Part 5 out of 12
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
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
"Are we, then, to remain in utter ignorance of the divine
"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
But I am putting the boy's feelings into forms and words for him.
He had none of either for them.
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.
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
"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
AN EVENING LECTURE.
Shall call thee when it walks.
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
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
"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."
"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
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
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
"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
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.
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
"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
"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
"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,
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
"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
"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
She seemed pondering for a moment.
"That strikes me as a fine simile," she said. "You ought to be a
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."
"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
"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
"There may be more places."
"No. I have accounted for the whole bulk, I believe."
"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
"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
"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.
A NEW VISITOR AND AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE.
To bring a woman to confusion,
More than a wiser man, or a far greater.
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
"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
"Well, I should say so; but beauty is not, that is not beauty for
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
"No, not I."
"I think Germany is more prolific of such stories. I could tell you
"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
"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."
"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
"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.
"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
"I know I was quite a scare-crow then," said Euphra, attempting to
"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
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?"
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
"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
"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
"Bah!" exclaimed Mr. Arnold, rather rudely.
"You would have said so, if you had heard the lecture," said
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
"Ah! ah! I thought so. Jealous of the poor 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
"Then that was not your first meeting -- at Sir Edward Laston's?"
"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
"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.
MATERIALISM alias GHOST-HUNTING.
Wie der Mond sich leuchtend dränget
Durch den dunkeln Wolkenflor,
Also taucht aus dunkeln Zeiten
Mir ein lichtes Bild hervor.
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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.
"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
After stillness had settled down with outspread wings of intensity,
"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
"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
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
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
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
"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
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
"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 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
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
"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
"Can you starve well?"
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
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,
"By all means. Take my arm, Lady Emily. Euphra, will you take the
keys again, and lock the doors?"