by Margery Verner Reed
MOONBEAMS [To V. Z. R.]
THE DREAM MUFF
[To I. K. McF.]
IN A FIELD
TWO HAD LIVED
[To M. D. R.]
SYMPHONY [To R.
THE MAD ARTIST
THAT NIGHT HIS
MARGERY VERNER REED
NEW YORK MITCHELL KENNERLEY 1919
COPYRIGHT 1919 BY MITCHELL KENNERLEY
MOONBEAMS [To V. Z. R.]
IT was a glorious winter's night. Through a blue haze one saw the
ground, covered with snow, shining under the magical moon. And the
trees of the forest were also covered with snow; great clusters
glistened in their branches. Almost as light as day. Not a bleak light,
but an enchanting one, which dazzled in the cold, brisk air. Into the
woods walked the Spirit of Art. As he gazed at the surrounding beauty
he grew sad, and wondered why he had never reproduced such
splendorthe moonthe snowOh, he must try againTomorrow he would
Then came the Spirit of History and he too grew sad as he gazed
into the quietude of the night. His hands were soiled with blood, with
dark hideous crimes. And he asked why he had committed such deedswith
all this beauty around him. Why could he not have likened history to
these woods where the snow was white. Tomorrow he would do better.
And then came the Spirit of Philosophy and like the others he
wondered why he had never been under the spell of the Moonbeams
beforewhy had he filled the minds of men with entangled masses of
dark thought, instead of teaching them the beauty, the enchantment of a
night like this. Tomorrow he would do better.
The three Spirits met and talked together. They would go back to
the cities and begin anew. They would bring the spell of the woods back
with them and teach men unknown things.
A NEW Era was about to be born.
* * * * *
MORNING dawned cold and raw, a bleak gray light shone in the
deserted streets. The three Spirits returning from their wandering all
too soon forgot the magic spell of the woodsthe snowthe Moonand
fell to work once more among the sordid things of the day; making Art
and History and Philosophy only grayerdarker
AND in the woods where all was beauty, the Moonbeams shone only for
the fairies as they danced under the trees, and now and then for a
wistful human soul that had strayed into the splendor of the night.
THE DREAM MUFF [To I. K. McF.]
ONE more day of horror had ended for Russia. At this hour once the
lamps along the Neva would have been lighted, the laughter of
sleigh-riders would have resounded over the snow. But now the streets
were darkdeserted save by some wandering homeless people, seeking
refuge in the night.
NO one seemed to know exactly what had happenedor the cause
THERE was no rulerno order
DARKNESS and chaos.
A GIRL, perhaps of twelve, sat huddled in a ragged shawl on the
steps of a closed church.
THERE had been a time when a fire burned
A MOTHERa father
THEY had goneno one knew where. The mother was royalist.
SHE used to sew for a great ladya Princess.
PERHAPS the jailers of a prison could tell where she was.
ONCEin the life that was only a memorywas it realor was the
biting coldwas the hunger what had always beenher mother had taken
her to the house of the great lady
HER eyes had opened in childish wonder, as the Princess took her
from room to room.
ON a great couch of palest blue, among cushions that were all lace
and blue and pinka muff.
IT had been carelessly thrown downshe had loved it.
HER greatest desire had been to touch itto feel the soft gray fur
on her face.
A PIERCING wind blew from the frozen riverthe muffif it would
come it would keep her warm
SHE would put her hand in it and hold it to her heart.
THROUGH half-closed lids she saw the muffcurving and swaying in
the airlike a gray bird.
IT was looking for herthere were so many freezing children in the
streetsshe was small for her age
HOW warmhow kind of the Princess to send the muff.
MAYBE mother will soon be home from workwe can have supper
BORIS will come from school
BUT Boris lay dyingprisoner in the enemy's land.
WHEN a pale sun struggled to shine down on the dirty streetson the
confusion and sorrow of that Russian cityan old Priestdying with
all the restof sorrow for his landfound the frozen body of a little
girlwith hands clasped over her hearta faint smile on her upturned
THIRTY years had passed.
THIRTY years that I had spent in vainly trying to overcome the love
and hatred which consumed me. However occupied I was with the pressing
affairs of my almost over-filled life I was conscious of an
undercurrent of despairthe despair that I had felt when Eve told me
she no longer loved me.
WE were engaged.
WHETHER she really loved me, or whether it was only a girlish fancy
I could not tell. But the day was set for our wedding and was not far
off when one Sunday afternoon I went to her house for tea.
* * * * *
THE mahogany table in the library was covered with fallen rose
petalsthe roses he had sent her. Although no other detail of the room
has remained in my memory, I still can see the rose petals covering the
polished surface. By some inexplicable phenomenon those pink petals
were fixed forever in my mind.
I LEFT that part of the country and eventually lost all trace of
* * * * *
THIRTY years later I had a professional engagement with a client.
THE man was ill with a cold and asked me to come to his house
I WAS shown into a large, stately drawing-room. Great portraits were
on the walls, there was massive furniture, fine oriental rugs. A fire
blazed on the hearth.
THEN I perceived itthe great bowl of roses with fallen
petalsscattered over the table
LIKE a knife they went through my soul
EVEthe ring she had returned, which lay in some dark recess of my
THE door opened and a tall slim girl advanced
EVE I criedmy eyes blurred till I could hardly see.
WITH a strange, somewhat strained laugh, the girl replied that she
had not been named for her mother, but it was often said that she was
indeed her mother's living portrait.
THEN she drew aside a heavy curtainBefore my dimmed eyes was a
picture of Eve
I FLED from the house.
THE purpose of my visit claimed not an instant of my thoughts. Nor
NOR the past.
ROSE petals only filled my mind.
I LEARNED from a friend that Eve had been drowned years before in
the St. Lawrence River
SHE had left her husband and baby girl for another love.
ROSE petals everywhere.
IN A FIELD
A CHILD of three or four was playing in the tall grass among the
nodding buttercups and daisies. I watched her as she played. She seemed
a fit companion of the flowers, this sweet babe. I longed to feel the
touch of her little fingers on my face.
But as I advanced to where she was playing I stopped abruptly with
the sense of sudden chill. My heart even grew cold.
Was I having a vision, was it an intuition of the futureor was
this a meaningless phantom!
I had been reading of late a modern philosopher whose translator
had made much use of that somewhat ghostly word. Perhaps that was what
had given rise to this inexplicable thing. For as I stood there
watching the child there flashed across my consciousness a changing
vision of her destiny.
It was terrible.
It struck me that it might be better if she could be taken now
while innocent and sweet.
I caught myself back from the act of judging life and death.
I had been the momentary victim of a freakish fancy.
I gazed at the child again, and I saw a strange thing, as clearly
as I see you now.
She, a young woman, was standing amidst scattered wilted flowers,
with parted lips and wide horrified eyes. It seemed a land far off,
some land under the burning sun.
