XII.

IT was affirmed at an early stage of this narrative that he was a young man of a contemplative and speculative turn, and he had perhaps never been more true to his character than during an hour or two that evening as he sat by himself on the terrace of the Conversation-house, surrounded By the crowd of its frequenters, but lost in his meditations. The place way full of movement and sound, but he had tilted back his chair against the great green box of an orange-tree, and in this easy attitude, vaguely and agreeably conscious of the music, he directed his gaze to the star-sprinkled vault of the night. There were people coming and going whom he knew, but he said nothing to any one -- he preferred to be alone; he found his own company quite absorbing. He felt very happy, very much amused, very curiously preoccupied. The feeling was a singular one. It partook of the nature of intellectual excitement. He had a sense of having received carte blanche for the expenditure of his wits. Bernard liked to feel his intelligence at play; this is, perhaps, the highest luxury of a clever man. It played at present over

-118-

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