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Title: A Strange Story — Volume 07
Author: Lytton, Edward Bulwer Lytton, Baron
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Strange Story — Volume 07" ***

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CHAPTER LXIV.

Lilian's wondrous gentleness of nature did not desert her in the
suspension of her reason.  She was habitually calm,--very silent; when she
spoke it was rarely on earthly things, on things familiar to her past,
things one could comprehend.  Her thought seemed to have quitted the
earth, seeking refuge in some imaginary heaven.  She spoke of wanderings
with her father as if he were living still; she did not seem to understand
the meaning we attach to the word "Death."  She would sit for hours
murmuring to herself: when one sought to catch the words, they seemed in
converse with invisible spirits.  We found it cruel to disturb her at
such times, for if left unmolested, her face was serene,--more serenely
beautiful than I had seen it even in our happiest hours; but when we
called her back to the wrecks of her real life, her eye became troubled,
restless, anxious, and she would sigh--oh, so heavily!  At times, if we
did not seem to observe her, she would quietly resume her once favourite
accomplishments,--drawing, music.  And in these her young excellence was
still apparent, only the drawings were strange and fantastic: they had a
resemblance to those with which the painter Blake, himself a visionary,
illustrated the Poems of the "Night Thoughts" and "The Grave,"--faces of
exquisite loveliness, forms of aerial grace, coming forth from the bells
of flowers, or floating upwards amidst the spray of fountains, their
outlines melting away in fountain or in flower.  So with her music: her
mother could not recognize the airs she played, for a while so sweetly and
with so ineffable a pathos, that one could scarcely hear her without
weeping; and then would come, as if involuntarily, an abrupt discord, and,
starting, she would cease and look around, disquieted, aghast.

And still she did not recognize Mrs. Ashleigh nor myself as her mother,
her husband; but she had by degrees learned to distinguish us both from
others.  To her mother she gave no name, seemed pleased to see her, but
not sensibly to miss her when away; me she called her brother: if longer
absent than usual, me she missed.  When, after the toils of the day, I
came to join her, even if she spoke not, her sweet face brightened.  When
she sang, she beckoned me to come near to her, and looked at me fixedly,
with eyes ever tender, often tearful; when she drew she would pause and
glance over her shoulder to see that I was watching her, and point to the
drawings with a smile of strange significance, as if they conveyed in some
covert allegory messages meant for me; so, at least, I interpreted her
smile, and taught myself to say, "Yes, Lilian, I understand!"

And more than once, when I had so answered, she rose, and kissed my
forehead.  I thought my heart would have broken when I felt that
spirit-like melancholy kiss.

And yet how marvellously the human mind teaches itself to extract
consolations from its sorrows.  The least wretched of my hours were those
that I had passed in that saddened room, seeking how to establish
fragments of intercourse, invent signs, by which each might interpret
each, between the intellect I had so laboriously cultured, so arrogantly
vaunted, and the fancies wandering through the dark, deprived of their
guide in reason.  It was something even of joy to feel myself needed for
her guardianship, endeared and yearned for still by some unshattered
instinct of her heart; and when, parting from her for the night, I stole
the moment in which on her soft face seemed resting least of shadow, to
ask, in a trembling whisper, "Lilian, are the angels watching over you?"
and she would answer "Yes,"  sometimes in words, sometimes with a
mysterious happy smile--then--then I went to my lonely room, comforted
and thankful.



CHAPTER LXV.

The blow that had fallen on my hearth effectually, inevitably killed all
the slander that might have troubled me in joy.  Before the awe of a great
calamity the small passions of a mean malignity slink abashed.  I had
requested Mrs. Ashleigh not to mention the vile letter which Lilian had
received.  I would not give a triumph to the unknown calumniator, nor
wring forth her vain remorse, by the pain of acknowledging an indignity to
my darling's honour; yet, somehow or other, the true cause of Lilian's
affliction had crept out,--perhaps through the talk of servants,--and the
public shock was universal.  By one of those instincts of justice that lie
deep in human hearts, though in ordinary moments overlaid by many a
worldly layer, all felt (all mothers felt especially) that innocence alone
could have been so unprepared for reproach.  The explanation I had
previously given, discredited then, was now accepted without a question.
Lilian's present state accounted for all that ill nature had before
misconstrued.  Her good name was restored to its maiden whiteness, by the
fate that had severed the ties of the bride.  The formal dwellers on the
Hill vied with the franker, warmer-hearted households of Low Town in the
nameless attentions by which sympathy and respect are rather delicately
indicated than noisily proclaimed.  Could Lilian have then recovered and
been sensible of its repentant homage, how reverently that petty world
would have thronged around her!  And, ah! could fortune and man's esteem
have atoned for the blight of hopes that had been planted and cherished on
ground beyond their reach, ambition and pride might have been well
contented with the largeness of the exchange that courted their
acceptance.  Patients on patients crowded on me.  Sympathy with my sorrow
seemed to create and endear a more trustful belief in my skill.  But the
profession I had once so enthusiastically loved became to me wearisome,
insipid, distasteful; the kindness heaped on me gave no comfort,--it but
brought before me more vividly the conviction that it came too late to
avail me: it could not restore to me the mind, the love, the life of my
life, which lay dark and shattered in the brain of my guileless Lilian.
Secretly I felt a sullen resentment.  I knew that to the crowd the
resentment was unjust.  The world itself is but an appearance; who can
blame it if appearances guide its laws?  But to those who had been
detached from the crowd by the professions of friendship,--those who, when
the slander was yet new, and might have been awed into silence had they
stood by my side,--to the pressure of their hands, now, I had no response.

Against Mrs. Poyntz, above all others, I bore a remembrance of unrelaxed,
unmitigable indignation.  Her schemes for her daughter's marriage had
triumphed: Jane was Mrs. Ashleigh Sumner.  Her mind was, perhaps, softened
now that the object which had sharpened its worldly faculties was
accomplished: but in vain, on first hearing of my affliction, had this
she-Machiavel owned a humane remorse, and, with all her keen comprehension
of each facility that circumstances gave to her will, availed herself of
the general compassion to strengthen the popular reaction in favour of
Lilian's assaulted honour; in vain had she written to me with a gentleness
of sympathy foreign to her habitual characteristics; in vain besought me
to call on her; in vain waylaid and accosted me with a humility that
almost implored forgiveness.  I vouchsafed no reproach, but I could imply
no pardon.  I put between her and my great sorrow the impenetrable wall of
my freezing silence.

One word of hers at the time that I had so pathetically besought her aid,
and the parrot-flock that repeated her very whisper in noisy shrillness
would have been as loud to defend as it had been to defame; that vile
letter might never have been written.  Whoever its writer, it surely was
one of the babblers who took their malice itself from the jest or the nod
of their female despot; and the writer might have justified herself in
saying she did but coarsely proclaim what the oracle of worldly opinion,
and the early friend of Lilian's own mother, had authorized her to
believe.

By degrees, the bitterness at my heart diffused itself to the
circumference of the circle in which my life went its cheerless mechanical
round.  That cordial brotherhood with his patients, which is the true
physician's happiest gift and humanest duty, forsook my breast.  The
warning words of Mrs. Poyntz had come true.  A patient that monopolized
my thought awaited me at my own hearth!  My conscience became troubled; I
felt that my skill was lessened.  I said to myself, "The physician who, on
entering the sick-room, feels, while there, something that distracts the
finest powers of his intellect from the sufferer's case is unfit for his
calling."  A year had scarcely passed since my fatal wedding day, before I
had formed a resolution to quit L---- and abandon my profession; and my
resolution was confirmed, and my goal determined, by a letter I received
from Julius Faber.

I had written at length to him, not many days after the blow that had
fallen on me, stating all circumstances as calmly and clearly as my grief
would allow; for I held his skill at a higher estimate than that of any
living brother of my art, and I was not without hope in the efficacy of
his advice.  The letter I now received from him had been begun, and
continued at some length, before my communication reached him; and this
earlier portion contained animated and cheerful descriptions of his
Australian life and home, which contrasted with the sorrowful tone of the
supplement written in reply to the tidings with which I had wrung his
friendly and tender heart.  In this, the latter part of his letter, he
suggested that if time had wrought no material change for the better, it
might be advisable to try the effect of foreign travel.  Scenes entirely
new might stimulate observation, and the observation of things external
withdraw the sense from that brooding over images delusively formed
within, which characterized the kind of mental alienation I had described.
"Let any intellect create for itself a visionary world, and all reasonings
built on it are fallacious: the visionary world vanishes in proportion as
we can arouse a predominant interest in the actual."

This grand authority, who owed half his consummate skill as a practitioner
to the scope of his knowledge as a philosopher, then proceeded to give me
a hope which I had not dared of myself to form.  He said:--

   "I distinguish the case you so minutely detail from that insanity which
    is reason lost; here it seems rather to be reason held in suspense.
    Where there is hereditary predisposition, where there is organic
    change of structure in the brain,--nay, where there is that kind of
    insanity which takes the epithet of moral, whereby the whole
    character becomes so transformed that the prime element of sound
    understanding, conscience itself, is either erased or warped into the
    sanction of what in a healthful state it would most disapprove,--it is
    only charlatans who promise effectual cure.  But here I assume that
    there is no hereditary taint; here I am convinced, from my own
    observation, that the nobility of the organs, all fresh as yet in the
    vigour of youth, would rather submit to death than to the permanent
    overthrow of their equilibrium in reason; here, where you tell me the
    character preserves all its moral attributes of gentleness and purity,
    and but over-indulges its own early habit of estranged contemplation;
    here, without deceiving you in false kindness, I give you the
    guarantee of my experience when I bid you 'hope!'  I am persuaded
    that, sooner or later, the mind, thus for a time affected, will right
    itself; because here, in the cause of the malady, we do but deal with
    the nervous system.  And that, once righted, and the mind once
    disciplined in those practical duties which conjugal life
    necessitates, the malady itself will never return; never be
    transmitted to the children on whom your wife's restoration to health
    may permit you to count hereafter.  If the course of travel I
    recommend and the prescriptions I conjoin with that course fail you,
    let me know; and though I would fain close my days in this land, I
    will come to you.  I love you as my son.  I will tend your wife as my
    daughter."

Foreign travel!  The idea smiled on me.  Julius Faber's companionship,
sympathy, matchless skill!  The very thought seemed as a raft to a
drowning mariner.  I now read more attentively the earlier portions of
his letter.  They described, in glowing colours, the wondrous country in
which he had fixed his home; the joyous elasticity of its atmosphere; the
freshness of its primitive, pastoral life; the strangeness of its scenery,
with a Flora and a Fauna which have no similitudes in the ransacked
quarters of the Old World.  And the strong impulse seized me to transfer
to the solitudes of that blithesome and hardy Nature a spirit no longer at
home in the civilized haunts of men, and household gods that shrank from
all social eyes, and would fain have found a wilderness for the desolate
hearth, on which they had ceased to be sacred if unveiled.  As if to give
practical excuse and reason for the idea that seized me, Julius Faber
mentioned, incidentally, that the house and property of a wealthy
speculator in his immediate neighbourhood were on sale at a price which
seemed to me alluringly trivial, and, according to his judgment, far below
the value they would soon reach in the hands of a more patient capitalist.
He wrote at the period of the agricultural panic in the colony which
preceded the discovery of its earliest gold-fields.  But his geological
science had convinced him that strata within and around the property now
for sale were auriferous, and his intelligence enabled him to predict how
inevitably man would be attracted towards the gold, and how surely the
gold would fertilize the soil and enrich its owners.  He described the
house thus to be sold--in case I might know of a purchaser.  It had been
built at a cost unusual in those early times, and by one who clung to
English tastes amidst Australian wilds, so that in this purchase a settler
would escape the hardships he had then ordinarily to encounter; it was,
in short, a home to which a man more luxurious than I might bear a bride
with wants less simple than those which now sufficed for my darling
Lilian.

This communication dwelt on my mind through the avocations of the day on
which I received it, and in the evening I read all, except the supplement,
aloud to Mrs. Ashleigh in her daughter's presence.  I desired to see if
Faber's descriptions of the country and its life, which in themselves were
extremely spirited and striking, would arouse Lilian's interest.  At first
she did not seem to heed me while I read; but when I came to Faber's
loving account of little Amy, Lilian turned her eyes towards me, and
evidently listened with attention.  He wrote how the child had already
become the most useful person in the simple household.  How watchful the
quickness of the heart had made the service of the eye; all their
associations of comfort had grown round her active, noiseless movements;
it was she who bad contrived to monopolize the management, or supervision,
of all that added to Home the nameless, interior charm.  Under her eyes
the rude furniture of the log-house grew inviting with English neatness;
she took charge of the dairy; she had made the garden gay with flowers
selected from the wild, and suggested the trellised walk, already covered
with hardy vine.  She was their confidant in every plan of improvement,
their comforter in every anxious doubt, their nurse in every passing
ailment, her very smile a refreshment in the weariness of daily toil.
"How all that is best in womanhood," wrote the old man, with the
enthusiasm which no time had reft from his hearty, healthful genius,--"how
all that is best in womanhood is here opening fast into flower from the
bud of the infant's soul!  The atmosphere seems to suit it,--the
child-woman in the child-world!"

I heard Lilian sigh; I looked towards her furtively; tears stood in her
softened eyes; her lip was quivering.  Presently, she began to rub her
right hand over the left--over the wedding-ring--at first slowly; then
with quicker movement.

"It is not here," she said impatiently; "it is not here!"

"What is not here?" asked Mrs. Ashleigh, hanging over her.

Lilian leaned back her head on her mother's bosom, and answered faintly,--

"The stain!  Some one said there was a stain on this hand.  I do not see
it, do you?"

"There is no stain, never was," said I; "the hand is white as your own
innocence, or the lily from which you take your name."

"Hush! you do not know my name.  I will whisper it.  Soft!--my name is
Nightshade!  Do you want to know where the lily is now, brother?  I will
tell you.  There, in that letter.  You call her Amy,--she is the lily;
take her to your breast, hide her.  Hist! what are those bells?
Marriage-bells.  Do not let her hear them; for there is a cruel wind that
whispers the bells, and the bells ring out what it whispers, louder and
louder,

"'Stain on lily
  Shame on lily,
  Wither lily.'

"If she hears what the wind whispers to the bells, she will creep away
into the dark, and then she, too, will turn to Nightshade."

"Lilian, look up, awake!  You have been in a long, long dream: it is
passing away.  Lilian, my beloved, my blessed Lilian!"

Never till then had I heard from her even so vague an allusion to the
fatal calumny and its dreadful effect, and while her words now pierced my
heart, it beat, amongst its pangs, with a thrilling hope.

But, alas! the idea that had gleamed upon her had vanished already.  She
murmured something about Circles of Fire, and a Veiled Woman in black
garments; became restless, agitated, and unconscious of our presence,
and finally sank into a heavy sleep.

That night (my room was next to hers with the intervening door open) I
heard her cry out.  I hastened to her side.  She was still asleep, but
there was an anxious labouring expression on her young face, and yet not
an expression wholly of pain--for her lips were parted with a smile,--that
glad yet troubled smile with which one who has been revolving some subject
of perplexity or fear greets a sudden thought that seems to solve the
riddle, or prompt the escape from danger; and as I softly took her hand
she returned my gentle pressure, and inclining towards me, said, still in
sleep,--

"Let us go."

"Whither?" I answered, under my breath, so as not to awake her; "is it to
see the child of whom I read, and the land that is blooming out of the
earth's childhood?"

