Page:Post - Uncle Abner (Appleton, 1918).djvu/124

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The House of the Dead Man

stand how a man can feel like that; but I tell you, when a man is in trouble he will remember his father's roof if he is living, and his father's grave if he is dead."

I was so mortified before this confession that Abner's heartless manner had forced out of the man that I reached over and caught my uncle by the sleeve. My horse stood by Abner's chestnut, and I hoped that he would yield to my importunity and ride on; but he turned in his saddle and looked first at me and then down upon the sheriff.

"Martin," he said, "thinks we ought to leave you to your filial devotions."

"It is a credit to the child's heart," replied the man, "and a rebuke to you, Abner. It is a pity that age robs us of charity."

Abner put his hands on the pommel of his saddle and regarded the sheriff.

"I have read St. Paul's epistle on charity," he said, "and, after long reflection, I am persuaded that there exists a greater thing than charity—a thing of more value to the human family. Like charity, it rejoiceth not in iniquity, but it does not bear all things or believe all things, or endure all things; and, unlike charity, it seeketh its own. … Do you know what thing I mean, Smallwood? I will tell you. It is Justice."

"Abner," replied the man, "I am in no humor to hear a sermon."