“It is the shadow of approaching destiny, and men have moulded the fact into a proverb. There is a world of truth in proverbs. They enclose, within a small space, even as a nut its kernel, a sum of human experience. In the case thou citest, may it not be that the man doth project a sphere of himself, or subtle influence, cognizable by spirit, albeit, the man be himself thereof unconscious? But know that it is no vague and uncertain emotion that I feel. I tell thee young man, I have heard the voice as I hear thee, and seen the vision clearer than in dreams. Naught may stay the wheel of destiny. An Almighty arm hath whirled it on its axis, and it shall revolve until He bids it stop.”
Thus, unfaltering in his confidence, secure of the result, believing that to himself a revelation had been made, the Solitary expressed himself. As the blood mounted into his ordinarily pale cheeks, his lips quivered and his eyes were lighted up with a wild enthusiasm, Pownal could not but admire and acknowledge the omnipotence of that faith which regards no task as arduous, and can say unto the mountains, Be ye cast into the sea! and it is done.
Oh my soul’s joy!
If after every tempest come such calms,
May the winds blow till they have wakened death!
And let the laboring bark climb hills of seas
Olympus-high, and duck again as low
As hell’s from heaven.
In accordance with the determination he had expressed, Holden began soon to talk about putting his wild plan of roaming through the world into execution, and was withheld from it only by the entreaties of Pownal, that he would at least postpone it until after the arrival of his uncle, who was daily expected, and until they had taken his advice.
“I consent,” said Holden, “both out of love to thee, and because I would not willingly leave a roof that hath protected me, without giving thanks to its owner.”
A few days afterwards, Mr. Pownal returned with his family, by all of whom the young man was welcomed with every evidence of the warmest regard. Holden, too, as the friend of the younger Pownal, came in for a share of attention. The family consisted of the father and mother, and two children, a boy and girl, the former of whom could not be more than ten years of age, while the latter was probably two years younger.
Mr. Pownal himself was a fine, frank, hearty gentleman of some sixty years, whose appearance indicated that the world had gone well with him, and that he was satisfied with the world. The ordinary expression of his face was that of quiet contentment, though at times it betrayed a keen sagacity and shrewdness, partly the revelation of nature, and partly the product of an intimate intercourse with that world with which