“I was very happy, very. But as years went on, my dear boy would have wearied of his child-wife. He would have been more and more sensible of what was wanting in his home. She wouldn’t have improved. It is better as it is.
Oh, Dora, dearest, dearest,do not speak to me so. Every word seems a reproach!“
I was reading from Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield as I sat at the bed where my brother Al was lying; almost in a coma, I could only hear he’s breathing. We were in a hospital in a small town and doctors told me that there’s no chance because the tumour in his head was very vicious and predominant. I had no choice just sitting there beside him and read from one of his favourites…
“No, not a syllable! She answered, kissing me. “Oh, my dear, you never deserved it, and I love you far too well, to say a reproachful word to you, in earnest; it was all the merit I had, except being pretty– or you thought me so. Is it lonely, downstairs,Doady? “very! very!” Don’t cry! Is my chair there? “In its old place. ”
“Oh, how my poor boy cries! Hush, Hush! Now, make me one promise. I want to speak to Agnes. When you go downstairs, tell Agnes so, and send her up to me…….
“Agnes is downstairs when I go into the parlour, and I give her the message. She disappears, leaving me alone with Jip. His Chinese house is by the fire, and he lies within it, on his bed of flannel, querulously trying to sleep. The bright moon is high and clear. As I look out on the night my tears fall fast, and my undisciplined heart is chastened heavily, heavily.”
“I sit down by the fire, thinking with blind remorse of all those secret feelings I have nourished since my marriage, I think of every little trifle between me and Dora and feel the truth, that trifles make the sum of life. Ever rising from the sea of my remembrance, is the image of the dear child as I knew her first, graced by my young love, and by her own, with every fascination wherein such love is rich. Would it, indeed, have been better if we have loved each other as a boy and girl, and forgotten it? Undisciplined heart replayed!”
“How the time wears, I know not; until I am recalled by my child-wife’s old companion (Jip) more restless than he was, he crawled out of his house, and looks at me, and wanders to the door and whines to go upstairs. “Not tonight Jip, not tonight!” He comes very slowly back to me, licks my hand and lifts his dim eyes to my face; “Oh Jip, it may be, never again!“
“He lies down at my feet, stretched himself out as if to sleep, and with plaintive cry is dead… Oh Agnes! (she’s come down) Look, look here!”
“That face, so full of pity and of grief, that rain of tears, that awful mute appeal to me, that solemn hand upraised towards heaven! Agnes?”
“It’s over, darkness comes before my eyes, and for me a while, all things are blotted out of my remembrance.”
I began my tribute with a masterpiece from Dickens’ book not only because of its brilliance and impressive power of his literature but also for Al’s loved it so much and I add this as a present and am sure that he’d like it. I read this book the whole of the ten days in which we were both in this hospital till the time had come. At the end of the book, we were separated.
It’s thirteen years ago on this day as Al passed away and left this earth but strangely, I have a feeling that I have got much nearer to him as before. Am I closer to the line to change the level too? I don’t know but anyway, I am very happy about this closeness, it helps me to remember more and more about our time we were living and fighting together through those over fifty years of our life.
I wish you all you dear a leisure and peaceful weekend 💖🙏💖
The pictures source: