Sacred and Profane Love eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 234 pages of information about Sacred and Profane Love.
crudity.  The shaft of love and the desolation of death had struck me almost in the same hour, and before these twin mysteries, supremely equal, I recoiled and quailed.  I had neither faith nor friend.  I was solitary, and my soul also was solitary.  The difficulties of Being seemed insoluble.  I was not a moral coward, I was not prone to facile repentances; but as I gazed at that calm and unsullied mask I realized, whatever I had gained, how much I had lost.  At twenty-one I knew more of the fountains of life than Aunt Constance at over sixty.  Poor aged thing that had walked among men for interminable years, and never known!  It seemed impossible, shockingly against Nature, that my aunt’s existence should have been so!  I pitied her profoundly.  I felt that essentially she was girlish compared to me.  And yet—­and yet—­that which she had kept and which I had given away was precious, too—­indefinably and wonderfully precious!  The price of knowledge and of ecstasy seemed heavy to me then.  The girl that had gone with Diaz into that hotel apartment had come out no more.  She had expired there, and her extinction was the price, Oh, innocence!  Oh, divine ignorance!  Oh, refusal!  None knows your value save her who has bartered you!  And herein is the woman’s tragedy.

There in that mausoleum I decided that I must never see Diaz again.  He was fast in my heart, a flashing, glorious treasure, but I must never see him again.  I must devote myself to memory.

On the dressing-table lay a brown-paper parcel which seemed out of place there.  I opened it, and it contained a magnificently-bound copy of The Imitation of Christ.  Upon the flyleaf was written:  ’To dearest Carlotta on attaining her majority.  With fondest love.  C.P.’

It was too much; it was overwhelming.  I wept again.  Soul so kind and pure!  The sense of my loss, the sense of the simple, proud rectitude of her life, laid me low.


Train journeys have too often been sorrowful for me, so much so that the conception itself of a train, crawling over the country like a snake, or flying across it like a winged monster, fills me with melancholy.  Trains loaded with human parcels of sadness and illusion and brief joy, wandering about, crossing, and occasionally colliding in the murk of existence; trains warmed and lighted in winter; trains open to catch the air of your own passage in summer; night-trains that pierce the night with your yellow, glaring eyes, and waken mysterious villages, and leave the night behind and run into the dawn as into a station; trains that carry bread and meats for the human parcels, and pillows and fountains of fresh water; trains that sweep haughtily and wearily indifferent through the landscapes and the towns, sufficient unto yourselves, hasty, panting, formidable, and yet mournful entities:  I have understood you in your arrogance and your pathos.

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Sacred and Profane Love from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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