The Path of Duty, and Other Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 262 pages of information about The Path of Duty, and Other Stories.
to us; and Old Rufus was one of those.  When quite young I have often laughed at a circumstance I have heard related regarding the violent temper of his wife; but indeed it was no laughing matter.  It seems that in some instances she gave vent to her anger by something more weighty than words.  Old Rufus one day entered the house of a neighbor with marks of blows on his face, and was asked the cause.  He never spoke of his wife’s faults if he could avoid it; but on this occasion he sat for a moment as though considering what reply to make, and finally said:  “O! there is not much the matter with my face any way, only Polly and I had a little brush this morning.”  I know not how serious the matter was, but Old Rufus certainly came off second in the encounter.  This aged man is so deeply connected with the early scenes of my home life that I yet cherish a tender regard for his memory; although the flowers of many summers have scattered their blossoms, and the snows of many winters have descended upon his grave.  He was upon familiar terms with almost every family in the neighbourhood, and every one made him welcome to a place at their table, or a night’s lodging as the case might be; and I well remember the attention with which I used to listen to his conversation during the long winter evenings, when, as was often the case, he passed a night in our dwelling.  I recollect one time when the sight of Old Rufus was very welcome to me.  When about nine years of age, I accompanied my brothers to the Sugar bush one afternoon in Spring; and during a long continued run of the sap from the maple trees it was often necessary to keep the sugar kettles boiling through the night to prevent waste.  On the afternoon in question, my brothers intended remaining over night in the bush, and I obtained permission to stay with them, thinking it would be something funny to sleep in a shanty in the woods.  The sugar-bush was about two miles from our dwelling, and I was much elated by the prospect of being allowed to assist in the labors of sugar-making.  My brothers laughingly remarked that I would probably have enough of the woods, and be willing to return home when night came, but I thought otherwise.  During the afternoon I assisted in tending the huge fires, and the singing of the birds, and the chippering of the squirrels as they hopped in the branches of the tall trees, delighted me, and the hours passed swiftly by, till the sun went down behind the trees and the shades of evening began to gather about us.  As the darkness increased, I began to think the sugar-bush not the most desirable place in the world, in which to pass the night, and all the stories I had ever heard of bears, wolves and other wild animals rushed across my mind, and filled me with terror.  I would have given the world, had it been at my disposal, to have been safely at home; and it was only the dread of being laughed at, which prevented me from begging my brothers to take me there.  And when darkness had entirely settled
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The Path of Duty, and Other Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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