« AnteriorContinuar »
I tell that our happiness is something less important than a clear conscience? My conscience has been comparatively clear for years. Has it brought me happiness? If it has, it has been of a quality I could not realise, whereas you have set the world to music for me. This may not be clear to you. I cannot make things clear to-day, my brain feels so old, so very old — and all this you chose to say to me in the entr'actes of an opera! What a little difference environment makes to a woman. As you spoke, I felt as if the very essence of life were passing away from me. I felt, as you
you took my heart out and analysed it, like a subject on an operating-table to whom no anæsthetic has been given. The crowds in the galleries seemed to me like the curious faces in the amphitheatre of a clinic. They fastened their eyes on me, not on the stage, and one man, not a woman, only one man, looked sorry as I died before his eyes. Oh, God! I hope they have learned something, otherwise I have died in vain.
“For a moment my arm became nerveless; I could not write. I have been out for a walk. What is the matter with all the world? They look at me and they act as if in the presence of death; they speak in subdued voices. Can they have guessed the truth? Do they know I died last night? With me, this is not death, of course; it is only loneliness carried to the point of death. I cannot tell you what the loneliness is like. Friends have fallen away from me to-day, like leaves from a sapless tree. I feel as if my soul were bared to a sightless world, and no one knew and no one cared that my soul was a soul in pain. I feel as if my horizon had lost all undulation and be
come a straight line, and I seem to be nearing the edge with giant strides, but without curiosity. Why is everything so still? I never knew such a soundless day. I hear nothing but the bell that says, 'Good-bye.'
" What new trick is this of God's? What right has He to torture who calls Himself mercy?
“Oh, God! Give her back to me; I say give her back to me, I say give her back to me, or I will fit my soul for hell. I will see You gain nothing; You shall lose.
“Oh, dear God, give her back to me!
"I now know why I hear the bell so clearly; my skull is the bell, and the tongue hits either side. Oh, dear heart, if it were only not so regular! Could it but miss a stroke, something to break the awful rhythm. If it is to be always with me, it must learn to say, 'I love you, I love you.'
“I have waited a moment and listened.
I have tried to teach it, but it won't learn. I shall go mad, for it still clangs with fearful distinctness, ‘Good-bye, good-bye!'”
She was kind enough to reply. I make no comment; it is for you to judge.
“I never meant to write to you again, but your letter requires a word — a final word. A man's love is all selfishness, a woman's all sacrifice; with a man it means possession, with us peace. I wrote you that 'I never felt so near my God as now.' Blind at the time, I mistook you for my God. We women do that sometimes.
“There is no peace for a cultivated conscience that is not clear.
“You have your work, I my religion; they must suffice. The earth, ‘God's footstool,' slipped away from under my feet when I met you, but the very love I bear you has led me — not to you — but back to the spot on which I stood so firmly before I knew you. I am so glad for your sake.
The tension of the last few hours has been too great. Something in your brain has snapped, but it will mend; it will heal in time, only wait.
I suppose you think I have grown wonderfully philosophical for a woman who could never lay claim to philosophy before, but wisdom must come to a woman quickly, or not at all. Do not think I have ceased to love you; you would be wrong. It is simply that my feeling for you has merged into something greater, my love of God, or all that's good.