Page:A Voice from the Nile, and Other Poems. (Thomson, Dobell).djvu/34

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ments and acting such a character. When he arrived Helen met him in the most demure manner possible, and kept up the deception, or rather tried to do so, for he was not to be deceived. Two days after his arrival, when he was sitting reading, she suddenly sent something flying at his head, at which he started up saying 'Ah! I have just been quietly waiting for this! you have been acting a part which does not become you, but you have now resumed your true character, and are the Helen of old.' During this visit we thought him much altered in appearance and manners; indeed, we were somewhat disappointed. He was by no means so manly-looking as when he left London, and was painfully silent and depressed. He went from us with the intention of again going to Aldershot, but from that day until Mr. Maccall[1] mentioned him to us, we never once heard of him. Ever since we have felt greatly puzzled to account for his singular conduct."

It is no wonder that these ladies, knowing nothing of the story of his lost love, were puzzled to account for his silence and depression. He was always singularly reticent, in speech at least, about his private feelings, and only to those who had known him long, and whose friendship he had put to the proof, did he even hint at the cause of his unhappiness. I say "cause" because there cannot be a doubt that the death of his "only love" was the root of his misery: yet along with this there was another circumstance which contributed to his unhappi-

  1. William Maccall, author of "Elements of Individualism," and of many other remarkable, but unappreciated works.