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Unveiling a Parallel, by Alice Ilgenfritz Jones and Ella Merchant [1893], at

p. 92



"It behoveth us also to consider the nature of him that offendeth."

The longer I delayed my visit to Caskia, the more difficult it became for me to tear myself away from Thursia. You may guess the lodestar that held me back. It was as if I were attached to Elodia by an invisible chain which, alas! in no way hindered her free movements, because she was unconscious of its existence. Sometimes she treated me with a charmingly frank camaraderie, and at other times her manner was simply, almost coldly, courteous,—which I very well knew to be due to the fact that she was more than usually absorbed in her business or official affairs; she was never cold for a purpose, any more than she was fascinating for a purpose. She was singularly sincere, affecting neither smiles nor frowns, neither affability nor severity, from remote or calculating motives. In brief, she did not employ her feminine graces, her sex-power, as speculating capital in social commerce. The social conditions in Thursia do not demand that women shall pose in a conciliatory attitude toward men—upon whose favor their dearest privileges hang. Marriage not being p. 93 an economic necessity with them, they are released from certain sordid motives which often actuate women in our world in their frantic efforts to avert the appalling catastrophe of missing a husband; and they are at liberty to operate their matrimonial campaigns upon other grounds. I do not say higher grounds, because that I do not know. I only know that one base factor in the marriage problem,—the ignoble scheming to secure the means of living, as represented in a husband,—is eliminated, and the spirit of woman is that much more free.

We men have a feeling that we are liable at any time to be entrapped into matrimony by a mask of cunning and deceit, which heredity and long practice enable women to use with such amazing skill that few can escape it. We expect to be caught with chaff, like fractious colts coquetting with the halter and secretly not unwilling to be caught.

Another thing: woman's freedom to propose—which struck me as monstrous—takes away the reproach of her remaining single; the supposition being, as in the case of a bachelor, that it is a matter of choice with her. It saves her the dread of having it said that she has never had an opportunity to marry.

Courtship in Thursia may lack some of the tantalizing uncertainties which give it zest with us, but marriage also is robbed of many doubts and misgivings. Still I could not accustom myself with any feeling of comfort to the situation there,—the idea of masculine pre-eminence and womanly dependence being too thoroughly ingrained in my nature.

Elodia, of course, did many things and held many opinions of which I did not approve. But I believed in her innate nobility, and attributed her defects to a pernicious civilization and a government which did not exercise its paternal right to cherish, and restrain, and protect, the weaker sex, as they should be cherished, p. 94 and restrained, and protected. And how charming and how reliable she was, in spite of her defects! She had an atomic weight upon which you could depend as upon any other known quantity. Her presence was a stimulus that quickened the faculties and intensified the emotions. At least I may speak for myself; she awoke new feelings and aroused new powers within me.

Her life had made her practical but not prosaic. She had imagination and poetic feeling; there were times when her beautiful countenance was touched with the grandeur of lofty thought, and again with the shifting lights of a playful humor, or the flashings of a keen but kindly wit. She had a laugh that mellowed the heart, as if she took you into her confidence. It is a mark of extreme favor when your superior, or a beautiful woman, admits you to the intimacy of a cordial laugh! Even her smiles, which I used to lie in wait for and often tried to provoke, were not the mere froth of a light and careless temperament; they had a significance like speech. Though she was so busy, and though she knew so well how to make the moments count, she could be idle when she chose, deliciously, luxuriously idle,—like one who will not fritter away his pence, but upon occasion spends his guineas handsomely. At the dinner hour she always gave us of her best. Her varied life supplies her with much material for conversation,—nothing worth noticing ever escaped her, in the life and conduct of people about her. She was fond of anecdote, and could garnish the simplest story with an exquisite grace.

Upon one of her idle days,—a day when Severnius happened not to be at home,—she took up her parasol in the hall after we had had luncheon, and gave me a glance which said, "Come with me if you like," and we went out and strolled through the grounds together. Her manner had not a touch of coquetry; I might have been simply another woman, she might have been simply another p. 95 man. But I was so stupid as to essay little gallantries, such as had been, in fact, a part of my youthful education; she either did not observe them or ignored them, I could not tell which. Once I put out my hand to assist her over a ridiculously narrow streamlet, and she paid no heed to the gesture, but reefed her skirts, or draperies, with her own unoccupied hand and stepped lightly across. Again, when we were about to ascend an abrupt hill, I courteously offered her my arm.

