When Helen was left alone, she seated herself before her old music stand which had been brought down to welcome her, and proceeded to glance over and arrange the pieces she had learned and loved in her young girlhood. Most of them made her smile, and when she reflected upon how difficult she used to think them, she realized that now that it was over she was glad for the German regime. Helen had accounted herself an accomplished pianist when she went away, but she had met with new standards and learned to think humbly of herself in the great home of music. She possessed a genuine fondness for the art, however, and had devoted most of her three years to it, so that she came home rejoicing in the possession of a technic that was quite a mastership compared with any that she was likely to meet.
"For you alone I strive to sing, Oh, tell me how to woo!"
Helen's thoughts did not dwell upon that very long at present, however; she found herself thinking again about Arthur, and the unexpected ending of her walk with him.
"I had no idea he felt that way toward me," she mused, resting her chin in her hand; "what in the world am I going to do? Men are certainly most inconvenient creatures; I thought I was doing everything in the world to make him happy!"
Helen turned to the music once more, but the memory of the figure she had left sunken helplessly upon the forest seat stayed in her mind. "I do wonder if that can be why he did not wait for me," she thought, shuddering,--"if he was too wretched to see me again; what CAN I do?" She got up and began walking restlessly up and down the room for a few minutes.
"Perhaps I ought to go and look for him," she mused; "it was an hour or two ago that I left him there;" and Helen, after thinking the matter over, had half turned to leave, when she heard a step outside and saw the door open quickly. Even before she saw him she knew who it was, for only Arthur would have entered without ringing the bell. After having pictured him overcome by despair, it was rather a blow to her pride to see him, for he entered flushed, and seemingly elated.
"Well, sir, you've treated me nicely!" she exclaimed, showing her vexation in spite of herself.
"You will forgive me," said Arthur, smiling.
"Don't be too sure of it," Helen said; "I looked for you everywhere, and I am quite angry."
"I was obeying your high command," the other replied, still smiling.
"My command? I told you to wait for me."
"You told me something else," laughed Arthur. "You spent all the morning instructing me for it, you know."
"Oh!" said Helen. It was a broad and very much prolonged "Oh," for a sudden light was dawning upon the girl; as it came her frown gave place to a look of delight.
"You have been writing me a poem!" she cried, eagerly.
"Yes," said Arthur.
"Oh, you dear boy!" Helen laughed. "Then I do forgive you; but you ought to have told me, for I had to walk home all alone, and I've been worrying about you. I never once thought of the poem."
"The muses call without warning," laughed Arthur, "and one has to obey them, you know."
"Oh, oh!" exclaimed the other. "And so you've been wandering around the woods all this time, making verses! And you've been waving your arms and talking to yourself, and doing all sorts of crazy things, I know!" Then as she saw Arthur flush, she went on: "I was sure of it! And you ran away so that I wouldn't see you! Oh, I wish I'd known; I'd have hunted you up and never come home until I'd found you."
As was usual with Helen, her momentary vexation had gone like April rain, and all her seriousness had vanished with it. She forgot all about the last scene in the woods, and Arthur was once more the friend of her girlhood, whom she might take by the hand when she chose, and with whom she might be as free and happy as when she was alone with the flowers and the wind. It seemed as if Arthur too had vented all his pent up emotion, and returned to his natural cheerful self.
"Tell me," she cried, "did you put in all the things I told you about?"
"I put all I could," said Arthur. "That is a great deal to ask."
"I only want it to be full of life," laughed Helen. "That's all I care about; the man who wants to write springtime poetry for me must be wide awake!"
"Shall I read it to you?" asked Arthur, hesitatingly.
"Yes, of course," said Helen. "And read it as if you meant it; if I like it I'll tell you so."
"I wrote it for nothing but to please you" was the reply, and Arthur took a much bescrawled piece of paper from his pocket; the girl seated herself upon the piano stool again and gazed up at him as he rested his elbow upon the top of the piano and read his lines. There could not have been a situation in which the young poet would have read them with more complete happiness, and so it was a pleasure to watch him. And Helen's eyes kindled, and her cheeks flushed brightly as she listened, for she found that the verses had taken their imagery from her very lips.
In the May-time's golden glory Ere the quivering sun was high, I heard the Wind of Morning Through the laughing meadows fly;
In his passion-song was throbbing All the madness of the May, And he whispered: Thou hast labored; Thou art weary; come away!
