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Paul Faber, Surgeon by George MacDonald

Part 9 out of 9

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be faint is to begin to gather, as well as to cease to expend.

Faber had been growing better. He sat more erect on his horse; his eye
was keener, his voice more kindly, though hardly less sad, and his step
was firm. His love to the child, and her delight in his attentions, were
slowly leading him back to life. Every day, if but for a moment, he
contrived to see her, and the Wingfolds took care to remove every
obstacle from the way of their meeting. Little they thought why Dorothy
let them keep the child so long. As little did Dorothy know that what
she yielded for the sake of the wife, they desired for the sake of the

At length one morning came a break: Faber received a note from the
gate-keeper, informing him that Miss Drake was having the pond at the
foot of her garden emptied into the Lythe by means of a tunnel, the
construction of which was already completed. They were now boring for a
small charge of gunpowder expected to liberate the water. The process of
emptying would probably be rapid, and he had taken the liberty of
informing Mr. Faber, thinking he might choose to be present. No one but
the persons employed would be allowed to enter the grounds.

This news gave him a greater shock than he could have believed possible.
He thought he had "supped full of horrors!" At once he arranged with his
assistant for being absent the whole day; and rode out, followed by his
groom. At the gate Polwarth joined him, and walked beside him to the Old
House, where his groom, he said, could put up the horses. That done, he
accompanied him to the mouth of the tunnel, and there left him.

Faber sat down on the stump of a felled tree, threw a big cloak, which
he had brought across the pommel of his saddle, over his knees, and
covered his face with his hands. Before him the river ran swiftly toward
the level country, making a noise of watery haste; also the wind was in
the woods, with the noises of branches and leaves, but the only sounds
he heard were the blows of the hammer on the boring-chisel, coming dull,
and as if from afar, out of the depths of the earth. What a strange,
awful significance they had to the heart of Faber! But the end was
delayed hour after hour, and there he still sat, now and then at a
louder noise than usual lifting up a white face, and staring toward the
mouth of the tunnel. At the explosion the water would probably rush in a
torrent from the pit, and in half an hour, perhaps, the pond would be
empty. But Polwarth had taken good care there should be no explosion
that day. Ever again came the blow of iron upon iron, and the boring had
begun afresh.

Into her lovely chamber Dorothy had carried to Juliet the glad tidings
that her husband was within a few hundred yards of the house, and that
she might trust Mr. Polwarth to keep him there until all danger was

Juliet now manifested far more courage than she had given reason to
expect. It seemed as if her husband's nearness gave her strength to do
without his presence.

At length the child, a lovely boy, lay asleep in Dorothy's arms. The
lovelier mother also slept. Polwarth was on his way to stop the work,
and let the doctor know that its completion must be postponed for a few
days, when he heard the voice of Lisbeth behind him, calling as she ran.
He turned and met her, then turned again and ran, as fast as his little
legs could carry him, to the doctor.

"Mr. Faber," he cried, "there is a lady up there at the house, a friend
of Miss Drake's, taken suddenly ill. You are wanted as quickly as

Faber answered not a word, but went with hasty strides up the bank, and
ran to the house. Polwarth followed as fast as he could, panting and
wheezing. Lisbeth received the doctor at the door.

"Tell my man to saddle _my_ horse, and be at the back door immediately,"
he said to her.

Polwarth followed him up the stair to the landing, where Dorothy
received Faber, and led him to Juliet's room. The dwarf seated himself
on the top of the stair, almost within sight of the door.



When Faber entered, a dim, rosy light from drawn window-curtains filled
the air; he could see little more than his way to the bed. Dorothy was
in terror lest the discovery he must presently make, should unnerve the
husband for what might be required of the doctor. But Juliet kept her
face turned aside, and a word from the nurse let him know at once what
was necessary. He turned to Dorothy, and said,

"I must send my man home to fetch me something;" then to the nurse, and
said, "Go on as you are doing;" then once more to Dorothy, saying, "Come
with me, Miss Drake: I want writing things."

He led the way from the room, and Dorothy followed. But scarcely were
they in the passage, when the little man rose and met them. Faber would
have pushed past him, annoyed, but Polwarth held out a little phial to

"Perhaps that is what you want, sir," he said.

The doctor caught it hastily, almost angrily, from his hand, looked at
it, uncorked it, and put it to his nose.