"O, no, I thank you!" she said; "I have two, which balance me very well when I climb."

"You are a strange woman," I exclaimed with a blush.

"Am I?" she said, lifting her brows. "Well, I suppose—or rather you suppose—that I am the product of my ancestry and my training."

"You are, in some respects," I assented; and then I added, "I have often tried to fancy what effect our civilization would have had upon you."

"What effect do you think it would have had?" she asked, with quite an unusual—I might say earthly—curiosity.

"I dare not tell you," I replied, thrilling with the felicity of a talk so personal,—the first I had ever had with her.

"Why not?" she demanded, with a side glance at me from under her gold-fringed shade.

"It would be taking too great a liberty."

"But if I pardon that?" There was an archness in her smile which was altogether womanly. What a grand opportunity, I thought, for saying some of the things I had so often wanted to say to her! But I hesitated, turning hot and then cold.

"Really," I said, "I cannot. I should flatter you, and you would not like that."

For the first time, I saw her face crimson to the temples. p. 96

"That would be very bad taste," she replied; "flattery being the last resort—when it is found that there is nothing in one to compliment. Silence is better; you have commendable tact."

"Pardon my stupid blunder!" I cried; "you cannot think I meant that! Flattery is exaggerated, absurd, unmeaning praise, and no praise, the highest, the best, could do you justice, could—"

She broke in with a disdainful laugh:

"A woman can always compel a pretty speech from a man, you see,—even in Mars!"

"You did not compel it," I rejoined earnestly, "if I but dared,—if you would allow me to tell you what I think of you, how highly I regard—"

She made a gesture which cut short my eloquence, and we walked on in silence.

Whenever there has been a disturbance in the moral atmosphere, there is nothing like silence to restore the equilibrium. I, watching furtively, saw the slight cloud pass from her face, leaving the intelligent serenity it usually wore. But still she did not speak. However, there was nothing ominous in that, she was never troubled with an uneasy desire to keep conversation going.

On top of the hill there were benches, and we sat down. It was one of those still afternoons in summer when nature seems to be taking a siesta. Overhead it was like the heart of a rose. The soft, white, cottony clouds we often see suspended in our azure ether, floated—as soft, as white, as fleecy—in the pink skies of Mars.

Elodia closed her parasol and laid it across her lap and leaned her head back against the tree in whose shade we were. It was an acute pleasure, a rapture indeed, to sit so near to her and alone with her, out of hearing of all the world. But she was calmly unconscious, her gaze wandering dreamily through half-shut lids p. 97 over the wide landscape, which included forests and fields and meadows, and many windings of the river, for we had a high point of observation.

I presently broke the silence with a bold, perhaps an inexcusable question,

"Elodia, do you intend ever to marry?"

It was a kind of challenge, and I held myself rigid, waiting for her answer, which did not come immediately. She turned her eyes toward me slowly without moving her head, and our glances met and gradually retreated, as two opposing forces might meet and retreat, neither conquering, neither vanquished. Hers went back into space, and she replied at last as if to space,—as if the question had come, not from me alone, but from all the voices that urge to matrimony.

"Why should I marry?"

"Because you are a woman," I answered promptly.

"Ah!" her lip curled with a faint smile, "your reason is very general, but why limit it at all, why not say because I am one of a pair which should be joined together?"

The question was not cynical, but serious; I scrutinized her face closely to make sure of that before answering.

"I know," I replied, "that here in Mars there is held to be no difference in the nature and requirements of the sexes, but it is a false hypothesis, there is a difference,—a vast difference! all my knowledge of humanity, my experience and observation, prove it."

"Prove it to you, no doubt," she returned, "but not to me, because my experience and observation have been the reverse of yours. Will you kindly tell me," she added, "why you think I should wish to marry any more than a man,—or what reasons can be urged upon a woman more than upon a man?" p. 98

An overpowering sense of helplessness fell upon me,—as when one has reached the limits of another's understanding and is unable to clear the ground for further argument.

"O, Elodia! I cannot talk to you," I replied. "It is true, as you say, that our conclusions are based upon diverse premises; we are so wide apart in our views on this subject that what I would say must seem to you the merest cant and sentiment."

"I think not; you are an honest man," she rejoined with an encouraging smile, "and I am greatly interested in your philosophy of marriage."

I acknowledged her compliment.

