The Place of the Lion, by Charles Williams

Chapter Ten

The Pit In The House

The conversation between Anthony and Dr. Rockbotham in the car on the way to Berringer’s house was of the politest and chattiest kind, interspersed with moments of seriousness. They began by discussing the curious meteorological conditions, agreeing that such frequent repetitions of thunder without lightning or rain were very unusual.

“Some kind of electrical nucleus, I suppose,” the doctor said, “though why the discharge should be audible but not visible, I don’t know.”

“I noticed it when I was down on Thursday,” Anthony remarked, “and again yesterday. It seems to be louder when we get out of town; inside it’s much less.”

“Deadened by the ordinary noises, I expect,” the doctor said. “Very upsetting for some of my patients — the nervous ones, you know. Even quite steady people are affected in the funniest way sometimes. Now my wife, for instance — nobody less nervous than she is, you’ll agree — yet when she came in this morning — there’s an old servant of ours she generally calls on every Sunday morning when it’s fine and she’s not busy — she had an extraordinary tale of a kind of small earthquake.”

“Earthquake!” Anthony exclaimed.

“She declared the ground shifted under her,” the doctor went on. “She was crossing the allotments just round by the railway bridge at the time, and she nearly fell on a lot of cabbages; in fact she did stumble among them — rather hurt her foot, which was how it cropped up. Of course I wouldn’t say there couldn’t have been a slight shock, but I was about the town at the time, and I didn’t notice anything. You didn’t either, I suppose?”

“Nothing at all,” Anthony said.

“No, I thought not,” the doctor said. “The heat too — do you feel it? It’s going to be a very trying summer.”

Anthony, lying back in the car, with a grim look on his face, said, “It is going to be a very trying summer.”

“You don’t like this heat?” the doctor asked. And “I don’t like this heat,” Anthony with perfect truth replied.

“Well, we don’t all of us. I don’t mind it myself,” the doctor said. “It’s the winter I don’t care for. A doctor’s life, you know; all sorts of weather and all sorts of people. Especially the people; I sometimes say I’d as soon be doctor to a zoo.”

“Talking of zoos, did they ever catch the lioness that got loose round here the other day?” Anthony asked.

“Now that was a funny thing,” the other answered. “We heard all sorts of rumours on the Tuesday night, but there’s been no more news. They think it must have gone in the other direction and they’ve been following it that way, I believe. Of course people are a bit shy of coming out of the town by night, but that’s sheer funk. These imprisoned creatures are very timorous, you know. Supposing there ever was a lioness at all. The show itself moved on the next day, and when I saw the Chief Inspector on Friday he was inclined to laugh at the idea.”

“Was he?” Anthony said. “He must be a brave man.”

“As I said to him,” the doctor went on, “I’d rather laugh at the idea than the thing. So would anybody, I expect.”

He paused, but Anthony had no wish to answer. He felt a constriction at his heart as he listened; “the idea” meant to him a spasm of fear, and he was aware that he existed unhappily between two states of knowledge, between the world around him, the pleasant ordinary world in which one laughed at or discussed ideas, and a looming unseen world where ideas — or something, something living and terrible, passed on its own business, overthrowing minds, wrecking lives, and scattering destruction as it went. There already was the house, silent and secret, in which perhaps potentialities beyond all knowledge waited or shaped themselves. Need he get out of the car — as he was doing? open the gate — enter the garden? Couldn’t he get back now, on some excuse or none, before the door opened and they had to go in to where that old man, as he remembered him, lay in his terrible passivity? What new monstrosity, what beast of indescribable might or beauty, was even now perhaps dragging itself down the stairs? What behemoth would come lumbering through the hall?

Actually the only behemoth, and though she was fat she was hardly that, was the housekeeper. She let them in, she conversed with the doctor; she ushered them up the stair to where at the top the male nurse waited. Anthony followed, and, his heart full of Quentin and Damaris, aspired to the knowledge which should give them both security and peace. He remembered the sentences over which he had brooded half the night. “The first circle is of the lion; the second circle is of the serpent; the third circle —” O what, what was the third? what sinister fate centuries ago had so mutilated that volume of angelical lore as to forbid his discovery now? “The wings of an eagle.” Well, if that was what was needed, then, so far as he could, he would enter into that circle of the eagle which was the — what had the sentence said? —“The knowledge of the Celestials in the place of the Celestials.”

