Headlong Hall eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 81 pages of information about Headlong Hall.

The beautiful Cephalis, being thus freed from his surveillance, was enabled, during the course of the evening, to develop to his preserver the full extent of her gratitude.

CHAPTER IX The Sexton

Mr Escot passed a sleepless night, the ordinary effect of love, according to some amatory poets, who seem to have composed their whining ditties for the benevolent purpose of bestowing on others that gentle slumber of which they so pathetically lament the privation.  The deteriorationist entered into a profound moral soliloquy, in which he first examined whether a philosopher ought to be in love? Having decided this point affirmatively against Plato and Lucretius, he next examined, whether that passion ought to have the effect of keeping a philosopher awake? Having decided this negatively, he resolved to go to sleep immediately:  not being able to accomplish this to his satisfaction, he tossed and tumbled, like Achilles or Orlando, first on one side, then on the other; repeated to himself several hundred lines of poetry; counted a thousand; began again, and counted another thousand:  in vain:  the beautiful Cephalis was the predominant image in all his soliloquies, in all his repetitions:  even in the numerical process from which he sought relief, he did but associate the idea of number with that of his dear tormentor, till she appeared to his mind’s eye in a thousand similitudes, distinct, not different.  These thousand images, indeed, were but one; and yet the one was a thousand, a sort of uni-multiplex phantasma, which will be very intelligible to some understandings.

He arose with the first peep of day, and sallied forth to enjoy the balmy breeze of morning, which any but a lover might have thought too cool; for it was an intense frost, the sun had not risen, and the wind was rather fresh from north-east and by north.  But a lover, who, like Ladurlad in the Curse of Kehama, always has, or at least is supposed to have, “a fire in his heart and a fire in his brain,” feels a wintry breeze from N.E. and by N. steal over his cheek like the south over a bank of violets; therefore, on walked the philosopher, with his coat unbuttoned and his hat in his hand, careless of whither he went, till he found himself near the enclosure of a little mountain chapel.  Passing through the wicket, and stepping over two or three graves, he stood on a rustic tombstone, and peeped through the chapel window, examining the interior with as much curiosity as if he had “forgotten what the inside of a church was made of,” which, it is rather to be feared, was the case.  Before him and beneath him were the font, the altar, and the grave; which gave rise to a train of moral reflections on the three great epochs in the course of the featherless biped,—­birth, marriage, and death.  The middle stage of the process arrested his attention; and his imagination placed before him several figures, which he thought, with

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Headlong Hall from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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