194 A FEW MEMORIES
merry, and have a mock marriage; while the gentle Imogen under the same conditions would droop and fade away. Desdemona may be separated from her love, yet she does not fret nor mourn at his absence. Absence to Juliet is death.* Queen Constance goes mad, raves, and tears her hair at the loss of her son. Hermione, on hearing of the death of Mamillius, swoons like one dead, revives, and after living for sixteen years away from those she loves best, suddenly comes back into their midst without any outward sign of great emotion. These are all noble women, to whom their love is their life; and yet how differently each expresses what she feels! Fortunately, Shakespeare gives a key-note to the nature of most of his characters. For instance, Hermione, when accused by her husband, bears herself with quiet dignity, though wounded irreparably in her deepest affection.
* How clearly Juliet shows tins in the following lines! (Act iii. scene ii.):
"Tybalt is dead and Romeo—banished; That—banished, that one word—banished, Hath slain ten thousand Tybalts.
Romeo is banished—to speak that word Is father, mother, Tybalt, Romeo, Juliet, All slain, all dead."ith Orlando, yet she can jest, be