Page:MKGandhi patriot.djvu/52

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37
IN SOUTH AFRICA

the darkness of the night, and there was no sleep for the sinners." Still they persevered in their course, ashamed of being thought superstitious by others, and determined to grow strong like the English. Day after day they repeated the act, until the fear wore away, and they even began to like the forbidden food. One of their number was a past-master in the art of cooking. He made the dishes savoury. He invented all sorts of variations, and although the feast was enjoyed secretly, it was a feast nevertheless, and it was enjoyed.

The one anchor which held Mohandas to his old moorings, and saved him from worse transgressions, was his love of truth. Deceit was hateful to him. The expedition to the river side had, of necessity, to be kept a secret from his parents. The boy knew well that his terrible defection, if discovered, would be an incalculable shock to his mother. He dared not imagine its effect. But his effort at concealment involved him in such a tangle of deceit that life became unbearable. He and his brother, who had joined him, were obliged to obtain their mother's consent to be absent, and then to cover the real motive with ingenious inventions. They had also to excuse their lack of appetite at the evening