He was honest, and so replied:
“I do not know. I hope so.”
He felt that she was already beyond him; for she had begun to cry into the vague, seemingly heartless void, and say:
“Is there a God somewhere to hear me when I cry?”
And with all the teaching he had had, he had no word of comfort to give. Yes, he had: he had known David Elginbrod.
Before he had shaped his thought, she said:
“I think, if there were a God, he would help me; for I am nothing but a poor slave now. I have hardly a will of my own.”
The sigh she heaved told of a hopeless oppression.
“The best man, and the wisest, and the noblest I ever knew,” said Hugh, “believed in God with his whole heart and soul and strength and mind. In fact, he cared for nothing but God; or rather, he cared for everything because it belonged to God. He was never afraid of anything, never vexed at anything, never troubled about anything. He was a good man.”
Hugh was surprised at the light which broke upon the character of David, as he held it before his mind’s eye, in order to describe it to Euphra. He seemed never to have understood him before.
“Ah! I wish I knew him. I would go to that man, and ask him to save me. Where does he live?”
“Alas! I do not know whether he is alive or dead — the more to my shame. But he lives, if he lives, far away in the north of Scotland.”
“No. I could not go there. I will write to him.”
Hugh could not discourage her, though he doubted whether a real communication could be established between them.
“I will write down his address for you, when I go in,” said he. “But what can he save you from?”
“From no God,” she answered, solemnly. “If there is no God, then I am sure that there is a devil, and that he has got me in his power.”
Hugh felt her shudder, for she was leaning on his arm, she was still so lame. She continued:
“Oh! if I had a God, he would right me, I know.”
Hugh could not reply. A pause followed.
“Good-bye. I feel pretty sure we shall meet again. My presentiments are generally true,” said Euphra, at length.
Hugh kissed her hand with far more real devotion than he had ever kissed it with before.
She left him, and hastened to the house ‘with feeble speed.’ He was sorry she was gone. He walked up and down for some time, meditating on the strange girl and her strange words; till, hearing the dinner bell, he too must hasten in to dress.
Euphra met him at the dinner-table without any change of her late manner. Mr. Arnold wished him good night more kindly than usual. When he went up to his room, he found that Harry had already cried himself to sleep.