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intending to smoke it, as he often did, in this place; but he never lighted it. He only, in the intervals of his painful thought, pierced it with his penknife-stopped, and then again, after a while, resumed the work.
It was a trying time. What he had undertaken to do involved a retrospect inexpressibly painful and humiliating. His instinct had only too accurately warned him to keep off such themes altogether. And the future ? Suppose he were even yet to draw back, and use this very election business as an instrument of extrication ? Did he feel the spring, the energy, the clearness of aim and faith that would give him reasonable hope of success ? No, no, no! He doubted everything, and most of all, himself. He doubted success, even if that which is called so were obtained. Doubted, therefore, whether he ought to succeed ; doubted the way he was going, but also doubted whether it would be any gain to change the direction; and if it were, he still doubted whether the gain would be worth the inevitable struggle. The fatalism of the time in English politics and in English society had in John Cunliff an adherent whose obedience to the cause was only equalled by his contempt.for it.
What fine things Mr. Arnold had managed to say of him, without seeming to be insincere! But Arnold was a fine fellow, and saw in his friends what he wanted to see, and had in himself. But there might be grains of truth in the appreciation. Was that all to go for nothing! Could it be—and Cunliff's face changed a little at the thought, and looked decidedly belligerent; could it be that Arnold knew more than he bad chosen to reveal ? Was there a special_and so to say friendly meaning in this visit, which, if fully understood, would explain such unusual demonstrativeness of word and wish ? Was he consciously interposing at a critical time? Then, with an effort to forget Mrs. Rhys, and reverting to Arnold's words, Cunliff tried in a sort of abstract way to look at him. self, and judge whether it was likely he could, if he tried, fulfil such expectations.
Finding little satisfaction in this, he passed, as by an effort of will, to a different theme—what other men thought of him and his 'tastes.' These were said to be exquisite. And of himself there had been circulated the remark, that to make an idle gentleman the world had lost a true artist. If be remembered these things now, it was only to ask himself why
there seemed ever such a principle of death in his tastes, as well as in the gifts for which Arnold gave him credit. Was he, then, the man to teach the world how to live? Absurd ! If, indeed, the answer he expected every instant was unfavourable, then- An almost audible laugh burst from him-bitter and self-mocking—and distorted his face, as he saw the sudden exposure of his logic. He could not while he looked one way; he could when he looked the other! And though he didn't like to confess it, he saw that, after all, that solution might be true, however uncomplimentary
Very well : he accepted it. If she--but that hypothesis needn't be pursued farther ; for he was then committed to her by all the ties of honour. But if the answer were not of the kind he had - perhaps absurdly-anticipated, then
There he is !'he ejaculated aloud, and there was an end to all speculation. The blood came in a rush to his face and brow, as he turned back into the room to meet his man with the letter, if letter there were. There was time enough for an answer—that he knew. He knew, also, that the lady was so occupied as to be sure to have been at home. If there were then no letter, the silence would mean-what? He could not tell- not just then.
Aware of his own agitation, and of the violent heat in his brain, he paused, and quelled it so thoroughly, that by the time the servant entered the face was not merely pale, but so unnaturally white, that the man fancied his master was ill, and forgot what had brought him.
Are you ill, sir ? ! "No!' was the stern reply. George, why the devil do the police allow those vagabonds to squat all the day on the seat there, just in front of my window ? Have them rooted out.'
So saying, he held out his hand to take the letter from the tray, and only thus did George know that his master was conscious there was a letter. When the servant had gone, and not till then, did Cunliff open the delicate pink envelope, and turn suddenly with his back to the light that he might better gaze on that which he had drawn forth, a card portrait.
Only this !' his face seemed doubtfully to ask, and then its sudden illumination told all the rest. He understood it well enough. Presently he was in a cab, the horse galloping under the excitement of the cabman's whip, who knew he had got the right kind of fare, when told to drive fast, and to go to · Coutts's Bank.'
A LONDON TWILIGHT. LONDON is not beautiful, that must be owned ; neither is it grand or picturesque. It is not even convenient. The
practical' men to whom we are indebted for it have not yet carried out in architecture the rule they enforce so vigorously in their ordinary transactions ; they have not found out and discharged the incompetent-themselves.
But even this gigantic medley of buildings loses its hardness, ugliness, and incongruity when twilight hangs like a veil over the whole. Inexpressibly tender then steal forth a thousand objects, animate and inanimate, and we can gaze on and question them, as if suddenly set down in a new world.
