“Not at all; they look very well. I shall see your cousin again in a week’s time, when I shall have a different tale to tell.”
“Why wait a week with that young blackguard making the running on the spot?”
“Because I have put poison into Philip’s mind, and the surest poison always works slow. Besides, the mischief has been done. Good-by. I will come and see you in a day or two, when I have made my plans. You see I mean to earn my letters.”
With what degree of soundness our pair of lovers slumbered on that memorable Saturday night, let those who have been so fortunate or unfortunate as to have been placed in analogous circumstances, form their own opinion.
It is, however, certain that Arthur gazed upon the moon and sundry of the larger planets for some hours, until they unkindly set, and left him, for his candle had burnt out, to find his way to bed in the dark. With his reflections we will not trouble ourselves; or, rather, we will not intrude upon their privacy. But there was another person in the house who sat at an open window and looked upon the heavens— Angela to wit. Let us avail ourselves of our rightful privilege, and look into her thoughts.
Arthur’s love had come upon her as a surprise, but it had found a perfect home. All the days and hours that she had spent in his company, had, unknown to herself, been mysteriously employed in preparing a habitation to receive it. We all know the beautiful Bible story of the Creation, how first there was an empty void, and the Spirit brooding on the waters, then light, and then life, and last, man coming to turn all things to his uses. Surely that story, which is the type and symbol of many things, is of none more so than of the growth and birth of a perfected love in the human heart.
The soil is made ready in the dead winter, and receives the seed into its bosom. Then comes the spring, and it is clothed with verdure. Space is void till the sun shoots its sudden rays athwart it, and makes it splendid; the heart is cold and unwitting of its ends, till the spirit broods upon it, as upon the waters, and it grows quick with the purposes of life. And then what a change is there! What has the flower in common with the seed from whence it sprang, or the noonday sky with the darkness before the dawn?
Thinking in her chamber, with the night air playing on her hot brow, and her hand pressed upon her heart, as though to still the tumult of its joy, Angela grew vaguely conscious of these things.
“Was she the same in heart and mind that she had been a month ago? No, a thousand times, no. Then what was this mysterious change that seemed to shake her inmost life to its foundations? What angel had troubled the waters into which she had so newly plunged? And whence came the healing virtue that she found in them, bringing rest after the vague trouble of the last two weeks, with sight to see the only good—her love, with speed to follow, and strength to hold? Oh, happy, happy world! oh, merciful Creator, who gave her to drink of such a living spring! oh, Arthur, beloved Arthur!”