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Four Phases of Love   By: (1830-1914)

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2. This volume includes the following short stories: a. Eye Blindness and Soul Blindness.; b. Marion; c. La Rabbiata; and d. "By the Banks of the Tiber."









At the open window, which looked out into the little flower garden, stood the blind daughter of the village sacristan, refreshing herself in the cool breeze that swept across her hot cheeks; her delicate, half developed form trembled, her cold little hands lay folded in each other upon the window sill. The sun had already set, and the night flowers were beginning to scent the air.

Further within the room sat a blind boy on a stool, at the old spinet, playing wild melodies. He might have been about fifteen years old only, perhaps, a year older than the girl. Whoever had heard and seen him, now throwing up his large eyes, and now turning his head towards the window, would never have suspected his privation so much energy, and even impetuosity, lay in his every movement.

Suddenly he broke off in the midst of a religious hymn, which he seemed to have altered wildly after his own fancy.

"You sighed!" he said, turning his face towards her.

"I! No, Clement why should I sigh? I only shrank together as the wind blew in so strongly!"

"But you did sigh. Do you think that I did not hear it as I played? and I feel even here how you are trembling."

"Yes; it has grown so cold."

"You cannot deceive me. If you were cold you would not stand at the open window. But I know why you sigh and tremble! because the doctor is coming to morrow, and will prick our eyes with needles that is what makes you so afraid; and yet he said how soon it would all be over, and that it would only be like the prick of a pin. And you , who used to be so brave and patient, that my mother always mentioned you as an example when I was little and cried when anything hurt me, though you were only a girl have you now lost all your courage? Do you never think of the happiness we have to look forward to?"

She shook her little head, and answered, "How can you think that I am afraid of the passing pain! But I am oppressed with silly, childish thoughts, which I cannot drive away. Ever since the day that the doctor the baron sent for came down from the castle to your father, and mother called us out of the garden ever since that hour something weighs upon me and will not go away. You were so full of joy that you did not perceive it; but when your father began to pray, and blessed God for this mercy, my heart was silent and did not follow his prayer. I thought within myself, 'What have I to be thankful for?' and could not understand."

Thus she spoke in a quiet resigned voice. The boy again struck a few light chords. Between the sharp whizzing tones, peculiar to the instrument on which he played, rang the distant songs of home returning peasants a contrast, like that of their bright active life, with the dream life of these blind children.

The boy seemed to feel it. He rose quickly, walked with a firm step to the window for he knew the room and all its furniture and said, as he threw back his bright fair locks, "You are incomprehensible, Mary! Our parents and all the village congratulate us. Will it not be a gain after all? Until it was promised me I never asked much about it. We are blind, they say; I never understood what was wanting in us... Continue reading book >>

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