"Out of the dark into the light; where the leaves do not change; where the
night is our day, and the winter our summer.  Let us go! let us go!"

"We will go.  Dream on undisturbed, my bride.  Oh, that the dream could
tell you that my love has not changed in our sorrow, holier and deeper
than on the day in which our vows were exchanged!  In you still all my
hopes fold their wings; where you are, there still I myself have my
dreamland!"

The sweet face grew bright as I spoke; all trouble left the smile; softly
she drew her hand from my clasp, and rested it for a moment on my bended
head, as if in blessing.

I rose; stole back to my own room, closing the door, lest the sob I could
not stifle should mar her sleep.



CHAPTER LXVI.

I unfolded my new prospects to Mrs. Ashleigh.  She was more easily
reconciled to them than I could have supposed, judging by her habits,
which were naturally indolent, and averse to all that disturbed their even
tenor.  But the great grief which had befallen her had roused up that
strength of devotion which lies dormant in all hearts that are capable of
loving another more than self.  With her full consent I wrote to Faber,
communicating my intentions, instructing him to purchase the property he
had so commended, and inclosing my banker's order for the amount, on an
Australian firm.  I now announced my intention to retire from my
profession; made prompt arrangements with a successor to my practice;
disposed of my two houses at L----; fixed the day of my departure.
Vanity was dead within me, or I might have been gratified by the sensation
which the news of my design created.  My faults became at once forgotten;
such good qualities as I might possess were exaggerated.  The public
regret vented and consoled itself in a costly testimonial, to which even
the poorest of my patients insisted on the privilege to contribute, graced
with an inscription flattering enough to have served for the epitaph on
some great man's tomb.  No one who has served an art and striven for a
name is a stoic to the esteem of others; and sweet indeed would such
honours have been to me had not publicity itself seemed a wrong to the
sanctity of that affliction which set Lilian apart from the movement and
the glories of the world.

The two persons most active in "getting up" this testimonial were,
nominally, Colonel Poyntz--in truth, his wife--and my old disparager, Mr.
Vigors!  It is long since my narrative has referred to Mr. Vigors.  It is
due to him now to state that, in his capacity of magistrate, and in his
own way, he had been both active and delicate in the inquiries set on foot
for Lilian during the unhappy time in which she had wandered, spellbound,
from her home.  He, alone, of all the more influential magnates of the
town, had upheld her innocence against the gossips that aspersed it; and
during the last trying year of my residence at L----, he had sought me,
with frank and manly confessions of his regret for his former prejudice
against me, and assurances of the respect in which he had held me ever
since my marriage--marriage but in rite--with Lilian.  He had then, strong
in his ruling passion, besought me to consult his clairvoyants as to her
case.  I declined this invitation so as not to affront him,--declined it,
not as I should once have done, but with no word nor look of incredulous
disdain.  The fact was, that I had conceived a solemn terror of all
practices and theories out of the beaten track of sense and science.
Perhaps in my refusal I did wrong.  I know not.  I was afraid of my own
imagination.  He continued not less friendly in spite of my refusal.  And,
such are the vicissitudes in human feeling, I parted from him whom I had
regarded as my most bigoted foe with a warmer sentiment of kindness than
for any of those on whom I had counted on friendship.  He had not deserted
Lilian.  It was not so with Mrs. Poyntz.  I would have paid tenfold the
value of the testimonial to have erased, from the list of those who
subscribed to it, her husband's name.

The day before I quitted L----, and some weeks after I had, in fact,
renounced my practice, I received an urgent entreaty from Miss Brabazon to
call on her.  She wrote in lines so blurred that I could with difficulty
decipher them, that she was very ill, given over by Dr. Jones, who had
been attending her.  She implored my opinion.



CHAPTER LXVII.

On reaching the house, a formal man-servant, with indifferent face,
transferred me to the guidance of a hired nurse, who led me up the stairs,
and, before I was well aware of it, into the room in which Dr. Lloyd had
died.  Widely different, indeed, the aspect of the walls, the character of
the furniture!  The dingy paperhangings were replaced by airy muslins,
showing a rose-coloured ground through their fanciful openwork; luxurious
fauteuils, gilded wardrobes, full-length mirrors, a toilet-table tricked
out with lace and ribbons; and glittering with an array of silver gewgaws
and jewelled trinkets,--all transformed the sick chamber of the simple
man of science to a boudoir of death for the vain coquette.  But the room
itself, in its high lattice and heavy ceiling, was the same--as the coffin
itself has the same confines, whether it be rich in velvets and bright
with blazoning, or rude as a pauper's shell.

And the bed, with its silken coverlet, and its pillows edged with the
thread-work of Louvain, stood in the same sharp angle as that over which
had flickered the frowning smoke-reek above the dying, resentful foe.  As
I approached, a man, who was seated beside the sufferer, turned round his
face, and gave me a silent kindly nod of recognition.  He was Mr. C----,
one of the clergy of the town, the one with whom I had the most frequently
come into contact wherever the physician resigns to the priest the
language that bids man hope.  Mr. C-----, as a preacher, was renowned for
his touching eloquence; as a pastor, revered for his benignant piety; as
friend and neighbour, beloved for a sweetness of nature which seemed to
regulate all the movements of a mind eminently masculine by the beat of a
heart tender as the gentlest woman's.

This good man; then whispering something to the sufferer which I did not
overhear, stole towards me, took me by the hand, and said, also in a
whisper, "Be merciful as Christians are."  He led me to the bedside, there
left me, went out, and closed the door.

"Do you think I am really dying, Dr. Fenwick?" said a feeble voice.  "I
fear Dr. Jones has misunderstood my case.  I wish I had called you in at
the first, but--but I could not--I could not!  Will you feel my pulse?
Don't you think you could do me good?"

I had no need to feel the pulse in that skeleton wrist; the aspect of the
face sufficed to tell me that death was drawing near.

Mechanically, however, I went through the hackneyed formulae of
professional questions.  This vain ceremony done, as gently and delicately
as I could, I implied the expediency of concluding, if not yet settled,
those affairs which relate to this world.

"This duty," I said, "in relieving the mind from care for others to whom
we owe the forethought of affection, often relieves the body also of many
a gnawing pain, and sometimes, to the surprise of the most experienced
physician, prolongs life itself."

"Ah," said the old maid, peevishly, "I understand!  But it is not my will
that troubles me.  I should not be left to a nurse from a hospital if my
relations did not know that my annuity dies with me; and I forestalled it
in furnishing this house, Dr. Fenwick, and all these pretty things will be
sold to pay those horrid tradesmen!--very hard!--so hard!--just as I got
things about me in the way I always said I would have them if I could ever
afford it!  I always said I would have my bedroom hung with muslin, like
dear Lady L----'s; and the drawing-room in geranium-coloured silk: so
pretty.  You have not seen it: you would not know the house, Dr. Fenwick.
And just when all is finished, to be taken away and thrust into the grave.
It is so cruel!"  And she began to weep.  Her emotion brought on a violent
paroxysm, which, when she recovered from it, had produced one of those
startling changes of mind that are sometimes witnessed before
death,--changes whereby the whole character of a life seems to undergo
solemn transformation.  The hard will becomes gentle, the proud meek, the
frivolous earnest.  That awful moment when the things of earth pass away
like dissolving scenes, leaving death visible on the background by the
glare that shoots up in the last flicker of life's lamp.

And when she lifted her haggard face from my shoulder, and heard my
pitying, soothing voice, it was not the grief of a trifler at the loss of
fondled toys that spoke in the fallen lines of her lip, in the woe of her
pleading eyes.

"So this is death," she said.  "I feel it hurrying on.  I must speak.  I
promised Mr. C---- that I would.  Forgive me, can you--can you?  That
letter--that letter to Lilian Ashleigh, I wrote it!  Oh, do not look at me
so terribly; I never thought it could do such evil!  And am I not punished
enough?  I truly believed when I wrote that Miss Ashleigh was deceiving
you, and once I was silly enough to fancy that you might have liked me.
But I had another motive; I had been so poor all my life--I had become
rich unexpectedly; I set my heart on this house--I had always fancied
it--and I thought if I could prevent Miss Ashleigh marrying you, and scare
her and her mother from coming back to L----, I could get the house.  And
I did get it.  What for?--to die.  I had not been here a week before I got
the hurt that is killing me--a fall down the stairs,--coming out of this
very room; the stairs had been polished.  If I had stayed in my old
lodging, it would not have happened.  Oh, say you forgive me!  Say, say
it, even if you do not feel you can!  Say it!"  And the miserable woman
grasped me by the arm as Dr. Lloyd had grasped me.

I shaded my averted face with my hands; my heart heaved with the agony of
my suppressed passion.  A wrong, however deep, only to myself, I could
have pardoned without effort; such a wrong to Lilian,--no!  I could not
say "I forgive."

The dying wretch was perhaps more appalled by my silence than she would
have been by my reproach.  Her voice grew shrill in her despair.

"You will not pardon me!  I shall die with your curse on my head!  Mercy!
mercy!  That good man, Mr. C----, assured me you would be merciful.  Have
you never wronged another?  Has the Evil One never tempted you?"

Then I spoke in broken accents: "Me!  Oh, had it been I whom you
defamed--but a young creature so harmless, so unoffending, and for so
miserable a motive!"

"But I tell you, I swear to you, I never dreamed I could cause such
sorrow; and that young man, that Margrave, put it into my head!"

"Margrave!  He had left L---- long before that letter was written!"

"But he came back for a day just before I wrote: it was the very day.  I
met him in the lane yonder.  He asked after you,--after Miss Ashleigh;
and when he spoke he laughed, and I said, 'Miss Ashleigh had been ill, and
was gone away;' and he laughed again.  And I thought be knew more than he
would tell me, so I asked him if he supposed Mrs. Ashleigh would come
back, and said how much I should like to take this house if she did not;
and again he laughed, and said, 'Birds never stay in the nest after the
young ones are hurt,' and went away singing.  When I got home, his laugh
and his song haunted me.  I thought I saw him still in my room, prompting
me to write, and I sat down and wrote.  Oh, pardon, pardon me!  I have
been a foolish poor creature, but never meant to do such harm.  The Evil
One tempted me!  There he is, near me now!  I see him yonder! there, at
the doorway.  He comes to claim me!  As you hope for mercy yourself, free
me from him!  Forgive me!"

I made an effort over myself.  In naming Margrave as her tempter, the
woman had suggested an excuse, echoed from that innermost cell of my mind,
which I recoiled from gazing into, for there I should behold his image.
Inexpiable though the injury she had wrought against me and mine, still
the woman was human--fellow-creature-like myself;--but he?

I took the pale hand that still pressed my arm, and said, with firm
voice,--

"Be comforted.  In the name of Lilian, my wife, I forgive you for her and
for me as freely and as fully as we are enjoined by Him, against whose
precepts the best of us daily sin, to forgive--we children of wrath--to
forgive one another!"

"Heaven bless you!--oh, bless you!" she murmured, sinking back upon her
pillow.

"Ah!" thought I, "what if the pardon I grant for a wrong far deeper than I
inflicted on him whose imprecation smote me in this chamber, should indeed
be received as atonement, and this blessing on the lips of the dying annul
the dark curse that the dead has left on my path through the Valley of the
Shadow!"

I left my patient sleeping quietly,--the sleep that precedes the last.  As
I went down the stairs into the hall, I saw Mrs. Poyntz standing at the
threshold, speaking to the man-servant and the nurse.

I would have passed her with a formal bow, but she stopped me.

"I came to inquire after poor Miss Brabazon," said she.

"You can tell me more than the servants can: is there no hope?"

"Let the nurse go up and watch beside her.  She may pass away in the sleep
into which she has fallen."

"Allen Fenwick, I must speak with you--nay, but for a few minutes.  I hear
that you leave L---- to-morrow.  It is scarcely among the chances of life
that we should meet again."  While thus saying, she drew me along the lawn
down the path that led towards her own home.  "I wish," said she,
earnestly, "that you could part with a kindlier feeling towards me; but I
can scarcely expect it.  Could I put myself in your place, and be moved by
your feelings, I know that I should be implacable; but I--"

"But you, madam, are The World! and the World governs itself, and
dictates to others, by laws which seem harsh to those who ask from its
favour the services which the World cannot tender, for the World admits
favourites, but ignores friends.  You did but act to me as the World ever
acts to those who mistake its favour for its friendship."

"It is true," said Mrs. Poyntz, with blunt candour; and we continued to
walk on silently.  At length she said abruptly, "But do you not rashly
deprive yourself of your only consolation in sorrow?  When the heart
suffers, does your skill admit any remedy like occupation to the mind?
Yet you abandon that occupation to which your mind is most accustomed; you
desert your career; you turn aside, in the midst of the race, from the
fame which awaits at the goal; you go back from civilization itself, and
dream that all your intellectual cravings can find content in the life of
a herdsman, amidst the monotony of a wild!  No, you will repent, for you
are untrue to your mind!"

"I am sick of the word 'mind'!" said I, bitterly.  And therewith I
relapsed into musing.

The enigmas which had foiled my intelligence in the unravelled Sibyl Book
of Nature were mysteries strange to every man's normal practice of
thought, even if reducible to the fraudulent impressions of outward sense;
for illusions in a brain otherwise healthy suggest problems in our human
organization which the colleges that record them rather guess at than
solve.  But the blow which had shattered my life had been dealt by the
hand of a fool.  Here, there were no mystic enchantments.  Motives the
most commonplace and paltry, suggested to a brain as trivial and shallow
as ever made the frivolity of woman a theme for the satire of poets, had
sufficed, in devastating the field of my affections, to blast the uses for
which I had cultured my mind; and had my intellect been as great as heaven
ever gave to man, it would have been as vain a shield as mine against the
shaft that bad lodged in my heart.  While I had, indeed, been preparing my
reason and my fortitude to meet such perils, weird and marvellous, as
those by which tales round the winter fireside scare the credulous child,
a contrivance--so vulgar and hackneyed that not a day passes but what some
hearth is vexed by an anonymous libel--had wrought a calamity more dread
than aught which my dark guess into the Shadow-Land unpierced by
Philosophy could trace to the prompting of malignant witchcraft.  So, ever
this truth runs through all legends of ghost and demon--through the
uniform records of what wonder accredits and science rejects as the
supernatural--lo! the dread machinery whose wheels roll through Hades!
What need such awful engines for such mean results?  The first blockhead
we meet in our walk to our grocer's can tell us more than the ghost tells
us; the poorest envy we ever aroused hurts us more than the demon.  How
true an interpreter is Genius to Hell as to Earth!  The Fiend comes to
Faust, the tired seeker of knowledge; Heaven and Hell stake their cause in
the Mortal's temptation.  And what does the Fiend to astonish the Mortal?
Turn wine into fire, turn love into crime.  We need no Mephistopheles to
accomplish these marvels every day!

Thus silently thinking, I walked by the side of the world-wise woman; and
when she next spoke, I looked up, and saw that we were at the Monks' Well,
where I had first seen Lilian gazing into heaven!

