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The master's house

a tale of Southern life

CHAPTER XXXII. * * * * *



Page 390

* * * * *

Never was there a funeral attended by more sincere
mourners, than accompanied the remains of Annie Mildmay
to her last resting-place. Among the throng, there
was scarcely one who could claim a personal acquaintance,
yet Annie was remembered, as she had occasionally appeared
at church, and all felt that her premature death was
hastened by the sad events already recorded. From the
moment that she bestowed her last look of affection upon
her husband, and raised her last prayer that Heaven would
bless him, Graham seemed to be as one stunned beyond
recovery. Throughout all the affecting preliminaries, he
passively obeyed the suggestions of Gen. Bledsoe, and
submitted, without remark, to whatever was done by the
kind-hearted ladies of the neighborhood, who volunteered
their attentions by the bed of sickness, and in the chamber
of death.

The last rites to the beautiful and good were performed
in the morning. The grave was in a quiet spot,
beneath a wide-spreading oak, whose immense limbs held


Page 391
their delicate leafings, as if they would protect the little
hillock from every rude intrusion. Even before the mourners
had departed, the innocent birds were carolling in
the tree-top, and from a distance, its vernal gloom seemed
to promise sweet repose.

Graham sat hour after hour upon the now, to him,
deserted gallery. His servants moved noiselessly about,
and dared not disturb his hopeless sorrow. Toward the
close of day, Governor (since the duel more than ever
cherished for his faithful service) handed his master a
large number of letters and papers, which were listlessly
received, and then, unnoticed, cast aside. The sun that
had for some moments been struggling upon the horizon,
and in flickering gleams illuminated the landscape, now
rapidly disappeared; and as there is no twilight in a
Southern sky, the thick darkness of a starless night enshrouded
the form of Graham Mildmay.