she never wrote him and naturally he could not write her and explain. what good would explanations do anyway, now that he was married? he writhed inwardly at the thought that suellen would never know the truth and would always think he had senselessly jilted her. probably everyone else was thinking this too and criticizing him. it certainly put him in an awkward position. and he had no way of clearing himself, for a man couldn't go about saying he had lost his head about a woman--and a gentleman couldn't advertise the fact that his wife had entrapped him with a lie.
from the edge of the hill, where john weightman sat, he could see the travelers, in little groups or larger companies, gathering from time to time by the different paths, and making the ascent. they were all clothed in white, and the form of their garments was strange to him; it was like some old picture. they passed him, group after group, talking quietly together or singing; not moving in haste, but with a certain air of eagerness and joy as if they were glad to be on their way to an appointed place. they did not stay to speak to him, but they looked at him often and spoke to one another as they looked; and now and then one of them would smile and beckon him a friendly greeting, so that he felt they would like him to be with them.
there was quite an interval between the groups; and he followed each of them with his eyes after it had passed, blanching the long ribbon of the road for a little transient space, rising and receding across the wide, billowy upland, among the rounded hillocks of aerial green and gold and lilac, until it came to the high horizon, and stood outlined for a moment, a tiny cloud of whiteness against
the tender blue, before it vanished over the hill.
for a long time he sat there watching and wondering. it was a very different world from that in which his mansion on the avenue was built; and it looked strange to him, but most real--as real as anything he had ever seen. presently he felt a strong desire to know what country it was and where the people were going. he had a faint premonition of what it must be, but he wished to be sure.
the cringing knave, who seeks a place
without success, thus tells his case:
why should he longer mince the matter?
he fail'd, because he could not flatter;
with the world so full of work to be done for the cause -- for all the causes, you know -- they just sit around selfishly at home all wrapped up in their own families, or children, if they're married.
lam. 'twas at the final charge; i'd paid before a number of the rogues; at least a score. dic. it was a most expensive charge you bore: poor lamachus! he was forced to pay the score.
[ for the precise extent to which i would indorse the theory that the iliad-myth is an account of the victory of light over darkness, let me refer to what i have said above on p. 134. i do not suppose that the struggle between light and darkness was homer's subject in the iliad any more than it was shakespeare's subject in "hamlet." homer's subject was the wrath of the greek hero, as shakespeare's subject was the vengeance of the danish prince. nevertheless, the story of hamlet, when traced back to its norse original, is unmistakably the story of the quarrel between summer and winter; and the moody prince is as much a solar hero as odin himself. see simrock, die quellen des shakespeare, i. 127-133. of course shakespeare knew nothing of this, as homer knew nothing of the origin of his achilleus. the two stories, therefore, are not to be taken as sun-myths in their present form. they are the offspring of other stories which were sun-myths; they are stories which conform to the sun-myth type after the manner above illustrated in the paper on light and darkness. [hence there is nothing unintelligible in the inconsistency—which seems to puzzle max muller (science of language, 6th ed. vol. ii. p. 516, note 20)—of investing paris with many of the characteristics of the children of light. supposing, as we must, that the primitive sense of the iliad-myth had as entirely disappeared in the homeric age, as the primitive sense of the hamlet-myth had disappeared in the times of elizabeth, the fit ground for wonder is that such inconsistencies are not more numerous.] the physical theory of myths will be properly presented and comprehended, only when it is understood that we accept the physical derivation of such stories as the iliad-myth in much the same way that we are bound to accept the physical etymologies of such words as soul, consider, truth, convince, deliberate, and the like. the late dr. gibbs of yale college, in his "philological studies,"—a little book which i used to read with delight when a boy,—describes such etymologies as "faded metaphors." in similar wise, while refraining from characterizing the iliad or the tragedy of hamlet—any more than i would characterize le juif errant by sue, or la maison forestiere by erckmann-chatrian—as nature-myths, i would at the same time consider these poems well described as embodying "faded nature-myths."]