"Well," I began desperately, letting the words tumble out as they would, "it is woman's nature, as I understand it, to care a great deal about being loved,—loved wholly and entirely by one man who is worthy of her love, and to be united to him in the sacred bonds of marriage. To have a husband, children; to assume the sweet obligations of family ties, and to gather to herself the tenderest and purest affections humanity can know, is surely, indisputably, the best, the highest, noblest, province of woman."

"And not of man?"

"These things mean the same to men, of course," I replied, "though in lesser degree. It is man's office—with us—to buffet with the world, to wrest the means of livelihood, of comfort, luxury, from the grudging hand of fortune. It is the highest grace of woman that she accepts these things at his hands, she honors him in accepting, as he honors her in bestowing."

I was aware that I was indulging in platitudes, but the platitudes of Earth are novelties in Mars.

Her eyes took a long leap from mine to the vague horizon p. 99 line. "It is very strange," she said, "this distinction you make, I cannot understand it at all. It seems to me that this love we are talking about is simply one of the strong instincts implanted in our common nature. It is an essential of our being. Marriage is not, it is a social institution; and just why it is incumbent upon one sex more than upon the other, or why it is more desirable for one sex than the other, is inconceivable to me. If either a man, or a woman, desires the ties you speak of, or if one has the vanity to wish to found a respectable family, then, of course, marriage is a necessity,—made so by our social and political laws. It is a luxury we may have if we pay the price."

I was shocked at this cold-blooded reasoning, and cried, "O, how can a woman say that! have you no tenderness, Elodia? no heart-need of these ties and affections,—which I have always been taught are so precious to woman?"

She shrugged her shoulders, and, leaning forward a little, clasped her hands about her knees.

"Let us not make it personal," she said; "I admitted that these things belong to our common nature, and I do not of course except myself. But I repeat that marriage is a convention, and—I am not conventional."

"As to that," I retorted, "all the things that pertain to civilization, all the steps which have ever been taken in the direction of progress, are conventions: our clothing, our houses, our religions, arts, our good manners. And we are bound to accept every 'convention' that makes for the betterment of society, as though it were a revelation from God."

I confess that this thought was the fruit of my brief intercourse with the Caskians, who hold that there is a divine power continually operating upon human consciousness,—not disclosing p. 100 miracles, but enlarging and perfecting human perceptions. I was thinking of this when Elodia suddenly put the question to me:

"Are you married?"

"No, I am not," I replied. The inquiry was not agreeable to me; it implied that she had been hitherto altogether too indifferent as to my "eligibility,"—never having concerned herself to ascertain the fact before.

"Well, you are perhaps older than I am," she said, "and you have doubtless had amours?"

I was as much astounded by the frankness of this inquiry as you can be, and blushed like a girl. She withdrew her eyes from my face with a faint smile and covered the question by another:

"You intend to marry, I suppose?"

"I do, certainly," I replied, the resolution crystallizing on the instant.

She drew a long sigh. "Well, I do not, I am so comfortable as I am." She patted the ground with her slipper toe. "I do not wish to impose new conditions upon myself. I simply accept my life as it comes to me. Why should I voluntarily burden myself with a family, and all the possible cares and sorrows which attend the marriage state! If I cast a prophetic eye into the future, what am I likely to see?—Let us say, a lovely daughter dying of some frightful malady; an idolized son squandering my wealth and going to ruin; a husband in whom I no longer delight, but to whom I am bound by a hundred intricate ties impossible to sever. I think I am not prepared to take the future on trust to so great an extent! Why should the free wish for fetters? Affection and sympathy are good things, indispensable things in fact,—but I find them in my friends. And for this other matter: this p. 101 need of love, passion, sentiment,—which is peculiarly ephemeral in its impulses, notwithstanding that it has such an insistent vitality in the human heart,—may be satisfied without entailing such tremendous responsibilities."

I looked at her aghast; did she know what she was saying; did she mean what her words implied?

"You wrong yourself, Elodia," said I; "those are the sentiments, the arguments, of a selfish person, of a mean and cowardly spirit. And you have none of those attributes; you are strong, courageous, generous

"You mistake me," she interrupted, "I am entirely selfish; I do not wish to disturb my present agreeable pose. Tell me, what is it that usually prompts people to marry?"

"Why, love, of course," I answered.

"Well, you are liable to fall in love with my maid—"

"Not after having seen her mistress!" I ejaculated.

