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.


The memory of Old Rufus is so closely connected with the days of my childhood that I cannot refrain from indulging in a few recollections of him.  The name of Old Rufus was not applied to him from any want of respect; but it was owing to his advanced age, and long residence in our vicinity, that he received this appellation.  His name was Rufus Dudley.  I remember him as an old man when I was a very young child; and his residence in the neighbourhood dated back to a period many years previous to the time of which I speak.  He was born in the state of New York, where he resided during the early portion of his life, and where he married.  His wife died before his removal to Canada.  When he first came to the Province he located himself in a town a few miles from the village of C., where he married a second time.  When first he removed to R. he was for some years employed in a saw-mill and earned a comfortable support for his family.  My knowledge of his early residence in R. is indefinite, as he had lived there for many years previous to my recollection, and all I know concerning the matter is what I have heard spoken of at different times by my parents and other old residents of the place.  It would seem, however, that his second marriage was, for him, very unfortunate, for to use his own words, “he never afterward had any peace of his life.”  I have been informed that his wife was possessed of a pleasing person and manners, but added to this she also possessed a most dreadful temper; which when roused sometimes rendered her insane for the time being; and finally some trouble arose between them which ended in a separation for life.  They had two grown-up daughters at the time of their separation who accompanied their mother to a town at a considerable distance from their former home.  In a short time the daughters married and removed to homes of their own.  Their mother removed to one of the Eastern States.  She survived her husband for several years, but she is now also dead.  Soon after he became separated from his family Old Rufus gave up the saw-mill and removed to a small log house, upon a piece of land to which he possessed some kind of claim, and from that time till his death, lived entirely alone.  He managed to cultivate a small portion of the land, which supplied him with provisions, and he at times followed the trade of a cooper, to eke out his slender means.  His family troubles had broken his spirit, and destroyed his ambition, and for years he lived a lonely dispirited man.  He was possessed of sound common sense and had also received a tolerable education, to which was added a large stock of what might be properly termed general information; and I have often since wondered how he could have reconciled himself to the seemingly aimless and useless life which he led for so many years.  But in our intercourse with men, we often meet with characters who are a sore puzzle

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