THE SURGERY DOOR.
That Juliet loved Faber as she had at one time resolved never to love man, she no longer attempted to conceal from herself; but she was far from being prepared to confess the discovery to him. His atheism she satisfactorily justified herself in being more ready to pity than to blame. There were difficulties! There were more than difficulties! Not a few of them she did not herself see how to get over! If her father had been alive, then indeed!—children must not break their parents’ hearts. But if, as appeared the most likely thing, that father, tenderly as she had loved him, was gone from her forever, if life was but a flash across from birth to the grave, why should not those who loved make the best of it for each other during that one moment “brief as the lightning in the collied night”? They must try to be the more to one another, and the time was so short. All that Faber had ever pleaded was now blossoming at once in her thought. She had not a doubt that he loved her—as would have been enough once at all events. A man of men he was!—noble, unselfish, independent, a ruler of himself, a benefactor of his race! What right had those believers to speak of him as they did? In any personal question he was far their superior. That they undervalued him, came all of their narrow prejudices! He was not of their kind, therefore he must be below them! But there were first that should be last, and last first!
She felt herself no whit worthy of him. She believed herself not for a moment comparable to him! But his infinite chivalry, gentleness, compassion, would be her refuge! Such a man would bear with her weaknesses, love her love, and forgive her sins! If he took her God from her, he must take His place, and be a God-like man to her! Then, if there should be any further truth discoverable, why indeed, as himself said, should they not discover it together? Could they be as likely to discover it apart, and distracted with longing? She must think about it a little longer, though. She could not make up her mind the one way, and would not the other. She would wait and see. She dared not yet. Something might turn up to decide her. If she could but see into his heart for a moment!