Half a Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 352 pages of information about Half a Century.

“But I couldn’t believe it!” and without another word turned and walked away.

They chose to regard mother’s illness as a personal grievance.  “The way of the transgressor is hard;” and she, having sinned against the saints, must bear her iniquity, and thus suffer the just reward of her deeds.

I had frequent letters from my husband, and he was waiting on the wharf, watching every boat for my appearance.  I told him before leaving Louisville, that I never would return—­never again would try to live in a slave State, and advised him to sell the goods at auction, and with the money start a sawmill up the Allegheny river, and I would go to him.  This advice he resented.  At length he grew tired waiting, and came for me.  It is neither possible nor necessary here to describe the trouble which ensued, but I would not nor did not leave mother, and she at last remembered the protection to which she was entitled by the city government.

With all mother’s courage, her moans were heartbreaking.  No opiate then known could bring one half-hour of any sleep in which they ceased, and in her waking hours the burden of her woe found vent in a low refrain: 

“My Father! is it not enough?”

Our principal care was to guard her from noise.  The click of a knife or spoon on a plate or cup in the adjoining room, sent a thrill of pain to her nerve centres.  Only two friends were gentle enough to aid Elizabeth and me in nursing her, as she murmured, constantly:  “If my husband were only here!”

She could bear no voice in reading save Gabriel Adams’ and my own.  I read to her comforting passages of Scripture, and said prayers which carried her soul up to the throne, and fell back on mine in showers of dust and ashes.  A great black atheism had fallen on me.  There was no justice on earth, no mercy in heaven.

Her house was in Pittsburg, on Sixth street, a little cottage built for her father and mother when they were alone.  It stood back in a yard, and rough men in passing stepped lightly—­children went elsewhere with their sports—­friends tapped on the gate, and we went out to answer inquiries and receive supplies—­prayers were offered for her in churches, societies and families.  The house was a shrine consecrated by suffering and sorrow.

The third month passed, and still she lingered.  For seven weeks she took no nourishment but half a cup of milk, two parts water, per day.  Then her appetite returned and her agony increased, but still with no lament save:  “My Father!  Is it not enough?”

In the sixth month, January 17th, 1840, relief came.  As I knelt for her last words, she said:  “Elizabeth?”

I replied, “She is here, dear mother, what of her?”

Summoning strength she said: 

“Let no one separate you!” then looked up and said, “It is enough,” and breathed no more.

As her spirit rose, it broke the cloud, and the divine presence fell upon me.  The room, the world was full of peace.  She had been caught up out of the storm; and “he who endureth unto the end shall be saved.”

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Half a Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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