A Daughter of Lilith and a Daughter of Eve
by Kate Buffington Davis
IN the Talmud myths of life, is one of Lilith, the earth-born woman
who first companioned Adam, or man. She wedded him to matter and its
fleeting forms. Then as a messenger from God, a helpmeet to lead men
from earth, matter, and its illusive shadows to heaven, helping him to
perceive the purity, pease, and joy of union in the soul and with the
spirit as a tie between heaven and earth, Eve was created by God,
and offered to man for his inspiration and his awakening.
In the bondage of one, ye shall perish. Through union with the
other shall the door of immortality be opened unto you.
"Love! If I loved I would yield to no power above or below that
would hold apart from me the object of my passion."
The magnificent form of the speaker seemed to quiver from the
stately head, crowned with its wavy black tresses, through its every
beautiful curve to the dainty foot tapping the floor. And the
undulating flush that deepened the bloom upon the cheek, the flush of
light in the eye, that in unemotional hours looked lazily out from
under the heavy fringe of the drooping lids, all emphasized the power
that lay behind the words for their fulfilment.
"Why should one yield in love to aught but its destined reward? It
is joy nay, it is life itself. We move, we think, and all is
monotony, a mere existence. We feel, we love, and all is life. Every
throb of our pulse is a note in the melody of being, when it dances to
the measure of love. What can compensate for the loss of that which we
seek? Nothing. I would stop short of naught save death, to accomplish
my aim if once I loved," she added with a little laugh.
No one save the queenly Cleopatra Tarrasal in the strength of her
peerless magnificence, would dare to have uttered words at once so
intense and so antagonistic to the accepted code of femininity. As it
was, a sort of startled silence fell upon the little group gathered on
that seaside piazza.
Cleo was a child of the southern clime, and as beautiful, as
intense, as is all tropic beauty. Daring as the rays of a southern sun,
that not only nourishes into form and sweetness the orange and the
rose, but begets, likewise, the tarantula and the serpent that stingeth
unto death, was the nature that animated her beautiful body. She would
entice through color, form, and tone, every sense that could be
thrilled, and yet in such love lieth hidden the deadly peril.
A moment's silence, and the young girl at Cleo's side said,
"You frighten me, Cleo, your idea of love seems so compelling,
instead of winning. I cannot understand any joy in forcing an
acknowledgment of any emotion. It seems to me that love must be like
the discovery of great treasure that God has stored up for you, and
hidden in the heart of another, the key to its finding resting in the
voluntary blending of thought and emotions that touches the secret
spring, throws open the door, and reveals to each their portion of this
great joy that enriches life."
A smile crept over the full red lips of the beautiful Cleo, who had
relapsed into a manner of lazy indifference, compared to which her
previous emotion had been like a sudden tempest. She turned her eyes
with deliberate gaze upon the speaker and slowly said,
"That may be your idea, Carrol, but mine is any power that wins. If
the man I shall love is not my master, he shall be my slave. Mine he
shall be, either through love or submission."
A chill almost of horror seemed to pass over the fair girl, who had
ventured to suggest her different thought, as she gazed upon the
leonine grace and power embodied in the speaker.
Just at that moment there came around the corner of the building, a
fair and graceful man. As he advanced, a close observer of Cleo would
have seen a change pass over her, scarce perceptible, yet suggestive of
the cat-like concentration of all faculties into a perceptive state,
that the animal takes on when its attention is fixed by a bird.
As he approached the group with a graceful salutation, Cleo's face
animated and she motioned him to her side with a pretty little wave of
her hand. A faint hesitation on his part caused the color to flicker
over her countenance, and there passed into her expression a magnetic
charm, a look no son of Adam can resist, unless his soul stands
Accepting the seat beside her, Richard Noyes handed her a newly-cut
magazine, and said:
"Miss Cleo, I brought you the paper on hypnotism we were speaking
of last evening. It very ably sustains the argument that a person
cannot be hypnotized against his will, thereby contends there are no
innocent victims of this new recognition of science."
Rising, she took the book and said:
"Oh, thanks; anything in that line interests me exceedingly; how
nice to know there are such wonderful forces to work our will. I wonder
if there is any limit to the power of mind if we but know
As she stood in graceful unconsciousness of muscular effort, in
seeming absorption in the realm of mind, she looked as fascinating as,
history tells us, did her royal predecessor in name and in beauty,
whose passions ruled empires and made the history of a world. She
looked a woman so full of life, that emotion radiated, winning response
in all sense perceptions. In her wondrous eyes was a fearless gleam, as
she searched within for the mystic faculties that obey the will.
