The Next of Kin eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 176 pages of information about The Next of Kin.
burdens, although in years they were but children.  The saddest places of all the world to-day are not the battle fields, or the hospitals, or the cross-marked hillsides where the brave ones are buried; the saddest places are the deserted campus and playgrounds where they should be playing; the empty seats in colleges, where they should be sitting; the spaces in the ranks of happy, boisterous schoolboys, from which the brave boys have gone,—­these boys whose boyhood has been cut so pitifully short.  I thought, too, of the little girls whose laughter will ring out no more in the careless, happy abandonment of girlhood, for the black shadow of anxiety and dread has fallen even on their young hearts; the tiny children, who, young as they are, know that some great sorrow has come to every one; the children of the war countries, with their terror-stricken eyes and pale faces; the unspeakable, unforgivable wrong that has been done to youth the world over.

* * * * *

There, as I sat on the floor of the storeroom, my soul wandered down a long, dark, silent valley, and met the souls of the mothers of all countries, who had come there, like me, to mourn ... and our tears were very hot, and very bitter ... for we knew that it was the Valley of Lost Childhood!



  Nothing is lost that our memories hold,
    Nothing forgotten that once we knew;
  And to-day a boy with curls of gold
    Is running my fond heart through and through—­
  In and out and round and round—­
    And I find myself laughing without a sound
  At the funny things he said that time
    When life was one glad nursery rhyme.

It should not be so hard for mothers to give up their children.  We should grow accustomed to it, for we are always losing them.  I once had a curly-haired baby with eyes like blue forget-me-nots, who had a sweet way of saying his words, and who coined many phrases which are still in use in my family.  Who is there who cannot see that “a-ging-a-wah” has a much more refreshing sound than “a drink of water”?  And I am sure that nobody could think of a nicer name for the hammer and nails than a “num and a peedaw.”  At an incredibly early age this baby could tell you how the birdies fly and what the kitty says.

All mothers who have had really wonderful children—­and this takes us all in—­will understand how hard it is to set these things down in cold print or even to tell them; for even our best friends are sometimes dull of heart and slow of understanding when we tell them perfectly wonderful things that our children did or said.  We all know that horrible moment of suspense when we have told something real funny that our baby said, and our friends look at us with a dull is-that-all expression in their faces, and we are forced to supplement our recital by saying that it was not so much what he said as the way he said it!

Project Gutenberg
The Next of Kin from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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