“I am going to make a wedding-present of it to your wife, whoever she may happen to be. I hope she will be worthy of it.”
Hugh instantly thought within himself:
“What a wife Margaret would make to Falconer!”
The thought was followed by a pang, keen and clear.
Those who are in the habit of regarding the real and the ideal as essentially and therefore irreconcileably opposed, will remark that I cannot have drawn the representation of Falconer faithfully. Perhaps the difficulty they will experience in recognizing its truthfulness, may spring from the fact that they themselves are un-ideal enough to belong to the not small class of strong-minded friends whose chief care, in performing the part of the rock in the weary land, is — not to shelter you imprudently. They are afraid of weakening your constitution by it, especially if it is not strong to begin with; so if they do just take off the edge of the tempest with the sharp corners of their sheltering rock for a moment, the next, they will thrust you out into the rain, to get hardy and self-denying, by being wet to the skin and well blown about.
The rich easily learn the wisdom of Solomon, but are unapt scholars of him who is greater than Solomon. It is, on the other hand, so easy for the poor to help each other, that they have little merit in it: it is no virtue — only a beauty. But there are a few rich, who, rivalling the poor in their own peculiar excellences, enter into the kingdom of heaven in spite of their riches; and then find that by means of their riches they are made rulers over many cities. She to whose memory this book is dedicated, is — I will not say was — one of the noblest of such.
There are two ways of accounting for the difficulty which a reader may find in believing in such a character: either that, not being poor, he has never needed such a friend; or that, being rich, he has never been such a friend.
Or if it be that, being poor, he has never found such a friend; his difficulty is easy to remove: — I have.
Think then, my soul, that death is but a groom
Which brings a taper to the outward room,
Whence thou spy’st first a little glimmering light;
And after brings it nearer to thy sight:
For such approaches doth heaven make in death.
Hugh found his mother even worse than he had expected; but she rallied a little after his arrival.
In the evening, he wandered out in the bright moonlit snow.
How strange it was to see all the old forms with his heart so full of new things! The same hills rose about him, with all the lines of their shapes unchanged in seeming. Yet they were changing as surely as himself; nay, he continued more the same than they; for in him the old forms were folded up in the new. In the eyes of Him who creates time, there is no rest, but a living sacred change, a journeying towards rest. He alone rests; and he alone, in virtue of his rest, creates change.