 
minutes it did not seem as if they would find seats ; but then 
Julie espied a half -empty table, and they made for it. It 
stood away back in a corner, with two wicker armchairs 
before it, ind, behind, a stationary lounge against the wall 
overhung by a huge palm. The lounge was occupied. "We'll 
get in there presently," whispered Peter, and they took the 
chairs, thankful in the crowded place to get seated at all. 

"Oh, it was topping, Peter," said Julie. "I love a great 
place like that. I almost wish we had had dress-circle seats 
or stalls out amongst the people. But I don't know ; that box 
was delicious. Did you see how that old fossil in front kept 
looking round? I made eyes at him once, deliberately — 
you know, like this," and she looked sideways at Peter 
with subtle invitation just hinted in her eyes. "I thought 
h« would have apoplexy — I did, really." 

"It's a good thing I didn't notice, Julie. Even now I 
should hate to see you look like that, say, at Donovan. You 
do it too well. Oh, here's the tea. Praise the Lord! I'm 
dying for a cup. You can have all the cakes ; I've smoked 
too much." 
"Wouldn't you prefer a whisky?" 

"No, not now — ^afterwards. What's that they're playing ?" 
They listened, Julie seemingly intent, and Peter, who sooa 
gave up the attempt to recognise the piece, glanced sideways 
at the couple on the lounge. They did not notice him. He 
took them both in and caught — ^he could not help it — a few 
words. 

She was thirty-five, he guessed, slightly made-up, but 
handsome and full figured, a woman of whom any man 
might have been proud. He was an officer^ in Major's uni- 
form, and he was smoking a cigarette impatiently and staring 
down the lounge. She, on the other hand, had her eyes 
fixed on him as if to read every expression on his face, which 
was heavy and sullen and mutinous. 



296 SIMON CALLED PETER 

"Is that final, then, George?" she said. 

"I tell you I can't help it ; I promised I'd dine with Car- 
stairs to-night." 

A look swept across her face. Peter could not altogether 
read it. It was not merely anger, or pique, or disappoint- 
ment ; it certainly was not merely grief. There was all that 
in it, but there was more. And she said — ^he only just caught 
the sentence of any of their words, but there was the world 
of bitter meaning in it : 

"Quite alone, I suppose? And there will be no necessity 
for me to sit up?" 

"Peter," said Julie suddenly, "the tea's cold. Take me 
upstairs, will you? we can have better sent up." 

He turned to her in surprise, and then saw that she too 
bad heard and seen. 

"Kigm, dear," he said. "It is beastly stuff. I think, after 
all, I'd prefer a spot, and I believe you would too." 

He rose carefully, not looking towards the lounge, like a 
man; and Julie got up too, glancing at that other couple 
with such an ordinary merely interested look that Peter 
smiled to himself to see it. They threaded their way in 
necessary silence through the tables and chairs to the doors, 
and said hardly a word in the lift. But in their sitting-room, 
cosy as ever, Julie turned to him in a passion of emotion such 
as he had scarcely dreamed could exist even in her. 

"Oh, you darhng," she said, "pick me up, and sit me in 
that chair on your knee. Love me, Peter, love me as you've 
never loved me before. Hold me tight, tight, 'Peter — hurt 
me, kiss me, love me, say you love me . . ." and she choked 
her own utterance, and buried her face on his shoulder, 
straining her body to his, twining her slim foot and leg 
round his ankle. In a moment she was up again, however, 
and glanced at the clock. "Peter, we must dress early and 
dine early, mustn't we? The thing begins at seven-forty- 
five. Now I know what we'll do. First, give me a driidc^ 
a long one, Solomon, and take one yourself. Thanks. 
That'll do. Here's the best. . . , Oh, that's good, Peter, 



SIMON CALLED PETEk 297 

Can't you feel it running through you and electrifying you? 
Now, come" — she seized him by the arm — "come on! I'll 
tell you what you've got to do." 

Smiling, though a little astonished at this outburst, Peter 
allowed himself to be pulled into the bedroom. She sat 
down on the bed and pushed out a foot. "Take it oflf, you 
darling, while I take down my hair," she said. 

He knelt and undid the laces and took off the brown shoes 
one by one, feeling her little foot through the silk as he did 
so. Then he looked up. She had pulled out a comb or two, 
and her hair was hanging down. With swift fingers she 
finished her work, and was waiting for him. He caught her 
in his arms, and she buried her face again. "Oh, Peter, love 
me, love me ! Undress me, will you ? I want you to. Play 
with me, own me, Peter. See, I am yours, yours, Peter, all 
yours. Am I worth having, Peter? Do you want more 
than me?" And she flung herself back on the bed in her 
disorder, the little ribbons heaving at her breast, her eyes 
afire, her cheeks aflame. 

"Well," said Peter, an hour or two later, "we've got to 
get this dinner through as quickly as we've ever eaten any- 
thing. You'll have to digest like one of your South African 
ostriches. I say," he said to the waitress in a confidential 
tone and with a smile, "do you think you can get us stuff in 
ten minutes all told? We're late as it is, and we'll miss half 
the theatre else." 

"It depends what you order," said the girl, rather sharply. 
Then, after' a glance at them both: "See, if you'll have 
what I say, I'll get you through quick. I know what's on 
easiest. Do you mind?" 

"The very thing," said Peter ; "and send the wine-man 
over on your way, will you ? How will that do ?" he added 
to Julie. 

"I'll risk everything to-night, Peter, except your smiling 
at the waitress," she said. "But I must have that cham- 
pagne. There's something about champagne that inspires 
confidence. Whan a man gives you the gold bottle you know 



/98 SIMON CALLED PETER 

that he is really serious, or as serious as he can be, which 
isn't saying much for most men. And not half a bottle; 
I've had half-bottles heaps of times at tete-a-tete dinners. 
It always means indecision, which is a beastly thing in any- 
one, and especially in a man. It's insulting, for one thing, 
. . . Oh, Peter, do look at that girl over there. Do you 
suppose she has anything on underneath? I suppose I 
couldn't ask her, but you might, you know, if you put or* 
that smile of yours. Do walk over, beg her pardon, and 
say very nicely: 'Excuse me, but I'm a chaplain, and it's 
my business to know these things. I see you've no stays on, 
but have you a bathing costume ?' " 

"Julie, do be quiet; someone will hear you. You must 
remember we're in England, and that you're talking 
English." 

"I don't care a damn if they do, Peter! Oh, here's the 
champagne, at any rate. Oh, and some soup. Well, that's 
something." 

"I've got the fish coming," said the girl, "if you can be 
ready at once." 

Julie seized her spoon. "I suppose I mustn't drink it?'' 
she said. "I don't see why I shouldn't, as a matter of 
fact, but it might reflect on you, Peter, and you're looking so 
immaculate to-night. By the way, you've never had that 
manicure. Do send a note for the girl. I'd hide in the 
bathroom. I'd love to hear you. Peter, if I only thought 
you would do it, I'd like it better than the play. What is the 
play, by the way ? Zigzag? Oh, Zigzag." (She mimicked 
in a French accent.) "Well, it will be all too sadly true if 
I leave you to that bottle of fizz all by yourself. Give me 
another glass, please." 

"What about you?" demanded Peter. "If you're like 
this now. Heaven knows what you'll be by the time 
you've had half of this." 

"Peter, you're an ignoramus. Girls like me never take 
too much. We began early for one thing, and we're used to 
k. For another, the more a girl talks, the soberer she is. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 29^ 

She talks because she's thinking; and because rfhe doesn't 
want the man to talk. Now, if you talked to-night, I don't 
know what you might not say. You'd probably be enor- 
mously sentimental, and I hate sentimental people. I do, 
really. Sentiment is wishy-washy, isn't it? I always asso- 
ciate it with comedians on the stage. Look over there. Do 
you see that girl in the big droopy hat and the thin hands ? 
And the boy — one must say 'boy,' I suppose ? He's a little 
fat and slightly bald, and he's got three pips up, and has 
had them for a long time. Well, look at them. He's search- 
ing her eyes, he is, Peter, really. That's how it's done: you 
just watch. And he doesn't know if he's eating pea-soup or 
oyster-sauce. And she's hoping her hat is drooping just 
right, and that he'll notice her ring is on the wrong finger, 
and how nice one would look in the right place. To do her 
justice, she isn't thinking much about dinner, either; but 
that's sinful waste, Peter, in the first place, and bad for 
one's tummy in the second. However, they're sentimental, 
they are, and there's a fortune in it. If they could only 
bring themselves to do just that for fifteen minutes at the 
Alhambra every night, they'd be the most popular turn in 
London." 

"That's all very well," said he; "but if you eat so fast 
and talk at the same time, you'll pay for it very much as 
you think they will. Have you finished?" 

"No, I haven't. I want cheese-straws, and I shall sit 
here till I get them or till the whole of London zigzags 
round me." 

"I say," said Peter to their waitress, "if you possibly can, 
fetch us cheese-straws now. Not too many, but quickly. 
Can you? The lady won't go without them, and some- 
thing must be done." 

"Wouldn't the management wait if you telephoned, Peter 
dear?" inquired Julie sarcastically. "Just say who you are, 
and they sure will. If the chorus only knew, they'd go on 
strike against appearing before you came, or tear their tights 
or something dreadful like that, so that they couldn't come 



30O SIMON CALLED PETER 

on. Yes, now I am ready. One wee last little drop of the 
bubbly — I see it there — and I'll sacrifice coffee for your 
sake. Give me a cigarette, though. Thanks. And now my 
wrap." 

