The Canadian Brothers, or the Prophecy Fulfilled a Tale of the Late American War — Volume 2 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 264 pages of information about The Canadian Brothers, or the Prophecy Fulfilled a Tale of the Late American War — Volume 2.

Few situations in life are less enviable than that of the isolated prisoner of war.  Far from the home of his affections, and compelled by the absence of all other companionship, to mix with those who, in manners, feelings, and national characteristics, form, as it were, a race apart from himself, his recollections, already sufficiently embittered by the depressing sense of captivity, are hourly awakened by some rude contrast wounding to his sensibilities, and even though no source of graver irritation should exist, a thousand petty annoyances, incident to the position, are magnified by chagrin from mole-hills into mountains.  Such, however, would be the effect produced on one only, who, thrown by the accident of war into the situation of a captive, should have no grief more profound, no sorrow deeper seated than what arose from the being severed from old, and associated with new and undesired ties; one to whom life was full of the fairest buds of promise, and whose impatience of the present was only a burning desire to enter upon the future.  Not so with Gerald Grantham.  Time, place, circumstance, condition, were alike the same—­alike indifferent to him.  In the recollections of the scenes he had so lately quitted, and in which his fairer and unruffled boyhood had been passed, he took no pleasure, while the future was so enshrouded in gloom that he shrank from its very contemplation.  So far from trying to wring consolation from circumstances, his object was to stupify recollection to the uttermost.  He would fain have shut out both the past and the future, contenting himself as he might with the present, but the thing was impossible.  The worm had eaten into his heart, and its gnawings were too painful, not poignantly to remind him of the manner in which it had been engendered.

Upwards of a fortnight had elapsed since his arrival, and yet, although Captain Jackson, prior to his return to Sandusky, had personally introduced him to many highly respectable families in Frankfort, he uniformly abstained from cultivating their acquaintance, until at length he was, naturally enough, pronounced to be a most disagreeable specimen of a British officer.  Even with the inmates of the hotel, many of whom were officers of his own age, and with whom he constantly sat down to the ordinary, he avoided every thing approaching to intimacy—­satisfying himself merely with discharging his share of the commonest courtesies of life.  They thought it pride—­it was but an effect—­an irremediable effect of the utter sinking of his sad and broken spirit.  The only distraction in which he eventually took pleasure, or sought to indulge, was rambling through the wild passes of the chain of wooded hills, which almost encircles the Kentuckian capital, and extends for a considerable distance in a westerly direction.  The dense gloom of these narrow vallies he had remarked on his entrance by the same route, and feeling them more in unison with his sick mind than the hum and bustle of a city, which offered nothing in common with his sympathies, he now frequently passed a great portion of the day in threading their mazes—­returning however, at a certain hour to his hotel, conformably with the terms of his parole.

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The Canadian Brothers, or the Prophecy Fulfilled a Tale of the Late American War — Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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