The Hero

Donde los padres esperan noticias del hijo que vuelve de la Guerra. Las cosas no saldrán como esperaban… The Hero, de W. Somerset Maugham

… "I shouldn't mind if you made it a bit higher in the leg than the last pair."
"How high would you like it?"
She went to the window so that the Colonel might show the exact length he desired; and when he had made up his mind, sat down again quietly on her chair by the fireside, with hands crossed on her lap, waiting placidly for the maid to bring the lamp.
Mrs. Parsons was a tall woman of fifty-five, carrying herself with a certain reserve, as though a little ashamed of her stature, greater than the Colonel's; it had seemed to her through life that those extra inches savoured, after a fashion, of disrespect. She knew it was her duty spiritually to look up to her husband, yet physically she was always forced to look down. And eager to prevent even the remotest suspicion of wrong-doing, she had taken care to be so submissive in her behaviour as to leave no doubt that she recognised the obligation of respectful obedience enjoined by the Bible, and confirmed by her own conscience. Mrs. Parsons was the gentlest of creatures, and the most kind-hearted; she looked upon her husband with great and unalterable affection, admiring intensely both his head and his heart. He was her type of the upright man, walking in the ways of the Lord.

You saw in the placid, smooth brow of the Colonel's wife, in her calm eyes, even in the severe arrangement of the hair, parted in the middle and drawn back, that her character was frank, simple, and straightforward. She was a woman to whom evil had never offered the smallest attraction; she was merely aware of its existence theoretically. To her the only way of life had been that which led to God; the others had been non-existent. Duty had one hand only, and only one finger; and that finger had always pointed definitely in one direction. Yet Mrs. Parsons had a firm mouth, and a chin square enough to add another impression. As she sat motionless, hands crossed, watching her husband with loving eyes, you might have discovered that, however kind-hearted, she was not indulgent, neither lenient to her own faults nor to those of others; perfectly modest, but with a sense of duty, a feeling of the absolute rightness of some deeds and of the absolute wrongness of others, which would be, even to those she loved best in the world, utterly cruel.
attacks against serbs
Attacks against Serbs, 1914
"Here's a telegraph boy!" said Colonel Parsons suddenly. "Jamie can't have arrived yet!"
"Oh, Richmond!"
Mrs. Parsons sprang from her chair, and a colour brightened her pale cheeks. Her heart beat painfully, and tears of eager expectation filled her eyes.
"It's probably only from William, to say the ship is signalled," said the Colonel, to quieten her; but his own voice trembled with anxiety.
"Nothing can have happened, Richmond, can it?" said Mrs. Parsons, her cheeks blanching again at the idea.
"No, no! Of course not! How silly you are!" The telegram was brought in by the servant. "I can't see without a light," said the Colonel.
"Oh, give it me; I can see quite well."
Mrs. Parsons took it to the window, and with trembling hand tore it open.
"Arriving to-night; 7.25.—Jamie."
Mrs. Parson looked for one moment at her husband, and then, unable to restrain herself, sank on a chair, and hiding her face with her hands, burst into tears.
"Come, come, Frances," said the Colonel, trying to smile, but half choked with his own emotion, "don't cry! You ought to laugh when you know the boy's coming home."
He patted her on the shoulder, and she took his hand, holding it for comfort. With the other, the Colonel loudly blew his nose. At last Mrs Parsons dried her eyes.
"Oh, I thank God that it's all over! He's coming home. I hope we shall never have to endure again that anxiety. It makes me tremble still when I think how we used to long for the paper to come, and dread it; how we used to look all through the list of casualties, fearing to see the boy's name."
"Well, well, it's all over now," said the Colonel cheerily, blowing his nose again. "How pleased Mary will be!"
It was characteristic of him that almost his first thought was of the pleasure this earlier arrival would cause to Mary Clibborn, the girl to whom, for five years, his son had been engaged… (Excerpts from The Hero, by W. Somerset Maugham)

About the book
The Hero fue publicado en 1901 por Hutchinson.

“… hay algo en Somerset Maugham. Es tan simple, sin excesos verbales y a la vez tan hermosamente artesanal, que siempre es un placer leerlo. Me encantó el libro, el contenido de la historia es trágico, que el soldado retorna de la guerra herido para encontrar que todo ha cambiado y a la vez que todo sigue igual. Hay tanto humor en la narración…” (Grace)