She rose, the cigarette in her fingers, smiling at him. 
Peter hastily followed, walking on air. He was beginning 
to realise how often he failed to understand Julie, and to 
see how completely she controlled her apparently more friv- 
olous moods ; but he loved her in them. He little knew, as 
he followed her out, the tumult of thoughts that raced 
through that little head with its wealth of brown hair. He 
little guessed how bravely she was already counting the 
fleeting minutes, how resolutely keeping grip of herself in 
the flood which threatened to sweep her — ^how gladly!— 
away. 

A good revue must be a pageant of music, colour, scenery, 
song, dance, humour, and the impossible. There must bfe 
good songs in it, but one does not go for the songs, any 
more than one goes to see the working out of a plot. Strung- 
up men, forty-eight hours out of the trenches, with every 
nerve on edge, must come away with a smile of satisfaction 
on their faces, to have a last drink at home and sleep like 
babies. Women who have been on nervous tension for 
months must be able to go there, and allow their tired senses 
to drink in the feast of it all, so that they too may go home 
and sleep. And in a sense their evening meant all this to 
Peter and Julie ; but only in a sense. 

They both of them bathed in the performance. The pos- 
sible and impossible scenes came and went in a bewildering 
variety, till one had the feeling that one was asleep and 
dreaming the incomprehensible jumble of a dream, and, as 
in a nice dream, one knew it was absurd, but did not care. 
The magnificent, brilliant staging dazzled till one lay back 
in one's chair and refused to name the cotours to oneself 
or admire their blending any more. The chorus-girls 
trooped on and off till they seemed countless, aiid one aban- 



SIMON CALLED PETER 301 

doned any wish to pick the prettiest and follow her through. 
And the gay palace of luxury, with its hundreds of splendidly 
dressed women, its men in uniform, its height and width and 
gold and painting, and its great arching roof, where, high 
above, the stirring of human hearts still went on, took to 
itself an atmosphere and became sentient with humanity. 

Julie and Peter were both emotional and imaginative, and 
they were spellbound till the notes of the National Anthem 
roused them. Then, with the commonplaces of departure, 
they left the place. "It's so near," said Julie in the crowd 
outside; "let's walk again." 

"The other pavement, then," said Peter, and they crossed. 
It was cold, and Julie clung to him, and they walked swiftly. 
At the entrance Peter suggested an hour under the palms, 
but Julie pleaded against it. "Why, dear ?" she said. "It's 
so cosy upstairs, and we have all we want. Besides, the 
lounge would be an anti-climax; let's go up." 

They went up, and Julie dropped into her chair while 
Peter knelt to poke the fire. Then he lit a cigarette, and 
she refused one for once, and he stood there looking into 
the flame. 

Julie drew a deep sigh, "Wasn't it gorgeous, Peter?" 

she said. "I can't help it, but I always feel I want it to 

go on for ever and ever. Did you ever see Kismet? That 

was worse even than this. I wanted to get up and walk 

into the play. These modern things are too clever; you 

know they're unreal, and yet they seem to be real. You 

know you're dreaming, but you hate to wake up. I could 

let all that music and dancing and colour go on round me 

till I floated away and away, for ever." 

Peter said nothing. He continued to stare into the fire. 

"What do you feel?" demanded Julie, 

Peter drew hard on his cigarette, and then he blew out 

the smoke. "I don't know," he said. "Yes, I do," he 

%dded quickly ; "I feel I want to get up and preach a sermon." 

"Good Lord, Peter ! what a dreadful sensation that must 



302 SIMON CALLED PETER 

be! Don't begin now, will you? I'm beginning to wish 
we'd gone into the lounge after all; you surely couldn't 
have preached there." 

Peter did not smile. He went on as if she had not 
spoken. "Or write a great novel, or, better still, a great 
play," he said. 

"What would be the subject, then, you Solomon, or the 
title, anyway?" 

"I don't know," said Peter dreamily. "All Men are Grass, 
The Way of all Flesh — no, neither of those is good, and 
besides, one at least is taken. I know," he added suddenly, 
"I would call it Exchange, that's all. My word, Julie, 1 
believe I could do it." He straightened himself, and walked 
across the room and back again, once or twice. "I believe I 
could: I feel it tingling in me; but it's all formless, if you 
understand; I've no plot. It's just what I feel as I sit 
there in a theatre, as we did just now." 

Julie leaned forward and took the cigarette she had just 
refused. She lit it herself with a half-burnt match, and 
Peter stood and watched her, but hardly saw what she was 
doing. She was as conscious of his preoccupation as if it 
were something physical about him. 

"Explain, my dear," she said, leaning back and staring 
into the fire. 

"I don't know that I can," he replied, and she felt as if 
he did not speak to her. "It's the bigness of it all, the 
beauty, the triumphant success. It's drawn that great 
house full, lured them in, the thousands of them, and it 
does so night after night. Tired people go there to be 
refreshed, and sad people to be made gay, and people sick 
of life to laugh and forget it. It's the world's big anodyne. 
It offers a great exchange. And all for a few shillings, Julie, 
and for a few hours. The sensation lingers, but one has to 
go again and again. It tricks one into thinking, almost, that 
it's the real thing, that one can dance like mayflies in the sun. 
Only, Julie, there comes an hour when down sinks the sun, 
and what of the mayflies then?" 



SIMON CALLED PETER 303 

Julie shifted her head ever so little. "Go on," she said 
looking up intently at him. 

He did not notice her, but her words roused him. He 
began to pace up and down again, and her eyes followed 
him. "Why," he said excitedly, "don't you see that it's a 
fraudulent exchange? It's a fraudulent exchange that it 
offers, and it itself is an exchange as fraudulent as that 
which our modern world is making. No, not our modern 
world only. We talk so big of our modernity, when it's all 
less than the dust — ^this year's leaves, no better than last 
year's, and fallen to-morrow. Rome offered the same ex- 
change, and even a better one, I think — the blood and lust 
and conflict of the amphitheatre. But they're both ex- 
changes, offered instead of the great thing, the only great 
thing." 

"Which is, Peter?" 

"God, of course — ^Almighty God; Jesus, if you will, but 
I'm not in a mood for the tenderness of that. It's God Him- 
self Who offers tired and sad people, and people sick of 
life, no anodyne, no mere rest, but stir and fight and the 
thrill of things nobly dOne — nobly tried, Julie, even if nobly 
failed. Can't you see it? And you and I to-night have 
been looking at what the world offers — in exchange." 

He ceased and dropped into a chair the other side of the 
fire. A silence fell on them. Then Julie gave a little 
shiver. "Peter, dear," she said tenderly, "I'm a little tired 
and cold." 

He was up at once and bending over her. "My darling, 
what a beast I am ! I clean forgot you for a minute. What 
will you have? What about a hot toddy? Shall I make 
one ?" he demanded, smiling. "Donovan taught me how, and 
I'm really rather good at it." 

She smiled back at him, and put her hand up to smooth his 
hair. "That would be another exchange, Peter," she said, 
"and I don't want it. Only one thing can warm me to-night 
und give me rest." 

He read what she meant in her eyes, and knelt beside the 



304 SIMON CALLED PETER 

chair to put his arms around her. She leaned her face on 
his shoulder, and returned the kisses that he showered upon 
her. "Poor mayflies," she said to herself, "how thqr love 
to dance in the sun !" 



CHAPTER IX 

EVER after that next day, the Saturday, will remain in 
Peter's memory as a time by itself, of special signifi- 
cance, but a significance, except for one incident, very hard 
to place. It began, indeed, very quietly, and very happily. 
They breakfasted again in their own room, and Julie was 
in one of her subdued moods, if one ever could say she was 
subdued. Afterwards Peter lit a cigarette and strolled 
over to the window. "It's a beastly day," he said, "cloudy, 
cold, windy, and going to rain, I think. What shall we do? 
Show up in the hotel all the time?" 

"No," said Julie emphatically, "something quite different. 
You shall show me some of the real London sights, West- 
minster Abbey to begin with. Then we'll drive along the 
Embankment and you shall tell me what everything is, and 
we'll go and see anything else you suggest. I don't suppose 
you realise, Peter, tliat I'm all but absolutely ignorant of 
London." 

He turned and smiled on her. "And you really want to 
■see these things?" he said. 

"Yes, of course I do. You don't think I suggested it 
for your benefit? But if it will make you any happier, I'll 
flatter you a bit. I want to see those things now, with you, 
partly because I'm never likely to find anyone who can show 
me them better. Now then. Aren't you pleased?" 

At that, then, they started. Westminster came first, and 
they wandered all over it and saw as much as the conditions 
of war had left for the public to see. It amused Peter to 
show Julie the things that seemed to him to have a particu- 
lar interest— the Chapter House, St. Faith's Chapel, the 
tomb of the Confessor, and so on. She made odd comments. 

305 



3o6 SIMON CALLED PETER 

In St. Faith's she said: "I don't say many prayers, Peter, 
but here- 1 couldn't say one." 

"Why not?" he demanded. 

"Because it's too private," she said quaintly. "I should 
think I was pretendir^ to be a saint if I went past everybody 
else and the vergers and things into a little place like this 
all by myself. Everyone would know that I was doing 
something which most people don't do. See? Why don't 
people pray all over the church, as they do in France in 5 
cathedral, Peter?" 

He shrugged his shoulders. "Come on," he said; "youi 
notions are all topsy-turvy, Julie. Come and look at the 
monuments." 

