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with them. The thought that I me that I had a dream. I felt must share the anguish, did not the blows raining down upon me, restrain
from my revenge. and my body struggling upon the With a tremendous effort I got ground; and yet it seemed to me my voice, though the instrument that I was lying outside upon the pressed upon my lips. I know ground, and above me the pale not what articulated save sky which never brightened at the “God," whether it was a curse or touch of the sun. And I thought a blessing. I had been swung out that dull, persistent cloud wavered into the middle of the hall, and and broke for an instant, and that hung amid the crowd, exposed to I saw behind a glimpse of that all their observations, when I suc- blue which is heaven when we are ceeded in gaining utterance. My on the earth—the blue sky-which God! my God! Another moment is nowhere to be seen but in the and I had forgotten them and all mortal life; which is heaven enough, my fury in the tortures that arose which is delight enough, for those within myself. What, then, was who can look up to it, and feel the light that racked my brain? themselves in the land of hope. Once more my life from its begin- It might be but a dream: in this ning to its end rose up before me strange world who could tell what -each scene like a spectre, like was vision and what was true? the harpies of the old fables rend- The next thing I remember ing me with tooth and claw. Once was, that I found myself lying more I saw what might have been, on the floor of a great room full the noble things I might have of people, with every kind of done, the happiness I had lost, disease and deformity, some pale the turnings of the fated road with sickness, some with fresh which I might have taken,-every- wounds, the lame, and the maimed, thing that was once so possible, and the miserable. They lay round so possible, so easy! but now me in every attitude of pain, many possible no more. My anguish with sores, some bleeding, with was immeasurable; I turned and broken limbs, but all struggling, wrenched myself, in the strength some on hands and knees, dragging of pain, out of the machinery themselves up from the ground to that held me, and fell down, stare at me. They roused in my down among all the curses that mind a loathing and sense of disgust were being hurled at me—among which it is impossible to express. I the horrible and miserable crowd. could scarcely tolerate the thought I had brought upon them the evil that I—I! should be forced to rewhich I shared, and they fell upon main a moment in this lazar-house. me with a fury which was like The feeling with which I had rethat which had prompted myself garded the miserable creature who a few minutes before. But they shared the corner of the wall with could do nothing to me so tre- me, and who had cursed me for being mendous as the vengeance I had sorry for him, had altogether gone taken upon them. I was too out of my mind. I called out, to miserable to feel the blows that whom I know not, adjuring some rained upon me, but presently I one to open the door and set me suppose I lost consciousness alto- free; but my cry was answered gether, being almost torn to pieces only by a shout from my companby the multitude.
ions in trouble.
" Who do you While this lasted, it seemed to think will let you out ?” “Who is going to help you more than the that this was the common fate of rest?” My whole body was racked all who were repulsive to the sight, with pain ; I could not move from or who had any weakness or imthe floor, on which I lay. I had to perfection which offended the eyes, put up with the stares of the of the population. They were curious, and the mockeries, and re- tossed in among us, not to be marks on me of whoever chose healed, or for repose or safety, but to criticise. Among them was the to be out of sight, that they might lame man whom I had seen thrust not disgustor annoy those who in by the two officers who had taken were more fortunate, to whom no me from the gate. He was the first injury had happened ; and because to gibe. “But for him they would in their sickness and imperfection never have seen me,” he said. “I they were of no use in the studies should have been well by this time of the place, and disturbed the good in the fresh air." " It is his turn order of the streets. And there now,” said another. I turned my they lay one above another, a head as well as I could and spoke mass of bruised and broken creato them all.
tures, most of them suffering from “I am a stranger here," I cried. injuries which they had sustained “ They have made my brain burn in what would have been called with their experiments. Will no- in other regions the service of body help me? It is no fault of the State. They had served like mine, it is their fault. If I am myself as objects of experiments. to be left here uncared for, I shall They had fallen from heights die."
