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Full text of "Letters of life"

LETTERS OF LIFE. 




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LETTERS OF LIFE 



BY A 

\ u / 

MRS. L. H, SIGOURNEY 



NEW YORK : 

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, 

443 & 445 BROADWAY. 

1866. 









ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by 
D. APPLETON & CO., 

In the Clerk s Office of the District Court of the United States for the 
Southern District of New York. 



TO 

MRS. CAROLINE WASHBURN, 

THE CHEEISHED FEIEND, 

AT WHOSE EAENEST SUGGESTION THESE "LETTERS OF LIFE " WEEB 
COMMENCED, 

THE FINISHED WORK 

IB DEDICATED, BY A FILIAL HAND, IN MEMOEY OF 
THE DEPAETED. 



M123730 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I. 

PAGE 

HOME AND ITS INHABITANTS, ... 6 



CHAPTER II. 
EARLY YEARS, . . . . . . 25 

CHAPTER III. 
MY TEACHERS, . . . . . \ .49 

CHAPTER IV. 
FIRST GRIEF AND FIRST JOURNEY, . . . .74 

CHAPTER V. 
HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENTS, . . . . .97 

CHAPTER VI. 
SOCIAL AMUSEMENTS, . . . . . .120 



* CONTENTS. 

PAQJB 

CHAPTER VII. 
ARISTOCRACY OF THE OLDEN TIME, . . . . 144 

CHAPTER VIII. 
WRITTEN THOUGHT, . . , . . .164 

CHAPTER IX. 
EDUCATIONAL REMEMBRANCES, . . . . .186 

CHAPTER X. 
LOVE AND MARRIAGE, ...... 239 

CHAPTER XL 

DOMESTIC LIFE, .... . 266 

CHAPTER XII. 
LAPSE OF YEARS, .... . 292 

CHAPTER XIII. 

LITERATURE, . . . . . . .324 

CHAPTER XIV. 
GOOD-BYE, . . . . . . 331 

APPENDIX, . 403 



LETTERS OF LIFE. 

LETTER I. 

HOME AND ITS INHABITANTS. 

You request of me, my dear friend, a particular 
account of my own life. It is little varied by incident, 
and has no materials for romance. Yet your wish 
ought to be sacred to my much indebted heart; and 
I believe there is no earthly pilgrimage, if faithfully 
portrayed in its true lights and shadows, but might im 
part some instruction to the future traveller, and set 
forth His praise, whose mercies are " new every morn 
ing, and fresh every moment." 

I was born in Norwich, Connecticut ; beautiful Nor 
wich, whose varied scenery reveals sometimes the Cale 
donian wildness, and at others the tender softness of 
the vale of Tempe. The earliest pictures of Memory, 
and they hang still unfaded in her gallery, are of rude 
ledges of towering rock, which were to me as the Alps, 



LETTERS OF LIFE. 



and of the rushing and picturesque cascade of the Yan- 
tie, creating the same class of sensations that were, in 
after years, deepened to speechless awe at the thunder- 
hymn of solemn, sublime Niagara. 

My still earlier recollections are of the mansion 
where, near the close of the last century, on the first 
day of September, 1791, 1 first saw the light. It was 
among the better class of New England houses at that 
time of day spacious but not lofty, a broad hall inter 
secting it in the middle, with suits of rooms on each 
side. Its court-yard was of the richest velvet turf; two 
spruce trees, in their livery of dark green, stood as 
sentinels at the gate, and alternate columns of the 
fragrant eglantine and the luxuriant white rose were 
trained from the basement to the eaves. It was en 
vironed by three large gardens, each of which en 
chanted my childhood, and even now linger with me, 
as those of the Hesperides. 

The southern one stretched out in view of the win 
dows of the parlor, where we usually sat. There were 
the flowers, transposed in an old-fashioned parterre, or 
knot a diamond-shaped bed in the centre with its 
chief glory, a rich crimson peony, surrounded by others 
in angles and parallelograms, whose dark mould was 
sprinkled with every tint and perfume, in their season. 
There flourished the amaryllis family, white and orange- 
colored, the queenly damask-rose, the deep-red, the 
pale-cheeked, and the sweet briar ; tulips in gorgeous 



> 



HOME AND ITS INHABITANTS. 7 

and varied robes, the protean sweet-william, the as 
piring larkspur, the proud crown imperial, the snow 
drop, the narcissus, and the hyacinth, so prompt to 
waken at Spring s first call, side by side with the cheer 
ful marigold, braving the frost-kiss ; pinks in profusion, 
and a host of personified flowers, peeped out of their 
tufted homes, like nested birds ; the beauty by night, 
the ragged lady, the mourning widow, and the mottled 
guinea hen. The dahlias had not then appeared with 
their countless varieties, but the asters instituted a 
secondary order of nobility ; coxcombs and soldiers in 
green rejoiced in their gay uniform ; the borders were 
enriched with shrubbery, tastefully disposed, at whose 
feet ran the happy blue-bell and the bright-eyed hearts 
ease, intent with a few other lowly friends on turning 
every crevice to account, and making the waste places 
beautiful. 

A portion of ground was allotted to such herbs as 
were supposed to possess the latent power of repelling 
disease. There grew the tansy, and the peppermint, 
and the spearmint; the wormwood and the rue, a 
spoonful of whose expressed juice, given either as tonic 
or vermifuge, was never forgotten by the mouth that 
received it ; the spikenard, and the lovage, and the ele 
campane, the pungent pennyroyal, the bitter boneset, 
famed for subduing colds; the aromatic thyme that 
-fought fevers, and the sapient sage, which seemed com 
placently satisfied with its own excellences, or bearing 



8 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

on its roughened lip the classic question, " Cur moriatur 
homo, dum salis crescit in horto ? " * 

A broad gravel walk intersecting the garden, di 
vided the parterre from an expanse of fair, even-shorn 
turf, at whose termination was a pleasant arbor, with 
its lattice-work interwoven and overshadowed by an 
ancient, thickly clustering grape-vine. Grouped around 
it was a copse of peach trees, the rich golden fruited, 
the large crimson and white cling, the colorless autum 
nal varieties, and the more diminutive ones, whose pulp, 
blood-tinted throughout, were favorites for the preserv 
ing pan. 

