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My Summer with Dr. Singletary - Part 2, from Volume V., the Works of Whittier: Tales and Sketches

74 pages
Project Gutenberg EBook, My Summer With Dr. Singletary, by Whittier Part 2, From Volume V., The Works of Whittier:Tales and Sketches #33 in our series by John Greenleaf WhittierCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloadingor redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do notchange or edit the header without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom of thisfile. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the file may be used. You can alsofind out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****EBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These EBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers*****Title: My Summer With Dr. Singletary Part 2, From Volume V., The Works of Whittier: Tales and SketchesAuthor: John Greenleaf WhittierRelease Date: December 2005 [EBook #9588] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was firstposted on October 18, 2003]Edition: 10Language: English*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK, DR. SINGLETARY ***This eBook was produced by David Widger []TALES AND ...
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Title: My Summer With Dr. Singletary Part 2, FromVolume V., The Works of Whittier: Tales andSketchesAuthor: John Greenleaf Whittier[RYeelse,a swee  Darate e:m Doreec tehmabn eor n2e0 0y5e a[rE aBhoeoak d# o9f588]schedule] [This file was first posted on October 18,]3002Edition: 10Language: English*E*B* OSTOAK,R TD RO. FS ITNHGE LPERTOAJREY C*T** GUTENBERGThis eBook was produced by David Widger[]
TSAKLEETSC HAENSDMY SUMMER WITH DR. SINGLETARY.A FRAGMENT.CHAPTER I.DR. SINGLETARY is dead!Well, what of it? All who live die sooner or later;and pray who wasDr. Singletary, that his case should claim particularattention?Why, in the first place, Dr. Singletary, as a manborn to our common inheritance of joy and sorrow,earthly instincts and heavenward aspirations,—ourbrother in sin and suffering, wisdom and folly, love,and pride, and vanity,—has a claim upon theuniversal sympathy. Besides, whatever the livingman may have been, death has now invested himwith its great solemnity. He is with the immortals.For him the dark curtain has been lifted. Theweaknesses, the follies, and the repulsive mentaland personal idiosyncrasies which may have kepthim without the sphere of our respect and
sympathy have now fallen off, and he standsradiant with the transfiguration of eternity, God'schild, our recognized and acknowledged brother.Dr. Singletary is dead. He was an old man, andseldom, of latter years, ventured beyond theprecincts of his neighborhood. He was a singleman, and his departure has broken no circle offamily affection. He was little known to the public,and is now little missed. The village newspapersimply appended to its announcement of hisdecease the customary post mortem compliment,"Greatly respected by all who knew him;" and inthe annual catalogue of his alma mater an asteriskhas been added to his name, over whichperchance some gray-haired survivor of his classmay breathe a sigh, as he calls up, the image ofthe fresh-faced, bright-eyed boy, who, aspiring,hopeful, vigorous, started with him on the journeyof life,—a sigh rather for himself than for itsunconscious awakener.But, a few years have passed since he left us; yetalready wellnigh all the outward manifestations,landmarks, and memorials of the living man havepassed away or been removed. His house, with itsbroad, mossy roof sloping down on one sidealmost to the rose-bushes and lilacs, and with itscomfortable little porch in front, where he used tosit of a pleasant summer afternoon, has passedinto new hands, and has been sadly disfigured by aglaring coat of white paint; and in the place of thegood Doctor's name, hardly legible on the corner-board, may now be seen, in staring letters of black
and gold, "VALENTINE ORSON STUBBS, M. D.,Indian doctor and dealer in roots and herbs." Thegood Doctor's old horse, as well known as itsowner to every man, woman, and child in thevillage, has fallen into the new comer's hands, who(being prepared to make the most of him, from thefact that he commenced the practice of the healingart in the stable, rising from thence to the parlor)has rubbed him into comparative sleekness,cleaned his mane and tail of the accumulated burrsof many autumns, and made quite a gay nag ofhim. The wagon, too, in which at least twogenerations of boys and girls have ridden in noisyhilarity whenever they encountered it on their wayto school, has been so smartly painted andvarnished, that if its former owner could look downfrom the hill-slope where he lies, he would scarcelyknow his once familiar vehicle as it whirls glitteringalong the main road to the village. For the rest, allthings go on as usual; the miller grinds, theblacksmith strikes and blows, the cobbler and tailorstitch and mend, old men sit in the autumn sun, oldgossips stir tea and scandal, revival meetingsalternate with apple-bees and bushings,—toil,pleasure, family jars, petty neighborhood quarrels,courtship, and marriage,—all which make up thedaily life of a country village continue as before.The little chasm which his death has made in thehearts of the people where he lived and laboredseems nearly closed up. There is only one moregrave in the burying-ground,—that is all.gLoeto dn ombaond yd iinefde ru fnrloamm ewntheatd ;I  fhoar,v ien dseaiedd t, hita tw tahse a
