Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

and be able to sit in my airy throne ? And should I love it, as now ?

There seemed a doubt, not only of a power to seat anything much larger than my present self, on so fairy a seat, but of the wish to do so. With my woman's stature should I not have woman's thoughts and wishes ? A girl of ten might like to climb a tree, and seat herself amid its branches, an enthroned queen of a childish kingdom; but when I am twenty, I may

love the trees, the early morning, the sweet face of nature, but not climb trees. This was certain. Nevertheless, to be a queen was pleasant. Let me be ever so much of a woman, I should like a throne, though not in a tree; I should wish to rule a kingdom, but not one wholly composed of branches and leaves, with nought but birds for my subjects. If I had a kingdom, I thought I should rule it right well. But kingdoms came not with a wish, and yet certainly I must be a queen, queen of an household.

That I was already, reigning supreme in the court of love, with no bounds to my sway, no rules in my dominion. And on this my tenth birthday, the position of my kingdom stood thus.

A warm, sunny, cheerful kingdom, very small, very confined. But what seeds were planted in love, grew and flourished there. Cold, ungenial flowers faded and became blighted, as if fingers of frost had touched them. One plant grew and flourished there, far and wide. It was called Truth, and so much did the queen love it, it was so cherished as to bear fruit in all seasons and times.

Fruitful and cheerful as was my kingdom, yet within its innermost corner lay one bare sad spot. “Must this part of my kingdom ever remain so ?” whispered the queen with tears— and the reply came low and clear, “Evermore must it remain so : your kingdom is so strong, vigorous, redundant of health, but for this one sad spot, it might become over-weening, proud, rebellious.” And the leaves of my throne shook

with the sobs of me, the child, as I took into my heart the sad answer. But even as the pang rushed through me, did I pray God, that however lonely and alone I was to be, still might I keep a cheerful, truthful heart, still might I ever be

· Queen o'er myself.”

CHAPTER II.

As the sun
Ere it is risen, sometimes paints its image
In the atmosphere, so often do the spirits
Of great events stride on before the events ;
And in to-day already walks to-morrow.”

COLERIDGE.

I NEVER remember my dear mamma to have been any other than ill.

other than ill. I was too full of love's pains and pleasures not to see that time weakened her; that nothing healed her ; while the limited sphere of my kingdom of love doubled shch feelings, already too strong. Within my kingdom of home grew this foreboding—her sufferings were drawing to a close, because her life-pulse was visibly weakening. And I, the queen, was powerless to resist the doom. Such was the state of my kingdom on this my tenth birthday. With all the will and energy to be a vigilant ruler, all the love and wish to be one worthy, full of high resolves and unselfish thoughts, yet did that one sad spot in my kingdom bring before me the prospect of a lonely, desolate, dependant, existence of ten years to come: the reverse of the last, when queen of a loving household. The contrast, though but dimly guessed at, appalled me. Yet, amid the struggle of passionate wild sorrow, still would I be a queen, queen over myself.

But see! life has woke up in my kingdom, mine for a tenure so uncertain. Feathery wreaths of smoke float upwards into the blue space, at first light and dreamy, but already becoming dark with the soil of work.

Now mamma's fire is lit. Old Anne will shortly draw

up the window blinds, and Moss is already waiting to wheel papa into his dressing room Papa has only one leg, and Moss was with him in the battle, when he lost the other. Papa often tells me the whole story, and always ends with

« FöregåendeFortsätt »