Two on a Tower
When his nap had naturally exhausted itself Swithin awoke. He awoke without
any surprise, for he not unfrequently gave to sleep in the day-time what he had
stolen from it in the night watches. The first object that met his eyes was the
parcel on the table, and, seeing his name inscribed thereon, he made no scruple
to open it.
The sun flashed upon a lens of surprising magnitude, polished to such a
smoothness that the eye could scarcely meet its reflections. Here was a crystal in
whose depths were to be seen more wonders than had been revealed by the
crystals of all the Cagliostros.
Swithin, hot with joyousness, took this treasure to his telescope manufactory at
the homestead; then he started off for the Great House.
On gaining its precincts he felt shy of calling, never having received any hint or
permission to do so; while Lady Constantine's mysterious manner of leaving the
parcel seemed to demand a like mysteriousness in his approaches to her. All the
afternoon he lingered about uncertainly, in the hope of intercepting her on her
return from a drive, occasionally walking with an indifferent lounge across glades
commanded by the windows, that if she were in-doors she might know he was
near. But she did not show herself during the daylight. Still impressed by her
playful secrecy he carried on the same idea after dark, by returning to the house
and passing through the garden door on to the lawn front, where he sat on the
parapet that breasted the terrace.
Now she frequently came out here for a melancholy saunter after dinner, and to-
night was such an occasion. Swithin went forward, and met her at nearly the spot
where he had dropped the lens some nights earlier.
'I have come to see you, Lady Constantine. How did the glass get on my table?'
She laughed as lightly as a girl; that he had come to her in this way was plainly
no offence thus far.
'Perhaps it was dropped from the clouds by a bird,' she said.
'Why should you be so good to me?' he cried.
'One good turn deserves another,' answered she.
'Dear Lady Constantine! Whatever discoveries result from this shall be ascribed
to you as much as to me. Where should I have been without your gift?'
'You would possibly have accomplished your purpose just the same, and have
been so much the nobler for your struggle against ill-luck. I hope that now you
will be able to proceed with your large telescope as if nothing had happened.'
'O yes, I will, certainly. I am afraid I showed too much feeling, the reverse of
stoical, when the accident occurred. That was not very noble of me.'
'There is nothing unnatural in such feeling at your age. When you are older you
will smile at such moods, and at the mishaps that gave rise to them.'
'Ah, I perceive you think me weak in the extreme,' he said, with just a shade of
pique. 'But you will never realize that an incident which filled but a degree in the