“My sacred duty is fulfilled! To that I have sacrificed, O God, Thy last and best gift, my wife!” For a while I thus soared above frailty. I imagined I had set myself forever beyond the reach of selfishness. But my imaginations were false. This rapture quickly subsided. I looked again at my wife. My joyous ebullitions vanished. I asked myself who it was whom I saw. Methought it could not be my Catharine; it could not be the woman who had lodged for years in my heart; who had slept nightly in my bosom; who had borne in her womb and fostered at her breast the beings who called me father; whom I had watched over with delight and cherished with a fondness ever new and perpetually growing. It could not be the same! The breath of heaven that sustained me was withdrawn, and I sunk into mere man. I leaped from the floor; I dashed my head against the wall; I uttered screams of horror; I panted after torment and pain. Eternal fire and the bickerings of hell, compared with what I felt, were music and a bed of roses. I thank my God that this was transient; that He designed once more to raise me aloft. I thought upon what I had done as a sacrifice to duty, and was calm. My wife was dead; but I reflected that, although this source of human consolation was closed, others were still open. If the transports of the husband were no more, the feelings of the father had still scope for exercise. When remembrance of their mother should excite too keen a
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