Page:Out of due time, Ward, 1906.djvu/15

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5
OUT OF DUE TIME.

we turn restless, our own vitality needs its outlet, and our minds demand a reason for the hope that is without and within us. At sixteen I had lost my old resource, a daydream of the frankly unattainable, a fairy tale about myself, I wanted to be able to look forward to a life rich in this world's joys, lighted by the highest of human feelings, and blessed by God. Instead, it seemed as if my life were to be lead-coloured in dulness, with no intensity of feeling, and with a revolt at heart that would leave it unblessed of God. But one bird's song, I remember, was to bring me another note of feeling. I had been some half-hour glowering and angry, curled up on that bench, a dark-eyed, skinny, wriggling Backfisch of a girl, when there came a lull amongst the birds, almost a silence in the near wood. It seemed as if the chorus had made way for its prima donna, as there rose a high soprano note trilling heavenwards. The sound caught me out of myself for a moment, and as it dropped suddenly, flinging a last gift of a specially Divine note to the earth, I was reminded of the refrain of an old song I used to hear when a child, trilled in a clear, thin, sweet soprano:—

Loyale je serai durant ma vie.

Yes, it was like that, and I kept murmuring the words: "Loyale je serai durant ma vie". A clear, a full, a complete sermon, from a preacher whose life was the best of examples. I got up presently, a smiling, though tearful girl, with a new thought and a new hope. Dull or not, flat or not, despised or not, "Loyale je serai durant ma vie". I went in and abruptly asked my mother if I could be of any use to her that morning. She was mildly surprised and mildly snubby, and said it would be much better for me to spend my free time out of doors. This a little quenched my glow of enthusiasm, but I went to my neglected garden and treated it with more zeal than discretion. Anyhow, I had got hold of something new. I might put it up on the shelf, but it