It was Mrs. Leighton who had thus entered my room, she having hastened to our dwelling as soon as she learned of my mother’s death. I could not at first reply to her kind words; I could only weep. She did not force me to talk, but, gently as a mother could have done, did she bathe my fevered brow and throbbing temples. Telling me to remain quiet for a few moments, she left the room, and soon returned, bearing a cup of tea, which she insisted upon my drinking. She assisted me to dress, and opened a window to admit the cool morning air. I tearfully thanked her for those kind attentions. She insisted that I should lean upon her for support, as we descended the stairs, and indeed I felt scarcely able to walk without assistance.
On going below, I found several kind friends, who had remained with Aunt Patience to render their assistance in any office of friendship we might require. Mrs. Leighton accompanied me to the room where lay the lifeless remains of my mother. I folded back the snowy napkin which covered her face, and gazed long upon those dear features, now stamped with the seal of death. As I gazed upon her now peaceful countenance, I felt that to wish her back again would be almost a sin. I also derived much comfort from the consoling words of Mrs. Leighton. I cannot dwell longer upon these sorrows. When I stood at my mother’s grave, and looked down upon her coffin, after it had been lowered into the earth, I almost wished that I too were resting by her side. Since that period I have experienced other sorrows; but the sharpest pang I have ever felt, was when I turned away from the graves where rested the remains of both father and mother.
As I have before mentioned, Aunt Patience had, in the course of her life, passed through many trying vicissitudes, and, previous to her death, my mother had considered that we could make no better return for the debt of gratitude we owed her than by making provision for her old age. I say, with good reason, that we owed her a debt of gratitude, for, during her residence with us, she had shown the utmost kindness to both my mother and myself. And when my mother’s health failed her, the care and attentions of Aunt Patience were unceasing. With a view of making provision for Aunt Patience, my mother had made arrangements that our house should be sold, and the money deposited for her future benefit. In making this arrangement, my mother wished me to accept of a portion of the money which the sale of the house would bring; but I declined, saying that, as she had given me a good education, I was amply able to support myself, so long as I was blessed with health. My mother assented to the arrangement, saying that I could draw money from the deposit should I ever have occasion so to do.