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His Family Part 54

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And in a twinkling all was gone, the tumult and the clamor, and he was in a silent place high up on a mountain side. It was dusk. A herd of cattle pa.s.sed, and George came close behind them. And around him Roger saw, emerging from the semi-dark, faces turning like his own to the summits of the mountains and the billowy splendors there. It grew so dark he could see no more. There fell a deep silence, not a sound but the occasional chirp of a bird or the faint whirr of an insect. Even the glow on the peaks was gone. Darkness, only darkness.

"Surely this is death," he thought. After that he was alone. And presently from far away he heard the booming of a bell, deep and slow, sepulchral, as it measured off his life. Another silence followed, and this time it was more profound; and with a breathless awe he knew that all the people who had ever lived on earth were before him in the void to which he himself was drifting: people of all nations, of countless generations reaching back and back and back to the beginnings of mankind: the mightiest family of all, that had stumbled up through the ages, had slaved and starved and dreamed and died, had blindly hated, blindly killed, had raised up G.o.ds and idols and yearned for everlasting life, had laughed and played and danced along, had loved and mated, given birth, had endlessly renewed itself and handed on its heritage, had striven hungrily to learn, had groped its way in darkness, and after all its struggles had come now barely to the dawn. And then a voice within him cried,

"What is humanity but a child? In the name of the dead I salute the unborn!"

Slowly a glow appeared in his dream, and once again the scene had changed.

The light was coming from long rows of houses rising tall and steep out of a teeming city street. And from these lighted houses children now came pouring forth. They filled the street from wall to wall with a torrent of warm vivid hues, they joined in mad tempestuous games, they shouted and they danced with glee, they whirled each other 'round and 'round. The very air seemed quivering. Then was heard the crash of a band, and he saw them marching into school. In and in and in they pressed, till the school seemed fairly bursting. Out they came by another way, and went off marching down the street with the big flag waving at their head. He followed and saw the street divide into narrower streets and bye-ways, into roads and country lanes. And all were filled with children. In endless mult.i.tudes they came--marching, marching, spreading, spreading, like wide bobbing fields of flowers rolling out across the land, toward a great round flas.h.i.+ng sun above a distant rim of hills.

The sun rose strangely dazzling. It filled the heavens with blinding light.

He felt himself drawn up and up--while from somewhere far behind he heard the cry of Deborah's child. A clear sweet thrill of happiness came. And after that--we do not know.

For he had left his family.

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About His Family Part 54 novel

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