"And well I may be," said the stranger; "for I followed the same craft many
a long year, and here, too, on this very spot. But you are a newcomer in these
parts. Did you never hear of Ethan Brand?"
"The man that went in search of the Unpardonable Sin?" asked Bartram, with
"The same," answered the stranger. "He has found what he sought, and therefore
he comes back again."
"What! then you are Ethan Brand himself?" cried the lime-burner, in amazement.
"I am a newcomer here, as you say, and they call it eighteen years since you
left the foot of Gray-lock.
But, I can tell you, the good folks still talk about Ethan Brand, in the
village yonder, and what a strange errand took him away from his lime-kiln.
Well, and so you have found the Unpardonable Sin?"
"Even so!" said the stranger, calmly.
"If the question is a fair one," proceeded Bartram, "where might it be?"
Ethan Brand laid his finger on his own heart.
"Here!" replied he.