I was weary after my day of travel and went early to bed there in my old room. I left her finishing a pair of socks she had been knitting for me. Lying in bed, I could hear the creak of her chair and the low sung, familiar words:
’On the other side of Jordan, In the sweet fields of Eden, Where the tree of life is blooming, There is rest for you.
Late at night she came into my room with a candle. I heard her come softly to the bed where she stood a moment leaning over me. Then she drew the quilt about my shoulder with a gentle hand.
‘Poor little orphan!’ said she, in a whisper that trembled. She was thinking of my childhood — of her own happier days.
Then she went away and I heard, in the silence, a ripple of measureless waters.
Next morning I took flowers and strewed them on the graves of David and Uncle Eb; there, Hope and I go often to sit for half a summer day above those perished forms, and think of the old time and of those last words of my venerable friend now graven on his tombstone:
I ain’t afraid.
’Shamed O’NUTHIN’I ever done.
Alwuss KEP’MY tugs tight,
never swore ’less ’twas necessary,
never ketched A fish bigger ’N ’twas
er lied ’N A hoss trade
er shed A tear I didn’t hev to.
Never cheated anybody but Eben Holden.
Goin’ off somewheres, bill
dunno the way nuther
dunno ’F it’s east er west er north er south,
er road er trail;
but I ain’t afraid.
*** End of the project gutenberg EBOOK, Eben Holden ***
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