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Told in the Twilight

“Every natural law has its spiritual counterpart." —James Allen

He told it to me in the twilight, while the purple glow grew deeper in the western sky, and the crescent moon hung low in the heavens.

We were sitting in the garden watching the light fade over the hills when he began. Maybe it was the weird effect of the afterglow on the mountains and the sea, making them look like shadows of some other country just hidden from our mortal sight, that moved him to open the inner depths of his heart to me, or maybe it was a feeling that I would understand.

When he had told his story the afterglow had faded, the crescent moon had disappeared behind the western hills, and the stars were filling the great vault above us.

After a long silence I whispered, “May I tell it to others, that they may be comforted?” And he answered, “Yes, tell it to others, that they too may know, they too may understand.”

I loved her very deeply. I do not think I know of a time when I did not love her, for well I remember when first we met we looked into each other’s eyes, and—well, she was mine, and I was hers! I knew it! I often wondered if she did, but I like to think she did, for somehow I never saw her face quite so tender as it was when she looked at me; and her eyes—I would not like to think they ever held such unspoken depths for any other. Yet there were times when I felt she was not herself aware of how much of her soul looked out at me from those “homes of silent prayer.”

I know what you are longing to ask me, “Why did I not tell her so?” Ah, dear friend, I could not tell her, for barriers stood between us, barriers that could never be removed in this life. I knew from the first that I could never say to her, “I love you.” I know you will not ask me what those barriers were, for I could not tell you.

At first there was the severe fight, the struggle of a soul crying out for its other self, and pushing back with strong hands of passion and agony the conviction that it could never, never be. Then, when the fierce storm had spent itself, came the aftermath—the calm after the storm, when I accepted the inevitable, and so passed into peace. Then, and not till then, did I see how I could serve her; how impossible it was that she could live, and I could live, and my great undying love not become a power to bless and comfort her, even though I could never hear from her lips how I blessed her, or when I blessed her.

From that time I surrounded her with thoughts of protecting love. Never did she go out or come in but my heart went with her. I made of it a strong, faithful shield, guarding her from all danger and sorrow, for so I fondly hoped it could be, not knowing then as I do now the power of thought. One day, after years of loving her so, and always knowing that it could never be but as it had been, the vision came. I saw her in a moment of great danger. My heart stood still within me, and I, and the great crowd that witnessed the scene, were powerless to stay what must be—it seemed to us—certain death. A moment of intense suspense and agony, and she stood beside me safe and whole, while cheer after cheer rent the air from a hundred voices. “A miraculous escape,” the people said; but I saw What they did not see, and what no other saw that day, and it has never passed my lips till this moment—I saw an angel, all white and radiant, lift my Beloved in strong tender arms and carry her to my side in safety, and when I looked upon his face—it was my own!

Then I knew that the lonely years had not been in vain. Then knew I that my love had its spiritual counterpart in the Guardian Angel that delivered her that day, and that it would be her good angel always. Oh, my heart grew strong in that hour, and my love grew deeper day by day, for suffering was doing its perfect work in me, and I was realizing the glory of a love that gives all, asking for no return.

The vision remained with me, a blessed and holy sacrament! I knew henceforth that every time I blessed her she was blessed; every time my love went out to her with a yearning to comfort, to help, to cheer, the counterpart of all my thoughts and love was ever doing what I would do, and so I loved on. Ah, if only this truth were known by the sad and suffering everywhere!

Years passed away, years in which my heart never ceased to love her. Occasionally we met, and always I saw, or fancied I saw, some light in her eyes; always I heard, or fancied I heard, some tender tone in her voice for me alone.

One never-to-be-forgotten night I dreamed that I walked alone along a steep mountainside. I seemed to be in a great hurry, but could not understand the reason of my haste. Suddenly I came to a valley lying low under the shadow of a mountain. Instinctively I knew that I was looking into the “Valley of the Shadow” called death. And as I Wondered why I had to stand there and watch, one entered the Valley from the other end with trembling steps and many a timid glance around. Then the cold damp stood out upon my forehead, and something like ice gripped my heart, for it was my Beloved. I wanted to rush to her, but the old barrier, strong and real as ever, held me back; I Wanted to speak, but silence—the awful unbroken silence of a lifetime—chained my lips, so she stepped down into the shadows alone! Suddenly she lifted her dear head, and a smile of ineffable sweetness bathed her face, while a great confidence and quiet peace flooded her Whole being. Then it was permitted me to know the cause of her triumph. I heard music in the Valley, music of such sweetness and harmony I held my breath to listen, and my soul was entranced with such sounds as no speech can describe. Dear friend, can you hear my voice, for I must speak it low? That music that took away all her fear, and filled her soul with divine joy in the Valley, was the spiritual counterpart of every tender word, of every yearning prayer my heart had longed to speak to her, but could not. Then I lifted my voice and the mountains rang with my song of thanksgiving. She heard, and, waving her dear hand to me, she passed in joy and triumph beyond the shadows.

I awoke from what some would call my dream, though you and I know better. After a time I slept again, and then I dreamed that a messenger came to my breakfast table saying, “—passed away last night in her sleep.” I awoke the second time, wondering much the meaning of it all. I had not long to wait. The same messenger that I had seen in my dream came to my breakfast-table with the same message!

I sent a bunch of pale pink roses that day—she loved them so—asking that they might be laid upon her bosom.

They were there the last time I looked upon the face I had loved so long and so well; they were clasped in the pale hands upon her breast. In spite of my two visions I thought my heart must break.

Years passed away—years in which I loved her with still a deeper, greater, stronger love. One day I was suddenly reminded of her (not that I forgot her for long, God knows I), but on this occasion a great wave of yearning tenderness towards her so filled my heart that my soul cried out for one look, just one token. Suddenly I had to stand still there in the busy crowded street, and I looked up, I saw her! She was looking at me with such love, such joy, such tenderness, such infinite confidence; and while I yet doubted for very joy if it were really my dear one, she held up her hand, and in it was a bunch of pale pink roses! I saw them last clasped to her lifeless bosom! But now they were so much more lovely and perfect in their never-fading beauty, even as her face was so much more beautiful and glorious compared with the one they laid in the grave.

My flowers have their spiritual counterparts there, and are ever with her. So I wait and am strong, and I am very
happy while I wait, for I know that there will be music in the Valley for me too!

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Lily L. Allen

  • Born on December 30th, 1867 at Burrishoole, Eire
  • Wife of author James Allen
  • Wrote many books of her own
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