Yet the garden at the opposite extremity of the 
house was emphatically the fruit region. It was longi 
tudinally divided by a grassy terrace, and with the 
exception of a few esculents, rows of graceful peas and 
beans, decking their rough props with blossoms, was 
directed to the varieties of fruit that a New England 
climate matures : currants reached forth their rich and 
pendulent strings, large gooseberries rejoiced amid their 
thorny armor, over a broad domain ran the red and 
white strawberry, hand in hand, like a buxom brother 
giving confidence to his pale, exquisite sister. Through 
the apple-boughs peered the small orb of the deep- 
colored pearmain, and the full cheek of the golden 
sweeting, while many lofty pear trees aristocratically 

* Why need a man die, who has sage in his garden ? " 



HOME AND ITS INHABITANTS. 9 

bore their varied honor thick upon them. There were 
the minute harvest-pear, the coveted of childhood for 
its bland taste and early ripeness, the spreading bell, 
notching a century on its trunk, with unbowed strength, 
the delicious vergaloo, the high-flavored bennet with its 
deep blush, and multitudes of the rough-coated later 
pears, destined, with culinary preparation, to give va 
riety to the wintry tea-table. 

Another extensive and highly cultured spot, called 
the lower garden, as it was approached from the rear 
of the establishment, by descending a long flight ot 
wooden stairs, exulted in all manner of vegetable 
wealth to enrich the domestic board. There towered 
the tasselled maize, with its humbler compeer the po 
tato ; the salads swelled, the green cucumber adorned 
its mound, fair squashes with their crooked spines, and 
immense pumpkins commended themselves to the pas 
try-cook by their leafy banners ; the carrot and turnip, 
the sallow parsnip, and the blood-red beet, revealed 
their subterranean abodes ; while a large turfy mound, 
rounded and entered like a tomb, the celery and the 
savoy cabbage claimed as their own exclusive winter 
palace. 

Beyond stretched an extensive meadow, refreshed 
at its extremity by a crystal streamlet, flowing on with 
a pleasant murmur to the neighboring river. The do 
main comprised also a hill, where trees were sparsely 
scattered, and which, gently sloping toward the house, 



10 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

had at its foot a large barn, where the domestic ani 
mals found ample accommodations and plentiful sup 
plies. Its yard communicated by a large gate with an 
area in the rear of the mansion, which was surrounded 
by a little village of offices. Among them were the 
carriage-house, the wood-house, whose ranges of sawed 
hickory were disposed with geometrical precision ; the 
gardener s tool-house, where every thing had a place, 
and was in it; the distillery, where the richer herbs 
from the dispensary, and the fragrant petals of the dam 
ask-rose yielded their essence for health or luxury ; and 
the poultry-house, with its glass windows and varied 
compartments, where the brooding mothers and their 
hoceful offspring found systematic lodgment and a 
large prosperity. 

I shall hope to be forgiven for this minute descrip 
tion, which may seem dry and prosaic, but in my heart 
touches chords that ring out like pleasant melodies. 
Every feature of our birthplace is wont to become 
beautified by time ; and I am the more desirous to pre 
serve a transcript of mine as it was, because the moods 
and tenses of modern days are prone to modify or ob 
literate the idioms that memory had consecrated. 

This edifice and estate, comprehending a farm in a 
neighboring village, with other portions of land in the 
vicinity, appertained to the name of Lathrop, one of 
the most ancient and meritorious of the aristocratic 
families of Norwich. It was owned by the widow of 



HOME AND ITS INHABITANTS. 11 

Dr. Daniel Lathrop, a lady of noble bearing, cultivated 
intellect, and eminent piety, the daughter of John 
Talcott, Governor of Connecticut, and born in Hart 
ford, May 3, 1717. Though far advanced in years 
when I first beheld her, time had not impaired either 
her physical or mental system. Her tall, majestic form, 
was unbowed, her step elastic, and her heart in ardent, 
healthful action. My early life retains no more cher 
ished or indelible picture than her beautiful age. 

Left childless, and destitute of near male relatives, 
the care of my father over her affairs had become in 
dispensable ; and he, with his household, were tenants 
of a part of her mansion, which was admirably ar 
ranged for the accommodation of two families. His 
name was Ezekiel Huntley, and he was born in Frank 
lin, in the neighborhood of Norwich, April 12th, 1752. 
His father, a native of Scotland, emigrated to this 
country in early life, and married Miss Mary Wai- 
bridge, a woman of consistent domestic loveliness and 
piety. From the comforts of his home he went forth as 
a colonial soldier in the war waged by our mother land 
with the French and Indians. Returning from the com 
paratively successful campaign of 1760, he became a 
victim of the small-pox on the way, and never more 
saw the home of his affections. 

His widow, my grandmother, is among the gentle, 
yet strong images of my infancy, seated by the fireside 
of her son, in quietness and honor. 



12 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

Ever industrious, peaceful, and an example of all 
saintly virtues was she. At the age of seventy, not a 
thread of silver had woven itself with her lustrous 
black hair. Then a mild chill of paralysis checked the 
vital current, and gave me the first picture of serene 
death. 

My father resembled her in his calm spirit and 
habitual diligence, as he did also in a cloudless longev 
ity. The blessing of the fifth commandment came 
upon him who had honored the lone parent, resting on 
him for protection. He became a member, in his boy 
hood, of the family of Dr. Daniel Lathrop, a man of 
distinguished talents and collegiate education, matured 
by foreign travel. Destined for the medical profession, 
but possessing acute sensibilities, he was rendered so 
unhappy by the sufferings of others, especially by the 
necessity of performing any surgical operation, that he 
commuted active practice for the business of an apothe 
cary. This allowed him frequent opportunities of giv 
ing salutary advice, especially to the poor, which grati 
fied his benevolence, and kept his scientific knowledge 
from oblivion. To a competent patrimony he added a 
very large fortune gathered in his mercantile depart 
ment, which he expended with great liberality. He 
was held in high honor, and numbered among the bene 
factors of his native city, being the first to found a 
school where the common people might be instructed 







^ 



HOME AND ITS INHABITANTS. 13 

gratuitously in Latin and Greek, as well as in the more 
essential branches of a solid education. 

In the course of his extensive business he employed 
a variety of clerks, whom it was his choice to domesti 
cate under his own roof. Their moral and intellectual 
habits were to him, and his estimable lady, objects of 
interest. Indeed, to their conscientious minds they 
were in some measure as children, for whose right prin 
ciples and good conduct they felt responsible both to 
the world and to God. Perhaps they were in no in- \\ 
stance so signally baffled in these philanthropic efforts, 
as by Benedict Arnold, known in his country s history 
as the traitor. Being the son of a widow, they re 
ceived him at rather an early age, and cherished for him 
added sympathy. Strong capacities and strong faults 
were soon revealed. Among the latter was barbarity to 
every form of animal life. Dogs avoided him for good 
reasons ; cats never flourished where he dwelt ; it was 
thought that horses were none the better for his minis 
trations, unless it might be for habits of break-neck 
speed and marvellous kicking and prancing. Dismem 
bered birds were found lying about the premises, of 
whose state no satisfactory solution could be obtained. 
The blue eggs of the robin were crushed and strewn 
upon the turf, and the voice of the mourning mother 
resounded among the branches. 

