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

v

At dawn we woke.  A movement of gladness was in the lovely tides of morning--delicate green, and blue, and gold.  The spires of the grasses were washed in dew; the innumerous was as one green flower that had lain all night in the moonshine.

We had agreed to meet at the bridge over the stream where it lapsed through gravelly beaches just beyond the little town.

There the Soul and the Will long awaited the Body.  The sun was an hour risen, and had guided a moving multitude of gold and azure waters against the long reaches of yellow-poppied sand, and to the bases of the great cliffs, whose schist shone like chrysolite, and whose dreadful bastions of black basalt loomed in purple shadow, like suspended thunderclouds on a windless afternoon.

The air was filled with the poignant sweetness of the loneroid or bog-myrtle, meadowsweet, and white wild-roses.  The green smell of the bracken, the delicate woodland odour of the mountain-ash, floated hitherward and thitherward on the idle breath of the wind, sunwarm when it came across the sea-pinks and thyme-set grass, cool and fresh when it eddied from the fern-coverts, or from the heather above the hillside-boulders where the sheep lay, or from under the pines at the bend of the sea-road where already the cooing of grey doves made an indolent sweetness.

The Soul was silent.  He, had not slept, but, after his playing in the dark, peace had come to him.

Before dawn he had gone into the room where the Will lay, and had looked long at his comrade.  In sleep the Will more resembled him as when awake he the more resembled the Body.  A deep pity had come upon the Soul for him whom he loved so well, but knew so little.

Why was it, he wondered, that he felt less alien from the Body?  Why was it that this strange, potent, inscrutable being, whom both loved, should be so foreign to each?  The Body feared him.  As for himself, he, too, feared him at times.   There were moments when all his marvellous background of the immortal life shrank before the keen gaze of his friend.  Was it possible that Mind could have a life apart from mortal substances?  Was it possible? If so----

It was here that the Will awoke, and smiled at his friend.
He gave no greeting, but answered his thought.
"Yes," he said gravely, and as though continuing an argument, "it is impossible, if you mean the mortal substance of our brother, the Body.  But yet not without material substance.  May it not be that the Mind may have an undreamed-of shaping power, whereby it can instantly create?"
"Create what?"
"A new environment for it's need?  Drown it in the deepest gulfs of the sea, and it will, at the moment it is freed from the body, sheathe itself in a like shape, and habit itself with free spaces of air, so that it may breathe, and live, and emerge into the atmosphere, there to take on a new shape, to involve itself in new circumstances, to live anew?"
"It is possible.  But would that sea-change leave the mind the same or another?"
"The Mind would come forth one and incorruptible."
"If in truth, the Mind be an indivisible essence ?
"Yes, if the mind be one and indivisible."
"You believe it so?"
"Tell me, are you insubstantial?  You, yourself, below this accident of mortality?"
"I know not what you mean."
"You were wondering if, after all, it were possible for me to have a life, a conscious, individual continuity, apart from this mortal substance in which you and I now share--counterparts of that human home we both love and hate, that moving tent of the Illimitable, which at birth appears a speck on sands of the Illimitable, and at death again--abruptly disappears.  You were wondering this.  But, tell me: have you yourself never wondered how you can exist, as yourself, apart from something of this very actuality, this form, this materialism to which you find yourself so alien in the Body?"
"I am spirit. I am a breath."
"But you are you?"
"Yes, I am I."
"The surpassing egotism is the same, whether in you, the Soul, who are but a breath; or in me, the Will, who am but a condition; or in our brother, the Body, a claimant to Eternal Life while perishing in his mortality!"
"I live in God. Whence I came, thither shall I return."
"A breath?"
"It may be."
"Yet you shall be you?"
"Yes; I."
"Then that breath which will be you must have form, even as the Body must have form."
"Form is but the human formula for the informulate."
"Nay, Form is life."
"You have ever one wish, it seems to me, O Will: to put upon me the heavy yoke of mortality."
"Not so: but to lift it from myself."
"And the Body?"
"Where did you leave him last night?"
"You remember what he said about the Three Companions of Night: Laughter, and Wine, and Love? I left him with these."
"They are also called Tears, and Weariness, and the Grave.  He has his portion.   Perhaps he does well.  Death intercepts many retributions."
"He, too, has his dream within a dream."
"Yes, you played to it, in the silence and the darkness."
"You heard my playing--you here, I there?"
"I heard."
"And did you sleep or wake, comforted?"
"I heard a Wind.  I have heard it often.  I heard, too, my own voice singing in the dark."
"What was the song?
"This:---

In the silences of the woods
I have heard all day and all night
The moving multitudes
Of the Wind in flight.
He is named Myriad:
And I am sad
Often, and often I am glad
But oftener I am white
With fear of the dim broods
That are his multitudes."

"And then, when you had heard that song?"
"There was a rush of wings.  My hair streamed behind me.  Then a sudden stillness, out of which came moonlight; and a star fell slowly through the dark, and as it passed my face I felt lips pressed against mine, and it seemed to me that you kissed me."
"And when I kissed you, did I whisper any word?"
"You whispered: 'I am the Following Love."'
"And you knew then that it was the Breath of God, and you, had deep peace, and slept?"
"I knew that it was the Following Love, that is the Breath of God, and I had deep peace, and I slept."

The Soul crossed from the window to the bed, and stooped, and kissed the Will.
"Beloved," he whispered, "the star was but a dewdrop of the Peace that passeth understanding.  And can it be that to you, to whom the healing dew was vouchsafed, shall be denied the water-springs?"
"Ah, beautiful dreamer of dreams, bewilder me no more with your lovely sophistries. See, it is already late, and we have to meet the Body at the shore-bridge over the little stream."

It was then that the two, having had a spare meal of milk and new bread, left the inn, and went, each communing with his own thoughts, to the appointed place.
They heard the Body before they saw him, for he was singing as he came. It was a strange, idle fragment of a song--"The Little Children of the Wind"--a song that some one had made, complete in its incompleteness, as a wind-blown blossom, and, as a blossom discarded by a flying bird, thrown heedlessly on the wayside by its unknown wandering singer:--

I hear the little children of the wind
Crying solitary in lonely places:
I have not seen their faces,
But I have seen the leaves eddying behind,
The little tremulous leaves of the wind.

The Soul looked at the Will.
"So he, too, has heard the Wind," he said, softly.


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