The Family of the Agate
and white of onyx is the flag of sober mourning. Onyx is associated in
my mind with two deaths that occurred when I was sixteen, both of which
made a deep impression upon me, though for different reasons.
was not well. We children did not know what was the matter with him.
Sometimes when he thought himself unobserved his hand flew to his
heart. He had difficulty in breathing and seemed to be in pain, and as
I watched his sufferings I was distressed to think that my mother
noticed nothing. But of course she noticed and was only trying to keep
his illness from us. Those were his orders. We must always remember him
in the prime of life and in perfect health. He was forty-two. My mother
was thirty-two (she was a wife at sixteen).
went to a Moravian spa under doctor's orders, and I with one of my
brothers was sent to spend my summer holiday on our paternal uncle's
farm in Hungary. In the excitement of going we made light of our
father's poor health. But we had not been away more than two weeks