“Then you do think there was something supernatural in it?”
“Nothing in the least. It required no supernatural powers to be aware that a great man was dead, and that you had known him well. It annoys me, Sutherland, that able men, ay, and good men too, should consult with ghosts whose only possible superiority consists in their being out of the body. Why should they be the wiser for that? I should as soon expect to gain wisdom by taking off my clothes, and to lose it by getting into bed; or to rise into the seventh heaven of spirituality by having my hair cut. An impudent forgery of that good man’s name! If I were you, Sutherland, I would have nothing to do with such a low set. They are the canaille of the other world. It’s of no use to lay hold on their skirts, for they can’t fly. They’re just like the vultures — easy to catch, because they’re full of garbage. I doubt if they have more intellect left than just enough to lie with. — I have been compelled to think a good deal about these things of late.”
Falconer put a good many questions to Hugh, about Euphra and her relation to the count; and such was the confidence with which he had inspired him, that Hugh felt at perfect liberty to answer them all fully, not avoiding even the exposure of his own feelings, where that was involved by the story.
“Now,” said Falconer, “I have material out of which to construct a theory. The count is at present like a law of nature concerning which a prudent question is the first half of the answer, as Lord Bacon says; and you can put no question without having first formed a theory, however slight or temporary; for otherwise no question will suggest itself. But, in the meantime, as I said before, I will make inquiry upon the theory that he is somewhere in London, although I doubt it.”
“Then I will not occupy your time any longer at present,” said Hugh. “Could you say, without fettering yourself in the least, when I might be able to see you again?”
“Let me see. I will make an appointment with you. — Next Sunday; here; at ten o’clock in the morning. Make a note of it.”
“There is no fear of my forgetting it. My consolations are not so numerous that I can afford to forget my sole pleasure. You, I should think, have more need to make a note of it than I, though I am quite willing to be forgotten, if necessary.”
“I never forget my engagements,” said Falconer.
They parted, and Hugh went home to his novel.
Questions and dreams.
On a certain time the Lady St. Mary had commanded the Lord Jesus to fetch her some water out of the well. And when he had gone to fetch the water, the pitcher, when it was brought up full, brake. But Jesus, spreading his mantle, gathered up the water again, and brought it in that to his mother. — The First (apocryphal) Gospel of the infancy of Jesus Christ.