Thou shalt drink a fiery potion For thy prisoned spirit's pain; Thou shalt taste the ancient rapture That thy soul has sought in vain.
I will tell thee of a maiden, One who has thy longing fanned-- Spirit of the Forest Music-- Thou shalt take her by the hand,
Lightly by her rosy fingers Trembling with her keen delight, And her flying steps shall lead thee Out upon the mountain's height;
To a dance undreamed of mortal To the Bacchanal of Spring,-- Where in mystic joy united Nature's bright-eyed creatures sing.
There the green things of the mountain, Million-voiced, newly-born, And the flowers of the valley In their beauty's crimson morn;
There the winged winds of morning, Spirits unresting, touched with fire, And the streamlets, silver-throated, They whose leaping steps ne'er tire!
Thou shalt see them, ever circling Round about a rocky spring, While the gaunt old forest-warriors Madly their wide branches fling.
Thou shalt tread the whirling measure, Bathe thee in its frenzied strife; Thou shalt have a mighty memory For thy spirit's after life.
Haste thee while thy heart is burning, While thine eyes have strength to see; Hark, behind yon blackening cloud-bank, To the Storm-King's minstrelsy!
See, he stamps upon the mountains, And he leaps the valleys high! Now he smites his forest harp-strings, And he sounds his thunder-cry:--
Waken, lift ye up, ye creatures, Sing the song, each living thing! Join ye in the mighty passion Of the Symphony of Spring!
And so the young poet finished, his cheeks fairly on fire, and, as he gazed down at Helen, his hand trembling so that he could hardly hold the paper. One glance told him that she was pleased, for the girl's face was flushed like his own, and her eyes were sparkling with delight. Arthur's heart gave a great throb within him.
"You like it!" he exclaimed.
"Oh, Arthur, I do!" she cried. "Oh, how glorious you must have been!" And trembling with girlish delight, she took the paper from his hand and placed it in front of her on the music rack.
"Oh, I should like to write music for it!" she exclaimed; "for those lines about the Storm-King!"
And she read them aloud, clenching her hands and shaking her head, carried away by the image they brought before her eyes. "Oh, I should like music for it!" she cried again.
"I don't know very much about poetry, you know," she added, laughing excitedly. "If it's about the things I like, I can't help thinking it's fine. It's just the same with music,--if a man only makes it swift and strong, so that it leaps and flies and never tires, that is all I care about; and if he just keeps his trombones till the very last, he can carry me off my feet though he makes the worst noise that ever was! It's the same as a storm, you know, Arthur; do you remember how we used to go up on our hillside when the great wind was coming, and when everything was growing still and black; and how we used to watch the big clouds and the sheets of rain, and run for home when we heard the thunder? Once when you were away, Arthur, I didn't run, for I wanted to see what it was like; and I stayed up there and saw it all, singing the 'Ride of the Valkyries,' and pretending I was one of them and could gallop with the wind. For the wind is fine, Arthur! It fills you so full of its power that you stretch out your arms to it, and it makes you sing; and it comes, and it comes again, stronger than ever, and it sweeps you on, just like a great mass of music. And then it howls through the trees and it flies over the valleys,--that was what you were thinking of, weren't you, Arthur?"
And Helen stopped, breathlessly, and gazed at him; her cheeks were flushed, and her hands still tightly clasped.
"Yes," said Arthur, half mechanically, for he had lost himself in the girl's enthusiasm, and felt the storm of his verses once more.
"Your poem made me think of that one time that was so gloriously," Helen went on. "For the rain was almost blinding, and I was drenched, but I did not even know it. For oh, the thunder! Arthur, you've no idea what thunder is like till you're near it! There fell one fearful bolt quite near me, a great white, living thing, as thick as a man's body, and the crash of it seemed to split the air. But oh, I didn't mind it a bit! 'Der Sanger triumphirt in Wettern!' I think I was a real Valkyrie that time, and I only wished that I might put it into music."
