“Who, ma’am?” asked the nurse, a stranger to Glaston, of course.
“The doctor—is he come?”
“He’s but just gone, ma’am. He’s been sitting by you all night—would let no one else come near you. Rather peculiar, in my opinion!”
A soft flush, all the blood she could show, tinged her cheek. It was Hope’s own color—the reflection of a red rose from a white.
NOWHERE AND EVERYWHERE.
Faber sprung upon Niger’s back, and galloped wildly through the park. His soul was like a southern sea under a summer tornado. The slow dawn was gathering under a smoky cloud with an edge of cold yellow; a thin wind was abroad; rain had fallen in the night, and the grass was wet and cool to Niger’s hoofs; the earth sent up a savor, which like a soft warp was crossed by a woof of sweet odors from leaf-buds and wild flowers, and spangled here and there with a silver thread of bird song—for but few of the beast-angels were awake yet. Through the fine consorting mass of silence and odor, went the soft thunder of Niger’s gallop over the turf. His master’s joy had overflowed into him: the creatures are not all stupid that can not speak; some of them are with us more than we think. According to the grand old tale, God made his covenant with all the beasts that came out of the ark as well as with Noah; for them also he set his bow of hope in the cloud of fear; they are God’s creatures, God bless them! and if not exactly human, are, I think, something more than humanish. Niger gave his soul with his legs to his master’s mood that morning. He was used to hard gallops with him across country, but this was different; this was plainly a frolic, the first he had had since he came into his service; and a frolic it should be!
A deeper, loftier, lovelier morning was dawning in Faber’s world unseen. One dread burden was lifted from his being; his fierce pride, his unmanly cruelty, his spotless selfishness, had not hunted a woman soul quite into the moldy jaws of the grave; she was given back to him, to tend, and heal, and love as he had never yet dreamed of loving! Endless was the dawn that was breaking in him; unutterably sweet the joy. Life was now to be lived—not endured. How he would nurse the lily he had bruised and broken! From her own remorse he would shield her. He would be to her a summer land—a refuge from the wind, a covert from the tempest. He would be to her like that Saviour for whom, in her wandering fancy, she had taken him: never more in vaguest thought would he turn from her. If, in any evil mood, a thought unkind should dare glance back at her past, he would clasp her the closer to his heart, the more to be shielded that the shield itself was so poor. Once he laughed aloud as he rode, to find himself actually wondering whether the story of the resurrection could be true; for what had the restoration of his Juliet in common with the out-worn superstition? In any overwhelming joy, he concluded, the heart leans to lovely marvel.