‘The hills,’ he said, ’are turned hither and thither, not all seen in profile, and that is why they are so beautiful.’
The sunlit crests and the shadow-filled valleys roused him. In the sky a lake was forming, the very image and likeness of the lake under the hill. One glittered like silver, the other like gold, and so wonderful was this celestial lake that he began to think of immortals, of an assembly of goddesses waiting for their gods, or a goddess waiting on an island for some mortal, sending bird messengers to him. A sort of pagan enchantment was put upon him, and he rose up from the ferns to see an evening as fair as Nora and as fragrant. He tried to think of the colour of her eyes, which were fervid and oracular, and of her hands, which were long and curved, with fragile fingers, of her breath, which was sweet, and her white, even teeth. The evening was like her, as subtle and as persuasive, and the sensation of her presence became so clear that he shut his eyes, feeling her about him—as near to him as if she lay in his arms, just as he had felt her that night in the wood, but then she was colder and more remote. He walked along the foreshore feeling like an instrument that had been tuned. His perception seemed to have been indefinitely increased, and it seemed to him as if he were in communion with the stones in the earth and the clouds in heaven; it seemed to him as if the past and the future had become one.
The moment was one of extraordinary sweetness; never might such a moment happen in his life again. And he watched the earth and sky enfolded in one tender harmony of rose and blue—blue fading to gray, and the lake afloat amid vague shores, receding like a dream through sleep.
From Father Oliver Gogarty to Miss Nora Glynn.
’June 18, 19—.