The girl turned to the piano, and half in play struck a great rumbling chord, that rolled and echoed through the room; she sounded it once more, laughing aloud with glee. Arthur had sunk down upon a chair beside her, and was bending forward, watching her with growing excitement. For again and again Helen struck the keys with all the power of her arms, until they seemed to give forth real storm and thunder; and as she went on with her reckless play the mood grew upon her, and she lost herself in the vision of the Storm-King sweeping through the sky. She poured out a great stream of his wild music, singing away to herself excitedly in the meantime. And as the rush continued and the fierce music swelled louder, the phantasy took hold of the girl and carried her beyond herself. She seemed to become the very demon of the storm, unbound and reckless; she smote the keys with right royal strength, and the piano seemed a thing of life beneath her touch. The pace became faster, and the thunder rattled and crashed more wildly, and there awoke in the girl's soul a power of musical utterance that she had never dreamed of in her life before. Her whole being was swept away in ecstasy; her lips were moving excitedly, and her pulses were leaping like mad. She seemed no longer to know of the young man beside her, who was bent forward with clenched hands, carried beyond himself by the sight of her exulting power.
And in the meantime, Helen's music was surging on, building itself up into a great climax that swelled and soared and burst in a deafening thunder crash; and while the air was still throbbing and echoing with it, the girl joined to it her deep voice, grown suddenly conscious of new power:
"See, he stamps upon the mountains, And he leaps the valleys high! Now he smites his forest harp-strings, And he sounds his thunder cry!"And as the cry came the girl laughed aloud, like a very Valkyrie indeed, her laugh part of the music, and carried on by it; and then gradually as the tempest swept on, the rolling thunder was lost in a march that was the very tread of the Storm-King. And the march broadened, and the thunder died out of it slowly, and all the wild confusion, and then it rose, glorious and triumphant, and turned to a mighty pean, a mightier one than ever Helen could have made. The thought of it had come to her as an inspiration, and as a refuge, that the glory of her passion might not be lost. The march had led her to it, and now it had taken her in its arms and swept her away, as it had swept millions by its majesty. It was the great Ninth Symphony Hymn:
"Hail thee, Joy! From Heaven descending, Daughter from Elysium! Ecstasy our hearts inflaming, To thy sacred shrine we come. Thine enchantments bind together Those whom custom's law divides; All are brothers, all united, Where thy gentle wing abides."And Helen sang it as one possessed by it, as one made drunk with its glory--as the very Goddess of Joy that she was. For the Storm-King and his legions had fled, and another vision had come into her heart, a vision that every one ought to carry with him when the great symphony is to be heard. He should see the hall in Vienna where it was given for the last time in the great master's life, and see the great master himself, the bowed and broken figure that all musicians worship, standing up to conduct it; and see him leading it through all its wild surging passion, almost too frantic to be endured; and then, when the last towering climax has passed and the music has ceased and the multitude at his back has burst forth into its thundering shout, see the one pathetic figure standing there aloft before all eyes and still blindly beating the time. There must have been tears in the eyes of every man in that place to know the reason for it,--that he from whose heart all their joy had come, he who was lord and master of it, had never heard in his life and could never hope to hear one sound of that music he had written, but must dwell a prisoner in darkness and solitude forever.
That was the picture before Helen's eyes; she did not think of the fearful tragedy of it--she had no feeling for tragedy, she knew no more about suffering than a child just born. But joy she knew, and joy she was; she was the multitude lifted up in its ecstasy, throbbing, burning and triumphant, and she sang the great choruses, one after another, and the piano beneath her fingers thundered and rang with the instrumental part. Surely in all music there is no utterance of joy so sustained and so overwhelming in its intensity as this; it is a frenzy almost more than man can stand; it is joy more than human--the joy of existence:--
"Pleasure every creature living From kind Nature's breast receives; Good and evil, all are seeking For the rosy path she leaves."And so the torrent of passionate exultation swept Helen onward with it until the very end, the last frantic prestissimo chorus, and then she sprang to her feet and flung up her hands with a cry. She stood thus for a moment, glowing with exultation, and then she sank down again and sat staring before her, the music still echoing through every fiber of her soul, and the shouting multitude still surging before her.
For just how long that lasted, she knew not, but only that her wild mood was gradually subsiding, and that she felt herself sinking back, as a bird sinks after its flight; then suddenly she turned. Arthur was at her side, and she gave a cry, for he had seized her hand in his, and was covering it with burning kisses.
"Arthur! Arthur!" she gasped.
The young man gazed up at her, and Helen remembered the scene in the forest, and realized what she had done. She had shaken him to the very depths of his being by the emotion which she had flung loose before him, and he seemed beside himself at that moment, his hair disordered and his forehead hot and flushed. He made a move as if to clasp the girl in his arms, and Helen tore her hand loose by main force and sprang back to the doorway.
"Arthur!" she cried. "What do you mean?"
