Part 2 out of 8
morning we'll try and make acquaintance with the stranger, and find
out for Captain Derrick's comfort how she managed to sail without
We bade each other good-night then, and descended to our several
When I found myself alone in the luxurious state-room 'suite'
allotted to me, the first thing I did was to open one of the port-
holes and listen to the music which still came superbly built,--
sailing vessels are always more elegant than steam, though not half
so useful. I expect she'll lie becalmed here for a day or two."
"It's a wonder she's got round here at all,"--said the captain--
"There wasn't any wind to bring her."
Mr. Harland looked amused.
"There must have been SOME wind, Derrick,"--he answered--"Only it
wasn't boisterous enough for a hardy salt like you to feel it."
"There wasn't a breath,"--declared Derrick, firmly--"Not enough to
blow a baby's curl."
"Then how did she get here?" asked Dr. Brayle.
Captain Derrick's lifted eyebrows expressed his inability to solve
"I said just now if there was a wind it wasn't a wind belonging to
Mr. Harland turned upon him quickly.
"Well, there are no winds belonging to other worlds that will ever
disturb OUR atmosphere,"--he said--"Come, come, Derrick, you don't
think that yacht is a ghost, do you?--a sort of 'Flying Dutchman'
Captain Derrick smiled broadly.
"No, sir--I don't! There's flesh and blood aboard--I've seen the men
hauling down canvas, and I know that. But the way she sailed in
"All that electric light is rather ostentatious,"--said Dr. Brayle--
"I suppose the owner wants to advertise his riches."
"That doesn't follow," said Mr. Harland, with some sharpness--"I
grant you we live in an advertising age, but I don't fancy the owner
of that vessel is a Pill or a Plaster or even a Special Tea. He may
want to amuse himself--it may be the birthday of his wife or one of
his and a warm atmosphere of peace and comfort came over me when at
last I lay down in my luxurious bed, and slipped away into the land
of sleep. Ah, what a land it is, that magic Land of Sleep!--a land
'shadowing with wings,' where amid many shifting and shimmering
wonders of darkness and light, the Palace of Vision stands uplifted,
stately and beautiful, with golden doors set open to the wanderer! I
made my entrance there that night;--often and often as I had been
within its enchanted precincts before, there were a million halls of
marvel as yet unvisited,--and among these I found myself,--under a
dome which seemed of purest crystal lit with fire,--listening to One
invisible, who,--speaking as from a great height, discoursed to me
THE ANGEL OF A DREAM
The Voice that spoke to me was silvery clear, and fell as it were
through the air, dividing space with sweetness. It was soft and
resonant, and the thrill of tenderness within it was as though an
angel sang through tears. Never had I heard anything so divinely
pure and compassionate,--and all my being strove to lift itself
towards that supernal height which seemed to be the hidden source of
its melodious utterance.
"O Soul, wandering in the region of sleep and dreams!" said the
Voice,--"What is all thy searching and labour worth without Love?
Why art thou lost in a Silence without Song?"
I raised my eyes, seeking for the one who thus spoke to me, but
could see nothing.
"In Life's great choral symphony"--the Voice continued--"the keynote
of the dominant melody is Love! Without the keynote there can be no
music,--there is dumbness where there should be sound,--there is
discord where there should be harmony. Love!--the one vibrant tone
to which the whole universe moves in tune,--Love, the breath of God,
the pulsation of His Being, the glory of His work, the fulfilment of
His Eternal Joy,--Love, and Love alone, is the web and texture and
garment of happy Immortality! O Soul that seekest the way to wisdom
and to power, what dost thou make of Love?"
I trembled and stood mute. It seemed that I was surrounded by solemn
Presences whose nearness I could feel but not see, and unknowing who
it was that spoke to me, I was afraid to answer.
"Far in the Past, thousands of ages ago," went on the Voice--"the
world we call the Sorrowful Star was a perfect note in a perfect
scale. It was in tune with the Divine Symphony. But with the sweep
of centuries it has lagged behind; it has fallen from Light into
Shadow. And rather than rise to Light again, it has made of itself a
discord opposed to the eternal Harmony. It has chosen for its
keynote Hate,--not Love! Each nation envies or despises the other,--
each man struggles against his fellow-man and grudges his neighbour
every small advantage,--and more than all, each Creed curses the
other, blasphemously calling upon God to verify and fulfil the
curse! Hate, not Love!--this is the false note struck by the pitiful
Earth-world to-day, swinging out of all concordance with spherical
sweetness!--Hate that prefers falsehood to truth, malice to
kindness, selfishness to generosity! O Sorrowful Star!--doomed so
soon to perish!--turn, turn, even in thy last moments, back to the
Divine Ascendant before it is too late!"
I listened,--and a sense of hopeless fear possessed me. I tried to
speak, and a faint whisper crept from my lips. "Why,"--I murmured to
myself, for I did not suppose anyone could or would hear me--"why
should we and our world perish? We knew so little at the beginning,
and we know so little now,--is it altogether our fault if we have
lost our way?"
A silence followed. A vague, impalpable sense of restraint and
captivity seemed closing me in on every side,--I was imprisoned, as
I thought, within invisible walls. Then all at once this density of
atmosphere was struck asunder by a dazzling light as of cloven
wings, but I could see no actual shape or even suggestion of
substance--the glowing rays were all. And the Voice spoke again with
grave sweetness and something of reproach.
"Who speaks of losing the way?" it asked--"when the way is, and has
ever been, clear and plain? Nature teaches it,--Law and Order
support it. Obey and ye shall live: disobey and ye shall die! There
is no other ruling than this out of Chaos! Who is it that speaks of
losing the way, when the way is, and has been and ever shall be,
clear and plain?"
I stretched out my hands involuntarily. My eyes filled with tears.
"O Angel invisible!" I prayed--"Forgive my weakness and unwisdom!
How can the world be saved or comforted by a Love it never finds!"
Again a silence. Again that dazzling, quivering radiance, flashing
as in an atmosphere of powdered gold.
"What does the world seek most ardently?" it demanded--"The Love of
God?--or the Love of Self? If it seeks the first, all things in
heaven and earth shall be added to its desire--if the second, all
shall be taken from it, even that which it hath!"
I had, as I thought, no answer to give, but I covered my weeping
eyes with both hands and knelt before the unseen speaker as to some
great Spirit enthroned.
"Love is not Love that loves Itself,"--went on the Voice--"Self is
the Image, not the God. Wouldst thou have Eternal Life? Then find
the secret in Eternal Love!--'Love, which can move worlds and create
universes,--the love of soul for soul, angel for angel, god for
I raised my head, and, uncovering my eyes, looked up. But I could
see nothing save that all-penetrating light which imprisoned me as
it were in a circle of fire.
"Love is that Power which clasps the things of eternity and makes
them all its own,"--said the Voice in stronger tones of deeper
music--"It builds its solar system, its stars, its planets with a
thought!--it wakes all beauty, all delight with a smile!--it lives
not only now, but for ever, in a heaven of pure joy where every
thousand years is but one summer day! To Love there is no time, no
space, no age, no death!--what it gives it receives again,--what it
longs for comes to it without seeking--God withholds nothing from
the faithful soul!"
I still knelt, wondering if these words were intended only for me or
for some other listener, for I could not now feel sure that I was
without a companion in this strange experience.
"There is only one Way of Life,"--went on the Voice--"Only one way--
the Way of Love! Whosoever loves greatly lives greatly; whosoever
misprizes Love is dead though living. Give all thy heart and soul to
Love if thou wouldst be immortal!--for without Love thou mayst seek
God through all Eternity and never find Him!"
I waited,--there was a brief silence. Then a sudden wave of music
broke upon my ears,--a breaking foam of rhythmic melody that rose
and fell in a measured cadence of solemn sound. Raising my eyes in
fear and awe, I saw the lambent light around me begin to separate
into countless gradations of delicate colour till presently it
resembled a close and brilliant network of rainbow tints
intermingled with purest gold. It was as if millions of lines had
been drawn with exquisite fineness and precision so as to cause
intersection or 'reciprocal meeting' at given points of calculation,
and these changed into various dazzling forms too brilliant for even
my dreaming sight to follow. Yet I felt myself compelled to study
one particular section of these lines which shone before me in a
kind of pale brightness, and while I looked it varied to more and
more complex 'moods' of colour and light, if one might so express
it, till, by gradual degrees, it returned again to the simpler
"Thus are the destinies of human lives woven and interwoven,"--said
the Voice--"From infinite and endless points of light they grow and
part and mingle together, till the destined two are one. Often they
are entangled and disturbed by influences not their own--but from
interference which through weakness or fear they have themselves
permitted. But the tangle is for ever unravelled by Time,--the
parted threads are brought together again in the eternal weaving of
Spirit and Matter. No power, human or divine, can entirely separate
the lives which God has ordained shall come together. Man's
ordainment is not God's ordainment! Wrong threads in the weaving are
broken--no matter how,--no matter when! Love must be tender yet
resolved!--Love must not swerve from its given pledge!--Love must be
All or Nothing!"
The light network of living golden rays still quivered before my
eyes, till all at once they seemed to change to a rippling sea of
fine flame with waves that gently swayed to and fro, tipped with
foam-crests of prismatic hue like broken rainbows. Wave after wave
swept forward and broke in bright amethystine spray close to me
where I knelt, and as I watched this moving mass of radiant colour
in absorbed fascination, one wave, brilliant as the flush of a
summer's dawn, rippled towards me, and then gently retiring, left a
single rose, crimson and fragrant, close within my reach. I stooped
and caught it quickly--surely it was a real rose from some dewy
garden of the earth, and no dream!
