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The Caxtons — Volume 11 by Baron Edward Bulwer Lytton Lytton
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PART XI.




CHAPTER I.


The next day, on the outside of the "Cambridge Telegraph," there was one
passenger who ought to have impressed his fellow-travellers with a very
respectful idea of his lore in the dead languages; for not a single
syllable, in a live one, did he vouchsafe to utter from the moment he
ascended that "bad eminence" to the moment in which he regained his
mother earth. "Sleep," says honest Sancho, "covers a man better than a
cloak." I am ashamed of thee, honest Sancho, thou art a sad plagiarist;
for Tibullus said pretty nearly the same thing before thee,--

"Te somnus fusco velavit amictu." (1)

But is not silence as good a cloak as sleep; does it not wrap a man round
with as offusc and impervious a fold? Silence, what a world it covers,--
what busy schemes, what bright hopes and dark fears, what ambition, or
what despair! Do you ever see a man in any society sitting mute for
hours, and not feel an uneasy curiosity to penetrate the wall he thus
builds up between others and himself? Does he not interest you far more
than the brilliant talker at your left, the airy wit at your right whose
shafts fall in vain on the sullen barrier of the silent man! Silence,
dark sister of Nox and Erebus, how, layer upon layer, shadow upon shadow,
blackness upon blackness, thou stretchest thyself from hell to heaven,
over thy two chosen haunts,--man's heart and the grave!