Chapter 4 A WORD IN DUE SEASON."As I must be," replied Bergan, "if, as is likely, I am to spend the remainder of my life at the South. Thank you for your friendly warning, but I think I must stay."
Perhaps his quietude of manner was the more perfect, that a slight cloud hung on his brow, all through the two days of the trial; though his observers were too little acquainted with the wonted expression of his face to discover it. Not till he rose to make his final speech did the shadow lift. Then, indeed, the spectators noticed a change. He had spoken but a few sentences, when his eyes kindled, his brow cleared, his voice gathered fulness and melody, he forgot himself and his doubt in the glow of an irresistible inspiration, in the glad exercise of a natural gift of oratory so wondrous, so unexpected, and so potent, that court and spectator were alike taken by storm. Only in dim tradition had such a speech ever been heard in that court room,—so fluent, so animated, so skilfully throwing an ideal grace around dry, bare legal facts, without dimming their outline or destroying their logical connection. People held their breath to listen, unwilling to lose one delicate shade of thought, one fit, luminous expression. Two or three times, the judge was forced to suppress outbursts of applause, in which, nevertheless, his pleased and interested face concurred; and when Bergan took his seat, gray-headed lawyers stretched their hands across the table in hearty congratulation."Sudden change of weather," remarked Dick Causton, dryly. "'it never rains but it pours.' You are in a heavy shower, Mr. Arling."
"Is it death?" she asked, hoarsely, when the doctor had finished his examination. "Because, if it is, I should be glad to know in time to send for Master Bergan,—I mean, Mr. Arling."
"The Lord is in His holy temple," was here breathed through Bergan's visioned fane, in appropriately awed and solemn tones. Nevertheless, they broke the slender thread of its being. As Bergan rose to his feet, with the rest of the congregation, its majestic vista, its pictured windows, and all its rich array, vanished like the filmy imagery of a dream, at the moment of awakening. But it was not without a keen sense of the contrast that he brought his mind back to the real St. Paul's, and the service going on under its lowlier roof.
And Bergan turned, musingly, toward his office door.Rarely does a man go down to the verge of the grave, and look into its profound and pregnant depths, without carrying from henceforth traces of the journey. His views of life will be truer, if not sadder, forever afterward. The laws of moral perspective, though they do not change, will be better understood; so that objects at a distance are no longer dwarfed to the understanding, however they may appear to the eye. Character becomes the central "point of sight," toward which duty continually draws converging right lines, by the aid of which happiness, fame, and wealth, fall into their proper places, and assume their true proportions.
"In some measure, I trust I do."
"Whatever one delicate, refined, large-hearted woman can do for another, in the way of cheer, encouragement, sympathy, and consolation."She looked up at him quickly and keenly. "Pardon me, but—have you the right to speak with authority?"Bergan slightly lifted his eyebrows. "May I ask," said he, quietly, "to what reality, or realities, you refer?"
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As he talked, the gold faded out of the sky, and the gray twilight shadows crept into the room, turning the pictures on the walls into pale, vague outlines, and giving a wonderful softness to Miss Thane's listening face. Nor did the story end until the pictures had become indistinguishable masses of shadow, and nothing was left of the face but its deep, lustrous eyes. Its owner had not once spoken; and it quite escaped Bergan's notice, in the dimness, that she gave a sudden, violent start when Mrs. Lyte's full name was mentioned.
The penetrating notes did live and move详情
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