Sacred and Profane Love eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 234 pages of information about Sacred and Profane Love.

I had risked much that night.  I had committed an enormity.  No one but a grown woman who still vividly remembers her girlhood can appreciate my feelings as I drove from Bursley to Hanbridge in the cab, and as I got out of the cab in the crowd, and gave up my ticket, and entered the glittering auditorium of the Jubilee Hall.  I was alone, at night, in the public places, under the eye of the world.  And I was guiltily alone.  Every fibre of my body throbbed with the daring and the danger and the romance of the adventure.  The horror of revealing the truth to Aunt Constance, as I was bound to do—­of telling her that I had lied, and that I had left my maiden’s modesty behind in my bedroom, gripped me at intervals like some appalling and exquisite instrument of torture.  And yet, ere Diaz had touched the piano with his broad white hand, I was content, I was rewarded, and I was justified.

The programme began with Chopin’s first Ballade.

There was an imperative summons, briefly sustained, which developed into an appeal and an invocation, ascending, falling, and still higher ascending, till it faded and expired, and then, after a little pause, was revived; then silence, and two chords, defining and clarifying the vagueness of the appeal and the invocation.  And then, almost before I was aware of it, there stole forth from under the fingers of Diaz the song of the soul of man, timid, questioning, plaintive, neither sad nor joyous, but simply human, seeking what it might find on earth.  The song changed subtly from mood to mood, expressing that which nothing but itself could express; and presently there was a low and gentle menace, thrice repeated under the melody of the song, and the reply of the song was a proud cry, a haughty contempt of these furtive warnings, and a sudden winged leap into the empyrean towards the Eternal Spirit.  And then the melody was lost in a depth, and the song became turgid and wild and wilder, hysteric, irresolute, frantically groping, until at last it found its peace and its salvation.  And the treasure was veiled in a mist of arpeggios, but one by one these were torn away, and there was a hush, a pause, and a preparation; and the soul of man broke into a new song of what it had found on earth—­the magic of the tenderness of love—­an air so caressing and so sweet, so calmly happy and so mournfully sane, so bereft of illusions and so naive, that it seemed to reveal in a few miraculous phrases the secret intentions of God.  It was too beautiful; it told me too much about myself; it vibrated my nerves to such an unbearable spasm of pleasure that I might have died had I not willed to live....  It gave place momentarily to the song of the question and the search, but only to return, and to return again, with a more thrilling and glorious assurance.  It was drowned in doubt, but it emerged triumphantly, covered with noble and delicious ornaments, and swimming strongly on mysterious waves.  And finally, with speed and with fire, it was transformed and caught up into the last ecstasy, the ultimate passion.  The soul swept madly between earth and heaven, fell, rose; and there was a dreadful halt.  Then a loud blast, a distortion of the magic, an upward rush, another and a louder blast, and a thunderous fall, followed by two massive and terrifying chords....

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Sacred and Profane Love from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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