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Warlock o' Glenwarlock By George MacDonald Characters: 8043

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03

To the eyes of Jermyn, Cosmo appeared, mainly from his simplicity, younger than he was, while the doctor's manners, and his knowledge of the world, made Cosmo regard him as a much greater man than, in any sense or direction, he really was. His kindness having gained the youth's heart, he was ready to see in him everything that love would see in the loved.

"You are very good to me, Doctor Jermyn," he said, one day,"-so good, that I am the more sorry though the less unwilling-"-The doctor could not keep his hold of the thread of Cosmo's speach, yet did not interrupt him-"to tell you what is now weighing on my mind: I do not know how or when I shall be able to hand you your fees. I hope you will not come to see me once more than is necessary; and the first money I earn, you shall be paid part at least of what I owe you."

The doctor laughed. It was such a school-boy speech, he thought! It was a genuine relief to Cosmo to find him take the thing so lightly.

"You were robbed on the way, Lady Joan tells me," Jermyn said.

"I am not sure that I was robbed," returned Cosmo; "but in any case, even had I brought every penny I started with, I could not have paid you. My father and I are very poor, Mr. Jermyn."

"And my father and I are pretty well to do," said the doctor, laughing again.

"But," resumed Cosmo, "neither condition is a reason why you should not be paid. Mine is only the cause why you are not paid at once."

"My dear fellow," said the doctor, laying his hand on the boy's, "I am not such a very old man-it is not so very long since I was a student myself-in your country too-at Edinburgh-that I should forget what it is to be a student, or how often money is scarce in the midst of every other kind of plenty and refinement."

"But I am not exactly a student now. I have been making a little money as tutor; only-"

"Don't trouble your head about it, I beg of you," interrupted the doctor. "It is the merest trifle. Besides, I should never have thought of taking a fee from you! I am well paid in the pleasure of making your acquaintance.-But there is one way," he added, "in which you could make me a return."

"What is that?" asked Cosmo eagerly.

"To borrow a little money of me for a few months? I am not at all hard up at present. I had to borrow many a time when I was in Edinburgh."

The boy-heart of Cosmo swelled in his bosom, and for a time he could not answer. He thought with himself, "Here is a man of the true sort!-a man after my father's own heart! who in the ground of his rights plants fresh favours, and knows the inside of a fellow's soul as well as his body! This is a rare man!"

But he felt it would be to do Joan a wrong to borrow money from the doctor and not from her. So with every possible acknowledgment he declined the generous offer. Now the doctor was quite simple in behaving thus to Cosmo. He was a friendly man and a gentleman, and liked Cosmo as no respectable soul could help liking him. It had not yet entered into him to make him useful. That same night, however, he began to ask himself whether he might not make Cosmo serve instead of hindering his hope, and very soon had thought the matter out. He was by no means too delicate to talk at once about his love, but would say nothing of it until he had made more sure of Cosmo, and good his ground by sowing another crop first: he must make himself something in the eyes of the youth, plant himself firmly in his estimation, cause his idea of him to blossom; and for the sake of this he must first of all understand the boy!

Nor was it long before the doctor imagined he did understand the boy; and indeed, sceptical as both his knowledge of himself and of the world had made him, he did so far understand him as to believe him as innocent of evil as the day he was born. His eyes could not shine so, his mouth could not have that childlike-the doctor called it childish-smile otherwise. He put out various feelers to satisfy himself there was no pretence, and found his all

usions either passed over him like a breath of merest air, or actually puzzled him. It was not always that Cosmo did not know what the suggestion MIGHT mean, but that he could not believe Jermyn meant that; and perceiving this, the doctor would make haste to alter the shadow into something definitely unobjectionable. Jermyn had no design of corrupting the youth; he was above that, even could he have fancied anything to be gained by it, whereas his interest lay in the opposite direction, his object being to use the lad unconsciously to himself. He discovered also concerning him that he had lofty ideas of duty in everything; that he was very trusting, and unready to doubt; and that with him poetry was not, as with Lady Joan, a delight, but an absolute passion. After such discoveries, he judged it would not be hard to make for. himself, as for an idol, a high place in the imagination of the boy. For this end he brought to bear upon him his choicest fragments of knowledge, and all his power to interest; displayed in pleasing harmonies his acquaintance with not a few of the more delicate phases of humanity, and his familiarity with the world of imagination as embodied in books; professed much admiration he did not feel, in the line of Cosmo's admiration, going into raptures, for instance, over Milton's profoundest gems, whose beauty he felt only in a kind of reflected cold-moony way, through the external perfection of their colour and carving; brought to his notice Wordsworth's HAPPY WARRIOR, of which he professed, and truly, that he had pasted it on his wall when a student, that at any moment he might read it; and introduced him to the best poems of Shelley, a favour for which alone Cosmo felt as if he must serve him for life.

Cosmo was so entire, so utterly honest, so like a woman, that he could not but regard the channel through which anything reached him, as of the nature of that which came to him through it; how could that serve to transmit which was not one in spirit with the thing transmitted? To his eyes, therefore, Jermyn sat in the reflex glory of Shelley, and of every other radiant spirit of which he had widened his knowledge. How could Cosmo for instance regard him as a common man through whom came to him first that thrilling trumpet-cry, full of the glorious despair of a frustrate divinity, beginning,

O wild west wind, thou breath of autumn's being,

-the grandest of all pagan pantheistic utterances he was ever likely to hear! The whole night, and many a night after, was Cosmo haunted with the aeolian music of its passionate, self-pitiful self-abandonment. And in his dreams, the "be thou me, impetuous one!" of the poem, seemed fulfilled in himself-for he and the wind were one, careering wildly along the sky, combing out to their length the maned locks of the approaching storm, and answering the cry of weary poets everywhere over the world.

As he sat by his patient's bed, Jermyn would also tell him about his travels, and relate passages of adventure in various parts of the world; and he came oftener, and staid longer, and talked more and more freely, until at length in Cosmo's vision, the more impressible perhaps from his weakness, the doctor seemed a hero, an admirable Crichton; a paragon of doctors.

In all this, Jermyn, to use his own dignified imagery, was preparing an engine of assault against the heart of the lady. He had no very delicate feeling of the relation of man and woman, neither any revulsion from the loverly custom in low plays of making a friend of the lady's maid, and bribing her to chaunt the praises of the briber in the ears of her mistress. In his intercourse with Lady Joan, something seemed always to interfere and prevent him from showing himself to the best advantage-which he never doubted to be the truest presentation; but if he could send her a reflection of him in the mind of such an admirer as he was making of Cosmo, she would then see him more as he desired to be seen, and as he did not doubt he was.

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