The Conqueror by Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton
Book I. Rachael Levine
Two years passed. Rachael was twenty, a beautiful and stately creature, more discussed and less seen than any woman on the islands of Nevis and St. Christopher. Occasionally Christiana Huggins paid her a visit, or Catherine Hamilton rode over for the day; but although Christiana at least, loved her to the end, both were conscious of her superiority of mind and experience, and the old intimacy was not resumed.
Dr. Hamilton had used all his influence in the Council to promote a special bill of divorce, for he wanted Rachael to be free to marry again. He had no faith in the permanent resources of the intellect for a young and seductive woman, and he understood Rachael very thoroughly. The calm might be long, but unless Levine died or could be legally disposed of, she would give the Islands a heavier shock than when the innovation of Mary Fawcett had set them gabbling. Against the conservatism of his colleagues, however, he could make no headway, and both the Governor and Captain-General disapproved of a measure which England had never sanctioned.
But Dr. Hamilton and her mother were more disturbed at the failure of the bill than Rachael. Time had lifted the shadow of her husband from the race, but, never having loved, even a little, her imagination modelled no pleasing features upon the ugly skull of matrimony. It is true that she sometimes thought of herself as a singularly lonely being, and allowed her mind to picture love and its companionships. As time dimmed another picture she caught herself meditating upon woman's chief inheritance, and moving among the shadows of the future toward that larger and vitalizing part of herself which every woman fancies is on earth in search of her. When she returned from these wanderings she sternly reminded herself that her name was Levine, and that no woman after such an escape had the right to expect more. She finally compelled herself to admit that her avoidance of society was due to prudence as well as to her stern devotion to intellect, then studied harder than ever.
But it is a poor fate that waits upon the gathering together of many people.