" Methinks," said the kind lady in whose house he 
was fostered, " her cry is Cruel Benedict Arnold! 



14 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

cruel Benedict Arnold I"*" 1 At which the boy secretly 
laughed. 

It was customary, in those days of republican sim 
plicity, for merchants clerks, who were received into 
the household of the master, to take part in a variety 
of services for the comfort of the family. Conformably 
to this custom, Benedict was sometimes despatched to 
a mill at the distance of about two miles, carrying, on 
the horse that he rode, bags of Indian corn to be trans 
muted into meal. There, while waiting, he amazed the 
miller with sundry fantastic tricks. Sometimes his 
affrighted eyes would descry the urchin clinging to a 
spoke of the great mill-wheel in its revolutions, now 
submerged and anon flying through the air for his 
amusement, heeding no remonstrance, and enjoying the 
terror of the honest man, who in his objurgations was 
wont to style him an " imp of the Evil One." 

In this reckless daring and deficiency of moral sen 
sibility, might be traced the ^elements of that character 
which afterwards, with equal hardihood, could lead his 
soldiers through perils in the wilderness, or aim a trai 
tor s blow at the heart of his endangered country. 

My father had several books of elementary science 
in his possession, among which I particularly recollect 
a Dilworth s Grammar and an Arithmetic, which bore 
in multifarious places the sobriquet of Benedict Ar 
nold, scrawled heedlessly and often with blots through 
the middle of mathematical problems or examples of 



HOME AND ITS INHABITANTS. 15 

syntax. Sometimes they were accompanied with un- 
symmetrical and hideous drawings. Possibly the boys 
might have used the books in common, or rather in suc 
cession, during their school culture. Yet it must have 
required some courage thus to deface books which the 
New England mind was trained to revere, both from 
scarcity and a sense of their value ; and to persevere 
wilfully in such courses, in days when scholastic disci 
pline was wont to make itself both felt and remem 
bered. I can well recollect with what veneration and 
clean hands I was instructed to approach our few, half- 
sainted volumes, and with what horror I regarded any 
child whose book disclosed the guilt of a dog s ear or a 
missing leaf. 

My father, like his compeer, or, more properly, his 
predecessor, was also called to take part in the battles 
of his native land. He joined the first regiment that 
was raised in that portion of Connecticut, and marched 
with them to Boston, ere the Declaration of Indepen 
dence had been promulgated. They passed their first 
night in the neighborhood of the lion-hearted Putnam, 
at Brooklyn, Conn., who had then but newly left his 
plough in the unfinished furrow, and rushed onward to 
stand by his country, till her struggle for existence 
should end in liberty and glory. 

I may not here command space to particularize the 
events that connected my blessed father with the perils 
and victories of the Revolution. They took place long 



16 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

before my birth ; but I have heard their recital, seated 
on his knee, and my heart now kindles at their memory 
as a trumpet-cry. 

One recital of those warlike gatherings made a 
strong impression on my infantine imagination, proba 
bly because it was coupled with home scenery. In the 
autumn of 1781, the inhabitants of Norwich beheld 
their whole southern horizon wrapped in the strange, 
flickering redness of a distant flame. Thundering 
sounds were on the air, like the cannon s death-peal. 
There was a quick mustering of the men of war. 
Boys who had never seen service, besought their 
troubled mothers for leave to gird on the harness, and 
go where danger called. In hot haste, and with as 
much of military order as the occasion would admit, 
horse and foot sped on to the point of danger. 

No rail-train in those days rapidly conveyed tidings, 
no telegraph bore them on the lightning s wing ; but 
the fleetest leader of the cavalry, gaining a command 
ing ascent, announced that New London, our neighbor 
city, was in flames. From van to rear passed the 
mournful sound, " New London is in flames ! " Indig 
nation sat on every face. Their beautiful seaport ! 
The favorite and finest harbor of Connecticut ! Every 
individual thought of some acquaintance or friend left 
houseless, if, indeed, among the living. They hurried 
to meet the foe. The fourteen miles that divided Nor 
wich from New London was achieved as on eagle s 



HOME AND ITS INHABITANTS. 1*7 

wings. But they came too late. Too late for defence ! 
Too late for vengeance ! 

Smoking ruins and homeless people were on every 
side. The helpless sick had been removed to fields and 
gardens, and sobbing children clung to their bewil 
dered mothers. Those who had been nurtured in 
wealth knew not where to turn for bread. Their holy 
and beautiful temple, where they had worshipped God, 
was in ashes. And Benedict Arnold had done it. Re- 
turning from a predatory excursion on the shores of 
Virginia, he had made this visit to his native State. 
Here were old friends with whom he had held early 
intercourse. By them he was recognized, seated on his 
horse, and giving orders. He even ventured to take 
some refreshment in the house of a former acquaint 
ance, but bade the flames enwrap the roof as he rose 
from the table. He expressed a wish that it were pos 
sible to reach Norwich, that he might there burn at 
least the abode in which he was born. Instinct, how 
ever, protected him from this exposure, doubtless assur 
ing him that the beautiful region which gave him birth 
would feel it its duty to provide him a grave. 

But it was on the opposite side of the river that the 
most fearful carnage marked his career. There, Fort 
Griswold, which had been taken by sudden siege, after 
such brave resistance that the traitor general was 
blamed by his adopted realm for the large loss of 
officers and soldiers, became the scene of reckless de- 



18 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

vastation. Amid piles of slain, destroyed by barbar 
ous butchery after they had surrendered, sought dis 
tracted women and children, cleansing many dead and 
distorted faces from the corrugated blood ere they 
could discern a feature of the husband or the father, 
the brother or the son, over whom they should mourn 
while life lasted. And Benedict Arnold had done it. 
He was seen to point with his glittering sword, and 
say, " Soldiers, to your duty ! " 

Ah, stern duty of pitiless war ! executed, as we 
trust, sometimes with compunction, otherwise man 
would be a fiend. Came there not, in future years, 
some lingering cry of these widows and orphans into 
the heart of that bold, bad man, when, bowed with 
age, he felt in a foreign land the loneliness, neglect, 
and loathing which are wont to overtake the traitor ? 
We cannot say. Fain would we hope that such re 
morse was there as led to penitence and God s forgive 
ness. 

