His Hour

Elinor Glyn
His Hour, by Elinor Glyn

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Title: His Hour
Author: Elinor Glyn
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His Hour
Elinor Glyn
Author of "Three Weeks"

[Illustration: A miniature of Prince Milaslávski in the uniform of one of
his ancestors, in which he appeared at the famous fancy ball at the
Winter Palace some years ago. He was about twenty-three at the time. I
have selected this likeness of him in preference to a later photograph, as
the artist has happily caught him in one of his rarely soft moods, and
also, the face being clean shaven, the characteristic chiselling of the lips
can be seen. THE AUTHOR.]

"His Hour" is called in England and Russia "When the Hour Came."

With grateful homage and devotion I dedicate this book to

Her Imperial Highness The Grand Duchess Vladimir Of Russia
In memory of the happy evenings spent in her gracious presence when
reading to her these pages, which her sympathetic aid, in facilitating
my opportunities for studying the Russian character, enabled me to
write. Her kind appreciation of the finished work is a source of the
deepest gratification to me.
Elinor Glyn
St. Petersburg, May, 1910
The Sphinx was smiling its eternal smile. It was two o'clock in the
morning. The tourists had returned to Cairo, and only an Arab or two
lingered near the boy who held Tamara's camel, and then gradually
slunk away; thus, but for Hafis, she was alone--alone with her thoughts
and the Sphinx.
The strange, mystical face looked straight at her from the elevation
where she sat. Its sensual mocking calm penetrated her brain. The
creature seemed to be laughing at all humanity--and saying--"There is
no beyond--live and enjoy the things of the present--Eat, drink, and be
merry, for to-morrow you die, and I--I who sit here and know, tell you
there is no beyond. The things you can touch and hold to your bodies
are the only ones worth grasping."
"No, no!" said Tamara, half aloud, "I will not--I will not believe it."
"Fool," said the Sphinx. "What is your soul? And if you have one, what
have you done with it hitherto? Are you any light in the world?--No,
you have lived upon the orders of others, you have let your
individuality be crushed these twenty-four years--since the day you
could speak. Just an echo it is--that fine thing, your soul! Show it then,
if you have one! Do you possess an opinion? Not a bit of it. You simply
announce platitudes that you have been taught were the right answers to
all questions! Believe me, you have no soul. So take what you can--a

body! You certainly have that, one can see it--well, snatch what it can
bring you, since you have not enough will to try for higher things.
Grasp what you may, poor weakling. That is the wisdom sitting here
for eternity has taught me."
Tamara stirred her hands in protest--but she knew the indictment was
true. Yes, her life had been one long commonplace vista of following
leads--like a sheep.
But was it too late to change? Had she the courage? Dared she think for
herself? If not, the mystic message of the Sphinx's smile were better
followed: "Eat, drink, and be merry, for to-morrow you die."
The blue of the sky seemed to soothe her, and speak of hope. Could any
other country produce a sky of so deep a sapphire as the night sky of
Egypt? All around was intense sensuous warmth and stillness almost as
light as day.
How wise she had been to break through the conventionality
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