“And God help us all,” he added to himself, as he came into the bedroom.

He stood aside while the doctor, leaning over the bed, made his examination. There had, the nurse’s report told them, been no change; still silent and motionless the adept lay before them. Anthony walked over to the bed while the doctor spoke to the nurse, and looked at the body. The eyes were open but unseeing; he gazed into them, and went on gazing. Here perhaps, could he reach it, the secret lay; he leaned closer, seeking, half-unconsciously, to penetrate it. For a moment he could have fancied that they flicked into life, but not common life; that a dangerous vitality threatened him. Threaten? He leaned nearer again —“the knowledge of the Celestials in the place of the Celestials.” Quentin — Damaris. He could not avoid the challenge that had momently gleamed from those eyes; it had vanished, but he intensely expected its return. He forgot the doctor, he forgot Berringer, he forgot everything but those open unresponsive eyes in which lurked the presage of defeat or victory. What moved, what gleamed, what shone at him there? What was opening?

“Quite comatose, poor fellow!” a voice close by him gibbered suddenly.

“Er — yes,” said Anthony, and pulled himself upright. He could have sworn that the slightest film passed over the eyes, and reluctantly he turned his own away. But they were dazzled with the strain; he could not see the room very clearly; there seemed to be dark openings everywhere — the top of the jug on the wash stand, the mirror of the dressing-table, the black handle of the grey painted door, all these were holes in things, entrances and exits perhaps, like rabbit holes in a bank from which something might rapidly issue. He heard the dull voice say again: “Shall we go downstairs?” and found himself walking cautiously across the room. As he came near the door he couldn’t resist a backward glance — and the head had turned surely, and the eyes were watching him? No — it was still quiet on the pillow, but over beyond it the dressing-table mirror showed an oval blackness. He looked at it steadily, then he became aware that he was standing by the door right in the doctor’s way; with a murmur of apology he seized the handle and opened it.

“It makes it so awkward,” Dr. Rockbotham said, passing through, with a little bow of acknowledgement, “when there is no easy way of —”

Anthony followed, shutting the door after him, and as he turned to step along the landing, found that he stood on a landing indeed but no more that of the simple house into which he had so recently come. It was a ledge rather than a landing, and though below him he saw the shadowy forms of staircase and hall, yet below him and below these there fell great cliffs, bottomless, or having the bottom hidden by flooding darkness. He was standing above a vast pit, the walls of which swept away from him on either side till they closed again opposite him, and some sort of huge circle was complete. He looked down with — he was vaguely aware — a surprising freedom from fear; and presently he turned his eyes upward; half-expecting to see that same great wall extending incalculably high above his head. So indeed it did, but there was a difference, for above it leaned outward, and far away he saw a cloudy white circle of what seemed the sky. He would have known it for the sky only that it was in motion; it was continually passing into the wall of the abyss, so that a pale vibration was for ever surging in and around and down those cliffs, as if a steady landside slipped ever downwards in waves of movement, which at last were lost to sight somewhere in the darkness below. He half put his hand out to touch the wall behind him and then desisted, for such effort would assuredly be vain. It was to the distance and the space that his attention was invited — more, he began to feel, than his attention, even his will and his action. The persistent faint shadow of the staircase distracted him; it hung on the side of the pit and the hall to which it led seemed to be part of the cliff. But he didn’t want to look at that — his awaking concentration passed deeper, expecting something, waiting for something, perhaps that wind which he felt beginning to blow. It was very gentle at first, and it was blowing round him and outwards, forcing him, as it grew stronger, towards the brink of the ledge. There came upon him an impulse to resist, to press back, to cling to his footing on this tiny break in the smooth sweep of the cliff, to preserve himself in his own niche of safety. But as still that strength increased he would yield to such a desire, a greater thing than that was possible — it was for him to know, urgently for him to know, what that other thing might be. He was standing on the very edge, and the wind was rising into driving might, and a dizziness caught him; he could not resist — why then, to yield, to throw himself outward on the strength that was driving through him as well as around him, to be one with that power, to be blown on it and yet to be part of it — nothing could oppose or bear up against it and him in it. Yet on the edge he pressed himself back; not so, was his passage to be achieved — it was for him to rise above that strength of wind; whether he went down or up it must be by great volition, and it was for such volition that he sought within him. But as he steadied himself there slid a doubt into his mind; what and how could he will? He was thinking faster than he had ever done, and questions rose out of nothing and followed each other — what was to will? Will was determination to choose — what was choice? How could there be choice, unless there was preference, and if there was preference there was no choice, for it was not possible to choose against that preferring nature which was his being; yet being consisted in choice, for only by taking and doing this and not that could being know itself, could it indeed be; to be then consisted precisely in making an inevitable choice, and all that was left was to know the choice, yet even then was the chosen thing the same as the nature that chose, and if not . . . So swiftly the questions followed each other that he seemed to be standing in flashing coils of subtlety, an infinite ring of vivid intellect and more than intellect, for these questions were not of the mind alone but absorbed into themselves physical passion and twined through all his nature on an unceasing and serpentine journey.

