« PoprzedniaDalej »
went out, and the black mass of me with lightning force and the cottage loomed in the dark. buried itself in the wood. The
Then, before I knew, I was dreadful hands were almost at at the door, battering it wearily my throat, when the door was and yelling for help. I heard opened and I stumbled in, hearsteps within and a hand on the ing with a gulp of joy the key bolt. Then something shot past turn and the bar fall behind me.
CHAPTER V.—THE TROUBLES OF A CONSCIENCE.
fell on my
My body and senses slept, for and he held out to me a thin I was utterly tired, but my shaft of flint. “I fand that in brain all the night was on fire the door this morning.” with horrid fancies. Again I I took it, let it drop, and was in that accursed cave; I stared vacantly at the window. was torturing my hands in the My nerves had been too much fire ; I was slipping barefoot tried to be roused by any new among jagged boulders; and
and terror. Out of doors it was fair then with bursting heart I was weather, flying gleams of April toiling the last mile with the sunlight and the soft colours of cottage light-now grown to a spring. I felt dazed, isolated, great fire in the heavens—blaz- cut off from my easy past and ing before me.
pleasing future, a companion of It was broad daylight when I horrors and the sport of nameawoke, and I thanked God for less things. Then suddenly my the comfortable rays of the sun. eye
books heaped on I had been laid in a box-bed off a table, and the old distant the inner room, and my first civilisation seemed for the mosight was the shepherd sitting ment inexpressibly dear. with folded arms in a chair re- “I must go—at once.
And garding me solemnly.
you must come too.
You canand began to dress, feeling my not stay here. I tell you it is legs and arms still tremble with death. If you knew what I weariness. The shepherd's sis- know you would be crying out ter bound up my scarred wrists with fear. How far is it to and put an ointment on my Allermuir? Eight, fifteen miles; burns; and, limping like an old and then ten down Glen Aller man, I went into the kitchen. to Allerfoot, and then the rail
I could eat little breakfast, way. We must go together for my throat seemed dry and while it is daylight, and perhaps narrow; but they gave me some we may be untouched.
But brandy - and - milk, which put quick, there is not a moment to strength into my body. All the lose.” And I was on my shaky time the brother and sister sat feet, and bustling among my in silence, regarding me with possessions. covert glances.
to the sta“Ye have been delivered from tion," said the shepherd, “for the jaws o' the Pit,” said the ye're clearly no fit to look after man at length. “See that,” yourself. My sister will bide
talked vacantly to the porters, tobacco, were very different from and when went to the the gimcrack adornments and village for tea I accompanied the accursed smell of peat and him, and to his wonder enter- heather in that deplorable cottained him at the inn.
It was still vacationI returned I found on the plat- time, so most of my friends form a stray bagman who was were down; but I spent the that evening going to London. day hunting out the few cheerIf there is one class of men in ful pedants to whom term and the world which I heartily de- vacation were the same.
It test it is this; but such was my delighted me to hear again state that I hailed him as a their precise talk, to hear them brother, and besought his com- make a boast of their work, and pany. I paid the difference for narrate the childish little accia first-class fare, and had him dents of their life. I yearned in the carriage with me.
He for the childish once more; I must have thought me craved for women's drawingamiable maniac, for I talked in rooms, and women's chatter, fits and starts, and when he and everything which makes fell asleep I would wake him life an elegant game. God up and beseech him to speak knows I had had enough of the to me.
At wayside stations I other thing for a lifetime ! would pull down the blinds in That night I shut myself in case of recognition, for to my my rooms, barred my windows, unquiet mind the world seemed drew my curtains, and made a full of spies sent by that terrible great destruction. All books Folk of the Hills. When the or pictures which recalled to train crossed a stretch of moor me the moorlands were ruthI would lie down on the seat in lessly doomed. Novels, poems, case of shafts fired from the treatises I flung into an old box, heather. And then at last for sale to the second - hand with utter weariness I fell bookseller. Some prints and asleep, and woke screaming water-colour sketches I tore to about midnight to find myself pieces with my own hands. I well down in the cheerful Eng- ransacked my fishing-book, and lish midlands, and red blast- condemned all tackle for moorfurnaces blinking by the rail- land waters to the flames. I way-side.
wrote a letter to my solicitors, In the morning I breakfasted bidding them go no further in in my rooms at St Chad's with the purchase of a place in Lorne a dawning sense of safety. I I had long been thinking of. was in a different and calmer Then, and not till then, did I world, The lawn - like quad- feel the bondage of the past a rangles, the great trees, the little loosed from my shoulders. cawing of rooks, and the homely I made myself a night-cap of twitter of sparrows-all seemed rum-punch instead of my usual decent and settled and pleasing. whisky-toddy, that all associaIndoors the oak-panelled walls, tions with that dismal land the shelves of books, the pic- might be forgotten, and to comtures, the faint fragrance of plete the renunciation I returned