Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Beauchampe; or, The Kentucky Tragedy. A Tale of Passion. >> Chapter XIII >> Page 125

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Page 125

Novel (Romance) | Lea and Blanchard | 1842
Transcription BEAUCHAMPE. 125

ing neglect has made me Iose. When I was a young man
I would have preferred to visit such a spot as this alone.
But the sense of desolation presses heavily upon an old
man under any circumstances ; and he seeks for the com-
pany of the young, as if to freshen, with sympathy and
memory, the cheerlessness and decay which attends all his
own thoughts and fancies. To come alone into the woods,
even though the scene I look on be as fair as this, makes
me moody and awakens gloomy imaginations ; and since
you have been so long absent, I have taken to my books
again, and given up the woods. Ali ! books, alone, never
desert us ; never prove unfaithful ; never chide us ; never
mock us, as even these woods do, with the memory of
baffled hopes, and dreams of youth, gone, never to re-
turn again !"" I trust, my dear sir, you do not think me ungrateful.
I have not wilfully neglected you. More than once I set
out to visit you ; but my heart was so full�I was so very
unhappy�that I had not the spirit for it. I felt that I
should not be any company for you, and feared that I
would only affect you with some of my own dulness."" Nay, that should be no fear with you, my clear boy,
for you should know that the very sorrows of youth, as
they awaken the sympathies of age, provide it with the
means of excitement. It is the misfortune of age that its
interest is slow to kindle. Whatever excites the pulse, if
not violently, is beneficial to the heart of the old man.
But these sorrows of yours, my son�do you not call them
by too strong a name ? I suspect they are nothing more
than the discontents, the vague yearnings of the young
and ardent nature, such as prompt enterprise and lead to
nobleness. If you had them not, you would think of little
else than how to squat with your cousin there, seeking to
entrap your dinner ; nay, not so much�you would think
only of the modes of cooking and the delight of eating the
fish, and shrink from the toil of taking it. Do not deceive
yourself. This sorrow which distresses you is possibly
a beneficial sorrow. It is the hope which is in you to be
something�to do something�for this doing is after all,
and before all, the great object of living. The hope of the
heart is always a discontent�most generally a wholesome
discontent�sometimes a noble discontent leading to noble-