Holgrave, plunging into his tale with the energy and absorption natural

to a young author, had given a good deal of action to the parts capable

of being developed and exemplified in that manner. He now observed

that a certain remarkable drowsiness (wholly unlike that with which the

reader possibly feels himself affected) had been flung over the senses

of his auditress. It was the effect, unquestionably, of the mystic

gesticulations by which he had sought to bring bodily before Phoebe's

perception the figure of the mesmerizing carpenter. With the lids

drooping over her eyes,--now lifted for an instant, and drawn down

again as with leaden weights,--she leaned slightly towards him, and

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seemed almost to regulate her breath by his. Holgrave gazed at her, as

he rolled up his manuscript, and recognized an incipient stage of that

curious psychological condition which, as he had himself told Phoebe,

he possessed more than an ordinary faculty of producing.

A veil was beginning to be muffled about her, in which she could behold only him,

and live only in his thoughts and emotions. His glance, as he fastened

it on the young girl, grew involuntarily more concentrated; in his

attitude there was the consciousness of power, investing his hardly

mature figure with a dignity that did not belong to its physical

manifestation. It was evident, that, with but one wave of his hand and

a corresponding effort of his will, he could complete his mastery over

Phoebe's yet free and virgin spirit: he could establish an influence

over this good, pure, and simple child, as dangerous, and perhaps as

disastrous, as that which the carpenter of his legend had acquired and

exercised over the ill-fated Alice.

To a disposition like Holgrave's, at once speculative and active, there

is no temptation so great as the opportunity of acquiring empire over

the human spirit; nor any idea more seductive to a young man than to

become the arbiter of a young girl's destiny. Let us,

therefore,--whatever his defects of nature and education, and in spite

of his scorn for creeds and institutions,--concede to the

daguerreotypist the rare and high quality of reverence for another's

individuality. Let us allow him integrity, also, forever after to be

confided in; since he forbade himself to twine that one link more which

might have rendered his spell over Phoebe indissoluble.

He made a slight gesture upward with his hand.

"You really mortify me, my dear Miss Phoebe!" he exclaimed, smiling

half-sarcastically at her. "My poor story, it is but too evident, will

never do for Godey or Graham! Only think of your falling asleep at what

I hoped the newspaper critics would pronounce a most brilliant,

powerful, imaginative, pathetic, and original winding up! Well, the

manuscript must serve to light lamps with;--if, indeed, being so imbued

with my gentle dulness, it is any longer capable of flame!"