Three or four inches of water now flooded the cave of the
And when he had finished he shut the book, and sighed with the satisfaction of having done his duty. The words of holy trust, though, perhaps, they were not fully understood, carried a faithful peace down into the depths of his soul. As he looked up, he saw the young couple standing in the middle of the floor. He pushed his iron-rimmed spectacles. on to his forehead, and rose to greet the daughter of his old master and ever-honoured mistress.
"God bless thee, lass! God bless thee! My old eyes are glad to see thee again."
Ruth sprang forward to shake the horny hand stretched forward in the action of blessing. She pressed it between both of hers, as she rapidly poured out questions. Mr. Bellingham was not altogether comfortable at seeing one whom he had already begun to appropriate as his own, so tenderly familiar with a hard-featured, meanly-dressed day-labourer. He sauntered to the window, and looked out into the grass-grown farmyard; but he could not help overhearing some of the conversation, which seemed to him carried on too much in the tone of equality. "And who's yon?" asked the old labourer at last. "Is he your sweetheart? Your missis's son, I reckon. He's a spruce young chap, anyhow."
Mr. Bellingham's "blood of all the Howards" rose and tingled about his ears, so that he could not hear Ruth's answer. It began by "Hush, Thomas; pray hush!" but how it went on he did not catch. The idea of his being Mrs. Mason's son! It was really too ridiculous; but, like most things which are "too ridiculous," it made him very angry. He was hardly himself again when Ruth shyly came to the window-recess and asked him if he would like to see the house-place, into which the front-door entered; many people thought it very pretty, she said, half-timidly, for his face had unconsciously assumed a hard and haughty expression, which he could not instantly soften down. He followed her, however; but before he left the kitchen he saw the old man standing, looking at Ruth's companion with a strange, grave air of dissatisfaction.
They went along one or two zig-zag damp-smelling stone passages, and then entered the house-place, or common sitting-room for a farmer's family in that part of the country. The front door opened into it, and several other apartments issued out of it, such as the dairy, the state bedroom (which was half-parlour as well), and a small room which had been appropriated to the late Mrs. Hilton, where she sat, or more frequently lay, commanding through the open door the comings and goings of her household. In those days the house-place had been a cheerful room, full of life, with the passing to and fro of husband, child, and servants; with a great merry wood-fire crackling and blazing away every evening, and hardly let out in the very heat of summer; for with the thick stone walls, and the deep window-seats, and the drapery of vine-leaves and ivy, that room, with its flag-floor, seemed always to want the sparkle and cheery warmth of a fire. But now the green shadows from without seemed to have become black in the uninhabited desolation. The oaken shovel-board, the heavy dresser, and the carved cupboards, were now dull and damp, which were formerly polished up to the brightness of a looking-glass where the fire-blaze was for ever glinting; they only added to. the oppressive gloom; the flag-floor was wet with heavy moisture. Ruth stood gazing into the room, seeing nothing of what was present. She saw a vision of former days--an evening in the days of her childhood; her father sitting in the "master's corner" near the fire, sedately smoking his pipe, while he dreamily watched his wife and child; her mother reading to her, as she sat on a little stool at her feet. It was gone--all gone into the land of shadows; but for the moment it seemed so present in the old room, that Ruth believed her actual life to be the dream. Then, 'still silent, she went on into her mother's parlour. But there, the bleak look of what had once been full of peace and mother's love, struck cold on her heart. She uttered a cry, and threw herself down by the sofa, hiding her face in her hands, while her frame quivered with her repressed sobs.
"Dearest Ruth, don't give way so. It can do no good; it cannot bring back the dead," said Mr. Bellingham, distressed at witnessing her distress.
"I know it cannot," murmured Ruth; "and that is why I cry. I cry because nothing will ever bring them hack again." She sobbed afresh, but more gently, for his kind words soothed her, and softened, if they could not take away, her sense of desolation.
"Come away; I cannot have you stay here, full of painful associations as these rooms must be. Come"--raising her with gentle violence--"show me your little garden you have often told me about. Near the window of this very room, is it not? See how well I remember everything you tell me."
- In the afternoon we paid our respects to the governor —
- from the floor. I mastered my emotions, and went into the
- empty world—a world which had nothing to offer me. For
- Zina?da pressed my hand warmly, and again smiled mysteriously.
- nearly pure Indian inhabitants. They were much surprised
- I too got up and, laying the skein and the ball of wool
- although I had now fully recovered my strength, I lingered
- The princess drew out of her pocket some greasy papers
- December 1st. — We steered for the island of Lemuy. I
- while we were at table, as before made no ceremony; she
- here I am sitting before her,’ I thought; ‘I have made
- ‘But, as master of the ceremonies,’ he went on, ‘it’s
- for tobacco was something quite extraordinary. After tobacco,
- a top all night. Before morning I woke up for an instant,
- a letter on grey paper, sealed with brown wax, such as
- ‘Zina!’ screamed the princess in the drawing-room,
- He strove to peer about him, but the feeble ray of the
- when I waked in the morning. I went out in the garden before
- stay, another guest, he must have a ticket too,’ and
- admitted to the order by the Master of the Bombay Lodge,
- barter. Money was scarcely worth anything, but their eagerness
- the yellow-robed mendicants who had passed me in the mountains,
- rarely visited this marble house set amid its extensive
- that he had been very rich, but had gambled away all his
- his fingers, right and left, and presently found slimy
- ‘At least let us explain to Mr. Voldemar what we are
- in the next room with some sort of clerk from the Tversky
- of her teeth and the ends of her hair tickling me and setting
- one of our party was unable anywhere to purchase either
- I bent my steps toward Zina?da, but she did not even glance
- but I only swung my legs a little, like a small child who
- “‘It made no difference,’ I replied. ‘I quite understood;
- slowly toward the north—he said nothing of the party
- I passed out from the City of Fire in the darkest hour
- a great deal of poetry by heart; my blood was in a ferment
- May — the blinds in the windows of this lodge were drawn
- designs to a successful conclusion. One party he moved
- I had a horse to ride; I used to saddle it myself and set
- In my absence my mother had received from her new neighbour
- and in the second place it’s a bad habit for children’—(she
- and ran like a hare, her yellow silk dress gleaming in
- one leg, pomaded my hair, got into bed, and slept like
- and asking her blessing. There was no help for it now!)
- to him. He glanced at her from time to time, and she glanced
- resting the electric lamp upon one of the little ebony
- bed, I rotated — I don’t know why — three times on
- of the girl (I saw her in profile), there was something
- but the young princess would glance at him, and shake her
- the steps again, finding himself now nearly up to his armpits
- “‘It made no difference,’ I replied. ‘I quite understood;