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by Will Levington Comfort
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Peter Mowbray first saw her at the corner of Palace Square nearest the river. He was not in the least the kind of young man who appraises passing women, very far from a starer. At the instant their eyes met, his thoughts had been occupied with work matters and the trickery of events. In fact, there was so much to do that he resented the intrusion, found himself hoping in the first flash that she would show some flaw to break the attraction. It may have been that her eyes were called to the passer-by just as his had been, without warning or volition. In any event their eyes met full, leisurely in that stirring silence before the consciousness of self, time, place and convention rushes in. ... Though she seemed very poor, there was something about her beyond reach in nobility. He was left with the impression of the whitest skin, the blackest hair and the reddest lips, but mainly of a gray-eyed girl-eyes that had become wider and wider, and had filled with sudden amazement (doubtless at her own answering look) before they turned away.
He couldn't keep off the reality long. In every direction the murderous army--no song, no laugh, no human nature, no love, no work, but death. He was imprisoned. And somewhere near or far in the midst of such a chaos, was Berthe Wyndham. Could she live in this?.... Peter was suicidal, very close to that, a new thing to him. Queerly he realized that death would be easy for himself, simple, acceptable. For there was no escape. They would not let him go. There was no place that one could go out of the army. Not even the dead go back.... It would not be fair to her.
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