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Sedgwick. To another of his correspond
From The Sunday Magazine. ents he writes: “Had I not been forty THE FLIGHT OF THE SHADOW. years too soon, I would have made love to
BY GEORGE MACDONALD, LL.D. you in such an ardent manner that you would surely have been inelted, and I AUTHOR OF ALEC FORBES,
," “ ROBERT FALCONER," should have carried you in my arms to the altar-rails.” But if not so ardent, the fol
CHAPTER XXX. lowing specimen of excellent fooling in this strain is the prettier, and with it
ONCE MORE AND YET AGAIN. we must bring our extracts to a conclu- FROM that hour I set myself to look sion :
after my uncle's affairs. It was the only
way to endure his absence. Working for I have found your lost glove and now re him, thinking what he would like, trying to turn it. Call therefore all your lady friends carry it out, referring every perplexity to together, and tell them to rejoice with you. him and imagining his answer, he grew so But it was cruel of you to ask for it, as it was much dearer to me, that his absence was the only
glove of the kind in my old College filled with hope. den; and indeed I had watched it and fostered
My heart being in it, I it, with as much care as if it had been the big had soon learned enough of the managePunjaub diamond. Now that you have it, ment to perceive where, in more than one pray take care of it. Gloves have done much quarter, improvement, generally in the mischiel — sometimes they have been symbols way of saving, was possible; I do not of love — sometimes of deadly hate and furi- mean by any lowering of wages; my uncle ous fight — sometimes they may have sym- would have conned me small thanks for bolized both love and hate — for purring and such improvement as that! Neither was scratching are often close together. But these are mysteries I have long outlived. All it long before I began to delight in the I have to say is -- take care of your glove, feeling that I was in partnership with the and keep it safe till the day a priest orders powers of life; that I had to do with the you to pull off your glove, and give your bare operation and government and preservahand to the happiest man in England.
tion of things created ; that I was doing a Had I been forty years younger, I should have work to which I was set by the Highest; cried out with Romeo, “Oh that I were a that I was at least a floor-sweeper in the glove!” or perhaps I might have come with house of God, a servant for the good of your glove pinned to the left side of my waist- his world. Existence had grown fuller coat, and asked you to wear the man that bore and richer; I had come, like a toad out of it so near his heart.
a rock, into a larger, therefore truer uni. Being such as this biography truly ex
verse; I had something to do in the world. hibits him, it is no wonder that Adam How otherwise should I have patiently Sedgwick was the pride of his college, waited while hearing nothing from my
uncle ! and the idol of his large circle of friends down to the end of his prolonged life. If
It was not long before John began to it was not given him to lay posterity under press me to let my uncle have his way; a lasting obligation, by bequeathing to it where was the good any longer, he said, in some epoch-making work which should be our not being married ! But I could not a possession forever, the least that can be endure the thought of being married withsaid is that in his own generation he filled out my uncle; it would hardly seem like his place nobly, and left many to mourn
marriage without his giving me to my him whose lives had been brightened by that I was not to be prevailed with, I
husband. And when John came to see his affectionate and playful solicitude, and found that he thought the more of me their hearts strengthened in goodness by his wise lessons and fair example. Weil both because of my resolve, and because would it be for the world if there were
of my persistency in holding by it. For many more of whom it could be as truly John was always reasonable, and that is recorded, as it is of him in the cathedral more than can be said of most men, espewhich knew him so well, that in him met cially such as have a woman to deal with. together an imperial love of truth, an illus- If women should at last — not that it would trious simplicity of character, and an un
please me one tiniest atom — have to take shaken constancy in the faith.
the management of affairs - it will be because men have made it necessary by carelessness and arrogance combined. Then when they have been kept down a while, just long enough to learn that they
are not the lords of creation one bit more | horse. Could the rider I was too far than the weakest woman, they may per. off to note anything of him — be my uncle? haps be allowed to take the lead again, Was he still and always lingering about lest the women should become like what the place, to be near lest ill should befall the men were, and go strutting about full me? It would be like him, said my heart. of their own importance. It is only the I gave Zoe the rein, and she sprang off at true man that knows what the true woman her best speed. But apparently the horseis - only the true woman that knows what man had caught sight of my approach, and the true man is; the difficulty between was not willing to await my coming; for, them comes all from the fact that so few after riding some distance, I became sudare eitber.
