A Question of Rights Unfortunately , a crime was about to be committed but at that moment Lesley was unaware of the impending(即将发生的,迫近的) event , which would affect her life so drastically(极端地,彻底地) for the next years . For the moment at least, her holiday at the cottage had been ideal. She had spent many idle hours relaxing on the deck , reading ,eating a sandwich when she was hungry and in the evening watching the sky turn from brilliant orange to peach and finally to pale purple , eventually the light becoming dim . It was about this time that the mist would begin to rise from the cool water hiding in the dense forest that hugged(环绕,拥抱) the shoreline(海岸线). Late evening dew(露水) glistened(闪耀, 反光) on every bush and soon the loons' (潜鸟) call would resound (回响) across the water . She decided to take on last dip in the lake. As the cool night air touched her arms. She gave a little shiver and decided it was time to move inside. This was to be her last evening alone as Jeff, her former mate, would be returning Zac to her early in the morning. As the case in many marriages these days, problems had arisen between Lesley and Jeff, but they did not extend to Zac. He was a good kid, just entering kindergarten. The couple had come to a mutual agreement , as dictated by the legal custody(监管,保管) agreement .It stated that each parent would share Zac's care every second weekend and this had been her weekend to be alone. Jeff was an architect, with a high-profile reputation, who worked in downtown Toronto, a partner in a private corporation which mostly did consultant work for the university. Lesley’s company had been hired to advertise the new science complex in order to raise corporate(公司的) money for the proposed building. She liked her work and she harbored a secret ambition to manage her division of the company some day. After a whirlwind(旋风般的) courtship(求爱,热恋) and a fairytale wedding the couple had settled down to an urban lifestyle. However, after three years and one child the dreamlike marriage came smashing down. One disadvantage(不利条件) of being young and ambitious(有抱负的) was that both of them needed to devote untold hours to their busy schedules. As a result of these late hours, Lesley became suspicious(猜 疑的) of Jeff’s after hours activities. She accused him of making her part of a love triangle. The whole miserable scene was to set the proceedings(过程,诉讼, 诉讼程序) for an ugly(不愉快的) divorce in motion. Daydreaming(幻想,白日梦) about those earlier days would not help tonight. So with a shrug of her shoulders she tackled the advertising assignment she needed to complete. Tomorrow would be a busy day with Zac arriving home. The next day, as the morning wore on, Lesley became more and more agitated(烦 躁), and her mood became apprehensive(忧虑的,不安的), when Jeff did not appear. When
1
noon hour arrived and he still had not appeared, she started making some phone calls. None of their mutual friends had either seen or talked with Jeff that day. Until today, Jeff had always been very punctual about returning the boy at the appointed time. Lesley felt a knot forming in her stomach as a crazy thought persisted at the back of her mind. She was absolutely sure something was wrong. Jeff sat with his head bowed. He was undecided what to do. The domestic arrangement with his former wife was proving to be awkward. He was frustrated at being able to see his son only on weekends and felt he was always making concessions to accommodate(适应,迁就) Lesley’s work schedule. Every meeting was turning into a competition for the boy’s affection. His one desire was to take Zac away for good. The enormous decision to undertake this plan appeared to be presenting itself. Today he would depart for a conference in California. This appeared to be a marvelous opportunity to take the boy and leave the country for good. He bet that he could pack sufficient baggage into his vehicle and then disappears across the border, gaining entry the U.S.A. He gave little thought to whatsoever of the fact this act could lead to his conviction if he was tracked down by the cops. Meanwhile, for Lesley the nightmare continued to unfold(展现,显露) as the reality of the situation deepened. After 48 hours, the spokesman for the district police department assured her they would investigate Zac’s disappearance. Her faith that justice would be realized was faint. The shock of the past two days’ events made her realize that possibly her son would become one more statistic in the missing children file. The police completed a preliminary survey after asking hundreds of detailed(详细的) questions. Hot lines proved fruitless(无结果的). Meanwhile, over the next year there were countless visits and interviews at the police station and her home. The police appeared to be making no progress in tracking Zac’s whereabouts(行踪). As the days passed, Lesley’s frustration(挫败) mounted and she felt a sense of alarm. Eventually, she decided to take the initiative in continuing the search and she began to use well-established child find agencies. At times, boosted by hopes, she appeared to be on the right trail with a sense of disgust, but her hopes were dashed at the final moment. These obstacles hope. After Zac’s picture was circulated nationwide, telephone calls followed from strangers reporting sightings(被看见的人或事物) of a Zac look alike. Month by month her plan evolved into a campaign equal to a full-scale battle plan. She paid an exceedingly high fee for specialized help, such as the services of an attorney. Lesley became determined to target every major city where Jeff normally contracted business. As the months slopped by, Lesley’s exhaustion became noticeable in her eyes. Her cheeks became hollow pits. Most days she felt as though she did not have an ounce of energy left because proof of Zac’s existence seemed impossible to find. Another year passed and her hopes dimmed. Unexpectedly, late in August a promising lead brought her to Los Angeles. The interior of the bar was dark. Her quest to locate Jeff and Zac had taken two years. She had paid private investigators in American currency to help her locate her ex-husband. In her handbag she carried the necessary proof that would identify her to the authorities if she was successful in being able to bring Zac home again,
2
