He threw himself before the crucifix and sobbed.
“Lord Jesus, Our Christ! Thou art the real Christ and not the fiction of that supersubtle Greek-Jewish and boastful philosopher in Alexandria! Make for me, O God, a sign! Give me back in all its purity my faith; faith, noblest gift of all! Oh! to hear once more the thrilling of the harps divine, whereon the dawn plays, those precursors of the Eternal Harmony! Gloria in Excelsis.” He remained prostrate, his heart no longer battered by doubts and swimming in blissful love for his crucified God. The celestial hurricane subsided in his bosom; he arose and again interrogated the heavens. The stars in the profound splendours of the sky stared at him like the naked eyes of houris. Suddenly a vast white cloud sailed over the edge of the horizon and as it approached his habitation assumed the shape of a monstrous dove, its fleecy wings moving in solemn rhythms. In the resurgence of his hopes this apparition was the coveted sign from the Almighty.
And flat upon the floor of his cell, his face abased in the dust, Hyzlo worshipped in epileptic frenzy, crying aloud, after the manner of the sad-tongued Preacher:—
“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be!”
THE HAUNTED HARPSICHORD
[In the Style of Mock-Mediaeval Fiction]
I told Michael to look sharply to his horse. It was dusk; a few bits of torn clouds, unresolved modulations of nebulous lace, trembled over the pink pit in the west, wherein had sunk the sun; and one evening star, silver pointed, told the tale of another spent day.
Michael was surly, I was impatient, and the groom, who lagged in the rear, whistled softly; but I knew that both men were tired and hungry, and so were the horses. The road, hard and free from dust, echoed the resilient hoof-falls of our beasts. The early evening was finely cool, for it was the month of September. We had lost our way. Green fields on either side, and before us the path declined down a steep slope, that lost itself in huddled foliage.
Michael spoke up:—
“We are astray. I knew this damnable excursion would lead to no good.”
I gently chided him. “Pooh, you braggart! Even Arnold, who rides a brute a world too wide for him, has not uttered a complaint. Brave Michael, if her ladyship heard you now!”