Infomotions, Inc.David Elginbrod / MacDonald, George, 1824-1905



Author: MacDonald, George, 1824-1905
Title: David Elginbrod
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): euphra; hugh; margaret; arnold; harry; lady emily; sutherland; miss cameron
Contributor(s): Teixeira de Mattos, Alexander, 1865-1921 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
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Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 175,844 words (longer than most) Grade range: 8-10 (high school) Readability score: 69 (easy)
Identifier: etext2291
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Title: David Elginbrod

Author: George MacDonald

Release Date: Aug, 2000  [Etext #2291]
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Note from electronic text creator: I have compiled a word list with
definitions of most of the Scottish words found in this work at the
end of the book.  This list does not belong to the original work,
but is designed to help with the conversations in broad Scots found
in this work.  A further explanation of this list can be found
towards the end of this document, preceding the word list.

There are two footnotes in this book which have been renumbered and
placed at the end of the work.





DAVID ELGINBROD.

by GEORGE MACDONALD, LL.D.




And gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche.

CHAUCER.




TO THE MEMORY OF
LADY NOEL BYRON,
THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED,
WITH A LOVE STRONGER THAN DEATH.




BOOK I.


TURRIEPUFFIT.


With him there was a Ploughman, was his brother.

A trewe swinker, and a good was he,
Living in peace and perfect charity.
God loved he best with all his trewe heart,
At alle times, were it gain or smart,
And then his neighebour right as himselve.

CHAUCER.--Prologue to the Canterbury Tales.




CHAPTER I.

THE FIR-WOOD.

     Of all the flowers in the mead,
Then love I roost these flowers white and rede,
Such that men callen daisies in our town.

     I renne blithe
As soon as ever the sun ginneth west,
To see this flower, how it will go to rest,
For fear of night, so hateth she darkness;
Her cheer is plainly spread in the brightness
Of the sunne, for there it will unclose.

CHAUCER--Prologue to the Legend of Good Women.


"Meg! whaur are ye gaein' that get, like a wull shuttle?  Come in to
the beuk."

Meg's mother stood at the cottage door, with arms akimbo and clouded
brow, calling through the boles of a little forest of fir-trees
after her daughter.  One would naturally presume that the phrase she
employed, comparing her daughter's motions to those of a shuttle
that had "gane wull," or lost its way, implied that she was watching
her as she threaded her way through the trees.  But although she
could not see her, the fir-wood was certainly the likeliest place
for her daughter to be in; and the figure she employed was not in
the least inapplicable to Meg's usual mode of wandering through the
trees, that operation being commonly performed in the most erratic
manner possible.  It was the ordinary occupation of the first hour
of almost every day of Margaret's life.  As soon as she woke in the
morning, the fir-wood drew her towards it, and she rose and went.
Through its crowd of slender pillars, she strayed hither and
thither, in an aimless manner, as if resignedly haunting the
neighbourhood of something she had lost, or, hopefully, that of a
treasure she expected one day to find.

It did not seem that she had heard her mother's call, for no
response followed; and Janet Elginbrod returned into the cottage,
where David of the same surname, who was already seated at the white
deal table with "the beuk," or large family bible before him,
straightway commenced reading a chapter in the usual routine from
the Old Testament, the New being reserved for the evening devotions.
The chapter was the fortieth of the prophet Isaiah; and as the
voice of the reader re-uttered the words of old inspiration, one
might have thought that it was the voice of the ancient prophet
himself, pouring forth the expression of his own faith in his
expostulations with the unbelief of his brethren.  The chapter
finished--it is none of the shortest, and Meg had not yet
returned--the two knelt, and David prayed thus:

"O Thou who holdest the waters in the hollow of ae han', and
carriest the lambs o' thy own making in thy bosom with the other
han', it would be altogether unworthy o' thee, and o' thy Maijesty
o' love, to require o' us that which thou knowest we cannot bring
unto thee, until thou enrich us with that same.  Therefore, like
thine own bairns, we boo doon afore thee, an' pray that thou wouldst
tak' thy wull o' us, thy holy an' perfect an' blessed wull o' us;
for, O God, we are a' thine ain.  An' for oor lassie, wha's oot amo'
thy trees, an' wha' we dinna think forgets her Maker, though she may
whiles forget her prayers, Lord, keep her a bonnie lassie in thy
sicht, as white and clean in thy een as she is fair an' halesome in
oors; an' oh! we thank thee, Father in heaven, for giein' her to us.
An' noo, for a' oor wrang-duins an' ill-min'ins, for a' oor sins
and trespasses o' mony sorts, dinna forget them, O God, till thou
pits them a' richt, an' syne exerceese thy michty power e'en ower
thine ain sel, an' clean forget them a'thegither; cast them ahint
thy back, whaur e'en thine ain een shall ne'er see them again, that
we may walk bold an' upricht afore thee for evermore, an' see the
face o' Him wha was as muckle God in doin' thy biddin', as gin he
had been ordering' a' thing Himsel.  For his sake, Ahmen."

I hope my readers will not suppose that I give this as a specimen of
Scotch prayers.  I know better than that.  David was an unusual man,
and his prayers were unusual prayers.  The present was a little more
so in its style, from the fact that one of the subjects of it was
absent, a circumstance that rarely happened.  But the degree of
difference was too small to be detected by any but those who were
quite accustomed to his forms of thought and expression.  How much
of it Janet understood or sympathized with, it is difficult to say;
for anything that could be called a thought rarely crossed the
threshold of her utterance.  On this occasion, the moment the prayer
was ended, she rose from her knees, smoothed down her check apron,
and went to the door; where, shading her eyes from the sun with her
hand, she peered from under its penthouse into the fir-wood, and
said in a voice softened apparently by the exercise in which she had
taken a silent share,

"Whaur can the lassie be?"

And where was the lassie?  In the fir-wood, to be sure, with the
thousand shadows, and the sunlight through it all; for at this
moment the light fell upon her far in its depths, and revealed her
hastening towards the cottage in as straight a line as the trees
would permit, now blotted out by a crossing shadow, and anon radiant
in the sunlight, appearing and vanishing as she threaded the upright
warp of the fir-wood.  It was morning all around her; and one might
see that it was morning within her too, as, emerging at last in the
small open space around the cottage, Margaret--I cannot call her
Meg, although her mother does--her father always called her "Maggy,
my doo," Anglice, dove--Margaret approached her mother with a bright
healthful face, and the least possible expression of uneasiness on
her fair forehead.  She carried a book in her hand.

"What gars ye gang stravaguin' that get, Meg, whan ye ken weel
eneuch ye sud a' been in to worship lang syne?  An sae we maun hae
worship our lanes for want o' you, ye hizzy!"

"I didna ken it was sae late, mither," replied Margaret, in a
submissive tone, musical in spite of the rugged dialect into which
the sounds were fashioned.

"Nae dout!  Ye had yer brakfast, an' ye warna that hungry for the
word.  But here comes yer father, and ye'll no mend for his flytin',
I'se promise."

"Hoots! lat the bairn alane, Janet, my woman.  The word'll be mair
to her afore lang."

"I wat she has a word o' her nain there.  What beuk hae ye gotten
there, Meg?  Whaur got ye't?"

Had it not been for the handsome binding of the book in her
daughter's hand, it would neither have caught the eye, nor roused
the suspicions of Janet.  David glanced at the book in his turn, and
a faint expression of surprise, embodied chiefly in the opening of
his eyelids a little wider than usual, crossed his face.  But he
only said with a smile:

"I didna ken that the tree o' knowledge, wi' sic fair fruit, grew in
our wud, Maggy, my doo."

"Whaur gat ye the beuk?" reiterated Janet.

Margaret's face was by this time the colour of the crimson boards of
the volume in her hand, but she replied at once:

"I got it frae Maister Sutherlan', I reckon."

Janet's first response was an inverted whistle; her next, another
question:

"Maister Sutherlan'! wha's that o't?"

"Hoot, lass!" interposed David, "ye ken weel aneuch.  It's the new
tutor lad, up at the hoose; a fine, douce, honest chield, an'
weel-faured, forby.  Lat's see the bit beuky, lassie."

Margaret handed it to her father.

"Col-e-ridge's Poems," read David, with some difficulty.

"Tak' it hame direckly," said Janet.

"Na, na," said David; "a' the apples o' the tree o' knowledge are no
stappit wi sut an stew; an' gin this ane be, she'll sune ken by the
taste o't what's comin'.  It's no muckle o' an ill beuk 'at ye'll
read, Maggy, my doo."

"Guid preserve's, man!  I'm no sayin' it's an ill beuk.  But it's no
richt to mak appintments wi' stranger lads i' the wud sae ear' i'
the mornin'.  Is't noo, yersel, Meg?"

"Mither! mither!" said Margaret, and her eyes flashed through the
watery veil that tried to hide them, "hoo can ye?  Ye ken yersel I
had nae appintment wi' him or ony man."

"Weel, weel!" said Janet; and, apparently either satisfied with or
overcome by the emotion she had excited, she turned and went in to
pursue her usual house-avocations; while David, handing the book to
his daughter, went away down the path that led from the cottage
door, in the direction of a road to be seen at a little distance
through the trees, which surrounded the cottage on all sides.
Margaret followed her mother into the cottage, and was soon as busy
as she with her share of the duties of the household; but it was a
good many minutes before the cloud caused by her mother's hasty
words entirely disappeared from a forehead which might with especial
justice be called the sky of her face.

Meantime David emerged upon the more open road, and bent his course,
still through fir-trees, towards a house for whose sake alone the
road seemed to have been constructed.




CHAPTER II.

DAVID ELGINBROD AND THE NEW TUTOR.

     Concord between our wit and will
Where highest notes to godliness are raised,
And lowest sink not down to jot of ill.

What Languetus taught Sir Philip Sidney.


THE ARCADIA--Third Eclogue.


The House of Turriepuffit stood about a furlong from David's
cottage.  It was the abode of the Laird, or landed proprietor, in
whose employment David filled several offices ordinarily distinct.
The estate was a small one, and almost entirely farmed by the owner
himself; who, with David's help, managed to turn it to good account.
Upon week-days, he appeared on horseback in a costume more fitted
for following the plough; but he did not work with his own hands;
and on Sundays was at once recognizable as a country gentleman.

David was his bailiff or grieve, to overlook the labourers on the
estate; his steward to pay them, and keep the farm accounts; his
head gardener--for little labour was expended in that direction,
there being only one lady, the mistress of the house, and she no
patroness of useless flowers: David was in fact the laird's general
adviser and executor.

The laird's family, besides the lady already mentioned, consisted
only of two boys, of the ages of eleven and fourteen, whom he wished
to enjoy the same privileges he had himself possessed, and to whom,
therefore, he was giving a classical and mathematical education, in
view of the University, by means of private tutors; the last of
whom--for the changes were not few, seeing the salary was of the
smallest--was Hugh Sutherland, the young man concerning whom David
Elginbrod has already given his opinion.  But notwithstanding the
freedom he always granted his daughter, and his good opinion of Hugh
as well, David could not help feeling a little anxious, in his walk
along the road towards the house, as to what the apparent
acquaintance between her and the new tutor might evolve; but he got
rid of all the difficulty, as far as he was concerned, by saying at
last:

"What richt hae I to interfere? even supposin' I wanted to
interfere.  But I can lippen weel to my bonny doo; an' for the rest,
she maun tak' her chance like the lave o's.  An' wha' kens but it
micht jist be stan'in' afore Him, i' the very get that He meant to
gang.  The Lord forgie me for speakin' o' chance, as gin I believed
in ony sic havers.  There's no fear o' the lassie.  Gude mornin'
t'ye, Maister Sutherlan'.  That's a braw beuk o' ballants ye gae the
len' o' to my Maggy, this mornin', sir."

Sutherland was just entering a side-door of the house when David
accosted him.  He was not old enough to keep from blushing at
David's words; but, having a good conscience, he was ready with a
good answer.

"It's a good book, Mr. Elginbrod.  It will do her no harm, though it
be ballads."

"I'm in no dreed o' that, sir.  Bairns maun hae ballants.  An', to
tell the truth, sir, I'm no muckle mair nor a bairn in that respeck
mysel'.  In fac, this verra mornin', at the beuk, I jist thocht I
was readin' a gran' godly ballant, an' it soundet nane the waur for
the notion o't."

"You should have been a poet yourself, Mr. Elginbrod."

"Na, na; I ken naething aboot yer poetry.  I hae read auld John
Milton ower an' ower, though I dinna believe the half o't; but, oh!
weel I like some o' the bonny bitties at the en' o't."

"Il Penseroso, for instance?"

"Is that hoo ye ca't?  I ken't weel by the sicht, but hardly by the
soun'.  I aye missed the name o't, an' took to the thing itsel'.
Eh, man!--I beg yer pardon, sir--but its wonnerfu' bonny!"

"I'll come in some evening, and we'll have a chat about it," replied
Sutherland. "I must go to my work now."

"We'll a' be verra happy to see you, sir.  Good mornin', sir."

"Good morning."

David went to the garden, where there was not much to be done in the
way of education at this season of the year; and Sutherland to the
school-room, where he was busy, all the rest of the morning and part
of the afternoon, with Caesar and Virgil, Algebra and Euclid; food
upon which intellectual babes are reared to the stature of college
youths.

Sutherland was himself only a youth; for he had gone early to
college, and had not yet quite completed the curriculum.  He was now
filling up with teaching, the recess between his third and his
fourth winter at one of the Aberdeen Universities.  He was the son
of an officer, belonging to the younger branch of a family of some
historic distinction and considerable wealth.  This officer, though
not far removed from the estate and title as well, had nothing to
live upon but his half-pay; for, to the disgust of his family, he
had married a Welsh girl of ancient descent, in whose line the
poverty must have been at least coeval with the history, to judge
from the perfection of its development in the case of her father;
and his relations made this the excuse for quarrelling with him; so
relieving themselves from any obligations they might have been
supposed to lie under, of rendering him assistance of some sort or
other.  This, however, rather suited the temperament of Major Robert
Sutherland, who was prouder in his poverty than they in their
riches.  So he disowned them for ever, and accommodated himself,
with the best grace in the world, to his yet more straitened
circumstances.  He resolved, however, cost what it might in pinching
and squeezing, to send his son to college before turning him out to
shift for himself.  In this Mrs. Sutherland was ready to support him
to the utmost; and so they had managed to keep their boy at college
for three sessions; after the last of which, instead of returning
home, as he had done on previous occasions, he had looked about him
for a temporary engagement as tutor, and soon found the situation he
now occupied in the family of William Glasford, Esq., of
Turriepuffit, where he intended to remain no longer than the
commencement of the session, which would be his fourth and last.  To
what he should afterwards devote himself he had by no means made up
his mind, except that it must of necessity be hard work of some kind
or other.  So he had at least the virtue of desiring to be
independent.  His other goods and bads must come out in the course
of the story.  His pupils were rather stupid and rather
good-natured; so that their temperament operated to confirm their
intellectual condition, and to render the labour of teaching them
considerably irksome.  But he did his work tolerably well, and was
not so much interested in the result as to be pained at the moderate
degree of his success.  At the time of which I write, however, the
probability as to his success was scarcely ascertained, for he had
been only a fortnight at the task.

It was the middle of the month of April, in a rather backward
season.  The weather had been stormy, with frequent showers of sleet
and snow.  Old winter was doing his best to hold young Spring back
by the skirts of her garment, and very few of the wild flowers had
yet ventured to look out of their warm beds in the mould.
Sutherland, therefore, had made but few discoveries in the
neighbourhood.  Not that the weather would have kept him to the
house, had he had any particular desire to go out; but, like many
other students, he had no predilection for objectless exertion, and
preferred the choice of his own weather indoors, namely, from books
and his own imaginings, to an encounter with the keen blasts of the
North, charged as they often were with sharp bullets of hail.  When
the sun did shine out between the showers, his cold glitter upon the
pools of rain or melted snow, and on the wet evergreens and gravel
walks, always drove him back from the window with a shiver.  The
house, which was of very moderate size and comfort, stood in the
midst of plantations, principally of Scotch firs and larches, some
of the former old and of great growth, so that they had arrived at
the true condition of the tree, which seems to require old age for
the perfection of its idea.  There was very little to be seen from
the windows except this wood, which, somewhat gloomy at almost any
season, was at the present cheerless enough; and Sutherland found it
very dreary indeed, as exchanged for the wide view from his own home
on the side of an open hill in the Highlands.

In the midst of circumstances so uninteresting, it is not to be
wondered at, that the glimpse of a pretty maiden should, one
morning, occasion him some welcome excitement.  Passing downstairs
to breakfast, he observed the drawing-room door ajar, and looked in
to see what sort of a room it was; for so seldom was it used that he
had never yet entered it.  There stood a young girl, peeping, with
mingled curiosity and reverence, into a small gilt-leaved volume,
which she had lifted from the table by which she stood.  He watched
her for a moment with some interest; when she, seeming to become
mesmerically aware that she was not alone, looked up, blushed
deeply, put down the book in confusion, and proceeded to dust some
of the furniture.  It was his first sight of Margaret.  Some of the
neighbours were expected to dinner, and her aid was in requisition
to get the grand room of the house prepared for the occasion.  He
supposed her to belong to the household, till, one day, feeling
compelled to go out for a stroll, he caught sight of her so occupied
at the door of her father's cottage, that he perceived at once that
must be her home: she was, in fact, seated upon a stool, paring
potatoes.  She saw him as well, and, apparently ashamed at the
recollection of having been discovered idling in the drawing-room,
rose and went in.  He had met David once or twice about the house,
and, attracted by his appearance, had had some conversation with
him; but he did not know where he lived, nor that he was the father
of the girl whom he had seen.




CHAPTER III.

THE DAISY AND THE PRIMROSE.

Dear secret Greenness, nursed below
  Tempests and winds and winter nights!
Vex not that but one sees thee grow;
  That One made all these lesser lights.

HENRY VAUGHAN.


It was, of course, quite by accident that Sutherland had met
Margaret in the fir-wood.  The wind had changed during the night,
and swept all the clouds from the face of the sky; and when he
looked out in the morning, he saw the fir-tops waving in the
sunlight, and heard the sound of a south-west wind sweeping through
them with the tune of running waters in its course.  It is a
well-practised ear that can tell whether the sound it hears be that
of gently falling waters, or of wind flowing through the branches of
firs.  Sutherland's heart, reviving like a dormouse in its hole,
began to be joyful at the sight of the genial motions of Nature,
telling of warmth and blessedness at hand.  Some goal of life, vague
but sure, seemed to glimmer through the appearances around him, and
to stimulate him to action.  Be dressed in haste, and went out to
meet the Spring.  He wandered into the heart of the wood.  The
sunlight shone like a sunset upon the red trunks and boughs of the
old fir-trees, but like the first sunrise of the world upon the new
green fringes that edged the young shoots of the larches.  High up,
hung the memorials of past summers in the rich brown tassels of the
clustering cones; while the ground under foot was dappled with
sunshine on the fallen fir-needles, and the great fallen cones which
had opened to scatter their autumnal seed, and now lay waiting for
decay.  Overhead, the tops whence they had fallen, waved in the
wind, as in welcome of the Spring, with that peculiar swinging
motion which made the poets of the sixteenth century call them
"sailing pines."  The wind blew cool, but not cold; and was filled
with a delicious odour from the earth, which Sutherland took as a
sign that she was coming alive at last.  And the Spring he went out
to meet, met him.  For, first, at the foot of a tree, he spied a
tiny primrose, peeping out of its rough, careful leaves; and he
wondered how, by any metamorphosis, such leaves could pass into such
a flower.  Had he seen the mother of the next spring-messenger he
was about to meet, the same thought would have returned in another
form.  For, next, as he passed on with the primrose in his hand,
thinking it was almost cruel to pluck it, the Spring met him, as if
in her own shape, in the person of Margaret, whom he spied a little
way off, leaning against the stem of a Scotch fir, and looking up to
its top swaying overhead in the first billows of the outburst ocean
of life.  He went up to her with some shyness; for the presence of
even a child-maiden was enough to make Sutherland shy--partly from
the fear of startling her shyness, as one feels when drawing near a
couching fawn.  But she, when she heard his footsteps, dropped her
eyes slowly from the tree-top, and, as if she were in her own
sanctuary, waited his approach.  He said nothing at first, but
offered her, instead of speech, the primrose he had just plucked,
which she received with a smile of the eyes only, and the sweetest
"thank you, sir," he had ever heard.  But while she held the
primrose in her hand, her eyes wandered to the book which, according
to his custom, Sutherland had caught up as he left the house.  It
was the only well-bound book in his possession; and the eyes of
Margaret, not yet tutored by experience, naturally expected an
entrancing page within such beautiful boards; for the gayest
bindings she had seen, were those of a few old annuals up at the
house--and were they not full of the most lovely tales and pictures?
In this case, however, her expectation was not vain; for the volume
was, as I have already disclosed, Coleridge's Poems.

Seeing her eyes fixed upon the book--"Would you like to read it?"
said he.

"If you please, sir," answered Margaret, her eyes brightening with
the expectation of deliglit.

"Are you fond of poetry?"

Her face fell.  The only poetry she knew was the Scotch Psalms and
Paraphrases, and such last-century verses as formed the chief part
of the selections in her school-books; for this was a very retired
parish, and the newer books had not yet reached its school.  She had
hoped chiefly for tales.

"I dinna ken much about poetry," she answered, trying to speak
English. "There's an old book o't on my father's shelf; but the
letters o't are auld-fashioned, an' I dinna care aboot it."

"But this is quite easy to read, and very beautiful," said Hugh.

The girl's eyes glistened for a moment, and this was all her reply.

"Would you like to read it?" resumed Hugh, seeing no further answer
was on the road.

She held out her hand towards the volume.  When he, in his turn,
held the volume towards her hand, she almost snatched it from him,
and ran towards the house, without a word of thanks or
leave-taking--whether from eagerness, or doubt of the propriety of
accepting the offer, Hugh could not conjecture.  He stood for some
moments looking after her, and then retraced his steps towards the
house.

It would have been something, in the monotony of one of the most
trying of positions, to meet one who snatched at the offered means
of spiritual growth, even if that disciple had not been a lovely
girl, with the woman waking in her eyes.  He commenced the duties of
the day with considerably more of energy than he had yet brought to
bear on his uninteresting pupils; and this energy did not flag
before its effects upon the boys began to react in fresh impulse
upon itself.




CHAPTER IV.

THE COTTAGE.

O little Bethlem! poor in walls,
  But rich in furniture.

JOHN MASON'S Spiritual Songs.


There was one great alleviation to the various discomforts of
Sutherland's tutor-life.  It was, that, except during school-hours,
he was expected to take no charge whatever of his pupils.  They ran
wild all other times; which was far better, in every way, both for
them and for him.  Consequently, he was entirely his own master
beyond the fixed margin of scholastic duties; and he soon found that
his absence, even from the table, was a matter of no interest to the
family.  To be sure, it involved his own fasting till the next
meal-time came round--for the lady was quite a household martinet;
but that was his own concern.

That very evening, he made his way to David's cottage, about the
country supper-time, when he thought he should most likely find him
at home.  It was a clear, still, moonlit night, with just an air of
frost.  There was light enough for him to see that the cottage was
very neat and tidy, looking, in the midst of its little forest, more
like an English than a Scotch habitation.  He had had the advantage
of a few months' residence in a leafy region on the other side of
the Tweed, and so was able to make the comparison.  But what a
different leafage that was from this!  That was soft, floating,
billowy; this hard, stiff, and straight-lined, interfering so little
with the skeleton form, that it needed not to be put off in the
wintry season of death, to make the trees in harmony with the
landscape.  A light was burning in the cottage, visible through the
inner curtain of muslin, and the outer one of frost.  As he
approached the door, he heard the sound of a voice; and from the
even pitch of the tone, he concluded at once that its owner was
reading aloud.  The measured cadence soon convinced him that it was
verse that was being read; and the voice was evidently that of
David, and not of Margaret.  He knocked at the door.  The voice
ceased, chairs were pushed back, and a heavy step approached.  David
opened the door himself.

"Eh!  Maister Sutherlan'," said he, "I thocht it micht aiblins be
yersel.  Ye're welcome, sir.  Come butt the hoose.  Our place is but
sma', but ye'll no min' sitttin' doon wi' our ain sels.  Janet,
ooman, this is Maister Sutherlan'.  Maggy, my doo, he's a frien' o'
yours, o' a day auld, already.  Ye're kindly welcome, Maister
Sutherlan'.  I'm sure it's verra kin' o' you to come an' see the
like o' huz."

As Hugh entered, he saw his own bright volume lying on the table,
evidently that from which David had just been reading.

Margaret had already placed for him a cushioned arm-chair, the only
comfortable one in the house; and presently, the table being drawn
back, they were all seated round the peat-fire on the hearth, the
best sort for keeping feet warm at least.  On the crook, or hooked
iron-chain suspended within the chimney, hung a three-footed pot, in
which potatoes were boiling away merrily for supper.  By the side of
the wide chimney, or more properly lum, hung an iron lamp, of an old
classical form common to the country, from the beak of which
projected, almost horizontally, the lighted wick--the pith of a
rush.  The light perched upon it was small but clear, and by it
David had been reading.  Margaret sat right under it, upon a
creepie, or small three-legged wooden stool.  Sitting thus, with the
light falling on her from above, Hugh could not help thinking she
looked very pretty.  Almost the only object in the distance from
which the feeble light was reflected, was the patch-work counterpane
of a little bed filling a recess in the wall, fitted with doors
which stood open.  It was probably Margaret's refuge for the night.

"Well," said the tutor, after they had been seated a few minutes,
and had had some talk about the weather--surely no despicable
subject after such a morning--the first of Spring--"well, how do you
like the English poet, Mr. Elginbrod?"

"Spier that at me this day week, Maister Sutherlan', an' I'll
aiblins answer ye; but no the nicht, no the nicht."

"What for no?" said Hugh, taking up the dialect.

"For ae thing, we're nae clean through wi' the auld sailor's story
yet; an' gin I hae learnt ae thing aboon anither, its no to pass
jeedgment upo' halves.  I hae seen ill weather half the simmer, an'
a thrang corn-yard after an' a', an' that o' the best.  No that I'm
ill pleased wi' the bonny ballant aither."

"Weel, will ye jist lat me read the lave o't till ye?"

"Wi' muckle pleesur, sir, an' mony thanks."

He showed Hugh how far they had got in the reading of the "Ancient
Mariner"; whereupon he took up the tale, and carried it on to the
end.  He had some facility in reading with expression, and his few
affectations--for it must be confessed he was not free of such
faults--were not of a nature to strike uncritical hearers.  When he
had finished, he looked up, and his eye chancing to light upon
Margaret first, he saw that her cheek was quite pale, and her eyes
overspread with the film, not of coming tears, but of emotion
notwithstanding.

"Well," said Hugh, again, willing to break the silence, and turning
towards David, "what do you think of it now you have heard it all?"

Whether Janet interrupted her husband or not, I cannot tell; but she
certainly spoke first:

"Tshavah!"--equivalent to pshaw--"it's a' lees.  What for are ye
knittin' yer broos ower a leein' ballant--a' havers as weel as
lees?"

"I'm no jist prepared to say sae muckle, Janet," replied David;
"there's mony a thing 'at's lees, as ye ca't, 'at's no lees a'
through.  Ye see, Maister Sutherlan', I'm no gleg at the uptak, an'
it jist taks me twise as lang as ither fowk to see to the ootside o'
a thing.  Whiles a sentence 'ill leuk to me clean nonsense
a'thegither; an' maybe a haill ook efter, it'll come upo' me a' at
ance; an' fegs! it's the best thing in a' the beuk."

Margaret's eyes were fixed on her father with a look which I can
only call faithfulness, as if every word he spoke was truth, whether
she could understand it or not.

"But perhaps we may look too far for meanings sometimes," suggested
Sutherland.

"Maybe, maybe; but when a body has a suspeecion o' a trowth, he sud
never lat sit till he's gotten eyther hit, or an assurance that
there's nothing there.  But there's jist ae thing, in the poem 'at I
can pit my finger upo', an' say 'at it's no richt clear to me
whether it's a' straucht-foret or no?"

"What's that, Mr. Elginbrod?"

"It's jist this--what for a' thae sailor-men fell doon deid, an' the
chield 'at shot the bonnie burdie, an' did a' the mischeef, cam' to
little hurt i' the 'en--comparateevely."

"Well," said Hugh, "I confess I'm not prepared to answer the
question.  If you get any light on the subject"--

"Ow, I daursay I may.  A heap o' things comes to me as I'm takin' a
daunder by mysel' i' the gloamin'.  I'll no say a thing's wrang till
I hae tried it ower an' ower; for maybe I haena a richt grip o' the
thing ava."

"What can ye expec, Dawvid, o' a leevin' corp, an' a' that?--ay, twa
hunner corps--fower times fifty's twa hunner--an' angels turnin'
sailors, an' sangs gaein fleein' aboot like laverocks, and tummelin'
doon again, tired like?--Gude preserve's a'!"

"Janet, do ye believe 'at ever a serpent spak?"

"Hoot!  Dawvid, the deil was in him, ye ken."

"The deil a word o' that's i' the word itsel, though," rejoined
David with a smile.

"Dawvid," said Janet, solemnly, and with some consternation, "ye're
no gaein' to tell me, sittin' there, at ye dinna believe ilka word
'at's prentit atween the twa brods o' the Bible?  What will Maister
Sutherlan' think o' ye?"

"Janet, my bonnie lass--" and here David's eyes beamed upon his
wife--"I believe as mony o' them as ye do, an' maybe a wheen mair,
my dawtie.  Keep yer min' easy aboot that.  But ye jist see 'at fowk
warna a'thegither saitisfeed aboot a sairpent speikin', an' sae they
leukit aboot and aboot till at last they fand the deil in him.  Gude
kens whether he was there or no.  Noo, ye see hoo, gin we was to
leuk weel aboot thae corps, an' thae angels, an' a' that queer
stuff--but oh! it's bonny stuff tee!--we micht fa' in wi' something
we didna awthegither expec, though we was leukin' for't a' the time.
Sae I maun jist think aboot it, Mr. Sutherlan'; an' I wad fain read
it ower again, afore I lippen on giein' my opingan on the maitter.
Ye cud lave the bit beukie, sir?  We'se tak' guid care o't."

"Ye're verra welcome to that or ony ither beuk I hae," replied Hugh,
who began to feel already as if he were in the hands of a superior.

"Mony thanks; but ye see, sir, we hae eneuch to chow upo' for an
aucht days or so."

By this time the potatoes wore considered to be cooked, and were
accordingly lifted off the fire.  The water was then poured away,
the lid put aside, and the pot hung once more upon the crook, hooked
a few rings further up in the chimney, in order that the potatoes
might be thoroughly dry before they were served.  Margaret was now
very busy spreading the cloth and laying spoon and plates on the
table.  Hugh rose to go.

"Will ye no bide," said Janet, in a most hospitable tone, "an' tak'
a het pitawta wi' us?"

"I'm afraid of being troublesome," answered he.

"Nae fear o' that, gin ye can jist pit up wi' oor hamely meat."

"Mak nae apologies, Janet, my woman," said David. "A het pitawta's
aye guid fare, for gentle or semple.  Sit ye doun again, Maister
Sutherlan'.  Maggy, my doo, whaur's the milk?"

"I thocht Hawkie wad hae a drappy o' het milk by this time," said
Margaret, "and sae I jist loot it be to the last; but I'll hae't
drawn in twa minutes."  And away she went with a jug, commonly
called a decanter in that part of the north, in her hand.

"That's hardly fair play to Hawkie," said David to Janet with a
smile.

"Hoot!  Dawvid, ye see we haena a stranger ilka nicht."

"But really," said Hugh, "I hope this is the last time you will
consider me a stranger, for I shall be here a great many times--that
is, if you don't get tired of me."

"Gie us the chance at least, Maister Sutherlan'.  It's no sma'
preevilege to fowk like us to hae a frien' wi' sae muckle buik
learnin' as ye hae, sir."

"I am afraid it looks more to you than it really is."

"Weel, ye see, we maun a' leuk at the starns frae the hicht o' oor
ain een.  An' ye seem nigher to them by a lang growth than the lave
o's.  My man, ye ought to be thankfu'."

With the true humility that comes of worshipping the Truth, David
had not the smallest idea that he was immeasurably nearer to the
stars than Hugh Sutherland.

Maggie having returned with her jug full of frothy milk, and the
potatoes being already heaped up in a wooden bowl or bossie in the
middle of the table, sending the smoke of their hospitality to the
rafters, Janet placed a smaller wooden bowl, called a caup, filled
with deliciously yellow milk of Hawkie's latest gathering, for each
individual of the company, with an attendant horn-spoon by its side.
They all drew their chairs to the table, and David, asking no
blessing, as it was called, but nevertheless giving thanks for the
blessing already bestowed, namely, the perfect gift of food, invited
Hugh to make a supper.  Each, in primitive but not ungraceful
fashion, took a potatoe from the dish with the fingers, and ate it,
"bite and sup," with the help of the horn-spoon for the milk.  Hugh
thought he had never supped more pleasantly, and could not help
observing how far real good-breeding is independent of the forms and
refinements of what has assumed to itself the name of society.

Soon after supper was over, it was time for him to go; so, after
kind hand-shakings and good nights, David accompanied him to the
road, where he left him to find his way home by the star-light.  As
he went, he could not help pondering a little over the fact that a
labouring man had discovered a difficulty, perhaps a fault, in one
of his favourite poems, which had never suggested itself to him.  He
soon satisfied himself, however, by coming to the conclusion that
the poet had not cared about the matter at all, having had no
further intention in the poem than Hugh himself had found in it,
namely, witchery and loveliness.  But it seemed to the young student
a wonderful fact, that the intercourse which was denied him in the
laird's family, simply from their utter incapacity of yielding it,
should be afforded him in the family of a man who had followed the
plough himself once, perhaps did so still, having risen only to be
the overseer and superior assistant of labourers.  He certainly
felt, on his way home, much more reconciled to the prospect of his
sojourn at Turriepuffit, than he would have thought it possible he
ever should.

David lingered a few moments, looking up at the stars, before he
re-entered his cottage.  When he rejoined his wife and child, he
found the Bible already open on the table for their evening
devotions.  I will close this chapter, as I began the first, with
something like his prayer.  David's prayers were characteristic of
the whole man; but they also partook, in far more than ordinary, of
the mood of the moment.  His last occupation had been star-gazing:

"O thou, wha keeps the stars alicht, an' our souls burnin' wi' a
licht aboon that o' the stars, grant that they may shine afore thee
as the stars for ever and ever.  An' as thou hauds the stars burnin'
a' the nicht, whan there's no man to see, so haud thou the licht
burnin' in our souls, whan we see neither thee nor it, but are
buried in the grave o' sleep an' forgetfu'ness.  Be thou by us, even
as a mother sits by the bedside o' her ailin' wean a' the lang
nicht; only be thou nearer to us, even in our verra souls, an' watch
ower the warl' o' dreams that they mak' for themsels.  Grant that
more an' more thochts o' thy thinkin' may come into our herts day by
day, till there shall be at last an open road atween thee an' us,
an' thy angels may ascend and descend upon us, so that we may be in
thy heaven, e'en while we are upo' thy earth: Amen."




CHAPTER V.

THE STUDENTS.

In wood and stone, not the softest, but hardest, be always aptest
for portraiture, both fairest for pleasure, and most durable for
profit.  Hard wits be hard to receive, but sure to keep; painful
without weariness, heedful without wavering, constant without
new-fangleness; bearing heavy things, though not lightly, yet
willingly; entering hard things, though not easily, yet deeply; and
so come to that perfectness of learning in the end, that quick wits
seem in hope but do not in deed, or else very seldom ever attain
unto.--ROGER ASCHAM.--The Schoolmaster.

Two or three very simple causes united to prevent Hugh from
repeating his visit to David so soon as he would otherwise have
done.  One was, that, the fine weather continuing, he was seized
with the desire of exploring the neighbourhood.  The spring, which
sets some wild animals to the construction of new dwellings, incites
man to the enlarging of his, making, as it were, by discovery, that
which lies around him his own.  So he spent the greater parts of
several evenings in wandering about the neighbourhood; till at
length the moonlight failed him.  Another cause was, that, in the
act of searching for some books for his boys, in an old garret of
the house, which was at once lumber room and library, he came upon
some stray volumes of the Waverley novels, with which he was as yet
only partially acquainted.  These absorbed many of his spare hours.
But one evening, while reading the Heart of Midlothian, the thought
struck him--what a character David would have been for Sir Walter.
Whether he was right or not is a question; but the notion brought
David so vividly before him, that it roused the desire to see him.
He closed the book at once, and went to the cottage.

"We're no lik'ly to ca' ye onything but a stranger yet, Maister
Sutherlan'," said David, as he entered.

"I've been busy since I saw you," was all the excuse Hugh offered.

"Weel, ye'r welcome noo; and ye've jist come in time after a', for
it's no that mony hours sin' I fand it oot awthegither to my ain
settisfaction."

"Found out what?" said Hugh; for he had forgotten all about the
perplexity in which he had left David, and which had been occupying
his thoughts ever since their last interview.

"Aboot the cross-bow an' the birdie, ye ken," answered David, in a
tone of surprise.

"Yes, to be sure.  How stupid of me!" said Hugh.

"Weel, ye see, the meanin' o' the haill ballant is no that ill to
win at, seein' the poet himsel' tells us that.  It's jist no to be
proud or ill-natured to oor neebours, the beasts and birds, for God
made ane an' a' o's.  But there's harder things in't nor that, and
yon's the hardest.  But ye see it was jist an unlucky thochtless
deed o' the puir auld sailor's, an' I'm thinkin' he was sair
reprocht in's hert the minit he did it.  His mates was fell angry at
him, no for killin' the puir innocent craytur, but for fear o' ill
luck in consequence.  Syne when nane followed, they turned richt
roun', an' took awa' the character o' the puir beastie efter 'twas
deid.  They appruved o' the verra thing 'at he was nae doot sorry
for.--But onything to haud aff o' themsels!  Nae suner cam the calm,
than roun' they gaed again like the weathercock, an' naething wad
content them bit hingin' the deid craytur about the auld man's
craig, an' abusin' him forby.  Sae ye see hoo they war a wheen
selfish crayturs, an' a hantle waur nor the man 'at was led astray
into an ill deed.  But still he maun rue't.  Sae Death got them, an'
a kin' o' leevin' Death, a she Death as 'twar, an' in some respecks
may be waur than the ither, got grips o' him, puir auld body!  It's
a' fair and richt to the backbane o' the ballant, Maister
Sutherlan', an' that I'se uphaud."

Hugh could not help feeling considerably astonished to hear this
criticism from the lips of one whom he considered an uneducated man.
For he did not know that there are many other educations besides a
college one, some of them tending far more than that to develope the
common-sense, or faculty of judging of things by their nature.  Life
intelligently met and honestly passed, is the best education of all;
except that higher one to which it is intended to lead, and to which
it had led David.  Both these educations, however, were nearly
unknown to the student of books.  But he was still more astonished
to hear from the lips of Margaret, who was sitting by:

"That's it, father; that's it!  I was jist ettlin' efter that same
thing mysel, or something like it, but ye put it in the richt words
exackly."

The sound of her voice drew Hugh's eyes upon her: he was astonished
at the alteration in her countenance.  While she spoke it was
absolutely beautiful.  As soon as she ceased speaking, it settled
back into its former shadowless calm.  Her father gave her one
approving glance and nod, expressive of no surprise at her having
approached the same discovery as himself, but testifying pleasure at
the coincidence of their opinions.  Nothing was left for Hugh but to
express his satisfaction with the interpretation of the difficulty,
and to add, that the poem would henceforth possess fresh interest
for him.

After this, his visits became more frequent; and at length David
made a request which led to their greater frequency still.  It was
to this effect:

"Do ye think, Mr. Sutherlan', I could do onything at my age at the
mathematics?  I unnerstan' weel eneuch hoo to measur' lan', an' that
kin' o' thing.  I jist follow the rule.  But the rule itsel's a
puzzler to me.  I dinna understan' it by half.  Noo it seems to me
that the best o' a rule is, no to mak ye able to do a thing, but to
lead ye to what maks the rule richt--to the prenciple o' the thing.
It's no 'at I'm misbelievin' the rule, but I want to see the richts
o't."

"I've no doubt you could learn fast enough," replied Hugh. "I shall
be very happy to help you with it."

"Na, na; I'm no gaein to trouble you.  Ye hae eneuch to do in that
way.  But if ye could jist spare me ane or twa o' yer beuks
whiles--ony o' them 'at ye think proper, I sud be muckle obleeged te
ye."

Hugh promised and fulfilled; but the result was, that, before long,
both the father and the daughter were seated at the kitchen-table,
every evening, busy with Euclid and Algebra; and that, on most
evenings, Hugh was present as their instructor.  It was quite a new
pleasure to him.  Few delights surpass those of imparting knowledge
to the eager recipient.  What made Hugh's tutor-life irksome, was
partly the excess of his desire to communicate, over the desire of
his pupils to partake.  But here there was no labour.  All the
questions were asked by the scholars.  A single lesson had not
passed, however, before David put questions which Hugh was unable to
answer, and concerning which he was obliged to confess his
ignorance.  Instead of being discouraged, as eager questioners are
very ready to be when they receive no answer, David merely said,
"Weel, weel, we maun bide a wee," and went on with what he was able
to master.  Meantime Margaret, though forced to lag a good way
behind her father, and to apply much more frequently to their tutor
for help, yet secured all she got; and that is great praise for any
student.  She was not by any means remarkably quick, but she knew
when she did not understand; and that is a sure and indispensable
step towards understanding.  It is indeed a rarer gift than the
power of understanding itself.

The gratitude of David was too deep to be expressed in any formal
thanks.  It broke out at times in two or three simple words when the
conversation presented an opportunity, or in the midst of their
work, as by its own self-birth, ungenerated by association.

During the lesson, which often lasted more than two hours, Janet
would be busy about the room, and in and out of it, with a manifest
care to suppress all unnecessary bustle.  As soon as Hugh made his
appearance, she would put off the stout shoes--man's shoes, as we
should consider them--which she always wore at other times, and put
on a pair of bauchles; that is, an old pair of her Sunday shoes, put
down at heel, and so converted into slippers, with which she could
move about less noisily.  At times her remarks would seem to imply
that she considered it rather absurd in her husband to trouble
himself with book-learning; but evidently on the ground that he knew
everything already that was worthy of the honour of his
acquaintance; whereas, with regard to Margaret, her heart was as
evidently full of pride at the idea of the education her daughter
was getting from the laird's own tutor.

Now and then she would stand still for a moment, and gaze at them,
with her bright black eyes, from under the white frills of her
mutch, her bare brown arms akimbo, and a look of pride upon her
equally brown honest face.

Her dress consisted of a wrapper, or short loose jacket, of printed
calico, and a blue winsey petticoat, which she had a habit of
tucking between her knees, to keep it out of harm's way, as often as
she stooped to any wet work, or, more especially, when doing
anything by the fire.  Margaret's dress was, in ordinary, like her
mother's, with the exception of the cap; but, every evening, when
their master was expected, she put off her wrapper, and substituted
a gown of the same material, a cotton print; and so, with her
plentiful dark hair gathered neatly under a net of brown silk, the
usual head-dress of girls in her position, both in and out of doors,
sat down dressed for the sacrament of wisdom.  David made no other
preparation than the usual evening washing of his large well-wrought
hands, and bathing of his head, covered with thick dark hair,
plentifully lined with grey, in a tub of cold water; from which his
face, which was "cremsin dyed ingrayne" by the weather, emerged
glowing.  He sat down at the table in his usual rough blue coat and
plain brass buttons; with his breeches of broad-striped corduroy,
his blue-ribbed stockings, and leather gaiters, or cuiticans,
disposed under the table, and his shoes, with five rows of
broad-headed nails in the soles, projecting from beneath it on the
other side; for he was a tall man--six feet still, although
five-and-fifty, and considerably bent in the shoulders with hard
work.  Sutherland's style was that of a gentleman who must wear out
his dress-coat.

Such was the group which, three or four evenings in the week, might
be seen in David Elginbrod's cottage, seated around the white deal
table, with their books and slates upon it, and searching, by the
light of a tallow candle, substituted as more convenient, for the
ordinary lamp, after the mysteries of the universe.

The influences of reviving nature and of genial companionship
operated very favourably upon Hugh's spirits, and consequently upon
his whole powers.  For some time he had, as I have already hinted,
succeeded in interesting his boy-pupils in their studies; and now
the progress they made began to be appreciable to themselves as well
as to their tutor.  This of course made them more happy and more
diligent.  There were no attempts now to work upon their parents for
a holiday; no real or pretended head or tooth-aches, whose
disability was urged against the greater torture of ill-conceded
mental labour.  They began in fact to understand; and, in proportion
to the beauty and value of the thing understood, to understand is to
enjoy.  Therefore the laird and his lady could not help seeing that
the boys were doing well, far better in fact than they had ever done
before; and consequently began not only to prize Hugh's services,
but to think more highly of his office than had been their wont.
The laird would now and then invite him to join him in a tumbler of
toddy after dinner, or in a ride round the farm after school hours.
But it must be confessed that these approaches to friendliness were
rather irksome to Hugh; for whatever the laird might have been as a
collegian, he was certainly now nothing more than a farmer.  Where
David Elginbrod would have described many a "bonny sicht," the laird
only saw the probable results of harvest, in the shape of figures in
his banking book.  On one occasion, Hugh roused his indignation by
venturing to express his admiration of the delightful mingling of
colours in a field where a good many scarlet poppies grew among the
green blades of the corn, indicating, to the agricultural eye, the
poverty of the soil where they were found.  This fault in the soil,
the laird, like a child, resented upon the poppies themselves.

"Nasty, ugly weyds!  We'll hae ye admirin' the smut neist," said he,
contemptuously; "'cause the bairns can bleck ane anither's faces
wi't."

"But surely," said Hugh, "putting other considerations aside, you
must allow that the colour, especially when mingled with that of the
corn, is beautiful."

"Deil hae't!  It's jist there 'at I canna bide the sicht o't.
Beauty ye may ca' 't!  I see nane o't.  I'd as sune hae a
reid-heedit bairn, as see thae reid-coatit rascals i' my corn.  I
houp ye're no gaen to cram stuff like that into the heeds o' the twa
laddies.  Faith! we'll hae them sawin' thae ill-faured weyds amang
the wheyt neist.  Poapies ca' ye them?  Weel I wat they're the
Popp's ain bairns, an' the scarlet wumman to the mither o' them.
Ha! ha! ha!"

Having manifested both wit and Protestantism in the closing sentence
of his objurgation, the laird relapsed into good humour and
stupidity.  Hugh would gladly have spent such hours in David's
cottage instead; but he was hardly prepared to refuse his company to
Mr. Glasford.




CHAPTER VI.

THE LAIRD'S LADY.

Ye archewyves, standith at defence,
Sin ye been strong, as is a great camayle;
Ne suffer not that men you don offence.
And slender wives, fell as in battaile,
Beth eager, as is a tiger, yond in Inde;
Aye clappith as a mill, I you counsaile.

CHAUCER.--The Clerk's Tale.


The length and frequency of Hugh's absences, careless as she was of
his presence, had already attracted the attention of Mrs. Glasford;
and very little trouble had to be expended on the discovery of his
haunt.  For the servants knew well enough where he went, and of
course had come to their own conclusions as to the object of his
visits.  So the lady chose to think it her duty to expostulate with
Hugh on the subject.  Accordingly, one morning after breakfast, the
laird having gone to mount his horse, and the boys to have a few
minutes' play before lessons, Mrs. Glasford, who had kept her seat
at the head of the table, waiting for the opportunity, turned
towards Hugh who sat reading the week's news, folded her hands on
the tablecloth, drew herself up yet a little more stiffly in her
chair, and thus addressed him:

"It's my duty, Mr. Sutherland, seein' ye have no mother to look
after ye--"

Hugh expected something matronly about his linen or his socks, and
put down his newspaper with a smile; but, to his astonishment, she
went on--

--"To remonstrate wi' ye, on the impropriety of going so often to
David Elginbrod's.  They're not company for a young gentleman like
you, Mr. Sutherland."

"They're good enough company for a poor tutor, Mrs. Glasford,"
replied Hugh, foolishly enough.

"Not at all, not at all," insisted the lady. "With your
connexions--"

"Good gracious! who ever said anything about my connexions?  I never
pretended to have any."  Hugh was getting angry already.

Mrs. Glasford nodded her head significantly, as much as to say, "I
know more about you than you imagine," and then went on:

"Your mother will never forgive me if you get into a scrape with
that smooth-faced hussy; and if her father, honest man hasn't eyes
enough in his head, other people have--ay, an' tongues too, Mr.
Sutherland."

Hugh was on the point of forgetting his manners, and consigning all
the above mentioned organs to perdition; but he managed to restrain
his wrath, and merely said that Margaret was one of the best girls
he had ever known, and that there was no possible danger of any kind
of scrape with her.  This mode of argument, however, was not
calculated to satisfy Mrs. Glasford.  She returned to the charge.

"She's a sly puss, with her shy airs and graces.  Her father's jist
daft wi' conceit o' her, an' it's no to be surprised if she cast a
glamour ower you.  Mr. Sutherland, ye're but young yet."

Hugh's pride presented any alliance with a lassie who had herded the
laird's cows barefoot, and even now tended their own cow, as an all
but inconceivable absurdity; and he resented, more than he could
have thought possible, the entertainment of such a degrading idea in
the mind of Mrs. Glasford.  Indignation prevented him from replying;
while she went on, getting more vernacular as she proceeded.

"It's no for lack o' company 'at yer driven to seek theirs, I'm
sure.  There's twa as fine lads an' gude scholars as ye'll fin' in
the haill kintra-side, no to mention the laird and mysel'."

But Hugh could bear it no longer; nor would he condescend to excuse
or explain his conduct.

"Madam, I beg you will not mention this subject again."

"But I will mention 't, Mr. Sutherlan'; an' if ye'll no listen to
rizzon, I'll go to them 'at maun do't."

"I am accountable to you, madam, for my conduct in your house, and
for the way in which I discharge my duty to your children--no
further."

"Do ye ca' that dischairgin' yer duty to my bairns, to set them the
example o' hingin' at a quean's apron-strings, and fillin' her lug
wi' idle havers?  Ca' ye that dischairgin' yer duty?  My certie! a
bonny dischairgin'!"

"I never see the girl but in her father and mother's presence."

"Weel, weel, Mr. Sutherlan'," said Mrs. Glasford, in a final tone,
and trying to smother the anger which she felt she had allowed to
carry her further than was decorous, "we'll say nae mair aboot it at
present; but I maun jist speak to the laird himsel', an' see what he
says till 't."

And, with this threat, she walked out of the room in what she
considered a dignified manner.

Hugh was exceedingly annoyed at this treatment, and thought, at
first, of throwing up his situation at once; but he got calmer by
degrees, and saw that it would be to his own loss, and perhaps to
the injury of his friends at the cottage.  So he took his revenge by
recalling the excited face of Mrs. Glasford, whose nose had got as
red with passion as the protuberance of a turkey-cock when gobbling
out its unutterable feelings of disdain.  He dwelt upon this
soothing contemplation till a fit of laughter relieved him, and he
was able to go and join his pupils as if nothing had happened.

Meanwhile the lady sent for David, who was at work in the garden,
into no less an audience-chamber than the drawing-room, the revered
abode of all the tutelar deities of the house; chief amongst which
were the portraits of the laird and herself: he, plethoric and
wrapped in voluminous folds of neckerchief--she long-necked, and
lean, and bare-shouldered.  The original of the latter work of art
seated herself in the most important chair in the room; and when
David, after carefully wiping the shoes he had already wiped three
times on his way up, entered with a respectful but no wise
obsequious bow, she ordered him, with the air of an empress, to shut
the door.  When he had obeyed, she ordered him, in a similar tone,
to be seated; for she sought to mingle condescension and
conciliation with severity.

"David," she then began, "I am informed that ye keep open door to
our Mr. Sutherland, and that he spends most forenichts in your
company."

"Weel, mem, it's verra true," was all David's answer.  He sat in an
expectant attitude.

"Dawvid, I wonner at ye!" returned Mrs. Glasford, forgetting her
dignity, and becoming confidentially remonstrative. "Here's a young
gentleman o' talans, wi' ilka prospeck o' waggin' his heid in a
poopit some day; an' ye aid an' abet him in idlin' awa' his time at
your chimla-lug, duin' waur nor naething ava!  I'm surprised at ye,
Dawvid.  I thocht ye had mair sense."

David looked out of his clear, blue, untroubled eyes, upon the
ruffled countenance of his mistress, with an almost paternal smile.

"Weel, mem, I maun say I dinna jist think the young man's in the
warst o' company, when he's at our ingle-neuk.  An' for idlin' o'
his time awa', it's weel waurd for himsel', forby for us, gin holy
words binna lees."

"What do ye mean, Dawvid?" said the lady rather sharply, for she
loved no riddles.

"I mean this, mem: that the young man is jist actin' the pairt o'
Peter an' John at the bonny gate o' the temple, whan they said:
'Such as I have, gie I thee;' an' gin' it be more blessed to gie
than to receive, as Sant Paul says 'at the Maister himsel' said, the
young man 'ill no be the waur aff in's ain learnin', that he
impairts o't to them that hunger for't."

"Ye mean by this, Dawvid, gin ye could express yersel' to the pint,
'at the young man, wha's ower weel paid to instruck my bairns,
neglecks them, an' lays himsel' oot upo' ither fowk's weans, wha hae
no richt to ettle aboon the station in which their Maker pat them."

This was uttered with quite a religious fervour of expostulation;
for the lady's natural indignation at the thought of Meg Elginbrod
having lessons from her boys' tutor, was cowed beneath the quiet
steady gaze of the noble-minded peasant father.

"He lays himsel' oot mair upo' the ither fowk themsels' than upo'
their weans, mem; though, nae doubt, my Maggy comes in for a gude
share.  But for negleckin' o' his duty to you, mem, I'm sure I kenna
hoo that can be; for it was only yestreen 'at the laird himsel' said
to me, 'at hoo the bairns had never gotten on naething like it wi'
ony ither body."

"The laird's ower ready wi's clavers," quoth the laird's wife,
nettled to find herself in the wrong, and forgetful of her own and
her lord's dignity at once. "But," she pursued, "all I can say is,
that I consider it verra improper o' you, wi' a young lass-bairn, to
encourage the nichtly veesits o' a young gentleman, wha's sae far
aboon her in station, an' dootless will some day be farther yet."

"Mem!" said David, with dignity, "I'm willin' no to understan' what
ye mean.  My Maggy's no ane 'at needs luikin' efter; an' a body had
need to be carefu' an' no interfere wi' the Lord's herdin', for he
ca's himsel' the Shepherd o' the sheep, an' weel as I loe her I maun
lea' him to lead them wha follow him wherever he goeth.  She'll be
no ill guidit, and I'm no gaeing to kep her at ilka turn."

"Weel, weel! that's yer ain affair, Dawvid, my man," rejoined Mrs.
Glasford, with rising voice and complexion. "A' 'at I hae to add is
jist this: 'at as lang as my tutor veesits her"--

"He veesits her no more than me, mem," interposed David; but his
mistress went on with dignified disregard of the interruption--

"Veesits her, I canna, for the sake o' my own bairns, an' the morals
o' my hoosehold, employ her aboot the hoose, as I was in the way o'
doin' afore.  Good mornin', Dawvid.  I'll speak to the laird
himsel', sin' ye'll no heed me."

"It's more to my lassie, mem, excuse me, to learn to unnerstan' the
works o' her Maker, than it is to be employed in your household.
Mony thanks, mem, for what ye hev' done in that way afore; an' good
mornin' to ye, mem.  I'm sorry we should hae ony misunderstandin',
but I canna help it for my pairt."

With these words David withdrew, rather anxious about the
consequences to Hugh of this unpleasant interference on the part of
Mrs. Glasford.  That lady's wrath kept warm without much nursing,
till the laird came home; when she turned the whole of her battery
upon him, and kept up a steady fire until he yielded, and promised
to turn his upon David.  But he had more common-sense than his wife
in some things, and saw at once how ridiculous it would be to treat
the affair as of importance.  So, the next time he saw David, he
addressed him half jocularly:

"Weel, Dawvid, you an' the mistress hae been haein' a bit o' a
dispute thegither, eh?"

"Weel, sir, we warna a'thegither o' ae min'," said David, with a
smile.

"Weel, weel, we maun humour her, ye ken, or it may be the waur for
us a', ye ken."  And the laird nodded with humorous significance.

"I'm sure I sud be glaid, sir; but this is no sma' maitter to me an'
my Maggie, for we're jist gettin' food for the verra sowl, sir, frae
him an' his beuks."

"Cudna ye be content wi the beuks wi'out the man, Dawvid?"

"We sud mak' but sma' progress, sir, that get."

The laird began to be a little nettled himself at David's stiffness
about such a small matter, and held his peace.  David resumed:

"Besides, sir, that's a maitter for the young man to sattle, an' no
for me.  It wad ill become me, efter a' he's dune for us, to steek
the door in's face.  Na, na; as lang's I hae a door to haud open,
it's no to be steekit to him."

"Efter a', the door's mine, Dawvid," said the laird.

"As lang's I'm in your hoose an' in your service, sir, the door's
mine," retorted David, quietly.

The laird turned and rode away without another word.  What passed
between him and his wife never transpired.  Nothing more was said to
Hugh as long as he remained at Turriepuffit.  But Margaret was never
sent for to the House after this, upon any occasion whatever.  The
laird gave her a nod as often as he saw her; but the lady, if they
chanced to meet, took no notice of her.  Margaret, on her part,
stood or passed with her eyes on the ground, and no further change
of countenance than a slight flush of discomfort.

The lessons went on as usual, and happy hours they were for all
those concerned.  Often, in after years, and in far different
circumstances, the thoughts of Hugh reverted, with a painful
yearning, to the dim-lighted cottage, with its clay floor and its
deal table; to the earnest pair seated with him at the labours that
unfold the motions of the stars; and even to the homely, thickset,
but active form of Janet, and that peculiar smile of hers with
which, after an apparently snappish speech, spoken with her back to
the person addressed, she would turn round her honest face
half-apologetically, and shine full upon some one or other of the
three, whom she honoured with her whole heart and soul, and who, she
feared, might be offended at what she called her "hame-ower fashion
of speaking."  Indeed it was wonderful what a share the motherhood
of this woman, incapable as she was of entering into the
intellectual occupations of the others, had in producing that sense
of home-blessedness, which inwrapt Hugh also in the folds of its
hospitality, and drew him towards its heart.  Certain it is that not
one of the three would have worked so well without the sense of the
presence of Janet, here and there about the room, or in the
immediate neighbourhood of it--love watching over labour.  Once a
week, always on Saturday nights, Hugh stayed to supper with them:
and on these occasions, Janet contrived to have something better
than ordinary in honour of their guest.  Still it was of the
homeliest country fare, such as Hugh could partake of without the
least fear that his presence occasioned any inconvenience to his
entertainers.  Nor was Hugh the only giver of spiritual food.
Putting aside the rich gifts of human affection and sympathy, which
grew more and more pleasant--I can hardly use a stronger word
yet--to Hugh every day, many things were spoken by the simple wisdom
of David, which would have enlightened Hugh far more than they did,
had he been sufficiently advanced to receive them.  But their very
simplicity was often far beyond the grasp of his thoughts; for the
higher we rise, the simpler we become; and David was one of those of
whom is the kingdom of Heaven.  There is a childhood into which we
have to grow, just as there is a childhood which we must leave
behind; a childlikeness which is the highest gain of humanity, and a
childishness from which but few of those who are counted the wisest
among men, have freed themselves in their imagined progress towards
the reality of things.




CHAPTER VII.

THE SECRET OF THE WOOD.

The unthrift sunne shot vitall gold,
  A thousand pieces;
And heaven its azure did unfold,
  Chequered with snowy fleeces.
     The air was all in spice,
       And every bush
     A garland wore: Thus fed my Eyes,
       But all the Eare lay hush.

HENRY VAUGHAN.


It was not in mathematics alone that Hugh Sutherland was serviceable
to Margaret Elginbrod.  That branch of study had been chosen for her
father, not for her; but her desire to learn had led her to lay hold
upon any mental provision with which the table happened to be
spread; and the more eagerly that her father was a guest at the same
feast.  Before long, Hugh bethought him that it might possibly be of
service to her, in the course of her reading, if he taught her
English a little more thoroughly than she had probably picked it up
at the parish school, to which she had been in the habit of going
till within a very short period of her acquaintance with the
tutor.--The English reader must not suppose the term parish school
to mean what the same term would mean if used in England.  Boys and
girls of very different ranks go to the Scotch parish schools, and
the fees are so small as to place their education within the reach
of almost the humblest means.--To his proposal to this effect
Margaret responded thankfully; and it gave Hugh an opportunity of
directing her attention to many of the more delicate distinctions in
literature, for the appreciation of which she manifested at once a
remarkable aptitude.

Coleridge's poems had been read long ago; some of them, indeed,
almost committed to memory in the process of repeated perusal.  No
doubt a good many of them must have been as yet too abstruse for
her; not in the least, however, from inaptitude in her for such
subjects as they treated of, but simply because neither the terms
nor the modes of thought could possibly have been as yet presented
to her in so many different positions as to enable her to comprehend
their scope.  Hugh lent her Sir Walter's poems next, but those she
read at an eye-glance.  She returned the volume in a week, saying
merely, they were "verra bonnie stories."  He saw at once that, to
have done them justice with the girl, he ought to have lent them
first.  But that could not be helped now; and what should come next?
Upon this he took thought.  His library was too small to cause much
perplexity of choice, but for a few days he continued undecided.

Meantime the interest he felt in his girl-pupil deepened greatly.
She became a kind of study to him.  The expression of her
countenance was far inferior to her intelligence and power of
thought.  It was still to excess--almost dull in ordinary; not from
any fault in the mould of the features, except, perhaps, in the
upper lip, which seemed deficient in drawing, if I may be allowed
the expression; but from the absence of that light which indicates
the presence of active thought and feeling within.  In this respect
her face was like the earthen pitcher of Gideon: it concealed the
light.  She seemed to have, to a peculiar degree, the faculty of
retiring inside.  But now and then, while he was talking to her, and
doubtful, from the lack of expression, whether she was even
listening with attention to what he was saying, her face would
lighten up with a radiant smile of intelligence; not, however,
throwing the light upon him, and in a moment reverting to its former
condition of still twilight.  Her person seemed not to be as yet
thoroughly possessed or informed by her spirit.  It sat apart within
her; and there was no ready transit from her heart to her face.
This lack of presence in the face is quite common in pretty
school-girls and rustic beauties; but it was manifest to an unusual
degree in the case of Margaret.  Yet most of the forms and lines in
her face were lovely; and when the light did shine through them for
a passing moment, her countenance seemed absolutely beautiful.
Hence it grew into an almost haunting temptation with Hugh, to try
to produce this expression, to unveil the coy light of the beautiful
soul.  Often he tried; often he failed, and sometimes he succeeded.
Had they been alone it might have become dangerous--I mean for
Hugh; I cannot tell for Margaret.

When they first met, she had just completed her seventeenth year;
but, at an age when a town-bred girl is all but a woman, her manners
were those of a child.  This childishness, however, soon began to
disappear, and the peculiar stillness of her face, of which I have
already said so much, made her seem older than she was.

It was now early summer, and all the other trees in the wood--of
which there were not many besides the firs of various kinds--had put
on their fresh leaves, heaped up in green clouds between the
wanderer and the heavens.  In the morning the sun shone so clear
upon these, that, to the eyes of one standing beneath, the light
seemed to dissolve them away to the most ethereal forms of glorified
foliage.  They were to be claimed for earth only by the shadows that
the one cast upon the other, visible from below through the
transparent leaf.  This effect is very lovely in the young season of
the year, when the leaves are more delicate and less crowded; and
especially in the early morning, when the light is most clear and
penetrating.  By the way, I do not think any man is compelled to bid
good-bye to his childhood: every man may feel young in the morning,
middle-aged in the afternoon, and old at night.  A day corresponds
to a life, and the portions of the one are "pictures in little" of
the seasons of the other.  Thus far man may rule even time, and
gather up, in a perfect being, youth and age at once.

One morning, about six o'clock, Hugh, who had never been so early in
the wood since the day he had met Margaret there, was standing under
a beech-tree, looking up through its multitudinous leaves,
illuminated, as I have attempted to describe, with the sidelong rays
of the brilliant sun.  He was feeling young, and observing the forms
of nature with a keen discriminating gaze: that was all.  Fond of
writing verses, he was studying nature, not as a true lover, but as
one who would hereafter turn his discoveries to use.  For it must be
confessed that nature affected him chiefly through the medium of
poetry; and that he was far more ambitious of writing beautiful
things about nature than of discovering and understanding, for their
own sakes, any of her hidden yet patent meanings.  Changing his
attitude after a few moments, he descried, under another beech-tree,
not far from him, Margaret, standing and looking up fixedly as he
had been doing a moment before.  He approached her, and she, hearing
his advance, looked, and saw him, but did not move.  He thought he
saw the glimmer of tears in her eyes.  She was the first to speak,
however.

"What were you seeing up there, Mr. Sutherland?"

"I was only looking at the bright leaves, and the shadows upon
them."

"Ah!  I thocht maybe ye had seen something."

"What do you mean, Margaret?"

"I dinna richtly ken mysel'.  But I aye expeck to see something in
this fir-wood.  I'm here maist mornin's as the day dawns, but I'm
later the day."

"We were later than usual at our work last night.  But what kind of
thing do you expect to see?"

"That's jist what I dinna ken.  An' I canna min' whan I began to
come here first, luikin' for something.  I've tried mony a time, but
I canna min', do what I like."

Margaret had never said so much about herself before.  I can account
for it only on the supposition that Hugh had gradually assumed in
her mind a kind of pastoral superiority, which, at a favourable
moment, inclined her to impart her thoughts to him.  But he did not
know what to say to this strange fact in her history.  She went on,
however, as if, having broken the ice, she must sweep it away as
well.

"The only thing 'at helps me to account for't, is a picter in our
auld Bible, o' an angel sittin' aneth a tree, and haudin' up his
han' as gin he were speakin' to a woman 'at's stan'in' afore him.
Ilka time 'at I come across that picter, I feel direckly as gin I
war my lane in this fir-wood here; sae I suppose that when I was a
wee bairn, I maun hae come oot some mornin' my lane, wi' the
expectation o' seein' an angel here waitin' for me, to speak to me
like the ane i' the Bible.  But never an angel hae I seen.  Yet I
aye hae an expectation like o' seein' something, I kenna what; for
the whole place aye seems fu' o' a presence, an' it's a hantle mair
to me nor the kirk an' the sermon forby; an' for the singin', the
soun' i' the fir-taps is far mair solemn and sweet at the same time,
an' muckle mair like praisin' o' God than a' the psalms thegither.
But I aye think 'at gin I could hear Milton playin' on's organ, it
would be mair like that soun' o' mony waters, than onything else 'at
I can think o'."

Hugh stood and gazed at her in astonishment.  To his more refined
ear, there was a strange incongruity between the somewhat coarse
dialect in which she spoke, and the things she uttered in it.  Not
that he was capable of entering into her feelings, much less of
explaining them to her.  He felt that there was something remarkable
in them, but attributed both the thoughts themselves and their
influence on him, to an uncommon and weird imagination.  As of such
origin, however, he was just the one to value them highly.

"Those are very strange ideas," he said.

"But what can there be about the wood?  The very primroses--ye
brocht me the first this spring yersel', Mr. Sutherland--come out at
the fit o' the trees, and look at me as if they said, 'We ken--we
ken a' aboot it;' but never a word mair they say.  There's something
by ordinar' in't."

"Do you like no other place besides?" said Hugh, for the sake of
saying something.

"Ou ay, mony ane; but nane like this."

"What kind of place do you like best?"

"I like places wi' green grass an' flowers amo't."

"You like flowers then?"

"Like them! whiles they gar me greet an' whiles they gar me lauch;
but there's mair i' them than that, an' i' the wood too.  I canna
richtly say my prayers in ony ither place."

The Scotch dialect, especially to one brought up in the Highlands,
was a considerable antidote to the effect of the beauty of what
Margaret said.

Suddenly it struck Hugh, that if Margaret were such an admirer of
nature, possibly she might enjoy Wordsworth.  He himself was as yet
incapable of doing him anything like justice; and, with the
arrogance of youth, did not hesitate to smile at the Excursion,
picking out an awkward line here and there as especial food for
laughter even.  But many of his smaller pieces he enjoyed very
heartily, although not thoroughly--the element of Christian
Pantheism, which is their soul, being beyond his comprehension,
almost perception, as yet.  So he made up his mind, after a moment's
reflection, that this should be the next author he recommended to
his pupil.  He hoped likewise so to end an interview, in which he
might otherwise be compelled to confess that he could render
Margaret no assistance in her search after the something in the
wood; and he was unwilling to say he could not understand her; for a
power of universal sympathy was one of those mental gifts which Hugh
was most anxious to believe he possessed.

"I will bring you another book to-night," said he "which I think you
will like, and which may perhaps help you to find out what is in the
wood."

He said this smiling, half in playful jest, and without any idea of
the degree of likelihood that there was notwithstanding in what he
said.  For, certainly, Wordsworth, the high-priest of nature, though
perhaps hardly the apostle of nature, was more likely than any other
writer to contain something of the secret after which Margaret was
searching.  Whether she can find it there, may seem questionable.

"Thank you, sir," said Margaret, gratefully; but her whole
countenance looked troubled, as she turned towards her home.
Doubtless, however, the trouble vanished before she reached it, for
hers was not a nature to cherish disquietude.  Hugh too went home,
rather thoughtful.

In the evening, he took a volume of Wordsworth, and repaired,
according to his wont, to David's cottage.  It was Saturday, and he
would stay to supper.  After they had given the usual time to their
studies, Hugh, setting Margaret some exercises in English to write
on her slate, while he helped David with some of the elements of
Trigonometry, and again going over those elements with her, while
David worked out a calculation--after these were over, and while
Janet was putting the supper on the table, Hugh pulled out his
volume, and, without any preface, read them the Leech-Gatherer.  All
listened very intently, Janet included, who delayed several of the
operations, that she might lose no word of the verses; David nodding
assent every now and then, and ejaculating ay! ay! or eh, man! or
producing that strange muffled sound at once common and peculiar to
Scotchmen, which cannot be expressed in letters by a nearer approach
than hm--hm, uttered, if that can be called uttering, with closed
lips and open nasal passage; and Margaret sitting motionless on her
creepie, with upturned pale face, and eyes fixed upon the lips of
the reader.  When he had ceased, all were silent for a moment, when
Janet made some little sign of anxiety about her supper, which
certainly had suffered by the delay.  Then, without a word, David
turned towards the table and gave thanks.  Turning again to Hugh,
who had risen to place his chair, he said,

"That maun be the wark o' a great poet, Mr. Sutherlan'."

"It's Wordsworth's," said Hugh.

"Ay! ay!  That's Wordsworth's!  Ay!  Weel, I hae jist heard him made
mention o', but I never read word o' his afore.  An' he never
repentit o' that same resolution, I'se warrant, 'at he eynds aff
wi'.  Hoo does it gang, Mr. Sutherlan'?"

Sutherland read:--

     "'God,' said I, 'be my help and stay secure!
      I'll think of the leech-gatherer on the lonely moor;'"

and added, "It is said Wordsworth never knew what it was to be in
want of money all his life."

"Nae doubt, nae doubt: he trusted in Him."

It was for the sake of the minute notices of nature, and not for the
religious lesson, which he now seemed to see for the first time,
that Hugh had read the poem.  He could not help being greatly
impressed by the confidence with which David received the statement
he had just made on the authority of De Quincey in his unpleasant
article about Wordsworth.  David resumed:

"He maun hae had a gleg 'ee o' his ain, that Maister Wordsworth, to
notice a'thing that get.  Weel he maun hae likit leevin' things,
puir maukin an' a'--jist like our Robbie Burns for that.  An' see
hoo they a' ken ane anither, thae poets.  What says he aboot
Burns?--ye needna tell me, Mr. Sutherlan'; I min't weel aneuch.  He
says:--

     'Him wha walked in glory an' in joy,
      Followin' his ploo upo' the muntain-side.'

Puir Robbie! puir Robbie!  But, man, he was a gran' chield efter a';
an' I trust in God he's won hame by this!"

Both Janet and Hugh, who had had a very orthodox education, started,
mentally, at this strange utterance; but they saw the eye of David
solemnly fixed, as if in deep contemplation, and lighted in its blue
depths with an ethereal brightness; and neither of them ventured to
speak.  Margaret seemed absorbed for the moment in gazing on her
father's face; but not in the least as if it perplexed her like the
fir-wood.  To the seeing eye, the same kind of expression would have
been evident in both countenances, as if Margaret's reflected the
meaning of her father's; whether through the medium of intellectual
sympathy, or that of the heart only, it would have been hard to say.
Meantime supper had been rather neglected; but its operations were
now resumed more earnestly, and the conversation became lighter;
till at last it ended in hearty laughter, and Hugh rose and took his
leave.




CHAPTER VIII.

A SUNDAY MORNING.

It is the property of good and sound knowledge, to putrifie and
dissolve into a number of subtle, idle, unwholesome, and (as I may
tearme them) vermiculate questions; which have indeed a kinde of
quicknesse, and life of spirite, but no soundnesse of matter, or
goodnesse of quality.--LORD BACON.--Advancement of Learning.

The following morning, the laird's family went to church as usual,
and Hugh went with them.  Their walk was first across fields, by
pleasant footpaths; and then up the valley of a little noisy stream,
that obstinately refused to keep Scotch Sabbath, praising the Lord
after its own fashion.  They emerged into rather a bleak country
before reaching the church, which was quite new, and perched on a
barren eminence, that it might be as conspicuous by its position, as
it was remarkable for its ugliness.  One grand aim of the reformers
of the Scottish ecclesiastical modes, appears to have been to keep
the worship pure and the worshippers sincere, by embodying the whole
in the ugliest forms that could be associated with the name of
Christianity.  It might be wished, however, that some of their
followers, and amongst them the clergyman of the church in question,
had been content to stop there; and had left the object of worship,
as represented by them, in the possession of some lovable attribute;
so as not to require a man to love that which is unlovable, or
worship that which is not honourable--in a word, to bow down before
that which is not divine.  The cause of this degeneracy they share
in common with the followers of all other great men as well as of
Calvin.  They take up what their leader, urged by the necessity of
the time, spoke loudest, never heeding what he loved most; and then
work the former out to a logical perdition of everything belonging
to the latter.

Hugh, however, thought it was all right: for he had the same good
reasons, and no other, for receiving it all, that a Mohammedan or a
Buddhist has for holding his opinions; namely, that he had heard
those doctrines, and those alone, from his earliest childhood.  He
was therefore a good deal startled when, having, on his way home,
strayed from the laird's party towards David's, he heard the latter
say to Margaret as he came up:

"Dinna ye believe, my bonny doo, 'at there's ony mak' ups or mak'
shifts wi' Him. He's aye bringin' things to the licht, no covenin'
them up and lattin them rot, an' the moth tak' them.  He sees us
jist as we are, and ca's us jist what we are.  It wad be an ill day
for a' o's, Maggy, my doo, gin he war to close his een to oor sins,
an' ca' us just in his sicht, whan we cudna possibly be just in oor
ain or in ony ither body's, no to say his."

"The Lord preserve's, Dawvid Elginbrod!  Dinna ye believe i' the
doctrine o' Justification by Faith, an' you a'maist made an elder
o'?"

Janet was the respondent, of course, Margaret listening in silence.

"Ou ay, I believe in't, nae doot; but, troth! the minister, honest
man, near-han' gart me disbelieve in't a'thegither wi' his gran'
sermon this mornin', about imputit richteousness, an' a clean robe
hidin' a foul skin or a crookit back.  Na, na.  May Him 'at woosh
the feet o' his friens, wash us a'thegither, and straucht oor
crookit banes, till we're clean and weel-faured like his ain bonny
sel'."

"Weel, Dawvid--but that's sanctificaition, ye ken."

"Ca't ony name 'at you or the minister likes, Janet, my woman.  I
daursay there's neither o' ye far wrang after a'; only this is jist
my opingan aboot it in sma'--that that man, and that man only, is
justifeed, wha pits himsel' into the Lord's han's to sanctifee him.
Noo!  An' that'll no be dune by pittin' a robe o' richteousness
upo' him, afore he's gotten a clean skin aneath't.  As gin a father
cudna bide to see the puir scabbit skin o' his ain wee bit bairnie,
ay, or o' his prodigal son either, but bude to hap it a' up afore he
cud lat it come near him!  Ahva!"

Here Hugh ventured to interpose a remark.

"But you don't think, Mr. Elginbrod, that the minister intended to
say that justification left a man at liberty to sin, or that the
robe of Christ's righteousness would hide him from the work of the
Spirit?"

"Na; but there is a notion in't o' hidin' frae God himsel'.  I'll
tell ye what it is Mr. Sutherlan': the minister's a' richt in
himsel', an' sae's my Janet here, an' mony mair; an' aiblins there's
a kin' o' trowth in a' 'at they say; but this is my quarrel wi' a'
thae words an' words an' airguments, an' seemilies as they ca' them,
an' doctrines, an' a' that--they jist haud a puir body at airm's
lenth oot ower frae God himsel'.  An' they raise a mist an' a stour
a' aboot him, 'at the puir bairn canna see the Father himsel',
stan'in' wi' his airms streekit oot as wide's the heavens, to tak'
the worn crater,--and the mair sinner, the mair welcome,--hame to
his verra hert.  Gin a body wad lea' a' that, and jist get fowk
persuadit to speyk a word or twa to God him lane, the loss, in my
opingan, wad be unco sma', and the gain verra great."

Even Janet dared not reply to the solemnity of this speech; for the
seer-like look was upon David's face, and the tears had gathered in
his eyes and dimmed their blue.  A kind of tremulous pathetic smile
flickered about his beautifully curved mouth, like the glimmer of
water in a valley, betwixt the lofty aquiline nose and the powerful
but finely modelled chin.  It seemed as if he dared not let the
smile break out, lest it should be followed instantly by a burst of
tears.

Margaret went close up to her father and took his hand as if she had
been still a child, while Janet walked reverentially by him on the
other side.  It must not be supposed that Janet felt any uneasiness
about her husband's opinions, although she never hesitated to utter
what she considered her common-sense notions, in attempted
modification of some of the more extreme of them.  The fact was
that, if he was wrong, Janet did not care to be right; and if he was
right, Janet was sure to be; "for," said she--and in spirit, if not
in the letter, it was quite true--"I never mint at contradickin'
him.  My man sall hae his ain get, that sall he."  But she had one
especial grudge at his opinions; which was, that it must have been
in consequence of them that he had declined, with a queer smile, the
honourable position of Elder of the Kirk; for which Janet considered
him, notwithstanding his opinions, immeasurably more fitted than any
other man "in the haill country-side--ye may add Scotlan' forby."
The fact of his having been requested to fill the vacant place of
Elder, is proof enough that David was not in the habit of giving
open expression to his opinions.  He was looked upon as a douce man,
long-headed enough, and somewhat precise in the exaction of the
laird's rights, but open-hearted and open-handed with what was his
own.  Every one respected him, and felt kindly towards him; some
were a little afraid of him; but few suspected him of being
religious beyond the degree which is commonly supposed to be the
general inheritance of Scotchmen, possibly in virtue of their being
brought up upon oatmeal porridge and the Shorter Catechism.

Hugh walked behind the party for a short way, contemplating them in
their Sunday clothes: David wore a suit of fine black cloth.  He
then turned to rejoin the laird's company.  Mrs. Glasford was
questioning her boys, in an intermittent and desultory fashion,
about the sermon.

"An' what was the fourth heid, can ye tell me, Willie?"

Willie, the eldest, who had carefully impressed the fourth head upon
his memory, and had been anxiously waiting for an opportunity of
bringing it out, replied at once:

"Fourthly: The various appellations by which those who have indued
the robe of righteousness are designated in Holy Writ."

"Weel done, Willie!" cried the laird.

"That's richt, Willie," said his mother.  Then turning to the
younger, whose attention was attracted by a strange bird in the
hedge in front. "An' what called he them, Johnnie, that put on the
robe?" she asked.

"Whited sepulchres," answered Johnnie, indebted for his wit to his
wool-gathering.

This put an end to the catechising.  Mrs. Glasford glanced round at
Hugh, whose defection she had seen with indignation, and who,
waiting for them by the roadside, had heard the last question and
reply, with an expression that seemed to attribute any defect in the
answer, entirely to the carelessness of the tutor, and the
withdrawal of his energies from her boys to that "saucy quean, Meg
Elginbrod."




CHAPTER IX.

NATURE.

When the Soul is kindled or enlightened by the Holy Ghost, then it
beholds what God its Father does, as a Son beholds what his Father
does at Home in his own House.--JACOB BEHMEN'S Aurora--Law's
Translation.


Margaret began to read Wordsworth, slowly at first, but soon with
greater facility.  Ere long she perceived that she had found a
friend; for not only did he sympathize with her in her love for
nature, putting many vague feelings into thoughts, and many thoughts
into words for her, but he introduced her to nature in many
altogether new aspects, and taught her to regard it in ways which
had hitherto been unknown to her.  Not only was the pine wood now
dearer to her than before, but its mystery seemed more sacred, and,
at the same time, more likely to be one day solved.  She felt far
more assuredly the presence of a spirit in nature,

     "Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
      And the round ocean, and the living air;"

for he taught her to take wider views of nature, and to perceive and
feel the expressions of more extended aspects of the world around
her.  The purple hill-side was almost as dear to her as the fir-wood
now; and the star that crowned its summit at eve, sparkled an
especial message to her, before it went on its way up the blue.  She
extended her rambles in all directions, and began to get with the
neighbours the character of an idle girl.  Little they knew how
early she rose, and how diligently she did her share of the work,
urged by desire to read the word of God in his own handwriting; or
rather, to pore upon that expression of the face of God, which,
however little a man may think of it, yet sinks so deeply into his
nature, and moulds it towards its own likeness.

Nature was doing for Margaret what she had done before for
Wordsworth's Lucy: she was making of her "a lady of her own."  She
grew taller and more graceful.  The lasting quiet of her face began
to look as if it were ever upon the point of blossoming into an
expression of lovely feeling.  The principal change was in her
mouth, which became delicate and tender in its curves, the lips
seeming to kiss each other for very sweetness.  But I am
anticipating these changes, for it took a far longer time to perfect
them than has yet been occupied by my story.

But even her mother was not altogether proof against the appearance
of listlessness and idleness which Margaret's behaviour sometimes
wore to her eyes; nor could she quite understand or excuse her long
lonely walks; so that now and then she could not help addressing her
after this fashion:

"Meg!  Meg! ye do try my patience, lass, idlin' awa' yer time that
get.  It's an awfu' wastery o' time, what wi' beuks, an' what wi'
stravaguin', an' what wi' naething ava.  Jist pit yer han' to this
kirn noo, like a gude bairn."

Margaret would obey her mother instantly, but with a look of silent
expostulation which her mother could not resist; sometimes, perhaps,
if the words were sharper than usual, with symptoms of gathering
tears; upon which Janet would say, with her honest smile of sweet
relenting,

"Hootoots, bairn! never heed me.  My bark's aye waur nor my bite; ye
ken that."

Then Margaret's face would brighten at once, and she would work hard
at whatever her mother set her to do, till it was finished; upon
which her mother would be more glad than she, and in no haste to
impose any further labour out of the usual routine.

In the course of reading Wordsworth, Margaret had frequent occasion
to apply to Hugh for help.  These occasions, however, generally
involved no more than small external difficulties, which prevented
her from taking in the scope of a passage.  Hugh was always able to
meet these, and Margaret supposed that the whole of the light which
flashed upon her mind when they were removed, was poured upon the
page by the wisdom of her tutor; never dreaming--such was her
humility with regard to herself, and her reverence towards him--that
it came from the depths of her own lucent nature, ready to perceive
what the poet came prepared to show.  Now and then, it is true, she
applied to him with difficulties in which he was incapable of aiding
her; but she put down her failure in discovering the meaning, after
all which it must be confessed he sometimes tried to say, to her own
stupidity or peculiarity--never to his incapacity.  She had been
helped to so much by his superior acquirements, and his real gift
for communicating what he thoroughly understood; he had been so
entirely her guide to knowledge, that she would at once have felt
self-condemned of impiety--in the old meaning of the word--if she
had doubted for a moment his ability to understand or explain any
difficulty which she could place clearly before him.

By-and-by he began to lend her harder, that is, more purely
intellectual books.  He was himself preparing for the class of Moral
Philosophy and Metaphysics; and he chose for her some of the simpler
of his books on these subjects--of course all of the Scotch
school--beginning with Abercrombie's Intellectual Powers.  She took
this eagerly, and evidently read it with great attention.

One evening in the end of summer, Hugh climbed a waste heathery hill
that lay behind the house of Turriepuffit, and overlooked a great
part of the neighbouring country, the peaks of some of the greatest
of the Scotch mountains being visible from its top.  Here he
intended to wait for the sunset.  He threw himself on the heather,
that most delightful and luxurious of all couches, supporting the
body with a kindly upholding of every part; and there he lay in the
great slumberous sunlight of the late afternoon, with the blue
heavens, into which he was gazing full up, closing down upon him, as
the light descended the side of the sky.  He fell fast asleep.  If
ever there be an excuse for falling asleep out of bed, surely it is
when stretched at full length upon heather in bloom.  When he awoke,
the last of the sunset was dying away; and between him and the
sunset sat Margaret, book in hand, waiting apparently for his
waking.  He lay still for a few minutes, to come to himself before
she should see he was awake.  But she rose at the moment, and
drawing near very quietly, looked down upon him with her sweet
sunset face, to see whether or not he was beginning to rouse, for
she feared to let him lie much longer after sundown.  Finding him
awake, she drew back again without a word, and sat down as before
with her book.  At length he rose, and, approaching her, said--

"Well, Margaret, what book are you at now?"

"Dr. Abercrombie, sir," replied Margaret.

"How do you like it?"

"Verra weel for some things.  It makes a body think; but not
a'thegither as I like to think either."

It will be observed that Margaret's speech had begun to improve,
that is, to be more like English.

"What is the matter with it?"

"Weel, ye see, sir, it taks a body a' to bits like, and never pits
them together again.  An' it seems to me that a body's min' or soul,
or whatever it may be called--but it's jist a body's ain sel'--can
no more be ta'en to pieces like, than you could tak' that red licht
there oot o' the blue, or the haill sunset oot o' the heavens an'
earth.  It may be a' verra weel, Mr. Sutherland, but oh! it's no
like this!"

And Margaret looked around her from the hill-top, and then up into
the heavens, where the stars were beginning to crack the blue with
their thin, steely sparkle.

"It seems to me to tak' a' the poetry oot o' us, Mr. Sutherland."

"Well, well," said Hugh, with a smile, "you must just go to
Wordsworth to put it in again; or to set you again up after Dr.
Abercrombie has demolished you."

"Na, na, sir, he sanna demolish me: nor I winna trouble Mr.
Wordsworth to put the poetry into me again.  A' the power on earth
shanna tak' that oot o' me, gin it be God's will; for it's his ain
gift, Mr. Sutherland, ye ken."

"Of course, of course," replied Hugh, who very likely thought this
too serious a way of speaking of poetry, and therefore, perhaps,
rather an irreverent way of speaking of God; for he saw neither the
divine in poetry, nor the human in God. Could he be said to believe
that God made man, when he did not believe that God created
poetry--and yet loved it as he did?  It was to him only a grand
invention of humanity in its loftiest development.  In this
development, then, he must have considered humanity as farthest from
its origin; and God as the creator of savages, caring nothing for
poets or their work.

They turned, as by common consent, to go down the hill together.

"Shall I take charge of the offending volume?  You will not care to
finish it, I fear," said Hugh.

"No, sir, if you please.  I never like to leave onything unfinished.
I'll read ilka word in't.  I fancy the thing 'at sets me against
it, is mostly this; that, readin' it alang wi' Euclid, I canna help
aye thinkin' o' my ain min' as gin it were in some geometrical shape
or ither, whiles ane an' whiles anither; and syne I try to draw
lines an' separate this power frae that power, the memory frae the
jeedgement, an' the imagination frae the rizzon; an' syne I try to
pit them a' thegither again in their relations to ane anither.  And
this aye takes the shape o' some proposition or ither, generally i'
the second beuk.  It near-han' dazes me whiles.  I fancy gin' I
understood the pairts o' the sphere, it would be mair to the
purpose; but I wat I wish I were clear o't a'thegither."

Hugh had had some experiences of a similar kind himself, though not
at all to the same extent.  He could therefore understand her.

"You must just try to keep the things altogether apart," said he,
"and not think of the two sciences at once."

"But I canna help it," she replied. "I suppose you can, sir, because
ye're a man.  My father can understan' things ten times better nor
me an' my mother.  But nae sooner do I begin to read and think about
it, than up comes ane o' thae parallelograms, an' nothing will
driv't oot o' my head again, but a verse or twa o' Coleridge or
Wordsworth."

Hugh immediately began to repeat the first poem of the latter that
occurred to him:

     "I wandered lonely as a cloud."

She listened, walking along with her eyes fixed on the ground; and
when he had finished, gave a sigh of delight and relief--all the
comment she uttered.  She seemed never to find it necessary to say
what she felt; least of all when the feeling was a pleasant one; for
then it was enough for itself.  This was only the second time since
their acquaintance, that she had spoken of her feelings at all; and
in this case they were of a purely intellectual origin.  It is to be
observed, however, that in both cases she had taken pains to explain
thoroughly what she meant, as far as she was able.

It was dark before they reached home, at least as dark as it ever is
at this season of the year in the north.  They found David looking
out with some slight anxiety for his daughter's return, for she was
seldom out so late as this.  In nothing could the true relation
between them have been more evident than in the entire absence from
her manner of any embarrassment when she met her father.  She went
up to him and told him all about finding Mr. Sutherland asleep on
the hill, and waiting beside him till he woke, that she might walk
home with him.  Her father seemed perfectly content with an
explanation which he had not sought, and, turning to Hugh, said,
smiling:

"Weel, no to be troublesome, Mr. Sutherlan', ye maun gie the auld
man a turn as weel as the young lass.  We didna expec ye the nicht,
but I'm sair puzzled wi' a sma' eneuch matter on my sklet in there.
Will you no come in and gie me a lift?"

"With all my heart," said Sutherland.  So there were five lessons in
that week.

When Hugh entered the cottage he had a fine sprig of heather in his
hand, which he laid on the table.

He had the weakness of being proud of small discoveries--the tinier
the better; and was always sharpening his senses, as well as his
intellect, to a fine point, in order to make them.  I fear that by
these means he shut out some great ones, which could not enter
during such a concentration of the faculties.  He would stand
listening to the sound of goose-feet upon the road, and watch how
those webs laid hold of the earth like a hand.  He would struggle to
enter into their feelings in folding their wings properly on their
backs.  He would calculate, on chemical and arithmetical grounds,
whether one might not hear the nocturnal growth of plants in the
tropics.  He was quite elated by the discovery, as he considered it,

that Shakspeare named his two officers of the watch, Dogberry and
Verjuice; the poisonous Dogberry, and the acid liquor of green
fruits, affording suitable names for the stupidly innocuous
constables, in a play the very essence of which is Much Ado About
Nothing.  Another of his discoveries he had, during their last
lesson, unfolded to David, who had certainly contemplated it with
interest.  It was, that the original forms of the Arabic numerals
were these:

     1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.9. {original text has a picture}

the number for which each figure stands being indicated by the
number of straight lines employed in forming that numeral.  I fear
the comparative anatomy of figures gives no countenance to the
discovery which Hugh flattered himself he had made.

After he had helped David out of his difficulty, he took up the
heather, and stripping off the bells, shook them in his hand at
Margaret's ear.  A half smile, like the moonlight of laughter,
dawned on her face; and she listened with something of the same
expression with which a child listens to the message from the sea,
inclosed in a twisted shell.  He did the same at David's ear next.

"Eh, man! that's a bonny wee soun'!  It's jist like sma'
sheep-bells--fairy-sheep, I reckon, Maggy, my doo."

"Lat me hearken as weel," said Janet.

Hugh obeyed.  She laughed.

"It's naething but a reestlin'.  I wad raither hear the sheep
baain', or the kye routin'."

"Eh, Mr. Sutherlan'! but, ye hae a gleg ee an' a sharp lug.  Weel,
the warld's fu' o' bonny sichts and souns, doon to the verra
sma'est.  The Lord lats naething gang.  I wadna wonner noo but there
micht be thousands sic like, ower sma' a'thegither for human ears,
jist as we ken there are creatures as perfect in beowty as ony we
see, but far ower sma' for our een wintin' the glass.  But for my
pairt, I aye like to see a heap o' things at ance, an' tak' them a'
in thegither, an' see them playin' into ane anither's han' like.  I
was jist thinkin', as I came hame the nicht in the sinset, hoo it
wad hae been naewise sae complete, wi' a' its red an' gowd an'
green, gin it hadna been for the cauld blue east ahint it, wi' the
twa-three shiverin' starnies leukin' through't.  An' doubtless the
warld to come 'ill be a' the warmer to them 'at hadna ower muckle
happin here.  But I'm jist haverin', clean haverin', Mr.
Sutherlan'," concluded David, with a smile of apologetic humour.

"I suppose you could easily believe with Plato, David, that the
planets make a grand choral music as they roll about the heavens,
only that as some sounds are too small, so that is too loud for us
to hear."

"I cud weel believe that," was David's unhesitating answer.
Margaret looked as if she not only could believe it, but would be
delighted to know that it was true.  Neither Janet nor Hugh gave any
indication of feeling on the matter.




CHAPTER X.

HARVEST.

So a small seed that in the earth lies hid
And dies, reviving bursts her cloddy side,
Adorned with yellow locks, of new is born,
And doth become a mother great with corn,
Of grains brings hundreds with it, which when old
Enrich the furrows with a sea of gold.

SIR WILLIAM DRUMMOND.--Hymn of the Resurrection.


Hugh had watched the green corn grow, and ear, and turn dim; then
brighten to yellow, and ripen at last under the declining autumn
sun, and the low skirting moon of the harvest, which seems too full
and heavy with mellow and bountiful light to rise high above the
fields which it comes to bless with perfection.  The long threads,
on each of which hung an oat-grain--the harvest here was mostly of
oats--had got dry and brittle; and the grains began to spread out
their chaff-wings, as if ready to fly, and rustled with sweet sounds
against each other, as the wind, which used to billow the fields
like the waves of the sea, now swept gently and tenderly over it,
helping the sun and moon in the drying and ripening of the joy to be
laid up for the dreary winter.  Most graceful of all hung those
delicate oats; next bowed the bearded barley; and stately and
wealthy and strong stood the few fields of wheat, of a rich, ruddy,
golden hue.  Above the yellow harvest rose the purple hills, and
above the hills the pale-blue autumnal sky, full of light and heat,
but fading somewhat from the colour with which it deepened above the
vanished days of summer.  For the harvest here is much later than in
England.

At length the day arrived when the sickle must be put into the
barley, soon to be followed by the scythe in the oats.  And now came
the joy of labour.  Everything else was abandoned for the harvest
field.  Books were thrown utterly aside; for, even when there was no
fear of a change of weather to urge to labour prolonged beyond the
natural hours, there was weariness enough in the work of the day to
prevent even David from reading, in the hours of bodily rest,
anything that necessitated mental labour.

Janet and Margaret betook themselves to the reaping-hook; and the
somewhat pale face of the latter needed but a single day to change
it to the real harvest hue--the brown livery of Ceres.  But when the
oats were attacked, then came the tug of war.  The laird was in the
fields from morning to night, and the boys would not stay behind;
but, with their father's permission, much to the tutor's
contentment, devoted what powers they had to the gathering of the
fruits of the earth.  Hugh himself, whose strength had grown
amazingly during his stay at Turriepuffit, and who, though he was
quite helpless at the sickle, thought he could wield the scythe,
would not be behind.  Throwing off coat and waistcoat, and tying his
handkerchief tight round his loins, he laid hold on the emblematic
weapon of Time and Death, determined likewise to earn the name of
Reaper.  He took the last scythe.  It was desperate work for a
while, and he was far behind the first bout; but David, who was the
best scyther in the whole country side, and of course had the
leading scythe, seeing the tutor dropping behind, put more power to
his own arm, finished his own bout, and brought up Hugh's before the
others had done sharpening their scythes for the next.

"Tak' care an' nae rax yersel' ower sair, Mr. Sutherlan'.  Ye'll be
up wi' the best o' them in a day or twa; but gin ye tyauve at it
aboon yer strenth, ye'll be clean forfochten.  Tak' a guid sweep wi'
the scythe, 'at ye may hae the weicht o't to ca' through the strae,
an' tak' nae shame at bein' hindmost.  Here, Maggy, my doo, come an'
gather to Mr. Sutherlan'.  Ane o' the young gentlemen can tak' your
place at the binin'."

The work of Janet and Margaret had been to form bands for the
sheaves, by folding together cunningly the heads of two small
handfuls of the corn, so as to make them long enough together to go
round the sheaf; then to lay this down for the gatherer to place
enough of the mown corn upon it; and last, to bind the band tightly
around by another skilful twist and an insertion of the ends, and so
form a sheaf.  From this work David called his daughter, desirous of
giving Hugh a gatherer who would not be disrespectful to his
awkwardness.  This arrangement, however, was far from pleasing to
some of the young men in the field, and brought down upon Hugh, who
was too hard-wrought to hear them at first, many sly hits of country
wit and human contempt.  There had been for some time great jealousy
of his visits at David's cottage; for Margaret, though she had very
little acquaintance with the young men of the neighbourhood, was
greatly admired amongst them, and not regarded as so far above the
station of many of them as to render aspiration useless.  Their
remarks to each other got louder and louder, till Hugh at last heard
some of them, and could not help being annoyed, not by their wit or
personality, but by the tone of contempt in which they were uttered.

"Tak' care o' yer legs, sir.  It'll be ill cuttin' upo' stumps."

"Fegs! he's taen the wings aff o' a pairtrick."

"Gin he gang on that get, he'll cut twa bouts at ance."

"Ye'll hae the scythe ower the dyke, man.  Tak' tent."

"Losh! sir; ye've taen aff my leg at the hip!"

"Ye're shavin' ower close: ye'll draw the bluid, sir."

"Hoot, man! lat alane.  The gentleman's only mista'en his trade, an'
imaigins he's howkin' a grave."

And so on.  Hugh gave no further sign of hearing their remarks than
lay in increased exertion.  Looking round, however, he saw that
Margaret was vexed, evidently not for her own sake.  He smiled to
her, to console her for his annoyance; and then, ambitious to remove
the cause of it, made a fresh exertion, recovered all his distance,
and was in his own place with the best of them at the end of the
bout.  But the smile that had passed between them did not escape
unobserved; and he had aroused yet more the wrath of the youths, by
threatening soon to rival them in the excellencies to which they had
an especial claim.  They had regarded him as an interloper, who had
no right to captivate one of their rank by arts beyond their reach;
but it was still less pardonable to dare them to a trial of skill
with their own weapons.  To the fire of this jealousy, the
admiration of the laird added fuel; for he was delighted with the
spirit with which Hugh laid himself to the scythe.  But all the
time, nothing was further from Hugh's thoughts than the idea of
rivalry with them.  Whatever he might have thought of Margaret in
relation to himself, he never thought of her, though labouring in
the same field with them, as in the least degree belonging to their
class, or standing in any possible relation to them, except that of
a common work.

In ordinary, the labourers would have had sufficient respect for
Sutherland's superior position, to prevent them from giving such
decided and articulate utterance to their feelings.  But they were
incited by the presence and example of a man of doubtful character
from the neighbouring village, a travelled and clever ne'er-do-weel,
whose reputation for wit was equalled by his reputation for courage
and skill, as well as profligacy.  Roused by the effervescence of
his genius, they went on from one thing to another, till Hugh saw it
must be put a stop to somehow, else he must abandon the field.  They
dared not have gone so far if David had been present; but he had
been called away to superintend some operations in another part of
the estate; and they paid no heed to the expostulations of some of
the other older men.  At the close of the day's work, therefore,
Hugh walked up to this fellow, and said:

"I hope you will be satisfied with insulting me all to-day, and
leave it alone to-morrow."

The man replied, with an oath and a gesture of rude contempt,

"I dinna care the black afore my nails for ony skelp-doup o' the lot
o' ye."

Hugh's highland blood flew to his brain, and before the rascal
finished his speech, he had measured his length on the stubble.  He
sprang to his feet in a fury, threw off the coat which he had just
put on, and darted at Hugh, who had by this time recovered his
coolness, and was besides, notwithstanding his unusual exertions,
the more agile of the two.  The other was heavier and more powerful.
Hugh sprang aside, as he would have done from the rush of a bull,
and again with a quick blow felled his antagonist.  Beginning rather
to enjoy punishing him, he now went in for it; and, before the other
would yield, he had rendered his next day's labour somewhat
doubtful.  He withdrew, with no more injury to himself than a little
water would remove.  Janet and Margaret had left the field before he
addressed the man.

He went borne and to bed--more weary than he had ever been in his
life.  Before he went to sleep, however, he made up his mind to say
nothing of his encounter to David, but to leave him to hear of it
from other sources.  He could not help feeling a little anxious as
to his judgment upon it.  That the laird would approve, he hardly
doubted; but for his opinion he cared very little.

"Dawvid, I wonner at ye," said Janet to her husband, the moment he
came home, "to lat the young lad warstle himsel' deid that get wi' a
scythe.  His banes is but saft yet, There wasna a dry steek on him
or he wan half the lenth o' the first bout.  He's sair disjaskit,
I'se warran'."

"Nae fear o' him, Janet; it'll do him guid.  Mr. Sutherland's no
feckless winlestrae o' a creater.  Did he haud his ain at a' wi' the
lave?"

"Haud his ain!  Gin he be fit for onything the day, he maun be
pitten neist yersel', or he'll cut the legs aff o' ony ither man i'
the corn."

A glow of pleasure mantled in Margaret's face at her mother's praise
of Hugh. Janet went on:

"But I was jist clean affronted wi' the way 'at the young chields
behaved themselves till him."

"I thocht I heard a toot-moot o' that kin' afore I left, but I
thocht it better to tak' nae notice o't.  I'll be wi' ye a' day the
morn though, an' I'm thinkin' I'll clap a rouch han' on their mou's
'at I hear ony mair o't frae."

But there was no occasion for interference on David's part.  Hugh
made his appearance--not, it is true, with the earliest in the
hairst-rig, but after breakfast with the laird, who was delighted
with the way in which he had handled his scythe the day before, and
felt twice the respect for him in consequence.  It must be confessed
he felt very stiff, but the best treatment for stiffness being the
homoeopathic one of more work, he had soon restored the elasticity of
his muscles, and lubricated his aching joints.  His antagonist of
the foregoing evening was nowhere to be seen; and the rest of the
young men were shame-faced and respectful enough.

David, having learned from some of the spectators the facts of the
combat, suddenly, as they were walking home together, held out his
hand to Hugh, shook his hard, and said:

"Mr. Sutherlan', I'm sair obleeged to ye for giein' that vratch,
Jamie Ogg, a guid doonsettin'.  He's a coorse crater; but the warst
maun hae meat, an' sae I didna like to refeese him when he cam for
wark.  But its a greater kin'ness to clout him nor to cleed him.
They say ye made an awfu' munsie o' him.  But it's to be houpit
he'll live to thank ye.  There's some fowk 'at can respeck no
airgument but frae steekit neives; an' it's fell cruel to haud it
frae them, gin ye hae't to gie them.  I hae had eneuch ado to haud
my ain han's aff o' the ted, but it comes a hantle better frae you,
Mr. Sutherlan'."

