John becomes too Popular

No flower that I have ever seen, either in shifting of light and shade, or in the pearly morning, may vie with a fair young woman’s face when tender thought and quick emotion vary, enrich, and beautify it. Thus my Lorna hearkened softly, almost without word or gesture, yet with sighs and glances telling, and the pressure of my hand, how each word was moving her.

When at last my tale was done, she turned away, and wept bitterly for the sad fate of her parents. But to my surprise she spoke not even a word of wrath or rancour. She seemed to take it all as fate.

‘Lorna, darling,’ I said at length, for men are more impatient in trials of time than women are, ‘do you not even wish to know what your proper name is?’

‘How can it matter to me, John?’ she answered, with a depth of grief which made me seem a trifler. ‘It can never matter now, when there are none to share it.’

‘Poor little soul!’ was all I said in a tone of purest pity; and to my surprise she turned upon me, caught me in her arms, and loved me as she had never done before.

‘Dearest, I have you,’ she cried; ‘you, and only you, love. Having you I want no other. All my life is one with yours. Oh, John, how can I treat you so?’

Blushing through the wet of weeping, and the gloom of pondering, yet she would not hide her eyes, but folded me, and dwelled on me.

‘I cannot believe,’ in the pride of my joy, I whispered into one little ear, ‘that you could ever so love me, beauty, as to give up the world for me.’

‘Would you give up your farm for me, John?’ cried Lorna, leaping back and looking, with her wondrous power of light at me; ‘would you give up your mother, your sisters, your home, and all that you have in the world and every hope of your life, John?’

‘Of course I would. Without two thoughts. You know it; you know it, Lorna.’

‘It is true that I do, ‘she answered in a tone of deepest sadness; ‘and it is this power of your love which has made me love you so. No good can come of it, no good. God’s face is set against selfishness.’

As she spoke in that low tone I gazed at the clear lines of her face (where every curve was perfect) not with love and wonder only, but with a strange new sense of awe.

‘Darling,’ I said, ‘come nearer to me. Give me surety against that. For God’s sake never frighten me with the thought that He would part us.’

‘Does it then so frighten you?’ she whispered, coming close to me; ‘I know it, dear; I have known it long; but it never frightens me. It makes me sad, and very lonely, till I can remember.’

‘Till you can remember what?’ I asked, with a long, deep shudder; for we are so superstitious.

‘Until I do remember, love, that you will soon come back to me, and be my own for ever. This is what I always think of, this is what I hope for.’

Although her eyes were so glorious, and beaming with eternity, this distant sort of beatitude was not much to my liking. I wanted to have my love on earth; and my dear wife in my own home; and children in good time, if God should please to send us any. And then I would be to them, exactly what my father was to me. And beside all this, I doubted much about being fit for heaven; where no ploughs are, and no cattle, unless sacrificed bulls went thither.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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