Page:Letters to Mothers (1839).djvu/64

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A heavy knock shook her door, and ere she could open it, a man entered. He moved with pain, like one crippled, and his red and downcast visage was partially concealed by a torn hat. Among those who had been familiar with his youthful countenance, only one save the Being who made him, could have recognized him, through his disguise and misery. The mother looking deep into his eye, saw a faint tinge of that fair blue, which had charmed her, when it unclosed from the cradle-dream.

"My son! My son!"

Had the prodigal returned by a late repentance, to atone for years of ingratitude and sin? I will not speak of the revels that shook the peaceful roof of his widowed parent, or of the profanity that disturbed her repose. The remainder of his history is brief. The effects of vice had debilitated his constitution, and once as he was apparently recovering from a long paroxysm of intemperance, apoplexy struck his heated brain, and he lay a bloated and hideous carcase. [55]

The poor mother faded away and followed him. She had watched over him, with a meek, nursing patience, to the last. Her love had never turned away from him, through years of neglect, brutality, and revolting wickedness. "Bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, enduring all things," was its motto.