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In the Borghese Grove, so recently uproarious with merriment and music,
there remained only Miriam and her strange follower.
A solitude had suddenly spread itself around them. It perhaps symbolized
a peculiar character in the relation of these two, insulating them, and
building up an insuperable barrier between their life-streams and other
currents, which might seem to flow in close vicinity. For it is one of
the chief earthly incommodities of some species of misfortune, or of a
great crime, that it makes the actor in the one, or the sufferer of
the other, an alien in the world, by interposing a wholly unsympathetic
medium betwixt himself and those whom he yearns to meet.
Owing, it may be, to this moral estrangement,--this chill remoteness of
their position,--there have come to us but a few vague whisperings
of what passed in Miriam's interview that afternoon with the sinister
personage who had dogged her footsteps ever since the visit to the
catacomb. In weaving these mystic utterances into a continuous scene, we
undertake a task resembling in its perplexity that of gathering up
and piecing together the fragments ora letter which has been torn and
scattered to the winds. Many words of deep significance, many entire
sentences, and those possibly the most important ones, have flown
too far on the winged breeze to be recovered. If we insert our own
conjectural amendments, we perhaps give a purport utterly at variance
with the true one. Yet unless we attempt something in this way,
there must remain an unsightly gap, and a lack of continuousness
and dependence in our narrative; so that it would arrive at certain
inevitable catastrophes without due warning of their imminence.