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.
lang stay, had set out to look for him, when by some mishap, it will n’er be kenned what way, he lost his footin’, an’ fell frae the end o’ the narrow brig which crossed the burn.  The burn was’na large, but a heavy rain had lately fa’n, an’ there was aye a deep bit at one end o’ the brig.  He had fa’n head first into the water in sic a way that he could’na possibly won ‘oot.  It was a clear moonlicht night, an’ when Davy reached the brig, the first thing he saw was his ain son lyin’ i’ the water.  I hae often been told that a sudden shock o’ ony kind will sober a drunken man.  It was sae wi’ Davy; for the first neebor who, hearin’ his cries for assistance, ran to the spot, found him standin i’ the middle o’ the brig, perfectly sober, wi’ the drooned boy in his arms; although it was weel kenned that he was quite drunk when he left the village.  Every means was used for the recovery o’ the boy, but it was a’ useless, he was quite deed an’ caul’.  “Ah” said Davy, when tell’d by the doctor that the boy was indeed dead, “my punishment is greater than I can bear.”  Geordie had aye been as “the apple o’ his een”; never had he been kenned to ill use the boy, even when under the influence o’ drink; and the shock was too much for his reason.  Many wondered at his calmness a’ the while the body lay i’ the house afore the burial; but it was the calmness o’ despair; he just seemed to me like ane turned to stane.  The first thing that roused him was the sound o’ the first earth that fell on puir Geordie’s coffin.  He gie’d ae bitter groan, an’ wad hae fa’n to the earth had’na a kind neebor supported him.  His mind wandered fra that hour; he was aye harmless, but the light o’ reason never cam’ back to his tortured mind.  Sometimes he wad sit for hours by Geordie’s grave, an’ fancy that he talked wi’ him.  On these occasions nothing wad induce him to leave the grave till some ither fancy attracted his mind.  As I hae before said he was never outrageous, but seemed most o’ the time, when silent, to be in deep thought; but his reason was quite gone, and the doctors allowed that his case was beyond cure.  Many questioned them as to whether it were safe to allow him his liberty, lest he might do some deed o’ violence; but they gave it as their opinion that his disease was’na a’ ta’ likely to tak’ that turn wi’ him, an’ so was left to wander on.  He never bided verra lang in a place, but wandered frae house to house through a’ the country-side:  and every one treated him wi’ kindness.  The sight o’ a bonny fair-haired boy aye gave him muckle pleasure, an’ he wad whiles hae the idea that Geordie had cam’ back to him.  From the day o’ Geordie’s death to that o’ his ain’, which took place a month sine, he was n’er kenned to taste strong drink; he could’na bear even the sight o’ it.  He lived to a verra great age, an’ for many years they who did’na ken the story o’ his early life ha’e ca’d him Wanderin’ Davy.  “I hae noo tell’d you his story,” said Mr. C. addressing me; “an I hope it may
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The Path of Duty, and Other Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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