+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

windows. Afterwards we went out together,
and I locked the outer door, and took the
key away.

All night I sat outside the coach beside my
aunt, without speaking. The wind had
fallen; there was not a cloud to be seen,
and the moon shone brightly in a hazel ring.
My passion had gone down, though I did not
repent of what I had done. I thought of
Alice no longer angrily, but sorrowfully. I
knew she did not feel as I felthad not the
habit of picturing in herself a nature
different to her own, in order to appreciate
what others suffer; and did not know how
much her conduct pained me. So I forgave
her in my heart; for I knew how few there
are, who, studying themselves, find out their
own defects, and strive to change and master
their original nature. Thus I excused her,
with a readiness that showed that my love
for her was not yet dead. I did not deceive
myself. I knew that I should grieve about
her till I died. Yet the coach rolled on, and
I did not wish to return.

We lived three years in Londona strange
place to me, after the quiet old city, where I
had passed my early days so peacefully.
Fortune smiled upon me there after a while;
and for some things I had no reason to regret
the change. But my heart was always
heavy. My sorrow for the loss of the hope
that I had clung to had become a lasting
sense, that weighed upon me even when
Alice was not in my thoughts. Never again
did I take my tools in my hand with the
same feeling that had moved me when I
carved the angel, in the little room at home.
My ambition was not the same. I had too
many precious memories in the past to make
the future worthy of my hope. Many times,
by firelight, and upon my bed, I thought of
that stormy night, when I left her, full of
anger; thence, mounting to the days we
spent together in the park, remembering
everything she said and did. I delighted to
go over these recollections one by one. I
took each single moment of that happy time,
and lingered over it, beating it out as the
goldsmith beats the precious metal on the
anvil, making every grain a sheet of gold.

I had brought away nothing to remind me
of those times. I thought that time would
weaken such impressions; and I wished that
I had something that might serve to awaken
memory to my latest day. But I had never
had from Alice anything in the shape of a
token or keepsake. There was nothing I
could have brought, except the likeness I had
made before I carved the statue, and which I
had left locked up in the old house. From
the moment when I remembered this, the
wish to possess it grew stronger. Once I
dreamed I had discovered it in my box; and
the impression was so strong, that I rose and
searched there; but I did not find it. I was
thinking of it incessantly. I could not rest
for the desire of possessing it again. I
thought of going back to the city, and getting
into the house at night, and returning with
it to London; and at length I determined
to go.

One night I left my aunt, telling her I was
going into the country on business for three
days, and took my place upon the coach. It
was the day before the third anniversary
of the night when I destroyed the carving.
We travelled all night long, and I arrived at
my destination in the afternoon of the next
day. I descended from the coach before
we came to the houses, and walked about till
dusk. Then I went down into the city, and
stealing through back ways, came to the
street where we had lived. There was no
one in the street but myself. I stopped before
our door, and looked up at the house, by
the light of the oil lamp opposite. Some
of the windows were broken. The shutters
were dingy, and weather-beaten, and the
dust lay thickly on the sills, and against
the door.

I put the key in the lock; but it would
not move till I had taken it out again and
raked and blown the dust out of the keyhole.
Then I turned it slowly, with all my strength
in the rusty wards, and descended into
the shop, shutting the door. I hastened to
light the lamp, which I had brought with
me; for the strangeness of my situation, in
darkness, after three years' absence, in the old
house where my father died, impressed me; I
heard noises about the place, probably of rats.
When I had lighted my lamp, I saw that
everything was as we had left it: excepting
that the dust lay thickly everywhere. In the
oak parlour, at the back of the shop, my
aunt's work-box stood upon the table, and on
a stand against the window were several
flower-pots, the mould in them hard as stone,
and the plants dead and shrivelled. The grate
was full of cinders, and the old wooden
armchair in which my aunt had been sitting was
beside the fire-place. I walked, I know not
why, on tiptoe, along the passage and mounted
the stairs. My bedroom, also, was unchanged.
I searched in a dusty closet, and found the
drawing that I sought, and looked upon it by
the lamp, until I could not see it for my tears.
I walked through every room and lingered in
the little kitchen, where I had carved the
angel; and after awhile returned through the
shop, and bade farewell once more to my old

I put out my lamp, and opened the door
and listened, thinking I heard some one passing.
The footstep ceased, and when I issued,
and looked down the street, I thought I saw
a figure, standing still, at a little distance from
me. As I was anxious not to be recognised,
I turned quickly, and walked away. I heard
the footstep again, as if the person were
following me, and I quickened my pace, but it
seemed to gain upon me, and I heard a voice
that struck me motionless. It was Alice,
and she came and caught me by the arm.