And still all round the walls of the abyss that shaking landslide went on, veiling the dark background with waves of moving pallor within it, and faint colour grew in dark and light, and immense ripples shook themselves down or up, and swifter and swifter those coils of enormous movement went by. By a violent action of the will he questioned Anthony again, drew himself back both from safety and from abandonment, and paused in expectation of what new danger should arise.

His eyes went upward and beheld the sky, and against that sky, as if descending from an immense distance within it, came a winged form. High at first and lifted up, it came down in lessening spirals, until it hovered in mid-air opposite him, and then drove towards the other side of the abyss, and came round again, and hovered, facing him. It was a giant of the eagle kind; and its eyes, even from that remote distance, burned at him with so piercing a gaze that he shut his own and stepped back against the wall behind him. He had heard of drowning men who had seen their whole life in the instant before death, and in a like simultaneous presentation he was aware of his own: of innumerable actions — many foolish, some evil; many beautiful, some holy. And as if he read the history of another soul he saw running through all the passionate desire for intellectual and spiritual truth and honesty, saw it often blinded and thwarted, often denied and outraged, but always it rose again and soared in his spirit, itself like an eagle, and always he followed in it the way that it and he had gone together. The sight of his denials burned through him: his whole being grew one fiery shame, and while he endured to know even this because things were so and not otherwise, because to refuse to know himself as he was would have been a final outrage, a last attempt at flight from the Power that challenged him and in consequence an entire destruction by it — while he endured the fire fell away from him and he himself was mysteriously rushing over the abyss. He was riding in the void, flying without wings, securely existing by movement and balance among the dangers of that other world. He was poised in a vibration of peace, carried within some auguster passage. The myriad passage of the butterflies recurred to his consciousness, and with an inrush of surpassing happiness he knew that he was himself offering himself to the state he had so long desired. Triumphant over the twin guardians of that place of realities, escaped from the lion and the serpent, he grew into his proper office, and felt the flickers of prophecy pass through him, of the things of knowledge that were to be. Borne now between the rush of gigantic wings he went upward and again swept down; and the cliffs of the abyss had vanished, for he moved now amid sudden shapes and looming powers. Patterned upon the darkness he saw the forms — the strength of the lion and the subtlety of the crowned serpent, and the loveliness of the butterfly and the swiftness of the horse — and other shapes whose meaning he did not understand. They were there only as he passed, hints and expressions of lasting things, but not by such mortal types did the Divine Ones exist in their own blessedness. He knew, and submitted; this world was not yet open to him, nor was his service upon earth completed. And as he adored those beautiful, serene, and terrible manifestations, they vanished from around him. He was no more in movement; he was standing again on his ledge; a rush of mighty wings went outward from him, and the darkness of the walls in which it was lost swept towards him on all sides. A noise of hollow echoes came to him, and he was aware of his own limbs making abrupt and jerky movements. He saw a barrier by him, and laid his hand on it in the dizziness that attacked him. This passed and he came to himself.

“— discovering where his relations live — if any,” Dr. Rockbotham said, shaking his head, and beginning the descent of the stairs.

“Quite,” said Anthony, following him slowly down and into one of the rooms on the ground floor. He wasn’t sorry to sit down; the doctor meanwhile wandering round rather restlessly. He was saying something but Anthony was incapable of knowing what, or what his own voice at intervals said in answer. What on earth had happened on the landing? Had he fainted? Surely not or the doctor would have noticed it — people generally did notice when other people fainted. But he felt very breathless, and yet quite keen. Damaris — something or other was necessary for Damaris. No hurry; it would be clear soon what he was to do. Quentin too — if Quentin had only held out, he would be safe yet. And then the end.

