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Legacy 21.1 (2004) 90-95

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Away Down in Jamaica

The Metropolitan 19 March 1898 (7.12): 4, 13

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Figure 1

Early morning; the sun glorifying the mountain tops, the valleys shrouded in mist. Two riders were wending their way up a mountain side; the path was narrow and the woman rode ahead of the man.

"Is it not lovely?" she cried. Her eyes were shining.

"I am glad you think so," he replied.

They rode on, contenting themselves with calling gaily to one another until they reached a widening in the path, when the man rode forward and seizing the bridle of the woman's horse, turned his head around.

She drew a deep breath.

The mist had cleared from the valleys and down below were green depths of irrepressible verdure, the glow and color of unknown trees and brilliant blossoms and fruit; orange groves, banana plantations and acres of cane fields stretched far away; vistas of loveliness opened up on all sides, revealing glimpses of dazzling sea and shining beach.

"It is an enchanted country," she murmured.

"And see that line of mountains; the topmost peak seems a part of the sky." He had dismounted and stood beside her horse; his hand guided her wondering eyes. How near to one another they seemed in that fair solitude!

"May I tell you what I feel," said he.

"Ah, no, not now," she replied, frightened, she knew not why.

"Pardon me, but I will." [End Page 90]

And thus Wickliff Walker and Kathleen Harold became engaged.

When not under Wickliff Walker's influence, Kathleen Harold rebelled against her engagement to him, but when he was near, when he talked to her in that low sweet voice of his, all strength of mind deserted her, and though words which might have set her free hovered behind her lips, they ne'er came forth.

Reclining on a lounging chair on the balcony of the hotel in Kingston, she gave way to vague and melancholy musing. Before her stretched the sparkling, ever changing sea. Just over its horizon a ship was sailing. Oh! to be in that ship! Strange imaginings, undefinable and inexplicable floated through her mind as she gazed on that great circle of water.

"Of what are you thinking, Kathleen Mavourneen?"

Wickliff Walker raised her hand and retained it while she murmured something about being tired of Kingston.

"We must go to the mountains then."

There was a strong emphasis on the "we."

"I can go alone," the girl answered with sudden spirit.

"But I will not permit it. My dearest, what are you thinking of? I will make you mine by special license next Monday and then for the mountains. My wild bird is not frightened."

She looked up and shuddered. It seemed to her that his human shape was magnified to a giant in size. It was only a fantasy, but it proved his power—her head fell meekly.

When evening came he drove her to a place some miles out of Kingston—an old fort standing on a high, rocky promontory running out into the sea. Down below the windows the rocks descended in broken heaps, and there they rested, watching the slumbering sea; he talking lover's talk, and she, under the glamour of the time, the place and the person.

"I think the sea fascinates you," he remarked, noting how her eyes dwelt always on the waves.

"It does," she answered. "So great, so free, so mysterious; I adore it. Ah, see! there's a chapter from Revelations."

She started to her feet as she spoke; he rose with her, and they stood gazing on the grandest and most gloriously beautiful sight that human eyes could witness. Great flaming waves surged to their very feet, and as far as the eye could reach, rolled a magnificent sea of fire.

The mingling together in great numbers of the phosphorescents had caused a phenomenon which occurs about once in thirty years in the West Indian waters.

But hark, what was the cry which seemed to...


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