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Walter Harland eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 148 pages of information about Walter Harland.
one.  I can tell you, Walter, my sin did not go unpunished; for, inconsistent as my conduct has been, I loved Joshua Blake with a deep affection, and when my tortured mind pictured him as a wandering exile from his home, through my absurd and foolish conduct, you may be sure he did not suffer alone.  And if I hadn’t turned kind of cross and crusty, I am afraid I should have gone crazy, and it was certainly better to be cross than crazy.  That is twenty-five years ago.  As I was employed in the garden one morning a few weeks ago, an acquaintance from the village passing by said to me:  ’Have you heard the news, Miss Adams, that has almost turned every one’s head over at Fulton:  Joshua Blake, whom every one had given up for dead years ago, has come home.’  I grew cold as ice, and I never could tell how I reached the house.  I could hardly believe it, and yet something told me it was true, and that very evening he came over here; but, instead of the youth who went away, I saw, a middle-aged man with gray-hair, which Nathan said was an improvement, allowing that some gray looked better than all red.  It sounds foolish enough for young people to talk love, but for old people like Joshua Blake and I, it is unpardonable.  He told me he had resolved never to return to his native land again, till, by the merest chance, he met a man in Australia who informed him of the death of his father, and that his father had said upon his death-bed, that all that gave him the least anxiety was his aged partner, who, at his death, would be left quite alone in the world.  ‘Then,’ continued he, ’I thought of the sin I had committed in so long neglecting my parents, and I resolved to atone for my past neglect, by hastening home to care for my mother, should I find her still alive; and the happiness is yet left me of watching over the declining years of my aged mother.’  For awhile I refused to listen to him when he spoke about marriage, and told him it was better we should remain only as friends; but he talked and talked, and kept saying that, as we loved each other in youth, we could yet spend the evening of our lives together; and I at last said yes, only to stop his talking, and if we should happen not to agree, we shall have less time to quarrel than if we had got married twenty-five years ago; but, I rather think we have both got sobered down, so we can get along peaceably.  And now, Walter, you go right off to bed, for you must get up bright and early to-morrow morning, to assist in the preparations for the wedding.”  Aunt Lucinda looked very becoming in her bridal dress of gray silk with its rich lace trimming, and she looked younger and handsomer than I had ever seen her before, when Joshua Blake placed the marriage ring upon her finger; he was a fine-looking man, but I could not help thinking that the mixture of gray in his auburn locks was more of an improvement than otherwise.  He had returned to Fulton a rich man, and on the same spot where stood his father’s old house, he erected and furnished
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