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a tale
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Page 15

3. III.

When tea was over, Mr. Churchill walked to
and fro in his study, as his custom was. And as
he walked, he gazed with secret rapture at the
books, which lined the walls, and thought how
many bleeding hearts and aching heads had found
consolation for themselves and imparted it to
others, by writing those pages. The books
seemed to him almost as living beings, so instinct
were they with human thoughts and sympathies.
It was as if the authors themselves were gazing at
him from the walls, with countenances neither
sorrowful nor glad, but full of calm indifference
to fate, like those of the poets who appeared to
Dante in his vision, walking together on the dolorous
shore. And then he dreamed of fame, and
thought that perhaps hereafter he might be in
some degree, and to some one, what these men


Page 16
were to him; and in the enthusiasm of the
moment he exclaimed aloud,—

“Would you have me be like these, dear

“Like these what?” asked his wife, not comprehending

“Like these great and good men,—like these
scholars and poets,—the authors of all these

She pressed his hand and said, in a soft, but
excited tone,—

“O, yes! Like them, only perhaps better!”

“Then I will write a Romance!”

“Write it!” said his wife, like the angel.
For she believed that then he would become
famous for ever; and that all the vexed and busy
world would stand still to hear him blow his little
trumpet, whose sound was to rend the adamantine
walls of time, and reach the ears of a far-off
and startled posterity.