Author: Margaret Wade Campbell Deland
Release Date: May 28, 2005 [EBook #15927]
Character set encoding: ASCII
*** Start of this project gutenberg EBOOK the vehement flame ***
Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Mary Meehan and the
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By Margaret Deland
Author of Dr. LAVENDAR’S people, old Chester tales, etc.
Together, so many years ago—seven, I think, or eight—you and I planned this story. The first chapters had the help of your criticism ... then, I had to go on alone, urged by the memory of your interest. But all the blunders are mine, not yours; and any merits are yours, not mine. That it has been written, in these darkened years, has been because your happy interest still helped me.
May 12th, 1922
Love is as strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
THE SONG OF SOLOMON, VIII, 6.
There is nothing in the world nobler, and lovelier, and more absurd, than a boy’s lovemaking. And the joyousness of it!...
The boy of nineteen, Maurice Curtis, who on a certain June day lay in the blossoming grass at his wife’s feet and looked up into her dark eyes, was embodied Joy! The joy of the warm earth, of the sunshine glinting on the slipping ripples of the river and sifting through the cream-white blossoms of the locust which reared its sheltering branches over their heads; the joy of mating insects and birds, of the whole exulting, creating universe!—the unselfconscious, irresponsible, wholly beautiful Joy of passion which is without apprehension or humor. The eyes of the woman who sat in the grass beside this very young man, answered his eyes with Love. But it was a more human love than his, because there was doubt in its exultation....
The boy took out his watch and looked at it.
“We have been married,” he said, “exactly fifty-four minutes.”
“I can’t believe it!” she said.
“If I love you like this after fifty-four minutes of married life, how do you suppose I shall feel after fifty-four years of it?” He flung an arm about her waist, and hid his face against her knee. “We are married,” he said, in a smothered voice.
She bent over and kissed his thick hair, silently. At which he sat up and looked at her with blue, eager eyes.