Skip to main content

Christmas, from Villette

"My dear girl," she said, "one happy Christmas Eve I dressed and decorated myself, expecting my lover, very soon to be my husband, would come that night to visit me. I sat down to wait. Once more I see that moment--I see the snow twilight stealing through the window over which the curtain was not dropped, for I designed to watch him ride up the white walk; I see and feel the soft firelight warming me, playing on my silk dress, and fitfully showing me my own young figure in a glass. I see the moon of a calm winter night, float full, clear, and cold, over the inky mass of shrubbery, and the silvered turf of my grounds. I wait, with some impatience in my pulse, but no doubt in my breast. The flames had died in the fire, but it was a bright mass yet; the moon was mounting high, but she was still visible from the lattice; the clock neared ten; he rarely tarried later than this, but once or twice he had been delayed so long.

"Would he for once fail me? No--not even for once; and now he was coming--and coming fast-to atone for lost time. 'Frank! you furious rider,' I said inwardly, listening gladly, yet anxiously, to his approaching gallop, 'you shall be rebuked for this: I will tell you it is _my_ neck you are putting in peril; for whatever is yours is, in a dearer and tenderer sense, mine.' There he was: I saw him; but I think tears were in my eyes, my sight was so confused. I saw the horse; I heard it stamp--I saw at least a mass; I heard a clamour. Was it a horse? or what heavy, dragging thing was it, crossing, strangely dark, the lawn. How could I name that thing in the moonlight before me? or how could I utter the feeling which rose in my soul?

"I could only run out. A great animal--truly, Frank's black horse-- stood trembling, panting, snorting before the door; a man held it, Frank, as I thought.

"'What is the matter?' I demanded. Thomas, my own servant, answered by saying sharply, 'Go into the house, madam.' And then calling to another servant, who came hurrying from the kitchen as if summoned by some instinct, 'Ruth, take missis into the house directly.' But I was kneeling down in the snow, beside something that lay there--something that I had seen dragged along the ground--something that sighed, that groaned on my breast, as I lifted and drew it to ms. He was not dead; he was not quite unconscious. I had him carried in; I refused to be ordered about and thrust from him. I was quite collected enough, not only to be my own mistress but the mistress of others. They had begun by trying to treat me like a child, as they always do with people struck by God's hand; but I gave place to none except the surgeon; and when he had done what he could, I took my dying Frank to myself. He had strength to fold me in his arms; he had power to speak my name; he heard me as I prayed over him very softly; he felt me as I tenderly and fondly comforted him.

"'Maria,' he said, 'I am dying in Paradise.' He spent his last breath in faithful words for me. When the dawn of Christmas morning broke, my Frank was with God.

Popular posts from this blog

Burke Cemetery

This cemetery was near Waterside. We wandered there after dinner. The first, and oldest, grave, mentioned in the historical marker.

Studying with Dolls

In the afternoons, I usually take my laptop or a book to the bed and study, and a doll for company. Gertrude is sitting on my bed desk. I got her in 2015 from the Korean doll company Dollmore. She's a "Flocke" sculpt. Willow is sitting with my headphones. She's made by the Chinese company Angel of Dream. I got her in 2013. She's a "Qing" sculpt.
Two older entries I edited tonight re-posted today's date. However, the original month/year is still visible in the permalink. Looking back on the past often makes me cringe, especially when I remember my own behavior. However, re-reading these entries makes me feel the past is accessible in the sense that I am still holding on to many of the same dreams and desires. This week, for comps, I read two early gothics, James Hogg's The Private Memoir and Confessions of a Justified Sinner , and Charles Brockden Brown's Edgar Huntly; or, a Sleep-Walker , which were very much along the lines of the books that absorbed me from 2005-2007, most of which I read on my Treo from Project Gutenberg. Looking back upon my interests and desires of that time sustains me now, when I have to tap into my reserves every day to keep reading.