Friday, September 10, 2010

"Tyrannous Secrets of Time"

It seemed that the dark dreams weighed upon everything now. The images of the dead world crept into every one of her landscapes in some way, and whatever else she might paint she could not entirely eliminate a pallor, a strange tint, some deathly hint. And Helen did not even know why she had such vivid, or so consistent, dreams of the dying future -- her thoughts before had certainly not been more morbid than others. Perhaps it was her own failing health that lent her such images of the age when the world's life should itself fail; or perhaps the legend that tuberculosis granted its sufferers strange artistic vision was not entirely false. She doubted this last, however; people spoke of consoling or uplifting visions, not things of darkness and despair.

Even the news, when she troubled herself to read news, was tainted; she could not suppress a shudder of strange remembrance when she read certain things. Most recently, when the news of the fatal fire at the London house of Charles and Emma Darwin -- arson, apparently -- was in the paper; that odd feeling of remembrance displaced in time troubled her greatly. And more disturbing yet, when she slept that night her dreams touched on the event with a disturbing sense of satisfaction -- or perhaps accomplishment.

At times she felt as if the dreams were building towards something, as if some revelation, half-realized in the dreams, was straining to break through into her waking consciousness.

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