He clutched at a chair for support, and stood staring at her. For fully a minute they remained thus, Helen trembling with alarm; then his head sank, and he flung himself down upon the sofa, where he lay sobbing passionately. Helen remained gazing at him with wide open and astonished eyes.
"Arthur!" she exclaimed again.
But he did not hear her, for the cruel sobbing that shook his frame. Helen, as soon as her first alarm had passed, came softly nearer, till she stood by the sofa; but still he did not heed her, and she did not dare even to put her hand upon his shoulder. She was afraid of him, her dearest friend, and she knew not what to make of him.
"Arthur," she whispered again, when he was silent for a moment. "Please speak to me, Arthur."
The other gazed up at her with a look of such helpless despair and longing upon his face that Helen was frightened still more. He had been sobbing as if his heart would break, but his eyes were dry.
"What is the matter?" she cried.
The young man answered her hoarsely: "Can you not see what is the matter, Helen? I love you! And you drive me mad!"
The girl turned very pale, and lowered her eyes before his burning gaze.
"Helen," the other went on impetuously, "you will break my heart if you treat me in this way. Do you not know that for three long years I have been dreaming of you, and of the promise that you gave me? You told me that you loved me, and that you always would love me! You told me that the night before you went away; and you kissed me. All this time I have been thinking of that kiss, and cherishing the memory of it, and waiting for you to return. I have labored for no other reason, I have had no other hope in the world; I have kept your image before me, and lived in it, and worshiped before it, and the thought of you has been all that I had. When I was tired and worn and ill I could only think of you and remember your promise, and count the days before your return. And, oh, it has been so long that I could not stand it! For weeks I have been so impatient, and so filled with the thought of the day when I might see you again that I have been helpless and half mad; for I thought that I should take your hand in mine and claim your promise. And this morning I wandered about the woods for hours, waiting for you to come. And see how you have treated me!"
He buried his face in his hands again, and Helen stood gazing at him, breathing very fast with alarm, and unable to find a word to say.
"Helen," he groaned, without looking up again, "do you not know that you are beautiful? Have you no heart? You fling your soul bare before me, and you fill me with this fearful passion; you will drive me mad!"
"But, Arthur," she protested, "I could not think of you so; I thought of you as my brother, and I meant to make you happy."
"Tell me, then," he gasped, staring at her, "tell me once for all. You do _not_ love me, Helen?"
The girl answered with a frank gaze that was cruel, "No, Arthur."
"And you can never love me? You take back the promise that you made me?"
"I told you that I was only a child, Arthur; it has been a long time since I have thought of it."
The young man choked back a sob. "Oh, Helen, if you only knew what cruel words those are," he groaned. "I cannot bear them."
He gazed at her with his burning eyes, so that the girl lowered hers again. "Tell me!" he exclaimed. "What am I to do?"
"Can we not remain friends, just as we used to be?" she asked pleadingly. "Can we not talk together and help each other as before? Oh, Arthur, I thought you would come here to live all summer, and how I should like it! Why can you not? Can you not let me play for you without--without--" and Helen stopped, and flushed a trifle; "I do not know quite what to make of you to-day," she added.
She was speaking kindly, but to the man beside her with his burning heart, her words were hard to hear; he stared at her, shuddering, and then suddenly he clenched his hands and started to his feet.
"Helen," he cried, "there is but one thing. I must go!"
"Go?" echoed Helen.
"If I stay here and gaze at you I shall go mad with despair," he exclaimed incoherently. "Oh, I shall go mad! For I do love you, and you talk to me as if I were a child! Helen, I must get this out of my heart in some way, I cannot stay here."
"But, Arthur," the girl protested, "I told father you would stay, and you will make yourself ill, for you have walked all day."
Every word she uttered was more torment to the other, for it showed him how much his hopes were gone to wreck. He rushed across the room and opened the door; then, however, he paused, as if that had cost him all his resolution. He gazed at the girl with a look of unspeakable yearning, his face white, and his limbs trembling beneath him.
"You wish me to go, Helen?" he exclaimed.
"Wish you!" exclaimed Helen, who was watching him in alarm. "Of course not; I want you to stay and see father, and--"
"And hear you tell me that you do not love me! Oh, Helen, how can you say it again? Can you not see what you have done to me?"
"Arthur!" cried the girl.
