A Lady of Quality eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 310 pages of information about A Lady of Quality.

When the last was gone, Clorinda turned, tore her letter open, and held it hard to her lips.  Before she read a word she kissed it passionately a score of times, paying no heed that Anne sate gazing at her; and having kissed it so, she fell to reading it, her cheeks warm with the glow of a sweet and splendid passion, her bosom rising and falling in a tempest of tender, fluttering breaths—­and ’twas these words her eyes devoured: 

“If I should head this page I write to you ’Goddess and Queen, and Empress of my deepest soul,’ what more should I be saying than ’My Love’ and ‘My Clorinda,’ since these express all the soul of man could crave for or his body desire.  The body and soul of me so long for thee, sweetheart, and sweetest beautiful woman that the hand of Nature ever fashioned for the joy of mortals, that I have had need to pray Heaven’s help to aid me to endure the passing of the days that lie between me and the hour which will make me the most strangely, rapturously, happy man, not in England, not in the world, but in all God’s universe.  I must pray Heaven again, and indeed do and will, for humbleness which shall teach me to remember that I am not deity, but mere man—­mere man—­though I shall hold a goddess to my breast and gaze into eyes which are like deep pools of Paradise, and yet answer mine with the marvel of such love as none but such a soul could make a woman’s, and so fit to mate with man’s.  In the heavy days when I was wont to gaze at you from afar with burning heart, my unceasing anguish was that even high honour itself could not subdue and conquer the thoughts which leaped within me even as my pulse leaped, and even as my pulse could not be stilled unless by death.  And one that for ever haunted—­ay, and taunted—­me was the image of how your tall, beauteous body would yield itself to a strong man’s arm, and your noble head with its heavy tower of hair resting upon his shoulder—­the centres of his very being would be thrilled and shaken by the uplifting of such melting eyes as surely man ne’er gazed within on earth before, and the ripe and scarlet bow of a mouth so beauteous and so sweet with womanhood.  This beset me day and night, and with such torture that I feared betimes my brain might reel and I become a lost and ruined madman.  And now—­it is no more forbidden me to dwell upon it—­nay, I lie waking at night, wooing the picture to me, and at times I rise from my dreams to kneel by my bedside and thank God that He hath given me at last what surely is my own!-for so it seems to me, my love, that each of us is but a part of the other, and that such forces of Nature rush to meet together in us, that Nature herself would cry out were we rent apart.  If there were aught to rise like a ghost between us, if there were aught that could sunder us—­noble soul, let us but swear that it shall weld us but the closer together, and that locked in each other’s arms its blows shall not even make our united strength
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A Lady of Quality from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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