The absinthe and Diaz had conjured a spirit in me which was at once feverish and calm. I was reading at sight difficult music full of modulations and of colour, and I was reading it with calm assurance of heart and brain. Deeper down the fever raged, but so separately that I might have had two individualities. Enchanted as I was by the rich and complex concourse of melodies which ascended from the piano and swam about our heads, this fluctuating tempest of sound was after all only a background for the emotions to which it gave birth in me. Naturally they were the emotions of love—the sense of the splendour of love, the headlong passion of love, the transcendent carelessness of love, the finality of love. I saw in love the sole and sacred purpose of the universe, and my heart whispered, with a new import: ’Where love is, there is God also.’
The fever of the music increased, and with it my fever. We seemed to be approaching some mighty climax. I thought I might faint with ecstasy, but I held on, and the climax arrived—a climax which touched the limits of expression in expressing all that two souls could feel in coming together.
‘Tristan has come into the garden,’ I muttered.
And Diaz, turning his face towards me, nodded.
We plunged forward into the love-scene itself—the scene in which the miracle of love is solemnized and celebrated. I thought that of all miracles, the miracle which had occurred that night, and was even then occurring, might be counted among the most wondrous. What occult forces, what secret influences of soul on soul, what courage on his part, what sublime immodesty and unworldliness on mine had brought it about! In what dreadful disaster would it not end! ... I cared not in that marvellous hectic hour how it would end. I knew I had been blessed beyond the common lot of women. I knew that I was living more intensely and more fully than I could have hoped to live. I knew that my experience was a supreme experience, and that another such could not be contained in my life.... And Diaz was so close, so at one with me.... A hush descended on the music, and I found myself playing strange disturbing chords with the left hand, irregularly repeated, opposing the normal accent of the bar, and becoming stranger and more disturbing. And Diaz was playing an air fragmentary and poignant. The lovers were waiting; the very atmosphere of the garden was drenched with an agonizing and exquisite anticipation. The whole world stood still, expectant, while the strange chords fought gently and persistently against the rhythm.
‘Hear the beating of their hearts,’ Diaz’ whisper floated over the chords.
It was too much. The obsession of his presence, reinforced by the vibrating of his wistful, sensuous voice, overcame me suddenly. My hands fell from the keyboard. He looked at me—and with what a glance!
‘I can bear no more,’ I cried wildly. ’It is too beautiful, too beautiful!’