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he had been wearing boots and had walked on
the bare oak, he would not, he knew, be running
a chance of awaking any one. The rooms of Mr.
and Mrs. Chaworth looked out upon the front of
the house, and Mary slept in the same wing.

He felt refreshed by the cool air of the corridor,



Love Alone Is Lord 129

and he strolled backward and forward for some
time. He stood looking out of the great groined
window at the end of the passage for some time,
and then he retraced his steps until he was at the
head of the first flight of stairs. He remained
here, "finding it restful to lean over the smooth oak
rail, looking down upon the short flight of shal-
low steps that sprung directly from the hall to the
broad landing with the window emblazoned with
the shields and quarterings of the family. The
single lamp which burned all night in a corner of
the hall sent out only a faint gleam to touch the
polished oak at places and to make a ruby blaze
upon the facets of the gules of the leaded panes.

The night was profoundly still. Outside there
was no whisper of wind; the hoot of a single
owl came from a distance, and once the note of a
night- jar whirled past the house. Such sounds only
made the dead silence within seem all the more
intense. A velvet silence draped the hall, so that
the solitary watcher at the head of the stairs had
a feeling of looking into a vast vaulted tomb, and
the thin light of the lamp had the semblance of
phosphorescence or that weird illuminant which
he had heard called a corpse-candle.

He remained, a part of the silence, for some
time, but no revelation came to him out of its
depths. He lifted his head from the gallery rail
and returned with slow steps to the corridor lead-
ing to his room. When he opened his door the
light of the candle, which he had left burning,



130 Love Alone Is Lord

flickered across the wall outside. At the same
instant he became aware of a faint sound it
might have been a footfall on the stairs. He
turned quickly around.

He saw it at once float athwart the flicker of
the candle-light down the corridor something of
white a shape, but blurred. He remained breath-
less a space with his hand on the door of his room.
His heart's beating was audible to him for more
than a moment. Then he heard another soft pat
of a foot upon the floor of the gallery.

For some time he could not stir ; he could only
listen. He heard another pat, pat, pat; after
that, silence. He crept along the carpet of the
corridor and cautiously put forth his head. There
she was standing with her foot on the first step of
the staircase, her hand on the banister rail. She
was robed in white, and her feet were bare. Had
she been otherwise she would have been almost
invisible, so faint was the light that came from
the depths of the hall. But he saw her. She
seemed to his eyes like the Angel of the Resur-
rection descending into the vault. Her hair,
which slipped in coils loose over her shoulders,
seemed to have a light of its own, enabling him to
see her face. It was white; its whiteness lay
upon the darkness like an alabaster carving laid
on a background of black marble. And while he
watched her she went down the stairs, slowly and
cautiously, her left hand slipping along the slope
of the smooth rail, and her feet being on the



Love Alone Is Lord 131

polished woodwork between the stair carpet and
the banisters. She went down to the first land-
ing where she stood for some time; and now,
looking down from the gallery to which he had
crept, he saw her figure clearly as she approached
the light in the hall. He saw her beautiful white
face and little white feet. He saw the soft sugges-
tions of the lines of her figure shining through the
single garment that she wore the sinuous snowy
robe.

In an instant the truth flashed upon him; the
girl was walking in her sleep, some purpose was
in her mind, a somnambulist's purpose, and she
was going down to the hall, perhaps out of doors
to fulfil it.

In an instant he rose to his feet. He felt that
it was necessary for him to take some action.
He had heard of sleep-walkers doing dangerous
things injuring themselves killing themselves.
What if the impulse which was on her at that
moment should tend in such a direction? She
was not accountable for her acts in this state. She
might be forced to do something terrible. There
was a wide and deep fishpond not so far from the
entrance to the hall.

He did not hesitate. He went as quickly as
possible down the stairs, and reached the floor a
few minutes after he had seen her descend. At
first he did not perceive in which direction she
had gone; but the taking of a step to the right
was sufficient to show her to him once more. She



132 Love Alone Is Lord

was standing in front of the picture that had
fallen. The misty light of the lamp shone upon
the gilding of the broad frame and was reflected
upon her white face. It made her robes seem
diaphanous nay, she herself appeared to be as
transparent as a mist through which a light shines.

