"I cannot restrain my men in the face of your insults," the bearded Aga Kagan roared. "These hens of mine have feathers—and talons as well!"
Dr. J. von SACHS,
I went back and sat down by Dan, and tried to keep his head cool. Father was up walking the kitchen floor till late, but at length he lay down across the foot of mother’s bed, as if expecting to be called. The lights were put out, there was no noise in the town, every one slept,——every one, except they watched like me, on that terrible night. No noise in the town, did I say? Ah, but there was! It came creeping round the corners, it poured rushing up the street, it rose from everywhere,——a voice, a voice of woe, the heavy booming rote of the sea. I looked out, but it was pitch-dark, light had forsaken the world, we were beleaguered by blackness. It grew colder, as if one felt a fog fall, and the wind, mounting slowly, now blew a gale. It eddied in clouds of dead and whirling leaves, and sent big torn branches flying aloft; it took the house by the four corners and shook it to loosening the rafters, and I felt the chair rock under me; it rumbled down the chimney as if it would tear the life out of us. And with every fresh gust of the gale the rain slapped against the wall, the rain that fell in rivers, and went before the wind in sheets; and sheltered as I was, the torrents seemed to pour over me like cataracts, and every drop pierced me like a needle, and I put my fingers in my ears to shut out the howl of the wind and the waves. I couldn’t keep my thoughts away from Faith. O, poor girl, this wasn’t what she’d expected! As plainly as if I were aboard-ship I felt the scene, the hurrying feet, the slippery deck, the hoarse cries, the creaking cordage, the heaving and plunging and straining, and the wide wild night. And I was beating off those dreadful lines with them, two dreadful lines of white froth through the blackness, two lines where the horns of breakers guard the harbor,——all night long beating off the lee with them, my life in my teeth, and chill, blank, shivering horror before me. My whole soul, my whole being, was fixed in that one spot, that little vessel driving on the rocks: it seemed as if a madness took possession of me, I reeled as I walked, I forefelt the shivering shock, I waited till she should strike. And then I thought I heard cries, and I ran out in the storm, and down upon the causey, but nothing met me but the hollow night and the roaring sea and the wind. I came back, and hurried up and down and wrung my hands in an agony. Pictures of summer nights flashed upon me and faded,——where out of deep blue vaults the stars hung like lamps, great and golden,——or where soft films just hazing heaven caught the rays till all above gleamed like gauze faintly powdered and spangled with silver,——or heavy with heat, slipping over silent waters, through scented airs, under purple skies. And then storms rolled in and rose before my eyes, distinct for a moment, and breaking,——such as I’d seen them from the Shoals in broad daylight, when tempestuous columns scooped themselves up from the green gulfs and shattered in foam on the shuddering rock,——ah! but that was day, and this was midnight and murk!——storms as I’d heard tell of them off Cape Race, when great steamers went down with but one cry, and the waters crowded them out of sight,——storms where, out of the wilderness of waves that far and wide wasted white around, a single one came ploughing on straight to the mark, gathering its grinding masses mast-high, poising, plunging, and swamping and crashing them into bottomless pits of destruction,——storms where waves toss and breakers gore, where, hanging on crests that slip from under, reefs impale the hull, and drowning wretches cling to the crags with stiffening hands, and the sleet ices them, and the spray, and the sea lashes and beats them with great strokes and sucks them down to death; and right in the midst of it all there burst a gun,——one, another, and no more. “O Faith! Faith!” I cried again, and I ran and hid my head in the bed.
At another time, while I was in Fiume, Hungary, I had an opportunity to see for myself the manner and spirit in which these strikes are conducted, or, rather, the way in which they are put down by the police.
“When I look upon yonder green fields, I call upon the faithful to give thanks to Demeter, that is, that active manifestation of the One through which the corn attains to its ripe maturity. Whether we view the sun or the harvest, or contemplate with admiration the unity and harmony of the visible or invisible world, still it is always with the Only, the All-embracing One we have to do, to Whom we ourselves belong as those of His manifestations in which He places His self-consciousness.
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