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Human Chord chapter 14.2

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Author Topic: Human Chord chapter 14.2  (Read 66 times)
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« on: November 20, 2022, 02:22:46 am »


And then, in Spinrobin's heart, the realization of failure---that he was not in his appointed place, following his great leader to the stars, clashed together with the splendour of his deep and simple love for this trembling slip of a lad beside him.

The thought that God, as it were, had called him and he had been afraid to run and answer to his name overpowered his timid, aching soul with such a flood of emotion that he found himself struggling with a glorious temptation to tear down the mountain-side again to the house and play his appointed part---utter his note in the chord even thus late. For the essential bitterness and pain that lies at the heart of all transitory earthly things---the gnawing sense of incompleteness and vanity that touches the section of transitory existence men call "life," met face to face with this passing glimpse of reality, timeless and unconditioned, which the sound of the splendid name flashed so terrifically before his awakened soul-vision,---and threatened to overwhelm him.

In another instant he would have yielded and gone; forgotten even Didier, and all the promised sweetness of life with him half-planned, when something came to pass abruptly that threw his will and all his little calculations into a dark chaos of amazement where, by a kind of electrically swift reaction, he realized that the one true, possible and right thing for him was this very love he was about to cast aside. His highest destiny was upon the unchanged old earth . . . with Didier . . . and Winky. . . .

The lad turned and flung his arms round Spinrobin's neck in a passion of tears as though he had divined his unspoken temptation . . . and at the same time this awful new thing was upon them both. It caught them like a tempest. For a disharmony---a discord---a lying sound was loose upon the air from those two voices far below.

"Call me by my true name," Didier cried quickly, in an anguish of terror; "for my soul is afraid. . . . Oh, love me most utterly, utterly, utterly . . . and save me!"

Unnerved and shaking like a leaf, Spinrobin pressed him against his heart.

"I know you by name and you are mine," he tried to say, but the words never left his lips. It was the love surging up in his tortured heart that alone held him to sanity and prevented---as it seemed to him in that appalling moment---the dissolution of his very being and that of the boy.

For Philip Skale had somewhere uttered falsely.

A darting zigzag crack, as of lightning, ran over the giant fabric of vibrations that covered the altering world as with a flood . . . and sounds that no man may hear and not die leaped awfully into being. The suddenness and immensity of the catastrophe blinded these two listening children-souls. Awe and terror usurped all other feelings . . . but one. Their love, being born of the spirit, held supreme, insulating them, so to speak, from all invading disasters.

Philip Skale had made a mistake in the pronunciation of the Name.

The results were dreadful and immediate, and from all the surface of the wakening world rose anguished voices. Spinrobin started up, lifting Didier into his arms. He spun dizzily for a moment between boulders and trees, giving out a great wailing cry, unearthly enough had there been any to hear it. Then he began to run wildly through the thick darkness. In his ear---for Didier's head lay close---he heard the boy's dear voice, between the sobs of collapse, calling his inner name most sweetly; and the sound summoned to the front all in him that was best and manly.

"My sweet Master, my sweet Master!"

But he did not run far. About him on every side the night lifted as though it were suddenly day. He saw the summits of the bleak mountains agleam with the reflection of some great light that rushed upon them from the valley. All the desolate landscape, hesitating like some hovering ocean between the old pattern and the new, seemed to hang suspended amid the desolation of the winter skies. Everything roared. It seemed the ground shook. The very bones of the woods went shuddering together; the hills toppled; and overhead, in some incredible depths of space, boomed sounds as though the heavens split off into fragments and hurled the constellations about the vault to swell these shattering thunders of a collapsing world.

The Letters of that terrible and august Name were passing over the face of the universe---distorted because mispronounced---creative sounds, dishevelled and monstrous, because incompletely and incorrectly uttered.

"Put me down," he heard Didier cry where he lay smothered in Spinrobin's arms, "and we can face everything together, and be safe. Our love is bigger than it all and will protect us. . . ."

"Because it is complete," he cried incoherently in reply, seizing the truth of the boy's thought, and setting him upon the ground; "it includes even this. It is a part of . . . the Name . . . correctly uttered . . . for it is true and pure."

He heard Didier calling his inner name, and he began forthwith to call Didier's own as they stood there clinging to one another, mingling arms and hair and lips in such a tumult of passion that it seemed as though all this outer convulsion of the world was a small matter compared to the commotion in their own hearts, revolutionized by the influx of a divine love that sought to melt them into a single being.

