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The Iron Will
by [?]

“FANNY! I’ve but one word more to say on the subject. If you marry that fellow, I’ll have nothing to do with you. I’ve said it; and you may be assured that I’ll adhere to my determination.”

Thus spoke, with a frowning brow and a stern voice, the father of Fanny Crawford, while the maiden sat with eyes bent upon the floor.

“He’s a worthless, good-for-nothing fellow,” resumed the father; “And if you marry him, you wed a life of misery. Don’t come back to me, for I will disown you the day you take his name. I’ve said it, and my decision is unalterable.”

Still Fanny made no answer, but sat like a statue.

“Lay to heart what I have said, and make your election, girl.” And with these words, Mr. Crawford retired from the presence of his daughter.

On that evening Fanny Crawford left her father’s house, and was secretly married to a young man named Logan, whom, spite of all his faults, she tenderly loved.

When this fact became known to Mr. Crawford, he angrily repeated his threat of utterly disowning his child; and he meant what he said–for he was a man of stern purpose and unbending will. When trusting to the love she believed him to bear for her, Fanny ventured home, she was rudely repulsed, and told that she no longer had a father. These cruel words fell upon her heart and ever after rested there, an oppressive weight.

Logan was a young mechanic, with a good trade and the ability to earn a comfortable living. But Mr. Crawford’s objection to him was well founded, and it would have been better for Fanny if she had permitted it to influence her; for the young man was idle in his habits, and Mr. Crawford too clearly saw that idleness would lead to dissipation. The father had hoped that his threat to disown his child would have deterred her from taking the step he so strongly disapproved. He had, in fact, made this threat as a last effort to save her from a union that would, inevitably, lead to unhappiness. But having made it, his stubborn and offended pride caused him to adhere with stern inflexibility to his word.

When Fanny went from under her father’s roof, the old man was left alone. The mother of his only child had been many years dead. For her father’s sake, as well as for her own, did Fanny wish to return. She loved her parents with a most earnest affection, and thought of him as sitting gloomy and companionless in that home so long made light and cheerful by her voice and smile. Hours and hours would she lie awake at night, thinking of her father, and weeping for the estrangement of his heart from her. Still there was in her bosom an ever living hope that he would relent. And to this she clung, though he passed her in the street without looking at her, and steadily denied her admission, when, in the hope of some change in his stern purpose, she would go to his house and seek to gain an entrance.

As the father had predicted, Logan added, in the course of a year or two, dissipation to idle habits and neglect of his wife to both. They had gone to housekeeping in a small way, when first married, and had lived comfortably enough for some time. But Logan did not like work, and made every excuse he could find to take a holiday, or be absent from the shop. The effect of this was, an insufficient income. Debt came with its mortifying and (sic) harrassing accompaniments, and furniture had to be sold to pay those who were not disposed to wait. With two little children, Fanny was removed by her husband into a cheap boarding-house, after their things were taken and sold. The company into which she was here thrown, was far from being agreeable; but this would have been no source of unhappiness in itself. Cheerfully would she have breathed the uncongenial atmosphere, if there had been nothing in the conduct of her husband to awaken feelings of anxiety. But, alas! there was much to create unhappiness here. Idle days were more frequent; and the consequences of idle days more and more serious. From his work, he would come home sober and cheerful; but after spending a day in idle company, or in the woods gunning, a sport of which he was fond, he would meet his wife with a sullen, dissatisfied aspect, and, too often, in a state little above intoxication.