"One rose from all the roses in Heaven!" said the mystic Voice, in
tones of enthralling sweetness--"One--fadeless and immortal!--only
one, but sufficient for all! One love from all the million loves of
men and women--one, but enough for Eternity! How long the rose has
awaited its flowering,--how long the love has awaited its
fulfilment--only the recording angels know! Such roses bloom but
once in the wilderness of space and time; such love comes but once
in a Universe of worlds!"
I listened, trembling; I held the rose against my breast between my
"O Sorrowful Star!" went on the Voice--"What shall become of thee if
thou forsakest the way of Love! O little Sphere of beauty and
delight, why are thy people so blind! O that their eyes were lifted
unto Heaven!--their hearts to joy!--their souls to love! Who is it
that darkens life with sorrow?--who is it that creates the delusion
I found my speech suddenly.
"Nay, surely,"--I said, half whispering--"We must all die!"
"Not so!" and the mystic Voice rang out imperatively--"There is no
death! For God is alive!--and from Him Life only can emanate!"
I held my peace, moved by a sudden sweet awe.
"From Eternal Life no death can come,"--continued the Voice--"from
Eternal Love flows Eternal Joy. Change there is,--change there must
be to higher forms and higher planes,--but Life and Love remain as
they are, indestructible--'the same yesterday, to-day, and for
I bent my face over the rose against my breast,--its perfume was
deliciously soft and penetrating, and half unconsciously I kissed
its velvet petals. As I did this a swift and dazzling radiance
poured shower-like through the air, and again I heard mysterious
chords of rhythmic melody rising and falling like distant waves of
the sea. The grave, tender Voice spoke once again:
"Rise and go hence!" it said, in tones of thrilling gentleness--
"Keep the gift God sends thee!--take that which is thine! Meet that
which hath sought thee sorrowing for many centuries! Turn not aside
again, neither by thine own will nor by the will of others, lest old
errors prevail! Pass from vision into waking!--from night to day!--
from seeming death to life!--from loneliness to love!--and keep
within thy heart the message of a Dream!"
The light beating about me like curved wings slowly paled and as
slowly vanished--yet I felt that I must still kneel and wait. This
atmosphere of awe and trembling gradually passed away,--and then,
rising as I thought, and holding the mystic rose with one hand still
against my breast, I turned to feel my way through the darkness
which now encompassed me. As I did this my other hand was caught by
someone in a warm, eager clasp, and I was guided along with an
infinitely tender yet masterful touch which I had no hesitation in
obeying. Step by step I moved with a strange sense of happy reliance
on my unseen companion--darkness or distance had no terrors for me.
And as I Went onward with my hand held firmly in that close yet
gentle grasp, my thoughts became as it were suddenly cleared into a
heaven of comprehension--I looked back upon years of work spread out
like an arid desert uncheered by any spring of sweet water--and I
saw all that my life had lacked--all to which I had unconsciously
pressed forward longingly without any distinct recognition of my own
aims, and only trusting to the infinite powers of God and Nature to
amend my incompleteness by the perfection of the everlasting Whole.
And now--had the answer come? At any rate, I felt I was no longer
alone. Someone who seemed the natural other half of myself was
beside me in the shadows of sleep--I could have spoken, but would
not, for fear of breaking the charm.
And so I went on and on, caring little how long the journey might
be, and even vaguely wishing it might continue for ever,--when
presently a faint light began to peer through the gloom--I saw a
glimmer of blue and grey, then white, then rose-colour--and I awoke-
-to find nothing of a visionary character about me unless perhaps a
shaft of early morning sunshine streaming through the port-hole of
my cabin could be called a reflex of the mystic glory which had
surrounded me in sleep. I then remembered where I was,--yet I was so
convinced of the reality of what I had seen and heard that I looked
about me everywhere for that lovely crimson rose I had brought away
with me from Dreamland--for I could actually feel its stem still
between my fingers. It was not to be seen--but there was delicate
fragrance on the air as if it were blooming near me--a fragrance so
fine that nothing could describe its subtly pervading odour. Every
word spoken by the Voice of my dream was vividly impressed on my
brain, and more vivid still was the recollection of the hand that
had clasped mine and led me out of sleep to waking. I was conscious
of its warmth yet,--and I was troubled, even while I was soothed, by
the memory of the lingering caress with which it had been at last
withdrawn. And I wondered as I lay for a few moments in my bed
inert, and thinking of all that had chanced to me in the night,
whether the long earnest patience of my soul, ever turned as it had
been for years towards the attainment of a love higher than all
earthly attraction, was now about to be recompensed? I knew, and had
always known, that whatsoever we strongly WILL to possess comes to
us in due season; and that steadily resolved prayers are always
granted; the only drawback to the exertion of this power is the
doubt as to whether the thing we desire so ardently will work us
good or ill. For there is no question but that what we seek we shall
find. I had sought long and unwearyingly for the clue to the secret
of life imperishable and love eternal,--was the mystery about to be
unveiled? I could not tell--and I dare not humour the mere thought
too long. Shaking my mind free from the web of marvel and perplexity
in which it had been caught by the visions of the night, I placed
myself in a passively receptive attitude--demanding nothing, fearing
nothing, hoping nothing--but simply content with actual Life,
feeling Life to be the outcome and expression of perfect Love.
A BUNCH OF HEATHER
It was a glorious morning, and so warm that I went up on deck
without any hat or cloak, glad to have the sunlight playing on my
hair and the soft breeze blowing on my face. The scene was perfectly
enchanting; the mountains were bathed in a delicate rose-purple glow
reflected from the past pomp of the sun's rising,--the water was
still as an inland lake, and every mast and spar of the 'Diana' was
reflected in it as in a mirror. A flock of sea-gulls floated round
our vessel, like fairy boats--some of them rising every now and then
with eager cries to wing their graceful flight high through the calm
air, and alight again with a flash of silver pinions on the
translucent blue. While I stood gazing in absorbed delight at the
beauty which everywhere surrounded me, Captain Derrick called to me
from his little bridge, where he stood with folded arms, looking
"Good morning! What do you think of the mystery now?"
"Mystery?" And then his meaning flashed upon me. "Oh, the yacht that
anchored near us last night! Where is she?"
"Just so!" And the captain's look expressed volumes--"Where is she?"
Oddly enough, I had not thought of the stranger vessel till this
moment, though the music sounding from her deck had been the last
thing which had haunted my ears before I had slept--and dreamed! And
now--she was gone! There was not a sign of her anywhere.
I looked up at the captain on his bridge and smiled. "She must have
started very early!" I said.
The captain's fuzzy brows met portentously.
"Ay! Very early! So early that the watch never saw her go. He must
have missed an hour and she must have gained one."
"It's rather strange, isn't it?" I said--"May I come on the bridge?"
I ran up the little steps and stood beside him, looking out to the
farthest line of sea and sky.
"What do you think about it?" I asked, laughingly, "Was she a real
yacht or a ghost?"
The captain did not smile. His brow was furrowed with perplexed
"She wasn't a ghost," he said--"but her ways were ghostly. That is,
she made no noise,--and she sailed without wind. Mr. Harland may say
what he likes,--I stick to that. She had no steam, but she carried
full sail, and she came into the Sound with all her canvas bellying
out as though she were driven by a stormy sou'wester. There's been
no wind all night--yet she's gone, as you see--and not a man on
board heard the weighing of her anchor. When she went and how she
went beats me altogether!"
At that moment we caught sight of a small rowing boat coming out to
us from the shore, pulled by one man, who bent to his oars in a
slow, listless way as though disinclined for the labour.
"Boat ahoy!" shouted the captain.
The man looked up and signalled in answer. A couple of our sailors
went to throw him a rope as he brought his craft alongside. He had
come, so he slowly explained in his soft, slow, almost
unintelligible Highland dialect, with fresh eggs and butter, hoping
to effect a sale. The steward was summoned, and bargaining began. I
listened and looked on, amused and interested, and I presently
suggested to the captain that it might be as well to ask this man if
he too had seen the yacht whose movements appeared so baffling and
inexplicable. The captain at once took the hint.
"Say, Donald," he began, invitingly--"did you see the big yacht that
came in last night about ten o'clock?"
"Ou ay!" was the slow answer--"But my name's no Tonald,--it's just
Captain Derrick laughed jovially.
"Beg pardon! Jamie, then! Did you see the yacht?"
"Ou ay! I've seen her mony a day. She's a real shentleman."
Jamie looked up at me.
"Ah, my leddy, ye'll pe makin' a fule o' Jamie wi' a glance like a
sun-sparkle on the sea! Jamie's no fule wi' the right sort, an' the
yacht is a shentleman, an' the shentleman's the yacht, for it's the
shentleman that pays whateffer."
Captain Derrick became keenly interested.
"The gentleman? The owner of the yacht, you mean?"
Jamie nodded--"Just that!"--and proceeded to count out his store of
new-laid eggs with great care as he placed them in the steward's
"What's his name?"
"Ah, that's ower mickle learnin',"--said Jamie, with a cunning look-
-"I canna say it rightly."
"Can you say it wrongly?" I suggested.
"I wadna!" he replied, and he lifted his eyes, which were dark and
piercing, to my face--"I daurna!"
"Is he such a very terrible gentleman, then?" enquired Captain
Jamie's countenance was impenetrable.
"Ye'll pe seein' her for yourself whateffer,"--he said--"Ye'll no
miss her in the waters 'twixt here an' Skye."
He stooped and fumbled in his basket, presently bringing out of it a
small bunch of pink bell-heather,--the delicate waxen type of
blossom which is found only in mossy, marshy places.
"The shentleman wanted as much as I could find o' this,"--he said--
"An' he had it a' but this wee bittie. Will my leddy wear it for
I took it from his hand.
"As a gift?" I asked, smiling.
"I wadna tak ony money for't,"--he answered, with a curious
expression of something like fear passing over his brown, weather-
beaten features--"'Tis fairies' making."
I put the little bunch in my dress. As I did so, he doffed his cap.
