In this mood, the silence accompanied him, and the first visible rays of the morning sun in this same mood found him and saluted him. The excitement and the sleepless night just passed, and the strange narcotic of a quiet, steady anguish, and the sweet quiescence of the air, and the monotonous cradle-like motion of the coach over a road made firm and smooth by a refreshing shower over-night ; these had wrought their wonted effect upon Isabel and Delly ; with hidden faces they leaned fast asleep in Pierre's sight. Fast asleep—thus unconscious, oh sweet Isabel, oh forlorn Delly, your swift destinies I bear in my own !
Suddenly, as his sad eye fell lower and lower from scanning their magically quiescent persons, his glance lit upon his own clutched hand, which rested on his knee. Some paper protruded from that clutch. He knew not how it had got there, or whence it had come, though himself had closed his own grip upon it. He lifted his hand and slowly unfingered and unbolted the paper, and unrolled it, and carefully smoothed it, to see what it might be.
It was a thin, tattered, dried-fish-like thing ; printed with blurred ink upon mean, sleazy paper. It seemed the opening pages of some ruinous old pamphlet a pamphlet containing a chapter or so of some very voluminous disquisition. The conclusion was gone. It must have been accidentally left there by some previous traveller, who perhaps in drawing out his handkerchief, had ignorantly extracted his waste paper.
There is a singular infatuation in most men, which leads them in odd moments, intermitting between their regular occupations, and when they find themselves all alone in some quiet corner or nook, to fasten with unaccountable fondness upon the merest rag of old printed paper—some shred of a long-exploded advertisement