‘How!’ said Peter, ‘dost thou think that they had divined my secret?’
‘Not they,’ said I, ’they were, I daresay, thinking too much of themselves and of their own concerns to have divined any secrets of yours. All I mean to say is, they had probably secrets of their own, and who knows that the secret sin of more than one of them was not the very sin which caused you so much misery?’
‘Dost thou then imagine,’ said Peter, ’the sin against the Holy Ghost to be so common an occurrence?’
‘As you have described it,’ said I, ’of very common occurrence, especially amongst children, who are, indeed, the only beings likely to commit it.’
‘Truly,’ said Winifred, ‘the young man talks wisely.’
Peter was silent for some moments, and appeared to be reflecting; at last, suddenly raising his head, he looked me full in the face, and, grasping my hand with vehemence, he said, ’Tell me, young man, only one thing, hast thou, too, committed the sin against the Holy Ghost?’
‘I am neither Papist nor Methodist,’ said I, ’but of the Church, and, being so, confess myself to no one, but keep my own counsel; I will tell thee, however, had I committed, at the same age, twenty such sins as that which you committed, I should feel no uneasiness at these years—but I am sleepy, and must go to rest.’
‘God bless thee, young man,’ said Winifred.
Low and calm—Much better—Blessed effect—No answer—Such a sermon.
Before I sank to rest I heard Winifred and her husband conversing in the place where I had left them; both their voices were low and calm. I soon fell asleep, and slumbered for some time. On my awakening I again heard them conversing, but they were now in their cart; still the voices of both were calm. I heard no passionate bursts of wild despair on the part of the man. Methought I occasionally heard the word Pechod proceeding from the lips of each, but with no particular emphasis. I supposed they were talking of the innate sin of both their hearts.
‘I wish that man were happy,’ said I to myself, ’were it only for his wife’s sake, and yet he deserves to be happy for his own.’
The next day Peter was very cheerful, more cheerful than I had ever seen him. At breakfast his conversation was animated, and he smiled repeatedly. I looked at him with the greatest interest, and the eyes of his wife were almost constantly fixed upon him. A shade of gloom would occasionally come over his countenance, but it almost instantly disappeared; perhaps it proceeded more from habit than anything else. After breakfast he took his Welsh Bible and sat down beneath a tree. His eyes were soon fixed intently on the volume; now and then he would call his wife, show her some passage, and appeared to consult with her. The day passed quickly and comfortably.
‘Your husband seems much better,’ said I, at evening fall, to Winifred, as we chanced to be alone.