He stood at the foot of the staircase watching
her with palpitating heart and a gasping of
breath in his throat, which he strove to check but
could not. He was trembling so that he found it
necessary to support himself by a hand on the
great carved newel. He could not move from
where he stood, though his longing to go to her
side, to put his arms about her, and tell her that she
might trust him to love her for ever, was intense.

She remained looking up to the face of the pic-
ture for a long time; then she clasped her hands
and, in an imploring attitude, uttered some words.
Her phrases were spoken in a low tone and were
disjointed. She seemed simply to be sighing a
word or two. Then she turned away from the
picture. He did not move, so that she faced him
in a moment. He saw that her look of anxiety,
of restlessness, which had been on her face
when he was with her in the drawing-room was
intensified. She went close to him ; he could feel
the soft warmth of her gentle body, the soft
warmth of a white rose, beside him; but her
cold expressionless eyes told him that she was
still asleep.

She stood beside him for a little while as if un-



Love Alone Is Lord 133

certain whether or not to ascend the stairs. Then
she turned once more and went quickly back to
the picture. She clasped her hands again and
now she spoke distinctly, and the words that she
said were :

" Spare him you will spare him I implore of
you to spare him because I love him. Surely you
will respect that plea. I love him. Even though
I may wrong him and

So far he had heard clearly all that she said, but
now the tone of her voice fell. Her words became
less audible until at last her lips only were moving ;
her words were not louder than a sigh. He failed
to hear one of them clearly. Her lips were still
moving rapidly while she moved backward from
the picture, and on to the stairs, her robe brushing
him as she passed. He watched her go slowly up
the staircase until she disappeared in the gallery
off which her room was situated.

Not for a moment had he a thought of awaking
her. He had a feeling that her sleep was sacred.
He even felt that he had been an eavesdropper,
having overheard those words which she uttered
in the confidence of unconsciousness. It was
something like having surprised her bathing, and
not then staying to watch her. His self-reproach
would have seemed to many people to be artificial ;
but to him it was for the moment very real ; and
its impression lasted with him even until he had
reached his room, and had sat down to think over
his experience of the night.



134 Love Alone Is Lord

His thoughts somehow contracted until they
were dwelling only upon that little pair of naked
feet which he had seen beneath the embroidery of
that white clinging robe. That beautiful picture
filled all his thoughts. He was unable to feel the
elation which should certainly have been his, hav-
ing heard the confession that had come from her
when face to face with the picture. And when
he lay awake in his bed it was not the thought that
the difficult question which had perplexed him
an hour before, and which was now answered,
that kept him from sleep ; it was only the thought
of those little bare feet.

He did not close his eyes for another hour.



CHAPTER XI

WHEN he awoke in the morning after the
most eventful night of his life, it was
with a sense of perfect happiness, a sense that
his life was complete, that the future could bring
nothing better than what had already come to
him. Of course, he felt that he was bound to re-
gard as confidential the confession which he had
overheard, but this fact did not diminish from the
satisfaction which he derived from overhearing it.
It was the truth that she had spoken, of so much
he was assured. And the depth of the love for
him to which she had confessed was proved by the
effect it had upon her. The expression of anxiety
which he noticed on her face the previous night
had been there, he now knew, because she was
apprehensive of his safety. Beyond a doubt she
had been greatly frightened by the incidents con-
nected with the falling of the picture. She had
talked with conviction about the mysterious na-
ture of that gust of wind which had rushed past
her where she stood at the entrance to the draw-
ing-room. He was inclined himself to look at the
mysterious side of things, and superstition had
been part of his education in Scotland, where
there was a word to define things of mystery;



136 Love Alone Is Lord

"uncanny" was the word which he had heard
used with great frequency. This was why he
could understand how Mary Chaworth should be
affected by the idea of the ghost of her ancestor
returning to earth to protest against the appear-
ance of the representative of the man who had
slain him, as a guest at Annesley Hall.

How deeply she had been affected by the
thought that he might be in danger had been
proved to him very clearly; and this being so,
how could he be otherwise than happy ? He was
happy. He felt that his life was complete. He
asked for nothing more in the world.

