‘Yes, he does,’ said Temple; and so I thought, but denied it, for by the sun’s favour I hoped to see my father that night, and hail Apollo joyfully in the morning; a hope that grew with exercise of my limbs. Beautiful cascades of dark bright water leaped down the gorge; we chased an invisible animal. Suddenly one of us exclaimed, ’We ’re in a German forest’; and we remembered grim tales of these forests, their awful castles, barons, knights, ladies, long-bearded dwarfs, gnomes and thin people. I commenced a legend off-hand.
‘No, no,’ said Temple, as if curdling; ’let’s call this place the mouth of Hades. Greek things don’t make you feel funny.’
I laughed louder than was necessary, and remarked that I never had cared so much for Greek as on board Captain Welsh’s vessel.
‘It’s because he was all on the opposite tack I went on quoting,’ said Temple. ’I used to read with my father in the holidays, and your Rev. Simon has kept you up to the mark; so it was all fair. It ’s not on our consciences that we crammed the captain about our knowledge.’
‘No. I’m glad of it,’ said I.
Temple pursued, ’Whatever happens to a fellow, he can meet anything so long as he can say—I ’ve behaved like a man of honour. And those German tales—they only upset you. You don’t see the reason of the thing. Why is a man to be haunted half his life? Well, suppose he did commit a murder. But if he didn’t, can’t he walk through an old castle without meeting ghosts? or a forest?’
The dusky scenery of a strange land was influencing Temple. It affected me so, I made the worst of it for a cure.