She cried out, a cry of anguish. She was there to hide from
herself and tortured by the memory of what she once had been.
I saw her again, this time on the sea, still trying to escape from
herself, from the tyranny of her lost innocence.
And then I saw her in a rapid succession of scenes, again and
againgambling places, drinking,sometimes listless and
distraughtsometimes forced and eagerwith wonderful, costly jewels.
But they were too heavy. The price of them was weighing upon her soul.
THEN a grave, alone under leaden skies of some Northern country. No
flowers now, only the moaning windthe cold rain.
I LIFTED the child in my arms and kissed her.
IT was one of those gray days so frequent in Paris in the late fall.
A drizzling rain was coming down through the bare branches of the trees
and a cold mist was rising from the Seine.
I FELT out of tune with the universe.
THE rain irritated me.
TO cheer my drooping spirits I took refuge in the Louvre.
THERE I found no solace in the cold white statues of the lower
floor. I ascended one of the broad staircasesthe headless beauty of
the Victoire de Samothrace only made me shudder.
I PASSED through the halls lined on either side with the
masterpieces of French and Italian and Spanish Artists.
ONE in my depressed state of mind had no right to be there where
faces of Madonnas smile down as one passes and deserve a freer look
than mine to turn on them.
I WANDERED out again into the street.
I WALKED up the quai which winds along the river and where the
quaint well-known bookshelves are built displaying to the passerby rare
old books and piles of rubbish alike.
DESPITE the rain several students were eagerly looking through these
stores of hidden wealth.
AS the Parisian would say ils bouquinaient.
SO I too began to pick up at random several old volumes.
AN English one caught my glance
IT was a copy of Browningold and tatteredand pencil-marked.
Turning to the fly-leaf I saw a name, written in a woman's hand
VICTORIA O'FALLONParis 18
I LOOKED upand saw far back into now almost forgotten years of my
life and there flashed into unaccountable and extraordinary vividness
in my mind the remembrance of a western mining camp and of a girl,
Vicky O'Fallon. She was a little red-headed beauty, who dreamed and
talked of nothing but the stage, who longed to study and to travel, to
release her life from the coarse and rude environment in which she
AND I questioned almost passionately, could that little,
discontented Irish girl be the same one whose name on an old yellowing
page was intriguing my thought? How came her book here among these old
volumes? Had some strange fate transplanted her to Paris in the year
18? Had her dreams come true and was she on the stage in this great
city of the world? I asked of the bookseller how this copy of Browning
had come into his hands. He did not know.
I COULD not dismiss this girl, I could not forget the book.
SOMEWHERE, somehow she had read Browning. She obsessed my mind.
SHE possessed my waking hours. I wandered from theatre to theatre,
watching at the stage doors, and saw play after play, always in the
hope of discovering this girl I had scarcely known. I studied hotel
registers, old play-bills, and always old books. I had not thought of
her for years and now I desired more than anything else in life to see
once more her dancing blue eyes and hear again her laughter.
BUT it was all in vain that I scanned faces in the streets, in
railway stations, in passing cabs. I could find no trace of Victoria
* * * * *
I WAS travelling one dull English day from London to Glasgow. In the
railway carriage toward night I fell into desultory talk with a sad
uneasy looking man who shared the compartment with me. At some turn in
the conversation he told me his name was O'Fallon.
THE worn copy of Browning seemed almost to take form in my handand
Victoriaher dream, her hair, her enchanting laugh.
FOR moments I was too dazed to speak. Then I managed to ask if by
any chance he was related to a girl Victoria O'Fallon. He stared at me
in silence, while a look of hatred and despair distorted his face.
FINALLY in a choked voice he breathed rather than spoke
I AM just out of prison because of Victoria O'Fallonshe was my
niece. I sent her to Paris. She was on the stage, just one nightI
struck hershe fell on a chairher back. She's dead now.
HE gazed vaguely out into the gathering darkness.
THEN he seemed to remember me.
THERE was a French Count he began, but his voice sank into silence.
I SAT as if I had been turned to stone.
A NEAPOLITAN STREET SONG
A CITY full of lights, of pleasure. The sea singing to itself as it
rolled quietly into the harbor. A glow of light on distant Vesuvius.
Gay throngs of people passing to and fro in the summer evening. Alone.
For the first time in her life.
A HEAVY heartthere was no joy.
THEY had come to Naples on their wedding journey. Her brief
happiness had been takentorn from her.
ASHES. Hecoldrigidlay in the adjoining room.
TWO candles burned. A nun prayed. Monica leaned out of the window.
THROUGH her tears she saw a star shining in the night.
A STAR of sorrow.
THE seathey had gone together on its blue waves to Caprito
WAS it some terrible nightmarewould she awaken and find him near.
FROM a distant street came the sound of musicgaylivelya
Neapolitan street song.
HOW could there be joy. The sound was agony. An organ might have
HAD there ever been a time when gay music delighted.
O SOLE MIO sang the clear voices of the street singers. They drew
nearerand stopped under the window.
MONICA'S wounded inward self cried out for silence
THE world was drear. There should be no joyful singing.
SHE looked down absently. A young girl stood a little apart from the
singers. Monica noticed herand their tearful eyes met.
THEN singers also could know sorrow.
SUDDENLYher own seemed lightened.
MONICA'S soul surged forward. She wanted to comfort, to help this
brown-eyed girl. Perhaps her grief was harder to bear.
ONE of the men stepped toward the girl and pushed her rudely.
SING he commanded.
O PADRE MIOshe broke into sobs. The singers moved on to another
MONICA had read into another soul.
DEEP calling unto deep.
MOONLIGHTthe still waters of the ocean
THE deck of a ship
ROMANCE and beauty
THE great liner sailed near the northern coast of Africa. On the
deck they had become engagedthe moonlight shone on them.
* * * * *
DUSK and bitter cold. A young woman paced up and down in the snow,
waiting the coming of a train.
IT was a small town in the Interior of Russiaof the Russia torn by
wars and rebellions at home. A sorrow-stricken land.
THE mystery, the romance of the nightthe distant shores of
Africaseemed still upon her. She could almost feel the murmur of the
water as it splashed against the boat.
AND the next dayAlgiersthe quaint streetsthe
mosquesflowersand white robed Arabs.
VERY quietly they had been married in the Cathedral which bears the
name of a whole continent.
NOTRE DAME D'AFRIQUE.
THE sun had smiled as it shone on the city by the sea.
IT grew colder.
A TRAIN came into sight on the vast field of snow.
ON that train the man she loved and had married was coming to her.
THAT enchanted period in AlgiersHe was returningperhaps a wreck
of his once splendid selfa cripple
IT had shattered homesbrought skeletonswhere once children
BROUGHT famineonce birds had eaten crumbs.