"If she happens to possess a face or figure that draws your masculine eye," she went on, the rising color in her cheek responding to my audacious compliment; "though there may be nothing in common between you, socially, intellectually, or spiritually. What would be the result of such a marriage, based upon simple sex-love?"

I had known many such marriages, and was familiar with the results, but I did not answer. We tacitly dropped the subject, and our two minds wandered away as they would, on separate currents.

She was the first to break this second silence.

"I can conceive of a marriage," she said, "which would not become burdensome, any more than our best friendships become burdensome. Beside the attraction on the physical plane—which I believe is very necessary—there should exist all the higher affinities. p. 102 I should want my husband to be my most delightful companion, able to keep my liking and to command my respect and confidence as I should hope to his. But I fear that is ideal."

"The ideal is only the highest real," I answered, "the ideal is always possible."

"Remotely!" she said with a laugh. "The chances are many against it."

"But even if one were to fall short a little in respect to husband or wife, I have often observed that there are compensations springing out of the relation, in other ways," I returned.

"You mean children? O, yes, that is true, when all goes well. I will tell you," she added, her voice dropping to the tone one instantly recognizes as confidential, "that I am educating several children in some of our best schools, and that I mean to provide for them with sufficient liberality when they come of age. So, you see, I have thrown hostages to fortune and shall probably reap a harvest of gratitude,—in place of filial affection."

She laughed with a touch of mockery.

I suppose every one is familiar with the experience of having things—facts, bits of knowledge,—"come" to him, as we say. Something came to me, and froze the marrow in my bones.

"Elodia," I ventured, "you asked me a very plain question a moment ago, will you forgive me if I ask you the same,—have you had amours?"

The expression of her face changed slightly, which might have been due to the expression of mine.

"We have perhaps grown too frank with each other," she said, "but you are a being from another world, and that must excuse us,—shall it?"

I bowed, unable to speak. p. 103

"One of the children I spoke of, a little girl of six, is my own natural child."

She made this extraordinary confession with her glance fixed steadily upon mine.

I am a man of considerable nerve, but for a moment the world was dark to me and I had the sensation of one falling from a great height. And then suddenly relief came to me in the thought, She is not to be judged by the standards that measure morality in my country! When I could command my voice again I asked:

"Does this little one know that she is your child,—does any one else know?"

"Certainly not," she answered in a tone of surprise, and then with an ironical smile, "I have treated you to an exceptional confidence. It is a matter of etiquette with us to keep these things hidden."

As I made no response she added:

"Is it a new thing to you for a parent not to acknowledge illegitimate children?"

"Even the lowest class of mothers we have on Earth do not often abandon their offspring," I replied.

"Neither do they here," she said. "The lowest class have nothing to gain and nothing to lose, and consequently there is no necessity that they should sacrifice their natural affections. In this respect, the lower classes are better off than we aristocrats."

"You beg the question," I returned; "you know what I mean! I should not have thought that you, Elodia, could ever be moved by such unworthy considerations—that you would ever fear the world's opinions! you who profess manly qualities, the noblest of which is courage!"

"Am I to understand by that," she said, "that men on your p. 104 planet acknowledge their illegitimate progeny, and allow them the privileges of honored sons and daughters?"

Pushed to this extremity, I could recall but a single instance,—but one man whose courage and generosity, in a case of the kind under discussion, had risen to the level of his crime. I related to her the story of his splendid and prolonged life, with its one blot of early sin, and its grace of practical repentance. And upon the other hand, I told her of the one distinguished modern woman, who has had the hardihood to face the world with her offenses in her hands, as one might say.

"Are you not rather unjust to the woman?" she asked. "You speak of the man's acknowledgment of his sin as something fine, and you seem to regard hers as simply impudent."

"Because of the vast difference between the moral attitude of the two," I rejoined. "He confessed his error and took his punishment with humility; she slaps society in the face, and tries to make her genius glorify her misdeeds."

"Possibly society is to blame for that, by setting her at bay. If I have got the right idea about your society, it is as unrelenting to the one sex as it is indulgent to the other. Doubtless it was ready with open arms to receive back the offending, repentant man, but would it not have set its foot upon the woman's neck if she had given it the chance, if she had knelt in humility as he did? A tree bears fruit after its kind; so does a code of morals. Gentleness and forgiveness breed repentance and reformation, and harshness begets defiance." She added with a laugh, "What a spectacle your civilization would present if all the women who have sinned had the genius and the spirit of a Bernhardt!"

