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.
“Earth to earth—­ashes to ashes—­dust to dust.”  Oh! the falling of that first earth upon my father’s coffin, shall I ever forget the sound?  Child as I was, it seemed to me that my heart would break; but tears, the first I had shed since my father’s death, came to my relief.  Those blessed tears.  I may well call them blessed, since the physician afterwards told my mother that they saved either my reason or my life.  Kind friends besought my mother and me to allow ourselves to be conveyed home and not await the filling up of the grave.  But no.  We could not leave the spot till the last earth was thrown upon the grave, and a mound covered with grassy sods was to be seen, where a little before was only a mournful cavity.  Then indeed we felt that he was gone, and that we must return to our desolate home—­the home which ever before his presence had filled with joy and gladness.

I must pass over, with a few words only, the first year of our bereavement, as even now I shudder to recall the feeling of loneliness and desolation which took possession of us, when we found ourselves left alone in the home where everything reminded us so strongly of the departed one.  There was a small apartment adjoining our usual sitting-room which my father was wont to call his study, and, being fond of books, he used there to pass much of his leisure time.  It was quite a long time after his death before my mother could enter that apartment.  She said to me one day, “Will you go with me, Clara, to your father’s study?” I replied, “Can you go there, Mamma?” “Yes, dear,” said my mother, and led the way to the door.  No one had entered that room since my father left it on the last night of his life, the door having been locked on the day succeeding his death.  As my mother softly turned the key and opened the door, it seemed almost that we stood in my father’s presence, so vividly did the surroundings of that room recall him to our minds.  There stood his table and chair, and his writing desk stood upon the table, and several books and papers were scattered carelessly upon the table.  The last book he had been reading lay open as he had left it; it was a volume of Whitfield’s sermons; it was a book which my father valued highly, and is now a cherished keep-sake of my own.  My mother seemed quite overcome with grief.  I know she had striven daily to conceal her grief when in my presence, for she knew how I grieved for my father; and she was aware that her tears would only add to my sorrow, so for my sake it was that she forced herself to appear calm—­almost cheerful; but upon this occasion her grief was not to be checked.  She bowed her head upon the table, while convulsive sobs shook her frame.  I tried, in my childish way, to comfort her.  I had never seen her so much moved since my father’s death.  When she became more composed, she rose, and I assisted her in dusting and arranging the furniture of the room; and after this first visit to the room, we no longer

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