Mrs. Poyntz had, as we walked, placed her hand on my arm; and, turning
abruptly from the path into the glade, I found myself standing by her side
in the scene where a new sense of being had first disclosed to my sight
the hues with which Love, the passionate beautifier, turns into purple and
gold the gray of the common air.  Thus, when romance has ended in sorrow,
and the Beautiful fades from the landscape, the trite and positive forms
of life, banished for a time, reappear, and deepen our mournful
remembrance of the glories they replace.  And the Woman of the World,
finding how little I was induced to respond to her when she had talked of
myself, began to speak, in her habitual clear, ringing accents, of her own
social schemes and devices,--

"I shall miss you when you are gone, Allen Fenwick; for though, during the
last year or so, all actual intercourse between us has ceased, yet my
interest in you gave some occupation to my thoughts when I sat
alone,--having lost my main object of ambition in settling my daughter,
and having no longer any one in the house with whom I could talk of the
future, or for whom I could form a project.  It is so wearisome to count
the changes which pass within us, that we take interest in the changes
that pass without.  Poyntz still has his weather-glass; I have no longer
my Jane."

"I cannot linger with you on this spot," said I, impatiently turning back
into the path; she followed, treading over fallen leaves.  And unheeding
my interruption, she thus continued her hard talk,--

"But I am not sick of my mind, as you seem to be of yours; I am only
somewhat tired of the little cage in which, since it has been alone, it
ruffles its plumes against the flimsy wires that confine it from wider
space.  I shall take up my home for a time with the new-married couple:
they want me.  Ashleigh Sumner has come into parliament.  He means to
attend regularly and work hard, but he does not like Jane to go into the
world by herself, and he wishes her to go into the world, because he wants
a wife to display his wealth for the improvement of his position.  In
Ashleigh Sumner's house I shall have ample scope for my energies, such as
they are.  I have a curiosity to see the few that perch on the wheels of
the State and say, 'It is we who move the wheels!'  It will amuse me to
learn if I can maintain in a capital the authority I have won in a country
town; if not, I can but return to my small principality.  Wherever I live
I must sway, not serve.  If I succeed--as I ought, for in Jane's beauty
and Ashleigh's fortune I have materials for the woof of ambition, wanting
which here, I fall asleep over my knitting--if I succeed, there will be
enough to occupy the rest of my life.  Ashleigh Sumner must be a power;
the power will be represented and enjoyed by my child, and created and
maintained by me!  Allen Fenwick, do as I do.  Be world with the world,
and it will only be in moments of spleen and chagrin that you will sigh to
think that the heart may be void when the mind is full.  Confess you envy
me while you listen."

"Not so; all that to you seems so great appears to me so small!  Nature
alone is always grand, in her terrors as well as her charms.  The World
for you, Nature for me.  Farewell!"

"Nature!" said Mrs. Poyntz, compassionately.  "Poor Allen Fenwick!  Nature
indeed,--intellectual suicide!  Nay, shake hands, then, if for the last
time."

So we shook hands and parted, where the wicket-gate and the stone stairs
separated my blighted fairy-land from the common thoroughfare.



CHAPTER LXVIII.

That night as I was employed in collecting the books and manuscripts which
I proposed to take with me, including my long-suspended physiological
work, and such standard authorities as I might want to consult or refer to
in the portions yet incompleted, my servant entered to inform me, in
answer to the inquiries I had sent him to make, that Miss Brabazon had
peacefully breathed her last an hour before.  Well! my pardon had perhaps
soothed her last moments; but how unavailing her death-bed repentance to
undo the wrong she had done!

I turned from that thought, and, glancing at the work into which I had
thrown all my learning, methodized into system with all my art, I recalled
the pity which Mrs. Poyntz had expressed for my meditated waste of mind.
The tone of superiority which this incarnation of common-sense accompanied
by uncommon will assumed over all that was too deep or too high for her
comprehension had sometimes amused me; thinking over it now, it piqued.  I
said to myself, "After all, I shall bear with me such solace as
intellectual occupation can afford.  I shall have leisure to complete this
labour; and a record that I have lived and thought may outlast all the
honours which worldly ambition may bestow upon Ashleigh Summer!"  And, as
I so murmured, my hand, mechanically selecting the books I needed, fell on
the Bible that Julius Faber had given to me.

It opened at the Second Book of Esdras, which our Church places amongst
the Apocrypha, and is generally considered by scholars to have been
written in the first or second century of the Christian era,[1]--but in
which the questions raised by man in the remotest ages, to which we can
trace back his desire "to comprehend the ways of the Most High," are
invested with a grandeur of thought and sublimity of word to which I know
of no parallel in writers we call profane.

My eye fell on this passage in the lofty argument between the Angel whose
name was Uriel, and the Prophet, perplexed by his own cravings for
knowledge:--

   "He [the Angel] answered me, and said, I went into a forest, into a
    plain, and the trees took counsel,

   "And said, Come, let us go and make war against the sea, that it may
    depart away before us, and that we may make us more woods.

   "The floods of the sea also in like manner took counsel, and said,
    Come, let us go up and subdue the woods of the plain, that there also
    we may make us another country.

   "The thought of the wood was in vain, for the fire came and consumed it.

   "The thought of the floods of the sea came likewise to nought, for the
    sand stood up and stopped them.

   "If thou went judge now betwixt these two, whom wouldst thou begin to
    justify; or whom wouldst thou condemn?

   "I answered and said, Verily it is a foolish thought that they both
    have devised; for the ground is given unto the wood, and the sea also
    hath his place to bear his floods.

   "Then answered he me, and said, Thou halt given a right judgment; but
    why judgest thou not thyself also?

   "For like as the ground is given unto the wood, and the sea to his
    floods, even so they that dwell upon the earth may understand nothing
    but that which is upon the earth; and He that dwelleth above the
    heavens may only understand the things that are above the height of
    the heavens."

I paused at those words, and, closing the Sacred Volume, fell into deep,
unquiet thought.

[1] Such is the supposition of Jahn.  Dr. Lee, however, is of opinion that
the author was contemporary, and, indeed, identical, with the author of
the Book of Enoch.



CHAPTER LXIX.

I had hoped that the voyage would produce some beneficial effect upon
Lilian; but no effect, good or bad, was perceptible, except, perhaps, a
deeper silence, a gentler calm.  She loved to sit on the deck when the
nights were fair, and the stars mirrored on the deep.  And once thus, as I
stood beside her, bending over the rail of the vessel, and gazing on the
long wake of light which the moon made amidst the darkness of an ocean to
which no shore could be seen, I said to myself, "Where is my track of
light through the measureless future?  Would that I could believe as I did
when a child!  Woe is me, that all the reasonings I take from my knowledge
should lead me away from the comfort which the peasant who mourns finds in
faith!  Why should riddles so dark have been thrust upon me,--me, no fond
child of fancy; me, sober pupil of schools the severest?  Yet what
marvel--the strangest my senses have witnessed or feigned in the fraud
they have palmed on me--is greater than that by which a simple affection,
that all men profess to have known, has changed the courses of life
prearranged by my hopes and confirmed by my judgment?  How calmly before I
knew love I have anatomized its mechanism, as the tyro who dissects the
web-work of tissues and nerves in the dead!  Lo! it lives, lives in me;
and, in living, escapes from my scalpel, and mocks all my knowledge.  Can
love be reduced to the realm of the senses?  No; what nun is more barred
by her grate from the realm of the senses than my bride by her solemn
affliction?  Is love, then, the union of kindred, harmonious minds?  No,
my beloved one sits by my side, and I guess not her thoughts, and my mind
is to her a sealed fountain.  Yet I love her more--oh, ineffably
more!--for the doom which destroys the two causes philosophy assigns to
love--in the form, in the mind!  How can I now, in my vain physiology, say
what is love, what is not?  Is it love which must tell me that man has a
soul, and that in soul will be found the solution of problems never to be
solved in body or mind alone?"

My self-questionings halted here as Lilian's hand touched my shoulder.
She had risen from her seat, and had come to me.

"Are not the stars very far from earth?" she said.

"Very far."

"Are they seen for the first time to-night?"

"They were seen, I presume, as we see them, by the fathers of all human
races!"
"
"Yet close below us they shine reflected in the waters; and yet, see, wave
flows on wave before we can count it!"

"Lilian, by what sympathy do you read and answer my thought?"

Her reply was incoherent and meaningless.  If a gleam of intelligence had
mysteriously lighted my heart to her view, it was gone.  But drawing her
nearer towards me, my eye long followed wistfully the path of light,
dividing the darkness on either hand, till it closed in the sloping
horizon.



CHAPTER LXX.

The voyage is over.  At the seaport at which we landed I found a letter
from Faber.  My instructions had reached him in time to effect the
purchase on which his descriptions had fixed my desire.  The stock, the
implements of husbandry, the furniture of the house, were included in the
purchase.  All was prepared for my arrival, and I hastened from the then
miserable village, which may some day rise into one of the mightiest
capitals of the world, to my lodge in the wilderness.

It was the burst of the Australian spring, which commences in our autumn
month of October.  The air was loaded with the perfume of the acacias.
Amidst the glades of the open forest land, or climbing the craggy banks
of winding silvery creeks,[1] creepers and flowers of dazzling hue
contrasted the olive-green of the surrounding foliage.  The exhilarating
effect of the climate in that season heightens the charm of the strange
scenery.  In the brilliancy of the sky, in the lightness of the
atmosphere, the sense of life is wondrously quickened.  With the very
breath the Adventurer draws in from the racy air, he feels as if
inhaling hope.

We have reached our home, we are settled in it; the early unfamiliar
impressions are worn away.  We have learned to dispense with much that we
at first missed, and are reconciled to much that at first disappointed or
displeased.

The house is built but of logs; the late proprietor had commenced, upon a
rising ground, a mile distant, a more imposing edifice of stone, but it is
not half finished.

This log-house is commodious, and much has been done, within and without,
to conceal or adorn its primitive rudeness.  It is of irregular,
picturesque form, with verandas round three sides of it, to which the
grape-vine has been trained, with glossy leaves that clamber up to the
gable roof.  There is a large garden in front, in which many English
fruit-trees have been set, and grow fast amongst the plants of the tropics
and the orange-trees of Southern Europe.  Beyond stretch undulous
pastures, studded not only with sheep, but with herds of cattle, which my
speculative predecessor had bred from parents of famous stock, and
imported from England at mighty cost; but as yet the herds had been of
little profit, and they range their luxuriant expanse of pasture with as
little heed.  To the left soar up, in long range, the many-coloured hills;
to the right meanders a creek, belted by feathery trees; and on its
opposite bank a forest opens, through frequent breaks, into park-like
glades and alleys.  The territory, of which I so suddenly find myself the
lord, is vast, even for a colonial capitalist.

It had been originally purchased as "a special survey," comprising twenty
thousand acres, with the privilege of pasture over forty thousand more.
In very little of this land, though it includes some of the most fertile
districts in the known world, has cultivation been even commenced.  At the
time I entered into possession, even sheep were barely profitable; labour
was scarce and costly.  Regarded as a speculation, I could not wonder that
my predecessor fled in fear from his domain.  Had I invested the bulk of
my capital in this lordly purchase, I should have deemed myself a ruined
man; but a villa near London, with a hundred acres, would have cost me as
much to buy, and thrice as much to keep up.  I could afford the investment
I had made.  I found a Scotch bailiff already on the estate, and I was
contented to escape from rural occupations, to which I brought no
experience, by making it worth his while to serve me with zeal.  Two
domestics of my own, and two who had been for many years with Mrs.
Ashleigh, had accompanied us: they remained faithful and seemed contented.
So the clockwork of our mere household arrangements went on much the same
as in our native home.  Lilian was not subjected to the ordinary
privations and discomforts that await the wife even of the wealthy
emigrant.  Alas! would she have heeded them if she had been?

The change of scene wrought a decided change for the better in her health
and spirits, but not such as implied a dawn of reviving reason.  But her
countenance was now more rarely overcast.  Its usual aspect was glad with
a soft mysterious smile.  She would murmur snatches of songs, that were
partly borrowed from English poets, and partly glided away into what
seemed spontaneous additions of her own,--wanting intelligible meaning,
but never melody nor rhyme.  Strange, that memory and imitation--the two
earliest parents of all inventive knowledge--should still be so active,
and judgment--the after faculty, that combines the rest into purpose and
method-be annulled!

Julius Faber I see continually, though his residence is a few miles
distant.  He is sanguine as to Lilian's ultimate recovery; and, to my
amazement and to my envy, he has contrived, by some art which I cannot
attain, to establish between her and himself intelligible communion.  She
comprehends his questions, when mine, though the simplest, seem to her in
unknown language; and he construes into sense her words, that to me are
meaningless riddles.

"I was right," he said to me one day, leaving her seated in the garden
beside her quiet, patient mother, and joining me where I lay--listless yet
fretful--under the shadeless gum-trees, gazing not on the flocks and
fields that I could call my own, but on the far mountain range, from which
the arch of the horizon seemed to spring,--"I was right," said the great
physician; "this is reason suspended, not reason lost.  Your wife will
recover; but--"

"But what?"

"Give me your arm as I walk homeward, and I will tell you the conclusion
to which I have come."

I rose, the old man leaned on me, and we went down the valley along the
craggy ridges of the winding creek.  The woodland on the opposite bank was
vocal with the chirp and croak and chatter of Australian birds,--all
mirthful, all songless, save that sweetest of warblers, which some early
irreverent emigrant degraded to the name of magpie, but whose note is
sweeter than the nightingale's, and trills through the lucent air with a
distinct ecstatic melody of joy that dominates all the discords, so
ravishing the sense, that, while it sings, the ear scarcely heeds the
scream of the parrots.

[1] Creek is the name given by Australian colonists to precarious water
Courses and tributary streams.



CHAPTER LXXI.

"You may remember," said Julius Faber, "Sir Humphry Davy's eloquent
description of the effect produced on him by the inhalation of nitrous
oxide.  He states that he began to lose the perception of external things;
trains of vivid visible images rapidly passed through his mind, and were
connected with words in such a manner as to produce perceptions perfectly
novel.  'I existed,' he said, 'in a world of newly-connected and
newly-modified ideas.' When he recovered, he exclaimed: 'Nothing exists
but thoughts; the universe is composed of impressions, ideas, pleasures,
and pains!'

"Now observe, that thus a cultivator of positive science, endowed with one
of the healthiest of human brains, is, by the inhalation of a gas,
abstracted from all external life,--enters into a new world, which
consists of images he himself creates and animates so vividly that, on
waking, he resolves the universe itself into thoughts."

"Well," said I, "but what inference do you draw from that voluntary
experiment, applicable to the malady of which you bid me hope the cure?"

"Simply this: that the effect produced on a healthful brain by the nitrous
oxide may be produced also by moral causes operating on the blood, or on
the nerves.  There is a degree of mental excitement in which ideas are
more vivid than sensations, and then the world of external things gives
way to the world within the brain.[1]  But this, though a suspension of
that reason which comprehends accuracy of judgment, is no more a permanent
aberration of reason than were Sir Humphry Davy's visionary ecstasies
under the influence of the gas.  The difference between the two states of
suspension is that of time, and it is but an affair of time with our
beloved patient.  Yet prepare yourself.  I fear that the mind will not
recover without some critical malady of the body!"

"Critical! but not dangerous?--say not dangerous!  I can endure the
pause of her reason; I could not endure the void in the universe if her
life were to fade from the earth."

"Poor friend! would not you yourself rather lose life than reason?"

"I--yes!  But we men are taught to set cheap value on our own lives; we do
not estimate at the same rate the lives of those we love.  Did we do so,
Humanity would lose its virtues."

"What, then!  Love teaches that there is something of nobler value than
mere mind?  Yet surely it cannot be the mere body?  What is it, if not
that continuance of being which your philosophy declines to
acknowledge,--namely, soul?  If you fear so painfully that your Lilian
should die, is it not that you fear to lose her forever?"

