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A STRANGE STORY.
BY THE AUTHOR OF "MY NOVEL," "RIENZI," &c.
CHAPTER XLVI.

Julian Faber and Amy Lloyd stayed in my
house three days, and in their presence I felt
a healthful sense of security and peace. Amy
wished to visit her father's house, and I asked
Faber, in taking her there, to seize the occasion
to see Lilian, that he might communicate
to me his impression of a case so peculiar. I
prepared Mrs. Ashleigh for this visit by a
previous note. When the old man and the child
came back, both brought me comfort. Amy was
charmed with Lilian, who had received her with
the sweetness natural to her real character, and
I loved to hear Lilian's praise from those
innocent lips.

Faber's report was still more calculated to
console me:

"I have seen, I have conversed with her
long and familiarly. You were quite right,
there is no tendency to consumption in that
exquisite, if delicate, organisation; nor do I see
cause for that fear to which your statement
had preinclined me. That head is too nobly
formed for any constitutional cerebral infirmity.
In its organisation, ideality, wonder, veneration
are large, it is true, but they are balanced by
other organs, now perhaps almost dormant, but
which will come into play as life passes from
romance into duty. Something at this moment
evidently oppresses her mind. Inconversing
with her, I observe abstractionslistlessness;
but I am so convinced of her truthfulness, that if
she has once told you she has returned your affection,
and pledged to you her faith, I should, in your
place, rest perfectly satisfied that whatever be
the cloud that now rests on her imagination, and
for the time obscures the idea of yourself, it will
pass away."

Faber was a believer in the main divisions of
phrenology, though he did not accept all the
dogmas of Gall and Spurzheim; while, to my mind,
the refutation of phrenology in its fundamental
propositions had been triumphantly established by
the lucid arguments of Sir W. Hamilton.*
But when Faber rested on phrenological observations,
assurances in honour of Lilian, I forgot Sir W.
Hamilton, and believed in phrenology. As iron
girders and pillars expand and contract with the
mere variations of temperature, so will the
strongest conviction on which the human
intellect rests its judgment, vary with the changes of
the human heart; and the building is only safe
where these variations are foreseen and allowed
for by a wisdom intent on self-knowledge.*
* The summary of this distinguished lecturer's
objections to phrenology is to be found in the
Appendix to vol. i. of Lectures on Metaphysics, p. 404
et seq. Edition 1859.
* The change of length in iron girders caused by
variation of temperature, has not unfrequently
brought down the whole edifice into which they
were admitted. Good engineers and architects allow
for such changes produced by temperature. In the
tubular bridge across the Menai Straits, a self-
acting record of the daily amount of its contraction
and expanse is ingeniously contrived.

There was much in the affection that had
sprung up between Julius Faber and Amy Lloyd
which touched my heart and softened all its emotions.
This man, unblessed, like myself, by conjugal
and parental ties, had, in his solitary age,
turned for solace to the love of a child, as I, in
the prime of manhood, had turned to the love of
woman. But his love was without fear, without
jealousy, without trouble. My sunshine came
to me, in a fitful ray, through clouds that had
gathered over my noon; his sunshine covered all
his landscape, hallowed and hallowing by the
calm of declining day.

And Amy was no common child. She had no
exuberant imagination; she was haunted by no
whispers from Afar; she was a creature fitted for
the earth, to accept its duties and to gladden its
cares. Her tender observation, fine and tranquil,
was alive to all the important household trifles,
by which, at the earliest age, man's allotted
soother asserts her privilege to tend and to
comfort. It was pleasant to see her moving so
noiselessly through the rooms I had devoted to
her venerable protector, knowing all his simple
wants, and providing for them as if by the
mechanism of a heart exquisitely moulded to the
loving uses of life. Sometimes when I saw her
setting his chair by the window (knowing, as I
did, how much he habitually loved to be near
the light) and smoothing his papers (in which he
was apt to be unmethodical), placing the mark
in his book when he ceased to read, divining,
almost without his glance, some wish passing
through his mind, and then seating herself at his

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