"I have just an half hour at my disposal before my packing must be
done, we leave so early in the morning," she said. "So I will go and
read this article now, that we may have a little opportunity for its
discussion this evening." And she walked away.
Going to her room she threw herself upon a low couch by the window,
and rapidly read the article of interest in the magazine. As she
finished it, she tossed the book aside, and clasping her beautiful
hands above her head, gazed long and earnestly into the ever moving
sea, whose waves restlessly caressed the sands before her window.
Her face at first looked veiled in its placidity, as all thought
force seemed concentrated within. Then, like a sudden flash, the color
leaped to her rounded cheek, swept over the marvellous throat, and
followed with a gleam in the eyes as she sprung to her feet, and paced
back and forth the confines of her room, as a tigress measures the
limits of her cage. Finally she muttered,
"I don't believe the power is limited. At any cost I'll test it
this very night."
It is just three months since Cleopatra Tarrasal experimented with
her force as a hypnotizer. If her power over her subject extended to
the suggestion a echeance, to-night, in this, her southern home, it
will be proven. For in that last evening at the seashore they had tried
some hypnotic experiments, and Cleo had succeeded in placing three
subjects in hypnotic sleep, one being Richard Noyes; and during his
subjective state she had laid the command upon him to appear at her
home in New Orleans three months from that day, on this, the
twenty-third of November. And to-night, she is awaiting the fulfilment
of the test, with every breath a quivering anxiety.
She loved Richard Noyes with the fearless intensity of her
wonderful nature. Yet she was not blind to the fact that he never
sought her with the eagerness she felt to behold him. Instead, she
realized, although every charm she was mistress of had been thrown
about him, that she had been able only to exercise a sort of physical
attraction upon him when he was in her presence. That he would more
willingly seek the side of pretty little Carrol Ashton, in those days
at the shore, was to her plainly manifest.
But she was magnificent to-night! Effect had been studied well,
before she adopted that Grecian robe of white wool with golden girdle
holding its soft folds to her queenly form, her black and wavy hair
held in place by a golden dagger. The dress was simplicity itself, thus
showing her mastery of the art of dress; for it adorned her with its
grace, and yet made you only conscious of her exquisite personality.
And it was suited to the hour and the rich surroundings of her
luxurious home. In looking upon her one could utter the tribute Hafiz
bestowed on Zuleika's beauty:
"In the midnight of thy locks,
I renounce the day;
In the ring of thy rose lips,
My heart forgets to pray."
A soft, delicious repose creeps o'er the senses in that room where
sweet odors make breathing a joy; and the soft light blends its
decorations into a symphony of color. It is a spot to make the soul of
man unmindful of care, of suffering, of reason, of responsibility. But
it was all effective to mark the power of a woman's charms. There in
the midst of beauty, she was of it all, the most beautiful.
No fervent imagination of the Orient could picture an houri in
paradise more attractive.
"Hark, a ring!" A few words
"Yes, it is his voice."
Cleo leapt to her feet, clasping her hands, pressed them to her
heart as if to quell its wild beating. And then with indrawn breath
"I have triumphed!"
With a mastery of self simply marvellous, her possession was
regained, and all the passion of her fever of love and her sense of
power was shown alone in her beauty, which was radiant.
As Richard entered the room he had a slightly embarrassed air, as
of one doing some unaccountable thing; but what man, with such an
apparition of beauty extending both hands in welcome, could remain
He stepped forward in his graceful way, and she half swayed toward
him, just enough to bring her brow temptingly near his lips. And then,
as if in response to the determining thought in her mind, his mustache
swept her forehead in a swift caress.
Within himself he was bewildered as a man in a dream. He scarce
knew why he was there, except an uncontrollable impulse had led him on.
He had thought to apologize for his coming unannounced and uninvited.
Instead, here he was with a welcome that dazzled him, and had given a
greeting whose warmth startled him. But he has no time to analyze these
contradictory feelings; he is in a whirlpool of sense emotions that
blind his soul.
Her blush, the swift droop of her head, her low, glad exclamation
of joy at seeing him were all in place, after the caress he had given
her but how had it all come about?
For a moment he was embarrassed; but Cleo's perceptions never
failed her; neither did her power of will that now had so fastened
itself upon him as to transfer her thought into suggestion for action
on his part.
He led her to a seat; then in a most natural way they talked of his
arrival in New Orleans. He had reached there only that afternoon.
"I thought I should get in, in time," he said, "to send a messenger
to ascertain if you would be at home this evening, but our train was
late. At first I thought to postpone my call, but really I found myself
as impatient as a thwarted child, and it was impossible to resist
chancing it, and coming this evening any way."