They wandered down the transept, and observed the 
majesty of England in stone, robed in togas, declaiming to 
the Almighty, and obviously convinced that He would be 
intensely interested ; or perhaps dying in . the arms of a 
semi-dressed female, with funeral urns or ships or cannon 
in the background ; or, at least in one case, crouching hope- 
lessly, before the dart of a triumphant death. Julie was 
certainly impressed. "They are all like ancient Romans, 
Peter," she said, "and much more striking than those Car- 
dinals and Bishops and Kings, kneeling at prayer, in Rouen 
Cathedral. But, still, they were not ancient Romans, were 
they? They were all Christains, I suppose. Is there a 
Christian monument anywhere about?" 

"I don't know," said Peter, "but we'll walk round and 
see." 

They made a lengthy pilgrimage, and finally Peter 
arrested her. "Here's one," he said. 

A Georgian Bishop in bas-relief looked down on them, 
fat and comfortable. In front of him was a monstrous cup, 
and a plate piled with biggish squares of stone. Julie did 
not realise what it was. "What's he doing with all that 
lump-sugar?" she demanded. 

Peter was really a bit horrified. "You're an appalling 
pagan," he said. "Come away !" And they came. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 307 

They roamed along the Embankment. Julie was as curious 
as a child, and wanted to know all about everything, from 
Boadicea, Qeopatra's Needle, and the Temple Church, to 
Dewar's Whisky Works and the Hotel Cecil. Thereabouts, 
Julie asked the name of the squat tower and old red-brick 
buildings opposite, and when she heard it was Lambeth 
Palace instantly demanded to visit it. Peter was doubtful 
if they could, but they crossed to see, and they were shown 
a good deal by the courtesy of the authorities. The Arch- 
bishop was away, to Peter's great relief, for as likely as 
not Julie would have insisted on an introduction, but they 
saw the chapel and the dining-hall amongst other things. 
The long line of portraits fascinated her, but not as it 
fascinated Peter. The significance of the change in the 
costumes of the portraits struck him for the first time — ^first 
the cope and mitre and cross, then the skull-cap and the 
tippet, then the balloon-sleeves and the wig, then the coat 
and breeches and white cravat, then the academic robes, and 
then a purple cassock. Its interest to Julie was other, how- 
ever. "Peter," she whispered," perhaps you'll be there one 
day." 

He looked at her sharply, but she was not mocking him, 
and, marvelling at her simplicity and honest innocence, he 
relaxed into a smile. "Not very likely, my dear," he said. 
"In other days a pleasant underground cell in the Lollards' 
Tower would have been more likely." 

Then, of course, Julie must see the famous tower, and see 
a little of it they did. She wanted to know what LoUardy 
was; their guide attempted an explanation. Julie was soon 
bored. "I can't see why people make such a bother about 
such things," she said. "A man's religion is his own busi- 
ness, surely, and he must settle it for himself. Don't you 
think so, Peter?" 

"Is it his own business only ?" he asked gravdy. ■■ 

"Whose else should it be?" she demanded. 

"God's," said Peter simply. 

Julie stared at him and sighed. "You're very odd, Peter " 



3o8 SIMON CALLED PETER 

she said, "but you do say things that strike one as being 
true. Go on." 

"Oh, there's no more to say," said Peter, "except, perhaps, 
this: if anyone or any Church honestly believed that God 
had committed His share in the business to them — ^well, then 
he might justifiably feel that he or it had a good deal to do 
with the settling of another man's religion. Hence this 
tower, Julie, and as a matter of fact, my dear, hence me, past 
and present. But come on." 

She took his arm with a little shiver which he was be- 
ginning to notice from time to time in her. "It's a horrible 
idea, Peter," she said. "Yes, let's go." 

So their taxi took them to Buckingham Palace and there- 
abouts, and by chance they saw the King and Queen. Their 
Majesties drove by smartly in morning dress with a couple 
of policemen ahead, and a few women waved handkerchiefs, 
and Peter came to the salute, and Julie cheered. The Queen 
turned towards where she was standing, and bowed, and 
Peter noticed, amazed, that the eyes of the Colonial girl were 
wet, and that she did not attempt to hide it. 

He had %o question her. "I shouldn't have thought you'd 
have felt about royalty like that, Julie," he said. 

"Well, I do," she said, "and I don't care what you say. 
Only I wish they'd go about with the Life Guards. The 
King's a King to me. I suppose he is only a man, but I 
don't want to think of him so. He stands for the Empire 
and for the Flag, and he stands for England too. I'd obey 
that man almost in anything, right or wrong, but I don't 
know that I'd obey anyone else. 

"Then you're a survival of the Dark Ages," he said. 

"Don't be a beast!" said Julie. 

"All right, you're not, and indeed I don't know if I am 
right. Very likely you're the very embodiment of the spirit 
of the Present Day. Having lost every authority, you crave 
for one." 

Julie considered this. "There may be something in that," 
Bhe said. "But I don't like you when you're clever. It was 



SIMON CALLED PETER 309 

the King, and that's enough for me. And I don't want to 
see anything more. I'm hungry ; take me to lunch." 

Peter laughed. "That's it," he said— "like the follower 
of Prince Charlie who shook hands once with his Prince and 
then vowed he would never shake hands with anyone again. 
So you've seen the King, and you won't see anything else, 
only your impression won't last twelve hours, fortunately." 

"I don't suppose the other man kept his vow," said Julie. 
"For one thing, no man ever does. Come on!" 

And so they drifted down the hours until the evening 
theatre and Carminetta. They said and did nothing in par' 
ticular, but they just enjoyed themselves. In point of fact, 
they were emotionally tired, and, besides, they wanted to 
forget how the time sped by. The quiet day was, in its own 
way too, a preparation for the evening feast, and they were 
both in the mood to enjoy the piece intensely when it came. 
The magnificence of the new theatre in which it was staged 
all helped. Its wide, easy stairways, its many conveniences, 
its stupendous auditorium, its packed house, ushered it well 
in. Even the audience seemed different from that of last 
night. 

Julie settled herself with a sigh of satisfaction to listen 
and watch. And they both grew silent as the opera pro- 
ceeded. At first Julie could not contain her delight. "Oh, 
she's perfect, Peter," she exclaimed — "a little bit of life! 
Look how she shakes her hair back and how impudent she 
is— just like one of those French girls you know too much 
about ! And she's boiling passion too. And a regular devil. 
I love her, Peter !" 

"She's very like you, Julie," said Peter. 

Julie flashed a look at him. "Rubbish !" she said, but was 
fiilent. 

They watched while Carminetta set herself to win her bet 
and steal the heart of the hero from the Governor's daughter. 
They watched her force the palace ballroom, and forgot the 
obvious foolishness of a great deal of it in the sense of die 
drama that was being worked out. The whole house grew 



3IO SIMON CALLED PETER 

still. The Er^lish girl, with her beauty, her civilisation, he; 
rank and place, made her appeal to her fiance; and the 
Spanish bastard dancer, with her daring, her passion, her 
naked humanity, so coarse and so intensely human, made 
her appeal also. And they watched while the young con- 
ventionally-bred officer hesitated; they watched till Carmin- 
etta won. 

Julie, leaning forward, held her breath and gazed at the 
beautiful fashionable room on the stage, gazed through the 
open French windows to the moonlit garden and the night 
beyond, and gazed, though at last she could hardly see, at 
the Spanish girl. That great renunciation held them both 
entranced. So bitter-sweet, so humanly divine, the pas- 
sionate, heart-broken, heroic song of farewell, swelled and 
thrilled about them. And with the last notes the child of 
the gutter reached up and up till she made the supreme self- 
sacrifice, and stepped out of the gay room into the dark 
night for the sake of the man she loved too much to love. 

Then Julie bowed her head into her hands, and in the 
silence and darkness of their box burst into tears. And so, 
for the first and last time, Peter heard her really weep. 

He said foolish man-things to comfort her. She looked 
up at last, smiling, her brown eyes challengingly brave 
through her tears. "Peter, forgive me," she said. "I 
shouldn't be such a damned fool! You never thought I 
could be like that, did you? But it was so superbly done, 
I couldn't help it. It's all over now — all over, Peter," she 
added soberly. "I want to sit in the lounge to-night for a 
little, if you don't mind. Could you possibly get a taxi? 
I don't want to walk." 

It was difficult to find one. Finally Peter and another 
officer made a bolt simultaneously and each got hold of a 
door of a car that was just coming up. Both claimed it, and 
the chauffeur looked round good-humouredly at the dis- 
putants. "Settle it which-hever way you like, gents," he 
said, "Hi don't care, but settle it soon." 



SIMON CALLED PETER 3,, 

"Let's toss," said Peter. 

"Right-o," said the other man, and produced a coin. 

"Tails," whispered Julie behind Peter, and "Tails!" he 
called. 

The coin spun while the little crowd looked on in amuse- 
ment, and tails it was. "Damn !" said the other, and turned 
away." 

"A bad loser, Peter," said Julie; "and he's just been seeing 
Carminetta, too ! But am I not lucky ! I almost always win." 

In the palm lounge Julie was very cheerful. "Coffee, 
Peter," she said, "and liqueurs." 

"No drinks after nine-thirty," said the waiter. "Sorry, 
sir." 

Julie laughed. "I nearly swore, Peter," she said, "but I 
remembered in time. If one can't get what one wants, one 
has to go without singing. But I'll have a cigarette, not to 
say two, before we've finished. And I'm in no hurry ; I want 
to sit on here and pretend it's not Saturday night. And I 
want to go very slowly to bed, and I don't want to sleep." 

"Is that the effect of the theatre?" asked Peter, "And 
why so different from last night ?" 

