PART V. Alexandra
3. CHAPTER III (continued)
Alexandra looked at him mournfully. "I try to be more liberal
about such things than I used to be. I try to realize that we are
not all made alike. Only, why couldn't it have been Raoul Marcel,
or Jan Smirka? Why did it have to be my boy?"
"Because he was the best there was, I suppose. They were both the
best you had here."
The sun was dropping low in the west when the two friends rose and
took the path again. The straw-stacks were throwing long shadows,
the owls were flying home to the prairie-dog town. When they came
to the corner where the pastures joined, Alexandra's twelve young
colts were galloping in a drove over the brow of the hill.
"Carl," said Alexandra, "I should like to go up there with you in
the spring. I haven't been on the water since we crossed the ocean,
when I was a little girl. After we first came out here I used
to dream sometimes about the shipyard where father worked, and a
little sort of inlet, full of masts." Alexandra paused. After a
moment's thought she said, "But you would never ask me to go away
for good, would you?"
"Of course not, my dearest. I think I know how you feel about this
country as well as you do yourself." Carl took her hand in both
his own and pressed it tenderly.
"Yes, I still feel that way, though Emil is gone. When I was on
the train this morning, and we got near Hanover, I felt something
like I did when I drove back with Emil from the river that time,
in the dry year. I was glad to come back to it. I've lived here
a long time. There is great peace here, Carl, and freedom. . . .
I thought when I came out of that prison, where poor Frank is,
that I should never feel free again. But I do, here." Alexandra
took a deep breath and looked off into the red west.
"You belong to the land," Carl murmured, "as you have always said.
Now more than ever."