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"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 car-
man before mentioned. He came up, pushing the
crowd right and left.

"Let the man alone," said he, in a very offensive

"I assure ^ you," said Falcaner, "he's not worth
your .^trouble; for "

"None a' 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

"Sutherland, look after the count."

"That I will," said Hugh, confidently.

Falconer tiuned 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 Fal-
coner, whose coolness' equalled his skill.

Meantime, the Bohemian had been watching his
chance; and although the contest certainly did not last

D<wid Elgikbrod, //. 1 7

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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

"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 Fal-
coner's prowess claimed.

Falconer walked after Hugh, who soon returned,
looking excessive^ly mortified, and feeling very small

"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

"But what can we do next? He will not come
here again." v

"Very likely not. Still he may not give up his at-
tempts 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."

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"Well, why not, if you have the power?*'
"Because I have made up my mind not to super-
induce any condition of whose laws I am so very par-
tially 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."


For though that ever yirtuous was she,

She was increased in such excellence,
Of thewes good, yset in high bounty,

And so discreet and fair of eloquence,

So benign, and so digne of reverence.
And couth^ so the people^s hert embrace.
That each her loveth that looketh in her face.

CHA.vcE&.—The Cleric's Tal*.

Hugh returned to Mrs. Elton's, and, in the dining-
room, wrote a note to Euphra, to express his disap-
pointment, 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, think-
ing that she might be on the sofa, and might send for
him. A little weary from the reaction of the excite-
ment he had just gone through, he sat down in the
comer 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


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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 Arnsteiad — the glorified face of Margaret
Elginbrod, shimmering faintly in the dull light. In-
stinctively he pressed his hands together, palm to palm,
as if he had been about to kneel before Madonna her-
self. 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 sub-
side, still holding his hands. He felt that her hands
were so good.

"He is dead!" said Hugh, at last, with an 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. In-
deed, 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

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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

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

"I hope not," said Hugh; "but you speak con-
fidently: 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

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"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

They bade each other good night; and Hugh went
away with a strange feeling, which he had never ex-
perienced 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 pos-
sessed, it would yet be well; for it^ 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 em-
bodying that passion. It was the recognition and con-
sequent admiration of a beauty which every-one 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 per-

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tion 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 be-
-fore 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 any-

"I have found out another mystery," Euphra re-
sumed, 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.

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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 Eu-
phra, 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 terri-
fying the servants, and poor Harry; and I resolved to
do my best to meet it, especially if it should be any-
thing of a ghostly kind."

"Then you do believe in such appearances?" said

"I have never met anything of the sort yet. I don't

"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

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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 heiwas 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 anx-
ious 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.

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Das Denken ist nnr ein Traoxn des FUhlens, ein erstorbenes Fflhlea,
oin blass-graueg, schwaches Leben.

Thinking is only a dream of feeling; a dead feeling; a pale-grej,
feeble life.

KoyALi8.-^DM LehrUng* bu Sais.

For whereof no courage, thereat no ruth nor mone.

Faerie Queene: YZ. 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 strang6 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 ^as 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, \yill 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 hur-

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riedly answered it, and went to find Palconer. 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

"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 womsm."

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 you."

"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. 6he 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

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smile shone through without moving one of his features
as it passed. The tears stood in his eyes. To under-
stand all this look, one would need to know his hi«tory
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 I Have I not written a revelation! Yes — to him
who can read it — yes.

"I know enough of yoiir 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 caji
tell further is, that I turned to the left beside a church,
on the steeple of which stood what I took for a wan-
dering 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, 61d-fashi6ned court, with two or
three trees in it. I had to go up a few steps to enter

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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," h& 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, Suther-

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 send^ 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?"

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"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

"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 ally 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 hoy^^ 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.

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"Well, we had better part. now, and meet again at

"What time shall I come to you?"

"Oh I 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 h'^e 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

"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 be-
fore 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. Vour 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

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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 ex-
ercised 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. Loiter-
ing here, and trifling there, passing five minutes over
a volume on every bookstall in Holborn, and com-
paring the shapes of the meerschaums in every tobac-
conist's window, time ambled gently along with him;

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and it struck nine just as he found himself at Fal-
coner's door.

"You are ready, then?" said Falconer.


"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 cer-
tain region, called by courtesy the chest, is not favour-
able to deeds of vgdour. By the time he had spent
ten minutes in the discharge of the agreeable duty
suggested, he felt himself ready for anything that

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Online LibraryGeorge MacDonaldDavid Elginbrod, Volume 2 → online text (page 17 of 20)