Julie evaded. "Don't you feel really different?" she 
demanded. 

"Yes," he said. 

"How?" 

"Well, I don't want to preach any sermon to-night. It's 
been preached." 

Julie drew hard on her cigarette, and blew out a cloud of 
smoke. "It has, Peter," she said merrily, "and thank the 
Lord I am therefore spared another." 

"You're very gay about it now, Julie, but you weren't at 
first. That play made me feel rather miserable too. No 
I think it made me feel small. Carminetta was great, 
wasn't she ? I don't know that there is anything greater than 
that sort of sacrifice. And it's far beyond me," said Peter. 

Tulie leaff^d back and hummed a bar or two that Peter 



312 SIMON CALLED PETER 

recognised from the last great song of the dancer. "Well, 
my dear, I was sad, wasn't I?" she said. "But it's over. 
There's no use in sadness, is there?" 

Peter did not reply, and started as Julie suddenly laughed. 
"Oh, good Lord, Peter !" she exclaimed, "to what are you 
bringing me ? Do you know that I'm about to quote Scrip- 
ture ? And I damn-well shall if we sit on here ! Let's walk 
up Regent Street; I can't sit still. Come on." She 
jumped up. 

"Just now," he said, "you wanted to sit still for ages, 
and now you want to walk. What is the matter with you, 
Julie? And what was the text?" 

"That would be telling!" she laughed. "But can't I do 
anything I like, Peter ?" she demanded. "Can't I go and get 
drunk if I like, Peter, or sit still, or dance down Regent 
Street, or send you off to bed and pick up a nice boy? It 
would be easy enough here. Can't I, Peter?" 

Her mood bewildered him, and, without in the least under- 
standing why, he resented her levity. But he tried to hide it. 
"Of course you can," he said lightly; "but you don't really 
hfant to do those things, do you — especially the last, Julie?" 

She stood there looking at him, and then, in a moment, 
the. excitement died out of her voice and eyes. She dropped 
into a chair again. "No, Peter," she said, "I don't. That's 
the marvel of it. I expect I shall, one of these days, do most 
of those things, and the last as well, but I don't think I'll ever 
want to do them again. And that's what you've done to me, 
my dear." 

Peter was very moved. He slipped his hand out and 
took hers under cover of her dress. "My darling," he whis- 
pered, "I owe you everything. You have given me all, and 
I won't hold back all from you. Do you remember, Julie, 
that once I said I thought I loved you more than God? 
Well, I know now — oh yes, I believe I do know now. But 
I choose you, Julie." 

Her eyes shone up at him very brightly, and he could not 



SIMON CALLED PETER 313 

read them altogether. But her lips whispered, and he 
thought he understood. 

"Oh, Peter, my dearest," she said, "thank God I have at 
least heard you say that. I wouldn't have missed you saying 
those words for anything, Peter." 

So might the serving-girl in Pilate's courtyard have been 
glad, had she been in love. 



CHAPTER X 

PART at least of Julie's programme was fulfilled to the 
letter, for they lay long in bed talking—desultory, 
reminiscent talk, which sent Peter's mind back over the 
months and the last few days, even after Julie was asleep 
in the bed next his. Like a pageant, he passed in review 
scene after scene, turning it over, and wondering at signi- 
ficances that he had not before imagined. He recalled their 
first meeting, that instantaneous attraction, and he asked 
himself what had caused it. Her spontaneity, freshness, and 
utter lack of conventionality, he supposed, but that did not 
seem to explain all. He wondered at the change that had 
even then come about in himself that he should have been 
so entranced by her. He went over his early hopes and fears ; 
he thought again of conversations with Langton; and he 
realised afresh how true it was that the old authorities had 
dwindled away; that no allegiance had been left; that his 
had been a citadel without a master. And then Julie moved 
through his days again — Julie at Caudebec, daring, iconoclas- 
tic, free; Julie at Abbeville, mysterious, passionate, domi- 
nant ; Julie at Dieppe — ah, Julie at Dieppe ! He marvelled 
that he had held out so long after Dieppe, and then Louise 
rose before him. He understood Louise less than Julie, 
perhaps, and with all the threads in his hand he failed to 
see the pattern. He turned over restlessly. It was easy to 
see how they had come to be in London ; it would have been 
more remarkable if they had not so come together ; but now, 
what now? He could not sum up Julie amid the shifting 
scenes of the last few days. She had been so loving, and yet, 
in a way, their love had reached no climax. It had, indeed, 
reached what he would once have thought a complete and 
ultimate climax, but plainly Julie did not think so. And 

314 



SIMON CALLED PETER 315 

nor did he— now. The things of the spirit were, after all 
so much greater than the things of the flesh. The Julie of 
Friday night had been his, but of this night . . . ? He 
rolled over again. What had she meant at the play? He 
told himself her tears were simple emotion, her laughter 
simple reaction, but he knew it was not true. . 

And for himself? Well, Julie was Julie. He loved her 
intensely. She could stir him to anything almost. He loved 
to be with her, to see her, to hear her, but he did not feel 
satisfied. He knew that. He told himself that he was an 
introspective fool; that nothing ever would seem to satisfy 
him ; that the centre of his life was and would be Julie ; that 
she was real, tinglingly, intensely real; but he knew that 
that was not the last word. And then and there he resolved 
that the last word should be spoken on the morrow, that 
had, indeed, already come by the clock: she should promise 
to marry him. 

He slept, perhaps, for an hour or two, but he awoke with 
the dawn. The grey light was stealing in at the windows, 
and Julie slept beside him in the bed between. He tried iq 
«leep again, but could not, and, on a sudden, had an idea. 
He got quietly out of bed. 

"What is it, Peter ?" said Julie sleepily. 

He went round and leaned over her. "I can't sleep any 
more, dearest," he said. "I think I'll dress and go for a bit 
of a walk. Do you mind ? I'll be in to breakfast." 

"No," she said. "Go if you want to. You are a restless 
old thing!" 

He dressed silently, and kept the bathroom door closed as 
he bathed and shaved. She was asleep again as he stole 
out, one arm flung loosely on the counterpane, her hair 
untidy on the pillow. He kissed a lock of it, and let himself 
quietly out of their suite. 

It was still very early, and the Circus looked empty and 
strange. He walked down Piccadilly, and wondered at the 
dean, soft touch of the dawning day, and recalled another 
memorable Sunday morning walk. He passed very familiar 



3i6 SIMON CALLED PETER 

places, and was conscious of feeling an exile, an inevitable 
one, but none the less an exile, for all that. And so he came in- 
to St. James's Park, still as aimlessly as he had left the hotel. 

Before him, dear as a pointing finger in the morning sky, 
was the campanile of that stranger among the great cathedrals 
of England. It attracted him for the first time, and he made 
all but unconsciously towards it. Peter was not even in the 
spiritual street that leads to the gates of the Catholic Church, 
and it was no incipient Romanism that moved him. He was 
completely ignorant of the greater part of that faith, and, still 
more, had no idea of the gulf that separates it from all other 
religions. He would have supposed, if he had stopped to 
think, that, as with other sects, one considered its tenets, 
made up one's mind as to their truth or falsehood one by one, 
and if one believed a sufficient majority of them joined the 
Church. It was only, then, the mood of the moment, and 
Tirhen he found himself really moving towards that finger- 
post he excused himself by thinking that as he was, by his 
own act, exiled from more familiar temples, he would visit 
this that would have about it a suggestion of France. 

He' wondered if it would be open as he turned into Ashley 
hardens. He glanced at his watch; it was only just after 
Seven. Perhaps an early Mass might be beginning. He 
went to the central doors and found them fast ; then he saw 
tittle groups of people and individuals like himself making 
for the door in the great tower, and these he followed within. 

He stood amazed for a few minutes. The vast soaring 
space, so austere in its bare brick, gripped his imagination. 
The white and red and gold of the painted Christ that hung 
so high and monstrous before the entrance to the marbles of 
the sanctuary almost troubled him. It dominated everything 
so completely that he felt he could not escape it. He sought 
one of the many chairs and knelt down. 

A little bell tinkled. Peter glanced sideways towards the 
sound, and saw that a Mass was in progress in a side-chapd 
of gleaming mosaics, and that a soldier in uniform served. 
Hardly had he taken the details in, when another bell claimed 



SIMON CALLED PETER 31 j 

fiis attention. It came from across the wide nave, and he 
perceived that another chapel had its Mass, and a considerable 
congregation. And then, his attention aroused, he began to 
spy about and to take in the thing. 

The whole vast cathedral was, as it were, alive. Seven 
or eight Masses were in progress. One would scarcely finish 
before another priest, preceded by soldier in uniform or 
server in cassock and cotta, would appear from beyond the 
great pulpit and make his way to yet another altar. The 
small handbells rang out again and again and again, and still 
priest after priest was there to take his place. Peter began 
cautiously to move about. He became amazed at the size of 
the congr^ation. They had been lost in that great place, 
but every chapel had its people, and there were, in reality, 
hundreds scattered about in the nave alone. 

He knelt for awhile and watched the giving of Communion 
in the guarded chapel to the north of the high altar. Its 
gold and emblazoned gates were not for him, but he could 
at least kneel and watch those who passed in and out. The} 
were of all sorts and classes, of all ranks and ages; men, 
women, children, old and young, rich and poor, soldier and 
civilian, streamed in and out again. Peter sighed and left 
them. He found an altar at which Mass was about to begin, 
and he knelt at the back on a mosaic pavement in which 
fishes and strange beasts were set in a marble stream, and 
watched. And it was not one Mass that he watched, but 
two or three, and it was there that a vision grew on his 
inner understanding, as he knelt and could not pray. 