"Good day t'ye! I'll be no seein' ye this way again!"
"Why not? How do you know?"
"One way in and another way out!" he said, his voice sinking to a
sort of meditative croon--"One road to the West, and the other to
the East!--and round about to the meeting-place! Ou ay! Ye'll mak it
"Without wind, eh?" interposed Captain Derrick--"Like your friend
the 'shentleman'? How does he manage that business?"
Jamie looked round with a frightened air, like an animal scenting
danger,--then, shouldering his empty basket, he gave us a hasty nod
of farewell, and, scrambling down the companion ladder without
another word, was soon in his boat again, rowing away steadily and
never once looking back.
"A wild chap!" said the captain--"Many of these fellows get half
daft, living so much alone in desolate places like Mull, and seeing
nothing all their time but cloud and mountain and sea. He seems to
know something about that yacht, though!"
"That yacht is on your brain, Captain!" I said, merrily--"I feel
quite sorry for you! And yet I daresay if we meet her again the
mystery will turn out to be very simple."
"It will have to be either very simple or very complex!" he
answered, with a laugh--"I shall need a good deal of teaching to
show me how a sailing yacht can make steam speed without wind. Ah,
good morning, sir!"
And we both turned to greet Mr. Harland, who had just come up on
deck. He looked ill and careworn, as though he had slept badly, and
he showed but faint interest in the tale of the strange yacht's
"It amuses you, doesn't it?"--he said, addressing me with a little
cynical smile wrinkling up his forehead and eyes--"Anything that
cannot be at once explained is always interesting and delightful to
a woman! That is why spiritualistic 'mediums' make money. They do
clever tricks which cannot be explained, hence their success with
"Quite so"--I replied--"but just allow me to say that I am no
believer in 'mediums.'"
"True,--I forgot!" He rubbed his hand wearily over his brows--then
asked--"Did you sleep well?"
"Splendidly! And I must really thank you for my lovely rooms,--they
are almost too luxurious! They are fit for a princess."
"Why a princess?" he queried, ironically--"Princesses are not always
agreeable personages. I know one or two,--fat, ugly and stupid. Some
of them are dirty in their persons and in their habits. There are
certain 'princesses' in Europe who ought to be washed and
disinfected before being given any rooms anywhere!"
"Oh, you are very bitter!" I said.
"Not at all. I like accuracy. 'Princess' to the ingenuous mind
suggests a fairy tale. I have not an ingenuous mind. I know that the
princesses of the fairy tales do not exist,--unless you are one."
"Me!" I exclaimed, in amazement--"I'm very far from that--"
"Well, you are a dreamer!" he said, and resting his arms on the deck
rail he looked away from me down into the sunlit sea--"You do not
live here in this world with us--you think you do,--and yet in your
own mind you know you do not. You dream--and your life is that of
vision simply. I'm not sure that I should like to see you wake. For
as long as you can dream you will believe in the fairy tale;--the
'princess' of Hans Andersen and the Brothers Grimm holds good--and
that is why you should have pretty things about you,--music, roses
and the like trifles,--to keep up the delicate delusion."
I was surprised and just a little vexed at his way of talking. Why,
even with the underlying flattery of his words, should he call me a
dreamer? I had worked for my own living as practically as himself in
the world, and if not with such financially successful results, only
because my aims had never been mere money-spinning. He had attained
enormous wealth,--I a modest competence,--he was old and I was
young,--he was ill and miserable,--I was well and happy,--which of
us was the 'dreamer'? My thoughts were busy with this question, and
he saw it.
"Don't perplex yourself,"--he said,--"and don't be offended with me
for my frankness. My view of life is not yours,--nor are we ever
likely to see things from the same standpoint. Yours is the more
enviable condition. You are looking well,--you feel well--you are
well! Health is the best of all things." He paused, and lifting his
eyes from the contemplation of the water, regarded me fixedly.
"That's a lovely bit of bell-heather you're wearing! It glows like
I explained how it had been given to me.
"Why, then, you've already established a connection with the strange
yacht!" he said, laughing--"The owner, according to your Highland
fellow, has the same blossoms on board,--probably gathered from the
same morass!--surely this is quite romantic and exciting!"
And at breakfast, when Dr. Brayle and Mr. Swinton appeared, they all
made conversation on the subject of my bunch of heather, till I got
rather tired of it, and was half inclined to take it off and throw
it away. Yet somehow I could not do this. Glancing at my own
reflection in a mirror, I saw what a brilliant yet dainty touch of
colour it gave to the plain white serge of my yachting dress,--it
was a pretty contrast, and I left it alone.
Miss Catherine did not get up to breakfast, but she sent for me
afterwards and asked if I would mind sitting with her for a while. I
did mind in a way,--for the day was fair and fine,--the 'Diana' was
preparing to pursue her course,--and it was far pleasanter to be on
deck in the fresh air than in Miss Catherine's state-room, which,
though quite spacious for a yacht's accommodation, looked rather
dreary, having no carpet on the floor, no curtains to the bed, and
no little graces of adornment anywhere,--nothing but a few shelves
against the wall on which were ranged some blue and black medicine
bottles, relieved by a small array of pill-boxes. But I felt sorry
for the poor woman who had elected to make her life a martyrdom to
nerves, and real or imaginary aches and pains, so I went to her,
determined to do what I could to cheer and rouse her from her
condition of chronic depression. Directly I entered her cabin she
"Where did you get that bright bit of heather?"
I told her the whole story, to which she listened with more patience
than she usually showed for any talk in which she had not first
"It's really quite interesting!" she said, with a reluctant smile--
"I suppose it was the strange yacht that had the music on board last
night. It kept me awake. I thought it was some tiresome person out
in a boat with a gramophone."
"Oh, Miss Harland!" I exclaimed--"Surely you could not have thought
it a gramophone! Such music! It was perfectly exquisite!"
"Was it?" And she drew the ugly grey woollen shawl in which she was
wrapped closer about her sallow throat as she sat up in her bed and
looked at me--"Well, it may have been, to you,--you seem to find
delight in everything,--I'm sure I don't know why! Of course it's
very nice to have such a happy disposition--but really that music
teased me dreadfully. Such a bore having music when you want to go
I was silent, and having a piece of embroidery to occupy my hands I
began to work at it.
"I hope you're quite comfortable on board,"--she resumed, presently-
-"Have you all you want in your rooms?"
I assured her that everything was perfect.
"I wish I could say the same!" she said--"I really hate yachting,
but father likes it, so I must sacrifice myself." Here she sighed
again. I saw she was really convinced that she was immolating
herself on the altar of filial obedience. "You know he is very
ill,"--she went on--"and that he cannot live long?"
"He told me something about it,"--I answered--"and I said then, as I
say now, that the doctors may be wrong."
"Oh no, they cannot be wrong in his case," she declared, shaking her
head dismally--"They know the symptoms, and they can only avert the
end for a time. I'm very thankful Dr. Brayle was able to come with
us on this trip."
"I suppose he is paid a good deal for his services?" I said.
"Eight hundred guineas"--she answered--"But, you see, he has to
leave his patients in London, and find another man to attend to them
during his absence. He is so very clever and so much sought after--I
don't know what I should do without him, I'm sure!"
"Has he any special treatment for you?" I asked.
"Oh yes,--he gives me electricity. He has a wonderful battery--he
has got it fitted up here in the next cabin--and while I hold two
handles he turns it on and it runs all over me. I feel always better
for the moment--but the effect soon passes."
I looked at her with a smile.
"I should think so! Dear Miss Harland, do you really believe in that
way of administering electricity?"
"Of course I do!" she answered--"You see, it's all a question of
what they call bacteriology nowadays. Medicine is no use unless it
can kill the microbes that are eating us up inside and out. And
there's scarcely any drug that can do that. Electricity is the only
remedy. It gives the little brutes a shock;"--and the poor lady
laughed weakly--"and it kills some, but not all. It's a dreadful
scheme of creation, don't you think, to make human beings no better
than happy hunting grounds for invisible creatures to feed upon?"
"It depends on what view you take of it,"--I said, laying down my
work and trying to fix her attention, a matter which was always
difficult--"We human beings are composed of good and evil particles.
If the good are encouraged, they drive out the evil,--if the evil,
they drive out the good. It's the same with the body as the soul,--
if we encourage the health-working 'microbes' as you call them, they
will drive out disease from the human organism altogether."
She sank back on her pillow wearily.
"We can't do it,"--she said--"All the chances are against us. What's
the use of our trying to encourage 'health-working microbes'? The
disease-working ones have got the upper hand. Just think!--our
parents, grandparents and great-grandparents are to blame for half
our evils. Their diseases become ours in various new forms. It's
cruel,--horrible! How anyone can believe that a God of Love created
such a frightful scheme passes my comprehension! The whole thing is
a mere business of eating to be eaten!"
She looked so wan and wild that I pitied her greatly.
"Surely that is not what you think at the bottom of your heart?" I
said, gently--"I should be very sorry for you if I thought you
really meant what you say."
"Well, you may be as sorry for me as you like"--and the poor lady
blinked away tears from her eyes--"I need someone to be sorry for
me! I tell you my life is a perfect torture. Every day I wonder how
long I can bear it! I have such dreadful thoughts! I picture the
horrible things that are happening to different people all over the
world, nobody helping them or caring for them, and I almost feel as
if I must scream for mercy. It wouldn't be any use screaming,--but
the scream is in my soul all the same. People in prisons, people in
shipwrecks, people dying by inches in hospitals, no good in their
lives and no hope--and not a sign of comfort from the God whom the
Churches praise! It's awful! I don't see how anybody can do anything
or be ambitious for anything--it's all mere waste of energy. One of
the reasons that made me so anxious to have you come on this trip
with us is that you always seem contented and happy,--and I want to
know why? It's a question of temperament, I suppose--but do tell me
She stretched out her hand and touched mine appealingly. I took her
worn and wasted fingers in my own and pressed them sympathetically.
