THE TALE OF THE LOST LAND
CHAPTER 41: THE INTERDICT
However, my attention was suddenly snatched from such matters;
our child began to lose ground again, and we had to go to sitting
up with her, her case became so serious. We couldn't bear to allow
anybody to help in this service, so we two stood watch-and-watch,
day in and day out. Ah, Sandy, what a right heart she had, how
simple, and genuine, and good she was! She was a flawless wife
and mother; and yet I had married her for no other particular
reasons, except that by the customs of chivalry she was my property
until some knight should win her from me in the field. She had
hunted Britain over for me; had found me at the hanging-bout
outside of London, and had straightway resumed her old place at
my side in the placidest way and as of right. I was a New Englander,
and in my opinion this sort of partnership would compromise her,
sooner or later. She couldn't see how, but I cut argument short
and we had a wedding.
Now I didn't know I was drawing a prize, yet that was what I did
draw. Within the twelvemonth I became her worshiper; and ours
was the dearest and perfectest comradeship that ever was. People
talk about beautiful friendships between two persons of the same
sex. What is the best of that sort, as compared with the friendship
of man and wife, where the best impulses and highest ideals of
both are the same? There is no place for comparison between
the two friendships; the one is earthly, the other divine.
In my dreams, along at first, I still wandered thirteen centuries
away, and my unsatisfied spirit went calling and harking all up
and down the unreplying vacancies of a vanished world. Many a
time Sandy heard that imploring cry come from my lips in my sleep.
With a grand magnanimity she saddled that cry of mine upon our
child, conceiving it to be the name of some lost darling of mine.
It touched me to tears, and it also nearly knocked me off my feet,
too, when she smiled up in my face for an earned reward, and played
her quaint and pretty surprise upon me:
"The name of one who was dear to thee is here preserved, here made
holy, and the music of it will abide alway in our ears. Now
thou'lt kiss me, as knowing the name I have given the child."