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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 262 pages of information about The Path of Duty, and Other Stories.
the village.  She seemed, upon all occasions, to adapt herself readily to surrounding circumstances.  At merrymakings, no one was so lively or social as Miss Simmonds:  in the chamber of sickness, no hand so gentle and no step so light as hers; and when death visited a household, her services were indispensible.  Although occupying a humble position in life, she was very much respected by all who knew her.  Very few there were in the vicinity but could recall some act of kindness from Miss Simmonds, rendered either to themselves or their friends; and many there were who could remember the time when her hands had prepared the form of some loved relative for its last resting-place in the grave.  Thus was Miss Simmonds bound to the hearts of the people of Littleton, as by a strong cord.  In person she was tall; she had fine dark eyes, and her hair was lightly sprinkled with grey.  From the expression which her countenance wore at times, I gathered the idea that she had, at some period of her life, experienced some deep sorrow.  I one day enquired of my aunt if such were not the case.  She gave me an evasive reply, and, perceiving that she wished to avoid the subject, I made no further enquiries.

I trust the reader will pardon this digression from my story.

In the course of the winter my uncle gave a party, to afford me an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the young people of the place.  If the party lacked some of the forms and ceremonies practised in the city drawing-rooms upon like occasions, it certainly was not wanting in real enjoyment.

CHAPTER XIV.

SCHOOL AT MILL TOWN.

I believe there is no season more favorable to sober reflection than when we find ourselves alone, after mingling for a time in a scene of mirth and gaiety.  After the departure of our guests, and my uncle and aunt had retired to rest, I indulged in a long fit of musing, as I sat alone by the kitchen-fire.  In the silence and loneliness of the hour, my thoughts turned to my former home, and to the circumstances which had caused me to leave it; and although I had resolved to think no more of Willie Leighton, somehow or other, on this occasion, I found my thoughts wandering to him and to the seeming fatality which had separated us.  The only living relatives of whom I had any knowledge were my uncle and aunt, and the before-mentioned aunt of my mother.

But a circumstance which I had heard my father mention in my childhood had of late often recurred to my mind.  I recollected often hearing my father speak of a twin-brother, and that they had been left orphans at the age of eight years; also, that he, my father, had been adopted by a gentleman residing about fifty miles from the city of Philadelphia, who had given him a very good business education, and had procured for him a situation in the city when he became of suitable age.  But the case had been different with his brother Charles. 

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