"My dear Miss Harland,"--I began.
"Oh, call me Catherine"--she interrupted--"I'm so tired of being
"Well, Catherine, then,"--I said, smiling a little--"Surely you know
why I am contented and happy?"
"No, I do not,"--she said, with quick, almost querulous? eagerness--
"I don't understand it at all. You have none of the things that
please women. You don't seem to care about dress though you are
always well-gowned--you don't go to balls or theatres or race-
meetings,--you are a general favourite, yet you avoid society,--
you've never troubled yourself to take your chances of marriage,--
and so far as I know or have heard tell about you, you haven't even
My cheeks grew suddenly warm. A curious resentment awoke in me at
her words--had I indeed no lover? Surely I had!--one that I knew
well and had known for a long time,--one for whom I had guarded my
life sacredly as belonging to another as well as to myself,--a lover
who loved me beyond all power of human expression,--here the rush of
strange and inexplicable emotion in me was hurled back on my mind
with a shock of mingled terror and surprise from a dead wall of
stony fact,--it was true, of course, and Catherine Harland was
right--I had no lover. No man had ever loved me well enough to be
called by such a name. The flush cooled off my face,--the hurry of
my thoughts slackened,--I took up my embroidery and began to work at
"That is so, isn't it?" persisted Miss Harland--"Though you blush
and grow pale as if there was someone in the background."
I met her inquisitive glance and smiled.
"There is no one,"--I said--"There never has been anyone." I paused;
I could almost feel the warmth of the strong hand that had held mine
in my dream of the past night. It was mere fancy, and I went on--"I
should not care for what modern men and women call love. It seems
"It is frequently very selfish,"--she said--"I want to tell you my
"Why, of course!" I answered, a little wonderingly, for I had not
thought she had a love-story to tell.
"It's very brief,"--she said, and her lip quivered--"There was a man
who used to visit our house very often when I first came out,--he
made me believe he was very fond of me. I was more than fond of him-
-I almost worshipped him. He was all the world to me, and though
father did not like him very much he wished me to be happy, so we
were engaged. That was the time of my life--the only time I ever
knew what happiness was. One evening, just about three months before
we were to be married, we were together at a party in the house of
one of our mutual friends, and I heard him talking rather loudly in
a room where he and two or three other men had gone to smoke. He
said something that made me stand still and wonder whether I was mad
or dreaming. 'Pity me when I'm married to Catherine Harland!' Pity
him? I listened,--I knew it was wrong to listen, but I could not
help myself. 'Well, you'll get enough cash with her to set you all
right in the world, anyhow,'--said another man, 'You can put up with
a plain wife for the sake of a pretty fortune.' Then he,--my love!--
spoke again--'Oh, I shall make the best of it,' he said--'I must
have money somehow, and this is the easiest way. There's one good
thing about modern life,--husbands and wives don't hunt in couples
as they used to do, so when once the knot is tied I shall shift my
matrimonial burden off my shoulders as much as I can. She'll amuse
herself with her clothes and the household,--and she's fond of me,
so I shall always have my own way. But it's an awful martyrdom to
have to marry one woman on account of empty pockets when you're in
love with another.' I heard,--and then--I don't know what happened."
Her eyes stared at me so pitifully that I was full of sorrow for
"Oh, you poor Catherine!" I said, and taking her hand, I kissed it
gently. The tears in her eyes brimmed over.
"They found me lying on the floor insensible,"--she went on,
tremulously--"And I was very ill for a long time afterwards. People
could not understand it when I broke off my engagement. I told
nobody why--except HIM. He seemed sorry and a little ashamed,--but I
think he was more vexed at losing my fortune than anything else. I
said to him that I had never thought about being plain,--that the
idea of his loving me had made me feel beautiful. That was true!--my
dear, I almost believe I should have grown into beauty if I had been
sure of his love."
I understood that; she was perfectly right in what to the entirely
commonplace person would seem a fanciful theory. Love makes all
things fair, and anyone who is conscious of being tenderly loved
grows lovely, as a rose that is conscious of the sun grows into form
"Well, it was all over then,"--she ended, with a sigh, "I never was
quite myself again--I think my nerves got a sort of shock such as
the great novelist, Charles Dickens had when he was in the railway
accident--you remember the tale in Forster's 'Life'? How the
carriage hung over the edge of an embankment but did not actually
fall,--and Dickens was clinging on to it all the time. He never got
over it, and it was the remote cause of his death five years later.
Now I have felt just like that,--my life has hung over a sort of
chasm ever since I lost my love, and I only cling on."
"But surely,"--I ventured to say--"surely there are other things to
live for than just the memory of one man's love which was not love
at all! You seem to think there was some cruelty or unhappiness in
the chance that separated you from him,--but really it was a special
mercy and favour of God--only you have taken it in the wrong way."
"I have taken it in the only possible way,"--she said--"With
"Oh, do you call it resignation?" I exclaimed--"To make a misery of
what should have been a gladness? Think of the years and years of
wretchedness you might have passed with a man who was a merely
selfish fortune-hunter! You would have had to see him grow colder
and more callous every day--your heart would have been torn, your
spirit broken--and God spared you all this by giving you your chance
of freedom! Such a chance! You might have made much of it, if you
had only chosen!"
She looked at me, but did not speak.
"Love comes to us in a million beautiful ways,"--I went on, heedless
of how she might take my words--"The ordinary love,--or, I would
say, the ordinary mating and marriage is only ONE way. You cannot
live in the world without being loved--if you love!"
She moved on her pillows restlessly.
"I can't see what you mean,"--she said--"How can I love? I have
nothing to love!"
"But do you not see that you are shutting yourself out from love?" I
said--"You will not have it! You bar its approach. You encourage
your sad and morbid fancies, and think of illness when you might
just as well think of health. Oh, I know you will say I am 'up in
the air' as your father expresses it,--but it's true all the same
that if you love everything in Nature--yes, everything!--sunshine,
air, cloud, rain, trees, birds, blossom,--they will love you in
return and give you some of their life and strength and beauty."
She smiled,--a very bitter little smile.
"You talk like a poet,"--she said--"And of all things in the world I
hate poetry! There!--don't think me cross! Go along and be happy in
your own strange fanciful way! I cannot be other than I am,--Dr.
Brayle will tell you that I'm not strong enough to share in other
people's lives and aims and pleasures,--I must always consider
"Dr. Brayle tells you that?" I queried--"To consider yourself?"
"Of course he does. If I had not considered myself every hour and
every day, I should have been dead long ago. I have to consider
everything I eat and drink lest it should make me ill."
I rose from my seat beside her.
"I wish I could cure you!" I murmured.
"My dear girl, if you could, you would, I am sure,"--she answered--
"You are very kind-hearted. It has done me good to talk to you and
tell you all my sad little history. I shall get up presently and
have my electricity and feel quite bright for a time. But as for a
cure, you might as well try to cure my father."
"None are cured of any ailment unless they resolve to help along the
cure themselves," I said.
She gave a weary little laugh.
"Ah, that's one of your pet theories, but it's no use to me! I'm
past all helping of myself, so you may give me up as a bad job!"
"But you asked me," I went on--"did you not, to tell you why it is
that I am contented and happy? Do you really want to know?"
A vague distrust crept into her faded eyes.
"Not if it's a theory!" she said--"I should not have the brain or
the patience to think it out."
"It's not a theory, it's a truth"--I answered--"But truth is
sometimes more difficult than theory."
She looked at me half in wonder, half in appeal.
"Well, what is it?"
"Just this"--and I knelt beside her for a moment holding her hand--
"I KNOW that there are no external surroundings which we do not make
for ourselves, and that our troubles are born of our own wrong
thinking, and are not sent from God. I train my Soul to be calm,--
and my body obeys my Soul. That's all!"
Her fingers closed on mine nervously.
"But what's the use of telling me this?" she half whispered--"I
don't believe in God or the Soul!"
I rose from my kneeling attitude.
"Poor Catherine!" I said--"Then indeed it is no use telling you
anything! You are in darkness instead of daylight, and no one can
make you see. Oh, what can I do to help you?"
"Nothing,"--she answered--"My faith--it was never very much,--was
taken from me altogether when I was quite young. Father made it seem
absurd. He's a clever man, you know--and in a few words he makes out
religion to be utter nonsense."
And indeed I did entirely understand. Her father was one of a
rapidly increasing class of men who are a danger to the community,--
a cold, cynical shatterer of every noble ideal,--a sneerer at
patriotism and honour,--a deliberate iconoclast of the most callous
and remorseless type. That he had good points in his character was
not to be denied,--a murderer may have these. But to be in his
company for very long was to feel that there is no good in anything-
-that life is a mistake of Nature, and death a fortunate ending of
the blunder--that God is a delusion and the 'Soul' a mere expression
signifying certain intelligent movements of the brain only.
I stood silently thinking these things, while she watched me rather
wistfully. Presently she said:
"Are you going on deck now?"
"I'll join you all at luncheon. Don't lose that bit of heather in
your dress,--it's really quite brilliant--like a jewel."
I hesitated a moment.
"You're not vexed with me for speaking as I have done?" I asked her.
"Vexed? No, indeed! I love to hear you and see you defending your
own fairy ground! For it IS like a fairy tale, you know--all that
"It has practical results, anyway!"--I answered--"You must admit
"Yes--I know,--and it's just what I can't understand. We'll have
another talk about it some day. Would you tell Dr. Brayle that I
shall be ready for him in ten minutes?"
