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A Mountain Woman Elia W. Peattie

A Resuscitation

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"I have no right to be comfortable and hopeful, and to have friends, with you shut up from liberty and happiness. I will not have those comfortable rooms, after all. I will live as you do. I will live alone in a bare room. For it is I who am guilty! And then I will feel that I also am being punished.

"Do you hate me? Perhaps my telling you now all these things, and that I felt toward you just as you did toward me, will not make you happy. For it may be that you despise me.

"Anyway, I have told you the truth now. I will go as soon as I hear from you to a lawyer, and try to find out how you may be liberated. I am sure it can be done when the facts are known.

"Poor boy! How I do hope you have known in your heart that I was not forgetting you. Indeed, day or night, I have thought of nothing else. Now I am free to help you. And be sure, whatever happens, that I am working for you.


That was all. Just a girlish, constrained letter, hardly hinting at the hot tears that had been shed for many weary nights, coyly telling of the impatient young love and all the maidenly shame.

David permitted himself to read it only once. Then a sudden resolution was born -- a heroic one. Before he got the letter he was a crushed and unsophisticated boy; when he had read it, and absorbed its full significance, he became suddenly a man, capable of a great sacrifice.

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"I return your letter," he wrote, without superscription, "and thank you for your anxiety about me. But the truth is, I had forgotten all about you in my trouble. You were not in the least to blame for what happened. I might have known I would come to such an end. You thought I was good, of course; but it is not easy to find out the life of a young man. It is rather mortifying to have a private letter sent here, because the warden reads them all. I hope you will enjoy yourself this winter, and hasten to forget one who had certainly forgotten you till reminded by your letter, which I return.



That night some deep lines came into his face which never left it, and which made him look like a man of middle age.

He never doubted that his plan would succeed; that, piqued and indignant at his ingratitude, she would hate him, and in a little time forget he ever lived, or remember him only to blush with shame at her past association with him. He saw her happy, loved, living the usual life of women, with all those things that make life rich.

For there in the solitude an understanding of deep things came to him. He who thought never to have a wife grew to know what the joy of it must be. He perceived all the subtle rapture of wedded souls. He learned what the love of children was, the pride of home, the unselfish ambition for success that spurs men on. All the emotions passed in procession at night before him, tricked out in palpable forms.

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A Mountain Woman
Elia W. Peattie

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