It is hard and deceptive to write of those subconscious 
imaginings that convict the souls of most men some time 
or another. In that condition things are largely what we 
fashion them to be, and one may be thought to be asserting 
their ultimate truth in speaking of their influence. But there 
is no escaping from the fact that Peter Graham of a lost 
allegiance began that Sunday morning to be aware of another 
claimant. And this is what dawned upon him, and how. 

A French memory gave him a starting-point. Here, at 



3i8 SIMON CALLED PETER 

these Low Masses, it was more abundantly plain than ever 
that these priests did not conceive themselves to be serving 
a congregation, but an altar. One after the other they 
moved through a ritual, and spoke low sentences that hardly 
reached him, with their eyes holden by that which they did. 
At first he was only conscious of this, but then he perceived 
the essential change that came over each in his turn. The 
posturing and speaking was but introductory to the moment 
when they raised the Host and knelt before it. It was as 
if they were but functionaries ushering in a King, and then 
effacing themselves before Him. 

Here, then, the Old Testament of Peter's past became 
to him a schoolmaster. He heard himself repeating again 
the comfortable words of the Prayer-Book service: "Come 
unto Me. . . ." "God so loved. . . ." "If any man 
sin. . . ." Louise's hot declaration forced itself upon him: 
"It is He Who is there." And it was then that the eyes of 
his mind were enlightened and he saw a vision — not, indeed, 
of the truth of the Roman Mass (if it be true), and not of 
the place of the Sacrament in the Divine scheme of things, 
6ut the conception of a love so great that it shook him as if 
it were a storm, and bowed him before it as if he were a 
teed. 

The silent, waiting Jesus. . . . All these centuries, in 
every land. . . . How He had been mocked, forgotten, 
spurned, derided, denied, cast out; and still He waited. 
Prostitutes of the streets, pardoned in a word, advanced to- 
wards Him, and He knew that so shortly again, within the 
secret place of their hearts, He would be crucified ; but still 
He waited. Careless men, doubtless passion-mastered, came 
up to Him, and He knew the sort that came; but still He 
waited. He, Peter, who had not known He was here at all, 
and who had gone wandering off in search of any mistress, 
spent many days, turned in by chance, and found Him here. 
What did He wait for? Nothing; there was nothing that 
anyone could give, nothing but a load of shame, the offering 
of a body spent by passionate days,- the kiss of traitor-lips y 



SIMON CALLED PETER 315 

out still He waited. He did more than wait. He offered 
Himself to it all. He had bound Himself by an oath to be 
kissed if Judas planned to kiss Him, and He came through 
the trees to that bridal with the dawn of every day. He 
had foreseen the chalice, foreseen that it would be filled at 
every moon and every sun by the bitter gall of ingratitude 
and wantonness and hate, but He had pledged Himself^ 
"Even so. Father" — and He was here to drink it. Small 
wonder, then, that the paving on which Peter Graham knelt 
seemed to swim before his eyes until it was in truth a moving 
ocean of love that streamed from the altar and enclosed o* 
every kind, and even him. 

The movement of chairs and the gathering of a bigger 
congregation than usual near a chapel that Peter perceived 
to be for the dead aroused him. He got up to go. He 
walked quickly up Victoria Street, and marvelled over the 
scene he had left. In sight of Big Ben he glanced up — 
twenty to nine ! He had been, then, an hour and a half in 
the cathedral. He recalled having read that a Mass took 
half an hour, and he began to reckon how many persons 
had heard Mass even while he had been there. Not less than 
five hundred at every half -hour, and most probably more. 
Fifteen hundred to two thpusand souls, of every sort and 
kind, then, had been drawn in to that all but silent ceremony, 
to that showing of Jesus crucified. A multitude — and what 
compassion ! 

Thus he walked home, thinking of many things, but the 
vision he had seen was uppermost and would not be dis- 
placed. It was still in his eyes as he entered their bedroom 
and fotmd Julie looking at a magazine as she lay in bed, 
smoking a cigarette. 

"Lor", Peter, are you back ? I suppose I ought to be up, 
but I was so sleepy. What's the time? Why, what's the 
matter? Where have you been?" 

Peter did not go over to her at once as she had expected. 
It was not that he felt he could not, or anything like that. 
but simply that he was only thinking of her in a secondary 



320 SIMON CALLED PETER 

way. He walked to the dressing-table and lifted the flowers 
she had worn the night before and put there in a little glass. 

"Where have you been, old Solomon?" demanded Julie 
again. 

"Seeing wonders, Julie," said Peter, looking dreamily at 
the blossoms. 

"No? Really? What? Do tell me. If it was anything 
I might have seen, you were a beast not to come back for 
me, d'you hear ?" 

Peter turned and stared at her, but she knew as he looked 
that he hardly saw her. Her tone changed, and she made 
a little movement with her hand. "Tell me, Peter," she said 
again. 

"I've seen," said Peter slowly, "a bigger thing than I 
thought the world could hold. I've seen something so won- 
derful, Julie, that it hurt — oh, more than I can say. I've 
seen Love, Julie." 

She could not help it. It was a foolish thing to say just 
then, she knew, but it came out. "Oh, Peter," she said, "did 
you have to leave me to see that ?" 

"Leave you ?" he questioned, and for a moment so tost in 
his thought was he that he did not understand what she 
meant. Then it dawned on him, and he smiled. He did not 
see as he stood there, the clumsy Peter, how the two were 
related. So he smiled, and he came over to her, and took 
her hand, and sat on the bed, his eyes still full of light. "Oh, 
you've nothing to do with it," he said. "It's far bigger than 
you or I, Julie. Our love is like a candle held up to the 
sun beside it. Our love wants something, doesn't it? It 
burns, it — ^it intoxicates, Julie. But this love waits, waits, 
do you understand ? It asks nothing ; it gives, it suffices all. 
Year after year it just waits, Julie, waits for anyone, waits 
for everyone. And you can spurn it, spit on it, crucify it, 
and it is still there when you — need, Julie." And Peter 
leaned forward, and buried his face in her little hand. 

Julie heard him through, and it was well that before the 
end he did not see her eyes. Then she moved her other 



SIMON CALLED PETER 32X 

hand which held the half-burnt cigarette and dropped the 
smoking end (so that it made a little hiss) into her teacup 
on the glass-topped table, and brought her hand back, and 
caressed his hair as he lay bent forward there. "Dear old 
Peter," she said tenderly, "how he thinks things ! And when 
you saw this — this love, Peter, how did you feel?" 

He did not answer for a minute, and when he did he did 
not raise his head. "Oh, I don't know, Julie," he said. "It 
went through and through me. It was like a big sea, and it 
flooded me away. It filled me. I seemed to drink it in at 
every pore. I felt satisfied just to be there." 

"And then you came back to Julie, eh, Peter?" she ques- 
tioned. 

"Why, of course," he said, sitting up with a smile. "Why 
not?" He gave a little laugh. "Why, Julie," he said, "I 
never thought of that before. I suppose I ought to have 
been — oh, I don't know, but our days together didn't seem 
to make any difference. That Love was too big. It seem<ti-^ 
to me to be too big to be — well, jealous, I suppose." 

She nodded. "That would be just it, Peter. That's how 
it would seem to you. You see, I know. It's strange, my 
dear, but I don't feel either — -jealous." 

He frowned. "What do you mean?" he said. "Don't 
you understand? It was God's Love that I saw." 

She hesitated a second, and then her face relaxed into a 
smile. "You're as blind as a bat, my dear, but I suppose 
all men are, and so you can't help it. Now go and ring for 
breakfast and smoke a cigarette in the sitting-room while 
I dress." And Peter, because he hated to be called a bat 
and did not feel in the least like one, went. 

He rang the bell, and the maid answered it. She did not 
wait for him to give his order, but advanced towards him, 
her eyes sparkling. "Oh, sir," she said, "is madame up? 
I don't know how to thank her, and you too. I've wanted 
a frame for Jack's picture, but I couldn't get a real good 
one, I couldn't. When I sees this parcel I couldn't think 
what it was. I forgot even as how I'd give the lady my 



322 SIMON CALLED PETER 

name. Oh, she's the real good one, she is. You'll forgive me, 
sir, but I know a real lady when I see one. They haven't 
got no airs, and they know what a girl feels like, right away. 
I put Jack in it, sir, on me table, and if there's anythink I 
can do for you or your lady, now or ever, I'll do it, sir." 

Peter smiled at the little outburst, but his heart warmed 
within him. How just like Julie it was! "Well," he said, 
"it's the lady you've really to thank. Knock, if you like ; I 
expect she'll let you in. And then order breakfast, will you? 
Bacon and eggs and some fish. Thanks." And he turned 
away. 

She made for the door, but stopped. "I near forgot, sir," 
she said. "A gentleman left this for you last night, and 
they give it to me at the office — this morning. There was no 
answer, he said. He went by this morning's train." She 
handed Peter an unstamped envelope bearing the hotel's 
name, and left the room as he opened it. He did not recog- 
nise the handwriting, but he tore it open and glanced at once 
at the signature, and got a very considerable surprise, no^ 
to say a shock. It was signed "Jack Donovan." 