I assented, and left her. I made for the deck directly, the air
meeting me with a rush of salty softness as I ran up the saloon
stairway. What a glorious day it was! Sky, sea and mountains were
bathed in brilliant sunshine; the 'Diana' was cutting her path
swiftly through waters which marked her course on either side by a
streak of white foam. I mentally contrasted the loveliness of the
scene around me with the stuffy cabin I had just left, and seeing
Dr. Brayle smoking comfortably in a long reclining chair and reading
a paper I went up to him and touched him on the shoulder.
"Your patient wants you in ten minutes,"--I said.
He rose to his feet at once, courteously offering me a chair, which
I declined, and drew his cigar from his mouth.
"I have two patients on board,"--he answered, smiling--"Which one?"
"The one who is your patient from choice, not necessity,"--I
"My dear lady!" His eyes blinked at me with a furtive astonishment--
"If you were not so charming I should say you were--well!--SHALL I
say it?--a trifle opinionated!"
"Granted!" I said--"If it is opinionated to be honest I plead
guilty! Miss Harland is as well as you or I,--she's only morbid."
"True!--but morbidness is a form of illness,--a malady of the
I laughed again, much to his visible annoyance.
"Curable by outward applications of electricity?" I queried--"When
the mischief is in the mind? But there!--I mustn't interfere, I
suppose! Nevertheless you keep Miss Harland ill when she might be
A disagreeable line furrowed the corners of his mouth.
"You think so? Among your many accomplishments do you count the art
I met his shifty brown eyes, and he dropped them quickly.
"I know nothing about it,"--I answered--"Except this--that the cure
of any mind trouble must come from within--not from without. And I'm
not a Christian Scientist either?"
He smiled cynically. "Really not? I should have thought you were!"
"You would make a grave error if you thought so," I responded,
A keen and watchful interest flashed over his dark face.
"I should very much like to know what your theories are"--he said,
suddenly--"You interest me greatly."
"I'm sure I do!" I answered, smiling.
He looked me up and down for a moment in perplexity--then shrugged
"You are a strange creature!" he said--"I cannot make you out. If I
were asked to give a 'professional' opinion of you I should say you
were very neurotic and highly-strung, and given over to self-
"Thanks!"--and I made him a demure little curtsy. "I look it, don't
"No--you don't look it; but looks are deceptive."
"There I agree with you,"--I said--"But one has to go by them
sometimes. If I am 'neurotic,' my looks do not pity me, and my
condition of health leaves nothing to desire."
His brows met in a slight frown. He glanced at his watch.
"I must go,"--he said--"Miss Harland will be waiting."
"And the electricity will get cold!" I added, gaily. "See if you can
feel my 'neurotic' pulse!"
He took the hand I extended--and remained quite still. Conscious of
the secret force I had within myself I resolved to try if I could
use it upon him in such a way as to keep him a prisoner till I chose
to let him go. I watched him till his eyes began to look vague and a
kind of fixity settled on his features,--he was perfectly
unconscious that I held him at my pleasure,--and presently,
satisfied with my experiment, I relaxed the spell and withdrew my
"Quite regular, isn't it?" I said, carelessly.
He started as if roused from a sleep, but replied quickly:
"Yes--oh yes--perfectly!--I had almost forgotten what I was doing. I
was thinking of something else. Miss Harland--"
"Yes, Miss Harland is ready for you by this time"--and I smiled.
"You must tell her I detained you."
He nodded in a more or less embarrassed manner, and turning away
from me, went rather slowly down the saloon stairs.
I gave a sigh of relief when he was gone. I had from the first
moment of our meeting recognised in him a mental organisation which
in its godless materialism and indifference to consequences, was
opposed to every healthful influence that might be brought to bear
on his patients for their well-being, whatever his pretensions to
medical skill might be. It was to his advantage to show them the
worst side of a disease in order to accentuate his own cleverness in
dealing with it,--it served his purpose to pamper their darkest
imaginings, play with their whims and humour their caprices,--I saw
all this and understood it. And I was glad that so far as I might be
concerned, I had the power to master him.
AN UNEXPECTED MEETING
To spend a few days on board a yacht with the same companions is a
very good test of the value of sympathetic vibration in human
associations. I found it so. I might as well have been quite alone
on the 'Diana' as with Morton Harland and his daughter, though they
were always uniformly kind to me and thoughtful of my comfort. But
between us there was 'a great gulf fixed,' though every now and
again Catherine Harland made feeble and pathetic efforts to cross
that gulf and reach me where I stood on the other side. But her
strength was not equal to the task,--her will-power was sapped at
its root, and every day she allowed herself to become more and more
pliantly the prey of Dr. Brayle, who, with a subconscious feeling
that I knew him to be a mere medical charlatan, had naturally warned
her against me as an imaginative theorist without any foundation of
belief in my own theories. I therefore shut myself within a fortress
of reserve, and declined to discuss any point of either religion or
science with those for whom the one was a farce and the other mere
materialism. At all times when we were together I kept the
conversation deliberately down to commonplaces which were safe, if
dull,--and it amused me not a little to see that at this course of
action on my part Mr. Harland was first surprised, then disappointed
and finally bored. And I was glad. That I should bore him as much as
he bored me was the happy consummation of my immediate desires. I
talked as all conventional women talk, of the weather, of our
minimum and maximum speed, of the newspaper 'sensations' and
vulgarities that were served up to us whenever we called at a port
for the mails,--of the fish that frequented such and such waters, of
sport, of this and that millionaire whose highland castle or
shooting-box was crammed with the 'elite' whose delight is to kill
innocent birds and animals,--of the latest fool-flyers in
aeroplanes,--in short, no fashionable jabberer of social inanities
could have beaten me in what average persons call 'common-sense
talk,'--talk which resulted after a while in the usual vagueness of
attention accompanied by smothered yawning. I was resolved not to
lift the line of thought 'up in the air' in the manner whereof I had
often been accused, but to keep it level with the ground. So that
when we left Tobermory, where we had anchored for a couple of days,
the limits of the yacht were becoming rather cramped and narrow for
our differing minds, and a monotony was beginning to set in that
threatened to be dangerous, if not unbearable. As the 'Diana'
steamed along through the drowsy misty light of the summer
afternoon, past the jagged coast of the mainland, I sat quite by
myself on deck, watching the creeping purple haze that partially
veiled the mountains of Ardnamurchan and Moidart, and I began to
wonder whether after all it might not be better to write to my
friend Francesca and tell her that her prophecies had already come
true,--that I was beginning to be weary of a holiday passed in an
atmosphere bereft of all joyousness, and that she must expect me in
Inverness-shire at once. And yet I was reluctant to end my trip with
the Harlands too soon. There was a secret wish in my heart which I
hardly breathed to myself,--a wish that I might again see the
strange vessel that had appeared and disappeared so suddenly, and
make the acquaintance of its owner. It would surely be an
interesting break in the present condition of things, to say the
least of it. I did not know then (though I know now) why my mind so
persistently busied itself with the fancied personality of the
unknown possessor of the mysterious craft which, as Captain Derrick
said, 'sailed without wind,' but I found myself always thinking
about him and trying to picture his face and form.
I took myself sharply to task for what I considered a foolish mental
attitude,--but do what I would, the attitude remained unchanged. It
was helped, perhaps, in a trifling way by the apparently fadeless
quality of the pink bell-heather which had been given me by the
weird-looking Highland fellow who called himself Jamie, for though
three or four days had now passed since I first wore it, it showed
no signs of withering. As a rule the delicate waxen bells of this
plant turn yellow a few hours after they are plucked,--but my little
bunch was as brilliantly fresh as ever. I kept it in a glass without
water on the table in my sitting-room and it looked always the same.
I was questioning myself as to what I should really do if my
surroundings remained as hopelessly inert and uninteresting as they
were at present,--go on with the 'Diana' for a while longer on the
chance of seeing the strange yacht again--or make up my mind to get
put out at some point from which I could reach Inverness easily,
when Mr. Harland came up suddenly behind my chair and laid his hand
on my shoulder.
"Are you in dreamland?" he enquired--and I thought his voice sounded
rather weak and dispirited--"There's a wonderful light on those
hills just now."
I raised my eyes and saw the purple shadows being cloven and
scattered one after another, by long rays of late sunshine that
poured like golden wine through the dividing wreaths of vapour,--
above, the sky was pure turquoise blue, melting into pale opal and
emerald near the line of the grey sea which showed little flecks of
white foam under the freshening breeze. Bringing my gaze down from
the dazzling radiance of the heavens, I turned towards Mr. Harland
and was startled and shocked to see the drawn and livid pallor of
his face and the anguish of his expression.
"You are ill!" I exclaimed, and springing up in haste I offered him
my chair--"Do sit down!"
He made a mute gesture of denial, and with slow difficulty drew
another chair up beside mine, and dropped into it with an air of
"I am not ill now,"--he said--"A little while ago I was very ill. I
was in pain--horrible pain! Brayle did what he could for me--it was
not much. He says I must expect to suffer now and again--until--
until the end."
Impulsively I laid my hand on his.
"I am very sorry!" I said, gently--"I wish I could be of some use to
He looked at me with a curious wistfulness.
"You could, no doubt, if I believed as you do,"--he replied, and
then was silent for a moment. Presently he spoke again.
"Do you know I am rather disappointed in you?"
"Are you?" And I smiled a little--"Why?"
He did not answer at once. He seemed absorbed in troubled musings.
When he resumed, it was in a low, meditative tone, almost as if he
were speaking to himself.
"When I first met you--you remember?--at one of those social
'crushes' which make the London season so infinitely tedious,--I was
told you were gifted with unusual psychic power, and that you had in
yourself the secret of an abounding exhaustless vitality. I repeat
the words--an abounding exhaustless vitality. This interested me,
because I know that our modern men and women are mostly only half
alive. I heard of you that it did people good to be in your
company,--that your influence upon them was remarkable, and that
there was some unknown form of occult, or psychic science to which
you had devoted years of study, with the result that you stood, as
it were, apart from the world though in the world. This, I say, is
what I heard--"
"But you did not believe it,"--I interposed.
