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Happy Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2012

She is with her lover who gives her the happiest day of her life.
       Nevertheless, under all the changeful play of her emotions there was something which, more than anything else, seemed strange and curious. Through all the doings of the day there ran an undercurrent of memory about her childish dreams: the white marble heart, the alder avenue, the ball, an ever-present memory, whether she sat at the crowded dinner table, or walked abroad, or listened to Ritsaart’s playing. And the present seemed haunted with a strange feeling of recollection, as if it was not new, like the autumn feeling by the old ruin, which had also seemed to be only the remembrance of something passing fair, and long ago.
And this long summer day in the clear sea air was penetrated by the same feeling, only stronger and more wonderful, as if she could almost stretch out her hand and seize the moment which had been so like this one. Every hour the feeling became more unmistakable, until its strength was almost overwhelming.
      In the evening they both sat on the broad terrace, the music played, and the people laughed and talked all around them. The air was soft and still, the sea grey and smooth, heavy clouds hung over it, and little ripples broke with a dull thud upon the beach. Barefooted children were playing about, little pink and blue spots on a pale silver-grey ground.
The fading sun had withdrawn behind the clouds, leaving a long, faint trail of silver behind. Far away, where the secrets of heaven begin, there glowed a splendour as of burnished gold. Of all the visible wonders of the sea, this was to Hedwig the fairest, and never again did she find it more lovely.
Both these young creatures felt as if they had traversed many a distant land together, and had now reached their desired haven. Their voices were a little husky, they were tired of emotion, so they simply sat and looked. Hedwig smiled quietly as at a pleasant memory. ‘How beautiful it was,’ she whispered, meaning the moment at which she spoke. Her hands lay folded in her lap, her eyes fixed on the grey depth above, on the glowing copper summits of the clouds.
The cheerful, commonplace strains of the band lulled the lower sphere of their souls into calm contentment, above which they seemed to gaze hand in hand at the silent splendour of the sea, while above and over it all there came to Hedwig a feeling as if she were wandering alone and in silence through time, and saw all the space of days and hours, and gathered a bouquet of the fairest flowers which bloomed in the fields of time, and she bound it gently with this day, like a grey ribbon with edges of rich gold.

You can read the rest of the book by ordering it here.