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.
in which the light of disease painfully burned, and said,—­’You do well not to reproach me; the time for that is past, for I am, as you may see, on the verge of the grave.  I have striven with disease, that I might reach this place, and if possible, obtain your forgiveness ’ere my eyes shall close in death.  I know I have darkened a life, which, but for me, might have been bright and joyous.  It is too much for me to expect your forgiveness, yet I would hear you pronounce that blessed word before I die.  You may now believe me when I say, that it was my love for you which led me to deceive you.  Knowing my wife’s dread of any publicity being attached to her name, I thought the knowledge that I had a living wife would never reach you.  Of the sinfulness of my conduct I did not at that time pause to think.  I now sincerely thank my wife for preventing a marriage which in the sight of God, must have been but mockery.  I now speak truly when I say to you, I never loved my wife; I married her for money.  As I had no affection for her, my former habits of dissipation soon regained their hold on me.  It will afford me some comfort to know that I have made strictly true confession to you.  I have not, to my knowledge, a living relation in the wide world; and, till I met with you, I knew not the meaning of the word love; and I still believe that, had I met you earlier in life, your influence would have caused me to become a useful man and an ornament to my profession.  But it is useless to talk now of what cannot be recalled.  When I left this village, years ago, I was equally indifferent as to whither I went or what I did.  I felt no wish to return to my wife; and, had I been then inclined, I well knew the just contempt and scorn I should meet with, although I believe she had once loved me.  But I knew them to be a proud family, and I felt certain they would never overlook the disgrace and sorrow I had brought upon them.  I have never since seen my wife, but I lately learned that she, with the rest of her family, removed to a western city some years ago.  Since leaving this place I have wandered far and wide, never remaining long in one place.  My mind has never been at rest, and, for that reason, I have been a lonely wanderer all these years.  But my dissipated habits have done their work, and I feel that my earthly course is well nigh ended.  I have dragged my feeble body to your dwelling, with the hope of obtaining your forgiveness ‘ere I am summoned into eternity.’

“While listening to him, I had seated myself at my father’s side.  As he concluded, I said to my father, in a low voice,—­’If we forgive not our fellow-mortal, how can we expect the forgiveness of our Heavenly Father for our many sins?’ I rose from my seat and extending to him hand, said,—­’You have, Mr. Almont, my entire forgiveness for all the sorrow you have caused me, and I hope you will also obtain the forgiveness of God.’  My father also came forward, and, taking his hand, granted him his forgiveness. 

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