Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors.
Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker.

Download links will be available after you disable the ad blocker and reload the page.

Henry Brocken His Travels and Adventures in the Rich, Strange, Scarce-Imaginable Regions of Romance

Download options:

  • 176.55 KB
  • 436.11 KB
  • 248.37 KB



Oh, what land is the Land of Dream? —WILLIAM BLAKE.

I lived, then, in the great world once, in an old, roomy house beside a little wood of larches, with an aunt of the name of Sophia. My father and mother died a few days before my fourth birthday, so that I can conjure up only fleeting glimpses of their faces by which to remember what love was then lost to me. Both were youthful at death, but my Aunt Sophia was ever elderly. She was keen, and just, seldom less than kind; but a child was to her something of a little animal, and it was nothing more. In consequence, well fed, warmly clad, and in freedom, I grew up almost in solitude between my angels, hearkening with how simple a curiosity to that everlasting warfare of persuasion and compulsion, terror and delight.

Which of them it was that guided me, before even I could read, to the little room dark with holly trees that had been of old my uncle's library, I know not. Perhaps at the instant it chanced there had fallen a breathless truce between them, and I being solitary, my own instinct took me. But having once found that pictured haven, I had found somewhat of content.

I think half my youthful days passed in that low, book-walled chamber. The candles I burned through those long years of evening would deck Alps' hugest fir; the dust I disturbed would very easily fill again the measure that some day shall contain my own; and the small studious thumbmarks that paced, as if my footprints, leaf by leaf of that long journey, might be the history of life's experience in little,—from clearer, to clear, to faint—how very faint at last!

I do not remember ever to have been discovered in this retreat. I was (by nature) prompt at meals, and wary to be in bed at my hour, however transitory its occupation might be. Indeed, I very well recollect dawn painting the page my eyes dwelt on, surprising me with its mystery and stealth in a house as silent as the grave.

Thus entertained then by insubstantial society I grew up, and began to be old, before I had yet learned age is disastrous. And it was there, in that cold, bright chamber, one snowy twilight, first suddenly awoke in me an imperative desire for distant lands.

Even while little else than a child I had begun to cast my mind to travel. I doubt if ever Columbus suffered such vexation from an itch to be gone.

But whither?

Now, it seemed clear to me after long brooding and musing that however beautiful were these regions of which I never wearied to read, and however wild and faithful and strange and lovely the people of the books, somewhere the former must remain yet, somewhere, in immortality serene, dwell they whom so many had spent life in dreaming of, and writing about.

In fact, take it for all in all, what could these authors have been at, if they laboured from dawn to midnight, from laborious midnight to dawn, merely to tell of what never was, and never by any chance could be? It was heaven-clear to me, solitary and a dreamer; let me but gain the key, I would soon unlock that Eden garden-door....