Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
Malbone: An Oldport Romance Thomas Wentworth Higginson

VI. "Some Lover's Clear Day"

Page 5 of 6

Table Of Contents: Malbone: An Oldport Romance

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

"If we both had French partners, dear," replied the elder maiden, "they would soon find the difference in both respects. My dancing came by nature, I believe, and I learned French as a child, by talking with my old uncle, who was half a Parisian. I believe I have a good accent, but I have so little practice that I have no command of the language compared to yours. In a week or two we can both try our skill, as there is to be a ball for the officers of the French corvette yonder," and Hope pointed to the heavy spars, the dark canvas, and the high quarter-deck which made the "Jean Hoche" seem as if she had floated out of the days of Nelson.

The calm day waned, the sun drooped to his setting amid a few golden bars and pencilled lines of light. Ere they were ready for departure, the tide had ebbed, and, in getting the boats to a practicable landing-place, Malbone was delayed behind the others. As he at length brought his boat to the rock, Hope sat upon the ruined fort, far above him, and sang. Her noble contralto voice echoed among the cliffs down to the smooth water; the sun went down behind her, and still she sat stately and noble, her white dress looking more and more spirit-like against the golden sky; and still the song rang on,--

"Never a scornful word should grieve thee,
I'd smile on thee, sweet, as the angels do;
Sweet as thy smile on me shone ever,
Douglas, Douglas, tender and true."

Tired of reading? Add this page to your Bookmarks or Favorites and finish it later.

All sacredness and sweetness, all that was pure and brave and truthful, seemed to rest in her. And when the song ceased at his summons, and she came down to meet him,--glowing, beautiful, appealing, tender,--then all meaner spells vanished, if such had ever haunted him, and he was hers alone.

Later that evening, after the household had separated, Hope went into the empty drawing-room for a light. Philip, after a moment's hesitation, followed her, and paused in the doorway. She stood, a white-robed figure, holding the lighted candle; behind her rose the arched alcove, whose quaint cherubs looked down on her; she seemed to have stepped forth, the awakened image of a saint. Looking up, she saw his eager glance; then she colored, trembled, and put the candle down. He came to her, took her hand and kissed it, then put his hand upon her brow and gazed into her face, then kissed her lips. She quietly yielded, but her color came and went, and her lips moved as if to speak. For a moment he saw her only, thought only of her.

Then, even while he gazed into her eyes, a flood of other memories surged over him, and his own eyes grew dim. His head swam, the lips he had just kissed appeared to fade away, and something of darker, richer beauty seemed to burn through those fair features; he looked through those gentle eyes into orbs more radiant, and it was as if a countenance of eager passion obliterated that fair head, and spoke with substituted lips, "Behold your love." There was a thrill of infinite ecstasy in the work his imagination did; he gave it rein, then suddenly drew it in and looked at Hope. Her touch brought pain for an instant, as she laid her hand upon him, but he bore it. Then some influence of calmness came; there swept by him a flood of earlier, serener memories; he sat down in the window-seat beside her, and when she put her face beside his, and her soft hair touched his cheek, and he inhaled the rose-odor that always clung round her, every atom of his manhood stood up to drive away the intruding presence, and he again belonged to her alone.

Page 5 of 6 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
Malbone: An Oldport Romance
Thomas Wentworth Higginson

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004