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.
where slept the other son and brother.  The desk on my left hand was occupied by a youth, who has been for many years toiling for gold in California; and I have learned that he has grown very rich.  I often wonder if, in his eager pursuit after riches, in that far-off clime, he ever thinks of the little brown school-house by the butternut trees, and of the smiling eager group who used daily to meet there.  One large family of brothers and sisters, who attended this school for several years, afterward removed with their parents to one of the Western States, and years have passed away since I heard of them; but along with many others they were recalled to mind by my visit to the old School-House.

On the opposite side of the room is the range of desks which were occupied by the girls, and I could almost fancy that I again saw the same lively, restless group who filled those desks in the days of long-ago.  Again I saw the bright smile which was often hidden from the searching eye of our teacher, behind the covers of the well-worn spelling-book, again I saw the mischievous glances, and heard the smothered laughter when the attention of the teacher was required in some other part of the room.  But these happy careless days of childhood are gone never to return.  Were I inclined, I could trace the after-history of most of the companions whom I used daily to meet in this school-room.  With many of them “life’s history” is done, and they sleep peacefully in the grave.  Others have gone forth to the duties of life; some far distant, others near their paternal homes.  Many of the number have been successful in life, and prospered in their undertakings, while others have met with disappointment and misfortune.  It seemed somewhat singular to me that, as I stood alone in that room (after the lapse of so many years), I could recollect, by the name, each companion I used to meet there; yet so it was, and it seemed but as yesterday since we used daily to assemble there; and, when I reflected for a moment on the many changes to which I have been subjected since that period, I could hardly realize that I was one and the same.  I lingered long at the old School-House, for I expected never to behold it again, having been informed that it was shortly to give place to a building of a larger size, and of more modern structure.


For several hours we had endured the jolting of the lumbering stage-coach over a rough hilly road which led through a portion of the State of New Hampshire; and, as the darkness of night gathered around us, I, as well as my fellow-travellers, began to manifest impatience to arrive at our stopping-place for the night; and we felt strongly inclined to find fault with the slow motion of the tired horses, which drew the heavily-loaded vehicle.  Thinking it as well to know the worst at once, I asked the driver “what time we might expect to reach our destination for

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