"Thank you," he said, "this is just what I wanted," and returned
instantly to the chamber.

The little man resumed his patient seat on the side, breathing heavily.
Ten minutes of utter silence followed. Then Dorothy passed him with a
note in her hand, and hurried down the stair. The next instant Polwarth
heard the sound of Niger's hoofs tearing up the slope behind the house.

"I have got some more medicines here, Miss Drake," he said, when she
reappeared on the stair.

As he spoke he brought out phial after phial, as if his pockets widened
out below into the mysterious recesses of the earth to which as a gnome
he belonged. Dorothy, however, told him it was not a medicine the
doctor wanted now, but something else, she did not know what. Her face
was dreadfully white, but as calm as an icefield. She went back into the
room, and Polwarth sat down again.

Not more than twenty minutes had passed when he heard again the soft
thunder of Niger's hoofs upon the sward; and in a minute more up came
Lisbeth, carrying a little morocco case, which she left at the door of
the room.

Then an hour passed, during which he heard nothing. He sat motionless,
and his troubled lungs grew quiet.

Suddenly he heard Dorothy's step behind him, and rose.

"You had better come down stairs with me," she said, in a voice he
scarcely knew, and her face looked almost as if she had herself passed
through a terrible illness.

"How is the poor lady?" he asked.

"The immediate danger is over, the doctor says, but he seems in great
doubt. He has sent me away. Come with me: I want you to have a glass of

"Has he recognized her?"

"I do not know. I haven't seen any sign of it yet. But the room is
dark.--We can talk better below."

"I am in want of nothing, my dear lady," said Polwarth. "I should much
prefer staying here--if you will permit me. There is no knowing when I
might be of service. I am far from unused to sick chambers."

"Do as you please, Mr. Polwarth," said Dorothy, and going down the
stair, went into the garden.

Once more Polwarth resumed his seat.

There came the noise of a heavy fall, which shook him where he sat. He
started up, went to the door of the chamber, listened a moment, heard a
hurried step and the sweeping of garments, and making no more scruple,
opened it and looked in.

All was silent, and the room was so dark he could see nothing.
Presently, however, he descried, in the middle of the floor, a prostrate
figure that could only be the doctor, for plainly it was the nurse on
her knees by him. He glanced toward the bed. There all was still.

"She is gone!" he thought with himself; "and the poor fellow has
discovered who she was!"

He went in.

"Have you no brandy?" he said to the nurse.

"On that table," she answered.

"Lay his head down, and fetch it."

Notwithstanding his appearance, the nurse obeyed: she knew the doctor
required brandy, but had lost her presence of mind.

Polwarth took his hand. The pulse had vanished--and no wonder! Once
more, utterly careless of himself, had the healer drained his own
life-spring to supply that of his patient--knowing as little now what
that patient was to him as he knew then what she was going to be. A
thrill had indeed shot to his heart at the touch of her hand, scarcely
alive as it was, when first he felt her pulse; what he saw of her
averted face through the folded shadows of pillows and curtains both of
window and bed, woke wild suggestions; as he bared her arm, he almost
gave a cry: it was fortunate that there was not light enough to show the
scar of his own lancet; but, always at any critical moment
self-possessed to coldness, he schooled himself now with sternest
severity. He insisted to himself that he was in mortal danger of being
fooled by his imagination--that a certain indelible imprint on his brain
had begun to phosphoresce. If he did not banish the fancies crowding to
overwhelm him, his patient's life, and probably his own reason as well,
would be the penalty. Therefore, with will obstinately strained, he kept
his eyes turned from the face of the woman, drawn to it as they were
even by the terror of what his fancy might there show him, and held to
his duty in spite of growing agony. His brain, he said to himself, was
so fearfully excited, that he must not trust his senses: they would
reflect from within, instead of transmitting from without. And
victoriously did he rule, until, all the life he had in gift being
exhausted, his brain, deserted by his heart, gave way, and when he
turned from the bed, all but unconscious, he could only stagger a pace
or two, and fell like one dead.

Polwarth got some brandy into his mouth with a teaspoon. In about a
minute, his heart began to beat.

"I must open another vein," he murmured as if in a dream.

When he had swallowed a third teaspoonful, he lifted his eyelids in a
dreary kind of way, saw Polwarth, and remembered that he had something
to attend to--a patient at the moment on his hands, probably--he could
not tell.

