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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Caxtons: A Family Picture - Part 12 - Chapter 7
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The Caxtons: A Family Picture - Part 12 - Chapter 7 Post by :abundance4usall Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Bulwer-lytton Date :May 2012 Read :1399

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The Caxtons: A Family Picture - Part 12 - Chapter 7


So, reader, thou art now at the secret of my heart.

Wonder not that I, a bookman's son, and at certain periods of my life a bookman myself, though of lowly grade in that venerable class,--wonder not that I should thus, in that transition stage between youth and manhood, have turned impatiently from books. Most students, at one time or other in their existence, have felt the imperious demand of that restless principle in man's nature which calls upon each son of Adam to contribute his share to the vast treasury of human deeds. And though great scholars are not necessarily, nor usually, men of action, yet the men of action whom History presents to our survey have rarely been without a certain degree of scholarly nurture. For the ideas which books quicken, books cannot always satisfy. And though the royal pupil of Aristotle slept with Homer under his pillow, it was not that he might dream of composing epics, but of conquering new Ilions in the East. Many a man, how little soever resembling Alexander, may still have the conqueror's aim in an object that action only can achieve, and the book under his pillow may be the strongest antidote to his repose. And how the stern Destinies that shall govern the man weave their first delicate tissues amidst the earliest associations of the child! Those idle tales with which the old credulous nurse had beguiled my infancy,--tales of wonder, knight-errantry, and adventure,--had left behind them seeds long latent, seeds that might never have sprung up above the soil, but that my boyhood was so early put under the burning-glass, and in the quick forcing house, of the London world. There, even amidst books and study, lively observation and petulant ambition broke forth from the lush foliage of romance,--that fruitless leafiness of poetic youth! And there passion, which is a revolution in all the elements of individual man, had called anew state of being, turbulent and eager, out of the old habits and conventional forms it had buried,--ashes that speak where the fire has been. Far from me, as from any mind of some manliness, be the attempt to create interest by dwelling at length on the struggles against a rash and misplaced attachment, which it was my duty to overcome; but all such love, as I have before implied, is a terrible unsettler,--

"Where once such fairies dance, no grass doth ever grow."

To re-enter boyhood, go with meek docility through its disciplined routine--how hard had I found that return, amidst the cloistered monotony of college! My love for my father, and my submission to his wish, had indeed given some animation to objects otherwise distasteful; but now that my return to the University must be attended with positive privation to those at home, the idea became utterly hateful and repugnant. Under pretence that I found myself, on trial, not yet sufficiently prepared to do credit to my father's name, I had easily obtained leave to lose the ensuing college term and pursue my studies at home. This gave me time to prepare my plans and bring round ----. How shall I ever bring round to my adventurous views those whom I propose to desert? Hard it is to get on in the world,--very hard; but the most painful step in the way is that which starts from the threshold of a beloved home.

How--ah, how indeed! "No, Blanche, you cannot join me to-day; I am going out for many hours. So it will be late before I can be home."

Home,--the word chokes me! Juba slinks back to his young mistress, disconsolate; Blanche gazes at me ruefully from our favorite hill-top, and the flowers she has been gathering fall unheeded from her basket. I hear my mother's voice singing low as she sits at work by her open casement. How,--ah, how indeed!

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