“Her coming was my hope each day,
Her parting was my pain;
The chance that did her steps delay
Was ice in every vein.
“I dreamed it would be nameless bliss,
As I loved, loved to be;
And to this object did I press
As blind as eagerly.
“But wide as pathless was the space
That lay our lives between,
And dangerous as the foamy race
Of ocean-surges green.
“And haunted as a robber-path
Through wilderness or wood;
For Might and Right, and Woe and Wrath,
Between our spirits stood.
“I dangers dared; I hindrance scorned
I omens did defy:
Whatever menaced, harassed, warned,
I passed impetuous by.
“On sped my rainbow, fast as light;
I flew as in a dream;
For glorious rose upon my sight
That child of Shower and Gleam.
“Still bright on clouds of suffering dim
Shines that soft, solemn joy;
Nor care I now, how dense and grim
Disasters gather nigh.
“I care not in this moment sweet,
Though all I have rushed o’er
Should come on pinion, strong and fleet,
Proclaiming vengeance sore:
“Though haughty Hate should strike me down,
Right, bar approach to me,
And grinding Might, with furious frown,
Swear endless enmity.
“My love has placed her little hand
With noble faith in mine,
And vowed that wedlock’s sacred band
Our nature shall entwine.
“My love has sworn, with sealing kiss,
With me to live — to die;
I have at last my nameless bliss.
As I love — loved am I!”
He rose and came towards me, and I saw his face all kindled, and his full falcon-eye flashing, and tenderness and passion in every lineament. I quailed momentarily — then I rallied. Soft scene, daring demonstration, I would not have; and I stood in peril of both: a weapon of defence must be prepared — I whetted my tongue: as he reached me, I asked with asperity, “whom he was going to marry now?”
“That was a strange question to be put by his darling Jane.”
“Indeed! I considered it a very natural and necessary one: he had talked of his future wife dying with him. What did he mean by such a pagan idea? I had no intention of dying with him — he might depend on that.”
“Oh, all he longed, all he prayed for, was that I might live with him! Death was not for such as I.”
“Indeed it was: I had as good a right to die when my time came as he had: but I should bide that time, and not be hurried away in a suttee.”
“Would I forgive him for the selfish idea, and prove my pardon by a reconciling kiss?”
“No: I would rather be excused.”
Here I heard myself apostrophised as a “hard little thing;” and it was added, “any other woman would have been melted to marrow at hearing such stanzas crooned in her praise.”
I assured him I was naturally hard — very flinty, and that he would often find me so; and that, moreover, I was determined to show him divers rugged points in my character before the ensuing four weeks elapsed: he should know fully what sort of a bargain he had made, while there was yet time to rescind it.