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shake off those unthankful (so they said), unpractical, and morbid feelings; to submit, forget, and be consoled. Former trials, the inner voices, my own conscience might with justice have led me to doubt the validity of these conclusions : but I was resolved to neglect no chance ; and to give Nature all avenues for escape and restoration possible, not to waste life on one sigh, became now my careful and eager endeavour. I threw myself with energy into the active duties of my profession, for friends said with a smile, that was an unfailing curative. I took up again every thread of


former rational interests in art and science, studies and poetry, and thought these clues would lead me forth securely from the Daedalaean labyrinth of regret and passion. But it was not so; at the best, (to confess a truth equally sad and unpopular), they were but transitory distractions. How should they be otherwise? Knowledge is no end in itself ; action cannot affect passion, a thing not of contrary, but quite alien nature ; conscience does not restore love. Do what we will, and how we will, the ghosts return; the night of • loss is always there'; the sore heart-wasting unhealed ; the love unsatisfied. However wise, the world's wisdom, whilst it brings palliatives, can bring no cure. But I would not believe this without honest trial.

XVI It is, again, no unfrequent remark, and writers popular in part through such arguments have strenuously sanctioned it, that the physical spirits by proper manipulation may be made a balance to the mental ; that there are few spectres of heaviness which will not fly before energy and frank healthful exercise. I gladly believe this often realized, but if so, it can hold true of superficial sorrows only. Diversion may do much, when vital hope, under whatever disheartenment survives ; when this is gone, we


have lost the fixed aim which gave animation and meaning to diversion. I at least could find no parallel in kind or in remedy between the desolation of the lost love, and the grief which may be landed with a salmon line, or the remembrances that are distanced by a racer. These things cannot restore life. They are one anodyne more with which friends and moralists flavour and disguise the draught of Lethe. Here, too, I may claim to speak from deliberate experience. Returning in a disguise of gladness to the society of friends, I now shared again in bright contests of wit and gaiety, in the fascinations of flood and field, and found often at first that by the precious contagion of friendship, by the force of youth, I too became what I seemed.

There is a charmed narrow circle into which every man who has passed through English Army, Academic, or Artist life possesses the happy privilege of entrance, where, amidst friends of equal 'age, pursuits, and familiarity, through the absolute unreserve of youthful years heart has become known to heart for little and for great, worse and better. Amongst such for some hours together, perhaps in the dim recesses of a London tavern, perhaps by burnside or lake, “the heavy and the weary weight was * lightened', and the mind carried away from that too obstinate yearning after Désirée to matters which, in the felicitous language of Augustine, seized it the rather, colloqui et corridere, et vicissim benevole obsequi, simul legere libros dulciloquos, simul nugari, et simul

honestari ; dissentire interdum sine odio, tanquam ipse “homo secum, atque ipsa rarissima dissensione condire consensiones plurimas ’: “to talk and laugh together, and ‘yield kindly attention by turns, together to read delight'ful books, trifle at once and be serious, dissenting at



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times without passion, as self might from self, and by

such dissension, and that even, how unfrequent ! giving “relish to our general unity'. Looking back to some of these hours, it might be said, I think, that we sought for truth with courageous and open hearts, and often found it. In such companies again, all had hope: the happy, for more happiness, and the disappointed had hope yet ; none could acknowledge their star sunk, or horizon darkened irretrievably. Has it not been said, when night is darkest dawning is nearest ? I caught the favour of the moment, and believed that the bitterness of death was passed.

XVII Or perhaps, (to notice the final phase of that illusory alleviation,) within a certain house, planted in the broad tranquillity of a northern lake-valley between hills on which the double consecration of Nature and of Wordsworth has rested, one dear friend received me with shouts of welcome, repeated by an exulting Newfoundland, and softened into gentler tones by female voices. It was a family of which, through the contagious virtue of college companionship, I became at once an integral member. Then, as if in some great city rich in relics, followed walks where so joyous was the pace that we seemed flying from happiness to happiness, and every mile was signalized by the sight of memorials, unknown and yet familiar :—the · Pillar' over Ennerdale, the central point of tragic interest in Wordsworth’s most perfect poem ; the rock above Rotha, which like something starting from a sleep', echoed with our laughter again ; or that eminence which the poet celebrated in verse of unusual colour and passion :

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'Tis in truth
The loneliest place we have among the clouds.
And She who dwells with me, whom I have loved


With such communion, that no place on earth
Can ever be a solitude to me,
Hath to this lonely Summit given my name.


As upon a splendid August evening I repeated these lines, looking on • Stone Arthur', and beside me a fair young creature, loving and confiding already to her brother's friend,—for one moment that rock seemed to regain the charm it held over Wordsworth, and send its

own deep quiet' to the restoration of the heart and of home happiness. Mercy, I thought, had come, though late ; an authentic blessing, though not the one so long desired, in the sight of Infinite Wisdom a better, perhaps, was granted. .... Must I record that this too was another irony ? I could smile as I remember how the vision ended. For, next evening, when, with a growing and enheartened sense of interest and of familiarity I was standing by the same spot, another friend who had joined us a few hours before from London, suddenly remarked, rather as a man who hints at well-known things than as the bringer of news, · You have heard it of course,-Désirée is married'.

XVIII Then, even after the trial of so many years, I knew first how dear she was ; I may truly say I

grew cold beneath the grasp and fascination of that image which, like the phantom-maid of Corinth, appeared suddenly after burial to recall the lover to his earlier faith. Before this • high instinct ’I trembled • like a guilty thing surprized': I was conscience-smitten of Désirée. O tremendous irony of the revelation, which, disclosing torments hitherto unimagined and that seemed to come like hell-hounds from the abyss, presented also the vision of Désirée glorified and enhaloed with a more perfect and absolute dearness! A

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lifetime could not have stamped the conviction of this with more force than that one moment. It shone upon my soul with a lightning-flash! What, I saw with terror, would be that I was seeking at another's side, but a deceit, treacherous and shameful—a spiritual adultery? Further argument here was superseded by simple emotion. At the thought of the Lady of the Heart that incipient insurrection was arrested, as the half-revolting soldier takes step in the ranks and marches shouting towards death, when the colours of his battalion are unfurled suddenly before him. A sad knowledge, I knew myself before it was too late: and deeply thankful for the seasonable warning, even with its inscrutable and complex bitterness, I was glad to accept the truth ; better so, better Hell itself, —and if ever the phrase may justly be allowed, I might so call that hour's sensations,—than a life of acted faithlessness.

And yet that a hopeless remembrance should assert such enslaving power, was terrible; it appeared like the realization towards myself of that fearful fate which in the belief of the great tragedians of Athens or the greater than Athenian poet of Macbeth, lowered in irresistible dominance alike over king and peasant. Such tragedies, I may add, if the reference appears to any one ostentatious, require neither palaces nor temples, the bath of Mycenae or the halls of Forres, for accessory circumstances of elevation ; may be not less real or romantic today, in the most fashion-fluttering thoroughfare of London, than when Job lamented in the land of Uz, or Oedipus sat forlorn by the grove

of the Furies. In the narrow orbit of mortal passion and destiny, all scenes reproduce themselves : Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, as Dante saw them, are framed and gathered into circles. Like the desolate Phaedra led

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