Hugh wielded the scythe the whole of the harvest, and Margaret
gathered to him.  By the time it was over, leading-home and all, he
measured an inch less about the waist, and two inches more about the
shoulders; and was as brown as a berry, and as strong as an ox, or
"owse," as David called it, when thus describing Mr. Sutherland's
progress in corporal development; for he took a fatherly pride in
the youth, to whom, at the same time, he looked up with submission,
as his master in learning.




CHAPTER XI.

A CHANGE AND NO CHANGE.

Affliction, when I know it, is but this--
A deep alloy, whereby man tougher is
To bear the hammer; and the deeper still,
We still arise more image of his will.
Sickness--an humorous cloud 'twist us and light;
And death, at longest, but another night.
Man is his own star; and that soul that can
Be honest, is the only perfect Man.

JOHN FLETCHER.--Upon an Honest Man's Fortune.


Had Sutherland been in love with Margaret, those would have been
happy days; and that a yet more happy night, when, under the mystery
of a low moonlight and a gathering storm, the crop was cast in haste
into the carts, and hurried home to be built up in safety; when a
strange low wind crept sighing across the stubble, as if it came
wandering out of the past and the land of dreams, lying far off and
withered in the green west; and when Margaret and he came and went
in the moonlight like creatures in a dream--for the vapours of sleep
were floating in Hugh's brain, although he was awake and working.

"Margaret," he said, as they stood waiting a moment for the cart
that was coming up to be filled with sheaves, "what does that wind
put you in mind of?"

"Ossian's Poems," replied Margaret, without a moment's hesitation.

Hugh was struck by her answer.  He had meant something quite
different.  But it harmonized with his feeling about Ossian; for the
genuineness of whose poetry, Highlander as he was, he had no better
argument to give than the fact, that they produced in himself an
altogether peculiar mental condition; that the spiritual sensations
he had in reading them were quite different from those produced by
anything else, prose or verse; in fact, that they created moods of
their own in his mind.  He was unwilling to believe, apart from
national prejudices (which have not prevented the opinions on this
question from being as strong on the one side as on the other), that
this individuality of influence could belong to mere affectations of
a style which had never sprung from the sources of real feeling.
"Could they," he thought, "possess the power to move us like
remembered dreams of our childhood, if all that they possessed of
reality was a pretended imitation of what never existed, and all
that they inherited from the past was the halo of its strangeness?"

But Hugh was not in love with Margaret, though he could not help
feeling the pleasure of her presence.  Any youth must have been the
better for having her near him; but there was nothing about her
quiet, self-contained being, free from manifestation of any sort, to
rouse the feelings commonly called love, in the mind of an
inexperienced youth like Hugh Sutherland.--I say commonly called,
because I believe that within the whole sphere of intelligence there
are no two loves the same.--Not that he was less easily influenced
than other youths.  A designing girl might have caught him at once,
if she had had no other beauty than sparkling eyes; but the
womanhood of the beautiful Margaret kept so still in its pearly
cave, that it rarely met the glance of neighbouring eyes.  How
Margaret regarded him I do not know; but I think it was with a love
almost entirely one with reverence and gratitude.  Cause for
gratitude she certainly had, though less than she supposed; and very
little cause indeed for reverence.  But how could she fail to revere
one to whom even her father looked up?  Of course David's feeling of
respect for Hugh must have sprung chiefly from intellectual grounds;
and he could hardly help seeing, if he thought at all on the
subject, which is doubtful, that Hugh was as far behind Margaret in
the higher gifts and graces, as he was before her in intellectual
acquirement.  But whether David perceived this or not, certainly
Margaret did not even think in that direction.  She was pure of
self-judgment--conscious of no comparing of herself with others,
least of all with those next her.

At length the harvest was finished; or, as the phrase of the
district was, clyack was gotten--a phrase with the derivation, or
even the exact meaning of which, I am unacquainted; knowing only
that it implies something in close association with the feast of
harvest-home, called the kirn in other parts of Scotland.
Thereafter, the fields lay bare to the frosts of morning and
evening, and to the wind that grew cooler and cooler with the breath
of Winter, who lay behind the northern hills, and waited for his
hour.  But many lovely days remained, of quiet and slow decay, of
yellow and red leaves, of warm noons and lovely sunsets, followed by
skies--green from the west horizon to the zenith, and walked by a
moon that seemed to draw up to her all the white mists from pond and
river and pool, to settle again in hoar-frost, during the colder
hours that precede the dawn.  At length every leafless tree sparkled
in the morning sun, incrusted with fading gems; and the ground was
hard under foot; and the hedges were filled with frosted
spider-webs; and winter had laid the tips of his fingers on the
land, soon to cover it deep with the flickering snow-flakes, shaken
from the folds of his outspread mantle.  But long ere this, David
and Margaret had returned with renewed diligence, and powers
strengthened by repose, or at least by intermission, to their mental
labours, and Hugh was as constant a visitor at the cottage as
before.  The time, however, drew nigh when he must return to his
studies at Aberdeen; and David and Margaret were looking forward
with sorrow to the loss of their friend.  Janet, too, "cudna bide to
think o't."

"He'll tak' the daylicht wi' him, I doot, my lass," she said, as she
made the porridge for breakfast one morning, and looked down
anxiously at her daughter, seated on the creepie by the ingle-neuk.

"Na, na, mither," replied Margaret, looking up from her book; "he'll
lea' sic gifts ahin' him as'll mak' daylicht i' the dark;" and then
she bent her head and went on with her reading, as if she had not
spoken.

The mother looked away with a sigh and a slight, sad shake of the
head.

But matters were to turn out quite different from all anticipations.
Before the day arrived on which Hugh must leave for the university,
a letter from home informed him that his father was dangerously ill.
He hastened to him, but only to comfort his last hours by all that
a son could do, and to support his mother by his presence during the
first hours of her loneliness.  But anxious thoughts for the future,
which so often force themselves on the attention of those who would
gladly prolong their brooding over the past, compelled them to adopt
an alteration of their plans for the present.

The half-pay of Major Sutherland was gone, of course; and all that
remained for Mrs. Sutherland was a small annuity, secured by her
husband's payments to a certain fund for the use of officers'
widows.  From this she could spare but a mere trifle for the
completion of Hugh's university-education; while the salary he had
received at Turriepuffit, almost the whole of which he had saved,
was so small as to be quite inadequate for the very moderate outlay
necessary.  He therefore came to the resolution to write to the
laird, and offer, if they were not yet provided with another tutor,
to resume his relation to the young gentlemen for the winter.  It
was next to impossible to spend money there; and he judged that
before the following winter, he should be quite able to meet the
expenses of his residence at Aberdeen, during the last session of
his course.  He would have preferred trying to find another
situation, had it not been that David and Janet and Margaret had
made there a home for him.

Whether Mrs. Glasford was altogether pleased at the proposal, I
cannot tell; but the laird wrote a very gentlemanlike epistle,
condoling with him and his mother upon their loss, and urging the
usual common-places of consolation.  The letter ended with a hearty
acceptance of Hugh's offer, and, strange to tell, the unsolicited
promise of an increase of salary to the amount of five pounds.  This
is another to be added to the many proofs that verisimilitude is not
in the least an essential element of verity.

He left his mother as soon as circumstances would permit, and
returned to Turriepuffit; an abode for the winter very different
indeed from that in which he had expected to spend it.

He reached the place early in the afternoon; received from Mrs.
Glasford a cold "I hope you're well, Mr. Sutherland;" found his
pupils actually reading, and had from them a welcome rather
boisterously evidenced; told them to get their books; and sat down
with them at once to commence their winter labours.  He spent two
hours thus; had a hearty shake of the hand from the laird, when he
came home; and, after a substantial tea, walked down to David's
cottage, where a welcome awaited him worth returning for.

"Come yer wa's butt," said Janet, who met him as he opened the door
without any prefatory knock, and caught him with both hands; "I'm
blithe to see yer bonny face ance mair.  We're a' jist at ane mair
wi' expeckin' o' ye."

David stood in the middle of the floor, waiting for him.

"Come awa', my bonny lad," was all his greeting, as he held out a
great fatherly hand to the youth, and, grasping his in the one,
clapped him on the shoulder with the other, the water standing in
his blue eyes the while.  Hugh thought of his own father, and could
not restrain his tears.  Margaret gave him a still look full in the
face, and, seeing his emotion, did not even approach to offer him
any welcome.  She hastened, instead, to place a chair for him as she
had done when first he entered the cottage, and when he had taken it
sat down at his feet on her creepie.  With true delicacy, no one
took any notice of him for some time.  David said at last,

"An' hoo's yer puir mother, Mr. Sutherlan'?"

"She's pretty well," was all Hugh could answer.

"It's a sair stroke to bide," said David; "but it's a gran' thing
whan a man's won weel throw't.  Whan my father deit, I min' weel, I
was sae prood to see him lyin' there, in the cauld grandeur o'
deith, an' no man 'at daured say he ever did or spak the thing 'at
didna become him, 'at I jist gloried i' the mids o' my greetin'.  He
was but a puir auld shepherd, Mr. Sutherlan', wi' hair as white as
the sheep 'at followed him; an' I wat as they followed him, he
followed the great Shepherd; an' followed an' followed, till he jist
followed Him hame, whaur we're a' boun', an' some o' us far on the
road, thanks to Him!"

And with that David rose, and got down the Bible, and, opening it
reverently, read with a solemn, slightly tremulous voice, the
fourteenth chapter of St. John's Gospel.  When he had finished, they
all rose, as by one accord, and knelt down, and David prayed:

"O Thou in whase sicht oor deeth is precious, an' no licht maitter;
wha through darkness leads to licht, an' through deith to the
greater life!--we canna believe that thou wouldst gie us ony guid
thing, to tak' the same again; for that would be but bairns' play.
We believe that thou taks, that thou may gie again the same thing
better nor afore--mair o't and better nor we could ha' received it
itherwise; jist as the Lord took himsel' frae the sicht o' them 'at
lo'ed him weel, that instead o' bein' veesible afore their een, he
micht hide himsel' in their verra herts.  Come thou, an' abide in
us, an' tak' us to bide in thee; an' syne gin we be a' in thee, we
canna be that far frae ane anither, though some sud be in haven, an'
some upo' earth.  Lord help us to do oor wark like thy men an'
maidens doon the stair, remin'in' oursel's, 'at them 'at we miss hae
only gane up the stair, as gin 'twar to haud things to thy han' i'
thy ain presence-chamber, whaur we houp to be called or lang, an' to
see thee an' thy Son, wham we lo'e aboon a'; an' in his name we say,
Amen!"

Hugh rose from his knees with a sense of solemnity and reality that
he had never felt before.  Little was said that evening; supper was
eaten, if not in silence, yet with nothing that could be called
conversation.  And, almost in silence, David walked home with Hugh.
The spirit of his father seemed to walk beside him.  He felt as if
he had been buried with him; and had found that the sepulchre was
clothed with green things and roofed with stars--was in truth the
heavens and the earth in which his soul walked abroad.

If Hugh looked a little more into his Bible, and tried a little more
to understand it, after his father's death, it is not to be wondered
at.  It is but another instance of the fact that, whether from
education or from the leading of some higher instinct, we are ready,
in every more profound trouble, to feel as if a solution or a refuge
lay somewhere--lay in sounds of wisdom, perhaps, to be sought and
found in the best of books, the deepest of all the mysterious
treasuries of words.  But David never sought to influence Hugh to
this end.  He read the Bible in his family, but he never urged the
reading of it on others.  Sometimes he seemed rather to avoid the
subject of religion altogether; and yet it was upon those very
occasions that, if he once began to speak, he would pour out, before
he ceased, some of his most impassioned utterances.




CHAPTER XII.

CHARITY.

Knowledge bloweth up, but charity buildeth up.

LORD BACON'S rendering of 1 Cor. viii. I.


Things went on as usual for a few days, when Hugh began to encounter
a source of suffering of a very material and unromantic kind, but
which, nevertheless, had been able before now, namely, at the
commencement of his tutorship, to cause him a very sufficient degree
of distress.  It was this; that he had no room in which he could
pursue his studies in private, without having to endure a most
undesirable degree of cold.  In summer this was a matter of little
moment, for the universe might then be his secret chamber; but in a
Scotch spring or autumn, not to say winter, a bedroom without a
fire-place, which, strange to say, was the condition of his, was not
a study in which thought could operate to much satisfactory result.
Indeed, pain is a far less hurtful enemy to thinking than cold.
And to have to fight such suffering and its benumbing influences,
as well as to follow out a train of reasoning, difficult at any
time, and requiring close attention--is too much for any machine
whose thinking wheels are driven by nervous gear.  Sometimes--for he
must make the attempt--he came down to his meals quite blue with
cold, as his pupils remarked to their mother; but their observation
never seemed to suggest to her mind the necessity of making some
better provision for the poor tutor.  And Hugh, after the way in
which she had behaved to him, was far too proud to ask her a favour,
even if he had had hopes of receiving his request.  He knew, too,
that, in the house, the laird, to interfere in the smallest degree,
must imperil far more than he dared.  The prospect, therefore, of
the coming winter, in a country where there was scarcely any
afternoon, and where the snow might lie feet deep for weeks, was not
at all agreeable.  He had, as I have said, begun to suffer already,
for the mornings and evenings were cold enough now, although it was
a bright, dry October.  One evening Janet remarked that he had
caught cold, for he was 'hostin' sair;' and this led Hugh to state
the discomfort he was condemned to experience up at the ha' house.

"Weel," said David, after some silent deliberation, "that sattles't;
we maun set aboot it immedantly."

Of course Hugh was quite at a loss to understand what he meant, and
begged him to explain.

"Ye see," replied David, "we hae verra little hoose-room i' this bit
cot; for, excep this kitchen, we hae but the ben whaur Janet and me
sleeps; and sae last year I spak' to the laird to lat me hae muckle
timmer as I wad need to big a kin' o' a lean-to to the house ahin',
so 'at we micht hae a kin' o' a bit parlour like, or rather a roomie
'at ony o' us micht retire till for a bit, gin we wanted to be oor
lanes.  He had nae objections, honest man.  But somehoo or ither I
never sat han' till't; but noo the wa's maun be up afore the wat
weather sets in.  Sae I'se be at it the morn, an' maybe ye'll len'
me a han', Mr. Sutherlan', and tak' oot yer wages in house-room an'
firin' efter it's dune."

"Thank you heartily!" said Hugh; "that would be delightful.  It seems
too good to be possible.  But will not wooden walls be rather a poor
protection against such winters as I suppose you have in these
parts?"

"Hootoot, Mr. Sutherlan', ye micht gie me credit for raither mair
rumgumption nor that comes till.  Timmer was the only thing I not
(needed) to spier for; the lave lies to ony body's han'--a few
cart-fu's o' sods frae the hill ahint the hoose, an' a han'fu' or
twa o' stanes for the chimla oot o' the quarry--there's eneuch there
for oor turn ohn blastit mair; an' we'll saw the wood oorsels; an'
gin we had ance the wa's up, we can carry on the inside at oor
leisur'.  That's the way 'at the Maker does wi' oorsels; he gie's us
the wa's an' the material, an' a whole lifetime, maybe mair, to
furnish the house."

"Capital!" exclaimed Hugh. "I'll work like a horse, and we'll be at
it the morn."

"I'se be at it afore daylicht, an' ane or twa o' the lads'll len' me
a han' efter wark-hours; and there's yersel', Mr. Sutherlan', worth
ane an' a half o' ordinary workers; an' we'll hae truff aneuch for
the wa's in a jiffey.  I'll mark a feow saplin's i' the wud here at
denner-time, an' we'll hae them for bauks, an' couples, an' things;
an' there's plenty dry eneuch for beurds i' the shed, an' bein' but
a lean-to, there'll be but half wark, ye ken."

They went out directly, in the moonlight, to choose the spot; and
soon came to the resolution to build it so, that a certain back
door, which added more to the cold in winter than to the convenience
in summer, should be the entrance to the new chamber.  The chimney
was the chief difficulty; but all the materials being in the
immediate neighbourhood, and David capable of turning his hands to
anything, no obstruction was feared.  Indeed, he set about that part
first, as was necessary; and had soon built a small chimney, chiefly
of stones and lime; while, under his directions, the walls were
making progress at the same time, by the labour of Hugh and two or
three of the young men from the farm, who were most ready to oblige
David with their help, although they were still rather unfriendly to
the colliginer, as they called him.  But Hugh's frankness soon won
them over, and they all formed within a day or two a very
comfortable party of labourers.  They worked very hard; for if the
rain should set in before the roof was on, their labour would be
almost lost from the soaking of the walls.  They built them of turf,
very thick, with a slight slope on the outside towards the roof;
before commencing which, they partially cut the windows out of the
walls, putting wood across to support the top.  I should have
explained that the turf used in building was the upper and coarser
part of the peat, which was plentiful in the neighbourhood.  The
thatch-eaves of the cottage itself projected over the joining of the
new roof, so as to protect it from the drip; and David soon put a
thick thatch of new straw upon the little building.  Second-hand
windows were procured at the village, and the holes in the walls cut
to their size.  They next proceeded to the saw-pit on the
estate--for almost everything necessary for keeping up the offices
was done on the farm itself--where they sawed thin planks of deal,
to floor and line the room, and make it more cosie.  These David
planed upon one side; and when they were nailed against slight posts
all round the walls, and the joints filled in with putty, the room
began to look most enticingly habitable.  The roof had not been
thatched two days before the rain set in; but now they could work
quite comfortably inside; and as the space was small, and the
forenights were long, they had it quite finished before the end of
November.  David bought an old table in the village, and one or two
chairs; mended them up; made a kind of rustic sofa or settle; put a
few bookshelves against the wall; had a peat fire lighted on the
hearth every day; and at length, one Saturday evening, they had
supper in the room, and the place was consecrated henceforth to
friendship and learning.  From this time, every evening, as soon as
lessons, and the meal which immediately followed them, were over,
Hugh betook himself to the cottage, on the shelves of which all his
books by degrees collected themselves; and there spent the whole
long evening, generally till ten o'clock; the first part alone
reading or writing; the last in company with his pupils, who,
diligent as ever, now of course made more rapid progress than
before, inasmuch as the lessons were both longer and more frequent.
The only drawback to their comfort was, that they seemed to have
shut Janet out; but she soon remedied this, by contriving to get
through with her house work earlier than she had ever done before;
and, taking her place on the settle behind them, knitted away
diligently at her stocking, which, to inexperienced eyes, seemed
always the same, and always in the same state of progress,
notwithstanding that she provided the hose of the whole family, blue
and grey, ribbed and plain.  Her occasional withdrawings, to observe
the progress of the supper, were only a cheerful break in the
continuity of labour.  Little would the passer-by imagine that
beneath that roof, which seemed worthy only of the name of a shed,
there sat, in a snug little homely room, such a youth as Hugh, such
a girl as Margaret, such a grand peasant king as David, and such a
true-hearted mother to them all as Janet.  There were no pictures
and no music; for Margaret kept her songs for solitary places; but
the sound of verse was often the living wind which set a-waving the
tops of the trees of knowledge, fast growing in the sunlight of
Truth.  The thatch of that shed-roof was like the grizzled hair of
David, beneath which lay the temple not only of holy but of wise and
poetic thought.  It was like the sylvan abode of the gods, where the
architecture and music are all of their own making, in their kind
the more beautiful, the more simple and rude; and if more doubtful
in their intent, and less precise in their finish, yet therein the
fuller of life and its grace, and the more suggestive of deeper
harmonies.




CHAPTER XIII.

HERALDRY.

And like his father of face and of stature,
And false of love--it came him of nature;
As doth the fox Renard, the fox's son;
Of kinde, he coud his old father's wone,
Without lore, as can a drake swim,
When it is caught, and carried to the brim.

CHAUCER.--Legend of Phillis.


Of course, the yet more lengthened absences of Hugh from the house
were subjects of remark as at the first; but Hugh had made up his
mind not to trouble himself the least about that.  For some time
Mrs. Glasford took no notice of them to himself; but one evening,
just as tea was finished, and Hugh was rising to go, her restraint
gave way, and she uttered one spiteful speech, thinking it, no
doubt, so witty that it ought to see the light.

"Ye're a day-labourer it seems, Mr. Sutherlan', and gang hame at
night."

"Exactly so, madam," rejoined Hugh. "There is no other relation
between you and me, than that of work and wages.  You have done your
best to convince me of that, by making it impossible for me to feel
that this house is in any sense my home."

With this grand speech he left the room, and from that time till the
day of his final departure from Turriepuffit, there was not a single
allusion made to the subject.

He soon reached the cottage.  When he entered the new room, which
was always called Mr. Sutherland's study, the mute welcome afforded
him by the signs of expectation, in the glow of the waiting fire,
and the outspread arms of the elbow-chair, which was now called his,
as well as the room, made ample amends to him for the unfriendliness
of Mrs. Glasford.  Going to the shelves to find the books he wanted,
he saw that they had been carefully arranged on one shelf, and that
the others were occupied with books belonging to the house.  He
looked at a few of them.  They were almost all old books, and such
as may be found in many Scotch cottages; for instance, Boston's
Fourfold State, in which the ways of God and man may be seen through
a fourfold fog; Erskine's Divine Sonnets, which will repay the
reader in laughter for the pain it costs his reverence, producing
much the same effect that a Gothic cathedral might, reproduced by
the pencil and from the remembrance of a Chinese artist, who had
seen it once; Drelincourt on Death, with the famous ghost-hoax of De
Foe, to help the bookseller to the sale of the unsaleable; the Scots
Worthies, opening of itself at the memoir of Mr. Alexander Peden;
the Pilgrim's Progress, that wonderful inspiration, failing never
save when the theologian would sometimes snatch the pen from the
hand of the poet; Theron and Aspasio; Village Dialogues; and others
of a like class.  To these must be added a rare edition of Blind
Harry.  It was clear to Hugh, unable as he was fully to appreciate
the wisdom of David, that it was not from such books as these that
he had gathered it; yet such books as these formed all his store.
He turned from them, found his own, and sat down to read.  By and
by David came in.

"I'm ower sune, I doubt, Mr. Sutherlan'.  I'm disturbin' ye."

"Not at all," answered Hugh. "Besides, I am not much in a reading
mood this evening: Mrs. Glasford has been annoying me again."

"Poor body!  What's she been sayin' noo?"

Thinking to amuse David, Hugh recounted the short passage between
them recorded above.  David, however, listened with a very different
expression of countenance from what Hugh had anticipated; and, when
he had finished, took up the conversation in a kind of apologetic
tone.

"Weel, but ye see," said he, folding his palms together, "she hasna'
jist had a'thegither fair play.  She does na come o' a guid breed.
Man, it's a fine thing to come o' a guid breed.  They hae a hantle
to answer for 'at come o' decent forbears."

"I thought she brought the laird a good property," said Hugh, not
quite understanding David.

"Ow, ay, she brocht him gowpenfu's o' siller; but hoo was't gotten?
An' ye ken it's no riches 'at 'ill mak' a guid breed--'cep' it be
o' maggots.  The richer cheese the mair maggots, ye ken.  Ye maunna
speyk o' this; but the mistress's father was weel kent to hae made
his siller by fardins and bawbees, in creepin', crafty ways.  He was
a bit merchan' in Aberdeen, an' aye keepit his thoom weel ahint the
peint o' the ellwan', sae 'at he made an inch or twa upo' ilka yard
he sauld.  Sae he took frae his soul, and pat intill his siller-bag,
an' had little to gie his dochter but a guid tocher.  Mr.
Sutherlan', it's a fine thing to come o' dacent fowk.  Noo, to luik
at yersel': I ken naething aboot yer family; but ye seem at eesicht
to come o' a guid breed for the bodily part o' ye.  That's a sma'
matter; but frae what I ha'e seen--an' I trust in God I'm no'
mista'en--ye come o' the richt breed for the min' as weel.  I'm no
flatterin' ye, Mr. Sutherlan'; but jist layin' it upo' ye, 'at gin
ye had an honest father and gran'father, an' especially a guid
mither, ye hae a heap to answer for; an' ye ought never to be hard
upo' them 'at's sma' creepin' creatures, for they canna help it sae
weel as the like o' you and me can."

David was not given to boasting.  Hugh had never heard anything
suggesting it from his lips before.  He turned full round and looked
at him.  On his face lay a solemn quiet, either from a feeling of
his own responsibility, or a sense of the excuse that must be made
for others.  What he had said about the signs of breed in Hugh's
exterior, certainly applied to himself as well.  His carriage was
full of dignity, and a certain rustic refinement; his voice was
wonderfully gentle, but deep; and slowest when most impassioned.  He
seemed to have come of some gigantic antediluvian breed: there was
something of the Titan slumbering about him.  He would have been a
stern man, but for an unusual amount of reverence that seemed to
overflood the sternness, and change it into strong love.  No one had
ever seen him thoroughly angry; his simple displeasure with any of
the labourers, the quality of whose work was deficient, would go
further than the laird's oaths.

Hugh sat looking at David, who supported the look with that perfect
calmness that comes of unconscious simplicity.  At length Hugh's eye
sank before David's, as he said:

"I wish I had known your father, then, David."

"My father was sic a ane as I tauld ye the ither day, Mr.
Sutherlan'.  I'm a' richt there.  A puir, semple, God-fearin'
shepherd, 'at never gae his dog an ill-deserved word, nor took the
skin o' ony puir lammie, wha's woo' he was clippin', atween the
shears.  He was weel worthy o' the grave 'at he wan till at last.
An' my mither was jist sic like, wi' aiblins raither mair heid nor
my father.  They're her beuks maistly upo' the skelf there abune yer
ain, Mr. Sutherlan'.  I honour them for her sake, though I seldom
trouble them mysel'.  She gae me a kin' o' a scunner at them, honest
woman, wi' garrin' me read at them o' Sundays, till they near
scomfisht a' the guid 'at was in me by nater.  There's doctrine for
ye, Mr. Sutherlan'!" added David, with a queer laugh.

"I thought they could hardly be your books," said Hugh.

"But I hae ae odd beuk, an' that brings me upo' my pedigree, Mr.
Sutherlan'; for the puirest man has as lang a pedigree as the
greatest, only he kens less aboot it, that's a'.  An' I wat, for yer
lords and ladies, it's no a' to their credit 'at's tauld o' their
hither-come; an' that's a' against the breed, ye ken.  A wilfu' sin
in the father may be a sinfu' weakness i' the son; an' that's what I
ca' no fair play."

So saying, David went to his bedroom, whence he returned with a very
old-looking book, which he laid on the table before Hugh. He opened
it, and saw that it was a volume of Jacob Boehmen, in the original
language.  He found out afterwards, upon further inquiry, that it
was in fact a copy of the first edition of his first work, The
Aurora, printed in 1612.  On the title-page was written a name,
either in German or old English character, he was not sure which;
but he was able to read it--Martin Elginbrodde.  David, having given
him time to see all this, went on:

"That buik has been in oor family far langer nor I ken.  I needna
say I canna read a word o't, nor I never heard o' ane 'at could.
But I canna help tellin' ye a curious thing, Mr. Sutherlan', in
connexion wi' the name on that buik: there's a gravestane, a verra
auld ane--hoo auld I canna weel mak' out, though I gaed ends-errand
to Aberdeen to see't--an' the name upo' that gravestane is Martin
Elginbrod, but made mention o' in a strange fashion; an' I'm no sure
a'thegither aboot hoo ye'll tak' it, for it soun's rather fearsome
at first hearin' o't.  But ye'se hae't as I read it:

     "'Here lie I, Martin Elginbrodde:
      Hae mercy o' my soul, Lord God;
      As I wad do, were I Lord God,
      And ye were Martin Elginbrodde.'"

Certainly Hugh could not help a slight shudder at what seemed to him
the irreverence of the epitaph, if indeed it was not deserving of a
worse epithet.  But he made no remark; and, after a moment's pause,
David resumed:

"I was unco ill-pleased wi't at the first, as ye may suppose, Mr.
Sutherlan'; but, after a while, I begude (began) an' gaed through
twa or three bits o' reasonin's aboot it, in this way: By the natur'
o't, this maun be the man's ain makin', this epitaph; for no ither
body cud ha' dune't; and he had left it in's will to be pitten upo'
the deid-stane, nae doot: I' the contemplation o' deith, a man wad
no be lik'ly to desire the perpetuation o' a blasphemy upo' a table
o' stone, to stan' against him for centuries i' the face o' God an'
man: therefore it cudna ha' borne the luik to him o' the
presumptuous word o' a proud man evenin' himsel' wi' the Almichty.
Sae what was't, then, 'at made him mak' it?  It seems to me--though
I confess, Mr. Sutherlan', I may be led astray by the nateral desire
'at a man has to think weel o' his ain forbears--for 'at he was a
forbear o' my ain, I canna weel doot, the name bein' by no means a
common ane, in Scotland ony way--I'm sayin', it seems to me, that
it's jist a darin' way, maybe a childlike way, o' judgin', as Job
micht ha' dune, 'the Lord by himsel';' an' sayin', 'at gin he,
Martin Elginbrod, wad hae mercy, surely the Lord was not less
mercifu' than he was.  The offspring o' the Most High was, as it
were, aware o' the same spirit i' the father o' him, as muved in
himsel'.  He felt 'at the mercy in himsel' was ane o' the best
things; an' he cudna think 'at there wad be less o't i' the father
o' lichts, frae whom cometh ilka guid an' perfeck gift.  An' may be
he remembered 'at the Saviour himsel' said: 'Be ye perfect as your
father in Heaven is perfect;' and that the perfection o' God, as He
had jist pinted oot afore, consisted in causin' his bonny sun to
shine on the evil an' the good, an' his caller rain to fa' upo' the
just an' the unjust."

It may well be doubted whether David's interpretation of the epitaph
was the correct one.  It will appear to most of my readers to
breathe rather of doubt lighted up by hope, than of that strong
faith which David read in it.  But whether from family partiality,
and consequent unwillingness to believe that his ancestor had been a
man who, having led a wild, erring, and evil life, turned at last
towards the mercy of God as his only hope, which the words might
imply; or simply that he saw this meaning to be the best; this was
the interpretation which David had adopted.

"But," interposed Hugh, "supposing he thought all that, why should
he therefore have it carved on his tombstone?"

"I hae thocht aboot that too," answered David. "For ae thing, a body
has but feow ways o' sayin' his say to his brithermen.  Robbie Burns
cud do't in sang efter sang; but maybe this epitaph was a' that auld
Martin was able to mak'.  He michtna hae had the gift o' utterance.
But there may be mair in't nor that.  Gin the clergy o' thae times
warna a gey hantle mair enlichtened nor a fowth o' the clergy
hereabouts, he wad hae heard a heap aboot the glory o' God, as the
thing 'at God himsel' was maist anxious aboot uphaudin', jist like a
prood creater o' a king; an' that he wad mak' men, an' feed them,
an' cleed them, an' gie them braw wives an' toddlin' bairnies, an'
syne damn them, a' for's ain glory.  Maybe ye wadna get mony o' them
'at wad speyk sae fair-oot noo-a-days, for they gang wi' the tide
jist like the lave; but i' my auld minny's buiks, I hae read jilt as
muckle as that, an' waur too.  Mony ane 'at spak like that, had nae
doot a guid meanin' in't; but, hech man! it's an awesome deevilich
way o' sayin' a holy thing.  Noo, what better could puir auld Martin
do, seein' he had no ae word to say i' the kirk a' his lifelang, nor
jist say his ae word, as pithily as might be, i' the kirkyard, efter
he was deid; an' ower an' ower again, wi' a tongue o' stane, let
them tak' it or lat it alane 'at likit?  That's a' my defence o' my
auld luckie-daddy--Heaven rest his brave auld soul!"

"But are we not in danger," said Hugh, "of thinking too lightly and
familiarly of the Maker, when we proceed to judge him so by
ourselves?"

"Mr. Sutherlan'," replied David, very solemnly, "I dinna thenk I can
be in muckle danger o' lichtlyin' him, whan I ken in my ain sel', as
weel as she 'at was healed o' her plague, 'at I wad be a horse i'
that pleuch, or a pig in that stye, not merely if it was his
will--for wha can stan' against that--but if it was for his glory;
ay, an' comfort mysel', a' the time the change was passin' upo' me,
wi' the thocht that, efter an' a', his blessed han's made the pigs
too."

"But, a moment ago, David, you seemed to me to be making rather
little of his glory."

"O' his glory, as they consider glory--ay; efter a warldly fashion
that's no better nor pride, an' in him would only be a greater
pride.  But his glory! consistin' in his trowth an'
lovin'kindness--(man! that's a bonny word)--an' grand
self-forgettin' devotion to his creaters--lord! man, it's
unspeakable.  I care little for his glory either, gin by that ye
mean the praise o' men.  A heap o' the anxiety for the spread o' his
glory, seems to me to be but a desire for the sempathy o' ither
fowk.  There's no fear but men 'll praise him, a' in guid time--that
is, whan they can.  But, Mr. Sutherlan', for the glory o' God,
raither than, if it were possible, one jot or one tittle should fail
of his entire perfection of holy beauty, I call God to witness, I
would gladly go to hell itsel'; for no evil worth the full name can
befall the earth or ony creater in't, as long as God is what he is.
For the glory o' God, Mr. Sutherlan', I wad die the deith. For the
will o' God, I'm ready for onything he likes.  I canna surely be in
muckle danger o' lichtlyin' him.  I glory in my God."

The almost passionate earnestness with which David spoke, would
alone have made it impossible for Hugh to reply at once.  After a
few moments, however, he ventured to ask the question:

"Would you do nothing that other people should know God, then,
David?"

"Onything 'at he likes.  But I would tak' tent o' interferin'.  He's
at it himsel' frae mornin' to nicht, frae year's en' to year's en'."

"But you seem to me to make out that God is nothing but love!"

"Ay, naething but love.  What for no?"

"Because we are told he is just."

"Would he be lang just if he didna lo'e us?"

"But does he not punish sin?"

"Would it be ony kin'ness no to punish sin?  No to us a' means to
pit awa' the ae ill thing frae us?  Whatever may be meant by the
place o' meesery, depen' upo't, Mr. Sutherlan', it's only anither
form o' love, love shinin' through the fogs o' ill, an' sae gart
leuk something verra different thereby.  Man, raither nor see my
Maggy--an' ye'll no doot 'at I lo'e her--raither nor see my Maggy do
an ill thing, I'd see her lyin' deid at my feet.  But supposin' the
ill thing ance dune, it's no at my feet I wad lay her, but upo' my
heart, wi' my auld arms aboot her, to hand the further ill aff o'
her.  An' shall mortal man be more just than God?  Shall a man be
more pure than his Maker?  O my God! my God!"

The entrance of Margaret would have prevented the prosecution of
this conversation, even if it had not already drawn to a natural
close.  Not that David would not have talked thus before his
daughter, but simply that minds, like instruments, need to be
brought up to the same pitch, before they can "atone together," and
that one feels this instinctively on the entrance of another who has
not gone through the same immediate process of gradual elevation of
tone.

Their books and slates were got out, and they sat down to their
work; but Hugh could not help observing that David, in the midst of
his lines and angles and algebraic computations, would, every now
and then, glance up at Margaret, with a look of tenderness in his
face yet deeper and more delicate in its expression than ordinary.
Margaret was, however, quite unconscious of it, pursuing her work
with her ordinary even diligence.  But Janet observed it.

"What ails the bairn, Dawvid, 'at ye leuk at her that get? said she.

"Naething ails her, woman.  Do ye never leuk at a body but when
something ails them?"

"Ow, ay--but no that get."

"Weel, maybe I was thinkin' hoo I wad leuk at her gin onything did
ail her."

"Hoot! hoot! dinna further the ill hither by makin' a bien
doonsittin' an' a bed for't."

All David's answer to this was one of his own smiles.

At supper, for it happened to be Saturday, Hugh said:

"I've been busy, between whiles, inventing, or perhaps discovering,
an etymological pedigree for you, David!"

"Weel, lat's hear't," said David.

"First--do you know that that volume with your ancestor's name on
it, was written by an old German shoemaker, perhaps only a cobbler,
for anything I know?"

"I know nothing aboot it, more or less," answered David.

"He was a wonderful man.  Some people think he was almost inspired."

"Maybe, maybe," was all David's doubtful response.

"At all events, though I know nothing about it myself, he must have
written wonderfully for a cobbler."

"For my pairt," replied David, "if I see no wonder in the man, I can
see but little in the cobbler.  What for shouldna a cobbler write
wonnerfully, as weel as anither?  It's a trade 'at furthers
meditation.  My grandfather was a cobbler, as ye ca't; an' they say
he was no fule in his ain way either."

"Then it does go in the family!" cried Hugh, triumphantly.
"I was in doubt at first whether your name referred to the breadth
of your shoulders, David, as transmitted from some ancient sire,
whose back was an Ellwand-broad; for the g might come from a w or v,
for anything I know to the contrary.  But it would have been braid
in that case.  And, now, I am quite convinced that that Martin or
his father was a German, a friend of old Jacob Boehmen, who gave him
the book himself, and was besides of the same craft; and he coming
to this country with a name hard to be pronounced, they found a
resemblance in the sound of it to his occupation; and so gradually
corrupted his name, to them uncouth, into Elsynbrod, Elshinbrod,
thence Elginbrod, with a soft g, and lastly Elginbrod, as you
pronounce it now, with a hard g.  This name, turned from Scotch into
English, would then be simply Martin Awlbore.  The cobbler is in the
family, David, descended from Jacob Boehmen himself, by the mother's
side."

This heraldic blazon amused them all very much, and David expressed
his entire concurrence with it, declaring it to be incontrovertible.
Margaret laughed heartily.

Besides its own beauty, two things made Margaret's laugh of some
consequence; one was, that it was very rare; and the other, that it
revealed her two regular rows of dainty white teeth, suiting well to
the whole build of the maiden.  She was graceful and rather tall,
with a head which, but for its smallness, might have seemed too
heavy for the neck that supported it, so ready it always was to
droop like a snowdrop.  The only parts about her which Hugh
disliked, were her hands and feet.  The former certainly had been
reddened and roughened by household work: but they were well formed
notwithstanding.  The latter he had never seen, notwithstanding the
bare-foot habits of Scotch maidens; for he saw Margaret rarely
except in the evenings, and then she was dressed to receive him.
Certainly, however, they were very far from following the shape of
the clumsy country shoes, by which he misjudged their proportions.
Had he seen them, as he might have seen them some part of any day
during the summer, their form at least would have satisfied him.




CHAPTER XIV.

WINTER.

Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who
hath gendered it?  The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face
of the deep is frozen.

He giveth snow like wool; he scattereth the hoar frost like ashes.

JOB xxxviii. 29, 30; PSALM cxlvii. 16.


Winter was fairly come at last.  A black frost had bound the earth
for many days; and at length a peculiar sensation, almost a smell of
snow in the air, indicated an approaching storm.  The snow fell at
first in a few large unwilling flakes, that fluttered slowly and
heavily to the earth, where they lay like the foundation of the
superstructure that was about to follow.  Faster and faster they
fell--wonderful multitudes of delicate crystals, adhering in shapes
of beauty which outvied all that jeweller could invent or execute of
ethereal, starry forms, structures of evanescent yet prodigal
loveliness--till the whole air was obscured by them, and night came
on, hastened by an hour, from the gathering of their white darkness.
In the morning, all the landscape was transfigured.  The snow had
ceased to fall; but the whole earth, houses, fields, and fences,
ponds and streams, were changed to whiteness.  But most wonderful
looked the trees--every bough and every twig thickened, and bent
earthward with its own individual load of the fairy ghost-birds.
Each retained the semblance of its own form, wonderfully, magically
altered by its thick garment of radiant whiteness, shining
gloriously in the sunlight.  It was the shroud of dead nature; but a
shroud that seemed to prefigure a lovely resurrection; for the very
death-robe was unspeakably, witchingly beautiful.  Again at night
the snow fell; and again and again, with intervening days of bright
sunshine.  Every morning, the first fresh footprints were a new
wonder to the living creatures, the young-hearted amongst them at
least, who lived and moved in this death-world, this sepulchral
planet, buried in the shining air before the eyes of its
sister-stars in the blue, deathless heavens.  Paths had to be
cleared in every direction towards the out-houses, and again cleared
every morning; till at last the walls of solid rain stood higher
than the head of little Johnnie, as he was still called, though he
was twelve years old.  It was a great delight to him to wander
through the snow-avenues in every direction; and great fun it was,
both to him and his brother, when they were tired of snowballing
each other and every living thing about the place except their
parents and tutor, to hollow out mysterious caves and vaulted
passages.  Sometimes they would carry these passages on from one
path to within an inch or two of another, and there lie in wait till
some passer-by, unweeting of harm, was just opposite their lurking
cave; when they would dash through the solid wall of snow with a
hideous yell, almost endangering the wits of the maids, and causing
a recoil and startled ejaculation even of the strong man on whom
they chanced to try their powers of alarm.  Hugh himself was once
glad to cover the confusion of his own fright with the hearty fit of
laughter into which the perturbation of the boys, upon discovering
whom they had startled, threw him.  It was rare fun to them; but not
to the women about the house, who moved from place to place in a
state of chronic alarm, scared by the fear of being scared; till one
of them going into hysterics, real or pretended, it was found
necessary to put a stop to the practice; not, however, before
Margaret had had her share of the jest.  Hugh happened to be looking
out of his window at the moment--watching her, indeed, as she passed
towards the kitchen with some message from her mother; when an
indescribable monster, a chaotic mass of legs and snow, burst, as if
out of the earth, upon her.  She turned pale as the snow around her
(and Hugh had never observed before how dark her eyes were), as she
sprang back with the grace of a startled deer.  She uttered no cry,
however, perceiving in a moment who it was, gave a troubled little
smile, and passed on her way as if nothing had happened.  Hugh was
not sorry when maternal orders were issued against the practical
joke.  The boys did not respect their mother very much, but they
dared not disobey her, when she spoke in a certain tone.

There was no pathway cut to David's cottage; and no track trodden,
except what David, coming to the house sometimes, and Hugh going
every afternoon to the cottage, made between them.  Hugh often went
to the knees in snow, but was well dried and warmed by Janet's care
when he arrived.  She had always a pair of stockings and slippers
ready for him at the fire, to be put on the moment of his arrival;
and exchanged again for his own, dry and warm, before he footed once
more the ghostly waste.  When neither moon was up nor stars were
out, there was a strange eerie glimmer from the snow that lighted
the way home; and he thought there must be more light from it than
could be accounted for merely by the reflection of every particle of
light that might fall upon it from other sources.

Margaret was not kept to the house by the snow, even when it was
falling.  She went out as usual--not of course wandering far, for
walking was difficult now.  But she was in little danger of losing
her way, for she knew the country as well as any one; and although
its face was greatly altered by the filling up of its features, and
the uniformity of the colour, yet those features were discernible to
her experienced eye through the sheet that covered them.  It was
only necessary to walk on the tops of dykes, and other elevated
ridges, to keep clear of the deep snow.

There were many paths between the cottages and the farms in the
neighbourhood, in which she could walk with comparative ease and
comfort.  But she preferred wandering away through the fields and
toward the hills.  Sometimes she would come home like a creature of
the snow, born of it, and living in it; so covered was she from head
to foot with its flakes.  David used to smile at her with peculiar
complacency on such occasions.  It was evident that it pleased him
she should be the playmate of Nature.  Janet was not altogether
indulgent to these freaks, as she considered them, of Marget--she
had quite given up calling her Meg, "sin' she took to the beuk so
eident."  But whatever her mother might think of it, Margaret was in
this way laying up a store not only of bodily and mental health, but
of resources for thought and feeling, of secret understandings and
communions with Nature, and everything simple, and strong, and pure
through Nature, than which she could have accumulated nothing more
precious.

This kind of weather continued for some time, till the people
declared they had never known a storm last so long "ohn ever
devallt," that is, without intermission.  But the frost grew harder;
and then the snow, instead of falling in large adhesive flakes, fell
in small dry flakes, of which the boys could make no snaw-ba's.  All
the time, however, there was no wind; and this not being a sheep
country, there was little uneasiness or suffering occasioned by the
severity of the weather, beyond what must befall the poorer classes
in every northern country during the winter.

One day, David heard that a poor old man of his acquaintance was
dying, and immediately set out to visit him, at a distance of two or
three miles.  He returned in the evening, only in time for his
studies; for there was of course little or nothing to be done at
present in the way of labour.  As he sat down to the table, he said:

"I hae seen a wonnerfu' sicht sin' I saw you, Mr. Sutherlan'.  I
gaed to see an auld Christian, whase body an' brain are nigh worn
oot.  He was never onything remarkable for intellec, and jist took
what the minister tellt him for true, an' keepit the guid o't; for
his hert was aye richt, an' his faith a hantle stronger than maybe
it had ony richt to be, accordin' to his ain opingans; but, hech!
there's something far better nor his opingans i' the hert o' ilka
God-fearin' body.  Whan I gaed butt the hoose, he was sittin' in's
auld arm-chair by the side o' the fire, an' his face luikit dazed
like.  There was no licht in't but what cam' noo an' than frae a low
i' the fire.  The snaw was driftin' a wee aboot the bit winnock, an'
his auld een was fixed upo't; an' a' 'at he said, takin' no notice
o' me, was jist, 'The birdies is flutterin'; the birdies is
flutterin'.'  I spak' till him, an' tried to roose him, wi' ae thing
after anither, bit I micht as weel hae spoken to the door-cheek, for
a' the notice that he took.  Never a word he spak', but aye 'The
birdies is flutterin'.'  At last, it cam' to my min' 'at the body
was aye fu' o' ane o' the psalms in particler; an' sae I jist said
till him at last: 'John, hae ye forgotten the twenty-third psalm?'
'Forgotten the twenty-third psalm!' quo' he; an' his face lighted up
in a moment frae the inside: 'The Lord's my shepherd,--an' I hae
followed Him through a' the smorin' drift o' the warl', an' he'll
bring me to the green pastures an' the still waters o' His
summer-kingdom at the lang last.  I shall not want.  An' I hae
wanted for naething, naething.'  He had been a shepherd himsel' in's
young days.  And so on he gaed, wi' a kin' o' a personal commentary
on the haill psalm frae beginnin' to en', and syne he jist fell back
into the auld croonin' sang, 'The birdies is flutterin'; the birdies
is flutterin'.'  The licht deed oot o' his face, an' a' that I could
say could na' bring back the licht to his face, nor the sense to his
tongue.  He'll sune be in a better warl'.  Sae I was jist forced to
leave him.  But I promised his dochter, puir body, that I would ca'
again an' see him the morn's afternoon.  It's unco dowie wark for
her; for they hae scarce a neebor within reach o' them, in case o' a
change; an' there had hardly been a creatur' inside o' their door
for a week."

The following afternoon, David set out according to his promise.
Before his return, the wind, which had been threatening to wake all
day, had risen rapidly, and now blew a snowstorm of its own.  When
Hugh opened the door to take his usual walk to the cottage, just as
darkness was beginning to fall, the sight he saw made his young
strong heart dance with delight.  The snow that fell made but a
small part of the wild, confused turmoil and uproar of the ten-fold
storm.  For the wind, raving over the surface of the snow, which, as
I have already explained, lay nearly as loose as dry sand, swept it
in thick fierce clouds along with it, tearing it up and casting it
down again no one could tell where--for the whole air was filled
with drift, as they call the snow when thus driven.  A few hours of
this would alter the face of the whole country, leaving some parts
bare, and others buried beneath heaps on heaps of snow, called here
snaw-wreaths.  For the word snow-wreaths does not mean the lovely
garlands hung upon every tree and bush in its feathery fall; but
awful mounds of drifted snow, that may be the smooth, soft, white
sepulchres of dead men, smothered in the lapping folds of the almost
solid wind.  Path or way was none before him.  He could see nothing
but the surface of a sea of froth and foam, as it appeared to him,
with the spray torn from it, whirled in all shapes and contortions,
and driven in every direction; but chiefly, in the main direction of
the wind, in long sloping spires of misty whiteness, swift as
arrows, and as keen upon the face of him who dared to oppose them.

Hugh plunged into it with a wild sense of life and joy.  In the
course of his short walk, however, if walk it could be called, which
was one chain of plungings and emergings, struggles with the snow,
and wrestles with the wind, he felt that it needed not a stout heart
only, but sound lungs and strong limbs as well, to battle with the
storm, even for such a distance.  When he reached the cottage, he
found Janet in considerable anxiety, not only about David, who had
not yet returned, but about Margaret as well, whom she had not seen
for some time, and who must be out somewhere in the storm--"the wull
hizzie."  Hugh suggested that she might have gone to meet her
father.

"The Lord forbid!" ejaculated Janet. "The road lies ower the tap o'
the Halshach, as eerie and bare a place as ever was hill-moss, wi'
never a scoug or bield in't, frae the tae side to the tither.  The
win' there jist gangs clean wud a'thegither.  An' there's mony a
well-ee forbye, that gin ye fell intill't, ye wud never come at the
boddom o't.  The Lord preserve's!  I wis' Dawvid was hame."

"How could you let him go, Janet?"

"Lat him gang, laddie!  It's a strang tow 'at wad haud or bin'
Dawvid, whan he considers he bud to gang, an' 'twere intill a deil's
byke.  But I'm no that feared aboot him.  I maist believe he's under
special protection, if ever man was or oucht to be; an' he's no more
feared at the storm, nor gin the snaw was angels' feathers
flauchterin' oot o' their wings a' aboot him.  But I'm no easy i' my
min' aboot Maggy--the wull hizzie!  Gin she be meetin' her father,
an' chance to miss him, the Lord kens what may come o' her."

Hugh tried to comfort her, but all that could be done was to wait
David's return.  The storm seemed to increase rather than abate its
force.  The footprints Hugh had made, had all but vanished already
at the very door of the house, which stood quite in the shelter of
the fir-wood.  As they looked out, a dark figure appeared within a
yard or two of the house.

"The Lord grant it be my bairn!" prayed poor Janet.  But it was
David, and alone.  Janet gave a shriek.

"Dawvid, whaur's Maggie?"

"I haena seen the bairn," replied David, in repressed perturbation.
"She's no theroot, is she, the nicht?"

"She's no at hame, Dawvid, that's a' 'at I ken."

"Whaur gaed she?"

"The Lord kens.  She's smoored i' the snaw by this time."

"She's i' the Lord's han's, Janet, be she aneath a snaw-vraith.
Dinna forget that, wuman.  Hoo lang is't sin' ye missed her?"

"An hour an' mair--I dinna ken hoo lang.  I'm clean doitit wi'
dreid."

"I'll awa' an' leuk for her.  Just haud the hert in her till I come
back, Mr. Sutherlan'."

"I won't be left behind, David.  I'm going with you."

"Ye dinna ken what ye're sayin', Mr. Sutherlan'.  I wad sune hae twa
o' ye to seek in place o' ane."

"Never heed me; I'm going on my own account, come what may."

"Weel, weel; I downa bide to differ.  I'm gaein up the burn-side;
baud ye ower to the farm, and spier gin onybody's seen her; an' the
lads 'll be out to leuk for her in a jiffey.  My puir lassie!"

The sigh that must have accompanied the last words, was lost in the
wind, as they vanished in the darkness.  Janet fell on her knees in
the kitchen, with the door wide open, and the wind drifting in the
powdery snow, and scattering it with the ashes from the hearth over
the floor.  A picture of more thorough desolation can hardly be
imagined.  She soon came to herself, however; and reflecting that,
if the lost child was found, there must be a warm bed to receive
her, else she might be a second time lost, she rose and shut the
door, and mended the fire.  It was as if the dumb attitude of her
prayer was answered; for though she had never spoken or even thought
a word, strength was restored to her distracted brain.  When she had
made every preparation she could think of, she went to the door
again, opened it, and looked out.  It was a region of howling
darkness, tossed about by pale snow-drifts; out of which it seemed
scarce more hopeful that welcome faces would emerge, than that they
should return to our eyes from the vast unknown in which they vanish
at last.  She closed the door once more, and knowing nothing else to
be done, sat down on a chair, with her hands on her knees, and her
eyes fixed on the door.  The clock went on with its slow swing,
tic--tac, tic--tac, an utterly inhuman time-measurer; but she heard
the sound of every second, through the midst of the uproar in the
fir-trees, which bent their tall heads hissing to the blast, and
swinging about in the agony of their strife.  The minutes went by,
till an hour was gone, and there was neither sound nor hearing, but
of the storm and the clock.  Still she sat and stared, her eyes
fixed on the door-latch.  Suddenly, without warning it was lifted,
and the door opened.  Her heart bounded and fluttered like a
startled bird; but alas! the first words she heard were: "Is she no
come yet?"  It was her husband, followed by several of the farm
servants.  He had made a circuit to the farm, and finding that Hugh
had never been there, hoped, though with trembling, that Margaret
had already returned home.  The question fell upon Janet's heart
like the sound of the earth on the coffin-lid, and her silent stare
was the only answer David received.

But at that very moment, like a dead man burst from the tomb,
entered from behind the party at the open door, silent and white,
with rigid features and fixed eyes, Hugh. He stumbled in, leaning
forward with long strides, and dragging something behind him.  He
pushed and staggered through them as if he saw nothing before him;
and as they parted horror-stricken, they saw that it was Margaret,
or her dead body, that he dragged after him.  He dropped her at her
mother's feet, and fell himself on the floor, before they were able
to give him any support.  David, who was quite calm, got the whisky
bottle out, and tried to administer some to Margaret first; but her
teeth were firmly set, and to all appearance she was dead.  One of
the young men succeeded better with Hugh, whom at David's direction
they took into the study; while he and Janet got Margaret undressed
and put to bed, with hot bottles all about her; for in warmth lay
the only hope of restoring her.  After she had lain thus for a
while, she gave a sigh; and when they had succeeded in getting her
to swallow some warm milk, she began to breathe, and soon seemed to
be only fast asleep.  After half an hour's rest and warming, Hugh
was able to move and speak.  David would not allow him to say much,
however, but got him to bed, sending word to the house that he could
not go home that night.  He and Janet sat by the fireside all night,
listening to the storm that still raved without, and thanking God
for both of the lives.  Every few minutes a tip-toe excursion was
made to the bedside, and now and then to the other room.  Both the
patients slept quietly.  Towards morning Margaret opened her eyes,
and faintly called her mother; but soon fell asleep once more, and
did not awake again till nearly noon.  When sufficiently restored to
be able to speak, the account she gave was, that she had set out to
meet her father; but the storm increasing, she had thought it more
prudent to turn.  It grew in violence, however, so rapidly, and beat
so directly in her face, that she was soon exhausted with
struggling, and benumbed with the cold.  The last thing she
remembered was, dropping, as she thought, into a hole, and feeling
as if she were going to sleep in bed, yet knowing it was death; and
thinking how much sweeter it was than sleep.  Hugh's account was
very strange and defective, but he was never able to add anything to
it.  He said that, when he rushed out into the dark, the storm
seized him like a fury, beating him about the head and face with icy
wings, till he was almost stunned.  He took the road to the farm,
which lay through the fir-wood; but he soon became aware that he had
lost his way and might tramp about in the fir-wood till daylight, if
he lived as long.  Then, thinking of Margaret, he lost his presence
of mind, and rushed wildly along.  He thought he must have knocked
his head against the trunk of a tree, but he could not tell; for he
remembered nothing more but that he found himself dragging Margaret,
with his arms round her, through the snow, and nearing the light in
the cottage-window.  Where or how he had found her, or what the
light was that he was approaching, he had not the least idea.  He
had only a vague notion that he was rescuing Margaret from something
dreadful.  Margaret, for her part, had no recollection of reaching
the fir-wood, and as, long before morning, all traces were
obliterated, the facts remained a mystery.  Janet thought that David
had some wonderful persuasion about it; but he was never heard even
to speculate on the subject.  Certain it was, that Hugh had saved
Margaret's life.  He seemed quite well next day, for he was of a
very powerful and enduring frame for his years.  She recovered more
slowly, and perhaps never altogether overcame the effects of Death's
embrace that night.  From the moment when Margaret was brought home,
the storm gradually died away, and by the morning all was still; but
many starry and moonlit nights glimmered and passed, before that
snow was melted away from the earth; and many a night Janet awoke
from her sleep with a cry, thinking she heard her daughter moaning,
deep in the smooth ocean of snow, and could not find where she lay.

The occurrences of this dreadful night could not lessen the interest
his cottage friends felt in Hugh; and a long winter passed with
daily and lengthening communion both in study and in general
conversation.  I fear some of my younger readers will think my story
slow; and say: "What! are they not going to fall in love with each
other yet?  We have been expecting it ever so long."  I have two
answers to make to this.  The first is: "I do not pretend to know so
much about love as you--excuse me--think you do; and must confess, I
do not know whether they were in love with each other or not."  The
second is: "That I dare not pretend to understand thoroughly such a
sacred mystery as the heart of Margaret; and I should feel it rather
worse than presumptuous to talk as if I did.  Even Hugh's is known
to me only by gleams of light thrown, now and then, and here and
there, upon it."  Perhaps the two answers are only the same answer
in different shapes.

Mrs. Glasford, however, would easily answer the question, if an
answer is all that is wanted; for she, notwithstanding the facts of
the story, which she could not fail to have heard correctly from the
best authority, and notwithstanding the nature of the night, which
might have seemed sufficient to overthrow her conclusions, uniformly
remarked, as often as their escape was alluded to in her hearing,

"Lat them tak' it They had no business to be oot aboot thegither."




CHAPTER XV.

TRANSITION.

Tell me, bright boy, tell me, my golden lad,
Whither away so frolic?  Why so glad?
What all thy wealth in council? all thy state?
Are husks so dear? troth, 'tis a mighty rate.

RICHARD CRASHAW.


The long Scotch winter passed by without any interruption to the
growing friendship.  But the spring brought a change; and Hugh was
separated from his friends sooner than he had anticipated, by more
than six months.  For his mother wrote to him in great distress, in
consequence of a claim made upon her for some debt which his father
had contracted, very probably for Hugh's own sake.  Hugh could not
bear that any such should remain undischarged, or that his father's
name should not rest in peace as well as his body and soul.  He
requested, therefore, from the laird, the amount due to him, and
despatched almost the whole of it for the liquidation of this debt,
so that he was now as unprovided as before for the expenses of the
coming winter at Aberdeen.  But, about the same time, a
fellow-student wrote to him with news of a situation for the summer,
worth three times as much as his present one, and to be procured
through his friend's interest.  Hugh having engaged himself to the
laird only for the winter, although he had intended to stay till the
commencement of the following session, felt that, although he would
much rather remain where he was, he must not hesitate a moment to
accept his friend's offer; and therefore wrote at once.

I will not attempt to describe the parting.  It was very quiet, but
very solemn and sad.  Janet showed far more distress than Margaret,
for she wept outright.  The tears stood in David's eyes, as he
grasped the youth's hand in silence.  Margaret was very pale; that
was all.  As soon as Hugh disappeared with her father, who was going
to walk with him to the village through which the coach passed, she
hurried away, and went to the fir-wood for comfort.

Hugh found his new situation in Perthshire very different from the
last.  The heads of the family being themselves a lady and a
gentleman, he found himself a gentleman too.  He had more to do, but
his work left him plenty of leisure notwithstanding.  A good portion
of his spare time he devoted to verse-making, to which he felt a
growing impulse; and whatever may have been the merit of his
compositions, they did him intellectual good at least, if it were
only through the process of their construction.  He wrote to David
after his arrival, telling him all about his new situation; and
received in return a letter from Margaret, written at her father's
dictation.  The mechanical part of letter-writing was rather
laborious to David; but Margaret wrote well, in consequence of the
number of papers, of one sort and another, which she had written for
Hugh. Three or four letters more passed between them at lengthening
intervals.  Then they ceased--on Hugh's side first; until, when on
the point of leaving for Aberdeen, feeling somewhat
conscience-stricken at not having written for so long, he scribbled
a note to inform them of his approaching departure, promising to let
them know his address as soon as he found himself settled.  Will it
be believed that the session went by without the redemption of this
pledge?  Surely he could not have felt, to any approximate degree,
the amount of obligation he was under to his humble friends.
Perhaps, indeed, he may have thought that the obligation was
principally on their side; as it would have been, if intellectual
assistance could outweigh heart-kindness, and spiritual impulse and
enlightenment; for, unconsciously in a great measure to himself, he
had learned from David to regard in a new and more real aspect, many
of those truths which he had hitherto received as true, and which
yet had till then produced in him no other than a feeling of the
common-place and uninteresting at the best.

Besides this, and many cognate advantages, a thousand seeds of truth
must have surely remained in his mind, dropped there from the same
tongue of wisdom, and only waiting the friendly aid of a hard
winter, breaking up the cold, selfish clods of clay, to share in the
loveliness of a new spring, and be perfected in the beauty of a new
summer.

However this may have been, it is certain that he forgot his old
friends far more than he himself could have thought it possible he
should; for, to make the best of it, youth is easily attracted and
filled with the present show, and easily forgets that which, from
distance in time or space, has no show to show.  Spending his
evenings in the midst of merry faces, and ready tongues fluent with
the tones of jollity, if not always of wit, which glided sometimes
into no too earnest discussion of the difficult subjects occupying
their student hours; surrounded by the vapours of whisky-toddy, and
the smoke of cutty pipes, till far into the short hours; then
hurrying home, and lapsing into unrefreshing slumbers over intended
study; or sitting up all night to prepare the tasks which had been
neglected for a ball or an evening with Wilson, the great
interpreter of Scottish song--it is hardly to be wondered at that he
should lose the finer consciousness of higher powers and deeper
feelings, not from any behaviour in itself wrong, but from the
hurry, noise, and tumult in the streets of life, that, penetrating
too deep into the house of life, dazed and stupefied the silent and
lonely watcher in the chamber of conscience, far apart.  He had no
time to think or feel.

The session drew to a close.  He eschewed all idleness; shut himself
up, after class hours, with his books; ate little, studied hard,
slept irregularly, working always best between midnight and two in
the morning; carried the first honours in most of his classes; and
at length breathed freely, but with a dizzy brain, and a face that
revealed, in pale cheeks, and red, weary eyes, the results of an
excess of mental labour--an excess which is as injurious as any
other kind of intemperance, the moral degradation alone kept out of
view.  Proud of his success, he sat down and wrote a short note,
with a simple statement of it, to David; hoping, in his secret mind,
that he would attribute his previous silence to an absorption in
study which had not existed before the end of the session was quite
at hand.  Now that he had more time for reflection, he could not
bear the idea that that noble rustic face should look disapprovingly
or, still worse, coldly upon him; and he could not help feeling as
if the old ploughman had taken the place of his father, as the only
man of whom he must stand in awe, and who had a right to reprove
him.  He did reprove him now, though unintentionally.  For David was
delighted at having such good news from him; and the uneasiness
which he had felt, but never quite expressed, was almost swept away
in the conclusion, that it was unreasonable to expect the young man
to give his time to them both absent and present, especially when he
had been occupied to such good purpose as this letter signified.  So
he was nearly at peace about him--though not quite.  Hugh received
from him the following letter in reply to his; dictated, as usual,
to his secretary, Margaret:--

"MY DEAR SIR,

"Ye'll be a great man some day, gin ye haud at it.  But things
maunna be gotten at the outlay o' mair than they're worth.  Ye'll
ken what I mean.  An' there's better things nor bein' a great man,
efter a'.  Forgie the liberty I tak' in remin'in' ye o' sic like.
I'm only remin'in' ye o' what ye ken weel aneuch.  But ye're a
brave lad, an' ye hae been an unco frien' to me an' mine; an' I pray
the Lord to thank ye for me, for ye hae dune muckle guid to his
bairns--meanin' me an' mine.  It's verra kin' o' ye to vrite till's
in the verra moment o' victory; but weel ye kent that amid a' yer
frien's--an' ye canna fail to hae mony a ane, wi' a head an' a face
like yours--there was na ane--na, no ane, that wad rejoice mair ower
your success than Janet, or my doo, Maggie, or yer ain auld obleeged
frien' an' servant,

"DAVID ELGINBROD.

"P.S.--We're a' weel, an' unco blythe at your letter.

Maggy--

"P.S. 2.--Dear Mr. Sutherland,--I wrote all the above at my father's
dictation, and just as he said it, for I thought you would like his
Scotch better than my English.  My mother and I myself are rejoiced
at the good news.  My mother fairly grat outright.  I gaed out to
the tree where I met you first.  I wonder sair sometimes if you was
the angel I was to meet in the fir-wood.  I am,

"Your obedient servant,

"MARGARET ELGINBROD."

This letter certainly touched Hugh. But he could not help feeling
rather offended that David should write to him in such a warning
tone.  He had never addressed him in this fashion when he saw him
every day.  Indeed, David could not very easily have spoken to him
thus.  But writing is a different thing; and men who are not much
accustomed to use a pen, often assume a more solemn tone in doing
so, as if it were a ceremony that required state.  As for David,
having been a little uneasy about Hugh, and not much afraid of
offending him--for he did not know his weaknesses very thoroughly,
and did not take into account the effect of the very falling away
which he dreaded, in increasing in him pride, and that impatience of
the gentlest reproof natural to every man--he felt considerably
relieved after he had discharged his duty in this memento vivere.
But one of the results, and a very unexpected one, was, that a yet
longer period elapsed before Hugh wrote again to David.  He meant to
do so, and meant to do so; but, as often as the thought occurred to
him, was checked both by consciousness and by pride.  So much
contributes, not the evil alone that is in us, but the good also
sometimes, to hold us back from doing the thing we ought to do.

It now remained for Hugh to look about for some occupation.  The
state of his funds rendered immediate employment absolutely
necessary; and as there was only one way in which he could earn
money without yet further preparation, he must betake himself to
that way, as he had done before, in the hope that it would lead to
something better.  At all events, it would give him time to look
about him, and make up his mind for the future.  Many a one, to whom
the occupation of a tutor is far more irksome than it was to Hugh,
is compelled to turn his acquirements to this immediate account;
and, once going in this groove, can never get out of it again.  But
Hugh was hopeful enough to think, that his reputation at the
university would stand him in some stead; and, however much he would
have disliked the thought of being a tutor all his days, occupying a
kind of neutral territory between the position of a gentleman and
that of a menial, he had enough of strong Saxon good sense to
prevent him, despite his Highland pride, from seeing any great
hardship in labouring still for a little while, as he had laboured
hitherto.  But he hoped to find a situation more desirable than
either of those he had occupied before; and, with this expectation,
looked towards the South, as most Scotchmen do, indulging the
national impulse to spoil the Egyptians.  Nor did he look long,
sending his tentacles afloat in every direction, before he heard,
through means of a college friend, of just such a situation as he
wanted, in the family of a gentleman of fortune in the county of
Surrey, not much more than twenty miles from London.  This he was
fortunate enough to obtain without difficulty.

Margaret was likewise on the eve of a change.  She stood like a
young fledged bird on the edge of the nest, ready to take its first
long flight.  It was necessary that she should do something for
herself, not so much from the compulsion of immediate circumstances,
as in prospect of the future.  Her father was not an old man, but at
best he could leave only a trifle at his death; and if Janet
outlived him, she would probably require all that, and what labour
she would then be capable of as well, to support herself.  Margaret
was anxious, too, though not to be independent, yet, not to be
burdensome.  Both David and Janet saw that, by her peculiar tastes
and habits, she had separated herself so far from the circle around
her, that she could never hope to be quite comfortable in that
neighbourhood.  It was not that by any means she despised or refused
the labours common to the young women of the country; but, all
things considered, they thought that something more suitable for her
might be procured.

The laird's lady continued to behave to her in the most supercilious
fashion.  The very day of Hugh's departure, she had chanced to meet
Margaret walking alone with a book, this time unopened, in her hand.
Mrs. Glasford stopped.  Margaret stopped too, expecting to be
addressed.  The lady looked at her, all over, from head to foot, as
if critically examining the appearance of an animal she thought of
purchasing; then, without a word, but with a contemptuous toss of
the head, passed on, leaving poor Margaret both angry and ashamed.

But David was much respected by the gentry of the neighbourhood,
with whom his position, as the laird's steward, brought him not
unfrequently into contact; and to several of them he mentioned his
desire of finding some situation for Margaret.  Janet could not bear
the idea of her lady-bairn leaving them, to encounter the world
alone; but David, though he could not help sometimes feeling a
similar pang, was able to take to himself hearty comfort from the
thought, that if there was any safety for her in her father's house,
there could not be less in her heavenly Father's, in any nook of
which she was as full in His eye, and as near His heart, as in their
own cottage.  He felt that anxiety in this case, as in every other,
would just be a lack of confidence in God, to suppose which
justifiable would be equivalent to saying that He had not fixed the
foundations of the earth that it should not be moved; that He was
not the Lord of Life, nor the Father of His children; in short, that
a sparrow could fall to the ground without Him, and that the hairs
of our head are not numbered.  Janet admitted all this, but sighed
nevertheless.  So did David too, at times; for he knew that the
sparrow must fall; that many a divine truth is hard to learn,
all-blessed as it is when learned; and that sorrow and suffering
must come to Margaret, ere she could be fashioned into the
perfection of a child of the kingdom.  Still, she was as safe abroad
as at home.

An elderly lady of fortune was on a visit to one of the families in
the neighbourhood.  She was in want of a lady's-maid, and it
occurred to the housekeeper that Margaret might suit her.  This was
not quite what her parents would have chosen, but they allowed her
to go and see the lady.  Margaret was delighted with the
benevolent-looking gentlewoman; and she, on her part, was quite
charmed with Margaret.  It was true she knew nothing of the duties
of the office; but the present maid, who was leaving on the best of
terms, would soon initiate her into its mysteries.  And David and
Janet were so much pleased with Margaret's account of the interview,
that David himself went to see the lady.  The sight of him only
increased her desire to have Margaret, whom she said she would treat
like a daughter, if only she were half as good as she looked.
Before David left her, the matter was arranged; and within a month,
Margaret was borne in her mistress's carriage, away from father and
mother and cottage-home.




END OF THE FIRST BOOK.




BOOK II.


ARNSTEAD.

The earth hath bubbles as the water has.

MACBETH.--I.3




CHAPTER I.

A NEW HOME.

A wise man's home is whereso'er he's wise.

JOHN MARSTON.--Antonio's Revenge.


Hugh left the North dead in the arms of grey winter, and found his
new abode already alive in the breath of the west wind.  As he
walked up the avenue to the house, he felt that the buds were
breaking all about, though, the night being dark and cloudy, the
green shadows of the coming spring were invisible.

He was received at the hall-door, and shown to his room, by an old,
apparently confidential, and certainly important butler; whose
importance, however, was inoffensive, as founded, to all appearance,
on a sense of family and not of personal dignity.  Refreshment was
then brought him, with the message that, as it was late, Mr. Arnold
would defer the pleasure of meeting him till the morning at
breakfast.

Left to himself, Hugh began to look around him.  Everything
suggested a contrast between his present position and that which he
had first occupied about the same time of the year at Turriepuffit.
He was in an old handsome room of dark wainscot, furnished like a
library, with book-cases about the walls.  One of them, with glass
doors, had an ancient escritoire underneath, which was open, and
evidently left empty for his use.  A fire was burning cheerfully in
an old high grate; but its light, though assisted by that of two wax
candles on the table, failed to show the outlines of the room, it
was so large and dark.  The ceiling was rather low in proportion,
and a huge beam crossed it.  At one end, an open door revealed a
room beyond, likewise lighted with fire and candles.  Entering, he
found this to be an equally old-fashioned bedroom, to which his
luggage had been already conveyed.

"As far as creature comforts go," thought Hugh, "I have fallen on my
feet."  He rang the bell, had the tray removed, and then proceeded
to examine the book-cases.  He found them to contain much of the
literature with which he was most desirous of making an
acquaintance.  A few books of the day were interspersed.  The sense
of having good companions in the authors around him, added greatly
to his feeling of comfort; and he retired for the night filled with
pleasant anticipations of his sojourn at Arnstead.  All the night,
however, his dreams were of wind and snow, and Margaret out in them
alone.  Janet was waiting in the cottage for him to bring her home.
He had found her, but could not move her; for the spirit of the
storm had frozen her to ice, and she was heavy as a marble statue.

When he awoke, the shadows of boughs and budding twigs were waving
in changeful network-tracery, across the bright sunshine on his
window-curtains.  Before he was called he was ready to go down; and
to amuse himself till breakfast-time, he proceeded to make another
survey of the books.  He concluded that these must be a colony from
the mother-library; and also that the room must, notwithstanding, be
intended for his especial occupation, seeing his bedroom opened out
of it.  Next, he looked from all the windows, to discover into what
kind of a furrow on the face of the old earth he had fallen.  All he
could see was trees and trees.  But oh! how different from the
sombre, dark, changeless fir-wood at Turriepuffit! whose trees
looked small and shrunken in his memory, beside this glory of
boughs, breaking out into their prophecy of an infinite greenery at
hand.  His rooms seemed to occupy the end of a small wing at the
back of the house, as well as he could judge.  His sitting-room
windows looked across a small space to another wing; and the windows
of his bedroom, which were at right-angles to those of the former,
looked full into what seemed an ordered ancient forest of gracious
trees of all kinds, coming almost close to the very windows.  They
were the trees which had been throwing their shadows on these
windows for two or three hours of the silent spring sunlight, at
once so liquid and so dazzling.  Then he resolved to test his
faculty for discovery, by seeing whether he could find his way to
the breakfast-room without a guide.  In this he would have succeeded
without much difficulty, for it opened from the main-entrance hall,
to which the huge square-turned oak staircase, by which he had
ascended, led; had it not been for the somewhat intricate nature of
the passages leading from the wing in which his rooms were
(evidently an older and more retired portion of the house) to the
main staircase itself.  After opening many doors and finding no
thoroughfare, he became convinced that, in place of finding a way
on, he had lost the way back.  At length he came to a small stair,
which led him down to a single door.  This he opened, and
straightway found himself in the library, a long, low,
silent-looking room, every foot of the walls of which was occupied
with books in varied and rich bindings.  The lozenge-paned windows,
with thick stone mullions, were much overgrown with ivy, throwing a
cool green shadowiness into the room.  One of them, however, had
been altered to a more modern taste, and opened with folding-doors
upon a few steps, descending into an old-fashioned, terraced garden.
To approach this window he had to pass a table, lying on which he
saw a paper with verses on it, evidently in a woman's hand, and
apparently just written, for the ink of the corrective scores still
glittered.  Just as he reached the window, which stood open, a lady
had almost gained it from the other side, coming up the steps from
the garden.  She gave a slight start when she saw him, looked away,
and as instantly glanced towards him again.  Then approaching him
through the window, for he had retreated to allow her to enter, she
bowed with a kind of studied ease, and a slight shade of something
French in her manner.  Her voice was very pleasing, almost
bewitching; yet had, at the same time, something assumed, if not
affected, in the tone.  All this was discoverable, or rather
spiritually palpable, in the two words she said--merely, "Mr.
Sutherland?" interrogatively.  Hugh bowed, and said:

"I am very glad you have found me, for I had quite lost myself.  I
doubt whether I should ever have reached the breakfast-room."

"Come this way," she rejoined.

As they passed the table on which the verses lay, she stopped and
slipped them into a writing-case.  Leading him through a succession
of handsome, evidently modern passages, she brought him across the
main hall to the breakfast-room, which looked in the opposite
direction to the library, namely, to the front of the house.  She
rang the bell; the urn was brought in; and she proceeded at once to
make the tea; which she did well, rising in Hugh's estimation
thereby.  Before he had time, however, to make his private remarks
on her exterior, or his conjectures on her position in the family,
Mr. Arnold entered the room, with a slow, somewhat dignified step,
and a dull outlook of grey eyes from a grey head well-balanced on a
tall, rather slender frame.  The lady rose, and, addressing him as
uncle, bade him good morning; a greeting which he returned
cordially, with a kiss on her forehead.  Then accosting Hugh, with a
manner which seemed the more polite and cold after the tone in which
he had spoken to his niece, he bade him welcome to Arnstead.

"I trust you were properly attended to last night, Mr. Sutherland?
Your pupil wanted very much to sit up till you arrived, but he is
altogether too delicate, I am sorry to say, for late hours, though
he has an unfortunate preference for them himself.  Jacob," (to the
man in waiting), "is not Master Harry up yet?"

Master Harry's entrance at that moment rendered reply unnecessary.

"Good morning, Euphra," he said to the lady, and kissed her on the
cheek.

"Good morning, dear," was the reply, accompanied by a pretence of
returning the kiss.  But she smiled with a kind of confectionary
sweetness on him; and, dropping an additional lump of sugar into his
tea at the same moment, placed it for him beside herself; while he
went and shook hands with his father, and then glancing shyly up at
Hugh from a pair of large dark eyes, put his hand in his, and
smiled, revealing teeth of a pearly whiteness.  The lips, however,
did not contrast them sufficiently, being pale and thin, with
indication of suffering in their tremulous lines.  Taking his place
at table, he trifled with his breakfast; and after making pretence
of eating for a while, asked Euphra if he might go.  She giving him
leave, he hastened away.

Mr. Arnold took advantage of his retreat to explain to Hugh what he
expected of him with regard to the boy.

"How old would you take Harry to be, Mr. Sutherland?"

"I should say about twelve from his size," replied Hugh; "but from
his evident bad health, and intelligent expression--"

"Ah! you perceive the state he is in," interrupted Mr. Arnold, with
some sadness in his voice. "You are right; he is nearly fifteen.  He
has not grown half-an-inch in the last twelve months."

"Perhaps that is better than growing too fast," said Hugh.

"Perhaps--perhaps; we will hope so.  But I cannot help being uneasy
about him.  He reads too much, and I have not yet been able to help
it; for he seems miserable, and without any object in life, if I
compel him to leave his books."

"Perhaps we can manage to get over that in a little while."

"Besides," Mr. Arnold went on, paying no attention to what Hugh
said, "I can get him to take no exercise.  He does not even care for
riding.  I bought him a second pony a month ago, and he has not been
twice on its back yet."

Hugh could not help thinking that to increase the supply was not
always the best mode of increasing the demand; and that one who
would not ride the first pony, would hardly be likely to ride the
second.  Mr. Arnold concluded with the words:

"I don't want to stop the boy's reading, but I can't have him a
milksop."

"Will you let me manage him as I please, Mr. Arnold?"  Hugh ventured
to say.

Mr. Arnold looked full at him, with a very slight but quite manifest
expression of surprise; and Hugh was aware that the eyes of the
lady, called by the boy Euphra, were likewise fixed upon him
penetratingly.  As if he were then for the first time struck by the
manly development of Hugh's frame, Mr. Arnold answered:

"I don't want you to overdo it, either.  You cannot make a muscular
Christian of him." (The speaker smiled at his own imagined wit.)
"The boy has talents, and I want him to use them."

"I will do my best for him both ways," answered Hugh, "if you will
trust me.  For my part, I think the only way is to make the
operation of the intellectual tendency on the one side, reveal to
the boy himself his deficiency on the other.  This once done, all
will be well."

As he said this, Hugh caught sight of a cloudy, inscrutable
dissatisfaction slightly contracting the eyebrows of the lady.  Mr.
Arnold, however, seemed not to be altogether displeased.

"Well," he answered, "I have my plans; but let us see first what you
can do with yours.  If they fail, perhaps you will oblige me by
trying mine."

This was said with the decisive politeness of one who is accustomed
to have his own way, and fully intends to have it--every word as
articulate and deliberate as organs of speech could make it.  But he
seemed at the same time somewhat impressed by Hugh, and not
unwilling to yield.

Throughout the conversation, the lady had said nothing, but had sat
watching, or rather scrutinizing, Hugh's countenance, with a far
keener and more frequent glance than, I presume, he was at all aware
of.  Whether or not she was satisfied with her conclusions, she
allowed no sign to disclose; but, breakfast being over, rose and
withdrew, turning, however, at the door, and saying:

"When you please, Mr. Sutherland, I shall be glad to show you what
Harry has been doing with me; for till now I have been his only
tutor."

"Thank you," replied Hugh; "but for some time we shall be quite
independent of school-books.  Perhaps we may require none at all.
He can read, I presume, fairly well?"

"Reading is not only his forte but his fault," replied Mr. Arnold;
while Euphra, fixing one more piercing look upon him, withdrew.

"Yes," responded Hugh; "but a boy may shuffle through a book very
quickly, and have no such accurate perceptions of even the mere
words, as to be able to read aloud intelligibly."

How little this applied to Harry, Hugh was soon to learn.

"Well, you know best about these things, I daresay.  I leave it to
you.  With such testimonials as you have, Mr. Sutherland, I can
hardly be wrong in letting you try your own plans with him.  Now, I
must bid you good morning.  You will, in all probability, find Harry
in the library."




CHAPTER II.

HARRY'S NEW HORSE.

Spielender Unterricht heisst nicht, dem Kinde Anstrengungen ersparen
und abnehmen, sondern eine Leidenschaft in ihm erwecken, welche ihm
die starksten aufnothigt und erleichtert.

JEAN PAUL.--Die Unsichtbare Loge.


It is not the intention of sportive instruction that the child
should be spared effort, or delivered from it; but that thereby a
passion should be wakened in him, which shall both necessitate and
facilitate the strongest exertion.

Hugh made no haste to find his pupil in the library; thinking it
better, with such a boy, not to pounce upon him as if he were going
to educate him directly.  He went to his own rooms instead; got his
books out and arranged them,--supplying thus, in a very small
degree, the scarcity of modern ones in the book-cases; then arranged
his small wardrobe, looked about him a little, and finally went to
seek his pupil.

He found him in the library, as he had been given to expect, coiled
up on the floor in a corner, with his back against the book-shelves,
and an old folio on his knees, which he was reading in silence.

"Well, Harry," said Hugh, in a half-indifferent tone, as he threw
himself on a couch, "what are you reading?"

Harry had not heard him come in.  He started, and almost shuddered;
then looked up, hesitated, rose, and, as if ashamed to utter the
name of the book, brought it to Hugh, opening it at the title-page
as he held it out to him.  It was the old romance of Polexander.
Hugh knew nothing about it; but, glancing over some of the pages,
could not help wondering that the boy should find it interesting.

"Do you like this very much?" said he.

"Well--no.  Yes, rather."

"I think I could find you something more interesting in the
book-shelves."

"Oh! please, sir, mayn't I read this?" pleaded Harry, with signs of
distress in his pale face.

"Oh, yes, certainly, if you wish.  But tell me why you want to read
it so very much."

"Because I have set myself to read it through."

Hugh saw that the child was in a diseased state of mind, as well as
of body.

"You should not set yourself to read anything, before you know
whether it is worth reading."

"I could not help it.  I was forced to say I would."

"To whom?"

"To myself.  Mayn't I read it?"

"Certainly," was all Hugh's answer; for he saw that he must not
pursue the subject at present: the boy was quite hypochondriacal.
His face was keen, with that clear definition of feature which
suggests superior intellect.  He was, though very small for his age,
well proportioned, except that his head and face were too large.
His forehead indicated thought; and Hugh could not doubt that,
however uninteresting the books which he read might be, they must
have afforded him subjects of mental activity.  But he could not
help seeing as well, that this activity, if not altered in its
direction and modified in its degree, would soon destroy itself,
either by ruining his feeble constitution altogether, or, which was
more to be feared, by irremediably injuring the action of the brain.
He resolved, however, to let him satisfy his conscience by reading
the book; hoping, by the introduction of other objects of thought
and feeling, to render it so distasteful, that he would be in little
danger of yielding a similar pledge again, even should the
temptation return, which Hugh hoped to prevent.

"But you have read enough for the present, have you not?" said he,
rising, and approaching the book-shelves.

"Yes; I have been reading since breakfast."

"Ah! there's a capital book.  Have you ever read it--Gulliver's
Travels?"

"No. The outside looked always so uninteresting."

"So does Polexander's outside."

"Yes. But I couldn't help that one."

"Well, come along.  I will read to you."


"Oh! thank you.  That will be delightful.  But must we not go to our
lessons?"

"I'm going to make a lesson of this.  I have been talking to your
papa; and we're going to begin with a holiday, instead of ending
with one.  I must get better acquainted with you first, Harry,
before I can teach you right.  We must be friends, you know."

The boy crept close up to him, laid one thin hand on his knee,
looked in his face for a moment, and then, without a word, sat down
on the couch close beside him.  Before an hour had passed, Harry was
laughing heartily at Gulliver's adventures amongst the Lilliputians.
Having arrived at this point of success, Hugh ceased reading, and
began to talk to him.

"Is that lady your cousin?"

"Yes. Isn't she beautiful?"

"I hardly know yet.  I have not got used to her enough yet.  What is
her name?"

"Oh! such a pretty name--Euphrasia."

"Is she the only lady in the house?"

"Yes; my mamma is dead, you know.  She was ill for a long time, they
say; and she died when I was born."

The tears came in the poor boy's eyes.  Hugh thought of his own
father, and put his hand on Harry's shoulder.  Harry laid his head
on Hugh's shoulder.

"But," he went on, "Euphra is so kind to me!  And she is so clever
too!  She knows everything."

"Have you no brothers or sisters?"

"No, none.  I wish I had."

"Well, I'll be your big brother.  Only you must mind what I say to
you; else I shall stop being him.  Is it a bargain?"

"Yes, to be sure!" cried Harry in delight; and, springing from the
couch, he began hopping feebly about the room on one foot, to
express his pleasure.

"Well, then, that's settled.  Now, you must come and show me the
horses--your ponies, you know--and the pigs--"

"I don't like the pigs--I don't know where they are."

"Well, we must find out.  Perhaps I shall make some discoveries for
you.  Have you any rabbits?"

"No."

"A dog though, surely?"

"No. I had a canary, but the cat killed it, and I have never had a
pet since."

"Well, get your cap, and come out with me.  I will wait for you
here."

Harry walked away--he seldom ran.  He soon returned with his cap,
and they sallied out together.

Happening to look back at the house, when a few paces from it, Hugh
thought he saw Euphra standing at the window of a back staircase.
They made the round of the stables, and the cow-house, and the
poultry-yard; and even the pigs, as proposed, came in for a share of
their attention.  As they approached the stye, Harry turned away his
head with a look of disgust.  They were eating out of the trough.

"They make such a nasty noise!" he said.

"Yes, but just look: don't they enjoy it?" said Hugh.

Harry looked at them.  The notion of their enjoyment seemed to dawn
upon him as something quite new.  He went nearer and nearer to the
stye.  At last a smile broke out over his countenance.

"How tight that one curls his tail!" said he, and burst out
laughing.

"How dreadfully this boy must have been mismanaged!" thought Hugh to
himself. "But there is no fear of him now, I hope."

By this time they had been wandering about for more than an hour;
and Hugh saw, by Harry's increased paleness, that he was getting
tired.

"Here, Harry, get on my back, my boy, and have a ride.  You're
tired."

And Hugh knelt down.

Harry shrunk back.

"I shall spoil your coat with my shoes."

"Nonsense!  Rub them well on the grass there.  And then get on my
back directly."

Harry did as he was bid, and found his tutor's broad back and strong
arms a very comfortable saddle.  So away they went, wandering about
for a long time, in their new relation of horse and his rider.  At
length they got into the middle of a long narrow avenue, quite
neglected, overgrown with weeds, and obstructed with rubbish.  But
the trees were fine beeches, of great growth and considerable age.
One end led far into a wood, and the other towards the house, a
small portion of which could be seen at the end, the avenue
appearing to reach close up to it.

"Don't go down this," said Harry.

"Well, it's not a very good road for a horse certainly, but I think
I can go it.  What a beautiful avenue!  Why is it so neglected?"

"Don't go down there, please, dear horse."

Harry was getting wonderfully at home with Hugh already.

"Why?" asked Hugh.

"They call it the Ghost's Walk, and I don't much like it.  It has a
strange distracted look!"

"That's a long word, and a descriptive one too," thought Hugh; but,
considering that there would come many a better opportunity of
combating the boy's fears than now, he simply said: "Very well,
Harry,"--and proceeded to leave the avenue by the other side.  But
Harry was not yet satisfied.

"Please, Mr. Sutherland, don't go on that side, just now.  Ride me
back, please.  It is not safe, they say, to cross her path.  She
always follows any one who crosses her path."

Hugh laughed; but again said, "Very well, my boy;" and, returning,
left the avenue by the side by which he had entered it.

"Shall we go home to luncheon now?" said Harry.

"Yes," replied Hugh. "Could we not go by the front of the house?  I
should like very much to see it."

"Oh, certainly," said Harry, and proceeded to direct Hugh how to go;
but evidently did not know quite to his own satisfaction.  There
being, however, but little foliage yet, Hugh could discover his way
pretty well.  He promised himself many a delightful wander in the
woody regions in the evenings.

They managed to get round to the front of the house, not without
some difficulty; and then Hugh saw to his surprise that, although
not imposing in appearance, it was in extent more like a baronial
residence than that of a simple gentleman.  The front was very long,
apparently of all ages, and of all possible styles of architecture,
the result being somewhat mysterious and eminently picturesque.  All
kinds of windows; all kinds of projections and recesses; a house
here, joined to a hall there; here a pointed gable, the very bell on
the top overgrown and apparently choked with ivy; there a wide front
with large bay windows; and next a turret of old stone, with not a
shred of ivy upon it, but crowded over with grey-green lichens,
which looked as if the stone itself had taken to growing; multitudes
of roofs, of all shapes and materials, so that one might very easily
be lost amongst the chimneys and gutters and dormer windows and
pinnacles--made up the appearance of the house on the outside to
Hugh's first inquiring glance, as he paused at a little distance
with Harry on his back, and scanned the wonderful pile before him.
But as he looked at the house of Arnstead, Euphra was looking at
him with the boy on his back, from one of the smaller windows.  Was
she making up her mind?

"You are as kind to me as Euphra," said Harry, as Hugh set him down
in the hall. "I've enjoyed my ride very much, thank you, Mr.
Sutherland.  I am sure Euphra will like you very much--she likes
everybody."




CHAPTER III.

EUPHRASIA.

     then purged with Euphrasy and Rue
The visual nerve, for he had much to see.

Paradise Lost, b. xi.


Soft music came to mine ear.  It was like the rising breeze, that
whirls, at first, the thistle's beard; then flies, dark-shadowy,
over the grass.  It was the maid of Fuarfed wild: she raised the
nightly song; for she knew that my soul was a stream, that flowed at
pleasant sounds.

Ossian.--Oina-Morul.

Harry led Hugh by the hand to the dining-room, a large oak hall with
Gothic windows, and an open roof supported by richly carved
woodwork, in the squares amidst which were painted many escutcheons
parted by fanciful devices.  Over the high stone carving above the
chimney hung an old piece of tapestry, occupying the whole space
between that and the roof.  It represented a hunting-party of ladies
and gentlemen, just setting out.  The table looked very small in the
centre of the room, though it would have seated twelve or fourteen.
It was already covered for luncheon; and in a minute Euphra entered
and took her place without a word.  Hugh sat on one side and Harry
on the other.  Euphra, having helped both to soup, turned to Harry
and said, "Well, Harry, I hope you have enjoyed your first lesson."

"Very much," answered Harry with a smile. "I have learned pigs and
horseback."

"The boy is positively clever," thought Hugh.

"Mr. Sutherland"--he continued, "has begun to teach me to like
creatures."

"But I thought you were very fond of your wild-beast book, Harry."

"Oh! yes; but that was only in the book, you know.  I like the
stories about them, of course.  But to like pigs, you know, is quite
different.  They are so ugly and ill-bred.  I like them though."

"You seem to have quite gained Harry already," said Euphra, glancing
at Hugh, and looking away as quickly.

"We are very good friends, and shall be, I think," replied he.

Harry looked at him affectionately, and said to him, not to Euphra,
"Oh! yes, that we shall, I am sure."  Then turning to the lady--"Do
you know, Euphra, he is my big brother?"

"You must mind how you make new relations, though, Harry; for you
know that would make him my cousin."

"Well, you will be a kind cousin to him, won't you?"

"I will try," replied Euphra, looking up at Hugh with a naive
expression of shyness, and the slightest possible blush.

Hugh began to think her pretty, almost handsome.  His next thought
was to wonder how old she was.  But about this he could not at once
make up his mind.  She might be four-and-twenty; she might be
two-and-thirty.  She had black, lustreless hair, and eyes to match,
as far as colour was concerned--but they could sparkle, and probably
flash upon occasion; a low forehead, but very finely developed in
the faculties that dwell above the eyes; slender but very dark
eyebrows--just black arched lines in her rather sallow complexion;
nose straight, and nothing remarkable--"an excellent thing in
woman," a mouth indifferent when at rest, but capable of a beautiful
laugh.  She was rather tall, and of a pretty enough figure; hands
good; feet invisible.  Hugh came to these conclusions rapidly
enough, now that his attention was directed to her; for, though
naturally unobservant, his perception was very acute as soon as his
attention was roused.

"Thank you," he replied to her pretty speech. "I shall do my best to
deserve it."

"I hope you will, Mr. Sutherland," rejoined she, with another arch
look. "Take some wine, Harry."

She poured out a glass of sherry, and gave it to the boy, who drank
it with some eagerness.  Hugh could not approve of this, but thought
it too early to interfere.  Turning to Harry, he said:

"Now, Harry, you have had rather a tiring morning.  I should like
you to go and lie down a while."

"Very well, Mr. Sutherland," replied Harry, who seemed rather
deficient in combativeness, as well as other boyish virtues. "Shall
I lie down in the library?"

"No--have a change."

"In my bed-room?"

"No, I think not.  Go to my room, and lie on the couch till I come
to you."

Harry went; and Hugh, partly for the sake of saying something, and
partly to justify his treatment of Harry, told Euphra, whose surname
he did not yet know, what they had been about all the morning,
ending with some remark on the view of the house in front.  She
heard the account of their proceedings with apparent indifference,
replying only to the remark with which he closed it:

"It is rather a large house, is it not, for three--I beg your
pardon, for four persons to live in, Mr. Sutherland?"

"It is, indeed; it quite bewilders me."

"To tell the truth, I don't quite know above the half of it myself."

Hugh thought this rather a strange assertion, large as the house
was; but she went on:

"I lost myself between the housekeeper's room and my own, no later
than last week."

I suppose there was a particle of truth in this; and that she had
taken a wrong turning in an abstracted fit.  Perhaps she did not
mean it to be taken as absolutely true.

"You have not lived here long, then?"

"Not long for such a great place.  A few years.  I am only a poor
relation."

She accompanied this statement with another swift uplifting of the
eyelids.  But this time her eyes rested for a moment on Hugh's, with
something of a pleading expression; and when they fell, a slight
sigh followed.  Hugh felt that he could not quite understand her.  A
vague suspicion crossed his mind that she was bewitching him, but
vanished instantly.  He replied to her communication by a smile, and
the remark:

"You have the more freedom, then.--Did you know Harry's mother?" he
added, after a pause.

"No. She died when Harry was born.  She was very beautiful, and,
they say, very clever, but always in extremely delicate health.
Between ourselves, I doubt if there was much sympathy--that is, if
my uncle and she quite understood each other.  But that is an old
story."

A pause followed.  Euphra resumed:

"As to the freedom you speak of, Mr. Sutherland, I do not quite know
what to do with it.  I live here as if the place were my own, and
give what orders I please.  But Mr. Arnold shows me little
attention--he is so occupied with one thing and another, I hardly
know what; and if he did, perhaps I should get tired of him.  So,
except when we have visitors, which is not very often, the time
hangs rather heavy on my hands."

"But you are fond of reading--and writing, too, I suspect;" Hugh
ventured to say.

She gave him another of her glances, in which the apparent shyness
was mingled with something for which Hugh could not find a name.
Nor did he suspect, till long after, that it was in reality
slyness, so tempered with archness, that, if discovered, it might
easily pass for an expression playfully assumed.

"Oh! yes," she said; "one must read a book now and then; and if a
verse"--again a glance and a slight blush--"should come up from
nobody knows where, one may as well write it down.  But, please, do
not take me for a literary lady.  Indeed, I make not the slightest
pretensions.  I don't know what I should do without Harry; and
indeed, indeed, you must not steal him from me, Mr. Sutherland."

"I should be very sorry," replied Hugh. "Let me beg you, as far as I
have a right to do so, to join us as often and as long as you
please.  I will go and see how he is.  I am sure the boy only wants
thorough rousing, alternated with perfect repose."

He went to his own room, where he found Harry, to his satisfaction,
fast asleep on the sofa.  He took care not to wake him, but sat down
beside him to read till his sleep should be over.  But, a moment
after, the boy opened his eyes with a start and a shiver, and gave a
slight cry.  When he saw Hugh he jumped up, and with a smile which
was pitiful to see upon a scared face, said:

"Oh!  I am so glad you are there."

"What is the matter, dear Harry?"

"I had a dreadful dream."

"What was it?"

"I don't know.  It always comes.  It is always the same.  I know
that.  And yet I can never remember what it is."

Hugh soothed him as well as he could; and he needed it, for the cold
drops were standing on his forehead.  When he had grown calmer, he
went and fetched Gulliver, and, to the boy's great delight, read to
him till dinner-time.  Before the first bell rang, he had quite
recovered, and indeed seemed rather interested in the approach of
dinner.

Dinner was an affair of some state at Arnstead.  Almost immediately
after the second bell had rung, Mr. Arnold made his appearance in
the drawing-room, where the others were already waiting for him.
This room had nothing of the distinctive character of the parts of
the house which Hugh had already seen.  It was merely a handsome
modern room, of no great size.  Mr. Arnold led Euphra to dinner, and
Hugh followed with Harry.

Mr. Arnold's manner to Hugh was the same as in the
morning--studiously polite, without the smallest approach to
cordiality.  He addressed him as an equal, it is true; but an equal
who could never be in the smallest danger of thinking he meant it.
Hugh, who, without having seen a great deal of the world, yet felt
much the same wherever he was, took care to give him all that he
seemed to look for, as far at least as was consistent with his own
self-respect.  He soon discovered that he was one of those men, who,
if you will only grant their position, and acknowledge their
authority, will allow you to have much your own way in everything.
His servants had found this out long ago, and almost everything
about the house was managed as they pleased; but as the oldest of
them were respectable family servants, nothing went very far wrong.
They all, however, waited on Euphra with an assiduity that showed
she was, or could be, quite mistress when and where she pleased.
Perhaps they had found out that she had great influence with Mr.
Arnold; and certainly he seemed very fond of her indeed, after a
stately fashion.  She spoke to the servants with peculiar
gentleness; never said, if you please; but always, thank you.  Harry
never asked for anything, but always looked to Euphra, who gave the
necessary order.  Hugh saw that the boy was quite dependent upon
her, seeming of himself scarcely capable of originating the simplest
action.  Mr. Arnold, however, dull as he was, could not help seeing
that Harry's manner was livelier than usual, and seemed pleased at
the slight change already visible for the better.  Turning to Hugh
he said:

"Do you find Harry very much behind with his studies, Mr.
Sutherland?"

"I have not yet attempted to find out," replied Hugh.

"Not?" said Mr. Arnold, with surprise.

"No. If he be behind, I feel confident it will not be for long."

"But," began Mr. Arnold, pompously; and then he paused.

"You were kind enough to say, Mr. Arnold, that I might try my own
plans with him first.  I have been doing so."

"Yes--certainly.  But--"

Here Harry broke in with some animation:

"Mr. Sutherland has been my horse, carrying me about on his back all
the morning--no, not all the morning--but an hour, or an hour and a
half--or was it two hours, Mr. Sutherland?"

"I really don't know, Harry," answered Hugh; "I don't think it
matters much."

Harry seemed relieved, and went on:

"He has been reading Gulliver's Travels to me--oh, such fall!  And
we have been to see the cows and the pigs; and Mr. Sutherland has
been teaching me to jump.  Do you know, papa, he jumped right over
the pony's back without touching it."

Mr. Arnold stared at the boy with lustreless eyes and hanging
checks.  These grew red, as if he were going to choke.  Such
behaviour was quite inconsistent with the dignity of Arnstead and
its tutor, who had been recommended to him as a thorough gentleman.
But for the present he said nothing; probably because he could
think of nothing to say.

"Certainly Harry seems better already," interposed Euphra.

"I cannot help thinking Mr. Sutherland has made a good beginning."

Mr. Arnold did not reply, but the cloud wore away from his face by
degrees; and at length he asked Hugh to take a glass of wine with
him.

When Euphra rose from the table, and Harry followed her example,
Hugh thought it better to rise as well.  Mr. Arnold seemed to
hesitate whether or not to ask him to resume his seat and have a
glass of claret.  Had he been a little wizened pedagogue, no doubt
he would have insisted on his company, sure of acquiescence from him
in every sentiment he might happen to utter.  But Hugh really looked
so very much like a gentleman, and stated his own views, or adopted
his own plans, with so much independence, that Mr. Arnold judged it
safer to keep him at arm's length for a season at least, till he
should thoroughly understand his position--not that of a guest, but
that of his son's tutor, belonging to the household of Arnstead only
on approval.

On leaving the dining-room, Hugh hesitated, in his turn, whether to
betake himself to his own room, or to accompany Euphra to the
drawing-room, the door of which stood open on the opposite side of
the hall, revealing a brightness and warmth, which the chill of the
evening, and the lowness of the fire in the dining-room, rendered
quite enticing.  But Euphra, who was half-across the hall, seeming
to divine his thoughts, turned, and said, "Are you not going to
favour us with your company, Mr. Sutherland?"

"With pleasure," replied Hugh; but, to cover his hesitation, added,
"I will be with you presently;" and ran up stairs to his own room.
"The old gentleman sits on his dignity--can hardly be said to stand
on it," thought he, as he went. "The poor relation, as she calls
herself, treats me like a guest.  She is mistress here, however;
that is clear enough."

As he descended the stairs to the drawing-room, a voice rose through
the house, like the voice of an angel.  At least so thought Hugh,
hearing it for the first time.  It seemed to take his breath away,
as he stood for a moment on the stairs, listening.  It was only
Euphra singing The Flowers of the Forest.  The drawing-room door was
still open, and her voice rang through the wide lofty hall.  He
entered almost on tip-toe, that he might lose no thread of the fine
tones.--Had she chosen the song of Scotland out of compliment to
him?--She saw him enter, but went on without hesitating even.  In
the high notes, her voice had that peculiar vibratory richness which
belongs to the nightingale's; but he could not help thinking that
the low tones were deficient both in quality and volume.  The
expression and execution, however, would have made up for a thousand
defects.  Her very soul seemed brooding over the dead upon Flodden
field, as she sang this most wailful of melodies--this embodiment of
a nation's grief.  The song died away as if the last breath had gone
with it; failing as it failed, and ceasing with its inspiration, as
if the voice that sang lived only for and in the song.  A moment of
intense silence followed.  Then, before Hugh had half recovered from
the former, with an almost grand dramatic recoil, as if the second
sprang out of the first, like an eagle of might out of an ocean of
weeping, she burst into Scots wha hae.  She might have been a new
Deborah, heralding her nation to battle.  Hugh was transfixed,
turned icy cold, with the excitement of his favourite song so
sung.--Was that a glance of satisfied triumph with which Euphra
looked at him for a single moment?--She sang the rest of the song as
if the battle were already gained; but looked no more at Hugh.

The excellence of her tones, and the lambent fluidity of her
transitions, if I may be allowed the phrase, were made by her art
quite subservient to the expression, and owed their chief value to
the share they bore in producing it.  Possibly there was a little
too much of the dramatic in her singing, but it was all in good
taste; and, in a word, Hugh had never heard such singing before.  As
soon as she had finished, she rose, and shut the piano.

"Do not, do not," faltered Hugh, seeking to arrest her hand, as she
closed the instrument.

"I can sing nothing after that," she said with emotion, or perhaps
excitement; for the trembling of her voice might be attributed to
either cause. "Do not ask me."