denly aware that he had vanished ; and I John lived in his own house with his saw then that, if I did not turn at once, I mother, but they never met. She managed should not keep my appointment with John's affairs, to whose advantage I need John. hardly say; and John helped me to man. The incident would not have been worth age my uncle's, to the advantage of all mentioning, for grey horses are not so un. concerned. Every day he came to see me, common but there might be one upon the and every night rode back to his worse heath at any moment; and although it was than dreary home. At my earnest request natural enough that the sight of one should he had had a strong bolt put on his bed- make me think of my uncle, I should not room door, which he promised me never long have thought of the occurrence, but to forget to shoot. He let it be known for something more that I saw the same about the house that he had always a brace night. of loaded pistols within his reach, and It was one of bright moonlight. I had showed himself well practised in the use taken down a curtain of my window to of them.
mend, and the moon shone in so that I After I no longer only believed, but could not sleep. My thoughts were all knew that the bailiff was trustworthy, and with my uncle - wondering what he was had got some few points in his manage about; whether he was very dull; whether ment bettered, I ceased giving so much he wanted me much; whether he was goattention to detail, and allowed myself a ing about Paris, or haunting the moor little more time to go about with John, to that stretched far out into the distance whom I owed every consolation I could from where I lay-out in that moonlight, give him, seeing he had none at home. perhaps, in the cold, wide, lonely night It was a little wearing to him too that he while I slept! The thought made me feel could never tell what his mother might not lonely; one is apt to feel lonely when sleepbe plotting agaiost him. He had had a less; and as the moon was having a night very strong box made for Leander, in of it, or rather making a day of it, all alone which he always locked him up when he with herself, I thought we might keep each went home at night, and which he locked other a little company. I rose, drew the also when he brought him to our place in other curtain of my window aside, and the morning where he had all the groom- looked out. ing and tendance his master could wish. I have said that the house lay on the John could not forget what had befallen slope of one side of a hollow, so that, from Leander once before ; and I could not for- whichever window of it you might glance, get the great black horse down in the bog ! you saw the line of your private horizon I feared much for John. I knew that close to you; for any outlook, you must where a woman would, she could more climb, and then you were on the moor. than a man.
From my window I could see the more One lovely, cold day in the month of distant edge of the hollow; happening to March, with ice on some of the pools of look thitherward, I saw against the sky the the heath, and the wind blowing from the shape of a man on horseback. I could north, I mounted Zoe to meet John mid- not for a moment doubt it was my uncle. way on the moor, and had gone about two. The figure was plainly his.
My heart thirds of the distance, when I saw him, as seemed to stand still with awe, and the I thought, a good way to my right, and delight of having him so near me, perhaps concluded he had not expected me so soon, every night - a heavenly sentinel patrol. and had gone exploring. I turned aside ling the house while I slept - the visible therefore to join him; but had ridden only one of a whole camp unseen, of horses of a few yards when, from some change in fire and chariots of fire. So entrancing his position, I saw that the horse was not was the notion, that I stood there a little John's; it was a grey, or rather, a white child, a mere incarnate love, the tears run
ning down my cheeks at the thought of darted off to scout the moor.
Not a man the man who had been very father to me or a horse or a live thing was to be seen instead of my own.
in any direction! Almost 'I concluded I When first I saw him he was standing had beheld an apparition. Might it not still, but presently he moved on, keeping be that my uncle was dead, come back so to the horizon line that it was plain his thus to let me know, and now was gone object was to have the house in view. But home indeed? Weary and cold and dis. as thus he skirted the edge of heaven, he appointed, I returned to bed, full of the seemed, oh, how changed ! His tall figure conviction that I had seen my uncle, but hung bent over the pommel, and his neck whether in the body or out of the body, I drooped heavily. And his horse was so could not tell. thin that I seemed to see, almost to feel When John came the notion of my behis bones. He looked very tired, and I ing out alone on the moor in the middle thought I saw his knees quiver as he made of the night did not please him, and he each short, slow step. Ah, how unlike the would have had me promise that I would happy old horse that had been! I thought not, for any vision or apparition whatever, of Death returning home weary from the leave the house again without his comslaughter of many kings, and cast the pany. But he could not persuade me. He thought away. I thought of Death re. asked what I would have done, if I had turning home the eve of the great dawn, overtaken the horseman, and found neither weary with his age-long work, pleased that my uncle nor Death. I told him I would at last it was over, and no more need of have given Zoe the use of her heels, when him; I kept that thought. Along the sky. that horse at least would soon have seen line they held their way, the rider with the last of her. At the same time, John weary swing in the saddle, the horse with was inclined to believe with me, that I had long grey neck hanging low to his hoofs, seen my uncle. His proximity would ac. picking his way;
When his rider should count, he said, for his making no arrangecollapse and fall from his back, not a step ment to hear from me. But if he continued farther would he take. Then fancy gave to haunt the moor in such fashion, we way to reality. I woke up, called myself could not fail to encounter him before hard names, and hurried on a few of my long. In the mean time he thought it clothes. My blessed uncle out in the night well to show no sign of suspecting his and weary to death, and I at a window, neighborhood. contemplating him like a picture! I was That I had seen my uncle John was for an evil brute !
