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A WONDERFUL FACT to reflect upon, that every human creature
is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every
other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night,
that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own
secret; that every room in every one of them encloses its own
secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of
breasts there, is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart
nearest it! Something of the awfulness, even of Death itself, is
referable to this. No more can I turn the leaves of this dear book
that I loved, and vainly hope in time to read it all. No more can I
look into the depths of this unfathomable water, wherein, as
momentary lights glanced into it, I have had glimpses of buried
treasure and other things submerged. It was appointed that the
book should shut with a spring, for ever and for ever, when I had
read but a page. It was appointed that the water should be locked
in an eternal frost, when the light was playing on its surface, and I
stood in ignorance on the shore. My friend is dead, my neighbour
is dead, my love, the darling of my soul, is dead; it is the
inexorable consolidation and perpetuation of the secret that was
always in that individuality, and which I shall carry in mine to my
life’s end. In any of the burial-places of this city through which I
pass, is there a sleeper more inscrutable than its busy inhabitants
are, in their innermost personality, to me, or than I am to them? As
to this, his natural and not to be alienated inheritance, the
messenger on horseback had exactly the same possessions as the
King, the first Minister of State, or the richest merchant in London.
So with the three passengers shut up in the narrow compass of one
lumbering old mail coach; they were mysteries to one another, as
complete as if each had been in his own coach and six, or his own
coach and sixty, with the breadth of a county between him and the

The messenger rode back at an easy trot, stopping pretty often at
alehouses by the way to drink, but evincing a tendency to keep his
own counsel, and to keep his hat cocked over his eyes. He had eyes
that assorted very well with that decoration, being of a surface
black, with no depth in the colour or form, and much too near
together-as if they were afraid of being found out in something,
singly, if they kept too far apart. They had a sinister expression,
under an old cocked-hat like a three-cornered spittoon, and over a
great muffler for the chin and throat, which descended nearly to
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