“We will be content with equal parts,” said Mr. Pownal, smiling. “In this partnership of affection none must claim a superior share.”
“Strange!” exclaimed Holden, fastening his eyes on his son, and speaking, as was his wont sometimes, as to himself, “that the full truth broke not on me before. The heart yearned to him, he was as a bright star to me; his voice was the music of the forest to my ears; his eyes were as a sweet dream, a vanished happiness, but I understood not. It is plain now. It was the voice of my Sarah I heard: they were her eyes that looked into my heart through his. And was it not thy prompting, mysterious Nature, that inclined him to me? Was there not a dim revelation, that I was more to him than other men? Else why delighted he in the society of a lone, wayward man like me? Lord God Almighty, no man knoweth the ordinances of heaven, nor can he set the dominion thereof upon the earth!”
Welcome pure thoughts, welcome ye silent
These guests, these courts my soul most dearly loves:
Now the winged people of the sky shall sing
My cheerful anthems to the gladsome spring.
QUOTED BY IZAAK WALTON, AS BY SIR HARRY WOTTON.
No reason seemed now to exist for Holden’s impatience to depart, yet he longed for the quiet of his hut on the island. The excitement of his feelings, which, while it acted as a stimulus, sustained him, had passed away, and the ordinary consequences of overtasking nature followed. Besides, he had lived so long in solitude, that any other mode of life was to him unnatural, and especially the roar and tumult of a populous place, disturbed him. The loudest sounds to which he had been accustomed were the rippling of the tide on the beach, or the sigh of the wind, and the songs of birds; and the difference between them and the noises he now heard, formed a contrast equally harsh and discordant. But by no word did he betray his wish. Both Mr. and Mrs. Pownal were desirous to delay the departure of himself and son, and it seemed to him ingratitude to act in any respect in opposition to the inclinations of persons to whom he was so greatly indebted. Several days, therefore, passed after the happening of the events recapitulated in the last chapter, and yet he remained in New York. But his feelings could not escape the observation of his son. Better acquainted than their host and hostess with the peculiarities of his father, he seized an opportunity to speak of the necessity of a speedy farewell.
“You are right, I do not doubt, Thomas,” said Mr. Pownal, in reply to the observation of the young man, “and yet I never felt so loth to let you go. While with me you seem still in some wise to belong to me, and I feel a reluctance to lose you out of my sight.”
“Do you think it possible,” exclaimed young Pownal—whom his father, out of a sentiment of delicacy towards his friends, had insisted should be called by the name of his preserver, he had so long borne, for which reason we shall continue to use it—“do you think it possible I can ever forget how deeply I am indebted, that I shall ever cease to love you with all the affection of a son, on whom you have lavished every possible kindness?”