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74
THE HALLIG.

name of a system. But he had been too docile a pupil
at the feet of this soul-destroyer, not to persuade himself
that he was precisely what he gave himself out to be, or
at least able to maintain in the presence of others the
appearance of being a master in this miserable school
Naturally there must be hours in life like those he had
lately passed on the sea, which showed him the truth.
But for that very reason he strove the more to drive
them from his memory ; and he understood how to
banish from his mind that view of the world which such
moments had forced upon him and others, by an imme-
diate return to his former course of life, however loudly
the warning voice of his awakened conscience might
speak to the contrary. His laughing and jesting, imme-
diately after their escape from the most imminent peril,
was therefore rather an unnatural exertion of his power
over himself, than, as he wished to believe, and make
others believe, a proof of his thoughtlessness.
  It would require the voice of a prophet to awaken
those dreamers who are walking in the same path as
Oswald — men and women who are in possession of all
the wealth and pleasures of life — except life itself.
But the truth of Christ's words, "He that believeth
not is condemned already," is never more fully exempli-
fied than in them. The empty poverty of their exist-
ence in the midst of abundance is their condemnation.
The mere description of one of their "charming days"
operates as a blight upon the mind. That endless
toilet with all its miserable arts, the delight at a suc-
cessful knot — at the grace of some new-fashioned gar-
ment — that last triumphant glance at the mirror — those
pleasing anticipations of admiration — now a couple of