A Spinner in the Sun (Chapter 6, page 2 of 7)


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Chapter 6

Miss Evelina's mind had paused at twenty; she had not grown. The acute suffering of Youth was still upon her, a woman of forty-five. It was as though a clock had gone on ticking and the hands had never moved; the dial of her being was held at that dread hour, while her broken heart beat on.

She had not discovered that secret compensation which clings to the commonest affairs of life. One sees before him a mountain of toil, an apparently endless drudgery from which there is no escape. Having once begun it, an interest appears unexpectedly; new forces ally themselves with the fumbling hands. Misfortunes come, "not singly, but in battalions." After the first shock of realisation, one perceives through the darkness that the strength to bear them has come also, like some good angel.

A lover shudders at the thought of Death, yet knows that some day, on the road they walk together, the Grey Angel with the white poppies will surely take one of them by the hand. The road winds through shadows, past many strange and difficult places, and wrecks are strewn all along the way. They laugh at the storms that beat upon them, take no reck of bruised feet nor stumbling, for, behold, they are together, and in that one word lies all.

Sometimes, in the mist ahead, which, as they enter it, is seen to be wholly of tears, the road forks blindly, and there is nothing but night ahead for each. The Grey Angel with the unfathomable eyes approaches slowly, with no sound save the hushed murmur of wings. The dread white poppies are in his outstretched hand--the great, nodding white poppies which have come from the dank places and have never known the sun.

There is no possible denial. At first, one knows only that the faithful hand has grown cold, then, that it has unclasped. In the intolerable darkness, one fares forth alone on the other fork of the road, too stricken for tears.

At length there is a change. Memories troop from the shadow to whisper consolation, to say that Death himself is powerless against Love, when a heart is deep enough to hold a grave. The clouds lift, and through the night comes some stray gleam of dawn. No longer cold, the dear hand nestles once more into the one that held it so long. Not as an uncertain presence but as a loved reality, that other abides with him still.

Shut out forever from the possibility of estrangement, for there is always that drop of bitterness in the cup of Life and Love; eternally beyond the reach of misunderstanding or change, spared the pitfalls and disasters of the way ahead, blinded no longer by the mists of earth, but immortally and unchangeably his, that other fares with him, though unseen, upon the selfsame road.

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