The Works of Fiona Macleod, Vol. IV, The Divine Adventure


"Let the beginning, I say, of this little book, as if it
were some lamp, make it clear that a divine miracle
was manifested."
St. Adamnan
Book II. c. I.

The Divine Adventure


"We were three: the Body, the Will, and the Soul
. . . The Will, the Soul, which for the first time
had gone along outside of our common home, had
to take upon themselves bodily presences likewise."
--The Divine Adventure.

I remember that it was on St. John's Eve we said we would go away together for a time, but each independently, as three good friends.  We had never been at one, though we had shared the same home, and had enjoyed so much in common; but to each, at the same time, had come the great desire of truth, than which there is none greater save that of  beauty.

We had long been somewhat weary.  No burden of years, no serious ills, no grief grown old in its own shadow, distressed us.  We were young.  But we had known the two great ends of life--to love and to suffer. In deep love there is always an inmost dark flame, as in the flame lit by a taper: I think it is the obscure suffering upon which the Dancer lives.  The Dancer!--Love? who is joy, is a leaping flame: he it is who is the son of that fabled planet, the Dancing Star.

On that St. John's Eve we had talked with friends on the old mysteries of this day of pagan festival.  At last we withdrew, not tired or in disagreement, but because the only hidden things of the spirit are the realities, and it seemed to us a little idle and foolish to discuss in the legend that which was not fortuitous or imaginary, since what then held up white hands in the moonlight, even now, in the moonlight of the dreaming mind, beckons to the Divine Forges.

We left the low-roofed cottage room, where, though the window was open, two candies burned with steadfast flame.  The night was listeningly still.    Beyond the fuchsia bushes a sighing rose, where a continuous foamless wave felt the silences of the shore.  The moonpath, far out upon the bronze sea, was like a shadowless white road.  In the dusk of the haven glimmered two or three red and green lights, where the fishing-cobles trailed motionless at anchor.  Inland were shadowy hills. One of the St..John's Eve fires burned on the nearest of these, its cone blotting out a thousand eastern stars.  The flame rose and sank as though it were a pulse: perhaps at that great height the sea-wind or a mountain air played upon it.   Out of a vast darkness in the south swung blacker abysses, where thunders breathed with a prolonged and terrible sighing; upon their flanks sheet-lightnings roamed.

There was no sound in the little bay. Beyond, a fathom of phosphorescence showed that mackerel were playing in the moonshine. Near the trap-ledges, which ran into deep water sheer from the goat-pastures, many luminous moving phantoms: the medusę, green, purple, pale blue, wandering shapes filled with ghostly fire.

We stood a while in silence, then one of us spoke:
  "Shall we put aside, for a brief while, this close fellowship of ours; and, since we cannot journey apart, go together to find if there be any light upon those matters which trouble us, and perhaps discern things better separately than when trying, as we ever vainly do, to see the same thing with the same eyes?"

The others agreed. "It may be I shall know," said one? "It may be I shall remember," said the other.

Then let us go back into the house and rest to-night, and to-morrow, after we have slept and eaten well, we can set out with a light heart."

The others did not answer, for though to one food meant nothing, and to the other sleep was both a remembering and a forgetting, each unwittingly felt the keen needs of him whom they despised overmuch, and feared somewhat, and yet loved greatly.



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