The Vale of Cedars eBook

Grace Aguilar
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 282 pages of information about The Vale of Cedars.
faith and creed to guard her from the danger.  Even his dearest desire that she should become the wife of her cousin she knew not; for the father shrunk from revealing it to either his child or nephew, unless Ferdinand loved and sought her himself.  What therefore had she to warn her from the precipice on which she stood, when new, strange, yet most exquisitely sweet emotions gradually obtained possession of her heart in her daily intercourse with Arthur Stanley?  What they were indeed she knew not; the word love was never uttered by either; she only knew that his presence, his voice, the pressure of his hand, brought with it a thrilling sensation of intense happiness, such as she had never known, never imagined before.  It was indeed but a brief dream, for when he spoke, when he besought her to be his, then indeed she woke to consciousness, not only that she loved, but of the dark and fatal barrier between them, which no human effort could o’erleap.  The sacrifice of race, of faith, of family, indeed might be made; but to do this never entered the mind and heart of Marie, so utterly was it impossible.  To her peculiar feelings it was sin enough thus to have loved.

Manuel Henriquez bore his child back to the vale, little dreaming of the anguish to which his unguarded love had exposed her.  She had ever been rather a pensive and gentle girl, and therefore that she should be still serious was no matter of surprise.  For fifteen months she had sought to banish every dream of Arthur, every thought but that in loving him she had sinned against her God.  Time and prayer had in some measure softened the first acute agony of her feelings; she thought she was conquering them altogether, when his unexpected appearance excited every feeling anew.  Yet in that harrowing interview still she had been firm.  She had even told him a secret, which it was almost death to reveal, that he might forget her; for how could he wed with her?  And yet even that barrier he would have passed, and his generous, his determined love, would linger on her memory spite of every effort to think of him no more.

It was a fearful struggle, and often and often she yearned to confess all to her father, whom she loved with no common love; but she knew too well, not only the grief such tidings would be to him, but what his judgment must be, and she shrunk in agony from the condemnation of her feelings by another, constantly as she was condemning them herself.

Henriquez had been absent from the vale during Stanley’s unexpected visit, and he tarried long enough to excite the alarm, not only of his child but of their domestics; nor was its cause when explained likely to ease Marie’s anxiety.  He had been attacked on the day of his intended return by a strange sensation of giddiness, followed by insensibility, which appeared to have weakened him more than he had thought compatible with so brief an illness.  He made light of it, but still he was uneasy, not that he feared death himself,

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The Vale of Cedars from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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