The Path of Duty, and Other Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 310 pages of information about The Path of Duty, and Other Stories.
and I have often thought that I have never since tasted such water as we used to draw from that well, as we used often to linger for a few moments in Uncle Ephraim’s yard on our return from school during the hot summer afternoons.  He must have been fond of children; for he was a great favorite among the boys; and he often gave us permission to gather fruit from the trees in the garden, provided we broke none of his prescribed rules.  But the unlucky urchin who transgressed against a command, forfeited his good opinion from henceforth, and durst no more be seen upon his premises.  I happened to be among the fortunate number who retained his approbation and good-will during all our acquaintance.

It was from Uncle Ephraim I received the first money I could call my own.  In those days school-boys were not supplied very liberally with pocket-money, and when on one occasion I rendered him some slight service, for which he bestowed on me a piece of money, I felt myself rich indeed, and the possession of as many hundreds now would fail to afford me the same pleasure as did the few cents which made up the value of the coin.

Like all others, he had his failings and weak points; but he had also many very estimable traits of character.  Among his failings very strong prejudices were most noticeable, and if for any reason he became prejudiced against one, he could never after see any good whatever in them.  He also possessed rather an unforgiving temper when injured by any one.  But on the other hand he was a friend to the poor; and seldom sent the beggar empty-handed from his door.  He also gave largely to the support of the gospel, as well as to benevolent institutions.  One very noticeable and oftentimes laughable peculiarity was his proneness to charge every thing that went wrong to the state of the weather.  I think it was more from a habit of speech than from any wish to be unreasonable.  I remember one day passing a field when he was trying to catch a horse that to all appearance had no idea of being captured.  He tried various methods of coaxing him into the halter, and several times nearly succeeded, but just when he thought himself sure of him, the animal would gallop off in another direction.  Out of all patience, he at length exclaimed, “What does possess that critter to act so to-day?” then glancing at the sky, which at the time happened to be overcast by dull murky clouds, he said:  “It must be the weather.”  I chanced one day to be present when Uncle Ephraim was busily occupied in making some arithmetical calculations regarding his farm-products.  The result not proving satisfactory he handed his slate to a friend for inspection, and it was soon discovered that he had made a very considerable error in his calculation.  When the error was pointed out to him, he looked up with a perplexed countenance, saying; “It is the weather:  nothing else would have caused me to make such a blunder.”  His son happened to marry against his wishes; so much

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The Path of Duty, and Other Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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