“‘Yes,’ he said solemnly, ’we meet, and it is this meeting that I have sought. How hast thou followed my admonitions! Are these the scenes in which the Aspirant for the Serene Science thinks to escape the Ghastly Enemy? Do the thoughts thou hast uttered—thoughts that would strike all order from the universe—express the hopes of the sage who would rise to the Harmony of the Eternal Spheres?’
“‘It is thy fault,—it is thine!’ I exclaimed. ’Exorcise the phantom! Take the haunting terror from my soul!’
“Mejnour looked at me a moment with a cold and cynical disdain which provoked at once my fear and rage, and replied,—
“’No; fool of thine own senses! No; thou must have full and entire experience of the illusions to which the Knowledge that is without Faith climbs its Titan way. Thou pantest for this Millennium,—thou shalt behold it! Thou shalt be one of the agents of the era of Light and Reason. I see, while I speak, the Phantom thou fliest, by thy side; it marshals thy path; it has power over thee as yet,—a power that defies my own. In the last days of that Revolution which thou hailest, amidst the wrecks of the Order thou cursest as Oppression, seek the fulfilment of thy destiny, and await thy cure.’
“At that instant a troop of masks, clamorous, intoxicated, reeling, and rushing, as they reeled, poured into the room, and separated me from the mystic. I broke through them, and sought him everywhere, but in vain. All my researches the next day were equally fruitless. Weeks were consumed in the same pursuit,—not a trace of Mejnour could be discovered. Wearied with false pleasures, roused by reproaches I had deserved, recoiling from Mejnour’s prophecy of the scene in which I was to seek deliverance, it occurred to me, at last, that in the sober air of my native country, and amidst its orderly and vigorous pursuits, I might work out my own emancipation from the spectre. I left all whom I had before courted and clung to,—I came hither. Amidst mercenary schemes and selfish speculations, I found the same relief as in debauch and excess. The Phantom was invisible; but these pursuits soon became to me distasteful as the rest. Ever and ever I felt that I was born for something nobler than the greed of gain,—that life may be made equally worthless, and the soul equally degraded by the icy lust of avarice, as by the noisier passions. A higher ambition never ceased to torment me. But, but,” continued Glyndon, with a whitening lip and a visible shudder, “at every attempt to rise into loftier existence, came that hideous form. It gloomed beside me at the easel. Before the volumes of poet and sage it stood with its burning eyes in the stillness of night, and I thought I heard its horrible whispers uttering temptations never to be divulged.” He paused, and the drops stood upon his brow.
“But I,” said Adela, mastering her fears and throwing her arms around him,—“but I henceforth will have no life but in thine. And in this love so pure, so holy, thy terror shall fade away.”