"Oh, cease, cease!" I cried impatiently.  "I cannot now argue on
metaphysics.  What is it that you anticipate of harm to her life?  Her
health has been stronger ever since her affliction.  She never seems to
know ailment now.  Do you not perceive that her cheek has a more hardy
bloom, her frame a more rounded symmetry, than when you saw her in
England?"

"Unquestionably.  Her physical forces have been silently recruiting
themselves in the dreams which half lull, half amuse her imagination.
Imagination! that faculty, the most glorious which is bestowed on the
human mind, because it is the faculty which enables thought to create, is
of all others the most exhausting to life when unduly stimulated and
consciously reasoning on its own creations.  I think it probable that had
this sorrow not befallen you, you would have known a sorrow yet
graver,--you would have long survived your Lilian.  As it is now, when she
recovers, her whole organization, physical and mental, will have undergone
a beneficent change.  But, I repeat my prediction,--some severe malady of
the body will precede the restoration of the mind; and it is my hope that
the present suspense or aberration of the more wearing powers of the mind
may fit the body to endure and surmount the physical crisis.  I remember a
case, within my own professional experience, in many respects similar to
this, but in other respects it was less hopeful.  I was consulted by a
young student of a very delicate physical frame, of great mental energies,
and consumed by an intense ambition.  He was reading for university
honours.  He would not listen to me when I entreated him to rest his mind.
I thought that he was certain to obtain the distinction for which he
toiled, and equally certain to die a few months after obtaining it.  He
falsified both my prognostics.  He so overworked himself that, on the day
of examination, his nerves were agitated, his memory failed him; he
passed, not without a certain credit, but fell far short of the rank
amongst his fellow competitors to which he aspired.  Here, then, the
irritated mind acted on the disappointed heart, and raised a new train of
emotions.  He was first visited by spectral illusions; then he sank into a
state in which the external world seemed quite blotted out.  He heeded
nothing that was said to him; seemed to see nothing that was placed before
his eyes,--in a word, sensations became dormant, ideas preconceived
usurped their place, and those ideas gave him pleasure.  He believed that
his genius was recognized, and lived amongst its supposed creations
enjoying an imaginary fame.  So it went on for two years, during which
suspense of his reason, his frail form became robust and vigorous.  At the
end of that time he was seized with a fever, which would have swept him in
three days to the grave had it occurred when I was first called in to
attend him.  He conquered the fever, and, in recovering, acquired the full
possession of the intellectual faculties so long suspended.  When I last
saw him, many years afterwards, he was in perfect health, and the object
of his young ambition was realized; the body had supported the mind,--he
had achieved distinction.  Now what had so, for a time, laid this strong
intellect into visionary sleep?  The most agonizing of human emotions in a
noble spirit,--shame!  What has so stricken down your Lilian?  You have
told me the story: shame!--the shame of a nature pre-eminently pure.  But
observe that, in his case as in hers, the shock inflicted does not produce
a succession of painful illusions: on the contrary, in both, the illusions
are generally pleasing.  Had the illusions been painful, the body would
have suffered, the patient died.  Why did a painful shock produce pleasing
illusions?  Because, no matter how a shock on the nerves may originate, if
it affects the reason, it does but make more vivid than impressions from
actual external objects the ideas previously most cherished.  Such ideas
in the young student were ideas of earthly fame; such ideas in the young
maiden are ideas of angel comforters and heavenly Edens.  You miss her
mind on the earth, and, while we speak, it is in paradise."

"Much that you say, my friend, is authorized by the speculations of great
writers, with whom I am not unfamiliar; but in none of those writers, nor
in your encouraging words, do I find a solution for much that has no
precedents in my experience,--much, indeed, that has analogies in my
reading, but analogies which I have hitherto despised as old wives'
fables.  I have bared to your searching eye the weird mysteries of my
life.  How do you account for facts which you cannot resolve into
illusions,--for the influence which that strange being, Margrave,
exercised over Lilian's mind or fancy, so that for a time her love for me
was as dormant as is her reason now; so that he could draw her--her whose
nature you admit to be singularly pure and modest--from her mother's home?
The magic wand; the trance into which that wand threw Margrave himself;
the apparition which it conjured up in my own quiet chamber when my mind
was without a care and my health without a flaw,--how account for all
this: as you endeavoured, and perhaps successfully, to account for all my
impressions of the Vision in the Museum, of the luminous, haunting shadow
in its earlier apparitions, when my fancy was heated, my heart tormented,
and, it might be, even the physical forces of this strong frame
disordered?"

"Allen," said the old pathologist, "here we approach a ground which few
physicians have dared to examine.  Honour to those who, like our bold
contemporary, Elliotson, have braved scoff and sacrificed dross in seeking
to extract what is practical in uses, what can be tested by experiment,
from those exceptional phenomena on which magic sought to found a
philosophy, and to which philosophy tracks the origin of magic."

"What! do I understand you?  Is it you, Julius Faber, who attach faith to
the wonders attributed to animal magnetism and electro-biology, or
subscribe to the doctrines which their practitioners teach?"

"I have not examined into those doctrines, nor seen with my own eyes the
wonders recorded, upon evidence too respectable, nevertheless, to permit
me peremptorily to deny what I have not witnessed.[2]  But wherever I look
through the History of Mankind in all ages and all races, I find a
concurrence in certain beliefs which seem to countenance the theory that
there is in some peculiar and rare temperaments a power over forms of
animated organization, with which they establish some unaccountable
affinity; and even, though much more rarely, a power over inanimate
matter.  You are familiar with the theory of Descartes, 'that those
particles of the blood which penetrate to the brain do not only serve to
nourish and sustain its substance, but to produce there a certain very
subtle Aura, or rather a flame very vivid and pure, that obtains the name
of the Animal Spirits;'[3] and at the close of his great fragment upon
Man, he asserts that 'this flame is of no other nature than all the fires
which are in inanimate bodies.'[4]  This notion does but forestall the
more recent doctrine that electricity is more or less in all, or nearly
all, known matter.  Now, whether in the electric fluid or some other fluid
akin to it of which we know still less, thus equally pervading all matter,
there may be a certain magnetic property more active, more operative upon
sympathy in some human constitutions than in others, and which can account
for the mysterious power I have spoken of, is a query I might suggest, but
not an opinion I would hazard.  For an opinion I must have that basis of
experience or authority which I do not need when I submit a query to the
experience and authority of others.  Still, the supposition conveyed in
the query is so far worthy of notice, that the ecstatic temperament (in
which phrase I comprehend all constitutional mystics) is peculiarly
sensitive to electric atmospheric influences.  This is a fact which most
medical observers will have remarked in the range of their practice.
Accordingly, I was prepared to find Mr Hare Townshend, in his interesting
work,[5] state that he himself was of 'the electric temperament,' sparks
flying from his hair when combed in the dark, etc.  That accomplished
writer, whose veracity no one would impugn, affirms that between this
electrical endowment and whatever mesmeric properties he might possess,
there is a remarkable relationship and parallelism.  Whatever state of the
atmosphere tends to accumulate and insulate electricity in the body,
promotes equally' (says Mr. Townshend) 'the power and facility with which
I influence others mesmerically.' What Mr. Townshend thus observes in
himself, American physicians and professors of chemistry depose to have
observed in those modern magicians, the mediums of (so-called) 'spirit
manifestation.' They state that all such mediums are of the electric
temperament, thus everywhere found allied with the ecstatic, and their
power varies in proportion as the state of the atmosphere serves to
depress or augment the electricity stored in themselves.  Here, then, in
the midst of vagrant phenomena, either too hastily dismissed as altogether
the tricks of fraudful imposture, or too credulously accepted as
supernatural portents-here, at least, in one generalized fact, we may,
perhaps, find a starting point, from which inductive experiment may
arrive, soon or late, at a rational theory.  But however the power of
which we are speaking (a power accorded to special physical temperament)
may or may not be accounted for by some patient student of nature, I am
persuaded that it is in that power we are to seek for whatever is not
wholly imposture, in the attributes assigned to magic or witchcraft.  It
is well said, by a writer who has gone into the depth of these subjects
with the research of a scholar and the science of a pathologist, 'that if
magic had exclusively reposed on credulity and falsehood, its reign would
never have endured so long; but that its art took its origin in singular
phenomena, proper to certain affections of the nerves, or manifested in
the conditions of sleep.  These phenomena, the principle of which was at
first unknown, served to root faith in magic, and often abused even
enlightened minds.  The enchanters and magicians arrived, by divers
practices, at the faculty of provoking in other brains a determined order
of dreams, of engendering hallucinations of all kinds, of inducing fits of
hypnotism, trance, mania, during which the persons so affected imagined
that they saw, heard, touched, supernatural beings, conversed with them,
proved their influences, assisted at prodigies of which magic proclaimed
itself to possess the secret.  The public, the enchanters, and the
enchanted were equally dupes.'[6]  Accepting this explanation,
unintelligible to no physician of a practice so lengthened as mine has
been, I draw from it the corollary, that as these phenomena are exhibited
only by certain special affections, to which only certain special
constitutions are susceptible, so not in any superior faculties of
intellect, or of spiritual endowment, but in peculiar physical
temperaments, often strangely disordered, the power of the sorcerer in
affecting the imagination of others is to be sought.  In the native tribes
of Australasia the elders are instructed in the arts of this so-called
sorcery, but only in a very few constitutions does instruction avail to
produce effects in which the savages recognize the powers of a sorcerer:
it is so with the Obi of the negroes.  The fascination of Obi is an
unquestionable fact, but the Obi man cannot be trained by formal lessons;
he is born a fascinator, as a poet is born a poet.  It is so with the
Laplanders, of whom Tornoeus reports that of those instructed in the
magical art 'only a few are capable of it.'  'Some,' he says, 'are
naturally magicians.' And this fact is emphatically insisted upon by the
mystics of our own middle ages, who state that a man must be born a
magician; in other words, that the gift is constitutional, though
developed by practice and art.  Now, that this gift and its practice
should principally obtain in imperfect states of civilization, and fade
into insignificance in the busy social enlightenment of cities, may be
accounted for by reference to the known influences of imagination.  In the
cruder states of social life not only is imagination more frequently
predominant over all other faculties, but it has not the healthful vents
which the intellectual competition of cities and civilization affords.
The man who in a savage tribe, or in the dark feudal ages, would be a
magician, is in our century a poet, an orator, a daring speculator, an
inventive philosopher.  In other words, his imagination is drawn to
pursuits congenial to those amongst whom it works.  It is the tendency of
all intellect to follow the directions of the public opinion amidst which
it is trained.  Where a magician is held in reverence or awe, there will
be more practitioners of magic than where a magician is despised as an
impostor or shut up as a lunatic.  In Scandinavia, before the introduction
of Christianity, all tradition records the wonderful powers of the Vala,
or witch, who was then held in reverence and honour.  Christianity was
introduced, and the early Church denounced the Vala as the instrument of
Satan, and from that moment down dropped the majestic prophetess into a
miserable and execrated old hag!"

"The ideas you broach," said I, musingly, "have at moments crossed me,
though I have shrunk from reducing them to a theory which is but one of
pure hypothesis.  But this magic, after all, then, you would place in the
imagination of the operator, acting on the imagination of those whom it
affects?  Here, at least, I can follow you, to a certain extent, for here
we get back into the legitimate realm of physiology."

"And possibly," said Faber, "we may find hints to guide us to useful
examination, if not to complete solution of problems that, once
demonstrated, may lead to discoveries of infinite value,--hints, I say, in
two writers of widely opposite genius, Van Helmont and Bacon.  Van
Helmont, of all the mediaeval mystics, is, in spite of his many
extravagant whims, the one whose intellect is the most suggestive to the
disciplined reasoners of our day.  He supposed that the faculty which he
calls Fantasy, and which we familiarly call Imagination,--is invested with
the power of creating for itself ideas independent of the senses, each
idea clothed in a form fabricated by the imagination, and becoming an
operative entity.  This notion is so far favoured by modern physiologists,
that Lincke reports a case where the eye itself was extirpated; yet the
extirpation was followed by the appearance of luminous figures before the
orbit.  And again, a woman, stone-blind, complained of 'luminous images,
with pale colours, before her eyes.'  Abercrombie mentions the case 'of a
lady quite blind, her eyes being also disorganized and sunk, who never
walked out without seeing a little old woman in a red cloak, who seemed to
walk before her.'[7]  Your favourite authority, the illustrious Miller,
who was himself in the habit of 'seeing different images in the field of
vision when he lay quietly down to sleep, asserts that these images are
not merely presented to the fancy, but that even the images of dreams are
really seen,' and that 'any one may satisfy himself of this by accustoming
himself regularly to open his eyes when waking after a dream,--the images
seen in the dream are then sometimes visible, and can be observed to
disappear gradually.'  He confirms this statement not only by the result
of his own experience, but by the observations made by Spinoza, and the
yet higher authority of Aristotle, who accounts for spectral appearance as
the internal action of the sense of vision.[8]  And this opinion is
favoured by Sir David Brewster, whose experience leads him to suggest
'that the objects of mental contemplation may be seen as distinctly as
external objects, and will occupy the same local position in the axis of
vision as if they had been formed by the agency of light.'  Be this as it
may, one fact remains,--that images can be seen even by the blind as
distinctly and vividly as you and I now see the stream below our feet and
the opossums at play upon yonder boughs.  Let us come next to some
remarkable suggestions of Lord Bacon.  In his Natural History, treating of
the force of the imagination, and the help it receives 'by one man working
by another,' he cites an instance he had witnessed of a kind of juggler,
who could tell a person what card he thought of.  He mentioned this 'to a
pretended learned man, curious in such things,' and this sage said to him,
'It is not the knowledge of the man's thought, for that is proper to God,
but the enforcing of a thought upon him, and binding his imagination by a
stronger, so that he could think of no other card.'  You see this sage
anticipated our modern electro-biologists!  And the learned man then
shrewdly asked Lord Bacon, 'Did the juggler tell the card to the man
himself who had thought of it, or bid another tell it?'  'He bade another
tell it,' answered Lord Bacon.  'I thought so,' returned his learned
acquaintance, 'for the juggler himself could not have put on so strong an
imagination; but by telling the card to the other, who believed the
juggler was some strange man who could do strange things, that other man
caught a strong imagination.'[9]  The whole story is worth reading,
because Lord Bacon evidently thinks it conveys a guess worth examining.
And Lord Bacon, were he now living, would be the man to solve the
mysteries that branch out of mesmerism or (so-called) spiritual
manifestation, for he would not pretend to despise their phenomena for
fear of hurting his reputation for good sense.  Bacon then goes on to
state that there are three ways to fortify the imagination.  'First,
authority derived from belief in an art and in the man who exercises it;
secondly, means to quicken and corroborate the imagination; thirdly, means
to repeat and refresh it.'  For the second and the third he refers to the
practices of magic, and proceeds afterwards to state on what things
imagination has most force,--'upon things that have the lightest and
easiest motions, and, therefore, above all, upon the spirits of men, and,
in them, on such affections as move lightest,--in love, in fear, in
irresolution.  And,' adds Bacon, earnestly, in a very different spirit
from that which dictates to the sages of our time the philosophy of
rejecting without trial that which belongs to the Marvellous,--'and
whatsoever is of this kind, should be thoroughly inquired into.' And this
great founder or renovator of the sober inductive system of investigation
even so far leaves it a matter of speculative inquiry, whether imagination
may not be so powerful that it can actually operate upon a plant, that he
says: 'This likewise should be made upon plants, and that diligently; as
if you should tell a man that such a tree would die this year, and will
him, at these and these times, to go unto it and see how it thriveth.'  I
presume that no philosopher has followed such recommendations: had some
great philosopher done so, possibly we should by this time know all the
secrets of what is popularly called witchcraft."