"Yes, what you have done to me! You have made me so that I dare not stay near you. You _must_ love me, Helen, oh, some time you must!" And he came toward her again, stretching out his arms to her. As she sprang back, frowning, he stopped and stood for an instant, half sinking; then he whirled about and darted out of the door.
Helen was scarcely able to realize at first that he was gone, but when she looked out she saw that he was already far down the street, walking swiftly. For a moment she thought of calling him; but she checked herself, and closed the door quietly instead, after which she walked slowly across the room. In the center of it she stopped still, gazing in front of her thoughtfully, and looking very grave indeed. "That is dreadful," she said slowly. "I had no idea of such a thing. What in the world am I to do?"
There was a tall mirror between the two windows of the room, and Helen went toward it and stood in front of it, gazing earnestly at herself. "Is it true, then, that I am so very beautiful?" she mused. "And even Arthur must fall in love with me!"
Helen's face was still flushed with the glory of her ride with the Storm-King; she smoothed back the long strands of golden hair that had come loose, and then she looked at herself again. "It is dreadful," she said once more, half aloud, "I do not think I ever felt so nervous in my life, and I don't know what to do; everything I did to please him seemed only to make him more miserable. I wanted him to be happy with me; I wanted him to stay with me." And she walked away frowning, and seated herself at the piano and began peevishly striking at the keys. "I am going to write to him and tell him that he must get over that dreadfulness," she muttered after a while, "and come back and be friends with me. Oakdale will be too stupid without him all summer, and I should be miserable."
She was just rising impatiently when the front door opened and her father came in, exclaiming in a cheery voice, "Well, children!" Then he stopped in surprise. "Why, someone told me Arthur was here!" he exclaimed.
"He's gone home again," said Helen, in a dissatisfied tone.
"Home!" exclaimed the other. "To Hilltown?"
"But I thought he was going to stay until tomorrow."
"So did I," said Helen, "but he changed his mind and decided that he'd better not."
"Why, I am really disappointed," said Mr. Davis. "I thought we should have a little family party; I haven't seen Arthur for a month."
"There is some important reason," said Helen--"that's what he told me, anyway." She did not want her father to have any idea of the true reason, or to ask any inconvenient questions.
Mr. Davis would perhaps have done so, had he not something else on his mind. "By the way, Helen," he said, "I must ask you, what in the world was that fearful noise you were making?"
"Noise?" asked Helen, puzzled for a moment.
"Why, yes; I met old Mr. Nelson coming down the street, and he said that you were making a most dreadful racket upon the piano, and shouting, too, and that there were a dozen people standing in the street, staring!"
A sudden wild thought occurred to Helen, and she whirled about. Sure enough, she found the two windows of the room wide open; and that was too much for her gravity; she flung herself upon the sofa and gave vent to peal after peal of laughter.
"Oh, Daddy!" she gasped. "Oh, Daddy!"
Mr. Davis did not understand the joke, but he waited patiently, taking off his gloves in the meantime. "What it is, Helen?" he enquired.
"Oh, Daddy!" exclaimed the girl again, and lifted herself up and turned her laughing eyes upon him. "And now I understand why inspired people have to live in the country!"
"What was it, Helen?"
"It--it wasn't anything, Daddy, except that I was playing and singing for Arthur, and I forgot to close the windows."
"You must remember, my love, that you live in a clergyman's house," said Mr. Davis. "I have no objection to merriment, but it must be within bounds. Mr. Nelson said that he did not know what to think was the matter."
Helen made a wry face at the name; the Nelsons were a family of Methodists who lived across the way. Methodists are people who take life seriously as a rule, and Helen thought the Nelsons were very queer indeed.
"I'll bet he did know what to think," she chuckled, "even if he didn't say it; he thought that was just what to expect from a clergyman who had a decanter of wine on his dinner table."
Mr. Davis could not help smiling. And as for Helen, she was herself all over again; for when her father had come in, she had about reached a point where she could no longer bear to be serious and unhappy. As he went on to ask her to be a little less reckless, Helen put her arms around him and said, with the solemnity that she always wore when she was gayest: "But, Daddy, I don't know what I'm to do; you sent me to Germany to study music, and if I'm never to play it--"
"Yes, but Helen; such frantic, dreadful noise!"
"But, Daddy, the Germans are emotional people, you know; no one would have been in the least surprised at that in Germany; it was a hymn, Daddy!"
"A hymn!" gasped Mr. Davis.
"Yes, honestly," said Helen. "It is a wonderful hymn. Every German knows it nearly by heart."
