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Dangerous Days

Chapter 40
One day late in May, Clayton, walking up-town in lieu of the golf he had been
forced to abandon, met Doctor Haverford on the street, and found his way barred
by that rather worried-looking gentleman.
"I was just going to see you, Clayton," he said. "About two things. I'll walk back a
few blocks with you."
He was excited, rather exalted.
"I'm going in," he announced. "Regimental chaplain. I've got a year's leave of
absence. I'm rather vague about what a chaplain does, but I rather fancy he can
be useful."
"You'll get over, of course. You're lucky. And you'll find plenty to do."
"I've been rather anxious," Doctor Haverford confided. "I've been a clergyman so
long that I don't know just how I'll measure up as a man. You know what I mean.
I am making no reflection on the church. But I've been sheltered and - well, I've
been looked after. I don't think I am physically brave. It would be a fine thing," he
said wryly, "if the chaplain were to turn and run under fire!"
"I shouldn't worry about that."
"My salary is to go on. But I don't like that, either. If I hadn't a family I wouldn't
accept it. Delight thinks I shouldn't, anyhow. As a matter of fact, there ought to be
no half-way measures about our giving ourselves. If I had a son to give it would
be different."
Clayton looked straight ahead. He knew that the rector had, for the moment,
forgotten that he had a son to give and that he had not yet given.
"Why don't you accept a small allowance?" he inquired quietly. "Or, better still,
why don't you let me know how much it will take and let me do it? I'd like to feel
that I was represented in France - by you," he added.
And suddenly the rector remembered. He was most uncomfortable, and very
flushed.
"Thanks. I can't let you do that, of course."
"Why not?"
"Because, hang it all, Clayton, I'm not a parasite. I took the car, because it
enabled me to do my parish work better. But I'm not going to run off to war and
let you keep my family."
Clayton glanced at him, at his fine erect old figure, his warmly flushed face. War
did strange things. There was a new light in the rector's once worldly if kindly
eyes. He had the strained look of a man who sees great things, as yet far away,
and who would hasten toward them. Insensibly he quickened his pace.
"But I can't go myself, so why can't I send a proxy?"
Clayton asked, smiling. "I've an idea I'd be well represented."
"That's a fine way to look at it, but I can't do it. I've saved something, not much,
but it will do for a year or two. I'm glad you made the offer, though. It was like
you, and - it showed me the way. I can't let any man, or any group of men,
finance my going."
 
 
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