Hugh respectfully desisted; but after a few minutes' pause ventured
to remark:

"I cannot understand how you should be able to sing Scotch songs so
well.  I never heard any but Scotch women sing them, even endurably,
before: your singing of them is perfect."

"It seems to me," said Euphra, speaking as if she would rather have
remained silent, "that a true musical penetration is independent of
styles and nationalities.  It can perceive, or rather feel, and
reproduce, at the same moment.  If the music speaks Scotch, the
musical nature hears Scotch.  It can take any shape, indeed cannot
help taking any shape, presented to it."

Hugh was yet further astonished by this criticism from one whom he
had been criticising with so much carelessness that very day.

"You think, then," said he, modestly, not as if he would bring her
to book, but as really seeking to learn from her, "that a true
musical nature can pour itself into the mould of any song, in entire
independence of association and education?"

"Yes; in independence of any but what it may provide for itself."

Euphrasia, however, had left one important element unrepresented in
the construction of her theory--namely, the degree of capability
which a mind may possess of sympathy with any given class of
feelings.  The blossom of the mind, whether it flower in poetry,
music, or any other art, must be the exponent of the nature and
condition of that whose blossom it is.  No mind, therefore,
incapable of sympathising with the feelings whence it springs, can
interpret the music of another.  And Euphra herself was rather a
remarkable instance of this forgotten fact.

Further conversation on the subject was interrupted by the entrance
of Mr. Arnold, who looked rather annoyed at finding Hugh in the
drawing-room, and ordered Harry off to bed, with some little
asperity of tone.  The boy rose at once, rang the bell, bade them
all good night, and went.  A servant met him at the door with a
candle, and accompanied him.

Thought Hugh: "Here are several things to be righted at once.  The
boy must not have wine; and he must have only one dinner
a-day--especially if he is ordered to bed so early.  I must make a
man of him if I can."

He made inquiries, and, with some difficulty, found out where the
boy slept.  During the night he was several times in Harry's room,
and once in happy time to wake him from a nightmare dream.  The boy
was so overcome with terror, that Hugh got into bed beside him and
comforted him to sleep in his arms.  Nor did he leave him till it
was time to get up, when he stole back to his own quarters, which,
happily, were at no very great distance.

I may mention here, that it was not long before Hugh succeeded in
stopping the wine, and reducing the dinner to a mouthful of supper.
Harry, as far as he was concerned, yielded at once; and his father
only held out long enough to satisfy his own sense of dignity.




CHAPTER IV.

THE CAVE IN THE STRAW.

All knowledge and wonder (which is the seed of knowledge) is an
impression of pleasure in itself.

LORD BACON.--Advancement of Learning.


The following morning dawned in a cloud; which, swathed about the
trees, wetted them down to the roots, without having time to become
rain.  They drank it in like sorrow, the only material out of which
true joy can be fashioned.  This cloud of mist would yet glimmer in
a new heaven, namely, in the cloud of blooms which would clothe the
limes and the chestnuts and the beeches along the ghost's walk.  But
there was gloomy weather within doors as well; for poor Harry was
especially sensitive to variations of the barometer, without being
in the least aware of the fact himself.  Again Hugh found him in the
library, seated in his usual corner, with Polexander on his knees.
He half dropped the book when Hugh entered, and murmured with a
sigh:

"It's no use; I can't read it."

"What's the matter, Harry?" said his tutor.

"I should like to tell you, but you will laugh at me."

"I shall never laugh at you, Harry."

"Never?"

"No, never."

"Then tell me how I can be sure that I have read this book."

"I do not quite understand you."

"Ah!  I was sure nobody could be so stupid as I am.  Do you know,
Mr. Sutherland, I seem to have read a page from top to bottom
sometimes, and when I come to the bottom I know nothing about it,
and doubt whether I have read it at all; and then I stare at it all
over again, till I grow so queer, and sometimes nearly scream.  You
see I must be able to say I have read the book."

"Why?  Nobody will ever ask you."

"Perhaps not; but you know that is nothing.  I want to know that I
have read the book--really and truly read it."

Hugh thought for a moment, and seemed to see that the boy, not being
strong enough to be a law to himself, just needed a benign law from
without, to lift him from the chaos of feeble and conflicting
notions and impulses within, which generated a false law of slavery.
So he said:

"Harry, am I your big brother?"

"Yes, Mr. Sutherland."

"Then, ought you to do what I wish, or what you wish yourself?"

"What you wish, sir."

"Then I want you to put away that book for a month at least."

"Oh, Mr. Sutherland!  I promised."

"To whom?"

"To myself."
"But I am above you; and I want you to do as I tell you.  Will you,
Harry?"

"Yes."

"Put away the book, then."

Harry sprang to his feet, put the book on its shelf, and, going up
to Hugh, said,

"You have done it, not me."

"Certainly, Harry."

The notions of a hypochondriacal child will hardly be interesting to
the greater part of my readers; but Hugh learned from this a little
lesson about divine law which he never forgot.

"Now, Harry," added he, "you must not open a book till I allow you."

"No poetry, either?" said poor Harry; and his face fell.

"I don't mind poetry so much; but of prose I will read as much to
you as will be good for you.  Come, let us have a bit of Gulliver
again."

"Oh, how delightful!" cried Harry. "I am so glad you made me put
away that tiresome book.  I wonder why it insisted so on being
read."

Hugh read for an hour, and then made Harry put on his cloak,
notwithstanding the rain, which fell in a slow thoughtful spring
shower.  Taking the boy again on his back, he carried him into the
woods.  There he told him how the drops of wet sank into the ground,
and then went running about through it in every direction, looking
for seeds: which were all thirsty little things, that wanted to
grow, and could not, till a drop came and gave them drink.  And he
told him how the rain-drops were made up in the skies, and then came
down, like millions of angels, to do what they were told in the dark
earth.  The good drops went into all the cellars and dungeons of the
earth, to let out the imprisoned flowers.  And he told him how the
seeds, when they had drunk the rain-drops, wanted another kind of
drink next, which was much thinner and much stronger, but could not
do them any good till they had drunk the rain first.

"What is that?" said Harry. "I feel as if you were reading out of
the Bible, Mr. Sutherland."

"It is the sunlight," answered his tutor. "When a seed has drunk of
the water, and is not thirsty any more, it wants to breathe next;
and then the sun sends a long, small finger of fire down into the
grave where the seed is lying; and it touches the seed, and
something inside the seed begins to move instantly and to grow
bigger and bigger, till it sends two green blades out of it into the
earth, and through the earth into the air; and then it can breathe.
And then it sends roots down into the earth; and the roots keep
drinking water, and the leaves keep breathing the air, and the sun
keeps them alive and busy; and so a great tree grows up, and God
looks at it, and says it is good."

"Then they really are living things?" said Harry.

"Certainly."

"Thank you, Mr. Sutherland.  I don't think I shall dislike rain so
much any more."

Hugh took him next into the barn, where they found a great heap of
straw.  Recalling his own boyish amusements, he made him put off his
cloak, and help to make a tunnel into this heap.  Harry was
delighted--the straw was so nice, and bright, and dry, and clean.
They drew it out by handfuls, and thus excavated a round tunnel to
the distance of six feet or so; when Hugh proceeded to more extended
operations.  Before it was time to go to lunch, they had cleared
half of a hollow sphere, six feet in diameter, out of the heart of
the heap.

After lunch, for which Harry had been very unwilling to relinquish
the straw hut, Hugh sent him to lie down for a while; when he fell
fast asleep as before.  After he had left the room, Euphra said:

"How do you get on with Harry, Mr. Sutherland?"

"Perfectly to my satisfaction," answered Hugh.

"Do you not find him very slow?"

"Quite the contrary."

"You surprise me.  But you have not given him any lessons yet."

"I have given him a great many, and he is learning them very fast."

"I fear he will have forgotten all my poor labours before you take
up the work where we left it.  When will you give him any
book-lessons?"

"Not for a while yet."

Euphra did not reply.  Her silence seemed intended to express
dissatisfaction; at least so Hugh interpreted it.

"I hope you do not think it is to indulge myself that I manage
Master Harry in this peculiar fashion," he said. "The fact is, he is
a very peculiar child, and may turn out a genius or a weakling, just
as he is managed.  At least so it appears to me at present.  May I
ask where you left the work you were doing with him?"

"He was going through the Eton grammar for the third time," answered
Euphra, with a defiant glance, almost of dislike, at Hugh. "But I
need not enumerate his studies, for I daresay you will not take them
up at all after my fashion.  I only assure you I have been a very
exact disciplinarian.  What he knows, I think you will find he knows
thoroughly."

So saying, Euphra rose, and with a flush on her cheek, walked out of
the room in a more stately manner than usual.

Hugh felt that he had, somehow or other, offended her.  But, to tell
the truth, he did not much care, for her manner had rather irritated
him.  He retired to his own room, wrote to his mother, and, when
Harry awoke, carried him again to the barn for an hour's work in the
straw.  Before it grew dusk, they had finished a little, silent,
dark chamber, as round as they could make it, in the heart of the
straw.  All the excavated material they had thrown on the top,
reserving only a little to close up the entrance when they pleased.

The next morning was still rainy; and when Hugh found Harry in the
library as usual, he saw that the clouds had again gathered over the
boy's spirit.  He was pacing about the room in a very odd manner.
The carpet was divided diamond-wise in a regular pattern.  Harry's
steps were, for the most part, planted upon every third diamond, as
he slowly crossed the floor in a variety of directions; for, as on
previous occasions, he had not perceived the entrance of his tutor.
But, every now and then, the boy would make the most sudden and
irregular change in his mode of progression, setting his foot on the
most unexpected diamond, at one time the nearest to him, at another
the farthest within his reach.  When he looked up, and saw his tutor
watching him, he neither started nor blushed: but, still retaining
on his countenance the perplexed, anxious expression which Hugh had
remarked, said to him:

"How can God know on which of those diamonds I am going to set my
foot next?"

"If you could understand how God knows, Harry, then you would know
yourself; but before you have made up your mind, you don't know
which you will choose; and even then you only know on which you
intend to set your foot; for you have often changed your mind after
making it up."

Harry looked as puzzled as before.

"Why, Harry, to understand how God understands, you would need to be
as wise as he is; so it is no use trying.  You see you can't quite
understand me, though I have a real meaning in what I say."

"Ah!  I see it is no use; but I can't bear to be puzzled."

"But you need not be puzzled; you have no business to be puzzled.
You are trying to get into your little brain what is far too grand
and beautiful to get into it.  Would you not think it very stupid to
puzzle yourself how to put a hundred horses into a stable with
twelve stalls?"

Harry laughed, and looked relieved.

"It is more unreasonable a thousand times to try to understand such
things.  For my part, it would make me miserable to think that there
was nothing but what I could understand.  I should feel as if I had
no room anywhere.  Shall we go to our cave again?"

"Oh! yes, please," cried Harry; and in a moment he was on Hugh's
back once more, cantering joyously to the barn.

After various improvements, including some enlargement of the
interior, Hugh and Harry sat down together in the low yellow
twilight of their cave, to enjoy the result of their labours.  They
could just see, by the light from the tunnel, the glimmer of the
golden hollow all about them.  The rain was falling heavily
out-of-doors; and they could hear the sound of the multitudinous
drops of the broken cataract of the heavens like the murmur of the
insects in a summer wood.  They knew that everything outside was
rained upon, and was again raining on everything beneath it, while
they were dry and warm.

"This is nice!" exclaimed Harry, after a few moments of silent
enjoyment.

"This is your first lesson in architecture," said Hugh.

"Am I to learn architecture?" asked Harry, in a rueful tone.

"It is well to know how things came to be done, if you should know
nothing more about them, Harry.  Men lived in the cellars first of
all, and next on the ground floor; but they could get no further
till they joined the two, and then they could build higher."

"I don't quite understand you, sir."

"I did not mean you should, Harry."

"Then I don't mind, sir.  But I thought architecture was building."

"So it is; and this is one way of building.  It is only making an
outside by pulling out an inside, instead of making an inside by
setting up an outside."

Harry thought for a while, and then said joyfully:

"I see it, sir!  I see it.  The inside is the chief thing--not the
outside."

"Yes, Harry; and not in architecture only.  Never forget that."

They lay for some time in silence, listening to the rain.  At length
Harry spoke:

"I have been thinking of what you told me yesterday, Mr. Sutherland,
about the rain going to look for the seeds that were thirsty for it.
And now I feel just as if I were a seed, lying in its little hole
in the earth, and hearing the rain-drops pattering down all about
it, waiting--oh, so thirsty!--for some kind drop to find me out, and
give me itself to drink.  I wonder what kind of flower I should grow
up," added he, laughing.

"There is more truth than you think, in your pretty fancy, Harry,"
rejoined Hugh, and was silent--self-rebuked; for the memory of David
came back upon him, recalled by the words of the boy; of David, whom
he loved and honoured with the best powers of his nature, and whom
yet he had neglected and seemed to forget; nay, whom he had
partially forgotten--he could not deny.  The old man, whose thoughts
were just those of a wise child, had said to him once:

"We ken no more, Maister Sutherlan', what we're growin' till, than
that neep-seed there kens what a neep is, though a neep it will be.
The only odds is, that we ken that we dinna ken, and the neep-seed
kens nothing at all aboot it.  But ae thing, Maister Sutherlan', we
may be sure o': that, whatever it be, it will be worth God's makin'
an' our growin'."

A solemn stillness fell upon Hugh's spirit, as he recalled these
words; out of which stillness, I presume, grew the little parable
which follows; though Hugh, after he had learned far more about the
things therein hinted at, could never understand how it was, that he
could have put so much more into it, than he seemed to have
understood at that period of his history.

For Harry said:

"Wouldn't this be a nice place for a story, Mr. Sutherland?  Do you
ever tell stories, sir?"

"I was just thinking of one, Harry; but it is as much yours as mine,
for you sowed the seed of the story in my mind."

"Do you mean a story that never was in a book--a story out of your
own head?  Oh! that will be grand!"

"Wait till we see what it will be, Harry; for I can't tell you how
it will turn out."

After a little further pause, Hugh began:

"Long, long ago, two seeds lay beside each other in the earth,
waiting.  It was cold, and rather wearisome; and, to beguile the
time, the one found means to speak to the other.

"'What are you going to be?' said the one.

"'I don't know,' answered the other.

"'For me,' rejoined the first, 'I mean to be a rose.  There is
nothing like a splendid rose.  Everybody will love me then!'

"'It's all right,' whispered the second; and that was all he could
say; for somehow when he had said that, he felt as if all the words
in the world were used up.  So they were silent again for a day or
two.

"'Oh, dear!' cried the first, 'I have had some water.  I never knew
till it was inside me.  I'm growing!  I'm growing!  Good-bye!'

"'Good-bye!' repeated the other, and lay still; and waited more than
ever.

"The first grew and grew, pushing itself straight up, till at last
it felt that it was in the open air, for it could breathe.  And what
a delicious breath that was!  It was rather cold, but so refreshing.
The flower could see nothing, for it was not quite a flower yet,
only a plant; and they never see till their eyes come, that is, till
they open their blossoms--then they are flowers quite.  So it grew
and grew, and kept its head up very steadily, meaning to see the sky
the first thing, and leave the earth quite behind as well as beneath
it.  But somehow or other, though why it could not tell, it felt
very much inclined to cry.  At length it opened its eye.  It was
morning, and the sky was over its head; but, alas! itself was no
rose--only a tiny white flower.  It felt yet more inclined to hang
down its head and to cry; but it still resisted, and tried hard to
open its eye wide, and to hold its head upright, and to look full at
the sky.

"'I will be a star of Bethlehem at least!' said the flower to
itself.

"But its head felt very heavy; and a cold wind rushed over it, and
bowed it down towards the earth.  And the flower saw that the time
of the singing of birds was not come, that the snow covered the
whole land, and that there was not a single flower in sight but
itself.  And it half-closed its leaves in terror and the dismay of
loneliness.  But that instant it remembered what the other flower
used to say; and it said to itself: 'It's all right; I will be what
I can.'  And thereon it yielded to the wind, drooped its head to the
earth, and looked no more on the sky, but on the snow.  And
straightway the wind stopped, and the cold died away, and the snow
sparkled like pearls and diamonds; and the flower knew that it was
the holding of its head up that had hurt it so; for that its body
came of the snow, and that its name was Snow-drop.  And so it said
once more, 'It's all right!' and waited in perfect peace.  All the
rest it needed was to hang its head after its nature."

"And what became of the other?" asked Harry.

"I haven't done with this one yet," answered Hugh. "I only told you
it was waiting.  One day a pale, sad-looking girl, with thin face,
large eyes, and long white hands, came, hanging her head like the
snowdrop, along the snow where the flower grew.  She spied it,
smiled joyously, and saying, 'Ah! my little sister, are you come?'
stooped and plucked the snowdrop.  It trembled and died in her hand;
which was a heavenly death for a snowdrop; for had it not cast a
gleam of summer, pale as it had been itself, upon the heart of a
sick girl?"

"And the other?" repeated Harry.

"The other had a long time to wait; but it did grow one of the
loveliest roses ever seen.  And at last it had the highest honour
ever granted to a flower: two lovers smelled it together, and were
content with it."

Harry was silent, and so was Hugh; for he could not understand
himself quite.  He felt, all the time he was speaking, is if he were
listening to David, instead of talking himself.  The fact was, he
was only expanding, in an imaginative soil, the living seed which
David had cast into it.  There seemed to himself to be more in his
parable than he had any right to invent.  But is it not so with all
stories that are rightly rooted in the human?

"What a delightful story, Mr. Sutherland!" said Harry, at last.
"Euphra tells me stories sometimes; but I don't think I ever heard
one I liked so much.  I wish we were meant to grow into something,
like the flower-seeds."

"So we are, Harry."

"Are we indeed?  How delightful it would be to think that I am only
a seed, Mr. Sutherland!  Do you think I might think so?"

"Yes, I do."

"Then, please, let me begin to learn something directly.  I haven't
had anything disagreeable to do since you came; and I don't feel as
if that was right."

Poor Harry, like so many thousands of good people, had not yet
learned that God is not a hard task-master.

"I don't intend that you should have anything disagreeable to do, if
I can help it.  We must do such things when they come to us; but we
must not make them for ourselves, or for each other."

"Then I'm not to learn any more Latin, am I?" said Harry, in a
doubtful kind of tone, as if there were after all a little pleasure
in doing what he did not like.

"Is Latin so disagreeable, Harry?"

"Yes; it is rule after rule, that has nothing in it I care for.  How
can anybody care for Latin?  But I am quite ready to begin, if I am
only a seed--really, you know."

"Not yet, Harry.  Indeed, we shall not begin again--I won't let
you--till you ask me with your whole heart, to let you learn Latin."

"I am afraid that will be a long time, and Euphra will not like it."

"I will talk to her about it.  But perhaps it will not be so long as
you think.  Now, don't mention Latin to me again, till you are ready
to ask me, heartily, to teach you.  And don't give yourself any
trouble about it either.  You never can make yourself like
anything."

Harry was silent.  They returned to the house, through the pouring
rain; Harry, as usual, mounted on his big brother.

As they crossed the hall, Mr. Arnold came in.  He looked surprised
and annoyed.  Hugh set Harry down, who ran upstairs to get dressed
for dinner; while he himself half-stopped, and turned towards Mr.
Arnold.  But Mr. Arnold did not speak, and so Hugh followed Harry.

Hugh spent all that evening, after Harry had gone to bed, in
correcting his impressions of some of the chief stories of early
Roman history; of which stories he intended commencing a little
course to Harry the next day.

Meantime there was very little intercourse between Hugh and Euphra,
whose surname, somehow or other, Hugh had never inquired after.  He
disliked asking questions about people to an uncommon degree, and so
preferred waiting for a natural revelation.  Her later behaviour had
repelled him, impressing him with the notion that she was proud, and
that she had made up her mind, notwithstanding her apparent
frankness at first, to keep him at a distance.  That she was fitful,
too, and incapable of showing much tenderness even to poor Harry, he
had already concluded in his private judgment-hall.  Nor could he
doubt that, whether from wrong theories, incapacity, or culpable
indifference, she must have taken very bad measures indeed with her
young pupil.

The next day resembled the two former; with this difference, that
the rain fell in torrents.  Seated in their strawy bower, they cared
for no rain.  They were safe from the whole world, and all the
tempers of nature.

Then Hugh told Harry about the slow beginnings and the mighty birth
of the great Roman people.  He told him tales of their battles and
conquests; their strifes at home, and their wars abroad.  He told
him stories of their grand men, great with the individuality of
their nation and their own.  He told him their characters, their
peculiar opinions and grounds of action, and the results of their
various schemes for their various ends.  He told him about their
love to their country, about their poetry and their religion; their
courage, and their hardihood; their architecture, their clothes, and
their armour; their customs and their laws; but all in such
language, or mostly in such language, as one boy might use in
telling another of the same age; for Hugh possessed the gift of a
general simplicity of thought, one of the most valuable a man can
have.  It cost him a good deal of labour (well-repaid in itself, not
to speak of the evident delight of Harry), to make himself perfectly
competent for this; but he had a good foundation of knowledge to
work upon.

This went on for a long time after the period to which I am now more
immediately confined.  Every time they stopped to rest from their
rambles or games--as often, in fact, as they sat down alone, Harry's
constant request was:

"Now, Mr. Sutherland, mightn't we have something more about the
Romans?"

And Mr. Sutherland gave him something more.  But all this time he
never uttered the word--Latin.




CHAPTER V.

LARCH AND OTHER HUNTING.

For there is neither buske nor hay
In May, that it n'ill shrouded bene,
And it with newe leaves wrene;
These woodes eke recoveren grene,
That drie in winter ben to sene,
And the erth waxeth proud withall,
For swote dewes that on it fall,
And the poore estate forget,
In which that winter had it set:
And than becomes the ground so proude,
That it wol have a newe shroude,
And maketh so queint his robe and faire,
That it hath hewes an hundred paire,
Of grasse and floures, of Ind and Pers,
And many hewes full divers:
That is the robe I mean, ywis,
Through which the ground to praisen is.

CHAUCER'S translation of the Romaunt of the Rose.


So passed the three days of rain.  After breakfast the following
morning, Hugh went to find Harry, according to custom, in the
library.  He was reading.

"What are you reading, Harry?" asked he.

"A poem," said Harry; and, rising as before, he brought the book to
Hugh. It was Mrs. Hemans's Poems.

"You are fond of poetry, Harry."

"Yes, very."

"Whose poems do you like best?"

"Mrs. Hemans's, of course.  Don't you think she is the best, sir?"

"She writes very beautiful verses, Harry.  Which poem are you
reading now?"

"Oh! one of my favourites--The Voice of Spring."

"Who taught you to like Mrs. Hemans?"

"Euphra, of course."

"Will you read the poem to me?"

Harry began, and read the poem through, with much taste and evident
enjoyment; an enjoyment which seemed, however, to spring more from
the music of the thought and its embodiment in sound, than from
sympathy with the forms of nature called up thereby.  This was shown
by his mode of reading, in which the music was everything, and the
sense little or nothing.  When he came to the line,

     "And the larch has hung all his tassels forth,"

he smiled so delightedly, that Hugh said:

"Are you fond of the larch, Harry?"

"Yes, very."

"Are there any about here?"

"I don't know.  What is it like?"

"You said you were fond of it."

"Oh, yes; it is a tree with beautiful tassels, you know.  I think I
should like to see one.  Isn't it a beautiful line?"

"When you have finished the poem, we will go and see if we can find
one anywhere in the woods.  We must know where we are in the world,
Harry--what is all round about us, you know."

"Oh, yes," said Harry; "let us go and hunt the larch."

"Perhaps we shall meet Spring, if we look for her--perhaps hear her
voice, too."

"That would be delightful," answered Harry, smiling.  And away they
went.

I may just mention here that Mrs. Hemans was allowed to retire
gradually, till at last she was to be found only in the more
inaccessible recesses of the library-shelves; while by that time
Harry might be heard, not all over the house, certainly, but as far
off as outside the closed door of the library, reading aloud to
himself one or other of Macaulay's ballads, with an evident
enjoyment of the go in it.  A story with drum and trumpet
accompaniment was quite enough, for the present, to satisfy Harry;
and Macaulay could give him that, if little more.

As they went across the lawn towards the shrubbery, on their way to
look for larches and Spring, Euphra joined them in walking dress.
It was a lovely morning.

"I have taken you at your word, you see, Mr. Sutherland," said she.
"I don't want to lose my Harry quite."

"You dear kind Euphra!" said Harry, going round to her side and
taking her hand.  He did not stay long with her, however, nor did
Euphra seem particularly to want him.

"There was one thing I ought to have mentioned to you the other
night, Mr. Sutherland; and I daresay I should have mentioned it, had
not Mr. Arnold interrupted our tete-a-tete.  I feel now as if I had
been guilty of claiming far more than I have a right to, on the
score of musical insight.  I have Scotch blood in me, and was indeed
born in Scotland, though I left it before I was a year old.  My
mother, Mr. Arnold's sister, married a gentleman who was half
Sootch; and I was born while they were on a visit to his relatives,
the Camerons of Lochnie.  His mother, my grandmother, was a Bohemian
lady, a countess with sixteen quarterings--not a gipsy, I beg to
say."

Hugh thought she might have been, to judge from present appearances.

But how was he to account for this torrent of genealogical
information, into which the ice of her late constraint had suddenly
thawed?  It was odd that she should all at once volunteer so much
about herself.  Perhaps she had made up one of those minds which
need making up, every now and then, like a monthly magazine; and now
was prepared to publish it.  Hugh responded with a question:

"Do I know your name, then, at last?  You are Miss Cameron?"

"Euphrasia Cameron; at your service, sir."  And she dropped a gay
little courtesy to Hugh, looking up at him with a flash of her black
diamonds.

"Then you must sing to me to-night."

"With all the pleasure in gipsy-land," replied she, with a second
courtesy, lower than the first; taking for granted, no doubt, his
silent judgment on her person and complexion.

By this time they had reached the woods in a different quarter from
that which Hugh had gone through the other day with Harry.  And
here, in very deed, the Spring met them, with a profusion of
richness to which Hugh was quite a stranger.  The ground was
carpeted with primroses, and anemones, and other spring flowers,
which are the loveliest of all flowers.  They were drinking the
sunlight, which fell upon them through the budded boughs.  By the
time the light should be hidden from them by the leaves, which are
the clouds of the lower firmament of the woods, their need of it
would be gone: exquisites in living, they cared only for the
delicate morning of the year.

"Do look at this darling, Mr. Sutherland!" exclaimed Euphrasia
suddenly, as she bent at the root of a great beech, where grew a
large bush of rough leaves, with one tiny but perfectly-formed
primrose peeping out between. "Is it not a little pet?--all
eyes--all one eye staring out of its curtained bed to see what ever
is going on in the world.--You had better lie down again: it is not
a nice place."

She spoke to it as if it had been a kitten or a baby.  And as she
spoke, she pulled the leaves yet closer over the little starer so as
to hide it quite.

As they went on, she almost obtrusively avoided stepping on the
flowers, saying she almost felt cruel, or at least rude, when she
did so.  Yet she trailed her dress over them in quite a careless
way, not lifting it at all.  This was a peculiarity of hers, which
Hugh never understood till he understood herself.

All about in shady places, the ferns were busy untucking themselves
from their grave-clothes, unrolling their mysterious coils of life,
adding continually to the hidden growth as they unfolded the
visible.  In this, they were like the other revelations of God the
Infinite.  All the wild lovely things were coming up for their
month's life of joy.  Orchis-harlequins, cuckoo-plants, wild arums,
more properly lords-and-ladies, were coming, and coming--slowly; for
had they not a long way to come, from the valley of the shadow of
death into the land of life?  At last the wanderers came upon a
whole company of bluebells--not what Hugh would have called
bluebells, for the bluebells of Scotland are the single-poised
harebells--but wild hyacinths, growing in a damp and shady spot, in
wonderful luxuriance.  They were quite three feet in height, with
long, graceful, drooping heads; hanging down from them, all along
one side, the largest and loveliest of bells--one lying close above
the other, on the lower part; while they parted thinner and thinner
as they rose towards the lonely one at the top.  Miss Cameron went
into ecstasies over these; not saying much, but breaking up what she
did say with many prettily passionate pauses.

She had a very happy turn for seeing external resemblances, either
humorous or pathetic; for she had much of one element that goes to
the making of a poet--namely, surface impressibility.

"Look, Harry; they are all sad at having to go down there again so
soon.  They are looking at their graves so ruefully."

Harry looked sad and rather sentimental immediately.  When Hugh
glanced at Miss Cameron, he saw tears in her eyes.

"You have nothing like this in your country, have you, Mr.
Sutherland?" said she, with an apparent effort.

"No, indeed," answered Hugh.

And he said no more.  For a vision rose before him of the rugged
pine-wood and the single primrose; and of the thoughtful maiden,
with unpolished speech and rough hands, and--but this he did not
see--a soul slowly refining itself to a crystalline clearness.  And
he thought of the grand old grey-haired David, and of Janet with her
quaint motherhood, and of all the blessed bareness of the ancient
time--in sunlight and in snow; and he felt again that he had
forgotten and forsaken his friends.

"How the fairies will be ringing the bells in these airy steeples in
the moonlight!" said Miss Cameron to Harry, who was surprised and
delighted with it all.  He could not help wondering, however, after
he went to bed that night, that Euphra had never before taken him to
see these beautiful things, and had never before said anything half
so pretty to him, as the least pretty thing she had said about the
flowers that morning when they were out with Mr. Sutherland.  Had
Mr. Sutherland anything to do with it?  Was he giving Euphra a
lesson in flowers such as he had given him in pigs?

Miss Cameron presently drew Hugh into conversation again, and the
old times were once more forgotten for a season.  They were worthy
of distinguishing note--that trio in those spring woods: the boy
waking up to feel that flowers and buds were lovelier in the woods
than in verses; Euphra finding everything about her sentimentally
useful, and really delighting in the prettinesses they suggested to
her; and Hugh regarding the whole chiefly as a material and means
for reproducing in verse such impressions of delight as he had
received and still received from all (but the highest) poetry about
nature.  The presence of Harry and his necessities was certainly a
saving influence upon Hugh; but, however much he sought to realize
Harry's life, he himself, at this period of his history, enjoyed
everything artistically far more than humanly.

Margaret would have walked through all this infant summer without
speaking at all, but with a deep light far back in her quiet eyes.
Perhaps she would not have had many thoughts about the flowers.
Rather she would have thought the very flowers themselves; would
have been at home with them, in a delighted oneness with their life
and expression.  Certainly she would have walked through them with
reverence, and would not have petted or patronised nature by saying
pretty things about her children.  Their life would have entered
into her, and she would have hardly known it from her own.  I
daresay Miss Cameron would have called a mountain a darling or a
beauty.  But there are other ways of showing affection than by
patting and petting--though Margaret, for her part, would have
needed no art-expression, because she had the things themselves.  It
is not always those who utter best who feel most; and the dumb poets
are sometimes dumb because it would need the "large utterance of the
early gods" to carry their thoughts through the gates of speech.

But the fancy and skin-sympathy of Miss Cameron began already to
tell upon Hugh. He knew very little of women, and had never heard a
woman talk as she talked.  He did not know how cheap this
accomplishment is, and took it for sensibility, imaginativeness, and
even originality.  He thought she was far more en rapport with
nature than he was.  It was much easier to make this mistake after
hearing the really delightful way in which she sang.  Certainly she
could not have sung so, perhaps not even have talked so, except she
had been capable of more; but to be capable of more, and to be able
for more, are two very distinct conditions.

Many walks followed this, extending themselves farther and farther
from home, as Harry's strength gradually improved.  It was quite
remarkable how his interest in everything external increased, in
exact proportion as he learned to see into the inside or life of it.
With most children, the interest in the external comes first, and
with many ceases there.  But it is in reality only a shallower form
of the deeper sympathy; and in those cases where it does lead to a
desire after the hidden nature of things, it is perhaps the better
beginning of the two.  In such exceptional cases as Harry's, it is
of unspeakable importance that both the difference and the identity
should be recognized; and in doing so, Hugh became to Harry his big
brother indeed, for he led him where he could not go alone.

As often as Mr. Arnold was from home, which happened not
unfrequently, Miss Cameron accompanied them in their rambles.  She
gave as her reason for doing so only on such occasions, that she
never liked to be out of the way when her uncle might want her.
Traces of an inclination to quarrel with Hugh, or even to stand
upon her dignity, had all but vanished; and as her vivacity never
failed her, as her intellect was always active, and as by the
exercise of her will she could enter sympathetically, or appear to
enter, into everything, her presence was not in the least a
restraint upon them.

On one occasion, when Harry had actually run a little way after a
butterfly, Hugh said to her:

"What did you mean, Miss Cameron, by saying you were only a poor
relation?  You are certainly mistress of the house."

"On sufferance, yes.  But I am only a poor relation.  I have no
fortune of my own."

"But Mr. Arnold does not treat you as such."

"Oh! no.  He likes me.  He is very kind to me.--He gave me this ring
on my last birthday.  Is it not a beauty?"

She pulled off her glove and showed a very fine diamond on a finger
worthy of the ornament.

"It is more like a gentleman's, is it not?" she added, drawing it
off. "Let me see how it would look on your hand."

She gave the ring to Hugh; who, laughing, got it with some
difficulty just over the first joint of his little finger, and held
it up for Euphra to see.

"Ah!  I see I cannot ask you to wear it for me," said she. "I don't
like it myself.  I am afraid, however," she added, with an arch
look, "my uncle would not like it either--on your finger.  Put it on
mine again."

Holding her hand towards Hugh, she continued:

"It must not be promoted just yet.  Besides, I see you have a still
better one of your own."

As Hugh did according to her request, the words sprang to his lips,
"There are other ways of wearing a ring than on the finger."  But
they did not cross the threshold of speech.  Was it the repression
of them that caused that strange flutter and slight pain at the
heart, which he could not quite understand?




CHAPTER VI.

FATIMA.

Those lips that Love's own hand did make
Breathed forth the sound that said, "I hate,"
To me that languished for her sake:
But when she saw my woeful state,
Straight in her heart did mercy come,
Chiding that tongue that, ever sweet,
Was used in giving gentle doom,
And taught it thus anew to greet:
"I hate" she altered with an end,
That followed it as gentle day
Doth follow night, who, like a fiend,
From heaven to hell is flown away.
"I hate" from hate away she threw,
And saved my life, saying--"Not you."

SHAKSPERE.


Mr. Arnold was busy at home for a few days after this, and Hugh and
Harry had to go out alone.  One day, when the wind was rather cold,
they took refuge in the barn; for it was part of Hugh's especial
care that Harry should be rendered hardy, by never being exposed to
more than he could bear without a sense of suffering.  As soon as
the boy began to feel fatigue, or cold, or any other discomfort, his
tutor took measures accordingly.

Harry would have crept into the straw-house; but Hugh said, pulling
a book out of his pocket,

"I have a poem here for you, Harry.  I want to read it to you now;
and we can't see in there."

They threw themselves down on the straw, and Hugh, opening a volume
of Robert Browning's Poems, read the famous ride from Ghent to Aix.
He knew the poem well, and read it well.  Harry was in raptures.

"I wish I could read that as you do," said he.

"Try," said Hugh.

Harry tried the first verse, and threw the book down in disgust with
himself.

"Why cannot I read it?" said he.

"Because you can't ride."

"I could ride, if I had such a horse as that to ride upon."

"But you could never have such a horse as that except you could
ride, and ride well, first.  After that, there is no saying but you
might get one.  You might, in fact, train one for yourself--till
from being a little foal it became your own wonderful horse."

"Oh! that would be delightful!  Will you teach me horses as well,
Mr. Sutherland?"

"Perhaps I will."

That evening, at dinner, Hugh said to Mr. Arnold:

"Could you let me have a horse to-morrow morning, Mr. Arnold?"

Mr. Arnold stared a little, as he always did at anything new.  But
Hugh went on:

"Harry and I want to have a ride to-morrow; and I expect we shall
like it so much, that we shall want to ride very often."

"Yes, that we shall!" cried Harry.

"Could not Mr. Sutherland have your white mare, Euphra?" said Mr.
Arnold, reconciled at once to the proposal.

"I would rather not, if you don't mind, uncle.  My Fatty is not used
to such a burden as I fear Mr. Sutherland would prove.  She drops a
little now, on the hard road."

The fact was, Euphra would want Fatima.

"Well, Harry," said Mr. Arnold, graciously pleased to be facetious,
"don't you think your Welsh dray-horse could carry Mr. Sutherland?"

"Ha! ha! ha!  Papa, do you know, Mr. Sutherland set him up on his
hind legs yesterday, and made him walk on them like a dancing-dog.
He was going to lift him, but he kicked about so when he felt
himself leaving the ground, that he tumbled Mr. Sutherland into the
horse-trough."

Even the solemn face of the butler relaxed into a smile, but Mr.
Arnold's clouded instead.  His boy's tutor ought to be a gentleman.

"Wasn't it fun, Mr. Sutherland?"

"It was to you, you little rogue!" said Sutherland, laughing.

"And how you did run home, dripping like a water-cart!--and all the
dogs after you!"

Mr. Arnold's monotonous solemnity soon checked Harry's prattle.

"I will see, Mr. Sutherland, what I can do to mount you."

"I don't care what it is," said Hugh; who though by no means a
thorough horseman, had been from boyhood in the habit of mounting
everything in the shape of a horse that he could lay hands upon,
from a cart-horse upwards and downwards.

"There's an old bay that would carry me very well."

"That is my own horse, Mr. Sutherland."

This stopped the conversation in that direction.  But next morning
after breakfast, an excellent chestnut horse was waiting at the
door, along with Harry's new pony.  Mr. Arnold would see them go
off.  This did not exactly suit Miss Cameron, but if she frowned, it
was when nobody saw her.  Hugh put Harry up himself, told him to
stick fast with his knees, and then mounted his chestnut.  As they
trotted slowly down the avenue, Euphrasia heard Mr. Arnold say to
himself, "The fellow sits well, at all events."  She took care to
make herself agreeable to Hugh by reporting this, with the omission
of the initiatory epithet, however.

Harry returned from his ride rather tired, but in high spirits.

"Oh, Euphra!" he cried, "Mr. Sutherland is such a rider!  He jumps
hedges and ditches and everything.  And he has promised to teach me
and my pony to jump too.  And if I am not too tired, we are to begin
to-morrow, out on the common.  Oh! jolly!"

The little fellow's heart was full of the sense of growing life and
strength, and Hugh was delighted with his own success.  He caught
sight of a serpentine motion in Euphra's eyebrows, as she bent her
face again over the work from which she had lifted it on their
entrance.  He addressed her.

"You will be glad to hear that Harry has ridden like a man."

"I am glad to hear it, Harry."

Why did she reply to the subject of the remark, and not to the
speaker?  Hugh perplexed himself in vain to answer this question;
but a very small amount of experience would have made him able to
understand at once as much of her behaviour as was genuine.  At
luncheon she spoke only in reply; and then so briefly, as not to
afford the smallest peg on which to hang a response.

"What can be the matter?" thought Hugh. "What a peculiar creature
she is!  But after what has passed between us, I can't stand this."

When dinner was over that evening, she rose as usual and left the
room, followed by Hugh and Harry; but as soon as they were in the
drawing-room, she left it; and, returning to the dining-room,
resumed her seat at the table.

"Take a glass of claret, Euphra, dear?" said Mr. Arnold.

"I will, if you please, uncle.  I should like it.  I have seldom a
minute with you alone now."

Evidently flattered, Mr. Arnold poured out a glass of claret, rose
and carried it to his niece himself, and then took a chair beside
her.

"Thank you, dear uncle," she said, with one of her bewitching
flashes of smile.

"Harry has been getting on bravely with his riding, has he not?" she
continued.

"So it would appear."

Harry had been full of the story of the day at the dinner-table,
where he still continued to present himself; for his father would
not be satisfied without him.  It was certainly good moral training
for the boy, to sit there almost without eating; and none the worse
that he found it rather hard sometimes.  He talked much more freely
now, and asked the servants for anything he wanted without referring
to Euphra.  Now and then he would glance at her, as if afraid of
offending her; but the cords which bound him to her were evidently
relaxing; and she saw it plainly enough, though she made no
reference to the unpleasing fact.

"I am only a little fearful, uncle, lest Mr. Sutherland should urge
the boy to do more than his strength will admit of.  He is
exceedingly kind to him, but he has evidently never known what
weakness is himself."

"True, there is danger of that.  But you see he has taken him so
entirely into his own hands.  I don't seem to be allowed a word in
the matter of his education any more."  Mr. Arnold spoke with the
peevishness of weak importance. "I wish you would take care that he
does not carry things too far, Euphra."

This was just what Euphra wanted.

"I think, if you do not disapprove, uncle, I will have Fatima
saddled to-morrow morning, and go with them myself."

"Thank you, my love; I shall be much obliged to you."  The glass of
claret was soon finished after this.  A little more conversation
about nothing followed, and Euphra rose the second time, and
returned to the drawing-room.  She found it unoccupied.  She sat
down to the piano, and sang song after song--Scotch, Italian, and
Bohemian.  But Hugh did not make his appearance.  The fact was, he
was busy writing to his mother, whom he had rather neglected since
he came.  Writing to her made him think of David, and he began a
letter to him too; but it was never finished, and never sent.  He
did not return to the drawing-room that evening.  Indeed, except for
a short time, while Mr. Arnold was drinking his claret, he seldom
showed himself there.  Had Euphra repelled him too much--hurt him?
She would make up for it to-morrow.

Breakfast was scarcely over, when the chestnut and the pony passed
the window, accompanied by a lovely little Arab mare, broad-chested
and light-limbed, with a wonderfully small head.  She was white as
snow, with keen, dark eyes.  Her curb-rein was red instead of white.
Hearing their approach, and begging her uncle to excuse her, Euphra
rose from the table, and left the room; but re-appeared in a
wonderfully little while, in a well-fitted riding-habit of black
velvet, with a belt of dark red leather clasping a waist of the
roundest and smallest.  Her little hat, likewise black, had a single
long, white feather, laid horizontally within the upturned brim, and
drooping over it at the back.  Her white mare would be just the
right pedestal for the dusky figure--black eyes, tawny skin, and
all.  As she stood ready to mount, and Hugh was approaching to put
her up, she called the groom, seemed just to touch his hand, and was
in the saddle in a moment, foot in stirrup, and skirt falling over
it.  Hugh thought she was carrying out the behaviour of yesterday,
and was determined to ask her what it meant.  The little Arab began
to rear and plunge with pride, as soon as she felt her mistress on
her back; but she seemed as much at home as if she had been on the
music-stool, and patted her arching neck, talking to her in the same
tone almost in which she had addressed the flowers.

"Be quiet, Fatty dear; you're frightening Mr. Sutherland."

But Hugh, seeing the next moment that she was in no danger, sprang
into his saddle.  Away they went, Fatima infusing life and frolic
into the equine as Euphra into the human portion of the cavalcade.
Having reached the common, out of sight of the house, Miss Cameron,
instead of looking after Harry, lest he should have too much
exercise, scampered about like a wild girl, jumping everything that
came in her way, and so exciting Harry's pony, that it was almost
more than he could do to manage it, till at last Hugh had to beg her
to go more quietly, for Harry's sake.  She drew up alongside of them
at once, and made her mare stand as still as she could, while Harry
made his first essay upon a little ditch.  After crossing it two or
three times, he gathered courage; and setting his pony at a larger
one beyond, bounded across it beautifully.

"Bravo!  Harry!" cried both Euphra and Hugh. Harry galloped back,
and over it again; then came up to them with a glow of proud
confidence on his pale face.

"You'll be a horseman yet, Harry," said Hugh.

"I hope so," said Harry, in an aspiring tone, which greatly
satisfied his tutor.  The boy's spirit was evidently reviving.
Euphra must have managed him ill.  Yet she was not in the least
effeminate herself.  It puzzled Hugh a good deal.  But he did not
think about it long; for Harry cantering away in front, he had an
opportunity of saying to Euphra:

"Are you offended with me, Miss Cameron?"

"Offended with you!  What do you mean?  A girl like me offended with
a man like you?"

She looked two and twenty as she spoke; but even at that she was
older than Hugh. He, however, certainly looked considerably older
than he really was.

"What makes you think so?" she added, turning her face towards him.

"You would not speak to me when we came home yesterday."

"Not speak to you?--I had a little headache--and perhaps I was a
little sullen, from having been in such bad company all the
morning."

"What company had you?" asked Hugh, gazing at her in some surprise.

"My own," answered she, with a lovely laugh, thrown full in his
face.  Then after a pause: "Let me advise you, if you want to live
in peace, not to embark on that ocean of discovery."

"What ocean? what discovery?" asked Hugh, bewildered, and still
gazing.

"The troubled ocean of ladies' looks," she replied. "You will never
be able to live in the same house with one of our kind, if it be
necessary to your peace to find out what every expression that
puzzles you may mean."

"I did not intend to be inquisitive--it really troubled me."

"There it is.  You must never mind us.  We show so much sooner than
men--but, take warning, there is no making out what it is we do
show.  Your faces are legible; ours are so scratched and interlined,
that you had best give up at once the idea of deciphering them."

Hugh could not help looking once more at the smooth, simple, naive
countenance shining upon him.

"There you are at it again," she said, blushing a little, and
turning her head away. "Well, to comfort you, I will confess I was
rather cross yesterday -- because -- because you seemed to have been
quite happy with only one of your pupils."

As she spoke the words, she gave Fatima the rein, and bounded off,
overtaking Harry's pony in a moment.  Nor did she leave her cousin
during all the rest of their ride.

Most women in whom the soul has anything like a chance of reaching
the windows, are more or less beautiful in their best moments.
Euphra's best was when she was trying to fascinate.  Then she
was -- fascinating.  During the first morning that Hugh spent at
Arnstead, she had probably been making up her mind whether, between
her and Hugh, it was to be war to the knife, or fascination.  The
latter had carried the day, and was now carrying him.  But had she
calculated that fascination may re-act as well?

Hugh's heart bounded, like her Arab steed, as she uttered the words
last recorded.  He gave his chestnut the rein in his turn, to
overtake her; but Fatima's canter quickened into a gallop, and,
inspirited by her companionship, and the fact that their heads were
turned stablewards, Harry's pony, one of the quickest of its race,
laid itself to the ground, and kept up, taking three strides for
Fatty's two, so that Hugh never got within three lengths of them
till they drew rein at the hall door, where the grooms were waiting
them.  Euphra was off her mare in a moment, and had almost reached
her own room before Hugh and Harry had crossed the hall.  She came
down to luncheon in a white muslin dress, with the smallest possible
red spot in it; and, taking her place at the table, seemed to Hugh
to have put off not only her riding habit, but the self that was in
it as well; for she chatted away in the most unconcerned and easy
manner possible, as if she had not been out of her room all the
morning.  She had ridden so hard, that she had left her last speech
in the middle of the common, and its mood with it; and there seemed
now no likelihood of either finding its way home.




CHAPTER VII.

THE PICTURE GALLERY.

     the house is crencled to and fro,
And hath so queint waies for to go,
For it is shapen as the mase is wrought.

CHAUCER--Legend of Ariadne.


Luncheon over, and Harry dismissed as usual to lie down, Miss
Cameron said to Hugh:

"You have never been over the old house yet, I believe, Mr.
Sutherland.  Would you not like to see it?"

"I should indeed," said Hugh. "It is what I have long hoped for, and
have often been on the point of begging."

"Come, then; I will be your guide -- if you will trust yourself with a
madcap like me, in the solitudes of the old hive."

"Lead on to the family vaults, if you will," said Hugh.

"That might be possible, too, from below.  We are not so very far
from them.  Even within the house there is an old chapel, and some
monuments worth looking at.  Shall we take it last?"

"As you think best," answered Hugh.

She rose and rang the bell.  When it was answered,

"Jacob," she said, "get me the keys of the house from Mrs. Horton."

Jacob vanished, and reappeared with a huge bunch of keys.  She took
them.

"Thank you.  They should not be allowed to get quite rusty, Jacob."

"Please, Miss, Mrs. Horton desired me to say, she would have seen to
them, if she had known you wanted them."

"Oh! never mind.  Just tell my maid to bring me an old pair of
gloves."

Jacob went; and the maid came with the required armour.

"Now, Mr. Sutherland.  Jane, you will come with us.  No, you need
not take the keys.  I will find those I want as we go."

She unlocked a door in the corner of the hall, which Hugh had never
seen open.  Passing through a long low passage, they came to a
spiral staircase of stone, up which they went, arriving at another
wide hall, very dusty, but in perfect repair.  Hugh asked if there
was not some communication between this hall and the great oak
staircase.

"Yes," answered Euphra; "but this is the more direct way."

As she said this, he felt somehow as if she cast on him one of her
keenest glances; but the place was very dusky, and he stood in a
spot where the light fell upon him from an opening in a shutter,
while she stood in deep shadow.

"Jane, open that shutter."

The girl obeyed; and the entering light revealed the walls covered
with paintings, many of them apparently of no value, yet adding much
to the effect of the place.  Seeing that Hugh was at once attracted
by the pictures, Euphra said:

"Perhaps you would like to see the picture gallery first?"

Hugh assented.  Euphra chose key after key, and opened door after
door, till they came into a long gallery, well lighted from each
end.  The windows were soon opened.

"Mr. Arnold is very proud of his pictures, especially of his family
portraits; but he is content with knowing he has them, and never
visits them except to show them; or perhaps once or twice a year,
when something or other keeps him at home for a day, without
anything particular to do."

In glancing over the portraits, some of them by famous masters,
Hugh's eyes were arrested by a blonde beauty in the dress of the
time of Charles II.  There was such a reality of self-willed
boldness as well as something worse in her face, that, though
arrested by the picture, Hugh felt ashamed of looking at it in the
presence of Euphra and her maid.  The pictured woman almost put him
out of countenance, and yet at the same time fascinated him.
Dragging his eyes from it, he saw that Jane had turned her back
upon it, while Euphra regarded it steadily.

"Open that opposite window, Jane," said she; "there is not light
enough on this portrait."

Jane obeyed.  While she did so, Hugh caught a glimpse of her face,
and saw that the formerly rosy girl was deadly pale.  He said to
Euphra:

"Your maid seems ill, Miss Cameron."

"Jane, what is the matter with you?"

She did not reply, but, leaning against the wall, seemed ready to
faint.

"The place is close," said her mistress. "Go into the next room
there," -- she pointed to a door -- "and open the window.  You will soon
be well."

"If you please, Miss, I would rather stay with you.  This place
makes me feel that strange."

She had come but lately, and had never been over the house before.

"Nonsense!" said Miss Cameron, looking at her sharply. "What do you
mean?"

"Please, don't be angry, Miss; but the first night e'er I slept
here, I saw that very lady --"

"Saw that lady!"

"Well, Miss, I mean, I dreamed that I saw her; and I remembered her
the minute I see her up there; and she give me a turn like.  I'm all
right now, Miss."

Euphra fixed her eyes on her, and kept them fixed, till she was very
nearly all wrong again.  She turned as pale as before, and began to
draw her breath hard.

"You silly goose!" said Euphra, and withdrew her eyes; upon which
the girl began to breathe more freely.

Hugh was making some wise remarks in his own mind on the unsteady
condition of a nature in which the imagination predominates over the
powers of reflection, when Euphra turned to him, and began to tell
him that that was the picture of her three or four times
great-grandmother, painted by Sir Peter Lely, just after she was
married.

"Isn't she fair?" said she. -- "She turned nun at last, they say."

"She is more fair than honest," thought Hugh. "It would take a great
deal of nun to make her into a saint."  But he only said, "She is
more beautiful than lovely.  What was her name?"

"If you mean her maiden name, it was Halkar -- Lady Euphrasia
Halkar -- named after me, you see.  She had foreign blood in her, of
course; and, to tell the truth, there were strange stories told of
her, of more sorts than one.  I know nothing of her family.  It was
never heard of in England, I believe, till after the Restoration."

All the time Euphra was speaking, Hugh was being perplexed with that
most annoying of perplexities -- the flitting phantom of a
resemblance, which he could not catch.  He was forced to dismiss it
for the present, utterly baffled.

"Were you really named after her, Miss Cameron?"

"No, no.  It is a family name with us.  But, indeed, I may be said
to be named after her, for she was the first of us who bore it.  You
don't seem to like the portrait."

"I do not; but I cannot help looking at it, for all that."

"I am so used to the lady's face," said Euphra, "that it makes no
impression on me of any sort.  But it is said," she added, glancing
at the maid, who stood at some distance, looking uneasily about
her -- and as she spoke she lowered her voice to a whisper -- "it is
said, she cannot lie still."

"Cannot lie still!  What do you mean?"

"I mean down there in the chapel," she answered, pointing.

The Celtic nerves of Hugh shuddered.  Euphra laughed; and her voice
echoed in silvery billows, that broke on the faces of the men and
women of old time, that had owned the whole; whose lives had flowed
and ebbed in varied tides through the ancient house; who had married
and been given in marriage; and gone down to the chapel below -- below
the prayers and below the psalms -- and made a Sunday of all the week.

Ashamed of his feeling of passing dismay, Hugh said, just to say
something:

"What a strange ornament that is!  Is it a brooch or a pin?  No, I
declare it is a ring -- large enough for three cardinals, and worn on
her thumb.  It seems almost to sparkle.  Is it ruby, or carbuncle,
or what?"

"I don't know: some clumsy old thing," answered Euphra, carelessly.

"Oh!  I see," said Hugh; "it is not a red stone.  The glow is only a
reflection from part of her dress.  It is as clear as a diamond.
But that is impossible -- such a size.  There seems to me something
curious about it; and the longer I look at it, the more strange it
appears."

Euphra stole another of her piercing glances at him, but said
nothing.

"Surely," Hugh went on, "a ring like that would hardly be likely to
be lost out of the family?  Your uncle must have it somewhere."

Euphra laughed; but this laugh was very different from the last.  It
rattled rather than rang.

"You are wonderfully taken with a bauble -- for a man of letters, that
is, Mr. Sutherland.  The stone may have been carried down any one of
the hundred streams into which a family river is always dividing."

"It is a very remarkable ornament for a lady's finger,
notwithstanding," said Hugh, smiling in his turn.

"But we shall never get through the pictures at this rate," remarked
Euphra; and going on, she directed Hugh's attention now to this, now
to that portrait, saying who each was, and mentioning anything
remarkable in the history of their originals.  She manifested a
thorough acquaintance with the family story, and made, in fact, an
excellent show-woman.  Having gone nearly to the other end of the
gallery,
"This door," said she, stopping at one, and turning over the keys,
"leads to one of the oldest portions of the house, the principal
room in which is said to have belonged especially to the lady over
there."

As she said this, she fixed her eyes once more on the maid.

"Oh! don't ye now, Miss," interrupted Jane. "Hannah do say as how a
whitey-blue light shines in the window of a dark night,
sometimes -- that lady's window, you know, Miss. Don't ye open the
door -- pray, Miss."

Jane seemed on the point of falling into the same terror as before.

"Really, Jane," said her mistress, "I am ashamed of you; and of
myself, for having such silly servants about me."

"I beg your pardon, Miss, but --"

"So Mr. Sutherland and I must give up our plan of going over the
house, because my maid's nerves are too delicate to permit her to
accompany us.  For shame!"

"Oh, do ye now go without me!" cried the girl, clasping her hands.

"And you will wait here till we come back?"

"Oh! don't ye leave me here.  Just show me the way out."

And once more she turned pale as death.

"Mr. Sutherland, I am very sorry, but we must put off the rest of
our ramble till another time.  I am, like Hamlet, very vilely
attended, as you see.  Come, then, you foolish girl," she added,
more mildly.

The poor maid, what with terror of Lady Euphrasia, and respect for
her mistress, was in a pitiable condition of moral helplessness.
She seemed almost too frightened to walk behind them.  But if she
had been in front it would have been no better; for, like other
ghost-fearers, she seemed to feel very painfully that she had no
eyes in her back.

They returned as they came; and Jane receiving the keys to take to
the housekeeper, darted away.  When she reached Mrs. Horton's room,
she sank on a chair in hysterics.

"I must get rid of that girl, I fear," said Miss Cameron, leading
the way to the library; "she will infect the whole household with
her foolish terrors.  We shall not hear the last of this for some
time to come.  We had a fit of it the same year I came; and I
suppose the time has come round for another attack of the same
epidemic."

"What is there about the room to terrify the poor thing?"

"Oh! they say it is haunted; that is all.  Was there ever an old
house anywhere over Europe, especially an old family house, but was
said to be haunted?  Here the story centres in that room -- or at
least in that room and the avenue in front of its windows."

"Is that the avenue called the Ghost's Walk?"

"Yes. Who told you?"

"Harry would not let me cross it."

"Poor boy!  This is really too bad.  He cannot stand anything of
that kind, I am sure.  Those servants!"

"Oh!  I hope we shall soon get him too well to be frightened at
anything.  Are these places said to be haunted by any particular
ghost?"

"Yes. By Lady Euphrasia -- Rubbish!"

Had Hugh possessed a yet keener perception of resemblance, he would
have seen that the phantom-likeness which haunted him in the
portrait of Euphrasia Halkar, was that of Euphrasia Cameron -- by his
side all the time.  But the mere difference of complexion was
sufficient to throw him out -- insignificant difference as that is,
beside the correspondence of features and their relations.  Euphra
herself was perfectly aware of the likeness, but had no wish that
Hugh should discover it.

As if the likeness, however, had been dimly identified by the
unconscious part of his being, he sat in one corner of the library
sofa, with his eyes fixed on the face of Euphra, as she sat in the
other.  Presently he was made aware of his unintentional rudeness,
by seeing her turn pale as death, and sink back in the sofa.  In a
moment she started up, and began pacing about the room, rubbing her
eyes and temples.  He was bewildered and alarmed.

"Miss Cameron, are you ill?" he exclaimed.

She gave a kind of half-hysterical laugh, and said:

"No -- nothing worth speaking of.  I felt a little faint, that was
all.  I am better now."

She turned full towards him, and seemed to try to look all right;
but there was a kind of film over the clearness of her black eyes.

"I fear you have headache."

"A little, but it is nothing.  I will go and lie down."

"Do, pray; else you will not be well enough to appear at dinner."

She retired, and Hugh joined Harry.

Euphra had another glass of claret with her uncle that evening, in
order to give her report of the morning's ride.

"Really, there is not much to be afraid of, uncle.  He takes very
good care of Harry.  To be sure, I had occasion several times to
check him a little; but he has this good quality in addition to a
considerable aptitude for teaching, that he perceives a hint, and
takes it at once."

Knowing her uncle's formality, and preference for precise and
judicial modes of expression, Euphra modelled her phrase to his
mind.

"I am glad he has your good opinion so far, Euphra; for I confess
there is something about the youth that pleases me.  I was afraid at
first that I might be annoyed by his overstepping the true
boundaries of his position in my family: he seems to have been in
good society, too.  But your assurance that he can take a hint,
lessens my apprehension considerably.  To-morrow, I will ask him to
resume his seat after dessert."

This was not exactly the object of Euphra's qualified commendation
of Hugh. But she could not help it now.

"I think, however, if you approve, uncle, that it will be more
prudent to keep a little watch over the riding for a while.  I
confess, too, I should be glad of a little more of that exercise
than I have had for some time: I found my seat not very secure
to-day."

"Very desirable on both considerations, my love."

And so the conference ended.




CHAPTER VIII.

NEST-BUILDING.

If you will have a tree bear more fruit than it hath used to do, it
is not anything you can do to the boughs, but it is the stirring of
the earth, and putting new mould about the roots, that must work it.

LORD BACON'S Advancement of Learning, b. ii.


In a short time Harry's health was so much improved, and
consequently the strength and activity of his mind so much
increased, that Hugh began to give him more exact mental operations
to perform.  But as if he had been a reader of Lord Bacon, which as
yet he was not, and had learned from him that "wonder is the seed of
knowledge," he came, by a kind of sympathetic instinct, to the same
conclusion practically, in the case of Harry.  He tried to wake a
question in him, by showing him something that would rouse his
interest.  The reply to this question might be the whole rudiments
of a science.

Things themselves should lead to the science of them.  If things are
not interesting in themselves, how can any amount of knowledge about
them be?  To be sure, there is such a thing as a purely or
abstractly intellectual interest--the pleasure of the mere operation
of the intellect upon the signs of things; but this must spring from
a highly exercised intellectual condition, and is not to be expected
before the pleasures of intellectual motion have been experienced
through the employment of its means for other ends.  Whether this is
a higher condition or not, is open to much disquisition.

One day Hugh was purposely engaged in taking the altitude of the
highest turret of the house, with an old quadrant he had found in
the library, when Harry came up.

"What are you doing, big brother?" said he; for now that he was
quite at home with Hugh, there was a wonderful mixture of
familiarity and respect in him, that was quite bewitching.

"Finding out how high your house is, little brother," answered Hugh.

"How can you do it with that thing?  Will it measure the height of
other things besides the house?"

"Yes, the height of a mountain, or anything you like."

"Do show me how."

Hugh showed him as much of it as he could.

"But I don't understand it."

"Oh! that is quite another thing.  To do that, you must learn a
great many things -- Euclid to begin with."

That very afternoon Harry began Euclid, and soon found quite enough
of interest on the road to the quadrant, to prevent him from feeling
any tediousness in its length.

Of an afternoon Hugh had taken to reading Shakspere to Harry.
Euphra was always a listener.  On one occasion Harry said:

"I am so sorry, Mr. Sutherland, but I don't understand the half of
it.  Sometimes when Euphra and you are laughing, -- and sometimes when
Euphra is crying," added he, looking at her slyly, "I can't
understand what it is all about.  Am I so very stupid, Mr.
Sutherland?"  And he almost cried himself.

"Not a bit of it, Harry, my boy; only you must learn a great many
other things first."

"How can I learn them?  I am willing to learn anything.  I don't
find it tire me now as it used."

"There are many things necessary to understand Shakspere that I
cannot teach you, and that some people never learn.  Most of them
will come of themselves.  But of one thing you may be sure, Harry,
that if you learn anything, whatever it be, you are so far nearer to
understanding Shakspere."

The same afternoon, when Harry had waked from his siesta, upon which
Hugh still insisted, they went out for a walk in the fields.  The
sun was half way down the sky, but very hot and sultry.

"I wish we had our cave of straw to creep into now," said Harry. "I
felt exactly like the little field-mouse you read to me about in
Burns's poems, when we went in that morning, and found it all torn
up, and half of it carried away.  We have no place to go to now for
a peculiar own place; and the consequence is, you have not told me
any stories about the Romans for a whole week."

"Well, Harry, is there any way of making another?"

"There's no more straw lying about that I know of," answered Harry;
"and it won't do to pull the inside out of a rick, I am afraid."

"But don't you think it would be pleasant to have a change now; and
as we have lived underground, or say in the snow like the North
people, try living in the air, like some of the South people?"

"Delightful!" cried Harry.--"A balloon?"

"No, not quite that.  Don't you think a nest would do?"

"Up in a tree?"

"Yes."

Harry darted off for a run, as the only means of expressing his
delight.  When he came back, he said:

"When shall we begin, Mr. Sutherland?"

"We will go and look for a place at once; but I am not quite sure
when we shall begin yet.  I shall find out to-night, though."

They left the fields, and went into the woods in the neighbourhood
of the house, at the back.  Here the trees had grown to a great
size, some of them being very old indeed.  They soon fixed upon a
grotesque old oak as a proper tree in which to build their nest; and
Harry, who, as well as Hugh, had a good deal of constructiveness in
his nature, was so delighted, that the heat seemed to have no more
influence upon him; and Hugh, fearful of the reaction, was compelled
to restrain his gambols.

Pursuing their way through the dark warp of the wood, with its
golden weft of crossing sunbeams, Hugh began to tell Harry the story
of the killing of Caesar by Brutus and the rest, filling up the
account with portions from Shakspere.  Fortunately, he was able to
give the orations of Brutus and Antony in full.  Harry was in
ecstasy over the eloquence of the two men.

"Well, what language do you think they spoke, Harry?" said Hugh.

"Why," said Harry, hesitating, "I suppose --" then, as if a sudden
light broke upon him -- "Latin of course.  How strange!"

"Why strange?"

"That such men should talk such a dry, unpleasant language."

"I allow it is a difficult language, Harry; and very ponderous and
mechanical; but not necessarily dry or unpleasant.  The Romans, you
know, were particularly fond of law in everything; and so they made
a great many laws for their language; or rather, it grew so, because
they were of that sort.  It was like their swords and armour
generally, not very graceful, but very strong; -- like their
architecture too, Harry.  Nobody can ever understand what a people
is, without knowing its language.  It is not only that we find all
these stories about them in their language, but the language itself
is more like them than anything else can be.  Besides, Harry, I
don't believe you know anything about Latin yet."

"I know all the declensions and conjugations."

"But don't you think it must have been a very different thing to
hear it spoken?"

"Yes, to be sure -- and by such men.  But how ever could they speak
it?"

"They spoke it just as you do English.  It was as natural to them.
But you cannot say you know anything about it, till you read what
they wrote in it; till your ears delight in the sound of their
poetry; --"

"Poetry?"

"Yes; and beautiful letters; and wise lessons; and histories and
plays."

"Oh!  I should like you to teach me.  Will it be as hard to learn
always as it is now?"

"Certainly not.  I am sure you will like it."

"When will you begin me?"

"To-morrow.  And if you get on pretty well, we will begin our nest,
too, in the afternoon."

"Oh, how kind you are!  I will try very hard."

"I am sure you will, Harry."

Next morning, accordingly, Hugh did begin him, after a fashion of
his own; namely, by giving him a short simple story to read, finding
out all the words with him in the dictionary, and telling him what
the terminations of the words signified; for he found that he had
already forgotten a very great deal of what, according to Euphra, he
had been thoroughly taught.  No one can remember what is entirely
uninteresting to him.

Hugh was as precise about the grammar of a language as any Scotch
Professor of Humanity, old Prosody not excepted; but he thought it
time enough to begin to that, when some interest in the words
themselves should have been awakened in the mind of his pupil.  He
hated slovenliness as much as any one; but the question was, how
best to arrive at thoroughness in the end, without losing the higher
objects of study; and not how, at all risks, to commence teaching
the lesson of thoroughness at once, and so waste on the shape of a
pin-head the intellect which, properly directed, might arrive at the
far more minute accuracies of a steam-engine.  The fault of Euphra
in teaching Harry, had been that, with a certain kind of tyrannical
accuracy, she had determined to have the thing done -- not merely
decently and in order, but prudishly and pedantically; so that she
deprived progress of the pleasure which ought naturally to attend
it.  She spoiled the walk to the distant outlook, by stopping at
every step, not merely to pick flowers, but to botanise on the
weeds, and to calculate the distance advanced.  It is quite true
that we ought to learn to do things irrespective of the reward; but
plenty of opportunities will be given in the progress of life, and
in much higher kinds of action, to exercise our sense of duty in
severe loneliness.  We have no right to turn intellectual exercises
into pure operations of conscience: these ought to involve essential
duty; although no doubt there is plenty of room for mingling duty
with those; while, on the other hand, the highest act of suffering
self-denial is not without its accompanying reward.  Neither is
there any exercise of the higher intellectual powers in learning the
mere grammar of a language, necessary as it is for a means.  And
language having been made before grammar, a language must be in some
measure understood, before its grammar can become intelligible.

Harry's weak (though true and keen) life could not force its way
into any channel.  His was a nature essentially dependent on
sympathy.  It could flow into truth through another loving mind:
left to itself, it could not find the way, and sank in the dry sand
of ennui and self-imposed obligations.  Euphra was utterly incapable
of understanding him; and the boy had been dying for lack of
sympathy, though neither he nor any one about him had suspected the
fact.

There was a strange disproportion between his knowledge and his
capacity.  He was able, when his attention was directed, his gaze
fixed, and his whole nature supported by Hugh, to see deep into many
things, and his remarks were often strikingly original; but he was
one of the most ignorant boys, for his years, that Hugh had ever
come across.  A long and severe illness, when he was just passing
into boyhood, had thrown him back far into his childhood; and he was
only now beginning to show that he had anything of the boy-life in
him.  Hence arose that unequal development which has been
sufficiently evident in the story.

In the afternoon, they went to the wood, and found the tree they had
chosen for their nest.  To Harry's intense admiration, Hugh, as he
said, went up the tree like a squirrel, only he was too big for a
bear even.  Just one layer of foliage above the lowest branches, he
came to a place where he thought there was a suitable foundation for
the nest.  From the ground Harry could scarcely see him, as, with an
axe which he had borrowed for the purpose (for there was a
carpenter's work-shop on the premises), he cut away several small
branches from three of the principal ones; and so had these three as
rafters, ready dressed and placed, for the foundation of the nest.
Having made some measurements, he descended; and repairing with
Harry to the work-shop, procured some boarding and some tools, which
Harry assisted in carrying to the tree.  Ascending again, and
drawing up his materials, by the help of Harry, with a piece of
string, Hugh in a very little while had a level floor, four feet
square, in the heart of the oak tree, quite invisible from
below -- buried in a cloud of green leaves.  For greater safety, he
fastened ropes as handrails all around it from one branch to
another.  And now nothing remained but to construct a bench to sit
on, and such a stair as Harry could easily climb.  The boy was quite
restless with anxiety to get up and see the nest; and kept calling
out constantly to know if he might not come up yet.  At length Hugh
allowed him to try; but the poor boy was not half strong enough to
climb the tree without help.  So Hugh descended, and with his aid
Harry was soon standing on the new-built platform.

"I feel just like an eagle," he cried; but here his voice faltered,
and he was silent.

"What is the matter, Harry?" said his tutor.

"Oh, nothing," replied he; "only I didn't exactly know whereabouts
we were till I got up here."

"Whereabouts are we, then?"

"Close to the end of the Ghost's Walk."

"But you don't mind that now, surely, Harry?"

"No, sir; that is, not so much as I used."

"Shall I take all this down again, and build our nest somewhere
else?"

"Oh, no, if you don't think it matters.  It would be a great pity,
after you have taken so much trouble with it.  Besides, I shall
never be here without you; and I do not think I should be afraid of
the ghost herself, if you were with me."

Yet Harry shuddered involuntarily at the thought of his own daring
speech.

"Very well, Harry, my boy; we will finish it here.  Now, if you
stand there, I will fasten a plank across here between these two
stumps--no, that won't do exactly.  I must put a piece on to this
one, to raise it to a level with the other--then we shall have a
seat in a few minutes."

Hammer and nails were busy again; and in a few minutes they sat down
to enjoy the "soft pipling cold" which swung all the leaves about
like little trap-doors that opened into the Infinite.  Harry was
highly contented.  He drew a deep breath of satisfaction as, looking
above and beneath and all about him, he saw that they were folded in
an almost impenetrable net of foliage, through which nothing could
steal into their sanctuary, save "the chartered libertine, the air,"
and a few stray beams of the setting sun, filtering through the
multitudinous leaves, from which they caught a green tint as they
passed.

"Fancy yourself a fish," said Hugh, "in the depth of a cavern of sea
weed, which floats about in the slow swinging motion of the heavy
waters."

"What a funny notion!"

"Not so absurd as you may think, Harry; for just as some fishes
crawl about on the bottom of the sea, so do we men at the bottom of
an ocean of air; which, if it be a thinner one, is certainly a
deeper one."

"Then the birds are the swimming fishes, are they not?"

"Yes, to be sure."

"And you and I are two mermen -- doing what?  Waiting for mother
mermaid to give us our dinner.  I am getting hungry.  But it will be
a long time before a mermaid gets up here, I am afraid."

"That reminds me," said Hugh, "that I must build a stair for you,
Master Harry; for you are not merman enough to get up with a stroke
of your scaly tail.  So here goes.  You can sit there till I fetch
you."

Nailing a little rude bracket here and there on the stem of the
tree, just where Harry could avail himself of hand-hold as well,
Hugh had soon finished a strangely irregular staircase, which it
took Harry two or three times trying, to learn quite off.




CHAPTER IX.

GEOGRAPHY POINT.

I will fetch you a tooth-picker now from the farthest inch of Asia;
bring you the length of Prester John's foot; fetch you a hair off
the great Cham's beard; do you any embassage to the Pigmies.


Much Ado about Nothing.


The next day, after dinner, Mr. Arnold said to the tutor:

"Well, Mr. Sutherland, how does Harry get on with his geography?"

Mr. Arnold, be it understood, had a weakness for geography.

"We have not done anything at that yet, Mr. Arnold."

"Not done anything at geography!  And the boy getting quite robust
now!  I am astonished, Mr. Sutherland.  Why, when he was a mere
child, he could repeat all the counties of England."

"Perhaps that may be the reason for the decided distaste he shows
for it now, Mr. Arnold.  But I will begin to teach him at once, if
you desire it."

"I do desire it, Mr. Sutherland.  A thorough geographical knowledge
is essential to the education of a gentleman.  Ask me any question
you please, Mr. Sutherland, on the map of the world, or any of its
divisions."

Hugh asked a few questions, which Mr. Arnold answered at once.

"Pooh! pooh!" said he, "this is mere child's play.  Let me ask you
some, Mr. Sutherland."

His very first question posed Hugh, whose knowledge in this science
was not by any means minute.

"I fear I am no gentleman," said he, laughing; "but I can at least
learn as well as teach.  We shall begin to-morrow."

"What books have you?"

"Oh! no books, if you please, just yet.  If you are satisfied with
Harry's progress so far, let me have my own way in this too."

"But geography does not seem your strong point."

"No; but I may be able to teach it all the better from feeling the
difficulties of a learner myself."

"Well, you shall have a fair trial."

Next morning Hugh and Harry went out for a walk to the top of a hill
in the neighbourhood.  When they reached it, Hugh took a small
compass from his pocket, and set it on the ground, contemplating it
and the horizon alternately.

"What are you doing, Mr. Sutherland?"

"I am trying to find the exact line that would go through my home,"
said he.

"Is that funny little thing able to tell you?"

"Yes; this along with other things.  Isn't it curious, Harry, to
have in my pocket a little thing with a kind of spirit in it, that
understands the spirit that is in the big world, and always points
to its North Pole?"

"Explain it to me."

"It is nearly as much a mystery to me as to you."

"Where is the North Pole?"

"Look, the little thing points to it."

"But I will turn it away.  Oh! it won't go.  It goes back and back,
do what I will."

"Yes, it will, if you turn it away all day long.  Look, Harry, if
you were to go straight on in this direction, you would come to a
Laplander, harnessing his broad-horned reindeer to his sledge.  He's
at it now, I daresay.  If you were to go in this line exactly, you
would go through the smoke and fire of a burning mountain in a land
of ice.  If you were to go this way, straight on, you would find
yourself in the middle of a forest with a lion glaring at your feet,
for it is dark night there now, and so hot!  And over there,
straight on, there is such a lovely sunset.  The top of a snowy
mountain is all pink with light, though the sun is down -- oh! such
colours all about, like fairyland!  And there, there is a desert of
sand, and a camel dying, and all his companions just disappearing on
the horizon.  And there, there is an awful sea, without a boat to be
seen on it, dark and dismal, with huge rocks all about it, and waste
borders of sand -- so dreadful!"

"How do you know all this, Mr. Sutherland?  You have never walked
along those lines, I know, for you couldn't."

"Geography has taught me."

"No, Mr. Sutherland!" said Harry, incredulously.

"Well, shall we travel along this line, just across that crown of
trees on the hill?"

"Yes, do let us."

"Then," said Hugh, drawing a telescope from his pocket, "this hill
is henceforth Geography Point, and all the world lies round about
it.  Do you know we are in the very middle of the earth?"

"Are we, indeed?"

"Yes. Don't you know any point you like to choose on a ball is the
middle of it?"

"Oh! yes -- of course."

"Very well.  What lies at the bottom of the hill down there?"

"Arnstead, to be sure."

"And what beyond there?"

"I don't know."

"Look through here."

"Oh! that must be the village we rode to yesterday -- I forget the
name of it."

Hugh told him the name; and then made him look with the telescope
all along the receding line to the trees on the opposite hill.  Just
as he caught them, a voice beside them said:

"What are you about, Harry?"

Hugh felt a glow of pleasure as the voice fell on his ear.

It was Euphra's.

"Oh!" replied Harry, "Mr. Sutherland is teaching me geography with a
telescope.  It's such fun!"

"He's a wonderful tutor, that of yours, Harry!"

"Yes, isn't he just?  But," Harry went on, turning to Hugh, "what
are we to do now?  We can't get farther for that hill."

"Ah! we must apply to your papa now, to lend us some of his
beautiful maps.  They will teach us what lies beyond that hill.  And
then we can read in some of his books about the places; and so go on
and on, till we reach the beautiful, wide, restless sea; over which
we must sail in spite of wind and tide -- straight on and on, till we
come to land again.  But we must make a great many such journeys
before we really know what sort of a place we are living in; and we
shall have ever so many things to learn that will surprise us."

"Oh! it will be nice!" cried Harry.

After a little more geographical talk, they put up their
instruments, and began to descend the hill.  Harry was in no need of
Hugh's back now, but Euphra was in need of his hand.  In fact, she
appealed for its support.

"How awkward of me!  I am stumbling over the heather shamefully!"

She was, in fact, stumbling over her own dress, which she would not
hold up.  Hugh offered his hand; and her small one seemed quite
content to be swallowed up in his large one.

"Why do you never let me put you on your horse?" said Hugh. "You
always manage to prevent me somehow or other.  The last time, I just
turned my head, and, behold! when I looked, you were gathering your
reins."

"It is only a trick of independence, Hugh -- Mr. Sutherland -- I beg
your pardon."

I can make no excuse for Euphra, for she had positively never heard
him called Hugh: there was no one to do so.  But, the slip had not,
therefore, the less effect; for it sounded as if she had been saying
his name over and over again to herself.

"I beg your pardon," repeated Euphra, hastily; for, as Hugh did not
reply, she feared her arrow had swerved from its mark.

"For a sweet fault, Euphra -- I beg your pardon -- Miss Cameron."

"You punish me with forgiveness," returned she, with one of her
sweetest looks.

Hugh could not help pressing the little hand.

Was the pressure returned?  So slight, so airy was the touch, that
it might have been only the throb of his own pulses, all consciously
vital about the wonderful woman-hand that rested in his.  If he had
claimed it, she might easily have denied it, so ethereal and
uncertain was it.  Yet he believed in it.  He never dreamed that she
was exercising her skill upon him.  What could be her object in
bewitching a poor tutor?  Ah! what indeed?

Meantime this much is certain, that she was drawing Hugh closer and
closer to her side; that a soothing dream of delight had begun to
steal over his spirit, soon to make it toss in feverous unrest -- as
the first effects of some poisons are like a dawn of tenfold
strength.  The mountain wind blew from her to him, sometimes
sweeping her garments about him, and bathing him in their faint
sweet odours -- odours which somehow seemed to belong to her whom they
had only last visited; sometimes, so kindly strong did it blow,
compelling her, or at least giving her excuse enough, to leave his
hand and cling closely to his arm.  A fresh spring began to burst
from the very bosom of what had seemed before a perfect summer.  A
spring to summer!  What would the following summer be?  Ah! and what
the autumn?  And what the winter?  For if the summer be tenfold
summer, then must the winter be tenfold winter.

But though knowledge is good for man, foreknowledge is not so good.

And, though Love be good, a tempest of it in the brain will not
ripen the fruits like a soft steady wind, or waft the ships home to
their desired haven.

Perhaps, what enslaved Hugh most, was the feeling that the damsel
stooped to him, without knowing that she stooped.  She seemed to him
in every way above him.  She knew so many things of which he was
ignorant; could say such lovely things; could, he did not doubt,
write lovely verses; could sing like an angel; (though Scotch songs
are not of essentially angelic strain, nor Italian songs either, in
general; and they were all that she could do); was mistress of a
great rich wonderful house, with a history; and, more than all, was,
or appeared to him to be -- a beautiful woman.  It was true that his
family was as good as hers; but he had disowned his family -- so his
pride declared; and the same pride made him despise his present
position, and look upon a tutor's employment as -- as -- well, as other
people look upon it; as a rather contemptible one in fact,
especially for a young, powerful, six-foot fellow.

The influence of Euphrasia was not of the best upon him from the
first; for it had greatly increased this feeling about his
occupation.  It could not affect his feelings towards Harry; so the
boy did not suffer as yet.  But it set him upon a very unprofitable
kind of castle-building: he would be a soldier like his father; he
would leave Arnstead, to revisit it with a sword by his side, and a
Sir before his name.  Sir Hugh Sutherland would be somebody even in
the eyes of the master of Arnstead.  Yes, a six-foot fellow, though
he may be sensible in the main, is not, therefore, free from small
vanities, especially if he be in love.  But how leave Euphra?

Again I outrun my story.




CHAPTER X.

ITALIAN.

Per me si va nella citta dolente.

DANTE


Through me thou goest into the city of grief.

Of necessity, with so many shafts opened into the mountain of
knowledge, a far greater amount of time must be devoted by Harry and
his tutor to the working of the mine, than they had given hitherto.
This made a considerable alteration in the intercourse of the youth
and the lady; for, although Euphra was often present during
school-hours, it must be said for Hugh that, during those hours, he
paid almost all his attention to Harry; so much of it, indeed, that
perhaps there was not enough left to please the lady.  But she did
not say so.  She sat beside them in silence, occupied with her work,
and saving up her glances for use.  Now and then she would read;
taking an opportunity sometimes, but not often, when a fitting pause
occurred, to ask him to explain some passage about which she was in
doubt.  It must be conceded that such passages were well chosen for
the purpose; for she was too wise to do her own intellect discredit
by feigning a difficulty where she saw none; intellect being the
only gift in others for which she was conscious of any reverence.

By-and-by she began to discontinue these visits to the schoolroom.
Perhaps she found them dull.  Perhaps -- but we shall see.

One morning, in the course of their study -- Euphra not present -- Hugh
had occasion to go from his own room, where, for the most part, they
carried on the severer portion of their labours, down to the library
for a book, to enlighten them upon some point on which they were in
doubt.  As he was passing an open door, Euphra's voice called him.
He entered, and found himself in her private sitting-room.  He had
not known before where it was.

"I beg your pardon, Mr. Sutherland, for calling you, but I am at
this moment in a difficulty.  I cannot manage this line in the
Inferno.  Do help me."

She moved the book towards him, as he now stood by her side, she
remaining seated at her table.  To his mortification, he was
compelled to confess his utter ignorance of the language.

"Oh!  I am disappointed," said Euphra.

"Not so much as I am," replied Hugh. "But could you spare me one or
two of your Italian books?"

"With pleasure," she answered, rising and going to her bookshelves.

"I want only a grammar, a dictionary, and a New Testament."

"There they are," she said, taking them down one after the other,
and bringing them to him. "I daresay you will soon get up with poor
stupid me."

"I shall do my best to get within hearing of your voice, at least,
in which Italian must be lovely."

No reply, but a sudden droop of the head.

"But," continued Hugh, "upon second thoughts, lest I should be
compelled to remain dumb, or else annoy your delicate ear with
discordant sounds, just give me one lesson in the pronunciation.
Let me hear you read a little first."

"With all my heart."

Euphra began, and read delightfully; for she was an excellent
Italian scholar.  It was necessary that Hugh should look over the
book.  This was difficult while he remained standing, as she did not
offer to lift it from the table.  Gradually, therefore, and hardly
knowing how, he settled into a chair by her side.  Half-an-hour went
by like a minute, as he listened to the silvery tones of her voice,
breaking into a bell-like sound upon the double consonants of that
sweet lady-tongue.  Then it was his turn to read and be corrected,
and read again and be again corrected.  Another half-hour glided
away, and yet another.  But it must be confessed he made good use of
the time -- if only it had been his own to use; for at the end of it
he could pronounce Italian very tolerably -- well enough, at least, to
keep him from fixing errors in his pronunciation, while studying the
language alone.  Suddenly he came to himself, and looked up as from
a dream.  Had she been bewitching him?  He was in Euphra's
room -- alone with her.  And the door was shut -- how or when?  And -- he
looked at his watch -- poor little Harry had been waiting his return
from the library, for the last hour and a half.  He was
conscience-stricken.  He gathered up the books hastily, thanked
Euphra in the same hurried manner, and left the room with
considerable disquietude, closing the door very gently, almost
guiltily, behind him.

I am afraid Euphra had been perfectly aware that he knew nothing
about Italian.  Did she see her own eyes shine in the mirror before
her, as he closed the door?  Was she in love with him, then?

When Hugh returned with the Italian books, instead of the
encyclopaedia he had gone to seek, he found Harry sitting where he
had left him, with his arms and head on the table, fast asleep.

"Poor boy!" said Hugh to himself; but he could not help feeling glad
he was asleep.  He stole out of the room again, passed the fatal
door with a longing pain, found the volume of his quest in the
library, and, returning with it, sat down beside Harry.  There he
sat till he awoke.

When he did awake at last, it was almost time for luncheon.  The
shame-faced boy was exceedingly penitent for what was no fault,
while Hugh could not relieve him by confessing his.  He could only
say:

"It was my fault, Harry dear.  I stayed away too long.  You were so
nicely asleep, I would not wake you.  You will not need a siesta,
that is all."

He was ashamed of himself, as he uttered the false words to the
true-hearted child.  But this, alas! was not the end of it all.

Desirous of learning the language, but far more desirous of
commending himself to Euphra, Hugh began in downright earnest.  That
very evening, he felt that he had a little hold of the language.
Harry was left to his own resources.  Nor was there any harm in
this in itself: Hugh had a right to part of every day for his own
uses.  But then, he had been with Harry almost every evening, or a
great part of it, and the boy missed him much; for he was not yet
self-dependent.  He would have gone to Euphrasia, but somehow she
happened to be engaged that evening.  So he took refuge in the
library, where, in the desolation of his spirit, Polexander began,
almost immediately, to exercise its old dreary fascination upon him.
Although he had not opened the book since Hugh had requested him to
put it away, yet he had not given up the intention of finishing it
some day; and now he took it down, and opened it listlessly, with
the intention of doing something towards the gradual redeeming of
the pledge he had given to himself.  But he found it more irksome
than ever.  Still he read on; till at length he could discover no
meaning at all in the sentences.  Then he began to doubt whether he
had read the words.  He fixed his attention by main force on every
individual word; but even then he began to doubt whether he could
say he had read the words, for he might have missed seeing some of
the letters composing each word.  He grew so nervous and miserable
over it, almost counting every letter, that at last he burst into
tears, and threw the book down.

His intellect, which in itself was excellent, was quite of the
parasitic order, requiring to wind itself about a stronger
intellect, to keep itself in the region of fresh air and possible
growth.  Left to itself, its weak stem could not raise it above the
ground: it would grow and mass upon the earth, till it decayed and
corrupted, for lack of room, light, and air.  But, of course, there
was no danger in the meantime.  This was but the passing sadness of
an occasional loneliness.

He crept to Hugh's room, and received an invitation to enter, in
answer to his gentle knock; but Hugh was so absorbed in his new
study, that he hardly took any notice of him, and Harry found it
almost as dreary here as in the study.  He would have gone out, but
a drizzling rain was falling; and he shrank into himself at the
thought of the Ghost's Walk. The dinner-bell was a welcome summons.

Hugh, inspirited by the reaction from close attention, by the
presence of Euphra, and by the desire to make himself generally
agreeable, which sprung from the consciousness of having done wrong,
talked almost brilliantly, delighting Euphra, overcoming Harry with
reverent astonishment, and even interesting slow Mr. Arnold.  With
the latter Hugh had been gradually becoming a favourite; partly
because he had discovered in him what he considered high-minded
sentiments; for, however stupid and conventional Mr. Arnold might
be, he had a foundation of sterling worthiness of character.
Euphra, instead of showing any jealousy of this growing
friendliness, favoured it in every way in her power, and now and
then alluded to it in her conversations with Hugh, as affording her
great satisfaction.

"I am so glad he likes you!" she would say.

"Why should she be glad?" thought Hugh.

This gentle claim of a kind of property in him, added considerably
to the strength of the attraction that drew him towards her, as
towards the centre of his spiritual gravitation; if indeed that
could be called spiritual which had so little of the element of
moral or spiritual admiration, or even approval, mingled with it.
He never felt that Euphra was good.  He only felt that she drew him
with a vague force of feminine sovereignty -- a charm which he could
no more resist or explain, than the iron could the attraction of the
lodestone.  Neither could he have said, had he really considered the
matter, that she was beautiful -- only that she often, very often,
looked beautiful.  I suspect if she had been rather ugly, it would
have been all the same for Hugh.

He pursued his Italian studies with a singleness of aim and effort
that carried him on rapidly.  He asked no assistance from Euphra,
and said nothing to her about his progress.  But he was so absorbed
in it, that it drew him still further from his pupil.  Of course he
went out with him, walking or riding every day that the weather
would permit; and he had regular school hours with him within doors.
But during the latter, while Harry was doing something on his
slate, or writing, or learning some lesson (which kind of work
happened oftener now than he could have approved of), he would take
up his Italian; and, notwithstanding Harry's quiet hints that he had
finished what had been set him, remain buried in it for a long time.
When he woke at last to the necessity of taking some notice of the
boy, he would only appoint him something else to occupy him again,
so as to leave himself free to follow his new bent.  Now and then he
would become aware of his blameable neglect, and make a feeble
struggle to rectify what seemed to be growing into a habit -- and one
of the worst for a tutor; but he gradually sank back into the mire,
for mire it was, comforting himself with the resolution that as soon
as he was able to read Italian without absolutely spelling his way,
he would let Euphra see what progress he had made, and then return
with renewed energy to Harry's education, keeping up his own new
accomplishment by more moderate exercise therein.  It must not be
supposed, however, that a long course of time passed in this way.
At the end of a fortnight, he thought he might venture to request
Euphra to show him the passage which had perplexed her.  This time
he knew where she was -- in her own room; for his mind had begun to
haunt her whereabouts.  He knocked at her door, heard the silvery,
thrilling, happy sound, "Come in;" and entered trembling.

"Would you show me the passage in Dante that perplexed you the other
day?"

Euphra looked a little surprised; but got the book and pointed it
out at once.

Hugh glanced at it.  His superior acquaintance with the general
forms of language enabled him, after finding two words in Euphra's
larger dictionary, to explain it, to her immediate satisfaction.

"You astonish me," said Euphra.

"Latin gives me an advantage, you see," said Hugh modestly.

"It seems to be very wonderful, nevertheless."

These were sweet sounds to Hugh's ear.  He had gained his end.  And
she hers.

"Well," she said, "I have just come upon another passage that
perplexes me not a little.  Will you try your powers upon that for
me?"

So saying, she proceeded to find it.

"It is school-time," said Hugh "I fear I must not wait now."

"Pooh! pooh!  Don't make a pedagogue of yourself.  You know you are
here more as a guardian -- big brother, you know -- to the dear child.
By the way, I am rather afraid you are working him a little more
than his constitution will stand."

"Do you think so?" returned Hugh quite willing to be convinced. "I
should be very sorry."

"This is the passage," said Euphra.

Hugh sat down once more at the table beside her.  He found this
morsel considerably tougher than the last.  But at length he
succeeded in pulling it to pieces and reconstructing it in a simpler
form for the lady.  She was full of thanks and admiration.
Naturally enough, they went on to the next line, and the next
stanza, and the next and the next; till -- shall I be believed? -- they
had read a whole canto of the poem.  Euphra knew more words by a
great many than Hugh; so that, what with her knowledge of the words,
and his insight into the construction, they made rare progress.

"What a beautiful passage it is!" said Euphra.

"It is indeed," responded Hugh; "I never read anything more
beautiful."

"I wonder if it would be possible to turn that into English.  I
should like to try."

"You mean verse, of course?"

"To be sure."

"Let us try, then.  I will bring you mine when I have finished it.
I fear it will take some time, though, to do it well.  Shall it be
in blank verse, or what?"

"Oh! don't you think we had better keep the Terza Rima of the
original?"

"As you please.  It will add much to the difficulty."

"Recreant knight! will you shrink from following where your lady
leads?"

"Never! so help me, my good pen!" answered Hugh, and took his
departure, with burning cheeks and a trembling at the heart.  Alas!
the morning was gone.  Harry was not in his study: he sought and
found him in the library, apparently buried in Polexander.

"I am so glad you are come," said Harry; "I am so tired."

"Why do you read that stupid book, then?"

"Oh! you know, I told you."

"Tut! tut! nonsense!  Put it away," said Hugh, his dissatisfaction
with himself making him cross with Harry, who felt, in consequence,
ten times more desolate than before.  He could not understand the
change.

If it went ill before with the hours devoted to common labour, it
went worse now.  Hugh seized every gap of time, and widened its
margins shamefully, in order to work at his translation.  He found
it very difficult to render the Italian in classical and poetic
English.  The three rhyming words, and the mode in which the stanzas
are looped together, added greatly to the difficulty.  Blank verse
he would have found quite easy compared to this.  But he would not
blench.  The thought of her praise, and of the yet better favour he
might gain, spurred him on; and Harry was the sacrifice.  But he
would make it all up to him, when this was once over.  Indeed, he
would.

Thus he baked cakes of clay to choke the barking of Cerberian
conscience.  But it would growl notwithstanding.

The boy's spirit was sinking; but Hugh did not or would not see it.
His step grew less elastic.  He became more listless, more like his
former self -- sauntering about with his hands in his pockets.  And
Hugh, of course, found himself caring less about him; for the
thought of him, rousing as it did the sense of his own neglect, had
become troublesome.  Sometimes he even passed poor Harry without
speaking to him.

Gradually, however, he grew still further into the favour of Mr.
Arnold, until he seemed to have even acquired some influence with
him.  Mr. Arnold would go out riding with them himself sometimes,
and express great satisfaction, not only with the way Harry sat his
pony, for which he accorded Hugh the credit due to him, but with the
way in which Hugh managed his own horse as well.  Mr. Arnold was a
good horseman, and his praise was especially grateful to Hugh,
because Euphra was always near, and always heard it.  I fear,
however, that his progress in the good graces of Mr. Arnold, was, in
a considerable degree, the result of the greater anxiety to please,
which sprung from the consciousness of not deserving approbation.
Pleasing was an easy substitute for well-doing.  Not acceptable to
himself, he had the greater desire to be acceptable to others; and
so reflect the side-beams of a false approbation on himself -- who
needed true light and would be ill-provided for with any substitute.
For a man who is received as a millionaire can hardly help feeling
like one at times, even if he knows he has overdrawn his banker's
account.  The necessity to Hugh's nature of feeling right, drove him
to this false mode of producing the false impression.  If one only
wants to feel virtuous, there are several royal roads to that end.
But, fortunately, the end itself would be unsatisfactory if gained;
while not one of these roads does more than pretend to lead even to
that land of delusion.

The reaction in Hugh's mind was sometimes torturing enough.  But he
had not strength to resist Euphra, and so reform.

Well or ill done, at length his translation was finished.  So was
Euphra's.  They exchanged papers for a private reading first; and
arranged to meet afterwards, in order to compare criticisms.




CHAPTER XI.

THE FIRST MIDNIGHT.

     Well, if anything be damned,
It will be twelve o'clock at night; that twelve
Will never scape.

CYRIL TOURNEUR.--The Revenger's Tragedy.


Letters arrived at Arnstead generally while the family was seated at
breakfast.  One morning, the post-bag having been brought in, Mr.
Arnold opened it himself, according to his unvarying custom; and
found, amongst other letters, one in an old-fashioned female hand,
which, after reading it, he passed to Euphra.

"You remember Mrs. Elton, Euphra?"

"Quite well, uncle -- a dear old lady!"

But the expression which passed across her face, rather belied her
words, and seemed to Hugh to mean: "I hope she is not going to bore
us again."

She took care, however, to show no sign with regard to the contents
of the letter; but, laying it beside her on the table, waited to
hear her uncle's mind first.

"Poor, dear girl!" said he at last. "You must try to make her as
comfortable as you can.  There is consumption in the family, you
see," he added, with a meditative sigh.

"Of course I will, uncle.  Poor girl!  I hope there is not much
amiss though, after all."

But, as she spoke, an irrepressible flash of dislike, or displeasure
of some sort, broke from her eyes, and vanished.  No one but himself
seemed to Hugh to have observed it; but he was learned in the lady's
eyes, and their weather-signs.  Mr. Arnold rose from the table and
left the room, apparently to write an answer to the letter.  As soon
as he was gone, Euphra gave the letter to Hugh. He read as
follows:  --

"MY DEAR MR. ARNOLD,

"Will you extend the hospitality of your beautiful house to me and
my young friend, who has the honour of being your relative, Lady
Emily Lake?  For some time her health has seemed to be failing, and
she is ordered to spend the winter abroad, at Pau, or somewhere in
the south of France.  It is considered highly desirable that in the
meantime she should have as much change as possible; and it occurred
to me, remembering the charming month I passed at your seat, and
recalling the fact that Lady Emily is cousin only once removed to
your late most lovely wife, that there would be no impropriety in
writing to ask you whether you could, without inconvenience, receive
us as your guests for a short time.  I say us; for the dear girl has
taken such a fancy to unworthy old me, that she almost refuses to
set out without me.  Not to be cumbersome either to our friends or
ourselves, we shall bring only our two maids, and a steady old
man-servant, who has been in my family for many years. -- I trust you
will not hesitate to refuse my request, should I happen to have made
it at an unsuitable season; assured, as you must be, that we cannot
attribute the refusal to any lack of hospitality or friendliness on
your part.  At all events, I trust you will excuse what seems -- now I
have committed it to paper -- a great liberty, I hope not presumption,
on mine.  I am, my dear Mr. Arnold,

"Yours most sincerely,

"HANNAH ELTON."

Hugh refolded the letter, and laid it down without remark.  Harry
had left the room.

"Isn't it a bore?" said Euphra.

Hugh answered only by a look.  A pause followed.

"Who is Mrs. Elton?" he said at last.

"Oh, a good-hearted creature enough.  Frightfully prosy."

"But that is a well-written letter?"

"Oh, yes.  She is famed for her letter-writing; and, I believe,
practises every morning on a slate.  It is the only thing that
redeems her from absolute stupidity."

Euphra, with her taper fore-finger, tapped the table-cloth
impatiently, and shifted back in her chair, as if struggling with an
inward annoyance.

"And what sort of person is Lady Emily?" asked Hugh.

"I have never seen her.  Some blue-eyed milk-maid with a title, I
suppose.  And in a consumption, too!  I presume the dear girl is as
religious as the old one. -- Good heavens! what shall we do?" she
burst out at length; and, rising from her chair, she paced about the
room hurriedly, but all the time with a gliding kind of footfall,
that would have shaken none but the craziest floor.

"Dear Euphra!"  Hugh ventured to say, "never mind.  Let us try to
make the best of it."

She stopped in her walk, turned towards him, smiled as if ashamed
and delighted at the same moment, and slid out of the room.  Had
Euphra been the same all through, she could hardly have smiled so
without being in love with Hugh.

That morning he sought her again in her room.  They talked over
their versions of Dante.  Hugh's was certainly the best, for he was
more practised in such things than Euphra.  He showed her many
faults, which she at once perceived to be faults, and so rose in his
estimation.  But at the same time there were individual lines and
passages of hers, which he considered not merely better than the
corresponding lines and passages, but better than any part of his
version.  This he was delighted to say; and she seemed as delighted
that he should think so.  A great part of the morning was spent
thus.

"I cannot stay longer," said Hugh.

"Let us read for an hour, then, after we come up stairs to-night."

"With more pleasure than I dare to say."

"But you mean what you do say?"

"You can doubt it no more than myself."

Yet he did not like Euphra's making the proposal.  No more did he
like the flippant, almost cruel way in which she referred to Lady
Emily's illness.  But he put it down to annoyance and haste -- got
over it somehow -- anyhow; and began to feel that if she were a devil
he could not help loving her, and would not help it if he could.
The hope of meeting her alone that night, gave him spirit and
energy with Harry; and the poor boy was more cheery and active than
he had been for some time.  He thought his big brother was going to
love him again as at the first.  Hugh's treatment of his pupil might
still have seemed kind from another, but Harry felt it a great
change in him.

In the course of the day, Euphra took an opportunity of whispering
to him:

"Not in my room -- in the library."  I presume she thought it would be
more prudent, in the case of any interruption.

After dinner that evening, Hugh did not go to the drawingroom with
Mr. Arnold, but out into the woods about the house.  It was early in
the twilight; for now the sun set late.  The month was June; and the
even a rich, dreamful, rosy even -- the sleep of a gorgeous day. "It
is like the soul of a gracious woman," thought Hugh, charmed into a
lucid interval of passion by the loveliness of the nature around
him.  Strange to tell, at that moment, instead of the hushed gloom
of the library, towards which he was hoping and leaning in his soul,
there arose before him the bare, stern, leafless pine-wood -- for who
can call its foliage leaves? -- with the chilly wind of a northern
spring morning blowing through it with a wailing noise of waters;
and beneath a weird fir-tree, lofty, gaunt, and huge, with bare
goblin arms, contorted sweepily, in a strange mingling of the
sublime and the grotesque -- beneath this fir-tree, Margaret sitting
on one of its twisted roots, the very image of peace, with a face
that seemed stilled by the expected approach of a sacred and unknown
gladness; a face that would blossom the more gloriously because its
joy delayed its coming.  And above it, the tree shone a "still,"
almost "awful red," in the level light of the morning.

The vision came and passed, for he did not invite its stay: it
rebuked him to the deepest soul.  He strayed in troubled pleasure,
restless and dissatisfied.  Woods of the richest growth were around
him; heaps on heaps of leaves floating above him like clouds, a
trackless wilderness of airy green, wherein one might wish to dwell
for ever, looking down into the vaults and aisles of the
long-ranging boles beneath.  But no peace could rest on his face;
only, at best, a false mask, put on to hide the trouble of the
unresting heart.  Had he been doing his duty to Harry, his love for
Euphra, however unworthy she might be, would not have troubled him
thus.

He came upon an avenue.  At the further end the boughs of the old
trees, bare of leaves beneath, met in a perfect pointed arch, across
which were barred the lingering colours of the sunset, transforming
the whole into a rich window full of stained glass and complex
tracery, closing up a Gothic aisle in a temple of everlasting
worship.  A kind of holy calm fell upon him as he regarded the dim,
dying colours; and the spirit of the night, a something that is
neither silence nor sound, and yet is like both, sank into his soul,
and made a moment of summer twilight there.  He walked along the
avenue for some distance; and then, leaving it, passed on through
the woods. -- Suddenly it flashed upon him that he had crossed the
Ghost's Walk. A slight but cold shudder passed through the region of
his heart.  Then he laughed at himself, and, as it were in despite
of his own tremor, turned, and crossed yet again the path of the
ghost.

A spiritual epicure in his pleasures, he would not spoil the effect
of the coming meeting, by seeing Euphra in the drawingroom first: he
went to his own study, where he remained till the hour had nearly
arrived.  He tried to write some verses.  But he found that,
although the lovely form of its own Naiad lay on the brink of the
Well of Song, its waters would not flow: during the sirocco of
passion, its springs withdrew into the cool caves of the Life
beneath.  At length he rose, too much preoccupied to mind his want
of success; and, going down the back stair, reached the library.
There he seated himself, and tried to read by the light of his
chamber-candle.  But it was scarcely even an attempt, for every
moment he was looking up to the door by which he expected her to
enter.

Suddenly an increase of light warned him that she was in the room.
How she had entered he could not tell.  One hand carried her
candle, the light of which fell on her pale face, with its halo of
blackness -- her hair, which looked like a well of darkness, that
threatened to break from its bonds and overflood the room with a
second night, dark enough to blot out that which was now looking in,
treeful and deep, at the uncurtained windows.  The other hand was
busy trying to incarcerate a stray tress which had escaped from its
net, and made her olive shoulders look white beside it.