She smiled and thought, "It is well, my will is sovereign," but
"I am very glad you did not delay my pleasure in seeing you."
After an hour passed in chat and gossip of mutual friends, and what
had crept into their social experiences since last they met, he started
to go, saying:
"I am making an unwarrantably long call."
But it did not suit her purpose that he should leave her with no
future command imprinted upon his unconscious will, so she pleasantly
insisted their visit was not half completed.
If he could only have known, that was his moment of escape from
life-long bondage; but no guardian spirit was near to whisper it, and
the moment was fatal, because his sense still struggled with the world
alone, his soul not having come into a knowledge of its own kindred,
and it stood not upon its guard with understanding as its shield.
He stayed; the magnetism of that rich physical beauty, glittering
with intellectual charm as well, held in thrall his senses.
Reaching a harp that was placed conveniently near, she said:
"I will play for you."
Music was his love thus far in life, and it was an agreeable
surprise to find she could so entertain him, as she had never before
given any hint of that accomplishment. Yes, she loved melody, though
the grand harmonies she could not grasp.
As her beautiful hands, with their dimpled knuckles and tapering
fingers, swept across the strings of the melodious instrument, what a
picture she made! And the melody was like a shimmering light, passing
through the room.
The sweeping drapery of her classic robe, falling about her as
softly as the lights and shadows of a moonlight eve, lost not a line of
the beauty of her majestic form; and the curve and taper of her arm, as
the white wool fell away in a soft mass, made a study for a sculptor.
From the dancing, sparkling melody she passed into one like a song
of murmuring leaves, with a weird sort of monotony in its tone. During
the repetition of this strain, she fixed her eyes upon Noyes' face;
gradually, and unconsciously he passed under control of her will. With
the lithe grace of a cat she moved to his side, humming still the
monotonous measure she had been playing, and touching him gently upon
the eyelids, she made sure he was unconscious. Passing back to the side
of the harp as quickly as she had left it, she began softly to play
again, keeping up the same measure, while she spoke, and said:
"You will come again to-morrow, and say, 'Cleo, I love you, will
you be my wife?' Remember, you have not been hypnotized. Now count six
and be awake."
She still played the same melody that lulled him into
unconsciousness until he uttered the word six, then she broke at once
into a refrain of sweetness that thrilled every nerve to listen.
For a moment Richard Noyes looked confused; then said:
"That was a peculiar change; that minor strain had a dream-like
effect upon the mind, while this seems to send life bounding through
She saw it was as she desired; he was unconscious of having been
hypnotized. So pushing the harp from her she said:
"Yes, I don't care for music that is not emotional!"
"You seem the living personification of feeling," he replied; "you
sometimes give me the impression that I am torpid, or but half awake;
as though you knew a keener life; an intensity, that I sometimes, as
now, realize only through you."
"Perhaps you are just waking," she said, with a tender look from
beneath her curling lashes. And then hurriedly rising, as if she had
said more than her second thought sanctioned, she moved from him, and
remained standing by her harp.
Just behind her in rich folds, were golden brocade draperies of a
large window. As she stood there with the exquisite poise begotten in
tireless muscle and perfect proportion, she was a living, breathing
embodiment of all the beauty man attributed to the goddess of Love in
the days of Greek idealism. But alas, a Venus Pandemos! She knew his
soul turned not to her with longing; that the sheer force of physical
beauty and her all compelling will alone brought him into her presence.
Yet not a voluntary yielding of a single desire did he give her. And
yet and yet! She wavered not one instant in her determination to
bind him in the yoke that love alone can make honorable, or pleasant.
And like one charmed he gazed upon her. He rose from his seat and
approached her, put forth his hand and half encircled her waist; she
drew back ever so slightly, but it was enough to break the spell. He
drew a long breath and whispered low,
"Forgive me, but you are so radiant, you fascinate me. To punish
myself I will say good-night," and pressing her hand, in a moment he
As he passed out of sight behind the portieres*, a smile of triumph
swept across her expressive face, and she said under her breath,
"You may go now, for you will come back; you are mine and you
cannot help yourself."
That which is born of the flesh, is flesh, and that which
pertaineth to earth must perish through the nature of its being. A love
feeding on the mortal part must die; for all earth-born desires are but
fleeting fancies for a shadow.
Two years have passed since that night, when Cleo Tarrasal rivetted
the chains upon her victim, a victim as helpless as a charmed bird.