Details like these were softened by my father, and 
not dwelt upon with the stern delight of a soldier. He 
was not a man of war in his heart, though duty led him 
to defend his home and hearthstone, and the altars of his 
native land. He was of a singularly mild nature and 
unassuming manners. Perseverance in well-doing, re 
gardless of applause or ambition, and a disciplined, 
trustful, most affectionate spirit, were among the ele 
ments of his character. I never remember seeing him, 



HOME AND ITS INHABITANTS. 19 

throughout his long life, excited with anger, or hearing 
him utter a hasty or unkind word. Patience, that true 
courage of virtue, was eminently his own ; and at the 
close of his pilgrimage he was styled, by one well 
qualified to judge, " the man without an enemy." 

After peace and liberty had been vouchsafed to his 
beloved country, and she had taken her seat among the 
nations, he married a lovely creature, to whom he had 
been long affianced. Lydia Howard was his earliest 
love, but the unsettled state of the land had been un 
favorable to " marrying and giving in marriage." Her 
health, also, was delicate, and they waited, with the 
hope that it might be more confirmed ere she assumed 
the responsibilities of a housekeeper. But pulmonary 
disease in our Northern climate exacts, like the Mino 
taur, its terrible tribute from the fair and young, defy 
ing both the sword of Theseus and the clue of Ariadne. 
Not a year of life, after her nuptials, was meted out to 
this gentle being. Just before the thick fall of the 
rustling leaves, and while the forests were rich with the 
later tints of autumn, she went to the land that hath 
no decay, leaning calmly on the Redeemer whom she 
loved. 

The desolated husband passed several years of 
lonely mourning, and then garnered up his heart in a 
new trust. Sophia Wentworth was beautiful and 
attractive, fourteen years younger than himself, and of 
a family which, though limited in pecuniary resources, 



20 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

stretched its pedigree back through the royal and tory 
governors of New Hampshire, to the gifted Earl of 
Strafford, the hapless friend of Charles I. She pos 
sessed intellect of no common order, rapid perceptions, 
strong retentive powers, facility of seizing knowledge 
almost by intuition, and a command of language com 
prising somewhat of histrionic force. Her mind, but 
little disciplined by education, sprang to its results 
without intermediate toil, and in its flights of fancy 
and originality of thought revealed the true impulses 
of genius. 

By this fair young mother I was received with a joy 
that remembered not the anguish which for three days 
and nights had threatened to terminate her life ; and by 
my father, usually grave beyond his years, with an 
amazement of delight and gratitude. Their first gift 
to me was the name of the early-smitten consort, con 
secrated by the baptismal water from the hand of the 
Rev. Dr. Joseph Strong, in the church of the old town, 
under the gray cliffs, ere the second week of my infant 
pilgrimage was completed. Such was the custom of 
those days. Before the moon had filled her horn, 
which, perchance, hung its faintest crescent over the 
cradle, the new babe must be presented to the priest, 
in the great congregation. During the early periods 
of colonial existence it was thought proper that the 
day of its birth should be also that of its baptism. A 
venerable friend, whose advent was during the coldest 



HOME AND ITS INHABITANTS. 21 

part of a very severe winter, and who has recently died 
at the age of almost ninety, assured me that she was 
not spared by her parents, but borne out to the house 
of public worship a few hours after her first appearance, 
which chanced to be on Sunday. Her father being the 
minister, it was deemed that any abatement of the 
strictest requisition would be singularly improper ; but 
tempering the zeal of piety with the solicitude of love, 
she was enveloped in a white satin bag, elaborately tied 
around the tiny neck, and preserved as an heirloom in 
the family. 

This extreme primitive usage did not permit the 
mother the privilege of dedicating, in person, her off 
spring at the hallowed font. My father presented his 
own little waif to the good pastor for the blessed rite, 
accompanied by the nurse and a faithful servant woman. 
The latter, after the frost of fourscore had settled upon 
her, was fond of relating the scene, with its minutest 
circumstances, as one of some note in her annals. I, 
too, must speak of her ; for in her line of life she was 
an example worthy of comment and imitation. 

Faithful Lucy Calkins ! Methinks I see her now, in 
the costume of early days, a neat calico short wrapper, 
and in winter one of green baize, with shining black 
skirt and blue checked apron. There would she be, 
churning butter of golden hue, or drawing from a large 
brick oven the most delicate bread, or feeding her flock 
of poultry, or, perchance, lecturing the waiter-boy, who 



22 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

might have neglected his duty, she having, especially 
on the latter occasion, not a melodious voice or a fasci 
nating physiognomy. Most truthful was she. I doubt 
whether she ever concealed a fact, and she was seldom 
guilty of mollifying it. She had a strong temper but a 
kind heart. One of my earliest recollections at enter 
ing her kitchen, was earnestly looking in her face to see 
if she was pleasant. If she was, nothing could exceed 
my joy. If she was not and children are great casu 
ists in such matters I usually made good my retreat, 
laying hands upon nothing. 

A remarkable person was she for persevering dili 
gence and consistency of conduct. Only at two ser 
vice-places had she lived during a life which extended 
to more than fourscore, save the one where her child 
hood was nurtured until she reached the age of eighteen. 
For more than forty years after the breaking up of the 
family at Norwich, she resided in the household of 
Daniel Wadsworth, Esq., at Hartford, first as an 
active housekeeper, then as a superintendent of other 
servants ; and lastly, seated quietly in the corner, and 
appealed to for the benefits of her experience, she rest 
ed from her labors in peace and goodwill. Excellent 
gowns she now wore, and nice caps ; nor would the 
delicate hand of the mistress neglect to arrange her 
apparel when she walked slowly to the house of God, 
wherein was her delight, or aid her into the family car 
riage when she occasionally went to pass the day with 



HOME AND ITS INHABITANTS. 23 

an early friend. Respect to her virtues was paid by 
those whom she had so long and so faithfully served. 
Great kindness of heart had she for sickness and sor 
row; and to claims of charity, and especially those 
from her own poor relatives, her liberality was free and 
untiring. By prudence in preserving the surplus of her 
wages, she had secured an independence, and, after the 
death of the beloved benefactors under whose roof 
for almost half a century she had dwelt, returned to 
beautiful Norwich, to be solaced by the nursing care of 
her kindred. 

There she was provided and attended like any lady 
of the land ; for she lived upon the income of her own 
money, and was a devisor by will and testament of 
legacy and donation. There I sometimes saw her, in 
great comfort, sleeping in a large apartment hung with 
pictures, and the small bed of a nursing relative near 
her own, lest she might want aid in the night. 

