The Frozen Deep HTML version

Fourth Scene-- The Garden
Chapter 13.
The spring has come. The air of the April night just lifts the leaves of the sleeping
flowers. The moon is queen in the cloudless and starless sky. The stillness of the
midnight hour is abroad, over land and over sea.
In a villa on the westward shore of the Isle of Wight, the glass doors which lead from the
drawing-room to the garden are yet open. The shaded lamp yet burns on the table. A lady
sits by the lamp, reading. From time to time she looks out into the garden, and sees the
white-robed figure of a young girl pacing slowly to and fro in the soft brightness of the
moonlight on the lawn. Sorrow and suspense have set their mark on the lady. Not rivals
only, but friends who formerly admired her, agree now that she looks worn and aged. The
more merciful judgment of others remarks, with equal truth, that her eyes, her hair, her
simple grace and grandeur of movement have lost but little of their olden charms. The
truth lies, as usual, between the two extremes. In spite of sorrow and suffering, Mrs.
Crayford is the beautiful Mrs. Crayford still.
The delicious silence of the hour is softly disturbed by the voice of the younger lady in
the garden.
"Go to the piano, Lucy. It is a night for music. Play something that is worthy of the
Mrs. Crayford looks round at the clock on the mantelpiece.
"My dear Clara, it is past twelve! Remember what the doctor told you. You ought to have
been in bed an hour ago."
"Half an hour, Lucy--give me half an hour more! Look at the moonlight on the sea. Is it
possible to go to bed on such a night as this? Play something, Lucy--something spiritual
and divine."
Earnestly pleading with her friend, Clara advances toward the window. She too has
suffered under the wasting influences of suspense. Her face has lost its youthful
freshness; no delicate flush of color rises on it when she speaks. The soft gray eyes which
won Frank's heart in the by-gone time are sadly altered now. In repose, they have a
dimmed and wearied look. In action, they are wild and restless, like eyes suddenly
wakened from startling dreams. Robed in white--her soft brown hair hanging loosely over
her shoulders--there is something weird and ghost-like in the girl, as she moves nearer
and nearer to the window in the full light of the moon--pleading for music that shall be
worthy of the mystery and the beauty of the night.