So also did Amanda; but not the less did she cherish feelings of
revenge against her whom she more than suspected of having been the
contriver of her harmful discomfiture. She felt certain that Dorothy
had laid the snare into which they had fallen, with the hope if not
the certainty of catching just themselves two in it, and she read in
her, therefore, jealousy and cruelty as well as coldness and
treachery. Rowland on the other hand was inclined to attribute the
mishap to the displeasure of lord Herbert, whose supernatural
acquirements, he thought, had enabled him both to discover and
punish their intrusion. Amanda, nevertheless, kept her own opinion,
and made herself henceforth all eyes and ears for Dorothy, hoping
ever to find a chance of retaliating, if not in kind yet in
plentiful measure of vengeance. Dorothy's odd ways, lawless
movements, and what the rest of the ladies counted her vulgar
tastes, had for some time been the subject of remark to the
gossiping portion of the castle community; and it seemed to Amanda
that in watching and discovering what she was about when she
supposed herself safe from the eyes of her equals and superiors, lay
her best chance of finding a mode of requital. Nor was she satisfied
with observation, but kept her mind busy on the trail, now of one,
now of another vague-bodied revenge.
The charge of low tastes was founded upon the fact that there was
not an artisan about the castle, from Caspar downwards, whom Dorothy
did not know and address by his name; but her detractors, in drawing
their conclusions from it, never thought of finding any related
significance in another fact, namely, that there was not a single
animal either, of consequence enough to have a name, which did not
know by it. There were very few of the animals indeed which did not
know her in return, if not by her name, yet by her voice or her
presence--some of them even by her foot or her hand. She would
wander about the farmyard and stables for an hour at a time,
visiting all that were there, and specially her little horse, which
she had long, oh, so long ago! named Dick, nor had taken his name
from him any more than from Marquis.
The charge of lawlessness in her movements was founded on another
fact as well, namely, that she was often seen in the court after
dusk, and that not merely in running across to the keep, as she
would be doing at all hours, but loitering about, in full view of
the windows. It was not denied that this took place only when the
organ was playing--but then who played the organ? Was not the poor
afflicted boy, barring the blank of his eyes, beautiful as an angel?
And was not mistress Dorothy too deep to be fathomed? And so the
tattling streams flowed on, and the ears of mistress Amanda
willingly listened to their music, nor did she disdain herself to
contribute to the reservoir in which those of the castle whose souls
thirsted after the minutiae of live biography, accumulated their
stores of fact and fiction, conjecture and falsehood.
Lord Herbert came home to bury his little one, and all that was left
behind of her was borne to the church of St. Cadocus, the parish
church of Raglan, and there laid beside the marquis's father and
mother. He remained with them a fortnight, and his presence was much
needed to lighten the heavy gloom that had settled over both his
wife and his father.
As if it were not enough to bury the bodies of the departed, there
are many, and the marquis and his daughter-in-law were of the
number, who in a sense seek to bury their souls as well, making a
graveyard of their own spirits, and laying the stone of silence over
the memory of the dead. Such never speak of them but when compelled,
and then almost as if to utter their names were an act of impiety.
Not In Memoriam but In Oblivionem should be the inscription upon the
tombs they raise. The memory that forsakes the sunlight, like the
fishes in the underground river, loses its eyes; the cloud of its
grief carries no rainbow; behind the veil of its twin-future burns
no lamp fringing its edges with the light of hope. I can better,
however, understand the hopelessness of the hopeless than their
calmness along with it. Surely they must be upheld by the presence
within them of that very immortality, against whose aurora they shut
to their doors, then mourn as if there were no such thing.
Radiant as she was by nature, lady Margaret, when sorrow came, could
do little towards her own support. The marquis said to himself, 'I
am growing old, and cannot smile at grief so well as once on a day.
Sorrow is a hawk more fell than I had thought.' The name of little
Molly was never mentioned between them. But sudden floods of tears
were the signs of the mother's remembrance; and the outbreak of
ambushed sighs, which he would make haste to attribute to the gout,
the signs of the grandfather's.
Dorothy, too, belonged in tendency to the class of the unspeaking.
Her nature was not a bright one. Her spirit's day was evenly, softly
lucent, like one of those clouded calm grey mornings of summer,
which seem more likely to end in rain than sunshine.
Lord Herbert was of a very different temperament. He had hope enough
in his one single nature to serve the whole castle, if only it could
have been shared. The veil between him and the future glowed as if
on fire with mere radiance, and about to vanish in flame. It was not
that he more than one of the rest imagined he could see through it.
For him it was enough that beyond it lay the luminous. His eyes, to
those that looked on him, were lighted with its reflex.
Such as he, are, by those who love them not, misjudged as shallow.
Depth to some is indicated by gloom, and affection by a persistent
brooding--as if there were no homage to the past of love save sighs
and tears. When they meet a man whose eyes shine, whose step is
light, on whose lips hovers a smile, they shake their heads and say,
'There goes one who has never loved, and who therefore knows not
sorrow.' And the man is one of those over whom death has no power;
whom time nor space can part from those he loves; who lives in the
future more than in the past! Has not his being ever been for the
sake of that which was yet to come? Is not his being now for the
sake of that which it shall be? Has he not infinitely more to do
with the great future than the little past? The Past has descended
into hell, is even now ascending glorified, and will, in returning
cycle, ever and again greet our faith as the more and yet more
But even lord Herbert had his moments of sad longing after his
dainty Molly. Such moments, however, came to him, not when he was at
home with his wife, but when he rode alone by his troops on a night
march, or when, upon the eve of an expected battle, he sought sleep
that he might fight the better on the morrow.