* * * * *
HIS eyes were aghasteyes that had seen deathmurderhorrorside
THERE was no more laughter. He took Anna into his arms. Then the
report was not true. He had not given his right arm.
ANNA, he whispered, My brave Anna
* * * * *
I HAVE been thinking of Algiers, she murmured. We planned to have
sunshineand roseseven among the snows of our country. But we faced
bloodblood on the snows of our forests
* * * * *
IVAN, it is bitter cold. Do not go outinto the night
TO Africa. The moon will be making golden streaks upon the water. A
rose will be blooming in our gardenhis eyes were vacant.
THEN it was not his arm he had given for Russiait was
A CRY pierced the cold air.
THE weight of a dead body resounded.
I WONDER what that was, Ivan mused
WHICH is the shortest way to the Cathedral
THESE Arab streets are so steep
BEFORE a statue of Joan of Arc, in a little country church, a child
knelt in prayer.
OH protect my papathe little one prayed.
SHE lighted a candleoffered it to the Maid of France.
* * * * *
A YOUNG girl prayed at the feet of the Saint. She burned a candle.
FOR ANDRÉfor his safety.
THE invaders entered the village,heeding neither church nor ground
of the dead.
THEY ripped open shallow graves to show the living they had
powereven over those who had gone. They killed the priest. And the
nuns, even, from the school.
THE church caught fire. The candles, burning before the Saint of
Domremy, blazed into one huge flame. It shot up to the roof. And seemed
O JOAN OF ARCcome backFrance needs you.
* * * * *
AN Angel of Heaven
THE young girl who had prayed for Andrétwo officers had taken her.
THE flames of the burning village had revealed it.
MONSIEUR L'ABBÉ had said suicide was sinbut surely God would
SHE pierced the sword into her white fleshblood flowed to the
LITTLE FOOL muttered the maddened officer.
HE went back to the villagefor more destroying.
A STONE from a burning house
HE died with an oath.
BUT André, weeks before, had died with prayer upon his lipsa
thought for his sweet betrothed.
ONLY a few days before the lighted candles of a chapel. A young monk
in prayer. Quietude in his soul. The brown habitthe crucifix lay
THE maddening din of battle. Its fury burned his soul.
HE had been left an orphaned child. At the monastery.
HIS name was Igor. Some whispered he was the son of a great
NONE knew for sure.
AT first his clean soul rebelled at the thought of war, his dark
THOU shalt not kill called from afarbut the cannons deafened him
* * * * *
THEY entered the courtyardinto the castle hall.
HAD its dwellers fled along the muddy roads and fields of Belgium
SOME women still
A YOUNG one, watching for escape
ANOTHER with graying hair and soft eyes. She had stayed. Her sins
perhaps would be forgiven on the Altar of Sacrifice. Burning anguish.
SHE had sinned against God.Against her husband. Long ago.
REMORSE still clung in her heart.
IGOR drew backbut was pushed on by others, rude, boisterous,
toward the wine cellars.
THOU shalt not kill faintlybut a breaking bottle dimmed the sound.
THE wine heated, wakened dormant senses.
WITH shouts and cries the tottering men came from the
cellarLaughed at the woman with graying hair
SHE was shielding a girl whose eyes resembled Igor's. The girl who
had watched to escape.
AND could not
THE uniform, the sabre
GONE was the memory of a brown habit.
HE came nearer. Was it a woman
HE clasped her. Her soft hair brushed his face.
OTHER soldiers camedragged her from him. Fought over her like
powerful beasts, heeding not the mother
IN a drunken rage he caught the girl to the open window
I'LL kill her he screamed. Youwho seem to know my name.
THE crime was spared him.
HER lifeless body slipped from his arms.
IGOR, gasped the mother, You have killed
I'LL kill you!the wine had infuriatedhe lifted his sabre
STOPyou are my son
DAZEDhe heard the words but understood not.
* * * * *
A NIGHT of drunkenness, of horror, had passed in the Belgian
THE captors had damagedbrokendestroyed.
THE sun was setting on a second daywhen Igor awoke.
THE first time in his life he awakened from drink. He reached out
expecting to find the rough wall of the monastery
HE felt a dead bodythe sharp edge of a sabre
ORDERS had come
HAD there been battles
AND slowly memory returned
STOPyou are my son.
WHO had said itwas it long agoNo. Only after the wine cellar
HE sat upon the floorwhere drunkenness had overcome him.
THE horrible memory of his crime swept over him.
HE seized the body and gazed at the staring eyes. Then this was the
remorse the older monks had told himhad been his father's
AND heher sonhad plunged his sabre into her heart
HIS own was bursting.
AND this girl. He had not killed hershe had died
WAS shehis sisteronly of a different father
* * * * *
WE are throughburn
A HARD line played on the lips of the commander
* * * * *
THE flames leapt from room to room
THE smokeit was overcoming him
HE had forgotten how to pray
AN unutterable abyss.
THE horror of war
THE fire blazed upwardsmoke filled the room
THERE'S the bellhe staggered to his feetIt is ringing
TELL Brother John to light the candleshe walked into the flames
I am coming.
TWO HAD LIVED [To M. D. R.]
PASSIONATELY musicalJanet Knott had been sent abroad to study.
HOMESICK and weary she wandered about in a strange city, knowing not
even the language.
THE gray skythe grayer buildings. Was there not in this city a
kindly soulone she could talk toconfide in
IN a narrow streetsuddenly the rich deep tones of an organ reached
BUILT in among great buildings a small Church. There at least she
could find comfortand the organ.
WAS it a Requiemminor chordsthe keys seemed to sob under the
pressure of withered hands.
JANET sobbed too. She was homesick. Lonely
THE music stopped and the old organist came down and spoke with her.
He asked why she was crying.
YOUR music is so sad, she whispered
AH, my child, that is lifeI am told to compose a Requiem
WHAT youth, filled with the joy of living, could play these minor
I TOO was young onceA student at the University. I loved life
I DANCEDcomposed only waltzessang love songs. But nowsorrow
has played on the chords of my heartto teach me these deeper
tonesto teach me music for the Passionfor the Crucifixion.
YOU must learn, my child, that through sorrow men accomplish great
WHEN they weep they send out tones into the world that men remember
BEETHOVEN lived and sufferedand has left to the world things of
BUT nowgoelse I shall sadden you beyond your years
SLOWLY Janet walked through the darkening streets. The words of the
organist filled her mind. She felt prophetically her heart must pass
WOULD she be strong enoughor would weaknessdesire for
joyconquer and kill the power within.
THE homesick girl of seventeen has given place to a worldly wise
young woman of twenty-five.
NO more longing for the land across the seas. The power within still
sleepsParis. With its pleasure haunts, its lights, its theatres
JANET KNOTTthe center of an admiring coterieshe plays light
musicwaltzes. The joy of being alivethe whirl of a great
citysubdued laughter of groups of men and women walking in the
moonlightthe flowering chestnut treesthe roses
RACES of Longchampsgay colorsa world of excitement.