And as Faber here paused, there came a strange laugh from the
fantastic she-oak-tree overhanging the stream,--a wild, impish laugh.

"Pooh! it is but the great kingfisher, the laughing-bird of the
Australian bush," said Julius Faber, amused at my start of superstitious
alarm.

We walked on for some minutes in musing silence, and the rude log-hut in
which my wise companion had his home came in view,--the flocks grazing on
undulous pastures, the lone drinking at a watercourse fringed by the
slender gum-trees, and a few fields, laboriously won from the luxuriant
grassland, rippling with the wave of corn.

I halted, and said, "Rest here for a few moments, till I gather up the
conclusions to which your speculative reasoning seems to invite me."

We sat down on a rocky crag, half mantled by luxuriant creepers with
vermilion buds.

"From the guesses," said I, "which you have drawn from the erudition of
others and your own ingenious and reflective inductions, I collect this
solution of the mysteries, by which the experience I gain from my senses
confounds all the dogmas approved by my judgment.  To the rational
conjectures by which, when we first conversed on the marvels that
perplexed me, you ascribe to my imagination, predisposed by mental
excitement, physical fatigue or derangement, and a concurrence of singular
events tending to strengthen such predisposition, the phantasmal
impressions produced on my senses,--to these conjectures you now add a new
one, more startling and less admitted by sober physiologists.  You
conceive it possible that persons endowed with a rare and peculiar
temperament can so operate on imagination, and, through the imagination,
on the senses of others, as to exceed even the powers ascribed to the
practitioners of mesmerism' and electro-biology, and give a certain
foundation of truth to the old tales of magic and witchcraft.  You imply
that Margrave may be a person thus gifted, and hence the influence he
unquestionably exercised over Lilian, and over, perhaps, less innocent
agents, charmed or impelled by his will.  And not discarding, as I own I
should have been originally induced to do, the queries or suggestions
adventured by Bacon in his discursive speculations on Nature, to wit,
'that there be many things, some of them inanimate, that operate upon the
spirits of men by secret sympathy and antipathy,' and to which Bacon gave
the quaint name of 'imaginants,' so even that wand, of which I have
described to you the magic-like effects, may have had properties
communicated to it by which it performs the work of the magician, as
mesmerists pretend that some substance mesmerized by them can act on the
patient as sensibly as if it were the mesmerizer himself.  Do I state your
suppositions correctly?"

"Yes; always remembering that they are only suppositions, and volunteered
with the utmost diffidence.  But since, thus seated in the early
wilderness, we permit ourselves the indulgence of childlike guess, may it
not be possible, apart from the doubtful question whether a man can
communicate to an inanimate material substance a power to act upon the
mind or imagination of another man--may it not, I say, be possible that
such a substance may contain in itself such a virtue or property potent
over certain constitutions, though not over all.  For instance, it is in
my experience that the common hazel-wood will strongly affect some nervous
temperaments, though wholly without effect on others.  I remember a young
girl, who having taken up a hazel-stick freshly cut, could not relax her
hold of it; and when it was wrenched away from her by force, was
irresistibly attracted towards it, repossessed herself of it, and, after
holding it a few minutes, was cast into a kind of trance, in which she
beheld phantasmal visions.  Mentioning this curious case, which I supposed
unique, to a learned brother of our profession, he told me that he had
known other instances of the effect of the hazel upon nervous temperaments
in persons of both sexes.  Possibly it was some such peculiar property in
the hazel that made it the wood selected for the old divining-rod.  Again,
we know that the bay-tree, or laurel, was dedicated to the oracular
Pythian Apollo.  Now wherever, in the old world, we find that the learning
of the priests enabled them to exhibit exceptional phenomena, which
imposed upon popular credulity, there was a something or other which is
worth a philosopher's while to explore; and, accordingly, I always
suspected that there was in the laurel some property favourable to
ecstatic vision in highly impressionable temperaments.  My suspicion, a few
years ago, was justified by the experience of a German physician,
who had under his care a cataleptic or ecstatic patient, and who
assured me that he found nothing in this patient so stimulated the state
of 'sleep-waking,' or so disposed that state to indulge in the
hallucinations of prevision, as the berry of the laurel.[10]  Well, we do
not know what this wand that produced a seemingly magical effect upon you
was really composed of.  You did not notice the metal employed in the
wire, which you say communicated a thrill to the sensitive nerves in the
palm of the hand.  You cannot tell how far it might have been the vehicle
of some fluid force in nature.  Or still more probably, whether the pores
of your hand insensibly imbibed, and communicated to the brain, some of
those powerful narcotics from which the Buddhists and the Arabs make
unguents that induce visionary hallucinations, and in which substances
undetected in the hollow of the wand, or the handle of the wand itself,
might be steeped.[11]  One thing we do know, namely, that amongst the
ancients, and especially in the East, the construction of wands for
magical purposes was no commonplace mechanical craft, but a special and
secret art appropriated to men who cultivated with assiduity all that was
then known of natural science in order to extract from it agencies that
might appear supernatural.  Possibly, then, the rods or wands of the East,
of which Scripture makes mention, were framed upon some principles of
which we in our day are very naturally ignorant, since we do not ransack
science for the same secrets; and thus, in the selection or preparation of
the material employed, mainly consisted whatever may be referrible to
natural philosophical causes in the antique science of Rhabdomancy, or
divination and enchantment by wands.  The staff, or wand, of which you
tell me, was, you say, made of iron or steel and tipped with crystal.
Possibly iron and crystal do really contain some properties not hitherto
scientifically analyzed, and only, indeed, potential over exceptional
temperaments, which may account for the fact that iron and crystal have
been favourites with all professed mystics, ancient and modern.  The
Delphic Pythoness had her iron tripod, Mesmer his iron bed; and many
persons, indisputably honest, cannot gaze long upon a ball of crystal but
what they begin to see visions.  I suspect that a philosophical cause for
such seemingly preternatural effects of crystal and iron will be found in
connection with the extreme impressionability to changes in temperatures
which is the characteristic both of crystal and iron.  But if these
materials do contain certain powers over exceptional constitutions, we do
not arrive at a supernatural but at a natural phenomenon."

"Still," said I, "even granting that your explanatory hypotheses hit or
approach the truth;--still what a terrible power you would assign to man's
will over men's reason and deeds!"

"Man's will," answered Faber, "has over men's deeds and reason, habitual
and daily, power infinitely greater and, when uncounterbalanced,
infinitely more dangerous than that which superstition exaggerates in
magic.  Man's will moves a war that decimates a race, and leaves behind it
calamities little less dire than slaughter.  Man's will frames, but it
also corrupts laws; exalts, but also demoralizes opinion; sets the world
mad with fanaticism, as often as it curbs the heart's fierce instincts by
the wisdom of brother-like mercy.  You revolt at the exceptional, limited
sway over some two or three individuals which the arts of a sorcerer (if
sorcerer there be) can effect; and yet, at the very moment in which you
were perplexed and appalled by such sway, or by your reluctant belief in
it, your will was devising an engine to unsettle the reason and wither the
hopes of millions!"

"My will!  What engine?"

"A book conceived by your intellect, adorned by your learning, and directed
by your will, to steal from the minds of other men their persuasion of the
soul's everlasting Hereafter."

I bowed my head, and felt myself grow pale.

"And if we accept Bacon's theory of 'secret sympathy,' or the plainer
physiological maxim that there must be in the imagination, morbidly
impressed by the will of another, some trains of idea in affinity with
such influence and preinclined to receive it, no magician could warp you
to evil, except through thoughts that themselves went astray.  Grant that
the Margrave who still haunts your mind did really, by some occult,
sinister magnetism, guide the madman to murder, did influence the
servant-woman's vulgar desire to pry into the secrets of her ill-fated
master, or the old maid's covetous wish and envious malignity: what could
this awful magician do more than any commonplace guilty adviser, to a mind
predisposed to accept the advice?"

"You forget one example which destroys your argument,--the spell which
this mysterious fascinator could cast upon a creature so pure from all
guilt as Lilian!"

"Will you forgive me if I answer frankly?"

"Speak."

"Your Lilian is spotless and pure as you deem her, and the fascination,
therefore, attempts no lure through a sinful desire; it blends with its
attraction no sentiment of affection untrue to yourself.  Nay, it is
justice to your Lilian, and may be melancholy comfort to you, to state my
conviction, based on the answers my questions have drawn from her, that
you were never more cherished by her love than when that love seemed to
forsake you.  Her imagination impressed her with the illusion that through
your love for her you were threatened with a great peril.  What seemed the
levity of her desertion was the devotion of self-sacrifice.  And, in her
strange, dream-led wanderings, do not think that she was conscious of the
fascination you impute to this mysterious Margrave: in her belief it was
your own guardian angel that guided her steps, and her pilgrimage was
ordained to disarm the foe that menaced you, and dissolve the spell that
divided her life from yours!  But had she not, long before this, willingly
prepared herself to be so deceived?  Had not her fancies been
deliberately encouraged to dwell remote from the duties we are placed on
the earth to perform?  The loftiest faculties in our nature are those that
demand the finest poise, not to fall from their height and crush all the
walls that they crown.  With exquisite beauty of illustration, Hume says
of the dreamers of 'bright fancies,' 'that they may be compared to those
angels whom the Scriptures represent as covering their eyes with their
wings.'  Had you been, like my nephew, a wrestler for bread with the
wilderness, what helpmate would your Lilian have been to you?  How often
would you have cried out in justifiable anger, 'I, son of Adam, am on
earth, not in Paradise!  Oh, that my Eve were at home on my hearth, and
not in the skies with the seraphs!'  No Margrave, I venture to say, could
have suspended the healthful affections, or charmed into danger the
wide-awake soul of my Amy.  When she rocks in its cradle the babe the
young parents intrust to her heed; when she calls the kine to the milking,
the chicks to their corn; when she but flits through my room to renew the
flowers on the stand, or range in neat order the books that I read, no
spell on her fancy could lead her a step from the range of her provident
cares!  At day she is contented to be on the commonplace earth; at evening
she and I knock together at the one door of heaven, which opes to
thanksgiving and prayer; and thanksgiving and prayer send us back, calm
and hopeful, to the task that each morrow renews."

I looked up as the old man paused, and in the limpid clearness of the
Australian atmosphere, I saw the child he thus praised standing by the
garden-gate, looking towards us, and though still distant she seemed near.
I felt wroth with her.  My heart so cherished my harmless, defenceless
Lilian, that I was jealous of the praise taken from her to be bestowed on
another.

"Each of us," said I, coldly, "has his or her own nature, and the uses
harmonious to that nature's idiosyncrasy.  The world, I grant, would get
on very ill if women were not more or less actively useful and quietly
good, like your Amy.  But the world would lose standards that exalt and
refine, if no woman were permitted to gain, through the indulgence of
fancy, thoughts exquisite as those which my Lilian conceived, while
thought, alas! flowed out of fancy.  I do not wound you by citing your Amy
as a type of the mediocre; I do not claim for Lilian the rank we accord to
the type of genius.  But both are alike to such types in this: namely,
that the uses of mediocrity are for every-day life, and the uses of
genius, amidst a thousand mistakes which mediocrity never commits, are to
suggest and perpetuate ideas which raise the standard of the mediocre to a
nobler level.  There would be fewer Amys in life if there were no Lilian!
as there would be far fewer good men of sense if there were no erring
dreamer of genius!"

"You say well, Allen Fenwick.  And who should be so indulgent to the
vagaries of the imagination as the philosophers who taught your youth to
doubt everything in the Maker's plan of creation which could not be
mathematically proved?  'The human mind,' said Luther, 'is like a drunkard
on horseback; prop it on one side, and it falls on the other.' So the man
who is much too enlightened to believe in a peasant's religion, is always
sure to set up some insane superstition of his own.  Open biographical
volumes wherever you please, and the man who has no faith in religion is a
man who has faith in a nightmare.  See that type of the elegant
sceptics,--Lord Herbert of Cherbury.  He is writing a book against
Revelation; he asks a sign from heaven to tell him if his book is approved
by his Maker, and the man who cannot believe in the miracles performed by
his Saviour gravely tells us of a miracle vouchsafed to himself.  Take the
hardest and strongest intellect which the hardest and strongest race of
mankind ever schooled and accomplished.  See the greatest of great men,
the great Julius Caesar!  Publicly he asserts in the Senate that the
immortality of the soul is a vain chimera.  He professes the creed which
Roman voluptuaries deduced from Epicurus, and denies all Divine
interference in the affairs of the earth.  A great authority for the
Materialists--they have none greater!  They can show on their side no
intellect equal to Caesar's!  And yet this magnificent freethinker,
rejecting a soul and a Deity, habitually entered his chariot muttering a
charm; crawled on his knees up the steps of a temple to propitiate the
abstraction called 'Nemesis;' and did not cross the Rubicon till he had
consulted the omens.  What does all this prove?--a very simple truth.  Man
has some instincts with the brutes; for instance, hunger and sexual love.
Man has one instinct peculiar to himself, found universally (or with
alleged exceptions in savage States so rare, that they do not affect the
general law[12]),--an instinct of an invisible power without this earth,
and of a life beyond the grave, which that power vouchsafes to his spirit.
But the best of us cannot violate an instinct with impunity.  Resist
hunger as long as you can, and, rather than die of starvation, your
instinct will make you a cannibal; resist love when youth and nature impel
to it, and what pathologist does not track one broad path into madness or
crime?  So with the noblest instinct of all.  Reject the internal
conviction by which the grandest thinkers have sanctioned the hope of the
humblest Christian, and you are servile at once to some faith
inconceivably more hard to believe.  The imagination will not be withheld
from its yearnings for vistas beyond the walls of the flesh, and the span
of the present hour.  Philosophy itself, in rejecting the healthful creeds
by which man finds his safeguards in sober prayer and his guide through
the wilderness of visionary doubt, invents systems compared to which the
mysteries of theology are simple.  Suppose any man of strong, plain
understanding had never heard of a Deity like Him whom we Christians
adore, then ask this man which he can the better comprehend in his mind,
and accept as a natural faith,--namely, the simple Christianity of his
shepherd or the Pantheism of Spinoza?  Place before an accomplished critic
(who comes with a perfectly unprejudiced mind to either inquiry), first,
the arguments of David Hume against the gospel miracles, and then the
metaphysical crotchets of David Hume himself.  This subtle philosopher,
not content, with Berkeley, to get rid of matter,--not content, with
Condillac, to get rid of spirit or mind,--proceeds to a miracle greater
than any his Maker has yet vouchsafed to reveal.  He, being then alive and
in the act of writing, gets rid of himself altogether.  Nay, he confesses
he cannot reason with any one who is stupid enough to think he has a self.
His words are: 'What we call a mind is nothing but a heap or collection of
different perceptions or objects united together by certain relations, and
supposed, though falsely, to be endowed with perfect simplicity and
identity.  If any one, upon serious and candid reflection, thinks he has a
different notion of himself, I must confess I can reason with him no
longer.' Certainly I would rather believe all the ghost stories upon
record than believe that I am not even a ghost, distinct and apart from
the perceptions conveyed to me, no matter how,--just as I am distinct and
apart from the furniture in my room, no matter whether I found it there or
whether I bought it.  If some old cosmogonist asked you to believe that
the primitive cause of the solar system was not to 'be traced to a Divine
Intelligence, but to a nebulosity, originally so diffused that its
existence can with difficulty be conceived, and that the origin of the
present system of organized beings equally dispensed with the agency of a
creative mind, and could be referred to molecules formed in the water by
the power of attraction, till by modifications of cellular tissue in the
gradual lapse of ages, one monad became an oyster and another a
Man,--would you not say this cosmogony could scarce have misled the human
understanding even in the earliest dawn of speculative inquiry?  Yet such
are the hypotheses to which the desire to philosophize away that simple
proposition of a Divine First Cause, which every child can comprehend, led
two of the greatest geniuses and profoundest reasoners of modern
times,--La Place and La Marck.[13]  Certainly, the more you examine those
arch phantasmagorists, the philosophers who would leave nothing in the
universe but their own delusions, the more your intellectual pride may be
humbled.  The wildest phenomena which have startled you are not more
extravagant than the grave explanations which intellectual presumption
adventures on the elements of our own organism and the relations between
the world of matter and the world of ideas."

