BOOK THE SECOND - REAPING
12. Chapter Xii - Down (continued)
'How could you give me life, and take from me all the inappreciable
things that raise it from the state of conscious death? Where are
the graces of my soul? Where are the sentiments of my heart? What
have you done, O father, what have you done, with the garden that
should have bloomed once, in this great wilderness here!'
She struck herself with both her hands upon her bosom.
'If it had ever been here, its ashes alone would save me from the
void in which my whole life sinks. I did not mean to say this;
but, father, you remember the last time we conversed in this room?'
He had been so wholly unprepared for what he heard now, that it was
with difficulty he answered, 'Yes, Louisa.'
'What has risen to my lips now, would have risen to my lips then,
if you had given me a moment's help. I don't reproach you, father.
What you have never nurtured in me, you have never nurtured in
yourself; but O! if you had only done so long ago, or if you had
only neglected me, what a much better and much happier creature I
should have been this day!'
On hearing this, after all his care, he bowed his head upon his
hand and groaned aloud.
'Father, if you had known, when we were last together here, what
even I feared while I strove against it - as it has been my task
from infancy to strive against every natural prompting that has
arisen in my heart; if you had known that there lingered in my
breast, sensibilities, affections, weaknesses capable of being
cherished into strength, defying all the calculations ever made by
man, and no more known to his arithmetic than his Creator is, -
would you have given me to the husband whom I am now sure that I
He said, 'No. No, my poor child.'