Vanishing Roads and Other Essays eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 329 pages of information about Vanishing Roads and Other Essays.
was to feel all the keener zest in the presence of Callithoe on the following evening, with her delicate soul-lit face, and eager responsiveness of look and gesture—­blonde cendre, and fausse maigre—­a being one of the hot noon, the other a creature of the starlight.  But I disclaim the sultanesque savour of thus writing of these dear bearers of symphonic names.  To talk of them as flowers and fruit, as colour and perfume, as ivory and velvet, is to seem to forget the best of them, and the best part of loving them and being loved again; for that consisted in their comradeship, their enchanted comradeship, the sense of shared adventure, the snatching of a fearful joy together.  For a little while we had escaped from the drab and songless world, and, cost what it might, we were determined to take possession, for a while at least, of that paradise which sprang into existence at the moment when “male and female created He them.”  Such divine foolishness, let discretion warn, or morality frown, or society play the censorious hypocrite, “were wisdom in the scorn of consequence.”

“Ah, then,” says every man to himself of such hours, as I said to myself in my haunted restaurant—­“ah, then came in the sweet o’ the year.”

But lovely and pleasant as were the memories over which I thus sat musing, there was one face immeasurably beyond all others that I had come there hoping and yet fearing to meet again, hers of whom for years that seem past counting all the awe and wonder and loveliness of the world have seemed but the metaphor.  Endless years ago she and I had sat at this table where I was now sitting and had risen from it with breaking hearts, never to see each other’s face, hear each other’s voice again.  Voluntarily, for another’s sake, we were breaking our hearts, renouncing each other, putting from us all the rapture and religion of our loving, dying then and there that another might live—­vain sacrifice!  Once and again, long silences apart, a word or two would wing its way across lands and seas and tell us both that we were still under the same sky and were still what nature had made us from the beginning—­each other’s.  But long since that veil of darkness unpierced of my star has fallen between us, and no longer do I hear the rustle of her gown in the autumn woods, nor do the spring winds carry me the sweetness of her faithful thoughts any more.  So I dreamed maybe that, after the manner of phantoms, we might meet again on the spot where we had both died—­but alas, though the wraiths of lighter loving came gaily to my call, she of the starlit silence and the tragic eyes came not, though I sat long awaiting her—­sat on till the tables began to be deserted, and the interregnum between dinner and after-theatre supper had arrived.  No, I began to understand that she could no longer come to me:  we must both wait till I could go to her.

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Vanishing Roads and Other Essays from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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