I hear Wilfrid singing out that he is aloft, burning to rush ahead, while his beast capers in one spot, abominably ludicrous. This trick of Hippogriff is peculiar, viz., that when he loses all faith in himself, he sinks—in other words, goes to excesses of absurd humility to regain it. Passion has likewise its panting intervals, but does nothing so preposterous. The wreath of black briony, spoken of by Tracy as the crown of Emilia’s forehead, had begun to glow with a furnace-colour in Wilfrid’s fancy. It worked a Satanic distraction in him. The girl sat before him swathed in a darkness, with the edges of the briony leaves shining deadly—radiant above—young Hecate! The next instant he was bleeding with pity for her, aching with remorse, and again stung to intense jealousy of all who might behold her (amid a reserve of angry sensations at her present happiness).
Why had she not made allowance for his miserable situation that night in Devon? Why did she not comprehend his difficulties in relation to his father’s affairs? Why did she not know that he could not fail to love her for ever?
Interrogations such as these were so many switches of the whip in the flanks of Hippogriff.
Another peculiarity of the animal gifted with wings is, that around the height he soars to he can see no barriers nor any of the fences raised by men. And here again he differs from Passion, which may tug against common sense but is never, in a great nature, divorced from it: In air on Hippogriff, desires wax boundless, obstacles are hidden. It seemed nothing to Wilfrid (after several tremendous descents of humility) that he should hurry for Monmouth away, to gaze on Emilia under her fair, infernal, bewitching wreath; nothing that he should put an arm round her; nothing that he should forthwith carry her off, though he died for it. Forming no design beyond that of setting his eyes on her, he turned the head of Hippogriff due Westward.
Penarvon castle lay over the borders of Monmouthshire. Thither, on a night of frosty moonlight, troops of carriages were hurrying with the usual freightage for a country ball:—the squire who will not make himself happy by seeing that his duty to the softer side of his family must be performed during the comfortable hours when bachelors snooze in arm-chairs, and his nobler dame who, not caring for Port or tobacco,