The night of that concert Marienbad saw the last of the Bavarian sextette, which at midnight, joined by its old dancer with the tenor voice, left in a third-class carriage for Vienna. Hugh Krayne, not possessing enough to pay his passage, had not been invited; nor was he informed of the sudden departure until a day later....
* * * * *
On the road to the Alm, of moonlight nights, toiling visitors catch glimpses of a human, almost a skeleton, dressed in rags, his head bare as his feet, about his neck a flaming crimson handkerchief. He is known to Marienbaeders as “The Man Who Stayed Too Long.” He never addresses passers-by; but as they lose sight of him they hear the woods resound with his elegiac howl:—
La la liriti! La la lirita! Hallali!
THE THIRD KINGDOM
Brother Hyzlo sat in his cell and read. The gentle stillness of a rare spring morning enveloped him with its benison. And the clear light fell upon the large pages of a book in his hand,—the window through which it streamed was the one link between the young recluse and the life of the world. From it he could see the roofs of the city beneath him; when he so wished, he might, without straining his gaze, distinguish the Pantheon at the end of that triumphal avenue which spanned the Seine and had once evoked for him visions of antique splendour. But Brother Hyzlo no longer cared for mundane delights. His doubting soul was the battle-field over which he ranged day and night searching for diabolic opponents. Exterior existence had become for him a shadow; the only life worth living was that of the spirit.
In his book that fresh spring morning he read as if in the flare of a passing meteor these disquieting words:—
“How were it if, some day or night, a demon stole after thee into thy most solitary solitude, and said to thee: ’This life, as thou livest it now, and hast lived it, thou shalt have to live over again, and not once but innumerable times; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every pleasure and every thought and sigh, and everything in thy life, the great and the unspeakably petty alike, must come again to thee, and all in the same series and succession; this spider, too, and this moonlight betwixt the trees and this moment likewise and I myself. The eternal sand-glass of time is always turned again, and thou with it, thou atom of dust’? Wouldst thou not cast thyself down and with gnashing of teeth curse the demon who thus spoke? Or, hast thou ever experienced the tremendous moment in which thou wouldst answer him: ’Thou art a god and never heard I anything more divine’?”