by the darkness of night, he would perish in the storm;
and the poor woman was in a state of painful anxiety
and suspense. The supper-table was spread, but
Mrs. W. was unable to taste food; and, giving the
children their suppers, she awaited with intense anxiety
the return of her husband. The storm increased
till it was evident that it was one of unusual severity,
even for the rigorous climate of Canada, and, as the
wind shook the windows of their dwelling, the children
often exclaimed in tones of terror: “O!
what will become of poor father if he is out in this
storm.” Bye-and-bye the tired children
fell asleep, and Mrs. W. was left alone by her fireside.
She endeavoured to quiet her fears by thinking him
safe in the house of his friend, but she could not
drive away the thought that he had set out upon his
return home, and she feared, if such was the case,
he had met his death in that pitiless storm.
She was two miles from any neighbour, surrounded by
her family of young children; so all she could do
was to wait and watch as the hours wore on. Sleep
was out of the question, and the dawn of day found
her still keeping her lonely vigil. As the sun
rose the wind calmed, but the thick drifts of snow
rendered it impossible for her to leave the house,
and she watched anxiously if any one might chance to
pass, to whom she could apply for assistance in gaining
tidings of her husband. Alas! her fears of the
previous night were but too well founded. He
had perished in the storm. His friend tried his
utmost to persuade him to remain for the night when
the storm began, but he was anxious to return to his
home, fearing the anxiety of his family: and he
left his friend’s house about four o’clock
in the afternoon. The weather was intensely cold,
as well as stormy, and, owing to the depth of snow
which had already fallen, he could make but slow progress,
and, when overtaken by darkness and the increasing
tempest, benumbed with cold, and blinded by the whirling
drifts of snow, he sank down by the roadside to die,
and the suspense of his wife was at length relieved
by the painful certainty of his fate.
About noon on the day succeeding the storm, as Dr.
S. was slowly urging his horse onward, in order to
visit a patient who resided in the vicinity, he observed
some object lying almost concealed in the snow.
Stopping his horse, he left his sleigh to examine it,
and was horror-struck to find it the body of a man.
Thinking that, possibly, life was not extinct, he
took the body into his sleigh and made all possible
haste to the nearest dwelling, where every means was
used for the recovery of Mr. W.; but all was of no
avail, he was frozen to death. It was the kind
physician himself who first bore the sad tidings to
Mrs. W. When the lifeless body of the husband and
father was borne to his own dwelling, I have heard
the scene described by those who witnessed it, as
most heart-rending. On the day of his burial the
settlers in the vicinity came from a long distance
to pay their last tribute of respect to one who had
been much esteemed as a friend and neighbour.
The widow of Mr. W. is still living, but she now is
of a very advanced age. His children grew up
and settled in various places, and the elder ones among
them retained a distinct recollection of the sad death
of their father.