When I saw her for the last time, shortly before her 
death, she was on the verge of her eighty-fifth year. 
I had heard that she mourned after me, and wondered 
why I so neglected to call, thinking, in her brokenness 
of mind, that I was still a neighbor. When I told her 
that I had come by the railroad forty miles since din 
ner, and ere tea-time should return home, making eighty 
miles in all on purpose to see her, she seemed bewil 
dered. Intellectual memory slumbered, but the mem 
ory of the heart was wakeful. 



24 LETTEES OF LIFE. 

" It is her voice," she said ; " yes, her voice the 
baby that I held when she was christened." 

Then I touched some of the chords of early days, 
and they vibrated truly and lovingly. Sunlight came 
again over that wintry face. The Book of God was 
dear to her, and the Saviour who had led her with his 
flock many years beside the still waters. 

I knew that I should see her no more in this life, for 
the mark of the Better Land was upon her. That I 
remember her still with tenderness, is but a fitting trib 
ute to one who, in honesty of purpose and consistent 
goodness, was a model for that class of persons on 
whose aid the comfort of domestic life so essentially 
depends. Often, when, like my sister housekeepers of 
this section of our Union, I have been annoyed by the 
habits of those whom we call helps, and who are some 
times hindrances annoyed by their want of principle, 
their pretending to understand what they never knew, 
their leaving suddenly after having been laboriously 
instructed, or staying when confidence had ceased, my 
thoughts have recurred to the efficiency, the integrity 
of this relic of the olden time, in whom the hearts of 
those whom she served safely trusted. 

Humble, venerable friend, farewell. " Faithful over 
a few things," we believe that thou hast entered " into 
the joy of thy Lord." 



LETTER H. 

EARLY TE AES. 

As I look back to the opening vista of life, a sense 
of quiet happiness steals over me. It is like the reflec 
tion of that softest beam which a vernal morning wins 
from the sun while he yet lingers in his bed, when the 
mists catch a rose-tint as they steal away, and the dews 
and unopened buds praise the Lord. 

I have been told that my infancy was healthful, 
though apparently delicate, and that I was in haste to 
take hold of the faculty of speech. Words of my 
uttering when nine and ten months old were oft re 
peated to me ; and though I suppose them to have 
been simply imitated articulations, the friends who re 
corded them in memory were tenacious of them as 
proofs of rapidly-unfolding perception and precocious 
intellect. I was favorably situated to be accounted 
marvellous, having no little competitor, and falling 
principally into the company of those somewhat ad-- 
vanced in life, who welcomed me as a curiosity, and 
had full leisure to note all my doings. My father was 
2 



26 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

approaching the grave age of forty when he welcomed 
his only child. One of my first recollections is of 
hiding my face in his bosom, and of how bright were the 
knitting-needles of his aged mother, who sat near with 
a loving smile, 

I was very happy in the gardens, when old enough 
to wander there. ~No nurse at my heels watched and 
restrained me, or wondered what I was about when I 
talked long with the flowers. My fair mother tied on 
my little sun-bonnet and mittens, and welcomed and 
lulled me to rest when I came wearied into the house. 

I remember with what wondering reverence I gazed 
at the tall purple lilacs and white snowballs ; my own 
most familiar acquaintance among the flower-people 
being the violets and blue-bells and lupines in my allot 
ted plat of ground. Great delight had I also in watch 
ing the growth of the ripening fruits, and admiring His 
goodness who deepened the color in the orb of the 
berry and the downy cheek of the peach, and changed 
hard, green pin-heads into the full, fragrant grape 
cluster. Frequent visits I made to the arbor, covered 
by the mantling vine, and, spreading on its benches 
large leaves of the lilac which I was permitted to 
gather, drew on them, with a pin, the forms of such 
objects as met my view or floated in my fancy. Those 
green surfaces, deeply indented by my simple graver 
with birds, or nests, or winged creatures having neither 
name nor symmetry, or exhibiting patterns for wrought 



EARLY YEARS. 27 

ruffles such as I had seen ladies embroider, are as vivid 
in memory as if laid on the table where I now write. 
Sibylline leaves, on which the little happy heart depict 
ed the semblance of its own imaginings, they unfold 
their scrolls to me, bringing back the perfume of 
the abundant fruits and rich blossoms that breathed 
around. 

I had but few playthings, and those of the simplest 
kind. More were not coveted, having no companion 
with whom to enjoy or divide them. In those early 
days of the republic our merchant vessels did not swell 
their freight with the toys of Germany and France. 
Dolls that opened their eyes, moved their joints, and 
moaned, were unknown, and might have been deemed 
the work of necromancy. I never possessed any save 
those of household manufacture, and they were not 
eminently distinguished by fine proportions or elegant 
costume. My best one had a face of cambric, black 
pin-heads for eyes, half-circles drawn with a pen for 
eyebrows, lips of a slip of vermilion silk, curled flax 
for tresses, and handless arms pinned submissively over 
her stomach. The doll-genus were not at all essential 
to my happiness. They were of the most consequence 
when, marshalled in the character of pupils, I installed 
myself as their teacher. Then I talked much and long 
to them, reproving their faults, stimulating them to 
excellence, and enforcing a variety of moral obliga 
tions. 



28 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

The playhouse, to which I resorted when satiated 
with rural rambles, or when bad weather forbade it, 
was a spacious garret covering the whole upper story 
of the mansion. In one corner was a heavy, old-fash 
ioned carved beaufet, upon whose curving shelves I 
displayed my toys so as to make the best appearance, 
and arranged my dolls according to their degrees of 
aristocracy. A spirit of order, and love of having 
every thing in its place, grew with this exercise. 

Immense trunks were in that garret. Untold treas 
ures I supposed them to contain ; but rummaging was 
in those days forbidden to children. One of them was 
open and empty, and lined with sheets of printed 
hymns. I stretched myself within its walls, and 
perused those hymns, being able to read at three years 
old. Afterwards, I grieve to say that I made use of 
that hiding-place for a more questionable purpose. 
Finding a borrowed copy of the " Mysteries of Udol- 
pho " in the house, and perceiving that it was seques 
trated from childish hands, I watched for intervals when 
it might be abstracted unobserved, and, taking refuge 
in my trunk, like the cynic in his tub, revelled among 
the tragic scenes of Mrs. Ratcliffe ; finding, however, 
no terror so formidable as an approaching footstep, 
when, hiding the volume, I leaped lightly from my 
cavernous study. It was the first surreptitious satisfac 
tion, and not partaken without remorse. Yet the fas- 



EAKLY YEARS. 29 

cinations of that fearful fiction-book seemed to me too 
strong to be resisted. 