The carpenters were already at work upon the
injured panel when he came down to breakfast,
Mr. Chaworth standing in the hall giving instruc-
tions respecting the fitting of powerful bolts to
the frame to prevent the possibility of the accident
being repeated within a hundred years at least.
The workman was ready to give a personal guar-
antee of five hundred to the new bolts.

" We must not run the chance of having to send
our guests away in their coffins, Byron," said Mr.
Chaworth ; and just at that moment Mary came
down-stairs. She said good-morning to Byron,
and kissed her father, and then hurried past the
picture with only a single glance at it, and that
glance had (Byron saw) a shudder in it. He was
glad that she did not tarry in the hall. If she
had not passed through so rapidly she would cer-
tainly have noticed the flush which came upon his



Love Alone Is Lord 137

face as he thought of how he had seen her in the
same place some hours before sunrise. He had
an idea that the thought of his eavesdropping
would prevent his being able to meet her eye,
without letting her know that he had pried upon
her secret. And how would it be, he asked him-
self, when he had told her all that was in his
heart, when he had heard from her own true lips
the secret which he had heard her confess to the
picture ?

She was silent, and so was he, during breakfast.
He thought that she looked paler than usual ; but
the expression of anxiety was no longer on her
face.

After breakfast the horses were brought round
to the porch. The young people were accustomed
to have a gallop with Mr. Chaworth to visit some
of the farms, regardless of the weather; and if
Mr. Chaworth found himself detained by any
bailiff's business, Mary and Byron continued their
ride across country. This was what happened
now ; they had gone to Mertoun Farm, and there
had been a talk of the tenant's taking over the
lease of the adjoining grazing. An hour would
be occupied in settling terms, Mr. Chaworth said,
and even this was assuming that the tenant
would be reasonable, which had never been, he
said, an experience of his.

"You can have your ride; give the rascal an
hour to grumble about the wet seasons, and half
an hour to curse the dry, and drop in on me on



138 Love Alone Is Lord

your way home," he suggested, when he had dis-
mounted and handed over his horse to one of the
farmer's men.

But his daughter showed no disposition to ac-
cept his suggestion. She became excessively
dutiful, saying, with a pout, that he was tiresome,
and that it was too bad that he should be com-
pelled to bear the burden and heat of the tenants'
complaints, and, therefore, that she had made up
her mind to face the man and tell him that if he
meant to take the meadows he should do so at
once, and if he did not mean to do so he should
not waste valuable time in grumbling; it was
useless, besides being impious.

Her father said :

"Egad, madam, you will make a very pretty
business-woman when your time comes, but
meantime, I will take care that you do not inter-
rupt my business ; so off you go, and come back
with some of the pink of the bramble-berries in
your cheeks. Just now they are as pale as
guelders. Off you go."

He gave her mare a cut with his whip, sending
her flying along the little track across the great
cornfield, which only a month before had been
glorious with the harvest's gold. Byron sent his
horse after her at a gallop.

"Where shall we go?" he asked when he had
overtaken her at the brook. " This is the clearest
day we have had for a week. Shall we ride to
the Knoll and make it our Pisgah?"



Love Alone Is Lord 139

The Knoll was the highest point of the land in
this neighbourhood. The clump of trees that
crowned it had been planted in a circle in the
days of the Civil War to commemorate a victory
in which the owner of the estate was interested.
But so little interested were the people of the
neighbourhood in the incident, the next genera-
tion could not tell what was the precise victory
it was meant to perpetuate. A fine view of the
country was to be had on clear days from its
summit. Byron had called it Pisgah. But years
had passed before he described it :

A gentle hill,

Green and of mild declivity, the last,
As 't were the cap of a long ridge of such,
Save that there was no sea to lave its base,
But a most living landscape and the wave
Of woods and cornfields, and the abodes of man
Scattered at intervals, and wreathing smoke
Arising from such rustic roofs ; the hill
Was crown'd with a peculiar diadem
Of trees in circular array, so fix'd
Not by the sport of nature but of man.

Mary did not seem to hear what he said. She
was walking her mare, and her head was droop-
ing. He had to repeat his suggestion, and then
she started as if she were awaking from a dream.