seaxdp edcatye dw, itrha nh iast  nlaesitg hfrboomrs  hwohuesne  ttho eh noeuswes , alnodngfrom workshop to workshop, "Dr. Singletary isdead!"He had not any enemy left among them; in oneway or another he had been the friend andbenefactor of all. Some owed to his skill theirrecovery from sickness; others remembered howhe had watched with anxious solicitude by thebedside of their dying relatives, soothing them,when all human aid was vain, with the sweetconsolations of that Christian hope which alonepierces the great shadow of the grave and showsthe safe stepping-stones above the dark waters.The old missed a cheerful companion and friend,who had taught them much without wounding theirpride by an offensive display of his superiority, andwho, while making a jest of his own trials andinfirmities, could still listen with real sympathy tothe querulous and importunate complaints ofothers. For one day, at least, even the sunny facesof childhood were marked with unwontedthoughtfulness; the shadow of the commonbereavement fell over the play-ground and nursery.The little girl remembered, with tears, how herbroken-limbed doll had taxed the surgical ingenuityof her genial old friend; and the boy showedsorrowfully to his playmates the top which the goodDoctor had given him. If there were few, amongthe many who stood beside his grave, capable ofrightly measuring and appreciating the highintellectual and spiritual nature which formed thebackground of his simple social life, all could feel
that no common loss had been sustained, and thatthe kindly and generous spirit which had passedaway from them had not lived to himself alone.As you follow the windings of one of the loveliestrivers of New England, a few miles above the sea-mart, at its mouth, you can see on a hill, whosegrassy slope is checkered with the graceful foliageof the locust, and whose top stands relievedagainst a still higher elevation, dark with oaks andwalnuts, the white stones of the burying-place. It isa quiet spot, but without gloom, as befits "God'sAcre." Below is the village, with its sloops andfishing-boats at the wharves, and its crescent ofwhite houses mirrored in the water. Eastward is themisty line of the great sea. Blue peaks of distantmountains roughen the horizon of the north.Westward, the broad, clear river winds away into amaze of jutting bluffs and picturesque woodedheadlands. The tall, white stone on the westerlyslope of the hill bears the name of "NicholasSingletary, M. D.," and marks the spot which heselected many years before his death. When Ivisited it last spring, the air about it was fragrantwith the bloom of sweet-brier and blackberry andthe balsamic aroma of the sweet-fern; birds weresinging in the birch-trees by the wall; and two little,brown-locked, merry-faced girls were makingwreaths of the dandelions and grasses which grewupon the old man's grave. The sun was settingbehind the western river-bluffs, flooding the valleywith soft light, glorifying every object and fusing allinto harmony and beauty. I saw and felt nothing todepress or sadden me. I could have joined in the
laugh of the children. The light whistle of a youngteamster, driving merrily homeward, did not jarupon my ear; for from the transfigured landscape,and from the singing birds, and from sportivechildhood, and from blossoming sweetbrier, andfrom the grassy mound before me, I heard thewhisper of one word only, and that word wasPEACE.
CHAPTER. II.SOME ACCOUNT OF PEEWAWKIN ON THETOCKETUCK.WELL and truly said the wise man of old, "Muchstudy is a weariness to the flesh." Hard and closeapplication through the winter had left me illprepared to resist the baleful influences of a NewEngland spring. I shrank alike from the storms ofMarch, the capricious changes of April, and thesudden alternations of May, from the blandest ofsouthwest breezes to the terrible and icy easternblasts which sweep our seaboard like the fabledsanser, or wind of death. The buoyancy and vigor,the freshness and beauty of life seemed leavingme. The flesh and the spirit were no longerharmonious. I was tormented by a nightmarefeeling of the necessity of exertion, coupled with asense of utter inability. A thousand plans for myown benefit, or the welfare of those dear to me, orof my fellow-men at large, passed before me; but Ihad no strength to lay hold of the good angels anddetain them until they left their blessing. Thetrumpet sounded in my ears for the tournament oflife; but I could not bear the weight of my armor. Inthe midst of duties and responsibilities which Iclearly comprehended, I found myself yielding tothe absorbing egotism of sickness. I could workonly when the sharp rowels of necessity were inmy sides.
It needed not the ominous warnings of myacquaintance to convince me that some decisivechange was necessary. But what was to be done?A voyage to Europe was suggested by my friends;but unhappily I reckoned among them no one whowas ready, like the honest laird of Dumbiedikes, toinquire, purse in hand, "Will siller do it?" In castingabout for some other expedient, I remembered thepleasant old-fashioned village of Peewawkin, onthe Tocketuck River. A few weeks of leisure,country air, and exercise, I thought might be ofessential service to me. So I turned my key uponmy cares and studies, and my back to the city, andone fine evening of early June the mail coachrumbled over Tocketuck Bridge, and left me at thehouse of Dr. Singletary, where I had beenfortunate enough to secure bed and board.The little village of Peewawkin at this period was awell-preserved specimen of the old, quiet, cozyhamlets of New England. No huge factory threw itsevil shadow over it; no smoking demon of anengine dragged its long train through the streets;no steamboat puffed at its wharves, or ploughedup the river, like the enchanted ship of the AncientMariner,—                              "SAtegaaidniestd  twhiet hw iunpdri, gahgt akieneslt. "the tide,Tnehiet hmera rpcrihn toifn gm-ipnrde shsa nd onr olyt coevuermt.a kAes nt iht.e  Ift athhaedrsthiamde  doof nme yb veifsoitr.e  Tthheerme,  wsao s dliitdt liet s oirn hnao bcitoamntpse taitti tohne
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