to Olaus, stood of old before the heathen temple of Upsal, and which I affirmed was a yew - but no, nothing that I said could induce my entertainer to relax his taciturnity.

It grew dark, and I became uncomfortable. ‘I must presently be going,’ I at last exclaimed.

At these words he gave a sudden start; ‘Going,’ said he, ‘are you not my guest, and an honoured one?’

‘You know best,’ said I; ‘but I was apprehensive I was an intruder; to several of my questions you have returned no answer.’

‘Ten thousand pardons!’ he exclaimed, seizing me by the hand; ‘but you cannot go now, I have much to talk to you about - there is one thing in particular - ‘

‘If it be the evergreen tree at Upsal,’ said I, interrupting him, ‘I hold it to have been a yew - what else? The evergreens of the south, as the old bishop observes, will not grow in the north, and a pine was unfitted for such a locality, being a vulgar tree. What else could it have been but the yew - the sacred yew which our ancestors were in the habit of planting in their churchyards? Moreover, I affirm it to have been the yew for the honour of the tree; for I love the yew, and had I home and land, I would have one growing before my front windows.’

‘You would do right, the yew is indeed a venerable tree, but it is not about the yew.’

‘The star Jupiter, perhaps?’

‘Nor the star Jupiter, nor its moons; an observation which escaped you at the inn has made a considerable impression upon me.’

‘But I really must take my departure,’ said I; ‘the dark hour is at hand.’

And as I uttered these latter words the stranger touched rapidly something which lay near him - I forget what it was. It was the first action of the kind which I had observed on his part since we sat down to table.

‘You allude to the evil chance,’ said I; ‘but it is getting both dark and late.’

‘I believe we are going to have a storm,’ said my friend, ‘but I really hope that you will give me your company for a day or two; I have, as I said before, much to talk to you about.’

‘Well,’ said I, ‘I shall be most happy to be your guest for this night; I am ignorant of the country, and it is not pleasant to travel unknown paths by night - dear me, what a flash of lightning.’

It had become very dark; suddenly a blaze of sheet lightning illumed the room. By the momentary light I distinctly saw my host touch another object upon the table.

‘Will you allow me to ask you a question or two?’ said he at last.

‘As many as you please,’ said I; ‘but shall we not have lights?’

‘Not unless you particularly wish it,’ said my entertainer; ‘I rather like the dark, and though a storm is evidently at hand, neither thunder nor lightning has any terrors for me. It is other things I quake at - I should rather say ideas. Now permit me to ask you - ‘

And then my entertainer asked me various questions, to all of which I answered unreservedly; he was then silent for some time, at last he exclaimed, ‘I should wish to tell you the history of my life - though not an adventurous one, I think it contains some things which will interest you.’

  By PanEris using Melati.

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