ITS waves swept over her.
SHE had chosen between this and artfulfillment of the Soul.
SOMETIMES shadows of her power rosebeckoned.
SHE consoled these moments with coquetry. A successflowers
* * * * *
THE war broke out. Excitement still filled her. It would soon be
THENone by one all the men she had known, flirted, danced with,
left for the front. To die. That the enemy should not pass.
PARIS in danger. Death and sorrow near.
THE best in Janet Knott gradually awakened. A desire to help grew
until she could contain it no longer.
ONE Sunday evening she went to Notre-Dame for BenedictionKneeling
in the shadows of the pillars she heard the organsad agonizing chords
SORROW has played on the chords of my heart to teach me these deeper
THE memory of the little church, of the old organistof herself,
the former Janet, the homesick child.
HER giftwas it dead or only sleeping? Could she awaken itSpin a
new life on the webs of war
THE shadow of the Janet of seventeen wept over the wasted years.
THERE seemed to be no end. The war-filled years crept slowly onward,
each day bringing more sorrowmore death.
JANET was torn in two.
THE human pleasure-loving side lay bleedingdying inch by inch.
THE other, with tones of deepest beauty, rose above it, sighing that
it must take such tragedy to break down its prison barsthat it might
IT rosecomforting Janet in many a weary hourcomforting the
wounded, the dying. In a village church which had been turned into a
base hospital she often playedand as they listened some pain was
eased, some picture rose of happy fields, of homes. Would they see them
IN this tragedy of nations she had found herself. Found the purpose
of her life. Her art had come into its ownhad comforted.
DEATH from a shell might take heras it took thousands each
daybut she was fulfilling the mission of her soul.
ONE night the Church Hospital lay sleeping. Very softly Janet crept
to the organ loftsofter still she played to the moonlight.
HE was rapidly improving. His wounds had not been serious.
Somethingvery soft, faintwoke him. For a minute he could not recall
his surroundingsand he rose upbut a sharp pain in his shoulder
brought back the memory of the trenches, of the horror
I MUST be dyingI hear faint music
THE moon shone on something white
FULLY awakening to his surroundings Hugh Brandon realized that it
was not deathnot an angel
HE would go and find out for himself
JANET barely touched the keys. Softer and softer grew the tones. He
came nearerfascinated as if by a magic presence.
THEIR eyes metin the moonlight. They knew that no matter what
happened to the rest of the worldno matter what happened to their own
bodiestheir souls were met for all Eternity.
IT was a flash from the unconsciousone of those strange
illuminations which occur perhaps once in a hundred lifetimes.
PLAY on, he whispered. Play for mefor Englandwhose son I am
* * * * *
AT noon when they had eatenHugh and Janet slipped away. She played
for him. The tones were richer than before. Into the sadness had been
poured the burning heat of pure love.
THEY had both known what they had thought was love,among flowers,
dances, the lovely but artificial things of life
BUT hereamong the dyingblood, privation, life divested of its
mantles and laid barethe true love sprang up between these two.
Something more than love. A perfect understanding of eachlike the
treble and the base of a symphony
IN the still hours of twilight Hugh and Janet would sit in the organ
loft together, speaking the enchanted language only lovers knowmade
dearer by the phantom of separation ever near them.
DEAREST, when the Regiment has called me back, play each day at
twilightthe Miserere. Ifin the trenchesI shall know your soul is
calling to mineif, beyond, my soul will drink from the depths of
SNOW was falling.
GOODBYE, dear, he whispered
NOW even the organ could not calm. She had tasted the sweet of
lifeand it had been torn away. For what
SUDDENLY hate possessed herhate for this man who would rule the
worldcausing whole nations to rise up against him to defend their
soilhatred for the power that had brought despair into unknown
BROUGHT murder into peaceful souls.
THE days followed each other in bleak sameness.
SHE moved among the woundeda shadow self
BUT at twilight each day, Janet lived. She played the Misererewith
her soul. Then againthe moving dazed form would return to help the
men lying on mattresses where once peasants had knelt in prayer
HER music became divine. The Miserere sobbed out into the cold night
aircleansing her soul of hatredeven Peacea joy
THE air was rent by whistling shellsthe organ throbbed under her
* * * * *
THERE was left only a mass of charred stonesa blackened wall
A CRUCIFIX still erect.
THE church had been unregarded by the enemy.
THEY had passedleaving desolation
DEATH had found Janet at the organa free soul
* * * * *
SEVERAL months later in the casualty list of a London newspaper
appeared the name of Hugh Brandon.
THE FIFTH SYMPHONY [To R. S. L.
It is clear that the transmutation which the subject of the
Allegro undergoes just before the close of the symphony is of the same
psychological order as that of the Fate motivea change from clouds to
sunshine, from defeat to triumph.
From Ernest Newman's criticism of Tschaikowsky.
To all outward appearances there was nothing unusual about the
rehearsal. The musicians had assembledand very softly the andante of
Tschaikowsky's Fifth Symphony in E minor had beguna dream-like
wavewhich little by little swelledand dropped againnow as a
hymna plea for unknown happiness.
Dasha Ivanovna Tortsov played. Since the first time she had heard
this Slavic Symphony, one snowy night in Moscow, she had loved it.
Queer yet beautiful ideas were brought by it into her mindThe
String Movementplentiful cropsfull hearts of joyBut how could
her heart be joyful? What right ever had she to be playing Russian
music? She had desertedlefttalked against Russia, exaggerated the
oppressions, the sufferings, had ridiculed all that others held
sacredDolcethe running waters of Russia in the summer, a
clear skythen the coming of fall with the brown leavesa gradual
decline into winter.A stormohhow she had loved stormsin bygone
daysthen. And again still weatherthe dance of gypsies at a
fairvery lowa sounda murmur
She scarcely heard the orchestra leader's shrill whistle, his
calls of Back to letter Bor letter For Strings softer there
IT was Russiawistfulhalf-fulfilled thoughts.
LONGING she had never known before took possession of her soul.
GLOOMand yet the very depth of a Russian's heart, pouring itself
out in the mystic symphony.
THENa lighter moodagain the green woods and wateroh for the
happy song of the boatman on the Volga.
HIGHER and higher rose the trepidation. She was tensewhat was
itwhat was breaking loose within herHigher and higher rose the
waves of the music
SILENCEagain the stringsbalmthe call of the woodsthe odor of
THUNDERrolling thunder and peace
BLUEBELLS on the grass.
To onlookers she was but a young musiciana little palewith
strange Slavic eyesand no human being could perceive the
emotionsthe mental sufferingas if the cords of her heart were being
tightened until they must breakher former self must die that she
could reawakenA conquered self.