Apparently during this settling of his inner faculties he had been saying the right things, for the doctor was now standing at the French windows looking quite satisfied.

“Very good,” Anthony said, and stood up.

“Yes,” Dr. Rockbotham answered, “I think that’ll be best. After all, as things are, there’s no immediate hurry.”

“None at all,” Anthony agreed, and rather wondered why. It was certain that there wasn’t, not for whatever Rockbotham was talking about; the things about which there was, if not hurry, at least a necessity for speed, were quite other. But for a knowledge of them he must wait on the Immortals.

“Well, shall we go?” the doctor said, and they began to move towards the door. As Anthony stood up however his eyes caught — he paused to look and it had gone — a sudden point of flame flickering in a corner of the ceiling. He stepped forward, his eyes still fixed on the spot, and again he saw a little rapid tongue of fire burn down the whole corner of the room from ceiling to floor. It swept down and vanished, and he saw the wallpaper unsinged behind it. He shifted his gaze, glancing round the room; as he took in the floor he saw another flame spring up all round his foot as he put it down, and then that also was gone. The doctor, just in front of him, was passing through the doorway, and as he did so a thin line of fire flamed along doorposts and lintel so that Rockbotham stood for a moment in an arch of fire; he went on, and it had disappeared. Anthony followed him into the hall; there also as he went the sudden little flames peered out and vanished — one curled momently round the umbrella-stand, one spread itself in a light glow over the lid of a huge chest that stood there, one broke in a rosy flower of fire right in the middle of the wall and then folded itself up and faded. Anthony caught up with the doctor, and opened his lips to speak, but before he could do so a sudden sharp pain struck into his side, near his heart, as if the beak of a great bird had wounded him. He gasped involuntarily, and the doctor looked round.

“Did you speak?” he asked.

Down the open doorway in front, where the housekeeper was holding the door for them, fell a rain of fiery sparks, and then a curtain of leaping flames, pointing upward and falling downward, as if some burning thing had been dropped. The housekeeper was looking through it at the garden; the pain stabbed again at Anthony’s heart. He shook his head with an articulate murmur, as the doctor nodded goodbye to the woman, and as Anthony, silent, followed his example, the sharp injury ceased, and a throb of relief and content took its place. In the virtue of that healing silence he got into the car and sat down.

“The thunder’s still sounding,” the doctor said as they started.

“Is it?” Anthony said. It did not strike him as particularly curious that he could not hear it, though with a certain amusement he reflected that if the servants of the Immortals were blind and deaf to the sights and sounds ordinary people noticed it might be slightly inconvenient. Perhaps that, in the past, was why so many of them came to violent and painful ends. But the thunder — which was not thunder, he knew, but the utterance of the guardian of the angelical world — he certainly could not hear. He almost felt as if he might if he gave his whole attention to it, but why give his whole attention to it, unless it would please anyone very much? And he didn’t think Dr. Rockbotham was interested enough to want that.

During the ride he looked at the country. Things were not yet clear to him; but communication was going on within him. As they ran past the first few scattered houses of the town, he thought he saw once more the shape of the lion, but he noticed it with awe certainly but now with no fear. The strength that had once overthrown him had now no power upon him; he was within it, and under the protection of another of the great Ideas, that Wisdom which knew the rest and itself also, the very tradition of the Ideas and the Angelicals being but a feather dropped from its everlasting and effectual wing.

Dr. Rockbotham said: “Did you happen to try and lift his hand?”

“Curious, very curious,” the doctor ran on. “It’s almost impossible, so heavy, so impossible to move. I’ve never known a case quite like this. If there’s no change tomorrow I shall certainly get another opinion.”

How could one move the gate of the universals? Pull up the columns through which they passed? But Rockbotham was a good man; he was serving to the best of his power, innocent, devoted, mild, surrendered to the intention of some one of these Authorities which had yet not become manifest. He would go safely among outer wonders until the place of goodness was reached, and then — if that assumption were still proceeding — be gently received into his ruling Idea. Happy were those who found so simple and easy a passing! For others, for those who were given up to the dragon and not to the angel, it might be a more difficult way. From such destruction at least he believed Damaris to be, by her very ignorance and unmalicious childishness, secure.

