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HOME > Classical Novels > Rilla of Ingleside > CHAPTER XXX THE TURNING OF THE TIDE
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 Susan was very sorrowful when she saw the beautiful old lawn of Ingleside ploughed up that spring and planted with potatoes. Yet she made no protest, even when her beloved peony bed was sacrificed. But when the Government passed the Daylight Saving law Susan balked1. There was a Higher Power than the union Government, to which Susan owed allegiance.  
"Do you think it right to meddle2 with the arrangements of the Almighty3?" she demanded indignantly of the doctor. The doctor, quite unmoved, responded that the law must be observed, and the Ingleside clocks were moved on accordingly. But the doctor had no power over Susan's little alarm.
"I bought that with my own money, Mrs. Dr. dear," she said firmly, "and it shall go on God's time and not Borden's time."
Susan got up and went to bed by "God's time," and regulated her own goings and comings by it. She served the meals, under protest, by Borden's time, and she had to go to church by it, which was the crowning injury. But she said her prayers by her own clock, and fed the hens by it; so that there was always a furtive4 triumph in her eye when she looked at the doctor. She had got the better of him by so much at least.
"Whiskers-on-the-moon is very much delighted with this daylight saving business," she told him one evening. "Of course he naturally would be, since I understand that the Germans invented it. I hear he came near losing his entire wheat-crop lately. Warren Mead's cows broke into the field one day last week—it was the very day the Germans captured the Chemang-de-dam, which may have been a coincidence or may not—and were making fine havoc5 of it when Mrs. Dick Clow happened to see them from her attic6 window. At first she had no intention of letting Mr. Pryor know. She told me she had just gloated over the sight of those cows pasturing on his wheat. She felt it served him exactly right. But presently she reflected that the wheat-crop was a matter of great importance and that 'save and serve' meant that those cows must be routed out as much as it meant anything. So she went down and phoned over to Whiskers about the matter. All the thanks she got was that he said something queer right out to her. She is not prepared to state that it was actually swearing for you cannot be sure just what you hear over the phone; but she has her own opinion, and so have I, but I will not express it for here comes Mr. Meredith, and Whiskers is one of his elders, so we must be discreet7."
"Are you looking for the new star?" asked Mr. Meredith, joining Miss Oliver and Rilla, who were standing8 among the blossoming potatoes gazing skyward.
"Yes—we have found it—see, it is just above the tip of the tallest old pine."
"It's wonderful to be looking at something that happened three thousand years ago, isn't it?" said Rilla. "That is when astronomers9 think the collision took place which produced this new star. It makes me feel horribly insignificant," she added under her breath.
"Even this event cannot dwarf10 into what may be the proper perspective in star systems the fact that the Germans are again only one leap from Paris," said Gertrude restlessly.
"I think I would like to have been an astronomer," said Mr. Meredith dreamily, gazing at the star.
"There must be a strange pleasure in it," agreed Miss Oliver, "an unearthly pleasure, in more senses than one. I would like to have a few astronomers for my friends."
"Fancy talking the gossip of the hosts of heaven," laughed Rilla.
"I wonder if astronomers feel a very deep interest in earthly affairs?" said the doctor. "Perhaps students of the canals of Mars would not be so keenly sensitive to the significance of a few yards of trenches11 lost or won on the western front."
"I have read somewhere," said Mr. Meredith, "that Ernest Renan wrote one of his books during the siege of Paris in 1870 and 'enjoyed the writing of it very much.' I suppose one would call him a philosopher."
"I have read also," said Miss Oliver, "that shortly before his death he said that his only regret in dying was that he must die before he had seen what that 'extremely interesting young man, the German Emperor,' would do in his life. If Ernest Renan 'walked' today and saw what that interesting young man had done to his beloved France, not to speak of the world, I wonder if his mental detachment would be as complete as it was in 1870."
"I wonder where Jem is tonight," thought Rilla, in a sudden bitter inrush of remembrance.
It was over a month since the news had come about Jem. Nothing had been discovered concerning him, in spite of all efforts. Two or three letters had come from him, written before the trench12 raid, and since then there had been only unbroken silence. Now the Germans were again at the Marne, pressing nearer and nearer Paris; now rumours13 were coming of another Austrian offensive against the Piave line. Rilla turned away from the new star, sick at heart. It was one of the moments when hope and courage failed her utterly—when it seemed impossible to go on even one more day. If only they knew what had happened to Jem&............
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