They left him on the floor, to the care of his landlady, whom they found outside the room, speechless with terror.
As soon as they were in the square, on which the moon was now shining, as it had shone in Euphra’s dream the night before, Falconer gave the ring to Hugh.
“Take it to a jeweller’s, Sutherland, and get it cleaned, before you give it to Miss Cameron.”
“I will,” answered Hugh, and added, “I don’t know how to thank you.”
“Then don’t,” said Falconer, with a smile.
When they reached the end of the street, he turned, and bade Hugh good night.
“Take care of that cowardly thing. It may be as you say.”
Hugh turned towards home. Falconer dived into a court, and was out of sight in a moment.
The last groat.
Thou hast been
As one, in suffering all, that suffers nothing;
A man that fortune’s buffets and rewards
Hast ta’en with equal thanks; and blessed are those
Whose blood and judgment are so well commingled
That they are not a pipe for fortune’s finger
To sound what stop she please.
Most friends befriend themselves with friendship’s show.
Hugh took the ring to Mrs. Elton’s, and gave it into Margaret’s hand. She brought him back a message of warmest thanks from Euphra. She had asked for writing materials at once, and was now communicating the good news to Mr. Arnold, in Madeira.
“I have never seen her look so happy,” added Margaret. “She hopes to be able to see you in the evening, if you would not mind calling again.”
Hugh did call, and saw her. She received him most kindly. He was distressed to see how altered she was. The fire of one life seemed dying out — flowing away and spending from her eyes, which it illuminated with too much light as it passed out. But the fire of another life, the immortal life, which lies in thought and feeling, in truth and love divine, which death cannot touch, because it is not of his kind, was growing as fast. He sat with her for an hour, and then went.
This chapter of his own history concluded, Hugh returned with fresh energy to his novel, and worked at it as his invention gave him scope. There was the more necessity that he should make progress, from the fact that, having sent his mother the greater part of the salary he had received from Mr. Arnold, he was now reduced to his last sovereign. Poverty looks rather ugly when she comes so close as this. But she had not yet accosted him; and with a sovereign in his pocket, and last week’s rent paid, a bachelor is certainly not poverty-stricken, at least when he is as independent, not only of other people, but of himself, as Hugh was. Still, without more money than that a man walks in fetters, and is ready to forget that the various restraints he is under