He refused an invitation to lunch, parted from his companion at the door of his hotel, and after a solitary meal went to his room, and there fell asleep. He slept without disturbance and without dreams till late in the evening, and woke at peace. In the same inner quiet he rose, changed, and set out for Richardson’s. What took him there he could hardly tell, and did not indeed trouble to inquire. In that profound sleep, something seemed to have been lost; the little goblin of self-consciousness which always, deride it as he would, and derision in fact only nourished and magnified it, danced a saraband in his mind — that goblin had faded and was gone. He moved, though he did not know it, with a new simplicity, and his very walk through the streets had in it a quality of intention which it had never before possessed. He rang in the same way, with no doubt whether Richardson was at home; if Richardson had not been at home he would not have been there, he knew. When he was admitted he shook hands with a joyous smile.

Richardson, when they were settled, sat back and studied him. Anthony, at amused leisure, noticed this and waited for the other to speak.

At last —“You’re there then?” Richardson said.

“There?” Anthony asked. “If you mean the house, I’ve been there.”

“Do you know how bright your eyes are?” the other irrelevantly asked.

Anthony broke into a laugh, the first time he had laughed wholeheartedly for several days. “Well, that’s jolly!” he said. “I hope they’ll impress Damaris that way.” But he offered no explanation of the name and Richardson courteously ignored it. Instead, he said, thoughtfully, “So you’ve been to the house? And what do you know of things now?”

Anthony found himself a little unwilling to speak, not because he mistrusted Richardson, but because to recount his own experience would take them no farther. It was no use saying to another soul, “I did — I saw — I was — this, that, or the other,” because what applied to him couldn’t apply to anyone else, not to anyone else at all in the whole community of mankind. Some more general, some ceremonial utterance was needed. Now, if ever, he needed the ritual of words arranged and shaped for that end. He saw the De Angelis on the table, leaned forward, and picked it up, looking over at Richardson as he did so.

“How can I tell you?” he said. “We don’t know Victorinus; let’s see if he can be the mouthpiece of the gods. Shall I?”

“Do as you like,” the other answered. “Perhaps you’re right; if the symbols are there ready why bother to make fresh?”

Anthony considered this for a few seconds, as if it held some meaning of which he was uncertain. But presently he opened the book, and slowly turned the pages, reading aloud a sentence here and there, and translating as he read. To a certain extent he had always kept up his own Latin, but it was not merely that knowledge which now enabled him to understand so easily the antique habit of the tongue; his perseverance did but open the way to a larger certainty.

“‘As it is written Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the world? and this is the place of the foundations, out of which there arise all kinds of men compact of powers; and therefore it was that when the Lord would rebuke Job he demanded of him concerning the said foundations, saying Doth the eagle mount up at thy command? and She dwelleth on the crag of the rock and the strong place’ . . .

“‘But the names that are given are of one kind, as when it is said among the wise that there is strength or beauty, or humility, meaning that certain men are strong or beautiful or humble, which certain heretics wrenched to their destruction, saying that these names were no more than words used for many like things and had in themselves no meaning; and the shapes which are seen are of another, as the lion and the eagle and the unicorn and the lamb . . . Nor is either made sufficient, but as a foreknowledge of the revelation that shall be.’ . . .

“‘Also they have power in death, and woe unto him that is given up to them and torn aside between them, having no authority over the Mighty Ones because he is cast out from salvation and hath never governed them in himself.’ . . .

“‘For there is a mystery of the earth and the air, and of the water and the air, and the Divine Ones manifest themselves in both according to their natures; so that the circle of the lion is that of leviathan, and of the others accordingly: as it is written There is one flesh of beasts and another of fish, and They that go down to the sea in ships these see the works of the Lord and his wonders in the great deep . . . ’”

Anthony stopped reading, and Richardson said briefly: “But there is something beyond them all.”

“It may be,” the other said, “and that I suppose we shall discover in time. Meanwhile —”

“There is no meanwhile at all,” Richardson interrupted. “I think that this fellow was quite right, and I believe you’ve seen and known something. But for myself I will go straight to the end.”

Anthony swayed the book slowly in his hand. “Isn’t there an order,” he said, “in everything? If one has to find balance, and a kind of movement in balance . . . I mean, to act here where we are. . . . ”

“But I don’t want to act where we are,” the other cried out sharply. “Why should one act?”

“Other people, perhaps,” Anthony almost shyly suggested. “If by any chance . . . ”

He stopped abruptly, and listened. Then he stood up, put down the book, and said, “Open the window.” The words were not exactly a command nor a request; they came to Richardson rather as a statement of something he was about to do; they passed on into the outer world a thing which was already preordained. But though he moved to obey he was already too late; Anthony had crossed the room, pushed the window up, and was leaning out. Richardson came up behind him and also listened.

