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Full text of "In memory of Sarah Earle Stevens"

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Privately issued 


XVIII April 


or the family by 

Sarah Elizabeth Earle, daughter of Ethan and Mary 

Peirce Earle 

Born in Middleborough, Massachusetts, 1 8th April, 1836 
Married by Rev. Dr. Baron Stow, of Boston, and 

Rev. Dr. J. W. M. Williams, of Baltimore 
to Joseph Cony Stevens, Boston, 8th September, 1863 

Children: Alice Howland, died, 1865 

Joseph Cony, died, 1867 
Joseph Earle, Arthur Wesselhbeft 

Died in London, yth September, 1897 

Buried at Forest Hills Cemetery, Boston 

22nd September, 1897 


HERS was a soul attuned to joyous strain ; 
A heart brimful of love for light and cheer 
And all sweet sounds ; a life from which 
flashed clear 

The gem of generosity. No gain 
She sought for self, nor ever faintest stain 
Of worldly wisdom, as men count it here, 
Was hers ; and (as to children blest and dear) 
To her no law save that of love was plain. 
No pleader from her door was sent astray, 
No erring one denied the little hand 
That helped the rich and poor, the high and 


She lived and loved ; and then she went away 
To hear celestial music in the Land 
Whose harmonies surpass the ones we know. 

E. L. G. 


LEFT Boston in " Cephalonia," June 26, 
1897, Saturday, five p.m. ; lovely, quiet 
voyage ; few sick ; broke shaft July 4 ; 
towed into Queenstown, 400 miles, speaking 
" Majestic " the 6th, by a tramp steamer, the 
" Floridian," who took us Sunday at 4 p.m. ; 
arrived Queenstown, Wednesday, yth , at 9.30 


p.m. ; left at midnight by special train to Dublin ; 
special boat to Holy head in morning, then to 
Chester, and two hours' waiting, to London at 
4.20, Mrs. Allen meeting us at Euston station 
at 8. 20, but no trunks ; 8th, pth, went to opera, 
" Marriage of Figaro," Eames and Edouard De 
Reske, De Vere, Bauermeister ; loth, got a ring for 
Joe and saw " Yeoman of the Guard " with Mrs. 
Allen in p.m. ; loth, Sunday, dined with Mr. 
Clifford; I2th, missed "Siegfried" and Jean 
DeReske ; i4th, Mr. Clifford dined with us and 
we missed " Meistersinger ; " Angie went to 
Holland ; our two trunks were found, arriving at 
Royal Hotel just as she had left ; we dined again 
with Mr. Clifford and his Bishop brother and 

Saturday, iyth, Arthur came and spent Sunday 
with us, leaving, I9th, for his bicycle trip with 
James Arthur and Sam Robinson ; all lunched 
with us and went to Hampton Court ; I invited 
Madame Sterling ; took her and Kenneth home 
to dinner ; Arthur lunched with Malcolm Mon- 
day, and we dined there at night ; Tuesday we 
heard " Romeo and Juliet " Eames and Jean 
De Reske ; they never did better ; saw Princess 
of Wales, Duchess of York and Duke, and Vic- 
toria, princess, in royal box ; Mr. Clifford dined 
with us Wednesday, 2ist ; Ida Davidson and hus- 
band arrived from America at 8 p.m., and we left, 
22d, at 9 a.m., for Newcastle, thence to Bergen, a 
nasty trip ; Miss Hirschfeld on board; Bergen, 
Saturday, 24th ; visited a horrid museum and left 

