PART IV. The White Mulberry Tree
6. CHAPTER VI (continued)
Everywhere the grain stood ripe and the hot afternoon was full of
the smell of the ripe wheat, like the smell of bread baking in an
oven. The breath of the wheat and the sweet clover passed him like
pleasant things in a dream. He could feel nothing but the sense of
diminishing distance. It seemed to him that his mare was flying,
or running on wheels, like a railway train. The sunlight, flashing
on the window-glass of the big red barns, drove him wild with joy.
He was like an arrow shot from the bow. His life poured itself
out along the road before him as he rode to the Shabata farm.
When Emil alighted at the Shabatas' gate, his horse was in a lather.
He tied her in the stable and hurried to the house. It was empty.
She might be at Mrs. Hiller's or with Alexandra. But anything
that reminded him of her would be enough, the orchard, the mulberry
tree. . . When he reached the orchard the sun was hanging low over
the wheatfield. Long fingers of light reached through the apple
branches as through a net; the orchard was riddled and shot with
gold; light was the reality, the trees were merely interferences
that reflected and refracted light. Emil went softly down between
the cherry trees toward the wheatfield. When he came to the corner,
he stopped short and put his hand over his mouth. Marie was lying
on her side under the white mulberry tree, her face half hidden in
the grass, her eyes closed, her hands lying limply where they had
happened to fall. She had lived a day of her new life of perfect
love, and it had left her like this. Her breast rose and fell
faintly, as if she were asleep. Emil threw himself down beside
her and took her in his arms. The blood came back to her cheeks,
her amber eyes opened slowly, and in them Emil saw his own face
and the orchard and the sun. "I was dreaming this," she whispered,
hiding her face against him, "don't take my dream away!"