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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 234 pages of information about The Dark Flower.
then the thought had come:  Why not?  Life was to be lived—­not torpidly dozed through in this queer cultured place, where age was in the blood!  Life was for love—­to be enjoyed!  And she would be thirty-six next month!  It seemed to her already an enormous age.  Thirty-six!  Soon she would be old, actually old—­and never have known passion!  The worship, which had made a hero of the distinguished-looking Englishman, twelve years older than herself, who could lead up the Cimone della Pala, had not been passion.  It might, perhaps, have become passion if he had so willed.  But he was all form, ice, books.  Had he a heart at all, had he blood in his veins?  Was there any joy of life in this too beautiful city and these people who lived in it—­this place where even enthusiasms seemed to be formal and have no wings, where everything was settled and sophisticated as the very chapels and cloisters?  And yet, to have this feeling for a boy—­for one almost young enough to be her son!  It was so—­shameless!  That thought haunted her, made her flush in the dark, lying awake at night.  And desperately she would pray—­ for she was devout—­pray to be made pure, to be given the holy feelings of a mother, to be filled simply with the sweet sense that she could do everything, suffer anything for him, for his good.  After these long prayers she would feel calmed, drowsy, as though she had taken a drug.  For hours, perhaps, she would stay like that.  And then it would all come over her again.  She never thought of his loving her; that would be—­unnatural.  Why should he love her?  She was very humble about it.  Ever since that Sunday, when she avoided the confessional, she had brooded over how to make an end—­how to get away from a longing that was too strong for her.  And she had hit on this plan—­to beg for the mountains, to go back to where her husband had come into her life, and try if this feeling would not die.  If it did not, she would ask to be left out there with her own people, away from this danger.  And now the fool—­the blind fool—­the superior fool—­with his satiric smile, his everlasting patronage, had driven her to overturn her own plan.  Well, let him take the consequences; she had done her best!  She would have this one fling of joy, even if it meant that she must stay out there, and never see the boy again!

Standing in her dusky hall, where a faint scent of woodrot crept out into the air, whenever windows and doors were closed, she was all tremulous with secret happiness.  To be with him among her mountains, to show him all those wonderful, glittering or tawny crags, to go with him to the top of them and see the kingdoms of the world spread out below; to wander with him in the pine woods, on the Alps in all the scent of the trees and the flowers, where the sun was hot!  The first of July; and it was only the tenth of June!  Would she ever live so long?  They would not go to San Martino this time, rather to Cortina—­some new place that had no memories!

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