loated, as Michael had lately told him, finding the world an extremely pleasant place, full of warm currents that took you gently forward without entailing the slightest exertion. But Michael's grave and expectant face--that Michael who had been so eagerly kind about meeting his debts for him--warned him that, however gossamer-like his own emotions were, he must attempt to ballast himself over this.
"Are you speaking seriously?" he asked.
"Quite seriously. I never did anything that was so serious."
"And that is what you want my opinion about?" he asked. "If so, you must tell me more, Mike. I can't have an opinion unless you give me the reasons why you did it. The thing itself--well, the thing itself doesn't seem to matter so immensely. The significance of it is why you did it."
Michael's big, heavy-browed face lightened a moment. "For a fellow who never thinks," he said, "you think uncommonly well. But the reasons are obvious enough. You can guess sufficient reasons to account for
An excellent book, well-written. All about three friends in the build-up to and first months of World War I. Apart from the unlikely and rather unbelievable coincidence at the end, this is well worth reading, especially for people who might only be familiar with Benson's "Lucia" novels.
In the year leading up to World War I, Michael Comber, the homely, awkward son of the earl of Ashbridge, defies his conventional and stuffy father to take up the serious study of music. He befriends Sylvia and Hermann Falbe, two half-German siblings, a famed singer and her brother and accompanist, from whom he takes piano lessons, and begins to live an independent life. But ultimately the war threatens everything. A very potent and absorbing novel.