"My Dear Graham [the letter ran], 

"Forgive me for writing, but I must tell you that I've 
seen you twice with Julie (and each time neither of you saw 
anyone else but yourselves !). It seems mean to see you and 
not say so, but for the Lord's sake don't think it'll go 
further, or that I reproach you. I've been there myself, old 
bird, and in any case I don't worry about other people's 
shows. But I want to tell you a bit of news — ^Tommy 
Raynard and I have fixed it up. I know you'll congratulate 
me. She's topping, and just the girl for me — no end wiser 
than I, and as jolly as anyone, really. I don't know how you 
and Julie are coming out of it, and I won't guess, for it's a 
dreadful war; but maybe you'll be able to sympathise with 
me at having to leave my girl in France ! However, I'm off 
back to-morrow, a day before you. If you hadn't run off 



SIMON CALLED PETER 3^3 

to Paris, you'd have known. My leave order was from 
Havre. 

"Well, cheerio. See you before long. And just one word, 
my boy, from a fellow who has seen a bit more than you 
(if you'll forgive me) : remember, Julie'll know best. 

"Yours, ever, 

"Jack Donovan." 

Peter frowned over his letter, and then smiled, and then 
frowned again. He was still at it when he heard Julie's 
footstep outside, and he thrust the envelope quickly into his 
pocket, thinking rapidly. He did not in the least understand 
what the other meant, especially by the last sentence, and he 
wanted to consider it before showing Julie. Also, he won- 
dered if it was meant to be shown to Julie at all. He thought 
not; probably Donovan was absolutely as good as his word, 
and would not even mention anything to Tommy. But he 
thought no more, for Julie was on him. 

"Peter, it's started to rain ! I knew it would. Why does 
it always rain on Sundays in London ? Probably the heavens 
themselves weep at the sight of so gloomy a city. However, 
I don't care a damn! I've made up my mind what we're 
going to do. We shall sit in front of the fire all the morning, 
and you shall read to me. Will you ?" 

"Aaything you like, my darling," he said ; "and we couldn't 
spend a better morning. But bacon and eggs first, eh ? No, 
fish first, I mean. But pour out a cup of tea at once, for 
Heaven's sake. / haven't had a drop this morning." 

"Poor old thing ! No wonder you're a bit off colour. No 
early tea after that champagne last night! But, oh, Peter, 
wasn't Carminetta a dream?" 

Breakfast over, Peter sat in a chair and bent over her. 
"What do you want me to read, Julie darling?" he demanded. 

She considered. "Not a magazine, not La Vie Parisienne. 
though we might perhaps look at the pictures part of the 
time. I know! Stop! I'll get it." She ran out and re- 



324 SIMON CALLED PETER 

turned with a little leather-covered book. "Read it right 
through, Peter," she said. "I've read it heaps of times, 
but I want to hear it again to-day. Do you mind?" 

"Omar Khayyam!" exclaimed Peter. "Good idea! He's 
a. blasphemous old pagan, but the verse is glorious and it fits 
in at times. Do you want me to start at once ?" 

"Give me a cigarette! no, put the box there. Stir up 
the fire. Come and sit on the floor with your back to me. 
That's right. Now fire away." 

She leaned back and he began. He read for the rhythm ; 
she listened for the meaning. He read to the end ; she hardly 
heard more than a stanza: 

"Oh, threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise ! 
One thing at least is certain — this Life flies ; 
One thing is certain, and the rest is lies — 
The flower that once has blown for ever dies." 

They lunched in the hotel, and at the table Peter put the 
first necessary questions that they both dreaded. "I'm going 
to tell them to make out my bill, Julie," he said. "I've to be 
at Victoria at seven-thirty a.m. to-morrow, you know. 
You've still got some leave, haven't you, dear ; what are you 
going to do ? How long will you stay on here ?" 

"Not after you've gone, Peter," she said. "Let them make 
it out for me till after breakfast to-morrow." 

"But what are we going to do?" he demanded. 
- "Oh, don't ask. It spoils to-day to think of to-morrow. 
Go to my friends, perhaps — yes, I think that. It's only for 
a few days now." 

"Oh, Julie, I wish I could stay." 

"So do I, but you can't, so don't worry. What about this 
afternoon ?" 

"If it's stopped raining, let's go for a walk, shall we?" 

They settled on that, and it was Julie who took him again 
to St. James's Park. As they walked : "Where did you go 
to church this morning, Peter ?" she asked. 

He pointed to the campanile. "Over there," he said. 



SIMON CALLED PETER 325 

"Then let's go together to-night," she said. 

"Do you mean it, Julie?" 

"Of course I do. I'm curious. Besides, it's Sunday, and 
1 want to go to church." 

"But you'll miss dinner," objected Peter. "It b^ins at 
six-thirty." 

"Well, let's get some food out— Victoria Station, for 
instance. Won't that do? We can have some supper sent 
up afterwards in the hotel." 

Peter agreed, but they did not go to the station. In a little 
cafe outside Julie saw a South African private eating eggs 
and bacon, and nothing would do but that they must do the 
same. So they went in. They ate off thick plates, and Julie 
dropped the china pepper-pot on her eggs and generally 
behaved as if she were at a school-treat. But it was a 
novelty, and it kept their thoughts off the fact that it was the 
last night. And finally they went to church. 

The service did not impress Peter, and every time he 
looked at Julie's face he wanted to laugh ; but the atmosphere 
of the place did, though he could not catch the impression 
of the morning. For the sermon, a stoutish, foreign-looking 
ecclesiastic mounted the pulpit, and they both prepared to be 
bored. However, he gave out his text, and Peter sat bolt 
upright at once. It would have delighted the ears of his 
Wesley an corporal of the Forestry; and more than that it 
was the text he had quoted in the ears of the dying Jenks. 
He prepared keenly to listen. As for Julie, she was regard- 
ing the altar with a far-away look in her eyes, and she 
scarcely moved the whole time. 

Outside, as soon as they were out of the crowd, Peter 
began at once. 

"Julie," he said, "whatever did you think of that sermon?" 

"What did you?" she said. "Tell me first." 

"I don't believe you listened at all, but I can't help talking 
of it. It was amazing. He began by speaking about Adam 
and Eve and original sin and the Garden of Eden as if he'd 
been there. There might never have been a Higher Critie 



326 SIMON CALLED PETER 

in existence. Then he said what sin did, and that sin was 
only truly sin if it did do that. That was to hide the face of 
God, to put Him and a human being absolutely out of com- 
munication, so to speak. And then he came to Christ, to 
the Cross. Did you hear him, Julie? Christ comes in be- 
tween — He got in between God and man. All the anger 
that darted out of God against sin hit Him; all the blows 
that man struck back against God hit Him. Do you see that, 
Julie? That was wonderfully put, but the end was more 
■wonderful. Both, ultimately, cannot kill the Heart of Jesus. 
There's no sin there to merit or to feel the anger, and we can 
hurt, but we can't destroy His love." 

Peter stopped. "That's what I saw a little this morning," 
he said after a minute. 

"Well?" said Julie. 
I "Oh, it's all so plain ! If there was a way to that Heart, 
one would be safe. I mean, a way that is not an emotional 
idea, not a subjective experience, but something practical. 
Some way that a Tommy could travel as easily as anyone, 
and get to a real thing. And he said there was a way, and 
just sketched it, the Sacraments — ^more than ours, of course, 
their seven, all of them more or less, I suppose. He meant 
that the Sacraments were not signs of salvation, but salvation 
itself. Julie, I never saw the idea before. It's colossal. It's 
a thing to which one might dedicate one's life. It's a thing 
to live and die gladly for. It fills one. Don't you think so, 
' Julie ?" He spoke exultantly. 

"Peter, to be honest," said Julie, "I think you're talking 
fanatical rubbish." 

"Do you really, Julie? You can't, surely you can't." 

"But I do, Peter," she said sadly ; "it makes no appeal to 
me. I can only see one great thing in life, and it's not that. 
'The rest is lies.' But, oh ! surely that great thing might not 
be false too. But why do you see one thing, and I another, 
my dear ?" 

"I don't know," said Peter, "unless — ^well, perhaps it's a 
kind of gift, Julie. Tf thou knewest the gift of God . . .* 



SIMON CALLED PETER ,„ 

Not that I know, only I can just see a great wonderful vision 
and it fills my sight." ' 

"I, too," she said; "but it's not your vision." 

"What is it, then?" said he, carried away by his own ideas 
and hardly thinking of her. 

Her voice brought him back. "Oh, Peter, don't you know 
even yet?" 

He took her arm very tenderly at that. "My darling." 
he said, "the two aren't incompatible. Julie, don't be sad. 
I love you ; you know I love you. I wish we'd never gone 
to the place if you think I don't, but I haven't changed 
towards you a bit, Julie. I love you far, far more than any- 
one else. I won't give you up, even to God !" 

It was dark where they were. Julie lifted her face to him 
just there. He thought he had never heard her speak as she- 
spoke now, there, in a London street, under the night sky. 
"Peter, my darling," she said, "my brave boy. How I love 
you, Peter! I know you won't give me up, Peter, and I 
adore you for it. Peter, hell will be heaven with the memory 
of that!" There, then, he sealed her with his kiss. 

Julie stirred in his arms, but the movement did not wake 
him any more than the knock of the door had done. "All 
right," she called. "Thank you," and, leaning over, she 
switched on the light. It was 5.30, and necessary. In its 
radiance she bent over him, and none of her friends had ever 
seen her loc^ as she did then. She kissed him, and he opened 
his eyes. 

"Half-past five, Peter," she said, as gaily as she could. 
"You've got to get a move on, my dear. Two hours to dress 
and pack and breakfast— no, I suppose you can do that on 
the train. But you've got to get there. Oh, Lord, how it 
brings the war home, doesn't it? Jump up!" 