* * * * *
The last movement was beginning. Dasha Ivanovna was hardly
conscious that she played. The music swept around hermilitarya
callto what? It was of marchinga faintfar awaySomewhereout of
childhood days rose the memory of her tiny hands applauding Russian
soldiers as they passedBut now like a deserter she had turned away
from the once loved country.
TROIKIon glistening snow
AND then what she always termed the Triumphant part of the
symphonywhere each time she played it, she knew not whybut
Aïdathe triumphant entry of the King
RHADAMES and Cossacks riding madlyfuriously
DASHAno it was not the leader's whistleit was an inward
voiceno one else could hear its piercing, agonizing soundonly the
depth of her very being knewa callRussiathe land of her fathers
that she had deserted.
COSSACKS riding in the Steppes
SHE dropped her bow and moved trance-like from the hall
Dasha Ivanovna was once more in the land of her forefathers.
Already she had walked in familiar streets, had seen familiar
buildings. Alonesomething within her did not need the outside world.
Not lonely therefor. And a strange kindling happiness in her soula
sense of triumph over her former Nihilistic self.
SHE saw no friendsthe ones of former daysNihilists. They were
perhaps hiding in foreign landsor were in the darker seclusion of
some Siberian Prison. But there rose no longing for these friends, no
wish at all for them.
NO longer was she Dasha Ivanovna Tortsov the Nihilistthe free
PEACE had come to hershe wanted Peace for others
NO longer a desire to see those in power killedonly the dark
forests and running waters, the wild flowers in the woods.
JOY filled herForgotten lay the haunting fear of other daysthe
gloom cast by Prison wallswhich had seemed ever to draw in upon her.
TO liveto let liveto send up Hymns of joy.
* * * * *
It was on the steps of Saint Isaac's Cathedral.
DARED she advancedared she go in to the splendor of the Altarsto
AND ever the Fifth Symphony like a guiding spirit seemed to whisper
at her ear
TRIUMPHANT over Defeat
LIGHT out of gloom
DASHA filled her days with joy. The joy of being alive, of being
freed from herself
SHE saw the sky and heard the laughter of children in the street
SOMEHOWin New Yorkwhen she had belonged to the orchestra she had
never noticed the sky. A few months more and the snow would come
A WINTER in Russia
THE early summer months passed quicklyuntil that first terrible
day of August, 1914, when all the horrors of the world were set loose
and the monsters from the under-world of men's minds were stalking
IF Dasha had put aside her Nihilistic feelingsshe laid them still
farther from her now.
A PURPOSE to serve her Russia lifted itself high and strong before
SHE smiled as she thought of death.
SNOW and coldsufferingstarvationin the forests the birds were
LITTLE children were dead
THE stream of fugitives increased as the days
TRIUMPHANT over Defeat still rang in Dasha's earsSome day it would
SHE clothed a child here
COMFORTED a mother there
AND still they cameover the snow and corpsesthrough the
DASHA workedworked with all her heartfedclothed
OUT into the snows, into the storms to look for the wanderers and
bring them to a shelter
* * * * *
Have mercy on my soulshe whisperedForgive
THE Andante far awaycallingDashaa reward
DASHA IVANOVNA died on a bed of snowOn her dead face was a
triumphant sweet look.
THE fugitives wept and prayed as they buried her in the woods.
WHEN summer came bluebells grew over her grave.
THE MAD ARTIST
SPEAK, speakAngel or demon, or both, speak to me before I throw
you into the sea.
THE storm raged in all its fury around the house, and the rain beat
SPEAK, or I'll break you into a thousand pieces.
BUT the only answer was the smile of the Angel with the uplifted
eyes and the outspread wings as if she was about to ascend to Heaven.
The marble Angel that was to have been his masterpiece! His last gift
to man was now his hated treasure.
NIGHT came on and with it the fury of the storm increasedand still
the mad artist now implored, now threatened. The Angel smiled and
WHEN I chose a model for my masterpiece, he murmured, she was
beautiful, but had not the face of that Angel. How came I to copy the
image in my heart and not the living one that for months was each day
here in my studio.
THE storm raged without, and within the artist groped for light,
clung to the shreds of memory. His madness was increasing, his head
seemed miles away. What had he been thinking of just then, had he seen
a woman rise from a tombno, it was the Angel.
HE must get to work and finish it. But it was finished. Vaguely he
remembered dismissing his model.
SPEAKwith a faint cry of anguish he rushed to the statue. Speak,
image of my lost Louise! But no, you are cold marble, you have no life,
STILL, it must be the girl I loved. It is her mouth, her eyes.
THE wind moaned around the house, seeming to call the name of
Louise. The mad artist wept, and groped for light, for memory. Vaguely
he could see, 'way back in some half-forgotten period, a nurse leaning
over his cot. The noise of battle still rang in his earsbut that was
all past, in his other lifenow there were phantoms and the image in
his heart of the lost Louise. Why had he chosen that name. That name
made him think of running water. Where was reverieOh yes, it was the
statuewell it must die. Never should men see his masterpiece that had
cost him all the joy of life. For he had likened the features of the
Angel after Louise.
SPEAK, demon, he implored. Take on a woman's voice.
* * * * *
THE storm had ceased and the sun shone brightly on the wet grass and
the flowers of a day in June. One ray peeped in at the window of the
studio and saw the Angel broken by hammer and chisel on the floor. Its
smiling face seemed to forgive all the madness of the night.
FROM what strange nightmare was he awakening? At the sight of his
loved and hated Angel broken at his feet, his senses were slowly
returningBut with what pain they cameas if his head must break.
HE could not think yethe would later on. He had been madhe
remembered the doctor saying soIn Franceshell shock.
* * * * *
IT had come over him as he stood by the gate of the Chateau. Then a
hospital. Afterward all had been darkness, a horrible groping amid a
thousand broken memories, phantoms which had shrouded him. But now it
was over. He was sanelife, life! Oh what joy to live again, as one
risen from the tombhe would travel out into the worldfar from his
THE attendant entered bringing lunch to the mad artist and found him
dead, his lips pressed to the marble ones of his Angel, the image of
SHE was only one of his many phantoms.
A NIGHT of untold beauty.
COBWEBS on the heavens.
A GRAY winter sky, brightened by the moon shining through it.
BARE branches of hundreds of trees interlacing their silvery boughs.
AND a cottage with thatched roof and square leaded panesa setting
for romance, for dreams of visionary splendor.
IS the master at home, asked a strange woman of the old man servant.
HE has not yet returned.
THEN I will wait for him.
AND despite the protests of the servant, Donna Maria entered the
room. It was a story and a half in height.
THERE was a huge fireplace, and everywhere, without arrangement, in
the happy disorder of a studio, were canvases and palettes.
ANOTHER setting for romance.
BUT romanceat least for tonighthas not found its way to the
studio in the woods.
