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Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Emory Women Writers Resource Project

The Heart of Hyacinth, an electronic edition

by Onoto Watanna [Watanna, Onoto, 1879-1954]

date: 1903
source publisher: Harper & Brothers
collection: Genre Fiction

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XXII

IT was nearly midnight when Komazawa passed along the shore of Matsushima and began to climb towards the tombs. He knew every inch of the land. Unlike poor, wandering Hyacinth, he passed steadily ahead without the slightest hesitation. He had reached the small cliff path which led to the great Date-rock cavern. Now he was before the rock itself.

Without pausing an instant, holding the lighted lantern he carried above his head, he entered the cavern beneath the rock. Every inch of the ground within he examined, feeling about with his hands in the darkened corners where his lantern could not penetrate. Over and over the same ground he went, fear urging him forward. When the certain- | | 200 page image : 200 THE HEART OF HYACINTH ty that she was not within the cavern forced itself upon him his shaking frame testified to his agitation.

He had been so certain that the girl would come here. This was the great secret cave he himself had shown to her, where they had spent their childhood together in defiance of the mild remonstrance of the temple priests.

Very slowly now Koma crawled from out the cavern. The lantern he set upon the ground at the mouth of the cave. Then he stood still, uncertain what to do, a great despair coming upon him.

Only a few paces away, he knew, were other tombs and caverns, but these were built in the slanting cliffs, down which no maiden could have gone in safety. Of them he would not think. He dared not look at them, lest he become dizzy with horror. And so Komazawa raised his face upward to the sky, just as Hyacinth had done.

Then he saw, far up above his head,

Illustration included in Watanna's The Heart of Hyacinth.
| | 201 page image : 201 THE HEART OF HYACINTH something dark and still outstretched upon the surface of the rock. He caught his breath, then covered his mouth with his hands lest a cry escape him. Slowly and carefully he climbed up to the surface of the rock. A moment, on its edge, he paused irresolute, then crept on his knees towards the sleeping girl.

For a long time he knelt in a rapt silence beside her, his eyes fixed, entranced, upon her face.

She was slumbering as calmly as a child, and her upturned face, with the moon-rays upon it, was wondrously, ethereally beautiful. Awed, reverential, Koma gazed upon the picture, then soundlessly he crept back to the edge of the rock and clambered down. Once more he stood on the ground below. His face had a strange, strained expression, and in his eyes gleamed a new light.

"I cannot awaken her," he said to himself, "and oh, ye gods! how beautiful she has grown!"

| | 202 page image : 202 THE HEART OF HYACINTH

For a time he stood there without moving, plunged in reverie. Then his eyes, wandering mechanically towards the bay, fell on a series of lights on the shore below. They were one behind the other, and swung back and forth. In an instant he recognized them. The next moment he had thrust his own light into the cavern.

"They will not come this way," he assured himself. "This ancient path is little known save to the priests. Yet--if they should!"

He clinched his hands tensely at his side and stood off a few paces, looking up at the top of the rock.

"It is very high up, and--they might not see. As I did--they might pass by."

He leaned far over, straining his eyes to pierce through the shadows beneath. The lights below flashed a moment from out some foliage, disappeared behind some rocks, reappeared again, and then plunged into a forest path which led, | | 203 page image : 203 THE HEART OF HYACINTH Koma knew, far from his present position.

He heaved a great sigh of relief.

"Ah, it is well--well," he said; "yet, nevertheless, I must watch--I must guard her."

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