Two immense stacks of chimneys passed through 
this garret to their outlet in the roof, where was also a 
scuttle-door attained by a flight of stairs, whither I 
mounted and peered out when ambition so moved. In 
one of those chimneys was a closet, where the ropes 
and pulleys of the great roasting-jack hissed and sput 
tered when put in motion by the fires below. I remem 
ber, on one occasion, opening the door of that dark 
enclosure, and saying to a little girl who had come up 
stairs with me that " Jack lived there." At the sound 
of the clamor within, her eyes enlarged, and, fleet as a 
deer, she fled from the house. My shouts of explana 
tion were unheeded. The joke lost me a playmate for 
that day. On reflection, it seemed a wicked invention, 
at which my conscience was troubled. 

This capacious apartment also contained remnants 
and vestiges of my father s military life. Much time 
did I spend among these. The stories that I had heard of 
battles while seated on the paternal knee, gave life and 
voice to every relic. Pouches of shot, and bullets, and 
flints, and the large twisted powder-horns, were in 
tensely interesting to me. 

I did not feel inclined, like Desdemona, to " weep at 
what a soldier suffers," but forthwith girded myself 
with the bright brass-hilted sword, and put my tiny 
hands upon the cumbrous pistols, and toiled in vain 



30 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

to lift the long-barrelled and exceedingly heavy gun, 
talking with each about Bunker Hill, and Yorktown, 
and Washington, till I half fancied that I had listened 
to the war-thunder of battle, and looked upon the god 
like form of the Pater Patriae. 

The domestic animals I considered friends. With 
their different lineaments of character I acquainted my 
self, and, being early accustomed to see them well fed 
and kindly cared for, have never been able through life 
to lay aside an earnest desire for quadruped welfare, 
and an almost morbid distress at their discomfort or 
oppression. 

A large black horse, of mild temperament, two 
noble cows, in dark red coats, with graceful horns, a 
flock of poultry, crowing, brooding, or peeping, all in 
different degrees awakened interest and regard. But 
my chief intimacy was with the feline race. Pussy 
was always so pliant, so companionable, so pleased 
with attentions, and prompt in her way to reciprocate 
them. I studied cat-nature like a philosopher. I be 
lieved that the world had never done justice to its 
capacities, and that a fostering tenderness would elicit 
new powers ; whereupon I made a cat my favorite and 
prime minister. 

It sat in my lap, and gambolled by my side, and 
stretched itself upon my bed, and was to me as a sister. 
I took charge of its diet, that it might be fed at stated 
times, and with fitting aliment. When the maid had 



EAELT YEAES. 31 

done milking, I was permitted to fill a cup for my 
protegee with my own hand, from the creamy udder. 
Large and fat grew my cat-people, with a lustrous vel 
vet fur, and I exulted in their superiority. They gave 
heed to my words, for I talked much to them, and at 
my bidding rose upon their hind legs, taking my be 
neficent hand gently in their paws, and rubbing their 
heads lovingly upon it. I took pride in this and a few 
other accomplishments, arguing fervently in favor of the 
race, if any denounced it as selfish, fawning, or hypo 
critical. 

One of my great pleasures, at the close of a sum 
mer s day, was to amass two piles of fresh green cab 
bage leaves, which I was myself permitted to break in 
the garden, and lay at the milking places for the two 
cows when they should come home from the pasture. 
I rejoiced to see them hastening toward their expected \ * 
bonne-bouche, and munching it with a perfect content, 
while their fragrant revenue rapidly filled the pails. 

On one or two occasions I was permitted to walk to 
their pasture, at the distance of half a mile or more, 
with our very respectable servant-boy, who went to in 
vite them home for the night. Then and there I first 
beheld the magnificent lobelia cardinalis. Wandering 
to a secluded, moist spot of earth, I found it in the full 
blossom of its queenly beauty. I had never heard men 
tion of such a flower. The thrill of rapture with which 
I gazed upon it is felt to this day. I had no rest till I 



32 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

possessed myself of the treasure. That it was the 
wrong season for transplanting, was nothing to me. I 
had no botanical knowledge, but the glorious flower was 
to me as a living soul. The next year there came up in 
its place a sorry tuft of grass. 

Not disjoined from utility were the pleasures of 
waking life. Sports and reveries were much confined 
to my great, paradisaical garret, and the sound of rain 
upon its ample roof imparted a perfect sense of security 
and bliss. Every falling drop seemed to strike a sweet 
wind-harp, moving the whole soul to melody. But 
when in the parlor with older people, I was fain to imi 
tate their employments, and encouraged to do so. I 
early plied the needle, and at the age of six was am 
bitious to execute the plainer parts upon my father s 
shirts, which were made by my gentle-hearted grand 
mother. More than this, the fabric itself was in part 
the work of her industrious hands, for she loved to draw 
forth and twist the fine silken threads of flax ; and the 
quiet sound of her wheel was to my young ear a lulling 
melody. In those days the cheap manufactures from 
the southern cotton-plant by the aid of machinery, were 
unknown, and almost every thrifty family in the smaller 
towns of New England spun within its own bounds 
the more durable linens that were essential to its com 
fort. I think it was the same serene and kind relative 
who taught me to ply the knitting-needles. Of this I 
am not absolutely certain, scarcely being able to remem- 



EARLY YEARS. 33 

ber the time when I did not know their use ; and as a 
friend of mine, who very early entered the state of 
matrimony, replied to some chronological question, 
" She came into the world married" sol cannot affirm, 
from any positive recollection, that I did not come into 
it knitting. The employment has always been pleasant 
to me, as more friendly to meditation than the needle, 
and requiring less abstract attention. Through life I 
have found it economical and agreeable to knit stock 
ings for myself, my family, and friends. To produce 
twenty pair annually, after I became a housekeeper, 
and had more feet to cover, was no uncommon circum 
stance, for it agreeably employed those fragments of 
time which might otherwise have been lost, and was 
likewise a form of charity peculiarly acceptable to the 
poor, in our cold and variable climate. 

