After the Storm eBook

Timothy Shay Arthur
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 193 pages of information about After the Storm.

Irene started up with an exclamation, stood as if in doubt for a moment, then, springing from the portico, she went flying to meet him, as swiftly as if moving on winged feet.  All the forces of her ardent, impulsive nature were bearing her forward.  There was no remembrance of coldness or imagined wrong—­pride did not even struggle to lift its head—­love conquered everything.  The young man stood still, from weariness or surprise, ere she reached him.  As she drew near, Irene saw that his face was not only pale, but thin and wasted.

“Oh, Hartley! dear Hartley!” came almost wildly from her lips, as she flung her arms around his neck, and kissed him over and over again, on lips, cheeks and brow, with an ardor and tenderness that no maiden delicacy could restrain.  “Have you been sick, or hurt?  Why are you so pale, darling?”

“I have been ill for a week—­ever since I was last here,” the young man replied, speaking in a slow, tremulous voice.

“And I knew it not!” Tears were glittering in her eyes and pressing out in great pearly beads from between the fringing lashes.  “Why did you not send for me, Hartley?”

And she laid her small hands upon each side of his face, as you have seen a mother press the cheeks of her child, and looked up tenderly into his love-beaming eyes.

“But come, dear,” she added, removing her hands from his face and drawing her arm within his—­not to lean on, but to offer support.  “My father, who has, with me, suffered great anxiety on your account, is waiting your arrival at the house.”

Then, with slow steps, they moved along the upward sloping way, crowding the moments with loving words.

And so the storm passed, and the sun came out again in the firmament of their souls.  But looked he down on no tempest-marks?  Had not the ruthless tread of passion marred the earth’s fair surface?  Were no goodly trees uptorn, or clinging vines wrenched from their support?  Alas! was there ever a storm that did not leave some ruined hope behind? ever a storm that did not strew the sea with wrecks or mar the earth’s fair beauty?

As when the pain of a crushed limb ceases there comes to the sufferer a sense of delicious ease, so, after the storm had passed, the lovers sat in the warm sunshine and dreamed of unclouded happiness in the future.  But in the week that Hartley spent with his betrothed were revealed to their eyes, many times, desolate places where flowers had been; and their hearts grew sad as they turned their eyes away, and sighed for hopes departed, faith shaken, and untroubled confidence in each other for the future before them, for ever gone.

CHAPTER III.

The cloud and the sign.

IN alternate storm and sunshine their lives passed on, until the appointed day arrived that was to see them bound, not by the graceful true-lovers’ knot, which either might untie, but by a chain light as downy fetters if borne in mutual love, and galling as ponderous iron links, if heart answered not heart and the chafing spirit struggled to get free.

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Project Gutenberg
After the Storm from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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