"Or all the men had the magnanimity of a Franklin," I retorted.

"True!" she said, and after a moment she continued, "I am p. 105 not so great as the one, nor have I the 'effrontery' of the other. But it is not so much that I lack courage; it is rather, perhaps, a delicate consideration for, and concession to, the good order of society."

I regarded her with amazement, and she smiled.

"Really, it is true," she said. "I believe in social order and I pay respect to it—"

"By concealing your own transgressions," I interpolated.

"Well, why not? Suppose I and my cult—a very large class of eminently respectable sinners!—should openly trample upon this time-honored convention; the result would eventually be, no doubt, a moral anarchy. We have a very clear sense of our responsibility to the masses. We make the laws for their government, and we allow ourselves to seem to be governed by them also,—so that they may believe in them. We build churches and pay pew rent, though we do not much believe in the religious dogmas. And we leave off wine when we entertain temperance people."

"But why do you do these things?" I asked; "to what end?"

"Simply for the preservation of good order and decency. You must know that the pleasant vices of an elegant person are brutalities in the uncultured. The masses have no tact or delicacy, they do not comprehend shades and refinements of morals and manners. They can understand exoteric but not esoteric philosophy. We have really two codes of laws."

"I think it would be far better for the masses—whom you so highly respect!—" I said, "if you were to throw off your masks and stand out before them just as you are. Let moral anarchy come if it must, and the evil be consumed in its own flame; out of its ashes the phoenix always rises again, a nobler bird."

"How picturesque!" she exclaimed; "do you know, I think p. 106 your language must be rich in imagery. I should like to learn it."

I did not like the flippancy of this speech, and made no reply.

After a brief pause she added, "There is truth in what you say, a ball must strike hard before it can rebound. Society must be fearfully outraged before it turns upon the offender, if he be a person of consequence. But you cannot expect the offender to do his worst, to dash himself to pieces, in order that a better state of morals may be built upon his ruin. We have not yet risen to such sublimity of devotion and self-sacrifice. I think the fault and the remedy both, lie more with the good people,—the people who make a principle of moral conduct. They allow us to cajole them into silence, they wink at our misdeeds. They know what we are up to, but they conceal the knowledge,—heaven knows why!—as carefully as we do our vices. Contenting themselves with breaking out in general denunciations which nobody accepts as personal rebuke."

This was such a familiar picture that for a moment I fancied myself upon the Earth again. And I thought, what a difficult position the good have to maintain everywhere, for having accepted the championship of a cause whose standards are the highest and best! We expect them to be wise, tender, strong, just, stern, merciful, charitable, unyielding, forgiving, sinless, fearless.

"Elodia," I said presently, "you can hardly understand what a shock this—this conversation has been to me. I started out with saying that I had often tried to fancy what our civilization might have done for you. I see more clearly now. You are the victim of the harshest and cruelest assumption that has ever been upheld concerning woman,—that her nature is no finer, holier than man's. I have reverenced womanhood all my life as the highest, and purest thing under heaven, and I will, I must, hold fast to that faith, to that rock on which the best traditions of our Earth are founded." p. 107

"Do your women realize what they have got to live up to?" she asked ironically.

"There are things in men which offset their virtues," I returned, in justice to my own sex. "Where men are strong, women are gentle, where women are faithful, men are brave, and so on."

"How charming to have the one nature dovetail into the other so neatly!" she exclaimed. "I seem to see a vision, shall I tell it to you,—a vision of your Earth? In the Beginning, you know that is the way in which all our traditions start out, there was a great heap of Qualities stacked in a pyramid upon the Earth. And the human creatures were requested to step up and help themselves to such as suited their tastes. There was a great scramble, and your sex, having some advantages in the way of muscle and limb,—and not having yet acquired the arts of courtesy and gallantry for which you are now so distinguished,—pressed forward and took first choice. Naturally you selected the things which were agreeable to possess in themselves, and the exercise of which would most redound to your glory; such virtues as chastity, temperance, patience, modesty, piety, and some minor graces, were thrust aside and eventually forced upon the weaker sex,—since it was necessary that all the Qualities should be used in order to make a complete Human Nature. Is not that a pretty fable?"

She arose and shook out her draperies and spread her parasol. There were crimson spots in her cheeks, I felt that I had angered her,—and on the other hand, she had outraged my finest feelings. But we were both capable of self-government.

"It must be near dinner time," she said, quietly.

