Half a Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 294 pages of information about Half a Century.

By her request, I and a dear friend, Martha Campbell, prepared her body for burial, and we wrapped her in a linen winding-sheet, as the body of Christ was buried—­no flowers, no decorations; only stern, solemn Death.

On the last day of father’s life he had said to her, “Mary you are human, and must have faults, but whatever they are I never have seen them.”

She had been his widow seventeen years, and by her desire we opened his grave and laid her body to mingle its dust with his, who had been her only love in the life that now is, and with whom she expected to spend an eternity.

CHAPTER XIII.

“Labor—­service or act.”—­Age, 25.

Mother’s will left everything to trustees, for the use of Elizabeth and myself.  She had wished my husband to join her in a suit for the recovery of father’s city property, and he refused, but signed a deed with me conveying my interest to her.  This claim she also willed to her trustees for my use.  He felt himself wronged and became angry, but had one remedy.  Being the owner of my person and services, he had a right to wages for the time spent in nursing mother, and would file his claim against her executors.

I do not know why I should have been so utterly overwhelmed by this proposal to execute a law passed by Christian legislators for the government of Christian people—­a law which had never been questioned by any nation, or state, or church, and was in full force all over the world.  Why should the discovery of its existence curdle my blood, stop my heart-beats, and send a rush of burning shame from forehead to finger-tip?  Why should I have blushed that my husband was a law-abiding citizen of the freest country in the world?  Why blame him for acting in harmony with the canons of every Christian church—­aye, of that one of which I was a member, and proud of its history as a bulwark of civil liberty?  Was it any fault of his that “all that she (the wife) can acquire by her labor-service or act during coverture, belongs to her husband?” Certainly not.  Yet that law made me shrink and think of mother’s warning, given so long ago.  But marriage was a life-contract, and God required me to keep it to the end, and said, “When thou passeth through the fire I will be with thee, and the floods shall not overflow thee.”  I could not bear to have a bill sent to mother’s executors for my wages, but I could compromise, and I did.

He returned to Louisville, sold the goods, went on a trading-boat, and joined Samuel in Little Rock.  While he was there Samuel died—­died a Presbyterian, and left this message for me: 

“Tell sister Jane I will meet her in heaven.”

This my husband transmitted to me, and was deeply grieved and much softened by his brother’s death.

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Half a Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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