from two neighboring planters, and for this reason she leaves Cuba
and journeys to Canada
Here she again meets Ethelwald.
‘My soul as he spoke drank a nectar of music and of beauty too potent for one so weak.
His age was now within two years of thirty; but the fabled Venus
, as she stepped from her shell, could not have been imagined more exempt from blemish and discolor.
Ethelwald, for a moment, observed my attention.
“When you last saw me,” he said, “you likened me to Apollo
; but now you see me a mortal, almost an old man.”
My quick answer was: “What then am I?
” “When your hair is gray,” he returned, “mine will be white, and in that thought there is comfort.”
Such a speech from such a creature, how could I do otherwise than feel it as I did,’ says Idomen.
Unfortunately there is nothing in the context to tell us just how she did feel it, and it seems difficult to imagine why she should seem so hysterical about it. Between ordinary mortals it would appear a very trivial speech.
From an Ethelwald it must have conveyed to the sensitive soul of Idomen some mysterious overpowering thrill.
She is invited to dine at a neighboring manor-house.
‘At table Ethelwald was beside me; I could not eat; pleasure had risen too high.’
Ethelwald, however, could eat. Idomen seems more surprised than the reader at this fairly well-recognized peculiarity of mortal man. She watched him ‘as his white hand passed to his lips, the white morsel of bird on the fork of silver,’ and thought: ‘Does he indeed nourish himself with food, and has he blood like mortals?’
Idomen is now, of course, free to marry Ethelwald.
They meet often, and correspond with each other, but there seem to be strange misunderstandings and quite unnecessary reserves.
Idomen, woman-like, constantly blames herself, but it is the impression of the reader that Ethelwald did not urge his suit with the warmth of the ordinary lover.
Probably because he lived so near that