« 上一頁繼續 »
“ I was young when I was parted from my only sister ; recollection, however, very frequently carries me back to the hour of separation. I fancy I can see the tearful child, with her dark eyes swimming in a haze of sorrow; her thick clustering hair so disordered, yet so beautiful ; her little arms were clasped round my neck. I feel at times that last embrace of young affection. There are recollections which never slumber ; there are moments in life which are never forgotten ; that parting embrace and that tearful child, associated with a long farewell, they are rife as ever in my mind. From this picture of infantine sorrow, from the portrait of childish grace, there springs another one, and it thrills more keenly to the heart. The portrait of a young woman blooming in beauty, away from her native land; away from the brother who ought to be her protector : this is the image fancy nightly weaves, portrayed in boding fears, as imagination is wont to picture the creation of thought. Perchance my sister is happy, perchance she may not be; it is my duty to judge for myself. I will repair to the land where my sister dwells ; I will hear whether her adopted father has fulfilled his duty, if not, my home must be hers ; my arm must support her when she is weary, and my voice comfort her if there be need for comfort. God grant there may not. When my task of affection is achieved, then will I commence that career of glory for which my heart is now panting. England is my adopted land : I will fight under its banner; I will follow bravely its undaunted leaders.”
“And I,” said Augustus, “I will commence that career which my mother so ardently wishes me to embrace. I will
grasp at the meaning of those politics which earn for men laurels of fame and neverdying eulogiums. In the all-engrossing life of a politician where is there room for love? Smile not, Alphonzo, there shall be no room for love in my heart, it shall be one field of strong ambition. If it be selfish to wish to be renowned, I will feed the selfishness, and care nothing for the consequence. I could once have been so contented in domestic retirement, but now, now ....."
“Ah, Augustus, do let me smile, or,. in pity, let me laugh outright. What a glorious end of the refusal of two seemingly capricious women. A soldier and a politician! Oh, Cupid may henceforth spare his shafts, on my buckler will I write,
Love dwells not here;' whilst your maiden speech, falsely so called, must not savour of woman's name. No, not even if all
the country girls are working to death in coal mines, or losing their ripe bloom in factories. Woman must be expunged from your thoughts.”
“ But woman, I fear me, will long there reign,” replied Augustus ; “ and knowing Alice Lemington actually drove me to a politician's life, in order to strive to forget her, I, as well as yourself, am anxious to leave England for a short time. My mother's extraordinary rectitude of thought is such that she would consider her wishes not perfectly understood if pique drove me openly in the field of political emulation. I will, if possible, have a plausible pretext -have my reason apparently dazzled by an overwhelming array of facts. Shall I accompany you to the West Indies ? shall I see if more thought does not change my present determination ?”.
“With all my heart,” said Alphonzo, “I did not dare to make the proposal ; but your presence will indeed be a blessing to me. It will be so pleasant to talk of home and scenes known only to our. selves."
“But it is to learn to forget, that we leave home,” justly observed Augustus.
“ Ah, there our mental weakness lies,” replied Alphonzo ; “it is so much easier to remember than to forget. Teach the young nestlings not to learn their song—not to warble when day breaks the dark shades of night ; teach the swimming inhabitants of the limpid streamlets to live instead on the flowery heather ; tell the flowers of June's parterre to blow amidst the rigours of keen January's breath; teach all nature to reverse its natural order; and then tell the human heart to forget.”
“Then it seems as well to be unhappy in our own country, as to roam elsewhere to be equally miserable.”