Full text: The waves

THE WAVES 
as Miss Matthews grumbles at my feather-headed careless- 
ness, I catch sight of something moving—a speck of sun 
perhaps on a picture, or the donkey drawing the mowing- 
machine across the lawn; or a sail that passes between the 
laurel leaves, so that I am never cast down. I cannot be 
prevented from pirouetting behind Miss Matthews * into 
prayers. 
“ Now, too, the time is coming when we shall leave school 
and wear long skirts. I shall wear necklaces and a white 
dress without sleeves at night. There will be parties in 
brilliant rooms; and one man will single me out and will 
tell me what he has told no other person. He will like me 
better than Susan or Rhoda. He will find in me some 
quality, some peculiar thing. But I shall not ler myself 
be attached to one person only. I do not want to be fixed, 
to be pinioned. I tremble, I quiver, like the leaf in the 
hedge, as I sit dangling my feet, on the edge of the bed, 
with a new day to break open. 1 have fifty years, I have 
sixty years to spend. I have not yet broken into my hoard. 
This is the beginning.” 
“There are hours and hours,” said Rhoda, ‘ before 1 
can put out the light and lie suspended on my bed above 
the world, before I can let the day drop down, before I can 
let my tree grow, quivering in green pavilions above my 
head. Here I cannot let it grow. Somebody knocks 
through it. They ask questions, they interrupt, they throw 
it down. 
“Now I will go to the bathroom and take off my shoes 
and wash ; but as I wash, as I bend my head down over the 
basin, I will let the Russian Empress’s veil flow about my 
shoulders. The diamonds of the Imperial crown blaze 
on my forehead. I hear the roar of the hostile mob as I 
step out on to the balcony. Now I dry my hands, vigorously, 
so that Miss, whose name I forget, cannot suspect that I am 
waving my fist at an infuriated mob. ‘I am your Empress, 
people.” My attitude is one of defiance. I am fearless. I 
conquer. 
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