Mr. Davis had as much knowledge of German music as might be expected of one who had lived twenty years in the country and heard three hymns and an anthem sung every Sunday by a volunteer choir. Helen's musical education, as all her other education, had been superintended by Aunt Polly, and the only idea that came to Mr. Davis' mind was of Wagner, whose name he had heard people talk about in connection with noise and incoherency.
"Helen," he said, "I trust that is not the kind of hymn you are going to sing to-morrow."
"I don't know," was the puzzled reply. "I'll see what I can do, Daddy. It's dreadfully hard to find anything in German music like the slow-going, practical lives that we dull Yankees lead." Then a sudden idea occurred to the girl, and she ran to the piano with a gleeful laugh: "Just see, for instance," she said, fumbling hurriedly amongst her music, "I was playing the Moonlight Sonata this morning, and that's a good instance."
"This is the kind of moonlight they have in Germany," she laughed when she found it. After hammering out a few discords of her own she started recklessly into the incomprehensible "presto," thundering away at every crescendo as if to break her fingers. "Isn't it fine, Daddy?" she cried, gazing over her shoulder.
"I don't see what it has to do with the moon," said the clergyman, gazing helplessly at the open window, and wondering if another crowd was gathering.
"That's what everybody's been trying to find out!" said Helen; then, as she heard the dinner bell out in the hall, she ended with half a dozen frantic runs, and jumping up with the last of them, took her father's arm and danced out of the room with him.
"Perhaps when we come to see the other side of the moon," she said, "we may discover all about it. Or else it's because the moon is supposed to set people crazy." So they passed in to dinner, where Helen was as animated as ever, poor Arthur and his troubles seeming to have vanished completely from her thoughts.
In fact, it was not until the meal was nearly over that she spoke of them again; she noticed that it was growing dark outside, and she stepped to the window just as a distant rumble of thunder was heard.
"Dear me!" she exclaimed. "There's a fearful storm coming, and poor Arthur is out in it; he must be a long way from town by this time, and there is no house where he can go." From the window where she stood she had a view across the hills in back of the town, and could see the black clouds coming swiftly on. "It is like we were imagining this morning," she mused; "I wonder if he will think of it."
The dinner was over soon after that, and she looked out again, just as the first drops of rain were falling; the thunder was rolling louder, bringing to Helen a faint echo of her morning music. She went in and sat down at the piano, her fingers roaming over the keys hesitatingly. "I wish I could get it again," she mused. "It seems like a dream when I think of it, it was so wild and so wonderful. Oh, if I could only remember that march!"
There came a crash of thunder near by, as if to help her, but Helen found that all efforts were in vain. Neither the storm music nor the march came back to her, and even when she played a few chords of the great chorus she had sung, it sounded tame and commonplace. Helen knew that the glory of that morning was gone where goes the best inspiration of all humanity, back into nothingness and night.
"It was a shame," she thought, as she rose discontentedly from the piano. "I never was so carried away by music in my life, and the memory of it would have kept me happy for weeks, if Arthur hadn't been here to trouble me!"
Then, however, as she went to the window again to watch the storm which was now raging in all its majesty, she added more unselfishly: "Poor boy! It is dreadful to think of him being out in it." She saw a bolt of lightning strike in the distance, and she waited breathlessly for the thunder. It was a fearful crash, and it made her blood run faster, and her eyes sparkle. "My!" she exclaimed. "But it's fine!" And then she added with a laugh, "He can correct his poem by it, if he wants to!"
She turned to go upstairs. On the way she stopped with a rather conscience-stricken look, and said to herself, "Poor fellow! It seems a shame to be happy!" She stood for a moment thinking, but then she added, "Yet I declare, I don't know what to do for him; it surely isn't my fault if I am not in love with him in that mad fashion, and I don't see why I should make myself wretched about it!" Having thus silenced her conscience, she went up to unpack her trunks, humming to herself on the way:
"Sir Knight, a faithful sister's love This heart devotes to thee; I pray thee ask no other love, For pain that causes me.While she was singing Arthur was in the midst of the tempest, staggering towards his home ten miles away. He was drenched by the cold rain, and shivering and almost fainting from exhaustion--for he had eaten nothing since early dawn; yet so wretched and sick at heart was he that he felt nothing, and scarcely heard the storm or realized where he was.
"Quiet would I see thee come, And quiet see thee go; The silent weeping of thine eyes I cannot bear to know."