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.

“I rose in my profession till I arrived at the position of second mate.  It was at this time that, during a stay of some weeks duration in an English port, I met with one who won my affections; and, one year after, we were married.  My wife resided with her friends in England, while I continued to follow the sea.  My wife was to me an object of almost idolatrous attachment.  Each time I visited England, I found it the harder to bid farewell to my wife, and again embark on the ocean.  We had one child, a beautiful boy.  I named him Henry, after my brother.  When we had been two years married, I made a voyage to the Indies, and was absent nearly two years.  When I returned, I learned that my wife and child had both been for some time dead.  When I learned the sad truth I was like one bereft of reason.  I could not reconcile myself to the thought that, in this world, I could never again behold my beloved wife and child.  The very darkness of despair settled on my mind.  I had not then, as I have since done, looked heavenward for consolation amid the sorrows of life.

“I can dwell no longer upon this dark period of my life, but hasten onward to the close of my story.  I continued to follow the life of a sailor for some years after my bereavement.  The hurry and bustle attendant upon my calling served in some measure to drive away thoughts of the past; but, after a time I even grew weary of the sea; and when I heard of the famous gold regions discovered in Australia, I felt a strong desire to visit the place.  The desire of making money had less to do with my decision of going there than had the wish for change and excitement of some kind.  Accordingly, I abandoned my sailor life, and made my way among the hundreds who were crowding to the gold regions of Australia.

“At that time I was poor, for I had never possessed the faculty for saving money.  I was unaccustomed to the labors of mining, and in many instances, the knowing ones took me in, and for a long time I realized but little from my labors.  But, as I persevered, against many discouragements, year after year, I at length began to be successful.  I finally bought a claim, which, quite unexpectedly to me, yielded a golden harvest, and I soon found myself rich beyond my most sanguine expectations.

“Year after year I determined to re-visit Philadelphia; but, by this time my mind had become much engrossed by money-making, and each succeeding year brought fresh claims upon my time and attention.

“Time passed on, till I found myself fast growing old.  I felt an intense longing to return to the land of my birth, and spend the few years which might remain to me of life in my native city.  During my residence in Australia I met with a man who informed me that he was in Philadelphia at the time of my brother’s marriage; and it was a severe trial when I found, upon my return, that my brother, and his wife had both been many years dead.  During my homeward journey, I had formed the decision of spending my remaining days in the home of my brother, as I wished for quiet and repose.  When I learned that they were both dead, all the affection of my worn and world-weary heart turned toward their orphan daughter.”

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