“I’m a kind-hearted fellow, Miss White,” he went on, with feeling in his voice. “I can’t bear to feel that there’s something hanging over the heads of people like her—more than one of them perhaps—and that they’re being led astray when they might be walking straight on after their daily avocations.”
“But what can they be going to do?” she asked incredulously, but with curious anxiety.
“Blest if I know! but I’ve heard that old man a-praying about what he called ‘the coming of the Lord,’ and talking about having visions of ‘the day and the month,’ till I’ve gone a’most distracted, for otherwise he does pray so beautiful it reminds me of my mother. He’s talking of ‘those poor sheep in the wilderness,’ and ‘leading them’ to something. He’s mad, and there’s a dozen of them ready to do any mad thing he says.”
“You ought to go and tell the ministers—tell the men of the town.”
“Not I—nice fool I’d look! What in this world have I to accuse him of, except what I’ve heard him praying about? I’ve done myself harm enough by having him here.”
“What do you want me to do then?”
“Whatever you like; I’ve told you the truth. There was a carter at Turrifs drunk himself to death because of this unfortunate Mr. Cameron’s rising again—that’s one murder; and there’ll be another.”
With that he turned on his heel and left her in his own room. He only turned once to look in at the door again. “If you’re in any trouble, I’m real soft-hearted, Eliza; I’ll be real good to you, though you’ve been crusty to me.”
If she was in trouble then, she did not show it to him.
Nothing contributes more frequently to indecision of character in the larger concerns of existence than a life overcrowded with effort and performance. Had Robert Trenholme not been living at too great a pace, his will, naturally energetic, would not, during that spring and summer, have halted as it did between his love for Sophia Rexford and his shame concerning his brother’s trade. With the end of June his school had closed for the summer, but at that time the congregation at his little church greatly increased; then, too, he had repairs in the college to superintend, certain articles to write for a Church journal, interesting pupils to correspond with—in a word, his energy, which sometimes by necessity and sometimes by ambition had become regulated to too quick a pace, would not now allow him to take leisure when it offered, or even to perceive the opportunity. His mind, habituated to unrest, was perpetually suggesting to him things needing to be done, and he always saw a mirage of leisure in front of him, and went on the faster in order to come up to it. By this mirage he constantly vowed to himself that when the opportunity came he would take time to think out some things which