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The Grandmother's Apology [from Once-a-Week]

Tennyson, Alfred. "The Grandmother's Apology [from Once-a-Week]." New York Saturday Press. 16 Aug. 1859: 4.

The speaker sits at the deathbed of her eldest son, Willy, with her granddaughter, Annie, and is incapable of weeping. Annie thinks she is "hard and cold," but the grandmother apologizes, saying "Only at your age, Annie, I could have wept with the best." She has outlived her husband and all of her children, but she "cannot cry for [Willy]" because she herself is anticipating death soon. In heaven she would have a better chance of seeing him and her other children than she ever did in life.

Tragedy was encountered early in her life. Her first child was stillborn. The lesson to her granddaughter: "Shadow and shine is life, little Annie, flower and thorn."