Sunday, October 15, 2017

Wife Died of Softening of the Brain and a Broken Heart, Writes Lucy Russell, 1922

From the Rockingham Post-Dispatch, Oct. 19, 1922. The Woman’s Forum Conducted by Mrs. Lucy P. Russell, Rockingham, Rt. 1

By Lucy P. Russell

Mrs. Dobbins was dead. Judging from the faint smile on her thin lips she was glad of it. She had never been a robust woman, had been in a decline for a year and now the end had come. An early marriage had brought her many children; poverty added its burden to her lot of incessant care and hard work. She had been a very fair woman with soft, pale hair and pale blue eyes, never very far from tears. Her manner had been very gentle, even apologetic, and her submissiveness pained one like the submissiveness of a circus dog scourged through its tricks. At last she was “out of it all,” lying very straight and still in her small room. The only sound broke the silence was the sobbing of her children.

Two life-long friends lingered to draw the white sheet over the whiter face and to place between the wasted fingers a white jasmine flower. Then they sought to speak a few words of sympathy to the bereaved husband.

They found him on the piazza wrapped in gloom. Mr. Dobbins was a small man with a solemn and stately mien, his eyes, his nose jutted forward like a sharp boulder from the face of a granite crag and the corners of his mouth turned down like the points of a horseshoe. A grim, unsmiling man was Mr. Dobbins, especially if all about him were joyous and gay; now he appeared sadder than the saddest. The two ladies approached him with words of consolation and appreciation of the many virtues of his dead wife; they spoke of her kindness, her true friendliness, the sweetness of her character and her never failing industry.

“Yes,” replied the bereft one, “Annie was a good woman, I suppose, but she had her faults and nobody knew them better than I did. To be sure she was never a gad-about, she never belonged to these clubs and societies, she never read those novels and magazines, she never was no hand to run around the neighborhood gossiping. She went to church and sometimes to prayer meeting, she read her Bible, she stayed at home and cooked and washed and ironed and tended to her children. To be sure she never was much of a cook; I had to cook the steak and measure out the coffee and I always thought it took her longer to get out a week’s wash than anybody I ever saw. It was amazing the wood she burnt up a-ironing, just for six children and me. She was right good to wait on our lame girl but I got a sprain in my back right now from having to do all the lifting of the child. But she’s gone now and her faults lays between her and her Maker.”

Wrath and indignation flashed from the eyes of the small woman standing before her as she responded, “And she died of softening of the brain and a broken heart.”

No comments:

Post a Comment