Here our conversation stopped, for Amy had now joined us, and, looking up
to reply, I saw the child's innocent face between me and the furrowed brow
of the old man.

[1] See, on the theory elaborated from this principle, Dr. Hibbert's
interesting and valuable work on the "Philosophy of Apparitions."

[2] What Faber here says is expressed with more authority by one of the
most accomplished metaphysicians of our time (Sir W. Hamilton):

"Somnambulism is a phenomenon still more astonishing [than dreaming].  In
this singular state a person performs a regular series of rational
actions, and those frequently of the most difficult and delicate nature;
and what is still more marvellous, with a talent to which he could make no
pretension when awake.  (Cr. Ancillon, Essais Philos. ii. 161.)  His
memory and reminiscence supply him with recollections of words and things
which, perhaps, never were at his disposal in the ordinary state,--he
speaks more fluently a more refined language.  And if we are to credit
what the evidence on which it rests hardly allows us to disbelieve, he has
not only perception of things through other channels than the common
organs of sense, but the sphere of his cognition is amplified to an extent
far beyond the limits to which sensible perception is confined.  This
subject is one of the most perplexing in the whole compass of philosophy;
for, on the one hand, the phenomena are so remarkable that they cannot be
believed, and yet, on the other, they are of so unambiguous and palpable a
character, and the witnesses to their reality are so numerous, so
intelligent, and so high above every suspicion of deceit, that it is
equally impossible to deny credit to what is attested by such ample and un
exceptionable evidence."--Sir W. Hamilton: Lectures on Metaphysics and
Logic, vol. ii. p. 274.

This perplexity, in which the distinguished philosopher leaves the
judgment so equally balanced that it finds it impossible to believe, and
yet impossible to disbelieve, forms the right state of mind in which a
candid thinker should come to the examination of those more extraordinary
phenomena which he has not himself yet witnessed, but the fair inquiry
into which may be tendered to him by persons above the imputation of
quackery and fraud.  Muffler, who is not the least determined, as he is
certainly one of the most distinguished, disbelievers of mesmeric
phenomena, does not appear to have witnessed, or at least to have
carefully examined, them, or he would, perhaps, have seen that even the
more extraordinary of those phenomena confirm, rather than contradict, his
own general theories, and may be explained by the sympathies one sense has
with another,--"the laws of reflection through the medium of the brain."
(Physiology of the Senses, p. 1311.)  And again by the maxim "that the
mental principle, or cause of the mental phenomena, cannot be confined to
the brain, but that it exists in a latent state in every part of the
organism." (Ibid., p. 1355.)  The "nerve power," contended for by Mr.
Bain, also may suggest a rational solution of much that has seemed
incredible to those physiologists who have not condescended to sift the
genuine phenomena of mesmerism from the imposture to which, in all ages,
the phenomena exhibited by what may be called the ecstatic temperament
have been applied.

[3] Descartes, L'Homme, vol. iv. p. 345. Cousin's Edition.

[4] Ibid., p. 428.

[5] Facts in Mesmerism.

[6] La Magic et l'Astrologie dans l'Antiquitd et an Moyen-Age.  Par L. F.
Alfred Maury, Membre de Nnstitut. p. 225.

[7] "She had no illusions when within doors."--Abercrombie, On the
Intellectual Powers, p. 277. (15th Edition.)

[8] Muller, Physiology of the Senses, Baley's translation, pp. 1068-1395,
and elsewhere.  Mr. Bain, in his thoughtful and suggestive work on the
"Senses and Intellect," makes very powerful use of these statements in
support of his proposition, which Faber advances in other words, namely,
"the return of the nervous currents exactly on their old track in revived
sensations."

[9] Perhaps it is for the reason suggested in the text, namely, that the
magician requires the interposition of a third imagination between his own
and that of the consulting believer, that any learned adept in (so-called)
magic will invariably refuse to exhibit without the presence of a third
person.  Hence the author of "Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magic," printed
at Parisy 1852-53--a book less remarkable for its learning than for the
earnest belief of a scholar of our own day in the reality of the art of
which he records the history--insists much on the necessity of rigidly
observing Le Ternaire, in the number of persons who assist in an
enchanter's experiments.

[10] I may add that Dr. Kerner instances the effect of laurel-berries on
the Seeress of Prevorst, corresponding with that asserted by Julius Faber
in the text.

[11] See for these unguents the work of M. Maury, before quoted, "La Magic
et l'Astrologie," etc., p. 417.

[12] It seems extremely doubtful whether the very few instances in which
it has been asserted that a savage race has been found without recognition
of a Deity and a future state would bear searching examination.  It is
set forth, for example, in most of the popular works on Australia, that
the Australian savages have no notion of a Deity or a Hereafter, that they
only worship a devil, or evil spirit.  This assumption, though made more
peremptorily, and by a greater number of writers than any similar one
regarding other savages, is altogether erroneous, and has no other
foundation than the ignorance of the writers.  The Australian savages
recognize a Deity, but He is too august for a name in their own language;
in English they call Him the Great Master,--an expression synonymous with
"The Great Lord."  They believe in a hereafter of eternal joy, and place
it amongst the stars.--See Strzelecki's Physical Description of New South
Wales.

[13] See the observations on La Place and La Marck in the Introduction to
Kirby's "Bridgewater Treatise."



CHAPTER LXXII.

I turned back alone.  The sun was reddening the summits of the distant
mountain-range, but dark clouds, that portended rain, were gathering
behind my way and deepening the shadows in many a chasm and hollow which
volcanic fires had wrought on the surface of uplands undulating like
diluvian billows fixed into stone in the midst of their stormy swell.  I
wandered on and away from the beaten track, absorbed in thought.  Could I
acknowledge in Julius Faber's conjectures any basis for logical
ratiocination; or were they not the ingenious fancies of that empirical
Philosophy of Sentiment by which the aged, in the decline of severer
faculties, sometimes assimilate their theories to the hazy romance of
youth?  I can well conceive that the story I tell will be regarded by most
as a wild and fantastic fable; that by some it may be considered a vehicle
for guesses at various riddles of Nature, without or within us, which are
free to the license of romance, though forbidden to the caution of
science.  But, I--I--know unmistakably my own identity, my own positive
place in a substantial universe.  And beyond that knowledge, what do I
know?  Yet had Faber no ground for his startling parallels between the
chimeras of superstition and the alternatives to faith volunteered by the
metaphysical speculations of knowledge?  On the theorems of Condillac, I,
in common with numberless contemporaneous students (for, in my youth,
Condillac held sway in the schools, as now, driven forth from the schools,
his opinions float loose through the talk and the scribble of men of the
world, who perhaps never opened his page),--on the theorems of Condillac I
had built up a system of thought designed to immure the swathed form of
material philosophy from all rays and all sounds of a world not material,
as the walls of some blind mausoleum shut out, from the mummy within, the
whisper of winds and the gleaming of stars.

And did not those very theorems, when carried out to their strict and
completing results by the close reasonings of Hume, resolve my own living
identity, the one conscious indivisible me, into a bundle of memories
derived from the senses which had bubbled and duped my experience, and
reduce into a phantom, as spectral as that of the Luminous Shadow, the
whole solid frame of creation?

While pondering these questions, the storm whose forewarnings I had
neglected to heed burst forth with all the suddenness peculiar to the
Australian climes.  The rains descended like the rushing of floods.  In
the beds of watercourses, which, at noon, seemed dried up and exhausted,
the torrents began to swell and to rave; the gray crags around them were
animated into living waterfalls.  I looked round, and the landscape was as
changed as a scene that replaces a scene on the player's stage.  I was
aware that I had wandered far from my home, and I knew not what direction
I should take to regain it.  Close at hand, and raised above the torrents
that now rushed in many a gully and tributary creek, around and before me,
the mouth of a deep cave, overgrown with bushes and creeping flowers
tossed wildly to and fro between the rain from above and the spray of
cascades below, offered a shelter from the storm.  I entered,--scaring
innumerable flocks of bats striking against me, blinded by the glare of
the lightning that followed me into the cavern, and hastening to resettle
themselves on the pendants of stalactites, or the jagged buttresses of
primaeval wall.

From time to time the lightning darted into the gloom and lingered
amongst its shadows; and I saw, by the flash, that the floors on which I
stood were strewed with strange bones, some amongst them the fossilized
relics of races destroyed by the Deluge.  The rain continued for more than
two hours with unabated violence; then it ceased almost as suddenly as it
had come on, and the lustrous moon of Australia burst from the clouds
shining bright as an English dawn, into the hollows of the cave.  And then
simultaneously arose all the choral songs of the wilderness,--creatures
whose voices are heard at night,--the loud whir of the locusts, the
musical boom of the bullfrog, the cuckoo note of the morepork, and,
mournful amidst all those merrier sounds, the hoot of the owl, through the
wizard she-oaks and the pale green of the gum-trees.

I stepped forth into the open air and gazed, first instinctively on the
heavens, next, with more heedful eye, upon the earth.  The nature of the
soil bore the evidence of volcanic fires long since extinguished.  Just
before my feet, the rays fell full upon a bright yellow streak in the
block of quartz half imbedded in the soft moist soil.  In the midst of all
the solemn thoughts and the intense sorrows which weighed upon heart and
mind, that yellow gleam startled the mind into a direction remote from
philosophy, quickened the heart to a beat that chimed with no household
affections.  Involuntarily I stooped; impulsively I struck the block with
the hatchet, or tomahawk, I carried habitually about me, for the purpose
of marking the trees that I wished to clear from the waste of my broad
domain.  The quartz was shattered by the stroke, and left disburied its
glittering treasure.  My first glance had not deceived me.  I, vain seeker
after knowledge, had, at least, discovered gold.  I took up the bright
metal--gold!  I paused; I looked round; the land that just before had
seemed to me so worthless took the value of Ophir.  Its features had
before been as unknown to me as the Mountains of the Moon, and now my
memory became wonderfully quickened.  I recalled the rough map of my
possessions, the first careless ride round their boundaries.  Yes, the
land on which I stood--for miles, to the spur of those farther
mountains--the land was mine, and, beneath its surface, there was gold!  I
closed my eyes; for some moments visions of boundless wealth, and of the
royal power which such wealth could command, swept athwart my brain.  But
my heart rapidly settled back to its real treasure.  "What matters," I
sighed, "all this dross?  Could Ophir itself buy back to my Lilian's smile
one ray of the light which gave 'glory to the grass and splendour to the
flower'?"

So muttering, I flung the gold into the torrent that raged below, and went
on through the moonlight, sorrowing silently,--only thankful for the
discovery that had quickened my reminiscence of the landmarks by which to
steer my way through the wilderness.

The night was half gone, for even when I had gained the familiar track
through the pastures, the swell of the many winding creeks that now
intersected the way obliged me often to retrace my steps; to find,
sometimes, the bridge of a felled tree which had been providently left
unremoved over the now foaming torrent, and, more than once, to swim
across the current, in which swimmers less strong or less practised would
have been dashed down the falls, where loose logs and torn trees went
clattering and whirling: for I was in danger of life.  A band of the
savage natives were stealthily creeping on my track,--the natives in those
parts were not then so much awed by the white man as now.  A boomerang[1]
had whirred by me, burying itself amongst the herbage close before my
feet.  I had turned, sought to find and to face these dastardly foes; they
contrived to elude me.  But when I moved on, my ear, sharpened by danger,
heard them moving, too, in my rear.  Once only three hideous forms
suddenly faced me, springing up from a thicket, all tangled with
honeysuckles and creepers of blue and vermilion.  I walked steadily up to
them.  They halted a moment or so in suspense; but perhaps they were
scared by my stature or awed by my aspect; and the Unfamiliar, though
Human, had terror for them, as the Unfamiliar, although but a Shadow, had
had terror for me.  They vanished, and as quickly as if they had crept
into the earth.

At length the air brought me the soft perfume of my well-known acacias,
and my house stood before me, amidst English flowers and English
fruit-trees, under the effulgent Australian moon.  Just as I was opening
the little gate which gave access from the pastureland into the garden, a
figure in white rose up from under light, feathery boughs, and a hand was
laid on my arm.  I started; but my surprise was changed into fear when I
saw the pale face and sweet eyes of Lilian.

"Heavens! you here! you! at this hour!  Lilian, what is this?"

"Hush!" she whispered, clinging to me; "hush! do not tell: no one knows.
I missed you when the storm came on; I have missed you ever since.  Others
went in search of you and came back.  I could not sleep, but the rest are
sleeping, so I stole down to watch for you.  Brother, brother, if any harm
chanced to you, even the angels could not comfort me; all would be dark,
dark!  But you are safe, safe, safe!"  And she clung to me yet closer.

"Ah, Lilian, Lilian, your vision in the hour I first beheld you was indeed
prophetic,--'each has need of the other.' Do you remember?"

"Softly, softly," she said, "let me think!"  She stood quietly by my side,
looking up into the sky, with all its numberless stars, and its solitary
moon now sinking slow behind the verge of the forest.  "It comes back to
me," she murmured softly,--"the Long ago,--the sweet Long ago!"

I held my breath to listen.

"There, there!" she resumed, pointing to the heavens; "do you see?  You
are there, and my father, and--and--Oh! that terrible face, those serpent
eyes, the dead man's skull!  Save me! save me!"

She bowed her head upon my bosom, and I led her gently back towards the
house.  As we gained the door which she had left open, the starlight
shining across the shadowy gloom within, she lifted her face from my
breast, and cast a hurried fearful look round the shining garden, then
into the dim recess beyond the threshold.

"It is there--there!--the Shadow that lured me on, whispering that if I
followed it I should join my beloved.  False, dreadful Shadow! it will
fade soon,--fade into the grinning horrible skull.  Brother, brother,
where is my Allen?  Is he dead--dead--or is it I who am dead to him?"

I could but clasp her again to my breast, and seek to mantle her shivering
form with my dripping garments, all the while my eyes--following the
direction which hers had taken--dwelt on the walls of the nook within the
threshold, half lost in darkness, half white in starlight.  And there I,
too, beheld the haunting Luminous Shadow, the spectral effigies of the
mysterious being, whose very existence in the flesh was a riddle unsolved
by my reason.  Distinctly I saw the Shadow, but its light was far paler,
its outline far more vague, than when I had beheld it before.  I took
courage, as I felt Lilian's heart beating against my own.  I advanced, I
crossed the threshold,--the Shadow was gone.

"There is no Shadow here,--no phantom to daunt thee, my life's life," said
I, bending over Lilian.