They married. Passion threw its scarlet robes about them, and held in
thrall their natures during his limited reign; but, as extremes are
subject to the law of rapid variation, the devotee at Passion's altar
first rebelled. The nature that accepts the forced in place of
voluntary offering can never be satisfied. Unrequited desire must
sharply lash one who would substitute the mockery of love for the
To such natures as Cleo Tarrasal, the demon of jealousy holds the
rod, and tortures alike the victim and victor. It is this self-seeking
passion masquerading under the name of love, that is the father of
jealousy. Love the Divine, the light of the soul, knows no such
They had been married now nearly two years, and life was a torment
alike to both. No peace, no harmony; a stifling of every soul emotion,
life resolved itself into a contest on the animal plane of being.
Richard Noyes at times felt the revolt within, a consciousness
of a promise in his ideals of a different life than this, a life that
had in it aspirations, hope, and harmony. Was that a vain dream of
youth? he would sometimes wonder. Did life hold no tie between man and
woman based on aught save passion, conflict, and base striving?
Alas! he lived a stranger to his own soul. But a new day is at
Cleo is in Europe with a party of friends, and Richard feels
nothing but a sense of relief as he puts in his time in bachelor
fashion. Yet a world weariness is creeping o'er his sense, and it is in
a mechanical way he goes through the social routine of a rich man's
Living on the crust of formal life, he scarce has a knowledge of
the seething, turbulent mass of struggling humanity. Lacking
understanding, he of course has no sympathy with the needs of his
brothers, and the true vocation of man, that of helping the world to
right the wrongs of ages, is outside his ken.
Narrowed in experience by the idleness of inherited wealth, he
drifts, a disappointed, aimless man, upon this little turbulent sea
that lies encompassed with eternity. Out of the eternal we come; a
moment we battle with the waves of time; into eternity we go again.
He is again at the seashore, but this time one of a cottage party.
Among the guests is one Elizabeth Mitchell, a girl who is gradually
bringing a new emotion into his life when he is with her; a peaceful,
soul-uplifting calm. Every day he feels more restless when apart from
her; and he seeks her side with no sense of restriction. There is
something in her calm, beautiful womanhood that soothes him so.
She steps upon the piazza now, with a light wrap about her
shoulders, and he rises and joins her as she starts for a walk upon the
beach. She has no coquettish art, or consciousness. He wishes to walk
with her why not? her soul is her own, and so is his. Her woman's
heart long ago discovered the barrenness of his life; the crying human
need of sympathy that found no expression in his words.
She saw before her a soul dormant in a nature with every capacity
for good; a life going to waste for want of inspiration; simply a sense
existence taking the place of soul development.
As they walked along the beach their talk referred to a subject
often discussed between them, human nature.
They had just passed a tired group of picknickers who were making
their way to the pier, to take the evening boat, and he said:
"I cannot see what their lives hold to make the struggle
endurable?" They were evidently of a class of factory operatives
from a neighboring coast town.
Elizabeth scanned their faces earnestly as she passed and said:
"Earnestness of purpose makes their life not only endurable, but
"How is that?"
"While it is true their lives are full of toil, and probably this
is the only holiday in the year in which they can afford an outing,
breathing the free air, and in sight and hearing of the singing waves,
more the shame to you and me, and all like us, who have abundance,
yet the very toil that earns what it possesses makes life earnest,
and in the sympathy for one another's burdens that you find daily
manifest among those who labor, you see the mark of soul nobility. The
form perhaps is dwarfed or bowed, and rigid muscles rob them of grace,
but watch them closely, and you will see no mask of politeness hides
hideous indifference toward one another. The spirit of brotherhood is
among them. Their souls, perhaps reborn, may animate the truest
civilization the earth will ever know."
"Ah, I see! you point the selfishness of aimless lives as the worm,
'i' the bud,' destroying the present flower of civilization. I don't
know but you are right, although I never thought of it just that way
Like a vision, a mirage of his past swept before his mind's eye,
and he saw its lack of true purpose, its wasted years; a flood of
perceptions almost overwhelmed him. Yet under all the pain there was a
soft symphony of joy. He knew now, what had led him into the light of
true being, what had born into his soul the life immortal. This fair,
sweet woman at his side had opened the door of paradise to him; she had
brought him into his own kingdom and crowned him in the realm of
spirit. The pangs of travail through which this consciousness had
birth, were submerged in the waves of joy that illumined his entire
He walked, he spoke in a mechanical way, while his soul was singing
the refrain of love. In his new wisdom he saw the subjective world as
the real one. And although the crown of thorns still pressed upon his
brow as a son of man, he felt his heritage as a child of God, crowning
all with glory. No matter what trials fill his path on earth, strength
and purpose are now his weapons, and wisdom his shield.
As they drew near the boats he said, "Let us row."
