The Lake eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 278 pages of information about The Lake.

He wondered why he was so foolish as to disobey her, and besought her to return to him, and they roamed again in the paths that led round the rocks overgrown with briars, by the great oak-tree where the leaves were falling.  And wandering they went, smiling gently on each other, till she began to tell him that he must abide by the shores of the lake—­why, he could not understand, for the wood was much more beautiful, and he was more alone with her in the wood than by the lake.

The sympathy was so complete that words were not needed, but they had begun in his ears.  He strove to apprehend the dim words sounding in his ears.  Not her words, surely, for there was a roughness in the voice, and presently he heard somebody asking him why he was about this time of night, and very slowly he began to understand that one of his parishioners was by him, asking him whither he was going.

’You’ll be catching your death at this hour of the night, Father Oliver.’

And the man told Father Oliver he was on his way to a fair, and for a short-cut he had come through the wood.  And Father Oliver listened, thinking all the while that he must have been dreaming, for he could remember nothing.

’Now, your reverence, we’re at your own door, and the door is open.  When you went out you forgot to close it.’

The priest didn’t answer.

’I hope no harm will come to your reverence; and you’ll be lucky if you haven’t caught your death.’


He stopped in his undressing to ponder how Moran had come to tell him that he was going away on a drinking-bout, and all their long walk together to within a mile of Regan’s public-house returned to him bit by bit, how Moran knelt down by the roadside to drink bog-water, which he said would take the thirst from him as well as whisky; and after bidding Moran good-night he had fallen into his armchair.  It was not till he rose to his feet to go to bed that he had caught sight of the letter.  Nora wrote—­he could not remember exactly what she wrote, and threw himself into bed.  After sleeping for many hours, his eyes at last opened, and he awoke wondering, asking himself where he was.  Even the familiar room surprised him.  And once more he began the process of picking his way back, but he couldn’t recall what had happened from the time he left his house in search of Moran till he was overtaken by Alec in the wood.  In some semi-conscious state he must have wandered off to Derrinrush.  He must have wandered a long while—­two hours, maybe more —­through the familiar paths, but unaware that he was choosing them.  To escape from the effort of remembrance he was glad to listen to Catherine, who was telling him that Alec was at the door, come up from the village to inquire how the priest was.

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The Lake from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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