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 wishes of his neighbours, but his old habits still clung to him.  I removed to a longer distance and visited my early home less frequently.  Returning to R., after a longer absence than usual, I learned that the health of Old Rufus had so much failed, that the neighbours, deeming it unsafe for him to remain longer alone, at length persuaded him to remove to the house of a neighbour, where each one contributed toward his support.  His mind had become weak as well as his body; indeed he had become almost a child again, and it was but a short time that he required the kind attentions which all his old neighbours bestowed upon him.  I remained at home for several weeks, and ere I left, I followed the remains of Old Rufus to the grave.  I have stood by many a grave of both kindred and stranger; never before or since have I seen one laid in the grave without the presence of some relative; but no one stood by his grave who bore to him the least relationship.  It was on a mild Sabbath afternoon in midsummer that we laid him to rest in the burial ground of R.; and if none of his kindred stood by to shed the tear of natural affection, there was many a cheek wet with the tear of sensibility when the coffin was lowered to its silent abode.  I am unable to state his exact age, but I am certain that it considerably exceeded eighty years; and from what I can recollect of his life, I have a strong hope, that death opened to him a blessed immortality beyond the grave.


“And has it indeed come to this,” said Mrs. Harris, addressing her daughter Ellen, “must I part with my mother’s last gift to obtain bread?” Mrs. Harris, as she spoke, held in her hand a costly diamond ring, and the tears gathered in her eyes, as the rays of light falling upon the brilliants caused them to glow like liquid fire.  This costly ornament would have struck the beholder as strangely out of place in the possession of this poor widow, in that scantily furnished room; but a few words regarding the past history of Mrs. Harris and her daughter will explain their present circumstances.  Mrs. Harris was born and educated in England, and when quite young was employed as governess in a gentleman’s family.  Circumstances at length caused the family with whom she resided to cross the Atlantic and take up their abode in the ancient city of Quebec.  The young governess had no remaining ties to bind her to England.  Her parents had been dead for many years; she had no sisters, and her only brother, soon after the death of their parents, went to seek his fortune in the gold regions of California.  Some years had passed since she heard any tidings from him, and she feared he was no longer among the living, and when the family with whom she had so long resided left England for America, they persuaded her to accompany them.  In process of time she was married to a wealthy merchant, and removed to Western Canada.  Their union was a very happy one, and for some years,

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