At night shadows follow him like ghosts of the departed, and the walls echo back the sound of his footsteps, as if demons were laughing him to scorn. The least noise is heard over the whole house. The clock ticks so loud he has to remove it, for it affects his nerves.
The snow fell more scantily and the shadows lay under him; he looked back, there was no one to be seen, but he heard laughing and jodling and it did not appear to come from a human being.
Oh, mother, mother!" she cried, raising her blue eyes up to the starry sky, "if you could have foreseen the dark, cruel shadows that would have folded their pitiless wings over the head of your child, would you not have taken me with you down into the depths of the seething waters?"
Jane Haden and the other women without families, did their best to help nurse in the houses where sickness was rife. The children were mere shadows, and the men and women, although far less reduced, were yet worn and wasted by want of food. And still the strike went on, still the men held out against the reduction.
She shuddered violently, then burst into a passion of tears. Haward's touch upon her hair, Haward's voice in her ear, all the old terms of endearment for a frightened child, "little maid," "little coward," "Why, sweetheart, these things are shadows, they cannot hurt thee!" She controlled her tears, and was the happier for her weeping.
He paused a moment, and the lines and furrows deepened in his face. The sun was sinking fast, and the long beams had faded away out of the shadows. There was no one in sight now, but the music of the benediction service echoed faintly in the distance.
But still they had a very long ride before them, under a scorching sun, before they could consider themselves safe from further pursuit; and the deep shadows of the dark jungle had closed around them as they pushed their way along the dusty road.
Suddenly, straight ahead, beyond the darkness of the foliage, gleamed a line of light; shimmering, liquid, and glassy here brown as gloom where the shadows fell on it, here light as life where the stars mirrored on it. That trembling line stretched right in their path. For the first time, from the blanched lips beside him a cry of terror rang. "The river! oh, heaven! the river!"
I dare not guess; but in this life Of error, ignorance, and strife, Where nothing is, but all things seem, And we the shadows of the dream: It is a modest creed, and yet Pleasant, if one considers it, To own that death itself must be, Like all the rest, a mockery.
And presently, reaching the leafy path that led steeply down into the Hollow, I paused a moment to look about me and to listen again; but the deep silence was all unbroken, save for the slumberous song of the brook, that stole up to me from the shadows, and I wondered idly what that sudden sound might have been.