What is the summary for Chapter 26 of The Blithedale Romance?
Coverdale listens to Zenobia's sobs "in unbroken silence." He wants to help her in her grief, but can think of no way to do so. Curiously, his own heart is shaken by the "hardly mitigated torment" that consumes Zenobia.
When she has ceased crying, Zenobia recognizes Coverdale. She quietly tells him not to pity her, because "it is a woman's doom, and (she has) deserved it". She half-seriously urges him to write a ballad about her situation, and tells him the moral of her story will "be distilled into the final stanza, in a drop of bitter honey." Zenobia says that the moral itself will be "that, in the battlefield of life, the downright stroke, that would fall only on a man's steel head-piece, is sure to light on a woman's heart, over which she wears no breastplate".
Zenobia laments that Hollingsworth "has flung away what would have served him better than the poor, pale flower he kept" in choosing Priscilla instead of herself, yet she admits that it was her own fault, all along, because he never sought her. She entreats Coverdale to tell Hollingsworth that he has murdered her, and that she will haunt him, and she tears the flower from her hair and asks him to give it to Priscilla. Zenobia says she is "sick to death of playing at philanthropy and progress", and that their "effort to establish the one true system...was...a foolish dream". When Zenobia leaves, telling Coverdale only that when next he sees her, "her face will be behind the black-veil", Coverdale flings himself on the leaves at the base of Eliot's pulpit, sleeps and dreams, and awakens, trembling (Chapter 26).