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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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XXIV

IT was a slow pilgrimage homeward that these two young people made, for they stopped at every familiar place on the hills and by the bay that they had known as children. And, like children, they dipped their faces in the shining water of the little brook that wound its way around the hills and fell in a tiny waterfall below into the bay.

They slipped into a darkened temple, touching with reverent, loving fingers the deserted images within. At the little village on the shore, where they had lived together as children, they halted and lunched at a tiny tavern whose garden was the shore of the bay. And when they had struck the road that led to Sendai they turned their steps | | 213 page image : 213 THE HEART OF HYACINTH backward and wandered along the white beach of Matsushima.

The girl, whose heart had been so heavy for days with the thought of leaving her home, now with the lightheartedness of a child seemed to have forgotten all her troubles and to revel in the joy of living.

But a gentle melancholy was upon Komazawa. It was with something of reproach that he answered the merry chatter of his companion.

"Yonder," she said, pointing across the bay, while her long sleeve, falling back, disclosed her soft, dimpled arm, "is the naked island Hadakajima. See, it is not changed at all, Koma. Do you remember those times when you would carry me on your shoulder and step from rock to rock in the bay until you had reached Hadakajima?"

"Yes," he said, watching her eyes. She looked up at him sideways, then drooped her lashes downward.

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"You would not do the same to-day?" she said.

"You are not the same--child," he replied.

"Ah, no," she sighed. "I am changed, alas!"

"Why 'alas'?"

"The change does not please you," she said.

"Ah, but it does."

"Yet you were kinder to me then."

He did not reply. She raised her face.

"Is it not so?"

"Perhaps," he replied.

"Then you must have loved me more then," she said.

"No, that is not true."

"No? Do you still love me, then?"

"I cannot answer you," he said. "If I were to tell you my heart you would not believe me, because you would not understand."

"Ah, but I would, indeed," she said, softly.

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"You are innocent," he said, regarding her thoughtfully, "but you are a coquette by nature."

"What is that?"

"One who makes a jest of love."

"And what is love?"

"Your heart will tell you some day."

"Yet I would have your heart tell me now.

"Love is a rosy pain of the heart."

"Then I do not feel it," she said, stretching out her little, pink fingers over her heart, "for mine thrills and beats with joyous palpitations. Yet"--she looked up at him seriously--"perhaps that, too, is another of the moods of this love."

"Perhaps," he said. "Love is capricious."

Hyacinth sighed and looked out wistfully across the bay.

"It is a strange word," she said, vaguely.

"Yes, strange," he said. "I have lived years in England, but I had to | | 216 page image : 216 THE HEART OF HYACINTH return to Nippon to learn its meaning."

"Yet you have been back but a day," she said, tremulously.

"And love is born in a moment," he whispered, and took her hand softly in his own.

She withdrew it quickly, and turned from him in a sudden panic of incomprehensible fear, the morning had wrought such a change in her.

"We must be going home," she said. "Nay, we must hurry."

And after that they walked homeward swiftly in silence, each afraid to speak to the other.

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