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.

One evening in midsummer I found him seated alone upon the piazza, with a most dejected countenance.  Taking a seat by his side I enquired why he looked so sad;—­his eyes filled with tears as he replied—­“its of ould Ireland I’m thinkin’ to-night, sure.”  I had never before seen Terry look sober, and I felt a deep sympathy for the homesick boy.  I asked him how it happened that he left all his friends in Ireland and came to this country alone.  From his reply I learned that his mother died when he was only ten years old, and, also, that his father soon after married a second wife, who, to use Terry’s own words, “bate him unmarcifully.”  “It’s a wonder,” said he, “that iver I lived to grow up, at all, at all, wid all the batins I got from that cruel woman, and all the times she sint me to bed widout iver a bite uv supper, bad luck to her and the like uv her!” He did live, however, but he certainly did not grow up to be very tall.  “Times grew worse an’ worse for me at home,” continued he, “and a quare time I had of it till I was fourteen years of age, when one day says I to mesilf, ‘flesh and blood can bear it no longer,’ and I ran away to the city uv Dublin where an aunt by me mother’s side lived.  Me aunt was a poor woman, but she gave a warm welcim to her sister’s motherless boy; she trated me kindly, and allowed me to share her home, although she could ill afford it, till I got a place as sarvant in a gintleman’s family.  As for my father, he niver throubled his head about me any more; indade I think he was glad to be rid uv me, an’ all by manes of that wicked woman.  It was near two years afther I lift home that I took the notion of going to Ameriky; me aunt advised me against going, but, whin she saw that me mind was set on it, she consinted, and did her best, poor woman, to sind me away lookin’ dacent and respectable.  I niver saw me father or me stepmother agin.  I had no wish to see her; but, although I knew me father no longer loved me, I had still some natral-like feelin’s for him; but, as I had run away from home, I durst not go back, an’ so I lift Ireland widout a sight uv him.  But I could not lave it foriver, as it might be, widout one more sight uv me mother’s grave.  I rached the small village where me father lived about nightfall, and lodged in the house uv a kind neighbor who befrinded me, an’ he promised, at my earnest wish, to say nothing to any one uv my wish.  Early in the morning, before any one was astir in the village, I stole away to the churchyard where they buried me mother.  I knelt down, I did, an’ kissed the sods which covered her grave, an’ prayed that the blessin’ which she pronounced before she died, wid her hand restin’ on me head, might follow me wheriver I might go.”  The boy took from his pocket a small parcel, carefully inclosed in a paper, which he handed to me, saying “I gathered these shamrocks from off me mother’s grave, before I lift it forever.”  My own eyes grew moist as I gazed upon the now withered shamrock

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