"Let it alone," said Hugh, "let it be beautiful."

But she gently repelled the hand he raised to hers, and, though she
was forced to put down her candle first, persisted in confining the
refractory tress; then seated herself at the table, and taking from
her pocket the manuscript which Hugh had been criticising in the
morning, unfolded it, and showed him all the passages he had
objected to, neatly corrected or altered.  It was wonderfully done
for the time she had had.  He went over it all with her again,
seated close to her, their faces almost meeting as they followed the
lines.  They had just finished it, and were about to commence
reading from the original, when Hugh, who missed a sheet of Euphra's
translation, stooped under the table to look for it.  A few moments
were spent in the search, before he discovered that Euphra's foot
was upon it.  He begged her to move a little, but received no reply
either by word or act.  Looking up in some alarm, he saw that she
was either asleep or in a faint.  By an impulse inexplicable to
himself at the time, he went at once to the windows, and drew down
the green blinds.  When he turned towards her again, she was
reviving or awaking, he could not tell which.

"How stupid of me to go to sleep!" she said. "Let us go on with our
reading."

They had read for about half an hour, when three taps upon one of
the windows, slight, but peculiar, and as if given with the point of
a finger, suddenly startled them.  Hugh turned at once towards the
windows; but, of course, he could see nothing, having just lowered
the blinds.  He turned again towards Euphra.  She had a strange wild
look; her lips were slightly parted, and her nostrils wide; her face
was rigid, and glimmering pale as death from the cloud of her black
hair.

"What was it?" said Hugh, affected by her fear with the horror of
the unknown.  But she made no answer, and continued staring towards
one of the windows.  He rose and was about to advance to it, when
she caught him by the hand with a grasp of which hers would have
been incapable except under the influence of terror.  At that moment
a clock in the room began to strike.  It was a slow clock, and went
on deliberately, striking one...two...three...till it had struck
twelve.  Every stroke was a blow from the hammer of fear, and his
heart was the bell.  He could not breathe for dread so long as the
awful clock was striking.  When it had ended, they looked at each
other again, and Hugh breathed once.

"Euphra!" he sighed.

But she made no answer; she turned her eyes again to one of the
windows.  They were both standing.  He sought to draw her to him,
but she yielded no more than a marble statue.

"I crossed the Ghost's Walk to-night," said he, in a hard whisper,
scarcely knowing that he uttered it, till he heard his own words.
They seemed to fall upon his ear as if spoken by some one outside
the room.  She looked at him once more, and kept looking with a
fixed stare.  Gradually her face became less rigid, and her eyes
less wild.  She could move at last.

"Come, come," she said, in a hurried whisper. "Let us go -- no, no,
not that way;" -- as Hugh would have led her towards the private
stair -- "let us go the front way, by the oak staircase."

They went up together.  When they reached the door of her room, she
said, "Good night," without even looking at him, and passed in.
Hugh went on, in a state of utter bewilderment, to his own
apartment; shut the door and locked it -- a thing he had never done
before; lighted both the candles on his table; and then walked up
and down the room, trying, like one aware that he is dreaming, to
come to his real self.

"Pshaw!" he said at last. "It was only a little bird, or a large
moth.  How odd it is that darkness can make a fool of one!  I am
ashamed of myself.  I wish I had gone out at the window, if only to
show Euphra I was not afraid, though of course there was nothing to
be seen."

As he said this in his mind, -- he could not have spoken it aloud, for
fear of hearing his own voice in the solitude, -- he went to one of
the windows of his sitting-room, which was nearly over the library,
and looked into the wood. -- Could it be? -- Yes. -- He did see something
white, gliding through the wood, away in the direction of the
Ghost's Walk. It vanished; and he saw it no more.

The morning was far advanced before he could go to bed.  When the
first light of the aurora broke the sky, he looked out again; -- and
the first glimmerings of the morning in the wood were more dreadful
than the deepest darkness of the past night.  Possessed by a new
horror, he thought how awful it would be to see a belated ghost,
hurrying away in helpless haste.  The spectre would be yet more
terrible in the grey light of the coming day, and the azure breezes
of the morning, which to it would be like a new and more fearful
death, than amidst its own homely sepulchral darkness; while the
silence all around -- silence in light -- could befit only that dread
season of loneliness when men are lost in sleep, and ghosts, if they
walk at all, walk in dismay.

But at length fear yielded to sleep, though still he troubled her
short reign.

When he awoke, he found it so late, that it was all he could do to
get down in time for breakfast.  But so anxious was he not to be
later than usual, that he was in the room before Mr. Arnold made his
appearance.  Euphra, however, was there before him.  She greeted him
in the usual way, quite circumspectly.  But she looked troubled.
Her face was very pale, and her eyes were red, as if from
sleeplessness or weeping.  When her uncle entered, she addressed him
with more gaiety than usual, and he did not perceive that anything
was amiss with her.  But the whole of that day she walked as in a
reverie, avoiding Hugh two or three times that they chanced to meet
without a third person in the neighbourhood.  Once in the
forenoon -- when she was generally to be found in her room -- he could
not refrain from trying to see her.  The change and the mystery were
insupportable to him.  But when he tapped at her door, no answer
came; and he walked back to Harry, feeling, as if, by an unknown
door in his own soul, he had been shut out of the half of his being.
Or rather -- a wall seemed to have been built right before his eyes,
which still was there wherever he went.

As to the gliding phantom of the previous night, the day denied it
all, telling him it was but the coinage of his own over-wrought
brain, weakened by prolonged tension of the intellect, and excited
by the presence of Euphra at an hour claimed by phantoms when not
yielded to sleep.  This was the easiest and most natural way of
disposing of the difficulty.  The cloud around Euphra hid the ghost
in its skirts.

Although fear in some measure returned with the returning shadows,
he yet resolved to try to get Euphra to meet him again in the
library that night.  But she never gave him a chance of even
dropping a hint to that purpose.  She had not gone out with them in
the morning; and when he followed her into the drawing-room, she was
already at the piano.  He thought he might convey his wish without
interrupting the music; but as often as he approached her, she
broke, or rather glided, out into song, as if she had been singing
in an undertone all the while.  He could not help seeing she did not
intend to let him speak to her.  But, all the time, whatever she
sang was something she knew he liked; and as often as she spoke to
him in the hearing of her uncle or cousin, it was in a manner
peculiarly graceful and simple.

He could not understand her; and was more bewitched, more fascinated
than ever, by seeing her through the folds of the incomprehensible,
in which element she had wrapped herself from his nearer vision.
She had always seemed above him -- now she seemed miles away as well;
a region of Paradise, into which he was forbidden to enter.
Everything about her, to her handkerchief and her gloves, was
haunted by a vague mystery of worshipfulness, and drew him towards
it with wonder and trembling.  When they parted for the night, she
shook hands with him with a cool frankness, that put him nearly
beside himself with despair; and when he found himself in his own
room, it was some time before he could collect his thoughts.  Having
succeeded, however, he resolved, in spite of growing fears, to go to
the library, and see whether it were not possible she might be
there.  He took up a candle, and went down the back stair.  But when
he opened the library door, a gust of wind blew his candle out; all
was darkness within; a sudden horror seized him; and, afraid of
yielding to the inclination to bound up the stair, lest he should go
wild with the terror of pursuit, he crept slowly back, feeling his
way to his own room with a determined deliberateness. -- Could the
library window have been left open?  Else whence the gust of wind?

Next day, and the next, and the next, he fared no better: her
behaviour continued the same; and she allowed him no opportunity of
requesting an explanation.




CHAPTER XII.

A SUNDAY.

A man may be a heretic in the truth; and if he believe things only
because his pastor says so, or the assembly so determines, without
knowing other reason, though his belief be true, yet the very truth
he holds becomes his heresy.--MILTON.--Areopagitica.


At length the expected visitors arrived.  Hugh saw nothing of them
till they assembled for dinner.  Mrs. Elton was a benevolent old
lady -- not old enough to give in to being old -- rather tall, and
rather stout, in rich widow-costume, whose depth had been moderated
by time.  Her kindly grey eyes looked out from a calm face, which
seemed to have taken comfort from loving everybody in a mild and
moderate fashion.  Lady Emily was a slender girl, rather shy, with
fair hair, and a pale innocent face.  She wore a violet dress, which
put out her blue eyes.  She showed to no advantage beside the
suppressed glow of life which made Euphra look like a tropical
twilight -- I am aware there is no such thing, but if there were, it
would be just like her.

Mrs. Elton seemed to have concentrated the motherhood of her nature,
which was her most prominent characteristic, notwithstanding -- or
perhaps in virtue of -- her childlessness, upon Lady Emily.  To her
Mrs. Elton was solicitously attentive; and she, on her part,
received it all sweetly and gratefully, taking no umbrage at being
treated as more of an invalid than she was.

Lady Emily ate nothing but chicken, and custard-pudding or rice, all
the time she was at Arnstead.

The richer and more seasoned any dish, the more grateful it was to
Euphra.

Mr. Arnold was a saddle-of-mutton man.

Hugh preferred roast-beef, but ate anything.

"What sort of a clergyman have you now, Mr. Arnold?" asked Mrs.
Elton, at the dinner-table.

"Oh! a very respectable young gentleman, brother to Sir Richard, who
has the gift, you know.  A very moderate, excellent clergyman he
makes, too!"

"Ah! but you know, Lady Emily and I" -- here she looked at Lady
Emily, who smiled and blushed faintly, "are very dependent on our
Sundays, and" --

"We all go to church regularly, I assure you, Mrs. Elton; and of
course my carriage shall be always at your disposal."

"I was in no doubt about either of those things, indeed, Mr. Arnold.
But what sort of a preacher is he?"

"Ah, well! let me see. -- What was the subject of his sermon last
Sunday, Euphra, my dear?"

"The devil and all his angels," answered Euphra, with a wicked flash
in her eyes.

"Yes, yes; so it was.  Oh!  I assure you, Mrs. Elton, he is quite a
respectable preacher, as well as clergyman.  He is an honour to the
cloth."

Hugh could not help thinking that the tailor should have his due,
and that Mr. Arnold gave it him.

"He is no Puseyite either," added Mr. Arnold, seeing but not
understanding Mrs. Elton's baffled expression, "though he does
preach once a month in his surplice."

"I am afraid you will not find him very original, though," said
Hugh, wishing to help the old lady.

"Original!" interposed Mr. Arnold. "Really, I am bound to say I
don't know how the remark applies.  How is a man to be original on a
subject that is all laid down in plain print -- to use a vulgar
expression -- and has been commented upon for eighteen hundred years
and more?"

"Very true, Mr. Arnold," responded Mrs. Elton. "We don't want
originality, do we?  It is only the gospel we want.  Does he preach
the gospel?"

"How can he preach anything else?  His text is always out of some
part of the Bible."

"I am glad to see you hold by the Inspiration of the Scriptures, Mr.
Arnold," said Mrs. Elton, chaotically bewildered.

"Good heavens!  Madam, what do you mean?  Could you for a moment
suppose me to be an atheist?  Surely you have not become a student
of German Neology?"  And Mr. Arnold smiled a grim smile.

"Not I, indeed!" protested poor Mrs. Elton, moving uneasily in her
seat; -- "I quite agree with you, Mr. Arnold."

"Then you may take my word for it, that you will hear nothing but
what is highly orthodox, and perfectly worthy of a gentleman and a
clergyman, from the pulpit of Mr. Penfold.  He dined with us only
last week."

This last assertion was made in an injured tone, just sufficient to
curl the tail of the sentence.  After which, what was to be said?

Several vain attempts followed, before a new subject was started,
sufficiently uninteresting to cause, neither from warmth nor
stupidity, any danger of dissension, and quite worthy of being here
omitted.

Dinner over, and the ceremony of tea -- in Lady Emily's case, milk and
water -- having been observed, the visitors withdrew.

The next day was Sunday.  Lady Emily came down stairs in black,
which suited her better.  She was a pretty, gentle creature,
interesting from her illness, and good, because she knew no evil,
except what she heard of from the pulpit.  They walked to church,
which was at no great distance, along a meadow-path paved with
flags, some of them worn through by the heavy shoes of country
generations.  The church was one of those which are, in some
measure, typical of the Church itself; for it was very old, and
would have been very beautiful, had it not been all plastered over,
and whitened to a smooth uniformity of ugliness -- the attempt having
been more successful in the case of the type.  The open roof had had
a French heaven added to it -- I mean a ceiling; and the pillars,
which, even if they were not carved -- though it was impossible to
come to a conclusion on that point -- must yet have been worn into the
beauty of age, had been filled up, and stained with yellow ochre.
Even the remnants of stained glass in some of the windows, were
half concealed by modern appliances for the partial exclusion of the
light.  The church had fared as Chaucer in the hands of Dryden.  So
had the truth, that flickered through the sermon, fared in the hands
of the clergyman, or of the sermon-wright whose manuscript he had
bought for eighteen pence -- I am told that sermons are to be procured
at that price -- on his last visit to London.  Having, although a
Scotchman, had an episcopalian education, Hugh could not help
rejoicing that not merely the Bible, but the Church-service as well,
had been fixed beyond the reach of such degenerating influences as
those which had operated on the more material embodiments of
religion; for otherwise such would certainly have been the first to
operate, and would have found the greatest scope in any alteration.
We may hope that nothing but a true growth in such religion as
needs and seeks new expression for new depth and breadth of feeling,
will ever be permitted to lay the hand of change upon it -- a hand,
otherwise, of desecration and ruin.

The sermon was chiefly occupied with proving that God is no
respecter of persons; a mark of indubitable condescension in the
clergyman, the rank in society which he could claim for himself duly
considered.  But, unfortunately, the church was so constructed, that
its area contained three platforms of position, actually of
differing level; the loftiest, in the chancel, on the right hand of
the pulpit, occupied by the gentry; the middle, opposite the pulpit,
occupied by the tulip-beds of their servants; and the third, on the
left of the pulpit, occupied by the common parishioners.
Unfortunately, too, by the perpetuation of some old custom, whose
significance was not worn out, all on the left of the pulpit were
expected, as often as they stood up to sing -- which was three
times -- to turn their backs to the pulpit, and so face away from the
chancel where the gentry stood.  But there was not much
inconsistency, after all; the sermon founding its argument chiefly
on the antithetical facts, that death, lowering the rich to the
level of the poor, was a dead leveller; and that, on the other hand,
the life to come would raise the poor to the level of the rich.  It
was a pity that there was no phrase in the language to justify him
in carrying out the antithesis, and so balancing his sentence like a
rope-walker, by saying that life was a live leveller.  The sermon
ended with a solemn warning: "Those who neglect the gospel-scheme,
and never think of death and judgment -- be they rich or poor, be they
wise or ignorant -- whether they dwell in the palace or the hut -- shall
be damned.  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy
Ghost," &c.

Lady Emily was forced to confess that she had not been much
interested in the sermon.  Mrs. Elton thought he spoke plainly, but
there was not much of the gospel in it.  Mr. Arnold opined that
people should not go to church to hear sermons, but to make the
responses; whoever read prayers, it made no difference, for the
prayers were the Church's, not the parson's; and for the sermon, as
long as it showed the uneducated how to be saved, and taught them to
do their duty in the station of life to which God had called them,
and so long as the parson preached neither Puseyism nor
Radicalism -- (he frowned solemnly and disgustedly as he repeated the
word) -- nor Radicalism, it was of comparatively little moment whether
he was a man of intellect or not, for he could not go wrong.

Little was said in reply to this, except something not very audible
or definite, by Mrs. Elton, about the necessity of faith.  The
conversation, which took place at luncheon, flagged, and the
visitors withdrew to their respective rooms, to comfort themselves
with their Daily Portions.

At dinner, Mr. Arnold, evidently believing he had made an impression
by his harangue of the morning, resumed the subject.  Hugh was a
little surprised to find that he had, even of a negative sort,
strong opinions on the subject of religion.

"What do you think, then, Mrs. Elton, my dear madam, that a
clergyman ought to preach?"

"I think, Mr. Arnold, that he ought to preach salvation by faith in
the merits of the Saviour."

"Oh! of course, of course.  We shall not differ about that.
Everybody believes that."

"I doubt it very much. -- He ought, in order that men may believe, to
explain the divine plan, by which the demands of divine justice are
satisfied, and the punishment due to sin averted from the guilty,
and laid upon the innocent; that, by bearing our sins, he might make
atonement to the wrath of a justly offended God; and so --"

"Now, my dear madam, permit me to ask what right we, the subjects of
a Supreme Authority, have to inquire into the reasons of his doings?
It seems to me -- I should be sorry to offend any one, but it seems
to me quite as presumptuous as the present arrogance of the lower
classes in interfering with government, and demanding a right to
give their opinion, forsooth, as to the laws by which they shall be
governed; as if they were capable of understanding the principles by
which kings rule, and governors decree justice. -- I believe I quote
Scripture."

"Are we, then, to remain in utter ignorance of the divine
character?"

"What business have we with the divine character?  Or how could we
understand it?  It seems to me we have enough to do with our own.
Do I inquire into the character of my sovereign?  All we have to do
is, to listen to what we are told by those who are educated for such
studies, whom the Church approves, and who are appointed to take
care of the souls committed to their charge; to teach them to
respect their superiors, and to lead honest, hard-working lives."

Much more of the same sort flowed from the oracular lips of Mr.
Arnold.  When he ceased, he found that the conversation had ceased
also.  As soon as the ladies withdrew, he said, without looking at
Hugh, as he filled his glass:

"Mr. Sutherland, I hate cant."

And so he canted against it.

But the next day, and during the whole week, he seemed to lay
himself out to make amends for the sharpness of his remarks on the
Sunday.  He was afraid he had made his guests uncomfortable, and so
sinned against his own character as a host.  Everything that he
could devise, was brought to bear for their entertainment; daily
rides in the open carriage, in which he always accompanied them, to
show his estate, and the improvements he was making upon it; visits
sometimes to the more deserving, as he called them, of the poor upon
his property -- the more deserving being the most submissive and
obedient to the wishes of their lord; inspections of the schools,
&c., &c.; in all of which matters he took a stupid, benevolent
interest.  For if people would be content to occupy the corner in
which he chose to place them, he would throw them morsel after
morsel, as long as ever they chose to pick it up.  But woe to them
if they left this corner a single pace!

Euphra made one of the party always; and it was dreary indeed for
Hugh to be left in the desolate house without her, though but for a
few hours.  And when she was at home, she never yet permitted him to
speak to her alone.

There might have been some hope for Harry in Hugh's separation from
Euphra; but the result was, that, although he spent school-hours
more regularly with him, Hugh was yet more dull, and uninterested in
the work, than he had been before.  Instead of caring that his pupil
should understand this or that particular, he would be speculating
on Euphra's behaviour, trying to account for this or that individual
look or tone, or seeking, perhaps, a special symbolic meaning in
some general remark that she had happened to let fall.  Meanwhile,
poor Harry would be stupifying himself with work which he could not
understand for lack of some explanation or other that ought to have
been given him weeks ago.  Still, however, he clung to Hugh with a
far-off, worshipping love, never suspecting that he could be to
blame, but thinking at one time that he must be ill, at another that
he himself was really too stupid, and that his big brother could not
help getting tired of him.  When Hugh would be wandering about the
place, seeking to catch a glimpse of the skirt of Euphra's dress, as
she went about with her guests, or devising how he could procure an
interview with her alone, Harry would be following him at a
distance, like a little terrier that had lost its master, and did
not know whether this man would be friendly or not; never spying on
his actions, but merely longing to be near him -- for had not Hugh set
him going in the way of life, even if he had now left him to walk in
it alone?  If Hugh could have once seen into that warm, true, pining
little heart, he would not have neglected it as he did.  He had no
eyes, however, but for Euphra.

Still, it may be that even now Harry was able to gather, though with
tears, some advantage from Hugh's neglect.  He used to wander about
alone; and it may be that the hints which his tutor had already
given him, enabled him now to find for himself the interest
belonging to many objects never before remarked.  Perhaps even now
he began to take a few steps alone; the waking independence of which
was of more value for the future growth of his nature, than a
thousand miles accomplished by the aid of the strong arm of his
tutor.  One certain advantage was, that the constitutional trouble
of the boy's nature had now assumed a definite form, by gathering
around a definite object, and blending its own shadowy being with
the sorrow he experienced from the loss of his tutor's sympathy.
Should that sorrow ever be cleared away, much besides might be
cleared away along with it.

Meantime, nature found some channels, worn by his grief, through
which her comforts, that, like waters, press on all sides, and enter
at every cranny and fissure in the house of life, might gently flow
into him with their sympathetic soothing.  Often he would creep away
to the nest which Hugh had built and then forsaken; and seated there
in the solitude of the wide-bourgeoned oak, he would sometimes feel
for a moment as if lifted up above the world and its sorrows, to be
visited by an all-healing wind from God, that came to him, through
the wilderness of leaves around him -- gently, like all powerful
things.

But I am putting the boy's feelings into forms and words for him.
He had none of either for them.




CHAPTER XIII.

A STORM.

     When the mind's free,
The body's delicate: the tempest in my mind
Doth from my senses take all feeling else
Save what beats there.

King Lear.


While Harry took to wandering abroad in the afternoon sun, Hugh, on
the contrary, found the bright weather so distasteful to him, that
he generally trifled away his afternoons with some old romance in
the dark library, or lay on the couch in his study, listless and
suffering.  He could neither read nor write.  What he felt he must
do he did; but nothing more.

One day, about noon, the weather began to change.  In the afternoon
it grew dark; and Hugh, going to the window, perceived with
delight -- the first he had experienced for many days -- that a great
thunder-storm was at hand.  Harry was rather frightened; but under
his fear, there evidently lay a deep delight.  The storm came nearer
and nearer; till at length a vivid flash broke from the mass of
darkness over the woods, lasted for one brilliant moment, and
vanished.  The thunder followed, like a pursuing wild beast, close
on the traces of the vanishing light; as if the darkness were
hunting the light from the earth, and bellowing with rage that it
could not overtake and annihilate it.  Without the usual prelude of
a few great drops, the rain poured at once, in continuous streams,
from the dense canopy overhead; and in a few moments there were six
inches of water all round the house, which the force of the falling
streams made to foam, and fume, and flash like a seething torrent.
Harry had crept close to Hugh, who stood looking out of the window;
and as if the convulsion of the elements had begun to clear the
spiritual and moral, as well as the physical atmosphere, Hugh looked
down on the boy kindly, and put his arm round his shoulders.  Harry
nestled closer, and wished it would thunder for ever.  But longing
to hear his tutor's voice, he ventured to speak, looking up to his
face:

"Euphra says it is only electricity, Mr. Sutherland.  What is that?"

A common tutor would have seized the opportunity of explaining what
he knew of the laws and operations of electricity.  But Hugh had
been long enough a pupil of David to feel that to talk at such a
time of anything in nature but God, would be to do the boy a serious
wrong.  One capable of so doing would, in the presence of the
Saviour himself, speculate on the nature of his own faith; or upon
the death of his child, seize the opportunity of lecturing on
anatomy.  But before Hugh could make any reply, a flash, almost
invisible from excess of light, was accompanied rather than followed
by a roar that made the house shake; and in a moment more the room
was filled with the terrified household, which, by an unreasoning
impulse, rushed to the neighbourhood of him who was considered the
strongest. -- Mr. Arnold was not at home.

"Come from the window instantly, Mr. Sutherland.  How can you be so
imprudent!" cried Mrs. Elton, her usually calm voice elevated in
command, but tremulous with fear.

"Why, Mrs. Elton," answered Hugh on whose temper, as well as
conduct, recent events had had their operation, "do you think the
devil makes the thunder?"

Lady Emily gave a faint shriek, whether out of reverence for the
devil, or fear of God, I hesitate to decide; and flitting out of the
room, dived into her bed, and drew the clothes over her head -- at
least so she was found at a later period of the day.  Euphra walked
up to the window beside Hugh, as if to show her approval of his
rudeness; and stood looking out with eyes that filled their own
night with home-born flashes, though her lip was pale, and quivered
a little.  Mrs. Elton, confounded at Hugh's reply, and perhaps
fearing the house might in consequence share the fate of Sodom,
notwithstanding the presence of a goodly proportion of the
righteous, fled, accompanied by the housekeeper, to the wine-cellar.
The rest of the household crept into corners, except the coachman,
who, retaining his composure, in virtue of a greater degree of
insensibility from his nearer approximation to the inanimate
creation, emptied the jug of ale intended for the dinner of the
company, and went out to look after his horses.

But there was one in the house who, left alone, threw the window
wide open; and, with gently clasped hands and calm countenance,
looked up into the heavens; and the clearness of whose eye seemed
the prophetic symbol of the clearness that rose all untroubled above
the turmoil of the earthly storm.  Truly God was in the storm; but
there was more of God in the clear heaven beyond; and yet more of
Him in the eye that regarded the whole with a still joy, in which
was mingled no dismay.

Euphra, Hugh, and Harry were left together, looking out upon the
storm.  Hugh could not speak in Harry's presence.  At length the boy
sat down in a dark corner on the floor, concealed from the others by
a window-curtain.  Hugh thought he had left the room.

"Euphra," he began.

Euphra looked round for Harry, and not seeing him, thought likewise
that he had left the room: she glided away without making any answer
to Hugh's invocation.

He stood for a few moments in motionless despair; then glancing
round the room, and taking in all its desertedness, caught up his
hat, and rushed out into the storm.  It was the best relief his
feelings could have had; for the sullen gloom, alternated with
bursts of flame, invasions of horrid uproar, and long wailing blasts
of tyrannous wind, gave him his own mood to walk in; met his spirit
with its own element; widened, as it were, his microcosm to the
expanse of the macrocosm around him.  All the walls of separation
were thrown down, and he lived, not in his own frame, but in the
universal frame of nature.  The world was for the time, to the
reality of his feeling, what Schleiermacher, in his Monologen,
describes it as being to man, an extension of the body in which he
dwells.  His spirit flashed in the lightning, raved in the thunder,
moaned in the wind, and wept in the rain.

But this could not last long, either without or within him.

He came to himself in the woods.  How far he had wandered, or
whereabout he was, he did not know.  The storm had died away, and
all that remained was the wind and the rain.  The tree-tops swayed
wildly in the irregular blasts, and shook new, fitful, distracted,
and momentary showers upon him.  It was evening, but what hour of
the evening he could not tell.  He was wet to the skin; but that to
a young Scotchman is a matter of little moment.

Although he had no intention of returning home for some time, and
meant especially to avoid the dinner-table -- for, in the mood he was
in, it seemed more than he could endure -- he yet felt the weakness to
which we are subject as embodied beings, in a common enough form;
that, namely, of the necessity of knowing the precise portion of
space which at the moment we fill; a conviction of our identity not
being sufficient to make us comfortable, without a knowledge of our
locality.  So, looking all about him, and finding where the wood
seemed thinnest, he went in that direction; and soon, by forcing his
way through obstacles of all salvage kinds, found himself in the
high road, within a quarter of a mile of the country town next to
Arnstead, removed from it about three miles.  This little town he
knew pretty well; and, beginning to feel exhausted, resolved to go
to an inn there, dry his clothes, and then walk back in the
moonlight; for he felt sure the storm would be quite over in an hour
or so.  The fatigue he now felt was proof enough in itself, that the
inward storm had, for the time, raved itself off; and now -- must it
be confessed? -- he wished very much for something to eat and drink.

He was soon seated by a blazing fire, with a chop and a jug of ale
before him.




CHAPTER XIV.

AN EVENING LECTURE.

     The Nightmare
Shall call thee when it walks.

MIDDLETON.--The Witch.


The inn to which Hugh had betaken himself, though not the first in
the town, was yet what is called a respectable house, and was
possessed of a room of considerable size, in which the farmers of
the neighbourhood were accustomed to hold their gatherings.  While
eating his dinner, Hugh learned from the conversation around
him -- for he sat in the kitchen for the sake of the fire -- that this
room was being got ready for a lecture on Bilology, as the landlady
called it.  Bills in red and blue had been posted all over the town;
and before he had finished his dinner, the audience had begun to
arrive.  Partly from curiosity about a subject of which he knew
nothing, and partly because it still rained, and, having got nearly
dry, he did not care about a second wetting if he could help it,
Hugh resolved to make one of them.  So he stood by the fire till he
was informed that the lecturer had made his appearance, when he went
up-stairs, paid his shilling, and was admitted to one of the front
seats.  The room was tolerably lighted with gas; and a platform had
been constructed for the lecturer and his subjects.  When the place
was about half-filled, he came from another room alone -- a little,
thick-set, bull-necked man, with vulgar face and rusty black
clothes; and, mounting the platform, commenced his lecture; if
lecture it could be called, in which there seemed to be no order,
and scarcely any sequence.  No attempt even at a theory, showed
itself in the mass of what he called facts and scientific truths;
and he perpeturated the most awful blunders in his English.  It will
not be desired that I should give any further account of such a
lecture.  The lecturer himself seemed to depend chiefly for his
success, upon the manifestations of his art which he proceeded to
bring forward.  He called his familiar by the name of Willi-am, and
a stunted, pale-faced, dull-looking youth started up from somewhere,
and scrambled upon the platform beside his master.  Upon this
tutored slave a number of experiments was performed.  He was first
cast into whatever abnormal condition is necessary for the
operations of biology, and then compelled to make a fool of himself
by exhibiting actions the most inconsistent with his real
circumstances and necessities.  But, aware that all this was open to
the most palpable objection of collusion, the operator next invited
any of the company that pleased, to submit themselves to his
influences.  After a pause of a few moments, a stout country fellow,
florid and healthy, got up and slouched to the platform.  Certainly,
whatever might be the nature of the influence that was brought to
bear, its operative power could not, with the least probability, be
attributed to an over-activity of imagination in either of the
subjects submitted to its exercise.  In the latter, as well as in
the former case, the operator was eminently successful; and the
clown returned to his seat, looking remarkably foolish and conscious
of disgrace -- a sufficient voucher to most present, that in this case
at least there had been no collusion.  Several others volunteered
their negative services; but with no one of them did he succeed so
well; and in one case the failure was evident.  The lecturer
pretended to account for this, in making some confused and
unintelligible remarks about the state of the weather, the
thunder-storm, electricity, &c., of which things he evidently did
not understand the best known laws.

"The blundering idiot!" growled, close to Hugh's ear, a voice with a
foreign accent.

He looked round sharply.

A tall, powerful, eminently handsome man, with a face as foreign as
his tone and accent, sat beside him.

"I beg your pardon," he said to Hugh; "I thought aloud."

"I should like to know, if you wouldn't mind telling me, what you
detect of the blunderer in him.  I am quite ignorant of these
matters."

"I have had many opportunities of observing them; and I see at once
that this man, though he has the natural power, is excessively
ignorant of the whole subject."

This was all the answer he vouchsafed to Hugh's modest inquiry.
Hugh had not yet learned that one will always fare better by
concealing than by acknowledging ignorance.  The man, whatever his
capacity, who honestly confesses even a partial ignorance, will
instantly be treated as more or less incapable, by the ordinary man
who has already gained a partial knowledge, or is capable of
assuming a knowledge which he does not possess.  But, for God's
sake! let the honest and modest man stick to his honesty and
modesty, cost what they may.

Hugh was silent, and fixed his attention once more on what was going
on.  But presently he became aware that the foreigner was
scrutinizing him with the closest attention.  He knew this, somehow,
without having looked round; and the knowledge was accompanied with
a feeling of discomfort that caused him to make a restless movement
on his seat.  Presently he felt that the annoyance had ceased; but
not many minutes had passed, before it again commenced.  In order to
relieve himself from a feeling which he could only compare to that
which might be produced by the presence of the dead, he turned
towards his neighbour so suddenly, that it seemed for a moment to
embarrass him, his eyes being caught in the very act of devouring
the stolen indulgence.  But the stranger recovered himself instantly
with the question:

"Will you permit me to ask of what country you are?"

Hugh thought he made the request only for the sake of covering his
rudeness; and so merely answered:

"Why, an Englishman, of course."

"Ah! yes; it is not necessary to be told that.  But it seems to me,
from your accent, that you are a Scotchman."

"So I am."

"A Highlander?"

"I was born in the Highlands.  But if you are very anxious to know
my pedigree, I have no reason for concealing the fact that I am, by
birth, half a Scotchman and half a Welchman."

The foreigner riveted his gaze, though but for the briefest moment
sufficient to justify its being called a gaze, once more upon Hugh;
and then, with a slight bow, as of acquiescence, turned towards the
lecturer.

When the lecture was over, and Hugh was walking away in the midst of
the withdrawing audience, the stranger touched him on the shoulder.

"You said that you would like to know more of this science: will you
come to my lodging?" said he.

"With pleasure," Hugh answered; though the look with which he
accompanied the words, must have been one rather of surprise.

"You are astonished that a stranger should invite you so.  Ah! you
English always demand an introduction.  There is mine."

He handed Hugh a card: Herr von Funkelstein.  Hugh happened to be
provided with one in exchange.

The two walked out of the inn, along the old High Street, full of
gables and all the delightful irregularities of an old country-town,
till they came to a court, down which Herr von Funkelstein led the
way.

He let himself in with a pass-key at a low door, and then conducted
Hugh, by a stair whose narrowness was equalled by its steepness, to
a room, which, though not many yards above the level of the court,
was yet next to the roof of the low house.  Hugh could see nothing
till his conductor lighted a candle.  Then he found himself in a
rather large room with a shaky floor and a low roof.  A
chintz-curtained bed in one corner had the skin of a tiger thrown
over it; and a table in another had a pair of foils lying upon it.
The German -- for such he seemed to Hugh -- offered him a chair in the
politest manner; and Hugh sat down.

"I am only in lodgings here," said the host; "so you will forgive
the poverty of my establishment."

"There is no occasion for forgiveness, I assure you," answered Hugh.

"You wished to know something of the subject with which that
lecturer was befooling himself and the audience at the same time."

"I shall be grateful for any enlightenment."

"Ah! it is a subject for the study of a benevolent scholar, not for
such a clown as that.  He jumps at no conclusions; yet he shares the
fate of one who does: he flounders in the mire between.  No man will
make anything of it who has not the benefit of the human race at
heart.  Humanity is the only safe guide in matters such as these.
This is a dangerous study indeed in unskilful hands."

Here a frightful caterwauling interrupted Herr von Funkelstein.  The
room had a storm-window, of which the lattice stood open.  In front
of it, on the roof, seen against a white house opposite, stood a
demon of a cat, arched to half its length, with a tail expanded to
double its natural thickness.  Its antagonist was invisible from
where Hugh sat.  Von Funkelstein started up without making the
slightest noise, trod as softly as a cat to the table, took up one
of the foils, removed the button, and, creeping close to the window,
made one rapid pass at the enemy, which vanished with a shriek of
hatred and fear.  He then, replacing the button, laid the foil down,
and resumed his seat and his discourse.  This, after dealing with
generalities and commonplaces for some time, gave no sign of coming
either to an end or to the point.  All the time he was watching
Hugh -- at least so Hugh thought -- as if speculating on him in general.
Then appearing to have come to some conclusion, he gave his mind
more to his talk, and encouraged Hugh to speak as well.  The
conversation lasted for nearly half an hour.  At its close, Hugh
felt that the stranger had touched upon a variety of interesting
subjects, as one possessed of a minute knowledge of them.  But he
did not feel that he had gained any insight from his conversation.
It seemed rather as if he had been giving him a number of
psychological, social, literary, and scientific receipts.  During
the course of the talk, his eye had appeared to rest on Hugh by a
kind of compulsion; as if by its own will it would have retired from
the scrutiny, but the will of its owner was too strong for it.  It
seemed, in relation to him, to be only a kind of tool, which he used
for a particular purpose.

At length Funkelstein rose, and, marching across the room to a
cupboard, brought out a bottle and glasses, saying, in the most
by-the-bye way, as he went:

"Have you the second-sight, Mr. Sutherland?"

"Certainly not, as far as I am aware."

"Ah! the Welch do have it, do they not?"

"Oh! yes, of course," answered Hugh laughing. "I should like to
know, though," he added, "whether they inherit the gift as Celts or
as mountaineers."

"Will you take a glass of -- ?"

"Of nothing, thank you," answered and interrupted Hugh. "It is time
for me to be going.  Indeed, I fear I have stayed too long already.
Good night, Herr von Funkelstein."

"You will allow me the honour of returning your visit?"

Hugh felt he could do no less, although he had not the smallest
desire to keep up the acquaintance.  He wrote Arnstead on his card.

As he left the house, he stumbled over something in the court.
Looking down, he saw it was a cat, apparently dead.

"Can it be the cat Herr Funkelstein made the pass at?" thought he.
But presently he forgot all about it, in the visions of Euphra
which filled his mind during his moonlight walk home.  It just
occurred to him, however, before those visions had blotted
everything else from his view, that he had learned simply nothing
whatever about biology from his late host.

When he reached home, he was admitted by the butler, and retired to
bed at once, where he slept soundly, for the first time for many
nights.

But, as he drew near his own room, he might have seen, though he saw
not, a little white figure gliding away in the far distance of the
long passage.  It was only Harry, who could not lie still in his
bed, till he knew that his big brother was safe at home.




CHAPTER XV.

ANOTHER EVENING LECTURE.

This Eneas is come to Paradise
Out of the swolowe of Hell.

CHAUCER.--Legend of Dido.

The next day, Hugh was determined to find or make an opportunity of
speaking to Euphra; and fortune seemed to favour him. -- Or was it
Euphra herself, in one or other of her inexplicable moods?  At all
events, she had that morning allowed the ladies and her uncle to go
without her; and Hugh met her as he went to his study.

"May I speak to you for one moment?" said he, hurriedly, and with
trembling lips.

"Yes, certainly," she replied with a smile, and a glance in his face
as of wonder as to what could trouble him so much.  Then turning,
and leading the way, she said:

"Come into my room."

He followed her.  She turned and shut the door, which he had left
open behind him.  He almost knelt to her; but something held him
back from that.

"Euphra," he said, "what have I done to offend you?"

"Offend me!  Nothing." -- This was uttered in a perfect tone of
surprise.

"How is it that you avoid me as you do, and will not allow me one
moment's speech with you?  You are driving me to distraction."

"Why, you foolish man!" she answered, half playfully, pressing the
palms of her little hands together, and looking up in his face, "how
can I?  Don't you see how those two dear old ladies swallow me up in
their faddles?  Oh, dear!  Oh, dear!  I wish they would go.  Then it
would be all right again -- wouldn't it?"

But Hugh was not to be so easily satisfied.

"Before they came, ever since that night --"

"Hush-sh!" she interrupted, putting her finger on his lips, and
looking hurriedly round her with an air of fright, of which he could
hardly judge whether it was real or assumed -- "hush!"

Comforted wondrously by the hushing finger, Hugh would yet
understand more.

"I am no baby, dear Euphra," he said, taking hold of the hand to
which the finger belonged, and laying it on his mouth; "do not make
one of me.  There is some mystery in all this -- at least something I
do not understand."

"I will tell you all about it one day.  But, seriously, you must be
careful how you behave to me; for if my uncle should, but for one
moment, entertain a suspicion -- good-bye to you -- perhaps good-bye to
Arnstead.  All my influence with him comes from his thinking that I
like him better than anybody else.  So you must not make the poor
old man jealous.  By the bye," she went on -- rapidly, as if she would
turn the current of the conversation aside -- "what a favourite you
have grown with him!  You should have heard him talk of you to the
old ladies.  I might well be jealous of you.  There never was a
tutor like his."

Hugh's heart smote him that the praise of even this common man,
proud of his own vanity, should be undeserved by him.  He was
troubled, too, at the flippancy with which Euphra spoke; yet not the
less did he feel that he loved her passionately.

"I daresay," he replied, "he praised me as he would anything else
that happened to be his.  Isn't that old bay horse of his the best
hack in the county?"

"You naughty man!  Are you going to be satirical?"

"You claim that as your privilege, do you?"

"Worse and worse!  I will not talk to you.  But, seriously, for I
must go -- bring your Italian to -- to --" She hesitated.

"To the library -- why not?" suggested Hugh.

"No-o," she answered, shaking her head, and looking quite solemn.

"Well, will you come to my study?  Will that please you better?"

"Yes, I will," she answered, with a definitive tone. "Good-bye,
now."

She opened the door, and having looked out to see that no one was
passing, told him to go.  As he went, he felt as if the oaken floor
were elastic beneath his tread.

It was sometime after the household had retired, however, before
Euphra made her appearance at the door of his study.  She seemed
rather shy of entering, and hesitated, as if she felt she was doing
something she ought not to do.  But as soon as she had entered, and
the door was shut, she appeared to recover herself quite; and they
sat down at the table with their books.  They could not get on very
well with their reading, however.  Hugh often forgot what he was
about, in looking at her; and she seemed nowise inclined to avert
his gazes, or check the growth of his admiration.

Rather abruptly, but apparently starting from some suggestion in the
book, she said to him:

"By the bye, has Mr. Arnold ever said anything to you about the
family jewels?"

"No," said Hugh. "Are there many?"

"Yes, a great many.  Mr. Arnold is very proud of them, as well as of
the portraits; so he treats them in the same way -- keeps them locked
up.  Indeed he seldom allows them to see daylight, except it be as a
mark of especial favour to some one."

"I should like much to see them.  I have always been curious about
stones.  They are wonderful, mysterious things to me."

Euphra gave him a very peculiar, searching glance, as he spoke.

"Shall I," he continued, "give him a hint that I should like to see
them?"

"By no means," answered Euphra, emphatically, "except he should
refer to them himself.  He is very jealous of his possessions -- his
family possessions, I mean.  Poor old man! he has not much else to
plume himself upon; has he?"

"He is kind to you, Euphra."

She looked at him as if she did not understand him.

"Yes. What then?"

"You ought not to be unkind to him."

"You odd creature!  I am not unkind to him.  I like him.  But we are
not getting on with our reading.  What could have led me to talk
about family-jewels?  Oh!  I see.  What a strange thing the
association of ideas is!  There is not a very obvious connexion
here; is there?"

"No. One cannot account for such things.  The links in the chain of
ideas are sometimes slender enough.  Yet the slenderest is
sufficient to enable the electric flash of thought to pass along the
line."

She seemed pondering for a moment.

"That strikes me as a fine simile," she said. "You ought to be a
poet yourself."

Hugh made no reply.

"I daresay you have hundreds of poems in that old desk, now?"

"I think they might be counted by tens."

"Do let me see them."

"You would not care for them."

"Wouldn't I, Hugh?"

"I will, on one condition -- two conditions, I mean."

"What are they?"

"One is, that you show me yours."

"Mine?"

"Yes."

"Who told you I wrote verses?  That silly boy?"

"No -- I saw your verses before I saw you.  You remember?"

"It was very dishonourable in you to read them."

"I only saw they were verses.  I did not read a word."

"I forgive you, then.  You must show me yours first, till I see
whether I could venture to let you see mine.  If yours were very bad
indeed, then I might risk showing mine."

And much more of this sort, with which I will not weary my readers.
It ended in Hugh's taking from the old escritoire a bundle of
papers, and handing them to Euphra.  But the reader need not fear
that I am going to print any of these verses.  I have more respect
for my honest prose page than to break it up so.  Indeed, the whole
of this interview might have been omitted, but for two
circumstances.  One of them was, that in getting these papers, Hugh
had to open a concealed portion of the escritoire, which his
mathematical knowledge had enabled him to discover.  It had
evidently not been opened for many years before he found it.  He had
made use of it to hold the only treasures he had -- poor enough
treasures, certainly!  Not a loving note, not a lock of hair even
had he -- nothing but the few cobwebs spun from his own brain.  It is
true, we are rich or poor according to what we are, not what we
have.  But what a man has produced, is not what he is.  He may even
impoverish his true self by production.

When Euphra saw him open this place, she uttered a suppressed cry of
astonishment.

"Ah!" said Hugh, "you did not know of this hidie-hole, did you?"

"Indeed, I did not.  I had used the desk myself, for this was a
favourite room of mine before you came, but I never found that.
Dear me!  Let me look."

She put her hand on his shoulder and leaned over him, as he pointed
out the way of opening it.

"Did you find nothing in it?" she said, with a slight tremour in her
voice.

"Nothing whatever."

"There may be more places."

"No. I have accounted for the whole bulk, I believe."

"How strange!"

"But now you must give me my guerdon," said Hugh timidly.

The fact was, the poor youth had bargained, in a playful manner, and
yet with an earnest, covetous heart, for one, the first kiss, in
return for the poems she begged to see.

She turned her face towards him.

The second circumstance which makes the interview worth recording
is, that, at this moment, three distinct knocks were heard on the
window.  They sprang asunder, and saw each other's face pale as
death.  In Euphra's, the expression of fright was mingled with one
of annoyance.  Hugh, though his heart trembled like a bird, leaped
to the window.  Nothing was to be seen but the trees that "stretched
their dark arms" within a few feet of the oriel.  Turning again
towards Euphra, he found, to his mortification, that she had
vanished -- and had left the packet of poems behind her.

He replaced them in their old quarters in the escritoire; and his
vague dismay at the unaccountable noises, was drowned in the bitter
waters of miserable humiliation.  He slept at last, from the
exhaustion of disappointment.

When he awoke, however, he tried to persuade himself that he had
made far too much of the trifling circumstance of her leaving the
verses behind.  For was she not terrified? -- Why, then, did she leave
him and go alone to her own room? -- She must have felt that she ought
not to be in his, at that hour, and therefore dared not stay. -- Why
dared not?  Did she think the house was haunted by a ghost of
propriety?  What rational theory could he invent to account for the
strange and repeated sounds? -- He puzzled himself over it to the
verge of absolute intellectual prostration.

He was generally the first in the breakfast-room; that is, after
Euphra, who was always the first.  She went up to him as he entered,
and said, almost in a whisper:

"Have you got the poems for me?  Quick!"

Hugh hesitated.  She looked at him.

"No," he said at last. -- "You never wanted them."

"That is very unkind; when you know I was frightened out of my wits.
Do give me them."

"They are not worth giving you.  Besides, I have not got them.  I
don't carry them in my pocket.  They are in the escritoire.  I
couldn't leave them lying about.  Never mind them."

"I have a right to them," she said, looking up at him slyly and
shyly.

"Well, I gave you them, and you did not think them worth keeping.  I
kept my part of the bargain."

She looked annoyed.

"Never mind, dear Euphra; you shall have them, or anything else I
have; -- the brain that made them, if you like."

"Was it only the brain that had to do with the making of them?"

"Perhaps the heart too; but you have that already."

Her face flushed like a damask rose.

At that moment Mrs. Elton entered, and looked a little surprised.
Euphra instantly said:

"I think it is rather too bad of you, Mr. Sutherland, to keep the
poor boy so hard to his work, when you know he is not strong.  Mrs.
Elton, I have been begging a holiday for poor Harry, to let him go
with us to Wotton House; but he has such a hard task-master!  He
will not hear of it."

The flush, which she could not get rid of all at once, was thus made
to do duty as one of displeasure.  Mrs. Elton was thoroughly
deceived, and united her entreaties to those of Miss Cameron.  Hugh
was compelled to join in the deception, and pretend to yield a slow
consent.  Thus a holiday was extemporised for Harry, subject to the
approbation of his father.  This was readily granted; and Mr.
Arnold, turning to Hugh, said:

"You will have nothing to do, Mr. Sutherland: had you not better
join us?"

"With pleasure," replied he; "but the carriage will be full."

"You can take your horse."

"Thank you very much.  I will."

The day was delightful; one of those grey summer-days, that are far
better for an excursion than bright ones.  In the best of spirits,
mounted on a good horse, riding alongside of the carriage in which
was the lady who was all womankind to him, and who, without taking
much notice of him, yet contrived to throw him a glance now and
then, Hugh would have been overflowingly happy, but for an unquiet,
distressed feeling, which all the time made him aware of the
presence of a sick conscience somewhere within.  Mr. Arnold was
exceedingly pleasant, for he was much taken with the sweetness and
modesty of Lady Emily, who, having no strong opinions upon anything,
received those of Mr. Arnold with attentive submission.  He saw, or
fancied he saw in her, a great resemblance to his deceased wife, to
whom he had been as sincerely attached as his nature would allow.
In fact, Lady Emily advanced so rapidly in his good graces, that
either Euphra was, or thought fit to appear, rather jealous of her.
She paid her every attention, however, and seemed to gratify Mr.
Arnold by her care of the invalid.  She even joined in the
entreaties which, on their way home, he made with evident
earnestness, for an extension of their visit to a month.  Lady Emily
was already so much better for the change, that Mrs. Elton made no
objection to the proposal.  Euphra gave Hugh one look of misery,
and, turning again, insisted with increased warmth on their
immediate consent.  It was gained without much difficulty before
they reached home.

Harry, too, was captivated by the gentle kindness of Lady Emily, and
hardly took his eyes off her all the way; while, on the other hand,
his delicate little attentions had already gained the heart of good
Mrs. Elton, who from the first had remarked and pitied the sad looks
of the boy.




CHAPTER XVI.

A NEW VISITOR AND AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE.

     He's enough
To bring a woman to confusion,
More than a wiser man, or a far greater.

MIDDLETON.--The Witch.


When they reached the lodge, Lady Emily expressed a wish to walk up
the avenue to the house.  To this Mr. Arnold gladly consented.  The
carriage was sent round the back way; and Hugh, dismounting, gave
his horse to the footman in attendance.  As they drew near the
house, the rest of the party having stopped to look at an old tree
which was a favourite with its owner, Hugh and Harry were some yards
in advance; when the former spied, approaching them from the house,
the distinguished figure of Herr von Funkelstein.  Saluting as they
met, the visitor informed Hugh that he had just been leaving his
card for him, and would call some other morning soon; for, as he was
rusticating, he had little to occupy him.  Hugh turned with him
towards the rest of the party, who were now close at hand; when
Funkelstein exclaimed, in a tone of surprise,

"What!  Miss Cameron here!" and advanced with a profound obeisance,
holding his hat in his hand.

Hugh thought he saw her look annoyed; but she held out her hand to
him, and, in a voice indicating -- still as it appeared to Hugh -- some
reluctance, introduced him to her uncle, with the words:

"We met at Sir Edward Laston's, when I was visiting Mrs. Elkingham,
two years ago, uncle."

Mr. Arnold lifted his hat and bowed politely to the stranger.  Had
Euphra informed him that, although a person of considerable
influence in Sir Edward's household, Herr von Funkelstein had his
standing there only as Sir Edward's private secretary, Mr. Arnold's
aversion to foreigners generally would not have been so scrupulously
banished into the background of his behaviour.  Ordinary civilities
passed between them, marked by an air of flattering deference on
Funkelstein's part, which might have been disagreeable to a man less
uninterruptedly conscious of his own importance than Mr. Arnold; and
the new visitor turned once more, as if forgetful of his previous
direction, and accompanied them towards the house.  Before they
reached it he had, even in that short space, ingratiated himself so
far with Mr. Arnold, that he asked him to stay and dine with
them -- an invitation which was accepted with manifest pleasure.

"Mr. Sutherland," said Mr. Arnold, "will you show your friend
anything worth note about the place?  He has kindly consented to
dine with us; and in the meantime I have some letters to write."

"With pleasure," answered Hugh.

But all this time he had been inwardly commenting on the appearance
of his friend, as Mr. Arnold called him, with the jealousy of a
youth in love; for was not Funkelstein an old acquaintance of Miss
Cameron?  What might not have passed between them in that old hidden
time? -- for love is jealous of the past as well as of the future.
Love, as well as metaphysics, has a lasting quarrel with time and
space: the lower love fears them, while the higher defies them. -- And
he could not help seeing that Funkelstein was one to win favour in
ladies' eyes.  Very regular features and a dark complexion were
lighted up by eyes as black as Euphra's, and capable of a wonderful
play of light; while his form was remarkable for strength and
symmetry.  Hugh felt that in any company he would attract immediate
attention.  His long dark beard, of which just the centre was
removed to expose a finely-turned chin, blew over each shoulder as
often as they met the wind in going round the house.  From what I
have heard of him from other deponents besides Hugh, I should judge
that he did well to conceal the lines of his mouth in a long
moustache, which flowed into his bifurcated beard.  He had just
enough of the foreign in his dress to add to the appearance of
fashion which it bore.

As they walked, Hugh could not help observing an odd peculiarity in
the carriage of his companion.  It was, that, every few steps, he
gave a backward and downward glance to the right, with a sweeping
bend of his body, as if he were trying to get a view of the calf of
his leg, or as if he fancied he felt something trailing at his foot.
So probable, from his motion, did the latter supposition seem, that
Hugh changed sides to satisfy himself whether or not there was some
dragging briar or straw annoying him; but no follower was to be
discovered.

"You are a happy man, Mr. Sutherland," said the guest, "to live
under the same roof with that beautiful Miss Cameron."

"Am I?" thought Hugh; but he only said, affecting some surprise:

"Do you think her so beautiful?"

Funkelstein's eyes were fixed upon him, as if to see the effect of
his remark.  Hugh felt them, and could not conform his face to the
indifference of his words.  But his companion only answered
indifferently:

"Well, I should say so; but beauty is not, that is not beauty for
us."

Whether or not there was poison in the fork of this remark, Hugh
could only conjecture.  He made no reply.

As they walked about the precincts of the house, Funkelstein asked
many questions of Hugh, which his entire ignorance of domestic
architecture made it impossible for him to answer.  This seemed only
to excite the questioner's desire for information to a higher pitch;
and as if the very stones could reply to his demands, he examined
the whole range of the various buildings constituting the house of
Arnstead "as he would draw it."

"Certainly," said he, "there is at least variety enough in the style
of this mass of material.  There is enough for one pyramid."

"That would be rather at the expense of the variety, would it not?"
said Hugh, in spiteful response to the inconsequence of the second
member of Funkelstein's remark.  But the latter was apparently too
much absorbed in his continued inspection of the house, from every
attainable point of near view, to heed the comment.

"This they call the Ghost's Walk," said Hugh.

"Ah! about these old houses there are always such tales."

"What sort of tales do you mean?"

"I mean of particular spots and their ghosts.  You must have heard
many such?"

"No, not I."

"I think Germany is more prolific of such stories.  I could tell you
plenty."

"But you don't mean you believe such things?"

"To me it is equal.  I look at them entirely as objects of art."

"That is a new view of a ghost to me.  An object of art?  I should
have thought them considerably more suitable objects previous to
their disembodiment."

"Ah! you do not understand.  You call art painting, don't you -- or
sculpture at most?  I give up sculpture certainly -- and painting too.
But don't you think a ghost a very effective object in literature
now?  Confess: do you not like a ghost-story very much?"

"Yes, if it is a very good one."

"Hamlet now?"

"Ah! we don't speak of Shakspere's plays as stories.  His characters
are so real to us, that, in thinking of their development, we go
back even to their fathers and mothers -- and sometimes even speculate
about their future."

"You islanders are always in earnest somehow.  So are we Germans.
We are all one."

"I hope you can be in earnest about dinner, then, for I hear the
bell."

"We must render ourselves in the drawing-room, then?  Yes."

When they entered the drawing-room, they found Miss Cameron alone.
Funkelstein advanced, and addressed a few words to her in German,
which Hugh's limited acquaintance with the language prevented him
from catching.  At the same moment, Mr. Arnold entered, and
Funkelstein, turning to him immediately, proceeded, as if by way of
apology for speaking in an unknown tongue, to interpret for Mr.
Arnold's benefit:

"I have just been telling Miss Cameron in the language of my
country, how much better she looks than when I saw her at Sir Edward
Lastons."

"I know I was quite a scare-crow then," said Euphra, attempting to
laugh.

"And now you are quite a decoy-duck, eh, Euphra?" said Mr. Arnold,
laughing in reality at his own joke, which put him in great
good-humour for the whole time of dinner and dessert.

"Thank you, uncle," said Euphra, with a prettily pretended
affectation of humility.  Then she added gaily:

"When did you rise on our Sussex horizon, Herr von Funkelstein?"

"Oh!  I have been in the neighbourhood for a few days; but I owe my
meeting with you to one of those coincidences which, were they not
so pleasant -- to me in this case, at least -- one would think could
only result from the blundering of old Dame Nature over her
knitting.  If I had not had the good fortune to meet Mr. Sutherland
the other evening, I should have remained in utter ignorance of your
neighbourhood and my own felicity, Miss Cameron.  Indeed, I called
now to see him, not you."

Hugh saw Mr. Arnold looking rather doubtful of the foreigner's fine
speeches.

Dinner was announced.  Funkelstein took Miss Cameron, Hugh Mrs.
Elton, and Mr. Arnold followed with Lady Emily, who would never
precede her older friend.  Hugh tried to talk to Mrs. Elton, but
with meagre success.  He was suddenly a nobody, and felt more than
he had felt for a long time what, in his present deteriorated moral
state, he considered the degradation of his position.  A gulf seemed
to have suddenly yawned between himself and Euphra, and the loudest
voice of his despairing agony could not reach across that gulf.  An
awful conviction awoke within him, that the woman he worshipped
would scarcely receive his worship at the worth of incense now; and
yet in spirit he fell down grovelling before his idol.  The words
"euphrasy and rue" kept ringing in his brain, coming over and over
with an awful mingling of chime and toll.  When he thought about it
afterwards, he seemed to have been a year in crossing the hall with
Mrs. Elton on his arm.  But as if divining his thoughts -- just as
they passed through the dining-room door, Euphra looked round at
him, almost over Funkelstein's shoulder, and, without putting into
her face the least expression discernible by either of the others
following, contrived to banish for the time all Hugh's despair, and
to convince him that he had nothing to fear from Funkelstein.  How
it was done Hugh himself could not tell.  He could not even recall
the look.  He only knew that he had been as miserable as one waking
in his coffin, and that now he was out in the sunny air.

During dinner, Funkelstein paid no very particular attention to
Euphrasia, but was remarkably polite to Lady Emily.  She seemed
hardly to know how to receive his attentions, but to regard him as a
strange animal, which she did not know how to treat, and of which
she was a little afraid.  Mrs. Elton, on the contrary, appeared to
be delighted with his behaviour and conversation; for, without
showing the least originality, he yet had seen so much, and knew so
well how to bring out what he had seen, that he was a most
interesting companion.  Hugh took little share in the conversation
beyond listening as well as he could, to prevent himself from gazing
too much at Euphra.

"Had Mr. Sutherland and you been old acquaintances then, Herr von
Funkelstein?" asked Mr. Arnold, reverting to the conversation which
had been interrupted by the announcement of dinner.

"Not at all.  We met quite accidentally, and introduced ourselves.
I believe a thunderstorm and a lecture on biology were the
mediating parties between us.  Was it not so, Mr. Sutherland?"

"I beg your pardon," stammered Hugh. But Mr. Arnold interposed:

"A lecture on what, did you say?"

"On biology."

Mr. Arnold looked posed.  He did not like to say he did not know
what the word meant; for, like many more ignorant men, he thought
such a confession humiliating.  Von Funkelstein hastened to his
relief.

"It would be rather surprising if you were acquainted with the
subject, Mr. Arnold.  I fear to explain it to you, lest both Mr.
Sutherland and myself should sink irrecoverably in your estimation.
But young men want to know all that is going on."

Herr Funkelstein was not exactly what one would call a young man;
but, as he chose to do so himself, there was no one to dispute the
classification.


"Oh! of course," replied Mr. Arnold; "quite right.  What, then,
pray, is biology?"

"A science, falsely so called," said Hugh, who, waking up a little,
wanted to join in the conversation.

"What does the word mean?" said Mr. Arnold.

Von Funkelstein answered at once:

"The science of life.  But I must say, the name, as now applied, is
no indication of the thing signified."

"How, then, is a gentleman to know what it is?" said Mr. Arnold,
half pettishly, and forgetting that his knowledge had not extended
even to the interpretation of the name.

"It is one of the sciences, true or false, connected with animal
magnetism."

"Bah!" exclaimed Mr. Arnold, rather rudely.

"You would have said so, if you had heard the lecture," said
Funkelstein.

The conversation had not taken this turn till quite late in the
dining ceremony.  Euphra rose to go; and Hugh remarked that her face
was dreadfully pale.  But she walked steadily out of the room.

This interrupted the course of the talk, and the subject was not
resumed.  Immediately after tea, which was served very soon,
Funkelstein took his leave of the ladies.

"We shall be glad to see you often while in this neighbourhood,"
said Mr. Arnold, as he bade him good night.

"I shall, without fail, do myself the honour of calling again soon,"
replied he, and bowed himself out.

Lady Emily, evidently relieved by his departure, rose, and,
approaching Euphra, said, in a sweet coaxing tone, which even she
could hardly have resisted:

"Dear Miss Cameron, you promised to sing, for me in particular, some
evening.  May I claim the fulfilment of your promise?"

Euphra had recovered her complexion, and she too seemed to Hugh to
be relieved by the departure of Funkelstein.

"Certainly," she answered, rising at once. "What shall I sing?"

Hugh was all ear now.

"Something sacred, if you please."

Euphra hesitated, but not long.

"Shall I sing Mozart's Agnus Dei, then?"

Lady Emily hesitated in her turn.

"I should prefer something else.  I don't approve of singing popish
music, however beautiful it may be."

"Well, what shall it be?"

"Something of Handel or Mendelssohn, please.  Do you sing, 'I know
that my Redeemer liveth?'"

"I daresay I can sing it," replied Euphra, with some petulance; and
went to the piano.

This was a favourite air with Hugh; and he placed himself so as to
see the singer without being seen himself, and to lose no slightest
modulation of her voice.  But what was his disappointment to find
that oratorio-music was just what Euphra was incapable of!  No doubt
she sang it quite correctly; but there was no religion in it.  Not a
single tone worshipped or rejoiced.  The quality of sound necessary
to express the feeling and thought of the composer was lacking: the
palace of sound was all right constructed, but of wrong material.
Euphra, however, was quite unconscious of failure.  She did not
care for the music; but she attributed her lack of interest in it to
the music itself, never dreaming that, in fact, she had never really
heard it, having no inner ear for its deeper harmonies.  As soon as
she had finished, Lady Emily thanked her, but did not praise her
more than by saying:

"I wish I had a voice like yours, Miss Cameron."

"I daresay you have a better of your own," said Euphra, falsely.

Lady Emily laughed.

"It is the poorest little voice you ever heard; yet I confess I am
glad, for my own sake, that I have even that.  What should I do if I
never heard Handel!"

Every simple mind has a little well of beauty somewhere in its
precincts, which flows and warbles, even when the owner is
unheedful.  The religion of Lady Emily had led her into a region far
beyond the reach of her intellect, in which there sprang a constant
fountain of sacred song.  To it she owed her highest moods.

"Then Handel is your musician?" said Euphra. "You should not have
put me to such a test.  It was very unfair of you, Lady Emily."

Lady Emily laughed, as if quite amused at the idea of having done
Euphra any wrong.  Euphra added:

"You must sing now, Lady Emily.  You cannot refuse, after the
admission you have just made."

"I confess it is only fair; but I warn you to expect nothing."

She took her place at the piano, and sang -- He shall feed his flock.
Her health had improved so much during her sojourn at Arnstead,
that, when she began to sing, the quantity of her voice surprised
herself; but after all, it was a poor voice; and the execution, if
clear of any great faults, made no other pretence to merit.  Yet she
effected the end of the music, the very result which every musician
would most desire, wherein Euphra had failed utterly.  This was
worthy of note, and Hugh was not even yet too blind to perceive it.
Lady Emily, with very ordinary intellect, and paltry religious
opinions, yet because she was good herself, and religious -- could, in
the reproduction of the highest kind of music, greatly surpass the
spirited, intellectual musician, whose voice was as superior to hers
as a nightingale's to a sparrow's, and whose knowledge of music and
musical power generally, surpassed hers beyond all comparison.

It must be allowed for Euphra, that she seemed to have gained some
perception of the fact.  Perhaps she had seen signs of emotion in
Hugh's face, which he had shaded with his hand as Lady Emily sang;
or perhaps the singing produced in her a feeling which she had not
had when singing herself.  All I know is, that the same night -- while
Hugh was walking up and down his room, meditating on this defect of
Euphra's, and yet feeling that if she could sing only devil's music,
he must love her -- a tap came to the door which made him start with
the suggestion of the former mysterious noises of a similar kind;
that he sprang to the door; and that, instead of looking out on a
vacant corridor, as he all but anticipated, he saw Euphra standing
there in the dark -- who said in a whisper:

"Ah! you do not love me any longer, because Lady Emily can sing
psalms better than I can!"

There was both pathos and spite in the speech.

"Come in, Euphra."

"No. I am afraid I have been very naughty in coming here at all."

"Do come in.  I want you to tell me something about Funkelstein."

"What do you want to know about him?  I suppose you are jealous of
him.  Ah! you men can both be jealous and make jealous at the same
moment."  A little broken sigh followed.  Hugh answered:

"I only want to know what he is."

"Oh! some twentieth cousin of mine."

"Mr. Arnold does not know that?"

"Oh dear! no.  It is so far off I can't count it, In fact I doubt it
altogether.  It must date centuries back."

"His intimacy, then, is not to be accounted for by his
relationship?"

"Ah! ah!  I thought so.  Jealous of the poor count!"

"Count?"

"Oh dear! what does it matter?  He doesn't like to be called Count,
because all foreigners are counts or barons, or something equally
distinguished.  I oughtn't to have let it out."

"Never mind.  Tell me something about him."

"He is a Bohemian.  I met him first, some years ago, on the
continent."

"Then that was not your first meeting -- at Sir Edward Laston's?"

"No."

"How candid she is!" thought Hugh.

"He calls me his cousin; but if he be mine, he is yet more Mr.
Arnold's.  But he does not want it mentioned yet.  I am sure I don't
know why."

"Is he in love with you?"

"How can I tell?" she answered archly. "By his being very jealous?
Is that the way to know whether a man is in love with one?  But if
he is in love with me, it does not follow that I am in love with
him -- does it?  Confess.  Am I not very good to answer all your
impertinent downright questions?  They are as point blank as the
church-catechism; -- mind, I don't say as rude. -- How can I be in love
with two at -- a -- ?"

She seemed to cheek herself.  But Hugh had heard enough -- as she had
intended he should.  She turned instantly, and sped -- surrounded by
the "low melodious thunder" of her silken garments -- to her own door,
where she vanished noiselessly.

"What care I for oratorios?" said Hugh to himself, as he put the
light out, towards morning.

Where was all this to end?  What goal had Hugh set himself?  Could
he not go away, and achieve renown in one of many ways, and return
fit, in the eyes of the world, to claim the hand of Miss Cameron?
But would he marry her if he could?  He would not answer the
question.  He closed the ears of his heart to it, and tried to go to
sleep.  He slept, and dreamed of Margaret in the storm.

A few days passed without anything occurring sufficiently marked for
relation.  Euphra and he seemed satisfied without meeting in
private.  Perhaps both were afraid of carrying it too far; at least,
too far to keep clear of the risk of discovery, seeing that danger
was at present greater than usual.  Mr. Arnold continued to be
thoroughly attentive to his guests, and became more and more devoted
to Lady Emily.  There was no saying where it might end; for he was
not an old man yet, and Lady Emily appeared to have no special
admirers.  Arnstead was such an abode, and surrounded with such an
estate, as few even of the nobility could call their own.  And a
reminiscence of his first wife seemed to haunt all Mr. Arnold's
contemplations of Lady Emily, and all his attentions to her.  These
were delicate in the extreme, evidently bringing out the best life
that yet remained in a heart that was almost a fossil.  Hugh made
some fresh efforts to do his duty by Harry, and so far succeeded,
that at least the boy made some progress -- evident enough to the
moderate expectations of his father.  But what helped Harry as much
as anything, was the motherly kindness, even tenderness, of good
Mrs. Elton, who often had him to sit with her in her own room.  To
her he generally fled for refuge, when he felt deserted and lonely.




CHAPTER XVII.

MATERIALISM alias GHOST-HUNTING.

Wie der Mond sich leuchtend dranget
Durch den dunkeln Wolkenflor,
Also taucht aus dunkeln Zeiten
Mir ein lichtes Bild hervor.

HEINRICH HEINE


As the moon her face advances
Through the darkened cloudy veil;
So, from darkened times arising,
Dawns on me a vision pale.

In consequence of what Euphra had caused him to believe without
saying it, Hugh felt more friendly towards his new acquaintance; and
happening -- on his side at least it did happen -- to meet him a few
days after, walking in the neighbourhood, he joined him in a stroll.
Mr. Arnold met them on horseback, and invited Von Funkelstein to
dine with them that evening, to which he willingly consented.  It
was noticeable that no sooner was the count within the doors of
Arnstead House, than he behaved with cordiality to every one of the
company except Hugh. With him he made no approach to familiarity of
any kind, treating him, on the contrary, with studious politeness.

In the course of the dinner, Mr. Arnold said:

"It is curious, Herr von Funkelstein, how often, if you meet with
something new to you, you fall in with it again almost immediately.
I found an article on Biology in the newspaper, the very day after
our conversation on the subject.  But absurd as the whole thing is,
it is quite surpassed by a letter in to-day's Times about
spirit-rapping and mediums, and what not!"

This observation of the host at once opened the whole question of
those physico-psychological phenomena to which the name of
spiritualism has been so absurdly applied.  Mr. Arnold was profound
in his contempt of the whole system, if not very profound in his
arguments against it.  Every one had something to remark in
opposition to the notions which were so rapidly gaining ground in
the country, except Funkelstein, who maintained a rigid silence.

This silence could not continue long without attracting the
attention of the rest of the party; upon which Mr. Arnold said:

"You have not given us your opinion on the subject, Herr von
Funkelstein."

"I have not, Mr. Arnold; -- I should not like to encounter the
opposition of so many fair adversaries, as well as of my host."

"We are in England, sir; and every man is at liberty to say what he
thinks.  For my part, I think it all absurd, if not improper."

"I would not willingly differ from you, Mr. Arnold.  And I confess
that a great deal that finds its way into the public prints, does
seem very ridiculous indeed; but I am bound, for truth's sake, to
say, that I have seen more than I can account for, in that kind of
thing.  There are strange stories connected with my own family,
which, perhaps, incline me to believe in the supernatural; and,
indeed, without making the smallest pretence to the dignity of what
they call a medium, I have myself had some curious experiences.  I
fear I have some natural proclivity towards what you despise.  But I
beg that my statement of my own feelings on the subject, may not
interfere in the least with the prosecution of the present
conversation; for I am quite capable of drawing pleasure from
listening to what I am unable to agree with."

"But let us hear your arguments, strengthened by your facts, in
opposition to ours; for it will be impossible to talk with a silent
judge amongst us," Hugh ventured to say.

"I set up for no judge, Mr. Sutherland, I assure you; and perhaps I
shall do my opinions more justice by remaining silent, seeing I am
conscious of utter inability to answer the a priori arguments which
you in particular have brought against them.  All I would venture to
say is, that an a priori argument may owe its force to a mistaken
hypothesis with regard to the matter in question; and that the true
Baconian method, which is the glory of your English philosophy,
would be to inquire first what the thing is, by recording
observations and experiments made in its supposed direction."

"At least Herr von Funkelstein has the best of the argument now, I
am compelled to confess," said Hugh.

Funkelstein bowed stiffly, and was silent.

"You rouse our curiosity," said Mr. Arnold; "but I fear, after the
free utterance which we have already given to our own judgments, in
ignorance, of course, of your greater experience, you will not be
inclined to make us wiser by communicating any of the said
experience, however much we may desire to hear it."

Had he been speaking to one of less evident social standing than
Funkelstein, Mr. Arnold, if dying with curiosity, would not have
expressed the least wish to be made acquainted with his experiences.
He would have sat in apparent indifference, but in real anxiety
that some one else would draw him out, and thus gratify his
curiosity without endangering his dignity.

"I do not think," replied Funkelstein, "that it is of any use to
bring testimony to bear on such a matter.  I have seen -- to use the
words of some one else, I forget whom, on a similar subject -- I have
seen with my own eyes what I certainly should never have believed on
the testimony of another.  Consequently, I have no right to expect
that my testimony should be received.  Besides, I do not wish it to
be received, although I confess I shrink from presenting it with a
certainty of its being rejected.  I have no wish to make converts to
my opinions."

"Really, Herr von Funkelstein, at the risk of your considering me
importunate, I would beg --"

"Excuse me, Mr. Arnold.  The recital of some of the matters to which
you refer, would not only be painful to myself, but would be
agitating to the ladies present."

"In that case, I have only to beg your pardon for pressing the
matter -- I hope no further than to the verge of incivility."

"In no degree approaching it, I assure you, Mr. Arnold.  In proof
that I do not think so, I am ready, if you wish it -- although I
rather dread the possible effects on the nerves of the ladies,
especially as this is an old house -- to repeat, with the aid of those
present, certain experiments which I have sometimes found perhaps
only too successful."

"Oh!  I don't," said Euphra, faintly.

An expression of the opposite desire followed, however, from the
other ladies.  Their curiosity seemed to strive with their fears,
and to overcome them.

"I hope we shall have nothing to do with it in any other way than
merely as spectators?" said Mrs. Elton.

"Nothing more than you please.  It is doubtful if you can even be
spectators.  That remains to be seen."

"Good gracious!" exclaimed Mrs. Elton.

Lady Emily looked at her with surprise -- almost reproof.

"I beg your pardon, my dear; but it sounds so dreadful.  What can it
be?"

"Let me entreat you, ladies, not to imagine that I am urging you to
anything," said Funkelstein.

"Not in the least," replied Mrs. Elton. "I was very foolish."  And
the old lady looked ashamed, and was silent.

"Then if you will allow me, I will make one small preparation.  Have
you a tool-chest anywhere, Mr. Arnold?"

"There must be tools enough about the place, I know.  I will ring
for Atkins."

"I know where the tool chest is," said Hugh; "and, if you will allow
me a suggestion, would it not be better the servants should know
nothing about this?  There are some foolish stories afloat amongst
them already."

"A very proper suggestion, Mr. Sutherland," said Mr. Arnold,
graciously. "Will you find all that is wanted, then?"

"What tools do you want?" asked Hugh.

"Only a small drill.  Could you get me an earthenware plate -- not
china -- too?"

"I will manage that," said Euphra.

Hugh soon returned with the drill, and Euphra with the plate.  The
Bohemian, with some difficulty, and the remark that the English ware
was very hard, drilled a small hole in the rim of the plate -- a
dinner-plate; then begging an H B drawing-pencil from Miss Cameron,
cut off a small piece, and fitted it into the hole, making it just
long enough to touch the table with its point when the plate lay in
its ordinary position.

"Now I am ready," said he. "But," he added, raising his head, and
looking all round the room, as if a sudden thought had struck
him -- "I do not think this room will be quite satisfactory."

They were now in the drawing-room.

"Choose the room in the house that will suit you," said Mr. Arnold.
"The dining-room?"

"Certainly not," answered Funkelstein, as he took from his
watch-chain a small compass and laid it on the table. "Not the
dining-room, nor the breakfast-room -- I think.  Let me see -- how is it
situated?"  He went to the hall, as if to refresh his memory, and
then looked again at the compass. "No, not the breakfast-room."

Hugh could not help thinking there was more or less of the charlatan
about the man.

"The library?" suggested Lady Emily.

They adjourned to the library to see.  The library would do.  After
some further difficulty, they succeeded in procuring a large sheet
of paper and fastening it down to the table by drawing-pins.  Only
two candles were in the great room, and it was scarcely lighted at
all by them; yet Funkelstein requested that one of these should be
extinguished, and the other removed to a table near the door.  He
then said, solemnly:

"Let me request silence, absolute silence, and quiescence of thought
even."

After stillness had settled down with outspread wings of intensity,
he resumed:

"Will any one, or, better, two of you, touch the plate as lightly as
possible with your fingers?"

All hung back for a moment.  Then Mr. Arnold came forward.

"I will," said he, and laid his fingers on the plate.

"As lightly as possible, if you please.  If the plate moves, follow
it with your fingers, but be sure not to push it in any direction."

"I understand," said Mr. Arnold; and silence fell again.

The Bohemian, after a pause, spoke once more, but in a foreign
tongue.  The words sounded first like entreaty, then like command,
and at last, almost like imprecation.  The ladies shuddered.

"Any movement of the vehicle?" said he to Mr. Arnold.

"If by the vehicle you mean the plate, certainly not," said Mr.
Arnold solemnly.  But the ladies were very glad of the pretext for
attempting a laugh, in order to get rid of the oppression which they
had felt for some time.

"Hush!" said Funkelstein, solemnly. -- "Will no one else touch the
plate, as well?  It will seldom move with one.  It does with me.
But I fear I might be suspected of treachery, if I offered to join
Mr. Arnold."

"Do not hint at such a thing.  You are beyond suspicion."

What ground Mr. Arnold had for making such an assertion, was no
better known to himself than to any one else present.  Von
Funkelstein, without another word, put the fingers of one hand
lightly on the plate beside Mr. Arnold's.  The plate instantly began
to move upon the paper.  The motion was a succession of small jerks
at first; but soon it tilted up a little, and moved upon a changing
point of support.  Now it careered rapidly in wavy lines, sweeping
back towards the other side, as often as it approached the extremity
of the sheet, the men keeping their fingers in contact with it, but
not appearing to influence its motion.  Gradually the motion ceased.
Von Funkelstein withdrew his hand, and requested that the other
candle should be lighted.  The paper was taken up and examined.
Nothing could be discovered upon it, but a labyrinth of wavy and
sweepy lines.  Funkelstein pored over it for some minutes, and then
confessed his inability to make a single letter out of it, still
less words and sentences, as he had expected.

"But," said he, "we are at least so far successful: it moves.  Let
us try again.  Who will try next?"

"I will," said Hugh, who had refrained at first, partly from dislike
to the whole affair, partly because he shrank from putting himself
forward.

A new sheet of paper was fixed.  The candle was extinguished.  Hugh
put his fingers on the plate.  In a second or two, it began to move.

"A medium!" murmured Funkelstein.  He then spoke aloud some words
unintelligible to the rest.

Whether from the peculiarity of his position and the consequent
excitement of his imagination, or from some other cause, Hugh grew
quite cold, and began to tremble.  The plate, which had been
careering violently for a few moments, now went more slowly, making
regular short motions and returns, at right angles to its chief
direction, as if letters were being formed by the pencil.  Hugh
shuddered, thinking he recognised the letters as they grew.  The
writing ceased.  The candles were brought.  Yes; there it was! -- not
plain, but easily decipherable -- David Elginbrod.  Hugh felt sick.

Euphra, looking on beside him, whispered:

"What an odd name!  Who can it mean?"

He made no reply

Neither of the other ladies saw it; for Mrs. Elton had discovered,
the moment the second candle was lighted, that Lady Emily was either
asleep or in a faint.  She was soon all but satisfied that she was
asleep.

Hugh's opinion, gathered from what followed, was, that the Bohemian
had not been so intent on the operations with the plate, as he had
appeared to be; and that he had been employing part of his energy in
mesmerising Lady Emily.  Mrs. Elton, remembering that she had had
quite a long walk that morning, was not much alarmed.  Unwilling to
make a disturbance, she rang the bell very quietly, and, going to
the door, asked the servant who answered it, to send her maid with
some eau-de-cologne.  Meantime, the gentlemen had been too much
absorbed to take any notice of her proceedings, and, after removing
the one and extinguishing the other candle, had reverted to the
plate. -- Hugh was still the operator.

Von Funkelstein spoke again in an unknown tongue.  The plate began
to move as before.  After only a second or two of preparatory
gyration, Hugh felt that it was writing Turriepuffit, and shook from
head to foot.

Suddenly, in the middle of the word, the plate ceased its motion,
and lay perfectly still.  Hugh felt a kind of surprise come upon
him, as if he waked from an unpleasant dream, and saw the sun
shining.  The morbid excitement of his nervous system had suddenly
ceased, and a healthful sense of strength and every-day life took
its place.

Simultaneously with the stopping of the plate, and this new feeling
which I have tried to describe, Hugh involuntarily raised his eyes
towards the door of the room.  In the all-but-darkness between him
and the door, he saw a pale beautiful face -- a face only.  It was the
face of Margaret Elginbrod; not, however, such as he had used to see
it -- but glorified.  That was the only word by which he could
describe its new aspect.  A mist of darkness fell upon his brain,
and the room swam round with him.  But he was saved from falling, or
attracting attention to a weakness for which he could have made no
excuse, by a sudden cry from Lady Emily.

"See! see!" she cried wildly, pointing towards one of the windows.

These looked across to another part of the house, one of the oldest,
at some distance. -- One of its windows, apparently on the first
floor, shone with a faint bluish light.

All the company had hurried to the window at Lady Emily's
exclamation.

"Who can be in that part of the house?" said Mr. Arnold, angrily.

"It is Lady Euphrasia's window," said Euphra, in a low voice, the
tone of which suggested, somehow, that the speaker was very cold.

"What do you mean by speaking like that?" said Mr. Arnold,
forgetting his dignity. "Surely you are above being superstitious.
Is it possible the servants could be about any mischief?  I will
discharge any one at once, that dares go there without permission."

The light disappeared, fading slowly out.

"Indeed, the servants are all too much alarmed, after what took
place last year, to go near that wing -- much less that room," said
Euphra. "Besides, Mrs. Horton has all the keys in her own charge."

"Go yourself and get me them, Euphra.  I will see at once what this
means.  Don't say why you want them."

"Certainly not, uncle."

Hugh had recovered almost instantaneously.  Though full of
amazement, he had yet his perceptive faculties sufficiently
unimpaired to recognise the real source of the light in the window.
It seemed to him more like moonlight than anything else; and he
thought the others would have seen it to be such, but for the effect
of Lady Emily's sudden exclamation.  Perhaps she was under the
influence of the Bohemian at the moment.  Certainly they were all in
a tolerable condition for seeing whatever might be required of them.
True, there was no moon to be seen; and if it was the moon, why did
the light go out?  But he found afterwards that he had been right.
The house stood upon a rising ground; and, every recurring cycle,
the moon would shine, through a certain vista of trees and branches,
upon Lady Euphrasia's window; provided there had been no growth of
twigs to stop up the channel of the light, which was so narrow that
in a few moments the moon had crossed it.  A gap in a hedge made by
a bull that morning, had removed the last screen. -- Lady Euphrasia's
window was so neglected and dusty, that it could reflect nothing
more than a dim bluish shimmer.

"Will you all accompany me, ladies and gentlemen, that you may see
with your own eyes that there is nothing dangerous in the house?"
said Mr. Arnold.

Of course Funkelstein was quite ready, and Hugh as well, although he
felt at this moment ill-fitted for ghost-hunting.  The ladies
hesitated; but at last, more afraid of being left behind alone, than
of going with the gentlemen, they consented.  Euphra brought the
keys, and they commenced their march of investigation.  Up the grand
staircase they went, Mr. Arnold first with the keys, Hugh next with
Mrs. Elton and Lady Emily, and the Bohemian, considerably to Hugh's
dissatisfaction, bringing up the rear with Euphra. -- This
misarrangement did more than anything else could have done, to
deaden for the time the distraction of feeling produced in Hugh's
mind by the events of the last few minutes.  Yet even now he seemed
to be wandering through the old house in a dream, instead of
following Mr. Arnold, whose presence might well have been sufficient
to destroy any illusion, except such as a Chinese screen might
superinduce; for, possessed of far less imagination than a horse, he
was incapable of any terrors, but such as had to do with robbers, or
fire, or chartists -- which latter fear included both the former.  He
strode on securely, carrying a candle in one hand, and the keys in
the other.  Each of the other gentlemen likewise bore a light.  They
had to go through doors, some locked, some open, following a
different route from that taken by Euphra on a former occasion.

But Mr. Arnold found the keys troublesome.  He could not easily
distinguish those he wanted, and was compelled to apply to Euphra.
She left Funkelstein in consequence, and walked in front with her
uncle.  Her former companion got beside Lady Emily, and as they
could not well walk four abreast, she fell behind with him.  So Hugh
got next to Euphra, behind her, and was comforted.

At length, by tortuous ways, across old rooms, and up and down
abrupt little stairs, they reached the door of Lady Euphrasia's
room.  The key was found, and the door opened with some
perturbation -- manifest on the part of the ladies, and concealed on
the part of the men.  The place was quite dark.  They entered; and
Hugh was greatly struck with its strange antiquity.  Lady
Euphrasia's ghost had driven the last occupant out of it nearly a
hundred years ago; but most of the furniture was much older than
that, having probably belonged to Lady Euphrasia herself.  The room
remained just as the said last occupant had left it.  Even the
bed-clothes remained, folded down, as if expecting their occupant
for the last hundred years.  The fine linen had grown yellow; and
the rich counterpane lay like a churchyard after the resurrection,
full of the open graves of the liberated moths.  On the wall hung
the portrait of a nun in convent-attire.

"Some have taken that for a second portrait of Lady Euphrasia," said
Mr. Arnold, "but it cannot be. -- Euphra, we will go back through the
picture gallery. -- I suspect it of originating the tradition that
Lady Euphrasia became a nun at last.  I do not believe it myself.
The picture is certainly old enough to stand for her, but it does
not seem to me in the least like the other."

It was a great room, with large recesses, and therefore irregular in
form.  Old chairs, with remnants of enamel and gilding, and seats of
faded damask, stood all about.  But the beauty of the chamber was
its tapestry.  The walls were entirely covered with it, and the rich
colours had not yet receded into the dull grey of the past, though
their gorgeousness had become sombre with age.  The subject was the
story of Samson.

"Come and see this strange piece of furniture," said Euphra to Hugh,
who had kept by her side since they entered this room.

She led him into one of the recesses, almost concealed by the
bed-hangings.  In it stood a cabinet of ebony, reaching nearly to
the ceiling, curiously carved in high relief.

"I wish I could show you the inside of it," she went on, "but I
cannot now."

This was said almost in a whisper.  Hugh replied with only a look of
thanks.  He gazed at the carving, on whose black surface his candle
made little light, and threw no shadows.

"You have looked at this before, Euphra," said he. "Explain it to
me."

"I have often tried to find out what it is," she answered; "but I
never could quite satisfy myself about it."

She proceeded, however, to tell him what she fancied it might mean,
speaking still in the low tone which seemed suitable to the awe of
the place.  She got interested in showing him the relations of the
different figures; and he made several suggestions as to the
possible intention of the artist.  More than one well-known subject
was proposed and rejected.

Suddenly becoming aware of the sensation of silence, they looked up,
and saw that theirs was the only light in the room.  They were left
alone in the haunted chamber. -- They looked at each other for one
moment; then said, with half-stifled voices:

"Euphra!"

"Hugh!"

Euphra seemed half amused and half perplexed.  Hugh looked half
perplexed and wholly pleased.

"Come, come," said Euphra, recovering herself, and leading the way
to the door.

When they reached it, they found it closed and locked.  Euphra
raised her hand to beat on it.  Hugh caught it.

"You will drive Lady Emily into fits.  Did you not see how awfully
pale she was?"

Euphra instantly lifted her hand again, as if she would just like to
try that result.  But Hugh, who was in no haste for any result, held
her back.

She struggled for a moment or two, but not very strenuously, and,
desisting all at once, let her arms drop by her sides.

"I fear it is too late.  This is a double door, and Mr. Arnold will
have locked all the doors between this and the picture-gallery.
They are there now.  What shall we do?"

She said this with an expression of comical despair, which would
have made Hugh burst into laughter, had he not been too much pleased
to laugh.

"Never mind," he said, "we will go on with our study of the cabinet.
They will soon find out that we are left behind, and come back to
look for us."

"Yes, but only fancy being found here!"

She laughed; but the laugh did not succeed.  It could not hide a
real embarrassment.  She pondered, and seemed irresolute.  Then with
the words -- "They will say we stayed behind on purpose," she moved
her hand to the door, but again withdrew it, and stood irresolute.

"Let us put out the light." said Hugh laughing, "and make no
answer."

"Can you starve well?"

"With you."

She murmured something to herself; then said aloud and hastily, as
if she had made up her mind by the compulsion of circumstances:

"But this won't do.  They are still looking at the portrait, I
daresay.  Come."

So saying, she went into another recess, and, lifting a curtain of
tapestry, opened a door.

"Come quick," she said.

Hugh followed her down a short stair into a narrow passage, nowhere
lighted from the outside.  The door went to behind them, as if some
one had banged it in anger at their intrusion.  The passage smelt
very musty, and was as quiet as death.

"Not a word of this, Hugh, as you love me.  It may be useful yet."

"Not a word."

They came through a sliding panel into an empty room.  Euphra closed
it behind them.

"Now shade your light."

He did so.  She took him by the hand.  A few more turns brought them
in sight of the lights of the rest of the party.  As Euphra had
conjectured, they were looking at the picture of Lady Euphrasia, Mr.
Arnold prosing away to them, in proof that the nun could not be she.
They entered the gallery without being heard; and parting a little
way, one pretending to look at one picture, the other at another,
crept gradually round till they joined the group.  It was a piece of
most successful generalship.  Euphra was, doubtless, quite prepared
with her story in case it should fail.

"Dear Lady Emily," said she, "how tired you look!  Do let us go,
uncle."

"By all means.  Take my arm, Lady Emily.  Euphra, will you take the
keys again, and lock the doors?"

Mrs. Elton had already taken Hugh's arm, and was leading him away
after Mr. Arnold and Lady Emily.

"I will not leave you behind with the spectres, Miss Cameron," said
Funkelstein.

"Thank you; they will not detain me long.  They don't mind being
locked up."

It was some little time, however, before they presented themselves
in the drawing-room, to which, and not to the library, the party had
gone: they had had enough of horrors for that night.

Lest my readers should think they have had too many wonders at
least, I will explain one of them.  It was really Margaret Elginbrod
whom Hugh had seen.  Mrs. Elton was the lady in whose service she
had left her home.  It was nothing strange that they had not met,
for Margaret knew he was in the same house, and had several times
seen him, but had avoided meeting him.  Neither was it a wonderful
coincidence that they should be in such close proximity; for the
college friend from whom Hugh had first heard of Mr. Arnold, was the
son of the gentleman whom Mrs. Elton was visiting, when she first
saw Margaret.

Margaret had obeyed her mistress's summons to the drawing-room, and
had entered while Hugh was stooping over the plate.  As the room was
nearly dark, and she was dressed in black, her pale face alone
caught the light and his eye as he looked up, and the giddiness
which followed had prevented him from seeing more.  She left the
room the next moment, while they were all looking out of the window.
Nor was it any exercise of his excited imagination that had
presented her face as glorified.  She was now a woman; and, there
being no divine law against saying so, I say that she had grown a
lady as well; as indeed any one might have foreseen who was capable
of foreseeing it.  Her whole nature had blossomed into a still,
stately, lily-like beauty; and the face that Hugh saw was indeed the
realised idea of the former face of Margaret.

But how did the plate move? and whence came the writing of old
David's name?  I must, for the present, leave the whole matter to
the speculative power of each of my readers.

But Margaret was in mourning: was David indeed dead?

He was dead. -- Yet his name will stand as the name of my story for
pages to come; because, if he had not been in it, the story would
never have been worth writing; because the influence of that
ploughman is the salt of the whole; because a man's life in the
earth is not to be measured by the time he is visible upon it; and
because, when the story is wound up, it will be in the presence of
his spirit.

Do I then believe that David himself did write that name of his?

Heaven forbid that any friend of mine should be able to believe it!

Long before she saw him, Margaret had known, from what she heard
among the servants, that Master Harry's tutor could be no other than
her own tutor of the old time.  By and by she learned a great deal
about him from Harry's talk with Mrs. Elton and Lady Emily.  But she
did not give the least hint that she knew him, or betray the least
desire to see him.

Mrs. Elton was amusingly bewildered by the occurrences of the
evening.  Her theories were something astounding; and followed one
another with such alarming rapidity, that had they been in
themselves such as to imply the smallest exercise of the thinking
faculty, she might well have been considered in danger of an attack
of brain-fever.  As it was, none such supervened.  Lady Emily said
nothing, but seemed unhappy.  As for Hugh, he simply could not tell
what to make of the writing.  But he did not for a moment doubt that
the vision he had seen was only a vision -- a home-made ghost, sent
out from his own creative brain.  Still he felt that Margaret's
face, come whence it might, was a living reproof to him; for he was
losing his life in passion, sinking deeper in it day by day.  His
powers were deserting him.  Poetry, usually supposed to be the
attendant of love, had deserted him.  Only by fits could he see
anything beautiful; and then it was but in closest association of
thought with the one image which was burning itself deeper and
deeper into his mental sensorium.  Come what might, he could not
tear it away.  It had become a part of himself -- of his inner
life -- even while it seemed to be working the death of life.  Deeper
and deeper it would burn, till it reached the innermost chamber of
life.  Let it burn.

Yet he felt that he could not trust her.  Vague hopes he had, that,
by trusting, she might be made trustworthy; but he feared they were
vain as well as vague.  And yet he would not cast them away, for he
could not cast her away.




CHAPTER XVIII.

MORE MATERIALISM AND SOME SPIRITUALISM.

God wisheth none should wreck on a strange shelf:
  To Him man's dearer than to himself.

BEN Jonson. -- The Forest: To Sir Robert Wroth.


At breakfast the following morning, the influences of the past day
on the family were evident.  There was a good deal of excitement,
alternated with listlessness.  The moral atmosphere seemed
unhealthy; and Harry, although he had, fortunately for him, had
nothing to do with the manifestations of the previous evening, was
affected by the condition of those around him.  Hugh was still
careful enough of him to try to divert the conversation entirely
from what he knew would have a very injurious effect upon him; and
Mr. Arnold, seeing the anxious way in which he glanced now and then
at his pupil, and divining the reason, by the instinct of his
affection, with far more than his usual acuteness, tried likewise to
turn it aside, as often as it inclined that way.  Still a few words
were let fall by the visitors, which made Harry stare.  Hugh took
him away as soon as breakfast was over.

In the afternoon, Funkelstein called to inquire after the ladies;
and hoped he had no injury to their health to lay on his conscience.
Mr. Arnold, who had a full allowance of curiosity, its amount being
frequently in an inverse ratio to that of higher intellectual gifts,
begged him to spend the rest of the day with them; but not to say a
word of what had passed the day before, till after Harry had retired
for the night.

Renewed conversation led to renewed experiments in the library.
Hugh, however, refused to have anything more to do with the
plate-writing; for he dreaded its influence on his physical nature,
attributing, as I have said, the vision of Margaret to a cerebral
affection.  And the plate did not seem to work satisfactorily with
any one else, except Funkelstein, who, for his part, had no great
wish to operate.  Recourse was had to a more vulgar method -- that of
expectant solicitation of those noises whereby the prisoners in the
aerial vaults are supposed capable of communicating with those in
this earthly cell.  Certainly, raps were heard from some quarter or
another; and when the lights were extinguished, and the crescent
moon only allowed to shine in the room, some commotion was
discernible amongst the furniture.  Several light articles flew
about.  A pen-wiper alighted on Euphra's lap, and a sofa-pillow
gently disarranged Mrs. Elton's cap.  Most of the artillery,
however, was directed against Lady Emily; and she it was who saw, in
a faint stream of moonlight, a female arm uplifted towards her, from
under a table, with a threatening motion.  It was bare to the elbow,
and draped above.  It showed first a clenched fist, and next an open
hand, palm outwards, making a repellent gesture.  Then the back of
the hand was turned, and it motioned her away, as if she had been an
importunate beggar.  But at this moment, one of the doors opened,
and a dark figure passed through the room towards the opposite door.
Everything that could be called ghostly, ceased instantaneously.
The arm vanished.  The company breathed more freely.

Lady Emily, who had been on the point of going into hysterics,
recovered herself, and overcame the still lingering impulse: she
felt as if she had awaked from a momentary aberration of the
intellect.  Mr. Arnold proceeded to light the candles, saying, in a
righteous tone:

"I think we have had enough of this nonsense."

When the candles were lighted, there was no one to be seen in the
room besides themselves.  Several, Hugh amongst them, had observed
the figure; but all had taken it for part of the illusive
phantasmagoria.  Hugh would have concluded it a variety of his
vision of the former night; but others had seen it as well as he.

There was no renewal of the experiments that night.  But all were in
a very unhealthy state of excitement.  Vague fear, vague wonder, and
a certain indescribable oppression, had dimmed for the time all the
clearer vision, and benumbed all the nobler faculties of the soul.
Lady Emily was affected the most.  Her eyes looked scared; there
was a bright spot on one cheek amidst deathly paleness; and she
seemed very unhappy.  Mrs. Elton became alarmed, and this brought
her back to a more rational condition.  She persuaded Lady Emily to
go to bed.

But the contagion spread; and indistinct terrors were no longer
confined to the upper portions of the family.  The bruit revived,
which had broken out a year before -- that the house was haunted.  It
was whispered that, the very night after these occurrences, the
Ghost's Walk had been in use as the name signified: a figure in
death-garments had been seen gliding along the deserted avenue, by
one of the maid-servants; the truth of whose story was corroborated
by the fact that, to support it, she did not hesitate to confess
that she had escaped from the house, nearly at midnight, to meet one
of the grooms in a part of the wood contiguous to the avenue in
question.  Mr. Arnold instantly dismissed her -- not on the ground of
the intrigue, he took care to let her know, although that was bad
enough, but because she was a fool, and spread absurd and annoying
reports about the house.  Mr. Arnold's usual hatred of what he
called superstition, was rendered yet more spiteful by the fact,
that the occurrences of the week had had such an effect on his own
mind, that he was mortally afraid lest he should himself sink into
the same limbo of vanity.  The girl, however, was, or pretended to
be, quite satisfied with her discharge, protesting she would not
have staid for the world; and as the groom, whose wages happened to
have been paid the day before, took himself off the same evening, it
may be hoped her satisfaction was not altogether counterfeit.

"If all tales be true," said Mrs. Elton, "Lady Euphrasia is where
she can't get out."

"But if she repented before she died?" said Euphra, with a muffled
scorn in her tone.

"My dear Miss Cameron, do you call becoming a nun -- repentance?  We
Protestants know very well what that means.  Besides, your uncle
does not believe it."

"Haven't you found out yet, dear Mrs. Elton, what my uncle's
favourite phrase is?"

"No. What is it?"

"I don't believe it."

"You naughty girl!"

"I'm not naughty," answered Euphra, affecting to imitate the
simplicity of a chidden child. "My uncle is so fond of casting doubt
upon everything!  If salvation goes by quantity, his faith won't
save him."

Euphra knew well enough that Mrs. Elton was no tell-tale.  The good
lady had hopes of her from this moment, because she all but quoted
Scripture to condemn her uncle; the verdict corresponding with her
own judgment of Mr. Arnold, founded on the clearest assertions of
Scripture; strengthened somewhat, it must be confessed, by the fact
that the spirits, on the preceding evening but one, had rapped out
the sentence: "Without faith it is impossible to please him."

Lady Emily was still in bed, but apparently more sick in mind than
in body.  She said she had tossed about all the previous night
without once falling asleep; and her maid, who had slept in the
dressing-room without waking once, corroborated the assertion.  In
the morning, Mrs. Elton, wishing to relieve the maid, sent Margaret
to Lady Emily.  Margaret arranged the bedclothes and pillows, which
were in a very uncomfortable condition, sat down behind the curtain;
and, knowing that it would please Lady Emily, began to sing, in what
the French call a veiled voice, The Land o' the Leal. Now the air
of this lovely song is the same as that of Scots wha hae; but it is
the pibroch of onset changed into the coronach of repose, singing of
the land beyond the battle, of the entering in of those who have
fought the good fight, and fallen in the field.  It is the silence
after the thunder.  Before she had finished, Lady Emily was fast
asleep.  A sweet peaceful half smile lighted her troubled face
graciously, like the sunshine that creeps out when it can, amidst
the rain of an autumn day, saying, "I am with you still, though we
are all troubled."  Finding her thus at rest, Margaret left the room
for a minute, to fetch some work.  When she returned, she found her
tossing, and moaning, and apparently on the point of waking.  As
soon as she sat down by her, her trouble diminished by degrees, till
she lay in the same peaceful sleep as before.  In this state she
continued for two or three hours, and awoke much refreshed.  She
held out her little hand to Margaret, and said:

"Thank you.  Thank you.  What a sweet creature you are!"

And Lady Emily lay and gazed in loving admiration at the face of the
lady's-maid.

"Shall I send Sarah to you now, my lady?" said Margaret; "or would
you like me to stay with you?"

"Oh! you, you, please -- if Mrs. Elton can spare you."

"She will only think of your comfort, I know, my lady."

"That recalls me to my duty, and makes me think of her."

"But your comfort will be more to her than anything else."

"In that case you must stay, Margaret."

"With pleasure, my lady."

Mrs. Elton entered, and quite confirmed what Margaret had said.

"But," she added, "it is time Lady Emily had something to eat.  Go
to the cook, Margaret, and see if the beef-tea Miss Cameron ordered
is ready."

Margaret went.

"What a comfort it is," said Mrs. Elton, wishing to interest Lady
Emily, "that now-a-days, when infidelity is so rampant, such
corroborations of Sacred Writ are springing up on all sides!  There
are the discoveries at Nineveh; and now these Spiritual
Manifestations, which bear witness so clearly to another world."

But Lady Emily made no reply.  She began to toss about as before,
and show signs of inexplicable discomfort.  Margaret had hardly been
gone two minutes, when the invalid moaned out:

"What a time Margaret is gone! -- when will she be back?"

"I am here, my love," said Mrs. Elton.

"Yes, yes; thank you.  But I want Margaret."

"She will be here presently.  Have patience, my dear."

"Please, don't let Miss Cameron come near me.  I am afraid I am very
wicked, but I can't bear her to come near me."

"No, no, dear; we will keep you to ourselves."

"Is Mr. -- , the foreign gentleman, I mean -- below?"

"No. He is gone."

"Are you sure?  I can hardly believe it."

"What do you mean, dear?  I am sure he is gone."

Lady Emily did not answer.  Margaret returned.  She took the
beef-tea, and grew quiet again.

"You must not leave her ladyship, Margaret," whispered her mistress.
"She has taken it into her head to like no one but you, and you must
just stay with her."

"Very well, ma'am.  I shall be most happy."

Mrs. Elton left the room.  Lady Emily said:

"Read something to me, Margaret."

"What shall I read?"

"Anything you like."

Margaret got a Bible, and read to her one of her father's favourite
chapters, the fortieth of Isaiah.

"I have no right to trust in God, Margaret."

"Why, my lady?"

"Because I do not feel any faith in him; and you know we cannot be
accepted without faith."

"That is to make God as changeable as we are, my lady."

"But the Bible says so."

"I don't think it does; but if an angel from heaven said so, I would
not believe it."

"Margaret!"

"My lady, I love God with all my heart, and I cannot bear you should
think so of him.  You might as well say that a mother would go away
from her little child, lying moaning in the dark, because it could
not see her, and was afraid to put its hand out into the dark to
feel for her."

"Then you think he does care for us, even when we are very wicked.
But he cannot bear wicked people."

"Who dares to say that?" cried Margaret. "Has he not been making the
world go on and on, with all the wickedness that is in it; yes,
making new babies to be born of thieves and murderers and sad women
and all, for hundreds of years?  God help us, Lady Emily!  If he
cannot bear wicked people, then this world is hell itself, and the
Bible is all a lie, and the Saviour did never die for sinners.  It
is only the holy Pharisees that can't bear wicked people."

"Oh! how happy I should be, if that were true!  I should not be
afraid now."

"You are not wicked, dear Lady Emily; but if you were, God would
bend over you, trying to get you back, like a father over his sick
child.  Will people never believe about the lost sheep?"

"Oh! yes; I believe that.  But then --"

"You can't trust it quite.  Trust in God, then, the very father of
you -- and never mind the words.  You have been taught to turn the
very words of God against himself."

Lady Emily was weeping.