* * * * *
THERE was perhaps some intuition, some forewarning of disaster in
the mind of Robert Hale. He walked abstractedly, untouched by the
beauty of the night.
HE was deep in the inner experience of the conception of a new
HE entered his house.
THERE is a woman, sir.
A WOMANbut I want to be alone.
THE old servant sleptroused for a moment by the closing of a door.
SHE'S gone, he mutteredand slept again.
* * * * *
THROUGH the splendor of the night they wentthrough its mystery,
SHE, tense, frightened lest her power should fail on the verge of
HE in a kind of trance, with wavering mindstrange
thoughtsnothing cleara haze
THEY stopped under a great oak.
DO you remember your Egyptian Dancer asked Donna Maria for the
EGYPTIAN Dancer, he answered tonelessly. No, I tell you I killed
WITH a sense of victory she led him on through the night.
HER mind incessantly repeated to the overpowered mind of the artist
YOU killed himYou killed him.
THE alienist gave his testimony. The prisoner was mad. Clearly.
TO every question he respondedI killed him.
AND endlessly the court room resounded with dull, monotonous voices
SOME pleading forsome against the artist.
DONNA MARIA was satisfied.
SHE would go away and Robertwell, no matter
SHE hated him.
HE had scorned her advancesher coquettish smiles, years ago in
Rome when he was a student.
SHE had been unable to forget. Her pride was like an open wound.
HALE was acquitted.
BUT his mind was gone. A harmless type of insanity expressing itself
in vague reiterations of a fixed idea.
DAY after day he walked in the openOnce on and on, down a slope.
He slipped. And made a violent clutch to save himself. The cold waters
of the river closed over him. Shock and sudden painthe penetrating
pain that comes with returning consciousness
HE began to struggle, got his stroke and swam.
* * * * *
DID you kill the Banker Brunton, the physician inquired gently.
THE Banker BruntonHale asked curiouslyI never heard of him.
A TRAIN of thought seemed starting.
BUT I remember a womanshe dropped her muffI stooped to pick it
SHE must have struck me
OR was it her eyes!
ONCE, long agoin Romeshe tried to influence me that way.
I DESPISE her.
WHEN she came back I was tired. I gave in. Let's not talk about it.
THE physician looked at Hale with the look of a kind big brother.
THEN he went to the telephone.
THIS is the last day for me. Tomorrow at this time many hours will
have passed since the iron door of my cell was unlocked and I was taken
along the corridors of the prison and across the yard to the place of
execution. Already I shall know for myself what lies on the other side,
I shall have ceased forever, I hope, to count the bars of my iron door,
my sole occupation and the one thing which keeps me from thinking too
much of the past, so bitter.
WHY did they come today. Did they think they would ease my pain, did
they think it was charity to play for us, here in the prison.
AT first their music only irritated me and kept me from counting
properly the iron bars. Then it enraged me, that woman with the soprano
BUT I counted my iron bars
SUDDENLY the pain, worse than any I had ever known,remorse,
sorrow, longing,crowded into my soul. I felt as if I should die.
A MAN at the piano was playing the melody my mother most often
played. My agony was beyond bearing. Repentance again swept over me,
and eased me. It had been many years since I had heard that
old-fashioned tune. At the first chord on the piano a flood of memories
rushed back to me.
I WAS once more a boy, in the library at homelighted lamps and the
curtains drawna fire blazed and crackled
MY younger brothers sat on the floor near it, amusing themselves by
fancying they saw monsters and castles in the depths of the flames.
MY father was there
MY sisters and my mother too.
WHAT pain at the sight of her
SHE is there now before me at the piano, and I hear that melody.
AND who is that boy sitting there, the hope and pride of his
family. He is reading some book of Roman exploits and deeds of
HIS boyish soul is clean.
I AM sorrowful unto madness.
I MAY not live to see the hour of dawn,
THE hour of execution.
THIS grief will kill me that melody!
LONG since the musicians have returned to their homes,
I STILL hear it, note for note.
MOTHER to welcome me
PEACE in my soul.
FORGIVE, Great Master, forgive Thy wandering sheep! I have strayed,
my Lord, far
I REPENTI come
IT was a large house on the outskirts of the town.
IN the living room a fire blazed. Soft shaded lightsa contrast to
the blizzard raging outside.
A SMALL gathering of people for informal afternoon tea.
LYDIA STUART had come in rather late. She sat comfortably on a huge
divan near the fire.
A PICTURESQUE magnetic figure, dressed in purple, with beautiful
RATHER dreamily she gazed at the fire. And mused to herself on the
strangeness of life
SOMETHING within her long ago had died. And the new Lydia had risen,
stronger, better, for the horrible struggles against herself
HER art had been created by the ashes of a dead love.
SHE had conquered.
ON the other side of the fireplace was standing the man she had once
THE man who had once possessed her every waking hour.
SHE had fought. An inward battlea brave struggle
IN another town she had begged him not to see hernot to write.
* * * * *
THEN later they had met unexpectedly at a ball
THERE was musicmany flowersbrightnesslaughter
HIS arms had held her close as they danced
A FLOOD of memories rushed across her mind.
FOR a moment she had stood with laughing lips
IT had been a moment of triumph.
THEN, out of nothingwith no tie to the absorbing passing moment,
the image of her mother rose in her thought.
THE triumph gave way to a new compelling mood. She was choosing
between two loves
WITH cold, calculating eyes he had watched her as she moved across
A GRACEFUL figure in pink.
* * * * *
NO one saw her as she slipped homesadthe depths of her soul in
burning conflict. The flowers she held fell unnoticed.
THE greatest struggle of her life.
DAWN found her still fighting against the overpowering yearning.
FOR months she struggled.
HER art increased.
A DYING part of Lydia gave power to a new-born personalitystrong
deep-seeing character grew up from the ashes of her former light self.
* * * * *
THIS afternoon, sitting on the great divan, she reflected and
PERHAPS she had overcome months before.
TILL now she had not known.
AT lastonly asheswhere once had been love
HE stood therelooking at her.
SHE saw him only as a stranger
SHE did not know himsave his name
THE new Lydiathe artistcould find nothing in common, no union of
WHAT strange lost element in her had once loved this man
LYDIArisen from the asheswalked out into the snow and cold. She
felt her release to a new freedom. She could meet him againwithout
AT any time
HE was a stranger.
NANCY TURNER, Teacher of Dancing.
THIS inscription engraved on a brass plate had become as familiar to
me as the grim row of terraces and the solemn-looking door to which it
was nailed. How many times had I not passed it, as I walked from my
house to my place of business. Passed it on snowy mornings and gray
misty evenings, or in the summer time when birds chirruped and sang and
the sun smiled down upon the earth. I had read it over and over again,
as I was wont to do the names of the streets and squares, especially on
my homeward walk. LStreeta turn to the right, the inscription on
the door, Bsquareand I was already half-way home to my cheerful
fireside, to my books and my violin; where Shakespeare, Milton and
Beethoven would be ready at my whispered call to help me while away the
hours of the evening.
