“It is what I urge frequently on my dear father,” said Faith.
“Faith is an angel,” said Holden. “Listen to her advice. Thou canst have no better guide.”
“She shall redeem my soul from death,” said Armstrong.
When Holden left the house of his host, he determined to carry into effect a resolution which, it appeared now to himself, he had strangely delayed, such was the influence what he had just seen and heard exercised over him. That Fate or mathematical Providence, however, in which he so devoutly believed, notwithstanding he acted as though none existed, seemed as if, tired out with his procrastination and irresolution, determined to precipitate events and force him to lift the veil, that for so many years—with a wayward temper and love of mystery, inexplicable by any motives that regulate the movements of ordinary minds—he had chosen to spread around himself. What followed only convinced him more thoroughly, if that were possible, of his helplessness on the surging tide of life and of the delusion of those who imagine they are aught but bubbles, breaking now this moment, now that, according to a predetermined order.
receive but what we give
And in our life alone does nature live.
Mr. Armstrong was disposed to gratify his daughter, and to follow the advice of Holden. That very morning, soon after the departure of the Solitary, he accepted an invitation from Judge Bernard, to take a drive with him to one of his farms in the afternoon. Accordingly, the one-horse chaise, which was the usual vehicle in those days, of gentlemen who drove themselves, stopped, late in the day, at Armstrong’s door.
“Anne hopes,” said the Judge, as they were about to start, “that in retaliation for my capture of your father, Faith, you will come and take possession of her. For my own part, if I can bring him back with a little more color in his cheeks, I shall expect a kiss or two.”
“You shall have three, dear Judge, for every smile you can win from father,” exclaimed Faith.
The road which the gentlemen took, led, at first, after leaving the table-land on which their houses were situated, through the thickly-settled and business part of the town, at the head of the Severn, the whole of which it traversed, and then approaching the banks of the Wootuppocut, followed its windings in a direction towards its source. The country through which the river flowed presented an appearance of soft and varied beauty, the view of which, while the cool breeze across the stream fanned the fevered brain of Armstrong, ought, if anything could, to have soothed his jarring nerves, and breathed a portion of its own tranquillity into his heart. Is it not true what the sweet poet sings of Nature and her lover, that
Into his darker musings with a mild
And gentle sympathy, that steals away
Their sharpness ere he is aware?”