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The Suicide Club and Other Stories

The Pavilion On The Links
I. Tells How I Camped In Graden Sea-Wood, And Beheld A Light In The Pavilion
I was a great solitary when I was young. I made it my pride to keep aloof and suffice for
my own entertainment; and I may say that I had neither friends nor acquaintances until I
met that friend who became my wife and the mother of my children. With one man only
was I on private terms; this was R. Northmour, Esquire, of Graden Easter, in Scotland.
We had met at college; and though there was not much liking between us, nor even much
intimacy, we were so nearly of a humour that we could associate with ease to both.
Misanthropes, we believed ourselves to be; but I have thought since that we were only
sulky fellows. It was scarcely a companionship, but a coexistence in unsociability.
Northmour's exceptional violence of temper made it no easy affair for him to keep the
peace with any one but me; and as he respected my silent ways, and let me come and go
as I pleased, I could tolerate his presence without concern. I think we called each other
friends.
When Northmour took his degree and I decided to leave the university without one, he
invited me on a long visit to Graden Easter; and it was thus that I first became acquainted
with the scene of my adventures. The mansion-house of Graden stood in a bleak stretch
of country some three miles from the shore of the German Ocean. It was as large as a
barrack; and as it had been built of a soft stone, liable to consume in the eager air of the
seaside, it was damp and draughty within and half ruinous without. It was impossible for
two young men to lodge with comfort in such a dwelling. But there stood in the northern
part of the estate, in a wilderness of links and blowing sand-hills, and between a
plantation and the sea, a small Pavilion or Belvidere, of modern design, which was
exactly suited to our wants; and in this hermitage, speaking little, reading much, and
rarely associating except at meals, Northmour and I spent four tempestuous winter
months. I might have stayed longer; but one March night there sprang up between us a
dispute, which rendered my departure necessary. Northmour spoke hotly, I remember,
and I suppose I must have made some tart rejoinder. He leaped from his chair and
grappled me; I had to fight, without exaggeration, for my life; and it was only with a
great effort that I mastered him, for he was near as strong in body as myself, and seemed
filled with the devil. The next morning, we met on our usual terms; but I judged it more
delicate to withdraw; nor did he attempt to dissuade me.
It was nine years before I revisited the neighbourhood. I travelled at that time with a tilt
cart, a tent, and a cooking- stove, tramping all day beside the waggon, and at night,
whenever it was possible, gipsying in a cove of the hills, or by the side of a wood. I
believe I visited in this manner most of the wild and desolate regions both in England and
Scotland; and, as I had neither friends nor relations, I was troubled with no
correspondence, and had nothing in the nature of headquarters, unless it was the office of
my solicitors, from whom I drew my income twice a year. It was a life in which I
delighted; and I fully thought to have grown old upon the march, and at last died in a
ditch.
 
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