The ancient philosopher knew this secret well enough when he said a Parthian and a Libyan might be related, although they had no common parental blood; and that a man is not necessarily my brother because he is born of the same womb. We find that Carlyle in his student-life manifested many of those strong moral characteristics which are the attributes of all his heroes.
Was that man behind her in sober, veritable reality or was it but a phantom called up in her mind by the associations rising from her mamma's dream; or by the conversation held not many moments ago with Mr. Carlyle. Major Herbert may have deemed that Barbara, who evidently could not attend to himself, but was attending to his companion, wished for an introduction, and he accordingly made it.
He paid her for it what many people would consider a handsome compensation exactly the sum that Stuart Mill paid Carlyle for burning up the first volume of his "French Revolution" but it was a trying affair for both sides.
Carlyle, having resolved to speak and not merely to read what he had to say, was oppressed with nervousness; and of the event itself he writes: "My speech was delivered in a mood of defiant despair, and under the pressure of nightmare. Some feeling that I was not speaking lies alone sustained me. The applause, etc., I took for empty noise, which it really was not altogether."
Carlyle, Mr Robert Browning, and George Meredith are the three essentially northern writers; in them there is nothing of Latin sensuality and subtlety. I took up "Rhoda Fleming." I found some exquisite bits of description in it, but I heartily wished them in verse, they were motives for poems; and there was some wit. I remember a passage very racy indeed, of middle-class England.
I went with another subject too to discover what could have been the moving springs of your conduct; for I protest, when the black tidings reached me, I believed that you must have gone mad. You were one of the last whom I should have feared to trust. But I learned nothing, and Carlyle was as ignorant as I. How could you strike him such a blow?"
The thought of having her pictures fail of their mission throughout the world was as hideous as was the knowledge to Carlyle that the only manuscript of his history was but a shovelful of ashes. Ferriday put his arm about her, and she crept in under his chin for safety. She felt very cozy to him, there, and he rejoiced that he had her his at last.
"Only for a moment, my precious boy." And not for more than a moment did Mr. Carlyle hold it. The blue, pinched, ghastly look was there yet. Death was certainly coming on quick. At that moment Lucy and Archibald came in, on their return from their visit to Miss Carlyle. The dying boy looked up eagerly. "Good-bye, Lucy," he said, putting out his cold, damp hand. "I am not going out," replied Lucy.
Early Carlyle wooed and won one of the most brilliant girls of his day, whose signal talent shone in the crowded drawing-rooms of London like a sapphire blazing among pebbles. Yet her husband lacked gentleness. Slowly harshness crept into Carlyle's voice.
"I had begun to like the boy so very much, sir," she said, half turning round. "And the doctor's fiat, too plainly pronounced has given me pain; pain to agitation." Again Mr. Carlyle approached her, following close up to where she stood. "You are very kind, thus to feel an interest in my child." She did not answer. "Here, papa, papa! I want you," cried William, breaking into the room.