a moment convinced, when, the very next By the time I had my shoes on, and day, having gone to Wittenage, he saw his went again to the window, he had passed horse carrying Dr. Southwell, my uncle's out of its range. I ran to one on the stair friend. But then Death looked quite that looked at right angles to mine. He spry, and in lovely condition. The doctor had not yet come within its field of vision. would not confess to knowing anything I stood and waited. Presently he ap- about my uncle, and expressed his wonder peared, crawling along, a grey mounted that he had not yet returned, but said he ghost, in the light that so strangely befits did not mind how long he had the loan of lovers wandering in the May of hope, and such a horse. the wasted spectre whose imagination of Things went on as before for a while. the past reveals him to the eyes of men. Then John began again to press me to For an instant I almost wished him dead marry him. I think it was mainly, I am and at rest; the next I was out of the sure it was in part, that I might never house, up on the moor, looking eagerly again ride the midnight moor“ like a witch this way and that, poised on the swift feet out on her own mischievous hook ;” I of love, ready to spring to his bosom. use John's phrase in regard to what he How I longed to lead him to his own warm seemed to count quite an escapade; he bed, and watch by him as he slept, while knew that, if I caught sight of my uncle the great father kept universal watch, out anywhere, John or no John, I would go on the moor in the moonlight, and within after him. every house and its darkness. I gazed But there was of course another good and gazed, but nowhere could I see the reason for not marrying before John was death-jaded horseman.
of legal age ; who could tell what trutlı I bounded down the hill, through the might not lurk in his mother's threat ! wilderness and the dark alleys, and hur- Who could tell what such a woman might ried to the stable. Trembling with haste not have prevailed on her husband to set I led Zoe out, sprang on her bare back, and I down in his will? I was ready enough to
MY UNCLE COMES HOME.
marry a poor man, but I was not ready to and brought him round to the door, for the let my lover run the risk of becoming a fence would have been awkward to cross poor man by marrying me a few months with him. It was rather difficult indeed or even years sooner. Were we not happy to carry him to the door, not because of enough in all conscience, seeing each his weight, but because of his length, and other every day, and mostly all day long? the roughness of the ground. Just as I No doubt people talked, but why not let began to be really uneasy at his prolonged them talk! The mind of the many is not the absence, there he was, with a man on his mind of God. John confessed that society back, apparently lifeless ! itself was the merest oyster of a divinity. I did not stop to stare or question, but He argued, however, that most likely my made haste to help him. His burden was uncle was keeping close until he saw us slipping sideways from his back, so we married. I answered that he would be as lowered it on a hall chair, and then carried unwilling to expose us to the revenge of the man in between us, I holding his legs. our mother through him, after we were The moment a ray of light fell upon his married as before ; anyhow I would not face, I saw it was my uncle. consent to be happier than we were, with. I just saved myself from a scream. My out my uncle to share in the happiness. heart stopped, then bumped as if it would
break through. I turned sick and then cold. John laid his part of the burden on the sofa, but I held on to the legs half
unconsciously. In a moment, however, I TIME went on, and it was now the depth came to myself, and could help Martha. of a cold, miserable winter. I remember She said never a word, but was all there, the day so well! It was a black day. looking in the face of her cousin with dogThere was such a thickness of snow in the like devotion, but never stopping an in. air that what light got through looked stant to gaze. We got him some brandy astray as if lost in a London fog; it was first, then some hot milk, and then some not like an honest darkness of the atmo- soup. He refused nothing we offered sphere, bred in its own bounds. But while him. We did not ask him a single ques. the light asted, the snow did not fall. I tion, but the moment he revived, carried went about the house doing what had to him up and laid him in bed. Once he cast be done, and what I could find to do his eyes about, and gave a sigh, as if of wondering that Joho did not come. relief to find himself in his own room, then
His horse had again fallen lame — this went off into a light doze, which, broken time through an accident which made it with starts and half-wakings, lasted until necessary to stay with the poor animal next day about noon. Either John jor long after his usual time for starting to Martha or I was by his bedside all the come to me. When he did start, it was time, so that he should not wake without on foot, with the short winter afternoon seeing one of us by him. closing in. But John knew the moor by But the sad thing was, that, when he this time as well as I did, and that is say, did wake, he did not seem to come to himing a good deal. It was quite dark when self. He uttered not a word, but just he drew near the house, which he gener- and looked out of his eyes, if, indeed it ally entered through the wilderness and was more than his eyes themselves that the garden. The snow had begun at last, looked, if indeed he looked out of them at and was coming down in deliberate ear- all ! nest. It would lie feet deep over the moor “He has overdone his strength,” we before the morning. He was just think- said to each other. “He has not been ing what a dreary tramp home it would be taking care of himself! And then to lie by the road, for the wind was threatening perhaps hours in the snow! It's a wonder to wake, and in a snow-wind the moor was he's alive !” a place to be avoided — when he struck “ He's nothing but skin and bone,” said his foot against something soft in the path Martha.." It will take weeks to get him his own feet had worn to the wilderness, up again! And just look at his clothes ! and fell over it. A groan followed. John How ever did he come nigh such ! rose with the miserable feeling of having They're fit only for a beggar! They must hurt some creature. Dropping again on have knocked him down and stripped his knees to discover what it was, he him! Look at his boots !” she said, and found a man almost covered with snow, stroked them with her hands. 6 He'll and nearly insensible. He swept the snow never recover it!” off him, contrived to get him on his back, “He will,” I said. “ Here are three of
us to take care of him! He'll soon be But oh, what a damping oppression it himself again now that we have him!” was that my uncle had returned so differ
But my heart was like to break at sight ent! We were glad to have him, but how of him.
