Suffering awoke wisdom: in the twinkling of an eye, she learned that for which her being starved. The awakening caused tremors of joy to pass over her body, which were succeeded by despondency at realising that it is one thing to want, another to be stayed. Then she was consumed by the hunger of which she was now conscious.
She seemed to be so undesirable, unlovable in her own eyes, that she was moved in her passionate extremity to call on any power that might offer succour.
For the moment, she had forgotten the Source to which in times of stress she looked for help. Instead, she lifted her voice to the moon, the cold wisdom of which seemed to betoken strength, which seemed enthroned in the infinite in order to listen to and to satisfy yearnings, such as hers.
“It’s love I want—love, love. I did not know before; now I know. Give me—give me love.”
Then she cried aloud in her extremity. She was so moved by her emotions that she was not in the least surprised at the sound of her voice. After she had spoken, she waited long for a sign; but none came. Mavis looked again on the night. Everything was white, cold, silent.
It was as if the world were at one with the deathlike stillness of the moon.
THE WAY OF ALL FLESH
Mavis invested a fraction of her savings in the purchase of rod, fishing tackle, landing net, and bait can; she also bought a yearly ticket from the Avon Conservancy Board, entitling her to fish with one rod in the river at such times as were not close seasons. Most evenings, her graceful form might be seen standing on the river bank, when she was so intent on her sport that it would seem as if she had grown from the sedge at the waterside. Womanlike, she was enthusiastic over fishing when the fish were on the feed and biting freely, to tire quickly of the sport should her float remain for long untroubled by possible captures nibbling at the bait. She avoided those parts of the river where anglers mostly congregated; she preferred and sought the solitude of deserted reaches. Perigal, at the same time, developed a passion for angling. Most evenings, he would be found on the river’s bank, if not in Mavis’ company, at least near enough to be within call, should any assistance or advice be required. It was remarkable how often each would want help or counsel on matters piscatorial from the other. Sometimes Mavis would want a certain kind of hook, or she would be out of bait, or she would lose one of the beaded rings on her float, all being things which she had no compunction in borrowing from Perigal, inasmuch as he always came to her when he wanted anything himself. It must also be admitted that, as the days flew by, their excuses for meeting became gradually more slender, till at last they would neglect their rods to talk together for quite a long time upon any and every subject under the sun, save fishing.