BUT once as I passed this certain row of terraces, something,
hitherto unknown, seemed to take possession of me. I began to see the
sign in a new light and wondered why I had taken it for granted all
these years,and never once thought that indeed Nancy Turner must be a
real person. It was true that I had never seen anyone enter the house,
but then I passed it at hours when people would not be likely to be
taking dancing lessons. I began to wonder at my being so absent-minded
that I could for years read these five words and never have them leave
more than a slight impression.
AND suddenly I found myself wondering what sort of person this
dancing teacher was. Surely young and talented, perhaps even beautiful.
I mused about her half the way home. I even wove some strange and
fanciful day dreams about herwhen to my sorrow I remembered I was no
AND therefore Nancy Turner was also middle-aged. For had not the
inscription bearing her name been on that door ever since I was a young
boyperhaps long before my time.
FOR days I thought about her and failed in explanations to myself,
of my sudden strange fascination for an unknown name.
THE days flew by, and my curiosity to meet and talk with her only
SO one cold and gloomy evening I took courage and knocked at her
TO my surprise the gruff voice of a man bade me enter. I found
myself in a small room, blue with smoke and poorly furnished. An old
man was cooking supper, as he hummed some weird old gypsy tune. He
seemed scarcely to notice me and displayed neither surprise nor
dissatisfaction at my sudden appearance. I murmured some excuse about
being in the wrong house, that I was looking for Nancy Turner in order
to learn about some of the newest dance steps.
* * * * *
AND now you know the story of my life, of hers, and of your own, he
said with a sigh. Strange that I should have asked your name. And
stranger still that you came here as if led by the hand of Fate. But
now that we have discovered that we are half brothers I hope you will
come often to chat with me, here in this house where we were both born.
I will tell you more about our beautiful mother, of her fame when she
danced at the opera, of the days long ago when she and my father and I
lived here so happily, of the tragedybut nolet us forget the past.
She forgavetherefore our friendship must be without shadow from the
THE PAWN-SHOP KEEPER
I am an old man and life has long since lost the glamor it once
held for me. The thrills of youth are no more, novelty is a forgotten
word, and things that once would have made my heart leap now leave me
cold. Old age indeed is in itself a punishment for the follies of youth
and sad is it to await alone the coming of death without some loved
face near. For one by one the friends of bygone days have dropped by
the roadside and I have been left alone to follow my weary way. Happy
they who die while still young and do not know the solitude of a lonely
Day after day, as I sit behind my counter, or warm my old hands by
the cheerful blaze of the fire, do customers come to me to buy
something or perhaps to sell some loved relic in order that they may
ALL of them faces strange and new. They look at me as if to say Why
this one dried leaf of another year left on this tree? Aye, and why am
I leftWhy among these young, green leaves am I the only withered one?
Why were no companions left to cheer me?
But these are questions I can not answer, for I know not the ways
As I sit here musing over the past, faces I have known come back
to me and I love to wonder what fate held in store for them, as
advancing, the filmy mists of their futures were slowly lifted until
the last veil was drawn back and the story of their lives was told.
The snow is falling and covering in white the grim rows of houses
opposite my little shop, the streets are deserted save by a few
hurrying pedestrians and some merry school children going down to the
frozen river for an hour's skating before dusk
AND I am here before the fire, dreaming and waiting, for yesterday
brought me an experience very different from my usual monotonous life.
Was it all some phantom? It must be.
The Miriam that I have longed for all these years was not here
yesterday, did not sit in this very chair. It must have been a vision,
the mere fancy of an old man's mind. For how many times in sleep has
not the same dream come to me as a whispered message from another
world, from her grave evenand on awakening I always seemed to know
that her journey through life was at an end.
But no, it was not a phantom, for here is the necklace. Then it
was not a dream. Fate has really sent her to me so we can cheer each
other in these, the last hours of our earthly lives.
But will she come back today as she promised? Or will she depart
again, this time for good, so that I shall see her no more until I have
crossed the River of Death.
O Miriam, come to me, I need you more now than ever before. Come,
I am waiting with outstretched arms.
Yes, she is coming. I see the yet distant form of the one I love.
She is approaching, coming ever nearer. Miriam, what happiness we shall
yet have together, in the dusk of our lives, what pleasant hours here
by the fire
* * * * *
Death, kindly death, come now to me. She passed by my shop and
turned the corner and went toward the station. Her heart then is still
cold as stone.
It was the money I paid her for the necklace that bought her
ticket to another town
THE little house in Pemborough Square had been vacant for many
NO lights through the closed shutters
NO smoke from the chimneys
AN old woman was sitting on the doorstep muttering to herself in
some strange tongue
HER vague eyes saw neither the square nor its straight rows of
ONLY something far awaya memory perhaps
SOME tragedy lay hidden in her heart.
MANY years ago this small house had been occupied by a family with
several childrenchildren that played games in the great garden
A YOUNG woman had been much with the little troop of children.
THEY had all loved her who played with them as if a child herself
and in happy hours had sung French songs to them.
SHE had gone away, they had heard to the Island of Madeira. and
the children soon forgot their sweet friend.
ON the steps of this now abandoned house sat the muttering old
THE sound of quick steps aroused hershe peered through the
A YOUNG man was coming nearer
THE woman rose slowly to her feet and waited rigidly
IT is youyou! she whispered hoarsely
HER words went like shots at the slight figure, now perceptible
HE stopped abruptly and shuddered like one accused of crime.
I DO not know you, he managed to say. He had a flat thin voice.
YOU once lived in this house, the woman said menacingly.
HE shuddered again and stepped back
THE young man began to wonder. Could she be the sweet French woman
that the village children had loved that he, the eldest of the little
group had in his boyish awakening been romantic over
THE gypsy sensed his admission of her charge.
SHE went onDo you know who you are?
DO you know where you got your black hair?
HE lifted his hand unsteadily in the direction of his head.
THE old creature nodded and fixed him with her fierce eyes.
I AM not your mother
NEITHER was the woman you called by that name.
THE young man gasped.
HIS body grew tense.
HE remembered his adored mother whose grave he visited every Sunday
HE made an effort to think that this was only a gypsyan impostor
THE woman was speaking
NEITHER your father nor mother ever knew that you were not their
THEIR little boy is dead
YOU filled his place.
HER voice sank almost to a breath.
I PLACED you in his cradle.
AN intolerable silence.
I LOVED your father
YOU never knew that he was a Portuguese nobleman.
DID you ever hear of Madeira, she asked sharply
IT was there that one by one all the passions of
lovehatredrevenge had torn my heart. He married and came to
EnglandI followedrepulsed, ignored.