"Why do you say that?" he asked, quickly.
"Because I know you could not believe it,"--I answered--"It would be
impossible for you."
A gleam of satire flashed in his sunken eyes.
"Well, you are right there! I did not believe it. But I expected--"
"I know!" And I laughed--"You expected what is called a 'singular'
woman--one who makes herself 'singular,' adopts a 'singular' pose,
and is altogether removed from ordinary humanity. And of course you
are disappointed. I am not at all a type of the veiled priestess."
"It is not that,"--he said, with a little vexation--"When I saw you
I recognised you to be a very transparent creature, devoted to
innocent dreams which are not life. But that secret which you are
reported to possess--the secret of wonderful abounding exhaustless
vitality--how does it happen that you have it? I myself see that
force expressed in your very glance and gesture, and what puzzles me
is that it is not an animal vitality; it is something else."
I was silent.
"You have not a robust physique,"--he went on--"Yet you are more
full of the spirit of life than men and women twice as strong as you
are. You are a feminine thing, too,--and that goes against you. But
one can see in you a worker--you evidently enjoy the exercise of the
accomplishments you possess--and nothing comes amiss to you. I
wonder how you manage it? When you joined us on this trip a few days
ago, you brought a kind of atmosphere with you that was almost
buoyant, and now I am disappointed, because you seem to have
enclosed yourself within it, and to have left us out!"
"Have you not left yourselves out?" I queried, gently. "I,
personally, have really nothing to do with it. Just remember that
when we have talked on any subject above the line of the general and
commonplace your sole object has been to 'draw' me for the amusement
of yourself and Dr. Brayle--"
"Ah, you saw that, did you?" he interrupted, with a faint smile.
"Naturally! Had you believed half you say you were told of me, you
would have known I must have seen it. Can you wonder that I refuse
to be 'drawn'?"
He looked at me with an odd expression of mingled surprise and
annoyance, and I met his gaze fully and frankly. His eyes shifted
uneasily away from mine.
"One may feel a pardonable curiosity," he said, "And a desire to
"To know what?" I asked, with some warmth--"How can you obtain what
you are secretly craving for, if you persist in denying what is
true? You are afraid of death--yet you invite it by ignoring the
source of life! The curtain is down,--you are outside eternal
realities altogether in a chaos of your own voluntary creation!"
I spoke with some passion, and he heard me patiently.
"Let us try to understand each other," he said, after a pause--
"though it will be difficult. You speak of 'eternal realities.' To
me there are none, save the constant scattering and re-uniting of
atoms. These, so far as we know of the extraordinary (and to me
quite unintelligent) plan of the Universe, are for ever shifting and
changing into various forms and clusters of forms, such as solar
systems, planets, comets, star-dust and the like. Our present view
of them is chiefly based on the researches of Larmor and Thomson of
Cambridge. From them and other scientists we learn that electricity
exists in small particles which we can in a manner see in the
'cathode' rays,--and these particles are called 'electrons.' These
compose 'atoms of matter.' Well!--there are a trillion of atoms in
each granule of dust,--while electrons are so much smaller, that a
hundred thousand of them can lie in the diameter of an atom. I know
all this,--but I do not know why the atoms or electrons should exist
at all, nor what cause there should be for their constant and often
violent state of movement. They apparently always HAVE BEEN, and
always WILL be,--therefore they are all that can be called 'eternal
realities.' Sir Norman Lockyer tells us that the matter of the
Universe is undergoing a continuous process of evolution--but even
if it is so, what is that to me individually? It neither helps nor
consoles me for being one infinitesimal spark in the general
conflagration. Now you believe--"
"In the Force that is BEHIND your system of electrons and atoms"--I
said--"For by whatever means or substances the Universe is composed,
a mighty Intelligence governs it--and I look to the Cause more than
the Effect. For even I am a part of the whole,--I belong to the
source of the stream as much as to the stream itself. An abstract,
lifeless principle without will or intention or intelligence could
not have evolved the splendours of Nature or the intellectual
capabilities of man--it could not have given rise to what was not in
He fixed his eyes steadily upon me.
"That last sentence is sound argument," he said, as though
reluctantly admitting the obvious,--"And I suppose I am to presume
that 'Itself' is the well-spring from which you draw, or imagine you
draw, your psychic force?"
"If I have any psychic force at all," I responded,--"where do you
suppose it should come from but that which gives vitality to all
animate Nature? I cannot understand why you blind yourself to the
open and visible fact of a Divine Intelligence working in and
through all things. If you could but acknowledge it and set yourself
in tune with it you would find life a new and far more dominant joy
than it is to you now. I firmly believe that your very illness has
arisen from your determined attitude of unbelief."
"That's what a Christian Scientist would say," he answered, with a
touch of scorn,--"I begin to think Dr. Brayle is right in his
estimate of you."
I held my peace.
"Have you no curiosity?" he demanded--"Don't you want to know his
"No,"--and I smiled--"My dear Mr. Harland, with all your experience
of the world, has it never occurred to you that there are some
people whose opinions don't matter?"
"Brayle is a clever man,"--he said, somewhat testily, "And you are
merely an imaginative woman."
"Then why do you trouble about me?" I asked him, quickly--"Why do
you want to find out that something in me which baffles both Dr.
Brayle and yourself?"
It was now his turn to be silent, and he remained so for some time,
his eyes fixed on the shadowing heavens. The waves were roughening
slightly and a swell from the Atlantic lifted the 'Diana' curtsying
over their foam-flecked crests as she ploughed her way swiftly
along. Presently he turned to me with a smile.
"Let us strike a truce!"--he said--"I promise not to try and 'draw'
you any more! But please do not isolate yourself from us,--try to
feel that we are your friends. I want you to enjoy this trip if
possible,--but I fear that we are proving rather dull company for
you. We are making for Skye at good speed and shall probably anchor
in Loch Scavaig to-night. To-morrow we might land and do the
excursion to Loch Coruisk if you care for that, though Catherine is
not a good walker."
I felt rather remorseful as he said these words in a kindly tone.
Yet I knew very well that, notwithstanding all the strenuous efforts
which might be made by the rules of conventional courtesy, it would
be impossible for me to feel quite at home in the surroundings which
he had created for himself. I inwardly resolved, however, to make
the best of it and to try and steer clear of any possibilities or
incidents which might tend to draw the line of demarcation too
strongly between us. Some instinct told me that present conditions
were not to remain as they were, so I answered my host gently and
assured him of my entire willingness to fall in with any of his
plans. Our conversation then gradually drifted into ordinary topics
till towards sunset, when I went down to my cabin to dress for
dinner. I had a fancy to wear the bunch of pink bell-heather that
still kept its fresh and waxen-looking delicacy of bloom, and this,
fastened in the lace of my white gown, was my only adornment.
That night there was a distinct attempt on everybody's part to make
things sociable and pleasant. Catherine Harland was, for once, quite
cheerful and chatty, and proposed that as there was a lovely
moonlight, we should all go after dinner into the deck saloon, where
there was a piano, and that I should sing for them. I was rather
surprised at this suggestion, as she was not fond of music.
Nevertheless, there had been such an evident wish shown by her and
her father to lighten the monotony which had been creeping like a
mental fog over us all that I readily agreed to anything which might
perhaps for the moment give them pleasure.
We went up on deck accordingly, and on arriving there were all
smitten into awed silence by the wonderful beauty of the scene. We
were anchored in Loch Scavaig--and the light of the moon fell with a
weird splendour on the gloom of the surrounding hills, a pale beam
touching the summits here and there and deepening the solemn effect
of the lake and the magnificent forms of its sentinel mountains. A
low murmur of hidden streams sounded on the deep stillness and
enhanced the fascination of the surrounding landscape, which was
more like the landscape of a dream than a reality. The deep breadths
of dense darkness lying lost among the cavernous slopes of the hills
were broken at intervals by strange rifts of light arising as it
were from the palpitating water, which now and again showed gleams
of pale emerald and gold phosphorescence,--the stars looked large
and white like straying bits of the moon, and the mysterious
'swishing' of slow ripples heaving against the sides of the yacht
suggested the whisperings of uncanny spirits. We stood in a silent
group, entranced by the grandeur of the night and by our own
loneliness in the midst of it, for there was no sign of a
fisherman's hut or boat moored to the shore, or anything which could
give us a sense of human companionship. A curious feeling of
disappointment suddenly came over me,--I lifted my eyes to the vast
dark sky with a kind of mute appeal--and moon and stars appeared to
float up there like ships in a deep sea,--I had expected something
more in this strange, almost spectral-looking landscape, and yet I
knew not why I should expect anything. Beautiful as the whole scene
was, and fully as I recognised its beauty, an overpowering
depression suddenly gripped me as with a cold hand,--there was a
dreary emptiness in this majestic solitude that seemed to crush my
I moved a little away from my companions, and leaned over the deck
rail, looking far into the black shadows of the shore, defined more
deeply by the contrasting brilliance of the moon, and my thoughts
flew with undesired swiftness to the darkest line of life's horizon-
-I had for the moment lost the sense of joy. How wretched all we
human creatures are!--I said to my inner self,--what hope after all
is there for us, imprisoned in a world which has no pity for us
whatever may be our fate,--a world that goes on in precisely the
same fashion whether we live or die, work or are idle? These tragic
hills, this cold lake, this white moon, were the same when Caesar
lived, and would still be the same when we who gazed upon them now
were all gone into the Unknown. It seemed difficult to try and
realise this obvious fact--so difficult as to be almost unnatural.
