Chapter 27

My father - Premature decay - The easy-chair - A few questions - So you told me - A difficult language - They can it Haik - Misused opportunities - Saul - Want of candour - Don’t weep - Heaven forgive me - Dated from Paris - I wish he were here - A father’s reminiscences - Farewell to vanities.

MY father, as I have already informed the reader, had been endowed by nature with great corporeal strength; indeed, I have been assured that, at the period of his prime, his figure had denoted the possession of almost Herculean powers. The strongest forms, however, do not always endure the longest, the very excess of the noble and generous juices which they contain being the cause of their premature decay. But, be that as it may, the health of my father, some few years after his retirement from the service to the quiet of domestic life, underwent a considerable change; his constitution appeared to be breaking up; and he was subject to severe attacks from various disorders, with which, till then, he had been utterly unacquainted. He was, however, wont to rally, more or less, after his illnesses, and might still occasionally be seen taking his walk, with his cane in his hand, and accompanied by his dog, who sympathised entirely with him, pining as he pined, improving as he improved, and never leaving the house save in his company; and in this manner matters went on for a considerable time, no very great apprehension with respect to my father’s state being raised either in my mother’s breast or my own. But, about six months after the period at which I have arrived in my last chapter, it came to pass that my father experienced a severer attack than on any previous occasion.

He had the best medical advice; but it was easy to see, from the looks of his doctors, that they entertained but slight hopes of his recovery. His sufferings were great, yet he invariably bore them with unshaken fortitude. There was one thing remarkable connected with his illness; notwithstanding its severity, it never confined him to his bed. He was wont to sit in his little parlour, in his easy-chair, dressed in a faded regimental coat, his dog at his feet, who would occasionally lift his head from the hearth-rug on which he lay, and look his master wistfully in the face. And thus my father spent the greater part of his time, sometimes in prayer, sometimes in meditation, and sometimes in reading the Scriptures. I frequently sat with him, though, as I entertained a great awe for my father, I used to feel rather ill at ease, when, as sometimes happened, I found myself alone with him.

‘I wish to ask you a few questions,’ said he to me one day, after my mother had left the room.

‘I will answer anything you may please to ask me, my dear father.’

‘What have you been about lately?’

‘I have been occupied as usual, attending at the office at the appointed hours.’

‘And what do you there?’

‘Whatever I am ordered.’

‘And nothing else?’

‘Oh yes! sometimes I read a book.’

‘Connected with your profession?’

‘Not always; I have been lately reading Armenian - ‘

‘What’s that?’

‘The language of a people whose country is a region on the other side of Asia Minor.’


‘A region abounding with mountains.’

  By PanEris using Melati.

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