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had refused to a thousand prayers. ... The crowd, the hurry of the Gare, the shutting doors, the colporteur crying Journaux', the impatient guards : all these trivialities give a joy I cannot conquer, a blessedness with which I am at strife to no purpose. I see written,
In one day I shall be at this English · Tesoretto': I shall be with her in one day. ...
XVI Happiness, however, accordantly with the word, chances on us sometimes before we had expected her. With a sense of life and exultation naturally called forth by the Sea, at least from Englishmen, I had crossed to England under that clear arch of sunlight buttressed on the white cliffs of antagonist coasts, which so frequently, I think, spans this ocean interval.
Let no one ask me how it came to pass ;
reading, a few lines together, the last gift of the great Poet- a tale published at the moment, I thought, as if by the surpassing force and delicacy of these lines and many more, to add passion to passion — the journey seemed of unexpected brevity. Railway arrangements made it my shortest route to the H-coast to take London on the way. An additional reason was, that I could at once call and ascertain from the servants of the house the latest news of their absent family. Désirée rode up as I came to the door : the first welcome to England came from her lips: the request that I would at any rate, return to-morrow, and fix the scheme for our southward
journey, which could not be arranged without next morning's letters. We entered the house meanwhile. I could have kissed the walls in the plenitude of my heart's delight, and the ' beam from the timber ’ seemed to answer
Then we sat side by side : her lately married sister, who for a few days had requested her company, was there : Désirée explained the little family circumstances which had brought her to London, and, avoiding any allusion of too soul-arousing significance, endeavoured anxiously, I saw, to give me that peculiar pleasure, resumption into the circle of "household hearts 'that might be mine too, if so I would be content to have it. Who could calmly measure, and so received by the Lady of his love, the exact limits of happiness ? Why, at one moment, when she said · You were once interested in such and such things, did the lips hesitate, and the sorrise parolette grow deep and sad, and like echoes from that irrevocable once itself ? I answered away from the purpose: I thought a star-crowned Angel passed over us; a higher Power present, and leading to celestial determinations.
So warst du denn im Paradies empfangen,
These were sixty minutes sunnier than sunlight: we had been speaking throughout indeed with the pressure and rapidity of those who meet after long separation, yet so profound was the sense of blessedness that penetrated them, they seemed to have run by in an absolute and soulsubduing silence. Though bearing with me nothing but what has been here noted for special or definite remem
brance, when I left it was glorified in heart and head, as the Prophet coming from the Mount and the Vision, with the emanations of her presence.
Che parlo ? o dove sono? e chi m'inganna
- But that night I could not read, I could not sleep, I was so disturbed by this dear image: by her first sad sweet gaze as we stood talking alone : by the smiles that followed : by the meeting for to-morrow promised as if the all to me was something now to Désirée. There had been a power on me as we spoke: a fascination gradually growing, I knew not how or why or to what issues : an awe I would call it, not fear, yet compelling me to silence:
as though the passage of some ultimate moment, some great crisis pre-ordained through eternity were striking on the silver bells of Paradise. ...0 voice so long unheard, so late regranted, confiding depth of sincere and eloquent eyes, pursuing glance of the face more desired than the faces of Heaven, shaking me through the deepest depths of Resignation, and what was your significance ?
Let the sweet heavens endure,
Not close and darken above me
That there is one to love me:
- Let me have my dream awhile, I thought, let me clasp it in its ineffable sweetness : at last, at last ; this beyond all beyond', to believe Désirée mine. . .. I dare not bid the dawning hasten, I walk as if amongst spirits in the under world, between death and life ; and what is prepared for to-morrow? I cannot so think of Providence as to think
that Vision and Hope granted only in celestial Irony ; that the Eternal Love can be so directed by the Illimitable Power: -O no: he hears, he cannot but hear, the supplication and sigh from boyhood to manhood. . . As I looked
there is a sign in heaven, I thought, more stars than the number appointed, and brighter. They answer—It is so : Désirée yours : the yearning of years fulfilled; the heart's desire accomplished : shame and sorrow transfigured to blessedness; the crown of thorns glorified almost to the brightness of that God placed, after death and rising, on the brows of his Well Beloved. Faithfully I had served more years than Jacob for the true wife ; long I had waited; the Merciful has heard :— the Desire cometh. .. At last, at last : but the ecstasy of her dear love won such ! that with his own Best, He Himself could not better it.
XVIII–I thought I had courage when beginning this narrative, to evade no conviction, and to shrink from no remembrance ; to write as if sure I should die to-morrow. It is not quite so, or perhaps so, where self is concerned only: not in conjunctures where the dearer than self held a too fatal and predominant portion. And, again, how far such a crisis transcends the apparent and measureable force of the words or actions which accompanied or accomplished it !- What was it if, on the following day, both with absolute and fearless sincerity, clasped hands and unfaltering eyes, spoke the innermost secrets of thought and passion : if Désirée, with many tears, said It could not be otherwise, she cared for me too much not to tell all the truth ; how much she grieved for the sorrow she had brought on so early a friend, she could not tell : she would always give me a sister's affection ; and at this she tried to smile :- what, if I said O hear me this once,-trying
to catch up the whole of Love and utter it,—that I had no other hope but her for life ; if the word were ever allowable to man, so it must be for ever :- -she would not hold it, I hoped, mad perversity : I thought I had loved her truly ; after caring for her thus now near twenty years, it could not be otherwise; it was better to speak once: O dear dear - so it must be for ever :—yet can these syllables or any other within mortal attainment, equal the great stress and agony of that eternal farewell ? ... We were silent; had we heated our words sevenfold higher, we could not have reached what we would express; we parted with one glance more ; we felt as if we had each said nothing.
XIX Thus the fate of two lives was decided. the end. Io non piangeva, sì dentro impietrai': I went out: If I had sinned with Cain, the punishment could not have been more unendurable. ... O now for the blessing of remorse! to think, I deserved it: God has done it : not that dear one.
Then life brought one of the contrasts so trivial in the telling, so poignant in the reality, by which life works out her romance also.
A friend of my College days, a strong active man who had tried Canadian backwoods, and had now crossed the sea to provide himself in England with the plenishing for final settlement, met me within not many steps from the door where my heart had once beat so lightly; and whilst I, not knowing how to recover my steps and common carriage in a world irretrievably changed, answered vaguely, required a promise to join himself and others that evening for a happy hour of welcome to the exile returned. I could, of course, have framed excuses for absence ; I could have failed in the promise without difficulty, and given the minutes to the solitary remembrance of a lost Désirée. But this would