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One of the saddest things that ever came under my notice (said the banker's clerk) was there in Corning, during the war. Dan Murphy enlisted as a private, and fought very bravely. The boys all liked him, and when a wound by and by weakened him down till carrying a musket was too heavy work for him, they clubbed together and fixed him up as a sutler. He made money then, and sent it always to his wife to bank for him. She was a washer and ironer, and knew enough by hard experience to keep money when she got it. She didn't waste a penny. On the contrary, she began to get miserly as her bank account grew. She grieved to part with a cent, poor creature, for twice in her hard-working life she had known what it was to be hungry, cold, friendless, sick, and without a dollar in the world, and she had a haunting dread of suffering so again. Well, at last Dan died; and the boys, in testimony of their esteem and respect for him, telegraphed to Mrs. Murphy to know if she would like to have him embalmed and sent home, when you know the usual custom was to dump a poor devil like him into a shallow hole, and then inform his friends what had become of him. Mrs. Murphy jumped to the conclusion that it would only cost two or three dollars to embalm her dead husband, and so she telegraphed "Yes." It was at the "wake" that the bill for embalming arrived and was presented to the widow. She uttered a wild, sad wail, that pierced every heart, and said: "Sivinty-foive dollars for stooffin' Dan, blister their sowls! Did thim diivils suppose I was goin' to stairt a Museim, that I'd be dalin' in such expinsive curiassities!"
The banker's clerk said there was not a dry eye in the house.
A curious incident, and one which is perfectly well authenticated, comes to us in a private letter from the West. A patriarch of eighty-four was nearing death, and his descendants came from all distances to honor him with the last homage of affection. He had been blind for several years -- so completely blind that night an noonday were alike to him. But about half an hour before his death his sight came suddenly back to him. He was as blithe and happy over it as any child could have been, and appeared to be only anxious to make the most of every second of time that was left him wherein to live and enjoy it. He did not waste any precious moments in speculating upon the wonderful nature of the thing that had happened to him, but diligently and hungrily looked at this, that, and the other thing, and luxuriously feasted his famishing vision. Children and grandchildren were marched in review by the bedside; the features of favorites were conned eagerly and searchingly; the freckles on a young girl's face were counted with painstaking interest, and with an unimpeachable accuracy that filled the veteran with gratified vanity; and then, while he read some verses in his Testament his sight grew dim and passed away again, and a few minutes afterward he died. It seems to be a common thing for long-absent reason and memory to revisit the brains of the dying, but the return of vision is a rare circumstance indeed.
There is something very touching in this news of Lady Franklin's setting sail, at the age of eighty years, to go half-way round the globe to get a scrap of Sir John's writing which she has heard is in the possession of a man who will not deliver it to any hands but hers. Here is a love which has lasted through forty years of a common lot, then bridged a grave and lived on through twenty years of grief which only such an affection is capable of feeling -- and still, at this day, widowed and venerable, is able to mock at the zeal of half the honeymoon-loves in the world.
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