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 idea that my mother would die had been impressed upon my mind from the first; yet, when I observed her improved appearance, I thought that the physician, as well as ourselves, might have been deceived.


A bright dream and peaceful end.

The seeming favorable turn of my mother’s disease proved, as Aunt Patience had feared, of but short duration.  She was soon again almost entirely confined to her bed; except that, in the after-noons for the sake of the change, she would recline for a short time upon the sofa in the parlor.  But this was only for a few days, and then she was unable to leave her own apartment.

As I have said so little regarding my own feelings, in view of my mother’s death, the reader may be led to think that I felt less keenly than I might have been supposed to do.  If I have said little, it is for the reason that I have no words adequate to describe what my feelings were at the time.  I felt stunned as by a heavy blow; and it seemed to me if my mother died I certainly could not live.  I had yet to learn that grief does not kill—­that is, not suddenly.

I have often since looked back to that time, and felt deeply humbled, while thinking how little I felt resigned to the will of heaven.  I could not then, as I have since done, recognize the hand of a kind and loving Father in the stroke.  I could only feel that my mother was leaving me, and all was darkness beyond.  I now scarcely ever left my mother’s room, except when Aunt Patience would almost compel me for a short time, to retire to my own apartment, that I might obtain a little rest.  But the thought that soon I would have no mother was ever present to my mind, and I wished to remain with her as long as she might be spared to me.

About three weeks previous to my mother’s death, Aunt Patience urgently requested me one afternoon to retire to my own room and seek some rest, saying I looked entirely worn out.  After obtaining from her a promise that she would not allow me to sleep too long, I complied.  My room seemed very cool and refreshing that sultry afternoon, and, lying down upon my bed, I soon sank into a profound slumber, which continued for three or four hours.  Upon my going down stairs, I was surprised at the lateness of the hour, and enquired of Aunt Patience why she had not called me?  She replied that as my mother had seemed quite comfortable, she thought it best to let me enjoy a sound sleep.  I persuaded Aunt Patience to retire to rest soon after tea, as I intended watching that night by my mother.  Thus far we had ourselves been able to attend to the wants of my mother, without assistance, as it pleased her better that either Aunt Patience or I should attend to her; but we had lately allowed a friend to sleep in the house, as we did not like to be left alone.  That evening, after my mother had partaken of a little light refreshment,

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