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A Strange Friendship: A Story of New Zealand

Chapter IX. Alan's Story

page 95

Chapter IX. Alan's Story.

I have had her in my arms! I have kissed her! Whatever happens I shall always have the memory of that.

When she banished me from her presence, with her little resolute mouth firmly set, and her eyes on fire, I did not despair. I don't despair now, for I know that she loves me, and that I shall win her yet.

I am pondering much to-night over the problem of what I am to do with Madelaine. I page 96 cannot remain here myself at present after what has passed, and I dare not go away for a time and leave her behind me.

After my discovery of the manner in which she appeared likely to abuse the freedom I have always allowed her, I was compelled of course to forbid her ever again seeing or corresponding with any of the Somerset family. But I cannot trust her. While apparently obedient and amiable she may be meditating some deep stroke of treachery in her heart.

I believe I must decide upon a trip to Auckland, and take her with me. Unpleasant as such a travelling companion will be, it seems to me to be the only wise course at present open to me, both on my own account and hers. For I could not remain here, so near to my little sweetheart—I will call her that, for that I truly hope and believe page 97 she will be some day—and not see her sometimes. It would be more than human nature could endure. I should haunt the neighbourhood of the house at night, and follow her as near as I dared in her rides, and make myself miserable in a thousand ways.

I have told Madelaine about my intended journey, and that she is to accompany me. She is apparently rather pleased with the idea, and says she is weary of being buried alive in this place, and longs for a change; so we will collect a few things together, and leave by the next steamer, and stay away as long as we can.

If, some years ago, I could have looked forward, and seen all the suffering which my rash vow was to entail upon me, I think, not even for Eleanor's sake, could I have given that promise. Mine has been a thankless task; and the day that ends it will be indeed a joyful one to me.

page 98

So farewell, Dolly—my little Quaker Dorothea—till I can come back, and clear my character to you. Will you think of me sometimes? Will you miss me only half as much as I shall miss you? If I thought you would, I think I should be almost content—at present.