Peter sighed. "Blast the war !" he said lazily. "I shan't 
move. Kiss me again, you darling, and let your hair fall 
over my face." 

She did so, and its glossy curtain hid them. Beneath the 



328 SIMON CALLED PETER 

veil she whispered: "Come, darling, for my sake. The 
longer you stay here now, the harder it will be." 

He threw his arms round her, and then jumped out of bed 
yawning. 

"That's it," she said. "Now go and shave and bath while 
I pack for you. Hurry up ; then we'll get more time. 

While he splashed about she sought for his things, and 
packed for him as she never packed for herself. As she 
gathered them she thought of the night before, when, over- 
whelmed in a tempest of love, it had all been left for the 
morning. She filled the suit-case, but she could not fasten it. 

"Come and help, Peter," she called. 

He came out. She was kneeling on it in her loose kimono, 
her hair all about her, her nightdress open at the throat. He 
drank her beauty in, and then mastered himself for a minute 
and shut the case. "That all?" she queried. 

"Yes," he said. "You get back into bed, my darling, or 
you'll catch cold. I'll be ready in a second, and then we 
can have a few minutes together. 

At the glass he marshalled his arguments, and then he camt 
over to her. He dropped by the bedside and wound his arms 
about her. "Julie," he whispered, "my darling, say you'll 
marry me — ^please, please!" 

She made no reply. He kissed her, unresisting, again and 
again. 

"Julie," he said, "you know how I love you. You do 
know it. You know I'm not begging you to marry me be- 
cause I've got something out of you, perhaps when you were 
carried away, and now I feel I must make reparation. My 
darling, it isn't that. I love you so much that I can't live 
without you. I'll give up everything for you. I want to 
start a new life with you. I can't go back to the old, anyhow ; 
I don't want to : it's a sham to me now, and I hate shams — 
you know I do. But you're not a sham; our love iai't a 
sham. I'd die for you, Julie, my own Julie ; I'd die for the 
least little bit of this hair of yours, I think ! But I want to 
live for you. I want to put you right in the centre of every- 



SIMON CALLED PETER 329 

thing, and live for you, Julie. Say 'Yes,' my love, ray own. 
You must say 'Yes.' Why don't you, Julie?" 

And still she made no reply. 

A kind of despair seized him. "Oh, Julie," he cried, 
"what can I say or what can I do? You're cruel, Julie; 
you're killing me ! You must say 'Yes' before I go. We'll 
meet in Havre, I know ; but that will be so different. I must 
have my answer now. Oh, my darling, please, please, speak ! 
You love *ie, Julie, don't you ?" 

"Peter," said Julie slowly, "I love you so much that I 
hardly dare speak, lest my love should carry me away. But 
listen, my dear, listen. Peter, I've watched you these days ; 
I've watched you in France. I've watched you from the 
moment when I called you over to me because I was inter- 
ested and felt my fate, I suppose. I've watched you strug- 
gling along, Peter, and I understand why you've struggled. 
You're built for great things, my dear — how great I can't see 
and I can't even understand. No, Peter, I can't even under* 
stand— that's part of the tragedy of it. Peter, I love you s(y 
that my love for you is my centre, it's my all in all, it's my 
hope of salvation, Peter. Do you hear, my darling? — my 
love, it's my one hope ! If I can't keep that pure and clean, 
Peter, I ruin both of us. I love you so, Peter, that I won't 
marry you !" 

He gave a little cry, but swiftly she put a hand over his 
mouth. She smiled at him as she did so, a daring little 
smile. "Be quiet, you Solomon, you," she said; "I haven't 
finished. There! Now listen again, Peter: you can't help 
it, but you cap't love me as I love you. I see it. I — I hate 
it, I think ; but I know it, and there's an end. You, my dear, 
you would put me in the centre, but you can't. I can't put 
you out of my centre, Peter. You would give up God for 
me, Peter, but you can't, or if you did, you'd lose us both. 
But I, Peter — oh, my darling, I have no god but you. And 
that's why I'll worship you, Peter, and sacrifice to you, 
Peter, sacrifice to your only ultimate happiness, Peter, and 
sacrifice my all." 



330 SIMON CALLED PETER 

He tried to speak, but he could not. The past days fay 
before him in a clear light at last. Her love shone on them, 
and shone too plainly for mistake. He tried to deny, but 
he couldn't ; contradict, but his heart cried the truth, and his 
eyes could not hide it. But he could and did vent his passion. 
"Damn God! Curse Him !" he cried. "I hate Him! Why 
should He master me ? I want you, Julie ; I will have you ; 
I will worship you, Julie!" 

She let him speak, and, being Julie, his words only brought 
a more tender light into her face. "Peter," she said, "one 
minute. Do you remember where you first kissed me, my 
darling ? — ^the first real kiss, I mean," and her eyes sparkled 
with fun even then. "You know — ^ah, I see you do ! You 
will never forget that, will you? Perhaps you thought I 
didn't notice, but I did. Neither you nor I chose it ; it wae 
Fate ; perhaps it was your God, Peter. But, anyway, look at 
me now as you looked then. What do you see ?" 

He stared at her, and he saw — ^how clearly he saw! Her 
sweet back-bent head, her shining eyes, the lamp-light falling 
on her hair out of the night. He even heard the sea as it 
beat on the stones of the quay — or thought he did — ^and felt 
the whip of the wind. And behind her, dominating, arms 
outspread, the harbour crucifix. And she saw that he saw, 
and she whispered: "Do you hate Him, Peter?" And he 
sank his head into her hands and sobbed great dry sobs, 

"Ah, don't, don't," he heard her say— "don't Peter ! It's 
not so bad as that. Your life is going to be full, my beloved, 
with a great and burning love ; and you were right this morn- 
ing, Peter, more right than you knew. When that is there you 
will have place even for me — ^yes, even for me, the love of 
what you will call your sin. And I, my dear, dear boy, I have 
something even now which no devil, Peter, and no god can 
take away." 

He looked up. "Then there's a chance, Julie. You won't 
say 'Yes,' but don't say 'No.' Let us see. I shall take no 
vows, Julie. I haven't an idea what I shall do, and maybe 
It won't be quite as you think, and there will be a little room 



SIMON CALLED PETER 331 

for you one day. Oh, say you'll wait a while, Julie, just to 
see !" 

It was the supreme moment. She saw no crucifix to 
sustain her, but she did see the bastard Spanish dancing- 
girl. And she did not hesitate. "No, Peter," she said, "I 
would not take that, and you never could give it. I did'not 
mean such place as that. It never can be, Peter ; you are not 
made for me." 

And thus did Julie, who knew no God, but Julie of the 
brave, clean, steadfast heart, give Peter to Him. 

The maid came in answer to her ring. "Will you light a 
fire, please?" said Julie. "I suppose Captain Graham has 
gone?" 

"Yes, mam, he's gone, and he felt it terrible, I could see. 
But don't you fear, mam, he'll be kept, I know he will. 
You're that good, he'll come back to you, never fear. But 
it's 'ard on those they leave, ain't it, mam? — ^their wives 
an' all." 

"Yes," said Julie, and she never spoke more bravely. "But 
it's got to be, hasn't it? Would you pull the blind up? Ah, 
thanks ; why, it's sunny ! I'm so glad. It will be good for 
the crossing." 

"It will be that, 'm. We gets the sun first up here. Shall 
1 bring up the tea, madame?" 

"I'll ring," said Julie, "when I want it. It won't be for 
a few minutes yet." 

The girl went out, and the door shut behind her. Julie 
lay on still for a little, and then she got up. She walked to 
the window and looked out, and she threw her arms wide 
with a gesture, and shut her eyes, and let the sun fall on her. 
Then she walked to her little trunk, and rummaged in it. 
From somewhere far down she drew out a leather case, and 
with it in her hand she went over and sat by the fire. She 
held it without moving for a minute, and then she slowly 
apened it. One by one she drew out a few worthless things 
•—a withered bunch of primroses, a couple of little scribbled 



332 SIMON CAL£.ED PETER 

notes, a paper cap from a cracker, a menu card, a handker- 
chief of her own that she had lent to him, and that he (just 
like Peter) had given badi. She held them all in her hand a 
minute, and then she bent lorward and dropped them in the 
open fire. 

And the sun rose a little higher, and fell on the tumbled 
br^wn hair that Peter had. kissed and that now hid her eyes. 



The greatest pleasure in life is 
that of reading. Why not then 
ovm the books of great novelists 
when the price is so small 



C Of all the amusements which can possibly 
be imagined for a hard-working man, after 
his daily toil, or in its intervals, there is 
nothing like reading an entertaining book. 
It calls for no bodily exertion. It transports 
ham into a livelier, and gayer, and more di- 
versified and interesting scene, and while he 
enjoys himself there he may forget the evils 
of the present moment. Nay, it accompanies 
hvm to his next day's work, and gives him 
something to think of besides the mere 
mechanical drugdgery of his every-day occu- 
pation — something he can enjoy while absent, 
and look forward with pleasure to return to. 

Ask your dealer for a list of the titles 
in Burfs Popular Priced Fiction 



In buying the books bearing the 
A. L. Burt Company imprint 
you are assured of wholesome., en- 
tertaining and instructive reading I 



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Adventures of Jiinmie Dale. Frank L. Packard. 

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. A. Conan Doyle. 

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After House, The. Mary Roberts Rinehart. 

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Angel of Terror. Edgar Wallace. 

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Anne's House of Dreams. L. M. Montgomery. 

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An Ordeal of Honor. Anthony Pryde. 

Anything But the Truth. Carolyn Wells. 

