Page:Pierre.djvu/507

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A FOREIGN PORTRAIT 493

piece ; to which conceit, indeed, the uncharacterising style of the filling-up seemed to furnish no small testimony.

With such bewildering meditations as these in him, running up like clasping waves upon the strand of the most latent secrecies of his soul, and with both Isabel and Lucy bodily touching his sides as he walked ; the feelings of Pierre were entirely untranslatable into any words that can be used.

Of late to Pierre, much more vividly than ever before, the whole story of Isabel had seemed an enigma, a mystery, an imaginative delirium ; especially since he had got so deep into the inventional mysteries of his book. For he who is most practically and deeply conversant with mysticisms and mysteries ; he who professionally deals in mysticisms and mysteries himself ; often that man, more than anybody else, is disposed to regard such things in others as very deceptively be-juggling ; and Likewise is apt to be rather materialistic in all his own merely personal notions (as in their practical lives, with priests of Eleusinian religions), and more than any other man, is often inclined, at the bottom of his soul, to be uncompromisingly sceptical on all novel visionary hypotheses of any kind. It is only the no-mystics, or the half-mystics, who, properly speaking, are credulous. So that in Pierre was presented the apparent anomaly of a mind, which by becoming really profound in itself, grew sceptical of all tendered profundities ; whereas, the contrary is generally supposed.

By some strange arts, Isabel's wonderful story might have been, some way, and for some cause, forged for her, in her childhood, and craftily impressed upon her youthful mind ; which so—like a slight mark in a young tree—had now enlargingly grown with her growth, till it had become this immense staring marvel. Tested by any--