“My husband,” she said, “Mr. Pownal, tries to Frenchify me a little, sometimes, and I am obliged to indulge him, he is generally so good; but he will never succeed in making anything else out of me than a plain Yankee woman.”
“Plain or beautiful, the highest title to my affection,” said the Judge, gallantly. “I have been a traveller, Thomas, and have seen the Old World. This is a progressive world; and, believe me, the productions of the New are not, to say the least, inferior to those of the Old.”
“I can well believe it,” said Pownal, bowing to the ladies.
“A pleasant voyage, Thomas,” said the Judge, as he bade his young friend good-bye, “along the sandy shores of Long Island, and through the perils of Hell Gate.”
lock thee fast
Alone within thy chamber, there fall down
On both thy knees, and grovel on the ground:
Cry to thy heart: wash every word thou utter’st
In tears (and if’t be possible) of blood:
Beg Heaven to cleanse the leprosy.”
Armstrong, upon the departure of Holden, sat moodily pondering what had been told him. Were his emotions those of pleasure or of pain? At first, the former. The natural goodness of his disposition made him instinctively rejoice in the happiness of his friend. For a few moments, he forgot himself, and, as long as the forgetfulness lasted, was happy in the participation of the other’s hopes. But this frame of mind was only momentary. We have seen how an answer of Holden was sufficient to restore his gloom. Thoughts chased each other in wild confusion, over which he had no control, which he reproached himself for admitting—which he would have excluded, if he could. The connection between him and the Solitary was one of mutual misfortune. Sorrow was the ligament that united them. For years had he known Holden, but it was only within a short time, namely, since an awakened conscience (so he judged, himself) had revealed to him his own hideousness, that he had been attracted to the Solitary. Should Holden recover his son, should his heart expand once more to admit worldly joys, would it not be closed to him? As he once felt indifference towards Holden, so would not Holden, by a change of circumstances, by the awakening of new desires and new hopes, by the occupancy of emotions the more delightful because fresh and for so long unexperienced, stand to him in other and colder relations? These reflections were not clear, distinct, sharply defined. They drove through his mind, ragged and torn, like storm-clouds chased by the tempest.
There were two beings struggling with one another in him—the one striving to encourage the noble feelings of his nature, and drive away whatever was inconsistent with truth and reason—the other whispering doubt, and selfishness, and despair. He rose and paced, with rapid steps, the room.