to Canada. She had been impatient for this moment to arrive for so long and yet now she just wanted to secure her son with a minimum of fuss. Now, right on cue, a tall stranger slipped into the bar and sat down. One glimpse told her it was Jeff. He looked weary(疲劳的) and older but definitely familiar. A chill ran up her spine(脊 椎,脊柱). Close to success, she refused to concede defeat. It was the time to remedy the enormous sadness. This time she wanted a guarantee of success. She stared straight ahead with a vacant look, trying to grasp the important moment. Vivid scenes, from the pass two years’ search, flashed(思想等的闪现) through her mind. The following day, happily for Lesley, the headline of the local paper read, “Father turns over child, Mother slams system.” Lesley and Zac’s subsequent life could now resume some form of normalcy(正 常状态), however, the stress and strain of the past two years would always remain as a part of this renewed relationship in the memory. One Chance The tiny antique silver pin lay in my hand. I stared hard at the solemn face looking back at me from the oval frame. I was looking for some resemblance between my ancestor and myself. Her brow was broad and strong, the eyes kind and forgiving. She wore a stiff black bonnet(无边小圆软帽), a high white collar and a coarsely woven shawl(披肩) around her shoulders. In examining her face more closely, maybe I could identify some similarity around the eyes and the nose. An inner strength shone from the eyes of this diminutive lady who had helped lead her family from Ireland to the New World. The times, in Ireland during the 1770’s, were difficult for everyone. John and Lily Love and all the tenants(租地者,佃户) of the Barren’s Court Estate were suffering after terrible floods destroyed their crops. The landlord was generous in allowing the land rent to fall into arrears(拖欠,还款), due to the difficult times. However, as weather conditions continued to worsen, the little family became pessimistic and felt desperate about the direction of their lives. Nearly every family at this time had at least one member of their family who had left for the New World. The ugly face of famine was lurking(潜藏,潜伏) everywhere. It was not possible with one acre of arable(可耕作的) land to make a living. Late one night, after the children were in bed, John and Lily discussed the possibility of making a reservation aboard a sailing ship bound for America. John had noticed a poster in the town square, that posted by a ship’s owner trying to recruit people for his ship. John knew that conditions aboard ship would not be ideal for Lily, her new infant son and the two elder boys; however, she acknowledged that settling in America would be the only way for the family to gain some independence and to earn a living. More importantly, it was rumored that land was free in the new country. Lily gave her consent to leave. In port, the sailing ship, Hannah, under the command of Captain Mitchell lay at anchor. The adventure of crossing the Atlantic Ocean bound for Philadelphia would take two to three months. Passengers were assured there would be the best provisions and plenty of barrels of fresh water. Storms could be fierce and living conditions below deck would be primitive. John joined the long queue and eventually after a lengthy wait, reached the revenue table. He affixed(签署名字) his signature to the contract promising to pay five pounds per person for berths(卧铺) aboard ship. The clerk returned the receipt to John indicating that the sum of money had been paid. Once under sail the three hundred passengers found themselves crowded into
3
miserable conditions. The smell of so many people crowded together was offensive. The breadth of the vessel was narrow and the headroom(净空,头上空间) below deck minimal. As the tiny craft sailed out of Lough Foyle, and entered the Atlantic Ocean, it started to roll ominously(不吉利的) and those aboard wondered if they would survive the long voyage ahead or be swallowed up by the enormous waves. Seasickness(晕船) was everywhere and people had no appetite. The food, instead of being of high quality as promised, was too often rotten and the water was brackish(有 咸味的). Eventually, the winds lessened and the Captain was able to set his sights towards America and become ably steering the ship on an even course(航线). Eight weeks later, plus on day, the Hannah made landfall(着陆) and the Love family disembarked(离船 上岸) in America and became American newest immigrants. Gazing at the mainland after so many days of sailing was indeed a glorious sight. The difficult days aboard ship seemed worthwhile. Porters hurried along the docks pushing baggage. Little girls with ribbons in their hair scanned the ship’s decks hoping to get a first glimpse of their father arriving. It seemed to Lily that it took forever to register and to pass through immigration. John said that he would go ahead to scout out some land in the far west of the state. He would push on to the frontier with a bunch of other Irish chaps. Lily and the children could follow more slowly, harnessing the horse and cart to convey their scanty(贫乏的,少的) possessions. The stuff in the cart would include a kettle, dishes, blankets, a chair, a bucket and an axe. There was a perception by the government at this time that the feisty(易怒的, 好 斗 的 ) Irish would resist any hostile natives refusing to retreat and thus maintaining the western boundary. The Irish, too, were pleased to settle as far away from the government as possible. Instead of purchasing land, they would “squat(占 据)” on the property erecting only a temporary, humble shelter to stave off(遮 挡) the weather. Once their families arrived, they would inspire the men to build proper cabins. Neither fancy nor elegant, these log structures would be their first real homes. Property boundaries at this time were not marked out with iron rods or stakes in a standard fashion, but rather designated(标明,标出) by natural objects such as rocks, trees and creeks. Confusion and disputes must often have followed later, when these survey points disappeared. After exploring the area around Shirley’s burg, John and his sons rode over Sandy Ridge to survey the property below Black Log Mountain. It was here in a long narrow valley they decided to settle. The valley became known then, and is still called Love’s valley today. At the time, drums were used to forewarn(预先警告) that the natives were going to capture the forts(城堡), which guarded the western frontier. Daily life in this new land, for the early settlers, was harsh and difficult. First they needed to tame the land, chopping down trees, in order to be able to plant crops. At times they needed to defend their land and be wary(机警的) of attacks from wild animals, such as wolves
 

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