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Far Country, a — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 501 pages of information about Far Country, a Complete.

After the letter had gone still other arguments I might have added began to occur to me, and I regretted that I had not softened some of the things I wrote and made others more emphatic.  In places argument had degenerated into abject entreaty.  Never had my desire been so importunate as now, when I was in continual terror of losing her.  Nor could I see how I was to live without her, life lacking a motive being incomprehensible:  yet the fire of optimism in me, though died down to ashes, would not be extinguished.  At moments it flared up into what almost amounted to a conviction that she could not resist my appeal.  I had threatened to go to her, and more than once I started packing....

Three days later I received a brief note in which she managed to convey to me, though tenderly and compassionately, that her decision was unalterable.  If I came on, she would refuse to see me.  I took the afternoon stage and went back to the city, to plunge into affairs again; but for weeks my torture was so acute that it gives me pain to recall it, to dwell upon it to-day....  And yet, amazing as it may seem, there came a time when hope began to dawn again out of my despair.  Perhaps my life had not been utterly shattered, after all:  perhaps Ham Durrett would get well:  such things happened, and Nancy would no longer have an excuse for continuing to refuse me.  Little by little my anger at what I had now become convinced was her weakness cooled, and—­though paradoxically I had continued to love her in spite of the torture for which she was responsible, in spite of the resentment I felt, I melted toward her.  True to my habit of reliance on miracles, I tried to reconcile myself to a period of waiting.

Nevertheless I was faintly aware—­consequent upon if not as a result of this tremendous experience—­of some change within me.  It was not only that I felt at times a novel sense of uneasiness at being a prey to accidents, subject to ravages of feeling; the unity of mind that had hitherto enabled me to press forward continuously toward a concrete goal showed signs of breaking up:—­the goal had lost its desirability.  I seemed oddly to be relapsing into the states of questioning that had characterized my earlier years.  Perhaps it would be an exaggeration to say that I actually began to speculate on the possible existence of a realm where the soul might find a refuge from the buffetings of life, from which the philosophy of prosperity was powerless to save it....

XXIV.

It was impossible, of course, that my friends should have failed to perceive the state of disorganization I was in, and some of them at least must have guessed its cause.  Dickinson, on his return from Maine, at once begged me to go away.  I rather congratulated myself that Tom had chosen these months for a long-delayed vacation in Canada.  His passion for fishing still persisted.

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