Page:Pierre.djvu/447

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ISABEL 433

resolved and immovable nun-like cousin ; vowed to dwell with thee forever ; to serve thee and her, to guard thee and her without end. Prepare some little corner for me somewhere ; but let it be very near. Ere I come, I shall send a few little things, the tools I shall work by, Pierre, and so contribute to the welfare of all. Look for me then. I am coming ! I am coming, my Pierre ; for a deep, deep voice assures me, that all noble as thou art, Pierre, some terrible jeopardy involves thee, which my continual presence only can drive away. I am coming ! I am coming!    LUCY.'


III

When surrounded by the base and mercenary crew, man, too long wonted to eye his race with a suspicious disdain, suddenly is brushed by some angelical plume of humanity, and the human accents of superhuman love, and the human eyes of superhuman beauty and glory, suddenly burst on his being ; then how wonderful and fearful the shock ! It is as if the sky -cope were rent, and from the black valley of Jehoshaphat, he caught upper glimpses of the seraphim in the visible act of adoring.

He held the artless, angelical letter in his unrealising hand ; he started, and gazed round his room, and out at the window, commanding the bare, desolate, all-forbidding quadrangle, and then asked himself whether this was the place that an angel should choose for its visit to earth. Then he felt a vast, out-swelling triumphantness, that the girl whose rare merits his intuitive soul had once so clearly and passionately discerned, should indeed, in this most tremendous of all trials, have acquitted herself with such infinite majesty. Then again, he sunk utterly down from her, as in a bottomless gulf, and ran shuddering through hideous galleries of despair, in pursuit