Page:Audubon and His Journals.djvu/68

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38
AUDUBON

This infant daughter we buried in our garden at Henderson, but after removed her to the Holly burying-ground in the same place.

Hundreds of anecdotes I could relate to you, my dear sons, about those times, and it may happen that the pages that I am now scribbling over may hereafter, through your own medium, or that of some one else be published. I shall try, should God Almighty grant me life, to return to these less important portions of my history, and delineate them all with the same faithfulness with which I have written the ornithological biographies of the birds of my beloved country.

Only one event, however, which possesses in itself a lesson to mankind, I will here relate. After our dismal removal from Henderson to Louisville, one morning, while all of us were sadly desponding, I took you both, Victor and John, from Shippingport to Louisville. I had purchased a loaf of bread and some apples; before we reached Louisville you were all hungry, and by the river side we sat down and ate our scanty meal. On that day the world was with me as a blank, and my heart was sorely heavy, for scarcely had I enough to keep my dear ones alive; and yet through these dark ways I was being led to the development of the talents I loved, and which have brought so much enjoyment to us all, for it is with deep thankfulness that I record that you, my sons, have passed your lives almost continuously with your dear mother and myself. But I will here stop with one remark.

One of the most extraordinary things among all these adverse circumstances was that I never for a day gave up listening to the songs of our birds, or watching their peculiar habits, or delineating them in the best way that I could; nay, during my deepest troubles I frequently would wrench myself from the persons around me, and retire to some secluded part of our noble forests; and many a time, at the sound of the wood-thrush's melodies have I fallen on my knees, and there prayed earnestly to our God.

This never failed to bring me the most valuable of thoughts and always comfort, and, strange as it may seem to you, it was often necessary for me to exert my will, and compel myself to return to my fellow-beings.