Taking a sprig of jessamine and holding it to her nose, she went up to that picture. In the dim light, she could just see the outline of the face and the eyes gazing at her. The scent of the blossom penetrated her nerves; in her heart, something faintly stirred, as a leaf turns over, as a wing flutters. And, blossom and all, she clasped her hands over her breast, where again her heart quivered with that faint, shy tremor.
It was late, no—early, when she fell asleep and had a strange dream. She was riding her old mare through a field of flowers. She had on a black dress, and round her head a crown of bright, pointed crystals; she sat without saddle, her knee curled up, perched so lightly that she hardly felt the mare’s back, and the reins she held were long twisted stems of honeysuckle. Singing as she rode, her eyes flying here and there, over the field, up to the sky, she felt happier, lighter than thistledown. While they raced along, the old mare kept turning her head and biting at the honeysuckle flowers; and suddenly that chestnut face became the face of Summerhay, looking back at her with his smile. She awoke. Sunlight, through the curtains where she had opened them to find the flowers, was shining on her.
Very late that same night, Summerhay came out of the little Chelsea house, which he inhabited, and walked toward the river. In certain moods men turn insensibly toward any space where nature rules a little—downs, woods, waters—where the sky is free to the eye and one feels the broad comradeship of primitive forces. A man is alone when he loves, alone when he dies; nobody cares for one so absorbed, and he cares for nobody, no—not he! Summerhay stood by the river-wall and looked up at the stars through the plane-tree branches. Every now and then he drew a long breath of the warm, unstirring air, and smiled, without knowing that he smiled. And he thought of little, of nothing; but a sweetish sensation beset his heart, a kind of quivering lightness his limbs. He sat down on a bench and shut his eyes. He saw a face—only a face. The lights went out one by one in the houses opposite; no cabs passed now, and scarce a passenger was afoot, but Summerhay sat like a man in a trance, the smile coming and going on his lips; and behind him the air that ever stirs above the river faintly moved with the tide flowing up.
It was nearly three, just coming dawn, when he went in, and, instead of going to bed, sat down to a case in which he was junior on the morrow, and worked right on till it was time to ride before his bath and breakfast. He had one of those constitutions, not uncommon among barristers—fostered perhaps by ozone in the Courts of Law—that can do this sort of thing and take no harm. Indeed, he worked best in such long spurts of vigorous concentration. With real capacity and a liking for his work, this young man was certainly on his way to make a name;