He spends no time thinking through the question, continuing behind Edny. They travel through thickets to the mouth of the cave that later on figures so prominently in Huntly's trials.
Huntly next assesses further expedients in his quest to fathom Edny's weird conduct.
Huntly soon confronts Edny, who guarantees a full confession for his unusual behavior.
Edny's autobiography abounds in the kind of Gothic incident so prevalent in Brown's multi-layered narratives.
For all he attributes to Edny, Huntly cannot perceive that
dark recesses of his own subconsciousness.(17) Krause's assumptions concerning the interchangeability of Huntly and Edny also interest Richard Slotkin, who notes several moments when the hunter becomes the thing he hunts, and for reasons repressed in a troubled conscience: "in crossing the threshold to the dream kingdom in quest of Clithero, Huntly has become strongly linked with the violent Irishman.
With Edny's confession done, Brown reaches a major impasse.
In the former group George Toles explores the destructive power of the terrain's "hidden depths": "it is as though the sum total of what has been concealed suddenly materialized as a dark, insupportable load, pressing against Huntly's consciousness, seemingly determined to crush it out."(22) In the latter group falls a wide range of readings, from Dennis Berthold's picture of Brown as a literary tour guide who consciously popularized the local gorgeousness of nature, to John Slater's conception of Edgar Huntly as a fictional echo of Jonathan Edwards' brimstone sermons.(23) In the context of this essay, however, what Huntly describes as he tolls after Edny or drags his own body back home is the difficulty of pushing beyond conventions in order to reach new literary ground.
Along with his mentor Sarsefield (a friend from Edny's Irish days!), the young Huntly had explored the surrounding precincts, scrutinizing and penetrating many of the hollows, vales, chasms, and crevices.
He perceives the wretched Edny lurking in a chasm; he calls to him; the loner rushes off.
He has deduced correctly that Edny buried something valuable beneath it, and he intends to exhume it.
He has gone as far as he can in his offenses against Edny. With the papers in hand, and recalling the distracted man's story, he can fully comprehend at last Edny's grief by the elm and the reasons for his somnambulism.