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The wind moans drearily without, the rain beats dismally against the windows, the fagots flicker blue-flamed and weird in the dark recesses of the chimney-place; but what care I? The white walls are lurid in the flare, the great bed stands out in the darkness like a grotesque engine of the Inquisition; but who suffers?

Barnett could not resist the mute appeal of his fancy. Presently he was trudging alone along the icy path. The flare of the red fire grew dim behind him; the last flicker faded. The woods were all unillumined, ghastly white, with a hovering gray shadow.

At first, Tom used to read a verse or two of his Bible, by the flicker of the fire, after he had returned from his daily toil; but, after the cruel treatment he received, he used to come home so exhausted, that his head swam and his eyes failed when he tried to read; and he was fain to stretch himself down, with the others, in utter exhaustion.

Peter crouched on the hearth and lighted the fire in three places, then handed the torch to Kathleen as he crept again into his mother's lap, awed into complete silence by the influence of his own mystic rite. Kathleen waved the torch to and fro as she recited some beautiful lines written for some such purpose as that which called them together to-night. "Burn, fire, burn! Flicker, flicker, flame!

Rhoda stood before her for a full moment, before the light of recognition showed in their depths, and even then it was a flicker more than a light, and died out again with startling rapidity. The girl stood trembling, the carefully rehearsed words fading away from memory, for excuses and protestations seemed alike useless in the presence of that despairing calm.

He ran down again into the court far enough from the house to command a view of the entire facade, and watched curiously, particularly the north wing. All was dark, save for the lights below. Suddenly he saw the flicker of a candle in one of the windows, not of the north wing, but of the south.

Glistening whiteness lay all around, till the plains of snow grew grey in the distance; overhead, the burning, flashing, restless stars; and far off, where the two planets guarded the horizon, the red lights of the north began to quiver and flicker in the night. The man on the ground noticed them, and straightening himself suddenly, looked towards them.

Beaten down, baffled, disappointed, if we are in tolerable health we can contrive to live on some almost impossible chance, some most distant flicker of hope. It is astonishing how minute a crack in the heavy uniform cloud will relieve us; but when with all our searching we can see nothing, then at last we sink. Such was John's case when I first came to know him.

Shag's Hill, the nearest of the ledge to the house, is a low, narrow cone, with a sharp rim against the sky; the moon had sunk half behind it, lighting the surface of drifted snow which faced them. Across this there suddenly fell a long, uncertain shadow, which belonged neither to bush nor tree: it might be the flicker of a cloud; or a man, passing across the top of the hill, would make it.

Hitherto had the night been sacred to repose and nightcaps; and now what was this? Window after window was opened; matches scratched, and candles began to flicker; swollen sleepy faces peered forth into the starlight.

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