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.
so, that he had the ceremony performed without his father’s knowledge; who afterwards, making a virtue of necessity, wisely made the best of the matter.  On learning that his son was actually married without his knowledge, the only remark he made was this:  “What could have induced Ben to cut up such a caper as to go and get married without my leave; it must have been the weather, nothing else,” and as if he had settled the question to his own satisfaction he was never heard to allude to the matter again.  Years passed away, till one day the tidings reached us that Uncle Ephraim was dangerously ill.  He grew rapidly worse, and it was soon evident that his days on earth would soon be numbered.  I have a very distinct recollection of stealing quietly in, to look upon him as he lay on his dying bed; of the tears I shed when I gazed upon his fearfully changed features.  He was even then past speaking or recognizing one from another; and before another sun rose he had passed from among the living.  I obtained permission to go in once more and look upon him as he lay shrouded for the grave.  I was then a child of ten years, but even at that early age I had not that morbid terror of looking upon death, so common among children.  With my own hands, I folded back the napkin which covered his face, and gazed upon his aged, but now serene, countenance.  There was nothing in his appearance to inspire terror, and for a moment I placed my hand on his cold brow.  He had ever been very kind to me, and I regarded him with much affection, and the tears coursed freely down my cheeks when I looked my last upon his familiar countenance now lifeless and sealed in death.  I have forgotten his exact age, but I know it exceeded seventy years.  It so happened that I did not attend his funeral; but he was followed to the grave by a large number of friends and neighbours, many of whom still live to cherish his memory.


[A] I lately came across this sketch in an old Magazine, bearing the date of 1842, and, thinking others might be as much interested by it as I was myself, I transcribe it in an abridged form to the pages of this volume.

It was a dreary day in autumn.  Like the fate which attends us all, the foliage had assumed the paleness of death; and the winds, cold and damp, were sighing among the branches of the trees; and causing every other feeling rather than that of comfort.  Four others and myself had been out hunting during the day, and we returned at nightfall tired and hungry to our camp.  The shades of night were fast gathering around us; but, being protected by our camp, with a blazing fire in front, we soon succeeded in cooking some of the game we had shot during the day; and as we ate, the old hunters, who were my companions grew garrulous, and in turn related their numerous adventures.  “You have lived in Dayton for some time,” said an old hunter, addressing one of his companions. 

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