"Lady Emily," Margaret went on, "if I felt my heart as hard as a
stone; if I did not love God, or man, or woman, or little child, I
would yet say to God in my heart: 'O God, see how I trust thee,
because thou art perfect, and not changeable like me.  I do not love
thee.  I love nobody.  I am not even sorry for it.  Thou seest how
much I need thee to come close to me, to put thy arm round me, to
say to me, my child; for the worse my state, the greater my need of
my father who loves me.  Come to me, and my day will dawn.  My
beauty and my love will come back; and oh! how I shall love thee, my
God! and know that my love is thy love, my blessedness thy being.'"

As Margaret spoke, she seemed to have forgotten Lady Emily's
presence, and to be actually praying.  Those who cannot receive such
words from the lips of a lady's-maid, must be reminded what her
father was, and that she had lost him.  She had had advantages at
least equal to those which David the Shepherd had -- and he wrote the
Psalms.

She ended with:

"I do not even desire thee to come, yet come thou."

She seemed to pray entirely as Lady Emily, not as Margaret.  When
she had ceased, Lady Emily said, sobbing:

"You will not leave me, Margaret?  I will tell you why another
time."

"I will not leave you, my dear lady."

Margaret stooped and kissed her forehead.  Lady Emily threw her arms
round her neck, and offered her mouth to be kissed by the maid.  In
another minute she was fast asleep, with Margaret seated by her
side, every now and then glancing up at her from her work, with a
calm face, over which brooded the mist of tears.

That night, as Hugh paced up and down the floor of his study about
midnight, he was awfully startled by the sudden opening of the door
and the apparition of Harry in his nightshirt, pale as death, and
scarcely able to articulate the words:

"The ghost! the ghost!"

He took the poor boy in his arms, held him fast, and comforted him.
When he was a little soothed,

"Oh, Harry!" he said, lightly, "you've been dreaming.  Where's the
ghost?"

"In the Ghost's Walk," cried Harry, almost shrieking anew with
terror.

"How do you know it is there?"

"I saw it from my window. -- I couldn't sleep.  I got up and looked
out -- I don't know why -- and I saw it!  I saw it!"

The words were followed by a long cry of terror.

"Come and show it to me," said Hugh, wanting to make light of it.

"No, no, Mr. Sutherland -- please not.  I couldn't go back into that
room."

"Very well, dear Harry; you shan't go back.  You shall sleep with
me, to-night."

"Oh! thank you, thank you, dear Mr. Sutherland.  You will love me
again, won't you?"

This touched Hugh's heart.  He could hardly refrain from tears.  His
old love, buried before it was dead, revived.  He clasped the boy to
his heart, and carried him to his own bed; then, to comfort him,
undressed and lay down beside him, without even going to look if he
too might not see the ghost.  She had brought about one good thing
at least that night; though, I fear, she had no merit in it.

Lady Emily's room likewise looked out upon the Ghost's Walk.
Margaret heard the cry as she sat by the sleeping Emily; and, not
knowing whence it came, went, naturally enough, in her perplexity,
to the window.  From it she could see distinctly, for it was clear
moonlight: a white figure went gliding away along the deserted
avenue.  She immediately guessed what the cry had meant; but as she
had heard a door bang directly after (as Harry shut his behind him
with a terrified instinct, to keep the awful window in), she was not
very uneasy about him.  She felt besides that she must remain where
she was, according to her promise to Lady Emily.  But she resolved
to be prepared for the possible recurrence of the same event, and
accordingly revolved it in her mind.  She was sure that any report
of it coming to Lady Emily's ears, would greatly impede her
recovery; for she instinctively felt that her illness had something
to do with the questionable occupations in the library.  She watched
by her bedside all the night, slumbering at times, but roused in a
moment by any restlessness of the patient; when she found that,
simply by laying her hand on hers, or kissing her forehead, she
could restore her at once to quiet sleep.




CHAPTER XIX.

THE GHOST'S WALK.

Thierry. -- 'Tis full of fearful shadows.
Ordella. --     So is sleep, sir;
   Or anything that's merely ours, and mortal;
   We were begotten gods else.  But those fears
   Feeling but once the fires of nobler thoughts,
   Fly, like the shapes of clouds we form, to nothing.

BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER. -- Thierry and Theodoret.


Margaret sat watching the waking of Lady Emily.  Knowing how much
the first thought colours the feeling of the whole day, she wished
that Lady Emily should at once be aware that she was by her side.

She opened her eyes, and a smile broke over her face when she
perceived her nurse.  But Margaret did not yet speak to her.

Every nurse should remember that waking ought always to be a gradual
operation; and, except in the most triumphant health, is never
complete on the opening of the eyes.

"Margaret, I am better," said Lady Emily, at last.

"I am very glad, my lady."

"I have been lying awake for some time, and I am sure I am better.
I don't see strange-coloured figures floating about the room as I
did yesterday.  Were you not out of the room a few minutes ago?"

"Just for one moment, my lady."

"I knew it.  But I did not mind it.  Yesterday, when you left me,
those figures grew ten times as many, the moment you were gone.  But
you will stay with me to-day, too, Margaret?" she added, with some
anxiety.

"I will, if you find you need me.  But I may be forced to leave you
a little while this evening -- you must try to allow me this, dear
Lady Emily."

"Of course I will.  I will be quite patient, I promise you, whatever
comes to me."

When Harry woke, after a very troubled sleep, from which he had
often started with sudden cries of terror, Hugh made him promise not
to increase the confusion of the household, by speaking of what he
had seen.  Harry promised at once, but begged in his turn that Hugh
would not leave him all day.  It did not need the pale scared face
of his pupil to enforce the request; for Hugh was already anxious
lest the fright the boy had had, should exercise a permanently
deleterious effect on his constitution.  Therefore he hardly let him
out of his sight.

But although Harry kept his word, the cloud of perturbation gathered
thicker in the kitchen and the servants' hall.  Nothing came to the
ears of their master and mistress; but gloomy looks, sudden starts,
and sidelong glances of fear, indicated the prevailing character of
the feelings of the household.

And although Lady Emily was not so ill, she had not yet taken a
decided turn for the better, but appeared to suffer from some kind
of low fever.  The medical man who was called in, confessed to Mrs.
Elton, that as yet he could say nothing very decided about her
condition, but recommended great quiet and careful nursing.
Margaret scarcely left her room, and the invalid showed far more
than the ordinary degree of dependence upon her nurse.  In her
relation to her, she was more like a child than an invalid.

About noon she was better.  She called Margaret and said to her:

"Margaret, dear, I should like to tell you one thing that annoys me
very much."

"What is it, dear Lady Emily?"

"That man haunts me.  I cannot bear the thought of him; and yet I
cannot get rid of him.  I am sure he is a bad man.  Are you certain
he is not here?"

"Yes, indeed, my lady.  He has not been here since the day before
yesterday."

"And yet when you leave me for an instant, I always feel as if he
were sitting in the very seat where you were the moment before, or
just coming to the door and about to open it.  That is why I cannot
bear you to leave me."

Margaret might have confessed to some slighter sensations of the
same kind; but they did not oppress her as they did Lady Emily.

"God is nearer to you than any thought or feeling of yours, Lady
Emily.  Do not be afraid.  If all the evil things in the universe
were around us, they could not come inside the ring that he makes
about us.  He always keeps a place for himself and his child, into
which no other being can enter."

"Oh! how you must love God, Margaret!"

"Indeed I do love him, my lady.  If ever anything looks beautiful or
lovely to me, then I know at once that God is that."

"But, then, what right have we to take the good of that, however
true it is, when we are not beautiful ourselves?"

"That only makes God the more beautiful -- in that he will pour out
the more of his beauty upon us to make us beautiful.  If we care for
his glory, we shall be glad to believe all this about him.  But we
are too anxious about feeling good ourselves, to rejoice in his
perfect goodness.  I think we should find that enough, my lady.
For, if he be good, are not we his children, and sure of having it,
not merely feeling it, some day?"

Here Margaret repeated a little poem of George Herbert's.  She had
found his poems amongst Mrs. Elton's books, who, coming upon her
absorbed in it one day, had made her a present of the volume.  Then
indeed Margaret had found a friend.

The poem is called Dialogue:

     "Sweetest Saviour, if my soul
      Were but worth the having --"

"Oh, what a comfort you are to me, Margaret!"  Lady Emily said,
after a short silence.  Where did you learn such things?"

"From my father, and from Jesus Christ, and from God himself,
showing them to me in my heart."

"Ah! that is why, as often as you come into my room, even if I am
very troubled, I feel as if the sun shone, and the wind blew, and
the birds sang, and the tree-tops went waving in the wind, as they
used to do before I was taken ill -- I mean before they thought I must
go abroad.  You seem to make everything clear, and right, and plain.
I wish I were you, Margaret."

"If I were you, my lady, I would rather be what God chose to make
me, than the most glorious creature that I could think of.  For to
have been thought about -- born in God's thoughts -- and then made by
God, is the dearest, grandest, most precious thing in all thinking.
Is it not, my lady?"

"It is," said Lady Emily, and was silent.

The shadows of evening came on.  As soon as it was dark, Margaret
took her place at one of the windows hidden from Lady Emily by a
bed-curtain.  She raised the blind, and pulled aside one curtain, to
let her have a view of the trees outside.  She had placed the one
candle so as not to shine either on the window or on her own eyes.
Lady Emily was asleep.  One hour and another passed, and still she
sat there -- motionless, watching.

Margaret did not know, that at another window -- the one, indeed, next
to her own -- stood a second watcher.  It was Hugh, in Harry's room:
Harry was asleep in Hugh's.  He had no light.  He stood with his
face close against the windowpane, on which the moon shone brightly.
All below him the woods were half dissolved away in the moonlight.
The Ghost's Walk lay full before him, like a tunnel through the
trees.  He could see a great way down, by the light that fell into
it, at various intervals, from between the boughs overhead.  He
stood thus for a long time, gazing somewhat listlessly.  Suddenly he
became all eyes, as he caught the white glimmer of something passing
up the avenue.  He stole out of the room, down to the library by the
back-stair, and so through the library window into the wood.  He
reached the avenue sideways, at some distance from the house, and
peeped from behind a tree, up and down.  At first he saw nothing.
But, a moment after, while he was looking down the avenue, that is,
away from the house, a veiled figure in white passed him noiselessly
from the other direction.  From the way in which he was looking at
the moment, it had passed him before he saw it.  It made no sound.
Only some early-fallen leaves rustled as they hurried away in
uncertain eddies, startled by the sweep of its trailing garments,
which yet were held up by hands hidden within them.  On it went.
Hugh's eyes were fixed on its course.  He could not move, and his
heart laboured so frightfully that he could hardly breathe.  The
figure had not advanced far, however, before he heard a repressed
cry of agony, and it sank to the earth, and vanished; while from
where it disappeared, down the path, came, silently too, turning
neither to the right nor the left, a second figure, veiled in black
from head to foot.

"It is the nun in Lady Euphrasia's room," said Hugh to himself.

This passed him too, and, walking slowly towards the house,
disappeared somewhere, near the end of the avenue.  Turning once
more, with reviving courage -- for his blood had begun to flow more
equably -- Hugh ventured to approach the spot where the white figure
had vanished.  He found nothing there but the shadow of a huge tree.
He walked through the avenue to the end, and then back to the
house, but saw nothing; though he often started at fancied
appearances.  Sorely bewildered, he returned to his own room.  After
speculating till thought was weary, he lay down beside Harry, whom
he was thankful to find in a still repose, and fell fast asleep.

Margaret lay on a couch in Lady Emily's room, and slept likewise;
but she started wide awake at every moan of the invalid, who often
moaned in her sleep.




CHAPTER XX.

THE BAD MAN.

She kent he was nae gentle knight,
  That she had letten in;
For neither when he gaed nor cam',
  Kissed he her cheek or chin.

He neither kissed her when he cam'
  Nor clappit her when he gaed;
And in and out at her bower window,
  The moon shone like the gleed.

Glenkindie. -- Old Scotch Ballad.


When Euphra recovered from the swoon into which she had fallen -- for
I need hardly explain to my readers, that it was she who walked the
Ghost's Walk in white -- on seeing Margaret, whom, under the
irresistible influences of the moonlight and a bad conscience, she
took for the very being whom Euphra herself was personating -- when
she recovered, I say, she found herself lying in the wood, with
Funkelstein, whom she had gone to meet, standing beside her.  Her
first words were of anger, as she tried to rise, and found she could
not.

"How long, Count Halkar, am I to be your slave?"

"Till you have learned to submit."

"Have I not done all I can?"

"You have not found it.  You are free from the moment you place that
ring, belonging to me, in right of my family, into my hands."

I do not believe that the man really was Count Halkar, although he
had evidently persuaded Euphra that such was his name and title.  I
think it much more probable that, in the course of picking up a mass
of trifling information about various families of distinction, for
which his position of secretary in several of their houses had
afforded him special facilities, he had learned something about the
Halkar family, and this particular ring, of which, for some reason
or other, he wanted to possess himself.

"What more can I do?" moaned Euphra, succeeding at length in raising
herself to a sitting posture, and leaning thus against a tree. "I
shall be found out some day.  I have been already seen wandering
through the house at midnight, with the heart of a thief.  I hate
you, Count Halkar!"

A low laugh was the count's only reply.

"And now Lady Euphrasia herself dogs my steps, to keep me from the
ring."  She gave a low cry of agony at the remembrance.

"Miss Cameron -- Euphra -- are you going to give way to such folly?"

"Folly!  Is it not worse folly to torture a poor girl as you do
me -- all for a worthless ring?  What can you want with the ring?  I
do not know that he has it even."

"You lie.  You know he has.  You need not think to take me in."

"You base man!  You dare not give the lie to any but a woman."

"Why?"

"Because you are a coward.  You are afraid of Lady Euphrasia
yourself.  See there!"

Von Funkelstein glanced round him uneasily.  It was only the
moonlight on the bark of a silver birch.  Conscious of having
betrayed weakness, he grew spiteful.

"If you do not behave to me better, I will compel you.  Rise up!"

After a moment's hesitation, she rose.

"Put your arms round me."

She seemed to grow to the earth, and to drag herself from it, one
foot after another.  But she came close up to the Bohemian, and put
one arm half round him, looking to the earth all the time.

"Kiss me."

"Count Halkar!" her voice sounded hollow and harsh, as if from a
dead throat -- "I will do what you please.  Only release me."

"Go then; but mind you resist me no more.  I do not care for your
kisses.  You were ready enough once.  But that idiot of a tutor has
taken my place, I see."

"Would to God I had never seen you! -- never yielded to your influence
over me!  Swear that I shall be free if I find you the ring."

"You find the ring first.  Why should I swear?  I can compel you.
You know you laid yourself out to entrap me first with your arts,
and I only turned upon you with mine.  And you are in my power.  But
you shall be free, notwithstanding; and I will torture you till you
free yourself.  Find the ring."

"Cruel! cruel!  You are doing all you can to ruin me."

"On the contrary, I am doing all I can to save myself.  If you had
loved me as you allowed me to think once, I should never have made
you my tool."

"You would all the same."

"Take care.  I am irritable to-night."

For a few moments Euphra made no reply.

"To what will you drive me?" she said at last.

"I will not go too far.  I should lose my power over you if I did.
I prefer to keep it."

"Inexorable man!"

"Yes."

Another despairing pause.

"What am I to do?"

"Nothing.  But keep yourself ready to carry out any plan that I may
propose.  Something will turn up, now that I have got into the house
myself.  Leave me to find out the means.  I can expect no invention
from your brains.  You can go home."

Euphra turned without another word, and went; murmuring, as if in
excuse to herself:

"It is for my freedom.  It is for my freedom."

Of course this account must have come originally from Euphra
herself, for there was no one else to tell it.  She, at least,
believed herself compelled to do what the man pleased.  Some of my
readers will put her down as insane.  She may have been; but, for my
part, I believe there is such a power of one being over another,
though perhaps only in a rare contact of psychologically peculiar
natures.  I have testimony enough for that.  She had yielded to his
will once.  Had she not done so, he could not have compelled her;
but, having once yielded, she had not strength sufficient to free
herself again.  Whether even he could free her, further than by
merely abstaining from the exercise of the power he had gained, I
doubt much.

It is evident that he had come to the neighbourhood of Arnstead for
the sake of finding her, and exercising his power over her for his
own ends; that he had made her come to him once, if not oftener,
before he met Hugh, and by means of his acquaintance, obtained
admission into Arnstead.  Once admitted, he had easily succeeded, by
his efforts to please, in so far ingratiating himself with Mr.
Arnold, that now the house-door stood open to him, and he had even
his recognised seat at the dinner-table.




CHAPTER XXI.

SPIRIT VERSUS MATERIALISM.

Next this marble venomed seat,
Smeared with gums of glutinous heat,
I touch with chaste palms moist and cold --
Now the spell hath lost his hold.

MILTON. -- Comas.


Next morning Lady Emily felt better, and wanted to get up: but her
eyes were still too bright, and her hands too hot; and Margaret
would not hear of it.

Fond as Lady Emily was in general of Mrs. Elton's society, she did
not care to have her with her now, and got tired of her when
Margaret was absent.

They had taken care not to allow Miss Cameron to enter the room; but
to-day there was not much likelihood of her making the attempt, for
she did not appear at breakfast, sending a message to her uncle that
she had a bad headache, but hoped to take her place at the
dinner-table.

During the day, Lady Emily was better, but restless by fits.

"Were you not out of the room for a little while last night,
Margaret?" she said, rather suddenly.

"Yes, my lady.  I told you I should have to go, perhaps."

"I remember I thought you had gone, but I was not in the least
afraid, and that dreadful man never came near me.  I do not know
when you returned.  Perhaps I had fallen asleep; but when I thought
about you next, there you were by my bedside."

"I shall not have to leave you to-night," was all Margaret's answer.

As for Hugh, when first he woke, the extraordinary experiences of
the previous night appeared to him to belong only to the night, and
to have no real relation to the daylight world.  But a little
reflection soon convinced him of the contrary; and then he went
through the duties of the day like one who had nothing to do with
them.  The phantoms he had seen even occupied some of the thinking
space formerly appropriated by the image of Euphra, though he knew
to his concern that she was ill, and confined to her room.  He had
heard the message sent to Mr. Arnold, however, and so kept hoping
for the dinner-hour.

With it came Euphra, very pale.  Her eyes had an unsettled look, and
there were dark hollows under them.  She would start and look
sideways without any visible cause; and was thus very different from
her usual self -- ordinarily remarkable for self-possession, almost to
coolness, of manner and speech.  Hugh saw it, and became both
distressed and speculative in consequence.  It did not diminish his
discomfort that, about the middle of dinner, Funkelstein was
announced.  Was it, then, that Euphra had been tremulously expectant
of him?

"This is an unforeseen pleasure, Herr von Funkelstein," said Mr.
Arnold.

"It is very good of you to call it a pleasure, Mr. Arnold," said he.
"Miss Cameron -- but, good heavens! how ill you look!"

"Don't be alarmed.  I have only caught the plague."

"Only?" was all Funkelstein said in reply; yet Hugh thought he had
no right to be so solicitous about Euphra's health.

As the gentlemen sat at their wine, Mr. Arnold said:

"I am anxious to have one more trial of those strange things you
have brought to our knowledge.  I have been thinking about them ever
since."

"Of course I am at your service, Mr. Arnold; but don't you think,
for the ladies' sakes, we have had enough of it?"

"You are very considerate, Herr von Funkelstein; but they need not
be present if they do not like it."

"Very well, Mr. Arnold."

They adjourned once more to the library instead of the drawing-room.
Hugh went and told Euphra, who was alone in the drawing-room, what
they were about.  She declined going, but insisted on his leaving
her, and joining the other gentlemen.

Hugh left her with much reluctance.

"Margaret," said Lady Emily, "I am certain that man is in the
house."

"He is, my lady," answered Margaret.

"They are about some more of those horrid experiments, as they call
them."

"I do not know."

Mrs. Elton entering the room at the moment, Margaret said:

"Do you know, ma'am, whether the gentlemen are -- in the library
again?"

"I don't know, Margaret.  I hope not.  We have had enough of that.
I will go and find out, though."

"Will you take my place for a few minutes first, please, ma'am?"

Margaret had felt a growing oppression for some time.  She had
scarcely left the sick-room that day.

"Don't leave me, dear Margaret," said Lady Emily, imploringly.

"Only for a little while, my lady.  I shall be back in less than a
quarter of an hour."

"Very well, Margaret," she answered dolefully.

Margaret went out into the moonlight, and walked for ten minutes.
She sought the more open parts, where the winds were.  She then
returned to the sick-chamber, refreshed and strong.

"Now I will go and see what the gentlemen are about," said Mrs.
Elton.

The good lady did not like these proceedings, but she was
irresistibly attracted by them notwithstanding.  Having gone to see
for Lady Emily, she remained to see for herself.

After she had left, Lady Emily grew more uneasy.  Not even
Margaret's presence could make her comfortable.  Mrs. Elton did not
return.  Many minutes elapsed.  Lady Emily said at last:

"Margaret, I am terrified at the idea of being left alone, I
confess; but not so terrified as at the idea of what is going on in
that library.  Mrs. Elton will not come back.  Would you mind just
running down to ask her to come to me?"

"I would go with pleasure," said Margaret; "but I don't want to be
seen."

Margaret did not want to be seen by Hugh. Lady Emily, with her
dislike to Funkelstein, thought Margaret did not want to be seen by
him.

"You will find a black veil of mine," she said, "in that
wardrobe -- just throw it over your head, and hold a handkerchief to
your face.  They will be so busy that they will never see you."

Margaret yielded to the request of Lady Emily, who herself arranged
her head-dress for her.

Now I must go back a little. -- When Mrs. Elton reached the room, she
found it darkened, and the gentlemen seated at the table.  A running
fire of knocks was going on all around.

She sat down in a corner.  In a minute or two, she fancied she saw
strange figures moving about, generally near the floor, and very
imperfectly developed.  Sometimes only a hand, sometimes only a
foot, shadowed itself out of the dim obscurity.  She tried to
persuade herself that it was all done, somehow or other, by
Funkelstein, yet she could not help watching with a curious dread.
She was not a very excitable woman, and her nerves were safe
enough.

In a minute or two more, the table at which they were seated, began
to move up and down with a kind of vertical oscillation, and several
things in the room began to slide about, by short, apparently
purposeless jerks.  Everything threatened to assume motion, and turn
the library into a domestic chaos.  Mrs. Elton declared afterwards
that several books were thrown about the room. -- But suddenly
everything was as still as the moonlight.  Every chair and table was
at rest, looking perfectly incapable of motion.  Mrs. Elton felt
that she dared not say they had moved at all, so utterly ordinary
was their appearance.  Not a sound was to be heard from corner or
ceiling.  After a moment's silence, Mrs. Elton was quite restored to
her sound mind, as she said, and left the room.

"Some adverse influence is at work," said Funkelstein, with some
vexation. "What is in that closet?"

So saying he approached the door of the private staircase, and
opened it.  They saw him start aside, and a veiled dark figure pass
him, cross the library, and go out by another door.

"I have my suspicions," said Funkelstein, with a rather tremulous
voice.

"And your fears too, I think.  Grant it now," said Mr. Arnold.

"Granted, Mr. Arnold.  Let us go to the drawing-room."

Just as Margaret had reached the library door at the bottom of the
private stair, either a puff of wind from an open loophole window,
or some other cause, destroyed the arrangement of the veil, and made
it fall quite over her face, She stopped for a moment to readjust
it.  She had not quite succeeded, when Funkelstein opened the door.
Without an instant's hesitation, she let the veil fall, and walked
forward.

Mrs. Elton had gone to her own room, on her way to Lady Emily's.
When she reached the latter, she found Margaret seated as she had
left her, by the bedside.  Lady Emily said:

"I did not miss you, Margaret, half so much as I expected.  But,
indeed, you were not many moments gone.  I do not care for that man
now.  He can't hurt me, can he?"

"Certainty not.  I hope he will give you no more trouble either,
dear Lady Emily.  But if I might presume to advise you, I would
say -- Get well as soon as you can, and leave this place."


"Why should I?  You frighten me.  Mr. Arnold is very kind to me."

"The place quite suits Lady Emily, I am sure, Margaret."

"But Lady Emily is not so well as when she came."

"No, but that is not the fault of the place," said Lady Emily. "I am
sure it is all that horrid man's doing."

"How else will you get rid of him, then?  What if he wants to get
rid of you?"

"What harm can I be doing him -- a poor girl like me?"

"I don't know.  But I fear there is something not right going on."

"We will tell Mr. Arnold at once," said Mrs. Elton.

"But what could you tell him, ma'am?  Mr. Arnold is hardly one to
listen to your maid's suspicions.  Dear Lady Emily, you must get
well and go."

"I will try," said Lady Emily, submissive as a child.

"I think you will be able to get up for a little while tomorrow."

A tap came to the door.  It was Euphrasia, inquiring after Lady
Emily.

"Ask Miss Cameron to come in," said the invalid.

She entered.  Her manner was much changed -- was subdued and
suffering.

"Dear Miss Cameron, you and I ought to change places.  I am sorry to
see you looking so ill," said Lady Emily.

"I have had a headache all day.  I shall be quite well to-morrow,
thank you."

"I intend to be so too," said Lady Emily, cheerfully.

After some little talk, Euphra went, holding her hand to her
forehead.  Margaret did not look up, all the time she was in the
room, but went on busily with her needle.

That night was a peaceful one.




CHAPTER XXII.

THE RING.

     shining crystal, which
Out of her womb a thousand rayons threw.

BELLAY: translated by Spenser.


The next day, Lady Emily was very nearly as well as she had proposed
being.  She did not, however, make her appearance below.  Mr.
Arnold, hearing at luncheon that she was out of bed, immediately
sent up his compliments, with the request that he might be permitted
to see her on his return from the neighbouring village, where he had
some business.  To this Lady Emily gladly consented.

He sat with her a long time, talking about various things; for the
presence of the girl, reminding him of his young wife, brought out
the best of the man, lying yet alive under the incrustation of
self-importance, and its inevitable stupidity.  At length, subject
of further conversation failing,

"I wonder what we can do to amuse you, Lady Emily," said he.

"Thank you, Mr. Arnold; I am not at all dull.  With my kind friend,
Mrs. Elton, and --"

She would have said Margaret, but became instinctively aware that
the mention of her would make Mr. Arnold open his eyes, for he did
not even know her name; and that he would stare yet wider when he
learned that the valued companion referred to was Mrs. Elton's maid.

Mr. Arnold left the room, and presently returned with his arms
filled with all the drawing-room books he could find, with grand
bindings outside, and equally grand plates inside.  These he heaped
on the table beside Lady Emily, who tried to look interested, but
scarcely succeeded to Mr. Arnold's satisfaction, for he presently
said:

"You don't seem to care much about these, dear Lady Emily.  I
daresay you have looked at them all already, in this dull house of
ours."

This was a wonderful admission from Mr. Arnold.  He pondered -- then
exclaimed, as if he had just made a grand discovery:

"I have it!  I know something that will interest you."

"Do not trouble yourself, pray, Mr. Arnold," said Lady Emily.  But
he was already half way to the door.

He went to his own room, and his own strong closet therein.

Returning towards the invalid's quarters with an ebony box of
considerable size, he found it rather heavy, and meeting Euphra by
the way, requested her to take one of the silver handles, and help
him to carry it to Lady Emily's room.  She started when she saw it,
but merely said:

"With pleasure, uncle."

"Now, Lady Emily," said he, as, setting down the box, he took out a
curious antique enamelled key, "we shall be able to amuse you for a
little while."

He opened the box, and displayed such a glitter and show as would
have delighted the eyes of any lady.  All kinds of strange
ornaments; ancient watches -- one of them a death's head in gold;
cameo necklaces; pearls abundant; diamonds, rubies, and all the
colours of precious stones -- every one of them having some history,
whether known to the owner or not; gems that had flashed on many a
fair finger and many a shining neck -- lay before Lady Emily's
delighted eyes.  But Euphrasia's eyes shone, as she gazed on them,
with a very different expression from that which sparkled in Lady
Emily's.  They seemed to search them with fingers of lightning.  Mr.
Arnold chose two or three, and gave Lady Emily her choice of them.

"I could not think of depriving you."

"They are of no use to me," said Mr. Arnold, making light of the
handsome offer.

"You are too kind. -- I should like this ring."

"Take it then, dear Lady Emily."

Euphrasia's eyes were not on the speakers, nor was any envy to be
seen in her face.  She still gazed at the jewels in the box.

The chosen gem was put aside; and then, one after another, the
various articles were taken out and examined.  At length, a large
gold chain, set with emeralds, was lifted from where it lay coiled
up in a corner.  A low cry, like a muffled moan, escaped from
Euphrasia's lips, and she turned her head away from the box.

"What is the matter, Euphra?" said Mr. Arnold.

"A sudden shoot of pain -- I beg your pardon, dear uncle.  I fear I am
not quite so well yet as I thought I was.  How stupid of me!"

"Do sit down.  I fear the weight of the box was too much for you."

"Not in the least.  I want to see the pretty things."

"But you have seen them before."

"No, uncle.  You promised to show them to me, but you never did."

"You see what I get by being ill," said Lady Emily.

The chain was examined, admired, and laid aside.

Where it had lain, they now observed, in the corner, a huge stone
like a diamond.

"What is this?" said Lady Emily, taking it up. "Oh!  I see.  It is a
ring.  But such a ring for size, I never saw.  Do look, Miss
Cameron."

For Miss Cameron was not looking.  She was leaning her head on her
hand, and her face was ashy pale.  Lady Emily tried the ring on.
Any two of her fingers would go into the broad gold circlet, beyond
which the stone projected far in every direction.  Indeed, the ring
was attached to the stone, rather than the stone set in the ring.

"That is a curious thing, is it not?" said Mr. Arnold. "It is of no
value in itself, I believe; it is nothing but a crystal.  But it
seems to have been always thought something of in the family; -- I
presume from its being evidently the very ring painted by Sir Peter
Lely in that portrait of Lady Euphrasia which I showed you the other
day.  It is a clumsy affair, is it not?"

It might have occurred to Mr. Arnold, that such a thing must have
been thought something of, before its owner would have chosen to
wear it when sitting for her portrait.

Lady Emily was just going to lay it down, when she spied something
that made her look at it more closely.

"What curious engraving is this upon the gold?" she asked.

"I do not know, indeed," answered Mr. Arnold. "I have never observed
it."

"Look at it, then -- all over the gold.  What at first looks only like
chasing, is, I do believe, words.  The character looks to me like
German.  I wish I could read it.  I am but a poor German scholar.
Do look at it, please, dear Miss Cameron."

Euphra glanced slightly at it without touching it, and said:

"I am sure I could make nothing of it. -- But," she added, as if
struck by a sudden thought, "as Lady Emily seems interested in
it -- suppose we send for Mr. Sutherland.  I have no doubt he will be
able to decipher it."

She rose as if she would go for him herself; but, apparently on
second thoughts, went to the bell and rang it.

"Oh! do not trouble yourself," interposed Lady Emily, in a tone that
showed she would like it notwithstanding.

"No trouble at all," answered Euphra and her uncle in a breath.

"Jacob," said Mr. Arnold, "take my compliments to Mr. Sutherland,
and ask him to step this way."

The man went, and Hugh came.

"There's a puzzle for you, Mr. Sutherland," said Mr. Arnold, as he
entered. "Decipher that inscription, and gain the favour of Lady
Emily for ever."

As he spoke he put the ring in Hugh's hand.  Hugh recognized it at
once.

"Ah! this is Lady Euphrasia's wonderful ring," said he.

Euphra cast on him one of her sudden glances.

"What do you know about it?" said Mr. Arnold, hastily.

Euphra flashed at him once more, covertly.

"I only know that this is the ring in her portrait.  Any one may see
that it is a very wonderful ring indeed, by only looking at it,"
answered Hugh, smiling.

"I hope it is not too wonderful for you to get at the mystery of it,
though, Mr. Sutherland?" said Lady Emily.

"Lady Emily is dying to understand the inscription," said Euphrasia.

By this time Hugh was turning it round and round, trying to get a
beginning to the legend.  But in this he met with a difficulty.  The
fact was, that the initial letter of the inscription could only be
found by looking into the crystal held close to the eye.  The words
seemed not altogether unknown to him, though the characters were a
little strange, and the words themselves were undivided.  The dinner
bell rang.

"Dear me! how the time goes in your room, Lady Emily!" said Mr.
Arnold, who was never known to keep dinner waiting a moment. "Will
you venture to go down with us to-day?"

"I fear I must not to-day.  To-morrow, I hope.  But do put up these
beauties before you go.  I dare not touch them without you, and it
is so much more pleasure seeing them, when I have you to tell me
about them."

"Well, throw them in," said Mr. Arnold, pretending an indifference
he did not feel. "The reality of dinner must not be postponed to the
fancy of jewels."

All this time Hugh had stood poring over the ring at the window,
whither he had taken it for better light, as the shadows were
falling.  Euphra busied herself replacing everything in the box.
When all were in, she hastily shut the lid.

"Well, Mr. Sutherland?" said Mr. Arnold.

"I seem on the point of making it out, Mr. Arnold, but I certainly
have not succeeded yet."

"Confess yourself vanquished, then, and come to dinner."

"I am very unwilling to give in, for I feel convinced that if I had
leisure to copy the inscription as far as I can read it, I should,
with the help of my dictionary, soon supply the rest.  I am very
unwilling, as well, to lose a chance of the favour of Lady Emily."

"Yes, do read it, if you can.  I too am dying to hear it," said
Euphra.

"Will you trust me with it, Mr. Arnold?  I will take the greatest
care of it."

"Oh, certainly!" replied Mr. Arnold -- with a little hesitation in his
tone, however, of which Hugh was too eager to take any notice.

He carried it to his room immediately, and laid it beside his
manuscript verses, in the hiding-place of the old escritoire.  He
was in the drawing-room a moment after.

There he found Euphra and the Bohemian alone. -- Von Funkelstein had,
in an incredibly short space of time, established himself as
Hausfreund, and came and went as he pleased. -- They looked as if they
had been interrupted in a hurried and earnest conversation -- their
faces were so impassive.  Yet Euphra's wore a considerably
heightened colour -- a more articulate indication.  She could school
her features, but not her complexion.




CHAPTER XXIII.

THE WAGER.

     He...stakes this ring;
And would so, had it been a carbuncle
Of Phoebus' wheel; and might so safely, had it
Been all the worth of his car.

Cymbeline.


Hugh, of course, had an immediate attack of jealousy.  Wishing to
show it in one quarter, and hide it in every other, he carefully
abstained from looking once in the direction of Euphra; while,
throughout the dinner, he spoke to every one else as often as there
was the smallest pretext for doing so.  To enable himself to keep
this up, he drank wine freely.  As he was in general very moderate,
by the time the ladies rose, it had begun to affect his brain.  It
was not half so potent, however, in its influences, as the parting
glance which Euphra succeeded at last, as she left the room, in
sending through his eyes to his heart.

Hugh sat down to the table again, with a quieter tongue, but a
busier brain.  He drank still, without thinking of the consequences.
A strong will kept him from showing any signs of intoxication, but
he was certainly nearer to that state than he had ever been in his
life before.

The Bohemian started the new subject which generally follows the
ladies' departure.

"How long is it since Arnstead was first said to be haunted, Mr.
Arnold?"

"Haunted!  Herr von Funkelstein?  I am at a loss to understand you,"
replied Mr. Arnold, who resented any such allusion, being subversive
of the honour of his house, almost as much as if it had been
depreciative of his own.

"I beg your pardon, Mr. Arnold.  I thought it was an open subject of
remark."

"So it is," said Hugh; "every one knows that."

Mr. Arnold was struck dumb with indignation.  Before he had
recovered himself sufficiently to know what to say, the conversation
between the other two had assumed a form to which his late
experiences inclined him to listen with some degree of interest.
But, his pride sternly forbidding him to join in it, he sat sipping
his wine in careless sublimity.

"You have seen it yourself, then?" said the Bohemian.

"I did not say that," answered Hugh. "But I heard one of the maids
say once -- when --"

He paused.

This hesitation of his witnessed against him afterwards, in Mr.
Arnold's judgment.  But he took no notice now. -- Hugh ended tamely
enough:

"Why, it is commonly reported amongst the servants."

"With a blue light? -- Such as we saw that night from the library
window, I suppose."

"I did not say that," answered Hugh. "Besides, it was nothing of the
sort you saw from the library.  It was only the moon.  But --"

He paused again.  Von Funkelstein saw the condition he was in, and
pressed him.

"You know something more, Mr. Sutherland."

Hugh hesitated again, but only for a moment.

"Well, then," he said, "I have seen the spectre myself, walking in
her white grave-clothes, in the Ghost's Avenue -- ha! ha!"

Funkelstein looked anxious.

"Were you frightened?" said he.

"Frightened!" repeated Hugh, in a tone of the greatest contempt. "I
am of Don Juan's opinion with regard to such gentry."

"What is that?"

     "'That soul and body, on the whole,
       Are odds against a disembodied soul.'"

"Bravo!" cried the count. "You despise all these tales about Lady
Euphrasia, wandering about the house with a death-candle in her
hand, looking everywhere about as if she had lost something, and
couldn't find it?"

"Pooh! pooh!  I wish I could meet her!"

"Then you don't believe a word of it?"

"I don't say that.  There would be less of courage than boasting in
talking so, if I did not believe a word of it."

"Then you do believe it?"

But Hugh was too much of a Scotchman to give a hasty opinion, or
rather a direct answer -- even when half-tipsy; especially when such
was evidently desired.  He only shook and nodded his head at the
same moment.

"Do you really mean you would meet her if you could?"

"I do."

"Then, if all tales are true, you may, without much difficulty.  For
the coachman told me only to-day, that you may see her light in the
window of that room almost any night, towards midnight.  He told me,
too (for I made quite a friend of him to-day, on purpose to hear his
tales), that one of the maids, who left the other day, told the
groom -- and he told the coachman -- that she had once heard talking;
and, peeping through the key-hole of a door that led into that part
of the old house, saw a figure, dressed exactly like the picture of
Lady Euphrasia, wandering up and down, wringing her hands and
beating her breast, as if she were in terrible trouble.  She had a
light in her hand which burned awfully blue, and her face was the
face of a corpse, with pale-green spots."

"You think to frighten me, Funkelstein, and make me tremble at what
I said a minute ago.  Instead of repeating that.  I say now: I will
sleep in Lady Euphrasia's room this night, if you like."

"I lay you a hundred guineas you won't!" cried the Bohemian.

"Done!" said Hugh, offering him his hand.  Funkelstein took it; and
so the bet was committed to the decision of courage.

"Well, gentlemen," interposed Mr. Arnold at last, "you might have
left a corner for me somewhere.  Without my permission you will
hardly settle your wager."

"I beg your pardon, Mr. Arnold," said Funkelstein. "We got rather
excited over it, and forgot our manners.  But I am quite willing to
give it up, if Mr. Sutherland will."

"Not I," said Hugh; -- "that is, of course, if Mr. Arnold has no
objection."

"Of course not.  My house, ghost and all, is at your service,
gentlemen," responded Mr. Arnold, rising.

They went to the drawing-room.  Mr. Arnold, strange to say, was in a
good humour.  He walked up to Mrs. Elton, and said:

"These wicked men have been betting, Mrs. Elton."

"I am surprised they should be so silly," said she, with a smile,
taking it as a joke.

"What have they been betting about?" said Euphra, coming up to her
uncle.

"Herr von Funkelstein has laid a hundred guineas that Mr. Sutherland
will not sleep in Lady Euphrasia's room to-night."

Euphra turned pale.

"By sleep I suppose you mean spend the night?" said Hugh to
Funkelstein. "I cannot be certain of sleeping, you know."

"Of course, I mean that," answered the other; and, turning to
Euphrasia, continued:

"I must say I consider it rather courageous of him to dare the
spectre as he does, for he cannot say he disbelieves in her.  But
come and sing me one of the old songs," he added, in an under tone.

Euphra allowed him to lead her to the piano; but instead of singing
a song to him, she played some noisy music, through which he and she
contrived to talk for some time, without being overheard; after
which he left the room.  Euphra then looked round to Hugh, and
begged him with her eyes to come to her.  He could not resist,
burning with jealousy as he was.

"Are you sure you have nerve enough for this, Hugh?" she said, still
playing.

"I have had nerve enough to sit still and look at you for the last
half hour," answered Hugh, rudely.

She turned pale, and glanced up at him with a troubled look.  Then,
without responding to his answer, said:

"I daresay the count is not over-anxious to hold you to your bet."

"Pray intercede for me with the count, madam," answered Hugh,
sarcastically. "He would not wish the young fool to be frightened, I
daresay.  But perhaps he wishes to have an interview with the ghost
himself, and grudges me the privilege."

She turned deadly pale this time, and gave him one terrified glance,
but made no other reply to his words.  Still she played on.

"You will arm yourself?"

"Against a ghost?  Yes, with a stout heart."

"But don't forget the secret door through which we came that night,
Hugh. I distrust the count."

The last words were spoken in a whisper, emphasized into almost a
hiss.

"Tell him I shall be armed.  I tell you I shall meet him
bare-handed.  Betray me if you like."

Hugh had taken his revenge, and now came the reaction.  He gazed at
Euphra; but instead of the injured look, which was the best he could
hope to see, an expression of "pity and ruth" grew slowly in her
face, making it more lovely than ever in his eyes.  At last she
seemed on the point of bursting into tears; and, suddenly changing
the music, she began playing a dead-march.  She kept her eyes on the
keys.  Once more, only, she glanced round, to see whether Hugh was
still by her side; and he saw that her face was pale as death, and
wet with silent tears.  He had never seen her weep before.  He would
have fallen at her feet, had he been alone with her.  To hide his
feelings, he left the room, and then the house.

He wandered into the Ghost's Walk; and, finding himself there,
walked up and down in it.  This was certainly throwing the lady a
bold challenge, seeing he was going to spend the night in her room.

The excitement into which jealousy had thrown him, had been suddenly
checked by the sight of Euphra's tears.  The reaction, too, after
his partial intoxication, had already begun to set in; to be
accounted for partly by the fact that its source had been chiefly
champagne, and partly by the other fact, that he had bound himself
in honour, to dare a spectre in her own favourite haunt.

On the other hand, the sight of Euphra's emotion had given him a far
better courage than jealousy or wine could afford.  Yet, after ten
minutes passed in the shadows of the Ghost's Walk, he would not have
taken the bet at ten times its amount.

But to lose it now would have been a serious affair for him, the
disgrace of failure unconsidered.  If he could have lost a hundred
guineas, it would have been comparatively a slight matter; but to
lose a bet, and be utterly unable to pay it, would be
disgraceful -- no better than positive cheating.  He had not thought
of this at the time.  Nor, even now, was it more than a passing
thought; for he had not the smallest desire to recede.  The ambition
of proving his courage to Euphra, and, far more, the strength just
afforded him by the sight of her tears, were quite sufficient to
carry him on to the ordeal.  Whether they would carry him through it
with dignity, he did not ask himself.

And, after all, would the ghost appear?  At the best, she might not
come; at the very worst, she would be but a ghost; and he could say
with Hamlet --

       "for my soul, what can it do to that,
     Being a thing as immortal as itself?"

But then, his jealousy having for the moment intermitted, Hugh was
not able to say with Hamlet --

     "I do not set my life at a pin's fee;"

and that had much to do with Hamlet's courage in the affair of the
ghost.

He walked up and down the avenue, till, beginning to feel the night
chilly, he began to feel the avenue eerie; for cold is very
antagonistic to physical courage.  But what refuge would he find in
the ghost's room?

He returned to the drawing-room.  Von Funkelstein and Euphra were
there alone, but in no proximity.  Mr. Arnold soon entered.

"Shall I have the bed prepared for you, Mr. Sutherland?" said
Euphra.

"Which of your maids will you persuade to that office?" said Mr.
Arnold, with a facetious expression.

"I must do it myself," answered Euphra, "if Mr. Sutherland
persists."

Hugh saw, or thought he saw, the Bohemian dart an angry glance at
Euphra, who shrank under it.  But before he could speak, Mr. Arnold
rejoined:

"You can make a bed, then?  That is the housemaid's phrase, is it
not?"

"I can do anything another can, uncle."

"Bravo!  Can you see the ghost?"

"Yes," she answered, with a low lingering on the sibilant; looking
round, at the same time, with an expression that implied a hope that
Hugh had heard it; as indeed he had.

"What!  Euphra too?" said Mr. Arnold, in a tone of gentle contempt.

"Do not disturb the ghost's bed for me," said Hugh. "It would be a
pity to disarrange it, after it has lain so for an age.  Besides, I
need not rouse the wrath of the poor spectre more than can't be
helped.  If I must sleep in her room, I need not sleep in her bed.
I will lie on the old couch.  Herr von Funkelstein, what proof
shall I give you?"

"Your word, Mr. Sutherland," replied Funkelstein, with a bow.

"Thank you.  At what hour must I be there."

"Oh!  I don't know.  By eleven I should think.  Oh! any time before
midnight.  That's the ghost's own, is it not?  It is now -- let me
see -- almost ten."

"Then I will go at once," said Hugh, thinking it better to meet the
gradual approach of the phantom-hour in the room itself, than to
walk there through the desolate house, and enter the room just as
the fear would be gathering thickest within it.  Besides, he was
afraid that his courage might have broken down a little by that
time, and that he would not be able to conceal entirely the
anticipative dread, whose inroad he had reason to apprehend.

"I have one good cup of tea yet, Mr. Sutherland," said Euphra. "Will
you not strengthen your nerves with that, before we lead you to the
tomb?"

"Then she will go with me," thought Hugh. "I will, thank you, Miss
Cameron."

He approached the table at which she stood pouring out the cup of
tea.  She said, low and hurriedly, without raising her head:

"Don't go, dear Hugh. You don't know what may happen."

"I will go, Euphra.  Not even you shall prevent me."

"I will pay the wager for you -- lend you the money."

"Euphra!" -- The tone implied many things.

Mr. Arnold approached.  Other conversation followed.  As half-past
ten chimed from the clock on the chimney-piece, Hugh rose to go.

"I will just get a book from my room," he said; "and then perhaps
Herr von Funkelstein will be kind enough to see me make a beginning
at least."

"Certainly I will.  And I advise you to let the book be Edgar Poe's
Tales."

"No. I shall need all the courage I have, I assure you.  I shall
find you here?"

"Yes."

Hugh went to his room, and washed his face and hands.  Before doing
so, he pulled off his finger a ring of considerable value, which had
belonged to his father.  As he was leaving the room to return to the
company, he remembered that he had left the ring on the
washhand-stand.  He generally left it there at night; but now he
bethought himself that, as he was not going to sleep in the room, it
might be as well to place it in the escritoire.  He opened the
secret place, and laid the diamond beside his poems and the crystal
ring belonging to Mr. Arnold.  This done, he took up his book again,
and, returning to the drawing-room, found the whole party prepared
to accompany him.  Mr. Arnold had the keys.  Von Funkelstein and he
went first, and Hugh followed with Euphra.

"We will not contribute to your discomfiture by locking the doors on
the way, Mr. Sutherland," said Mr. Arnold.

"That is, you will not compel me to win the wager in spite of my
fears," said Hugh.

"But you will let the ghost loose on the household," said the
Bohemian, laughing.

"I will be responsible for that," replied Mr. Arnold.

Euphra dropped a little behind with Hugh.

"Remember the secret passage," said she. "You can get out when you
will, whether they lock the door, or not.  Don't carry it too far,
Hugh."

"The ghost you mean, Euphra. -- I don't think I shall," said Hugh,
laughing.  But as he laughed, an involuntary shudder passed through
him.

"Have I stepped over my own grave?" thought he.

They reached the room, and entered.  Hugh would have begged them to
lock him in, had he not felt that his knowledge of the secret door,
would, although he intended no use of it, render such a proposal
dishonourable.  They gave him the key of the door, to lock it on the
inside, and bade him good night.  They were just leaving him, when
Hugh on whom a new light had broken at last, in the gradual
restoration of his faculties, said to the Bohemian:

"One word with you, Herr von Funkelstein, if you please."

Funkelstein followed him into the room; when Hugh half-closing the
door, said:

"I trust to your sympathy, as gentleman, not to misunderstand me.  I
wagered a hundred guineas with you in the heat of after-dinner talk.
I am not at present worth a hundred shillings."

"Oh!" began Funkelstein, with a sneer, "if you wish to get off on
that ground --"

"Herr von Funkelstein," interrupted Hugh, in a very decided tone, "I
pointed to your sympathy as a gentleman, as the ground on which I
had hoped to meet you now.  If you have difficulty in finding that
ground, another may be found to-morrow without much seeking."

Hugh paused for a moment after making this grand speech; but
Funkelstein did not seem to understand him: he stood in a waiting
attitude.  Hugh therefore went on:

"Meantime, what I wanted to say is this: -- I have just left a ring in
my room, which, though in value considerably below the sum mentioned
between us, may yet be a pledge of my good faith, in as far as it is
of infinitely more value to me than can be reckoned in money.  It
was the property of one who by birth, and perhaps by social position
as well, was Herr von Funkelstein's equal.  The ring is a diamond,
and belonged to my father."

Von Funkelstein merely replied:

"I beg your pardon, Mr. Sutherland, for misunderstanding you.  The
ring is quite an equivalent."  And making him a respectful bow, he
turned and left him.




CHAPTER XXIV.

THE LADY EUPHRASIA.

The black jades of swart night trot foggy rings
'Bout heaven's brow. 'Tis now stark dead night.

JOHN MARSTON. -- Second Part of Antonio and Mellida.


As soon as Hugh was alone, his first action was to lock the door by
which he had entered; his next to take the key from the lock, and
put it in his pocket.  He then looked if there were any other
fastenings, and finding an old tarnished brass bolt as well,
succeeded in making it do its duty for the first time that century,
which required some persuasion, as may be supposed.  He then turned
towards the other door.  As he crossed the room, he found four
candles, a decanter of port, and some biscuits, on a table -- placed
there, no doubt, by the kind hands of Euphra.  He vowed to himself
that he would not touch the wine. "I have had enough of that for one
night," said he.  But he lighted the candles; and then saw that the
couch was provided with plenty of wraps for the night.  One of
them -- he recognised to his delight -- was a Cameron tartan, often worn
by Euphra.  He buried his face in it for a moment, and drew from it
fresh courage.  He then went into the furthest recess, lifted the
tapestry, and proceeded to fasten the concealed door.  But, to his
discomfiture, he could find no fastening upon it. "No doubt,"
thought he, "it does fasten, in some secret way or other."  But he
could discover none.  There was no mark of bolt or socket to show
whence one had been removed, nor sign of friction to indicate that
the door had ever been made secure in such fashion.  It closed with
a spring.

"Then," said Hugh, apostrophising the door, "I must watch you."

As, however, it was not yet near the time when ghosts are to be
expected, and as he felt very tired, he drank one glass of the wine,
and throwing himself on the couch, drew Euphra's shawl over him,
opened his book, and began to read.  But the words soon vanished in
a bewildering dance, and he slept.

He started awake in that agony of fear in which I suppose most
people have awaked in the night, once or twice in their lives.  He
felt that he was not alone.  But the feeling seemed, when he
recalled it, to have been altogether different from that with which
we recognise the presence of the most unwelcome bodily visitor.  The
whole of his nervous skeleton seemed to shudder and contract.  Every
sense was intensified to the acme of its acuteness; while the powers
of volition were inoperative.  He could not move a finger.

The moment in which he first saw the object I am about to describe,
he could not recall.  The impression made seemed to have been too
strong for the object receiving it, destroying thus its own traces,
as an overheated brand-iron would in dry timber.  Or it may be that,
after such a pre-sensation, the cause of it could not surprise him.

He saw, a few paces off, bending as if looking down upon him, a face
which, if described as he described it, would be pronounced as far
past the most liberal boundary-line of art, as itself had passed
beyond that degree of change at which a human countenance is fit for
the upper world no longer, and must be hidden away out of sight.
The lips were dark, and drawn back from the closed teeth, which
were white as those of a skull.  There were spots -- in fact, the face
corresponded exactly to the description given by Funkelstein of the
reported ghost of Lady Euphrasia.  The dress was point for point
correspondent to that in the picture.  Had the portrait of Lady
Euphrasia been hanging on the wall above, instead of the portrait of
the unknown nun, Hugh would have thought, as far as dress was
concerned, that it had come alive, and stepped from its
frame -- except for one thing: there was no ring on the thumb.

It was wonderful to himself afterwards, that he should have observed
all these particulars; but the fact was, that they rather burnt
themselves in upon his brain, than were taken notice of by him.
They returned upon him afterwards by degrees, as one becomes
sensible of the pain of a wound.

But there was one sign of life.  Though the eyes were closed, tears
flowed from them; and seemed to have worn channels for their
constant flow down this face of death, which ought to have been
lying still in the grave, returning to its dust, and was weeping
above ground instead.  The figure stood for a moment, as one who
would gaze, could she but open her heavy, death-rusted eyelids.
Then, as if in hopeless defeat, she turned away.  And then, to
crown the horror literally as well as figuratively, Hugh saw that
her hair sparkled and gleamed goldenly, as the hair of a saint
might, if the aureole were combed down into it.  She moved towards
the door with a fettered pace, such as one might attribute to the
dead if they walked; -- to the dead body, I say, not to the living
ghost; to that which has lain in the prison-hold, till the joints
are decayed with the grave-damps, and the muscles are stiff with
more than deathly cold.  She dragged one limb after the other slowly
and, to appearance, painfully, as she moved towards the door which
Hugh had locked.

When she had gone half-way to the door, Hugh, lying as he was on a
couch, could see her feet, for her dress did not reach the ground.
They were bare, as the feet of the dead ought to be, which are
about to tread softly in the realm of Hades, But how stained and
mouldy and iron-spotted, as if the rain had been soaking through the
spongy coffin, did the dress show beside the pure whiteness of those
exquisite feet!  Not a sign of the tomb was upon them.  Small,
living, delicately formed, Hugh, could he have forgot the face they
bore above, might have envied the floor which in their nakedness
they seemed to caress, so lingeringly did they move from it in their
noiseless progress.

She reached the door, put out her hand, and touched it.  Hugh saw it
open outwards and let her through.  Nor did this strike him as in
the smallest degree marvellous.  It closed again behind her,
noiseless as her footfalls.

The moment she vanished, the power of motion returned to him, and
Hugh sprang to his feet.  He leaped to the door.  With trembling
hand he inserted the key, and the lock creaked as he turned it.

In proof of his being in tolerable possession of his faculties at
the moment, and that what he was relating to me actually occurred,
he told me that he remembered at once that he had heard that
peculiar creak, a few moments before Euphra and he discovered that
they were left alone in this very chamber.  He had never thought of
it before.

Still the door would not open: it was bolted as well, and the bolt
was very stiff to withdraw.  But at length he succeeded.

When he reached the passage outside, he thought he saw the glimmer
of a light, perhaps in the picture-gallery beyond.  Towards this he
groped his way. -- He could never account for the fact, that he left
the candles burning in the room behind him and went forward into the
darkness, except by supposing that his wits had gone astray, in
consequence of the shock the apparition had occasioned them. -- When
he reached the gallery, there was no light there; but somewhere in
the distance he saw, or fancied, a faint shimmer.

The impulse to go towards it was too strong to be disputed with.  He
advanced with outstretched arms, groping.  After a few steps, he had
lost all idea of where he was, or how he ought to proceed in order
to reach any known quarter.  The light had vanished.  He stood. -- Was
that a stealthy step he heard beside him in the dark?  He had no
time to speculate, for the next moment he fell senseless.




CHAPTER XXV.

NEXT MORNING.

Darkness is fled: look, infant morn hath drawn
Bright silver curtains 'bout the couch of night;
And now Aurora's horse trots azure rings,
Breathing fair light about the firmament.
Stand; what's that?

JOHN MARSTON. -- Second Part of Antonio and Mellida.


When he came to himself, it was with a slow flowing of the tide of
consciousness.  His head ached.  Had he fallen down stairs? -- or had
he struck his head against some projection, and so stunned himself?
The last he remembered was -- standing quite still in the dark, and
hearing something.  Had he been knocked down?  He could not
tell. -- Where was he?  Could the ghost have been all a dream? and
this headache be nature's revenge upon last night's wine? -- For he
lay on the couch in the haunted chamber, and on his bosom lay the
book over which he had dropped asleep.

Mingled with all this doubt, there was another.  For he remembered
that, when consciousness first returned, he felt as if he had seen
Euphra's face bending down close over his. -- Could it be possible?
Had Euphra herself come to see how he had fared? -- The room lay in
the grey light of the dawn, but Euphra was nowhere visible.  Could
she have vanished ashamed through the secret door?  Or had she been
only a phantasy, a projection outwards of the form that dwelt in his
brain; a phenomenon often occurring when the last of sleeping and
the first of waking are indistinguishably blended in a vague
consciousness?

But if it was so, then the ghost? -- what of it?  Had not his brain,
by the events of the preceding evening, been similarly prepared with
regard to it?  Was it not more likely, after all, that she too was
the offspring of his own imagination -- the power that makes
images -- especially when considered, that she exactly corresponded to
the description given by the Bohemian? -- But had he not observed many
points at which the Count had not even hinted? -- Still, it was as
natural to expect that an excited imagination should supply the
details of a wholly imaginary spectacle, as that, given the idea of
Euphra's presence, it should present the detail of her countenance;
for the creation of that which is not, belongs as much to the realm
of the imagination, as the reproduction of that which is.

It seemed very strange to Hugh himself, that he should be able thus
to theorize, before even he had raised himself from the couch on
which, perhaps, after all, he had lain without moving, throughout
that terrible night, swarming with the horrors of the dead that
would not sleep.  But the long unconsciousness, in which he had
himself visited the regions of death, seemed to have restored him,
in spite of his aching head, to perfect mental equilibrium.  Or, at
least, his brain was quiet enough to let his mind work.  Still, he
felt very ghastly within.  He raised himself on his elbow, and
looked into the room.  Everything was the same as it had been the
night before, only with an altered aspect in the dawn-light.  The
dawn has a peculiar terror of its own, sometimes perhaps even more
real in character, but very different from the terrors of the night
and of candle-light.  The room looked as if no ghost could have
passed through its still old musty atmosphere, so perfectly
reposeful did it appear; and yet it seemed as if some umbra, some
temporary and now cast-off body of the ghost, must be lying or
lingering somewhere about it.  He rose, and peeped into the recess
where the cabinet stood.  Nothing was there but the well remembered
carving and blackness.  Having once yielded to the impulse, he could
not keep from peering every moment, now into one, and now into
another of the many hidden corners.  The next suggesting itself for
examination, was always one he could not see from where he
stood: -- after all, even in the daylight, there might be some dead
thing there -- who could tell?  But he remained manfully at his post
till the sun rose; till bell after bell rang from the turret; till,
in short, Funkelstein came to fetch him.

"Good morning, Mr. Sutherland," said he. "How have you slept?"

"Like a -- somnambulist," answered Hugh, choosing the word for its
intensity. "I slept so sound that I woke quite early."

"I am glad to hear it.  But it is nearly time for breakfast, for
which ceremony I am myself hardly in trim yet."

So saying, Funkelstein turned, and walked away with some
precipitation.  What occasioned Hugh a little surprise; was, that he
did not ask him one question more as to how he had passed the night.
He had, of course, slept in the house, seeing he presented himself
in deshabille.

Hugh hastened to his own room, where, under the anti-ghostial
influences of the bath, he made up his mind not to say a word about
the apparition to any one.

"Well, Mr. Sutherland, how have you spent the night?" said Mr.
Arnold, greeting him.

"I slept with profound stupidity," answered Hugh; "a stupidity, in
fact, quite worthy of the folly of the preceding wager."

This was true, as relating to the time during which he had slept,
but was, of course, false in the impression it gave.

"Bravo!" exclaimed Mr. Arnold, with an unwonted impulsiveness. "The
best mood, I consider, in which to meet such creations of other
people's brains!  And you positively passed a pleasant night in the
awful chamber?  That is something to tell Euphra.  But she is not
down yet.  You have restored the character of my house, Mr.
Sutherland; and next to his own character, a man ought to care for
that of his house.  I am greatly in your debt, sir."

At this moment, Euphra's maid brought the message, that her mistress
was sorry she was unable to appear at breakfast.

Mrs. Elton took her place.

"The day is so warm and still, Mr. Arnold, that I think Lady Emily
might have a drive to-day.  Perhaps Miss Cameron may be able to join
us by that time."

"I cannot think what is the matter with Euphra," said Mr. Arnold.
"She never used to be affected in this way."

"Should you not seek some medical opinion?" said Mrs. Elton. "These
constant headaches must indicate something wrong."

The constant headache had occurred just once before, since Mrs.
Elton had formed one of the family.  After a pause, Mr. Arnold
reverted to the former subject.

"You are most welcome to the carriage, Mrs. Elton.  I am sorry I
cannot accompany you myself; but I must go to town to-day.  You can
take Mr. Sutherland with you, if you like.  He will take care of
you."

"I shall be most happy," said Hugh.

"So shall we all," responded Mrs. Elton kindly. "Thank you, Mr.
Arnold; though I am sorry you can't go with us."

"What hour shall I order the carriage?"

"About one, I think.  Will Herr von Funkelstein favour us with his
company?"

"I am sorry," replied Funkelstein; "but I too must leave for London
to-day.  Shall I have the pleasure of accompanying you, Mr. Arnold?"

"With all my heart, if you can leave so early.  I must go at once to
catch the express train."

"I shall be ready in ten minutes."

"Very well."

"Pray, Mrs. Elton, make my adieus to Miss Cameron.  I am concerned
to hear of her indisposition."

"With pleasure.  I am going to her now.  Good-bye."

As soon as Mrs. Elton left the breakfast-room, Mr. Arnold rose,
saying:

"I will walk round to the stable, and order the carriage myself.  I
shall then be able, through your means, Mr. Sutherland, to put a
stop to these absurd rumours in person.  Not that I mean to say
anything direct, as if I placed any importance upon it; but, the
coachman being an old servant, I shall be able through him, to send
the report of your courage and its result, all over the house."

This was a very gracious explanation of his measures.  As he
concluded it, he left the room, without allowing time for a reply.

Hugh had not expected such an immediate consequence of his policy,
and felt rather uncomfortable; but he soon consoled himself by
thinking, "At least it will do no harm."

While Mr. Arnold was speaking, Funkelstein had been writing at a
side-table.  He now handed Hugh a cheque on a London banking-house
for a hundred guineas.  Hugh, in his innocence, could not help
feeling ashamed of gaining such a sum by such means; for betting,
like tobacco-smoking, needs a special training before it can be
carried out quite comfortably, especially by the winner, if he be at
all of a generous nature.  But he felt that to show the least
reluctance would place him at great disadvantage with a man of the
world like the count.  He therefore thanked him slightly, and thrust
the cheque into his trowsers-pocket, as if a greater sum of money
than he had ever handled before were nothing more for him to win,
than the count would choose it to be considered for him to lose.  He
thought with himself: "Ah! well, I need not make use of it;" and
repaired to the school-room.

Here he found Harry waiting for him, looking tolerably well, and
tolerably happy.  This was a great relief to Hugh, for he had not
seen him at the breakfast-table -- Harry having risen early and
breakfasted before; and he had felt very uneasy lest the boy should
have missed him in the night (for they were still bed-fellows), and
should in consequence have had one of his dreadful attacks of
fear. -- It was evident that this had not taken place.




CHAPTER XXVI.

AN ACCIDENT.

There's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow.

Hamlet.


When Mrs. Elton left the breakfast table, she went straight to Miss
Cameron's room to inquire after her, expecting to find her maid with
her.  But when she knocked at the door, there was no reply.

She went therefore to her own room, and sent her maid to find
Euphra's maid.

She came.

"Is your mistress going to get up to-day, Jane?" asked Mrs. Elton.

"I don't know, ma'am.  She has not rung yet."

"Have you not been to see how she is?"

"No, ma'am."

"How was it you brought that message at breakfast, then?"

Jane looked confused, and did not reply.

"Jane!" said Mrs. Elton, in a tone of objurgation.

"Well, ma'am, she told me to say so," answered Jane.

"How did she tell you?"

Jane paused again.

"Through the door, ma'am," she answered at length; and then
muttered, that they would make her tell lies by asking her questions
she couldn't answer; and she wished she was out of the house, that
she did.

Mrs. Elton heard this, and, of course, felt considerably puzzled.

"Will you go now, please, and inquire after your mistress, with my
compliments?"

"I daren't, ma'am."

"Daren't!  What do you mean?"

"Well, ma'am, there is something about my mistress -- " Here she
stopped abruptly; but as Mrs. Elton stood expectant, she tried to go
on.  All she could add, however, was -- "No, ma'am; I daren't."

"But there is no harm in going to her room."

"Oh, no, ma'am.  I go to her room, summer and winter, at seven
o'clock every morning," answered Jane, apparently glad to be able to
say something.

"Why won't you go now, then?"

"Why -- why -- because she told me -- " Here the girl stammered and turned
pale.  At length she forced out the words -- "She won't let me tell
you why," and burst into tears.

"Won't let you tell me?" repeated Mrs. Elton, beginning to think the
girl must be out of her mind.  Jane looked hurriedly over her
shoulder, as if she expected to see her mistress standing behind
her, and then said, almost defiantly:

"No, she won't; and I can't."

With these words, she hurried out of the room, while Mrs. Elton
turned with baffled bewilderment to seek counsel from the face of
Margaret.  As to what all this meant, I am in doubt.  I have
recorded it as Margaret told it to Hugh afterwards -- because it seems
to indicate something.  It shows evidently enough, that if Euphra
had more than a usual influence over servants in general, she had a
great deal more over this maid in particular.  Was this in virtue of
a power similar to that of Count Halkar over herself?  And was this,
or something very different, or both combined, the art which he had
accused her of first exercising upon him?  Might the fact that her
defeat had resulted in such absolute subjection, be connected with
her possession of a power similar to his, which she had matched with
his in vain?  Of course I only suggest these questions.  I cannot
answer them.

At one o'clock, the carriage came round to the door; and Hugh, in
the hope of seeing Euphra alone, was the first in the hall.  Mrs.
Elton and Lady Emily presently came, and proceeded to take their
places, without seeming to expect Miss Cameron.  Hugh helped them
into the carriage; but, instead of getting in, lingered, hoping that
Euphra was yet going to make her appearance.

"I fear Miss Cameron is unable to join us," said Mrs. Elton,
divining his delay.

"Shall I run up-stairs, and knock at her door?" said Hugh.

"Do," said Mrs. Elton, who, after the unsatisfactory conversation
she had held with her maid, had felt both uneasy and curious, all
the morning.

Hugh bounded up-stairs; but, just as he was going to knock, the door
opened, and Euphra appeared.

"Dear Euphra! how ill you look!" exclaimed Hugh.

She was pale as death, and dark under the eyes; and had evidently
been weeping.

"Hush! hush!" she answered. "Never mind.  It is only a bad headache.
Don't take any notice of it."

"The carriage is at the door.  Will you not come with us?"

"With whom?"

"Lady Emily and Mrs. Elton."

"I am sick of them."

"I am going, Euphra."

"Stay with me."

"I must go.  I promised to take care of them."

"Oh, nonsense!  What should happen to them?  Stay with me."

"No. I am very sorry.  I wish I could."

"Then I must go with you, I suppose."  Yet her tone expressed
annoyance.

"Oh! thank you," cried Hugh in delight. "Make haste.  I will run
down, and tell them to wait."

He bounded away, and told the ladies that Euphra would join them in
a few minutes.

But Euphra was cool enough to inflict on them quite twenty minutes
of waiting; by which time she was able to behave with tolerable
propriety.  When she did appear at last, she was closely veiled, and
stepped into the carriage without once showing her face.  But she
made a very pretty apology for the delay she had occasioned; which
was certainly due, seeing it had been perfectly intentional.  She
made room for Hugh; he took his place beside her; and away they
drove.

Euphra scarcely spoke; but begged indulgence, on the ground of her
headache.  Lady Emily enjoyed the drive very much, and said a great
many pleasant little nothings.

"Would you like a glass of milk?" said Mrs. Elton to her, as they
passed a farm-house on the estate.

"I should -- very much," answered Lady Emily.

The carriage was stopped, and the servant sent to beg a glass of
milk.  Euphra, who, from riding backward with a headache, had been
feeling very uncomfortable for some time, wished to get out while
the carriage was waiting.  Hugh jumped out, and assisted her.  She
walked a little way, leaning on his arm, up to the house, where she
had a glass of water; after which she said she felt better, and
returned with him to the carriage.  In getting in again, either from
the carelessness or the weakness occasioned by suffering, her foot
slipped from the step, and she fell with a cry of alarm.  Hugh
caught her as she fell; and she would not have been much injured,
had not the horses started and sprung forward at the moment, so that
the hind wheel of the carriage passed over her ankle.  Hugh, raising
her in his arms, found she was insensible.

He laid her down upon the grass by the roadside.  Water was
procured, but she showed no sign of recovering. -- What was to be
done?  Mrs. Elton thought she had better be carried to the
farm-house.  Hugh judged it better to take her home at once.  To
this, after a little argument, Mrs. Elton agreed.

They lifted her into the carriage, and made what arrangements they
best could to allow her to recline.  Blood was flowing from her
foot; and it was so much swollen that it was impossible to guess at
the amount of the injury.  The foot was already twice the size of
the other, in which Hugh for the first time recognised such a
delicacy of form, as, to his fastidious eye and already ensnared
heart, would have been perfectly enchanting, but for the agony he
suffered from the injury to the other.  Yet he could not help the
thought crossing his mind, that her habit of never lifting her dress
was a very strange one, and that it must have had something to do
with the present accident.  I cannot account for this habit, but on
one of two suppositions; that of an affected delicacy, or that of
the desire that the beauty of her feet should have its full power,
from being rarely seen.  But it was dreadful to think how far the
effects of this accident might permanently injure the beauty of one
of them.

Hugh would have walked home that she might have more room, but he
knew he could be useful when they arrived.  He seated himself so as
to support the injured foot, and prevent, in some measure, the
torturing effects of the motion of the carriage.  When they had gone
about half-way, she opened her eyes feebly, glanced at him, and
closed them again with a moan of pain.

He carried her in his arms up to her own room, and laid her on a
couch.  She thanked him by a pitiful attempt at a smile.  He mounted
his horse, and galloped for a surgeon.

The injury was a serious one; but until the swelling could be a
little reduced, it was impossible to tell how serious.  The surgeon,
however, feared that some of the bones of the ankle might be
crushed.  The ankle seemed to be dislocated, and the suffering was
frightful.  She endured it well, however -- so far as absolute silence
constitutes endurance.

Hugh's misery was extreme.  The surgeon had required his assistance;
but a suitable nurse soon arrived, and there was no pretext for his
further presence in the sick chamber.  He wandered about the
grounds.  Harry haunted his steps like a spaniel.  The poor boy felt
it much; and the suffering abstraction of Hugh sealed up his chief
well of comfort.  At length he went to Mrs. Elton, who did her best
to console him.

By the surgeon's express orders, every one but the nurse was
excluded from Euphra's room.




CHAPTER XXVII.

MORE TROUBLES.

     Come on and do your best
To fright me with your sprites: you're powerful at it.

You smell this business with a sense as cold
As is a dead man's nose.

A Winter's Tale.


When Mr. Arnold came home to dinner, and heard of the accident, his
first feeling, as is the case with weak men, was one of mingled
annoyance and anger.  Hugh was the chief object of it; for had he
not committed the ladies to his care?  And the economy of his house
being partially disarranged by it, had he not a good right to be
angry?  His second feeling was one of concern for his niece, which
was greatly increased when he found that she was not in a state to
see him.  Still, nothing must interfere with the order of things;
and when Hugh went into the drawing-room at the usual hour, he found
Mr. Arnold standing there in tail coat and white neck-cloth, looking
as if he had just arrived at a friend's house, to make one of a
stupid party.  And the party which sat down to dinner was certainly
dreary enough, consisting only, besides the host himself, of Mrs.
Elton, Hugh, and Harry.  Lady Emily had had exertion enough for the
day, and had besides shared in the shock of Euphra's misfortune.

Mr. Arnold was considerably out of humour, and ready to pounce upon
any object of complaint.  He would have attacked Hugh with a pompous
speech on the subject of his carelessness, but he was rather afraid
of his tutor now; -- so certainly will the stronger get the upper hand
in time.  He did not even refer to the subject of the accident.
Therefore, although it filled the minds of all at table, it was
scarcely more than alluded to.  But having nothing at hand to find
fault with more suitable, he laid hold of the first wise remark
volunteered by good Mrs. Elton; whereupon an amusing pas de deux
immediately followed; for it could not be called a duel, inasmuch as
each antagonist kept skipping harmlessly about the other, exploding
theological crackers, firmly believed by the discharger to be no
less than bomb-shells.  At length Mrs. Elton withdrew.

"By the way, Mr. Sutherland," said Mr. Arnold, "have you succeeded
in deciphering that curious inscription yet?  I don't like the ring
to remain long out of my own keeping.  It is quite an heirloom, I
assure you."

Hugh was forced to confess that he had never thought of it again.

"Shall I fetch it at once?" added he.

"Oh! no," replied Mr. Arnold. "I should really like to understand
the inscription.  To-morrow will do perfectly well."

They went to the drawing-room.  Everything was wretched.  However
many ghosts might be in the house, it seemed to Hugh that there was
no soul in it except in one room.  The wind sighed fitfully, and the
rain fell in slow, soundless showers.  Mr. Arnold felt the vacant
oppression as well as Hugh. Mrs Elton having gone to Lady Emily's
room, he proposed back gammon; and on that surpassing game, the
gentlemen expended the best part of two dreary hours.  When Hugh
reached his room he was too tired and spiritless for any
intellectual effort; and, instead of trying to decipher the ring,
went to bed, and slept as if there were never a ghost or a woman in
the universe.

His first proceeding, after breakfast next day, was to get together
his German books; and his next to take out the ring, which was to be
subjected to their analytical influences.  He went to his desk, and
opened the secret place.  There he stood fixed. -- The ring was gone.
His packet of papers was there, rather crumpled: the ring was
nowhere.  What had become of it?  It was not long before a
conclusion suggested itself.  It flashed upon him all at once.

"The ghost has got it," he said, half aloud. "It is shining now on
her dead finger.  It was Lady Euphrasia.  She was going for it then.
It wasn't on her thumb when she went.  She came back with it,
shining through the dark -- stepped over me, perhaps, as I lay on the
floor in her way."

He shivered, like one in an ague-fit.

Again and again, with that frenzied, mechanical motion, which, like
the eyes of a ghost, has "no speculation" in it, he searched the
receptacle, although it freely confessed its emptiness to any asking
eye.  Then he stood gazing, and his heart seemed to stand still
likewise.

But a new thought stung him, turning him almost sick with a sense of
loss.  Suddenly and frantically he dived his hand into the place yet
again, useless as he knew the search to be.  He took up his papers,
and scattered them loose.  It was all unavailing: his father's ring
was gone as well.

He sank on a chair for a moment; but, instantly recovering, found
himself, before he was quite aware of his own resolution, halfway
down stairs, on his way to Mr. Arnold's room.  It was empty.  He
rang for his servant.  Mr. Arnold had gone away on horseback, and
would not be home till dinner-time.  Counsel from Mrs. Elton was
hopeless.  Help from Euphra he could not ask.  He returned to his
own room.  There he found Harry waiting for him.  His neglected
pupil was now his only comforter.  Such are the revenges of divine
goodness.

"Harry!" he said, "I have been robbed."

"Robbed!" cried Harry, starting up. "Never mind, Mr. Sutherland; my
papa's a justice of the peace.  He'll catch the thief for you."

"But it's your papa's ring that they've stolen.  He lent it to me,
and what if he should not believe me?"

"Not believe you, Mr. Sutherland?  But he must believe you.  I will
tell him all about it; and he knows I never told him a lie in my
life."

"But you don't know anything about it, Harry."

"But you will tell me, won't you?"

Hugh could not help smiling with pleasure at the confidence his
pupil placed in him.  He had not much fear about being believed,
but, at the best, it was an unpleasant occurrence.

The loss of his own ring not only added to his vexation, but to his
perplexity as well.  What could she want with his ring?  Could she
have carried with her such a passion for jewels, as to come from the
grave to appropriate those of others as well as to reclaim her own?
Was this her comfort in Hades, 'poor ghost'?

Would it be better to tell Mr. Arnold of the loss of both rings, or
should he mention the crystal only?  He came to the conclusion that
it would only exasperate him the more, and perhaps turn suspicion
upon himself, if he communicated the fact that he too was a loser,
and to such an extent; for Hugh's ring was worth twenty of the
other, and was certainly as sacred as Mr. Arnold's, if not so
ancient.  He would bear it in silence.  If the one could not be
found, there could certainly be no hope of the other.

Punctual as the clock, Mr. Arnold returned.  It did not prejudice
him in favour of the reporter of bad tidings, that he begged a word
with him before dinner, when that was on the point of being served.
It was, indeed, exceeding impolitic; but Hugh would have felt like
an impostor, had he sat down to the table before making his
confession.

"Mr. Arnold, I am sorry to say I have been robbed, and in your
house, too."

"In my house?  Of what, pray, Mr. Sutherland?"

Mr. Arnold had taken the information as some weak men take any kind
of information referring to themselves or their belongings -- namely,
as an insult.  He drew himself up, and lowered portentously.

"Of your ring, Mr. Arnold."

"Of -- my -- ring?"

And he looked at his ring-finger, as if he could not understand the
import of Hugh's words.

"Of the ring you lent me to decipher," explained Hugh.

"Do you suppose I do not understand you, Mr. Sutherland?  A ring
which has been in the family for two hundred years at least!  Robbed
of it?  In my house?  You must have been disgracefully careless, Mr.
Sutherland.  You have lost it."

"Mr. Arnold," said Hugh, with dignity, "I am above using such a
subterfuge, even if it were not certain to throw suspicion where it
was undeserved."

Mr. Arnold was a gentleman, as far as his self-importance allowed.
He did not apologize for what he had said, but he changed his
manner at once.

"I am quite bewildered, Mr. Sutherland.  It is a very annoying piece
of news -- for many reasons."

"I can show you where I laid it -- in the safest corner in my room, I
assure you."

"Of course, of course.  It is enough you say so.  We must not keep
the dinner waiting now.  But after dinner I shall have all the
servants up, and investigate the matter thoroughly."

"So," thought Hugh with himself, "some one will be made a felon of,
because the cursed dead go stalking about this infernal house at
midnight, gathering their own old baubles.  No, that will not do.  I
must at least tell Mr. Arnold what I know of the doings of the
night."

So Mr. Arnold must still wait for his dinner; or rather, which was
really of more consequence in the eyes of Mr. Arnold, the dinner
must be kept waiting for him.  For order and custom were two of Mr.
Arnold's divinities; and the economy of his whole nature was apt to
be disturbed by any interruption of their laws, such as the
postponement of dinner for ten minutes.  He was walking towards the
door, and turned with some additional annoyance when Hugh addressed
him again:

"One moment, Mr. Arnold, if you please."

Mr. Arnold merely turned and waited.

"I fear I shall in some degree forfeit your good opinion by what I
am about to say, but I must run the risk."

Mr. Arnold still waited.

"There is more about the disappearance of the ring than I can
understand."

"Or I either, Mr. Sutherland."

"But I must tell you what happened to myself, the night that I kept
watch in Lady Euphrasia's room."

"You said you slept soundly."

"So I did, part of the time."

"Then you kept back part of the truth?"

"I did."

"Was that worthy of you?"

"I thought it best: I doubted myself."

"What has caused you to change your mind now?"

"This event about the ring."

"What has that to do with it?  How do you even know that it was
taken on that night?"

"I do not know; for till this morning I had not opened the place
where it lay: I only suspect."

"I am a magistrate, Mr. Sutherland: I would rather not be prejudiced
by suspicions."

"The person to whom my suspicions refer, is beyond your
jurisdiction, Mr. Arnold."

"I do not understand you."

"I will explain myself."

Hugh gave Mr. Arnold a hurried yet circumstantial sketch of the
apparition he believed he had seen.

"What am I to judge from all this?" asked he, coldly, almost
contemptuously.

"I have told you the facts; of course I must leave the conclusions
to yourself, Mr. Arnold; but I confess, for my part, that any
disbelief I had in apparitions is almost entirely removed since --"

"Since you dreamed you saw one?"

"Since the disappearance of the ring," said Hugh.

"Bah!" exclaimed Mr. Arnold, with indignation. "Can a ghost fetch
and carry like a spaniel?  Mr. Sutherland, I am ashamed to have such
a reasoner for tutor to my son.  Come to dinner, and do not let me
hear another word of this folly.  I beg you will not mention it to
any one."

"I have been silent hitherto, Mr. Arnold; but circumstances, such as
the commitment of any one on the charge of stealing the ring, might
compel me to mention the matter.  It would be for the jury to
determine whether it was relevant or not."

It was evident that Mr. Arnold was more annoyed at the imputation
against the nocturnal habits of his house, than at the loss of the
ring, or even its possible theft by one of his servants.  He looked
at Hugh for a moment as if he would break into a furious rage; then
his look gradually changed into one of suspicion, and, turning
without another word, he led the way to the dining-room, followed by
Hugh. To have a ghost held in his face in this fashion, one bred in
his own house, too, when he had positively declared his absolute
contempt for every legend of the sort, was more than man could bear.
He sat down to dinner in gloomy silence, breaking it only as often
as he was compelled to do the duties of a host, which he performed
with a greater loftiness of ceremony than usual.

There was no summoning of the servants after dinner, however.
Hugh's warning had been effectual.  Nor was the subject once more
alluded to in Hugh's hearing.  No doubt Mr. Arnold felt that
something ought to be done; but I presume he could never make up his
mind what that something ought to be.  Whether any reasons for not
prosecuting the inquiry had occurred to him upon further reflection,
I am unable to tell.  One thing is certain; that from this time he
ceased to behave to Hugh with that growing cordiality which he had
shown him for weeks past.  It was no great loss to Hugh; but he felt
it; and all the more, because he could not help associating it with
that look of suspicion, the remains of which were still discernible
on Mr. Arnold's face.  Although he could not determine the exact
direction of Mr. Arnold's suspicions, he felt that they bore upon
something associated with the crystal ring, and the story of the
phantom lady.  Consequently, there was little more of comfort for
him at Arnstead.

Mr. Arnold, however, did not reveal his change of feeling so much by
neglect as by ceremony, which, sooner than anything else, builds a
wall of separation between those who meet every day.  For the
oftener they meet, the thicker and the faster are the bricks and
mortar of cold politeness, evidently avoided insults, and subjected
manifestations of dislike, laid together.




CHAPTER XXVIII.

A BIRD'S-EYE VIEW.

O, cocks are crowing a merry midnight,
  I wot the wild-fowls are boding day;
Give me my faith and troth again,
  And let me fare me on my way.

Sae painfully she clam the wa',
  She clam the wa' up after him;
Hosen nor shoon upon her feet,
  She hadna time to put them on.

Scotch Ballad. -- Clerk Saunders.


Dreary days passed.  The reports of Euphra were as favourable as the
nature of the injury had left room to expect.  Still they were but
reports: Hugh could not see her, and the days passed drearily.  He
heard that the swelling was reduced, and that the ankle was found
not to be dislocated, but that the bones were considerably injured,
and that the final effect upon the use of the parts was doubtful.
The pretty foot lay aching in Hugh's heart.  When Harry went to
bed, he used to walk out and loiter about the grounds, full of
anxious fears and no less anxious hopes.  If the night was at all
obscure, he would pass, as often as he dared, under Euphra's window;
for all he could have of her now was a few rays from the same light
that lighted her chamber.  Then he would steal away down the main
avenue, and thence watch the same light, whose beams, in that
strange play which the intellect will keep up in spite of -- yet in
association with -- the heart, made a photo-materialist of him.  For
he would now no longer believe in the pulsations of an ethereal
medium; but -- that the very material rays which enlightened Euphra's
face, whether she waked or slept, stole and filtered through the
blind and the gathered shadows, and entered in bodily essence into
the mysterious convolutions of his brain, where his soul and heart
sought and found them.

When a week had passed, she was so far recovered as to be able to
see Mr. Arnold; from whom Hugh heard, in a somewhat reproachful
tone, that she was but the wreck of her former self.  It was all
that Hugh could do to restrain the natural outbreak of his feelings.
A fortnight passed, and she saw Mrs. Elton and Lady Emily for a few
moments.  They would have left before, but had yielded to Mr.
Arnold's entreaty, and were staying till Euphra should be at least
able to be carried from her room.

One day, when the visitors were out with Mr. Arnold, Jane brought a
message to Hugh, requesting him to walk into Miss Cameron's room,
for she wanted to see him.  Hugh felt his heart flutter as if
doubting whether to stop at once, or to dash through its confining
bars.  He rose and followed the maid.  He stood over Euphra pale and
speechless.  She lay before him wasted and wan; her eyes twice their
former size, but with half their former light; her fingers long and
transparent; and her voice low and feeble.  She had just raised
herself with difficulty to a sitting posture, and the effort had
left her more weary.

"Hugh!" she said, kindly.

"Dear Euphra!" he answered, kissing the little hand he held in his.

She looked at him for a little while, and the tears rose in her
eyes.

"Hugh, I am a cripple for life."

"God forbid, Euphra!" was all he could reply.

She shook her head mournfully.  Then a strange, wild look came in
her eyes, and grew till it seemed from them to overflow and cover
her whole face with a troubled expression, which increased to a look
of dull agony.

"What is the matter, dear Euphra?" said Hugh, in alarm. "Is your
foot very painful?"

She made no answer.  She was looking fixedly at his hand.

"Shall I call Jane?"

She shook her head.

"Can I do nothing for you?"

"No," she answered, almost angrily.

"Shall I go, Euphra?"

"Yes -- yes.  Go."

He left the room instantly.  But a sharp though stifled cry of
despair drew him back at a bound.  Euphra had fainted.

He rang the bell for Jane; and lingered till he saw signs of
returning consciousness.

What could this mean?  He was more perplexed with her than ever he
had been.  Cunning love, however, soon found a way of explaining
it -- A way? -- Twenty ways -- not one of them the way.

Next day, Lady Emily brought him a message from Euphra -- not to
distress himself about her; it was not his fault.

This message the bearer of it understood to refer to the original
accident, as the sender of it intended she should: the receiver
interpreted it of the occurrence of the day before, as the sender
likewise intended.  It comforted him.

It had become almost a habit with Hugh, to ascend the oak tree in
the evening, and sit alone, sometimes for hours, in the nest he had
built for Harry.  One time he took a book with him; another he went
without; and now and then Harry accompanied him.  But I have already
said, that often after tea, when the house became oppressive to him
from the longing to see Euphra, he would wander out alone; when,
even in the shadows of the coming night, he would sometimes climb
the nest, and there sit, hearing all that the leaves whispered about
the sleeping birds, without listening to a word of it, or trying to
interpret it by the kindred sounds of his own inner world, and the
tree-talk that went on there in secret.  For the divinity of that
inner world had abandoned it for the present, in pursuit of an
earthly maiden.  So its birds were silent, and its trees trembled
not.

An aging moon was feeling her path somewhere through the heavens;
but a thin veil of cloud was spread like a tent under the hyaline
dome where she walked; so that, instead of a white moon, there was a
great white cloud to enlighten the earth, -- a cloud soaked full of
her pale rays.  Hugh sat in the oak-nest.  He knew not how long he
had been there.  Light after light was extinguished in the house,
and still he sat there brooding, dreaming, in that state of mind in
which to the good, good things come of themselves, and to the evil,
evil things.  The nearness of the Ghost's Walk did not trouble him,
for he was too much concerned about Euphra to fear ghost or demon.
His mind heeded them not, and so was beyond their influence.

But while he sat, he became aware of human voices.  He looked out
from his leafy screen, and saw once more, at the end of the Ghost's
Walk, a form clothed in white.  But there were voices of two.  He
sent his soul into his ears to listen.  A horrible, incredible,
impossible idea forced itself upon him -- that the tones were those of
Euphra and Funkelstein.  The one voice was weak and complaining; the
other firm and strong.

"It must be some horrible ghost that imitates her," he said to
himself; for he was nearly crazy at the very suggestion.

He would see nearer, if only to get rid of that frightful
insinuation of the tempter.  He descended the tree noiselessly.  He
lost sight of the figure as he did so.  He drew near the place where
he had seen it.  But there was no sound of voices now to guide him.
As he came within sight of the spot, he saw the white figure in the
arms of another, a man.  Her head was lying on his shoulder.  A
moment after, she was lifted in those arms and borne towards the
house, -- down the Ghost's Avenue.

A burning agony to be satisfied of his doubts seized on Hugh. He
fled like a deer to the house by another path; tried, in his
suspicion, the library window; found it open, and was at Euphra's
door in a moment.  Here he hesitated.  She must be inside.  How dare
he knock or enter?

If she was there, she would be asleep.  He would not wake her.
There was no time to lose.  He would risk anything, to be rid of
this horrible doubt.

He gently opened the door.  The night-light was burning.  He
thought, at first, that Euphra was in the bed.  He felt like a
thief, but he stole nearer.  She was not there.  She was not on the
couch.  She was not in the room.  Jane was fast asleep in the
dressing-room.  It was enough.

He withdrew.  He would watch at his door to see her return, for she
must pass his door to reach her own.  He waited a time that seemed
hours.  At length -- horrible, far more horrible to him than the
vision of the ghost -- Euphra crept past him, appearing in the
darkness to crawl along the wall against which she supported
herself, and scarcely suppressing her groans of pain.  She reached
her own room, and entering, closed the door.

Hugh was nearly mad.  He rushed down the stair to the library, and
out into the wood.  Why or whither he knew not.

Suddenly he received a blow on the head.  It did not stun him, but
he staggered under it.  Had he run against a tree?  No. There was
the dim bulk of a man disappearing through the boles.  He darted
after him.  The man heard his footsteps, stopped, and waited in
silence.  As Hugh came up to him, he made a thrust at him with some
weapon.  He missed his aim.  The weapon passed through his coat and
under his arm.  The next moment, Hugh had wrenched the sword-stick
from him, thrown it away, and grappled with -- Funkelstein.  But
strong as Hugh was, the Bohemian was as strong, and the contest was
doubtful.  Strange as it may seem -- in the midst of it, while each
held the other unable to move, the conviction flashed upon Hugh's
mind, that, whoever might have taken Lady Euphrasia's ring, he was
grappling with the thief of his father's.

"Give me my ring," gasped he.

An imprecation of a sufficiently emphatic character was the only
reply.  The Bohemian got one hand loose, and Hugh heard a sound like
the breaking of glass.  Before he could gain any advantage -- for his
antagonist seemed for the moment to have concentrated all his force
in the other hand -- a wet handkerchief was held firmly to his face.
His fierceness died away; he was lapt in the vapour of dreams; and
his senses departed.




CHAPTER XXIX.

HUGH'S AWAKING.

But ah! believe me, there is more than so,
That works such wonders in the minds of men;
I, that have often proved, too well it know;
And whoso list the like assays to ken,
Shall find by trial, and confess it then,
That beauty is not, as fond men misdeem,
An outward show of things that only seem!

But ye, fair dames, the world's dear ornaments,
And lively images of heaven's light,
Let not your beams with such disparagements
Be dimmed, and your bright glory darkened quite;
But, mindful still of your first country's sight,
Do still preserve your first informed grace,
Whose shadow yet shines in your beauteous face.

SPENSER. -- Hymn in Honour of Beauty.


When Hugh came to himself, he was lying, in the first grey of the
dawn, amidst the dews and vapours of the morning woods.  He rose and
looked around him.  The Ghost's Walk lay in long silence before him.
Here and there a little bird moved and peeped.  The glory of a new
day was climbing up the eastern coast of heaven.  It would be a day
of late summer, crowned with flame, and throbbing with ripening
life.  But for him the spirit was gone out of the world, and it was
nought but a mass of blind, heartless forces.

Possibly, had he overheard the conversation, the motions only of
which he had overseen the preceding night, he would, although
equally perplexed, have thought more gently of Euphra; but, in the
mood into which even then he must have been thrown, his deeper
feelings towards her could hardly have been different from what they
were now.  Although he had often felt that Euphra was not very good,
not a suspicion had crossed his mind as to what he would have called
the purity of her nature.  Like many youths, even of character
inferior to his own, he had the loftiest notions of feminine grace,
and unspottedness in thought and feeling, not to say action and aim.
Now he found that he had loved a woman who would creep from her
chamber, at the cost of great suffering, and almost at the risk of
her life, to meet, in the night and the woods, a man no better than
an assassin -- probably a thief.  Had he been more versed in the ways
of women, or in the probabilities of things, he would have judged
that the very extravagance of the action demanded a deeper
explanation than what seemed to lie on the surface.  Yet, although
he judged Euphra very hardly upon those grounds, would he have
judged her differently had he actually known all?  About this I am
left to conjecture alone.

But the effect on Hugh was different from what the ordinary reader
of human nature might anticipate.  Instead of being torn in pieces
by storms of jealousy, all the summer growths of his love were
chilled by an absolute frost of death.  A kind of annihilation sank
upon the image of Euphra.  There had been no such Euphra.  She had
been but a creation of his own brain.  It was not so much that he
ceased to love, as that the being beloved -- not died, but -- ceased to
exist.  There were moments in which he seemed to love her still with
a wild outcry of passion; but the frenzy soon vanished in the
selfish feeling of his own loss.  His love was not a high one -- not
such as thine, my Falconer.  Thine was love indeed; though its tale
is too good to tell, simply because it is too good to be believed;
and we do men a wrong sometimes when we tell them more than they can
receive.

Thought, Speculation, Suggestion, crowded upon each other, till at
length his mind sank passive, and served only as the lists in which
the antagonist thoughts fought a confused battle without herald or
umpire.

But it is amazing to think how soon he began to look back upon his
former fascination with a kind of wondering unbelief.  This bespoke
the strength of Hugh's ideal sense, as well as the weakness of his
actual love.  He could hardly even recall the feelings with which,
on some well-remembered occasion, he had regarded her, and which
then it had seemed impossible he should ever forget.  Had he
discovered the cloven foot of a demon under those trailing
garments -- he could hardly have ceased to love her more suddenly or
entirely.  But there is an aching that is worse to bear than pain.

I trust my reader will not judge very hardly of Hugh, because of the
change which had thus suddenly passed upon his feelings.  He felt
now just as he had felt on waking in the morning and finding that he
had been in love with a dream-lady all the night: it had been very
delightful, and it was sad that it was all gone, and could come back
no more.  But the wonder to me is, not that some loves will not
stand the test of absence, but that, their nature being what it is,
they should outlast one week of familiar intercourse.

He mourned bitterly over the loss of those feelings, for they had
been precious to him.  But could he help it?  Indeed he could not;
for his love had been fascination; and the fascination having
ceased, the love was gone.

I believe some of my readers will not need this apology for Hugh;
but will rather admire the facility with which he rose above a
misplaced passion, and dismissed its object.  So do not I. It came
of his having never loved.  Had he really loved Euphra, herself, her
own self, the living woman who looked at him out of those eyes, out
of that face, such pity would have blended with the love as would
have made it greater, and permitted no indignation to overwhelm it.
As it was, he was utterly passive and helpless in the matter.  The
fault lay in the original weakness that submitted to be so
fascinated; that gave in to it, notwithstanding the vague
expostulations of his better nature, and the consciousness that he
was neglecting his duty to Harry, in order to please Euphra and
enjoy her society.  Had he persisted in doing his duty, it would at
least have kept his mind more healthy, lessened the absorption of
his passion, and given him opportunities of reflection, and moments
of true perception as to what he was about.  But now the spell was
broken at once, and the poor girl had lost a worshipper.  The golden
image with the feet of clay might arise in a prophet's dream, but it
could never abide in such a lover's.  Her glance was powerless now.
Alas, for the withering of such a dream!  Perhaps she deserved
nothing else; but our deserts, when we get them, are sad enough
sometimes.

All that day he walked as in a dream of loss.  As for the person
whom he had used to call Euphra, she was removed to a vast distance
from him.  An absolutely impassable gulf lay between them.

She sent for him.  He went to her filled with a sense of
insensibility.  She was much worse, and suffering great pain.  Hugh
saw at once that she knew that all was over between them, and that
he had seen her pass his door, or had been in her room, for he had

left her door a little open, and she had left it shut.  One
pathetic, most pitiful glance of deprecating entreaty she fixed upon
him, as after a few moments of speechless waiting, he turned to
leave the room -- which would have remained deathless in his heart,
but that he interpreted it to mean: "Don't tell;" so he got rid of
it at once by the grant of its supposed request.  She made no effort
to detain him.  She turned her face away, and, hard-hearted, he
heard her sob, not as if her heart would break -- that is little -- but
like an immortal woman in immortal agony, and he did not turn to
comfort her.  Perhaps it was better -- how could he comfort her?  Some
kinds of comfort -- the only kinds which poor mortals sometimes have
to give -- are like the food on which the patient and the disease live
together; and some griefs are soonest got rid of by letting them
burn out.  All the fire-engines in creation can only prolong the
time, and increase the sense of burning.  There is but one cure: the
fellow-feeling of the human God, which converts the agony itself
into the creative fire of a higher life.

As for Von Funkelstein, Hugh comforted himself with the conviction
that they were destined to meet again.

The day went on, as days will go, unstayed, unhastened by the human
souls, through which they glide silent and awful.  After such
lessons as he was able to get through with Harry, -- who, feeling that
his tutor did not want him, left the room as soon as they were
over -- he threw himself on the couch, and tried to think.  But think
he could not.  Thoughts passed through him, but he did not think
them.  He was powerless in regard to them.  They came and went of
their own will: he could neither say come nor go.  Tired at length
of the couch, he got up and paced about the room for hours.  When he
came to himself a little, he found that the sun was nearly setting.
Through the top of a beech-tree taller than the rest, it sent a
golden light, full of the floating shadows of leaves and branches,
upon the wall of his room.  But there was no beauty for him in the
going down of the sun; no glory in the golden light; no message from
dream-land in the flitting and blending and parting, the constantly
dissolving yet ever remaining play of the lovely and wonderful
shadow-leaves.  The sun sank below the beech-top, and was hidden
behind a cloud of green leaves, thick as the wood was deep.  A grey
light instead of a golden filled the room.  The change had no
interest for him.  The pain of a lost passion tormented him -- the
aching that came of the falling together of the ethereal walls of
his soul, about the space where there had been and where there was
no longer a world.

A young bird flew against the window, and fluttered its wings two or
three times, vainly seeking to overcome the unseen obstacle which
the glass presented to its flight.  Hugh started and shuddered.
Then first he knew, in the influence of the signs of the
approaching darkness, how much his nerves had suffered from the
change that had passed.  He took refuge with Harry.  His pupil was
now to be his consoler; who in his turn would fare henceforth the
better, for the decay of Hugh's pleasures.  The poor boy was filled
with delight at having his big brother all to himself again; and
worked harder than ever to make the best of his privileges.  For
Hugh, it was wonderful how soon his peace of mind began to return
after he gave himself to his duty, and how soon the clouds of
disappointment descended below the far horizon, leaving the air
clear above and around.  Painful thoughts about Euphra would still
present themselves; but instead of becoming more gentle and
sorrowful as the days went on, they grew more and more severe and
unjust and angry.  He even entertained doubts whether she did not
know all about the theft of both rings, for to her only had he
discovered the secret place in the old desk.  If she was capable of
what he believed, why should she not be capable of anything else?
It seemed to him most simple and credible.  An impure woman might
just as well be a thief too. -- I am only describing Hugh's feelings.

But along with these feelings and thoughts, of mingled good and bad,
came one feeling which he needed more than any -- repentance.  Seated
alone upon a fallen tree one day, the face of poor Harry came back
to him, as he saw it first, poring over Polexander in the library;
and, full of the joy of life himself, notwithstanding his past
troubles, strong as a sunrise, and hopeful as a Prometheus, the
quivering perplexity of that sickly little face smote him with a
pang. "What might I not have done for the boy!  He, too, was in the
hands of the enchantress, and, instead of freeing him, I became her
slave to enchain him further."  Yet, even in this, he did Euphra
injustice; for he had come to the conclusion that she had laid her
plans with the intention of keeping the boy a dwarf, by giving him
only food for babes, and not good food either, withholding from him
every stimulus to mental digestion and consequent hunger; and that
she had objects of her own in doing so -- one perhaps, to keep herself
necessary to the boy as she was to the father, and so secure the
future.  But poor Euphra's own nature and true education had been
sadly neglected.  A fine knowledge of music and Italian, and the
development of a sensuous sympathy with nature, could hardly be
called education.  It was not certainly such a development of her
own nature as would enable her to sympathise with the necessities of
a boy's nature.  Perhaps the worst that could justly be said of her
behaviour to Harry was, that, with a strong inclination to
despotism, and some feeling of loneliness, she had exercised the one
upon him in order to alleviate the other in herself.  Upon him,
therefore, she expended a certain, or rather an uncertain kind of
affection, which, if it might have been more fittingly spent upon a
lapdog, and was worth but little, might yet have become worth
everything, had she been moderately good.

Hugh did not see Euphra again for more than a fortnight.




CHAPTER XXX.

CHANGES.

Hey, and the rue grows bonny wi' thyme!
And the thyme it is withered, and rue is in prime.

Refrain of an old Scotch song, altered by BURNS.

  He hath wronged me; indeed he hath; -- at a word, he hath; -- believe
me; Robert Shallow, Esquire, saith he is wronged.

Merry Wives of Windsor.


At length, one evening, entering the drawing-room before dinner,
Hugh found Euphra there alone.  He bowed with embarrassment, and
uttered some commonplace congratulation on her recovery.  She
answered him gently and coldly.  Her whole air and appearance were
signs of acute suffering.  She did not make the slightest approach
to their former familiarity, but she spoke without any
embarrassment, like one who had given herself up, and was,
therefore, indifferent.  Hugh could not help feeling as if she knew
every thought that was passing in his mind, and, having withdrawn
herself from him, was watching him with a cold, ghostly interest.
She took his arm to go into the dining-room, and actually leaned
upon it, as, indeed, she was compelled to do.  Her uncle was
delighted to see her once more.  Mrs. Elton addressed her with
kindness, and Lady Emily with sweet cordiality.  She herself seemed
to care for nobody and nothing.  As soon as dinner was over, she
sent for her maid, and withdrew to her own room.  It was a great
relief to Hugh to feel that he was no longer in danger of
encountering her eyes.

Gradually she recovered strength, though it was again some days
before she appeared at the dinner-table.  The distance between Hugh
and her seemed to increase instead of diminish, till at length he
scarcely dared to offer her the smallest civility, lest she should
despise him as a hypocrite.  The further she removed herself from
him, the more he felt inclined to respect her.  By common consent
they avoided, as much as before, any behaviour that might attract
attention; though the effort was of a very different nature now.  It
was wretched enough, no doubt, for both of them.

The time drew near for Lady Emily's departure.

"What are your plans for the winter, Mrs. Elton?" said Mr. Arnold,
one day.

"I intend spending the winter in London," she answered.

"Then you are not going with Lady Emily to Madeira?"

"No. Her father and one of her sisters are going with her."

"I have a great mind to spend the winter abroad myself; but the
difficulty is what to do with Harry."

"Could you not leave him with Mr. Sutherland?"

"No. I do not choose to do that."

"Then let him come to me.  I shall have all my little establishment
up, and there will be plenty of room for Harry."

"A very kind offer.  I may possibly avail myself of it."

"I fear we could hardly accommodate his tutor, though.  But that
will be very easily arranged.  He could sleep out of the house,
could he not?"

"Give yourself no trouble about that.  I wish Harry to have masters
for the various branches he will study.  It will teach him more of
men and the world generally, and prevent his being too much
influenced by one style of thinking."