Asking to be forgiven for this episode in favor of 
an almost obsolete occupation among ladies, I return to 
my happy childhood. Nothing was so entirely fasci 
nating as to be permitted to aid my father in the horti 
cultural pursuits which he so practically understood. 
Believing it for my health to be much in the open air, 
and loving ever to have me by his side, I was encour 
aged to drop the peas in their long-drawn furrows, and 
deposit the golden maize in its hillock-bed. So, the fair 
blossoms of one, and the tasselled sheath of the other, 
were watched by me through all their stages, as devel 
opments in which I had a right to be interested. I was 



34 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

called to hold the young sapling steadily, while he 
transplanted it, and when it became a tree it was my 
friend. I understood not why such sweet sensations 
flowed from these simple employments. I had never 
learned why horticulture seemed to cause fresh blos 
soms to spring up in the heart s new soil. I knew not 
that health and cheerfulness walked with it, hand in 
hand. He knew, who made it the occupation of un- 
fallen man in his Eden innocence. He knew, who so 
mysteriously conjoined the welfare of flesh and spirit, 
and placed the being that bore His own image in a 
" garden, to dress and to keep it." 

The bounds of our own home domain to my child 
ish mind seemed spacious, and sufficient for every satis 
faction. I cannot recollect ever passing its outer gates 
without liberty, or having a wish to do so. To roam 
at will from garden to garden, to run at full speed 
through the alleys, to recline when wearied in some. 
shaded recess, or to seat myself with a book, on a mow 
of hay in the large, lofty barn, where the quiet cows 
ruminated over their fragrant food, gave variety and 
fulness of delight to the liberal periods allotted for out- 
of-door rambling. I shall probably earn the contempt 
of bolder spirits, when I say that ambition never moved 
me to transcend these limits, or to thirst after other 



Not unfrequently I shared pleasant drives in our 
domestic equipage, a spacious, low English chaise, 



EAKLY YEABS. 35 

drawn by a clumsy black horse, whose mild temper and 
obesity were never disturbed by sound of whip, or am 
bition of precedence. No desire of prancing, and no 
want of worldly comfort, ruffled his declining days. 
To me his proportions seemed elephantine, and being 
once elevated to his back, in the arms of a woman ser 
vant, think I still remember impressions of terror at 
the dizzy height and the length of his head, which, to 
my infantine eyes, seemed enormous. By aid of this 
majestic personage I became in some measure familiar 
with the sweetly varied scenery in the vicinity ; and 
though too young to appreciate the full force of its at 
tractions, yet came there forth from its beauty a silent, 
secret influence, moulding the heart to happiness, and 
love of the beneficent Creator. 

The diet allotted to children in those days was ju 
dicious, and remarkably simple. Well fermented and 
thoroughly baked bread of the mingled Indian and rye 
meal, and rich, creamy milk, were among its prominent 
elements. I never tasted any bread so sweet as those 
large loaves, made in capacious iron basins. Light 
wheaten biscuits, delicious gold-colored butter, always 
made in the family, custards, puddings, delicate pastry, 
succulent vegetables and fruits, gave sufficient variety 
of condiment to the repasts allotted us. The extreme 
regularity and early hours for meals twelve being al 
ways the time for dinner obviated in a great measure 
the necessity of intermediates, and saved that perpetual 



36 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

eating into which some little ones fall, until the diges 
tive powers are impaired in their incipient action. If 
sport, or exercise in the garden, led me to desire re 
freshment between the regular meals, a piece of brown 
bread was given me without butter, and I was content. 
Candies and confectionery were strangers to us primi 
tive people. The stomach, that keystone of this mys 
terious frame, not being unduly stimulated, no morbid 
tastes were formed, and no undue admixture of saccha 
rine or oleaginous matter caused effervescence and dis 
ease. The name of dyspepsia, with its offspring, 
stretching out like the line of Banquo, I never heard in 
early years. Spices were untasted, unless it might be 
a little nutmeg in the sauce of our nice puddings, which 
I still counted as a foe, because it " bit my tongue." 
When seated at the table I was never asked whether I 
liked or disliked aught that appeared there. It never 
occurred to me whether I did or not. I never doubted 
but what I should be fed " with food convenient for 
me." I was helped to what was deemed proper, and 
there was never any necessity, like poor Oliver Twist, 
to ask for more. It did not appear to me, from aught 
that I saw or heard, that the pleasure of eating was one 
of the main ends of existence. The advantages arising 
from early uripampered appetites, have remained with 
me ; for in various sicknesses to which I have been sub 
jected, the stomach, and the nervous tissues dependent 
upon it, have seldom sympathized, and the integrity of 



EARLY YEAKS. 3f 

the digestive organs usually given a substratum on which 
to build the recovered action of the system. Would 
that parents, in modern times, would more frequently 
consent to confer similar gifts upon their children. 

My costume was simple, and unconstrained by any 
ligature to impede free circulation. Stays, corsets, or 
frames of whalebone, I never wore. Frocks low in the 
neck, and with short sleeves, were used both winter 
and summer. Houses had neither furnaces nor grates 
for coal, and churches had no means of being warmed, 
yet I cannot recollect suffering inconvenience from cold. 
Thick shoes and stockings were deemed essential, and 
great care was taken that I should never go with wet 
feet. Clear, abundant Avood fires, sparkled in every 
chimney, and I was always directed, in cold seasons, to 
sit with my feet near them until thoroughly warmed, 
before retiring for the night. 

A dress of white muslin, with a broad sash of pink 
or blue, was my highest style of decoration. There 
was no added ornament, save thickly clustering curls, 
not the gift of nature, but the production of my moth 
er s untiring care and skill. This adornment, with 
scrupulous neatness, was all that she desired for her 
darling. The care of my teeth she reserved to herself, 
and made it no sinecure. Their pearly whiteness 
seemed sometimes to excite her vanity, and it was a 
proportionably keen disappointment to her that the 
second set should make their appearance of rather too 



38 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

large a size, and palpably uneven. My daily ablutions, 
as well as the stated and more thorough weekly bath 
ings, she personally superintended. With equal grati 
tude I may respond to the filial ascription of Cowper : 

" The fragrant waters on my cheeks bestow d 
With her own hand, till fresh they shone, and glow d." 

From the age of three I was put to sleep in a cham 
ber by myself. There was no person in the family to 
whom it was convenient or fitting to be either my guard 
or companion. I was always attended to my pillow by 
maternal love, and then left alone, sometimes ere the 
last rays of the summer sun had entirely forsaken the 
landscape. I felt no fear ; false stories had never been 
told to frighten me ; there was nothing to be afraid of. 
" Our Father in Heaven," to whom the last words of clos 
ing day were said, seemed near, and I fell asleep as on 
His protecting arm. It might have been in some meas 
ure owing to this nightly solitude, that Thought so early 
became my friend. In the intervals not given to sleep, 
it talked with me. So delightful were its visits, that I 
waited for and wooed it, and was displeased if slumber 
invaded or superseded the communion. For it some 
times brought me harmonies, and thrilled me to strange 
delight with rhythmical words. I believe the following 
was among its first gifts. Memory has from the earliest 
childhood kept it in her casket : 



EARLY YEARS. 39 

" Oh king of kings ! who dwell st among 
Angelic heralds, hear my song. 
Inexplicable are Thy ways, 
Eternal ought to be Thy praise." 

