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"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

10*



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148 DAVID ELGINBROD*

afterwards seen apparently watching him from the
gallery of the Olympic Theatre.

"How are you, MacPherson?" said a deep power-
ful voice, out of the gloom.

"Verra weel, I thank ye, Mr. Falconer. Hoo are
ye yerser, sir?"

"Very well too, thank you. Who is with you?"

"It's a gentleman, sir, by the name o' Mr. Suther-
land, 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."



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SUNDAY EVENING. 149

"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 ^ 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 y 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 tilings, I hope; not in the least from the
nervo-material side."

"I think I understand you."



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150 DAVID ELGINBROD.

**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 think-
ing 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 cavemed 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 :



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SUNDAY EVENING. I5I

"You said you had spent the day strangely: may I
ask how?" '

"In a condemned cell in Newgate," answered Fal-
coner. "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 ex-
posing 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!"



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152 DAVID ELGINBROD.

"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
ftilly 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 com-
pelled to believe that, at whatever time death may ar-
rive, 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."



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SUNDAY EVENING. 1 53

"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."



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154 DAVm ELGINBROD.

CHAPTER VIU.
EUPHRA.

Samson. O that torment should not be confined
To the body's wonnds and sores,

But mnst 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 benummlng opium as my only cure,

Thence fkintings, swoonings of despair,

And sense of heaven's desertion.

Milton.— <Sa«isow 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 Amstead.

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,



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EUPHRA. 155

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 suf-
ficient 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 con-
sciousness which often arises in loneliness and suffer-
ing; 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 un-
lawful 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 can-
not 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 no-
tliing 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, notwithstand-
ing 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,



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156 DAVID ELGINBROD,

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 be-
fore the first pang has passed away, as by a holy in-
stinct 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 im-
pulse, 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 ^-st 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



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EUPHRA. 157

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 chil-
dren of the spring might come? — certainly in order
first that the blue sky of a deeper peace might re-
flect 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 repent-
ance, 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 be-
lieve 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 na-
ture 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



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158 DAVID ELGINBROD.

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 parch-
ments, 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 ad-
miration, 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 cor-
ruption of the soul itself.



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EUPHRA, 159

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 na-
ture groans unde;r 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 dilirious
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 ut-
terly 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 awftil 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,



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l6o DAVID ELGINBROD.

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 con-
vince Euphra that there could not possibly be any-
thing 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 in-
distinct though punctiliously neat hand, that the read-
ing 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 coflfee, al-
though 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 ar-
ranged, 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 know-
ing 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 an-
other, which ran thus:

"Dear Euphra, — Do come and see us. 1 do not
like London at all without you. There are no happy



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EUPHRA. 161

days here like those we had at Amstead with Mr.
Sutherland. Mrs. Elton and Margaret are very kind
to me. But I wish you would come. Do, do, do.
Please do.

^ "Your aflfectionate cousin,

"Harry Ai6iold."

"The dear boy!" said Euphra, with a gush
of pure and grateful aflfection; "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 jwas 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
healthfiil manly sympathy, he had been making up for
the period during which childhood had been pro-
tracted 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."

David Elginbrod. II. 1 1

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1 62 DAVID ELGINBROD.

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 un-
consciously 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 forgive-
ness 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 in-
creased attention and submission, to remove it; and
seemed perfectly satisfied when it was followed by a
kinS 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


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