“Oh,” said Howard, “it’s not that; it isn’t only that you are the joy and light of my life; it is as if something very far away and powerful had come nearer to both of us, and had lifted us on its wings—what if it were God?”
“Yes,” said Maud musingly, “I think it is that!”
LOVE IS ENOUGH
The days slipped past, one by one, with an incredible swiftness. For the first time in his life Howard experienced the extraordinary sensation of having nothing to do, no plans ahead, nothing but the delight of the hour to taste. One day he said to Maud, “It seems almost wicked to be so deliciously idle—some day I suppose we must make some plans. But I do not seem ever to have lived before; and all that I ever did and thought of seems as small and trivial as a little town seen from the top of a tower—one can’t conceive what the little creatures are about in their tiny slits of streets and stuffy houses, crawling about like beetles on some ridiculous business. The first thing I shall do when I get back will be to burn my old book; such wretched, stodgy, unenlightened stuff as it all is; like the fancies of a blind man about the view of a landscape.”
“Oh no, you mustn’t do that,” said Maud. “I have set my heart on your writing a great book. You must do that—you must finish this one. I am not going to keep you all to myself, like a man pushing about a perambulator.”
“Well, I will begin a new book,” said Howard, “and steal an old title. It shall be called Love is Enough.”
On the last night before they left the cottage they talked long about things past, present, and to come.
“Now,” said Maud, “I am not going to be a gushing and sentimental young bride any more. I am not sentimental, best-beloved! Do you believe that? The time we have had here together has been the best and sweetest time of my whole life, every minute worth all the years that went before. But you must write that down, as Dr. Johnson said, in the first page of your pocket-book, and never speak of it again. It’s all too good and too sacred to talk about— almost to think about. And I don’t believe in looking back, Howard— nor very much, I think, in looking forward. I know that I wasted ever so much time and energy as a girl—how long ago that seems!— in wishing I had done this and that; but it’s neither useful nor pleasant. Now we have got things to do. There is plenty to do at Windlow for a little for you and me. We have got to know everybody and understand everybody. And I think that when the year is out, we must go back to Cambridge. I can’t bear to think I have stopped that. I am not going to hoard you, and cling round you. You have got things to do for other people, young men in particular, which no one else can do just like you. I am not a bit ambitious. I don’t want you to be M.P., LL.D., F.R.S., &c., &c., &c.,