“I ask you to look how every evil, every combination of hell, has arisen to tear at the flanks of the race, for this is history. Yet a few women, and a few men, the gifts of women, have arisen to save.... Do you think that war or money, or lust of any kind, shall destroy us now, in this modern rousing hour, with woman at last coming into her own—when they have never yet in the darkest hour of the world, vanquished a single great dream of a pure woman? And now women generally are rising to their full dreams; approaching each moment nearer to that glorious formula for the making of immortals....”
He smiled suddenly into her white face. “I tell you, Beth Truba,” he said, “there isn’t a phase, a moment, of this harsh hour of transition, that isn’t majestic with promise!... It’s a good picture.... Dear old mother, in every province of the soul, she is a step nearer the Truth than man. The little matters of the intellect, from which she has been barred for centuries, she shall override like a Brunhilde. Even that which men called her sins were from loving.... Gaunt mother with bended back—she has stood between God and the world; she has been the vessel of the Holy Spirit; she is the Holy Spirit in the world; and when she shall fully know her greatness, then prophets of her bearing shall walk the earth.”
They wound through the park in the rainy dusk, emerging in Fifty-ninth Street; and even then, Beth did not care to ride, so they finished the distance to her studio in the Avenue crowd.
THAT PARK PREDICAMENT
More May days had passed. Bedient came in from one of his night-strolls, just as an open carriage stopped in front of the Club, and Mrs. Wordling called his name. He waited while she dismissed her driver familiarly.... The Northern beauty of the night was full of charm to him. A full moon rode aloft in the blue. He had been thinking that there was cruelty and destruction wherever crowds gathered; that great cities were not a development of higher manhood. He thought of the sparcely tenanted islands around the world, of Australian, Siberian and Canadian areas—of glorious, virgin mountain places and empty shores—where these pent and tortured tens of thousands might have breathed and lived indeed. All they needed was but to dare. But they seemed not yet lifted from the herd; as though it took numbers to make an entity, a group to make a soul. The airs were still; the night serene as in a zone of peace blessed of God. The silence of Gramercy gave him back poise which the city—a terrible companion—had torn apart.
“That’s old John, who never misses a night at my theatre door, when that door opens to New York,” Mrs. Wordling said. “He only asks to know that I am in the city to be at my service night or day. And who would have a taxicab on a night like this?... Let’s not hurry in.... Have you been away?”