John Henry Warden was a carpenter by trade; he was a well-to-do workman, employed constantly in a profitable and moneymaking business. God had also endowed him with excellent mental and physical powers. Sickness was unknown to this man, and as to the many heart-aches which come into the daily measure of most other lives, they were strangers to his nature. He did not understand moping; he had no sympathy with gloom. He considered himself a successful man, he was also ambitious; he meant, if he lived, to leave this world in a much higher position than when he had entered it. He was very much respected by his neighbours, for he was a strictly honourable, upright, and honest man. But though respected he was not loved. It was his misfortune that never yet in all his life had he either awakened or given love. And yet he was not without those closest ties which knit hearts to hearts. He had been a husband; he was now a widower and a father. He had married a young and beautiful girl, a sensitive creature who needed love as the plants need sunshine. She lived with him for a little over ten years, all the time, year after year, fading slowly but surely.
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