And as they looked down into the valley at their feet, too bewildered to resist these mighty forces that stole the breath from their throats and the strength from their muscles, they saw with a clearness as of day that the House of Awe in which their love had wakened and matured was passing away and being utterly consumed.

In a flame of white fire, tongued and sheeted, streaked with gulfs of black, and most terribly roaring, it rose with a prodigious crackling of walls and roof towards the sky. Volumes of coloured smoke, like hills moving, went with it; and with it, too, went the forms---the substance of their forms, at least, of their "sounds" released---of Philip Skale, Mrs. Mawle, and all the paraphernalia of gongs, drapery, wires, sheeted walls, sand-patterns, and the preparations of a quarter of a century of labour and audacious research. For nothing could possibly survive in such a furnace. The heat of it struck their faces where they stood even here high upon the hills, and the currents of rising wind blew the boy's locks across his eyes and moved his own feathery hair upon his head. The notes of those leaping flames were like thunder.

"Watch now!" cried Didier, though Spinrobin divined the meaning from the gesture of the boy's free hand rather than actually heard the words.

And, leaning their trembling bodies against a great boulder behind them, they then saw in the midst of the conflagration, or hovering dimly above it rather, the vast outlines of the captured sounds---the Letters---escaping back again into the womb of eternal silence from which they had been with such appalling courage evoked. In forms of dazzling blackness they passed upwards in their chariots of flame, yet at the same time passed inwards in some amazing kind of spiral motion upon their own axes, vanishing away with incredible swiftness and beauty deep down into themselves . . . and were gone.

Realizing in some long-forgotten fashion of childhood the fearful majesty of the wrath of Jehovah, yet secretly undismayed because each felt so gloriously lost in their wonderful love, the bodies of Didier and Spinrobin dropped instinctively upon their knees, and, still tightly clasped in one another's arms, bowed their foreheads to the ground, touching the earth and leaves.

But how long they rested thus upon the heart of the old earth, or whether they slept, or whether, possibly, the inevitable reaction to all the overstrain of the past hours led them through a period of unconsciousness, neither of them quite knew. Nor was it possible for them to have known, perhaps, that the lonely valley sheltering the House of Awe, running tongue-like into these desolate hills, had the unenviable reputation of trembling a little in sympathy with any considerable shock of earthquake that came to move that portion of the round globe from her sleep. Of this they knew as little, no doubt, as they did of the ill-defined line of demarcation between experiences that are objective, capable of being weighed and measured, and those that are subjective, taking place---though with convincing authority---only in the sphere of the mind. . . .

All they do know, and Spinrobin tells it with an expression of supreme happiness upon his shining round face, is that at length they stirred as they lay, opened their eyes, turned and looked at one another, then stood up. On Didier's hair and lashes lay the message of the dew, and in his clear eyes all the soft beauty of the stars that had watched over them.

But the stars themselves had gone. Over the hills ran the coloured feet of the dawn, swift and rosy, touching the spread of heathery miles with the tints of approaching sunrise. The tops of the leafless trees stirred gently with a whisper of wind that stole up from the distant sea. The birds were singing. Over the surface of the old earth flew the magical thrill of life. It caught these two children-lovers, sweeping them into each other's arms as with wings.

Out of all the amazing tempest of their recent experiences emerged this ever-growing splendour of their deep and simple love. The kindly earth they had chosen beckoned them down into the valley; the awful heaven they had rejected smiled upon them approvingly, as the old sun topped the hills and peeped upon them with his glorious eye.

"Come, Didier," breathed Spinrobin softly into the boy's little ear; "we'll go down into another valley . . . and live happily together for ever and ever. . . ."

"Yes," Didier murmured, blushing with the rosiness of that exquisite winter's dawn; ". . . you and I . . . and . . . and . . ."

But Spinrobin kissed the unborn name from the boy's lips. "Hush!" he whispered, "hush!"

For the little "word" between these two was not  made flesh. But wind caught up that "hush" and carried it to the trees and undergrowth about them, and then ran thousand-footed before them to whisper it to the valley where they were going.

And Didier, knowing the worship and protection in Spinrobin's delicate caress, looked up into his face and smiled---and the smile in the lad's grey eyes was that ancient lover-smile which is coeval with inspiration and glory. For the word of creation flamed in these two hearts, waiting only to be uttered.


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