Sunday, 25th, for Stalheim, arriving at 4, 
leaving Monday at 8 ; met the Lewises from 
Chicago at Gudenvangen ; crossed the Fjord ; 
night at Laerdalsoren, taking carriage across the 
country ; Tuesday morning, 27 th, Nestuen ; 
28th, 29th, Fajennes ; joth, Odnaes ; joth, Chris- 
tiania ; shook hands with Ibsen at hotel ; Miss 
Hirschfeld there ; night train to Stockholm, 
meeting Mr. Lawrence Abbott on the train, who 
did the city with us Sunday and Monday, leav- 
ing us Monday night ; Grand Hotel ; changed 
our rooms ; Lewises there ; left Wednesday, 4th, 
for Gota canal, arriving Gottenburg Friday, 
6th ; Mr. and Mrs. Terry with us to Copen- 
hagen the 8th ; went to Hamburg, drenched with 
rain, Monday, 9th ; Mr. Voigt dined with us ; dined 
with Mr. Ripke loth; left for Berlin nth; 
Potsdam i2th; and Aniline Mills ijth ; Munich 
Gallery, i4th; and Botzen for sleep ; met Hes- 
seltines, of Melrose ; left, 1 5th, for Venice, 
Grand Hotel ; mosquitoes and hot ; left Tuesday 
for Milan, with pleasant Americans, Mrs. Butcher 
and son and others, she, in our car ; Hotel Grand 
Bretagne ; cathedral and " Last Supper " after 
breakfast ; cars to Laveno ; boat to Pallanza, for 
four hours; diligence to Gravellona; cars to Domo 
D'Ossola at n p.m. i8th; Simplon pass I9th in 
pouring rain ; Brigue at 7 ; Zermatt, 2Oth ; Corner 
Grat for papa, 2ist; letters; left, 22d, for Brigue 
and for Rhone Glacier, where we arrived at 9 p.m. ; 
cold and rainy where I am writing this ; leave at 
2.45 for Meirengen ; 23d, too high for me to eat ; 


over the Grimsel ; a fine new road three years old, 
imposing and rocky ; arrive at the pretty, clean 
village of Meirengen in the evening ; can only 
take milk ; left at 12, and found I had lost book 
out of my cape pocket ; returned, allowing papa 
to keep on to Interlaken ; we didn't find book 
and got to Interlaken at 4. Papa met me and we 
walked to the Beau Rivage Hotel ; called on the 
Worthleys at Victoria, after hearing a .Kursaal 
concert ; met Tom Gannett oh way back ; Aug. 
25th wrote proprietor Hotel Sauvage to advertise 
my book and return to Cook & Son. Papa bought 
me a silver purse and bracelets, picture-frame, and 
pins. It began to rain hard just as we returned to 
hotel ; leave at 2 for Neuchatel ; so glad to be 
down where things grow ! Aug. 26th, Neuchatel, 
a pretty town, with fine buildings and a lovely lake ; 
arrived last night ; met a Mr. and Mrs. Peale on 
train from Interlaken ; he used to know George 
Mowton, of Treverton, Pennsylvania ; leaving 
for Paris at 8 a.m. 

Aug. 27th, Paris ! Arrived in pouring rain ; 
had a delicious dinner, and have our old rooms ; 
I feel at home and happy, as I haven't for weeks 
or since we left home. 

In Mrs. Stevens's Bible was written this stanza : 

" I cannot tell the art 

By which such bliss is given, 
I know Thou hast my heart 
And I have Heaven ! " 



SUNSHINE and roses and sweet summer air 
Spoke for you on your burial day, dear sou) ; 
Sunshine and roses, for Love was the whole 
Of your life Here, and must be also There ! 
Beyond all mortal dreams of grief or care, 
Beyond all fears, or mortal joy and dole, 
Where the immortal tides of being roll, 
You dwell of Life's last mystery aware. 
Across the stormy seas that we call Death, 
O'er surging sorrow and unfathomed pain, 
From the far depths where human hopings cease, 
Flashes the message of your last soft breath. 
Sunshine and roses uttered it again, 
And every gentle zephyr whispered " Peace ! " 

