His older childhood, too; the strange imaginings he had; his terror of certain senseless thingsfamiliar objects he endowed with life; the slow and gradual breaking out of that one horror, in which, before his birth, his darkened intellect began; how, in the midst of all, she had found some hope and comfort in his being unlike another child, and had gone on almost believing in the slow development of his mind until he grew a man, and then his childhood was complete and lasting; one after another, all these old thoughts sprung up within her, strong after their long slumber and bitterer than ever.
She took his arm and they hurried through the village street. It was the same as it was wont to be in old times, yet different too, and wore another air. The change was in herself, not it; but she never thought of that, and wondered at its alteration, and where it lay, and what it was.
The people all knew Barnaby, and the children of the place came flocking round himas she remembered to have done with their fathers and mothers round some silly beggarman, when a child herself. None of them knew her; they passed each well-remembered house, and yard, and homestead; and striking into the fields, were soon alone again.
The Warren was the end of their journey. Mr Haredale was walking in the garden, and seeing them as they passed the iron gate, unlocked it, and bade them enter that way.
At length you have mustered heart to visit the old place, he said to the widow. I am glad you have.
For the first time, and the last, sir, she replied.
The first for many years, but not the last?
The very last.
You mean, said Mr Haredale, regarding her with some surprise, that having made this effort, you are resolved not to persevere and are determined to relapse? This is unworthy of you. I have often told you, you should return here. You would be happier here than elsewhere, I know. As to Barnaby, its quite his home.
And Grips, said Barnaby, holding the basket open. The raven hopped gravely out, and perching on his shoulder and addressing himself to Mr Haredale, criedas a hint, perhaps, that some temperate refreshment would be acceptablePolly put the ket-tle on, well all have tea!
Hear me, Mary, said Mr Haredale kindly, as he motioned her to walk with him towards the house. Your life has been an example of patience and fortitude, except in this one particular which has often given me great pain. It is enough to know that you were cruelly involved in the calamity which deprived me of an only brother, and Emma of her father, without being obliged to suppose (as I sometimes am) that you associate us with the author of our joint misfortunes.
Associate you with him, sir! she cried.
Indeed, said Mr Haredale, I think you do. I almost believe that because your husband was bound by so many ties to our relation, and died in his service and defence, you have come in some sort to connect us with his murder.
Alas! she answered. You little know my heart, sir. You little know the truth!
It is natural you should do so; it is very probable you may, without being conscious of it, said Mr Haredale, speaking more to himself than her. We are a fallen house. Money, dispensed with the most lavish hand, would be a poor recompense for sufferings like yours; and thinly scattered by hands so pinched and tied as ours, it becomes a miserable mockery. I feel it so, God knows, he added, hastily. Why should I wonder if she does!
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|