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A Mountain Woman Elia W. Peattie

A Resuscitation

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He himself, very timid and conscious of his awkwardness, sat near, trying barrenly to get some of his thoughts out of his brain on to his tongue.

"Strange, isn't it," the woman broke in on her own music, "that we have seen each other so very often and never spoken? I've often thought introductions were ridiculous. Fancy seeing a person year in and year out, and really knowing all about him, and being perfectly acquainted with his name -- at least his or her name, you know -- and then never speaking! Some one comes along, and says, 'Miss Le Baron, this is Mr. Culross,' just as if one didn't know that all the time! And there you are! You cease to be dumb folks, and fall to talking, and say a lot of things neither of you care about, and after five or six weeks of time and sundry meetings, get down to honestly saying what you mean. I'm so glad we've got through with that first stage, and can say what we think and tell what we really like."

Then the playing began again, -- a harp-like intermingling of soft sounds. Zoe Le Baron's hands were very girlish. Everything about her was unformed. Even her mind was so. But all promised a full completion. The voice, the shoulders, the smile, the words, the lips, the arms, the whole mind and body, were rounding to maturity.

"Why do you never come to church in the morning?" asks Miss Le Baron, wheeling around on her piano-stool suddenly. "You are only there at night, with your mother."

"I go only on her account," replies David, truthfully. "In the morning I am so tired with the week's work that I rest at home. I ought to go, I know."

"Yes, you ought," returns the young woman, gravely. "It doesn't really rest one to lie in bed like that. I've tried it at boarding-school. It was no good whatever."

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"Should you advise me," asks David, in a confiding tone, "to arise early on Sunday?"

The girl blushes a little. "By all means!" she cries, her eyes twinkling, "and -- and come to church. Our morning sermons are really very much better than those in the evening." And she plays a waltz, and what with the music and the warmth of the room and the perfume of the roses, a something nameless and mystical steals over the poor clerk, and swathes him about like the fumes of opium. They are alone. The silence is made deeper by that rhythmic unswelling of sound. As the painter flushes the bare wall into splendor, these emotions illuminated his soul, and gave to it that high courage that comes when men or women suddenly realize that each life has its significance, -- their own lives no less than the lives of others.

The man sitting there in the shadow in that noisy train saw in his vision how the lad arose and moved, like one under a spell, toward the piano. He felt again the enchantment of the music-ridden quiet, of the perfume, and the presence of the woman.

"Knowing you and speaking with you have not made much difference with me," he whispers, drunk on the new wine of passion, "for I have loved you since I saw you first. And though it is so sweet to hear you speak, your voice is no more beautiful than I thought it would be. I have loved you a long time, and I want to know --"

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A Mountain Woman
Elia W. Peattie

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