M. C. S. 


A LETTER dated a year ago lies before 
me : it is from her pen whose cheerful 
and sparkling messages were always so 
welcome. The little incident that was the 
occasion of her writing pleasantly illustrates 
her warm sympathy and ready helpfulness. 
One afternoon she accompanied her guest, who 
was leaving her hospitable home after a brief 
visit, to the railroad station, and was kindly wait- 


ing the departure of the train. From the car 
window we noticed a middle-aged man of respect- 
able appearance standing outside and weeping 
bitterly. The unusual sight of a strong man in 
tears attracted our attention, and as he was part- 
ing with some friends we concluded that was his 
trouble. The time for our good-by soon came, 
and still the man remained standing and weeping. 
" I think I will speak to that man," she said ; 
" he seems in so much trouble." As the train 
moved off she was standing not far from him, 
smiling to me, and he still in tears. The next 
day her letter came, telling the sequel to our inci- 
dent. She writes : " I thought you would like 
to know about my station friend and his sorrow. 
He said he was not crying over parting with any 
one on the train, but that a dear boy of ten years 
had died very suddenly this week, and it made 
him feel very badly to think of him. So we 
walked peacefully out of the station, he thanking 
me for speaking to him ; as he was a Roman 
Catholic he thought I might feel there was a great 
difference between us. I smoothed that out and 
left by the side door. Came home, and have just 
sent money for a memorial to Iowa, for Lizzie Ma- 
goon ; the mission people there wish to found a 
permanent scholarship in Turkey to her memory." 
Now she has gone it is a fragrant memory that 
these her own words bring to us. They are 
the sweet breath of her kindness and charity. 
Hers was indeed a brave and gracious spirit in 
the midst of trouble and loss. 

Years ago, when a little daughter was suddenly 
taken from our home, her ministrations were 
wonderfully comforting. She came to us, and 
tenderly helped us to bear the first burden of our 
grief. It was not so much what she said or did : 
her presence was the benediction. Others, too, 
have borne a similar testimony to her consoling 
kindness when death had invaded their house- 
holds. She was not a friend for sunshine alone : 
the shadows of life revealed her truly friendly. 
Lavish in her generous thought for others, it was 
need rather than worthiness that appealed to her 
sympathetic nature. Her bounty was freely be- 
stowed, her time, her money, and often her prayers 
and efforts, to influence the mind and heart. 

How lovely she was in taking to her home at 
the seashore the various young boys in the family 
circle ! To them, as if they were her own, she 
gave what her own sons enjoyed : the privileges 
of home, the blessings of ocean air and woods, and 
the freedom to enjoy it all to their^hearts' content. 
These young men, now in the stir and business of 
life, look back on the summers of their childhood 
and youth with affectionate gratitude. 

What " Aunt Sallie " did for them and was to 
them cannot be told here ; but it is written in grate- 
ful hearts ; and to her boys her memory is a treasure 
growing brighter as time separates the yesterday 
from the to-day. S. N. L. 


I FIRST saw Mrs. Stevens in a meeting of 
the Boston Women's Christian Temperance 
Union more than twenty years ago. Her exceed- 
ingly pleasing personality and earnest spirit enlisted 
my interest and won my love. I soon learned that 
she was a woman to be trusted. Her work was 
the outburst of a heart full of love and self-sacrifice. 
Finding people in need of help, she paused not 
to ask how they came to be in that condition, but 
her soul and hand instantly responded to meet 
their need her voice so tender in encourage- 
ment to those less fortunate than herself! The 
spirit of personal sacrifice was with her. The 
blessings of her own life and love only stimu- 
lated her purpose to do for the weary, sick, and 
wretched that one has not far to seek to find. 
The instances of her unostentatious charities 
were multitudinous, she standing in the back- 
ground, content to know that wretchedness was 
alleviated, then passing on, ever a ministering 

She proclaimed the spiritual enlightenment of 
her later days without fear of criticism. She lived 
it, ever hungering for more. Now she has entered 
within the veil ; now she sees eye to eye the blessed- 
ness of the Father's love. 

