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The Worshipper of the Image   By: (1866-1947)

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First Page:

The Worshipper of the Image

By RICHARD LE GALLIENNE

JOHN LANE: THE BODLEY HEAD LONDON AND NEW YORK 1900

THE UNIVERSITY PRESS, CAMBRIDGE, U.S.A.

TO SILENCIEUX

THIS TRAGIC FAIRY TALE

Contents

CHAPTER

I. SMILING SILENCE

II. THE COMING OF SILENCIEUX

III. THE NORTHERN SPHINX

IV. AT THE RISING OF THE MOON

V. SILENCIEUX SPEAKS

VI. THE THREE BLACK PONDS

VII. THE LOVERS OF SILENCIEUX

VIII. A STRANGE KISS FOR SILENCIEUX

IX. THE WONDERFUL WEEK

X. SILENCIEUX WHISPERS

XI. WONDER IN THE WOOD

XII. AUTUMN IN THE VALLEY

XIII. THE HUMAN SACRIFICE

XIV. A SONG OF THE LITTLE DEAD

XV. SILENCIEUX ALONE IN THE WOOD

XVI. THE FIRST TALK ON THE HILLS

XVII. ANTONY ALONE ON THE HILLS

XVIII. THE SECOND TALK ON THE HILLS

XIX. LAST TALK ON THE HILLS

XX. ANTONY'S JUDGMENT UPON SILENCIEUX

XXI. "RESURGAM!"

XXII. THE STRANGENESS OF ANTONY

XXIII. BEATRICE FULFILS HER DESTINY

The Worshipper of the Image

CHAPTER I

SMILING SILENCE

Evening was in the wood, still as the dreaming bracken, secretive, moving softly among the pines as a young witch gathering simples. She wore a hood of finely woven shadows, yet, though she drew it close, sunbeams trooping westward flashed strange lights across her haunted face.

The birds that lived in the wood had broken out into sudden singing as she stole in, hungry for silence, passionate to be alone; and at the foot of every tree she cried "Hush! Hush!" to the bedtime nests. When all but one were still, she slipped the hood from her face and listened to her own bird, the night jar, toiling at his hopeless love from a bough on which already hung a little star.

Then it was that a young man, with a face shining with sorrow, vaulted lightly over the mossed fence and dipped down the green path, among the shadows and the toadstools and the silence.

"Silencieux," he said over to himself "I love you, Silencieux."

Far down the wood came and went through the trees the black and white gable of a little châlet to which he was dreaming his way.

Suddenly a small bronze object caught his eye moving across the mossy path. It was a beautiful beetle, very slim and graceful in shape, with singularly long and fine antennae. Antony had loved these things since he was a child, dragonflies with their lamp like eyes of luminous horn, moths with pall like wings that filled the world with silence as you looked at them, sleepy as death loved them with the passion of a Japanese artist who delights to carve them on quaint nuggets of metal. Perhaps it was that they were so like words words to which he had given all the love and worship of his life. Surely he had loved Silencieux[1] more since he had found for her that beautiful name.

He held the beetle in his hand a long while, loving it. Then he said to himself, with a smile in which was the delight of a success: "A vase shaped beetle with deer's horns."

The phrase delighted him. He set the insect down on the path, tenderly. He had done with it. He had carved it in seven words. The little model might now touch its delicate way among the ferns at peace.

"A vase shaped beetle with deer's horns," he repeated as he walked on, and then the gathering gloom of the wood suggested an addition: "And some day I shall find in the wood that moth of which I have dreamed since childhood the dark moth with the face of death between his wings."

The châlet stood on a little clearing, in a little circle of pines. From it the ground sloped down towards the valley, and at some distance beneath smoke curled from a house lost amid clouds of foliage, the abounding green life of this damp and brooding hollow. A great window looking down the woodside filled one side of the châlet, and the others were dark with books, an occasional picture or figured jar lighting up the shadow. A small fire flickered beneath a quaintly devised mantel, though it was summer for the mists crept up the hill at night and chilled the souls of the books. A great old bureau, with a wonderful belly of mahogany, filled a corner of the room, breathing antique mystery and refinement... Continue reading book >>




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