Page:What will he do with it.djvu/411

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WHAT WILL HE DO WITH IT? 401

��CHAPTER X.

Escaped from a London Drawing-room, flesh once more tingles, and blood flows. — Guy Darrell explains to Lionel Haughton why he holds it a duty to be — an old fool.

Lionel Haughton glided through the disenchanted rooms, and breathed a long breath of relief when he found himself in the friendless streets.

As he walked slowly and thoughtfully on, he suddenly felt a hand upon his shoulder, turned, and saw Darrell.

" Give me your arm, my dear Lionel ; I am tired out. What a lovely night ! What sweet scorn in the eyes of those stars that we have neglected for yon fiaring lights ! "

Lionel. " Is it scorn — is it pity ? Is it but serene indiffer- ence? "

Darrell. *' As we ourselves interpret ; if scorn be present in our own hearts, it will be seen in the disc of Jupiter. Man, egotist though he be, exacts sympathy from all the universe. Joyous, he says to the sun, ' Lifegiver, rejoice with me.' Griev- ing, he says to the moon, ' Pensive one, thou sharest my sorrow.' Hope for fame ; a star is its promise ! Mourn for the dead ; a star is the land of reunion ! Say to Earth, ' I have done with • thee ; ' to Time, ' Thou hast naught to bestow ; ' and all Space cries aloud, ' The earth is a speck, thine inheritance infinit3\ Time melts while thou sighest. The discontent of a mortal is the in- stinct that proves thee immortal.' Thus construing Nature, Nat- ure is our companion, our consoler. Benign as the playmate, she lends herself to our shifting humors. Serious as the teacher, she responds to the steadier inquiries of reason. Mystic and hallowed as the priestess, she keeps alive by dim oracles that spiritual yearning within us, in which, from savage to sage — through all dreams, through all creeds — thrills the sense of a link with Divinity. Never, therefore, while conferring with Nat- ure, is Man wholly alone, nor is she a single companion with uniform shape. Ever new, ever various, she can pass from gay to severe — from fancy to science — quick as thought passes from the dance of a leaf, from the tint of a rainbow, to the theory of motion, the problem of light. But lose Nature — forget or dis- miss her — make companions, by hundreds, of men who ignore her, and I will not say with the poet, 'This is solitude.' But in the commune, what stale monotony, what weary sameness ! "

Thus Darrell continued to weave together sentence with sen- 26

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