"Tut! give me a wine-glass of the stuff," he said.

Polwarth obeyed. The moment he swallowed it, he rose, rubbing his
forehead as if trying to remember, and mechanically turned toward the
bed. The nurse, afraid he might not yet know what he was about, stepped
between, saying softly,

"She is asleep, sir, and breathing quietly."

"Thank God!" he whispered with a sigh, and turning to a couch, laid
himself gently upon it.

The nurse looked at Polwarth, as much as to say: "Who is to take the
command now?"

"I shall be outside, nurse: call me if I can be useful to you," he
replied to the glance, and withdrew to his watch on the top of the

After about a quarter of an hour, the nurse came out.

"Do you want me?" said Polwarth, rising hastily.

"No, sir," she answered. "The doctor says all immediate danger is over,
and he requires nobody with him. I am going to look after my baby. And
please, sir, nobody is to go in, for he says she must not be disturbed.
The slightest noise might spoil every thing: she must sleep now all she

"Very well," said Polwarth, and sat down again.

The day went on; the sun went down; the shadows deepened; and not a
sound came from the room. Again and again Dorothy came and peeped up the
stair, but seeing the little man at his post, like Zacchaeus up the
sycamore, was satisfied, and withdrew. But at length Polwarth bethought
him that Ruth would be anxious, and rose reluctantly. The same instant
the door opened, and Faber appeared. He looked very pale and worn,
almost haggard.

"Would you call Miss Drake?" he said.

Polwarth went, and following Dorothy up the stair again, heard what
Faber said.

"She is sleeping beautifully, but I dare not leave her. I must sit up
with her to-night. Send my man to tell my assistant that I shall not be
home. Could you let me have something to eat, and you take my place? And
there is Polwarth! _he_ has earned his dinner, if any one has. I do
believe we owe the poor lady's life to him."

Dorothy ran to give the message and her own orders. Polwarth begged she
would tell the groom to say to Ruth as he passed that all was well; and
when the meal was ready, joined Faber.

It was speedily over, for the doctor seemed anxious to be again with his
patient. Then Dorothy went to Polwarth. Both were full of the same
question: had Faber recognized his wife or not? Neither had come to a
certain conclusion. Dorothy thought he had, but that he was too hard and
proud to show it; Polwarth thought he had not, but had been powerfully
reminded of her. He had been talking strangely, he said, during their
dinner, and had drunk a good deal of wine in a hurried way.

Polwarth's conclusion was correct: it was with an excitement almost
insane, and a pleasure the more sorrowful that he was aware of its
transientness, a pleasure now mingling, now alternating with utter
despair, that Faber returned to sit in the darkened chamber, watching
the woman who with such sweet torture reminded him of her whom he had
lost. What a strange, unfathomable thing is the pleasure given us by a
likeness! It is one of the mysteries of our humanity. Now she had seemed
more, now less like his Juliet; but all the time he could see her at
best only very partially. Ever since his fall, his sight had been weak,
especially in twilight, and even when, once or twice, he stood over her
as she slept, and strained his eyes to their utmost, he could not tell
what he saw. For, in the hope that, by the time it did come, its way
would have been prepared by a host of foregone thoughts, Dorothy had
schemed to delay as much as she could the discovery which she trusted in
her heart must come at last; and had therefore contrived, not by drawn
curtains merely, but by closed Venetian shutters as well, to darken the
room greatly. And now he had no light but a small lamp, with a shade.

