The lightning struck, and receded, the earth quaked and settled again. Resolute, she never spoke again of love and betrayal. She began to believe that the artist had never loved her for her own sake, but more for the sensation of passion, a drama of love, in which she and her sister had been no more to him than sparks of her mother’s fire.
She knew they still met, an ageing goddess and her acolyte, and that her mother “could never cease to look upon him with the partiality she always did”  and always would feel for him. She did not say a word of reproach to either of them, though she was cut to the quick. He never sent a loving message to her.
The worm had entered the bud. During the next five years, while his fame as an artist and a lover spread, a queen seduced him while he painted her portrait, and still he wore his sweet-sad smile, the daughter of tragedy started to wither away until her own muse fled. “I sing but little now to what I did once”.
She had lived only to give joy to those she loved, and she had no joy left. She had reached the limits of feeling. She lived, but it was the posthumous existence of despair. Every asthma attack was like a drowning, in which to die would be easier than the struggle for breath. She yielded to invalidism as if it was a lover. Continue reading