He could not understand her; and was more bewitched, more fascinated than ever, by seeing her through the folds of the incomprehensible, in which element she had wrapped herself from his nearer vision. She had always seemed above him — now she seemed miles away as well; a region of Paradise, into which he was forbidden to enter. Everything about her, to her handkerchief and her gloves, was haunted by a vague mystery of worshipfulness, and drew him towards it with wonder and trembling. When they parted for the night, she shook hands with him with a cool frankness, that put him nearly beside himself with despair; and when he found himself in his own room, it was some time before he could collect his thoughts. Having succeeded, however, he resolved, in spite of growing fears, to go to the library, and see whether it were not possible she might be there. He took up a candle, and went down the back stair. But when he opened the library door, a gust of wind blew his candle out; all was darkness within; a sudden horror seized him; and, afraid of yielding to the inclination to bound up the stair, lest he should go wild with the terror of pursuit, he crept slowly back, feeling his way to his own room with a determined deliberateness. — Could the library window have been left open? Else whence the gust of wind?
Next day, and the next, and the next, he fared no better: her behaviour continued the same; and she allowed him no opportunity of requesting an explanation.
A man may be a heretic in the truth; and if he believe things only because his pastor says so, or the assembly so determines, without knowing other reason, though his belief be true, yet the very truth he holds becomes his heresy.—Milton.—Areopagitica.
At length the expected visitors arrived. Hugh saw nothing of them till they assembled for dinner. Mrs. Elton was a benevolent old lady — not old enough to give in to being old — rather tall, and rather stout, in rich widow-costume, whose depth had been moderated by time. Her kindly grey eyes looked out from a calm face, which seemed to have taken comfort from loving everybody in a mild and moderate fashion. Lady Emily was a slender girl, rather shy, with fair hair, and a pale innocent face. She wore a violet dress, which put out her blue eyes. She showed to no advantage beside the suppressed glow of life which made Euphra look like a tropical twilight — I am aware there is no such thing, but if there were, it would be just like her.
Mrs. Elton seemed to have concentrated the motherhood of her nature, which was her most prominent characteristic, notwithstanding — or perhaps in virtue of — her childlessness, upon Lady Emily. To her Mrs. Elton was solicitously attentive; and she, on her part, received it all sweetly and gratefully, taking no umbrage at being treated as more of an invalid than she was.