Page:Pierre and Luce.djvu/23

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dream at once of what they could wish to be and of what they would like to love: chaste ardors and troublesome, of the future, formed of mixing currents. The big brother was aware of this naïve homage and was flattered by it. Not so long ago he had tried to read the heart of the little brother, and explain things to him with discretion; for, although more robust, like him he was molded of that fine clay which, among the better sort of men, retains a little of the woman and does not blush to own it. But the war had come and torn him away from his hard working career, from his study of the sciences, from his twenty-year-old dream and from his intimacy with his young brother. He had dropped everything in the intoxicating idealism of the moment, like a big crazy bird that launches out into space with the heroic and absurd illusion that his beak and his talons will put an end to the war and restore to earth the reign of peace. Since then the big bird had returned two or three times to the nest; each time, alas, a little more worn in plumage. He had