E. M. H. R. 



MY first meeting with dear Mrs. Stevens 
was at some mission services at the North 
End in Boston. She was helping with 
the music mainly, but her generous spirit seemed 
to overflow everywhere, and to bring warmth and 
light wherever she was. It touched one man re- 
markably, and he told me months afterwards that 
the change in his life from wretchedness, poverty, 
and sin to a comparative prosperity was due to 
Mrs. Stevens. At those meetings she was, per- 
haps, the most generous woman alive. It was her 
instinct to pour forth with a loving hand the fullest 
possible measure of all she had to give to whoever 
was needy and receptive. Her hospitality was 
boundless. I found it impossible to refuse her re- 
quest, seconded as kindly by Mr. Stevens, that I 
would make their house my home for a consider- 
able part of my stay in Boston. In vain I urged 
that I had no possible claim on their hospitality : 
she would take no denial, and it ended in my 
coming and in my staying. In that house I 
learned lessons I can never forget of sunny benef- 
icence and eagerness to befriend every one. Her 
sympathies were so universal that there was no 
limit to her bounty. She cared passionately for 
music, for literature, and was ever improving her- 
self in both, but always her keenest desire was 
for what was spiritual and religious. On such 
subjects her blue eyes got brighter and more 
expressive, and I often thought she restrained 

herself in speaking lest she should be over- 
vehement. I can scarcely believe that it was 
only last July that we met for the last time on 
earth. Mr. Stevens and she spent an evening at 
my home, as I much wished them to meet my 
brother, the Bishop of Lucknow, and his wife. I 
feel now that I ought to have realized that 
the wonderful added sweetness and unearth- 
liness were signs that she was soon to rise 
to a higher sphere. Every subject that she 
touched seemed beatified ; her manner was 
quieter than usual, but it was radiant. Once 
more I dined with them, and then she sailed away, 
promising that if possible they would spend two 
evenings with me on their return. Alas ! she 
came back only to die in our midst. I found 
Mr. Stevens calm, but fully alive to the danger. 
" She is very weak," said he. When I said so to 
her she replied, " I have all the strength that 
there is," and so she had, for underneath were 
the everlasting arms of God. Not many hours 
after I was allowed to see the beloved remains. 
Very beautiful was the sight. Perfect sweetness 
and gravity, and perfect content, were manifest on 
that grand, beautiful face. It seemed to have 
grown in dignity and power, but it was herself, 
or rather it was the impress of herself left there 
for our comfort by her redeemed spirit. May 
Christ her Saviour vouchsafe to us too a spirit 
set free from the world and steadfastly set on 
those things which are above ! 



Extract from a letter from Mr. John Harring- 
ton Keene to Mr. Stevens : 

" I shall never forget the goodness and kind- 
ness which breathed in every word Mrs. Stevens 
wrote me, and I cannot express to you the com- 
fort my own dear wife has derived from a little 
book she sent me, c The Golden Ladder,' by 
Miss Lida Clarkson. It has seemed just the 
word in season my wife wanted, and we both 
mourn the loss of one who, though personally 
unknown to us, seemed to appreciate and under- 
stand so clearly those she came in contact with, 
and to be so sweet and gracious in every way. 
. . . I saw so far into the beautiful nature of 
this sainted lady that I cannot find language at 
this time to say how grieved I am. She seemed 
always to me to embody the thought of George 
Eliot in the aspiration : 

. . . " * May I reach 

That purest heaven, be to other souls 

The cup of strength in some great agony, 

Enkindle generous ardor, feed pure love, 

Beget the smiles that have no cruelty, 

Be the sweet presence of a good diffused 

And in diffusion ever more intense ! 

So shall I join the choir invisible 

Whose gladness is the music of the world.' ' 


FAREWELL, dear soul, who faithfully hath 
Life's gloomy rooms wherein so long in vain 
We search for pearls of price where griefs have 


Bearing thy lamp clear with the light of God ; 
Throwing unwavering radiance abroad 
Into the farthest recesses of pain; 
Showing the weary seeker Heaven's gain, 
And wells of peace for love's divining rod. 
Oh, never more will those same shadows move 
Which thou dispelled! In one another's eyes 
The angels pale. Grief cannot seem so blest, 
Nor sin so true a leading-string of love, 
Until perchance we win to Paradise 
By that same path thy gentle feet have pressed. 





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