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7 " He was just a small church parson when the war broke out, and heLooked and dressed and acted like all parsons that we see.He wore the cleric's broadcloth and he hooked his vest behind.But he had a man's religion and he had a stong man's mind.And he heard the call to duty, and he quit his church and went.And he bravely tramped right with 'em every- where the boys were sent.He put aside his broadcloth and he put the khaki on;Said he'd come to be a soldier and was going to live like one.Then he'd refereed the prize fights that the boys pulled off at night,And if no one else was handy he'd put on the gloves and fight.He wasn't there a fortnight ere he saw the sol- diers' needs,And he said: " I'm done with preaching; this is now the time for deeds." He learned the sound of shrapnel, he could tell the size of shellFrom the shriek it make above him, and he knew just where it fell.In the front line trench he laboured, and he knew the feel of mud,And he didn't run from danger and he wasn't scared of blood.He wrote letters for the wounded, and he cheered them with his jokes,And he never made a visit without passing round the smokes.Then one day a bullet got him, as he knelt be- side a ladWho was " going west" right speedy, and they both seemed mighty glad,'Cause he held the boy's hand tighter, and he smiled and whispered low," Now you needn't fear the journey; over there with you I'll go." And they both passed out together, arm in arm I think they went.He had kept his vow to follow everywhere the boys were sent. "

10 " we all make vows, Jimmy. And there is something very beautiful and touching and noble about wanting good impulses to be permanent and true forever," she said. " Most of us stand up and vow to love, honor and cherish someone. And we truly mean it, at the time. But two or twelve or twenty years down the road, the lawyers are negotiating the property settlement." " You and George didn't go back on your promises." She laughed. " Lemme tell ya something, sweetface. I have been married at least four times, to four different men." She watched him chew that over for a moment before continuing, " They've all been named George Edwards but, believe me, the man who is waiting for me down the hall is a whole lot different animal from the boy I married, back before there was dirt. Oh, there are continuities. He has always been fun and he has never been able to budget his time properly and - well, the rest is none of your business." " But people change," he said quietly. " Precisely. People change. Cultures change. Empires rise and fall. Shit. Geology changes! Every ten years or so, George and I have faced the fact that we have changed and we've had to decide if it makes sense to create a new marriage between these two new people." She flopped back against her chair. " Which is why vows are such a tricky business. Because nothing stays the same forever. Okay. Okay! I'm figuring something out now." She sat up straight, eyes focused somewhere outside the room, and Jimmy realized that even Anne didn't have all the answers and that was either the most comforting thing he'd learned in a long time or the most discouraging. " Maybe because so few of us would be able to give up something so fundamental for something so abstract, we protect ourselves from the nobility of a priest's vows by jeering at him when he can't live up to them, always and forever." She shivered and slumped suddenly, " But, Jimmy! What unnatural words. Always and forever! Those aren't human words, Jim. Not even stones are always and forever. "