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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Child Of The Dawn - Chapter 28
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The Child Of The Dawn - Chapter 28 Post by :zsaddique Category :Long Stories Author :Arthur C. Benson Date :May 2012 Read :3194

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The Child Of The Dawn - Chapter 28

CHAPTER XXVIII.

Left to ourselves, Cynthia and I sat awhile in silence, hand in hand, like children, she looking anxiously at me. Our talk had broken down all possible reserve between us; but what was strange to me was that I felt, not like a lover with any need to woo, but as though we two had long since been wedded, and had just come to a knowledge of each other's hearts. At last we rose; and strange and bewildering as it all was, I think I was perhaps happier at this time than at any other time in the land of light, before or after.

And let me here say a word about these strange unions of soul that take place in that other land. There is there a whole range of affections, from courteous tolerance to intense passion. But there is a peculiar bond which springs up between pairs of people, not always of different sex, in that country. My relation with Amroth had nothing of that emotion about it. That was simply like a transcendental essence of perfect friendship; but there was a peculiar relation, between pairs of souls, which seems to imply some curious duality of nature, of which earthly passion is but a symbol. It is accompanied by an absolute clearness of vision into the inmost soul and being of the other. Cynthia's mind was as clear to me in those days as a crystal globe might be which one could hold in one's hand, and my mind was as clear to her. There is a sense accompanying it almost of identity, as if the other nature was the exact and perfect complement of one's own; I can explain this best by an image. Think of a sphere, let us say, of alabaster, broken into two pieces by a blow, and one piece put away or mislaid. The first piece, let us suppose, stands in its accustomed place, and the owner often thinks in a trivial way of having it restored. One day, turning over some lumber, he finds the other piece, and wonders if it is not the lost fragment. He takes it with him, and sees on applying it that the fractures correspond exactly, and that joined together the pieces complete the sphere.

Even so did Cynthia's soul fit into mine. But I grew to understand later the words of the Gospel--"they neither marry nor are given in marriage." These unions are not permanent, any more than they are really permanent on earth. On earth, owing to material considerations such as children and property, a marriage is looked upon as indissoluble. But this takes no account of the development of souls; and indeed many of the unions of earth, the passion once over, do grow into a very noble and beautiful friendship. But sometimes, even on earth, it is the other way; and passion once extinct, two natures often realise their dissimilarities rather than their similarities; and this is the cause of much unhappiness. But in the other land, two souls may develop in quite different ways and at a different pace. And then this relation may also come quietly and simply to an end, without the least resentment or regret, and is succeeded invariably by a very tender and true friendship, each being sweetly and serenely content with all that has been given or received; and this friendship is not shaken or fretted, even if both of the lovers form new ties of close intimacy. Some natures form many of these ties, some few, some none at all. I believe that, as a matter of fact, each nature has its counterpart at all times, but does not always succeed in finding it. But the union, when it comes, seems to take precedence of all other emotions and all other work. I did not know this at the time; but I had a sense that my work was for a time over, because it seemed quite plain to me that as yet Cynthia was not in the least degree suited to the sort of work which I had been doing.

We walked on together for some time, in a happy silence, though quiet communications of a blessed sort passed perpetually between us without any interchange of word. Our feet moved along the hillside, away from the crags, because I felt that Cynthia had no strength to climb them; and I wondered what our life would be.

Presently a valley opened before us, folding quietly in among the hills, full of a golden haze; and it seemed to me that our further way lay down it. It fell softly and securely into a further plain, the country being quite unlike anything I had as yet seen--a land of high and craggy mountains, the lower parts of them much overgrown with woods; the valley itself widened out, and passed gently among the hills, with here and there a lake. Dotted all about the mountain-bases, at the edges of the woods, were little white houses, stone-walled and stone-tiled, with small gardens; and then the place seemed to become strangely familiar and homelike; and I became aware that I was coming home: the same thought occurred to Cynthia; and at last, when we turned a corner of the road, and saw lying a little back from the road a small house, with a garden in front of it, shaded by a group of sycamores, we darted forwards with a cry of delight to the home that was indeed our own. The door stood open as though we were certainly expected. It was the simplest little place, just a pair of rooms very roughly and plainly furnished. And there we embraced with tears of joy.

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CHAPTER XXIX.The time that I spent in the valley home with Cynthia is the most difficult to describe of all my wanderings; because, indeed, there is nothing to describe. We were always together. Sometimes we wandered high up among the woods, and came out on the bleak mountain-heads. Sometimes we sat within and talked; and by a curious provision there were phenomena there that were more like changes of weather, and interchange of day and night, than at any other place in the heavenly country. Sometimes the whole valley would be shrouded with mists, sometimes it would be grey and overcast,
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CHAPTER XXVII.I had somehow never expected to be used with positive violence in the world of spirits, and least of all in that lazy and good-natured place. Considering, too, the errand on which I had come, not for my own convenience but for the sake of another, my treatment seemed to me very hard. What was still more humiliating was the fact that my spirit seemed just as powerless in the hands of these ruffians as my body would have been on earth. I was pushed, hustled, insulted, hurt. I could have summoned Amroth to my aid, but I felt too
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