As it was, Richard had gazed at her hardly for a minute when he found the tears running down his face, and starting up, ashamed of the unmanly weakness, hardly knew what he was doing before he found himself in the open air. From the hall clock came the first stroke of twelve as he closed the door behind him. It was the hour at which mother Rees had offered him a meeting with Dorothy; but it was assuredly with no expectation of seeing her that he turned his steps towards her dwelling.
When he reached the spot at which he usually turned off by a gap in the hedge to needle his way through the unpathed wood, he yielded to the impulses of memory and habit, and sought the yew-circle, where for some moments he stood by the dumb, disfeatured stone, which seemed to slumber in the moonlight, a monument slowly vanishing from above a vanished grave. Indeed it might well have been the grave of buried Time, for what fitter monument could he have than a mutilated sun-dial, what better enclosure than such a hedge of yews, and more suitable light than that of the dying moon? Or was it but that the heart of the youth, receiving these things as into a concave mirror, reprojected them into space, all shadowy with its own ghostliness and gloom? Close by the dial, like the dark way into regions where time is not, yawned the mouth of the pleached alley. Beyond that was her window, on which the moon must now be shining. He entered the alley, and walked softly towards the house. Suddenly, down the dark tunnel came rushing upon him Dorothy’s mastiff, with a noise as of twenty soft feet, and a growl as if his throat had been full of teeth—changing to a boisterous welcome when he discovered who the stranger was. Fearful of disturbing the household, Richard soon quieted the dog, which was in the habit of obeying him almost