« ZurückWeiter »
Decision of Character Exemplified-Indecision of Character
Invention: The Kettle-George Stephenson - The Geordie
“With a good head and a pure heart, it would not grieve me, my Son, though I had little of the World's wealth to give thet ; for possessed of the coins of Heaven,—Wisdom and adection, 'all these things shall be added.””
INTRODUCTORY CHAPT ER.
GAZED upon the Rhine-to me a classic stream, of reveries and boyhood's pleasant associations. No breeze ruffled the flowing stream-no murmur disturbed the pervading
silence. Nature seemed in slumber, save
sode that the declining sun was casting a roseate hue on the mirroring waters, and shedding warmth and benignity on all around. Whether it was the effect of a long walk under a broiling sun, or the sight of Nature in a state of slumber, I cannot tell; but a sad, sad thought started in my mind; it was that of Death-of never seeing thee more, my son; and I, who had endured the bitter ordeal of sudden separation from those I loved-father, mother, brother, sisters -reflected, and my heart sank, my head drooped, and I asked myself: “Should it be so ordained that I have seen my happy home for the last time, how will it fare with thee, my smiling boy?” The Heart's impression was that thou wouldst be left well off in the world, possessed of more than sufficient to start in life with. But the Head started the question, “Why not leave thy son a guide for his young steps,—a father's experience, who rose from a poor boy, to hold a tolerable position in society ?”
What, my son, thou blushest at the idea of “poor boy”? No! Well, I am glad of that. Know, then, that before that boy a lady of title blushed-a lady brought up at Court, whose head had been patted by the hand of the First
Napoleon. But hers was an honest blush, and she did more than blush; she shed tears at your father's mild reply when he called for a just debt, which that lady could not pay, having unfortunately entered into a foolish speculation, which, with a friend of her own, he had in vain endeavoured to dissuade her from entering upon. If her Head had been as good as her Heart, the result might have proved otherwise ; and instead of now wearing grey hair, at the very Court which she knew in her girlhood, she might still have boasted of her profuse jetty ringlets. When persuaded of the fruitlessness of the speculation, and obliged to give it up, so great was her grief that two days and two nights frosted her hair, which had rivalled in hue the feathers of the raven.
Startled at the idea, and impressed with the importance of leaving thee the outlines of a career which might help to guide thy young steps by pointing out the rocks in the ocean of life on which so many have foundered, all curiosity in regard to the Rhine gave way to the sole desire of accomplishing that object.
My dear son, from that time little did I see of the Rhine more than was necessary for the object which had led me to that classic river: and during the time I might have been
walking on the “bridge of boats," where a current of ai cooled my fevered brow, my hand upon my throbbing heart, my eyes cast downwards, and, regardless of the passers-by, pacing up and down, unlocking the secret chambers of memory, and extracting passages from an eventful life that might be useful for thy guidance in after years. At one time, a tear forced its way down my cheek, at the remembrance of those dear to me, who are now blotted from the page of life: then a smile chased away that tear, at the recollection of some happy scene that brought the merry laugh to ring fresh in my ear.