MY only weapon against himwas to contrivethe deathof his
BUT to kill a child
SHE caught a shuddering breath.
I COULD not
I HID it securely.
ONCE again I visited Madeira. On the steps of the Church I stabbed
my enemy among the flowers in that land of beautya crime to darken
SO you belong to me
YOU owe me much
ALL that you can pay.
THE little sum of money he had in the Postal Savings rose into his
mindand gave him amazing steadiness
HIS voice sounded loud and full in his own ears
YOU lie! he shouted suddenly.
YOU lie! you fiend! Come into the daylight.
HE was tearing his mind free from the influence of the place, the
shadowsthe possessing voice of the woman.
SHE crouched back toward the door.
IT is youyou! she muttered accusingly.
NO, by Heaven, it's you! he cried. I see through you now
TWO men came running attracted by his loud voice
THEY lead the gypsy to a place of security
IT is you, she kept muttering to each in turn.
THE young man walked behind with straightened back and shining eyes.
IT is nighta moonlight night in the Orient
THE earth is flooded in mystic beauty
MIDNIGHT songbirds in the trees.
AND the Palace of the Sultangreat marble hallsfountains of
running watermoonlight shining in.
STRANGE, weird music of the desert played by slaves.
IT is the picturesque setting of a strange talea tale of inward
THE Sultanlying amid splendor, vivid coloring of the
Eastsoftened by the night's mysterious light.
AMONG flowers and heavily-scented perfumes.
HIS dancing girls have lefthis bronzed faceframed in black
hairhis dark eyeswear a look, an expression of satisfied
desireLife holds nothing new for himonly the continuation of old
AT last a heavy portière is lifted.
PERHAPS you were expecting an oriental girl of dark beautya
THE girl advancing to the Sultan's couch is Europeana Russian of
AMONG the palms of the Orientalmost as a slave she sojourns in the
palace of the Sultan.
ONLY one of many, a passionate love holds her there.
EVER followingpursuing, is the other selfthe gentle nature,
which understands neither passion nor envy. The self which still fears
and lovesyethas no courage for prayer. And the spirit of this
gentle nature whispers to the dominant one
Lift yourself up and come awayI will lead you far from the
moonlightthe overpowering perfumesinto the bleak light of
daypeace will find you.
Nothe stillness of the nightthe kisses of my Sultan content
me. But soon the inner voice cried so loudeven the moonlight could
not quiet it.
PULLING against the inner selfher heart must break.
THE soft music of the slavesonce it had soothed herbut now
IT was the howling wind of a northern landof Russiaor the
pealing of a bellThere had been a chapel in the dark Zamok where her
childhood had been spent.
THE inner voice called Katherinebut could not yet overcome the
blood which flowed in Katherine's veinsthe blood of a favorite of a
SOMETIMES in the light of day the inner, other self of Katherine
would overcomewould want to fleebut ever the mysticism of Oriental
nights would draw out more strongly than before the tainted blood of
FINALLY the Sultan grew disdainfulThere were newer girls brought
from Mecca, from the desert.
THE greatthe inevitable conflict with her inner self left her
FOR days she hung between life and deathwith no one to care, save
an old colored slave.
GONE the mystic atmosphere of the Orientthe music of cymbals.
* * * * *
A PROVINCIAL town in Francewith the ill-lighted streetsand a
steady down-pour of winter rain.
IT is Christmas eve
THROUGH the window Katherine has been watching a procession of
people hastening to midnight Mass at the Cathedral. Womendressed in
the picturesque garb and coif of Brittanymen and childrenWhat peace
is theirsthey know of the Christ Childof his Motherand no streams
of lowest passioncan cover their souls.
THE Cathedral of Nantes has stood in its Gothic beauty for many
centurieshas witnessed many scenes.
THAT night a soul struggled against the past.
A WOMANshe was alivefor she walkedmoved. But withinshe was
SHE lay almost fainting on the steps of a side Altarbefore the
HER inner self was pleadingKatherinelive again!
PRESENTLY the Adeste Fidelis soundedthrobbedfilled the church
HOW beautifulshe murmured.
THE memory of the Sultan rose and fell each time at the sight of the
candles, the acolytes in prayer. A vision so fierce and lustful could
not live in this sacred place.
* * * * *
MY childadvised the old Priestpraypray always for
forgivenessfor enlightenmentfor guidance. One who seeks these
things as fervently as you do always finds.
THAT NIGHT HIS SORROW WAS LIFTED.
All ye are Christ's and Christ is God.Saint Paul
HIGH in the mountains, above the cities where all was
calmpeaceful a golden moon shone down lighting bare branches and
fallen leaves lighting the dark pines
IT shone on the lake, in a valley in the mountains, making golden
streaks upon the waters
* * * * *
CHRIST walked on earth that night and stopped near the shore of the
HE looked into its depths at the skyat the moon and felt the
cold night air on His Face.
A GREAT sadness had overcome Him.
GOD had reflected a corner of Heaven to men on Earth and they did
not pause in pleasure or in sorrow no one felt the beauty of those
HE stood alone by the lake again looked into its depths
WHAT peacewhat beauty
DOWN below men grappled with death not beautiful death but
hatredlustfilled their souls.
THEY killedwere killed
THE agonizing sorrow of Gethsemane again swept over Christ, as He
stood by the Lake and wondered if men would ever be worthy of the gift
of life if they would ever make it beautifuland not terrible
THEY were endowed with a certain freedom they used it to make
wars to think of barbarous machines that would kill and torture
THE fiendish cries of battle were in the great valley below
CANNONS roared and flashed a red glare into the sky
TEARS filled His eyes as He thought of the unprepared souls which
were being hurled into Eternity on both sides of the battle line
THE broken homes
HIS heart was breaking in sorrow for the people He loved so well
MOON streaks were playing on the water
THE cold night air blew through the trees.
CHRIST wept men surely were not worthy of life of the beauty
which filled the world
HE turned away and still hearing the noise of battle walked
under the pines
HE came upon a small cabin sheltered by tall trees the roof was
covered by fallen leaves a light shone from the window.
INSIDEa babe slept in its cradle and the mother gently rocked
it singing a soft lullaby
HER thoughts were with him, in the valley below battling in the
iron clutch of war
SCARCELY knowing for whator for whom he fought
SHE kissed her babe and knelt down before its cradle
OH Christ help me in my hour of need. protect him protect my
* * * * *
THE sorrow of Christ had gone
THE mother's soul leaned to Him for help unconsciously she had
helped Him on that night of beauty in the mountains when belowthe
world was being tornravaged
THE noise of battle died away from Him
HE heard only the prayer the soft breathing of the child and the
whispering of the trees
HE gathered the mother's prayer into His heart and blessed her as He
YESmen were worthy this hysteria of war would pass
PEACE and love would come.