His triumph and excitement were so great that he did not notice the silence and abstraction of his wife. His ardent mind invariably excavated a channel into which it poured its thoughts, digging its bed so deep as to flow on unconscious of everything else. Exulting in the prospect of attaching to himself a companion so gifted, never doubting for a moment that he could do so, reveling in the dreams of wealth to be gathered from the increased sales of his patent medicine, he entered the hotel and made straight for the bar-room, where he told his story with the most unbounded delight.
Pepeeta retired at once to her room, but her mind was too much excited and her heart too much agitated for slumber. She moved restlessly about for a long time and then sat down at the open window and looked into the night. For the first time in her life, the mystery of existence really dawned upon her. She gazed with a new awe at the starry sky. She thought of that Being of whom David had spoken. Questions which had never before occurred to her knocked at the door of her mind and imperatively demanded an answer. “Who am I? Whence did I come? For what was I created? Whither am I going?” she asked herself again and again with profound astonishment at the newness of these questions and her inability to answer them.
For a long time she sat in the light of the moon, and reflected on these mysteries with all the power of her untutored mind. But that power was soon exhausted, and vague, chaotic, abstract conceptions gave place to a definite image which had been eternally impressed upon her inward eyes. It was the figure of the young Quaker, idealized by the imagination of an ardent and emotional woman whose heart had been thrilled for the first time.
She began timidly to ask herself what was the meaning of those feelings which this stranger had awakened in her bosom. She knew that they were different from those which her husband inspired; but how different, she did not know. They filled her with a sort of ecstasy, and she gave herself up to them. Exhausted at last by these vivid thoughts and emotions, she rested her head upon her arms across the window sill and fell asleep. It must have been that the young Quaker followed her into the land of dreams, for when her husband aroused her at midnight a faint flush could be seen by the light of the moon on those rounded cheeks.
There are all the elements of a tragedy in the heart of a woman who has never felt the emotions of religion or of love until she is married!
THE LIGHT THAT LIES
“Oh! why did God
create at last
This novelty on earth, this fair defect
Of nature, and not till the world at once
With men as angels, without feminine?”
On the following morning the preacher-plowman was afield at break of day. The horses, refreshed and rested by food and sleep, dragged the gleaming plowshare through the heavy sod as if it were light snow, and the farmer exulted behind them.