How is it, Mejnour, that, as my diviner art abandoned me,—as, in my search for Viola, I was aided but by the ordinary instincts of the merest mortal,—how is it that I have never desponded, that I have felt in every difficulty the prevailing prescience that we should meet at last? So cruelly was every vestige of her flight concealed from me,—so suddenly, so secretly had she fled, that all the spies, all the authorities of Venice, could give me no clew. All Italy I searched in vain! Her young home at Naples!—how still, in its humble chambers, there seemed to linger the fragrance of her presence! All the sublimest secrets of our lore failed me,—failed to bring her soul visible to mine; yet morning and night, thou lone and childless one, morning and night, detached from myself, I can commune with my child! There in that most blessed, typical, and mysterious of all relations, Nature herself appears to supply what Science would refuse. Space cannot separate the father’s watchful soul from the cradle of his first-born! I know not of its resting-place and home,—my visions picture not the land,—only the small and tender life to which all space is as yet the heritage! For to the infant, before reason dawns,—before man’s bad passions can dim the essence that it takes from the element it hath left, there is no peculiar country, no native city, and no mortal language. Its soul as yet is the denizen of all airs and of every world; and in space its soul meets with mine,—the child communes with the father! Cruel and forsaking one,—thou for whom I left the wisdom of the spheres; thou whose fatal dower has been the weakness and terrors of humanity,—couldst thou think that young soul less safe on earth because I would lead it ever more up to heaven! Didst thou think that I could have wronged mine own? Didst thou not know that in its serenest eyes the life that I gave it spoke to warn, to upbraid the mother who would bind it to the darkness and pangs of the prison-house of clay? Didst thou not feel that it was I who, permitted by the Heavens, shielded it from suffering and disease? And in its wondrous beauty, I blessed the holy medium through which, at last, my spirit might confer with thine!
And how have I tracked them hither? I learned that thy pupil had been at Venice. I could not trace the young and gentle neophyte of Parthenope in the description of the haggard and savage visitor who had come to Viola before she fled; but when I would have summoned his idea before me, it refused to obey; and I knew then that his fate had become entwined with Viola’s. I have tracked him, then, to this Lazar House. I arrived but yesterday; I have not yet discovered him.