Excerpt: ...a shadow across the bright track of her gayety. 'Tis one thing for a high-spirited woman to buckle on the sword of her friend; 'tis another to see him go out to the fight. "Let us not be thinking of that at all, Kenneth," she cried. "Why not? 'Tis a fact to face," I insisted cruelly. "There'll be many a merry lusty gentleman lying quiet under the sod, Aileen, before we reach London town. From the ownership of broad moorland and large steading they will come down to own no more of earth than six foot by two." "They will be dying as brave gentlemen should," she said, softly, her voice full of tears. 155 "And if I am one of them?" I asked, making a more home thrust. The girl stood there tall, slim, pallid, head thrown back, the pulse in the white curved throat beating fast. "Oh Kenneth, you will not be," she cried piteously. "But if I am?" "Please, Kenneth?" Her low voice implored me to desist; so too the deep billowing breasts and melting eyes. "The fighting will be sharp and our losses heavy. It's his death many a man is going to, Aileen." "Yes, and if you will be believing me, Kenneth, the harder part iss for those of us who cannot fight but must wear away the long days and mirk nights at home. At the least I am thinking so whatever. The long live day we sit, and can do nothing but wait and wait. After every fight will not some mother be crooning the coronach for her dear son? Every glen will have its wailing wife and its fatherless bairns. And there will be the lovers too for whom there iss the driech wait, forby (besides) that maybe their dearest will be lying under the rowans with their een steekit (eyes fixed) in death." "There are some of us who have neither mother, wife, nor lover. Will there be none to spare a tear for us if we fall?" 156 "Indeed, and there will,...
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William MacLeod Raine (1871 to 1954) was born in England, but immigrated to the United States as a boy. He is best known for his many popular western novels, including Wyoming, A Texas Ranger, and Mavericks. He is buried in Denver, Colorado.
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