Fame Is the Spur

Fame Is the Spur

Fame Is the Spur

Fame Is the Spur

Excerpt

When they buried the Old Warrior there was only one small wreath to go on the coffin; so, as the hearse stood there in the narrow street, with the two black horses drooping their heads under the leaden winter weather, someone ran back into the house and brought out the cavalry sabre that hung over the mantelpiece. This was laid on top of the flowers.

John Hamer Shawcross never forgot that moment. Years afterward, on the other side of a gulf wellnigh incredible, he watched a uniformed and bearded king place with a kid-gloved hand a wreath of flowers at the foot of a cenotaph gleaming whitely under the pale blue of a London winter sky. Soldiers in formal lines, and beyond the soldiers the dense press of the people in Whitehall; and here, in front of the cenotaph, an open space yellow as the seashore with clean strewed sand. The air was cold, and the sun shone palely, and so great was the silence that the whickering of banners could be heard, and the passage of a pigeon's wing. You could hear, too, the crunch of the spurred royal boot on the harsh texture of the sand as the king stepped forward a few paces, leaned the tall wreath against the tall white stone, stepped back, and saluted. And as he stood there with his colleagues of the government within the wide cleared space, dressed in his formal clothes, holding his silk hat in his hand, with the people away back there behind the barrier of the soldiers, with the king's sons here about him, and a queen and princesses looking on from a near-by window, the Right Honourable Hamer Shawcross saw again the day when he was twelve years old, and a meaner wreath than this lay upon the coffin of the Old Warrior, and someone ran into the house in Broadbent Street and brought out the cavalry sabre.

But there was no use in thinking back. He had got out of the habit . . .

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