Page:Letters to Mothers (1839).djvu/61

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herself almost bread, that she might add a luxury for his table, or a garment to his wardrobe.

She erred in judgment, and he in conduct; but her changeless love surmounted all. Still, there was little reciprocity, and every year diminished that little, in his cold and selfish heart. He returned no caress; his manners assumed a cast of defiance. She strove not to perceive the alteration, or sadly solaced herself with the reflection, that "it was the nature of boys."

He grew boisterous and disobedient. His returns to their humble cottage became irregular. She sat up late for him, and when she heard his approaching footstep, forgot her weariness, and welcomed him kindly. But he might have seen reproach written on the paleness of her loving brow, if he would have read its language. During those long and lonely evenings, she sometimes wept as she remembered him in his early years, when he was so gentle, and to her eye so beautiful. "But this is the way of young men," said her lame philosophy. So, she armed herself to bear.

At length, it was evident that darker vices were making him their victim. The habit of intemperance [52] could no longer be concealed, even from a love that blinded itself. The widowed mother remonstrated with unwonted energy. She was answered in the dialect of insolence and brutality.