gladly would we not have let him go again “ He would get well much quicker,” said to be restored to himself, even should we John, “ if only we could tell him we were never more rest our eyes upon him in this married.”
world! Dearly as I loved John, it seemed It will do just as well to invite him to to me nothing could make me happy while the wedding," I answered. “I will not my uncle remained as he was. It was as have it until he is able to give me to you, the gripe of a cold hand on my heart to
see him such impassable miles from me. “ You are right,” said John. “And we I could not get near him. It was like won't ask him anything, or even refer to what it would be to lose God out of my anything, till he seems to want to hear world. I went about all day with a sense about things.”
not merely of loss, but of a loss that Days went and came, and still he did gnawed at me with a sickening pain. He not appear to know quite where he was; never said little one to me now! he never or, if he knew, he seemed so content with looked in my eyes as if he loved me! He knowing it, that he did not want to know was very gentle, never complained, but anything more in heaven or earth. We lay there with a dead question in his eyes. grew very anxious about him. He did not We all feared his mind was utterly gone. heed a word his old friend Dr. South well By degrees bis health returned, but said. His mind seemed utterly exhausted. neither his memory, nor his interest in The doctor justified John's more mature life, seemed to come back. Yet he had resolve, saying he must not be troubled ever a far-away look in his eyes, and would with questions, or the least attempt to start and turn at every opening of the rouse his memory. He must be left to door. He took to wandering about the himself like a baby.
yard and the stable, and the cow-house; John was now almost constantly with us. would look for an hour at some one animal One day. I asked him whether his mother in its stall; would watch the men thrashtook any notice of his being now so sel- ing the corn, or twisting straw ropes ; but dom at home at night. He answered she he never cared to ride. When Dr. Southdid not; and but for knowing her ways, well sent home his horse, it was in great he would imagine she knew nothing at all hope that the sight of Death would wake about him ; he hardly doubted, however, him up; that he would recognize his old that she made sure every day of where he companion, jump on his back, and be well
again; but my uncle only looked at him “What does she do all day long?” 1 with some faint admiration, went round asked.
him and examined him as if he were a “ Goes over her books, I imagine,” he borse he thought of buying, then turned answered. “She knows the hour is at away, and took no more notice of him. hand when she must give account of her Death was troubled at his treatment of stewardsbip, and she is getting ready to him. He showed him all the old atten. meet it. That is what I suppose, at least; tion, used every equine blandishment he
I but she gives me no trouble now, and I knew, but meeting with no response, have no wish to trouble her."
turned slowly away, and walked to his “ Have you no hope of ever being on stable. Dr. Southwell would gladly have filial terms with her again? I said. bought him, but. neither John nor I would
" There are few things more unlikely," hear of parting with him; he was almost he replied.
a portion of his master. Then my uncle I was a little troubled, notwithstanding might come to himself any moment, and my knowledge of her, and the way in how could we look him in the face, if which I felt toward her, that he should Death was gone from us! Besides, we regard a total alienation from his mother loved the horse for his own sake as well with such indifference. I could not, how as my uncle's, and John would be but too ever, balance the account between them. glad to ride him. If much was owing to her merely because My uncle would wander over the house, she was his mother, how much was she up and down, but seemed to prefer the not in debt to her child, who had done little drawing.room to any other; I made him the terrible wrong of not being lov- it my special business to keep a good fire able? In my heart I blessed the heavenly there. He never went up to the study; Father, that he was just what he was. never opened the door in the chimney.