" I beg your pardon, Cousin Byron," she said.
" I was thinking thinking that papa takes a vast
amount of trouble to to oh, yes; the Knoll
any place it is all the same to me."



140 Love Alone Is Lord

She cantered ahead of him; and the ground
where they now were was so uneven that he had
difficulty in getting alongside her again. He felt
somewhat hurt at her evident desire to be un-
companionable.

"Do you wish to show me the way?" he said.
" I don't think that it is necessary. But perhaps
you have something on your mind, and you do
not wish me to get close to you to read your
thoughts. If you are afraid, I can easily drop
behind."

"Do not be a goose, Byron," she said quickly.
He drew his rein in a moment; and she made
haste to ask his pardon.

"I don't mean that," she said; "I mean that
oh, Byron, I want to make a strange request
of you more than a request I want to implore
of you to go away from me from us from
Annesley at once!"

She spoke earnestly almost fervently, laying
her hand upon his arm, and looking with be-
seeching eyes into his face.

He had never received such a shock as her
words gave him. He was too startled to be able
to speak. He could only stare at her. He felt
the blood leave his face ; and for some moments
he had an impression of suddenly awaking, hav-
ing heard words at that instant the exact import
of which he had failed to grasp. He could not
trust his ears.

" I have startled you," she said. " But indeed,



Love Alone Is Lord



you are not more startled than I am. I did not
think that I should be able to say what I have
said; but I have spoken, and I am glad. Oh,
my dear Byron, it is but too true; you must go
away."

"Why should I go away tell me that, Mary,"
he cried. " Why should I go away just now when
I have come to know that we you and I that
we - "

"You are to go to save yourself from the
greatest trouble of your life to save me from
the greatest trouble of mine," she said. "You
do not know how great may be this trouble. But
you can judge of it when I tell you that
that - "

"Dare you tell me that it is greater than the
pain of parting? " he cried.

" I dare I dare. Do you not think that I
have weighed the two that I have set the one
in the balance against the other?" she cried. " I
have done so, and yet I can now say, ' Go go.' '

" More bitter words were never spoken," said he.

"True; but they save a still more bitter ex-
perience," she replied.

She was looking into his face; he kept his
eyes fixed upon hers.

There was a protracted pause before he said :

" Dear Mary, I know a great deal more of what
is in your heart than you fancy I do. You are
the sweetest the best that lives in the world.
There can never have been one like you, and



142 Love Alone Is Lord

there never shall be another. I know what is
in your heart. It is for me you are afraid you
fear that I am in danger so long as I remain at
Annesley. What happened last night put you in
fear. You cannot think that the accident from
which I just escaped was due to an ordinary a
natural cause. You have a feeling that the man
who was murdered by the last Lord Byron has
power to resent the coming to the house which
was once his of anyone bearing the name of his
murderer. Am not I right?"

She seemed glad to jump at his suggestion.

"That is it," she said. "You do not think me
foolish, Byron. I know that there are many
people who would call me foolish superstitious.
But you are not one of them. You have agreed
with me that there are strange things strange
powers. ... I told you last night that I felt
something when that terrifying gust of wind
came. ... If you had gone into the hall a
few seconds sooner. . . . When I think of it
all. . . . But you will go away before any-
thing happens. What are we that we should try
to contend with these powers? We shall be
sorry you will never know how sorry; but you
must go away."

"And I will go away," he said, after a short
space of silence.

"You will? Ah, I knew you would grant my
request without having a doubtful thought," she
cried.



Love Alone Is Lord 143

"A doubtful thought? How would it be pos-
sible for me to have a doubtful thought, Mary?"

"Why, you might feel that I was outraging
all the traditions of hospitality. If my father
or mother were to know that I took this step they
would never forgive me. But you have under-
stood me; you know that I am trying to save us
both from a great unhappiness. You know what
is in my heart."

He looked at her earnestly tenderly.

