“How true that is!” said Sybell, awed by the lurid splendor of Mr. Harvey’s genius. “Woman is man’s superior, not his equal. I have felt that all my life, but I never quite saw how until this moment. Don’t you think so, too, Miss Barker?”
“I have never lost an opportunity of asserting it,” said the Apostle, her elbow on Mr. Tristram’s bread, looking at Mr. Harvey with some asperity for poaching on her manor.
“All sensible women have been agreed for years on that point.”
With aching hands and bleeding
We dig and heap, lay stone on stone,
We bear the burden and the heat
Of the long day, and wish ’twere done!
Not till the hours of light return
All we have built do we discern.
It was Sunday morning. The night was sinking out of the sky to lean faint unto death upon the bosom of the earth. The great forms of the trees, felt rather than seen, were darkness made visible. Among the night of high elms round Warpington a single yellow light burned in an upper window. It had been burning all night. And now, as the night waned, the little light waned with it. At least, it was suddenly blown out.
Hester came to the window and looked out. There was light, but there was no dawn as yet. In the gray sky over the gray land the morning-star, alone and splendid, kept watch in the east.
She sat down and leaned her brow against the pane. She did not know that it was aching. She did not know that she was cold, exhausted; so exhausted that the morning-star in the outer heaven and the morning-star in her soul were to her the same. They stooped together, they merged into one great light, heralding a perfect day presently to be.
The night was over, and that other long night of travail and patience and faith, and strong rowing in darkness against the stream, was over, too, at last—at last. The book was finished.
The tears fell slowly from Hester’s eyes on to her clasped hands, those blessed tears which no human hand shall ever intervene to wipe away.
To some of us Christ comes in the dawn of the spiritual life walking upon the troubled waves of art. And we recognize Him, and would fain go to meet Him. But our companions and our own fears dissuade us. They say it is only a spirit, and that Christ does not walk on water, that the land whither we are rowing is the place He has Himself appointed for us to meet Him. So our little faith keeps us in the boat, or fails us in the waves of that windswept sea.