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“I would that each might scrutinize the passion within him, for each passion
exacts and builds its own world. Anger wishes that all the world had but
one neck: Love, that it had only one heart: Grief, two tear-glands: and
Pride, two knees.”

J. P. F. Richter.

When John Cranston awoke from the short stupor
into which he had fallen, his first feeling was a vague
sensation of disgrace, followed by a more defined wish
to be alone.

Sending away the servant who had been ordered to
remain in his apartment, he sat up in bed, clinched his
fists and pressed them tightly against his head, to stop,
of course, the giddy whirlpool which was amusing itself
in a very noisy way in that member.

Performing that strange operation which seems almost
to indicate that each man has two selves —
namely, concentrating his mind, — Cranston gradually
began to see and hear over again the occurrences
of the night. But the sprites that worked the panorama
in his brain were tricksy elves, and it was long
before they would show him the particular scene
upon which he wished to fix his attention. A strain
of music floated from behind some mysterious curtain
in his brain. The music was from Mendelssohn, and,
while it sounded, the curtain rose and displayed the
face of Felix Sterling, with that shoal of deep-sea
shapes floating in her eyes, as she sang.


Page 61

Cranston shook his head, as who should say, “Tempting,
but I 'm looking for something else.” And so,
amid a confused intermingling of sounds and faces, he
at length managed to fix his attention upon the face of
Rübetsahl, until a full recollection of the whole last
scene in the music-room shone before him.

Perhaps anger is the most complex deceit of them
all, shifting its wrath from one's self, richly deserving,
to some other self, undeserving, upon the most pitiful
excuses. Indignation may be just; but anger forever
cheats for a victim. And so, John Cranston, instead
of cursing his own crime, or gnashing his teeth over
the insane folly which had prompted him to betray
himself, cursed Rübetsahl instead, and snarled at him.

“Good God! Good God!” he said, setting his teeth
and stretching out his hands as he sank back on the
bed. “He struck me — in her presence — in presence
of them all! The miserable scoundrel — to take advantage
of me when the sherry had unsteadied my
nerves! And now, I suppose, he 'll blab every thing to
make capital for himself; and add from his own invention,
until he gets capital enough to buy the whole
family!” — with a bitter laugh. “And he struck me;
he struck me; he struck me!” An idea hard to

“I can see the whole tale he 'll tell. `He heard of
my — adventure with this Frankfort friend of his;
she had no father or brother; he determines to avenge
her' — the dear, chivalrous knight of damsels in distress
—; `he will devote his life to this sacred cause;
he thinks he will likely find me in America; he comes
over, nay, 'gad, he rushes over, flies over, inquires for


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me, tracks me here, and if he can find me again,' — for
the fool will know that I 'm going to leave to-night —
`he 'll — play the devil,' and so forth, and so on. He 's
probably gone through the whole tale by this time.

“But, by God,” said he, jumping from the bed, a
maniac in eyes and face and hair, “and by the devil
and all, I 'll kill him, — I swear it, — I 'll kill him this

Cranston walked to his window, and examined the
ground outside. It was an easy leap. He turned, and
glanced round the room, which was one that Philip
Sterling had occupied. Opposite the bed hung two
swords, which had been wont to serve his young friend
in the peaceful capacity of dream-provocatives, or reverie-superinducers,
the said swords being respectively
a long, two-handed, naked blade like Richard Cœur de
Lion's, and a delicate rapier such as a gallant might
wear at court. This huge brand, that looked grim as a
battle, and this dainty rapier, that could make one
think of nothing but waving plumes and arras and
lovely women, seemed strangely opposed, as if war and
love had married: a lion lying down with a lamb.
Many a long, delicious hour had Philip spent over
these two relics of chivalric days; as the Lily Maid of
Astolat watched the shield of absent Lancelot:—

“And made a pretty history to herself
Of every dint a sword had beaten in it,
And every scratch a lance had made upon it,
Conjecturing when and where: this cut is fresh:
That, ten years back: this dealt him at Caerlyle:
That, at Caerleon: this, at Camelot:
And ah! — God's mercy! — what a stroke was there!
And here a thrust that might have killed, but God
Broke the strong lance, and rolled his enemy down,
And saved him: so she lived in fantasy.”


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And so had Philip wound his fine dreams, like silken
scarfs, about his swords.

But John Cranston, bent on destroying the greatest
of all dreams — life — cared little for idler reveries of
romantic boys; and, taking down the rapier, whose use
was nearly all he had learned at college, he leaped from
the window and strode up the abruptly swelling knoll,
as if, upon some height, he could better see what course
to pursue.

Like a tear upon an eyelid, wept in a dream, glittering,
tremulous, ready to drop, hung the morning-star
upon the fringed horizon. A white mist, which had
sought shelter in the water-valley for the night, was
beginning to wake and ruffle wing for another day's

Cranston had stopped and smiled a bitter smile, that
such peaceful things should dare to go on in the world
when he was angry. As he turned to mount the knoll,
the morning-star was suddenly obscured by a tall form
which uprose as if by magic out of the earth, and
which loomed gigantically in the dim light before him.
All the blood in his frame rushed backward toward his
heart, as the reflection flashed across his mind that it
was Rübetsahl, waiting for him. For one moment, the
consciousness of being in the wrong subdued his natural
bravery, and he fairly staggered with the weakness
of relaxation.

But his vengeful anger restored his courage and
heated his soul. Unsheathing the beautiful taper blade
which he carried, and throwing the scabbard as far as
he could hurl it, in emphatic token of war to the death,
he advanced rapidly toward his opponent, speaking, as


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he went, in passionate jerks and crowding eddies of

“Aha, you — you waylay me in the darkness, do
you?” O Cranston! was it waylaying a man to rise
up in front of him and stand still with folded arms as
this tall figure did? “Not content with taking advantage
of a moment when I was — was —” (he has objections
to the word drunk), “when my nerves were unsteadied,
you — you wait all night to ambush me, do you?”
The said ambuscade being on the top of a bare knoll,
which would reveal a cricket against the sky, to one

“I suppose you 've told 'em all how it was by this
time, and got your maw full of praise for your — your
heroism and your devotion, you dear good man, you
sweet constant man, you — you damned contemptible
scoundrel!” thundered he in an irrepressible flood of
fury, and leapt forward to thrust, forgetting to put himself
en garde even.

“Why you kill me?” said the Indian; for it was
Chilhowee. He had slept until his light slumbers had
been broken by the sound of approaching footsteps.
He quickly recognized the man with whom he had in
vain sought an interview the day before.

Cranston dropped his sword with an oath, as he saw
the mistake into which his blind rage had led him, and
took from the Indian's hand a piece of paper which he
was silently holding out.

“For me?”


“From whom?”

“No tell.”


Page 65

“`Gad!”' muttered Cranston, opening his cigar-case
and striking a match, “but the German is prompt with
his challenge! He might have waited for it to come
from me. Maybe he was afraid it would n't come,” —
with a murderous laugh. “Let 's see what the poor
injured man says.”

The note was short. It was written in German.

Translated, it said:—

“Would 'st thou an adventure? Follow the bearer.

(Signed) “Frankfort.