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The Wives of the Dead

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  • THE WIVES OF THE DEAD

  • Narrator

    The following story, the simple and domestic incidents of which may be deemed scarcely worth relating, after such a lapse of time, awakened some degree of interest, a hundred years ago, in a principal seaport of the Bay Province.

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  • The rainy twilight of an autumn day,--a parlor on the second floor of a small house, plainly furnished, as beseemed the middling circumstances of its inhabitants, yet decorated with little curiosities from beyond the sea, and a few delicate specimens of Indian manufacture,--these are the only particulars to be premised in regard to scene and season.

  • Two young and comely women sat together by the fireside, nursing their mutual and peculiar sorrows.

  • They were the recent brides of two brothers, a sailor and a landsman, and two successive days had brought tidings of the death of each, by the chances of Canadian warfare and the tempestuous Atlantic.

  • The universal sympathy excited by this bereavement drew numerous condoling guests to the habitation of the widowed sisters.

  • Several, among whom was the minister, had remained till the verge of evening;

  • Narrator

    when, one by one, whispering many comfortable passages of Scripture, that were answered by more abundant tears, they took their leave, and departed to their own happier homes.

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  • The mourners, though not insensible to the kindness of their friends, had yearned to be left alone.

  • United, as they had been, by the relationship of the living, and now more closely so by that of the dead, each felt as if whatever consolation her grief admitted were to be found in the bosom of the other.

  • They joined their hearts, and wept together silently.

  • But after an hour of such indulgence, one of the sisters, all of whose emotions were influenced by her mild, quiet, yet not feeble character, began to recollect the precepts of resignation and endurance which piety had taught her, when she did not think to need them.

  • Her misfortune, besides, as earliest known, should earliest cease to interfere with her regular course of duties;

  • Narrator

    accordingly, having placed the table before the fire, and arranged a frugal meal, she took the hand of her companion.

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  • Profile Picture of Mary in The Wives of the Dead

    Mary

    “Come, dearest sister;

  • you have eaten not a morsel to-day,”

  • Narrator

    she said.

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  • Profile Picture of Mary in The Wives of the Dead

    Mary

    “Arise, I pray you, and let us ask a blessing on that which is provided for us.”

  • Narrator

    Her sister-in-law was of a lively and irritable temperament, and the first pangs of her sorrow had been expressed by shrieks and passionate lamentation.

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  • She now shrunk from Mary’s words, like a wounded sufferer from a hand that revives the throb.