“But surely all cannot fare alike in the new life.”
“Far from it. According to the condition. But what would be hell to one, will be quietness, and hope, and progress to another; because he has left worse behind him, and in this the life asserts itself, and is. — But perhaps you are not interested in such subjects, Mr. Sutherland, and I weary you.”
“If I have not been interested in them hitherto, I am ready to become so now. Let me go with you.”
As I have attempted to tell a great deal about Robert Falconer and his pursuits elsewhere, I will not here relate the particulars of their walk through some of the most wretched parts of London. Suffice it to say that, if Hugh, as he walked home, was not yet prepared to receive and understand the half of what Falconer had said about death, and had not yet that faith in God that gives as perfect a peace for the future of our brothers and sisters, who, alas! have as yet been fed with husks, as for that of ourselves, who have eaten bread of the finest of the wheat, and have been but a little thankful, — he yet felt at least that it was a blessed thing that these men and women would all die — must all die. That spectre from which men shrink, as if it would take from them the last shivering remnant of existence, he turned to for some consolation even for them. He was prepared to believe that they could not be going to worse in the end, though some of the rich and respectable and educated might have to receive their evil things first in the other world; and he was ready to understand that great saying of Schiller — full of a faith evident enough to him who can look far enough into the saying:
“Death cannot be an evil, for it is universal.”
Samson. O that torment should not be confined
To the body’s wounds and sores,
must secret passage find
To the inmost mind.
inflammation, which no cooling herb
Or medicinal liquor can asswage,
Nor breath of vernal air from snowy Alp.
Sleep hath forsook and given me o’er
To death’s benumming opium as my only cure,
Thence faintings, swoonings of despair,
And sense of heaven’s desertion.
Milton .— Samson Agonistes.
Hitherto I have chiefly followed the history of my hero, if hero in any sense he can yet be called. Now I must leave him for a while, and take up the story of the rest of the few persons concerned in my tale.
Lady Emily had gone to Madeira, and Mr. Arnold had followed. Mrs. Elton and Harry, and Margaret, of course, had gone to London. Euphra was left alone at Arnstead.