I walked along by her side in silence.

As we again crossed the brooklet, she stooped and picked a long raceme of small white, delicately odorous flowers, and together we analyzed them, and I recognized them as belonging p. 108 to our family of convallaria majalis. This led to a discussion of comparative botany on the two planets,—a safe, neutral topic. In outward appearance our mutual attitude was unchanged. Inwardly, there had been to me something like the moral upheaval of the universe. For the first time I had melancholy symptoms of nostalgia, and passionately regretted that I had ever exchanged the Earth for Mars.

Severnius had returned. After dinner he invited me out onto the veranda to smoke a cigar,—he was very particular not to fill the house with tobacco smoke. Elodia, he said, did not like the odor. I wondered whether he took such pains out of consideration for her, or whether he simply dreaded her power to retaliate with her obnoxious vapor. The latter supposition, however, I immediately repudiated as being unjust to him; he was the gentlest and sweetest of men.

My mind was so full of the subject Elodia and I had discussed that I could not forbear repeating my old question to him:

"Tell me, my friend," I entreated, "do you in your inmost soul believe that men and women have one common nature,—that women are no better at all than men, and that men may, if they will, be as pure as—well, as women ought to be?"

Severnius smiled. "If you cannot find an answer to your first question here in Paleveria, I think you may in any of the savage countries, where I am quite positive the women exhibit no finer qualities than their lords. And for a very conclusive reply to your second question,—go to Caskia!"

"Does the same idea of equality, or likeness rather, exist in Caskia that prevails here?" I asked.

"O, yes," said he, "but their plane of life is so much higher. I cannot but believe in the equality," he added, "bad as things are with us. We hope that we are progressing onward and upward; p. 109 all our teaching and preaching tend toward that, as you may find in our churches and schools, and in our literature. I am so much of an optimist as to believe that we are getting better and better all the time. One evidence is that there is less of shamelessness than there used to be with respect to some of the grossest offences against decency. People do not now glory in their vices, they hide them."

"Then you approve of concealment!" I exclaimed.

"It is better than open effrontery, it shows that the moral power in society is the stronger; that it is making the way of the transgressor hard, driving him into dark corners."

I contrasted this in my mind with Elodia's theory on the same subject. The two differed, but there was a certain harmony after all.

Severnius added, apropos of what had gone before, "It does not seem fair to me that one half of humanity should hang upon the skirts of the other half; it is better that we should go hand in hand, even though our progress is slow."

"But that cannot be," I returned; "there are always some that must bear the burden while others drag behind."

"O, certainly; that is quite natural and right," he assented. "The strong should help the weak. What I mean is that we should not throw the burden upon any particular class, or allow to any particular class special indulgences. That—pardon me!—is the fault I find with your civilization; you make your women the chancellors of virtue, and claim for your sex the privilege of being virtuous or not, as you choose." He smiled as he added, "Do you know, your loyalty and tender devotion to individual women, and your antagonistic attitude toward women in general—on the moral plane.—presents the most singular contrast to my mind!"

"No doubt," I said; "it is a standing joke with us. We are better p. 110 in the sample than in the whole piece. As individuals, we are woman's devoted slaves, and lovers, and worshipers; as a political body, we are her masters, from whom she wins grudging concessions; as a social factor, we refuse her dictation."

I was not in a mood to discuss the matter further. I was sick at heart and angry,—not so much with Elodia as with the conditions that had made her what she was, a woman perfect in every other respect, but devoid of the one supreme thing,—the sense of virtue. She was now to me simply a splendid ruin, a temple without holiness. I went up to my room and spent the night plunged in the deepest sadness I had ever known. When one is suffering an insupportable agony, he catches at the flimsiest delusions for momentary relief. He says to himself, "My friend is not dead!" "My beloved is not false!" So I tried to cheat myself. I argued, "Why, this is only a matter of education with me, surely; how many women, with finer instincts than mine, have loved and married men of exactly the same stamp as Elodia!" But I put away the thought with a shudder, feeling that it would be a far more dreadful thing to relax my principles and to renounce my faith in woman's purity than to sacrifice my love. The tempter came in another form. Suppose she should repent? But my soul revolted. No, no; Jesus might pardon a Magdalene, but I could not. Elodia was dead; Elodia had never been! That night I buried her; I said I would never look upon her face again. But the morning brought resurrection. How hard a thing it is to destroy love!

Next: Chapter 9. Journeying Upward