He had taken a book with him, but it was little he read that night. At
almost regular intervals he rose to see how his patient fared. She was
still floating in the twilight shallows of death, whether softly
drifting on the ebb-tide of sleep, out into the open sea, or, on its
flow, again up the river of life, he could not yet tell. Once the nurse
entered the room to see if any thing were wanted. Faber lifted his head,
and motioned her angrily away, making no ghost of a sound. The night
wore on, and still she slept. In his sleepless and bloodless brain
strangest thoughts and feelings went and came. The scents of old roses,
the stings of old sins, awoke and vanished, like the pulsing of
fire-flies. But even now he was the watcher of his own moods; and when
among the rest the thought would come: "What if this _should_ be my own
Juliet! Do not time and place agree with the possibility?" and for a
moment life seemed as if it would burst into the very madness of
delight, ever and again his common sense drove him to conclude that his
imagination was fooling him. He dared not yield to the intoxicating
idea. If he did, he would be like a man drinking poison, well knowing
that every sip, in itself a delight, brought him a step nearer to agony
and death! When she should wake, and he let the light fall upon her
face, he knew--so he said to himself--he _knew_ the likeness would
vanish in an appalling unlikeness, a mockery, a scoff of the whole night
and its lovely dream--in a face which, if beautiful as that of an angel,
not being Juliet's would be to him ugly, unnatural, a discord with the
music of his memory. Still the night was checkered with moments of
silvery bliss, in the indulgence of the mere, the known fancy of what it
would be if it _were_ she, vanishing ever in the reviving rebuke, that
he must nerve himself for the loss of that which the morning must
dispel. Yet, like one in a dream, who knows it is but a dream, and
scarce dares breathe lest he should break the mirrored ecstasy, he would
not carry the lamp to the bedside: no act of his should disperse the
airy flicker of the lovely doubt, not a movement, not a nearer glance,
until stern necessity should command.

History knows well the tendency of things to repeat themselves. Similar
circumstances falling together must incline to the production of similar
consequent events.

Toward morning Juliet awoke from her long sleep, but she had the vessel
of her brain too empty of the life of this world to recognize barely
that which was presented to her bodily vision. Over the march of two
worlds, that of her imagination, and that of fact, her soul hovered
fluttering, and blended the presentment of the two in the power of its

The only thing she saw was the face of her husband, sadly lighted by the
dimmed lamp. It was some-distance away, near the middle of the room: it
seemed to her miles away, yet near enough to be addressed. It was a more
beautiful face now than ever before--than even then when first she took
it for the face of the Son of Man--more beautiful, and more like Him,
for it was more humane. Thin and pale with suffering, it was nowise
feeble, but the former self-sufficiency had vanished, and a still sorrow
had taken its place.

He sat sunk in dim thought. A sound came that shook him as with an ague
fit. Even then he mastered his emotion, and sat still as a stone. Or was
it delight unmastered, and awe indefinable, that paralyzed him? He
dared not move lest he should break the spell. Were it fact, or were it
but yet further phantom play on his senses, it should unfold itself; not
with a sigh would he jar the unfolding, but, ear only, listen to the
end. In the utter stillness of the room, of the sleeping house, of the
dark, embracing night, he lay in famished wait for every word.

"O Jesus," said the voice, as of one struggling with weariness, or one
who speaks her thoughts in a dream, imagining she reads from a book, a
gentle, tired voice--"O Jesus! after all, Thou art there! They told me
Thou wast dead, and gone nowhere! They said there never was such a One!
And there Thou art! O Jesus, what _am_ I to do? Art Thou going to do any
thing with me?--I wish I were a leper, or any thing that Thou wouldst
make clean! But how couldst Thou, for I never quite believed in Thee,
and never loved Thee before? And there was my Paul! oh, how I loved my
Paul! and _he_ wouldn't do it. I begged and begged him, for he was my
husband when I was alive--him to take me and make me clean, but he
wouldn't: he was too pure to pardon me. He let me lie in the dirt! It
was all right of him, but surely, Lord, Thou couldst afford to pity a
poor girl that hardly knew what she was doing. My heart is very sore,
and my whole body is ashamed, and I feel so stupid! Do help me if Thou
canst. I denied Thee, I know; but then I cared for nothing but my
husband; and the denial of a silly girl could not hurt Thee, if indeed
Thou art Lord of all worlds!--I know Thou wilt forgive me for that. But,
O Christ, please, if Thou canst any way do it, make me fit for Paul.
Tell him to beat me and forgive me.--O my Saviour, do not look at me so,
or I shall forget Paul himself, and die weeping for joy. Oh, my Lord!
Oh, my Paul!"

For Paul had gently risen from his chair, and come one step
nearer--where he stood looking on her with such a smile as seldom has
been upon human face--a smile of unutterable sorrow, love, repentance,
hope. She gazed, speechless now, her spirit drinking in the vision of
that smile. It was like mountain air, like water, like wine, like
eternal life! It was forgiveness and peace from the Lord of all. And had
her brain been as clear as her heart, could she have taken it for less?
If the sinner forgave her, what did the Perfect?