It was the one indulgence he would permit himself, now that he knew
the truth. For one evening they should be together, untouched by
humanity's tide. Alone on the waters as though eternity again enveloped
them. And then, after the deeper thoughts of her developed nature had
given him fresh inspiration and guidance, a store for him to live by,
he would go from her, into the world, and never see her again. And she
would never know what she had been to him, a veritable messenger from
All this was in his mind as he handed her into the boat and
silently pulled from the shore.
Ah! he was a novice yet in the mysteries of the soul world. "She
not know?" Why, the supreme moment of earth life can be only when two
souls perceive one truth.
After long thinking, he said:
"That is a great truth, that an aim and earnestness in its
fulfilment makes life enjoyable, while sympathy with the needs of our
fellows is the insignia of true nobility. I want to confess to you that
a new world lies before me in the life your earnest thought has given
me. I see a new meaning in life and also a new promise."
"I rejoice to hear you speak so," she responded; "such
possibilities as lie hidden in your nature will enrich you beyond
expression when you come into understanding of your own being. Oh,
think of it! We are the children of the Infinite One, and every man is
our brother. The penalty with the imprisonment of the spirit in the
flesh, is labor, either with hand, or heart or brain; else the spirit
wears upon itself within its prison walls. The thread upon which every
bead of human life is strung, begins and ends in God. And what are we,
that we should stand in the way of our brothers and attempt to live for
Her face was radiant with its high purpose to uplift him, to
illumine the path that, though rugged and hard, would bring him into
the light. It was the truth that rung tones of power through her words.
"You are right; and my life shall be devoted to the welfare of my
fellows from now on. I feel the thrill of courage, the strength of
purpose; I feel a new source of life sweeping over me as though I had
but just come into maturity. I see the pursuits of past years lying
like so many broken toys strewn all about me. Elizabeth, from a child
within me, you have grown a man."
In low tones she solemnly said,
"Not I; the Divinity stirreth within you."
Long they rode upon the waters, and not another word was spoken.
Both hearts beat in harmony to the same music, and the language of
heaven filled their thoughts, love, the love of the spirit.
At last, softly as the notes in a dream, the words, "I love thee, I
love thee," found utterance.
It was unintentional. A breath found sound and voiced the refrain
of his soul. Richard was affrighted at the sound of his own voice; he
felt he had violated a faith reposed in him. Not even yet had he
measured the greatness of that woman beside him.
He held his breath and almost cowered, as though the word must come
that would hurt him. He would have sacrificed life itself at that
moment to have recalled the words. But in all his future years he
blessed them. Their result destroyed the last touch of his worldliness,
the last false habit of thought, and gave him the revelation of a still
purer character than even his imagination could fancy.
In tones as free and pure as an angel might use, resonant with the
melody mastering the base emotions of passion, of fear, or of pride,
came the words,
"Love, love! I wonder if that word means to you what it does to
"Will you tell me, loved one, what it means to you? Then I can
answer." And his voice was tremulous with tenderness.
"I cannot define it though I try," she said. "But it seems as
though every heart-beat would be a throb of joy, telling me I am dear
to you, every breath tremulous with emotions of thanksgiving for the
richness of life that giveth love, and even age, a privilege, for it
brings us nearer the immortality of love. I feel this in the full
consciousness that life can know no fruition of love together in the
flesh. That now, you and I are bound in the eternal yoke of
soul-united, and yet severed by the laws of man. It is no crime to
speak our love, for the eternal union of two souls will bind in spite
of life's blunders, and just obedience to social law. Yet, our speech
has its penalty. From this hour, it would be a sin to tempt the flesh
and grieve the spirit. You are mine, and I am yours, in the oneness of
soul destiny. Having found each other in this labyrinth of life's
tangled paths, and established our bond of union by this acknowledgment
of love, we henceforth must live in accordance with the life of the
world, and with a separation of distance. But that is only a formality
of the flesh; 'soul will companion soul in spite of that.'"
A silence followed, seemingly as long as a lifetime to them. In
that supreme hour, they whose lips had never met, felt the union into
perfect oneness of their true selves.
"I can answer you now," he said. "Love means all to me it does to
you. It means, no matter how earthly things separate us, a union with
you, and a sense of supreme joy in knowing you are mine. The years to
come before our souls are free will prove their strength. I have no
fear that we will ever be apart one from the other in spirit, for one
Then her sweet tones laid the command upon him. "And now, my love,
the hour is come to say let us word it just 'good-night' when we
Silently he obeyed and rowed to the shore.
At the cottage step they paused, and under the rays of the full
moon they looked long and deep into each other's eyes. No touch of
flesh, but soul met soul, and the angels rang the wedding chimes in
heaven. With every measure of their being in harmony with that heavenly
music, softly and tenderly they said,