The Sunday evening was very quiet. A few noises, wheels, footsteps, a door shutting, broke the stillness, and from some distance off the last hymn of the evening service at some church. That died away, and for a few minutes there was utter silence. In that silence there came to Anthony, distant but shrill, the sound of a woman’s terrified scream. He pulled himself back, shut the window, said to Richardson, “I’m sorry, I must go. That was Damaris,” and moved with extreme lightness and extreme quickness to the front door, gathering his hat and stick in one movement as he passed. Richardson called out something which he did not catch; he waved his hand, took a leap down the steps, and ran along the street at top speed.

He was happily aware, as he went, of how easy, how lovely, it was to run like this; he was, more deeply and even more happily, aware that the moment for which he had long waited was come. But he was not aware of himself as bringing any help; it was his business to run because by that some sort of help could reach Damaris; what, he could no more tell than he could tell what danger had threatened her and had wrung from her that scream which some interior faculty of his soul had caught. He came to the corner and turned it.

Richardson, startled out of his contemplations by Anthony’s movement, had at first hesitated, and then, half-involuntarily, followed, as if drawn in the other’s train. But when he in turn came to the corner he stopped. He saw Anthony before him but he saw something else too.

In the middle of the street was a horse and cart . . . or there had been. It had been jogging along peacefully enough when suddenly its sleeping driver felt the reins torn from his hand, heard a crash and a rending, awoke from his doze, and saw the horse tearing itself free of cart and harness. Its white coat gleamed silver; it grew larger and burst the leather bands that held it; it tossed its head, and the absurd blinkers fell off; it swept its tail round and the shafts snapped and fell. The horse made one final plunge and stood free. The frightened driver, cursing, began to clamber out of the cart. As he did so, he saw a young man running down the street at a tremendous speed, and shouted to him to get hold of the horse’s head. The young man swerved, apparently to obey, came up to the horse, leapt with the full force of his run, and with one hand to its neck so sat astride. The driver, half-way between his seat and the ground, cried out again with greater oaths, and fell gapingly silent. For the young man, now settling himself, turned the horse with his heel, and both against the sinking sun faced the terrified man. They were, he dimly realized, startlingly magnificent; they loomed before him, and then the horse was in motion and they were both flying down the street.

From the corner Richardson, standing still, watched them go, seeing, for the first time in this new world of appearances, the union of high powers for high ends. Where they were going he could not tell, but they went with glory scattered about them and the noise of music. There seemed to him, as he watched, to be not one horse but many horses charging away from him down the street, herds from the pampas and the steppes, a thundering army, riotous and untamed. Here and there amid those tossing manes he saw riders, but their shape and aspect he could not see, only far beyond that wild expanse of haunches and backs and necks, he saw Anthony, sitting easily upright, leading them, directing them, by virtue of the steed he rode. Down that provincial street all the horses of the world seemed pouring, but he realized that what he saw was only the reflection of the single Idea. One form, and only one, was galloping away from him: these other myriads were its symbols and exhalations. They were not there, not yet, how uneasily soever in stables and streets the horses of that neighbourhood stirred and stamped, and already kicked at gates and carts in order to break free. They were not yet there, although far away on Eastern and Western plains, the uneasy herds started, and threw up their heads and snuffled at the air, and whinnied, and broke into quick charges, feeling already upon the wind the message of that which they were. ‘The huntsmen in Persia’ soothed their steeds; Chinese squadrons on the march or at bivouac were thrown into disorder; the grooms of the Son of Heaven in Tokio and Kioto ran in alarm to their charges. Out on the Pacific other keepers watched anxiously in scattered ships the restless stamping of sea-borne steeds; farmers in America left their work, and small Mexican figures whispered together as they felt the frenzy rising in many a corral. But the premonition passed, and the wild gallop faded from Richardson’s eyes as the distant Anthony wheeled into another road. He sighed and turned and went back to his rooms, while his own thoughts went out again in a perpetual aspiration beyond even the Celestials to That which created the Celestials.

In a spirit of less devotion, but shattered by — for him — wilder and less tolerable vision, the abandoned driver was leaning against his broken cart, holding it with the intensity almost of madness, and crying out perpetually —“My God! O my God!”

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 12:30