"It has touched me in passing; I feel it--cold, cold, cold!" she answered
faintly.

I bore her to her room, placed her on her bed, struck a light, watched
over her.  At dawn there was a change in her face, and from that time
health gradually left her; strength slowly, slowly, yet to me perceptibly,
ebbed from her life away.

[1] A missile weapon peculiar to the Australian savages.



CHAPTER LXXIII.

Months upon months have rolled on since the night in which Lilian had
watched for my coming amidst the chilling airs--under the haunting moon.
I have said that from the date of that night her health began gradually to
fail, but in her mind there was evidently at work some slow revolution.
Her visionary abstractions were less frequent; when they occurred, less
prolonged.  There was no longer in her soft face that celestial serenity
which spoke her content in her dreams, but often a look of anxiety and
trouble.  She was even more silent than before; but when she did speak,
there were now evident some struggling gleams of memory.  She startled us,
at times, by a distinct allusion to the events and scenes of her early
childhood.  More than once she spoke of commonplace incidents and mere
acquaintances at L----.  At last she seemed to recognize Mrs. Ashleigh as
her mother; but me, as Allen Fenwick, her betrothed, her bridegroom, no!
Once or twice she spoke to me of her beloved as of a stranger to myself,
and asked me not to deceive her--should she ever see him again?  There was
one change in this new phase of her state that wounded me to the quick.
She had always previously seemed to welcome my presence; now there were
hours, sometimes days together, in which my presence was evidently painful
to her.  She would become agitated when I stole into her room, make signs
to me to leave her, grow yet more disturbed if I did not immediately obey,
and become calm again when I was gone.

Faber sought constantly to sustain my courage and administer to my hopes
by reminding me of the prediction he had hazarded,--namely, that through
some malady to the frame the reason would be ultimately restored.

He said, "Observe! her mind was first roused from its slumber by the
affectionate, unconquered impulse of her heart.  You were absent; the
storm alarmed her, she missed you,--feared for you.  The love within her,
not alienated, though latent, drew her thoughts into definite human
tracks.  And thus, the words that you tell me she uttered when you
appeared before her were words of love, stricken, though as yet
irregularly, as the winds strike the harp-strings from chords of awakened
memory.  The same unwonted excitement, together with lengthened exposure
to the cold night-air, will account for the shock to her physical system,
and the languor and waste of strength by which it has been succeeded."

"Ay, and the Shadow that we both saw within the threshold.  What of that?"

"Are there no records on evidence, which most physicians of very extended
practice will perhaps allow that their experience more or less tend to
confirm--no records of the singular coincidences between individual
impressions which are produced by sympathy?  Now, whether you or your
Lilian were first haunted by this Shadow I know not.  Perhaps before it
appeared to you in the wizard's chamber it had appeared to her by the
Monks' Well.  Perhaps, as it came to you in the prison, so it lured her
through the solitudes, associating its illusory guidance with dreams of
you.  And again, when she saw it within your threshold, your fantasy, so
abruptly invoked, made you see with the eyes of your Lilian!  Does this
doctrine of sympathy, though by that very mystery you two loved each other
at first,--though, without it, love at first sight were in itself an
incredible miracle,--does, I say, this doctrine of sympathy seem to you
inadmissible?  Then nothing is left for us but to revolve the conjecture I
before threw out.  Have certain organizations like that of Margrave the
power to impress, through space, the imaginations of those over whom they
have forced a control?  I know not.  But if they have, it is not
supernatural; it is but one of those operations in Nature so rare and
exceptional, and of which testimony and evidence are so imperfect and so
liable to superstitious illusions, that they have not yet been traced--as,
if truthful, no doubt they can be, by the patient genius of science--to
one of those secondary causes by which the Creator ordains that Nature
shall act on Man."

By degrees I became dissatisfied with my conversations with Faber.  I
yearned for explanations; all guesses but bewildered me more.  In his
family, with one exception, I found no congenial association.  His nephew
seemed to me an ordinary specimen of a very trite human nature,--a young
man of limited ideas, fair moral tendencies, going mechanically right
where not tempted to wrong.  The same desire of gain which had urged him
to gamble and speculate when thrown in societies rife with such example,
led him, now in the Bush, to healthful, industrious, persevering labour.
"Spes fovet agricolas," says the poet; the same Hope which entices the
fish to the hook impels the plough of the husband-man.  The young farmer's
young wife was somewhat superior to him; she had more refinement of taste,
more culture of mind, but, living in his life, she was inevitably levelled
to his ends and pursuits; and, next to the babe in the cradle, no object
seemed to her so important as that of guarding the sheep from the scab and
the dingoes.  I was amazed to see how quietly a man whose mind was so
stored by life and by books as that of Julius Faber--a man who had loved
the clash of conflicting intellects, and acquired the rewards of
fame--could accommodate himself to the cabined range of his kinsfolks'
half-civilized existence, take interest in their trivial talk, find
varying excitement in the monotonous household of a peasant-like farmer.
I could not help saying as much to him once.  "My friend," replied the old
man, "believe me that the happiest art of intellect, however lofty, is
that which enables it to be cheerfully at home with the Real!"

The only one of the family in which Faber was domesticated in whom I found
an interest, to whose talk I could listen without fatigue, was the child
Amy.  Simple though she was in language, patient of labour as the most
laborious, I recognized in her a quiet nobleness of sentiment, which
exalted above the commonplace the acts of her commonplace life.  She had
no precocious intellect, no enthusiastic fancies, but she had an exquisite
activity of heart.  It was her heart that animated her sense of duty, and
made duty a sweetness and a joy.  She felt to the core the kindness of
those around her; exaggerated, with the warmth of her gratitude, the
claims which that kindness imposed.  Even for the blessing of life, which
she shared with all creation, she felt as if singled out by the undeserved
favour of the Creator, and thus was filled with religion, because she was
filled with love.

My interest in this child was increased and deepened by my saddened and
not wholly unremorseful remembrance of the night on which her sobs had
pierced my ear,--the night from which I secretly dated the mysterious
agencies that had wrenched from their proper field and career both my mind
and my life.  But a gentler interest endeared her to my thoughts in the
pleasure that Lilian felt in her visits, in the affectionate intercourse
that sprang up between the afflicted sufferer and the harmless infant.
Often when we failed to comprehend some meaning which Lilian evidently
wished to convey to us--we, her mother and her husband--she was understood
with as much ease by Amy, the unlettered child, as by Faber, the
gray-haired thinker.

"How is it,--how is it?" I asked, impatiently and jealously, of Faber.
"Love is said to interpret where wisdom fails, and you yourself talk of
the marvels which sympathy may effect between lover and beloved; yet when,
for days together, I cannot succeed in unravelling Lilian's wish or her
thought--and her own mother is equally in fault--you or Amy, closeted
alone with her for five minutes, comprehend and are comprehended."

"Allen," answered Faber, "Amy and I believe in spirit; and she, in whom
mind is dormant but spirit awake, feels in such belief a sympathy which
she has not, in that respect, with yourself, nor even with her mother.
You seek only through your mind to conjecture hers.  Her mother has sense
clear enough where habitual experience can guide it, but that sense is
confused, and forsakes her when forced from the regular pathway in which
it has been accustomed to tread.  Amy and I through soul guess at soul,
and though mostly contented with earth, we can both rise at times into
heaven.  We pray."

"Alas!" said I, half mournfully, half angrily, "when you thus speak of
Mind as distinct from Soul, it was only in that Vision which you bid me
regard as the illusion of a fancy stimulated by chemical vapours,
producing on the brain an effect similar to that of opium or the
inhalation of the oxide gas, that I have ever seen the silver spark of the
Soul distinct from the light of the Mind.  And holding, as I do, that all
intellectual ideas are derived from the experiences of the body, whether I
accept the theory of Locke, or that of Condillac, or that into which their
propositions reach their final development in the wonderful subtlety of
Hume, I cannot detect the immaterial spirit in the material
substance,--much less follow its escape from the organic matter in which
the principle of thought ceases with the principle of life.  When the
metaphysician, contending for the immortality of the thinking faculty,
analyzes Mind, his analysis comprehends the mind of the brute, nay, of the
insect, as well as that of man.  Take Reid's definition of Mind, as the
most comprehensive which I can at the moment remember: 'By the mind of a
man we understand that in him which thinks, remembers, reasons, and
wills.[1]  But this definition only distinguishes the mind of man from
that of the brute by superiority in the same attributes, and not by
attributes denied to the brute.  An animal, even an insect, thinks,
remembers, reasons, and wills.[1]  Few naturalists will now support the
doctrine that all the mental operations of brute or insect are to be
exclusively referred to instincts; and, even if they do, the word
'instinct' is a very vague word,--loose and large enough to cover an abyss
which our knowledge has not sounded.  And, indeed, in proportion as an
animal like the dog becomes cultivated by intercourse, his instincts grow
weaker, and his ideas formed by experience (namely, his mind), more
developed, often to the conquest of the instincts themselves.  Hence, with
his usual candour, Dr. Abercrombie--in contending 'that everything mental
ceases to exist after death, when we know that everything corporeal
continues to exist, is a gratuitous assumption contrary to every rule of
philosophical inquiry'--feels compelled, by his reasoning, to admit the
probability of a future life even to the lower animals.  His words are:
'To this anode of reasoning it has been objected that it would go to
establish an immaterial principle in the lower animals which in them
exhibits many of the phenomena of mind.  I have only to answer, Be it so.
There are in the lower animals many of the phenomena of mind, and with
regard to these, we also contend that they are entirely distinct from
anything we know of the properties of matter, which is all that we mean,
or can mean, by being immaterial.'[2]  Am I then driven to admit that if
man's mind is immaterial and imperishable, so also is that of the ape and
the ant?"

"I own," said Faber, with his peculiar smile, arch and genial,
"that if I were compelled to make that admission, it would not shock my
pride.  I do not presume to set any limit to the goodness of the Creator;
and should be as humbly pleased as the Indian, if in--

   "'yonder sky,
    My faithful dog should bear me company.'

"You are too familiar with the works of that Titan in wisdom and error,
Descartes, not to recollect the interesting correspondence between the
urbane philosopher and our combative countryman, Henry More,[3] on this
very subject; in which certainly More has the best of it when Descartes
insists on reducing what he calls the soul (l'ame) of brutes into the same
kind of machines as man constructs from inorganized matter.  The learning,
indeed, lavished on the insoluble question involved in the psychology of
the inferior animals is a proof at least of the all-inquisitive, redundant
spirit of man.[4] We have almost a literature in itself devoted to
endeavours to interpret the language of brutes.[5]  Dupont de Nemours has
discovered that dogs talk in vowels, using only two consonants, G, Z, when
they are angry.  He asserts that cats employ the same vowels as dogs; but
their language is more affluent in consonants, including M, N, B, R, V, F.
How many laborious efforts have been made to define and to construe the
song of the nightingale!  One version of that song, by Beckstein, the
naturalist, published in 1840, I remember to have seen.  And I heard a
lady, gifted with a singularly charming voice, chant the mysterious vowels
with so exquisite a pathos, that one could not refuse to believe her when
she declared that she fully comprehended the bird's meaning, and gave to
the nightingale's warble the tender interpretation of her own woman's
heart.

"But leaving all such discussions to their proper place amongst the
Curiosities of Literature, I come in earnest to the question you have so
earnestly raised; and to me the distinction between man and the lower
animals in reference to a spiritual nature designed for a future
existence, and the mental operations whose uses are bounded to an
existence on earth, seems ineffaceably clear.  Whether ideas or even
perceptions be innate or all formed by experience is a speculation for
metaphysicians, which, so far as it affects the question of as immaterial
principle, I am quite willing to lay aside.  I can well understand that a
materialist may admit innate ideas in Man, as he must admit them in the
instinct of brutes, tracing them to hereditary predispositions.  On the
other hand, we know that the most devout believers in our spiritual nature
have insisted, with Locke, in denying any idea, even of the Deity, to be
innate.

"But here comes my argument.  I care not how ideas are formed,--the
material point is, how are the capacities to receive ideas formed?  The
ideas may all come from experience, but the capacity to receive the ideas
must be inherent.  I take the word 'capacity' as a good plain English
word, rather than the more technical word 'receptivity,' employed by Kant.
And by capacity I mean the passive power[6] to receive ideas, whether in
man or in any living thing by which ideas are received.  A man and an
elephant is each formed with capacities to receive ideas suited to the
several places in the universe held by each.

"The more I look through Nature the more I find that on all varieties of
organized life is carefully bestowed the capacity to receive the
impressions, be they called perceptions or ideas, which are adapted to the
uses each creature is intended to derive from them.  I find, then, that
Man alone is endowed with the capacity to receive the ideas of a God, of
Soul, of Worship, of a Hereafter.  I see no trace of such a capacity in
the inferior races; nor, however their intelligence may be refined by
culture, is such capacity ever apparent in them.

"But wherever capacities to receive impressions are sufficiently general
in any given species of creature to be called universal to that species,
and yet not given to another species, then, from all analogy throughout
Nature, those capacities are surely designed by Providence for the
distinct use and conservation of the species to which they are given.

"It is no answer to me to say that the inherent capacities thus bestowed
on Man do not suffice in themselves to make him form right notions of a
Deity or a Hereafter; because it is plainly the design of Providence that
Man must learn to correct and improve all his notions by his own study and
observation.  He must build a hut before he can build a Parthenon; he must
believe with the savage or the heathen before he can believe with the
philosopher or Christian.  In a word, in all his capacities, Man has only
given to him, not the immediate knowledge of the Perfect, but the means to
strive towards the Perfect.  And thus one of the most accomplished of
modern reasoners, to whose lectures you must have listened with delight,
in your college days, says well:--

   "'Accordingly the sciences always studied with keenest interest are
     those in a state of progress and uncertainty; absolute certainty and
     absolute completion would be the paralysis of any study, and the last
     worst calamity that could befall Man, as he is at present
     constituted, would be that full and final possession of speculative
     truth which he now vainly anticipates as the consummation of his
     intellectual happiness.'[7]

"Well, then, in all those capacities for the reception of impressions from
external Nature which are given to Man and not to the brutes, I see the
evidence of Man's Soul.  I can understand why the inferior animal has no
capacity to receive the idea of a Deity and of Worship--simply because the
inferior animal, even if graciously admitted to a future life, may not
therein preserve the sense of its identity.  I can understand even why
that sympathy with each other which we men possess and which constitutes
the great virtue we emphatically call Humanity, is not possessed by the
lesser animals (or, at least, in a very rare and exceptional degree) even
where they live in communities, like beavers, or bees, or ants; because
men are destined to meet, to know, and to love each other in the life to
come, and the bond between the brute ceases here.

"Now the more, then, we examine the inherent capacities bestowed
distinctly and solely on Man, the more they seem to distinguish him from
the other races by their comprehension of objects beyond his life upon
this earth.

   "'Man alone,' says Muller, 'can conceive abstract notions; and it is in
     abstract notions--such as time, space, matter, spirit, light, form,
     quantity, essence--that man grounds, not only all philosophy, all
     science, but all that practically improves one generation for the
     benefit of the next.'