Paul dared not go nearer--partly from dread of the consequences of
increased emotion. Her lips began to move again, and her voice to
murmur, but he could distinguish only a word here and there. Slowly the
eyelids fell over the great dark eyes, the words dissolved into
syllables, the sounds ceased to be words at all, and vanished: her soul
had slipped away into some silent dream.

Then at length he approached on tiptoe. For a few moments he stood and
gazed on the sleeping countenance--then dropped on his knees, and cried,

"God, if Thou be anywhere, I thank Thee."

Reader, who knowest better, do not mock him. Gently excuse him. His
brain was excited; there was a commotion in the particles of human
cauliflower; a rush of chemical changes and interchanges was going on;
the tide was setting for the vasty deep of marvel, which was nowhere but
within itself. And then he was in love with his wife, therefore open to
deceptions without end, for is not all love a longing after what never
was and never can be?

He was beaten. But scorn him not for yielding. Think how he was beaten.
Could he help it that the life in him proved too much for the death with
which he had sided? Was it poltroonery to desert the cause of ruin for
that of growth? of essential slavery for ordered freedom? of
disintegration for vital and enlarging unity? He had "said to
corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my
sister;" but a Mightier than he, the Life that lighteth every man that
cometh into the world, had said, "O thou enemy, destruction shall have a
perpetual end;" and he could not stand against the life by which he
stood. When it comes to this, what can a man do? Remember he was a
created being--or, if you will not allow that, then something greatly
less. If not "loved into being" by a perfect Will, in his own image of
life and law, he had but a mother whom he never could see, because she
could never behold either herself or him: he was the offspring of the
dead, and must be pardoned if he gave a foolish cry after a parent worth

Wait, thou who countest such a cry a weak submission, until, having
refused to take thine hour with thee, thine hour overtakes thee: then
see if thou wilt stand out. Another's battle is easy. God only knows
with what earthquakes and thunders, that hour, on its way to find thee,
may level the mountains and valleys between. If thou wouldst be perfect
in the greatness of thy way, thou must learn to live in the fire of thy
own divine nature turned against thy conscious self: learn to smile
content in that, and thou wilt out-satan Satan in the putridity of
essential meanness, yea, self-satisfied in very virtue of thy shame,
thou wilt count it the throned apotheosis of inbred honor. But seeming
is not being--least of all self-seeming. Dishonor will yet be dishonor,
if all the fools in creation should be in love with it, and call it

In an hour, Juliet woke again, vaguely remembering a heavenly dream,
whose odorous air yet lingered, and made her happy, she knew not why.
Then what a task would have been Faber's! For he must not go near her.
The balance of her life trembled on a knife-edge, and a touch might
incline it toward death. A sob might determine the doubt.

But as soon as he saw sign that her sleep was beginning to break, he all
but extinguished the light, then having felt her pulse, listened to her
breathing, and satisfied himself generally of her condition, crept from
the room, and calling the nurse, told her to take his place. He would be
either in the next room, he said, or within call in the park.

He threw himself on the bed, but could not rest: rose and had a bath;
listened at Juliet's door, and hearing no sound, went to the stable.
Niger greeted him with a neigh of pleasure. He made haste to saddle him,
his hands trembling so that he could hardly get the straps into the
girth buckles.

"That's Niger!" said Juliet, hearing his whinny. "Is he come?"

"Who, ma'am?" asked the nurse, a stranger to Glaston, of course.

"The doctor--is he come?"

"He's but just gone, ma'am. He's been sitting by you all night--would
let no one else come near you. Rather peculiar, in my opinion!"

A soft flush, all the blood she could show, tinged her cheek. It was
Hope's own color--the reflection of a red rose from a white.



Faber sprung upon Niger's back, and galloped wildly through the park.
His soul was like a southern sea under a summer tornado. The slow dawn
was gathering under a smoky cloud with an edge of cold yellow; a thin
wind was abroad; rain had fallen in the night, and the grass was wet and
cool to Niger's hoofs; the earth sent up a savor, which like a soft warp
was crossed by a woof of sweet odors from leaf-buds and wild flowers,
and spangled here and there with a silver thread of bird song--for but
few of the beast-angels were awake yet. Through the fine consorting mass
of silence and odor, went the soft thunder of Niger's gallop over the
turf. His master's joy had overflowed into him: the creatures are not
all stupid that can not speak; some of them are _with us_ more than we
think. According to the grand old tale, God made his covenant with all
the beasts that came out of the ark as well as with Noah; for them also
he set his bow of hope in the cloud of fear; they are God's creatures,
God bless them! and if not exactly human, are, I think, something more
than _humanish_. Niger gave his soul with his legs to his master's mood
that morning. He was used to hard gallops with him across country, but
this was different; this was plainly a frolic, the first he had had
since he came into his service; and a frolic it should be!