where they had been placed, in ilAt this a sort of dreadful chuckle lustration of some theory. They ran round the place. “If that is had been tortured or twisted to what you are afraid of, you will give satisfaction to some question. not die,” somebody said, touching And then, that the consequences of me on my head in a way which these proceedings might offend no gave me intolerable pain. “Don't one's eyes, they were flung into this touch me,"Icried. “Why shouldn't receptacle, to be released if chance I!” said the other, and pushed me or strength enabled them to push again upon the throbbing brain. So their way out when others were far as my sensations went, there brought in, or when their importunwere no coverings at all, neither ate knocking wearied some watchskull nor skin upon the intolerable man, and brought him angry and throbbing of my head, which had threatening to hear what been exposed to the curiosity of the wanted. The sound of this knockcrowd, and every touch was agony; ing against the door, and of the but my cry brought no guardian, nor cries that accompanied it, and the any defence or soothing. I dragged rush towards the opening when myself into a corner after a time, any one was brought in, caused a from which some other wretch had hideous continuous noise and scuffle been rolled out in the course of a which was agony to my brain. quarrel; and as I found that silence Every one pushed before the other; was the only policy, I kept silent, there was an endless rising and fallwith rage consuming my heart. ing as in the changes of a feverish
Presently I discovered by means dream, each man as he got strength of the new arrivals which kept to struggle forward himself, thrustcoming in, hurled into the midst of ing back his neighbours, and those us without thought or question, who were nearest to the door beat
ing upon it without cease, like in that mad struggle to get free. the beating of a drum without After a while my companion, whocadence or measure, sometimes a ever he was, spoke again. dozen passionate hands together, They would rather,” he said, making a horrible din and riot. "lie on the roadside to be kicked As I lay unable to join in that and trodden on, as we have seen ; struggle, and moved by rage un- though to see that made you misspeakable towards all who could, erable." I reflected strangely that I had “ Made me miserable! You mock never heard when outside this me," I said. "Why should a man horrible continual appeal of the be miserable save for suffering of suffering. In the streets of the his own?" city, as I now reflected quiet “You thought otherwise once," reigned. I had even made com- my neighbour said. parisons on my first entrance, in And then I remembered the the moment of pleasant anticipa- wretch in the corner of the wall in tion which came over me, of the the other town, who had cursed me happy stillness here with the hor- for pitying him. I cursed myself ror and tumult of that place of now for that folly. Pity him! was unrule which I had left.
he not better off than I?" "I wish,' When my thoughts reached this I cried, “that I could crush them point I was answered by the voice into nothing, and be rid of this of some one on a level with myself, infernal noise they make!” lying helpless like me on the floor "The spirit of the place has of the lazar-house. “They have entered into you,” said that voice. taken their precautions,” he said ; I raised my arm to strike him; “ if they will not endure the sight but my hand fell on the stone floor of suffering, how should they hear instead, and sent a jar of new pain the sound of it? Every cry is all through my battered frame. silenced there."
And then I mastered my rage, “I wish they could be silenced and lay still, for I knew there within too,” I cried savagely; “I was no way but this of recovering would make them dumb had I the my strength,—the strength with power.”
which, when I got it back, I would “ The spirit of the place is in annihilate that reproachful voice, you,” said the other voice.
and crush the life out of those " And not in you ?” I said, groaning fools, whose cries and raising my head, though every impotent struggles I could not movement was agony; but this pre- endure. And we lay a long time tence of superiority was more than without moving, with always that I could bear.
tumult raging in our
At The other made no answer for last there came into my mind a moment: then he said, faintly, a longing to hear spoken words “ If it is so, it is but for greater again. I said, “ Are you still misery.”
there?” And then his voice died away, “I shall be here,” he said, "till and the hubbub of beating, and I am able to begin again.' crying, and cursing, and groaning “To begin! Is there here, then, filled all the echoes. They cried, either beginning or ending? Go but no one listened to them. They on: speak to me: it makes me a thundered on the door, but in vain. little forget my pain." They aggravated all their pangs “I have a fire in my heart," he
said; “I must begin and begin- more wild than ever, with furious till perhaps I find the way." hands beating, beating against the
“What way?” I cried, feverish locked door. and eager; for though I despised After a while I began to feel my him, yet it made me wonder to strength come back. I raised my think that he should speak riddles head. I sat up. I began to see the which I could not understand. faces of those around me, and the
He answered very faintly, “I groups into which they gathered ; do not know." The fool! then it the noise was no longer so insupwas only folly, as from the first I portable—my racked nerves were knew it was. I felt then that I regaining health. It was with a could treat him roughly, after the mixture of pleasure and despair fashion of the place—which he said that I became conscious of this. I had got into me. “Poor wretch !” had been through many deaths; but I said, "you have hopes, have you? I did not die, perhaps could not, as Where have you come from? You that man had said. "I looked about might have learned better before for him, to see if he had contranow."
