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man. Well, then, how can we wonder if the children of these later times are born, and grow up, and live in doubt? They are the inheritors of a vast superstructure, the growth of successive ages, which is bewildering even to contemplate, which is a maze of incongruous architectures, and which they must nevertheless take as they find it, without diminution or addition. But, while this edifice has been growing in all directions, the sacred fountain of which, after all, it is only the shrine, has been neglected and overheaped with ruin. Yet we are bidden to maintain. every stone of the temple for the sake of the old wellhead which the temple is choking and hiding.'
"In this way father would gently extenuate Edmond's indifference to religious dogma, and, rather than blame him for lacking conviction, he praised him for honestly endeavoring to substitute, for convictions which he could not conscientiously profess, a strict and exact adherence to the duties imposed upon him by the noble severity of his own judgment. 'And so,' he used to add, laughing, 'we may let Edmond alone for the present. For the future I have no fear. The day will come when love, the grand teacher of us all, will enter my boy's heart. Then the scales will drop from his eyes. Let him but once realize that true and fervent love which asks nothing for itself, which is chiefly blessed and beautified in the bounteous consciousness of the existence, the holy contemplation of the worth of what it loves-that love which makes men's thoughts religious and men's hearts childlike-then you may be sure that his hands will invol untarily clasp themselves in a prayer that will need no prompting from without.'"
SIGNS UPON THE ROAD.
ONE other extract from these letters of Juliet, and I hasten to drop the curtain on a picture which would not have been so long obtruded on the reader's attention but for the significance of its relation to the events immediately to be recorded. The following extract contains the account of a circumstance, to which, in connection with others of the same nature, Edmond himself alludes in that paper which came by chance into my hands on the occasion of my accident in the Bois de Boulogne. The letter from which it is taken must have been written about a month before the death of the old countess.
"Edmond, who had long been free from all attacks, lately alarmed us exceedingly. This time mother was with us, and saw what took place; but fortunately she only saw in it an accident. I saw more, and was dreadfully frightened; but this event has really proved our salvation, and I now recognize in it the hand of Providence, which uses evil for beneficent purposes.
"It was a fine warm afternoon. Edmond had engaged us to drive over in the pony carriage to the old water-mill by the Giant's Seat. He himself accompanied us on horseback, sometimes riding by the side
of the carriage, sometimes on before. He had promised us a pleasant surprise. I must tell you that Edmond, with great skill and taste, has succeeded in bringing all the most beautiful views about L within the circle of the park itself. The old straight carriage-drives have been done away with, or so changed that they now wind in and out among the busks and thickets, sometimes plunging under deep masses of foliage, sometimes sloping into long green vistas, or breaking upon lovely open views.
"After winding about in this way for about three quarters of a mile through the great copse at the bottom of the Home Park, we came quite unexpectedly upon a view of the mill which was entirely new to me. Unawares, and silently, the thick foliage had fallen away from us on either side, and we found ourselves upon a high grassy terrace overhanging the ravine. The scene was as enchanting as it was unexpected. To the right uprose black, abrupt, and bare of herbage, like the side wall of a world, the Giant's Seat. A vast white cloud was settled in slumbrous masses on the summits. It was the mellowest hour of the afternoon, and the whole bosom of the snowy vapor was bathed in golden light. Higher up, the warm sky was in its deepest blue, and the height of the rock's steep flank had the strange effect of seeming to give unusual height to the heaven itself. Above the rock, and above the cloud, in that deep blue dome of breezeless air, two brown hawks were hovering and wheeling. Over the long and thickly-foliaged gorge a broad veil of transparent purple shadow was drawn slantwise from base to summit, slicing one half of the op
posite slopes from the languid yellow light that still leaned downward from the edges of rich green. Hutched among the gray and dewy slabs, in the bloomy bottom of the glen, the old brown mill was crouching by his spectral wheel. Swift from the cloven summit high above, down sprang the shining water-serpent on his prey. There was no sound in the warm hollow but of the shattering of the long cool water, and the groaning of the black-ribbed wheel, which, caught in that foaming coil, kept spinning from his dripping web tissues of dropping pearl and diamond sparks. But underneath, the violent water-spirit, appeased by previous exercise of power, lay at large and at ease in a placid pool of vivid emerald, about whose basalt brinks burned brilliant clusters of the bright red moss. Half way up the glooming mountain-wall a phantom prism came and went, and rose and fell, at fitful intervals, as ever and anon the floated smoke of throbbing spray was tossed into the sun a hand's-breadth higher than the extreme slope of the sunless air beneath. The spirit of the stillness was melancholy, not morose.
"We could hardly bring ourselves to relinquish the luxury of admiration with which we lingered in this charming spot. But the afternoon had deepened round us unperceived, and at last Edmond, reminding us that we had still to visit the mill itself, pushed on his horse toward the mountain road which he has lately constructed, and made a sign to the coachman to follow. I leaned back in the carriage, pensive and dreamy. There was a soothing softness in the early autumn air. At that moment the heavy burden of
memory seemed lightened, and the ever-present past more tolerant of peace. Something in the view we had just been admiring had drawn my thoughts toward Edmond; for, indeed, this view has been almost called into existence by his artistic skill. He was riding on before us slowly. He never looks more to advantage than on horseback. At the junction of the old carriage-drive with the new road, which runs along the flank of the Giant's Seat, there is a fingerpost, which now came into sight at the bend of the valley, with its long arm and stretched forefinger pointed at us, almost as if it were trying to warn us back. So, at least, I have since fancied. Edmond was just in front of the finger-post, and going to turn the corner. Suddenly he gave a faint cry. I saw the reins drop from his hands; I saw him fling up his arms and put his hands before his eyes. He reeled back in his saddle as if he had been shot, and the next moment he was stretched upon the ground senseless. We jumped out of the pony carriage and ran to assist him. The groom, too, who was following, rode up in haste and alighted.
"While we were still stooping over Edmond, we were all terrified by a tremendous noise close to us. We looked up. The mill had become invisible. Hardly a hundred yards before us an enormous fragment of rock, covered in a cloud of white dust, lay sheer across the road and barred the passage. The ponies took fright, turned round, and dashed homeward at full speed. Fortunately, the carriage upset, and this enabled the coachman, who showed great presence of mind, to stop them and bring them back.