Part 2
Home Up

Gerald Keegan's Summer of Sorrow, 1847 (Published 1895)

Part 2

Leaving the cemetery with the priest, I thanked him from my heart and ran to he quay. My heart was in my mouth when I saw on it Aileen, standing beside our boxes, and the ship, having tipped her anchor, bearing up the river. 'What makes you look so at me, Gerald? I have come as you asked.'

'I never sent for you.'

'The steward told me you had sent word by the sailors for me to come ashore, that you were going to stay here. They carried the luggage into a boat and I followed.'

I groaned in spirit. I saw it all. By a villainous trick, the captain had got rid of me. Instead of being in Quebec that day, here I was left at the quarantine station. 'My poor Aileen, I know not what to do; my trouble is for you.' I went to see the head of the establishment, Dr Douglas. He proved to be a fussy gentleman, worried over a number of details. Professing to be ready to oblige, he said there was no help for me until the next steamer came. 'When will that be?' Next Saturday. A week on an island full of people sick with fever! Aileen, brave heart, made the best of it. She was soaking wet, yet the only shelter, apart from the fever sheds, which were not to be thought of, was an outhouse with a leaky roof, with no possibility of a fire or change of clothing. How I cursed myself for making captain and mate my enemies, for the penalty had fallen not on me, but on Aileen. There was not an armful of straw to be had; not even boards to lie on.

Taylor, S. (Unknown). Views of the famine: Vassar College web site. Retrieved December 1, 2001 from World Wide Web: