Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Inspiring Novel > Scenes of Clerical Life > Chapter 15
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
Chapter 15
 The stony1 street, the bitter north-east wind and darkness—and in the midst of them a tender woman thrust out from her husband’s home in her thin night-dress, the harsh wind cutting her naked feet, and driving her long hair away from her half-clad bosom2, where the poor heart is crushed with anguish3 and despair.  
The drowning man, urged by the supreme4 agony, lives in an instant through all his happy and unhappy past: when the dark flood has fallen like a curtain, memory, in a single moment, sees the drama acted over again. And even in those earlier crises, which are but types of death—when we are cut off abruptly5 from the life we have known, when we can no longer expect to-morrow to resemble yesterday, and find ourselves by some sudden shock on the confines of the unknown—there is often the same sort of lightning-flash through the dark and unfrequented chambers6 of memory.
When Janet sat down shivering on the door-stone, with the door shut upon her past life, and the future black and unshapen before her as the night, the scenes of her childhood, her youth and her painful womanhood, rushed back upon her consciousness, and made one picture with her present desolation. The petted child taking her newest toy to bed with her—the young girl, proud in strength and beauty, dreaming that life was an easy thing, and that it was pitiful weakness to be unhappy—the bride, passing with trembling joy from the outer court to the inner sanctuary7 of woman’s life—the wife, beginning her initiation8 into sorrow, wounded, resenting, yet still hoping and forgiving—the poor bruised9 woman, seeking through weary years the one refuge of despair, oblivion:—Janet seemed to herself all these in the same moment that she was conscious of being seated on the cold stone under the shock of a new misery10. All her early gladness, all her bright hopes and illusions, all her gifts of beauty and affection, served only to darken the riddle11 of her life; they were the betraying promises of a cruel destiny which had brought out those sweet blossoms only that the winds and storms might have a greater work of desolation, which had nursed her like a pet fawn12 into tenderness and fond expectation, only that she might feel a keener terror in the clutch of the panther. Her mother had sometimes said that troubles were sent to make us better and draw us nearer to God. What mockery that seemed to Janet! Her troubles had been sinking her lower from year to year, pressing upon her like heavy fever-laden vapours, and perverting13 the very plenitude of her nature into a deeper source of disease. Her wretchedness had been a perpetually tightening14 instrument of torture, which had gradually absorbed all the other sensibilities of her nature into the sense of pain and the maddened craving15 for relief. Oh, if some ray of hope, of pity, of consolation16, would pierce through the horrible gloom, she might believe then in a Divine love—in a heavenly Father who cared for His children! But now she had no faith, no trust. There was nothing she could lean on in the wide world, for her mother was only a fellow-sufferer in her own lot. The poor patient woman could do little more than mourn with her daughter: she had humble17 resignation enough to sustain her own soul, but she could no more give comfort and fortitude18 to Janet, than the withered19 ivy-covered trunk can bear up its strong, full-boughed offspring crashing down under an Alpine20 storm. Janet felt she was alone: no human soul had measured her anguish, had understood her self-despair, had entered into her sorrows and her sins with that deep-sighted sympathy which is wiser than all blame, more potent21 than all reproof—such sympathy as had swelled22 her own heart for many a sufferer. And if there was any Divine Pity, she could not feel it; it kept aloof23 from her, it poured no balm into her wounds, it stretched out no hand to bear up her weak resolve, to fortify24 her fainting courage.
Now, in her utmost loneliness, she shed no tear: she sat staring fixedly26 into the darkness, while inwardly she gazed at her own past, almost losing the sense that it was her own, or that she was anything more than a spectator at a strange and dreadful play.
The loud sound of the church clock, striking one, startled her. She had not been there more than half an hour, then? And it seemed to her as if she had been there half the night. She was getting benumbed with cold. With that strong instinctive28 dread27 of pain and death which had made her recoil29 from suicide, she started up, and the disagreeable sensation of resting on her benumbed feet helped to recall her completely to the sense of the present. The wind was beginning to make rents in the clouds, and there came every now and then a dim light of stars that frightened her more than the darkness; it was like a cruel finger pointing her out in her wretchedness and humiliation30; it made her shudder31 at the thought of the morning twilight32. What could she do? Not go to her mother—not rouse her in the dead of night to tell her this. Her mother would think she was a spectre; it would be enough to kill her with horror. And the way there was so long ... if she should meet some one ... yet she must seek some shelter, somewhere to hide herself. Five doors off there was Mrs. Pettifer’s; that kind woman would take her i............
Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved