Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

The Darkened Pathway
by [?]

“TO some the sky is always bright, while to others it is never free from clouds. There is to me a mystery in this–something that looks like a partial Providence–for those who grope sadly through life in darkened paths are, so far as human judgment can determine, often purer and less selfish than those who move gayly along in perpetual sunshine. Look at Mrs. Adair. It always gives me the heart-ache to think of what she has endured in life, and still endures. Once she was surrounded by all that wealth could furnish of external good; now she is in poverty, with five children, clinging to her for support, her health feeble, and few friends to counsel or lend her their aid. No woman could have loved a husband more tenderly than she loved hers, and few wives were ever more beloved in return; but she has gathered the widow’s weeds around her, and is sitting in the darkness of an inconsolable grief. What a sweet character was hers! Always loving and unselfish–a very angel on the earth from childhood upwards, and yet her doom to tread this darkened pathway! If Heaven smiles on the good–if the righteous are never forsaken, why this strange, hard, harsh Providence in the case of Mrs. Adair? I cannot understand it! God is goodness itself, they say, and loves His creatures with a love surpassing the love of a mother; but would any mother condemn beloved child to such a cruel fate? No, no, no! From the very depths of my spirit I answer–No! I am only a weak, erring, selfish creature, but–“

Mrs. Endicott checked the utterance of what was in her thought, for at the instant another thought, rebuking her for an impious comparison of herself with her Maker, flitted across her mind. Yes, she was about drawing a Parallel between herself and a Being of infinite wisdom and love, unfavourable to the latter!

The sky of Mrs. Endicott had not always been free from clouds. Many times had she walked in darkness; and why this was so ever appeared as one of the mysteries of life, for her self-explorations had never gone far enough to discover those natural evils, the existence of which only a state of intense mental suffering would manifest to her deeper consciousness. But all she had yet been called to endure, was, she freely acknowledged, light in comparison to what poor Mrs. Adair had suffered, and was suffering daily–and the case of this friend gave her a strong argument against the wisdom and justice of that Power in the hands of which the children of men are as clay in the hands of the potter.

Even while Mrs. Endicott thus questioned and doubted, a domestic opened the door of the room in which she was sitting, and said,

“Mrs. Adair is in the parlour.”

“Is she? Say that I will be down in a moment.”

Mrs. Endicott felt a little surprised at the coincidence of her thought of her friend and that friend’s appearance. It was another of those life-mysteries into which her dull eyes could not penetrate, and gave new occasion for dark surmises in regard to the Power above all, in all, and ruling all. With a sober face, as was befitting an interview with one so deeply burdened as Mrs. Adair, she went down to the parlour.

“My dear friend!” she said, tenderly, almost sadly, as she took the hand of her visiter.

Into the eyes of Mrs. Adair she looked earnestly for the glittering tear-veil, and upon her lips for the grief curve. To her surprise neither were there; but a cheerful light in the former and a gentle smile on the latter.

“How are you this morning?”

Mrs. Endicott’s voice was low and sympathizing.

“I feel a little stronger, to-day, thank you,” answered Mrs. Adair, smiling as she spoke.

“How is your breast?”

“Still very tender.”