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I pass over the unessentials of my story; their friendly greetings and sympathy for my adventure. It set us at ease at once and I knew my stay would be the happier for their presence though it is not every woman one would choose as a companion in the great mountain country. But what is germane to my purpose must be told, and of this a part is the per- sonality of Brynhild Ingmar. That she was beautiful I never doubted, though I have heard it disputed and smiled inwardly as the disputants urged lip and cheek and shades of rose and lily, weighing and appraising. Let me describe her as I saw her or, rather, as I can, adding that even without all this she must still have been beautiful because of the deep significance to those who had eyes to see or feel some mysterious element which mingled itself with her presence comparable only to the delight which the power and spiritual essence of Nature inspires in all but the dullest minds. I know I cannot hope to convey this in words. It means little if I say I thought of all quiet lovely solitary things when I looked into her calm eyes, - that when she moved it was like clear springs renewed by flowing, that she seemed the perfect flowering of a day in June, for these are phrases. Does Nature know her wonders when she shines in her strength? Does a woman know the infinite meanings her beauty may have for the beholder? I cannot tell. Nor can I tell if I saw this girl as she may have seemed to those who read only the letter of the book and are blind to its spirit, or in the deepest sense as she really was in the sight of That which created her and of which she was a part. Surely it is a proof of the divinity of love that in and for a moment it lifts the veil of so-called reality and shows each to the other mysteriously perfect and inspiring as the world will never see them, but as they exist in the Eternal, and in the sight of those who have learnt that the material is but the dream, and the vision of love the truth.
I will say then, for the alphabet of what I knew but cannot tell, that she had the low broad brows of a Greek Nature Goddess, the hair swept back wing-like from the temples and massed with a noble luxuriance. It lay like rippled bronze, suggesting something strong and serene in its essence. Her eyes were clear and gray as water, the mouth sweetly curved above a resolute chin. It was a face which recalled a modelling in marble rather than the charming pastel and aquarelle of a young woman's colouring, and somehow I thought of it less as the beauty of a woman than as some sexless emanation of natural things, and this impression was strengthened by her height and the long limbs, slender and strong as those of some youth trained in the pentathlon, subject to the severest discipline until all that was superfluous was fined away and the perfect form expressing the true being emerged. The body was thus more beautiful than the face, and I may note in passing that this is often the case, because the face is more directly the index of the restless and unhappy soul within and can attain true beauty only when the soul is in harmony with its source.
She was a little like her pale and wearied mother. She might resemble her still more when the sorrow of this world that worketh death should have had its will of her. I had yet to learn that this would never be - that she had found the open door of escape.
We three spent much time together in the days that followed. I never tired of their company and I think they did not tire of mine, for my wanderings through the world and my studies in the ancient Indian literatures and faiths with the Pandit Devaswami were of interest to them both though in entirely different ways. Mrs. Ingmar was a woman who centred all her interests in books and chiefly in the scientific forms of occult research. She was no believer in anything outside the range of what she called human experience. The evidences had convinced her of nothing but a force as yet unclassified in the scientific categories and all her interest lay in the undeveloped powers of brain which might be discovered in the course of ignorant and credulous experiment. We met therefore on the common ground of rejection of the so-called occultism of the day, though I knew even then, and how infinitely better now, that her constructions were wholly misleading.
Nearly all day she would lie in her chair under the deodars by the delicate splash and ripple of the stream. Living imprisoned in the crystal sphere of the intellect she saw the world outside, painted in few but distinct colours, small, comprehensible, moving on a logical orbit. I never knew her posed for an explanation. She had the contented atheism of a certain type of French mind and found as much ease in it as another kind of sweet woman does in her rosary and confessional.
"I cannot interest Brynhild," she said, when I knew her better. "She has no affinity with science. She is simply a nature worshipper, and in such places as this she seems to draw life from the inanimate life about her. I have sometimes wondered whether she might not be developed into a kind of bridge between the articulate and the inarticulate, so well does she understand trees and flowers. Her father was like that - he had all sorts of strange power with animals and plants, and thought he had more than he had. He could never realize that the energy of nature is merely mechanical."
"You think all energy is mechanical?"
"Certainly. We shall lay our finger on the mainspring one day and the mystery will disappear. But as for Brynhild - I gave her the best education possible and yet she has never understood the conception of a universe moving on mathematical laws to which we must submit in body and mind. She has the oddest ideas. I would not willingly say of a child of mine that she is a mystic, and yet -"
She shook her head compassionately. But I scarcely heard. My eyes were fixed on Brynhild, who stood apart, looking steadily out over the snows. It was a glorious sunset, the west vibrating with gorgeous colour spilt over in torrents that flooded the sky, Terrible splendours - hues for which we have no thought - no name. I had not thought of it as music until I saw her face but she listened as well as saw, and her expression changed as it changes when the pomp of a great orchestra breaks upon the silence. It flashed to the chords of blood-red and gold that was burning fire. It softened through the fugue of woven crimson gold and flame, to the melancholy minor of ashes-of-roses and paling green, and so through all the dying glories that faded slowly to a tranquil grey and left the world to the silver melody of one sole star that dawned above the ineffable heights of the snows. Then she listened as a child does to a bird, entranced, with a smile like a butterfly on her parted lips. I never saw such a power of quiet.
She and I were walking next day among the forest ways, the pine-scented sunshine dappling the dropped frondage. We had been speaking of her mother. "It is such a misfortune for her," she said thoughtfully, "that I am not clever. She should have had a daughter who could have shared her thoughts. She analyses everything, reasons about everything, and that is quite out of my reach."
She moved beside me with her wonderful light step - the poise and balance of a nymph in the Parthenon frieze.
"How do you see things?"
"See? That is the right word. I see things - I never reason about them. They are. For her they move like figures in a sum. For me every one of them is a window through which one may look to what is beyond."
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The Ninth Vibration and Other Stories -by- L. Adams Beck