"I believe I do know what is in your heart,"
he said. " I only came to know it last night in
a dream it was revealed to me in a dream. I
fancied that I came down-stairs and stood in the
hall opposite the picture; it was leaning against
the panel in the alcove, just as I had seen it be-
fore going to bed. It was all very real. The
place was in darkness but for a faint gleam that
came from the single lamp. And while I stood
there alone I seemed to hear the sound of a step
on the stairs. I turned my head and saw you
coming down to the hall. By one of those incon-
gruities which occur in dreams you passed close
to me without seeing me you seemed quite un-
aware of my presence, and I did not speak to
you it seemed quite natural that I should not
speak to you. You passed me and went to the
picture, and stood before it. I heard you address
it as if it were a living person, and the words
which you said were: 'Spare him spare him, I
implore of you, spare him because ' but the



144 Love Alone Is Lord

next words were indistinct they were faint as
an angel's singing in a dream. I had only a
sense of this sweetness. When I awoke I knew
that that dream had come to reveal to me all that
was in your heart."

He saw her become roseate when he mentioned
having seen her stand before the picture, and
when he pretended that he had failed to hear the
words which she had spoken, she gave a little
sigh of relief. She gave her mare a touch with
her whip and sent her ahead of her companion,
but after a canter of a hundred yards or less she
slackened her pace to allow him to get abreast of
her. They were now not far from the " diadem"
of the hill, the panoramic circle was widening in
front of them.

" I have never seen the view of the country so
clearly," she said, pointing with her whip and
sweeping it from right to left. "You were wise
to choose this direction for our ride, Cousin Byron.
And only last week the valley was full of mist."

"Yes," said Byron, "to-day I think I see
things clearly free from the mists of doubt the
uncertain atmosphere of a dream."

"Byron," she said, "if I had any doubt as to
the strange influences which are at work about
us, what you have told me of your dream would
be enough to convince me that it would be tempt-
ing Fate oh, it would be madness sheer mad-
ness for you to stay with us any longer. Let me
tell you that I, too, had that dream last night



Love Alone Is Lord 145

that very dream it differed in no respect from
yours; I fancied that I went down-stairs and
stood before that picture and spoke to it. Should
not that be enough for us enough to warn us;
people do not have the same dream unless as a
warning."

They were riding side by side now, and while
she spoke she looked into his face in all tender-
ness. Tears were in her voice, her words sounded
in his ear like a moan. She laid a hand upon one
of his own, and he felt how it trembled. He
caught her trembling hand and held it passion-
ately to his heart.

"My darling my darling Mary!" he whis-
pered, and again there was a passionate choking
gasp in his voice. " You will not force me to go
away when I tell you that I heard the words which
you sa i 'd to the picture before you left it."

" Byron, Byron, what do you mean? " she cried
almost piteously. " You must not hold my hand
so. It is not fitting it is foolish it is cruel,
and I will not submit to it. Oh, Byron, what
madness is this? Why did you ever come to us?
Why was I such a fool as to look out of the coach
window that morning? That was the worst act
of my life."

" The best the best the best ; for it brought
me to your side, and there I found the heaven
which I knew I was nearing when I looked up
from where I was lying and saw your dear face
above me," he said.



146 Love Alone Is Lord

" Madness madness ; for God's sake do not say
anything more to me," she cried, trying to force
the animal she was riding to get in advance of
his horse. He would not allow her to pass him.
Both came to a standstill.

"You think that I am a boy," he said. " But
I am a man. Ask yourself, Mary, if you do not
know in your heart that the love I have for you is
the love of a man for a woman. You know it,
and you stood before the picture last night and
said, ' I love him I love him ' I heard you, and
now you will say those sweet words not to a
picture but to a man who returns your love a
thousand-fold. Mary, my Mary, you will say
those words to me now, and we shall both be
happy."

She snatched her hands away from him and
held them on her shoulders out of his reach. The
expression on her face was almost one of terror.

" A dream you told me you dreamt it. How
could you know what I said in my dream?" she
whispered. "Why do you enweb me with mys-
tery? A dream! What is a dream! But how
could we both have the same oh, I will not think
of it any more. I have no head for mysteries.
Love you 7 love you? Oh, Byron, this is folly
sheer folly a cruel madness! How could you
ever think it possible that I I should love you? "

" Why should you not? Why should not I love
you?" he said, becoming more calm. "Is it be-



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