"But Mr. Sutherland is a very good tutor."

"Yes. Very."

To this there could be no reply but a question; and Mr. Arnold's
manner not inviting one, the conversation was dropped.

Euphra gradually resumed her duties in the house, as far as great
lameness would permit.  She continued to show a quiet and dignified
reserve towards Hugh. She made no attempts to fascinate him, and
never avoided his look when it chanced to meet hers.  But although
there was no reproach any more than fascination in her eyes, Hugh's
always fell before hers.  She walked softly like Ahab, as if, now
that Hugh knew, she, too, was ever conscious.

Her behaviour to Mrs. Elton and Lady Emily was likewise improved,
but apparently only from an increase of indifference.  When the time
came, and they departed, she did not even appear to be much
relieved.

Once she asked Hugh to help her with a passage of Dante, but
betrayed no memory of the past.  His pleased haste to assist her,
showed that he at least, if fancy-free, was not memory-clear.  She
thanked him very gently and truly, took up her book like a
school-girl, and limped away.  Hugh was smitten to the heart. "If I
could but do something for her!" thought he; but there was nothing
to be done.  Although she had deserved it, somehow her behaviour
made him feel as if he had wronged her in ceasing to love her.

One day, in the end of September, Mr. Arnold and Hugh were alone
after breakfast.  Mr. Arnold spoke:

"Mr. Sutherland, I have altered my plans with regard to Harry.  I
wish him to spend the winter in London."

Hugh listened and waited.  Mr. Arnold went on, after a slight pause:

"There I wish him to reap such advantages as are to be gained in the
metropolis.  He has improved wonderfully under your instruction; and
is now, I think, to be benefited principally by a variety of
teachers.  I therefore intend that he shall have masters for the
different branches which it is desirable he should study.
Consequently I shall be compelled to deny him your services,
valuable as they have hitherto been."

"Very well, Mr. Arnold," said Mr. Sutherland, with the indifference
of one who feels himself ill-used. "When shall I take my leave of
him?"

"Not before the middle of the next month, at the earliest.  But I
will write you a cheque for your salary at once."

So saying, Mr. Arnold left the room for a moment, and returning,
handed Hugh a cheque for a year's salary.  Hugh glanced at it, and
offering it again to Mr. Arnold, said:

"No, Mr. Arnold; I can claim scarcely more than half a year's
salary."

"Mr. Sutherland, your engagement was at so much a year; and if I
prevent you from fulfilling your part of it, I am bound to fulfil
mine.  Indeed, you might claim further provision."

"You are very kind, Mr. Arnold."

"Only just," rejoined Mr. Arnold, with conscious dignity. "I am
under great obligation to you for the way in which you have devoted
yourself to Harry."

Hugh's conscience gave him a pang.  Is anything more painful than
undeserved praise?

"I have hardly done my duty by him," said he.

"I can only say that the boy is wonderfully altered for the better,
and I thank you.  I am obliged to you: oblige me by putting the
cheque in your pocket."

Hugh persisted no longer in his refusal; and indeed it had been far
more a feeling of pride than of justice that made him decline
accepting it at first.  Nor was there any generosity in Mr. Arnold's
cheque; for Hugh, as he admitted, might have claimed board and
lodging as well.  But Mr. Arnold was one of the ordinarily
honourable, who, with perfect characters for uprightness, always
contrive to err on the safe side of the purse, and the doubtful side
of a severely interpreted obligation.  Such people, in so doing, not
unfrequently secure for themselves, at the same time, the reputation
of generosity.

Hugh could not doubt that his dismissal was somehow or other
connected with the loss of the ring; but he would not stoop to
inquire into the matter.  He hoped that time would set all right;
and, in fact, felt considerable indifference to the opinion of Mr.
Arnold, or of any one in the house, except Harry.

The boy burst into tears when informed of his father's decision with
regard to his winter studies, and could only be consoled by the hope
which Hugh held out to him -- certainly upon a very slight
foundation -- that they might meet sometimes in London.  For the
little time that remained, Hugh devoted himself unceasingly to his
pupil; not merely studying with him, but walking, riding, reading
stories, and going through all sorts of exercises for the
strengthening of his person and constitution.  The best results
followed both for Harry and his tutor.




CHAPTER XXXI.

EXPLANATIONS.

I have done nothing good to win belief,
My life hath been so faithless; all the creatures
Made for heaven's honours, have their ends, and good ones;
All but...false women...When they die, like tales
Ill-told, and unbelieved, they pass away.

I will redeem one minute of my age,
Or, like another Niobe, I'll weep
Till I am water.

BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER. -- The Maid's Tragedy.


The days passed quickly by; and the last evening that Hugh was to
spend at Arnstead arrived.  He wandered out alone.  He had been with
Harry all day, and now he wished for a few moments of solitude.  It
was a lovely autumn evening.  He went into the woods behind the
house.  The leaves were still thick upon the trees, but most of them
had changed to gold, and brown, and red; and the sweet faint odours
of those that had fallen, and lay thick underfoot, ascended like a
voice from the grave, saying: "Here dwelleth some sadness, but no
despair."  As he strolled about among them, the whole history of his
past life arose before him.  This often happens before any change in
our history, and is surest to take place at the approach of the
greatest change of all, when we are about to pass into the unknown,
whence we came.

In this mood, it was natural that his sins should rise before him.
They came as the shadows of his best pleasures.  For now, in
looking back, he could fix on no period of his history, around which
the aureole, which glorifies the sacred things of the past, had
gathered in so golden a hue, as around the memory of the holy
cottage, the temple in which abode David, and Janet, and Margaret.
All the story glided past, as the necromantic Will called up the
sleeping dead in the mausoleum of the brain.  And that solemn,
kingly, gracious old man, who had been to him a father, he had
forgotten; the homely tenderness which, from fear of its own force,
concealed itself behind a humorous roughness of manner, he had -- no,
not despised -- but forgotten, too; and if the dim pearly loveliness
of the trustful, grateful maiden had not been quite forgotten, yet
she too had been neglected, had died, as it were, and been buried in
the churchyard of the past, where the grass grows long over the
graves, and the moss soon begins to fill up the chiselled records.
He was ungrateful.  He dared not allow to himself that he was
unloving; but he must confess himself ungrateful.

Musing sorrowfully and self-reproachfully, he came to the Ghost's
Avenue.  Up and down its aisle he walked, a fit place for
remembering the past, and the sins of the present.  Yielding himself
to what thoughts might arise, the strange sight he had seen here on
that moonlit night, of two silent wandering figures -- or could it be
that they were one and the same, suddenly changed in hue? -- returned
upon him.  This vision had been so speedily followed by the second
and more alarming apparition of Lady Euphrasia, that he had hardly
had time to speculate on what the former could have been.  He was
meditating upon all these strange events, and remarking to himself
that, since his midnight encounter with Lady Euphrasia, the house
had been as quiet as a church-yard at noon, when all suddenly, he
saw before him, at some little distance, a dark figure approaching
him.  His heart seemed to bound into his throat and choke him, as he
said to himself: "It is the nun again!"  But the next moment he saw
that it was Euphra.  I do not know which he would have preferred not
meeting alone, and in the deepening twilight: Euphra, too, had
become like a ghost to him.  His first impulse was to turn aside
into the wood, but she had seen him, and was evidently going to
address him.  He therefore advanced to meet her.  She spoke first,
approaching him with painful steps.

"I have been looking for you, Mr. Sutherland.  I wanted very much to
have a little conversation with you before you go.  Will you allow
me?"

Hugh felt like a culprit directly.  Euphra's manner was quite
collected and kind; yet through it all a consciousness showed
itself, that the relation which had once existed between them had
passed away for ever.  In her voice there was something like the
tone of wind blowing through a ruin.

"I shall be most happy," said he.

She smiled sadly.  A great change had passed upon her.

"I am going to be quite open with you," she said. "I am perfectly
aware, as well as you are, that the boyish fancy you had for me is
gone.  Do not be offended.  You are manly enough, but your love for
me was boyish.  Most first loves are childish, quite irrespective of
age.  I do not blame you in the least."

This seemed to Hugh rather a strange style to assume, if all was
true that his own eyes had reported.  She went on:

"Nor must you think it has cost me much to lose it."

Hugh felt hurt, at which no one who understands will be surprised.

"But I cannot afford to lose you, the only friend I have," she
added.

Hugh turned towards her with a face full of manhood and truth.

"You shall not lose me, Euphra, if you will be honest to yourself
and to me."

"Thank you.  I can trust you.  I will be honest."

At that moment, without the revival of a trace of his former
feelings, Hugh felt nearer to her than he had ever felt before.  Now
there seemed to be truth between them, the only medium through which
beings can unite.

"I fear I have wronged you much," she went on. "I do not mean some
time ago."  Here she hesitated. -- "I fear I am the cause of your
leaving Arnstead."

"You, Euphra?  No. You must be mistaken."

"I think not.  But I am compelled to make an unwilling disclosure of
a secret -- a sad secret about myself.  Do not hate me quite -- I am a
somnambulist."

She hid her face in her hands, as if the night which had now closed
around them did not hide her enough.  Hugh did not reply.  Absorbed
in the interest which both herself and her confession aroused in
him, he could only listen eagerly.  She went on, after a moment's
pause:

"I did not think at first that I had taken the ring.  I thought
another had.  But last night, and not till then, I discovered that I
was the culprit."

"How?"

"That requires explanation.  I have no recollection of the events of
the previous night when I have been walking in my sleep.  Indeed,
the utter absence of a sense of dreaming always makes me suspect
that I have been wandering.  But sometimes I have a vivid dream,
which I know, though I can give no proof of it, to be a reproduction
of some previous somnambulic experience.  Do not ask me to recall
the horrors I dreamed last night.  I am sure I took the ring."

"Then you dreamed what you did with it?"

"Yes, I gave it to --"

Here her voice sank and ceased.  Hugh would not urge her.

"Have you mentioned this to Mr. Arnold?"

"No. I do not think it would do any good.  But I will, if you wish
it," she added submissively.

"Not at all.  Just as you think best."

"I could not tell him everything.  I cannot tell you everything.  If
I did, Mr. Arnold would turn me out of the house.  I am a very
unhappy girl, Mr. Sutherland."

From the tone of these words, Hugh could not for a moment suppose
that Euphra had any remaining design of fascination in them.

"Perhaps he might want to keep you, if I told him all; but I do not
think, after the way he has behaved to you, that you could stay with
him, for he would never apologize.  It is very selfish of me; but
indeed I have not the courage to confess to him."

"I assure you nothing could make me remain now.  But what can I do
for you?"

"Only let me depend upon you, in case I should need your help; or --"

Here Euphra stopped suddenly, and caught hold of Hugh's left hand,
which he had lifted to brush an insect from his face.

"Where is your ring?" she said, in a tone of suppressed anxiety.

"Gone, Euphra.  My father's ring!  It was lying beside Lady
Euphrasia's."

Euphra's face was again hidden in her hands.  She sobbed and moaned
like one in despair.  When she grew a little calmer, she said:

"I am sure I did not take your ring, dear Hugh -- I am not a thief.  I
had a kind of right to the other, and he said it ought to have been
his, for his real name was Count von Halkar -- the same name as Lady
Euphrasia's before she was married.  He took it, I am sure."

"It was he that knocked me down in the dark that night then,
Euphra."

"Did he?  Oh!  I shall have to tell you all. -- That wretch has a
terrible power over me.  I loved him once.  But I refused to take
the ring from your desk, because I knew it would get you into
trouble.  He threw me into a somnambulic sleep, and sent me for the
ring.  But I should have remembered if I had taken yours.  Even in
my sleep, I don't think he could have made me do that.  You may know
I speak the truth, when I am telling my own disgrace.  He promised
to set me free if I would get the ring; but he has not done it; and
he will not."

Sobs again interrupted her.

"I was afraid your ring was gone.  I don't know why I thought so,
except that you hadn't it on, when you came to see me.  Or perhaps
it was because I am sometimes forced to think what that wretch is
thinking.  He made me go to him that night you saw me, Hugh. But I
was so ill, I don't think I should have been able, but that I could
not rest till I had asked him about your ring.  He said he knew
nothing about it."

"I am sure be has it," said Hugh. And he related to Euphra the
struggle he had had with Funkelstein and its result.  She shuddered.

"I have been a devil to you, Hugh; I have betrayed you to him.  You
will never see your ring again.  Here, take mine.  It is not so good
as yours, but for the sake of the old way you thought of me, take
it."

"No, no, Euphra; Mr. Arnold would miss it.  Besides, you know it
would not be my father's ring, and it was not for the value of the
diamond I cared most about it.  And I am not sure that I shall not
find it again.  I am going up to London, where I shall fall in with
him, I hope."

"But do take care of yourself.  He has no conscience.  God knows, I
have had little, but he has none."

"I know he has none; but a conscience is not a bad auxiliary, and
there I shall have some advantage of him.  But what could he want
that ring of Lady Euphrasia's for?"

"I don't know.  He never told me."

"It was not worth much."

"Next to nothing."

"I shall be surer to find that than my own.  And I will find it, if
I can, that Mr. Arnold may believe I was not to blame."

"Do. But be careful."

"Don't fear.  I will be careful."

She held out her hand, as if to take leave of him, but withdrew it
again with the sudden cry:

"What shall I do?  I thought he had left me to myself, till that
night in the library."

She held down her head in silence.  Then she said, slowly, in a tone
of agony:

"I am a slave, body and soul. -- Hugh!" she added, passionately, and
looking up in his face, "do you think there is a God?"

Her eyes glimmered with the faint reflex from gathered tears, that
silently overflowed.

And now Hugh's own poverty struck him with grief and humiliation.
Here was a soul seeking God, and he had no right to say that there
was a God, for he knew nothing about him.  He had been told so; but
what could that far-off witness do for the need of a desolate heart?
She had been told so a million of times.  He could not say that he
knew it.  That was what she wanted and needed.

He was honest, and so replied:

"I do not know.  I hope so."

He felt that she was already beyond him; for she had begun to cry
into the vague, seemingly heartless void, and say:

"Is there a God somewhere to hear me when I cry?"

And with all the teaching he had had, he had no word of comfort to
give.  Yes, he had: he had known David Elginbrod.

Before he had shaped his thought, she said:

"I think, if there were a God, he would help me; for I am nothing
but a poor slave now.  I have hardly a will of my own."

The sigh she heaved told of a hopeless oppression.

"The best man, and the wisest, and the noblest I ever knew," said
Hugh, "believed in God with his whole heart and soul and strength
and mind.  In fact, he cared for nothing but God; or rather, he
cared for everything because it belonged to God. He was never afraid
of anything, never vexed at anything, never troubled about anything.
He was a good man."

Hugh was surprised at the light which broke upon the character of
David, as he held it before his mind's eye, in order to describe it
to Euphra.  He seemed never to have understood him before.

"Ah!  I wish I knew him.  I would go to that man, and ask him to
save me.  Where does he live?"

"Alas!  I do not know whether he is alive or dead -- the more to my
shame.  But he lives, if he lives, far away in the north of
Scotland."

She paused.

"No. I could not go there.  I will write to him."

Hugh could not discourage her, though he doubted whether a real
communication could be established between them.

"I will write down his address for you, when I go in," said he. "But
what can he save you from?"

"From no God," she answered, solemnly. "If there is no God, then I
am sure that there is a devil, and that he has got me in his power."

Hugh felt her shudder, for she was leaning on his arm, she was
still so lame.  She continued:

"Oh! if I had a God, he would right me, I know."

Hugh could not reply.  A pause followed.

"Good-bye.  I feel pretty sure we shall meet again.  My
presentiments are generally true," said Euphra, at length.

Hugh kissed her hand with far more real devotion than he had ever
kissed it with before.

She left him, and hastened to the house 'with feeble speed.'  He was
sorry she was gone.  He walked up and down for some time, meditating
on the strange girl and her strange words; till, hearing the dinner
bell, he too must hasten in to dress.

Euphra met him at the dinner-table without any change of her late
manner.  Mr. Arnold wished him good night more kindly than usual.
When he went up to his room, he found that Harry had already cried
himself to sleep.




CHAPTER XXXII.

DEPARTURE.

  I fancy deemed fit guide to lead my way,
     And as I deemed I did pursue her track;
  Wit lost his aim, and will was fancy's prey;
     The rebel won, the ruler went to wrack.
But now sith fancy did with folly end,
Wit, bought with loss -- will, taught by wit, will mend.

SOUTHWELL.--David's Peccavi.


After dinner, Hugh wandered over the well-known places, to bid them
good-bye.  Then he went up to his room, and, with the vanity of a
young author, took his poems out of the fatal old desk; wrote: "Take
them, please, such as they are.  Let me be your friend;" inclosed
them with the writing, and addressed them to Euphra.  By the time he
saw them again, they were so much waste paper in his eyes.

But what were his plans for the future?

First of all, he would go to London.  There he would do many things.
He would try to find Funkelstein.  He would write.  He would make
acquaintance with London life; for had he not plenty of money in his
pocket?  And who could live more thriftily than he? -- During his last
session at Aberdeen, he had given some private lessons, and so
contrived to eke out his small means.  These were wretchedly paid
for, namely, not quite at the rate of sevenpence-halfpenny a lesson!
but still that was something, where more could not be had. -- Now he
would try to do the same in London, where he would be much better
paid.  Or perhaps he might get a situation in a school for a short
time, if he were driven to ultimate necessity.  At all events, he
would see London, and look about him for a little while, before he
settled to anything definite.

With this hopeful prospect before him, he next morning bade adieu to
Arnstead.  I will not describe the parting with poor Harry.  The boy
seemed ready to break his heart, and Hugh himself had enough to do
to refrain from tears.  One of the grooms drove him to the railway
in the dog-cart.  As they came near the station, Hugh gave him
half-a-crown.  Enlivened by the gift, the man began to talk.

"He's a rum customer, that ere gemman with the foring name.  The
colour of his puss I couldn't swear to now.  Never saw sixpence o'
his'n.  My opinion is, master had better look arter his spoons.  And
for missus -- well, it's a pity!  He's a rum un, as I say, anyhow."

The man here nodded several times, half compassionately, half
importantly.

Hugh did not choose to inquire what he meant.  They reached the
station, and in a few minutes he was shooting along towards London,
that social vortex, which draws everything towards its central
tumult.

But there is a central repose beyond the motions of the world; and
through the turmoil of London, Hugh was journeying towards that wide
stillness -- that silence of the soul, which is not desolate, but rich
with unutterable harmonies.




END OF THE SECOND BOOK.




BOOK III.


LONDON.

Art thou poor, yet hast thou golden slumbers?
   Oh, sweet content!
Art thou rich, yet is thy mind perplexed?
   Oh, punishment!
Dost thou laugh to see how fools are vexed
To add to golden numbers, golden numbers?
   Oh, sweet content!

Work apace, apace, apace, apace;
Honest labour bears a lovely face.

     Probably THOMAS DEKKER. -- Comedy of Patient Grissell.




CHAPTER I.

LODGINGS.

Heigh ho! sing heigh ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
     Then, heigh ho! the holly!
     This life is most jolly.

Song in As You Like It.


Hugh felt rather dreary as, through Bermondsey, he drew nigh to the
London Bridge Station.  Fog, and drizzle, and smoke, and stench
composed the atmosphere.  He got out in a drift of human atoms.
Leaving his luggage at the office, he set out on foot to
explore -- in fact, to go and look for his future, which, even when he
met it, he would not be able to recognise with any certainty.  The
first form in which he was interested to find it embodied, was that
of lodgings; but where even to look, he did not know.  He had been
in London for a few days in the spring on his way to Arnstead, so he
was not utterly ignorant of the anatomy of the monster city; but his
little knowledge could not be of much service to him now.  And how
different it was from the London of spring, which had lingered in
his memory and imagination; when, transformed by the "heavenly
alchemy" of the piercing sunbeams that slanted across the streets
from chimney-tops to opposite basements, the dust and smoke showed
great inclined planes of light, up whose steep slopes one longed to
climb to the fountain glory whence they flowed!  Now the streets,
from garret to cellar, seemed like huge kennels of muddy, moist,
filthy air, down through which settled the heavier particles of
smoke and rain upon the miserable human beings who crawled below in
the deposit, like shrimps in the tide, or whitebait at the bottom of
the muddy Thames.  He had to wade through deep thin mud even on the
pavements.  Everybody looked depressed, and hurried by with a cowed
look; as if conscious that the rain and general misery were a plague
drawn down on the city by his own individual crime.  Nobody seemed
to care for anybody or anything. "Good heavens!" thought Hugh; "what
a place this must be for one without money!"  It looked like a chaos
of human nomads.  And yet, in reality, the whole mass was so bound
together, interwoven, and matted, by the crossing and inter-twisting
threads of interest, mutual help, and relationship of every kind,
that Hugh soon found how hard it was to get within the mass at all,
so as to be in any degree partaker of the benefits it shared within
itself.

He did not wish to get lodgings in the outskirts, for he thought
that would remove him from every centre of action or employment.
But he saw no lodgings anywhere.  Growing tired and hungry, he went
at length into an eating-house, which he thought looked cheap; and
proceeded to dine upon a cinder, which had been a steak.  He tried
to delude himself into the idea that it was a steak still, by
withdrawing his attention from it, and fixing it upon a newspaper
two days old.  Finding nothing of interest, he dallied with the
advertisements.  He soon came upon a column from which single
gentlemen appeared to be in request as lodgers.  Looking over these
advertisements, which had more interest for him at the moment than
all home and foreign news, battles and murders included, he drew a
map from his pocket, and began to try to find out some of the
localities indicated.  Most of them were in or towards the suburbs.
At last he spied one in a certain square, which, after long and
diligent search, and with the assistance of the girl who waited on
him, he found on his map.  It was in the neighbourhood of Holborn,
and, from the place it occupied in the map, seemed central enough
for his vague purposes.  Above all, the terms were said to be
moderate.  But no description of the character of the lodgings was
given, else Hugh would not have ventured to look at them.  What he
wanted was something of the same sort as he had had in Aberdeen -- a
single room, or a room and bed-room, for which he should have to pay
only a few shillings a week.

Refreshed by his dinner, wretched as it was, he set out again.  To
his great joy, the rain was over, and an afternoon sun was trying,
with some slight measure of success, to pierce the clouds of the
London atmosphere: it had already succeeded with the clouds of the
terrene.  He soon found his way into Holborn, and thence into the
square in question.  It looked to him very attractive; for it was
quietness itself, and had no thoroughfare, except across one of its
corners.  True, it was invaded by the universal roar -- for what place
in London is not? -- but it contributed little or nothing of its own
manufacture to the general production of sound in the metropolis.
The centre was occupied by grass and trees, inclosed within an iron
railing.  All the leaves were withered, and many had dropped already
on the pavement below.  In the middle stood the statue of a queen,
of days gone by.  The tide of fashion had rolled away far to the
west, and yielded a free passage to the inroads of commerce, and of
the general struggle for ignoble existence, upon this once favoured
island in its fluctuating waters.  Old windows, flush with the
external walls, whence had glanced fair eyes to which fashion was
even dearer than beauty, now displayed Lodgings to Let between
knitted curtains, from which all idea of drapery had been expelled
by severe starching.  Amongst these he soon found the house he sought,
and shrunk from its important size and bright equipments; but,
summoning courage, thought it better to ring the bell.  A withered
old lady, in just the same stage of decay as the square, and adorned
after the same fashion as the house, came to the door, cast a
doubtful look at Hugh, and when he had stated his object, asked him,
in a hard, keen, unmodulated voice, to walk in.  He followed her,
and found himself in a dining-room, which to him, judging by his
purse, and not by what he had been used to of late, seemed
sumptuous.  He said at once:

"It is needless for me to trouble you further.  I see your rooms
will not suit me."

The old lady looked annoyed.

"Will you see the drawing-room apartments, then?" she said,
crustily.

"No, thank you.  It would be giving you quite unnecessary trouble."

"My apartments have always given satisfaction, I assure you, sir."

"Indeed, I have no reason to doubt it.  I wish I could afford to
take them," said Hugh, thinking it better to be open than to hurt
her feelings. "I am sure I should be very comfortable.  But a
poor -- "

He did not know what to call himself.

"O-oh!" said the landlady.  Then, after a pause -- "Well?"
interrogatively.

"Well, I was a tutor last, but I don't know what I may be next."

She kept looking at him.  Once or twice she looked at him from head
to foot.

"You are respectable?"

"I hope so," said Hugh, laughing.

"Well!" -- this time not interrogatively.

"How many rooms would you like?"

"The fewer the better.  Half a one, if there were nobody in the
other half."

"Well! --and you wouldn't give much trouble, I daresay."

"Only for coals and water to wash and drink."

"And you wouldn't dine at home?"

"No -- nor anywhere else," said Hugh; but the second and larger clause
was sotto voce.

"And you wouldn't smoke in-doors?"

"No."

"And you would wipe your boots clean before you went up-stairs?"

"Yes, certainly."  Hugh was beginning to be exceedingly amused, but
he kept his gravity wonderfully.

"Have you any money?"

"Yes; plenty for the meantime.  But when I shall get more, I don't
know, you see."

"Well, I've a room at the top of the house, which I'll make
comfortable for you; and you may stay as long as you like to behave
yourself."

"But what is the rent?"

"Four shillings a week -- to you.  Would you like to see it?"

"Yes, if you please."

She conducted him up to the third floor, and showed him a good-sized
room, rather bare, but clean.

"This will do delightfully," said Hugh.

"I will make it a little more comfortable for you, you know."

"Thank you very much.  Shall I pay you a month in advance?"

"No, no," she answered, with a grim smile. "I might want to get rid
of you, you know.  It must be a week's warning, no more."

"Very well.  I have no objection.  I will go and fetch my luggage.
I suppose I may come in at once?"

"The sooner the better, young man, in a place like London.  The
sooner you come home the better pleased I shall be.  There now!"

So saying, she walked solemnly down-stairs before him, and let him
out.  Hugh hurried away to fetch his luggage, delighted that he had
so soon succeeded in finding just what he wanted.  As he went, he
speculated on the nature of his landlady, trying to account for her
odd rough manner, and the real kindness of her rude words.  He came
to the conclusion that she was naturally kind to profusion, and that
this kindness had, some time or other, perhaps repeatedly, been
taken shameful advantage of; that at last she had come to the
resolution to defend herself by means of a general misanthropy, and
supposed that she had succeeded, when she had got no further than to
have so often imitated the tone of her own behaviour when at its

crossest, as to have made it habitual by repetition.

In all probability some unknown sympathy had drawn her to Hugh. She
might have had a son about his age, who had run away thirty years
ago.  Or rather, for she seemed an old maid, she had been jilted
some time by a youth about the same size as Hugh; and therefore she
loved him the moment she saw him.  Or, in short, a thousand things.
Certainly seldom have lodgings been let so oddly or so cheaply.
But some impulse or other of the whimsical old human heart, which
will have its way, was satisfied therein.

When he returned in a couple of hours, with his boxes on the top of
a cab, the door was opened, before he knocked, by a tidy maid, who,
without being the least like her mistress, yet resembled her
excessively.  She helped him to carry his boxes up-stairs; and when
he reached his room, he found a fire burning cheerily, a muffin down
before it, a tea-kettle singing on the hob, and the tea-tray set
upon a nice white cloth on a table right in front of the fire, with
an old-fashioned high-backed easy-chair by its side -- the very chair
to go to sleep in over a novel.  The old lady soon made her
appearance, with the teapot in one hand, and a plate of butter in
the other.

"Oh! thank you," said Hugh. "This is comfortable!"

She answered only by compressing her lips till her mouth vanished
altogether, and nodding her head as much as to say: "I know it is.
I intended it should be."  She then poured water into the teapot,
set it down by the fire, and vanished.

Hugh sat down in the easy-chair, and resolved to be comfortable, at
least till he had had his tea; after which he would think what he
was to do next.  A knock at the door -- and his landlady entered, laid
a penny newspaper on the table, and went away.  This was just what
he wanted to complete his comfort.  He took it up, and read while he
consumed his bread and butter.  When he had had enough of tea and
newspaper, he said to himself:

"Now, what am I to do next?"

It is a happy thing for us that this is really all we have to
concern ourselves about -- what to do next.  No man can do the second
thing.  He can do the first.  If he omits it, the wheels of the
social Juggernaut roll over him, and leave him more or less crushed
behind.  If he does it, he keeps in front, and finds room to do the
next again; and so he is sure to arrive at something, for the onward
march will carry him with it.  There is no saying to what perfection
of success a man may come, who begins with what he can do, and uses
the means at his hand.  He makes a vortex of action, however slight,
towards which all the means instantly begin to gravitate.  Let a man
but lay hold of something -- anything, and he is in the high road to
success -- though it may be very long before he can walk comfortably
in it. -- It is true the success may be measured out according to a
standard very different from his.

But in Hugh's case, the difficulty was to grasp anything -- to make a
beginning anywhere.  He knew nobody; and the globe of society seemed
like a mass of adamant, on which he could not gain the slightest
hold, or make the slightest impression.  Who would introduce him to
pupils?  Nobody.  He had the testimonials of his professors; but who
would ask to see them? -- His eye fell on the paper.  He would
advertise.




CHAPTER II.

LETTERS FOR THE POST.

Nothing but drought and dearth, but bush and brake,
  Which way soe'er I look, I see.
Some may dream merrily, but when they wake,
  They dress themselves, and come to thee.

GEORGE HERBERT. -- Home.


He got his writing materials, and wrote to the effect, that a
graduate of a Scotch university was prepared to give private lessons
in the classics and mathematics, or even in any of the inferior
branches of education, &c., &c.  This he would take to the Times
next day.

As soon as he had done this, Duty lifted up her head, and called
him.  He obeyed, and wrote to his mother.  Duty called again; and he
wrote, though with much trepidation and humiliation, to David
Elginbrod.

It was a good beginning.  He had commenced his London life in doing
what he knew he ought to do.  His trepidation in writing to David,
arose in part, it must be confessed, from the strange result of one
of the experiments at Arnstead.

This was his letter.  But he sat and meditated a long time before he
began it.

"MY DEAR FRIEND, -- If I did not think you would forgive me, I should
feel, now that I have once allowed my mind to rest upon my conduct
to you, as if I could never hold up my head again.  After much
occupation of thought and feeling with other things, a season of
silence has come, and my sins look me in the face.  First of them
all is my neglect of you, to whom I owe more than to any man else,
except, perhaps, my father.  Forgive me, for forgiveness' sake.  You
know it takes a long time for a child to know its mother.  It takes
everything as a matter of course, till suddenly one day it lifts up
its eyes, and knows that a face is looking at it.  I have been like
the child towards you; but I am beginning to feel what you have been
to me.  I want to be good.  I am very lonely now in great noisy
London.  Write to me, if you please, and comfort me.  I wish I were
as good as you.  Then everything would go right with me.  Do not
suppose that I am in great trouble of any kind.  As yet I am very
comfortable, as far as external circumstances go.  But I have a kind
of aching inside me.  Something is not right, and I want your help.
You will know what I mean.  What am I to do?  Please to remember me
in the kindest, most grateful manner to Mrs. Elginbrod and Margaret.
It is more than I deserve, but I hope they have not forgotten me as
I have seemed to forget them.

"I am, my dear Mr. Elginbrod,

"Your old friend,

"HUGH SUTHERLAND."

I may as well insert here another letter, which arrived at
Turriepuffit, likewise addressed to David, some six weeks after the
foregoing.  They were both taken to Janet, of course:

"SIR, -- I have heard from one who knows you, that you believe -- really
believe in God. That is why I write to you.  It may seem very
strange in me to do so, but how can I help it?  I am a very unhappy
woman, for I am in the power of a bad man.  I cannot explain it all
to you, and I will not attempt it; for sometimes I almost think I am
out of my mind, and that it is all a delusion.  But, alas! delusion
or not, it is a dreadful reality to me in all its consequences.  It
is of such a nature that no one can help me -- but God, if there be a
God; and if you can make me believe that there is a God, I shall not
need to be persuaded that he will help me; for I will besiege him
with prayers night and day to set me free.  And even if I am out of
my mind, who can help me but him?  Ah! is it not when we are driven
to despair, when there is no more help anywhere, that we look around
for some power of good that can put right all that is wrong?  Tell
me, dear sir, what to do.  Tell me that there certainly is a God;
else I shall die raving.  He said you knew about him better than
anybody else.

"I am, honoured Sir,

"Your obedient servant,

"EUPHRASIA CAMERON.

"Arnstead, Surrey, &c., &c."

David's answer to this letter, would have been something worth
having.  But I think it would have been all summed up in one word:
Try and see: call and listen.

But what could Janet do with such letters?  She did the only thing
she could: she sent them to Margaret.

Hugh found it no great hardship to go to bed in the same room in
which he sat.  The bed looked peculiarly inviting; for, strange to
tell, it was actually hung with the same pattern of old-fashioned
chintz, as the bed which had been his from his earliest
recollection, till he left his father's house.  How could he mistake
the trees, growing with tufts to the ground, or the great birds
which he used to think were crows, notwithstanding their red and
yellow plumage?  It was all over red, brown, and yellow.  He could
remember, and reconstruct the very faces, distorted and awful,
which, in the delirium of childish sicknesses, he used to discover
in the foliage and stems of the trees.  It made the whole place seem
to him homely and kind.  When he got tired, he knelt by his bedside,
which he had not done for a long time, and then went to bed.
Hardship!  No. It was very pleasant to see the dying fire, and his
books about and his papers; and to dream, half-asleep and
half-awake, that the house-fairies were stealing out to gambol for a
little in the fire-lighted silence of the room as he slept, and to
vanish as the embers turned black.  He had not been so happy for a
long time as now.  The writing of that letter had removed a load
from his heart.  True, we can never be at peace till we have
performed the highest duty of all -- till we have arisen, and gone to
our Father; but the performance of smaller duties, yes, even of the
smallest, will do more to give us temporary repose, will act more as
healthful anodynes, than the greatest joys that can come to us from
any other quarter.  He soon fell asleep, and dreamed that he was a
little child lost in a snow-storm; and that just as the snow had
reached above his head, and he was beginning to be smothered, a
great hand caught hold of him by the arm and lifted him out; and,
lo! the storm had ceased, and the stars were sparkling overhead like
diamonds that had been drinking the light of the sun all day; and he
saw that it was David, as strong as ever, who had rescued him, the
little child, and was leading him home to Janet.  But he got sleepy
and faint upon the way, which was long and cold; and then David
lifted him up and carried him in his bosom, and he fell asleep.
When he woke, and, opening his eyes, looked up to him who bore him,
it was David no longer.  The face was that which was marred more
than any man's, because the soul within had loved more; it was the
face of the Son of Man, and he was carrying him like a lamb in his
bosom.  He gazed more and more as they travelled through the cold
night; and the joy of lying in the embrace of that man, grew and
grew, till it became too strong for the bonds of sleep; and he awoke
in the fog of a London morning.




CHAPTER III.

ENDEAVOURS.

And, even should misfortunes come,
-- I, here wha sit, hae met wi' some,
  An's thankfu' for them yet.
They gie the wit of age to youth;
  They let us ken oursel';
They mak' us see the naked truth,
  The real guid and ill.
     Tho' losses, and crosses,
       Be lessons right severe,
     There's wit there, ye'll get there,
     Ye'll find nae other where.

BURNS.


Hugh took his advertisement to the Times office, and paid what
seemed to him an awful amount for its insertion.  Then he wandered
about London till the middle of the day, when he went into a baker's
shop, and bought two penny loaves, which he put in his pocket.
Having found his way to the British Museum, he devoured them at his
leisure as he walked through the Grecian and Roman saloons. "What is
the use of good health," he said to himself, "if a man cannot live
upon bread?"  Porridge and oatmeal cakes would have pleased him as
well; but that food for horses is not so easily procured in London,
and costs more than the other.  A cousin of his had lived in
Edinburgh for six months upon eighteen-pence a week in that way, and
had slept the greater part of the time upon the floor, training
himself for the hardships of a soldier's life.  And he could not
forget the college youth whom his comrades had considered mean, till
they learned that, out of his poor bursary of fourteen pounds a
session, and what he could make besides by private teaching at the
rate previously mentioned or even less, he helped his parents to
educate a younger brother; and, in order to do so, lived himself
upon oatmeal and potatoes.  But they did not find this out till
after he was dead, poor fellow!  He could not stand it.

I ought at the same time to mention, that Hugh rarely made use of a
crossing on a muddy day, without finding a half-penny somewhere
about him for the sweeper.  He would rather walk through oceans of
mud, than cross at the natural place when he had no
coppers -- especially if he had patent leather boots on.

After he had eaten his bread, he went home to get some water.  Then,
as he had nothing else to do, he sat down in his room, and began to
manufacture a story, thinking it just possible it might be accepted
by one or other of the pseudo-literary publications with which
London is inundated in hebdomadal floods.  He found spinning almost
as easy as if he had been a spider, for he had a ready invention,
and a natural gift of speech; so that, in a few days, he had
finished a story, quite as good as most of those that appear in the
better sort of weekly publications.  This, in his modesty, he sent
to one of the inferior sort, and heard nothing more of it than if he
had flung it into the sea.  Possibly he flew too low.  He tried
again, but with no better success.  His ambition grew with his
disappointments, or perhaps rather with the exercise of his
faculties.  Before many days had passed he made up his mind to try a
novel.  For three months he worked at this six hours a day
regularly.  When material failed him, from the exhaustion consequent
upon uninterrupted production, he would recreate himself by lying
fallow for an hour or two, or walking out in a mood for merely
passive observation.  But this anticipates.

His advertisement did not produce a single inquiry, and he shrunk
from spending more money in such an apparently unprofitable
appliance.  Day after day went by, and no voice reached him from the
unknown world of labour.  He went at last to several stationers'
shops in the neighbourhood, bought some necessary articles, and took
these opportunities of asking if they knew of any one in want of
such assistance as he could give.  But unpleasant as he felt it to
make such inquiries, he soon found that to most people it was
equally unpleasant to reply to them.  There seemed to be something
disreputable in having to answer such questions, to judge from the
constrained, indifferent, and sometimes, though not often, surly
answers which he received. "Can it be," thought Hugh, "as
disgraceful to ask for work as to ask for bread?"  If he had had a
thousand a year, and had wanted a situation of another thousand, it
would have been quite commendable; but to try to elude cold and
hunger by inquiring after paltry shillings' worths of hard labour,
was despicable.

So he placed the more hope upon his novel, and worked at that
diligently.  But he did not find it quite so easy as he had at first
expected.  No one finds anything either so easy or so difficult as,
in opposite moods, he had expected to find it.  Everything is
possible; but without labour and failure nothing is achievable.  The
labour, however, comes naturally, and experience grows without
agonizing transitions; while the failure generally points, in its
detected cause, to the way of future success.  He worked on.

He did not, however, forget the ring.  Frequent were his
meditations, in the pauses of his story, and when walking in the
streets, as to the best means of recovering it.  I should rather say
any means than best; for it was not yet a question of choice and
degrees.  The count could not but have known that the ring was of no
money value; therefore it was not likely that he had stolen it in
order to part with it again.  Consequently it would be of no use to
advertise it, or to search for it in the pawnbrokers' or second-hand
jewellers' shops.  To find the crystal, it was clear as itself that
he must first find the count.

But how? -- He could think of no plan.  Any alarm would place the
count on the defensive, and the jewel at once beyond reach.
Besides, he wished to keep the whole matter quiet, and gain his
object without his or any other name coming before the public.
Therefore he would not venture to apply to the police, though
doubtless they would be able to discover the man, if he were
anywhere in London.  He surmised that in all probability they knew
him already.  But he could not come to any conclusion as to the
object he must have had in view in securing such a trifle.

Hugh had all but forgotten the count's cheque for a hundred guineas;
for, in the first place, he had never intended presenting it -- the
repugnance which some minds feel to using money which they have
neither received by gift nor acquired by honest earning, being at
least equal to the pleasure other minds feel in gaining it without
the expense of either labour or obligation; and in the second place,
since he knew more about the drawer, he had felt sure that it would
be of no use to present it.  To make this latter conviction a
certainty, he did present it, and found that there were no effects.




CHAPTER IV.

A LETTER FROM THE POST.


Hipolito.  Is your wife then departed?
 Orlando.  She's an old dweller in those high countries, yet not
from me: here, she's here; a good couple are seldom parted. -- DEKKER.

What wonderful things letters are!  In trembling and hope the
fingers unclasp, and the folded sheet drops into -- no, not the
post-office letter-box -- but into space.

I have read a story somewhere of a poor child that dropped a letter
into the post-office, addressed to Jesus Christ in Heaven.  And it
reached him, and the child had her answer.  For was it not Christ
present in the good man or woman -- I forget the particulars of the
story -- who sent the child the help she needed?  There was no
necessity for him to answer in person, as in the case of Abgarus,
king of Edessa.

Out of space from somewhere comes the answer.  Such letters as those
given in a previous chapter, are each a spirit-cry sent out, like a
Noah's dove, into the abyss; and the spirit turns its ear, where its
mouth had been turned before, and leans listening for the
spirit-echo -- the echo with a soul in it -- the answering voice which
out of the abyss will enter by the gate now turned to receive it.
Whose will be the voice?  What will be the sense?  What chords on
the harp of life have been struck afar off by the arrow-words of the
letter?  What tones will they send back to the longing, hungering
ear?  The mouth hath spoken, that the fainting ear may be filled by
the return of its words through the alembic of another soul.

One cause of great uneasiness to Hugh was, that, for some time after
a reply might have been expected, he received no answer from David
Elginbrod.  At length, however, a letter arrived, upon the
hand-writing of which he speculated in vain, perplexed with a
resemblance in it to some writing that he knew; and when he opened
it, he found the following answer to his own:

"DEAR MR. SUTHERLAND, -- Your letter to my father has been sent to me
by my mother, for what you will feel to be the sad reason, that he
is no more in this world.  But I cannot say it is so very sad to me
to think that he is gone home, where my mother and I will soon join
him.  True love can wait well.  Nor indeed, dear Mr. Sutherland,
must you be too much troubled that your letter never reached him.
My father was like God in this, that he always forgave anything the
moment there was anything to forgive; for when else could there be
such a good time? -- although, of course, the person forgiven could
not know it till he asked for forgiveness.  But, dear Mr.
Sutherland, if you could see me smiling as I write, and could yet
see how earnest my heart is in writing it, I would venture to say
that, in virtue of my knowing my father as I do -- for I am sure I
know his very soul, as near as human love could know it -- I forgive
you, in his name, for anything and everything with which you
reproach yourself in regard to him.  Ah! how much I owe you!  And
how much he used to say he owed you!  We shall thank you one day,
when we all meet.

"I am, dear Mr. Sutherland,

"Your grateful scholar,

"MARGARET ELGINBROD."

Hugh burst into tears on reading this letter, -- with no overpowering
sense of his own sin, for he felt that he was forgiven; but with a
sudden insight into the beauty and grandeur of the man whom he had
neglected, and the wondrous loveliness which he had transmitted from
the feminine part of his nature to the wholly feminine and therefore
delicately powerful nature of Margaret.  The vision he had beheld in
the library at Arnstead, about which, as well as about many other
things that had happened to him there, he could form no theory
capable of embracing all the facts -- this vision returned to his
mind's eye, and he felt that the glorified face he had beheld must
surely have been Margaret's, whether he had seen it in the body or
out of the body: such a face alone seemed to him worthy of the
writer of this letter.  Purposely or not, there was no address given
in it; and to his surprise, when he examined the envelope with the
utmost care, he could discover no postmark but the London one.  The
date-stamp likewise showed that it must have been posted in London.

"So," said he to himself, "in my quest of a devil, I may cross the
track of an angel, who knows?  But how can she be here?"

To this of course he had no answer at hand.




CHAPTER V.

BEGINNINGS.

Since a man is bound no farther to himself than to do wisely, chance
is only to trouble them that stand upon chance -- SIR PHILIP
SIDNEY. -- The Arcadia.


Meantime a feeble star, but sparkling some rays of comfort, began to
shine upon Hugh's wintry prospects.  The star arose in a grocer's
shop.  For one day his landlady, whose grim attentions had been
increasing rather than diminishing, addressed him suddenly as she
was removing his breakfast apparatus.  This was a very extraordinary
event, for she seldom addressed him it all; and replied, when he
addressed her, only in the briefest manner possible.

"Have you got any pupils yet, Mr. Sutherland?"

"No -- I am sorry to say.  But how did you come to know I wanted any,
Miss Talbot?"

"You shouldn't have secrets at home, Mr. Sutherland.  I like to know
what concerns my own family, and I generally find out."

"You saw my advertisement, perhaps?"

To this suggestion Miss Talbot made no other answer than the usual
compression of her lips.

"You wouldn't be above teaching a tradesman's son to begin with?"

"Certainly not.  I should be very happy.  Do you know of such a
pupil?"

"Well, I can't exactly say I do know or I don't know; but I happened
to mention to my grocer round the corner that you wanted pupils.
Don't suppose, Mr. Sutherland, that I'm in the way of talking about
any young men of mine; but it -- "

"Not for a moment," interrupted Hugh; and Miss Talbot resumed,
evidently gratified.

"Well, if you wouldn't mind stepping round the corner, I shouldn't
wonder if you might make an arrangement with Mr. Appleditch.  He
said you might call upon him if you liked."

Hugh jumped up, and got his hat at once; received the few necessary
directions from Miss Talbot, and soon found the shop.  There were a
good many poor people in it, buying sugar, and soap, &c.; and one
lady apparently giving a large order.  A young man came to Hugh, and
bent over the counter in a recipient position, like a live point of
interrogation.  Hugh answered --

"Mr. Appleditch."

"Mr. Appleditch will be disengaged in a few minutes.  Will you take
a seat?"

The grocer was occupied with the lady and her order; but as soon as
she departed, he approached Hugh behind the rampart, and stood
towards him in the usual retail attitude.

"My name is Sutherland."

"Sutherland?" said Mr. Appleditch; "I think I've 'eard the name
somewheres, but I don't know the face."

"Miss Talbot mentioned me to you, I understand, Mr. Appleditch."

"Oh! ah!  I remember.  I beg your pardon.  Will you step this way,
Mr. Sutherland?"

Hugh followed him through a sort of draw-bridge which he lifted in
the counter, into a little appendix at the back of the shop.  Mr.
Appleditch was a meek-looking man, with large eyes, plump pasty
cheeks, and a thin little person.

"'Ow de do, Mr. Sutherland?" said he, holding out his hand, as soon
as they had reached this retreat.

"Thank you -- quite well;" answered Sutherland, shaking hands with him
as well as he could, the contact not being altogether pleasant.

"So you want pupils, do you, sir?"

"Yes."

"Ah! well you see, sir, pupils is scarce at this season.  They ain't
to be bought in every shop -- ha! ha!" (The laugh was very mild.) "But
I think Mrs. Appleditch could find you one, if you could agree with
her about the charge, you know, and all that."

"How old is he?  A boy, I suppose?"

"Well, you're right, sir.  It is a boy.  Not very old, though.  My
Samuel is just ten, but a wonderful forward boy for his years -- bless
him!"

"And what would you wish him to learn?"

"Oh!  Latin and Greek, and all that.  We intend bringing him up for
the ministry. -- I hope your opinions are decided, sir?"

"On some points, they are.  But I do not know to what you refer,
exactly."

"I mean theological opinions, sir."

"But I shall not have to teach your little boy theology."

"Certainly not, sir.  That department belongs to his mother and I.
Unworthy vessels, sir; mere earthen vessels; but filled with the
grace of God, I hope, sir."

The grocer parted his hands, which he had been rubbing together
during this conversation, and lifted them upwards from the wrists,
like the fins of a seal; then, dropping them, fell to rubbing them
again.

"I hope so.  Well -- you know the best way will be for me -- not knowing
your opinions -- to avoid everything of a religious kind."

"Ah! but it should be line upon line, you know; here a little, and
there a little, sir.  As the bow is bent, you know -- the -- hoop is
made, you know, sir."

Here Mr. Appleditch stepped to the door suddenly, and peeped out, as
if he feared he was wanted; but presently returning, he continued:

"But time's a precious gift, sir, and we must not waste it.  So, if
you'll do us the honour, sir, to dine with us next Lord's day -- we
may call it a work of necessity, you know -- you will see the little
Samuel, and -- and -- Mrs. Appleditch."

"I shall be very happy.  What is your address, Mr. Appleditch?"

"You had better come to Salem Chapel, Dervish town, and we can go
home together.  Service commences at eleven.  Mrs. Appleditch will
be glad to see you.  Ask for Mr. Appleditch's pew.  Goo-ood morning,
sir."

Hugh took his leave, half inclined to send an excuse before the day
arrived, and decline the connection.  But his principle was, to take
whatever offered, and thus make way for the next thing.  Besides, he
thus avoided the responsibility of choice, from which he always
shrunk.

He returned to his novel; but, alas! the inventive faculty
point-blank refused to work under the weight of such a Sunday in
prospect.  He wandered out, quite dispirited; but, before long, to
take his revenge upon circumstances, resolved at least to have a
dinner out of them.  So he went to a chop house, had a chop and a
glass of ale, and was astonished to find how much he enjoyed them.
In fact, abstinence gave his very plain dinner more than all the
charms of a feast -- a fact of which Hugh has not been the only
discoverer.  He studied Punch all the time he ate, and rose with his
spirits perfectly restored.

"Now I am in for it," said he, "I will be extravagant for once."  So
he went and bought a cigar, which he spun out into three miles of
smoke, as he wandered through Shoreditch, and Houndsditch, and
Petticoat-lane, gazing at the faces of his brothers and sisters;
which faces having been so many years wrapt in a fog both moral and
physical, now looked out of it as if they were only the condensed
nuclei of the same fog and filth.

As he was returning through Whitechapel, he passed a man on the
pavement, whose appearance was so remarkable that he could not help
looking back after him.  When he reflected about it, he thought that
it must have been a certain indescribable resemblance to David
Elginbrod that had so attracted him.  The man was very tall.
Six-foot.  Hugh felt dwarfed beside him; for he had to look right
up, as he passed, to see his face.  He was dressed in loose, shabby
black.  He had high and otherwise very marked features, and a dark
complexion.  A general carelessness of demeanour was strangely
combined with an expression of reposeful strength and quiet
concentration of will.  At how much of this conclusion Hugh arrived
after knowing more of him, I cannot tell; but such was the
description he gave of him as he saw him first: and it was
thoroughly correct.  His countenance always seemed to me (for I knew
him well) to represent a nature ever bent in one direction, but
never in haste, because never in doubt.

To carry his extravagance and dissipation still further, Hugh now
betook himself to the pit of the Olympic Theatre; and no one could
have laughed more heartily, or cried more helplessly, that night,
than he; for he gave himself wholly up to the influences of the
ruler of the hour, the admirable Robson.  But what was his surprise
when, standing up at the close of the first act, and looking around
and above him, he saw, unmistakeably, the same remarkable
countenance looking down upon him from the front row of the gallery.
He continued his circuit of observation, trying to discover the
face of Funkelstein in the boxes or circles; but involuntarily he
turned his gaze back to the strange countenance, which still seemed
bent towards his.  The curtain rose, and during the second act he
forgot all about everything else.  At its close he glanced up to the
gallery again, and there was the face still, and still looking at
him.  At the close of the third act it had vanished, and he saw
nothing more of it that evening.  When the after-piece was over, for
he sat it out, he walked quietly home, much refreshed.  He had
needed some relaxation, after many days of close and continuous
labour.

But awfully solemn was the face of good Miss Talbot, as she opened
the door for him at midnight.  Hugh took especial pains with his
boots and the door-mat, but it was of no use: the austerity of her
countenance would not relax in the least.  So he took his candle and
walked up-stairs to his room, saying only as he went -- being unable
to think of anything else:

"Good night, Miss Talbot."

But no response proceeded from the offended divinity of the place.

He went to bed, somewhat distressed at the behaviour of Miss Talbot,
for he had a weakness for being on good terms with everybody.  But
he resolved to have it out with her next morning; and so fell asleep
and dreamed of the strange man who had watched him at the theatre.

He rose next morning at the usual time.  But his breakfast was
delayed half an hour; and when it came, the maid waited upon him,
and not her mistress, as usual.  When he had finished, and she
returned to take away the ruins, he asked her to say to her mistress
that he wanted to speak to her.  She brought back a message, which
she delivered with some difficulty, and evidently under
compulsion -- that if Mr. Sutherland wanted to speak to her, he would
find her in the back parlour.  Hugh went down instantly, and found
Miss Talbot in a doubly frozen condition, her face absolutely blue
with physical and mental cold combined.  She waited for him to
speak.  Hugh began:

"Miss Talbot, it seems something is wrong between you and me."

"Yes, Mr. Sutherland."

"Is it because I was rather late last night."

"Rather late, Mr. Sutherland?"

Miss Talbot showed no excitement.  With her, the thermometer, in
place of rising under the influence of irritation, steadily sank.

"I cannot make myself a prisoner on parole, you know, Miss Talbot.
You must leave me my liberty."

"Oh, yes, Mr. Sutherland.  Take your liberty.  You'll go the way of
all the rest.  It's no use trying to save any of you."

"But I'm not aware that I am in any particular want of saving, Miss
Talbot."

"There it is! -- Well, till a sinner is called and awakened, of course
it's no use.  So I'll just do the best I can for you.  Who can tell
when the Spirit may be poured from on high?  But it's very sad to
me, Mr. Sutherland, to see an amiable young man like you going the
way of transgressors, which is hard.  I am sorry for you, Mr.
Sutherland."

Though the ice was not gone yet, it had begun to melt under the
influences of Hugh's good-temper, and Miss Talbot's sympathy with
his threatening fate.  Conscience, too, had something to do with the
change; for, much as one of her temperament must have disliked
making such a confession, she ended by adding, after a pause:

"And very sorry, Mr. Sutherland, that I showed you any bad temper
last night."

Poor Miss Talbot!  Hugh saw that she was genuinely troubled about
him, and resolved to offend but seldom, while he was under her roof.

"Perhaps, when you know me longer, you will find I am steadier than
you think."

"Well, it may be.  But steadiness won't make a Christian of you."

"It may make a tolerable lodger of me, though," answered Hugh; "and
you wouldn't turn me into the street because I am steady and nothing
more, would you?"

"I said I was sorry, Mr. Sutherland.  Do you wish me to say more?"

"Bless your kind heart!" said Hugh. "I was only joking."

He held out his hand to Miss Talbot, and her eyes glistened as she
took it.  She pressed it kindly, and abandoned it instantly.

So all was right between them once more.

"Who knows," murmured Miss Talbot, "but the Lord may save him?  He's
surely not far from the kingdom of heaven.  I'll do all I can to
make him comfortable."




CHAPTER VI.

A SUNDAY'S DINNER.

Some books are lies frae end to end,
And some great lies were never penned:
Even ministers, they hae been kenned,
     In holy rapture,
Great lies and nonsense baith to vend,
     And nail't wi' Scripture.

BURNS.


To the great discomposure of Hugh, Sunday was inevitable, and he had
to set out for Salem Chapel.  He found it a neat little Noah's Ark
of a place, built in the shape of a cathedral, and consequently
sharing in the general disadvantages to which dwarfs of all kinds
are subjected, absurdity included.  He was shown to Mr. Appleditch's
pew.  That worthy man received him in sleek black clothes, with
white neck-cloth, and Sunday face composed of an absurd mixture of
stupidity and sanctity.  He stood up, and Mrs. Appleditch stood up,
and Master Appleditch stood up, and Hugh saw that the ceremony of
the place required that he should force his way between the front of
the pew and the person of each of the human beings occupying it,
till he reached the top, where there was room for him to sit down.
No other recognition was taken till after service.

Meantime the minister ascended the pulpit stair, with all the
solemnity of one of the self-elect, and a priest besides.  He was
just old enough for the intermittent attacks of self-importance to
which all youth is exposed, to have in his case become chronic.  He
stood up and worshipped his creator aloud, after a manner which
seemed to say in every tone: "Behold I am he that worshippeth Thee!
How mighty art Thou!"  Then he read the Bible in a quarrelsome sort
of way, as if he were a bantam, and every verse were a crow of
defiance to the sinner.  Then they sang a hymn in a fashion which
brought dear old Scotland to Hugh's mind, which has the sweetest
songs in its cottages, and the worst singing in its churches, of any
country in the world.  But it was almost equalled here; the chief
cause of its badness being the absence of a modest self-restraint,
and consequent tempering of the tones, on the part of the singers;
so that the result was what Hugh could describe only as scraichin.1

I was once present at the worship of some being who is supposed by
negroes to love drums and cymbals, and all clangorous noises.  The
resemblance, according to Hugh's description, could not have been a
very distant one.  And yet I doubt not that some thoughts of
worshipping love mingled with the noise; and perhaps the harmony of
these with the spheric melodies, sounded the sweeter to the angels,
from the earthly discord in which they were lapped.

Then came the sermon.  The text was the story of the good Samaritan.
Some idea, if not of the sermon, yet of the value of it, may be
formed from the fact, that the first thing to be considered, or, in
other words, the first head was, "The culpable imprudence of the man
in going from Jerusalem to Jericho without an escort."

It was in truth a strange, grotesque, and somewhat awful medley -- not
unlike a dance of death, in which the painter has given here a
lovely face, and there a beautiful arm or an exquisite foot, to the
wild-prancing and exultant skeletons.  But the parts of the sermon
corresponding to the beautiful face or arm or foot, were but the
fragments of Scripture, shining like gold amidst the worthless ore
of the man's own production -- worthless, save as gravel or chaff or
husks have worth, in a world where dilution, and not always
concentration, is necessary for healthfulness.

But there are Indians who eat clay, and thrive on it more or less, I
suppose.  The power of assimilation which a growing nature must
possess is astonishing.  It will find its food, its real Sunday
dinner, in the midst of a whole cartload of refuse; and it will do
the whole week's work on it.  On no other supposition would it be
possible to account for the earnest face of Miss Talbot, which Hugh
espied turned up to the preacher, as if his face were the very star
in the east, shining to guide the chosen kings.  It was well for
Hugh's power of endurance, that he had heard much the same thing in
Scotland, and the same thing better dressed, and less grotesque, but
more lifeless, and at heart as ill-mannered, in the church of
Arnstead.

Just before concluding the service, the pastor made an announcement
in the following terms: "After the close of the present service, I
shall be found in the adjoining vestry by all persons desirous of
communicating with me on the state of their souls, or of being
admitted to the privileges of church-fellowship.  Brethren, we have
this treasure in earthen vessels, and so long as this vessel
lasts" -- here he struck his chest so that it resounded -- "it shall be
faithfully and liberally dispensed.  Let us pray."

After the prayer, he spread abroad his arms and hands as if he would
clasp the world in his embrace, and pronounced the benediction in a
style of arrogance that the pope himself would have been ashamed of.

The service being thus concluded, the organ absolutely blasted the
congregation out of the chapel, so did it storm and rave with a
fervour anything but divine.

My readers must not suppose that I give this chapel as the type of
orthodox dissenting chapels.  I give it only as an approximate
specimen of a large class of them.  The religious life which these
communities once possessed, still lingers in those of many country
districts and small towns, but is, I fear, all but gone from those
of the cities and larger towns.  What of it remains in these, has
its chief manifestation in the fungous growth of such chapels as the
one I have described, the congregations themselves taking this for a
sure indication of the prosperity of the body.  How much even of the
kind of prosperity which they ought to indicate, is in reality at
the foundation of these appearances, I would recommend those to
judge who are versed in the mysteries of chapel-building societies.

As to Hugh, whether it was that the whole was suggestive of Egyptian
bondage, or that his own mood was, at the time, of the least
comfortable sort, I will not pretend to determine; but he assured me
that he felt all the time, as if, instead of being in a chapel built
of bricks harmoniously arranged, as by the lyre of Amphion, he were
wandering in the waste, wretched field whence these bricks had been
dug, of all places on the earth's surface the most miserable,
assailed by the nauseous odours, which have not character enough to
be described, and only remind one of the colours on a snake's back.

When they reached the open air, Mr. Appleditch introduced Hugh to
Mrs. Appleditch, on the steps in front of the chapel.

"This is Mr. Sutherland, Mrs. Appleditch."

Hugh lifted his hat, and Mrs. Appleditch made a courtesy.  She was a
very tall woman -- a head beyond her husband, extremely thin, with
sharp nose, hollow cheeks, and good eyes.  In fact, she was partly
pretty, and might have been pleasant-looking, but for a large,
thin-lipped, vampire-like mouth, and a general expression of greed
and contempt.  She was meant for a lady, and had made herself a
money-maggot.  She was richly and plainly dressed; and until she
began to be at her ease, might have passed for an unpleasant lady.
Master Appleditch, the future pastor, was a fat boy, dressed like a
dwarf, in a frock coat and man's hat, with a face in which the
meanness and keenness strove for mastery, and between them kept down
the appearance of stupidity consequent on fatness.  They walked home
in silence, Mr. and Mrs. Appleditch apparently pondering either upon
the spiritual food they had just received, or the corporeal food for
which they were about to be thankful.

Their house was one of many in a crescent.  Not content with his
sign in town, the grocer had a large brass plate on his door, with
Appleditch engraved upon it in capitals: it saved them always
looking at the numbers.  The boy ran on before, and assailed this
door with a succession of explosive knocks.

As soon as it was opened, in he rushed, bawling:

"Peter, Peter, here's the new apprentice!  Papa's brought him home
to dinner, because he was at chapel this morning."  Then in a lower
tone -- "I mean to have a ride on his back this afternoon."

The father and mother laughed.  A solemn priggish little voice
answered:

"Oh, no, Johnny.  Don't you know what day this is?  This is the
Sabbath-day."

"The dear boy!" sighed his mother.

"That boy is too good to live," responded the father.

Hugh was shown into the dining-room, where the table was already
laid for dinner.  It was evident that the Appleditches were
well-to-do people.  The room was full of what is called handsome
furniture, in a high state of polish.  Over the chimney-piece hung
the portrait of a preacher in gown and bands, the most prominent of
whose features were his cheeks.

In a few minutes the host and hostess entered, followed by a
pale-faced little boy, the owner of the voice of reproof.

"Come here, Peetie," said his mother, "and tell Mr. Sutherland what
you have got."  She referred to some toy -- no, not toy, for it was
the Sabbath -- to some book, probably.

Peetie answered in a solemn voice, mouthing every vowel:

"I've got five bags of gold in the Bank of England."

"Poor child!" said his mother, with a scornful giggle. "You wouldn't
have much to reckon on, if that were all."

Two or three gaily dressed riflemen passed the window.  The poor
fellows, unable to bear the look of their Sunday clothes, if they
had any, after being used to their uniform, had come out in all its
magnificence.

"Ah!" said Mr. Appleditch, "that's all very well in a state of
nature; but when a man is once born into a state of grace, Mr.
Sutherland -- ah!"

"Really," responded Mrs. Appleditch, "the worldliness of the lower
classes is quite awful.  But they are spared for a day of wrath,
poor things!  I am sure that accident on the railway last Sabbath,
might have been a warning to them all.  After that they can't say
there is not a God that ruleth in the earth, and taketh vengeance
for his broken Sabbaths."

"Mr. -- .  I don't know your name," said Peter, whose age Hugh had
just been trying in vain to conjecture.

"Mr. Sutherland," said the mother.

"Mr. Slubberman, are you a converted character?" resumed Peter.

"Why do you ask me that, Master Peter?" said Hugh, trying to smile.

"I think you look good, but mamma says she don't think you are,
because you say Sunday instead of Sabbath, and she always finds
people who do are worldly."

Mrs. Appleditch turned red -- not blushed, and said, quickly:

"Peter shouldn't repeat everything he hears."

"No more I do, ma.  I haven't told what you said about -- " Here his
mother caught him up, and carried him out of the room, saying:

"You naughty boy!  You shall go to bed."

"Oh, no, I shan't!"

"Yes, you shall.  Here, Jane, take this naughty boy to bed."

"I'll scream."

"Will you?"

"Yes, I will!"

     And such a yell was there
     Of sudden and portentous birth,
     As if...

ten cats were being cooked alive.

"Well! well! well! my Peetie!  He shan't go to bed, if he'll be a
good boy.  Will he be good?"

"May I stay up to supper, then?  May I?"

"Yes, yes; anything to stop such dreadful screaming.  You are very
naughty -- very naughty indeed."

"No. I'm not naughty.  I'll scream again."

"No, no.  Go and get your pinafore on, and come down to dinner.
Anything rather than a scream."

I am sick of all this, and doubt if it is worth printing; but it
amused me very much one night as Hugh related it over a bottle of
Chablis and a pipe.

He certainly did not represent Mrs. Appleditch in a very favourable
light on the whole; but he took care to say that there was a certain
liberality about the table, and a kind of heartiness in her way of
pressing him to have more than he could possibly eat, which
contrasted strangely with her behaviour afterwards in money matters.
There are many people who can be liberal in almost anything but
money.  They seem to say, "Take anything but my purse."  Miss Talbot
told him afterwards, that this same lady was quite active amongst
the poor of her district.  She made it a rule never to give money,
or at least never more than sixpence; but she turned scraps of
victuals and cast-off clothes to the best account; and, if she did
not make friends with the mammon of unrighteousness, she yet kept an
eye on the eternal habitations in the distribution of the crumbs
that fell from her table.  Poor Mr. Appleditch, on the other hand,
often embezzled a shilling or a half-crown from the till, for the
use of a poor member of the same church -- meaning by church, the
individual community to which he belonged; but of this, Mrs.
Appleditch was carefully kept ignorant.

After dinner was over, and the children had been sent away, which
was effected without a greater amount of difficulty than, from the
anticipative precautions adopted, appeared to be lawful and
ordinary, Mr. Appleditch proceeded to business.

"Now, Mr. Sutherland, what do you think of Johnnie, sir?"

"It is impossible for me to say yet; but I am quite willing to teach
him if you like."

"He's a forward boy," said his mother.

"Not a doubt of it," responded Hugh; for he remembered the boy
asking him, across the table: "Isn't our Mr. Lixom" -- (the
pastor) -- "a oner?"

"And very eager and retentive," said his father.

Hugh had seen the little glutton paint both cheeks to the eyes with
damson tart, and render more than a quantity proportionate to the
colouring, invisible.

"Yes, he is eager, and retentive, too, I daresay," he said; "but
much will depend on whether he has a turn for study."

"Well, you will find that out to-morrow.  I think you will be
surprised, sir."

"At what hour would you like me to come?"

"Stop, Mr. Appleditch," interposed his wife. "You have said nothing
yet about terms; and that is of some importance, considering the
rent and taxes we pay."

"Well, my love, what do you feel inclined to give?"

"How much do you charge a lesson, Mr. Sutherland?  Only let me
remind you, sir, that he is a very little boy, although stout, and
that you cannot expect to put much Greek and Latin into him for some
time yet.  Besides, we want you to come every day, which ought to be
considered in the rate of charge."

"Of course it ought," said Hugh.

"How much do you say, then, sir?"

"I should be content with half-a-crown a lesson."

"I daresay you would!" replied the lady, with indignation.

"Half-a-crown!  That's -- six half-crowns is--fifteen shillings.
Fifteen shillings a week for that mite of a boy!  Mr. Sutherland,
you ought to be ashamed of yourself, sir."

"You forget, Mrs. Appleditch, that it is as much trouble to me to
teach one little boy -- yes, a great deal more than to teach twenty
grown men."

"You ought to be ashamed of yourself, sir.  You a Christian man, and
talk of trouble in teaching such a little cherub as that?"

"But do pray remember the distance I have to come, and that it will
take nearly four hours of my time every day."

"Then you can get lodgings nearer."

"But I could not get any so cheap."

"Then you can the better afford to do it."

And she threw herself back in her chair, as if she had struck the
decisive blow.  Mr. Appleditch remarked, gently:

"It is good for your health to walk the distance, sir."

Mrs. Appleditch resumed:

"I won't give a farthing more than one shilling a lesson.  There,
now!"

"Very well," said Hugh, rising; "then I must wish you good day.  We
need not waste more time in talking about it."

"Surely you are not going to make any use of your time on a Sunday?"
said the grocer, mildly. "Don't be in a hurry, Mr. Sutherland.  We
tradespeople like to make the best bargain we can."

"Mr. Appleditch, I am ashamed of you.  You always will be vulgar.
You always smell of the shop."

"Well, my dear, how can I help it?  The sugar and soft-soap will
smell, you know."

"Mr. Appleditch, you disgust me!"

"Dear! dear!  I am sorry for that. -- Suppose we say to Mr.
Sutherland -- "

"Now, you leave that to me.  I'll tell you what, Mr.
Sutherland -- I'll give you eighteenpence a lesson, and your dinner on
the Sabbath; that is, if you sit under Mr. Lixom in our pew, and
walk home with us."

"That I must decline" said Hugh. "I must have my Sundays for
myself."

Mrs. Appleditch was disappointed.  She had coveted the additional
importance which the visible possession of a live tutor would secure
her at "Salem."

"Ah!  Mr. Sutherland," she said. "And I must trust my child, with an
immortal soul in his inside, to one who wants the Lord's only day
for himself! -- for himself, Mr. Sutherland!"

Hugh made no answer, because he had none to make.  Again Mrs.
Appleditch resumed:

"Shall it be a bargain, Mr. Sutherland?  Eighteen-pence a
lesson -- that's nine shillings a week -- and begin to morrow?"

Hugh's heart sunk within him, not so much with disappointment as
with disgust.

But to a man who is making nothing, the prospect of earning ever so
little, is irresistibly attractive.  Even on a shilling a day, he
could keep hunger at arm's length.  And a beginning is half the
battle.  He resolved.

"Let it be a bargain, then, Mrs. Appleditch."

The lady immediately brightened up, and at once put on her
company-manners again, behaving to him with great politeness, and a
sneer that would not be hid away under it.  From this Hugh suspected
that she had made a better bargain than she had hoped; but the
discovery was now too late, even if he could have brought himself to
take advantage of it.  He hated bargain-making as heartily as the
grocer's wife loved it.

He very soon rose to take his leave.

"Oh!" said Mrs. Appleditch to her husband, "but Mr. Sutherland has
not seen the drawing-room!"

Hugh wondered what there could be remarkable about the drawing-room;
but he soon found that it was the pride of Mrs. Appleditch's heart.
She abstained from all use of it except upon great occasions -- when
parties of her friends came to drink tea with her.  She made a
point, however, of showing it to everybody who entered the house for
the first time.  So Hugh was led up-stairs, to undergo the operation
of being shown the drawing-room, and being expected to be astonished
at it.

I asked him what it was like.  He answered: "It was just what it
ought to be -- rich and ugly.  Mr. Appleditch, in his deacon's
uniform, hung over the fire, and Mrs. Appleditch, in her
wedding-dress, over the piano; for there was a piano, and she could
play psalm-tunes on it with one finger.  The round table in the
middle of the room had books in gilded red and blue covers
symmetrically arranged all round it.  This is all I can recollect."

Having feasted his eyes on the magnificence thus discovered to him,
he walked home, more depressed at the prospect of his new employment
than he could have believed possible.

On his way he turned aside into the Regent's Park, where the sight
of the people enjoying themselves -- for it was a fine day for the
season -- partially dispelled the sense of living corruption and
premature burial which he had experienced all day long.  He kept as
far off from the rank of open-air preachers as possible, and really
was able to thank God that all the world did not keep Scotch
Sabbath -- a day neither Mosaic, nor Jewish, nor Christian: not
Mosaic, inasmuch as it kills the very essence of the fourth
commandment, which is Rest, transmuting it into what the chemists
would call a mechanical mixture of service and inertia; not Jewish,
inasmuch as it is ten times more severe, and formal, and full of
negations, than that of the Sabbatarian Jews reproved by the Saviour
for their idolatry of the day; and unchristian, inasmuch as it
insists, beyond appeal, on the observance of times and seasons,
abolished, as far as law is concerned, by the word of the chief of
the apostles; and elevates into an especial test of piety a custom
not even mentioned by the founders of christianity at all -- that,
namely, of accounting this day more holy than all the rest.

These last are but outside reasons for calling it unchristian.
There are far deeper and more important ones, which cannot well be
produced here.

It is not Hugh, however, who is to be considered accountable for all
this, but the historian of his fortunes, between whom and the vision
of a Lord's Day indeed, there arises too often the nightmare-memory
of a Scotch Saabbath -- between which and its cousin, the English
Sunday, there is too much of a family likeness.  The grand men and
women whom I have known in Scotland, seem to me, as I look back, to
move about in the mists of a Scotch Sabbath, like a company of
way-worn angels in the Limbo of Vanity, in which there is no air
whereupon to smite their sounding wings, that they may rise into the
sunlight of God's presence.




CHAPTER VII.

SUNDAY EVENING.

Now resteth in my memory but this point, which indeed is the chief
to you of all others; which is the choice of what men you are to
direct yourself to; for it is certain no vessel can leave a worse
taste in the liquor it contains, than a wrong teacher infects an
unskilful hearer with that which hardly will ever out...  But you may
say, "How shall I get excellent men to take pains to speak with me?"
Truly, in few words, either by much expense or much humbleness.

Letter of Sir Philip Sidney to his brother Robert.


How many things which, at the first moment, strike us as curious
coincidences, afterwards become so operative on our lives, and so
interwoven with the whole web of their histories, that instead of
appearing any more as strange accidents, they assume the shape of
unavoidable necessities, of homely, ordinary, lawful occurrences, as
much in their own place as any shaft or pinion of a great machine!

It was dusk before Hugh turned his steps homeward.  He wandered
along, thinking of Euphra and the Count and the stolen rings.  He
greatly desired to clear himself to Mr. Arnold.  He saw that the
nature of the ring tended to justify Mr. Arnold's suspicions; for a
man who would not steal for money's worth, might yet steal for value
of another sort, addressing itself to some peculiar weakness; and
Mr. Arnold might have met with instances of this nature in his
position as magistrate.  He greatly desired, likewise, for Euphra's
sake, to have Funkelstein in his power.  His own ring was beyond
recovery; but if, by its means, he could hold such a lash over him
as would terrify him from again exercising his villanous influences
on her, he would be satisfied.

While plunged in this contemplation, he came upon two policemen
talking together.  He recognized one of them as a Scotchman, from
his speech.  It occurred to him at once to ask his advice, in a
modified manner; and a moment's reflection convinced him that it
would at least do no harm.  He would do it.  It was one of those
resolutions at which one arrives by an arrow flight of the
intellect.

"You are a countryman of mine, I think," said he, as soon as the two
had parted.

"If ye're a Scotchman, sir -- may be ay, may be no."

"Whaur come ye frae, man?"

"Ou, Aberdeen-awa."

"It's mine ain calf-country.  An' what do they ca' ye?"

"They ca' me John MacPherson."

"My name's Sutherland."

"Eh, man!  It's my ain mither's name.  Gie's a grup o' yer han',
Maister Sutherlan'. -- Eh, man!" he repeated, shaking Hugh's hand with
vehemence.

"I have no doubt," said Hugh, relapsing into English, "that we are
some cousins or other.  It's very lucky for me to find a relative,
for I wanted some -- advice."

He took care to say advice, which a Scotchman is generally prepared
to bestow of his best.  Had it been sixpence, the cousinship would
have required elaborate proof, before the treaty could have made
further progress.

"I'm fully at your service, sir."

"When will you be off duty?"

"At nine o'clock preceesely."

"Come to No. 13, -- Square, and ask for me.  It's not far."

"Wi' pleesir, sir, 'gin 'twar twise as far."

Hugh would not have ventured to ask him to his house on Sunday
night, when no refreshments could be procured, had he not remembered
a small pig (Anglice stone bottle) of real mountain dew, which he
had carried with him when he went to Arnstead, and which had lain
unopened in one of his boxes.

Miss Talbot received her lodger with more show of pleasure than
usual, for he came lapped in the odour of the deacon's sanctity.
But she was considerably alarmed and beyond measure shocked when
the policeman called and requested to see him.  Sally had rushed in
to her mistress in dismay.

"Please'm, there's a pleaceman wants Mr. Sutherland.  Oh! lor'm!"

"Well, go and let Mr. Sutherland know, you stupid girl," answered
her mistress, trembling.

"Oh! lor'm!" was all Sally's reply, as she vanished to bear the
awful tidings to Hugh.

"He can't have been housebreaking already," said Miss Talbot to
herself, as she confessed afterwards. "But it may be forgery or
embezzlement.  I told the poor deluded young man that the way of
transgressors was hard."

"Please, sir, you're wanted, sir," said Sally, out of breath, and
pale as her Sunday apron.

"Who wants me?" asked Hugh.

"Please, sir, the pleaceman, sir," answered Sally, and burst into
tears.

Hugh was perfectly bewildered by the girl's behaviour, and said in a
tone of surprise:

"Well, show him up, then."

"Ooh! sir," said Sally, with a Plutonic sigh, and began to undo the
hooks of her dress; "if you wouldn't mind, sir, just put on my frock
and apron, and take a jug in your hand, an' the pleaceman'll never
look at you.  I'll take care of everything till you come back, sir."
And again she burst into tears.

Sally was a great reader of the Family Herald, and knew that this
was an orthodox plan of rescuing a prisoner.  The kindness of her
anxiety moderated the expression of Hugh's amusement; and having
convinced her that he was in no danger, he easily prevailed upon her
to bring the policeman upstairs.

Over a tumbler of toddy, the weaker ingredients of which were
procured by Sally's glad connivance, with a lingering idea of
propitiation, and a gentle hint that Missus mustn't know -- the two
Scotchmen, seated at opposite corners of the fire, had a long chat.
They began about the old country, and the places and people they
both knew, and both didn't know.  If they had met on the shores of
the central lake of Africa, they could scarcely have been more
couthy together.  At length Hugh referred to the object of his
application to MacPherson.

"What plan would you have me pursue, John, to get hold of a man in
London?"

"I could manage that for ye, sir.  I ken maist the haill mengie o'
the detaictives."

"But you see, unfortunately, I don't wish, for particular reasons,
that the police should have anything to do with it."

"Ay! ay!  Hm!  Hm!  I see brawly.  Ye'll be efter a stray sheep, nae
doot?"

Hugh did not reply; so leaving him to form any conclusion he
pleased.

"Ye see," MacPherson continued, "it's no that easy to a body that's
no up to the trade.  Hae ye ony clue like, to set ye spierin' upo'?"

"Not the least."

The man pondered a while.

"I hae't," he exclaimed at last. "What a fule I was no to think o'
that afore!  Gin't be a puir bit yow-lammie like, 'at ye're efter,
I'll tell ye what: there's ae man, a countryman o' our ain, an' a
gentleman forbye, that'll do mair for ye in that way, nor a' the
detaictives thegither; an' that's Robert Falconer, Esquire. -- I ken
him weel."

"But I don't," said Hugh.

"But I'll introduce ye till 'im.  He bides close at han' here; roun'
twa corners jist.  An' I'm thinkin' he'll be at hame the noo; for I
saw him gaein that get, afore ye cam' up to me.  An' the suner we
gang, the better; for he's no aye to be gotten hand o'.  Fegs! he
may be in Shoreditch or this."

"But will he not consider it an intrusion?"

"Na, na; there's no fear o' that.  He's ony man's an' ilka woman's
freen -- so be he can do them a guid turn; but he's no for drinkin'
and daffin' an' that.  Come awa', Maister Sutherlan', he's yer verra
man."

Thus urged, Hugh rose and accompanied the policeman.  He took him
round rather more than two corners; but within five minutes they
stood at Mr. Falconer's door.  John rang.  The door opened without
visible service, and they ascended to the first floor, which was
enclosed something after the Scotch fashion.  Here a respectable
looking woman awaited their ascent.

"Is Mr. Falconer at hom', mem?" said Hugh's guide.

"He is; but I think he's just going out again."

"Will ye tell him, mem, 'at hoo John MacPherson, the policeman,
would like sair to see him?"

"I will," she answered; and went in, leaving them at the door.

She returned in a moment, and, inviting them to enter, ushered them
into a large bare room, in which there was just light enough for
Hugh to recognize, to his astonishment, the unmistakeable figure of
the man whom he had met in Whitechapel, and whom he had afterwards
seen apparently watching him from the gallery of the Olympic
Theatre.

"How are you, MacPherson?" said a deep powerful voice, out of the
gloom.

"Verra weel, I thank ye, Mr. Falconer.  Hoo are ye yersel', sir?"

"Very well too, thank you.  Who is with you?"

"It's a gentleman, sir, by the name o' Mr. Sutherlan', wha wants
your help, sir, aboot somebody or ither 'at he's enteresstit in,
wha's disappeared."

Falconer advanced, and, bowing to Hugh said, very graciously:

"I shall be most happy to serve Mr. Sutherland, if in my power.  Our
friend MacPherson has rather too exalted an idea of my capabilities,
however."

"Weel, Maister Falconer, I only jist spier at yersel', whether or no
ye was ever dung wi' onything ye took in han'."

Falconer made no reply to this.  There was the story of a whole life
in his silence -- past and to come.

He merely said:

"You can leave the gentleman with me, then, John. I'll take care of
him."

"No fear o' that, sir.  Deil a bit! though a' the policemen i'
Lonnon war efter 'im."

"I'm much obliged to you for bringing him."

"The obligation's mine sir -- an' the gentleman's.  Good nicht, sir.
Good nicht, Mr. Sutherlan'.  Ye'll ken whaur to fin' me gin ye want
me.  Yon's my beat for anither fortnicht."

"And you know my quarters," said Hugh, shaking him by the hand. "I
am greatly obliged to you."

"Not a bit, sir.  Or gin ye war, ye sud be hertily welcome."

"Bring candles, Mrs. Ashton," Falconer called from the door.  Then,
turning to Hugh, "Sit down, Mr. Sutherland," he said, "if you can
find a chair that is not illegally occupied already.  Perhaps we had
better wait for the candles.  What a pleasant day we have had!"

"Then you have been more pleasantly occupied than I have," thought
Hugh, to whose mind returned the images of the Appleditch family and
its drawing-room, followed by the anticipation of the distasteful
duties of the morrow.  But he only said:

"It has been a most pleasant day."

"I spent it strangely," said Falconer.

Here the candles were brought in.

The two men looked at each other full in the face.  Hugh saw that he
had not been in error.  The same remarkable countenance was before
him.  Falconer smiled.

"We have met before," said he.

"We have," said Hugh.

"I had a conviction we should be better acquainted, but I did not
expect it so soon."

"Are you a clairvoyant, then?"

"Not in the least."

"Or, perhaps, being a Scotchman, you have the second sight?"

"I am hardly Celt enough for that.  But I am a sort of a seer, after
all -- from an instinct of the spiritual relations of things, I hope;
not in the least from the nervo-material side."

"I think I understand you."

"Are you at leisure?"

"Entirely."

"Had we not better walk, then?  I have to go as far as Somers
Town -- no great way; and we can talk as well walking as sitting."

"With pleasure," answered Hugh, rising.

"Will you take anything before you go?  A glass of port?  It is the
only wine I happen to have."

"Not a drop, thank you.  I seldom taste anything stronger than
water."

"I like that.  But I like a glass of port too.  Come then."

And Falconer rose -- and a great rising it was; for, as I have said,
he was two or three inches taller than Hugh, and much broader across
the shoulders; and Hugh was no stripling now.  He could not help
thinking again of his old friend, David Elginbrod, to whom he had to
look up to find the living eyes of him, just as now he looked up to
find Falconer's.  But there was a great difference between those
organs in the two men.  David's had been of an ordinary size, pure
keen blue, sparkling out of cerulean depths of peace and hope, full
of lambent gleams when he was loving any one, and ever ready to be
dimmed with the mists of rising emotion.  All that Hugh could yet
discover of Falconer's eyes was, that they were large, and black as
night, and set so far back in his head, that each gleamed out of its
caverned arch like the reversed torch of the Greek Genius of Death,
just before going out in night.  Either the frontal sinus was very
large, or his observant faculties were peculiarly developed.

They went out, and walked for some distance in silence.  Hugh
ventured to say at length:

"You said you had spent the day strangely:  May I ask how?"

"In a condemned cell in Newgate," answered Falconer. "I am not in
the habit of going to such places, but the man wanted to see me, and
I went."

As Falconer said no more, and as Hugh was afraid of showing anything
like vulgar curiosity, this thread of conversation broke.  Nothing
worth recording passed until they entered a narrow court in Somers
Town.

"Are you afraid of infection?"  Falconer said.

"Not in the least, if there be any reason for exposing myself to
it."

"That is right .-- And I need not ask if you are in good health."

"I am in perfect health."

"Then I need not mind asking you to wait for me till I come out of
this house.  There is typhus in it."

"I will wait with pleasure.  I will go with you if I can be of any
use."

"There is no occasion.  It is not your business this time."

So saying, Falconer opened the door, and walked in.

Said Hugh to himself: "I must tell this man the whole story; and
with it all my own."

In a few minutes Falconer rejoined him, looking solemn, but with a
kind of relieved expression on his face.

"The poor fellow is gone," said he.

"Ah!"

"What a thing it must be, Mr. Sutherland, for a man to break out of
the choke-damp of a typhus fever into the clear air of the life
beyond!"

"Yes," said Hugh; adding, after a slight hesitation, "if he be at
all prepared for the change."

"Where a change belongs to the natural order of things," said
Falconer, "and arrives inevitably at some hour, there must always be
more or less preparedness for it.  Besides, I think a man is
generally prepared for a breath of fresh air."

Hugh did not reply, for he felt that he did not fully comprehend his
new acquaintance.  But he had a strong suspicion that it was because
he moved in a higher region than himself.

"If you will still accompany me," resumed Falconer, who had not yet
adverted to Hugh's object in seeking his acquaintance, "you will, I
think, be soon compelled to believe that, at whatever time death may
arrive, or in whatever condition the man may be at the time, it
comes as the best and only good that can at that moment reach him.
We are, perhaps, too much in the habit of thinking of death as the
culmination of disease, which, regarded only in itself, is an evil,
and a terrible evil.  But I think rather of death as the first pulse
of the new strength, shaking itself free from the old mouldy
remnants of earth-garments, that it may begin in freedom the new
life that grows out of the old.  The caterpillar dies into the
butterfly.  Who knows but disease may be the coming, the keener
life, breaking into this, and beginning to destroy like fire the
inferior modes or garments of the present?  And then disease would
be but the sign of the salvation of fire; of the agony of the
greater life to lift us to itself, out of that wherein we are
failing and sinning.  And so we praise the consuming fire of life."

"But surely all cannot fare alike in the new life."

"Far from it.  According to the condition.  But what would be hell
to one, will be quietness, and hope, and progress to another;
because he has left worse behind him, and in this the life asserts
itself, and is. -- But perhaps you are not interested in such
subjects, Mr. Sutherland, and I weary you."

"If I have not been interested in them hitherto, I am ready to
become so now.  Let me go with you."

"With pleasure."

As I have attempted to tell a great deal about Robert Falconer and
his pursuits elsewhere, I will not here relate the particulars of
their walk through some of the most wretched parts of London.
Suffice it to say that, if Hugh, as he walked home, was not yet
prepared to receive and understand the half of what Falconer had
said about death, and had not yet that faith in God that gives as
perfect a peace for the future of our brothers and sisters, who,
alas! have as yet been fed with husks, as for that of ourselves, who
have eaten bread of the finest of the wheat, and have been but a
little thankful, -- he yet felt at least that it was a blessed thing
that these men and women would all die -- must all die.  That spectre
from which men shrink, as if it would take from them the last
shivering remnant of existence, he turned to for some consolation
even for them.  He was prepared to believe that they could not be
going to worse in the end, though some of the rich and respectable
and educated might have to receive their evil things first in the
other world; and he was ready to understand that great saying of
Schiller -- full of a faith evident enough to him who can look far
enough into the saying:

"Death cannot be an evil, for it is universal."




CHAPTER VIII.

EUPHRA.

Samson.  O that torment should not be confined
        To the body's wounds and sores,

        But must secret passage find
        To the inmost mind.

        Dire inflammation, which no cooling herb
        Or medicinal liquor can asswage,
        Nor breath of vernal air from snowy Alp.
        Sleep hath forsook and given me o'er
        To death's benumming opium as my only cure,
        Thence faintings, swoonings of despair,
        And sense of heaven's desertion.

MILTON .-- Samson Agonistes.


Hitherto I have chiefly followed the history of my hero, if hero in
any sense he can yet be called.  Now I must leave him for a while,
and take up the story of the rest of the few persons concerned in my
tale.

Lady Emily had gone to Madeira, and Mr. Arnold had followed.  Mrs.
Elton and Harry, and Margaret, of course, had gone to London.
Euphra was left alone at Arnstead.

A great alteration had taken place in this strange girl.  The
servants were positively afraid of her now, from the butler down to
the kitchen-maid.  She used to go into violent fits of passion, in
which the mere flash of her eyes was overpowering.  These outbreaks
would be followed almost instantaneously by seasons of the deepest
dejection, in which she would confine herself to her room for hours,
or, lame as she was, wander about the house and the Ghost's Walk,
herself pale as a ghost, and looking meagre and wretched.

Also, she became subject to frequent fainting fits, the first of
which took place the night before Hugh's departure, after she had
returned to the house from her interview with him in the Ghost's
Walk. She was evidently miserable.

For this misery we know that there were very sufficient reasons,
without taking into account the fact that she had no one to
fascinate now.  Her continued lameness, which her restlessness
aggravated, likewise gave her great cause for anxiety.  But I
presume that, even during the early part of her confinement, her
mind had been thrown back upon itself, in that consciousness which
often arises in loneliness and suffering; and that even then she had
begun to feel that her own self was a worse tyrant than the count,
and made her a more wretched slave than any exercise of his unlawful
power could make her.

Some natures will endure an immense amount of misery before they
feel compelled to look there for help, whence all help and healing
comes.  They cannot believe that there is verily an unseen
mysterious power, till the world and all that is in it has vanished
in the smoke of despair; till cause and effect is nothing to the
intellect, and possible glories have faded from the imagination;
then, deprived of all that made life pleasant or hopeful, the
immortal essence, lonely and wretched and unable to cease, looks up
with its now unfettered and wakened instinct, to the source of its
own life -- to the possible God who, notwithstanding all the
improbabilities of his existence, may yet perhaps be, and may yet
perhaps hear his wretched creature that calls.  In this loneliness
of despair, life must find The Life; for joy is gone, and life is
all that is left: it is compelled to seek its source, its root, its
eternal life.  This alone remains as a possible thing.  Strange
condition of despair into which the Spirit of God drives a man -- a
condition in which the Best alone is the Possible!

Other simpler natures look up at once.  Even before the first pang
has passed away, as by a holy instinct of celestial childhood, they
lift their eyes to the heavens whence cometh their aid.  Of this
class Euphra was not.  She belonged to the former.  And yet even she
had begun to look upward, for the waters had closed above her head.
She betook herself to the one man of whom she had heard as knowing
about God. She wrote, but no answer came.  Days and days passed
away, and there was no reply.

"Ah! just so!" she said, in bitterness. "And if I cried to God for
ever, I should hear no word of reply.  If he be, he sits apart, and
leaves the weak to be the prey of the bad.  What cares he?"

Yet, as she spoke, she rose, and, by a sudden impulse, threw herself
on the floor, and cried for the first time:

"O God, help me!"

Was there voice or hearing?

She rose at least with a little hope, and with the feeling that if
she could cry to him, it might be that he could listen to her.  It
seemed natural to pray; it seemed to come of itself: that could not
be except it was first natural for God to hear.  The foundation of
her own action must be in him who made her; for her call could be
only a response after all.

The time passed wearily by.  Dim, slow November days came on, with
the fall of the last brown shred of those clouds of living green
that had floated betwixt earth and heaven.  Through the bare boughs
of the overarching avenue of the Ghost's Walk, themselves living
skeletons, she could now look straight up to the blue sky, which had
been there all the time.  And she had begun to look up to a higher
heaven, through the bare skeleton shapes of life; for the foliage of
joy had wholly vanished -- shall we say in order that the children of
the spring might come? -- certainly in order first that the blue sky
of a deeper peace might reflect itself in the hitherto darkened
waters of her soul.

Perhaps some of my readers may think that she had enough to repent
of to keep her from weariness.  She had plenty to repent of, no
doubt; but repentance, between the paroxysms of its bitterness, is a
very dreary and November-like state of the spiritual weather.  For
its foggy mornings and cheerless noons cannot believe in the sun of
spring, soon to ripen into the sun of summer; and its best time is
the night, that shuts out the world and weeps its fill of slow
tears.  But she was not altogether so blameworthy as she may have
appeared.  Her affectations had not been altogether false.  She
valued, and in a measure possessed, the feelings for which she
sought credit.  She had a genuine enjoyment of nature, though after
a sensuous, Keats-like fashion, not a Wordsworthian.  It was the
body, rather than the soul, of nature that she loved -- its beauty
rather than its truth.  Had her love of nature been of the deepest,
she would have turned aside to conceal her emotions rather than have
held them up as allurements in the eyes of her companion.  But as no
body and no beauty can exist without soul and truth, she who loves
the former must at least be capable of loving the deeper essence to
which they owe their very existence.

This view of her character is borne out by her love of music and her
liking for Hugh. Both were genuine.  Had the latter been either more
or less genuine than it was, the task of fascination would have been
more difficult, and its success less complete.  Whether her own
feelings became further involved than she had calculated upon, I
cannot tell; but surely it says something for her, in any case, that
she desired to retain Hugh as her friend, instead of hating him
because he had been her lover.

How glad she would have been of Harry now!  The days crawled one
after the other like weary snakes.  She tried to read the New
Testament: It was to her like a mouldy chamber of worm-eaten
parchments, whose windows had not been opened to the sun or the wind
for centuries; and in which the dust of the decaying leaves choked
the few beams that found their way through the age-blinded panes.

This state of things could not have lasted long; for Euphra would
have died.  It lasted, however, until she felt that she had been
leading a false, worthless life; that she had been casting from her
every day the few remaining fragments of truth and reality that yet
kept her nature from falling in a heap of helpless ruin; that she
had never been a true friend to any one; that she was of no
value -- fit for no one's admiration, no one's love.  She must leave
her former self, like a dead body, behind her, and rise into a purer
air of life and reality, else she would perish with that everlasting
death which is the disease and corruption of the soul itself.

To those who know anything of such experiences, it will not be
surprising that such feelings as these should be alternated with
fierce bursts of passion.  The old self then started up with
feverish energy, and writhed for life.  Never any one tried to be
better, without, for a time, seeming to himself, perhaps to others,
to be worse.  For the suffering of the spirit weakens the brain
itself, and the whole physical nature groans under it; while the
energy spent in the effort to awake, and arise from the dust, leaves
the regions previously guarded by prudence naked to the wild inroads
of the sudden destroying impulses born of suffering, self-sickness,
and hatred.  As in the delirious patient, they would dash to the
earth whatever comes first within reach, as if the thing first
perceived, and so (by perception alone) brought into contact with
the suffering, were the cause of all the distress.

One day a letter arrived for her.  She had had no letter from any
one for weeks.  Yet, when she saw the direction, she flung it from
her.  It was from Mrs. Elton, whom she disliked, because she found
her utterly uninteresting and very stupid.

Poor Mrs. Elton laid no claim to the contraries of these epithets.
But in proportion as she abjured thought, she claimed speech, both
by word of mouth and by letter.  Why not?  There was nothing in it.
She considered reason as an awful enemy to the soul, and obnoxious
to God, especially when applied to find out what he means when he
addresses us as reasonable creatures.  But speech?  There was no
harm in that.  Perhaps it was some latent conviction that this power
of speech was the chief distinction between herself and the lower
animals, that made her use it so freely, and at the same time open
her purse so liberally to the Hospital for Orphan Dogs and Cats. Had
it not been for her own dire necessity, the fact that Mrs. Elton was
religious would have been enough to convince Euphra that there could
not possibly be anything in religion.

The letter lay unopened till next day -- a fact easy to account for,
improbable as it may seem; for besides writing as largely as she
talked, and less amusingly because more correctly, Mrs. Elton wrote
such an indistinct though punctiliously neat hand, that the reading
of a letter of hers involved no small amount of labour.  But the sun
shining out next morning, Euphra took courage to read it, while
drinking her coffee, although she could not expect to make that
ceremony more pleasant thereby.  It contained an invitation to visit
Mrs. Elton at her house in --- Street, Hyde Park, with the assurance
that, now that everything was arranged, they had plenty of room for
her.  Mrs. Elton was sure she must be lonely at Arnstead; and Mrs.
Horton could, no doubt, be trusted -- and so on.

Had this letter arrived a few weeks earlier, Euphra would have
infused into her answer a skilful concoction of delicate contempt;
not for the amusement of knowing that Mrs. Elton would never
discover a trace of it, but simply for a relief to her own dislike.
Now she would have written a plain letter, containing as brief and
as true an excuse as she could find, had it not been, that, inclosed
in Mrs. Elton's note she found another, which ran thus:

"DEAR EUPHRA, -- Do come and see us.  I do not like London at all
without you.  There are no happy days here like those we had at
Arnstead with Mr. Sutherland.  Mrs. Elton and Margaret are very kind
to me.  But I wish you would come.  Do, do, do.  Please do.

"Your affectionate cousin,

"HARRY ARNOLD."

"The dear boy!" said Euphra, with a gush of pure and grateful
affection; "I will go and see him."

Harry had begun to work with his masters, and was doing his best,
which was very good.  If his heart was not so much in it as when he
was studying with his big brother, he gained a great benefit from
the increase of exercise to his will, in the doing of what was less
pleasant.  Ever since Hugh had given his faculties a right
direction, and aided him by healthful manly sympathy, he had been
making up for the period during which childhood had been protracted
into boyhood; and now he was making rapid progress.

When Euphra arrived, Harry rushed to the hall to meet her.  She took
him in her arms, and burst into tears.  Her tears drew forth his.
He stroked her pale face, and said:

"Dear Euphra, how ill you look!"

"I shall soon be better now, Harry."

"I was afraid you did not love me, Euphra; but now I am sure you
do."

"Indeed I do.  I am very sorry for everything that made you think I
did not love you."

"No, no.  It was all my fancy.  Now we shall be very happy."

And so Harry was.  And Euphra, through means of Harry, began to gain
a little of what is better than most kinds of happiness, because it
is nearest to the best happiness -- I mean peace.  This foretaste of
rest came to her from the devotedness with which she now applied
herself to aid the intellect, which she had unconsciously repressed
and stunted before.  She took Harry's books when he had gone to bed;
and read over all his lessons, that she might be able to assist him
in preparing them; venturing thus into some regions of labour into
which ladies are too seldom conducted by those who instruct them.
This produced in her quite new experiences.  One of these was, that
in proportion as she laboured for Harry, hope grew for herself.  It
was likewise of the greatest immediate benefit that the intervals of
thought, instead of lying vacant to melancholy, or the vapours that
sprung from the foregoing strife of the spiritual elements, should
be occupied by healthy mental exercise.

Still, however, she was subject to great vicissitudes of feeling.  A
kind of peevishness, to which she had formerly been a stranger, was
but too ready to appear, even when she was most anxious, in her
converse with Harry, to behave well to him.  But the pure
forgiveness of the boy was wonderful.  Instead of plaguing himself
to find out the cause of her behaviour, or resenting it in the
least, he only laboured, by increased attention and submission, to
remove it; and seemed perfectly satisfied when it was followed by a
kind word, which to him was repentance, apology, amends, and
betterment, all in one.  When he had thus driven away the evil
spirit, there was Euphra her own self.  So perfectly did she see,
and so thoroughly appreciate this kindness and love of Harry, that
he began to look to her like an angel of forgiveness come to live a
boy's life, that he might do an angel's work.

Her health continued very poor.  She suffered constantly from more
or less headache, and at times from faintings.  But she had not for
some time discovered any signs of somnambulism.

Of this peculiarity her friends were entirely ignorant.  The
occasions, indeed, on which it had manifested itself to an excessive
degree, had been but few.




CHAPTER IX.

THE NEW PUPILS.

Think you a little din can daunt mine ears?
Have I not in my time heard lions roar?

And do you tell me of a woman's tongue,
That gives not half so great a blow to hear,
As will a chestnut in a farmer's fire?
Tush! tush! fear boys with bugs.

Taming of the Shrew.


During the whole of his first interview with Falconer, which lasted
so long that he had been glad to make a bed of Falconer's sofa, Hugh
never once referred to the object for which he had accepted
MacPherson's proffered introduction; nor did Falconer ask him any
questions.  Hugh was too much interested and saddened by the scenes
through which Falconer led him, not to shrink from speaking of
anything less important; and with Falconer it was a rule, a
principle almost, never to expedite utterance of any sort.

In the morning, feeling a little good-natured anxiety as to his
landlady's reception of him, Hugh made some allusion to it, as he
sat at his new friend's breakfast-table.

Falconer said:

"What is your landlady's name?"

"Miss Talbot."

"Oh! little Miss Talbot?  You are in good quarters -- too good to
lose, I can tell you.  Just say to Miss Talbot that you were with
me."

"You know her, then?"

"Oh, yes."

"You seem to know everybody."

"If I have spoken to a person once, I never forget him."

"That seems to me very strange."

"It is simple enough.  The secret of it is, that, as far as I can
help it, I never have any merely business relations with any one.  I
try always not to forget that there is a deeper relation between us.
I commonly succeed worst in a drawing-room; yet even there, for the
time we are together, I try to recognise the present humanity,
however much distorted or concealed.  The consequence is, I never
forget anybody; and I generally find that others remember me -- at
least those with whom I have had any real relations, springing from
my need or from theirs.  The man who mends a broken chair for you,
or a rent in your coat, renders you a human service; and, in virtue
of that, comes nearer to your inner self, than nine-tenths of the
ladies and gentlemen whom you meet only in what is called society,
are likely to do."

"But do you not find it awkward sometimes?"

"Not in the least.  I am never ashamed of knowing any one; and as I
never assume a familiarity that does not exist, I never find it
assumed towards me."

Hugh found the advantage of Falconer's sociology when he mentioned
to Miss Talbot that he had been his guest that night.

"You should have sent us word, Mr. Sutherland," was all Miss
Talbot's reply.

"I could not do so before you must have been all in bed.  I was
sorry, but I could hardly help it."

Miss Talbot turned away into the kitchen.  The only other indication
of her feeling in the matter was, that she sent him up a cup of
delicious chocolate for his lunch, before he set out for Mr.
Appleditch's, where she had heard at the shop that he was going.

My reader must not be left to fear that I am about to give a
detailed account of Hugh's plans with these unpleasant little
immortals, whose earthly nature sprang from a pair whose religion
consisted chiefly in negations, and whose main duty seemed to be to
make money in small sums, and spend it in smaller.  When he arrived
at Buccleuch Crescent, he was shown into the dining-room, into which
the boys were separately dragged, to receive the first instalment of
the mental legacy left them by their ancestors.  But the legacy-duty
was so heavy that they would gladly have declined paying it, even
with the loss of the legacy itself; and Hugh was dismayed at the
impossibility of interesting them in anything.  He tried telling
them stories even, without success.  They stared at him, it is true;
but whether there was more speculation in the open mouths, or in the
fishy, overfed eyes, he found it impossible to determine.  He could
not help feeling the riddle of Providence in regard to the birth of
these, much harder to read than that involved in the case of some of
the little thieves whose acquaintance he had made, when with
Falconer, the evening before.  But he did his best; and before the
time had expired -- two hours, namely, -- he had found out, to his
satisfaction, that the elder had a turn for sums, and the younger
for drawing.  So he made use of these predilections to bribe them to
the exercise of their intellect upon less-favoured branches of human
accomplishment.  He found the plan operate as well as it could have
been expected to operate upon such material.

