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A Mountain Woman Elia W. Peattie

A Resuscitation

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A burst of girlish tears would dissipate whatever lingering pity Zoe felt for him. How often he said that! With her sensitiveness she would be sure to hate a man who had mortified her.

So he fell to dreaming of her again as moving among happy and luxurious scenes, exquisitely clothed, with flowers on her bosom and jewels on her neck; and he saw men loving her, and was glad, and saw her at last loving the best of them, and told himself in the silence of the night that it was as he wished.

Yet always, always, from weary week to weary week, he rehearsed the scenes. They were his theatre, his opera, his library, his lecture hall.

He rehearsed them again there on the cars. He never wearied of them. To be sure, other thoughts had come to him at night. Much that to most men seems complex and puzzling had grown to appear simple to him. In a way his brain had quickened and deepened through the years of solitude. He had thought out a great many things. He had read a few good books and digested them, and the visions in his heart had kept him from being bitter.

Yet, suddenly confronted with liberty, turned loose like a pastured colt, without master or rein, he felt only confusion and dismay. He might be expected to feel exultation. He experienced only fright. It is precisely the same with the liberated colt.

The train pulled into a bustling station, in which the multitudinous noises were thrown back again from the arched iron roof. The relentless haste of all the people was inexpressibly cruel to the man who looked from the window wondering whither he would go, and if, among all the thousands that made up that vast and throbbing city, he would ever find a friend.

For a moment David longed even for that unmaternal mother who had forgotten him in the hour of his distress; but she had been dead for many years.

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The train stopped. Every one got out. David forced himself to his feet and followed. He had been driven back into the world. It would have seemed less terrible to have been driven into a desert. He walked toward the great iron gates, seeing the people and hearing the noises confusedly.

As he entered the space beyond the grating some one caught him by the arm. It was a little middle-aged woman in plain clothes, and with sad gray eyes.

"Is this David?" said she.

He did not speak, but his face answered her.

"I knew you were coming to-day. I've waited all these years, David. You didn't think I believed what you said in that letter did you? This way, David, -- this is the way home."

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A Mountain Woman
Elia W. Peattie

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