That twilight lull is now existing in all its force and beauty for John Cunliff. The sky above, from which the sun has quite vanished, seems yet full of his presence. Wanderers gaze on the fine opal tint with a sense of its pleasantness to the eye; and as they gaze a star appears in it, the first and only one, sparkling, palpitating, wondrously beautiful. Below, at the same time, the artificial lights of the park begin to appear in bright succession among the trees, and Cunliff takes an almost personal interest in the movements of the unseen man who kindles them. The trees themselves, grouped in darkening masses, but forced forwards at intervals into publicity by the lamps, take new shapes; suggest unfamiliar glades and coverts even to those who know them best; and lend a kind of romantic background to the persons walking in the road, and to the carriages that roll dreamily along. The never-ceasing roar of the three millions of people who make up what we call London comes to Cunliff's ear as if some dim thought of the hour possessed, quite unconsciously, for a single instant-for a passing mood, the whole of that diverse mass of humanity.
Hark! It is the clock of the palace tower that strikes with its deep musical and prolonged boom. Before it ceases there comes faintly borne upon the wind, which changes for a moment its direction, the answering voice of the bell of St. Paul's. And then, short and menacing, from the farthest City bounds eastward, comes, also borne upon the breeze, the sounds of the Tower cannon. And to the fancy, the three structures seem to take gigantic life, and to cover London with their far-stretching arms,-religion from Wren's magnificent dome brooding in the centre over all, and having the law and the sword, representatives of existing civilisation, on either hand, keeping watch and ward, within sight alike of the city and of the distant boundaries.
Amid his final preparations John Cunliff comes every now and then to the window to look out. His own thoughts are dream-like as the scene; but with no twilight lull, no twilight peace for their atmosphere.
He hardly seems the same man that we have seen so much of during the last few hours. A sense of spiritual intoxication seems to expand his whole being; though it is so controlled by the Englishman's habitual reticence as to be perceptible only in the softened tone of the voice when he speaks to his servant; in the springy yet cautious step; and in the sparkle of the eye, which, as it glances from time to time towards the brilliant star in the heavens, appears to borrow an unearthly lustre.
He answers now such letters as must be answered. He puts off engagements ; declines invitations—and always on the same plea, his foreign tour. When they are completed, and he is about to send them to the post, he is struck by a sense of the ridiculousness of his position if aught should affect his purposed journey. What if he had made a mistake, after all ? Nonsense he knew better than that. There should be no mistakes. But he might as well retain the letters to the last. So he put them into his pocket, and in order to make occupation, finished the sorting of his . desk papers, by selecting the few he cared to preserve and by burning the rest.
While thus engaged he came upon a single leaf of manuscript in his own handwriting, and which yet seemed freshas if unseen for many years. As he gazed on it his thoughts were carried back to an altogether different and long-forgotten world of daily aims and occupations. He could hardly credit, for the moment, it was he who had written, when about eighteen or nineteen years old, the verses before him.
STUDIES. No. I.
A little hall themselves have made;
Dance through the light, dance through the shade ;
Great world to little, holds the lamp.
He eyes askance the leafy tramp,
The silvery slime-track of the snail ;
And hold him linked by his own trail.
And sensual throat in stifled mirth.
The red worm lengthens from the earth.
Cunliff paused a long time over this paper, looking at it, and not seeing it, but seeing instead the world beyond it, of his vigorous and manly college life, of which these verses were a mere passing mood.
*It's well † had the sense not to go to No. 2,' he said at last as he carefully put by the leaf.
He would go out and freshen his blood, and shake off these morbid tendencies.
He went out. The first thing he saw through the increasing dusk was the family of vagrants on the seat, whom he had ordered to be driven off. He felt in a different mood now. Poor wretches, how desolate they all looked! Had they really no home? Would they sleep there ? Were they very hungry? He wished they would ask him for help. Ho couldn't go to them, it looked so ostentatious—just as if he were on a philanthropic hunt.
While these thoughts ran through his mind he was able, unnoticed, to see something which touched him keenly. The family seemed to have been waiting for the return of a boy, who had been sent somewhere—perhaps to beg. The boy came. Cunliff saw, from the angry gesture of the father, and the pleading attitude of the mother, that the boy's honesty was suspected. The man searched his pockets. Cunliff could not refuse the inviting shelter of a tree-trunk, which enabled him to get close to them, and see the end of the search. The little pockets were all turned out, and from the last of them