Supposing that any towns or villages had ever existed on this
desolate shore, they had proved useless against the devouring forces
of Nature,--just as the splendid buried cities of South America had
proved useless in all their magnificence,--useless as the 'Golden
Age of Lanka' in Ceylon more than two thousand years ago. Of what
avail then is the struggle of human life? Is it for the many or only
for the few? Is all the toil and sorrow of millions merely for the
uplifting and perfecting of certain individual types, and is this
what Christ meant when He said 'Many are called but few are chosen'?
If so, why such waste of brain and heart and love and patience?
Tears came suddenly into my eyes and I started as from a bad dream
when Dr. Brayle approached me softly from behind.
"I am sorry to disturb your reverie!"--he said--"But Miss Harland
has gone into the deck saloon and we are all waiting to hear you
I looked up at him.
"I don't feel as if I could sing to-night,"--I replied, rather
tremulously--"This lonely landscape depresses me--"
He saw that my eyes were wet, and smiled.
"You are overwrought," he said--"Your own theories of health and
vitality are not infallible! You must be taken care of. You think
"Or too little?" I suggested.
"Really, my dear lady, you cannot possibly think too little where
health and happiness are concerned! The sanest and most comfortable
people on earth are those who eat well and never think at all. An
empty brain and a full stomach make the sum total of a contented
"So YOU imagine!" I said, with a slight gesture of veiled contempt.
"So I KNOW!" he answered, with emphasis--"And I have had a wide
experience. Now don't look daggers at me!--come and sing!"
He offered me his arm, but I put it aside and walked by myself
towards the deck saloon. Mr. Harland and Catherine were seated
there, with all the lights turned full on, so that the radiance of
the moon through the window was completely eclipsed. The piano was
open. As I came in Catherine looked at me with a surprised air.
"Why, how pale you are!" she exclaimed--"One would think you had
seen a ghost!"
"Perhaps I have! Loch Scavaig is sufficient setting for any amount
of ghosts. It's such a lonely place,"--and a slight tremor ran
through me as I played a few soft chords--"What shall I sing to
"Something of the country we are in,"--said Mr. Harland--"Don't you
know any of those old wild Gaelic airs?"
I thought a moment, and then to a low rippling accompaniment I sang
the old Celtic 'Fairy's Love Song'--
"Why should I sit and sigh,
Pu'in' bracken, pu'in' bracken,
Why should I sit and sigh,
On the hill-side dreary--
When I see the plover rising,
Or the curlew wheeling,
Then I know my mortal lover
Back to me is stealing.
When the day wears away
Sad I look adown the valley,
Every sound heard around
Sets my heart a-thrilling,--
Why should I sit and sigh,
Pu'in' bracken, pu'in' bracken,
Why should I sit and sigh
All alone and weary!
Ah, but there is something wanting,
Oh but I am weary!
Come, my true and tender lover,
O'er the hills to cheer me!
Why should I sit and sigh,
Pu'in' bracken, pu'in' bracken,
Why should I sit and sigh,
All alone and weary!"
I had scarcely finished the last verse when Captain Derrick suddenly
appeared at the door of the saloon in a great state of excitement.
"Come out, Mr. Harland!" he almost shouted--"Come quickly, all of
you! There's that strange yacht again!"
I rose from my seat at the piano trembling a little--at last!--I
thought--at last! My heart was beating tumultuously, though I could
not explain my own emotion to myself. In another moment we were all
standing speechless and amazed, gazing at surely the most wonderful
sight that had ever been seen by human eyes. There on the dark and
lonely waters of Loch Scavaig was poised, rather than anchored, the
fairy vessel of my dreams, with all sails spread,--sails that were
white as milk and seemingly drenched with a sparkling dewy radiance,
for they scintillated like hoar-frost in the sun and glittered
against the sombre background of the mountainous shore with an
almost blinding splendour. Our whole crew of sailors and servants on
the 'Diana' came together in astonished groups, whispering among
themselves, all evidently more or less scared by the strange
spectacle. Captain Derrick waited for someone to hazard a remark,
then, as we remained silent, he addressed Mr. Harland--
"Well, sir, what do you make of it?"
Mr. Harland did not answer. For a man who professed indifference to
all events and circumstances he seemed startled for once and a
little afraid. Catherine caught me by the arm,--she was shivering
"Do you think it is a REAL yacht?" she whispered.
I was amused at this question, coming as it did from a woman who
denied the supernatural.
"Of course it is!" I answered--"Don't you see people moving about on
For, in the brilliant light shed by those extraordinary sails, the
schooner appeared to be fully manned. Several of the crew were busy
on her deck and there was nothing of the phantom in their movements.
"Her sails must surely be lit up in that way by electricity"--said
Dr. Brayle, who had been watching her attentively--"But how it is
done and why, is rather puzzling! I never saw anything quite to
"She came into the loch like a flash,"--said Captain Derrick--"I saw
her slide in round the point, and then without a sound of any kind,
there she was, safe anchored before you could whistle. She behaved
in just the same way when we first sighted her off Mull."
I listened to what they were saying, impatiently wondering what
would be the end of their surmises and speculations.
"Why not exchange courtesies?" I said, suddenly,--"Here we are--two
yachts anchored near each other in a lonely lake,--why should we not
know each other? Then all the mysteries you are talking about would
be cleared up."
"Quite true!" said Mr. Harland, breaking his silence at last--"But
isn't it rather late to pay a call? What time is it?"
"About half-past ten,"--answered Dr. Brayle, glancing at his watch.
"Oh, let us get to bed!" murmured Miss Catherine, pleadingly--
"What's the good of making any enquiries to-night?"
"Well, if you don't make them to-night ten to one you won't have the
chance to-morrow!"--said Captain Derrick, bluntly--"That yacht will
repeat her former manoeuvres and vanish at sunrise."
"As all spectres are traditionally supposed to do!" said Dr. Brayle,
lighting a cigarette as he spoke and beginning to smoke it with a
careless air--"I vote for catching the ghost before it melts away
into the morning."
While this talk went on Mr. Harland stepped back into the saloon and
wrote a note which he enclosed in a sealed envelope. With this in
his hand he came out to us again.
"Captain, will you get the boat lowered, please?" he said--then, as
Captain Derrick hastened to obey this order, he turned to his
secretary:--"Mr. Swinton, I want you to take this note to the owner
of that yacht, whoever he may be, with my compliments. Don't give it
to anyone else but himself."
Mr. Swinton, looking very pale and uncomfortable, took the note
gingerly between his fingers.
"Himself--yes!"--he stammered--"And--er--if there should be no one--
"What do you mean?" and Mr. Harland frowned in his own particularly
unpleasant way--"There's sure to be SOMEONE, even if he were the
devil! You can say to him that the ladies of our party are very much
interested in the beautiful illumination of his yacht, and that
we'll be glad to see him on board ours, if he cares to come. Be as
polite as you can, and as agreeable as you like."
"It has not occurred to you--I suppose you have not thought--that--
that it may be an illusion?" faltered Mr. Swinton, uneasily,
glancing at the glistening sails that shamed the silver sheen of the
moon--"A sort of mirage in the atmosphere--"
Mr. Harland gave vent to a laugh--the heartiest I had ever heard
"Upon my word, Swinton!" he exclaimed--"I should never have thought
you capable of nerves! Come, come!--be off with you! The boat is
Thus commanded, there was nothing for the reluctant Mr. Swinton but
to obey, and I could not help smiling at his evident discomfiture.
All his precise and matter-of-fact self-satisfaction was gone in a
moment,--he was nothing but a very timorous creature, afraid to
examine into what he could not at once understand. No such terrors,
however, were displayed by the sailors who undertook to row him over
to the yacht. They, as well as their captain, were anxious to
discover the mystery, if mystery there was,--and we all, by one
instinct, pressed to the gangway as he descended the companion
ladder and entered the boat, which glided away immediately with a
low and rhythmical plash of oars. We could watch it as it drew
nearer and nearer the illuminated vessel, and our excitement grew
more and more intense. For once Mr. Harland and his daughter had
forgotten all about themselves,--and Catherine's customary miserable
expression of face had altogether disappeared in the keenness of her
interest for something more immediately thrilling than her own
ailments. So far as I was concerned, I could hardly endure the
suspense that seemed to weigh on every nerve of my body during the
few minutes' interval that elapsed between the departure of the boat
and its drawing up alongside the strange yacht. My thoughts were all
in a whirl,--I felt as if something unprecedented and almost
terrifying was about to happen,--but I could not reason out the
cause of my mental agitation.
"There they go!" said Mr. Harland--"They're alongside! See!--those
fellows are lowering the companion ladder--there's nothing
supernatural about THEM! Swinton's all right--look, he's on board!"
We strained our eyes through the brilliant flare shed by the
illuminated sails on the darkness and could see Mr. Swinton talking
to a group of sailors. One of them went away, but returned almost
immediately, followed by a man clad in white yachting flannels, who,
standing near one of the shining sails, caught some of the light on
his own figure with undeniably becoming effect. I was the first to
perceive him, and as I looked, the impression came upon me that he
was no stranger,--I had seen him often before. This sudden
consciousness swiftly borne in upon me calmed all the previous
tumult of my mind and I was no longer anxious as to the result of
our possible acquaintance. Catherine Harland pressed my arm
"There he is!" she said--"That must be the owner of the yacht. He's
reading father's letter."
He was,--we could see the little sheet of paper turning over in his
hands. And while we waited, wondering what would be his answer, the
light on the sails of his vessel began to pale and die away,--beam
after beam of radiance slipped off as it were like drops of water,
and before we could quite realise it there was darkness where all
had lately been so bright; and the canvas was hauled down. With the
quenching of that intense brilliancy we lost sight of the human
figures on deck and could not imagine what was to happen next. The
dark shore looked darker than ever,--the outline of the yacht was
now truly spectral, like a ship of black cobweb against the moon,
and we looked questioningly at each other in silence. Then Mr.
