He needed to be alone, to consider, to focus his thought; he went off for a walk by himself among the hills, past the spring, up the valley, till he came to a place where the down ran out into the plain, the bluff crowned with a great earthwork. An enormous view lay spread out before him. To left and right the smooth elbows of the uplands ran down into the plain, their skirts clothed with climbing woods and orchards, hamlets half-hidden, with the smoke going up from their chimneys; further out the cultivated plain rose and fell, field beyond field, wood beyond wood, merging at last in a belt of deep rich colour, and beyond that, blue hills of hope and desire, and a pale gleam of sea beyond all. The westering sun filled the air with a golden haze, and enriched the land with soft rich shadows. There was life spread out before him, just so and not otherwise, life organised and constructed into toil and a certain order, out of what dim concourse and strife! For whatever reason, it was there to be lived; one could not change the conditions of it, the sun and the rain, the winter and the spring; but behind all that definite set of forces, was there perhaps a stronger and larger force still, a brimming tide of energy, that clasped life close and loved it, and yet regarded something through it and beyond it that was not yet? His heart seemed full of a great longing, not to avoid life, but to return and live it in a larger way, at once more engaged in it, and more detached from it, each quality ministering to the other. It seemed to him that afternoon that there was something awaiting him greater than anything which had yet befallen him—an open door, through which he might pass to see strange things.
THE HOME CIRCLE
He returned somewhat late, to find tea over and Mrs. Graves gone to her room; but there was tea waiting for him in the library; he went there, and for a while turned over his book, which seemed to him now to be illumined with a new light. It was this that he had been looking for, this gift of power; it was that which lay behind his speculations; he had suspected it, inferred it, but not perceived it; he saw now whither his thought had been conducting him, and why he had flagged in the pursuit.