But one or two little incidents, relating to his intercourse with
Mrs. Appleditch, I must not omit.  Though a mother's love is more
ready to purify itself than most other loves -- yet there is a class
of mothers, whose love is only an extended, scarcely an expanded,
selfishness.  Mrs. Appleditch did not in the least love her children
because they were children, and children committed to her care by
the Father of all children; but she loved them dearly because they
were her children.

One day Hugh gave Master Appleditch a smart slap across the fingers,
as the ultimate resource.  The child screamed as he well knew how.
His mother burst into the room.

"Johnny, hold your tongue!"

"Teacher's been and hurt me."

"Hold your tongue, I say.  My head's like to split.  Get out of the
room, you little ruffian!"

She seized him by the shoulders, and turned him out, administering a
box on his ear that made the room ring.  Then turning to Hugh,

"Mr. Sutherland, how dare you strike my child?" she demanded.

"He required it, Mrs. Appleditch.  I did him no harm.  He will mind
what I say another time."

"I will not have him touched.  It's disgraceful.  To strike a
child!"

She belonged to that class of humane parents who consider it cruel
to inflict any corporal suffering upon children, except they do it
themselves, and in a passion.  Johnnie behaved better after this,
however; and the only revenge Mrs. Appleditch took for this
interference with the dignity of her eldest born, and, consequently,
with her own as his mother, was, that -- with the view, probably, of
impressing upon Hugh a due sense of the menial position he occupied
in her family -- she always paid him his fee of one shilling and
sixpence every day before he left the house.  Once or twice she
contrived accidentally that the sixpence should be in coppers.  Hugh
was too much of a philosopher, however, to mind this from such a
woman.  I am afraid he rather enjoyed her spite; for he felt it did
not touch him, seeing it could not be less honourable to be paid by
the day than by the quarter or by the year.  Certainly the coppers
were an annoyance; but if the coppers could be carried, the
annoyance could be borne.  The real disgust in the affair was, that
he had to meet and speak with a woman every day, for whom he could
feel nothing but contempt and aversion.  Hugh was not yet able to
mingle with these feelings any of the leaven of that charity which
they need most of all who are contemptible in the eye of their
fellows.  Contempt is murder committed by the intellect, as hatred
is murder committed by the heart.  Charity having life in itself, is
the opposite and destroyer of contempt as well as of hatred.

After this, nothing went amiss for some time.  But it was very
dreary work to teach such boys -- for the younger came in for the odd
sixpence.  Slow, stupid, resistance appeared to be the only
principle of their behaviour towards him.  They scorned the man whom
their mother despised and valued for the self-same reason, namely,
that he was cheap.  They would have defied him had they dared, but
he managed to establish an authority over them -- and to increase it.
Still, he could not rouse them to any real interest in their
studies.  Indeed, they were as near being little beasts as it was
possible for children to be.  Their eyes grew dull at a story-book,
but greedily bright at the sight of bull's eyes or toffee.  It was
the same day after day, till he was sick of it.  No doubt they made
some progress, but it was scarcely perceptible to him.  Through fog
and fair, through frost and snow, through wind and rain, he trudged
to that wretched house.  No one minds the weather -- no young
Scotchman, at least -- where any pleasure waits the close of the
struggle: to fight his way to misery was more than he could well
endure.  But his deliverance was nearer than he expected.  It was
not to come just yet, however.

All went on with frightful sameness, till sundry doubtful symptoms
of an alteration in the personal appearance of Hugh having
accumulated at last into a mass of evidence, forced the conviction
upon the mind of the grocer's wife, that her tutor was actually
growing a beard.  Could she believe her eyes?  She said she could
not.  But she acted on their testimony notwithstanding; and one day
suddenly addressing Hugh, said, in her usual cold, thin, cutting
fashion of speech:

"Mr. Sutherland, I am astonished and grieved that you, a teacher of
babes, who should set an example to them, should disguise yourself
in such an outlandish figure."

"What do you mean, Mrs. Appleditch?" asked Hugh, who, though he had
made up his mind to follow the example of Falconer, yet felt
uncomfortable enough, during the transition period, to know quite
well what she meant.

"What do I mean, sir?  It is a shame for a man to let his beard grow
like a monkey."

"But a monkey hasn't a beard," retorted Hugh, laughing. "Man is the
only animal who has one."

This assertion, if not quite correct, was approximately so, and went
much nearer the truth than Mrs. Appleditch's argument.

"It's no joking matter, Mr. Sutherland, with my two darlings growing
up to be ministers of the gospel."

"What! both of them?" thought Hugh. "Good heavens!"  But he said:

"Well, but you know, Mrs. Appleditch, the Apostles themselves wore
beards."

"Yes, when they were Jews. But who would have believed them if they
had preached the gospel like old clothesmen?  No, no, Mr.
Sutherland, I see through all that.  My own uncle was a preacher of
the word. -- As soon as the Apostles became Christians, they shaved.
It was the sign of Christianity.  The Apostle Paul himself says
that cleanliness is next to godliness."

Hugh restrained his laughter, and shifted his ground.

"But there is nothing dirty about them," he said.

"Not dirty?  Now really, Mr. Sutherland, you provoke me.  Nothing
dirty in long hair all round your mouth, and going into it every
spoonful you take?"

"But it can be kept properly trimmed, you know."

"But who's to trust you to do that?  No, no, Mr. Sutherland; you
must not make a guy of yourself."

Hugh laughed, and said nothing.  Of course his beard would go on
growing, for he could not help it.

So did Mrs. Appleditch's wrath.




CHAPTER X.

CONSULTATIONS.

Wo keine Gotter sind, walten Gespenster.

NOVALIS. -- Christenheit.

Where gods are not, spectres rule.

Ein Charakter ist ein vollkommen gebildeter Wille.

NOVALIS. -- Moralische Ansichten.

A character is a perfectly formed will.


It was not long before Hugh repeated his visit to Falconer.  He was
not at home.  He went again and again, but still failed in finding
him.  The day after the third failure, however, he received a note
from Falconer, mentioning an hour at which he would be at home on
the following evening.  Hugh went.  Falconer was waiting for him.

"I am very sorry.  I am out so much," said Falconer.

"I ought to have taken the opportunity when I had it," replied Hugh.
"I want to ask your help.  May I begin at the beginning, and tell
you all the story? or must I epitomize and curtail it?"

"Be as diffuse as you please.  I shall understand the thing the
better."

So Hugh began, and told the whole of his history, in as far as it
bore upon the story of the crystal.  He ended with the words:

"I trust, Mr. Falconer, you will not think that it is from a love of
talking that I have said so much about this affair."

"Certainly not.  It is a remarkable story.  I will think what can be
done.  Meantime I will keep my eyes and ears open.  I may find the
fellow.  Tell me what he is like."

Hugh gave as minute a description of the count as he could.

"I think I see the man," said Falconer. "I am pretty sure I shall
recognise him."

"Have you any idea what he could want with the ring?"

"It is one of the curious coincidences which are always happening,"
answered Falconer, "that a newspaper of this very day would have
enabled me, without any previous knowledge of similar facts, to give
a probably correct suggestion as to his object.  But you can judge
for yourself."

So saying, Falconer went to a side-table, heaped up with books and
papers, maps, and instruments of various kinds, apparently in
triumphant confusion.  Without a moment's hesitation,
notwithstanding, he selected the paper he wanted, and handed it to
Hugh, who read in it a letter to the editor, of which the following
is a portion: --

"I have for over thirty years been in the habit of investigating the
question by means of crystals.  And since 18--, I have possessed the
celebrated crystal, once belonging to Lady Blessington, in which
very many persons, both children and adults, have seen visions of
the spirits of the deceased, or of beings claiming to be such, and
of numerous angels and other beings of the spiritual world.  These
have in all cases supported the purest and most liberal
Christianity.  The faculty of seeing in the crystal I have found to
exist in about one person in ten among adults, and in nearly nine in
every ten among children; many of whom appear to lose the faculty as
they grow to adult age, unless they practise it continually."

"Is it possible," said Hugh, pausing, "that this can be a veritable
paper of to-day?  Are there people to believe such things?"

"There are more fools in the world, Mr. Sutherland, than there are
crystals in its mountains."

Hugh resumed his reading.  He came at length to this passage:

"The spirits -- which I feel certain they are -- which appear, do not
hesitate to inform us on all possible subjects which may tend to
improve our morals, and confirm our faith in the Christian
doctrines...  The character they give of the class of spirits who are
in the habit of communicating with mortals by rapping and such
proceedings, is such that it behoves all Christian people to be on
their guard against error and delusion through their means."

Hugh had read this passage aloud.

"Is not that a comfort, now, Mr. Sutherland?" said Falconer. "For in
all the reports which I have seen of the religious instruction
communicated in that highly articulate manner, Calvinism, high and
low, has predominated.  I strongly suspect the crystal phantoms of
Arminianism, though.  Fancy the old disputes of infant Christendom
perpetuated amongst the paltry ghosts of another realm!"

"But," said Hugh, "I do not quite see how this is to help me, as to
the count's object in securing the ring; for certainly, however
deficient he may be in such knowledge, he is not likely to have
committed the theft for the sake of instruction in the doctrines of
the sects."

"No. But such a crystal might be put to other, not to say better,
uses.  Besides, Lady Blessington's crystal might be a pious crystal;
and the other which belonged to Lady -- "

"Lady Euphrasia."

"To Lady Euphrasia, might be a worldly crystal altogether.  This
might reveal demons and their counsels, while that was haunted by
theological angels and evangelical ghosts."

"Ah!  I see.  I should have thought, however, that the count had
been too much of a man of the world to believe such things."

"He might find his account in it, notwithstanding.  But no amount of
world-wisdom can set a man above the inroads of superstition.  In
fact, there is but one thing that can free a man from superstition,
and that is belief.  All history proves it.  The most sceptical have
ever been the most credulous.  This is one of the best arguments for
the existence of something to believe."

"You remind me of a passage in my story which I omitted, as
irrelevant to the matter in hand."

"Do let me have it.  It cannot fail to interest me."

Hugh gave a complete account of the experiments they had made with
the careering plate.  Now the writing of the name of David Elginbrod
was the most remarkable phenomenon of the whole, and Hugh was
compelled, in responding to the natural interest of Falconer, to
give a description of David.  This led to a sketch of his own
sojourn at Turriepuffit; in which the character of David came out
far more plainly than it could have come out in any description.
When he had finished, Falconer broke out, as if he had been
hitherto restraining his wrath with difficulty:

"And that was the man the creatures dared to personate!  I hate the
whole thing, Sutherland.  It is full of impudence and irreverence.
Perhaps the wretched beings may want another thousand years'
damnation, because of the injury done to their character by the
homage of men who ought to know better."

"I do not quite understand you."

"I mean, that you ought to believe as easily that such a man as you
describe is laughing with the devil and his angels, as that he wrote
a copy at the order of a charlatan, or worse."

"But it could hardly be deception."

"Not deception?  A man like him could not get through them without
being recognised."

"I don't understand you.  By whom?"

"By swarms of low miserable creatures that so lament the loss of
their beggarly bodies that they would brood upon them in the shape
of flesh-flies, rather than forsake the putrifying remnants.  After
that, chair or table or anything that they can come into contact
with, possesses quite sufficient organization for such.  Don't you
remember that once, rather than have no body to go into, they crept
into the very swine?  There was a fine passion for self-embodiment
and sympathy!  But the swine themselves could not stand it, and
preferred drowning."


"Then you do think there was something supernatural in it?"

"Nothing in the least.  It required no supernatural powers to be
aware that a great man was dead, and that you had known him well.
It annoys me, Sutherland, that able men, ay, and good men too,
should consult with ghosts whose only possible superiority consists
in their being out of the body.  Why should they be the wiser for
that?  I should as soon expect to gain wisdom by taking off my
clothes, and to lose it by getting into bed; or to rise into the
seventh heaven of spirituality by having my hair cut.  An impudent
forgery of that good man's name!  If I were you, Sutherland, I would
have nothing to do with such a low set.  They are the canaille of
the other world.  It's of no use to lay hold on their skirts, for
they can't fly.  They're just like the vultures -- easy to catch,
because they're full of garbage.  I doubt if they have more
intellect left than just enough to lie with. -- I have been compelled
to think a good deal about these things of late."

Falconer put a good many questions to Hugh, about Euphra and her
relation to the count; and such was the confidence with which he had
inspired him, that Hugh felt at perfect liberty to answer them all
fully, not avoiding even the exposure of his own feelings, where
that was involved by the story.

"Now," said Falconer, "I have material out of which to construct a
theory.  The count is at present like a law of nature concerning
which a prudent question is the first half of the answer, as Lord
Bacon says; and you can put no question without having first formed
a theory, however slight or temporary; for otherwise no question
will suggest itself.  But, in the meantime, as I said before, I will
make inquiry upon the theory that he is somewhere in London,
although I doubt it."

"Then I will not occupy your time any longer at present," said Hugh.
"Could you say, without fettering yourself in the least, when I
might be able to see you again?"

"Let me see.  I will make an appointment with you. -- Next Sunday;
here; at ten o'clock in the morning.  Make a note of it."

"There is no fear of my forgetting it.  My consolations are not so
numerous that I can afford to forget my sole pleasure.  You, I
should think, have more need to make a note of it than I, though I
am quite willing to be forgotten, if necessary."

"I never forget my engagements," said Falconer.

They parted, and Hugh went home to his novel.




CHAPTER XI.

QUESTIONS AND DREAMS.

On a certain time the Lady St. Mary had commanded the Lord Jesus to
fetch her some water out of the well.  And when he had gone to fetch
the water, the pitcher, when it was brought up full, brake.  But
Jesus, spreading his mantle, gathered up the water again, and
brought it in that to his mother. -- The First (apocryphal) Gospel of
the INFANCY of JESUS CHRIST.


Mrs. Elton read prayers morning and evening; -- very elaborate
compositions, which would have instructed the apostles themselves in
many things they had never anticipated.  But, unfortunately, Mrs.
Elton must likewise read certain remarks, in the form of a homily,
intended to impress the scripture which preceded it upon the minds
of the listeners.  Between the mortar of the homilist's faith, and
the dull blows of the pestle of his arrogance, the fair form of
truth was ground into the powder of pious small talk.  This result
was not pleasant either to Harry or to Euphra.  Euphra, with her
life threatening to go to ruin about her, was crying out for him who
made the soul of man, "who loved us into being,"2 and who alone can
renew the life of his children; and in such words as those a
scoffing demon seemed to mock at her needs.  Harry had the natural
dislike of all childlike natures to everything formal, exclusive,
and unjust.  But, having received nothing of what is commonly called
a religious training, this advantage resulted from his new
experiences in Mrs. Elton's family, that a good direction was given
to his thoughts by the dislike which he felt to such utterances.
More than this: a horror fell upon him lest these things should be
true; lest the mighty All of nature should be only a mechanism,
without expression and without beauty; lest the God who made us
should be like us only in this, that he too was selfish and mean and
proud; lest his ideas should resemble those that inhabit the brain
of a retired money-maker, or of an arbitrary monarch claiming a
divine right -- instead of towering as the heavens over the earth,
above the loftiest moods of highest poet, most generous child, or
most devoted mother.  I do not mean that these thoughts took these
shapes in Harry's mind; but that his feelings were such as might
have been condensed into such thoughts, had his intellect been more
mature.

One morning, the passage of scripture which Mrs. Elton read was the
story of the young man who came to Jesus, and went away sorrowful,
because the Lord thought so well of him, and loved him so heartily,
that he wanted to set him free from his riches.  A great portion of
the homily was occupied with proving that the evangelist could not
possibly mean that Jesus loved the young man in any pregnant sense
of the word; but merely meant that Jesus "felt kindly disposed
towards him" -- felt a poor little human interest in him, in fact, and
did not love him divinely at all.

Harry's face was in a flame all the time she was reading.  When the
service was over -- and a bond service it was for Euphra and him -- they
left the room together.  As soon as the door was shut, he burst out:

"I say, Euphra!  Wasn't that a shame?  They would have Jesus as bad
as themselves.  We shall have somebody writing a book next to prove
that after all Jesus was a Pharisee."

"Never mind," said the heart-sore, sceptical Euphra; "never mind,
Harry; it's all nonsense."

"No, it's not all nonsense.  Jesus did love the young man.  I
believe the story itself before all the Doctors of Divinity in the
world.  He loves all of us, he does -- with all his heart, too."

"I hope so," was all she could reply; but she was comforted by
Harry's vehement confession of faith.

Euphra was so far softened, or perhaps weakened, by suffering, that
she yielded many things which would have seemed impossible before.
One of these was that she went to church with Mrs. Elton, where
that lady hoped she would get good to her soul.  Harry of course was
not left behind.  The church she frequented was a fashionable one,
with a vicar more fashionable still; for had he left that church,
more than half his congregation, which consisted mostly of ladies,
would have left it also, and followed him to the ends of London.  He
was a middle-aged man, with a rubicund countenance, and a gentle
familiarity of manner, that was exceedingly pleasing to the
fashionable sheep who, conscious that they had wandered from the
fold, were waiting with exemplary patience for the barouches and
mail-phaetons of the skies to carry them back without the trouble of
walking.  Alas for them! they have to learn that the chariots of
heaven are chariots of fire.

The Sunday morning following the conversation I have just recorded,
the clergyman's sermon was devoted to the illustration of the
greatness and condescension of the Saviour.  After a certain amount
of tame excitement expended upon the consideration of his power and
kingdom, one passage was wound up in this fashion:

"Yes, my friends, even her most gracious Majesty, Queen Victoria,
the ruler over millions diverse in speech and in hue, to whom we all
look up with humble submission, and whom we acknowledge as our
sovereign lady -- even she, great as she is, adds by her homage a
jewel to his crown; and, hailing him as her Lord, bows and renders
him worship!  Yet this is he who comes down to visit, yea, dwells
with his own elect, his chosen ones, whom he has led back to the
fold of his grace."

For some reason, known to himself, Falconer had taken Hugh, who had
gone to him according to appointment that morning, to this same
church.  As they came out, Hugh said:

"Mr. --- is quite proud of the honour done his master by the queen."

"I do not think," answered Falconer, "that his master will think so
much of it; for he once had his feet washed by a woman that was a
sinner."

The homily which Mrs. Elton read at prayers that evening, bore upon
the same subject nominally as the chapter that preceded it -- that of
election; a doctrine which in the Bible asserts the fact of God's
choosing certain persons for the specific purpose of receiving
first, and so communicating the gifts of his grace to the whole
world; but which, in the homily referred to, was taken to mean the
choice of certain persons for ultimate salvation, to the exclusion
of the rest.  They were sitting in silence after the close, when
Harry started up suddenly, saying: "I don't want God to love me, if
he does not love everybody;" and, bursting into tears, hurried out
of the room.  Mrs. Elton was awfully shocked at his wickedness.
Euphra, hastened after him; but he would not return, and went
supperless to bed.  Euphra, however, carried him some supper.  He
sat up in bed and ate it with the tears in his eyes.  She kissed
him, and bade him good night; when, just as she was leaving the
room, he broke out with:

"But only think, Euphra, if it should be true!  I would rather not
have been made."

"It is not true," said Euphra, in whom a faint glimmer of faith in
God awoke for the sake of the boy whom she loved -- awoke to comfort
him, when it would not open its eyes for herself. "No, Harry dear,
if there is a God at all, he is not like that."

"No, he can't be," said Harry, vehemently, and with the brightness
of a sudden thought; "for if he were like that, he wouldn't be a God
worth being; and that couldn't be, you know."

Euphra knelt by her bedside, and prayed more hopefully than for many
days before.  She prayed that God would let her know that he was not
an idol of man's invention.

Till friendly sleep came, and untied the knot of care, both Euphra
and Harry lay troubled with things too great for them.  Even in
their sleep, the care would gather again, and body itself into
dreams.  The first thought that visited Harry when he awoke, was the
memory of his dream: that he died and went to heaven; that heaven
was a great church just like the one Mrs. Elton went to, only
larger; that the pews were filled with angels, so crowded together
that they had to tuck up their wings very close indeed -- and Harry
could not help wondering what they wanted them for; that they were
all singing psalms; that the pulpit by a little change had been
converted into a throne, on which sat God the Father, looking very
solemn and severe; that Jesus was seated in the reading-desk,
looking very sad; and that the Holy Ghost sat on the clerk's desk,
in the shape of a white dove; that a cherub, whose face reminded him
very much of a policeman he knew, took him by the shoulder for
trying to pluck a splendid green feather out of an archangel's wing,
and led him up to the throne, where God shook his head at him in
such a dreadful way, that he was terrified, and then stretched out
his hand to lay hold on him; that he shrieked with fear; and that
Jesus put out his hand and lifted him into the reading-desk, and hid
him down below.  And there Harry lay, feeling so safe, stroking and
kissing the feet that had been weary and wounded for him, till, in
the growing delight of the thought that he actually held those feet,
he came awake and remembered it all.  Truly it was a childish dream,
but not without its own significance.  For surely the only refuge
from heathenish representations of God under Christian forms, the
only refuge from man's blinding and paralysing theories, from the
dead wooden shapes substituted for the living forms of human love
and hope and aspiration, from the interpretations which render
scripture as dry as a speech in Chancery -- surely the one refuge from
all these awful evils is the Son of man; for no misrepresentation
and no misconception can destroy the beauty of that face which the
marring of sorrow has elevated into the region of reality, beyond
the marring of irreverent speculation and scholastic definition.

From the God of man's painting, we turn to the man of God's being,
and he leads us to the true God, the radiation of whose glory we
first see in him.  Happy is that man who has a glimpse of this, even
in a dream such as Harry's! -- a dream in other respects childish and
incongruous, but not more absurd than the instruction whence it
sprung.

But the troubles returned with the day.  Prayers revived them.  He
sought Euphra in her room.

"They say I must repent and be sorry for my sins," said he. "I have
been trying very hard; but I can't think of any, except once that I
gave Gog" (his Welsh pony) "such a beating because he would go where
I didn't want him.  But he's forgotten it long ago; and I gave him
two feeds of corn after it, and so somehow I can't feel very sorry
now.  What shall I do? -- But that's not what I mind most.  It always
seems to me it would be so much grander of God to say: 'Come along,
never mind.  I'll make you good.  I can't wait till you are good; I
love you so much.'"

His own words were too much for Harry, and he burst into tears at
the thought of God being so kind.  Euphra, instead of trying to
comfort him, cried too.  Thus they continued for some time, Harry
with his head on her knees, and she kindly fondling it with her
distressed hands.  Harry was the first to recover; for his was the
April time, when rain clears the heavens.  All at once he sprung to
his feet, and exclaimed:

"Only think, Euphra!  What if, after all, I should find out that God
is as kind as you are!"

How Euphra's heart smote her!

"Dear Harry," answered she, "God must be a great deal kinder than I
am.  I have not been kind to you at all."

"Don't say that, Euphra.  I shall be quite content if God is as kind
as you."

"Oh, Harry!  I hope God is like what I dreamed about my mother last
night."

"Tell me what you dreamed about her, dear Euphra."

"I dreamed that I was a little child -- "

"Were you a little girl when your mother died?"

"Oh, yes; such a tiny!  But I can just remember her."

"Tell me your dream, then."

"I dreamed that I was a little girl, out all alone on a wild
mountain-moor, tripping and stumbling on my night-gown.  And the
wind was so cold!  And, somehow or other, the wind was an enemy to
me, and it followed and caught me, and whirled and tossed me about,
and then ran away again.  Then I hastened on, and the thorns went
into my feet, and the stones cut them.  And I heard the blood from
them trickling down the hill-side as I walked."

"Then they would be like the feet I saw in my dream last night."

"Whose feet were they?"

"Jesus' feet."

"Tell me about it."

"You must finish yours first, please, Euphra."

So Euphra went on:

"I got dreadfully lame.  And the wind ran after me, and caught me
again, and took me in his great blue ghostly arms, and shook me
about, and then dropped me again to go on.  But it was very hard to
go on, and I couldn't stop; and there was no use in stopping, for
the wind was everywhere in a moment.  Then suddenly I saw before me
a great cataract, all in white, falling flash from a precipice; and
I thought with myself, 'I will go into the cataract, and it will
beat my life out, and then the wind will not get me any more.'  So I
hastened towards it, but the wind caught me many times before I got
near it.  At last I reached it, and threw myself down into the basin
it had hollowed out of the rocks.  But as I was falling, something
caught me gently, and held me fast, and it was not the wind.  I
opened my eyes, and behold!  I was in my mother's arms, and she was
clasping me to her breast; for what I had taken for a cataract
falling into a gulf, was only my mother, with her white
grave-clothes floating all about her, standing up in her grave, to
look after me. 'It was time you came home, my darling,' she said,
and stooped down into her grave with me in her arms.  And oh!  I was
so happy; and her bosom was not cold, or her arms hard, and she
carried me just like a baby.  And when she stooped down, then a door
opened somewhere in the grave, I could not find out where
exactly -- and in a moment after, we were sitting together in a summer
grove, with the tree-tops steeped in sunshine, and waving about in a
quiet loving wind -- oh, how different from the one that chased me
home! -- and we underneath in the shadow of the trees.  And then I
said, 'Mother, I've hurt my feet.'"

"Did you call her mother when you were a little girl?" interposed
Harry.

"No," answered Euphra. "I called her mamma, like other children; but
in my dreams I always call her mother."

"And what did she say?"

"She said -- 'Poor child!' -- and held my feet to her bosom; and after
that, when I looked at them, the bleeding was all gone, and I was
not lame any more."

Euphra, paused with a sigh.

"Oh, Harry!  I do not like to be lame."

"What more?" said Harry, intent only on the dream.

"Oh! then I was so happy, that I woke up directly."

"What a pity!  But if it should come true?"

"How could it come true, dear Harry?"

"Why, this world is sometimes cold, and the road is hard -- you know
what I mean, Euphra."

"Yes, I do."

"I wish I could dream dreams like that!  How clever you must be!"

"But you dream dreams, too, Harry.  Tell me yours."

"Oh, no, I never dream dreams; the dreams dream me," answered Harry,
with a smile.

Then he told his dream, to which Euphra listened with an interest
uninjured by the grotesqueness of its fancy.  Each interpreted the
other's with reverence.

They ceased talking; and sat silent for a while.  Then Harry,
putting his arms round Euphra's neck, and his lips close to her ear,
whispered:

"Perhaps God will say my darling to you some day, Euphra; just as
your mother did in your dream."

She was silent.  Harry looked round into her face, and saw that the
tears were flowing fast.

At that instant, a gentle knock came to the door.  Euphra could not
reply to it.  It was repeated.  After another moment's delay, the
door opened, and Margaret walked in.




CHAPTER XII.

A SUNDAY WITH FALCONER.

How happy is he born and taught,
  That serveth not another's will;
Whose armour is his honest thought,
  And simple truth his utmost skill.

This man is freed from servile bands
  Of hope to rise or fear to fall:
Lord of himself, though not of lands,
  And, having nothing, yet hath all.

SIR HENRY WOTTON.


It was not often that Falconer went to church; but he seemed to have
some design in going oftener than usual at present.  The Sunday
after the one last mentioned, he went as well, though not to the
same church, and calling for Hugh took him with him.  What they
found there, and the conversation following thereupon, I will try to
relate, because, although they do not immediately affect my outward
story, they greatly influenced Hugh's real history.

They heard the Morning Service and the Litany read in an ordinary
manner, though somewhat more devoutly than usual.  Then, from the
communion-table, rose a voice vibrating with solemn emotion, like
the voice of Abraham pleading for Sodom.  It thrilled through Hugh's
heart.  The sermon which followed affected him no less, although,
when he came out, he confessed to Falconer that he had only caught
flying glimpses of its meaning, scope, and drift.

"I seldom go to church," said Falconer; "but when I do, I come here:
and always feel that I am in the presence of one of the holy
servants of God's great temple not made with hands.  I heartily
trust that man.  He is what he seems to be."

"They say he is awfully heterodox."

"They do."

"How then can he remain in the church, if he is as honest as you
say?"

"In this way, as I humbly venture to think," Falconer answered. "He
looks upon the formulae of the church as utterances of living
truth -- vital embodiments -- to be regarded as one ought to regard
human faces.  In these human faces, others may see this or that
inferior expression, may find out the mean and the small and the
incomplete: he looks for and finds the ideal; the grand, sacred,
God-meant meaning; and by that he holds as the meaning of the human
countenances, for it is the meaning of him who made them.  So with
the confession of the Church of England: he believes that not man
only, but God also, and God first and chief, had to do with the
making of it; and therefore he looks in it for the Eternal and the
Divine, and he finds what he seeks.  And as no words can avoid
bearing in them the possibility of a variety of interpretations, he
would exclude whatever the words might mean, or, regarded merely as
words, do mean, in a narrow exposition: he thinks it would be
dishonest to take the low meaning as the meaning.  To return to the
faces: he passes by moods and tempers, and beholds the main
character -- that on whose surface the temporal and transient floats.
Both in faces and in formulae he loves the divine substance, with
his true, manly, brave heart; and as for the faults in both -- for
man, too, has his share in both -- I believe he is ready to die by
them, if only in so doing he might die for them. -- I had a vision of
him this morning as I sat and listened to his voice, which always
seems to me to come immediately from his heart, as if his heart
spoke with lips of its own.  Shall I tell you my vision? --

"I saw a crowd -- priests and laymen -- speeding, hurrying, darting
away, up a steep, crumbling height.  Mitres, hoods, and hats rolled
behind them to the bottom.  Every one for himself, with hands and
feet they scramble and flee, to save their souls from the fires of
hell which come rolling in along the hollow below with the forward
'pointing spires' of billowy flame.  But beneath, right in the
course of the fire, stands one man upon a little rock which goes
down to the centre of the great world, and faces the approaching
flames.  He stands bareheaded, his eyes bright with faith in God,
and the mighty mouth that utters his truth, fixed in holy defiance.
His denial comes from no fear, or weak dislike to that which is
painful.  On neither side will he tell lies for peace.  He is ready
to be lost for his fellow-men.  In the name of God he rebukes the
flames of hell.  The fugitives pause on the top, look back, call him
lying prophet, and shout evil opprobrious names at the man who
counts not his own life dear to him, who has forgotten his own soul
in his sacred devotion to men, who fills up what is left behind of
the sufferings of Christ, for his body's sake -- for the human race,
of which he is the head.  Be sure that, come what may of the rest,
let the flames of hell ebb or flow, that man is safe, for he is
delivered already from the only devil that can make hell itself a
torture, the devil of selfishness -- the only one that can possess a
man and make himself his own living hell.  He is out of all that
region of things, and already dwelling in the secret place of the
Almighty."

"Go on, go on."

"He trusts in God so absolutely, that he leaves his salvation to
him -- utterly, fearlessly; and, forgetting it, as being no concern of
his, sets himself to do the work that God has given him to do, even
as his Lord did before him, counting that alone worthy of his care.
Let God's will be done, and all is well.  If God's will be done, he
cannot fare ill.  To him, God is all in all.  If it be possible to
separate such things, it is the glory of God, even more than the
salvation of men, that he seeks.  He will not have it that his
Father in heaven is not perfect.  He believes entirely that God
loves, yea, is love; and, therefore, that hell itself must be
subservient to that love, and but an embodiment of it; that the
grand work of Justice is to make way for a Love which will give to
every man that which is right and ten times more, even if it should
be by means of awful suffering -- a suffering which the Love of the
Father will not shun, either for himself or his children, but will
eagerly meet for their sakes, that he may give them all that is in
his heart."

"Surely you speak your own opinions in describing thus warmly the
faith of the preacher."

"I do.  He is accountable for nothing I say.  All I assert is, that
this is how I seem to myself to succeed in understanding him."

"How is it that so many good people call him heterodox?"

"I do not mind that.  I am annoyed only when good-hearted people,
with small natures and cultivated intellects, patronise him, and
talk forgivingly of his warm heart and unsound judgment.  To these,
theology must be like a map -- with plenty of lines in it.  They
cannot trust their house on the high table-land of his theology,
because they cannot see the outlines bounding the said table-land.
It is not small enough for them.  They cannot take it in.  Such can
hardly be satisfied with the creation, one would think, seeing there
is no line of division anywhere in it.  They would take care there
should be no mistake."

"Does God draw no lines, then?"

"When he does, they are pure lines, without breadth, and
consequently invisible to mortal eyes; not Chinese walls of
separation, such as these definers would construct.  Such minds are
a priori incapable of theorising upon his theories.  Or, to alter
the figure, they will discover a thousand faults in his drawing, but
they can never behold the figure constructed by his lines, and
containing the faults which they believe they discover."

"But can those theories in religion be correct which are so hard to
see?"

"They are only hard to certain natures."

"But those natures are above the average."

"Yes, in intellect and its cultivation -- nothing more."

"You have granted them heart."

"Not much; but what there is, good."

"That is allowing a great deal, though.  Is it not hard then to say
that such cannot understand him?"

"Why?  They will get to heaven, which is all they want.  And they
will understand him one day, which is more than they pray for.  Till
they have done being anxious about their own salvation, we must
forgive them that they can contemplate with calmness the damnation
of a universe, and believe that God is yet more indifferent than
they."

"But do they not bring the charges likewise against you, of being
unable to understand them?"

"Yes. And so it must remain, till the Spirit of God decide the
matter, which I presume must take place by slow degrees.  For this
decision can only consist in the enlightenment of souls to see the
truth; and therefore has to do with individuals only.  There is no
triumph for the Truth but that.  She knows no glorying over the
vanquished, for in her victory the vanquished is already of the
vanquishers.  Till then, the Right must be content to be called the
Wrong, and -- which is far harder -- to seem the Wrong.  There is no
spiritual victory gained by a verbal conquest; or by any kind of
torture, even should the rack employed be that of the purest logic.
Nay more: so long as the wicked themselves remain impenitent, there
is mourning in heaven; and when there is no longer any hope over one
last remaining sinner, heaven itself must confess its defeat, heap
upon that sinner what plagues you will."

Hugh pondered, and continued pondering till they reached Falconer's
chambers.  At the door Hugh paused.

"Will you not come in?"

"I fear I shall become troublesome."

"No fear of that.  I promise to get rid of you as soon as I find you
so."

"Thank you.  Just let me know when you have had enough of me."

They entered.  Mrs. Ashton, who, unlike her class, was never missing
when wanted, got them some bread and cheese; and Falconer's
Fortunatus-purse of a cellar -- the bottom of his cupboard -- supplied
its usual bottle of port; to which fare the friends sat down.

The conversation, like a bird descending in spirals, settled at last
upon the subject which had more or less occupied Hugh's thoughts
ever since his unsatisfactory conversation with Funkelstein, at
their first meeting; and still more since he had learned that this
man himself exercised an unlawful influence over Euphra.  He begged
Falconer, if he had any theory comprehending such things, to let him
know what kind of a relation it was, in which Miss Cameron stood to
Funkelstein, or Count von Halkar.

"I have had occasion to think a good deal about those things," said
Falconer. "The first thing evident is, that Miss Cameron is
peculiarly constituted, belonging to a class which is, however,
larger than is commonly supposed, circumstances rarely combining to
bring out its peculiarities.  In those who constitute this class,
the nervous element, either from preponderating, or from not being
in healthy and harmonious combination with the more material
element, manifests itself beyond its ordinary sphere of operation,
and so occasions results unlike the usual phenomena of life, though,
of course, in accordance with natural laws.  To use a simile: it is,
in such cases, as if all the nerves of the human body came crowding
to the surface, and there exposed themselves to a thousand
influences, from which they would otherwise be preserved.  Of course
I am not attempting to explain, only to suggest a conceivable
hypothesis.  Upon such constitutions, it would not be surprising
that certain other constitutions, similar, yet differing, should
exercise a peculiar influence.  You are, I dare say, more or less
familiar with the main features of mesmerism and its allies, among
which is what is called biology.  I presume it is on such
constitutions as I have supposed, that those powers are chiefly
operative.  Miss Cameron has, at some time or other in her history,
submitted herself to the influences of this Count Halkar; and he has
thus gained a most dangerous authority over her, which he has
exercised for his own ends."

"She more than implied as much in the last conversation I had with
her."

"So his will became her law.  There is in the world of mind a
something corresponding to physical force in the material world. -- I
cannot avoid just touching upon a higher analogy.  The kingdom of
heaven is not come, even when God's will is our law: it is come when
God's will is our will.  While God's will is our law, we are but a
kind of noble slaves; when his will is our will, we are free
children.  Nothing in nature is free enough to be a symbol for the
state of those who act immediately from the essence of their hidden
life, and the recognition of God's will as that essence.  But, as I
said, this belongs to a far higher region.  I only wanted to touch
on the relation of the freedoms -- physical, mental, and spiritual.
To return to the point in hand: I recognise in the story a clear
evidence of strife and partial victory in the affair of the ring.
The count -- we will call him by the name he gives himself -- had
evidently been anxious for years to possess himself of this ring:
the probable reasons we have already talked of.  He had laid his
injunctions on his slave to find it for him; and she, perhaps at
first nothing loath, perhaps loving the man as well as submitting to
him, had for a long time attempted to find it, but had failed.  The
count, probably doubting her sincerity, and hoping, at all events,
to urge her search, followed her to Arnstead, where it is very
likely he had been before, although he had avoided Mr. Arnold.
Judging it advantageous to get into the house, in order to make
observations, he employed his chance meeting with you to that
result.  But, before this, he had watched Miss Cameron's familiarity
with you -- was jealous and tyrannical.  Hence the variations of her
conduct to you; for when his power was upon her, she could not do as
she pleased.  But she must have had a real regard for you; for she
evidently refused to get you into trouble by taking the ring from
your custody.  But my surprise is that the fellow limited himself to
that one jewel."

"You may soon be relieved from that surprise," answered Hugh: "he
took a valuable diamond of mine as well."

"The rascal!  We may catch him, but you are not likely to find your
diamond again.  Still, there is some possibility."

"How do you know she was not willing to take it from me?"

"Because, by her own account, he had to destroy her power of
volition entirely, before he could make her do it.  He threw her
into a mesmeric sleep."

"I should like to understand his power over her a little better.  In
such cases of biology -- how they came to abuse the word, I should
like to know -- "

"Just as they call table-rapping, &c., spiritualism."

"I suppose his relation to her must be classed amongst phenomena of
that sort?"

"Certainly."

"Well, tell me, does the influence outlast the mesmeric condition?"

"If by mesmeric condition you mean any state evidently approaching
to that of sleep -- undoubtedly.  It is, in many cases, quite
independent of such a condition.  Perhaps the degree of willing
submission at first, may have something to do with it.  But mesmeric
influence, whatever it may mean, is entirely independent of sleep.
That is an accident accompanying it, perhaps sometimes indicating
its culmination."

"Does the person so influenced act with or against his will?"

"That is a most difficult question, involving others equally
difficult.  My own impression is, that the patient -- for patient in a
very serious sense he is -- acts with his inclination, and often with
his will; but in many cases with his inclination against his will.
This is a very important distinction in morals, but often
overlooked.  When a man is acting with his inclination, his will is
in abeyance.  In our present imperfect condition, it seems to me
that the absolute will has no opportunity of pure action, of
operating entirely as itself, except when working in opposition to
inclination.  But to return: the power of the biologist appears to
me to lie in this -- he is able, by some mysterious sympathy, to
produce in the mind of the patient such forceful impulses to do
whatever he wills, that they are in fact irresistible to almost all
who are obnoxious to his influence.  The will requires an especial
training and a distinct development, before it is capable of acting
with any degree of freedom.  The men who have undergone this are
very few indeed; and no one whose will is not educated as well, can,
if subjected to the influences of biology, resist the impulses
roused in his passive brain by the active brain of the operator.
This at least is my impression.

"Other things no doubt combined to increase the influence in the
present case.  She liked him, perhaps more than liked him once.  She
was partially committed to his schemes; and she was easily
mesmerised.  It would seem, besides, that she was naturally disposed
to somnambulism.  This is a remarkable co-existence of distinct
developments of the same peculiarity.  In this latter condition,
even if in others she were able to resist him, she would be quite
helpless; for all the thoughts that passed through her brain would
owe their origin to his. -- Imagine being forced to think another
man's thoughts!  That would be possession indeed!  And this is not
far removed from the old stories about the demons entering into a
man. -- He would be ruler over the whole intellectual life that passed
in her during the time; and which to her, as far as the ideas
suggested belonged to the outward world, would appear an outer life,
passing all round her, not in her.  She would, in fact, be a
creature of his imagination for the time, as much as any character
invented, and sent through varied circumstances, feelings, and
actions, by the mind of the poet or novelist.  Look at the facts.
She warned you to beware of the count that night before you went
into the haunted bed-chamber.  Even when she entered it, by your own
account -- "

"Entered it?  Then you do think it was Euphra who personated the
ghost?"

"I am sure of it.  She was sleep-walking."

"But so different -- such a death-like look!"

"All that was easy enough to manage.  She refused to obey him at
first.  He mesmerized her.  It very likely went farther than he
expected; and he succeeded too well.  Experienced, no doubt, in
disguises, he dressed her as like the dead Lady Euphrasia as he
could, following her picture.  Perhaps she possessed such a
disguise, and had used it before.  He thus protected her from
suspicion, and himself from implication. -- What was the colour of the
hair in the picture?"

"Golden."

"Hence the sparkle of gold-dust in her hair.  The count managed it
all.  He willed that she should go, and she went.  Her disguise was
certain safety, should she be seen.  You would suspect the ghost and
no one else if she appeared to you, and you lost the ring after.
But even in this state she yielded against her better inclination,
for she was weeping when you saw her.  But she could not help it.
While you lay on the couch in the haunted chamber, where he carried
you, the awful death-ghost was busy in your room, was opening your
desk, fingering your papers, and stealing your ring.  It is rather a
frightful idea."

"She did not take my ring, I am sure.  He followed her, and took
it. -- But she could not have come in at either door -- "

"Could not?  Did she not go out at one of them?  Besides, I do not
doubt that such a room as that had private communication with the
open air as well.  I should much like to examine the place."

"But how could she have gone through the bolted door then?"

"That door may have been set in another, larger by half the frame or
so, and opening with a spring and concealed hinges.  There is no
difficulty about that.  There are such places to be found now and
then in old houses.  But, indeed, if you will excuse me, I do not
consider your testimony, on every minute particular, quite
satisfactory."

"Why?" asked Hugh, rather offended.

"First, because of the state of excitement you must have been in;
and next, because I doubt the wine that was left in your room.  The
count no doubt knew enough of drugs to put a few ghostly horrors
into the decanter.  But poor Miss Cameron!  The horrors he has put
into her mind and life!  It is a sad fate -- all but a sentence of
insanity."

Hugh sprang to his feet.

"By heaven!" he cried, "I will strangle the knave."

"Stop, stop!" said Falconer. "No revenge!  Leave him to the sleeping
divinity within him, which will awake one day, and complete the hell
that he is now building for himself -- for the very fire of hell is
the divine in it.  Your work is to set Euphra free.  If you did
strangle him, how do you know if that would free her from him?"

"Horrible! -- Have you no news of him?"

"None whatever."

"What, then, can I do for her?"

"You must teach her to foil him."

"How am I to do that?  Even if I knew how, I cannot see her, I
cannot speak to her."

"I have a great faith in opportunity."

"But how should she foil him?"

"She must pray to God to redeem her fettered will -- to strengthen her
will to redeem herself.  She must resist the count, should he again
claim her submission (as, for her sake, I hope he will), as she
would the devil himself.  She must overcome.  Then she will be
free -- not before.  This will be very hard to do.  His power has been
excessive and peculiar, and her submission long and complete.  Even
if he left her alone, she would not therefore be free.  She must
defy him; break his bonds; oppose his will; assert her freedom; and
defeat him utterly."

"Oh! who will help her?  I have no power.  Even if I were with her,
I could not help her in such a struggle.  I wish David were not
dead.  He was the man. -- You could now, Mr. Falconer."

"No. Except I knew her, had known her for some time, and had a
strong hold of all her nature, I could not, would not try to help
her.  If Providence brought this about, I would do my best; but
otherwise I would not interfere.  But if she pray to God, he will
give her whatever help she needs, and in the best way, too."

"I think it would be some comfort to her if we could find the
ring -- the crystal, I mean."

"It would be more, I think, if we could find the diamond."

"How can we find either?"

"We must find the count first.  I have not given that up, of course.
I will tell you what I should like to do, if I knew the lady."

"What?"

"Get her to come to London, and make herself as public as possible:
go to operas and balls, and theatres; be presented at court; take a
stall at every bazaar, and sell charity puff-balls -- get as much into
the papers as possible. 'The lovely, accomplished, fascinating Miss
Cameron, &c., &c.'"

"What do you mean?"

"I will tell you what I mean.  The count has forsaken her now; but
as soon as he heard that she was somebody, that she was followed and
admired, his vanity would be roused, his old sense of property in
her would revive, and he would begin once more to draw her into his
toils.  What the result would be, it is impossible to foretell; but
it would at least give us a chance of catching him, and her a chance
of resisting him."

"I don't think, however, that she would venture on that course
herself.  I should not dare to propose it to her."

"No, no.  It was only an invention, to deceive myself with the fancy
that I was doing something.  There would be many objections to such
a plan, even if it were practicable.  I must still try to find him,
and if fresh endeavours should fail, devise fresher still."

"Thank you a thousand times," said Hugh. "It is too good of you to
take so much trouble."

"It is my business," answered Falconer. "Is there not a soul in
trouble?"

Hugh went home, full of his new friend.  With the clue he had given
him, he was able to follow all the windings of Euphra's behaviour,
and to account for almost everything that had taken place.  It was
quite painful to him to feel that he could be of no immediate
service to her; but he could hardly doubt that, before long,
Falconer would, in his wisdom and experience, excogitate some mode
of procedure in which he might be able to take a part.

He sat down to his novel, which had been making but little progress
for some time; for it is hard to write a novel when one is living in
the midst of a romance.  But the romance, at this time, was not very
close to him.  It had a past and a possible future, but no present.
That same future, however, might at any moment dawn into the
present.

In the meantime, teaching the Latin grammar and the English alphabet
to young aspirants after the honours of the ministry, was not work
inimical to invention, from either the exhaustion of its excitement
or the absorption of its interest.




CHAPTER XIII.

THE LADY'S-MAID.

Her yellow hair, beyond compare,
  Comes trinkling down her swan-white neck;
And her two eyes, like stars in skies,
  Would keep a sinking ship frae wreck.
Oh!  Mally's meek, Mally's sweet,
  Mally's modest and discreet;
Mally's rare, Mally's fair,
  Mally's every way complete.

BURNS.


What arms for innocence but innocence.

GILES FLETCHER.


Margaret had sought Euphra's room, with the intention of restoring
to her the letter which she had written to David Elginbrod.  Janet
had let it lie for some time before she sent it to Margaret; and
Euphra had given up all expectation of an answer.

Hopes of ministration filled Margaret's heart; but she expected,
from what she knew of her, that anger would be Miss Cameron's first
feeling.  Therefore, when she heard no answer to her application for
admission, and had concluded, in consequence, that Euphra was not in
the room, she resolved to leave the letter where it would meet her
eye, and thus prepare the way for a future conversation.  When she
saw Euphra and Harry, she would have retired immediately; but
Euphra, annoyed by her entrance, was now quite able to speak.

"What do you want?" she said angrily.

"This is your letter, Miss Cameron, is it not?" said Margaret,
advancing with it in her hand.

Euphra took it, glanced at the direction, pushed Harry away from
her, started up in a passion, and let loose the whole gathered
irritability of contempt, weariness, disappointment, and suffering,
upon Margaret.  Her dark eyes flashed with rage, and her sallow
cheek glowed like a peach.

"What right have you, pray, to handle my letters?  How did you get
this?  It has never been posted!  And open, too.  I declare!  I
suppose you have read it?"

Margaret was afraid of exciting more wrath before she had an
opportunity of explaining; but Euphra gave her no time to think of a
reply.

"You have read it, you shameless woman!  Why don't you lie, like the
rest of your tribe, and keep me from dying with indignation?
Impudent prying!  My maid never posted it, and you have found it
and read it!  Pray, did you hope to find a secret worth a bribe?"

She advanced on Margaret till within a foot of her.

"Why don't you answer, you hussy?  I will go this instant to your
mistress.  You or I leave the house."

Margaret had stood all this time quietly, waiting for an opportunity
to speak.  Her face was very pale, but perfectly still, and her eyes
did not quail.  She had not in the least lost her self-possession.
She would not say at once that she had read the letter, because
that would instantly rouse the tornado again.

"You do not know my name, Miss Cameron; of course you could not."

"Your name!  What is that to me?"

"That," said Margaret, pointing to the letter, "is my father's
name."

Euphra looked at her own direction again, and then looked at
Margaret.  She was so bewildered, that if she had any thoughts, she
did not know them.  Margaret went on:

"My father is dead.  My mother sent the letter to me."

"Then you have had the impertinence to read it!"

"It was my duty to read it."

"Duty!  What business had you with it?"

Euphra felt ashamed of the letter as soon as she found that she had
applied to a man whose daughter was a servant.  Margaret answered:

"I could at least reply to it so far, that the writer should not
think my father had neglected it.  I did not know who it was from
till I came to the end."

Euphra turned her back on her, with the words:

"You may go."

Margaret walked out of the room with an unconscious stately
gentleness.

"Come back," cried Euphra.

Margaret obeyed.

"Of course you will tell all your fellow-servants the contents of
this foolish letter."

Margaret's face flushed, and her eye flashed, at the first words of
this speech; but the last words made her forget the first, and to
them only she replied.  Clasping. her hands, she said:

"Dear Miss Cameron, do not call it foolish.  For God's sake, do not
call it foolish."

"What is it to you?  Do you think I am going to make a confidante of
you?"

Margaret again left the room.  Notwithstanding that she had made no
answer to her insult, Euphra felt satisfied that her letter was safe
from profanation.

No sooner was Margaret out of sight, than, with the reaction common
to violent tempers, which in this case resulted the sooner, from the
exhaustion produced in a worn frame by the violence of the outburst,
Euphra sat down, in a hopeless, unresting way, upon the chair from
which she had just risen, and began weeping more bitterly than
before.  She was not only exhausted, but ashamed; and to these
feelings was added a far greater sense of disappointment than she
could have believed possible, at the frustration of the hope of help
from David Elginbrod.  True, this hope had been small; but where
there is only one hope, its death is equally bitter, whether it be a
great or a little hope.  And there is often no power of reaction, in
a mind which has been gradually reduced to one little faint hope,
when that hope goes out in darkness.  There is a recoil which is
very helpful, from the blow that kills a great hope.

All this time Harry had been looking on, in a kind of paralysed
condition, pale with perplexity and distress.  He now came up to
Euphra, and, trying to pull her hand gently from her face, said:

"What is it all about, Euphra, dear?"

"Oh!  I have been very naughty, Harry."

"But what is it all about?  May I read the letter?"

"If you like," answered Euphra, listlessly.

Harry read the letter with quivering features.  Then, laying it down
on the table with a reverential slowness, went to Euphra, put his
arms round her and kissed her.

"Dear, dear Euphra, I did not know you were so unhappy.  I will find
God for you.  But first I will -- what shall I do to the bad man?  Who
is it?  I will --"

Harry finished the sentence by setting his teeth hard.

"Oh! you can't do anything for me, Harry, dear.  Only mind you don't
say anything about it to any one.  Put the letter in the fire there
for me."

"No -- that I won't," said Harry, taking up the letter, and holding it
tight. "It is a beautiful letter, and it does me good.  Don't you
think, though it is not sent to God himself, he may read it, and
take it for a prayer?"

"I wish he would, Harry."

"But it was very wrong of you, Euphra, dear, to speak as you did to
the daughter of such a good man."

"Yes, it was."

"But then, you see, you got angry before you knew who she was."

"But I shouldn't have got angry before I knew all about it."

"Well, you have only to say you are sorry, and Margaret won't think
anything more about it.  Oh, she is so good!"

Euphra recoiled from making confession of wrong to a lady's maid;
and, perhaps, she was a little jealous of Harry's admiration of
Margaret.  For Euphra had not yet cast off all her old habits of
mind, and one of them was the desire to be first with every one whom
she cared for.  She had got rid of a worse, which was, a necessity
of being first in every company, whether she cared for the persons
composing it, or not.  Mental suffering had driven the latter far
enough from her; though it would return worse than ever, if her mind
were not filled with truth in the place of ambition.  So she did not
respond to what Harry said.  Indeed, she did not speak again, except
to beg him to leave her alone.  She did not make her appearance
again that day.

But at night, when the household was retiring, she rose from the bed
on which she had been lying half-unconscious, and going to the door,
opened it a little way, that she might hear when Margaret should
pass from Mrs. Elton's room towards her own.  She waited for some
time; but judging, at length, that she must have passed without her
knowledge, she went and knocked at her door.  Margaret opened it a
little, after a moment's delay, half-undressed.

"May I come in, Margaret?"

"Pray, do, Miss Cameron," answered Margaret.

And she opened the door quite.  Her cap was off, and her rich dark
hair fell on her shoulders, and streamed thence to her waist.  Her
under-clothing was white as snow.

"What a lovely skin she has!" thought Euphra, comparing it with her
own tawny complexion.  She felt, for the first time, that Margaret
was beautiful -- yes, more: that whatever her gown might be, her form
and her skin (give me a prettier word, kind reader, for a beautiful
fact, and I will gladly use it) were those of one of nature's
ladies.  She was soon to find that her intellect and spirit were
those of one of God's ladies.

"I am very sorry, Margaret, that I spoke to you as I did today."

"Never mind it, Miss Cameron.  We cannot help being angry sometimes.
And you had great provocation under the mistake you made.  I was
only sorry because I knew it would trouble you afterwards.  Please
don't think of it again."

"You are very kind, Margaret."

"I regretted my father's death, for the first time, after reading
your letter, for I knew he could have helped you.  But it was very
foolish of me, for God is not dead."

Margaret smiled as she said this, looking full in Euphra's eyes.  It
was a smile of meaning unfathomable, and it quite overcame Euphra.
She had never liked Margaret before; for, from not very obscure
psychological causes, she had never felt comfortable in her
presence, especially after she had encountered the nun in the
Ghost's Walk, though she had had no suspicion that the nun was
Margaret.  A great many of our dislikes, both to persons and things,
arise from a feeling of discomfort associated with them, perhaps
only accidentally present in our minds the first time we met them.
But this vanished entirely now.

"Do you, then, know God too, Margaret?"

"Yes," answered Margaret, simply and solemnly.

"Will you tell me about him?"

"I can at least tell you about my father, and what he taught me."

"Oh! thank you, thank you!  Do tell me about him -- now."

"Not now, dear Miss Cameron.  It is late, and you are too unwell to
stay up longer.  Let me help you to bed to-night.  I will be your
maid."

As she spoke, Margaret proceeded to put on her dress again, that she
might go with Euphra, who had no attendant.  She had parted with
Jane, and did not care, in her present mood, to have a woman about
her, especially a new one.

"No, Margaret.  You have enough to do without adding me to your
troubles."

"Please, do let me, Miss Cameron.  It will be a great pleasure to
me.  I have hardly anything to call work.  You should see how I used
to work when I was at home."

Euphra still objected, but Margaret's entreaty prevailed.  She
followed Euphra to her room.  There she served her like a
ministering angel; brushed her hair -- oh, so gently! smoothing it out
as if she loved it.  There was health in the touch of her hands,
because there was love.  She undressed her; covered her in bed as if
she had been a child; made up the fire to last as long as possible;
bade her good night; and was leaving the room, when Euphra called
her.  Margaret returned to the bed-side.

"Kiss me, Margaret," she said.

Margaret stooped, kissed her forehead and her lips, and left her.

Euphra cried herself to sleep.  They were the first tears she had
ever shed that were not painful tears.  She slept as she had not
slept for months.

In order to understand this change in Euphrasia's behaviour to
Margaret -- in order, in fact, to represent it to our minds as at all
credible -- we must remember that she had been trying to do right for
some time; that Margaret, as the daughter of David, seemed the only
attainable source of the knowledge she sought; that long illness had
greatly weakened her obstinacy; that her soul hungered, without
knowing it, for love; and that she was naturally gifted with a
strong will, the position in which she stood in relation to the
count proving only that it was not strong enough, and not that it
was weak.  Such a character must, for any good, be ruled by itself,
and not by circumstances.  To have been overcome in the process of
time by the persistent goodness of Margaret, might have been the
blessed fate of a weaker and worse woman; but if Euphra did not
overcome herself, there was no hope of further victory.  If Margaret
could even wither the power of her oppressor, it would be but to
transfer the lordship from a bad man to a good woman; and that would
not be enough.  It would not be freedom.  And indeed, the aid that
Margaret had to give her, could only be bestowed on one who already
had freedom enough to act in some degree from duty.  She knew she
ought to go and apologize to Margaret.  She went.

In Margaret's presence, and in such a mood, she was subjected at
once to the holy enchantment of her loving-kindness.  She had never
received any tenderness from a woman before.  Perhaps she had never
been in the right mood to profit by it if she had.  Nor had she ever
before seen what Margaret was.  It was only when service -- divine
service -- flowed from her in full outgoing, that she reached the
height of her loveliness.  Then her whole form was beautiful.  So
was it interpenetrated by, and respondent to, the uprising soul
within, that it radiated thought and feeling as if it had been all
spirit.  This beauty rose to its best in her eyes.  When she was
ministering to any one in need, her eyes seemed to worship the
object of her faithfulness, as if all the time she felt that she was
doing it unto Him. Her deeds were devotion.  She was the receiver
and not the giver.  Before this, Euphra had seen only the still
waiting face; and, as I have said, she had been repelled by it.
Once within the sphere of the radiation of her attraction, she was
drawn towards her, as towards the haven of her peace: she loved her.

To this, at length, had her struggle with herself in the silence of
her own room, and her meditations on her couch, conducted her.
Shall we say that these alone had been and were leading her?  Or
that to all these there was a hidden root, and an informing spirit?
Who would not rather believe that his thoughts come from an
infinite, self-sphered, self-constituting thought, than that they
rise somehow out of a blank abyss of darkness, and are only thought
when he thinks them, which thinking he cannot pre-determine or even
foresee?

When Euphra woke, her first breath was like a deep draught of
spiritual water.  She felt as if some sorrow had passed from her,
and some gladness come in its stead.  She thought and thought, and
found that the gladness was Margaret.  She had scarcely made the
discovery, when the door gently opened, and Margaret peeped in to
see if she were awake.

"May I come in?" she said.

"Yes, please, Margaret."

"How do you feel to-day?"

"Oh, so much better, dear Margaret!  Your kindness will make me
well."

"I am so glad!  Do lie still awhile, and I will bring you some
breakfast.  Mrs. Elton will be so pleased to find you let me wait on
you!"

"She asked me, Margaret, if you should; but I was too miserable -- and
too naughty, for I did not like you."

"I knew that; but I felt sure you would not dislike me always."

"Why?"

"Because I could not help loving you."

"Why did you love me?"

"I will tell you half the reason. -- Because you looked unhappy."

"What was the other half?"

"That I cannot -- I mean I will not tell you."

"Never?"

"Perhaps never.  But I don't know. -- Not now."

"Then I must not ask you?"

"No -- please."

"Very well, I won't."

"Thank you.  I will go and get your breakfast."

"What can she mean?" said Euphra to herself.

But she would never have found out.




CHAPTER XIV.

DAVID ELGINBROD.

He being dead yet speaketh.

HEB., xi. 4.


     In all 'he' did
Some figure of the golden times was hid.

DR. DONNE.


From this time, Margaret waited upon Euphra, as if she had been her
own maid.  Nor had Mrs. Elton any cause of complaint, for Margaret
was always at hand when she was wanted.  Indeed, her mistress was
full of her praises.  Euphra said little.

Many and long were the conversations between the two girls, when all
but themselves were asleep.  Sometimes Harry made one of the
company; but they could always send him away when they wished to be
alone.  And now the teaching for which Euphra had longed, sprang in
a fountain at her own door.  It had been nigh her long, and she had
not known it, for its hour had not come.  Now she drank as only the
thirsty drink, -- as they drink whose very souls are fainting within
them for drought.

But how did Margaret embody her lessons?

The second night, she came to Euphra's room, and said:

"Shall I tell you about my father to-night?  Are, you able?"

Euphra was delighted.  It was what she had been hoping for all day.

"Do tell me.  I long to hear about him."

So they sat down; and Margaret began to talk about her childhood;
the cottage she lived in; the fir-wood all around it; the work she
used to do; -- her side, in short, of the story which, in the
commencement of this book, I have partly related from Hugh's side.
Summer and winter, spring-time and harvest, storm and sunshine, all
came into the tale.  Her mother came into it often; and often too,
though not so often, the grand form of her father appeared, remained
for a little while, and then passed away.  Every time Euphra saw him
thus in the mirror of Margaret's memory, she saw him more clearly
than before: she felt as if, soon, she should know him quite well.
Sometimes she asked a question or two; but generally she allowed
Margaret's words to flow unchecked; for she painted her pictures
better when the colours did not dry between.  They talked on, or
rather, Margaret talked and Euphra listened, far into the night.  At
length, Margaret stopped suddenly, for she became aware that a long
time had passed.  Looking at the clock on the chimney-piece, she
said:

"I have done wrong to keep you up so late.  Come -- I must get you to
bed.  You are an invalid, you know, and I am your nurse as well as
your maid."

"You will come to-morrow night, then?"

"Yes, I will."

"Then I will go to bed like a good child."

Margaret undressed her, and left her to the healing of sleep.

The next night she spoke again of her father, and what he taught
her.  Euphra had thought much about him; and at every fresh touch
which the story gave to the portrait, she knew him better; till at
last, even when circumstances not mentioned before came up, she
seemed to have known them from the beginning.

"What was your father like, Margaret?"

Margaret described him very nearly as I have done, from Hugh's
account, in the former part of the story.  Euphra said:

"Ah! yes.  That is almost exactly as I had fancied him.  Is it not
strange?"

"It is very natural, I think," answered Margaret.

"I seem now to have known him for years."

But what is most worthy of record is, that ever as the picture of
David grew on the vision of Euphra, the idea of God was growing
unawares upon her inward sight.  She was learning more and more
about God all the time.  The sight of human excellence awoke a faint
Ideal of the divine perfection.  Faith came of itself, and abode,
and grew; for it needs but a vision of the Divine, and faith in God
is straightway born in the soul that beholds it.  Thus, faith and
sight are one.  The being of her father in heaven was no more
strange and far off from her, when she had seen such a father on
earth as Margaret's was.  It was not alone David's faith that begot
hers, but the man himself was a faith-begetting presence.  He was
the evidence of God with them. -- Thus he, being dead, yet spoke, and
the departed man was a present power.

Euphra began to read the story of the Gospel.  So did Harry.  They
found much on which to desire enlightenment; and they always applied
to Margaret for the light they needed.  It was long before she
ventured to say I think.  She always said:

"My father used to say -- " or

"I think my father would have said -- "

It was not until Euphra was in great trouble some time after this,
and required the immediate consolation of personal testimony, that
Margaret spoke as from herself; and then she spoke with positive
assurance of faith.  She did not then even say I think, but, I am
sure; I know; I have seen.

Many interviews of this sort did not take place between them before
Euphra, in her turn, began to confide her history to Margaret.

It was a strangely different one -- full of outward event and physical
trouble; but, till it approached the last stages, wonderfully barren
as to inward production or development.  It was a history of
Euphra's circumstances and peculiarities, not of Euphra herself.
Till of late, she had scarcely had any history.  Margaret's, on the
contrary, was a true history; for, with much of the monotonous in
circumstance, it described individual growth, and the change of
progress.  Where there is no change there can be no history; and as
all change is either growth or decay, all history must describe
progress or retrogression.  The former had now begun for Euphra as
well; and it was one proof of it that she told Margaret all I have
already recorded for my readers, at least as far as it bore against
herself.  How much more she told her I am unable to say; but after
she had told it, Euphra was still more humble towards Margaret, and
Margaret more tender, more full of service, if possible, and more
devoted to Euphra.




CHAPTER XV.

MARGARET'S SECRET.

     Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.

SHAKSPERE. -- Sonnet cxvi.


Margaret could not proceed very far in the story of her life,
without making some reference to Hugh Sutherland.  But she carefully
avoided mentioning his name.  Perhaps no one less calm, and free
from the operation of excitement, could have been so successful in
suppressing it.

"Ah!" said Euphra, one day, "your history is a little like mine
there; a tutor comes into them both.  Did you not fall dreadfully in
love with him?"

"I loved him very much."

"Where is he now?"

"In London, I believe."

"Do you never see him?"

"No."

"Have you never seen him since he left your home -- with the curious
name?"

"Yes; but not spoken to him."

"Where?"

Margaret was silent.  Euphra knew her well enough now not to repeat
the question.

"I should have been in love with him, I know."

Margaret only smiled.

Another day, Euphra said:

"What a good boy that Harry is!  And so clever too.  Ah!  Margaret,
I have behaved like the devil to that boy.  I wanted to have him all
to myself, and so kept him a child.  Need I confess all my ugliest
sins?"

"Not to me, certainly, dear Miss Cameron.  Tell God to look into
your heart, and take them all out of it."

"I will.  I do. -- I even enticed Mr. Sutherland away from him to me,
when he was the only real friend he had, that I might have them
both."

"But you have done your best to make up for it since."

"I have tried a little.  I cannot say I have done my best.  I have
been so peevish and irritable."

"You could not quite help that."

"How kind you are to excuse me so!  It makes me so much stronger to
try again."

"My father used to say that God was always finding every excuse for
us that could be found; every true one, you know; not one false
one."

"That does comfort one."

After a pause, Euphra resumed:

"Mr. Sutherland did me some good, Margaret."

"I do not wonder at that."

"He made me think less about Count Halkar; and that was something,
for he haunted me.  I did not know then how very wicked he was.  I
did love him once.  Oh, how I hate him now!"

And she started up and paced the room like a tigress in its cage.

Margaret did not judge this the occasion to read her a lecture on
the duty of forgiveness.  She had enough to do to keep from hating
the man herself, I suspect.  But she tried to turn her thoughts into
another channel.

"Mr. Sutherland loved you very much, Miss Cameron."

"He loved me once," said poor Euphra, with a sigh.

"I saw he did.  That was why I began to love you too."

Margaret had at last unwittingly opened the door of her secret.  She
had told the other reason for loving Euphra.  But, naturally enough,
Euphra could not understand what she meant.  Perhaps some of my
readers, understanding Margaret's words perfectly, and their
reference too, may be so far from understanding Margaret herself, as
to turn upon me and say:

"Impossible!  You cannot have understood her or any other woman."

Well!

"What do you mean, Margaret?"

Margaret both blushed and laughed outright.

"I must confess it," said she, at once; "it cannot hurt him now: my
tutor and yours are the same."

"Impossible!"

"True."

"And you never spoke all the time you were both at Arnstead?"

"Not once.  He never knew I was in the house."

"How strange!  And you saw he loved me?"

"Yes."

"And you were not jealous?"

"I did not say that.  But I soon found that the only way to escape
from my jealousy, if the feeling I had was jealousy, was to love you
too.  I did."

"You beautiful creature!  But you could not have loved him much."

"I loved him enough to love you for his sake.  But why did he stop
loving you?  I fear I shall not be able to love him so much now."

"He could not help it, Margaret.  I deserved it."

Euphra hid her face in her hands.

"He could not have really loved you, then?"

"Which is better to believe, Margaret," said Euphra, uncovering her
face, which two tears were lingering down, and looking up at
her -- "that he never loved me, or that he stopped loving me?"

"For his sake, the first."

"And for my sake, the second?"

"That depends."

"So it does.  He must have found plenty of faults in me.  But I was
not so bad as he thought me when he stopped loving me."

Margaret's answer was one of her loving smiles, in which her eyes
had more share than her lips.

It would have been unendurable to Euphra, a little while before, to
find that she had a rival in a servant.  Now she scarcely regarded
that aspect of her position.  But she looked doubtfully at Margaret,
and then said:

"How is it that you take it so quietly? -- for your love must have
been very different from mine.  Indeed, I am not sure that I loved
him at all; and after I had made up my mind to it quite, it did not
hurt me so very much.  But you must have loved him dreadfully."

"Perhaps I did.  But I had no anxiety about it."

"But that you could not leave to a father such as yours even to
settle."

"No. But I could to God. I could trust God with what I could not
speak to my father about.  He is my father's father, you know; and
so, more to him and me than we could be to each other.  The more we
love God, the more we love each other; for we find he makes the very
love which sometimes we foolishly fear to do injustice to, by loving
him most.  I love my father ten times more because he loves God, and
because God has secrets with him."

"I wish God were a father to me as he is to you, Margaret."

"But he is your father, whether you wish it or not.  He cannot be
more your father than he is.  You may be more his child than you
are, but not more than he meant you to be, nor more than he made you
for.  You are infinitely more his child than you have grown to yet.
He made you altogether his child, but you have not given in to it
yet."

"Oh! yes; I know what you mean.  I feel it is true."

"The Prodigal Son was his father's child.  He knew it, and gave in
to it.  He did not say: 'I wish my father loved me enough to treat
me like a child again.'  He did not say that, but -- I will arise and
go to my father."

Euphra made no answer, but wept, Margaret said no more.

Euphra was the first to resume.

"Mr. Sutherland was very kind, Margaret.  He promised -- and I know he
will keep his promise--to do all he could to help me.  I hope he is
finding out where that wicked count is."

"Write to him, and ask him to come and see you.  He does not know
where you are."

"But I don't know where he is."

"I do."

"Do you?" rejoined Euphra with some surprise.

"But he does not know where I am.  I will give you his address, if
you like."

Euphra pondered a little.  She would have liked very much to see
him, for she was anxious to know of his success.  The love she had
felt for him was a very small obstacle to their meeting now; for her
thoughts had been occupied with affairs, before the interest of
which the poor love she had then been capable of, had melted away
and vanished -- vanished, that is, in all that was restrictive and
engrossing in its character.  But now that she knew the relation
that had existed between Margaret and him, she shrunk from doing
anything that might seem to Margaret to give Euphra an opportunity
of regaining his preference.  Not that she had herself the smallest
hope, even had she had the smallest desire of doing so; but she
would not even suggest the idea of being Margaret's rival.  At
length she answered:

"No, thank you, Margaret.  As soon as he has anything to report, he
will write to Arnstead, and Mrs. Horton will forward me the letter.
No -- it is quite unnecessary."

Euphra's health was improving a little, though still she was far
from strong.




CHAPTER XVI.

FOREBODINGS.

Faust.      If heaven was made for man, 'twas made for me.
Good Angel.  Faustus, repent; yet heaven will pity thee.
Bad Angel.  Thou art a spirit, God cannot pity thee.
Faust.      Be I a devil, yet God may pity me.
Bad Angel.  Too late.
Good Angel.  Never too late if Faustus will repent.
Bad Angel.  If thou repent, devils will tear thee in pieces.

Old Man.    I see an angel hover o'er thy head,
            And with a vial full of precious grace,
            Offers to pour the same into thy soul.

MARLOWE. -- Doctor Faustus.


Mr. Appleditch had had some business-misfortunes, not of a heavy
nature, but sufficient to cast a gloom over the house in Dervish
Town, and especially over the face of his spouse, who had set her
heart on a new carpet for her drawing-room, and feared she ought not
to procure it now.  It is wonderful how conscientious some people
are towards their balance at the banker's.  How the drawing-room,
however, could come to want a new carpet is something mysterious,
except there is a peculiar power of decay inherent in things
deprived of use.  These influences operating, however, she began to
think that the two scions of grocery were not drawing nine
shillings' worth a week of the sap of divinity.  This she hinted to
Mr. Appleditch.  It was resolved to give Hugh warning.

As it would involve some awkwardness to state reasons, Mrs.
Appleditch resolved to quarrel with him, as the easiest way of
prefacing his discharge.  It was the way she took with her
maids-of-all-work; for it was grand in itself, and always left her
with a comfortable feeling of injured dignity.

As a preliminary course, she began to treat him with still less
politeness than before.  Hugh was so careless of her behaviour, that
this made no impression upon him.  But he came to understand it all
afterwards, from putting together the remarks of the children, and
the partial communications of Mr. Appleditch to Miss Talbot, which
that good lady innocently imparted to her lodger.

At length, one day, she came into the room where Hugh was more busy
in teaching than his pupils were in learning, and seated herself by
the fire to watch for an opportunity.  This was soon found.  For the
boys, rendered still more inattentive by the presence of their
mother, could not be induced to fix the least thought upon the
matter in hand; so that Hugh was compelled to go over the same thing
again and again, without success.  At last he said:

"I am afraid, Mrs. Appleditch, I must ask you to interfere, for I
cannot get any attention from the boys to-day."

"And how could it be otherwise, Mr. Sutherland, when you keep
wearing them out with going over and over the same thing, till they
are sick of it?  Why don't you go on?"

"How can I go on when they have not learned the thing they are at?
That would be to build the chimneys before the walls."

"It is very easy to be witty, sir; but I beg you will behave more
respectfully to me in the presence of my children, innocent lambs!"

Looking round at the moment, Hugh caught in his face what the elder
lamb had intended for his back, a grimace hideous enough to have
procured him instant promotion in the kingdom of apes.  The mother
saw it too, and added:

"You see you cannot make them respect you.  Really, Mr. Sutherland!"

Hugh was about to reply, to the effect that it was useless, in such
circumstances, to attempt teaching them at all, some utterance of
which sort was watched for as the occasion for his instant
dismission; but at that very moment a carriage and pair pulled
sharply up at the door, with more than the usual amount of
quadrupedation, and mother and sons darted simultaneously to the
window.

"My!" cried Johnnie, "what a rum go!  Isn't that a jolly carriage,
Peetie?"

"Papa's bought a carriage!" shouted Peetie.

"Be quiet, children," said their mother, as she saw a footman get
down and approach the door.

"Look at that buffer," said Johnnie. "Do come and see this grand
footman, Mr. Sutherland.  He's such a gentleman!"

A box on the ear from his mother silenced him.  The servant entering
with some perturbation a moment after, addressed her mistress, for
she dared not address any one else while she was in the room:

"Please 'm, the carriage is astin' after Mr. Sutherland."

"Mr. Sutherland?"

"Yes 'm."

The lady turned to Mr. Sutherland, who, although surprised as well,
was not inclined to show his surprise to Mrs. Appleditch.

"I did not know you had carriage-friends, Mr. Sutherland," said she,
with a toss of her head.

"Neither did I," answered Hugh. "But I will go and see who it is."

When he reached the street, he found Harry on the pavement, who
having got out of the carriage, and not having been asked into the
house, was unable to stand still for impatience.  As soon as he saw
his tutor, he bounded to him, and threw his arms round his neck,
standing as they were in the open street.  Tears of delight filled
his eyes.

"Come, come, come," said Harry; "we all want you."

"Who wants me?"

"Mrs. Elton and Euphra and me.  Come, get in."

And he pulled Hugh towards the carriage.

"I cannot go with you now.  I have pupils here."

Harry's face fell.

"When will you come?"

"In half-an-hour."

"Hurrah!  I shall be back exactly in half-an-hour then.  Do be
ready, please, Mr. Sutherland."

"I will."

Harry jumped into the carriage, telling the coachman to drive where
he pleased, and be back at the same place in half-an-hour.  Hugh
returned into the house.

As may be supposed, Margaret was the means of this happy meeting.
Although she saw plainly enough that Euphra would like to see Hugh,
she did not for some time make up her mind to send for him.  The
circumstances which made her resolve to do so were these.

For some days Euphra seemed to be gradually regaining her health and
composure of mind.  One evening, after a longer talk than usual,
Margaret had left her in bed, and had gone to her own room.  She was
just preparing to get into bed herself, when a knock at her door
startled her, and going to it, she saw Euphra standing there, pale
as death, with nothing on but her nightgown, notwithstanding the
bitter cold of an early and severe frost.  She thought at first she
must be walking in her sleep, but the scared intelligence of her
open eyes, soon satisfied her that it was not so.

"What is the matter, dear Miss Cameron?" she said, as calmly as she
could.

"He is coming.  He wants me.  If he calls me, I must go."

"No, you shall not go," rejoined Margaret, firmly.

"I must, I must," answered Euphra, wringing her hands.

"Do come in," said Margaret, "you must not stand there in the cold."

"Let me get into your bed."

"Better let me go with you to yours.  That will be more comfortable
for you."

"Oh! yes; please do."

Margaret threw a shawl round Euphra, and went back with her to her
room.

"He wants me.  He wants me.  He will call me soon," said Euphra, in
an agonised whisper, as soon as the door was shut. "What shall I
do!"

"Come to bed first, and we will talk about it there."

As soon as they were in bed, Margaret put her arm round Euphra, who
was trembling with cold and fear, and said:

"Has this man any right to call you?"

"No, no," answered Euphra, vehemently.

"Then don't go."

"But I am afraid of him."

"Defy him in God's name."

"But besides the fear, there is something that I can't describe,
that always keeps telling me -- no, not telling me, pushing me -- no,
drawing me, as if I could not rest a moment till I go.  I cannot
describe it.  I hate to go, and yet I feel that if I were cold in my
grave, I must rise and go if he called me.  I wish I could tell you
what it is like.  It is as if some demon were shaking my soul till I
yielded and went.  Oh! don't despise me.  I can't help it."

"My darling, I don't, I can't despise you.  You shall not go to
him."

"But I must," answered she, with a despairing faintness more
convincing than any vehemence; and then began to weep with a slow,
hopeless weeping, like the rain of a November eve.

Margaret got out of bed.  Euphra thought she was offended.  Starting
up, she clasped her hands, and said:

"Oh Margaret!  I won't cry.  Don't leave me.  Don't leave me."

She entreated like a chidden child.

"No, no, I didn't mean to leave you for a moment.  Lie down again,
dear, and cry as much as you like.  I am going to read a little bit
out of the New Testament to you."

"I am afraid I can't listen to it."

"Never mind.  Don't try.  I want to read it."

Margaret got a New Testament, and read part of that chapter of St.
John's Gospel which speaks about human labour and the bread of life.
She stopped at these words:

"For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will
of him that sent me."

Euphra's tears had ceased.  The sound of Margaret's voice, which, if
it lost in sweetness by becoming more Scotch when she read the
Gospel, yet gained thereby in pathos, and the power of the blessed
words themselves, had soothed the troubled spirit a little, and she
lay quiet.

"The count is not a good man, Miss Cameron?"

"You know he is not, Margaret.  He is the worst man alive."

"Then it cannot be God's will that you should go to him."

"But one does many things that are not God's will."

"But it is God's will that you should not go to him."

Euphra lay silent for a few moments.  Suddenly she exclaimed:

"Then I must not go to him," -- got out of bed, threw herself on her
knees by the bedside, and holding up her clasped hands, said, in low
tones that sounded as if forced from her by agony:

"I won't!  I won't!  O God, I will not.  Help me, help me!"

Margaret knelt beside her, and put her arm round her.  Euphra spoke
no more, but remained kneeling, with her extended arms and clasped
hands lying on the bed, and her head laid between them.  At length
Margaret grew alarmed, and looked at her.  But she found that she
was in a sweet sleep.  She gently disengaged herself, and covering
her up soft and warm, left her to sleep out her God-sent sleep
undisturbed, while she sat beside, and watched for her waking.

She slept thus for an hour.  Then lifting her head, and seeing
Margaret, she rose quietly, as if from her prayers, and said with a
smile:

"Margaret, I was dreaming that I had a mother."

"So you have, somewhere."

"Yes, so I have, somewhere," she repeated, and crept into bed like a
child, lay down, and was asleep again in a moment.

Margaret watched her for another hour, and then seeing no signs of
restlessness, but that on the contrary her sleep was profound, lay
down beside her, and soon shared in that repose which to weary women
and men is God's best gift.

She rose at her usual hour the next day, and was dressed before
Euphra awoke.  It was a cold grey December morning, with the
hoar-frost lying thick on the roofs of the houses.  Euphra opened
her eyes while Margaret was busy lighting the fire.  Seeing that she
was there, she closed them again, and fell once more fast asleep.
Before she woke again, Margaret had some tea ready for her; after
taking which, she felt able to get up.  She rose looking more bright
and hopeful than Margaret had seen her before.

But Margaret, who watched her intently through the day, saw a change
come over her cheer.  Her face grew pale and troubled.  Now and then
her eyes were fixed on vacancy; and again she would look at Margaret
with a woebegone expression of countenance; but presently, as if
recollecting herself, would smile and look cheerful for a moment.
Margaret saw that the conflict was coming on, if not already
begun -- that at least its shadow was upon her; and thinking that if
she could have a talk with Hugh about what he had been doing, it
would comfort her a little, and divert her thoughts from herself,
even if no farther or more pleasantly than to the count.  She let
Harry know Hugh's address, as given in the letter to her father.
She was certain that, if Harry succeeded in finding him, nothing
more was necessary to insure his being brought to Mrs. Elton's.  As
we have seen, Harry had traced him to Buccleuch Terrace.

Hugh re-entered the house in the same mind in which he had gone out;
namely, that after Mrs. Appleditch's behaviour to him before his
pupils, he could not remain their tutor any longer, however great
his need might be of the pittance he received for his services.

But although Mrs. Appleditch's first feeling had been jealousy of
Hugh's acquaintance with "carriage-people," the toadyism which is so
essential an element of such jealousy, had by this time revived; and
when Hugh was proceeding to finish the lesson he had begun,
intending it to be his last, she said:

"Why didn't you ask your friend into the drawing-room, Mr.
Sutherland?"

"Good gracious!  The drawing-room!" thought Hugh -- but answered: "He
will fetch me when the lesson is over."

"I am sure, sir, any friends of yours that like to call upon you
here, will be very welcome.  It will be more agreeable to you to
receive them here, of course; for your accommodation at poor Miss
Talbot's is hardly suitable for such visitors."

"I am sorry to say, however," answered Hugh, "that after the way you
have spoken to me to-day, in the presence of my pupils, I cannot
continue my relation to them any longer."

"Ho! ho!" resnorted the lady, indignation and scorn mingling with
mortification; "our grand visitors have set our backs up.  Very
well, Mr. Sutherland, you will oblige me by leaving the house at
once.  Don't trouble yourself, pray, to finish the lesson.  I will
pay you for it all the same.  Anything to get rid of a man who
insults me before the very faces of my innocent lambs!  And please
to remember," she added, as she pulled out her purse, while Hugh was
collecting some books he had lent the boys, "that when you were
starving, my husband and I took you in and gave you employment out
of charity -- pure charity, Mr. Sutherland.  Here is your money."

"Good morning, Mrs. Appleditch," said Hugh; and walked out with his
books under his arm, leaving her with the money in her hand.

He had to knock his feet on the pavement in front of the house, to
keep them from freezing, for half-an-hour, before the carriage
arrived to take him away.  As soon as it came up, he jumped into it,
and was carried off in triumph by Harry.

Mrs. Elton received him kindly.  Euphra held out her hand with a
slight blush, and the quiet familiarity of an old friend.  Hugh
could almost have fallen in love with her again, from compassion for
her pale, worn face, and subdued expression.

Mrs. Elton went out in the carriage almost directly, and Euphra
begged Harry to leave them alone, as she had something to talk to
Mr. Sutherland about.

"Have you found any trace of Count Halkar, Hugh?" she said, the
moment they were by themselves.

"I am very sorry to say I have not.  I have done my best."

"I am quite sure of that. -- I just wanted to tell you, that, from
certain indications which no one could understand so well as myself,
I think you will have more chance of finding him now."

"I am delighted to hear it," responded Hugh. "If I only had him!"

Euphra sighed, paused, and then said:

"But I am not sure of it.  I think he is in London; but he may be in
Bohemia, for anything I know.  I shall, however, in all probability,
know more about him within a few days."

Hugh resolved to go at once to Falconer, and communicate to him what
Euphra had told him.  But he said nothing to her as to the means by
which he had tried to discover the count; for although he felt sure
that he had done right in telling Falconer all about it, he was
afraid lest Euphra, not knowing what sort of a man he was, might not
like it.  Euphra, on her part, did not mention Margaret's name; for
she had begged her not to do so.

"You will tell me when you know yourself?"

"Perhaps. -- I will, if I can.  I do wish you could get the ring.  I
have a painful feeling that it gives him power over me."

"That can only be a nervous fancy, surely," Hugh ventured to say.

"Perhaps it is.  I don't know.  But, still, without that, there are
plenty of reasons for wishing to recover it.  He will put it to a
bad use, if he can.  But for your sake, especially, I wish we could
get it."

"Thank you.  You were always kind."

"No," she replied, without lifting her eyes; "I brought it all upon
you."

"But you could not help it."

"Not at the moment.  But all that led to it was my fault."

She paused; then suddenly resumed:

"I will confess. -- Do you know what gave rise to the reports of the
house being haunted?"

"No."

"It was me wandering about it at night, looking for that very ring,
to give to the count.  It was shameful.  But I did.  Those reports
prevented me from being found out.  But I hope not many ghosts are
so miserable as I was. -- You remember my speaking to you of Mr.
Arnold's jewels?"

"Yes, perfectly."

"I wanted to find out, through you, where the ring was.  But I had
no intention of involving you."

"I am sure you had not."

"Don't be too sure of anything about me.  I don't know what I might
have been led to do.  But I am very sorry.  Do forgive me."

"I cannot allow that I have anything to forgive.  But tell me,
Euphra, were you the creature, in white that I saw in the Ghost's
Walk one night?  I don't mean the last time."

"Very likely," she answered, bending her head yet lower, with a
sigh.

"Then who was the creature in black that met you?  And what became
of you then?"

"Did you see her?" rejoined Euphra, turning paler still. "I fainted
at sight of her.  I took her for the nun that hangs in that horrid
room."

"So did I," said Hugh. "But you could not have lain long; for I went
up to the spot where you vanished, and found nothing."

"I suppose I got into the shrubbery before I fell.  Or the count
dragged me in. -- But was that really a ghost?  I feel now as if it
was a good messenger, whether ghost or not, come to warn me, if I
had had the courage to listen.  I wish I had taken the warning."

They talked about these and other things, till Mrs. Elton, who had
made Hugh promise to stay to lunch, returned.  When they were seated
at table, the kind-hearted woman said:

"Now, Mr. Sutherland, when will you begin again with Harry?"

"I do not quite understand you," answered Hugh.

"Of course you will come and give him lessons, poor boy.  He will be
broken-hearted if you don't."

"I wish I could.  But I cannot -- at least yet; for I know his father
was dissatisfied with me.  That was one of the reasons that made him
send Harry to London."

Harry looked wretchedly disappointed, but said nothing.

"I never heard him say anything of the sort."

"I am sure of it, though.  I am very sorry he has mistaken me; but
he will know me better some day."

"I will take all the responsibility," persisted Mrs. Elton.

"But unfortunately the responsibility sticks too fast for you to
take it.  I cannot get rid of my share if I would."

"You are too particular.  I am sure Mr. Arnold never could have
meant that.  This is my house too."

"But Harry is his boy.  If you will let me come and see him
sometimes, I shall be very thankful, though.  I may be useful to him
without giving him lessons."

"Thank you," said Harry with delight.

"Well, well!  I suppose you are so much in request in London that
you won't miss him for a pupil."

"On the contrary, I have not a single engagement.  If you could find
me one, I should be exceedingly obliged to you."

"Dear! dear! dear!" said Mrs. Elton. "Then you shall have Harry."

"Oh! yes; please take me," said Harry, beseechingly.

"No, I cannot.  I must not."

Mrs. Elton rang the bell.

"James, tell the coachman I want the carriage in an hour."

Mrs. Elton was as submissive to her coachman as ladies who have
carriages generally are, and would not have dreamed of ordering the
horses out so soon again for herself; but she forgot everything else
when a friend was in need of help, and became perfectly
pachydermatous to the offended looks or indignant hints of that
important functionary.

Within a few minutes after Hugh took his leave, Mrs. Elton was on
her way to repeat a visit she had already paid the same morning, and
to make several other calls, with the express object of finding
pupils for Hugh. But in this she was not so successful as she had
expected.  In fact, no one whom she could think of, wanted such
services at present.  She returned home quite down-hearted, and all
but convinced that nothing could be done before the approach of the
London season.




CHAPTER XVII.

STRIFE.

They'll turn me in your arms, Janet,
  An adder and a snake;
But haud me fast, let me not pass,
  Gin ye would be my maik.

They'll turn me in your arms, Janet,
  An adder and an aske;
They'll turn me in your arms, Janet,
  A bale that burns fast.

They'll shape me in your arms, Janet,
  A dove, but and a swan;
And last, they'll shape me in your arms
  A mother-naked man:
Cast your green mantle over me --
  And sae shall I be wan.

Scotch Ballad: Tamlane.


As soon as Hugh had left the house, Margaret hastened to Euphra.
She found her in her own room, a little more cheerful, but still
strangely depressed.  This appearance increased towards the evening,
till her looks became quite haggard, revealing an inward conflict of
growing agony.  Margaret remained with her.

Just before dinner, the upstairs bell, whose summons Margaret was
accustomed to obey, rang, and she went down.  Mrs. Elton detained
her for a few minutes.  The moment she was at liberty, she flew to
Euphra's room by the back staircase.  But, as she ascended, she was
horrified to meet Euphra, in a cloak and thick veil, creeping down
the stairs like a thief.  Without saying a word, the strong girl
lifted her in her arms as if she had been a child, and carried her
back to her room.  Euphra neither struggled nor spoke.  Margaret
laid her on her couch, and sat down beside her.  She lay without
moving, and, although wide awake, gave no other sign of existence
than an occasional low moan, that seemed to come from a heart
pressed almost to death.

Having lain thus for an hour, she broke the silence.

"Margaret, do you despise me dreadfully?"

"No, not in the least."

"Yet you found me going to do what I knew was wrong."

"You had not made yourself strong by thinking about the will of God.
Had you, dear?"

"No. I will tell you how it was.  I had been tormented with the
inclination to go to him, and had been resisting it till I was worn
out, and could hardly bear it more.  Suddenly all grew calm within
me, and I seemed to hate Count Halkar no longer.  I thought with
myself how easy it would be to put a stop to this dreadful torment,
just by yielding to it -- only this once.  I thought I should then be
stronger to resist the next time; for this was wearing me out so,
that I must yield the next time, if I persisted now.  But what
seemed to justify me, was the thought that so I should find out
where he was, and be able to tell Hugh; and then he would get the
ring for me, and, perhaps that would deliver me.  But it was very
wrong of me.  I forgot all about the will of God. I will not go
again, Margaret.  Do you think I may try again to fight him?"

"That is just what you must do.  All that God requires of you is, to
try again.  God's child must be free.  Do try, dear Miss Cameron."

"I think I could, if you would call me Euphra.  You are so strong,
and pure, and good, Margaret!  I wish I had never had any thoughts
but such as you have, you beautiful creature!  Oh, how glad I am
that you found me!  Do watch me always."

"I will call you Euphra.  I will be your sister-servant -- anything
you like, if you will only try again."

"Thank you, with all my troubled heart, dear Margaret.  I will
indeed try again."

She sprang from the couch in a sudden agony, and grasping Margaret
by the arm, looked at her with such a terror-stricken face, that she
began to fear she was losing her reason.

"Margaret," she said, as if with the voice as of one just raised
from the dead, speaking with all the charnel damps in her throat,
"could it be that I am in love with him still?"

Margaret shuddered, but did not lose her self-possession.

"No, no, Euphra, darling.  You were haunted with him, and so tired
that you were not able to hate him any longer.  Then you began to
give way to him.  That was all.  There was no love in that."

Euphra's grasp relaxed.

"Do you think so?"

"Yes."

A pause followed.

"Do you think God cares to have me do his will?  Is it anything to
him?"

"I am sure of it.  Why did he make you else?  But it is not for the
sake of being obeyed that he cares for it, but for the sake of
serving you and making you blessed with his blessedness.  He does
not think about himself, but about you."

"Oh, dear! oh, dear!  I must not go."

"Let me read to you again, Eupra."

"Yes, please do, Margaret."

She read the fortieth chapter of Isaiah, one of her father's
favourite chapters, where all the strength and knowledge of God are
urged to a height, that they may fall in overwhelming profusion upon
the wants and fears and unbelief of his children.  How should he
that calleth the stars by their names forget his people?

While she read, the cloud melted away from Euphra's face; a sweet
sleep followed; and the paroxysm was over for the time.

Was Euphra insane? and were these the first accesses of daily fits
of madness, which had been growing and approaching for who could
tell how long?

Even if she were mad, or going mad, was not this the right way to
treat her?  I wonder how often the spiritual cure of faith in the
Son of Man, the Great Healer, has been tried on those possessed with
our modern demons.  Is it proved that insanity has its origin in the
physical disorder which, it is now said, can be shown to accompany
it invariably?  Let it be so: it yet appears to me that if the
physician would, like the Son of Man himself, descend as it were
into the disorganized world in which the consciousness of his
patient exists, and receiving as fact all that he reveals to him of
its condition -- for fact it is, of a very real sort -- introduce, by
all the means that sympathy can suggest, the one central cure for
evil, spiritual and material, namely, the truth of the Son of Man,
the vision of the perfect friend and helper, with the revelation of
the promised liberty of obedience -- if he did this, it seems to me
that cures might still be wrought as marvellous as those of the
ancient time.

It seems to me, too, that that can be but an imperfect religion, as
it would be a poor salvation, from which one corner of darkness may
hide us; from whose blessed health and freedom a disordered brain
may snatch us; making us hopeless outcasts, till first the
physician, the student of physical laws, shall interfere and restore
us to a sound mind, or the great God's-angel Death crumble the
soul-oppressing brain, with its thousand phantoms of pain and fear
and horror, into a film of dust in the hollow of the deserted skull.

Hugh repaired immediately to Falconer's chambers, where he was more
likely to find him during the day than in the evening.  He was at
home.  He told him of his interview with Euphra, and her feeling
that the count was not far off.

"Do you think there can be anything in it?" asked he, when he had
finished his relation.

"I think very likely," answered his friend. "I will be more on the
outlook than ever.  It may, after all, be through the lady herself
that we shall find the villain.  If she were to fall into one of her
trances, now, I think it almost certain she would go to him.  She
ought to be carefully watched and followed, if that should take
place.  Let me know all that you learn about her.  Go and see her
again to-morrow, that we may be kept informed of her experiences, so
far as she thinks proper to tell them."

"I will," said Hugh, and took his leave.

But Margaret, who knew Euphra's condition, both spiritual and
physical, better than any other, had far different objects for her,
through means of the unholy attraction which the count exercised
over her, than the discovery of the stolen ring.  She was determined
that neither sleeping nor waking should she follow his call, or
dance to his piping.  She should resist to the last, in the name of
God, and so redeem her lost will from the power of this devil, to
whom she had foolishly sold it.

The next day, the struggle evidently continued; and it had such an
effect on Euphra, that Margaret could not help feeling very anxious
about the result as regarded her health, even if she should be
victorious in the contest.  But not for one moment did Margaret
quail; for she felt convinced, come of it what might, that the only
hope for Euphra lay in resistance.  Death, to her mind, was simply
nothing in the balance with slavery of such a sort.

Once -- but evidently in a fit of absence -- Euphra rose, went to the
door, and opened it.  But she instantly dashed it to again, and
walking slowly back, resumed her seat on the couch.  Margaret came
to her from the other side of the bed, where she had been working by
the window, for the last quarter of an hour, for the sake of the
waning light.

"What is it, dear?" she said.

"Oh, Margaret! are you there?  I did not know you were in the room.
I found myself at the door before I knew what I was doing."

"But you came back of yourself this time."

"Yes I did.  But I still feel inclined to go."

"There is no sin in that, so long as you do not encourage the
feeling, or yield to it."

"I hate it."

"You will soon be free from it.  Keep on courageously, dear sister.
You will be in liberty and joy soon."

"God grant it."

"He will, Euphra.  I am sure he will."

"I am sure you know, or you would not say it."

A knock came to the street door.  Euphra started, and sat in the
attitude of a fearful listener.  A message was presently brought
her, that Mr. Sutherland was in the drawing-room, and wished to see
her.

Euphra rose immediately, and went to him.  Margaret, who did not
quite feel that she could be trusted yet, removed to a room behind
the drawing-room, whence she could see Euphra if she passed to go
down stairs.

Hugh asked her if she could tell him anything more about Count
Halkar.

"Only," she answered, "that I am still surer of his being near me."

"How do you know it?"

"I need not mind telling you, for I have told you before that he has
a kind of supernatural power over me.  I know it by his drawing me
towards him.  It is true I might feel it just the same whether he
was in America or in London; but I do not think he would care to do
it, if he were so far off.  I know him well enough to know that he
would not wish for me except for some immediate advantage to
himself."

"But what is the use of his doing so, when you don't know where he
is to be found."

"I should go straight to him, without knowing where I was going."

Hugh rose in haste.

"Put on your bonnet and cloak, and come with me.  I will take care
of you.  Lead me to him, and the ring shall soon be in your hands
again."

Euphra hesitated, half rose, but sat down immediately.

"No, no!  Not for worlds," she said. "Do not tempt me.  I must
not -- I dare not -- I will not go."

"But I shall be with you.  I will take care of you.  Don't you think
I am able, Euphra?"

"Oh, yes! quite able.  But I must not go anywhere at that man's
bidding."

"But it won't be at his bidding: it will be at mine."

"Ah! that alters the case rather, does it not?  I wonder what
Margaret would say."

"Margaret!  What Margaret?" said Hugh.

"Oh! my new maid," answered Euphra, recollecting herself.

"Not being well at present, she is my nurse."

"We shall take a cab as soon as we get to the corner."

"I don't think the count would be able to guide the horse," said
Euphra, with a smile. "I must walk.  But I should like to go.  I
will.  It would be such a victory to catch him in his own toils."

She rose and ran up stairs.  In a few minutes she came down again,
cloaked and veiled.  But Margaret met her as she descended, and
leading her into the back drawing-room, said:

"Are you going, Euphra?"

"Yes; but I am going with Mr. Sutherland," answered Euphra, in a
defensive tone. "It is to please him, and not to obey the count."

"Are you sure it is all to please Mr. Sutherland?  If it were, I
don't think you would be able to guide him right.  Is it not to get
rid of your suffering by yielding to temptation, Euphra?  At all
events, if you go, even should Mr. Sutherland be successful with
him, you will never feel that you have overcome him, or he, that he
has lost you.  He will still hold you fast.  Don't go.  I am sure
you are deceiving yourself."

Euphra stood for a moment and pouted like a naughty child.  Then
suddenly throwing her arms about Margaret's neck, she kissed her,
and said:

"I won't go, Margaret.  Here, take my things up stairs for me."

She threw off her bonnet and cloak, and rejoined Hugh in the
drawing-room.

"I can't go," she said. "I must not go.  I should be yielding to
him, and it would make a slave of me all my life."

"It is our only chance for the ring," said Hugh.

Again Euphra hesitated and wavered; but again she conquered.

"I cannot help it," she said. "I would rather not have the ring than
go -- if you will forgive me."

"Oh, Euphra!" replied Hugh. "You know it is not for myself."

"I do know it.  You won't mind then if I don't go?"

"Certainly not, if you have made up your mind.  You must have a good
reason for it."

"Indeed I have."  And even already she felt that resistance brought
its own reward.

Hugh went almost immediately, in order to make his report to
Falconer, with whom he had an appointment for the purpose.

"She is quite right," said Falconer. "I do not think, in the
relation in which she stands to him, that she could safely do
otherwise.  But it seems to me very likely that this will turn out
well for our plans, too.  Let her persist, and in all probability he
will not only have to resign her perforce, but will so far make
himself subject to her in turn, as to seek her who will not go to
him.  He will pull upon his own rope till he is drawn to the spot
where he has fixed it.  What remains for you and me to do, is to
keep a close watch on the house and neighbourhood.  Most likely we
shall find the villain before long."

"Do you really think so?"

"The whole affair is mysterious, and has to do with laws with which
we are most imperfectly acquainted; but this seems to me a
presumption worth acting upon.  Is there no one in the house on whom
you could depend for assistance -- for information, at least?"

"Yes. There is the same old servant that Mrs. Elton had with her at
Arnstead.  He is a steady old fellow, and has been very friendly
with me."

"Well, what I would advise is, that you should find yourself
quarters as near the spot as possible; and, besides keeping as much
of a personal guard upon the house as you can, engage the servant
you mention to let you know, the moment the count makes his
appearance.  It will probably be towards night when he calls, for
such a man may have reasons as well as instincts to make him love
the darkness rather than the light.  You had better go at once; and
when you have found a place, leave or send the address here to me,
and towards night-fall I will join you.  But we may have to watch
for several days.  We must not be too sanguine."

Almost without a word, Hugh went to do as Falconer said.  The only
place he could find suitable, was a public-house at the corner of a
back street, where the men-servants of the neighbourhood used to
resort.  He succeeded in securing a private room in it, for a week,
and immediately sent Falconer word of his locality.  He then called
a second time at Mrs. Elton's, and asked to see the butler.  When he
came:

"Irwan," said he, "has Herr von Funkelstein called here to-day?"

"No, sir, he has not."

"You would know him, would you not?"

"Yes, sir; perfectly."

"Well, if he should call to-night, or to-morrow, or any time within
the next few days, let me know the moment he is in the house.  You
will find me at the Golden Staff, round the corner.  It is of the
utmost importance that I should see him at once.  But do not let him
know that any one wants to see him.  You shall not repent helping me
in this affair.  I know I can trust you."

Hugh had fixed him with his eyes, before he began to explain his
wishes.  He had found out that this was the best way of securing
attention from inferior natures, and that it was especially
necessary with London servants; for their superciliousness is cowed
by it, and the superior will brought to bear upon theirs.  It is the
only way a man without a carriage has to command attention from
such.  Irwan was not one of this sort.  He was a country servant,
for one difference.  But Hugh made his address as impressive as
possible.

"I will with pleasure, sir," answered Irwan, and Hugh felt tolerably
sure of him.

Falconer came.  They ordered some supper, and sat till eleven
o'clock.  There being then no chance of a summons, they went out
together.  Passing the house, they saw light in one upper window
only.  That light would burn there all night, for it was in Euphra's
room.  They went on, Hugh accompanying Falconer in one of his
midnight walks through London, as he had done repeatedly before.

From such companionship and the scenes to which Falconer introduced
him, he had gathered this fruit, that he began to believe in God for
the sake of the wretched men and women he saw in the world.  At
first it was his own pain at the sight of such misery that drove
him, for consolation, to hope in God; so, at first, it was for his
own sake.  But as he saw more of them, and grew to love them more,
he felt that the only hope for them lay in the love of God; and he
hoped in God for them.  He saw too that a God not both humanly and
absolutely divine, a God less than that God shadowed forth in the
Redeemer of men, would not do.  But thinking about God thus, and
hoping in him for his brothers and sisters, he began to love God.
Then, last of all, that he might see in him one to whom he could
abandon everything, that he might see him perfect and all in all and
as he must be -- for the sake of God himself, he believed in him as
the Saviour of these his sinful and suffering kin.

As early as was at all excusable, the following morning, he called
on Euphra.  The butler said that she had not come down yet, but he
would send up his name.  A message was brought back that Miss
Cameron was sorry not to see him, but she had had a bad night, and
was quite unable to get up.  Irwan replied to his inquiry, that the
count had not called.  Hugh withdrew to the Golden Staff.

A bad night it had been indeed.  As Euphra slept well the first part
of it, and had no attack such as she had had upon both the preceding
nights, Margaret had hoped the worst was over.  Still she laid
herself only within the threshold of sleep ready to wake at the
least motion.

In the middle of the night she felt Euphra move.  She lay still to
see what she would do.  Euphra slipped out of bed, and partly
dressed herself; then went to her wardrobe, and put on a cloak with
a large hood, which she drew over her head.  Margaret lay with a
dreadful aching at her heart.  Euphra went towards the door.
Margaret called her, but she made no answer.  Margaret flew to the
door, and reached it before her.  Then, to her intense delight, she
saw that Euphra's eyes were closed.  Just as she laid her hand on
the door, Margaret took her gently in her arms.

