"South-west," he said, and glanced at me for a second. "We went in a boat."
"But I should have thought an aeroplane?"
"They had been seized."
I questioned him no more. Presently I thought he was beginning again. He broke out in an argumentative monotone:
"But why should it be? If, indeed, this battle, this slaughter and stress, is life, why have we this craving for pleasure and beauty? If there is no refuge, if there is no place of peace, and if all our dreams of quiet places are a folly and a snare, why have we such dreams? Surely it was no ignoble cravings, no base intentions, had brought us to this; it was love had isolated us. Love had come to me with her eyes and robed in her beauty, more glorious than all else in life, in the very shape and colour of life, and summoned me away. I had silenced all the voices, I had answered all the questions—I had come to her. And suddenly there was nothing but War and Death!"
I had an inspiration. "After all," I said, "it could have been only a dream."
"A dream!" he cried, flaming upon me, "a dream—when, even now——"
For the first time he became animated. A faint flush crept into his cheek. He raised his open hand and clenched it, and dropped it to his knee. He spoke, looking away from me, and for all the rest of the time he looked away. "We are but phantoms," he said, "and the phantoms of phantoms, desires like cloud shadows and wills of straw that eddy in the wind; the days pass, use and wont carry us through as a train carries the shadow of its lights—so be it? But one thing is real and certain, one thing is no dream stuff, but eternal and enduring. It