A deeper, loftier, lovelier morning was dawning in Faber's world unseen.
One dread burden was lifted from his being; his fierce pride, his
unmanly cruelty, his spotless selfishness, had not hunted a woman soul
quite into the moldy jaws of the grave; she was given back to him, to
tend, and heal, and love as he had never yet dreamed of loving! Endless
was the dawn that was breaking in him; unutterably sweet the joy. Life
was now to be lived--not endured. How he would nurse the lily he had
bruised and broken! From her own remorse he would shield her. He would
be to her a summer land--a refuge from the wind, a covert from the
tempest. He would be to her like that Saviour for whom, in her wandering
fancy, she had taken him: never more in vaguest thought would he turn
from her. If, in any evil mood, a thought unkind should dare glance back
at her past, he would clasp her the closer to his heart, the more to be
shielded that the shield itself was so poor. Once he laughed aloud as he
rode, to find himself actually wondering whether the story of the
resurrection _could_ be true; for what had the restoration of his Juliet
in common with the out-worn superstition? In any overwhelming joy, he
concluded, the heart leans to lovely marvel.

But there is as much of the reasonable as of to us the marvelous in that
which alone has ever made credible proffer toward the filling of the
gulf whence issue all the groans of humanity. Let Him be tested by the
only test that can, on the supposition of His asserted nature, be
applied to Him--that of obedience to the words He has spoken--words that
commend themselves to every honest nature. Proof of other sort, if it
could be granted, would, leaving our natures where they were, only sink
us in condemnation.

Why should I pursue the story further? and if not here, where better
should I stop? The true story has no end--no end. But endlessly dreary
would the story be, were there no Life living by its own will, no
perfect Will, one with an almighty heart, no Love in whom we live and
move and have our being. Offer me an eternity in all things else after
my own imagination, but without a perfect Father, and I say, no; let me
die, even as the unbelieving would have it. Not believing in the Father
of Jesus, they are _right_ in not desiring to live. Heartily do I
justify them therein. For all this talk and disputation about
immortality, wherein is regarded only the continuance of consciousness
beyond what we call death, it is to me, with whatever splendor of
intellectual coruscation it be accompanied, but little better than a
foolish babble, the crackling of thorns under a pot. Apart from Himself,
God forbid there should be any immortality. If it could be proved apart
from Him, then apart from Him it could be, and would be infinite
damnation. It is an impossibility, and were but an unmitigated evil. And
if it be impossible without Him, it can not be believed without Him: if
it could be proved without Him, the belief so gained would be an evil.
Only with the knowledge of the Father of Christ, did the endlessness of
being become a doctrine of bliss to men. If He be the first life, the
Author of his own, to speak after the language of men, and the origin
and source of all other life, it can be only by knowing Him that we can
know whether we shall live or die. Nay more, far more!--the knowledge
of Him by such innermost contact as is possible only between creator and
created, and possible only when the created has aspired to be one with
the will of the creator, such knowledge and such alone is life to the
created; it is the very life, that alone for the sake of which God
created us. If we are one with God in heart, in righteousness, in
desire, no death can touch us, for we are life, and the garment of
immortality, the endless length of days which is but the mere shadow of
the eternal, follows as a simple necessity: He is not the God of the
dead, or of the dying, but of the essentially alive. Without this inmost
knowledge of Him, this oneness with Him, we have no life in us, for _it
is life_, and that for the sake of which all this outward show of
things, and our troubled condition in the midst of them, exists. All
that is mighty, grand, harmonious, therefore in its own nature true, is.
If not, then dearly I thank the grim Death, that I shall die and not
live. Thus undeceived, my only terror would be that the unbelievers
might be but half right, and there might be a life, so-called, beyond
the grave without a God.

