“You must not play with such sharp tools just yet. Go and practice your music lesson.”
She was too deeply interested to be put off so quietly, and constantly pondered this singular production, which confirmed in some degree a fancy of her own concerning the pre-existence of the soul. Only on the hypothesis of an anterior life could she explain some of the mental phenomena which puzzled her. Heedless of her guardian’s warning, she had striven to comprehend the philosophy of this methodical madman, and now felt bewildered and restless. This study of Poe was the portal through which she entered the vast Pantheon of Speculation.
A week later, at the close of a dull winter day, Beulah sat as usual in the study. The large parlors and dining room had a desolate look at all times, and of the whole house only the study seemed genial. Busily occupied during the day, it was not until evening that she realized her guardian’s absence. No tidings of him had been received, and she began to wonder at his prolonged stay. She felt very lonely without him, and, though generally taciturn, she missed him from the hearth, missed the tall form and the sad, stern face. Another Saturday had come, and all day she had been with Clara in her new home, trying to cheer the mourner and dash away the gloom that seemed settling down upon her spirits. At dusk she returned home, spent an hour at the piano, and now walked up and down the study, wrapt in thought. The room had a cozy, comfortable aspect; the fire burned brightly; the lamplight silvered the paintings and statues; and on the rug before the grate lay a huge black dog of the St. Bernard order, his shaggy head thrust between his paws. The large, intelligent eyes followed Beulah as she paced to and fro, and seemed mutely to question her restlessness. His earnest scrutiny attracted her notice, and she held out her hand, saying musingly: