Then she considered a little longer, and turned impatiently from her image in the glass.
“Why, I have known him all my life, and never dreamed of such a thing! But for that rainy Sunday three weeks ago, I never might have done. Oh, this must be a mere fancy. While I talked to him I felt that it ought to be—that it was. Yes, it is.”
Her eyes wandered over the lawn. She could see the edges of those little gardens. She had looked at them of late more often than was prudent. “Darlings!” she whispered with such a heartsick sigh, “how keenly I loved them for the sake of my little lost treasure, before ever I noticed their beautiful likeness to their father—no, that’s a mistake. I say it is—I mean to break away from it. And even if it was none, after the lesson I have had to-day, it must and shall be a mistake for ever.”
THAT RAINY SUNDAY.
“He hath put the world in their hearts.”
This is how that had come about which was such a trouble and oppression to Emily.
Emily was walking to church on a Sunday morning, just three weeks before John Mortimer’s first call upon her.
Her little nephew, Dorothea’s child, was four days old. He had spent many of his new-found hours sleeping in her arms, while she cherished him with a keen and painful love, full of sweet anguish and unsatisfied memories.
The tending of this small life, which in some sort was to be a plenishing for her empty heart, had, however, made her more fully alive than usual to the loneliness of her lot, and as she walked on through a fir-wood, in the mild weather, everything seemed also to be more alive, waking, and going to change. The lights that slanted down were more significant. The little shaded hollows were more pathetic, but on the whole it seemed as if the best part of the year was coming on for the world. It made her heart ache to feel or fancy how glad the world was, and how the open sky laughed down upon it in helpful sympathy. The old question presents itself over and over again to be answered,—What is it that gives us so much joy in looking at earth and air and water?
We love a landscape, but not merely because remoteness makes blue the distant hills, as if the sky itself having come down, we could look through a portion of it, as through a veil. It is not the vague possibility of what may be shrouded in the blue that stirs our hearts. We know that if we saw it close it would be set full of villages, and farmhouses, lanes and orchards, and furrowed fields; no other, and not fairer than we have near.
Is it what we impart, or impute to nature from ourselves, that we chiefly lean upon? or does she truly impart of what is really in her to us?
What delight we find in her action, what sentiment in her rest! What passion we impute to her changes, what apathy of a satisfying calming sort to her decline!