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CHAPTER IX.

THE INTERIOR OF A SOUL.

I SUBJOIN Six pages from the Journal of Count Edmond:

FIRST PAGE.

"When I started the beast on his road with a stroke of my riding-whip, I thought-So be it, Death! there goes thy messenger. Let him snort his good news at the doors I shall not enter

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"Fear no more.

He will not return to frighten you. He will never come back. Fear no more, young lovers. But, if you would never see him again, then, when you two walk arm-in-arm about the pleasant places, heed well that you walk not near the hollow oak; for there, when the grass is black, and the useless blood is filtering through the dead red leaves, his face might vex you if you chanced to see it.'

"What power was it that held back my uplifted arm?

"Was it that puissant impuissance-cowardice?

'How, fool! can that man be a coward who trucks a life of torment against the short, swift stroke that brings the long release?

"Was it filial piety?

"Blaspheme not!

"Not in that moment didst thou think of father nor of mother.

"No!

"It was something more deadly than the flash of the suicide's knife that glimmered up from the dark, false heart of the water.

"It was the violet flame of that accursed amethyst. I saw it kindling, keen, vindictive, in the sullen depths. I saw it fawning, crawling, in the fiery ripples. The spell of it was on me. My eyes were the slaves of it. Looking at it was listening to it, for it muttered and muttered as of old. The light talked to me; and the little waves hissed and lisped,

"Where hast thou the stone? where hast thou the ring?
Thou art ripening, brother, and ripening.'

"And I shuddered not. I was not afraid, for the voices were familiar to me.

"I had heard them before.

"There was a promise in them which I dared not

construe.

"But I trusted it.

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"What seekest thou here? Why lingerest thou in the way of wholesome human life? Why walkest thou thus among honest men?

Thou bearest the sac

"There is mischief in thee. rilegious thing in thy bosom. "Fly!

"Fly while there is yet time. Fly to the uttermost distance; away from all men; away from thyself. Thou art marked and signed. Fly!" * ***

SECOND PAGE.

"Woman!-Eternal schism in the soul of man! Robber of his strength, which yet strengthens not

thee! Thief of his will, which yet confirms not thine! Who gave thee-and to what end, if not to thine own hurt this power upon us? Thou needest not to exert it. We bring thee (we ourselves) our own defeats, in that conflict wherein he that is overcome is the only one that has fought. *

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"Year after year, hour by hour, how have I lain my ear to the most secret cells of thy sweet being, and listened to the budding pulses of its bounteous growth! How all the tender germs of thy soul's beauty have been my heed and charge! And how I thought to tend them, and to train! For every secretest seedling of thy so lovely spirit, I knew what Nature needed, and could antedate the blossom in the bud. How inexhaustible seemed then the lavish opulence of beauty yet to be, within those ripening germs, spread out before the forward-looking eye of my far-gazing and shortsighted love!

"And now?

"A summer wind-a breath-perchance a waltz, has fixed thy fate and mine.

"What know we? By the ways we watch, Loss comes not; but it comes.

"And perchance-perchance, in the swimming tremors of a dance, some drop of lighter blood, some pulse of brisker motion, has signed the contract with the Gardener of this Paradise-a Hussar!"

THIRD PAGE.

"Death. Ending. Annihilation.

"This is all I can see at the extremity of every aveAll paths lead to it, none beyond it. Thou

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hast suffered that thou mightest suffer-nothing more -nothing else.

"Of what dost thou complain?

"Thou wouldst live-thou hast lived. Who promised thee more than this?

"I would live? Did I ever ask for life? When have I ever said (and to whom?), 'Open to me the doors of Life; I wish to live?'"

"Never, never, at any time have I said that. "Who has assumed this right over me?

"What can force me to keep, against my will, this property in pain which has been gratuitously thrust upon me?"

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FOURTH PAGE.

"How deep the roots have struck!

"All that must be torn up, only to find the traces of it deeper, deeper still!

"To retrack, laboriously along the devious inclination of a life, each of the long, long stealthy by-paths whereby this yearning Spirit has stolen into our heart, secretly, silently, unguessed, there weaving into its inextricable web fibre after fibre of the soul's imperishable stuff!

"And now to cut out the rooted garden of one's life, patiently, painfully, spade in hand-the labor of the grave-digger!

"And how can I?

"In the sorely sensitive places, where the latest wounds are fresh and raw, new blood spirts up from deeper down; the wrenched nerves quiver with inextinguishable life; and, deepest down of all-deep

down among the remotest sources of Being-the youngest eyes of Childhood are gazing, weeping up to me; weeping-'What harm have we ever done thee?' "No, no, not this. I can not do it. Not this! "Weep on, sweet innocent stars, weep on. "What harm have ye ever done me?

"I know not. But ye I can not harm, sweet eyes! "Rest ye, rest ye, childish angels! rest ye in your silent spheres unvexed. What know ye of the anguish that is moaning round you? What know ye of the wrongs that reach so near? Rest!

"To you, oh quiet eyes-dear friendly stars of the far off early time, that look unconscious kindness still -I will turn my own for refuge from my latest self.

"Far off, far off, in the holiest haunts of Memory, I will build me a bower for Oblivion."

FIFTH PAGE.

"I have never looked on life but as a task; never completed, ever renewing itself, in each accomplishment creating fresh undertaking.

"So be it, then, even this time also.

"However inconceivable, however unendurable may be the life to which my soul is awakened, yet at least she is awake.

"Pause not, poor Soul, to contemplate the ruins of thy so wondrous fabric of the former time. It is shattered. Thou canst not reconstruct it. See, these littered shards upon the sordid earth! Here lie they, all thy loving unloved labors-the once aspiring shafts, the airy pillars, the kingly key-stones-ruined, defeatured shapes of Beauty and of Strength, whereon thou

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