Book II. Alexander Hamilton
Chapter XII
 

The night before he sailed he rode out to the Grange estate. The wall of the cemetery had been repaired, James Lytton's slab was in its place, the tree had been removed, and he had rebuilt the mound above his mother as soon as the earth was firm again. There was no evidence of the hurricane here. The moon was out, and in her mellow bath the Island had the beauty of a desert. Alexander leaned his elbows on the wall and stared down at his mother's grave. He knew that he never should see it again. What he was about to do was for good and all. He would no more waste months returning to this remote Island than he would turn back from any of the goals of his future. And it mattered nothing to the dead woman there. If she had an immortal part, it would follow him, and she had suffered too much in life for her dust to resent neglect. But he passionately wished that she were alive and that she were sailing with him to his new world. He had ceased to repine her loss, much to miss her, but his sentiment for her was still the strongest in his life, and as a companion he had found no one to take her place. To-night he wanted to talk to her. He was bursting with hope and anticipation and the enthusiasm of the mere change, but he was close to melancholy.

Suddenly he bent his head. From the earth arose the golden music of a million tiny bells. They had hung rusty and warped since the hurricane, but to-night they rang again, and as sweetly as on the night, seventeen years ago, when their music filled the Universe, and two souls, whose destiny it was to bring a greater into the world, were flooded with a diviner music than that fairy melody. Alexander knew nothing of that meeting of his parents, when they were but a few years older than he was to-night, but the inherited echo of those hours when his own soul awaited its sentence may have stirred in his brain, for he stood there and dreamed of his mother and father as they had looked and thought when they had met and loved; and this he had never done before. The tireless little ringers filled his brain with their Lilliputian clamour, and his imagination gave him his parents in the splendour of their young beauty and passion. For the first time he forgave his father, and he had a deep moment of insight: one of the mysteries of life was bare before him. He was to have many of these cosmic moments, for although his practical brain relied always on hard work, never on inspiration, his divining faculty performed some marvellous feats, and saved him from much plodding; but he never had a moment of insight which left a profounder impression than this. He understood in a flash the weakness of the world, and his own. At first he was appalled, then he pitied, then he vibrated to the thrill of that exultation which had possessed his mother the night on the mountain when she made up her mind to outstay her guests. And then the future seemed to beckon more imperiously to the boy for whose sake she had remained, the radiant image of his parents melted in its crucible, and the world was flooded with a light which revealed more than the smoke of battlefields and the laurels of fulfilled ambition.