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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Mother and Son
By John Henry Newman (1801–1890)
From ‘Loss and Gain’

CHARLES leapt from the gig with a beating heart, and ran up to his mother’s room. She was sitting by the fire at her work when he entered; she held out her hand coldly to him, and he sat down. Nothing was said for a little while; then, without leaving off her occupation, she said, “Well, Charles, and so you are leaving us. Where and how do you propose to employ yourself when you have entered upon your new life?”  1
  Charles answered that he had not yet turned his mind to the consideration of anything but the great step on which everything else depended.  2
  There was another silence; then she said, “You won’t find anywhere such friends as you have had at home, Charles.” Presently she continued, “You have had everything in your favor, Charles: you have been blessed with talents, advantages of education, easy circumstances; many a deserving young man has to scramble on as he can.”  3
  Charles answered that he was deeply sensible how much he owed in temporal matters to Providence, and that it was only at His bidding that he was giving them up.  4
  “We all looked up to you, Charles; perhaps we made too much of you: well, God be with you; you have taken your line.”  5
  Poor Charles said that no one could conceive what it cost him to give up what was so very dear to him, what was part of himself; there was nothing on earth which he prized like his home.  6
  “Then why do you leave us?” she said quickly: “you must have your way; you do it, I suppose, because you like it.”  7
  “Oh really, my dear mother,” cried he, “if you saw my heart! You know in Scripture how people were obliged in the Apostles’ times to give up all for Christ.”  8
  “We are heathens, then,” she replied; “thank you, Charles, I am obliged to you for this:” and she dashed away a tear from her eye.  9
  Charles was almost beside himself: he did not know what to say; he stood up and leaned his elbow on the mantelpiece, supporting his head on his hand.  10
  “Well, Charles,” she continued, still going on with her work, “perhaps the day will come—” her voice faltered; “your dear father—” she put down her work.  11
  “It is useless misery,” said Charles: “why should I stay? Good-by for the present, my dearest mother. I leave you in good hands, not kinder, but better than mine; you lose me, you gain another. Farewell for the present: we will meet when you will, when you call; it will be a happy meeting.”  12
  He threw himself on his knees, and laid his cheek on her lap: she could no longer resist him; she hung over him and began to smooth down his hair as she had done when he was a child. At length scalding tears began to fall heavily upon his face and neck; he bore them for a while, then started up, kissed her cheek impetuously, and rushed out of the room. In a few seconds he had seen and had torn himself from his sisters, and was in his gig again by the side of his phlegmatic driver, dancing slowly up and down on his way to Collumpton.  13

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