"And why?  Because all these abstract notions unconsciously lead the mind
away from the material into the immaterial,--from the present into the
future.  But if Man ceases to exist when he disappears in the grave, you
must be compelled to affirm that he is the only creature in existence whom
Nature or Providence has condescended to deceive and cheat by capacities
for which there are no available objects.  How nobly and how truly has
Chalmers said:--

   "'What inference shall we draw from this remarkable law in Nature that
     there is nothing waste and nothing meaningless in the feelings and
     faculties wherewith living creatures are endowed?  For each desire
     there is a counterpart object; for each faculty there is room and
     opportunity for exercise either in the present or the coming
     futurity.  Now, but for the doctrine of immortality, Man would be an
     exception to this law,-he would stand forth as an anomaly in Nature,
     with aspirations in his heart for which the universe had no antitype
     to offer, with capacities of understanding and thought that never
     were to be followed by objects of corresponding greatness through the
     whole history of his being!

                 .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

   "'With the inferior animals there is a certain squareness of
     adjustment, if we may so term it, between each desire and its
     correspondent gratification.  The one is evenly met by the other, and
     there is a fulness and definiteness of enjoyment up to the capacity
     of enjoyment.  Not so with Man, who, both from the vastness of his
     propensities and the vastness of his powers, feels himself chained
     and beset in a field too narrow for him.  He alone labours under the
     discomfort of an incongruity between his circumstances and his
     powers; and unless there be new circumstances awaiting him in a more
     advanced state of being, he, the noblest of Nature's products here,
     would turn out to be the greatest of her failures.'[8]

"This, then, I take to be the proof of Soul in Man, not that he has a
mind--because, as you justly say, inferior animals have that, though in a
lesser degree--but because he has the capacities to comprehend, as soon as
he is capable of any abstract ideas whatsoever, the very truths not needed
for self-conservation on earth, and therefore not given to yonder ox and
opossum,--namely, the nature of Deity, Soul, Hereafter.  And in the
recognition of these truths, the Human society, that excels the society of
beavers, bees, and ants, by perpetual and progressive improvement on the
notions inherited from its progenitors, rests its basis.  Thus, in fact,
this world is benefited for men by their belief in the next, while the
society of brutes remains age after age the same.  Neither the bee nor the
beaver has, in all probability, improved since the Deluge.

"But inseparable from the conviction of these truths is the impulse of
prayer and worship.  It does not touch my argument when a philosopher of
the school of Bolingbroke or Lucretius says, 'that the origin of prayer is
in Man's ignorance of the phenomena of Nature.'  That it is fear or
ignorance which, 'when rocked the mountains or when groaned the ground,
taught the weak to bend, the proud to pray.'  My answer is, the brutes are
much more forcibly impressed by natural phenomena than Man is; the bird
and the beast know before you and I do when the mountain will rock and the
ground groan, and their instinct leads them to shelter; but it does not
lead them to prayer.  If my theory be right that Soul is to be sought not
in the question whether mental ideas be innate or formed by experience, by
the sense, by association or habit, but in the inherent capacity to
receive ideas, then, the capacity bestowed on Man alone, to be impressed
by Nature herself with the idea of a Power superior to Nature, with which
Power he can establish commune, is a proof that to Man alone the Maker has
made Nature itself proclaim His existence,--that to Man alone the Deity
vouchsafes the communion with Himself which comes from prayer."

"Even were this so," said I, "is not the Creator omniscient?  If all-wise,
all-foreseeing?  If all-foreseeing, all-pre-ordaining?  Can the prayer of
His creature alter the ways of His will?"

"For the answer to a question," returned Faber, "which is not unfrequently
asked by the clever men of the world, I ought to refer you to the skilled
theologians who have so triumphantly carried the reasoner over that ford
of doubt which is crossed every day by the infant.  But as we have not
their books in the wilderness, I am contented to draw my reply as a
necessary and logical sequence from the propositions I have sought to
ground on the plain observation of Nature.  I can only guess at the
Deity's Omniscience, or His modes of enforcing His power by the
observation of His general laws; and of all His laws, I know of none more
general than the impulse which bids men pray,--which makes Nature so act,
that all the phenomena of Nature we can conceive, however startling and
inexperienced, do not make the brute pray, but there is not a trouble that
can happen to Man, but what his impulse is to pray,--always provided,
indeed, that he is not a philosopher.  I say not this in scorn of the
philosopher, to whose wildest guess our obligations are infinite, but
simply because for all which is impulsive to Man, there is a reason in
Nature which no philosophy can explain away.  I do not, then, bewilder
myself by seeking to bind and limit the Omniscience of the Deity to my
finite ideas.  I content myself with supposing that somehow or other, He
has made it quite compatible with His Omniscience that Man should obey the
impulse which leads him to believe that, in addressing a Deity, he is
addressing a tender, compassionate, benignant Father, and in that
obedience shall obtain beneficial results.  If that impulse be an
illusion, then we must say that Heaven governs the earth by a lie; and
that is impossible, because, reasoning by analogy, all Nature is
truthful,--that is, Nature gives to no species instincts or impulses which
are not of service to it.  Should I not be a shallow physician if, where I
find in the human organization a principle or a property so general that I
must believe it normal to the healthful conditions of that organization, I
should refuse to admit that Nature intended it for use?  Reasoning by all
analogy, must I not say the habitual neglect of its use must more or less
injure the harmonious well-being of the whole human system?  I could have
much to add upon the point in dispute by which the creed implied in your
question would enthrall the Divine mercy by the necessities of its Divine
wisdom, and substitute for a benignant Deity a relentless Fate.  But here
I should exceed my province.  I am no theologian.  Enough for me that in
all my afflictions, all my perplexities, an impulse, that I obey as an
instinct, moves me at once to prayer.  Do I find by experience that the
prayer is heard, that the affliction is removed, the doubt is solved?
That, indeed, would be presumptuous to say.  But it is not presumptuous to
think that by the efficacy of prayer my heart becomes more fortified
against the sorrow, and my reason more serene amidst the doubt."

I listened, and ceased to argue.  I felt as if in that solitude, and in
the pause of my wonted mental occupations, my intellect was growing
languid, and its old weapons rusting in disuse.  My pride took alarm.  I
had so from my boyhood cherished the idea of fame, and so glorified the
search after knowledge, that I recoiled in dismay from the thought that I
had relinquished knowledge, and cut myself off from fame.  I resolved to
resume my once favourite philosophical pursuits, re-examine and complete
the Work to which I had once committed my hopes of renown; and,
simultaneously, a restless desire seized me to communciate, though but at
brief intervals, with other minds than those immediately within my
reach,--minds fresh from the old world, and reviving the memories of its
vivid civilization.  Emigrants frequently passed my doors, but I had
hitherto shrunk from tendering the hospitalities so universally accorded
in the colony.  I could not endure to expose to such rough strangers my
Lilian's mournful affliction, and that thought was not less intolerable to
Mrs. Ashleigh.  I now hastily constructed a log-building a few hundred
yards from the house, and near the main track taken by travellers through
the spacious pastures.  I transported to this building my books and
scientific instruments.  In an upper story I placed my telescopes and
lenses, my crucibles and retorts.  I renewed my chemical experiments; I
sought to invigorate my mind by other branches of science which I had
hitherto less cultured,--meditated new theories on Light and Colour,
collected specimens in Natural History, subjected animalcules to my
microscope, geological fossils to my hammer.  With all these quickened
occupations of thought, I strove to distract myself from sorrow, and
strengthen my reason against the, illusion of my fantasy.  The Luminous
Shadow was not seen again on my wall, and the thought of Margrave himself
was banished.

In this building I passed many hours of each day; more and more earnestly
plunging my thoughts into depths of abstract study, as Lilian's
unaccountable dislike to my presence became more and more decided.  When I
thus ceased to think that my life cheered and comforted hers, my heart's
occupation was gone.  I had annexed to the apartment reserved for myself
in the log-hut a couple of spare rooms, in which I could accommodate
passing strangers.  I learned to look forward to their coming with
interest, and to see them depart with regret; yet, for the most part, they
were of the ordinary class of colonial adventurers,--bankrupt tradesmen,
unlucky farmers, forlorn mechanics, hordes of unskilled labourers, now and
then a briefless barrister, or a sporting collegian who had lost his all
on the Derby.  One day, however, a young man of education and manners that
unmistakably proclaimed the cultured gentleman of Europe, stopped at my
door.  He was a cadet of a noble Prussian family, which for some political
reasons had settled itself in Paris; there he had become intimate with
young French nobles, and living the life of a young French noble had soon
scandalized his German parents, forestalled his slender inheritance, and
been compelled to fly his father's frown and his tailor's bills.  All this
he told me with a lively frankness which proved how much the wit of a
German can be quickened in the atmosphere of Paris.  An old college
friend, of birth inferior to his own, had been as unfortunate in seeking
to make money as this young prodigal had been an adept in spending it.
The friend, a few years previously, had accompanied other Germans in a
migration to Australia, and was already thriving; the spendthrift noble
was on his way to join the bankrupt trader, at a German settlement fifty
miles distant from my house.  This young man was unlike any German I ever
met.  He had all the exquisite levity by which the well-bred Frenchman
gives to the doctrines of the Cynic the grace of the Epicurean.  He owned
himself to be good for nothing with an elegance of candour which not only
disarmed censure, but seemed to challenge admiration; and, withal, the
happy spendthrift was so inebriate with hope,--sure that he should be rich
before he was thirty.  How and wherefore rich, he could have no more
explained than I can square the circle.  When the grand serious German
nature does Frenchify itself, it can become so extravagantly French!

I listened, almost enviously, to this light-hearted profligate's babble,
as we sat by my rude fireside,--I, sombre man of science and sorrow, he,
smiling child of idleness and pleasure, so much one of Nature's
courtier-like nobles, that there, as he smoked his villanous pipe, in his
dust-soiled shabby garments, and with his ruffianly revolver stuck into
his belt, I would defy the daintiest Aristarch who ever presided as critic
over the holiday world not to have said, "There smiles the genius beyond
my laws, the born darling of the Graces, who in every circumstance, in
every age, like Aristippus, would have socially charmed; would have been
welcome to the orgies of a Caesar or a Clodius, to the boudoirs of a
Montespan or a Pompadour; have lounged through the Mulberry Gardens with a
Rochester and a Buckingham, or smiled from the death-cart, with a
Richelieu and a Lauzun, a gentleman's disdain of a mob!"

I was so thinking as we sat, his light talk frothing up from his careless
lips, when suddenly from the spray and the sparkle of that light talk was
flung forth the name of Margrave.

"Margrave!" I exclaimed.  "Pardon me.  What of him?"

"What of him!  I asked if, by chance, you knew the only Englishman I ever
had the meanness to envy?"

"Perhaps you speak of one person, and I thought of another."

"Pardieu, my dear host, there can scarcely be two Margraves!  The one of
whom I speak flashed like a meteor upon Paris, bought from a prince of the
Bourse a palace that might have lodged a prince of the blood-royal,
eclipsed our Jew bankers in splendour, our jeunesse doree in good looks
and hair-brain adventures, and, strangest of all, filled his salons with
philosophers and charlatans, chemists and spirit-rappers; insulting the
gravest dons of the schools by bringing them face to face with the most
impudent quacks, the most ridiculous dreamers,--and yet, withal, himself
so racy and charming, so bon prince, so bon enfant!  For six months he was
the rage at Paris: perhaps he might have continued to be the rage there
for six years, but all at once the meteor vanished as suddenly as it had
flashed.  Is this the Margrave whom you know?"

"I should not have thought the Margrave whom I knew could have reconciled
his tastes to the life of cities."

"Nor could this man: cities were too tame for him.  He has gone to some
far-remote wilds in the East,--some say in search of the Philosopher's
Stone; for he actually maintained in his house a Sicilian adventurer, who,
when at work on that famous discovery, was stifled by the fumes of his own
crucible.  After that misfortune, Margrave took Paris in disgust, and we
lost him."

"So this is the only Englishman whom you envy!  Envy him?  Why?"

"Because he is the only Englishman I ever met who contrived to be rich and
yet free from the spleen; I envied him because one had only to look at his
face and see how thoroughly he enjoyed the life of which your countrymen
seem to be so heartily tired.  But now that I have satisfied your
curiosity, pray satisfy mine.  Who and what is this Englishman?"

"Who and what was he supposed at Paris to be?"

"Conjectures were numberless.  One of your countrymen suggested that which
was the most generally favoured.  This gentleman, whose name I forget, but
who was one of those old roues who fancy themselves young because they
live with the young, no sooner set eyes upon Margrave, than he exclaimed,
'Louis Grayle come to life again, as I saw him forty-four years ago!  But
no--still younger, still handsomer--it must be his son!"

"Louis Grayle, who was said to be murdered at Aleppo?"

"The same.  That strange old man was enormously rich; but it seems that he
hated his lawful heirs, and left behind him a fortune so far below that
which he was known to possess that he must certainly have disposed of it
secretly before his death.  Why so dispose of it, if not to enrich some
natural son, whom, for private reasons, he might not have wished to
acknowledge, or point out to the world by the signal bequest of his will?
All that Margrave ever said of himself and the source of his wealth
confirmed this belief.  He frankly proclaimed himself a natural son,
enriched by a father whose name he knew not nor cared to know."

"It is true.  And Margrave quitted Paris for the East.  When?"

"I can tell you the date within a day or two, for his flight preceded mine
by a week; and, happily, all Paris was so busy in talking of it, that I
slipped away without notice."

And the Prussian then named a date which it thrilled me to hear, for it
was in that very month, and about that very day, that the Luminous Shadow
had stood within my threshold.

The young count now struck off into other subjects of talk: nothing more
was said of Margrave.  An hour or two afterwards he went on his way, and I
remained long gazing musingly on the embers of the dying glow on my
hearth.

[1] "Are intelligence and instinct, thus differing in their relative
proportion in man as compared with all other animals, yet the same in kind
and manner of operation in both?  To this question we must give at once an
affirmative answer.  The expression of Cuvier, regarding the faculty of
reasoning in lower animals, 'Leur intelligence execute des operations du
meme genre,' is true in its full sense.  We can in no manner define reason
so as to exclude acts which are at every moment present to our
observation, and which we find in many instances to contravene the natural
instincts of the species.  The demeanour and acts of the dog in reference
to his master, or the various uses to which he is put by man, are as
strictly logical as those we witness in the ordinary transactions of
life."--Sir Henry Holland, chapters on "Mental Physiology," p. 220.

The whole of the chapter on Instincts and Habits in this work should be
read in connection with the passage just quoted.  The work itself, at once
cautious and suggestive, is not one of the least obligations which
philosophy and religion alike owe to the lucubrations of English medical
men.

[2] Abercrombie's Intellectual Powers, p. 26. (15th Edition.)

[3] OEuvres de Descartes, vol. x. p. 178, et seq. (Cousin's Edition.)

[4] M. Tissot the distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Dijon, in his
recent work, "La Vie dans l'Homme," p. 255, gives a long and illustrious
list of philosophers who assign a rational soul (ame) to the inferior
animals, though he truly adds, "that they have not always the courage of
their opinion."

[5] Some idea of the extent of research and imagination bestowed on this
subject may be gleaned from the sprightly work of Pierquin de Gemblouz,
"Idiomologie des Animaux," published at Paris, 1844.

[6] "Faculty is active power: capacity is passive power."--Sir W.
Hamilton: Lectures on Metaphysics and Logic, vol. i. p.178.

[7] Sir W. Hamilton's "Lectures," vol. i. p. 10.

[8] Chalmers, "Bridgewater Treatise," vol. ii. pp. 28, 30.  Perhaps I
should observe, that here and elsewhere in the dialogues between Faber and
Fenwick, it has generally been thought better to substitute the words of
the author quoted for the mere outline or purport of the quotation which
memory afforded to the interlocutor.





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