Second voice. Her!—to be sure, she who has been in your thoughts all day long.
First voice (with lofty disdain). Crass folly!—a woman utterly unknown, who came heralded by the roar of wind and the rush of rain—a creature born of the tempest, with flame in her eyes and hair, and fire in the scarlet of her mouth; a fierce, passionate being, given to hot impulse—even to the taking of a man’s life!
("But,” said I, somewhat diffidently, “the fellow was a proved scoundrel!”)
First voice (bellowing). Sophistry! sophistry! even supposing he was the greatest of villains, does that make her less a murderess in intent?
First voice (roaring). Of course not! Again, can this woman even faintly compare with your ideal of what a woman should be —this shrew!—this termagant! Can a woman whose hand has the strength to level a pistol, and whose mind the will to use it, be of a nature gentle, clinging, sweet—
Second voice (sotto). And sticky!
First voice (howling). Of course not!—preposterous!
(Hereupon, finding no answer, I strode on through the alleys of the wood; but, when I had gone some distance, I stopped again, for there rushed over me the recollection of the tender pity of her eyes and the gentle touch of her hand, as when she had bound up my hurts.
“Nevertheless,” said I doggedly, “her face can grow more beautiful with pity, and surely no woman’s hand could be lighter or more gentle.”)
First voice (with withering contempt). Our Peter fellow is like to become a preposterous ass.
(But, unheeding, I thrust my hand into my breast, and drew out a small handful of cambric, whence came a faint perfume of violets. And, closing my eyes, it seemed that she was kneeling before me, her arms about my neck, as when she had bound this handkerchief about my bleeding temples.
“Truly,” said I, “for that one sweet act alone, a woman might be worth dying for!”)
Second voice. Or better still—living for!
First voice (in high indignation). Balderdash, Sir!—sentimental balderdash!
Second voice. A truth incontrovertible!
("Folly!” said I, and threw the handkerchief from me. But next moment, moved by a sudden impulse, I stooped and picked it up again.)
First voice. Our Peter fellow is becoming the fool of fools!
Myself. No, of that there is not the slightest fear, because —she is—gone.
And thus I remained staring at the handkerchief for a great while.
In which I see A vision in the glory of the moon, and eat of A poached rabbit