April and Sally June. Margaret Piper Chalmers. 

Are All Men Alike, and The Lost Titan. Arthur Stringer. 

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As a Thief in the Night. R. Austin Freeman. 

A Self-Made Thief. Hulbert Footner. 

Astounding Crime on Torrington Road, The. William Gillette. 

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At the Mercy of Tiberius. Augusta Evans Wilson. 

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Aurelius Smith — ^Detective. R. T. M. Scott. 

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Aw HeU! Clarke Venable. 



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Babe Ruth's Own Book of Baseball. George Herman Ruth. 

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Bar-20 Days. Clarence E. Mulford. 

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Bill— The Sheik. A. M. Williamson. 

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Blads Abbot, The. Edgar Wallace. 

Black Bartlemy's Treasure. Jeffery Farnol. 

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Black Bnttes. Clarence E. Mulford 

Black Company, The. W. B. M Ferguson. 

Black Flemings, The. Kathleen Norns. 

Black Butterflies. Elizabeth Jordan. 

Black Glove, The. J. G. Sarasin. 



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Black Ivory. Polaa Banks. 

Black Magidan, The. R. T. M. Scott. 

Black Oxen. Gerttude Atherton. 

Black Stamp, The. Will Scott. 

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Blatchington Tangle, The. G. D. H. and Margaret Cole. 

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Blue Blood. Owen Johnson. 

Blue Car Mystery, The. Natalie Sumner Lincoln. 

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Bom Rich. Hughes Cornell. 

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Boss of the Tumbling H. Frank C. Robertson. 

Box With Broken Seals. E. Phillips Oppenheim. 

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Brass Bowl. Louis Joseph Vance. 

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Breaking Point, The. Mary Roberts Rinefaart 

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Bring Me His Ears. Clarence E. Mulford. 

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Brcdcen Waters. Frank L. Packard. 

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Brood of the Witch Queen. Sax Rohmer. 

Btook Evans. Susan Glaspell. 

Brown Study, The. Grace S. Richmond. 

Buck Peters, Ranchman. Clarence E. .Mulford. 

Bullet Eater. Oscar J. Friend. 

Burned Evidence. Mrs. Wilson Woodrow. 

Bush Rancher, llie. Harold Bindloss. 

Bush That Burned, A. Marjorie Barclay McCluce. 



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Buster, The. William Patterson White. 
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Calling of Dan Matthews. Harold Bell Wri^t. 

Can Women Forget? Florence Riddell. 

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Captain Brand of the Schooner "Centipede." Lieut. Henry A. Wise. 

Cap'n Dan's Daughter. Joseph C. Lincoln. 

Cap'n Eri. Joseph C. Lincoln. 

Cap'n Jonah's Fortune. James A. Cooper. 

Captains of Souls. Edgar Wallace. 

Cap'n Sue. Hulbert Footner. 

Cap'n Warren's Wards. Joseph C. Lincoln. 

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Carib Gold. EUery H. Clark. 

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Case Book of Sherlock Holmes, The. A. Conan Doyle. 

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Clever One, The. Edgar Wallace. 

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Darkest Spot, The. Lee Thayer. 

Dark Eyes of Londoii, The. Edgar Wallace. 

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Depot Master, The. Joserfi C. Lincoln. 

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Desire. Gladys Johnson. x, . i »r ri.il 

Desire of His Life, and Other Stories. Ethel M. Dell. 

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Devil of Pei-ling, The. Herbert Asbury. 

Devil's Mantle, The. Frank L. Packard. 

DevU's Paw, The. E. Phillips Oppenheim. 



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Diamond Murders, The. J. S. Fletcher. 

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Diana of Kara-Kara. Edgar Wallace. 

Diane's Adventure. Ann Sumner. 

Dimmest Dream, The. Alice Ross Colver. 

Divine Event. Will N. Harben. 

Divots. P. G. Wodehouse. 

Dixiana, A Novelization. Winnie Brandon. 

Dr. Glazebrook's Revenge. Andrew Cassels Brown. 

Dr. Nye. Joseph C. Lincoln. 

Doctor S. O. S. Lee Thayer. 

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Don Careless. Rex Beach. 

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Door With Seven Locks. Edgar Wallace. 

Dope. Sax Rohmer. 

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Double House, The. Elizabeth Dejeans. 

Double Thirteen, The. Anthony Wynne. 

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Downey of the Mounted. James B. Hendryx. 

Draycott Murder Mystery. Molly Thynne. 

Dream Detective. Sax Rohmer. 

Dream Kiss. Ana Sumner. 

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Drums of Doom. Robert Welles Ritchie. 

Duke Steps Out, The. Lucian Gary. 

Dust. Armine Von Tempski. 

Dust of the Desert. Robert Welles Ritchie. 

Dust to Dust. Isabel Ostrander. 



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Easy. Nina Wilcox Putnam. 

Eddy and Edouard. Baroness Von Hutten. 

Eight Panes of Glass. Robert Simpson. 

Ellerby Case, The. John Rhode. 

Emerald Tiger. Edgar Jepson. 

Emily Climbs. L. M. Montgomery. 

Emily of New Moon. L. M. Montgomery. 

Emily's Quest. L. M. Montgomery. 

Emperor of America, The. Sax Rohmer. 

Empty Hands. Arthur Stringer. 



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Enemies of Women. Vicente Blasco Ibanez. 

Erskine Dale, Pioneer. John Fox, Jr. 

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Exile of the Lariat, The. Honore WiUsie Morrow. 

Extricating Obadiah. Joseph C. Lincoln. 

Eye of Osiris, The. R. Austin Freeman. 

Eyes of the World, The. Harold Bell Wright. 

Face Cards. Carolyn Wells. 

Face in the Night, The. Edgar Wallace. 

Fair Game. Olive Wadsley. 

Fair Harbor. Joseph C. Lincoln. 

Faith of Our Fathers. Dorothy Walworth Carman. 

Family. Wayland Wells Williams. 

Fantomas Captured. Marcel Allain. 

Far Call. Edison Marshall. 

Fatal Kiss Mystery, The. Rufus King. 

Fathoms Deep. Elizabeth Stancy Payne. 

Feast of the Lanterns, The. Louise Jordan Miln. 

Fellowship of the Frog, The. Edgar Wallace. 

Fidelia. Edwin Balmer. 

Fifteen Cells, The. Stuart Martin. 

Fight on the Standing Stone. Francis Lynde. 

Findings Is Keepings. John Boyd Clarke. 

Find the Clock. Harry Stephen Keeler. 

Fine Feathers. Margery Lawrence. 

Fire Brain. Max Brand. 

Fire Tongue. Sax Rohmer. 

First Sir Percy, The. Baroness Orczy. 

Fish Preferred. P. G. Wodehouse. 

Flame of Happiness, The. Florence Ward. 

Flames of Desire. L. Noel. 

Flaming Jewel, The. Robert W. Chambers. 

Flamingo. Mary Borden. 

Fleur de Lys. J. G. Sarasin. 

Flood Tide. Sara Ware Basset. 

Flawing Gold. Rex Beach. 

Flutes of Shanghai, The. Louise Jordan Miln. 

Flying Clues. Charles J. Dutton. 

Flying Squad, The. Edgar Wallace. 

Fool in the Forest, A. Anthony Pryde. 

Foolish Virgin, The. Kathleen Norris. 

Footsteps in 4e Night. G. Fraser-Simpson. 

Footsteps That Stopped, A. Fielding. 



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Forever Free. Honore Willsie Morrow. 

Forfeit, The. Ridgwell Cullum. 

Fortunate Wajrfarer, The. E. Phillips Oppenheim. 

Fortunate Mary, The. Eleanor H. Porter. 

Fonr-and-Twenty Blackbirds. Howard Vincent O'Brien. 

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The. Vicente Blasco Ibanez. 

Four Just Men, The. Edgar Wallace. 

Four Million, The. O. Henry. 

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Four Stragglers, The. Frank L. Packard. 

Fourteenth Key, The. Carolyn Wells. 

Fourth Finger, The. Anthony Wynne. 

Four Winds, The. Sinclair Gluck. 

Fox Woman, The. Nalbro Bartley. 

Free Grass. Ernest Haycox. 

French Wife, The. Dorothy Graham. 

From Now On. Frank L. Packard. 

From Six to Six. W. Bert Foster. 

Frontier of the Deep, The. Will Beale. 

Frozen Inlet Post. James B. Hendryx. 

Frozen Justice. Ejnar Mikkelsen. 

Full of the Moon. Caroline Lockhart. 

Fur Brigade. Hal G. Evarts. 

Further Adventures of Jimmie Dale, The. Frank L. Packard. 

Furdiest Fury, The. Carolyn Wells. 

Fury. Edmund Goulding. 

Gabriel Samara, Peacemaker. E. Phillips Oppenheim. 
Galusha the Magnificent. Joseph C. Lincoln. 
Garde A'Vous (On Guard). J. D. Newson. 
Garden of Flames. E. S. Stevens. 
Gaspards of Pine Croft. Ralph Connor. 
Gate Through the Mountain, The. Hugh Pendexter. 
Gay Ones, The. Charles Hanson Towne. 
Gay Year, The. Dorothy Speare. 
Gentle Grafter, The. O. Henry. 
Gentleman Grizzly. Reginald C. Barker. 
Gertrude Haviland's Divorce. Inez Haynes Irwin. 
Get Your Man. Ethel and James Dorrance. 
Ghost of Hemlock Canyon. Harold Bindloss. 
Giants in the Earth. O. E. Rolvaag.