One thing is clear, that poor Juliet, like most women, and more men, would never have begun to learn any thing worth learning, if she had not been brought into genuine, downright trouble. Indeed I am not sure but some of those who seem so good as to require no trouble, are just those who have already been most severely tried.
But while the two ladies were free of all suspicion of danger, and indeed were quite safe, they were not alone in the knowledge of their secret. There was one who, for some time, had been on the track of it, and had long ago traced it with certainty to its covert: indeed he had all but seen into it from the first. But, although to his intimate friends known as a great and indeed wonderful talker, he was generally regarded as a somewhat silent man, and in truth possessed to perfection the gift of holding his tongue. Except that his outward insignificance was so great as to pass the extreme, he was not one to attract attention; but those who knew Wingfold well, heard him speak of Mr. Polwarth, the gate-keeper, oftener than of any other; and from what she heard him say, Dorothy had come to have a great reverence for the man, although she knew him very little.
In returning from Nestley with Juliet by her side, Helen had taken the road through Osterfield Park. When they reached Polwarth’s gate, she had, as a matter of course, pulled up, that they might have a talk with the keeper. He had, on the few occasions on which he caught a passing glimpse of Miss Meredith, been struck with a something in her that to him seemed to take from her beauty—that look of strangeness, namely, which every one felt, and which I imagine to have come of the consciousness of her secret, holding her back from blending with the human wave; and now, therefore, while the carriage stood, he glanced often at her countenance.
From long observation, much silence and gentle pondering; from constant illness, and frequent recurrence of great suffering; from loving acceptance of the same, and hence an overflowing sympathy with every form of humanity, even that more dimly revealed in the lower animals, and especially suffering humanity; from deep acquaintance with the motions of his own spirit, and the fullest conviction that one man is as another; from the entire confidence of all who knew him, and the results of his efforts to help them; above all, from persistently dwelling in the secret place of the Most High, and thus entering into the hidden things of life from the center whence the issues of them diverged—from all these had been developed in him, through wisest use, an insight into the natures of men, a power of reading the countenance, an apprehension of what was moving in the mind, a contact, almost for the moment a junction with the goings on of their spirits, which at times revealed to him not only character, and prevailing