“MORE WOOD!” shouted the lieutenant, looking into the fire-place where the flames were dying down. But Ahmed refused to be prodigal with the wood, and brought in another small armful of the meager, gnarled branches. He remembered the early mornings of bitter cold when his mother and sister had got up long before dawn to set out across the high dunes toward Hassi Mokhtar; he remembered their return when the sun would be setting, and their faces, seamed with fatigue, as they came into the courtyard bent over double beneath their loads. The lieutenant would often throw on the fire as much wood as his sister had used to gather in the entire day, but he would not do it; he always brought in a scant amount. The lieutenant was quite aware that this was sheer recalcitrance on Ahmed’s part. He considered it a senseless but unalterable eccentricity.