“‘Oh, father! I have not seen you for thirty-five years.  Thirty-five years!’ he repeated in deliberate tones and listening to his own voice.

‘We are the thirty-five?’ some distant tombstones responded, and Asriel could not help pausing to look about, and then he again repeated, ‘Thirty-five years! Can I never see you again, father? Can’t I see your dear face and talk to you, as of old and throw myself into fire or water for you? Can’t I? Can’t I?…Has it all flown away? Has it really?’

            He paused as though for an answer, and then resumed, with a bitter, malicious laugh at his own expense: ‘Your father is silent, Asriel! Not a word, even if you tear yourself to pieces.  All is gone, Asrielke! All, all, all is lost forever!’

            His harsh voice collapsed.  His speech died away in a convulsion of subdued sobbing.  His soul went on beseeching his father to admit him to the restful sanctity of his company.

            When Asriel rose to his feet and his eye fell upon a tombstone precisely like his father’s, he frowned upon it, with a sense of jealousy.  On his way to his mother’s grave, in the older part of the cemetery, he ever and anon turned to look back.  His father’s tombstone was rapidly becoming merged in a forest of other monuments.  His dead father, his poor father, was losing his individuality, till he was a mere speck in this piebald medley of mounds, stones, boards, and all sorts of waste.  Asriel felt deeply hurt.  He retraced his steps till his father’s resting place once more became the center of the world.”

The Imported Bridegroom, by Abraham Cahan


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