My brother man, is the idea of a God too good or too foolish for thy
belief? or is it that thou art not great enough or humble enough to hold
it? In either case, I will believe it for thee and for me. Only be not
stiff-necked when the truth begins to draw thee: thou wilt find it hard
if she has to go behind and drive thee--hard to kick against the divine
goads, which, be thou ever so mulish, will be too much for thee at last.
Yea, the time will come when thou wilt goad thyself toward the divine.
But hear me this once more: the God, the Jesus, in whom I believe, are
not the God, the Jesus, in whom you fancy I believe: you know them not;
your idea of them is not mine. If you knew them you would believe in
them, for to know them is to believe in them. Say not, "Let Him teach
me, then," except you mean it in submissive desire; for He has been
teaching you all this time: if you have been doing His teaching, you are
on the way to learn more; if you hear and do not heed, where is the
wonder that the things I tell you sound in your ears as the muttering of
a dotard? They convey to you nothing, it may be: but that which makes of
them words--words--words, lies in you, not in me. Yours is the killing
power. They would bring you life, but the death in him that knoweth and
doeth not is strong; in your air they drop and die, winged things no

For days Faber took measures not to be seen by Juliet. But he was
constantly about the place, and when she woke from a sleep, they had
often to tell her that he had been by her side all the time she slept.
At night he was either in her room or in the next chamber. Dorothy used
to say to her that if she wanted her husband, she had only to go to
sleep. She was greatly tempted to pretend, but would not.

At length Faber requested Dorothy to tell Juliet that the doctor said
she might send for her husband when she pleased. Much as he longed to
hear her voice, he would not come without her permission.

He was by her side the next moment. But for minutes not a word was
spoken; a speechless embrace was all.

It does not concern me to relate how by degrees they came to a close
understanding. Where love is, everything is easy, or, if not easy, yet
to be accomplished. Of course Faber made his return confession in full.
I will not say that Juliet had not her respondent pangs of retrospective
jealousy. Love, although an angel, has much to learn yet, and the demon
Jealousy may be one of the school masters of her coming perfection: God
only knows. There must be a divine way of casting out the demon; else
how would it be here-after?

Unconfessed to each other, their falls would forever have been between
to part them; confessed, they drew them together in sorrow and humility
and mutual consoling. The little Amanda could not tell whether Juliet's
house or Dorothy's was her home: when at the one, she always talked of
the other as _home_. She called her father _papa_, and Juliet _mamma_;
Dorothy had been _auntie_ from the first. She always wrote her name,
_Amanda Duck Faber_. From all this the gossips of Glaston explained
everything satisfactorily: Juliet had left her husband on discovering
that he had a child of whose existence he had never told her; but
learning that the mother was dead, yielded at length, and was
reconciled. That was the nearest they ever came to the facts, and it was
not needful they should ever know more. The talkers of the world are not
on the jury of the court of the universe. There are many, doubtless, who
need the shame of a public exposure to make them recognize their own
doing for what it is; but of such Juliet had not been. Her husband knew
her fault--that was enough: he knew also his own immeasurably worse than
hers, but when they folded each other to the heart, they left their
faults outside--as God does, when He casts our sins behind His back, in
utter uncreation.

I will say nothing definite as to the condition of mind at which Faber
had arrived when last Wingfold and he had a talk together. He was
growing, and that is all we can require of any man. He would not say he
was a believer in the supernal, but he believed more than he said, and
he never talked against belief. Also he went as often as he could to
church, which, little as it means in general, did not mean little when
the man was Paul Faber, and where the minister was Thomas Wingfold.

It is time for the end. Here it is--in a little poem, which, on her next
birthday, the curate gave Dorothy:

O wind of God, that blowest in the mind,
Blow, blow and wake the gentle spring in me;
Blow, swifter blow, a strong, warm summer wind,
Till all the flowers with eyes come out to see;
Blow till the fruit hangs red on every tree,
And our high-soaring song-larks meet thy dove--
High the imperfect soars, descends the perfect Love.

Blow not the less though winter cometh then;
Blow, wind of God, blow hither changes keen;
Let the spring creep into the ground again,
The flowers close all their eyes, not to be seen:
All lives in thee that ever once hath been:
Blow, fill my upper air with icy storms;
Breathe cold, O wind of God, and kill my canker-worms.

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