Harland spoke in a low tone.
"The boat is coming back,"--he said,--"I hear the oars."
I leaned over the side of our vessel and tried to see through the
gloom. How still the water was!--not a ripple disturbed its surface.
But there were strange gleams of wandering light in its depths like
dropped jewels lost on sands far below. The regular dip of oars
sounded nearer and nearer. My heart was beating with painful
quickness,--I could not understand the strange feeling that
overpowered me. I felt as if my very soul were going out of my body
to meet that oncoming boat which was cleaving its way through the
darkness. Another brief interval and then we saw it shoot out into a
patch of moonlight--we could perceive Mr. Swinton seated in the
stern with another figure beside him--that of a man who stood up as
he neared our yacht and lifted his cap with an easy gesture of
salutation, and then as the boat came alongside, caught at the guide
rope and sprang lightly on the first step of the companion ladder.
"Why, he's actually come over to us himself!" ejaculated Mr.
Harland,--and he hurried to the gangway just in time to receive the
visitor as he stepped on deck.
"Well, Harland, how are you?" said a mellow voice in the cheeriest
of accents--"It's strange we should meet like this after so many
At these words and at sight of the speaker, Morton Harland started
back as if he had been shot.
"Santoris!" he exclaimed--"Not possible! Rafel Santoris! No! You
must be his son!"
The stranger laughed.
"My good Harland! Always the sceptic! Miracles are many, but there
is one which is beyond all performance. A man cannot be his own
offspring! I am that very Santoris who saw you last in Oxford. Come,
come!--you ought to know me!"
He stepped more fully into the light which was shed from the open
door of the deck saloon, and showed himself to be a man of
distinguished appearance, apparently about forty years of age. He
was well built, with the straight back and broad shoulders of an
athlete,--his face was finely featured and radiant with the glow of
health and strength, and as he smiled and laid one hand on Mr.
Harland's shoulder he looked the very embodiment of active, powerful
manhood. Morton Harland stared at him in amazement and something of
"Rafel Santoris!" he repeated--"You are his living image,--but you
cannot be himself--you are too young!"
A gleam of amusement sparkled in the stranger's eyes.
"Don't let us talk of age or youth for the moment"--he said. "Here I
am,--your 'eccentric' college acquaintance whom you and several
other fellows fought shy of years ago! I assure you I am quite
harmless! Will you present me to the ladies?"
There was a brief embarrassed pause. Then Mr. Harland turned to us
where we had withdrawn ourselves a little apart and addressed his
"Catherine,"--he said--"This gentleman tells me he knew me at
Oxford, and if he is right I also knew HIM. I spoke of him only the
other night at dinner--you remember?--but I did not tell you his
name. It is Rafel Santoris--if indeed he IS Santoris!--though my
Santoris should be a much older man."
"I extremely regret," said our visitor then, advancing and bowing
courteously to Catherine and myself--"that I do not fulfil the
required conditions of age! Will you try to forgive me?"
He smiled--and we were a little confused, hardly knowing what to
say. Involuntarily I raised my eyes to his, and with one glance saw
in those clear blue orbs that so steadfastly met mine a world of
memories--memories tender, wistful and pathetic, entangled as in
tears and fire. All the inward instincts of my spirit told me that I
knew him well--as well as one knows the gold of the sunshine or the
colour of the sky,--yet where had I seen him often and often before?
While my thoughts puzzled over this question he averted his gaze
from mine and went on speaking to Catherine.
"I understand," he said--"that you are interested in the lighting of
"It is most beautiful and wonderful,"--answered Catherine, in her
coldest tone of conventional politeness, "And so unusual!"
His eyebrows went up with a slightly quizzical.
"Yes, I suppose it is unusual," he said--"I am always forgetting
that what is not quite common seems strange! But really the
arrangement is very simple. The yacht is called the 'Dream'--and she
is, as her name implies, a 'dream' fulfilled. Her sails are her only
motive power. They are charged with electricity, and that is why
they shine at night in a way that must seem to outsiders like a
special illumination. If you will honour me with a visit to-morrow I
will show you how it is managed."
Here Captain Derrick, who had been standing close by, was unable to
resist the impulse of his curiosity.
"Excuse me, sir,"--he said, suddenly--"but may I ask how it is you
sail without wind?"
"Certainly!--you may ask and be answered!" Santoris replied. "As I
have just said, our sails are our only motive power, but we do not
need the wind to fill them. By a very simple scientific method, or
rather let me say by a scientific application of natural means, we
generate a form of electric force from the air and water as we move.
This force fills the sails and propels the vessel with amazing
swiftness wherever she is steered. Neither calm nor storm affects
her progress. When there is a good gale blowing our way, we
naturally lessen the draft on our own supplies--but we can make
excellent speed even in the teeth of a contrary wind. We escape all
the inconveniences of steam and smoke and dirt and noise,--and I
daresay in about a couple of hundred years or so my method of
sailing the seas will be applied to all ships large and small, with
much wonder that it was not thought of long ago."
"Why not apply it yourself?" asked Dr. Brayle, now joining in the
conversation for the first time and putting the question with an air
of incredulous amusement--"With such a marvellous discovery--if it
is yours--you should make your fortune!"
Santoris glanced him over with polite tolerance.
"It is possible I do not need to make it,"--he answered, then
turning again to Captain Derrick he said, kindly, "I hope the matter
seems clearer to you? We sail without wind, it is true, but not
without the power that creates wind."
The captain shook his head perplexedly.
"Well, sir, I can't quite take it in,"--he confessed--"I'd like to
"So you shall! Harland, will you all come over to the yacht to-
morrow? There may be some excursion we could do together--and you
might remain and dine with me afterwards."
Mr. Harland's face was a study. Doubt and fear struggled for the
mastery in his expression and he did not at once answer. Then he
seemed to conquer his hesitation and to recover himself.
"Give me a moment with you alone,"--he said, with a gesture of
invitation towards the deck saloon.
Our visitor readily complied with this suggestion, and the two men
entered the saloon together and closed the door.
Silence followed. Catherine looked at me in questioning
bewilderment,--then she called to Mr. Swinton, who had been standing
about as though awaiting orders in his usual tiresome and servile
"What sort of an interview did you have with that gentleman when you
got on board his yacht?" she asked.
"Very pleasant--very pleasant indeed"--he replied--"The vessel is
magnificently appointed. I have never seen such luxury.
Extraordinary! More than princely! Mr. Santoris himself I found
particularly agreeable. When he had read Mr. Harland's note, he said
he was glad to find it was from an old college companion, and that
he would come over with me to renew the acquaintance. As he has
"You were not afraid of him, then?" queried Dr. Brayle,
"Oh dear no! He seems quite well-bred, and I should say he must be
"A most powerful recommendation!" murmured Brayle--"The best in the
world! What do YOU think of him?" he asked, turning suddenly to me.
"I have no opinion,"--I answered, quietly.
How could I say otherwise? How could I tell such a man as he was, of
one who had entered my life as insistently as a flash of light,
illumining all that had hitherto been dark!
At that moment Catherine caught my hand.
"Listen!" she whispered.
A window of the deck saloon was open and we stood near it. Dr.
Brayle and Mr. Swinton had moved away to light fresh cigars, and we
two women were for the moment alone. We heard Mr. Harland's voice
raised to a sort of smothered cry.
"My God! You ARE Santoris!"
"Of course I am!" And the deep answering tones were full of music,--
the music of a grave and infinitely tender compassion--"Why did you
doubt it? And why call upon God? That is a name which has no meaning
There followed a silence. I looked at Catherine and saw her pale
face in the light of the moon, haggard in line and older than her
years, and my heart was full of pity for her. She was excited beyond
her usual self-I could see that the appearance of the stranger from
the yacht had aroused her interest and compelled her admiration. I
tried to draw her gently to a farther distance from the saloon, but
she would not move.
"We ought not to listen,"--I said--"Catherine, come away!"
She shook her head.
"Hush!" she softly breathed--"I want to hear!"
Just then Mr. Harland spoke again.
"I am sorry!" he said--"I have wronged you and I apologise. But you
can hardly wonder at my disbelief, considering your appearance,
which is that of a much younger man than your actual years should
The rich voice of Santoris gave answer.
"Did I not tell you and others long ago that for me there is no such
thing as time, but only eternity? The soul is always young,--and I
live in the Spirit of youth, not in the Matter of age."
Catherine turned her eyes upon me in wide-open amazement.
"He must be mad!" she said.
I made no reply either by word or look. We heard Mr. Harland
talking, but in a lower tone, and we could not distinguish what he
said. Presently Santoris answered, and his vibrant tones were clear
"Why should it seem to you so wonderful?" he said--"You do not think
it miraculous when the sculptor, standing before a shapeless block
of marble, hews it out to conformity with his inward thought. The
marble is mere marble, hard to deal with, difficult to shape,--yet
out of its resisting roughness the thinker and worker can mould an
Apollo or a Psyche. You find nothing marvellous in this, though the
result of its shaping is due to nothing but Thought and Labour. Yet
when you see the human body, which is far easier to shape than
marble, brought into submission by the same forces of Thought and
Labour, you are astonished! Surely it is a simpler matter to control
the living cells of one's own fleshly organisation and compel them
to do the bidding of the dominating spirit than to chisel the
semblance of a god out of a block of stone!"
There was a pause after this. Then followed more inaudible talk on
the part of Mr. Harland, and while we yet waited to gather further
fragments of the conversation, he suddenly threw open the saloon
door and called to us to come in. We at once obeyed the summons, and
as we entered he said in a somewhat excited, nervous way:--
"I must apologise before you ladies for the rather doubting manner
in which I received my former college friend! He IS Rafel Santoris--
I ought to have known that there's only one of his type! But the
curious part of it is that he should be nearly as old as I am,--yet
somehow he is not!"