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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 287 pages of information about Bart Ridgeley.

Barton, with every faculty of mind intensely strong and clear, and weighted with the great calamity to absolute gravity, had struck those he met as a marvel of clear apprehension and perception of all the surroundings and proprieties of his painful position.  The younger members of the Painesville Bar, who had begun to know and love their young brother, had gathered about him in his illness, and now came forward to take charge of and prepare his remains for final rest, and to render to his friends the kindness of refined charity.  Barton knew that somehow they looked curiously at him, as he introduced himself to them, and fancied that his dazed and dreamy manner was singular; but knew that such considerate and kind, such brotherly young men, would make allowances for him.

When they gathered silently to take leave, he turned:  “Gentlemen, you know our obligations to you.  Think of the most grateful expression of them, and think I would so express them if I could.  Some day I may more fittingly thank you.”

They thought he never could.  He remembered the fitting words to Mrs. Hitchcock and her mother, Mrs. Marshall, and drove away, with his pale, silent mother.

All the way home in a dream.  Something awful had happened, and it was not always clear what it was, or how it had been brought about.

CHAPTER XXIII.

The storm.

About midnight the Painesville hearse drove up, accompanied by the four young pall-bearers, of the Painesville Bar, who attended the remains of their young brother.  The coffin was deposited in the little parlor, and the carriages drove to Parker’s for the night.

The stricken and lonely mother was in the sanctity of her own room.  The children had cried themselves to sleep and forgetfulness.  The brother, who had been sent for, could not reach home until the next morning.

Barton had declined the offers of kind friends to remain, and was alone with his dead.  The coffin-lid had been removed, and he lifted the dead-cloth from the face.  He could not endure the sharp angle of the nose, that so stabbed up into the dim night, unrelieved by the other features.

The wrath of a strong, deep nature, thoroughly aroused, is sublime; its grief, when stirred to its depths, is awful.  Barton knew now what had happened and what he had lost.  The acuteness of his fine organization had recovered its sharpest edge.  The heavens had been darkened for him nearly a year before, but now the solid earth had been rent and one-half cloven away, and that was the half that held the only hopes he had.  He didn’t calculate this now.  Genius, intellect, imagination, courage, pride, scorn, all the intensities of his nature, all that he supposed he possessed, all that lay hidden and unsuspected, arose in their might to overcome him now.  He did not think, he did not aspire, or hope, or fear, or dream, or remember:  he only felt, and bled, and

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