THE WINDOWits leaves, he could see, without wishing it, thatold, that obvious distinction between the two classesof men; on the one hand the steady goers of super-human strength who, plodding and persevering, re-peat the whole alphabet in order, twenty-six lettersin all, from start to finish; on the other the gifted,the inspired who, miraculously, lump all the letterstogether in one flash—the way of genius. He hadnot genius; he laid no claim to that: but he had, ormight have had, the power to repeat every letter ofthe alphabet from A to Z accurately in order. Mean-while, he stuck at Q. On, then, on to R.

Feelings that would not have disgraced a leaderwho, now that the snow has begun to fall and themountain top is covered in mist, knows that hemust lay himself down and die before morningcomes, stole upon him, paling the colour of his eyes,giving him, even in the two minutes of his turn onthe terrace, the bleached look of withered old age.Yet he would not die lying down; he would findsome crag of rock, and there, his eyes fixed on thestorm, trying to the end to pierce the darkness, hewould die standing. He would never reach R.

He stood stock-still, by the urn, with the gera-nium flowing over it. How many men in a thousandmillion, he asked himself, reach Z after all? Surelythe leader of a forlorn hope may ask himself that,55
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