"Let me go, let me go!"  Euphra almost screamed.  Then suddenly
opening her eyes, she stared at Margaret in a bewildered fashion,
like one waking from the dead.

"Euphra! dear Euphra!" said Margaret.

"Oh, Margaret! is it really you?" exclaimed Euphra, flinging her
arms about her. "Oh, I am glad.  Ah! you see what I must have been
about.  I suppose I knew when I was doing it, but I don't know now.
I have forgotten all about it.  Oh dear! oh dear!  I thought it
would come to this."

"Come to bed, dear.  You couldn't help it.  It was not yourself.
There is not more than half of you awake, when you walk in your
sleep."

They went to bed.  Euphra crept close to Margaret, and cried herself
asleep again.  The next day she had a bad head-ache.  This with her
always followed somnambulation.  She did not get up all that day.
When Hugh called again in the evening, he heard she was better, but
still in bed.

Falconer joined Hugh at the Golden Staff, at night; but they had no
better success than before.  Falconer went out alone, for Hugh
wanted to keep himself fresh.  Though very strong, he was younger
and less hardened than Falconer, who could stand an incredible
amount of labour and lack of sleep.  Hugh would have given way under
the half.




CHAPTER XVIII.

VICTORY

O my admired mistress, quench not out
The holy fires within you, though temptations
Shower down upon you: clasp thine armour on;
Fight well, and thou shalt see, after these wars,
Thy head wear sunbeams, and thy feet touch stars.

MASSINGER. -- The Virgin Martyr.


But Hugh could sleep no more than if he had been out with Falconer.
He was as restless as a wild beast in a cage.  Something would not
let him be at peace.  So he rose, dressed, and went out.  As soon as
he turned the corner, he could see Mrs. Elton's house.  It was
visible both by intermittent moonlight above, and by flickering
gaslight below, for the wind blew rather strong.  There was snow in
the air, he knew.  The light they had observed last night, was
burning now.  A moment served to make these observations; and then
Hugh's eyes were arrested by the sight of something else -- a man
walking up and down the pavement in front of Mrs. Elton's house.  He
instantly stepped into the shadow of a porch to watch him.  The
figure might be the count's; it might not; he could not be sure.
Every now and then the man looked up to the windows.  At length he
stopped right under the lighted one, and looked up.  Hugh was on the
point of gliding out, that he might get as near him as possible
before rushing on him, when, at the moment, to his great
mortification, a policeman emerged from some mysterious corner, and
the figure instantly vanished in another.  Hugh did not pursue him;
because it would be to set all on a single chance, and that a poor
one; for if the count, should it be he, succeeded in escaping, he
would not return to a spot which he knew to be watched.  Hugh,
therefore, withdrew once more under a porch, and waited.  But,
whatever might be the cause, the man made his appearance no more.
Hugh contrived to keep watch for two hours, in spite of suspicious
policemen.  He slept late into the following morning.

Calling at Mrs. Elton's, he learned that the count had not been
there; that Miss Cameron had been very ill all night; but that she
was rather better since the morning.

That night, as the preceding, Margaret had awaked suddenly.  Euphra
was not in the bed beside her.  She started up in an agony of
terror; but it was soon allayed, though not removed.  She saw Euphra
on her knees at the foot of the bed, an old-fashioned four-post one.
She had her arms twined round one of the bed-posts, and her head
thrown back, as if some one were pulling her backwards by her hair,
which fell over her night-dress to the floor in thick, black masses.
Her eyes were closed; her face was death-like, almost livid; and
the cold dews of torture were rolling down from brow to chin.  Her
lips were moving convulsively, with now and then the appearance of
an attempt at articulation, as if they were set in motion by an
agony of inward prayer.  Margaret, unable to move, watched her with
anxious sympathy and fearful expectation.  How long this lasted she
could not tell, but it seemed a long time.  At length Margaret rose,
and longing to have some share in the struggle, however small, went
softly, and stood behind her, shadowing her from a feeble ray of
moonlight which, through a wind-rent cloud, had stolen into the
room, and lay upon her upturned face.  There she lifted up her heart
in prayer.  In a moment after the tension of Euphra's countenance
relaxed a little; composure slowly followed; her head gradually
rose, so that Margaret could see her face no longer; then, as
gradually, drooped forward.  Next her arms untwined themselves from
the bed-post, and her hands clasped themselves together.  She looked
like one praying in the intense silence of absorbing devotion.
Margaret stood still as a statue.

In speaking about it afterwards to Hugh, Margaret told him that she
distinctly remembered hearing, while she stood, the measured steps
of a policeman pass the house on the pavement below.

In a few minutes Euphra bowed her head yet lower, and then rose to
her feet.  She turned round towards Margaret, as if she knew she was
there.  To Margaret's astonishment, her eyes were wide open.  She
smiled a most child-like, peaceful, happy smile, and said:

"It is over, Margaret, all over at last.  Thank you, with my whole
heart.  God has helped me."

At that moment, the moon shone out full, and her face appeared in
its light like the face of an angel.  Margaret looked on her with
awe.  Fear, distress, and doubt had vanished, and she was already
beautiful like the blessed.  Margaret got a handkerchief, and wiped
the cold damps from her face.  Then she helped her into bed, where
she fell asleep almost instantly, and slept like a child.  Now and
then she moaned; but when Margaret looked at her, she saw the smile
still upon her countenance.

She woke weak and worn, but happy.

"I shall not trouble you to-day, Margaret, dear," said she. "I shall
not get up yet, but you will not need to watch me.  A great change
has passed upon me.  I am free.  I have overcome him.  He may do as
he pleases now.  I do not care.  I defy him.  I got up last night in
my sleep, but I remember all about it; and, although I was asleep,
and felt powerless like a corpse, I resisted him, even when I
thought he was dragging me away by bodily force.  And I resisted
him, till he left me alone.  Thank God!"

It had been a terrible struggle, but she had overcome.  Nor was this
all: she would no more lead two lives, the waking and the sleeping.
Her waking will and conscience had asserted themselves in her
sleeping acts; and the memory of the somnambulist lived still in the
waking woman.  Hence her two lives were blended into one life; and
she was no more two, but one.  This indicated a mighty growth of
individual being.

"I woke without terror," she went on to say. "I always used to wake
from such a sleep in an agony of unknown fear.  I do not think I
shall ever walk in my sleep again."

Is not salvation the uniting of all our nature into one harmonious
whole -- God first in us, ourselves last, and all in due order
between?  Something very much analogous to the change in Euphra
takes place in a man when he first learns that his beliefs must
become acts; that his religious life and his human life are one;
that he must do the thing that he admires.  The Ideal is the only
absolute Real; and it must become the Real in the individual life as
well, however impossible they may count it who never try it, or who
do not trust in God to effect it, when they find themselves baffled
in the attempt.

In the afternoon, Euphra fell asleep, and when she woke, seemed
better.  She said to Margaret:

"Can it be that it was all a dream, Margaret?  I mean my association
with that dreadful man.  I feel as if it were only some horrid
dream, and that I could never have had anything to do with him.  I
may have been out of my mind, you know, and have told you things
which I believed firmly enough then, but which never really took
place.  It could not have been me, Margaret, could it?"

"Not your real, true, best self, dear."

"I have been a dreadful creature, Margaret.  But I feel that all
that has melted away from me, and gone behind the sunset, which will
for ever stand, in all its glory and loveliness, between me and it,
an impassable rampart of defence."

Her words sounded strange and excited, but her eye and her pulse
were calm.

"How could he ever have had that hateful power over me?"

"Don't think any more about him, dear, but enjoy the rest God has
given you."

"I will, I will."

At that moment, a maid came to the door, with Funkelstein's card for
Miss Cameron.

"Very well," said Margaret; "ask him to wait.  I will tell Miss
Cameron.  She may wish to send him a message.  You may go."

She told Euphra that the count was in the house.  Euphra showed no
surprise, no fear, no annoyance.

"Will you see him for me, Margaret, if you don't mind; and tell him
from me, that I defy him; that I do not hate him, only because I
despise and forget him; that I challenge him to do his worst."

She had forgotten all about the ring.  But Margaret had not.

"I will," said she, and left the room.

On her way down, she went into the drawing-room, and rang the bell.

"Send Mr. Irwan to me here, please.  It is for Miss Cameron."

The man went, but presently returned, saying that the butler had
just stepped out.

"Very well.  You will do just as well.  When the gentleman leaves
who is calling now, you must follow him.  Take a cab, if necessary,
and follow him everywhere, till you find where he stops for the
night.  Watch the place, and send me word where you are.  But don't
let him know.  Put on plain clothes, please, as fast as you can."

"Yes, Miss, directly."

The servants all called Margaret, Miss.

She lingered yet a little, to give the man time.  She was not at all
satisfied with her plan, but she could think of nothing better.
Happily, it was not necessary.  Irwan had run as fast as his old
legs would carry him to the Golden Staff.  Hugh received the news
with delight.  His heart seemed to leap into his throat, and he felt
just as he did, when, deer-stalking for the first time, he tried to
take aim at a great red stag.

"I shall wait for him outside the door.  We must have no noise in
the house.  He is a thief, or worse, Irwan."

"Good gracious!  And there's the plate all laid out for dinner on
the sideboard!" exclaimed Irwan, and hurried off faster than he had
come.

But Hugh was standing at the door long before Irwan got up to it.
Had Margaret known who was watching outside, it would have been a
wonderful relief to her.

She entered the dining-room, where the count stood impatient.  He
advanced quickly, acting on his expectation of Euphra, but seeing
his mistake, stopped, and bowed politely.  Margaret told him that
Miss Cameron was ill, and gave him her message, word for word.  The
count turned pale with mortification and rage.  He bit his lip, made
no reply, and walked out into the hall, where Irwan stood with the
handle of the door in his hand, impatient to open it.  No sooner was
he out of the house, than Hugh sprang upon him; but the count, who
had been perfectly upon his guard, eluded him, and darted off down
the street.  Hugh pursued at full speed, mortified at his escape.
He had no fear at first of overtaking him, for he had found few men
his equals in speed and endurance; but he soon saw, to his dismay,
that the count was increasing the distance between them, and feared
that, by a sudden turn into some labyrinth, he might escape him
altogether.  They passed the Golden Staff at full speed, and at the
next corner Hugh discovered what gave the count the advantage: it
was his agility and recklessness in turning corners.  But, like the
sorcerer's impunity, they failed him at last; for, at the next turn,
he ran full upon Falconer, who staggered back, while the count
reeled and fell.  Hugh was upon him in a moment. "Help!" roared the
count, for a last chance from the sympathies of a gathering crowd.

"I've got him!" cried Hugh.

"Let the man alone," growled a burly fellow in the crowd, with his
fists clenched in his trowser-pockets.

"Let me have a look at him," said Falconer, stooping over him. "Ah!
I don't know him.  That's as well for him.  Let him up,
Sutherland."

The bystanders took Falconer for a detective, and did not seem
inclined to interfere, all except the carman before mentioned.  He
came up, pushing the crowd right and left.

"Let the man alone," said he, in a very offensive tone.

"I assure you," said Falconer, "he's not worth your trouble; for -- "

"None o' your cursed jaw!" said the fellow, in a louder and deeper
growl, approaching Falconer with a threatening mien.

"Well, I can't help it," said Falconer, as if to himself.

"Sutherland, look after the count."

"That I will," said Hugh, confidently.

Falconer turned on the carman, who was just on the point of closing
with him, preferring that mode of fighting; and saying only: "Defend
yourself," retreated a step.  The man was good at his fists too,
and, having failed in his first attempt, made the best use of them
he could.  But he had no chance with Falconer, whose coolness
equalled his skill.

Meantime, the Bohemian had been watching his chance; and although
the contest certainly did not last longer than one minute, found
opportunity, in the middle of it, to wrench himself free from Hugh,
trip him up, and dart off.  The crowd gave way before him.  He
vanished so suddenly and completely, that it was evident he must
have studied the neighbourhood from the retreat side of the
question.  With rat-like instinct, he had consulted the holes and
corners in anticipation of the necessity of applying to them.  Hugh
got up, and, directed, or possibly misdirected by the bystanders,
sped away in pursuit; but he could hear or see nothing of the
fugitive.

At the end of the minute, the carman lay in the road.

"Look after him, somebody," said Falconer.

"No fear of him, sir; he's used to it," answered one of the
bystanders, with the respect which Falconer's prowess claimed.

Falconer walked after Hugh, who soon returned, looking excessively
mortified, and feeling very small indeed.

"Never mind, Sutherland," said he. "The fellow is up to a trick or
two; but we shall catch him yet.  If it hadn't been for that big
fool there -- but he's punished enough."

"But what can we do next?  He will not come here again."

"Very likely not.  Still he may not give up his attempts upon Miss
Cameron.  I almost wonder, seeing she is so impressible, that she
can give no account of his whereabouts.  But I presume clairvoyance
depends on the presence of other qualifications as well.  I should
like to mesmerize her myself, and see whether she could not help us
then."

"Well, why not, if you have the power?"

"Because I have made up my mind not to superinduce any condition of
whose laws I am so very partially informed.  Besides, I consider it
a condition of disease in which, as by sleeplessness for instance,
the senses of the soul, if you will allow the expression, are, for
its present state, rendered unnaturally acute.  To induce such a
condition, I dare not exercise a power which itself I do not
understand."




CHAPTER XIX.

MARGARET.

For though that ever virtuous was she,
  She was increased in such excellence,
Of thewes good, yset in high bounte,
  And so discreet and fair of eloquence,
  So benign, and so digne of reverence,
And couthe so the poeple's hert embrace,
That each her loveth that looketh in her face.

CHAUCER. -- The Clerk's Tale.


Hugh returned to Mrs. Elton's, and, in the dining-room, wrote a note
to Euphra, to express his disappointment, and shame that, after all,
the count had foiled him; but, at the same time, his determination
not to abandon the quest, till there was no room for hope left.  He
sent this up to her, and waited, thinking that she might be on the
sofa, and might send for him.  A little weary from the reaction of
the excitement he had just gone through, he sat down in the corner
farthest from the door.  The large room was dimly lighted by one
untrimmed lamp.

He sat for some time, thinking that Euphra was writing him a note,
or perhaps preparing herself to see him in her room.  Involuntarily
he looked up, and a sudden pang, as at the vision of the
disembodied, shot through his heart.  A dim form stood in the middle
of the room, gazing earnestly at him.  He saw the same face which he
had seen for a moment in the library at Arnstead -- the glorified face
of Margaret Elginbrod, shimmering faintly in the dull light.
Instinctively he pressed his hands together, palm to palm, as if he
had been about to kneel before Madonna herself.  Delight, mingled
with hope, and tempered by shame, flushed his face.  Ghost or none,
she brought no fear with her, only awe.

She stood still.

"Margaret!" he said, with trembling voice.

"Mr. Sutherland!" she responded, sweetly.

"Are you a ghost, Margaret?"

She smiled as if she were all spirit, and, advancing slowly, took
his joined hands in both of hers.

"Forgive me, Margaret," sighed he, as if with his last breath, and
burst into an agony of tears.

She waited motionless, till his passion should subside, still
holding his hands.  He felt that her hands were so good.

"He is dead!" said Hugh, at last, with all effort, followed by a
fresh outburst of weeping.

"Yes, he is dead," rejoined Margaret, calmly. "You would not weep so
if you had seen him die as I did -- die with a smile like a summer
sunset.  Indeed, it was the sunset to me; but the moon has been up
for a long time now."

She sighed a gentle, painless sigh, and smiled again like a saint.
She spoke nearly as Scotch as ever in tone, though the words and
pronunciation were almost pure English. -- This lapse into so much of
the old form, or rather garment, of speech, constantly recurred, as
often as her feelings were moved, and especially when she talked to
children.

"Forgive me," said Hugh, once more.

"We are the same as in the old days," answered Margaret; and Hugh
was satisfied.

"How do you come to be here?" said Hugh, at last, after a silence.

"I will tell you all about that another time.  Now I must give you
Miss Cameron's message.  She is very sorry she cannot see you, but
she is quite unable.  Indeed, she is not out of bed.  But if you
could call to-morrow morning, she hopes to be better and to be able
to see you.  She says she can never thank you enough."

The lamp burned yet fainter.  Margaret went, and proceeded to trim
it.  The virgins that arose must have looked very lovely, trimming
their lamps.  It is a deed very fair and womanly -- the best for a
woman -- to make the lamp burn.  The light shone up in her face, and
the hands removing the globe handled it delicately.  He saw that the
good hands were very beautiful hands; not small, but admirably
shaped, and very pure.  As she replaced the globe, --

"That man," she said, "will not trouble her any more."

"I hope not," said Hugh; "but you speak confidently: why?"

"Because she has behaved gloriously.  She has fought and conquered
him on his own ground; and she is a free, beautiful, and good
creature of God for ever."

"You delight me," rejoined Hugh "Another time, perhaps, you will be
able to tell me all about it."

"I hope so.  I think she will not mind my telling you."

They bade each other good night; and Hugh went away with a strange
feeling, which he had never experienced before.  To compare great
things with small, it was something like what he had once felt in a
dream, in which, digging in his father's garden, he had found a
perfect marble statue, young as life, and yet old as the hills.  To
think of the girl he had first seen in the drawing-room at
Turriepuffit, idealizing herself into such a creature as that, so
grand, and yet so womanly! so lofty, and yet so lovely; so strong,
and yet so graceful!

Would that every woman believed in the ideal of herself, and hoped
for it as the will of God, not merely as the goal of her own purest
ambition!  But even if the lower development of the hope were all
she possessed, it would yet be well; for its inevitable failure
would soon develope the higher and triumphant hope.

He thought about her till he fell asleep, and dreamed about her till
he woke.  Not for a moment, however, did he fancy he was in love
with her: the feeling was different from any he had hitherto
recognized as embodying that passion.  It was the recognition and
consequent admiration of a beauty which everyone who beheld it must
recognize and admire; but mingled, in his case, with old and
precious memories, doubly dear now in the increased earnestness of
his nature and aspirations, and with a deep personal interest from
the fact that, however little, he had yet contributed a portion of
the vital food whereby the gracious creature had become what she
was.

In the so-called morning he went to Mrs. Elton's.  Euphra was
expecting his visit, and he was shown up into her room, where she
was lying on a couch by the fire.  She received him with the warmth
of gratitude added to that of friendship.  Her face was pale and
thin, but her eyes were brilliant.  She did not appear at first
sight to be very ill: but the depth and reality of her sickness grew
upon him.  Behind her couch stood Margaret, like a guardian angel.
Margaret could bear the day, for she belonged to it; and therefore
she looked more beautiful still than by the lamp-light.  Euphra held
out a pale little hand to Hugh, and before she withdrew it, led
Hugh's towards Margaret.  Their hands joined.  How different to Hugh
was the touch of the two hands!  Life, strength, persistency in the
one: languor, feebleness, and fading in the other.

"I can never thank you enough," said Euphra; "therefore I will not
try.  It is no bondage to remain your debtor."

"That would be thanks indeed, if I had done anything."

"I have found out another mystery," Euphra resumed, after a pause.

"I am sorry to hear it," answered he. "I fear there will be no
mysteries left by-and-by."

"No fear of that," she rejoined, "so long as the angels come down to
men."  And she turned towards Margaret as she spoke.

Margaret smiled.  In the compliment she felt only the kindness.

Hugh looked at her.  She turned away, and found something to do at
the other side of the room.

"What mystery, then, have you destroyed?"

"Not destroyed it; for the mystery of courage remains.  I was the
wicked ghost that night in the Ghost's Walk, you know -- the white
one: there is the good ghost, the nun, the black one."

"Who?  Margaret?"

"Yes, indeed.  She has just been confessing it to me.  I had my two
angels, as one whose fate was undetermined; my evil angel in the
count -- my good angel in Margaret.  Little did I think then that the
holy powers were watching me in her.  I knew the evil one; I knew
nothing of the good.  I suppose it is so with a great many people."

Hugh sat silent in astonishment.  Margaret, then, had been at
Arnstead with Mrs. Elton all the time.  It was herself he had seen
in the study.

"Did you suspect me, Margaret?" resumed Euphra, turning towards her
where she sat at the window.

"Not in the least.  I only knew that something was wrong about the
house; that some being was terrifying the servants, and poor Harry;
and I resolved to do my best to meet it, especially if it should be
anything of a ghostly kind."

"Then you do believe in such appearances?" said Hugh.

"I have never met anything of the sort yet.  I don't know."

"And you were not afraid?"

"Not much.  I am never really afraid of anything.  Why should I be?"

No justification of fear was suggested either by Hugh or by Euphra.
They felt the dignity of nature that lifted Margaret above the
region of fear.

"Come and see me again soon," said Euphra, as Hugh rose to go.

He promised.

Next day he dined by invitation with Mrs. Elton and Harry.  Euphra
was unable to see him, but sent a kind message by Margaret as he was
taking his leave.  He had been fearing that he should not see
Margaret; and when she did appear he was the more delighted; but the
interview was necessarily short.

He called the next day, and saw neither Euphra nor Margaret.  She
was no better.  Mrs. Elton said the physicians could discover no
definite disease either of the lungs or of any other organ.  Yet
life seemed sinking.  Margaret thought that the conflict which she
had passed through, had exhausted her vitality; that, had she
yielded, she might have lived a slave; but that now, perhaps, she
must die a free woman.

Her continued illness made Hugh still more anxious to find the ring,
for he knew it would please her much.  Falconer would have applied
to the police, but he feared that the man would vanish from London,
upon the least suspicion that he was watched.  They held many
consultations on the subject.




CHAPTER XX.

A NEW GUIDE.

Das Denken ist nur ein Traum des Fuhlens, ein erstorbenes Fuhlen,
ein blass-graues, schwaches Leben.

Thinking is only a dream of feeling; a dead feeling; a pale-grey,
feeble life.

NOVALIS. -- Die Lehrlinge zu Sais.


For where's no courage, there's no ruth nor mone.

Faerie Queene: vi. 7, 18.


One morning, as soon as she waked, Euphra said:

"Have I been still all the night, Margaret?"

"Quite still.  Why do you ask?"

"Because I have had such a strange and vivid dream, that I feel as
if I must have been to the place.  It was a foolish question,
though; because, of course, you would not have let me go."

"I hope it did not trouble you much."

"No, not much; for though I was with the count, I did not seem to be
there in the body at all, only somehow near him, and seeing him.  I
can recall the place perfectly."

"Do you think it really was the place he was in at the time?"

"I should not wonder.  But now I feel so free, so far beyond him and
all his power, that I don't mind where or when I see him.  He cannot
hurt me now."

"Could you describe the place to Mr. Sutherland?  It might help him
to find the count."

"That's a good idea.  Will you send for him?"

"Yes, certainly.  May I tell him for what?"

"By all means."

Margaret wrote to Hugh at once, and sent the note by hand.  He was
at home when it arrived.  He hurriedly answered it, and went to find
Falconer.  To his delight he was at home -- not out of bed, in fact.

"Read that."

"Who is it from?"

"Miss Cameron's maid."

"It does not look like a maid's production."

"It is though.  Will you come with me?  You know London ten thousand
times better than I do.  I don't think we ought to lose a chance."

"Certainly not.  I will go with you.  But perhaps she will not see
me."

"Oh! yes, she will, when I have told her about you."

"It will be rather a trial to see a stranger."

"A man cannot be a stranger with you ten minutes, if he only looks
at you; -- still less a woman."

Falconer looked pleased, and smiled.

"I am glad you think so.  Let us go."

When they arrived, Margaret came to them.  Hugh told her that
Falconer was his best friend, and one who knew London perhaps better
than any other man in it.  Margaret looked at him full in the face
for a moment.  Falconer smiled at the intensity of her still gaze.
Margaret returned the smile, and said:

"I will ask Miss Cameron to see ye."

"Thank you," was all Falconer's reply; but the tone was more than
speech.

After a little while, they were shown up to Euphra's room.  She had
wanted to sit up, but Margaret would not let her; so she was lying
on her couch.  When Falconer was presented to her, he took her hand,
and held it for a moment.  A kind of indescribable beam broke over
his face, as if his spirit smiled and the smile shone through
without moving one of his features as it passed.  The tears stood in
his eyes.  To understand all this look, one would need to know his
history as I do.  He laid her hand gently on her bosom, and said:
"God bless you!"

Euphra felt that God did bless her in the very words.  She had been
looking at Falconer all the time.  It was only fifteen seconds or
so; but the outcome of a life was crowded into Falconer's side of
it; and the confidence of Euphra rose to meet the faithfulness of a
man of God. -- What words those are! -- A man of God!  Have I not
written a revelation?  Yes -- to him who can read it -- yes.

"I know enough of your story, Miss Cameron," he said, "to understand
without any preface what you choose to tell me."

Euphra began at once:

"I dreamed last night that I found myself outside the street door.
I did not know where I was going; but my feet seemed to know.  They
carried me, round two or three corners, into a wide, long street,
which I think was Oxford-street.  They carried me on into London,
far beyond any quarter I knew.  All I can tell further is, that I
turned to the left beside a church, on the steeple of which stood
what I took for a wandering ghost just lighted there; -- only I ought
to tell you, that frequently in my dreams -- always in my peculiar
dreams -- the more material and solid and ordinary things are, the
more thin and ghostly they appear to me.  Then I went on and on,
turning left and right too many times for me to remember, till at
last I came to a little, old-fashioned court, with two or three
trees in it.  I had to go up a few steps to enter it.  I was not
afraid, because I knew I was dreaming, and that my body was not
there.  It is a great relief to feel that sometimes; for it is often
very much in the way.  I opened a door, upon which the moon shone
very bright, and walked up two flights of stairs into a back room.
And there I found him, doing something at a table by candlelight.
He had a sheet of paper before him; but what he was doing with it,
I could not see.  I tried hard; but it was of no use.  The dream
suddenly faded, and I awoke, and found Margaret. -- Then I knew I was
safe," she added, with a loving glance at her maid.

Falconer rose.

"I know the place you mean perfectly," he said. "It is too peculiar
to be mistaken.  Last night, let me see, how did the moon
shine? -- Yes. I shall be able to tell the very door, I think, or
almost."

"How kind of you not to laugh at me!"

"I might make a fool of myself if I laughed at any one.  So I
generally avoid it.  We may as well get the good out of what we do
not understand -- or at least try if there be any in it.  Will you
come, Sutherland?"

Hugh rose, and took his leave with Falconer.

"How pleased she seemed with you, Falconer!" said he, as they left
the house.

"Yes, she touched me."

"Won't you go and see her again?"

"No; there is no need, except she sends for me."

"It would please her -- comfort her, I am sure."

"She has got one of God's angels beside her, Sutherland.  She
doesn't want me."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean that maid of hers."

A pang -- of jealousy, was it? -- shot through Hugh's heart.  How could
he see -- what right had he to see anything in Margaret?

Hugh might have kept himself at peace, even if he had loved Margaret
as much as she deserved, which would have been about ten times as
much as he did.  Is a man not to recognize an angel when he sees
her, and to call her by her name?  Had Hugh seen into the core of
that grand heart -- what form sat there, and how -- he would have been
at peace -- would almost have fallen down to do the man homage.  He
was silent.

"My dear fellow!" said Falconer, as if he divined his feeling -- for
Falconer's power over men and women came all from sympathy with
their spirits, and not their nerves -- "if you have any hold of that
woman, do not lose it; for as sure as there's a sun in heaven, she
is one of the winged ones.  Don't I know a woman when I see her!"

He sighed with a kind of involuntary sigh, which yet did not seek to
hide itself from Hugh.

"My dear boy," he added, laying a stress on the word, " -- I am nearly
twice your age -- don't be jealous of me."

"Mr. Falconer," said Hugh humbly, "forgive me.  The feeling was
involuntary; and if you have detected in it more than I was aware
of, you are at least as likely to be right as I am.  But you cannot
think more highly of Margaret than I do."

And yet Hugh did not know half the good of her then, that the reader
does now.

"Well, we had better part now, and meet again at night."

"What time shall I come to you?"

"Oh! about nine I think will do."

So Hugh went home, and tried to turn his thoughts to his story; but
Euphra, Falconer, Funkelstein, and Margaret persisted in sitting to
him, the one after the other, instead of the heroes and heroines of
his tale.  He was compelled to lay it aside, and betake himself to a
stroll and a pipe.

As he went down stairs, he met Miss Talbot.

"You're soon tired of home, Mr. Sutherland.  You haven't been in
above half an hour, and you're out again already."

"Why, you see, Miss Talbot, I want a pipe very much."

"Well, you ain't going to the public house to smoke it, are you?"

"No," answered Hugh laughing. "But you know, Miss Talbot, you made
it part of the agreement that I shouldn't smoke indoors.  So I'm
going to smoke in the street."

"Now, think of being taken that way!" retorted Miss Talbot, with an
injured air. "Why, that was before I knew anything about you.  Go up
stairs directly, and smoke your pipe; and when the room can't hold
any more, you can open the windows.  Your smoke won't do any harm,
Mr. Sutherland.  But I'm very sorry you quarrelled with Mrs.
Appleditch.  She's a hard woman, and over fond of her money and her
drawing-room; and for those boys of hers -- the Lord have mercy on
them, for she has none!  But she's a true Christian for all that,
and does a power of good among the poor people."

"What does she give them, Miss Talbot?"

"Oh! -- she gives them -- hm-m -- tracts and things.  You know," she
added, perceiving the weakness of her position, "people's souls
should come first.  And poor Mrs. Appleditch -- you see -- some folks is
made stickier than others, and their money sticks to them, somehow,
that they can't part with it -- poor woman!"

To this Hugh had no answer at hand; for though Miss Talbot's logic
was more than questionable, her charity was perfectly sound; and
Hugh felt that he had not been forbearing enough with the mother of
the future pastors.  So he went back to his room, lighted his pipe,
and smoked till he fell asleep over a small volume of morbid modern
divinity, which Miss Talbot had lent him.  I do not mention the name
of the book, lest some of my acquaintance should abuse me, and
others it, more than either deserves.  Hugh, however, found the best
refuge from the diseased self-consciousness which it endeavoured to
rouse, and which is a kind of spiritual somnambulism, in an hour of
God's good sleep, into a means of which the book was temporarily
elevated.  When he woke he found himself greatly refreshed by the
influence it had exercised upon him.

It was now the hour for the daily pretence of going to dine.  So he
went out.  But all he had was some bread, which he ate as he walked
about.  Loitering here, and trifling there, passing five minutes
over a volume on every bookstall in Holborn, and comparing the
shapes of the meerschaums in every tobacconist's window, time ambled
gently along with him; and it struck nine just as he found himself
at Falconer's door.

"You are ready, then?" said Falconer.

"Quite."

"Will you take anything before you go?  I think we had better have
some supper first.  It is early for our project."

This was a welcome proposal to Hugh. Cold meat and ale were
excellent preparatives for what might be required of him; for a
tendency to collapse in a certain region, called by courtesy the
chest, is not favourable to deeds of valour.  By the time he had
spent ten minutes in the discharge of the agreeable duty suggested,
he felt himself ready for anything that might fall to his lot.

The friends set out together; and, under the guidance of the two
foremost bumps upon Falconer's forehead, soon arrived at the place
he judged to be that indicated by Euphra.  It was very different
from the place Hugh had pictured to himself.  Yet in everything it
corresponded to her description.

"Are we not great fools, Sutherland, to set out on such a chase,
with the dream of a sick girl for our only guide?"

"I am sure you don't think so, else you would not have gone."

"I think we can afford the small risk to our reputation involved in
the chase of this same wild-goose.  There is enough of strange
testimony about things of the sort to justify us in attending to the
hint.  Besides, if we neglected it, it would be mortifying to find
out some day, perhaps a hundred years after this, that it was a true
hint.  It is altogether different from giving ourselves up to the
pursuit of such things. -- But this ought to be the house," he added,
going up to one that had a rather more respectable look than the
rest.

He knocked at the door.  An elderly woman half opened it and looked
at them suspiciously.

"Will you take my card to the foreign gentleman who is lodging with
you, and say I am happy to wait upon him?" said Falconer.

She glanced at him again, and turned inwards, hesitating whether to
leave the door half-open or not.  Falconer stood so close to it,
however, that she was afraid to shut it in his face.

"Now, Sutherland, follow me," whispered Falconer, as soon as the
woman had disappeared on the stair.

Hugh followed behind the moving tower of his friend, who strode with
long, noiseless strides till he reached the stair.  That he took
three steps at a time.  They went up two flights, and reached the
top just as the woman was laying her hand on the lock of the
back-room door.  She turned and faced them.

"Speak one word," said Falconer, in a hissing whisper, "and -- "

He completed the sentence by an awfully threatening gesture.  She
drew back in terror, and yielded her place at the door.

"Come in," bawled some one, in second answer to the knock she had
already given.

"It is he!" said Hugh, trembling with excitement.

"Hush!" said Falconer, and went in.

Hugh followed.  He knew the back of the count at once.  He was
seated at a table, apparently writing; but, going nearer, they saw
that he was drawing.  A single closer glance showed them the
portrait of Euphra growing under his hand.  In order to intensify
his will and concentrate it upon her, he was drawing her portrait
from memory.  But at the moment they caught sight of it, the wretch,
aware of a hostile presence, sprang to his feet, and reached the
chimney-piece at one bound, whence he caught up a sword.

"Take care, Falconer," cried Hugh; "that weapon is poisoned.  He is
no every-day villain you have to deal with."

He remembered the cat.

Funkelstein made a sudden lunge at Hugh, his face pale with hatred
and anger.  But a blow from Falconer's huge fist, travelling faster
than the point of his weapon, stretched him on the floor.  Such was
Falconer's impetus, that it hurled both him and the table across the
fallen villain.  Falconer was up in a moment.  Not so Funkelstein.
There was plenty of time for Hugh to secure the rapier, and for
Falconer to secure its owner, before he came to himself.

"Where's my ring?" said Hugh, the moment he opened his eyes.

"Gentlemen, I protest," began Funkelstein, in a voice upon which the
cord that bound his wrists had an evident influence.

"No chaff!" said Falconer. "We've got all our feathers.  Hand over
the two rings, or be the security for them yourself."

"What witness have you against me?"

"The best of witnesses -- Miss Cameron."

"And me," added Hugh.

"Gentlemen, I am very sorry.  I yielded to temptation.  I meant to
restore the diamond after the joke had been played out, but I was
forced to part with it."

"The joke is played out, you see," said Falconer. "So you had better
produce the other bauble you stole at the same time."

"I have not got it."

"Come, come, that's too much.  Nobody would give you more than five
shillings for it.  And you knew what it was worth when you took it.
Sutherland, you stand over him while I search the room.  This
portrait may as well be put out of the way first."

As he spoke, Falconer tore the portrait and threw it into the fire.
He then turned to a cupboard in the room.  Whether it was that
Funkelstein feared further revelations, I do not know, but he
quailed.

"I have not got it," he repeated, however.

"You lie," answered Falconer.

"I would give it you if I could."

"You shall."

The Bohemian looked contemptible enough now, despite the
handsomeness of his features.  It needed freedom, and the absence of
any urgency, to enable him to personate a gentleman.  Given those
conditions, he succeeded.  But as soon as he was disturbed, the
gloss vanished, and the true nature came out, that of a ruffian and
a sneak.  He quite quivered at the look with which Falconer turned
again to the cupboard.

"Stop," he cried; "here it is."

And muttering what sounded like curses, he pulled out of his bosom
the ring, suspended from his neck

"Sutherland," said Falconer, taking the ring, "secure that rapier,
and be careful with it.  We will have its point tested.
Meantime," -- here he turned again to his prisoner -- "I give you
warning that the moment I leave this house, I go to Scotland
Yard. -- Do you know the place?  I there recommend the police to look
after you, and they will mind what I say.  If you leave London, a
message will be sent, wherever you go, that you had better be
watched.  My advice to you is, to stay where you are as long as you
can.  I shall meet you again."

They left him on the floor, to the care of his landlady, whom they
found outside the room, speechless with terror.

As soon as they were in the square, on which the moon was now
shining, as it had shone in Euphra's dream the night before,
Falconer gave the ring to Hugh.

"Take it to a jeweller's, Sutherland, and get it cleaned, before you
give it to Miss Cameron."

"I will," answered Hugh, and added, "I don't know how to thank you."

"Then don't," said Falconer, with a smile.

When they reached the end of the street, he turned, and bade Hugh
good night.

"Take care of that cowardly thing.  It may be as you say."

Hugh turned towards home.  Falconer dived into a court, and was out
of sight in a moment.




CHAPTER XXI.

THE LAST GROAT.

     Thou hast been
As one, in suffering all, that suffers nothing;
A man that fortune's buffets and rewards
Hast ta'en with equal thanks; and blessed are those
Whose blood and judgment are so well commingled
That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger
To sound what stop she please.

Hamlet.


Most friends befriend themselves with friendship's show.

SOUTHWELL.


Hugh took the ring to Mrs. Elton's, and gave it into Margaret's
hand.  She brought him back a message of warmest thanks from Euphra.
She had asked for writing materials at once, and was now
communicating the good news to Mr. Arnold, in Madeira.

"I have never seen her look so happy," added Margaret. "She hopes to
be able to see you in the evening, if you would not mind calling
again."

Hugh did call, and saw her.  She received him most kindly.  He was
distressed to see how altered she was.  The fire of one life seemed
dying out -- flowing away and spending from her eyes, which it
illuminated with too much light as it passed out.  But the fire of
another life, the immortal life, which lies in thought and feeling,
in truth and love divine, which death cannot touch, because it is
not of his kind, was growing as fast.  He sat with her for an hour,
and then went.

This chapter of his own history concluded, Hugh returned with fresh
energy to his novel, and worked at it as his invention gave him
scope.  There was the more necessity that he should make progress,
from the fact that, having sent his mother the greater part of the
salary he had received from Mr. Arnold, he was now reduced to his
last sovereign.  Poverty looks rather ugly when she comes so close
as this.  But she had not yet accosted him; and with a sovereign in
his pocket, and last week's rent paid, a bachelor is certainly not
poverty-stricken, at least when he is as independent, not only of
other people, but of himself, as Hugh was.  Still, without more
money than that a man walks in fetters, and is ready to forget that
the various restraints he is under are not incompatible with most
honourable freedom.  So Hugh worked as hard as he could to finish
his novel, and succeeded within a week.  Then the real anxiety
began.  He carried it, with much doubtful hope, to one of the
principal publishing houses.  Had he been more selfishly wise, he
would have put it into the hands of Falconer to negotiate for him.
But he thought he had given him quite trouble enough already.  So
he went without an introduction even.  The manuscript was received
politely, and attention was promised.  But a week passed, and
another, and another.  A human soul was in commotion about the meat
that perisheth -- and the manuscript lay all the time
unread, -- forgotten in a drawer.

At length he reached his last coin.  He had had no meat for several
days, except once that he dined at Mrs. Elton's.  But he would not
borrow till absolutely compelled, and sixpence would keep him alive
another day.  In the morning he had some breakfast (for he knew his
books were worth enough to pay all he owed Miss Talbot), and then he
wandered out.  Through the streets he paced and paced, looking in at
all the silversmiths' and printsellers' windows, and solacing his
poverty with a favourite amusement of his in uneasy circumstances,
an amusement cheap enough for a Scotchman reduced to his last
sixpence -- castle-building.  This is not altogether a bad employment
where hope has laid the foundation; but it is rather a heartless one
where the imagination has to draw the ground plan as well as the
elevations.  The latter, however, was not quite Hugh's condition
yet. -- He returned at night, carefully avoiding the cook-shops and
their kindred snares, with a silver groat in his pocket still.  But
he crawled up stairs rather feebly, it must be confessed, for a
youth with limbs moulded in the fashion of his.

He found a letter waiting him, from a friend of his mother,
informing him that she was dangerously ill, and urging him to set
off immediately for home.  This was like the blast of fiery breath
from the dragon's maw, which overthrew the Red-cross knight -- but
into the well of life, where all his wounds were healed,
and -- and -- well -- board and lodging provided him gratis.

When he had read the letter, he fell on his knees, and said to his
father in heaven: "What am I to do?"

There was no lake with golden pieces in its bottom, whence a fish
might bring him a coin.  Nor in all the wide London lay there one he
could claim as his, but the groat in his pocket.

He rose with the simple resolution to go and tell Falconer.  He
went.  He was not at home.  Emboldened by necessity, Hugh left his
card, with the words on it: "Come to me; I need you."  He then
returned, packed a few necessaries, and sat down to wait.  But he
had not sat five minutes before Falconer entered.

"What's the matter, Sutherland, my dear fellow?  You haven't pricked
yourself with that skewer, have you?"

Hugh handed him the letter with one hand; and when he had read it,
held out the fourpenny piece in the other hand, to be read likewise.
Falconer understood at once.

"Sutherland," he said, in a tone of reproof, "it is a shame of you
to forget that men are brothers.  Are not two who come out of the
heart of God, as closely related as if they had lain in the womb of
one mother?  Why did you not tell me?  You have suffered -- I am sure
you have."

"I have -- a little," Hugh confessed. "I am getting rather low in
fact.  I haven't had quite enough to eat."

He said this to excuse the tears which Falconer's kindness -- not
hunger--compelled from their cells.

"But," he added, "I would have come to you as soon as the fourpence
was gone; or at least, if I hadn't got another before I was very
hungry again."

"Good heavens!" exclaimed Falconer, half angrily.  Then pulling out
his watch, "We have two hours," said he, "before a train starts for
the north.  Come to my place."

Hugh rose and obeyed.  Falconer's attendant soon brought them a
plentiful supper from a neighbouring shop; after which Falconer got
out one of his bottles of port, well known to his more intimate
friends; and Hugh thought no more about money than if he had had his
purse full.  If it had not been for anxiety about his mother, he
would have been happier than he had ever been in his life before.
For, crossing in the night the wavering, heaving morass of the
world, had he not set his foot upon one spot which did not shake;
the summit, indeed, of a mighty Plutonic rock, that went down
widening away to the very centre of the earth?  As he sped along in
the railway that night, the prophecy of thousands of years came
back: "A man shall be a hiding-place from the wind, a covert from
the tempest, the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."  And he
thought it would be a blessed time indeed, when this was just what a
man was.  And then he thought of the Son of Man, who, by being such
first, was enabling all his friends to be such too.  Of him Falconer
had already learned this "truth in the inward parts"; and had found,
in the process of learning it, that this was the true nature which
God had made his from the first, no new thing superinduced upon it.
He had had but to clear away the rubbish of worldliness, which more
or less buries the best natures for a time, and so to find himself.

After Hugh had eaten and drunk, and thus once more experienced the
divinity that lay in food and wine, he went to take leave of his
friends at Mrs. Elton's.  Like most invalids, Euphra was better in
the evening: she requested to see him.  He found her in bed, and
much wasted since he saw her last.  He could not keep the tears from
filling his eyes, for all the events of that day had brought them
near the surface.

"Do not cry, dear friend," she said sweetly. "There is no room for
me here any more, and I am sent for."

Hugh could not reply.  She went on:

"I have written to Mr. Arnold about the ring, and all you did to get
it.  Do you know he is going to marry Lady Emily?"

Still Hugh could not answer.

Margaret stood on the other side of the bed, the graceful embodiment
of holy health, and in his sorrow, he could not help feeling the
beauty of her presence.  Her lovely hands were the servants of
Euphra, and her light, firm feet moved only in ministration.  He
felt that Euphra had room in the world while Margaret waited on her.
It is not house, and fire, and plenty of servants, and all the
things that money can procure, that make a home -- not father or
mother or friends; but one heart which will not be weary of helping,
will not be offended with the petulance of sickness, nor the
ministrations needful to weakness: this "entire affection hating
nicer hands" will make a home of a cave in a rock, or a gipsy's
tent.  This Euphra had in Margaret, and Hugh saw it.

"I trust you will find your mother better, Hugh" said Euphra.

"I fear not," answered he.

"Well, Margaret has been teaching me, and I think I have learned it,
that death is not at all such a dreadful thing as it looks.  I said
to her: 'It is easy for you, Margaret, who are so far from death's
door.'  But she told me that she had been all but dead once, and
that you had saved her life almost with your own.  Oh, Hugh! she is
such a dear!"

Euphra smiled with ten times the fascination of any of her old
smiles; for the soul of the smile was love.

"I shall never see you again, I daresay," she went on. "My heart
thanks you, from its very depths, for your goodness to me.  It has
been a thousand times more than I deserve."

Hugh kissed in silence the wasted hand held out to him in adieu, and
departed.  And the world itself was a sad wandering star.

Falconer had called for him.  They drove to Miss Talbot's, where
Hugh got his 'bag of needments,' and bade his landlady good-bye for
a time.  Falconer then accompanied him to the railway.

Having left him for a moment, Falconer rejoined him, saying: "I have
your ticket;" and put him into a first-class carriage.

Hugh remonstrated.  Falconer replied:

"I find this hulk of mine worth taking care of.  You will be twice
the good to your mother, if you reach her tolerably fresh."

He stood by the carriage door talking to him, till the train
started; walked alongside till it was fairly in motion; then,
bidding him good-bye, left in his hand a little packet, which Hugh,
opening it by the light of the lamp, found to consist of a few
sovereigns and a few shillings folded up in a twenty-pound-note.

I ought to tell one other little fact, however.  Just before the
engine whistled, Falconer said to Hugh:

"Give me that fourpenny piece, you brave old fellow!"

"There it is," said Hugh. "What do you want it for?"

"I am going to make a wedding-present of it to your wife, whoever
she may happen to be.  I hope she will be worthy of it."

Hugh instantly thought within himself:

"What a wife Margaret would make to Falconer!"

The thought was followed by a pang, keen and clear.

Those who are in the habit of regarding the real and the ideal as
essentially and therefore irreconcileably opposed, will remark that
I cannot have drawn the representation of Falconer faithfully.
Perhaps the difficulty they will experience in recognizing its
truthfulness, may spring from the fact that they themselves are
un-ideal enough to belong to the not small class of strong-minded
friends whose chief care, in performing the part of the rock in the
weary land, is -- not to shelter you imprudently.  They are afraid of
weakening your constitution by it, especially if it is not strong to
begin with; so if they do just take off the edge of the tempest with
the sharp corners of their sheltering rock for a moment, the next,
they will thrust you out into the rain, to get hardy and
self-denying, by being wet to the skin and well blown about.

The rich easily learn the wisdom of Solomon, but are unapt scholars
of him who is greater than Solomon.  It is, on the other hand, so
easy for the poor to help each other, that they have little merit in
it: it is no virtue -- only a beauty.  But there are a few rich, who,
rivalling the poor in their own peculiar excellences, enter into the
kingdom of heaven in spite of their riches; and then find that by
means of their riches they are made rulers over many cities.  She to
whose memory this book is dedicated, is -- I will not say was -- one of
the noblest of such.

There are two ways of accounting for the difficulty which a reader
may find in believing in such a character: either that, not being
poor, he has never needed such a friend; or that, being rich, he has
never been such a friend.

Or if it be that, being poor, he has never found such a friend; his
difficulty is easy to remove: -- I have.




CHAPTER XXII.

DEATH.

Think then, my soul, that death is but a groom
Which brings a taper to the outward room,
Whence thou spy'st first a little glimmering light;
And after brings it nearer to thy sight:
For such approaches doth heaven make in death.

DR. DONNE.


Hugh found his mother even worse than he had expected; but she
rallied a little after his arrival.

In the evening, he wandered out in the bright moonlit snow.

How strange it was to see all the old forms with his heart so full
of new things!  The same hills rose about him, with all the lines of
their shapes unchanged in seeming.  Yet they were changing as surely
as himself; nay, he continued more the same than they; for in him
the old forms were folded up in the new.  In the eyes of Him who
creates time, there is no rest, but a living sacred change, a
journeying towards rest.  He alone rests; and he alone, in virtue of
his rest, creates change.

He thought with sadness, how all the haunts of his childhood would
pass to others, who would feel no love or reverence for them; that
the house would be the same, but sounding with new steps, and
ringing with new laughter.  A little further thought, however, soon
satisfied him that places die as well as their dwellers; that, by
slow degrees, their forms are wiped out; that the new tastes
obliterate the old fashions; and that ere long the very shape of the
house and farm would be lapped, as it were, about the tomb of him
who had been the soul of the shape, and would vanish from the face
of the earth.

All the old things at home looked sad.  The look came from this,
that, though he could sympathize with them and their story, they
could not sympathize with him, and he suffused them with his own
sadness.  He could find no refuge in the past; he must go on into
the future.

His mother lingered for some time without any evident change.  He
sat by her bedside the most of the day.  All she wanted was to have
him within reach of her feeble voice, that she might, when she
pleased, draw him within touch of her feeble hand.  Once she said:

"My boy, I am going to your father."

"Yes, mother, I think you are," Hugh replied. "How glad he will be
to see you!"

"But I shall leave you alone."

"Mother, I love God."

The mother looked at him, as only a mother can look, smiled sweetly,
closed her eyes as with the weight of her contentment, fell asleep
holding his hand, and slept for hours.

Meanwhile, in London, Margaret was watching Euphra.  She was dying,
and Margaret was the angel of life watching over her.

"I shall get rid of my lameness there, Margaret, shall I not?" said
Euphra, one day, half playfully.

"Yes, dear."

"It will be delightful to walk again without pain."

"Perhaps you will not get rid of it all at once, though."

"Why do you think so?" asked Euphra, with some appearance of
uneasiness.

"Because, if it is taken from you before you are quite willing to
have it as long as God pleases, by and by you will not be able to
rest, till you have asked for it back again, that you may bear it
for his sake."

"I am willing, Margaret, I am willing.  Only one can't like it, you
know."

"I know that," answered Margaret.

She spoke no more, and Margaret heard her weeping gently.  Half an
hour had passed away, when she looked up, and said:

"Margaret, dear, I begin to like my lameness, I think."

"Why, dear?"

"Why, just because God made it, and bade me bear it.  May I not
think it is a mark on me from his hand?"

"Yes, I think so."

"Why do you think it came on me?"

"To walk back to Him with, dear."

"Yes, yes; I see it all."

Until now, Margaret had not known to what a degree the lameness of
Euphra had troubled her.  That her pretty ankle should be deformed,
and her light foot able only to limp, had been a source of real
distress to her, even in the midst of far deeper.

The days passed on, and every day she grew weaker.  She did not
suffer much, but nothing seemed to do her good.  Mrs. Elton was
kindness itself.  Harry was in dreadful distress.  He haunted her
room, creeping in whenever he had a chance, and sitting in corners
out of the way.  Euphra liked to have him near her.  She seldom
spoke to him, or to any one but Margaret, for Margaret alone could
hear with ease what she said.  But now and then she would motion him
to her bedside, and say -- it was always the same --

"Harry, dear, be good."

"I will; indeed I will, dear Euphra," was still Harry's reply.

Once, expressing to Margaret her regret that she should be such a
trouble to her, she said:

"You have to do so much for me, that I am ashamed."

"Do let me wash the feet of one of his disciples;" Margaret replied,
gently expostulating; after which, Euphra never grumbled at her own
demands upon her.

Again, one day, she said:

"I am not right at all to-day, Margaret.  God can't love me, I am so
hateful."

"Don't measure God's mind by your own, Euphra.  It would be a poor
love that depended not on itself, but on the feelings of the person
loved.  A crying baby turns away from its mother's breast, but she
does not put it away till it stops crying.  She holds it closer.
For my part, in the worst mood I am ever in, when I don't feel I
love God at all, I just look up to his love.  I say to him: 'Look at
me.  See what state I am in.  Help me!"  Ah! you would wonder how
that makes peace.  And the love comes of itself; sometimes so
strong, it nearly breaks my heart."

"But there is a text I don't like."

"Take another, then."

"But it will keep coming."

"Give it back to God, and never mind it."

"But would that be right?"

"One day, when I was a little girl, so high, I couldn't eat my
porridge, and sat looking at it. 'Eat your porridge,' said my
mother. 'I don't want it,' I answered. 'There's nothing else for
you,' said my mother -- for she had not learned so much from my father
then, as she did before he died. 'Hoots!' said my father -- I cannot,
dear Euphra, make his words into English."

"No, no, don't," said Euphra; "I shall understand them perfectly."

"'Hoots!  Janet, my woman!' said my father. 'Gie the bairn a dish o'
tay.  Wadna ye like some tay, Maggy, my doo?' 'Ay wad I,' said I.
'The parritch is guid eneuch," said my mother. 'Nae doot aboot the
parritch, woman; it's the bairn's stamack, it's no the parritch.'
My mother said no more, but made me a cup of such nice tea; for
whenever she gave in, she gave in quite.  I drank it; and, half from
anxiety to please my mother, half from reviving hunger, attacked the
porridge next, and ate it up. 'Leuk at that!' said my father.
'Janet, my woman, gie a body the guid that they can tak', an'
they'll sune tak' the guid that they canna.  Ye're better noo,
Maggy, my doo?'  I never told him that I had taken the porridge too
soon after all, and had to creep into the wood, and be sick.  But it
is all the same for the story."

Euphra laughed a feeble but delighted laugh, and applied the story
for herself.

So the winter days passed on.

"I wish I could live till the spring," said Euphra. "I should like
to see a snowdrop and a primrose again."

"Perhaps you will, dear; but you are going into a better spring.  I
could almost envy you, Euphra."

"But shall we have spring there?"

"I think so."

"And spring-flowers?"

"I think we shall -- better than here."

"But they will not mean so much."

"Then they won't be so good.  But I should think they would mean
ever so much more, and be ever so much more spring-like.  They will
be the spring-flowers to all winters in one, I think."

Folded in the love of this woman, anointed for her death by her
wisdom, baptized for the new life by her sympathy and its tears,
Euphra died in the arms of Margaret.

Margaret wept, fell on her knees, and gave God thanks.  Mrs. Elton
was so distressed, that, as soon as the funeral was over, she broke
up her London household, sending some of the servants home to the
country, and taking some to her favourite watering place, to which
Harry also accompanied her.

She hoped that, now the affair of the ring was cleared up, she
might, as soon as Hugh returned, succeed in persuading him to follow
them to Devonshire, and resume his tutorship.  This would satisfy
her anxiety about Hugh and Harry both.

Hugh's mother died too, and was buried.  When he returned from the
grave which now held both father and mother, he found a short note
from Margaret, telling him that Euphra was gone.  Sorrow is easier
to bear when it comes upon sorrow; but he could not help feeling a
keen additional pang, when he learned that she was dead whom he had
loved once, and now loved better.  Margaret's note informed him
likewise that Euphra had left a written request, that her diamond
ring should be given to him to wear for her sake.

He prepared to leave the home whence all the homeness had now
vanished, except what indeed lingered in the presence of an old
nurse, who had remained faithful to his mother to the last.  The
body itself is of little value after the spirit, the love, is out of
it: so the house and all the old things are little enough, after the
loved ones are gone who kept it alive and made it home.

All that Hugh could do for this old nurse was to furnish a cottage
for her out of his mother's furniture, giving her everything she
liked best.  Then he gathered the little household treasures, the
few books, the few portraits and ornaments, his father's sword, and
his mother's wedding-ring; destroyed with sacred fire all written
papers; sold the remainder of the furniture, which he would gladly
have burnt too, and so proceeded to take his last departure from the
home of his childhood.




CHAPTER XXIII.

NATURE AND HER LADY.

Die Frauen sind ein liebliches Geheimniss, nur verhullt, nicht
verschlossen. -- NOVALIS. - Moralische Ansichten.

Women are a lovely mystery -- veiled, however, not shut up.

Her twilights were more clear than our mid-day;
She dreamt devoutlier than most used to pray.

DR. DONNE.


Perhaps the greatest benefit that resulted to Hugh from being thus
made a pilgrim and a stranger in the earth, was, that Nature herself
saw him, and took him in, Hitherto, as I have already said, Hugh's
acquaintance with Nature had been chiefly a second-hand one -- he knew
friends of hers.  Nature in poetry -- not in the form of Thomsonian or
Cowperian descriptions, good as they are, but closely interwoven
with and expository of human thought and feeling -- had long been dear
to him.  In this form he had believed that he knew her so well, as
to be able to reproduce the lineaments of her beloved face.  But now
she herself appeared to him -- the grand, pure, tender mother, ancient
in years, yet ever young; appeared to him, not in the mirror of a
man's words, but bending over him from the fathomless bosom of the
sky, from the outspread arms of the forest-trees, from the silent
judgment of the everlasting hills.  She spoke to him from the depths
of air, from the winds that harp upon the boughs, and trumpet upon
the great caverns, and from the streams that sing as they go to be
lost in rest.  She would have shone upon him out of the eyes of her
infants, the flowers, but they had their faces turned to her breast
now, hiding from the pale blue eyes and the freezing breath of old
Winter, who was looking for them with his face bent close to their
refuge.  And he felt that she had a power to heal and to instruct;
yea, that she was a power of life, and could speak to the heart and
conscience mighty words about God and Truth and Love.

For he did not forsake his dead home in haste.  He lingered over it,
and roamed about its neighbourhood.  Regarding all about him with
quiet, almost passive spirit, he was astonished to find how his eyes
opened to see nature in the mass.  Before, he had beheld only
portions and beauties.  When or how the change passed upon him he
could not tell.  But he no longer looked for a pretty eyebrow or a
lovely lip on the face of nature: the soul of nature looked out upon
him from the harmony of all, guiding him unsought to the discovery
of a thousand separate delights; while from the expanded vision new
meanings flashed upon him every day.  He beheld in the great All the
expression of the thoughts and feelings of the maker of the heavens
and the earth and the sea and the fountains of water.  The powers of
the world to come, that is, the world of unseen truth and ideal
reality, were upon him in the presence of the world that now is.
For the first time in his life, he felt at home with nature; and
while he could moan with the wintry wind, he no longer sighed in the
wintry sunshine, that foretold, like the far-off flutter of a
herald's banner, the approach of victorious lady-spring.

With the sorrow and loneliness of loss within him, and Nature around
him seeming to sigh for a fuller expression of the thought that
throbbed within her, it is no wonder that the form of Margaret, the
gathering of the thousand forms of nature into one intensity and
harmony of loveliness, should rise again upon the world of his
imagination, to set no more.  Father and mother were gone.  Margaret
remained behind.  Nature lay around him like a shining disk, that
needed a visible centre of intensest light -- a shield of silver, that
needed but a diamond boss: Margaret alone could be that centre -- that
diamond light-giver; for she alone, of all the women he knew, seemed
so to drink of the sun-rays of God, as to radiate them forth, for
very fulness, upon the clouded world.

She had dawned on him like a sweet crescent moon, hanging far-off in
a cold and low horizon: now, lifting his eyes, he saw that same moon
nearly at the full, and high overhead, yet leaning down towards him
through the deep blue air, that overflowed with her calm triumph of
light.  He knew that he loved her now.  He knew that every place he
went through, caught a glimmer of romance the moment he thought of
her; that every most trifling event that happened to himself, looked
like a piece of a story-book the moment he thought of telling it to
her.  But the growth of these feelings had been gradual -- so slow and
gradual, that when he recognized them, it seemed to him as if he had
felt them from the first.  The fact was, that as soon as he began to
be capable of loving Margaret, he had begun to love her.  He had
never been able to understand her till he was driven into the
desert.  But now that Nature revealed herself to him full of Life,
yea, of the Life of Life, namely, of God himself, it was natural
that he should honour and love that 'lady of her own'; that he
should recognize Margaret as greater than himself, as nearer to the
heart of Nature -- yea, of God the father of all.  She had been one
with Nature from childhood, and when he began to be one with nature
too, he must become one with her.

And now, in absence, he began to study the character of her whom, in
presence, he had thought he knew perfectly.  He soon found that it
was a Manoa, a golden city in a land of Paradise -- too good to be
believed in, except by him who was blessed with the beholding of it.
He knew now that she had always understood what he was only just
waking to recognize.  And he felt that the scholar had been very
patient with the stupidity of the master, and had drawn from his
lessons a nourishment of which he had known nothing himself.

But dared he think of marrying her, a creature inspired with a
presence of the Spirit of God which none but the saints enjoy, and
thence clothed with a garment of beauty, which her spirit wove out
of its own loveliness?  She was a being to glorify any man merely by
granting him her habitual presence: what, then, if she gave her
love!  She would bring with her the presence of God himself, for she
walked ever in his light, and that light clung to her and radiated
from her.  True, many young maidens must be walking in the sunshine
of God, else whence the light and loveliness and bloom, the smile
and the laugh of their youth?  But Margaret not only walked in this
light: she knew it and whence it came.  She looked up to its source,
and it illuminated her face.

The silent girl of old days, whose countenance wore the stillness of
an unsunned pool, as she listened with reverence to his lessons, had
blossomed into the calm, stately woman, before whose presence he
felt rebuked he knew not why, upon whose face lay slumbering
thought, ever ready to wake into life and motion.  Dared he love
her?  Dared he tell her that he loved her?  Dared he, so poor, so
worthless, seek for himself such a world's treasure? -- He might have
known that worth does not need honour; that its lowliness is content
with ascribing it.

Some of my readers may be inclined to think that I hide, for the
sake of my hero -- poor little hero, one of God's children, learning
to walk -- an inevitable struggle between his love and his pride;
inasmuch as, being but a tutor, he might be expected to think the
more of his good family, and the possibility of his one day coming
to honour without the drawback of having done anything to merit it,
a title being almost within his grasp; while Margaret was a
ploughman's daughter, and a lady's maid.  But, although I know more
of Hugh's faults than I have thought it at all necessary to bring
out in my story, I protest that, had he been capable of giving the
name of love to a feeling in whose presence pride dared to speak, I
should have considered him unworthy of my poor pen.  In plain
language, I doubt if I should have cared to write his story at all.

He gathered together, as I have said, the few memorials of the old
ship gone down in the quiet ocean of time; paid one visit of
sorrowful gladness to his parent's grave, over which he raised no
futile stone -- leaving it, like the forms within it, in the hands of
holy decay; and took his road -- whither?  To Margaret's home -- to see
old Janet; and to go once to the grave of his second father.  Then
he would return to the toil and hunger and hope of London.

What made Hugh go to Turriepuffit?  His love to Margaret?  No. A
better motive even than that: -- Repentance.  Better I mean for Hugh
as to the individual occasion; not in itself; for love is deeper
than repentance, seeing that without love there can be no
repentance.  He had repented before; but now that he haunted in
silence the regions of the past, the whole of his history in
connection with David returned on him clear and vivid, as if passing
once again before his eyes and through his heart; and he repented
more deeply still.  Perhaps he was not quite so much to blame as he
thought himself.  Perhaps only now was it possible for the seeds of
truth, which David had sown in his heart, to show themselves above
the soil of lower, yet ministering cares.  They had needed to lie a
winter long in the earth.  Now the keen blasts and grinding frosts
had done their work, and they began to grow in the tearful prime.
Sorrow for loss brought in her train sorrow for wrong -- a sister
more solemn still, and with a deeper blessing in the voice of her
loving farewell. -- It is a great mistake to suppose that sorrow is a
part of repentance.  It is far too good a grace to come so easily.
A man may repent, that is, think better of it, and change his way,
and be very much of a Pharisee -- I do not say a hypocrite -- for a long
time after: it needs a saint to be sorrowful.  Yet repentance is
generally the road to this sorrow. -- And now that in the gracious
time of grief, his eyesight purified by tears, he entered one after
another all the chambers of the past, he humbly renewed once more
his friendship with the noble dead, and with the homely, heartful
living.  The grey-headed man who walked with God like a child, and
with his fellow-men like an elder brother who was always forgetting
his birthright and serving the younger; the woman who believed where
she could not see, and loved where she could not understand; and the
maiden who was still and lustreless, because she ever absorbed and
seldom reflected the light -- all came to him, as if to comfort him
once more in his loneliness, when his heart had room for them, and
need of them yet again.  David now became, after his departure, yet
more of a father to him than before, for that spirit, which is the
true soul of all this body of things, had begun to recall to his
mind the words of David, and so teach him the things that David
knew, the everlasting realities of God. And it seemed to him the
while, that he heard David himself uttering, in his homely, kingly
voice, whatever truth returned to him from the echo-cave of the
past.  Even when a quite new thought arose within him, it came to
him in the voice of David, or at least with the solemn music of his
tones clinging about it as the murmur about the river's course.
Experience had now brought him up to the point where he could begin
to profit by David's communion; he needed the things which David
could teach him; and David began forthwith to give them to him.

That birth of nature in his soul, which enabled him to understand
and love Margaret, helped him likewise to contemplate with
admiration and awe, the towering peaks of David's hopes, trusts, and
aspirations.  He had taught the ploughman mathematics, but that
ploughman had possessed in himself all the essential elements of the
grandeur of the old prophets, glorified by the faith which the Son
of Man did not find in the earth, but left behind him to grow in it,
and which had grown to a noble growth of beauty and strength in this
peasant, simple and patriarchal in the midst of a self-conceited
age.  And, oh! how good he had been to him!  He had built a house
that he might take him in from the cold, and make life pleasant to
him, as in the presence of God. He had given him his heart every
time he gave him his great manly hand.  And this man, this friend,
this presence of Christ, Hugh had forsaken, neglected, all but
forgotten.  He could not go, and, like the prodigal, fall down
before him, and say, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and
thee," for that heaven had taken him up out of his sight.  He could
only weep instead, and bitterly repent.  Yes; there was one thing
more he could do.  Janet still lived.  He would go to her, and
confess his sin, and beg her forgiveness.  Receiving it, he would be
at peace.  He knew David forgave him, whether he confessed or not;
and that, if he were alive, David would seek his confession only as
the casting away of the separation from his heart, as the banishment
of the worldly spirit, and as the natural sign by which he might
know that Hugh was one with him yet.

Janet was David's representative on earth: he would go to her.

So he returned, rich and great; rich in knowing that he was the
child of Him to whom all the gold mines belong; and great in that
humility which alone recognizes greatness, and in the beginnings of
that meekness which shall inherit the earth.  No more would he stunt
his spiritual growth by self-satisfaction.  No more would he lay
aside, in the cellars of his mind, poor withered bulbs of opinions,
which, but for the evil ministrations of that self-satisfaction,
seeking to preserve them by drying and salting, might have been
already bursting into blossoms of truth, of infinite loveliness.

He knew that Margaret thought far too well of him -- honoured him
greatly beyond his deserts.  He would not allow her to be any longer
thus deceived.  He would tell her what a poor creature he was.  But
he would say, too, that he hoped one day to be worthy of her praise,
that he hoped to grow to what she thought him.  If he should fail in
convincing her, he would receive all the honour she gave him humbly,
as paid, not to him, but to what he ought to be.  God grant it might
be as to his future self!

In this mood he went to Janet.




CHAPTER XXIV.

THE FIR-WOOD AGAIN.

Er stand vor der himmlischen Jungfrau.  Da hob er den leichten,
glanzenden Schleir, und -- Rosenbluthchen sank in seine
Arme. -- Novalis. -- Die Lehrlinge zu Sais.

He stood before the heavenly Virgin (Isis, the Goddess of Nature).
Then lifted he the light, shining veil, and -- Rosebud (his old love)
sank into his arms.

So womanly, so benigne, and so meek.

CHAUCER. -- Prol. to Leg. of Good Women.


It was with a mingling of strange emotions, that Hugh approached the
scene of those not very old, and yet, to his feeling, quite early
memories.  The dusk was beginning to gather.  The hoar-frost lay
thick on the ground.  The pine-trees stood up in the cold, looking,
in their garment of spikes, as if the frost had made them.  The rime
on the gate was unfriendly, and chilled his hand.  He turned into
the footpath.  He saw the room David had built for him.  Its thatch
was one mass of mosses, whose colours were hidden now in the
cuckoo-fruit of the frost.  Alas! how Death had cast his deeper
frost over all; for the man was gone from the hearth!  But neither
old Winter nor skeleton Death can withhold the feet of the little
child Spring.  She is stronger than both.  Love shall conquer hate;
and God will overcome sin.

He drew nigh to the door, trembling.  It seemed strange to him that
his nerves only, and not his mind, should feel. -- In moments of
unusual excitement, it sometimes happens that the only consciousness
a strong man has of emotion, lies in an unwonted physical vibration,
the mind itself refusing to be disturbed.  It is, however, but a
seeming: the emotion is so deep, that consciousness can lay hold of
its physical result only. -- The cottage looked the same as ever, only
the peat-stack outside was smaller.  In the shadowiness of the firs,
the glimmer of a fire was just discernible on the kitchen window.
He trembled so much that he could not enter.  He would go into the
fir-wood first, and see Margaret's tree, as he always called it in
his thoughts and dreams.

Very poor and stunted and meagre looked the fir-trees of
Turriepuffit, after the beeches and elms of Arnstead.  The evening
wind whistled keen and cold through their dry needles, and made them
moan, as if because they were fettered, and must endure the winter
in helpless patience.  Here and there amongst them, rose the Titans
of the little forest -- the huge, old, contorted, wizard-like, yet
benevolent beings -- the Scotch firs.  Towards one of these he bent
his way.  It was the one under which he had seen Margaret, when he
met her first in the wood, with her whole soul lost in the waving of
its wind-swung, sun-lighted top, floating about in the sea of air
like a golden nest for some silvery bird of heaven.  To think that
the young girl to whom he had given the primrose he had just found,
the then first-born of the Spring, should now be the queen of his
heart!  Her childish dream of the angel haunting the wood had been
true, only she was the angel herself.  He drew near the place.  How
well he knew it!  He seated himself, cold as it was in the February
of Scotland, at the foot of the blessed tree.  He did not know that
it was cold.

While he sat with his eyes fixed on the ground, a light rustle in
the fallen leaves made him raise them suddenly.  It was all winter
and fallen leaves about him; but he lifted his eyes, and in his soul
it was summer: Margaret stood before him.  He was not in the least
surprised.  For how can one wonder to see before his eyes, the form
of which his soul is full? -- there is no shock.  She stood a little
way off, looking -- as if she wanted to be sure before she moved a
step.  She was dressed in a grey winsey gown, close to her throat
and wrists.  She had neither shawl nor bonnet.  Her fine health kept
her warm, even in a winter wood at sun-down.  She looked just the
same; -- at home everywhere; most at home in Nature's secret chamber.
Like the genius of the place, she made the winter-wood look homely.
What were the oaks and beeches of Arnstead now?  Homeliness and
glory are Heaven.

She came nearer.

"Margaret!" he murmured, and would have risen.

"No, no; sit still," she rejoined, in a pleading tone. "I thought it
was the angel in the picture.  Now I know it.  Sit still, dear Mr.
Sutherland, one moment more."

Humbled by his sense of unworthiness, and a little distressed that
she could so quietly reveal the depth of her feeling towards him, he
said:

"Ah, Margaret!  I wish you would not praise one so little deserving
it."

"Praise?" she repeated, with an accent of wonder. "I praise you!
No, Mr. Sutherland; that I am not guilty of.  Next to my father,
you made me know and feel.  And as I walked here, I was thinking of
the old times, and older times still; and all at once I saw the very
picture out of the old Bible."

She came close to him now.  He rose, trembling, but held out no
hand, uttered no greeting.

"Margaret, dare I love you?" he faltered.

She looked at him with wide-open eyes.

"Me?" she said; and her eyes did not move from his.  A slight
rose-flush bloomed out on her motionless face.

"Will you be my wife?" he said, trembling yet more.

She made no answer, but looked at him still, with parted lips,
motionless.

"I am very poor, Margaret.  I could not marry now."

It was a stupid speech, but he made it.

"I don't care," she answered, with a voice like thinking, "if you
never marry me."

He misunderstood her, and turned cold to the very heart.  He
misunderstood her stillness.  Her heart lay so deep, that it took a
long time for its feelings to reach and agitate the surface.  He
said no more, but turned away with a sigh.

"Come home to my mother," she said.

He obeyed mechanically, and walked in silence by her side.  They
reached the cottage and entered.  Margaret said: "Here he is,
mother;" and disappeared.

Janet was seated -- in her widow's mutch, with the plain black ribbon
down both sides, and round the back -- in the arm-chair by the fire,
pondering on the past, or gently dreaming of him that was gone.  She
turned her head.  Sorrow had baptized her face with a new
gentleness.  The tender expression which had been but occasional
while her husband lived, was almost constant now.  She did not
recognize Hugh. He saw it, and it added weight to his despair.  He
was left outside.

"Mother!" he said, involuntarily.

She started to her feet, cried: "My bairn! my bairn!" threw her arms
around him, and laid her head on his bosom.  Hugh sobbed as if his
heart would break.  Janet wept, but her weeping was quiet as a
summer rain.  He led her to her chair, knelt by her side, and hiding
his face in her lap like a child, faltered out, interrupted by
convulsive sobs:

"Forgive me; forgive me.  I don't deserve it, but forgive me."

"Hoot awa! my bairn! my bonny man!  Dinna greet that gait.  The Lord
preserve's! what are ye greetin' for?  Are na ye come hame to yer
ain?  Didna Dawvid aye say -- 'Gie the lad time, woman.  It's unco
chaip, for the Lord's aye makin't.  The best things is aye the maist
plentifu'.  Gie the lad time, my bonny woman!' -- didna he say that?
Ay, he ca'd me his bonny woman, ill as I deserved it at his han'.
An' it's no for me to say ae word agen you, Maister Sutherlan', gin
ye had been a hantle waur nor a young thochtless lad cudna weel help
bein'.  An' noo ye're come hame, an' nothing cud glaidden my heart
mair, 'cep', maybe, the Maister himsel' was to say to my man:
'Dawvid! come furth.'"

Hugh could make no reply.  He got hold of Margaret's creepie, which
stood in its usual place, and sat down upon it, at the old woman's
feet.  She gazed in his face for a while, and then, putting her arm
round his neck, drew his head to her bosom, and fondled him as if he
had been her own first-born.

"But eh! yer bonnie face is sharp an' sma' to what it used to be,
Maister Sutherlan'.  I doot ye hae come through a heap o' trouble."

"I'll tell you all about it," said Hugh.

"Na, na; bide still a wee.  I ken a' aboot it frae Maggy.  An' guid
preserve's! ye're clean perished wi' cauld.  Lat me up, my bairn."

Janet rose, and made up the fire, which soon cast a joyful glow
throughout the room.  The peat-fire in the little cottage was a good
symbol of the heart of its mistress: it gave far more heat than
light.  And for my part, dear as light is, I like heat better.  She
then put on the kettle, -- or the boiler I think she called
it -- saying:

"I'm jist gaein' to mak' ye a cup o' tay, Mr. Sutherlan'.  It's the
handiest thing, ye ken.  An' I doot ye're muckle in want o'
something.  Wad ye no tak' a drappy oot o' the bottle, i' the mane
time?"

"No, thank you," said Hugh, who longed to be alone, for his heart
was cold as ice; "I would rather wait for the tea; but I should be
glad to have a good wash, after my journey."

"Come yer wa's, than, ben the hoose.  I'll jist gang an' get a
drappy o' het water in a decanter.  Bide ye still by the fire."

Hugh stood, and gazed into the peat-fire.  But he saw nothing in it.
A light step passed him several times, but he did not heed it.  The
loveliest eyes looked earnestly towards him as they passed, but his
were not lifted to meet their gaze.

"Noo, Maister Sutherlan', come this way."

Hugh was left alone at length, in the room where David had slept,
where David had used to pray.  He fell on his knees, and rose
comforted by the will of God. A few things of Margaret's were about
the room.  The dress he had seen her in at Mrs. Elton's, was hanging
by the bed.  He kissed the folds of the garment, and said: "God's
will be done."  He had just finished a hasty ablution when Janet
called him.

"Come awa', Maister Sutherlan'; come ben to yer ain chaumer," said
she, leading the way to the room she still called the study.
Margaret was there.  The room was just as he had left it.  A bright
fire was on the hearth.  Tea was on the table, with eggs, and
oatcakes, and flour-scones in abundance; for Janet had the best she
could get for Margaret, who was only her guest for a little while.
But Hugh could not eat.  Janet looked distressed, and Margaret
glanced at him uneasily.

"Do eat something, Mr. Sutherland," said Margaret.

Hugh looked at her involuntarily.  She did not understand his look,
and it alarmed her.  His countenance was changed.

"What is the matter, dear -- Hugh?" she said, rising, and laying her
hand on his shoulder.

"Hoots! lassie," broke in her mother; "are ye makin' love till a
man, a gentleman, afore my verra een?"

"He did it first, mother," answered Margaret, with a smile.

A pang of hope shot through Hugh's heart.

"Ow! that's the gait o't, is't?  The bairn's gane dementit!  Ye're
no efter merryin' a gentleman, Maggy?  Na, na, lass!"

So saying, the old lady, rather crossly, and very imprudently, left
the room to fill the teapot in the kitchen.

"Do you remember this?" said Margaret, -- who felt that Hugh must have
misunderstood something or other, -- taking from her pocket a little
book, and from the book a withered flower.

Hugh saw that it was like a primrose, and hoped against hope that it
was the one which he had given to her, on the spring morning in the
fir-wood.  Still, a feeling very different from his might have made
her preserve it.  He must know all about it.

"Why did you keep that?" he said.

"Because I loved you."

"Loved me?"

"Yes. Didn't you know?"

"Why did you say, then, that you didn't care if -- if -- ?"

"Because love is enough, Hugh. -- That was why."




THE END.



1 ch guttural.  The land-rail is a corn-scraich.


2 Goldsmith; twice, in the Citizen of the World.




Note from John Bechard, creator of this Electronic text.

The following is a list of Scottish words which are found in George
MacDonald's "David Elginbrod".  I have compiled this list myself and
worked out the definitions from context with the help of Margaret
West, from Leven in Fife, Scotland, and also by referring to a word
list found in a collection of poems by Robert Burns.  There are
about 6 words which we could not work out definitions for and would
welcome any feedback on those words or any others in the list which
may be wrong (my e-mail address is JaBBechard@aol.com).  This was
never meant to be a comprehensive list of the National Scottish
Language, but rather an aid to understanding some of Mr MacDonald's
conversations which are carried out in the Broad Scots.  I do
apologise for any mistakes or omissions.  I aimed for my list to be
very comprehensive, and it often repeats the same word in a plural
or diminutive form.  As well, it includes words that are quite
obvious to native English speakers.

There is a web site under construction which will feature the
Scottish language; and the National Scottish Dictionary can be
consulted if you have access to one.

This list is a compressed form that consists of three columns for
'word', 'definition', and 'additional notes'.  It is set up with
a comma between each item and a hard return at the end of each
definition.  This means that this section could easily be cut and
pasted into its own text file and imported into a database or
spreadsheet as a comma separated variable file (.csv file).  Failing
that, you could do a search and replace for commas in this section
(I have not used any commas in my words, definitions or notes) and
replace the commas with spaces or tabs.

Word,Definition,Notes
a',all,also have
a' thing,everything; anything,
aboon,above; up; over,
aboot,about,
aboot and aboot,all about,
abune,above; up,
abusin',abusing,
accordin',according,
actin',acting,
admirin',admiring,
ae,one,
aff,off; away,
afore,before; in front of,
agen,against,
ahin',behind,
ahint,behind,
Ahmen,Amen,
Ahva!,At all!,exclamation
aiblins,perhaps,
ailin',ailing; sick,
ain,own; one,
airgument,argument,
airguments,arguments,
airm,arm,
airms,arms,
aither,either,
alane,alone,
alang,along,
alicht,alight,
Almichty,Almighty; God,
a'maist,almost,
amang,among,
amo',among,
amo't,among it,
an',and,
an aucht days,?,possibly an old reference to a week?
ance,once,
ane,one,
aneath,beneath,
aneath't,beneath it,
aneth,beneath,
aneuch,enough,
anither,another,
appintment,appointment,
appintments,appointments,
appruved,approved,
aske,asp,
as'll,as will,
'at,that,
at ane mair,all agog,
a'thegither,all together,
a'thing,everything; anything,
atween,between,
aucht,eight,
auld,old,
auld-fashioned,old-fashioned,
ava,at all; of all,
awa',away,
awfu',awful,
awthegither,all together,
aye,yes; indeed,
baain',baaing,
backbane,backbone,
bairn,child,
bairnie,child,diminutive
bairnies,children,diminutive
bairns,children,
baith,both,
ballant,ballad,
ballants,ballads,
banes,bones,
bauchles,old pair of Sunday shoes,
bauks,supporting timbers; bulk heads,as in ship building
bawbees,half pennies,
beastie,beast; animal,diminutive
beginnin',beginning,
begude,began,
bein',being,
ben,room; indoors; into; within; inwards,
ben the hoose,inside; to the back of the house,
beowty,beauty,
beuk,book,also the Bible
beukie,little book,diminutive
beuks,books,
beuky,little book,diminutive
beurds,boards,
biddin',bidding,
bide,endure; bear; remain; live,also stay for;
bield,protection; shelter; cover,
bien,cosy; comfortable; well-stocked,
big,build,
bin',bind,
bin'in',binding,
binna,be not,
birdie,little bird,diminutive
birdies,little birds,diminutive
bit,but; bit,also little-diminutive
bitties,little bits,diminutive
blastit,blasted,
bleck,black,also nonplus; perplex
bluid,blood,
boddom,bottom,
body,person; fellow,
boiler,kettle,
bonnie,good; beautiful; pretty; handsome,
bonny,good; beautiful; pretty; handsome,
boo,bow,
bossie,large wooden bowl,serving bowl
boun',bound,
bout,swath,
bouts,swaths,
brakfast,breakfast,
braw,beautiful; good; fine,also-lovely (girl); handsome (boy)
brawly,admirably; very; very much; well,
bringin',bringing,
brither-men,fellowmen; brethren,
brocht,brought,
brods,boards; (book covers),
broos,eyebrows,
bud,intended; meant to,
bude,would prefer to,
buik,book,
buiks,books,
burdie,little bird,diminutive
burnin',burning,
burnside,along the side of a stream,
butt,main room in a croft; front room,includes kitchen and storage
butt the hoose,into the house; into the front room,
by ordinar',out of the ordinary; supernatural,
byke,hive; swarm; crowd,
ca',call; name,
ca'd,called,
calf-country,country or place where one grew up,
caller,fresh; refreshing; cool,
cam,came,
cam',came,
canna,cannot,
carefu',careful,
cart-fu's,cartloads,
ca's,calls,
ca't,call it,
cauld,cold,
caup,small wooden bowl,
'cause,because,
causin',causing,
'cep',except,
chaip,blow; stroke,also fellow; chap
chaumer,chamber; room,
chield,child; young person; lad,used when expressing sympathy
chields,children; lads; young people,used when expressing sympathy
chimla,fireside; hearth,
chimla-lug,side wall of chimney recess,also chimney corner
chow,chew,
clam,climbed,
clappit,clapped (on the shoulder); praised,
clavers,idle talk; chatter,smarmy compliments; buttering up
clean,quite; utterly,also comely; shapely; empty
cleed,clothe,
clippin',clipping; shearing,
clyack,harvest,
colliginer,college boy,
Come butt the hoose.,'Come on in!',colloquial and familiar
Come yer wa's butt.,'Come on in!',colloquial and familiar
Come yer wa's.,'Come on in!',colloquial and familiar
comin',coming,
comparateevely,comparatively,
consistin',consisting,
contradickin',contradicting,
coorse,coarse,also course
corn-scraich,land-rail,type of bird
corp,corpse,
corps,bodies; corpses,
cot,cottage,
couples,joining pieces; cross beams,
couthy,loving; kind; buddy-buddy,
coverin',covering,
craig,throat; neck; gullet,
crater,creature,
craytur,creature,
crayturs,creatures,
creater,creature,
creaters,creatures,
creatur',creature,
creepie,three legged stool,
creepin',creeping,
crookit,crooked,
croonin',crooning; moaning; whining,
cud,could,
cudna,could not,
cuiticans,leather gaiters,
cuttin',cutting,
dacent,decent,
daffin',dallying; fooling; frolic; flirtation,
darin',daring,
daunder,casual stroll,
daured,dared,
daursay,dare say,
dawtie,darling; pet,term of endearment
Dawvid,David,
daylicht,daylight,
deed,died,also deed; indeed
deeth,death,
deevilich,devilish,
deid,dead,
deid-stane,gravestone; tombstone,
deil,devil,
Deil a bit!,Not at all!  Not a bit!,
deit,died,
deith,death,
dementit,demented; mad,
denner-time,dinner time,
depen',depend,
detaictives,detectives,
devallt,intermission; a break,
didna,did not,
dinna,do not,
direckly,directly; immediately,
dischairgin',discharging,
disjaskit,worn out; fatigued,
disturbin',disturbing,
dochter,daughter,
doin',doing,
doitit,out of the mind; muddled,also in a whirl with worry
doo,dove,term of endearment
doon,down,
doonsettin',setting down,
doonsittin',place to sit down or rest,
door-cheek,door jamb,
doot,doubt,also know
dootless,doubtless,
do't,do it,
douce,sensible; sober; prudent,
doun,down,
dout,doubt,also know
dowie,sad; lonely; depressing; dismal,
downa,dare not; can not,
drappy,drop; a little (liquor),diminutive
dreed,dread; fear,
dreid,dread,
driftin',drifting,snow driven by the wind
drinkin',drinking,
driv't,drive it,
duin',doing,
dune,done,
dune't,done it,
dung,beaten; overcome; worn out,
ear',early,
'ee,eye,
een,eyes,
e'en,even; just; simply,also eyes
eesicht,eye sight; by all appearances,
efter,after; afterwards,
eident,evident,
ellwan',ell-wand; ruler; yardstick,1 ell = 37 inches or 94 cm
'en,end,
en',end,
ends-errand,went on purpose; specifically to,
eneuch,enough,
enlichtened,enlightened,
enteresstit,interested,
ettle,reach; try to climb; purpose; aim,
ettlin',seeking (to understand); aiming,
evenin',putting on the same level; comparing,
exackly,exactly,
excep,except,
exerceese,exercise,
expec,expect,
expeck,expect,
expeckin',expecting,
eynds,ends,
eyther,either,
fa',fall; befall,
fac,fact,
fair-oot,far out,
fand,found,
fardins,farthings,
fegs,golly,exclamation
fell,very; potent; keen; harsh,more emphasis
feow,few,
fillin',filling,
fin',find,
firin',firing; heating,
fir-taps,tops of the fir trees,
fit,foot; base,also fit
flatterin',flattering,
flauchterin',fluttering,
fleein',flying,
flutterin',fluttering,
flytin',telling off; scolding,flaying with the tongue
followin',following,
forbear,ancestor,
forbears,ancestors,
forby,as well; as well as; besides,
forbye,as well; as well as; besides,
forenichts,fore-nights; early evenings,
forfochten,overcome; done for,
forgetfu'ness,forgetfulness,
forgie,forgive,
for's,for his,
for't,for it,
fortnicht,fortnight; two weeks,
fower,four,
fowk,folk,
fowth,plenty; abundance; full measure,
frae,from,
frae the tae side to the tither,from one side to the other,
freen,friend,
frien',friend,
friens,friends,
frien's,friends,
fu',full; very; quite,
fule,fool,
furth,forth,
gae,gave,
gaed,went,
gaein,going,
gaein',going,
gaeing,going,
gaen,going,
gait,way,
gane,gone,
gane up the stairs,gone to heaven,
gane wull,lost its way,
gang,go; goes; depart; walk,
gangs,goes,
gar,cause; make; compel,
garrin',making; causing; compelling,
gars,causes; makes,
gart,caused; made; compelled,
gat,got,
get,way,also get
gettin',getting,
gey,very,
gie,give,
gie a lift,give a helping hand,
giein',giving,
gie's,gives,
gin,if; as if; then; whether,
gin',if; as if; then; whether,
gin't,if it,
glaid,glad,
glaidden,gladden,
glamour,spell; charm; enchantment,
glass,magnifying glass,
gleed,?,
gleg,quick; lively; smart; quick-witted,
gleg 'ee,quick or sharp eye to notice things,
gloamin',twilight; dusk,
God-fearin',God-fearing,
got grips,got a hold of; grasped; understood,
gowd,gold,
gowpenfu's,enough,enough (to cause one to stare)
gran',grand,
gran'father,grandfather,
grat,cried; wept,
gravestane,gravestone; tombstone; headstone,
greet,cry; weep,
greetin',crying; weeping,
grip,grasp; understand,
grips,grasp; understanding,
growin',growing,
grup,grip; grab,
gude,good; God,
guid,good; God,
guidit,guided; managed,
ha',have,also hall
hadna,had not,
hae,have,
ha'e,have,
haein',having,
haena,have not,
hae't,have it,
haill,whole,
hairst-rig,harvest crew,
halesome,wholesome; pure,
hame,home,
hamely,homely; familiar; friendly; common,
hame-ower,homely; simple and straightforward,
han',hand,
han'fu',handful,
han's,hands,
hantle,much; far,
hap,cover; wrap; shield,
happin,covering; wrapping,
hasna',has not; hasn't,
haud,hold; keep,
haud the hert in her,hold the heart in her,also keep her spirits up
haudin',holding; keeping,
hauds,holds; keeps,
haven,heaven,
haverin',blethering; talking rubbish,
havers,blether; (verbal) rubbish,
heap,lot; heap,
hearin',hearing,
hearken,hear; have a listen,
hech!,Oh! strange!,a sighing exclamation
heeds,heads,
heid,head; heading,
herdin',herding; shepherding,
hert,heart,
hertily,heartily,
herts,hearts,
het,hot; burning,
hev',have,
hicht,height,
hidin',hiding,
hill-moss,mountain-moor,'moss' is a swamp or peat bog
himsel,himself,
himsel',himself,
hindmost,last; final,
hingin',hanging,
hit,it,'h' gives emphasis
hither-come,ancestry; past history,
hizzie,hussy; silly girl,
hizzy,hussy; silly girl,
hom',home,
hoo,how,
hoose,house,
hoosehold,household,
hoose-room,living space,
hoot,no meaning,exclamation
hootoot,see hootoots,
hootoots,-no meaning-,exclamation
hoots,no meaning,exclamation
hosen,stockings; socks,
hostin',coughing,
houp,hope,
houpit,hoped,
howkin',digging; delving,
hunner,hundred,
huz,us,
i',in; into,
I canna min',I can not think or remember,
I doot,I don't doubt it; I know,
I wat,I see; I declare; I know,
I wot,I see; I declare,
idlin',idling,
ilka,every; each,
ill,bad; evil,
'ill,will,
ill-faured,ill-favoured,
ill-min'ins,ill meanings; ill intent,
'im,him,
imaigins,imagines,
immedantly,immediately,
impairts,imparts,
imputit,imputed,
in sma',in short,
ingle-neuk,chimney corner or recess,
in's,in his,
instruck,instruct,
in't,in it,
intellec,intellect,
interferin',interfering,
intill,into,
intill't,into it,
I'se,I shall,
is't,is it,
ither,other; another; further,
itherwise,otherwise,
itsel,itself,
itsel',itself,
itsel's,itself is,
jeedgement,judgement,
jeedgment,judgement,
jist,just,
judgin',judging,
justifeed,justified,
keepit,kept,
keepit his thoom...ellwan,to short change someone,a short measure
ken,know; be aware of,
kenna,do not know,
kenned,known; knew,
kens,knows,
kent,known; knew,
kep,keep; catch,
killin',killing,
kin',kind; agreeable,
kin'ness,kindness,
kintra-side,countryside,
kirk,church,
kirkyard,churchyard,
kirn,churn,
knittin',knitting,
kye,cattle; cows,
lad,boy,
laddies,boys,diminutive
lads,boys,
laird,landed proprietor; squire,
lammie,little lamb,diminutive; term of endearment
lan',land; country,
lane,lone; alone,
lanes,lone; alone,
lang,long,
langer,longer,
lass,girl,
lass-bairn,girl child,
lassie,girl,diminutive
lat,let,
lats,lets,
lat's,lets,
lattin,letting,
lauch,laugh,
lave,rest; leave; remainder,
laverocks,larks (type of bird),
layin',laying,
lea',leave,
learnin',learning; teaching,
learnt,learned; taught,
leein',lying,
lees,lies,
leevin',living,
leisur',leisure,
len',lend; give; grant,
lenth,length,
letten,let; allowed,
leuk,look; watch; appearance,
leukin',looking; watching,
leukit,looked; watched,
licht,light,
lichtlyin',belittling; making light of,
lichts,lights,
lifelang,lifelong,
lift,load; boost; helping hand,also sky; heavens
likit,liked,
lik'ly,likely,
lippen,trust; depend on,
'll,will,
loe,love,
lo'e,love,
lo'ed,loved,
Lonnon,London,
loot,let; allowed,
lovin'kindness,lovingkindness,
luckie-daddy,fondly regarded forefather,also a revered forefather
lug,ear,also shallow wooden dish
luik,look,
luikin',looking,
luikit,looked,
lum,chimney,
lyin',lying,
maijesty,majesty,
maik,?,mate?
mair,more; greater,
maist,most; almost,
maister,master; mister,
maistly,mostly,
maitter,matter,
mak,make; do,
mak',make; do,
mak' shifts,making do with false things,
mak' ups,covering up (of truth),
makin',making,
makin't,making it; doing it,
maks,makes; does,
mane,mean,
maukin,hare,reference to a poem by Burns
maun,must; have to,
maunna,must not; may not,
meanin',meaning,
measur',measure,
meesery,misery,
meetin',meeting,
mem,Mam; Miss; Madam,
mend,amend; cure; heal,as in 'mend your ways'
mengie,menagerie; lot; crowd,
merchan',merchant,
mercifu',merciful,
merryin',marrying,
micht,might,
michtna,might not,
michty,mighty; God,
mids,midst,
min',mind; recollection,also recollect; remember
minit,minute,
minny,mother; mommy,
mint,aimed; intended to,
min't,mind it; remember it,
misbelievin',not believing,
mischeef,mischief,
mista'en,mistaken,
misunderstandin',misunderstanding,
mither,mother,
mony,many,
mornin',morning,
mornin's,mornings,
mou's,mouths,
muckle,huge; enormous; big; great; much,
munsie,fool,
muntain-side,mountainside,
mutch,cap with protruding frill,worn under the bonnet
muved,moved; affected,
My certie!,?,My goodness!?
my lane,on my own,
mysel,myself,
mysel',myself,
na,not; by no means,
na',not; by no means,
nae,no,
naething,nothing,
naewise,nowise; in no way,
nain,own,
nane,none,
nater,nature,
nateral,natural,
natur',nature,
near-han',nearly; almost,
neebor,neighbour,
neebours,neighbours,
needna,do not need; need not,
neep,turnip,
neep-seed,turnip seed,
ne'er,never,
ne'er-do-well,never do well; troublemaker,
negleckin',neglecting,
neglecks,neglects,
neist,next,
neives,fists,
nicht,night,
nichtly,nightly; at night,
nigh,nearly,
nigher,nearer; closer,
no,not,
no that ill to win at,not that difficult to get at,
noo,now,
noo-a-days,nowadays,
nor,nor; than,
not,needed,also not
o',of; on,
obleeged,obliged,
ohn,without,Scottish uses past participle not present prog.
on's,on his,
ony,any,
onything,anything,
ook,week,
ooman,woman,
oor,our,
oors,ours,
oorsels,ourselves,
oot,out,
ootside,outside,
opingan,opinion,
opingans,opinions,
or,before; ere; by,also or
orderin',ordering,
ordinar',ordinary; natural,
o's,of us,
o't,of it,
oucht,ought; all,
our lanes,on our own,
oursel',ourselves,
oursel's,ourselves,
ower,over; too,
owse,ox,
pairt,part,
pairtrick,partridge,
pairts,parts,
parritch,porridge,
passin',passing,
pat,put; made,
peint,point,
perfeck,perfect,
persaudit,persuaded,
picter,picture,
pig,stone bottle,
pint,point,
pinted,pointed,
pit,put; make,
pitawta,potato,
pits,puts; makes,
pitten,put; made,
pittin',putting; making,
playin',playing,
pleesir,pleasure,
pleesur,pleasure,
plentifu',plentiful,
pleuch,?,stall?
ploo,plough,
poapies,poppies,
poopit,pulpit,
Popp,Pope,
praisin',praising,
preceesely,precisely,
preevilege,privilege,
prenciple,principle,
prentit,printed,
presence-chaumer,presence chamber of a king,
prood,proud,
prospeck,prospect,
puir,poor,
puirest,poorest,
quean,queen; young girl; hussy,
quo',swore; said,
raither,rather,
rax,overdo it; stretch,
readin',reading,
reasonin's,reasonings,
reestlin',rustling,
refeese,refuse,
reid-coatit,red-coated,
reid-heedit,red-headed,
remin'in',reminding,
repentit,repented,
reprocht,reproached,
respeck,respect; consider worthy,
respecks,respects; considers worthy,
richt,right; correct,
richteousness,righteousness,
richtly,rightly,
richts,rights,
rizzon,reason,
roomie,little room,diminutive
roose,rouse; stir up; agitate,
rouch,rough,
roun',around; round,
routin',lowing,
rue't,rue it; feel sorry for it,
rumgumption,common sense,
's,us; his; as; is,
sae,so,
sae's,so is,
saft,soft; silly,
sair,sore; sorely; sad; hard,also serve
sairpent,serpent,
saitisfeed,satisfied,
sall,shall,
sanctifee,sanctify,
sanctificaition,sanctification,
sang,song,
sangs,songs,
sanna,shall not,
Sant,saint,
saplin's,saplings,
sat,set,
sattle,settle,
sattles,settles,
sauld,sold,
sawin',sowing,
sayin',saying,
scabbit,scabby; scaly,
schraichin,screaming,
scomfisht,confiscated; destroyed,
Scotlan',Scotland,
scoug,stunted bush,
scunner,disgust; disgusting; revolting,
seein',seeing,
seemilies,similes,
see't,see it,
sel,self,
sel',self,
self-forgettin',self-forgetting,
sels,selves,
sempathy,sympathy,
semple,simple,
settisfaction,satisfaction,
settle,sofa,
shanna,shall not,
shavin',shaving; cutting,
shinin',shining,
shiverin',shivering,
shoon,shoes,
shouldna,should not,
sic,such,
sicht,sight,
sichts,sights,
siller,silver; money; wealth,
siller-bag,silver-bag; purse,
simmer,Summer,
sin',since,
sinfu',sinful,
singin',singing,
sinset,sunset,
sittin',sitting,
skelf,shelf,also splinter of wood
skelp-doup,lit. slap on the backside,derogatory term
sklet,(school) slate,also roofing slate
sma',small; little; slight; narrow,
sma'est,smallest; littlest; slightest; narrowest,
smoored,caught in; covered by; trapped in,also smothered
smorin',smothering; entrapping,
smut,dirt,
snaw,snow,
snaw-ba's,snowballs,
snaw-vraith,snow-wreath; snowdrift,
snaw-wreaths,snowdrifts,
somehoo,somehow,
soun',sound,
soundet,sounded,
souns,sounds,
soun's,sounds,
sowl,soul,
spak,spoke,
spak',spoke,
speakin',speaking,
speikin',speaking,
speyk,speak,
spier,ask; question; inquire,
spierin',asking; questioning; inquiring,
stamack,stomach,
stan',stand; stop,
stane,stone; measure of weight,1 stone = 14 pounds
stanes,stones,
stan'in',standing,
stappit,stopped; plugged,also stepped
starnies,little stars,diminutive
starns,stars,
steek,shut; close,also stitch (as in clothing)
steekit,shut; closed,
steekit neives,clenched fists,
stew,?,stew?
stour,dust,
strae,straw,
strang,strong; violent,
straucht,straighten,
straucht-foret,straightforward,
stravaguin',wandering; meandering,
streekit,stretched,
sud,should,
sune,soon; early,
suner,sooner,
supposin',supposing,
suspeecion,suspicion,
sut,?,suet?
syne,time; since; then,in (good) time
't,it,
tae,toe,also one
taen,taken; seized,
ta'en,taken; seized,
tak',take; seize,
tak' tent,look out; pay attention,
takin',taking,
taks,takes; seizes,
talans,talents,
tap,top,
tauld,told,
tay,tea,
te,to,
ted,fellow,
tee,'to ye' i.e. to you; also too,also tea
tellin',telling; relating,
tellt,told; related,
tent,attention,
thae,those,
thankfu',thankful,
that'll,that will,
the day,today,
the morn,tomorrow,
the nicht,tonight,
the noo,right now,
thegither,together,
themsels,themselves,
themsels',themselves,
thenk,think,
theroot,outside; out there,
thinkin',thinking,
this day week,in a week's time; a week from now,
thocht,thought,
thochtless,thoughtless,
thochts,thoughts,
thoom,thumb,
thrang,full; well filled; busy; crowd,
through't,through it,
throw't,through it,
till,to; till; until; about; towards,
till's,to his; to us,
till't,to it,
timmer,timber; wood,
tither,other,
tocher,dowry,
toddlin',toddling; walking unsteadily,
toot-moot,loud mouthed bantering,
tow,rope; string,
troth,truth; indeed,also used as an exclamation
trowth,truth; indeed,
truff,wood; material,
tummelin',tumbling,
turnin',turning,
twa,two,
'twar,it were,
'twas,it was,
'twere,it were; it was,
twise,twice,
tyauve,strive; struggle,
t'ye,to you,
unco,odd; strange; very,
understan',understand,
unnerstan',understand,
uphaud,uphold; maintain,
uphaudin',upholding; maintaining,
upo',upon,
upo't,upon it,
upricht,upright,
uptak,uptake; understanding,
veesible,visible,
veesits,visits,
verra,very; true; real,
vratch,wretch,
vrite,write,
wad,would,
wadna,would not,
waggin',wagging; nodding,
waggin' his heid,nodding his head (while preaching),
waitin',waiting,
wan,reached; gained; got,
want,want; lack; without; be in want of,
war,were,
wark,work; labour,
wark-hours,working hours,
warl',world,
warld,world,
warldly,worldly,
warna,were not,
warran',warrant; guarantee,
warst,worst,
warstle,wrestle,
wa's,walls,
wasna,was not,
was't,was it,
wastry,waste; extravagance,
wat,wet,see also 'I wat.'
waur,worse,
waurd,word,
we maun bide a wee,we need to wait a bit,
wean,child; infant,
weans,children; infants,
wee,small; little; bit,
weel,well; fine,
weel-faured,well favoured,
weicht,weight,
well-ee,well; pit; deep shaft,
we'se,we shall,
weyds,weeds,
wha,who,
wha',who,
wham,whom,
whan,when,
wha's,who is,
Wha's that o't?,Who is that?,
whase,whose,
What for no?,Why not?,
What for?,Why?,
whaur,where,
wheen,baby; little (adj.),
wheyt,wheat,
whiles,sometimes; at times,
wi,with,
wi',with,
wilfu',wilful,
willin',willing,
win,reach; gain; get,
win',wind,
winlestrae,straw dried on its root,weak willed; easily lead astray
winna,will not,
winnock,window,
wintin',wanting; without,
wi'out,without,
wis',wish,
wi't,with it,
wonner,wonder; marvel,
wonnerfu',wonderful,
wonnerfully,wonderfully,
woo',wool,
woosh,washed,
wrang,wrong,
wrang-duins,wrongdoings; misdeeds,
wud,wood; forest,adj.-enraged; angry; also would
wull,will; desire; pleasure; Will(iam),also astray; stray; wild
wull hizzie,wild hussy,
wuman,woman,
wumman,woman,
ye,you,
ye'll,you will,
yer,your,
ye'r,you are,
ye're,you are,
yersel,yourself,
yersel',yourself,
ye'se,you shall,
yestreen,yesterday (evening),
ye've,you have,
yon's,yonder is; that (thing) there is,
yow-lammie,ewe lamb; runaway,diminutive

The Project Gutenberg Etext of David Elginbrod
by George MacDonald
******This file should be named 7lgnb11.txt or 7lgnb11.zip******

Corrected EDITIONS of our etexts get a new NUMBER, 7lgnb12.txt
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