This assertion, if not quite correct, was approximately so, and went much nearer the truth than Mrs. Appleditch’s argument.
“It’s no joking matter, Mr. Sutherland, with my two darlings growing up to be ministers of the gospel.”
“What! both of them?” thought Hugh. “Good heavens!” But he said:
“Well, but you know, Mrs. Appleditch, the Apostles themselves wore beards.”
“Yes, when they were Jews. But who would have believed them if they had preached the gospel like old clothesmen? No, no, Mr. Sutherland, I see through all that. My own uncle was a preacher of the word. — As soon as the Apostles became Christians, they shaved. It was the sign of Christianity. The Apostle Paul himself says that cleanliness is next to godliness.”
Hugh restrained his laughter, and shifted his ground.
“But there is nothing dirty about them,” he said.
“Not dirty? Now really, Mr. Sutherland, you provoke me. Nothing dirty in long hair all round your mouth, and going into it every spoonful you take?”
“But it can be kept properly trimmed, you know.”
“But who’s to trust you to do that? No, no, Mr. Sutherland; you must not make a guy of yourself.”
Hugh laughed, and said nothing. Of course his beard would go on growing, for he could not help it.
So did Mrs. Appleditch’s wrath.
Wo keine Gotter sind, walten Gespenster.
Novalis. — Christenheit.
Where gods are not, spectres rule.
Ein Charakter ist ein vollkommen gebildeter Wille.
Novalis. — Moralische Ansichten.
A character is a perfectly formed will.
It was not long before Hugh repeated his visit to Falconer. He was not at home. He went again and again, but still failed in finding him. The day after the third failure, however, he received a note from Falconer, mentioning an hour at which he would be at home on the following evening. Hugh went. Falconer was waiting for him.
“I am very sorry. I am out so much,” said Falconer.
“I ought to have taken the opportunity when I had it,” replied Hugh. “I want to ask your help. May I begin at the beginning, and tell you all the story? or must I epitomize and curtail it?”
“Be as diffuse as you please. I shall understand the thing the better.”
So Hugh began, and told the whole of his history, in as far as it bore upon the story of the crystal. He ended with the words:
“I trust, Mr. Falconer, you will not think that it is from a love of talking that I have said so much about this affair.”
“Certainly not. It is a remarkable story. I will think what can be done. Meantime I will keep my eyes and ears open. I may find the fellow. Tell me what he is like.”