After a Shadow and Other Stories eBook

Timothy Shay Arthur
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 126 pages of information about After a Shadow and Other Stories.
crave only the briefest of pleasures, and left new and less easily satisfied desires behind.  It will not do, my friend, to grant an easy indulgence to natural appetite and desire, for they ever seek to be our masters.  If we would be men—­self-poised, self-controlling, self-possessing men—­we must let reason govern in all our actions.  We must be wise, prudent, just, and self-denying; and from this rule of conduct will spring order, tranquillity of mind, success, and true enjoyment.  I think, Hoffman, that I am quite as happy a man as you are; far happier, I am sure, at this moment; and yet I have denied myself nearly all theses indulgences through which you have exhausted your means and embarrassed yourself with debt.  Moreover, I have a hundred dollars clear of everything, with which I shall take a long-desired excursion, while you will be compelled, for lack of the very money which has been worse than wasted, to remain a prisoner in the city.  Pray, be counselled to a different course in future.”

“I would be knave or fool to need further incentive,” said Hoffman, with much bitterness.  “At the rate I am going on, debt, humiliation, and disgrace are before me.  I may live up to my income without actually wronging others—­but not beyond it.  As things are now going, I am two hundred dollars worse off at the end of each year when than I began, and, worse still, weaker as to moral purpose, while the animal and sensual natures, from constant indulgence, have grown stronger.  I must break this thraldom now; for, a year hence, it may be too late!  Thank, you, my friend, for your plain talk.  Thank you for teaching me anew the multiplication table, I shall, assuredly, not forget it again.”

V.

What can I do?

He was a poor cripple—­with fingers twisted out of all useful shape, and lower limbs paralyzed so that he had to drag them after him wearily when he moved through the short distances that limited his sphere of locomotion—­a poor, unhappy, murmuring, and, at times, ill-natured cripple, eating the bread which a mother’s hard labor procured for him.  For hours every fair day, during spring, summer, and autumn, he might be seen in front of the little house where he lived leaning upon the gate, or sitting on an old bench looking with a sober face at the romping village children, or dreamily regarding the passengers who moved with such strong limbs up and down the street.  How often, bitter envy stung the poor cripple’s heart!  How often, as the thoughtless village children taunted him cruelly with his misfortune, would he fling harsh maledictions after them.  Many pitied the poor cripple; many looked upon him with feelings of disgust and repulsion; but few, if any, sought to do him good.

Not far from where the cripple lived was a man who had been bedridden for years, and who was likely to remain so to the end of his days.  He was supported by the patient industry of a wife.

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Project Gutenberg
After a Shadow and Other Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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