I cannot think of sorrow now: and
If e’er I felt it—’tis so dazzled from
My memory by this oblivious transport.
“Here come that strange old man,” said Felix, the next morning, looking out of the kitchen window, which commanded a view of the road. “I do believe he’s bewitched the boss.”
Rosa, to whom the remark was addressed, ran to the window, and saw the Recluse coming up the street.
“I’m ’stonished,” she said, “that Mr. Armstrong and Miss Faith give so much encouragement to these low pussons. They always take so much liberty.”
“Give ’em an inch and they take two feet,” said Felix. “I wish his two feet take him away from this house for the last time,” he added, laughing.
“Ha, ha, ha, you so ’musing Felix,” said Rosa. “There is something too very genteel in your laugh.”
“You do me proud, sweet Rosa,” answered Felix, bowing with his hand upon his breast.
Holden was no favorite of the black. The well-dressed and well-fed servant of a wealthy family, with the feeling common to all who judge from outside appearances, had at first been disposed to look down upon the coarsely-dressed anchorite, who supported himself by so mean a labor as the manufacture of baskets, and to consider him as little better than a beggar-man. No sooner, however, did Holden detect the feeling, and it was instantly, than he corrected it, so that it never made its appearance again in his presence. In fact, a feeling of fear superseded the impertinence of the negro. There was something in the burning glare of Holden’s eyes, and the deep tones of his voice, that exerted an inexplicable power over Felix. Much he turned it over in his mind, why, in spite of himself, he was obliged to be as civil to Holden as to white gentlemen, and at last concluded, the Solitary possessed some magic art, by which he controlled others. He the more readily adopted the opinion because he considered his master and young mistress under the spell of the same glamourie to which he himself had succumbed.
When, therefore, Holden struck with the knocker on the door, the obsequious Felix was at hand to open it, and show him into the parlor.
“Tell your master I am here,” said Holden, entering.
“How does he know Mr. Armstrong is at home?” said Felix, to himself. “But I’m a free man, and it is very onpolite to talk about my master.”
“The Lord hath raised up a mighty salvation for us,” was the address of Holden, as Mr. Armstrong entered the room. “I come to bid thee farewell for a time.”
“Farewell!” repeated Mr. Armstrong, without comprehending the meaning of the other.
“Sit thee down, dear friend, and listen to what will give thee joy for my sake now, and thine own hereafter. My son, who was dead, is alive again.”.
Armstrong was at a loss to divine the meaning of his visitor. He took it for some figurative form of expression, and, without making any reply, passed his hand over his forehead, as if trying to recall some idea.