dicted his own theory. But he “I have come,” he said, “ from was not dead. He was lying close where we met before. I have come to me, covered with wounds; but by the valley of gold. I have he opened his eyes, and something worked in the mines. I have like a smile came upon his lips. served in the troops of those who A smile I had heard laughter, are masters there. I have lived in and seen ridicule and derision, this town of tyrants, and lain in but this I had not seen. I could this lazar-house before. Every- not bear it. To seize him and thing has happened to me, more shake the little remaining life out and worse than you dream of." of him was my impulse. But
“ And still you go on? I would neither did I obey that. Again he dash my head against the wall and reminded me of my dream—was it die."
a dream ?-of the opening in the “When will you learn,” he said, clouds. From that moment I with a strange tone in his voice, tried to shelter him, and as I grew which, though no one had been lis- stronger and stronger, and pushed tening to us, made a sudden silence my way to the door, I dragged for a moment—it was so strange : him along with me.
How long it moved me like that glimmer of the struggle was I cannot tell, the blue sky in my dream, and how often I was balked—or roused all the sufferers round with how many darted through before an expectation—though I know me when the door was opened. not what. Thc cries stopped, the But I did not let him go; and at hands beat no longer. I think all the last, for now I was as strong the miserable crowd were still, and as before — stronger than most turned to where he lay. “When about me-I got out into the air will you learn—that you have and brought him with me. Into died, and can die no more?" the air! it was an atmosphere so
There was a shout of fury all still and motionless that there was round me. “ Is that all you have no feeling of life in it, as I have to say?" the crowd burst forth: and said ; but the change seemed to I think they rushed upon him and me happiness for the moment. killed him : for I heard no more: It was freedom. The noise of the until the hubbub began again struggle was over, the horrible
sights were left behind. My It seemed to me that in his touch spirit sprang up as if I had been there was a certain help, though born into new life. It had the he was weak and tottered, and same effect, I suppose, upon my every moment seemed full of sufcompanion, though he was much fering. Hope sprang up in my weaker than I, for he rose to his mind—the hope that where he was feet at once with almost a leap of so eager to go there would be eagerness, and turned instantane- something better, a life more liveously towards the other side of able than in this place. In every the city.
new place there is new hope. I “Not that way,” I said ; "come was not worn out of that human with me and rest.'
impulse. I forgot the nightmare “No rest—no rest—my rest is which had crushed me before—the to go on ;” and then he turned to- horrible sense that from myself wards me and smiled and said there was no escape—and holding “ Thanks”-looking into my face. fast to his arm, I hurried on with What a word to hear! I had not him, not heeding where. We went heard it since- A rush of strange aside into less frequented streets, and sweet and dreadful thoughts that we might escape observation. came into my mind. I shrank and I seemed to myself the guide, trembled and let go his arm, which though I was the follower. A I had been holding. But when I great faith in this man sprang up left that hold I seemed to fall back in my breast. I was ready to go into depths of blank pain and with him wherever he went, any. longing. I put out my hand again where—anywhere must be better and caught him. “I will go," than this. Thus I pushed him I said, “ where you go.".
on, holding by his arm, till we A pair of the officials of the reached the very outmost limits place passed as I spoke. They of the city. Here he stood still looked at me with a threatening for a moment, turning upon me, glance, and half paused, but then and took me by the hands. passed on. It was I now who “ Friend,” he said, “ before you hurried my companion along. I were born into the pleasant earth recollected him now. He was a I had come here. I have gone all man who had met me in the the weary round. Listen to one streets of the other city when I who knows: all is harder, harder, was still ignorant, who had con- as you go on. You are stirred to vulsed me with the utterance of go on by the restlessness in your that name which, in all this world heart, and each new place you where we were, is never named come to the spirit of that place but for punishment, — the name enters into you. You are better which I had named once more in here than you will be further on. the great hall in the midst of my You were better where you were torture, so that all who heard me at first, or even in the mines than were transfixed with that suffer- here. Come no further. Stay ing too. He had been haggard ---unless- _” but here his voice then, but he was more haggard gave way. He looked at me with now. His features were sharp anxiety in his eyes, and said no with continual pain, his eyes were wild with weakness and trouble, " Then why," I cried, “ do you though there was a meaning in go on? Why do you not stay ?" them which went to my heart. He shook his head, and his eyes