A new nightly visitant came with Thought, and sat in 
judgment on my couplets. It was Criticism. She 
measured the lines, and put them to her ear, like a 
pitch-pipe ; and with regard to this specimen, suggested 
that in the second line " tongue " would make a more 
accurate rhyme to "among," than the word I had 
chosen. I examined her decision, but adhered to my 
original selection. Whereupon Criticism arose and 
departed, and I went to sleep. 

The echo of consenting and euphonious words al 
lured me to these little exercises in composition more 
than any poetic impulse or original idea. Attention to 
style, and the import of classical words, were advanced 
habitudes of mind for such infantine years. They prin 
cipally arose from the character of the authors with 
whom I became familiar. There were literally no chil 
dren s books attainable by me ; and as reading became, 
almost in babyhood, a necessity of existence, I was 
thrown upon a rather severe selection of standard au 
thors. Young, with his sententious " Night Thoughts," 
initiated me into the poetry of my native language ; 
Addison s " Spectator," and Goldsmith s " Vicar of 
Wakefield," were the most amusing volumes in the li 
brary. Yet so much had I been inured to the measured 



40 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

dignity, and even solemnity of literature, that not com 
prehending concealed wit, or delicate irony, I thought 
Sir Roger de Coverly and the Rev. Mr. Primrose rather 
silly and simple personages. That acute political satire, 
" Chrysal, or the Adventures of a Guinea," I perused 
with some interest, but little edification, from ignorance 
of the local history of England at the period of which 
it treats. Harvey s " Reflections among the Tombs," 
and Gesner s " Death of Abel," supplied the imagina 
tion with pleasant food. Whatever was plaintive I 
considered eloquent, and graduated my admiration of 
literature by its power to draw tears. Bishop Sher 
lock s " Six Sermons on Death," were my models for 
theological writing, though " South and Seed " were 
diligently perused. The largest volume in my father s 
possession was a heavy folio of more than eight hun 
dred pages, containing the works of the Rev. Matthew 
Henry, Discourses, Essays, Tracts, and Biographies. I 
believe it was the size of the book alone, that inspired 
my ambition to master its contents. Yet in patiently 
bending over those pages, instinct with piety and bap 
tized by prayer, methought a secret influence sometimes 
stole over me, moving to lowliness and the love of God. 
The sanctity of the Sabbath, as I saw it observed by 
those whom I most loved and respected, had an efficient 
and salutary power upon the forming character. There 
was under our roof no young or light-minded person to 
tempt me to " think my own thoughts, or speak my 



EAKLY YEARS. 41 

own words," on that consecrated day. "Remember, 
and keep it holy," was the sound in my heart, at its 
earliest dawn. How quiet was every thing around in 
that rural home, and what serene sobriety sat on every 
face ! I often rode to our temple of worship, over 
shadowed by steep, dark cliffs, which to my solemnized 
eyes were as Sinai, whence the law was given. 

Within these hallowed walls every thing seemed 
most sacred. Words could not express the reverence 
with which I listened to the deep, and rather monoto- 
"nously intoned voice of the pastor. Of those who oc 
casionally exchanged with him I took great note, by 
way of comparison and contrast. Some of them, me- 
thought, exhibited the mild graces of the sage who 
drank the hemlock, and in others I traced the linea 
ments of the lamenting and reproving prophet, when 
he exclaimed, " The crown is fallen from our head woe 
unto us ! for we have sinned." 

The closing home-exercise of Sunday was the repe 
tition of the whole of the " Assembly of Divines Cate 
chism." It was my father s province to ask me the 
questions, to which I replied scrupulously in the words 
of the book, adding the scriptural proofs. From such 
an elaborate body of divinity it could scarcely be ex 
pected that much gain would accrue to the understand 
ing, at so immature a period. Some advantage might 
be derived by memory, which being strong did not 
particularly need it, or some weight added to the habit 



rt*r 
42 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

of implicit obedience, which was the soul of our nur 
ture in those primitive times. As I recited standing, a 
sensation of weariness occasionally stole over my limbs, 
so that I always felt relief at the interrogation, " What 
is effectual calling ? " which I fancied was somewhere 
near the middle, or at least a kind of vantage-ground, 
from whence, as from Pisgah, the close of the pilgrim 
age might be contemplated, as "those fields of lign-aloes 
which the Lord had planted." I have heard some ex 
cellent old people say, that the foundation of their re 
ligion was the same long catechism, and that when dis 
ease induced wakefulness, a silent repetition of it to 
themselves was a decided comfort. I confess my ina 
bility to lay claim to either of these results ; and hav 
ing never been so fortunate as to derive from it either 
improvement in piety or consolation in pain, have ab 
stained from requiring it of any who have come under 
my care for education. 

Truly happy was my childhood, fed on dews of love, 
yet guarded from the evils of indulgence by habits of 
industry, order, and obedience, which my parents 
wisely inculcated. Their wishes I never gainsaid; 
indeed, the idea of having any will opposed to theirs, 
or separate from it, never entered my imagination. 
Perfect content, and acquiescence with my lot, were the 
earliest gifts of life. Yet the cream of all my happi 
ness was a loving intercourse with venerable age. 

I have already mentioned that under the pleasant 



EARLY YEARS. 43 

roof of Madam Lathrop we existed as a separate 
household, yet more closely entwined by the inter 
course of every passing year. Having lost in one 
week, and ere the age of thirty, her three beautiful 
and promising boys, whose places were never supplied, 
the yearning tenderness of a heart which had continued 
to flow out toward the children of others, concentrated 
itself on the little one born in her house. No cast of 
character could be predicated that would more sain 
briously and permanently have influenced the unfolding 
mind and heart. Dignified in person, with the com 
manding yet courteous manner of the old school, her 
powerful intellect was strengthened by familiarity with 
the best authors, and association with the most distin 
guished men of the country. Fulness of benevolence, 
and a pervading piety, melted the pride of position and 
wealth, and made her the loving disciple of the Saviour, 
in whom she early believed. 

To my eye she was the model of perfect beauty, 
for I beheld her through a heart that was all her own. 
It made no difference that almost fourscore years had 
passed over her ere I saw the light : 

" For yet no boasted grace or symmetry 
Of form or feature not the bloom of youth 
Or blaze of beauty, ever could awake 
Within my soul such joy, as when I gaz d 
On that lov d eye. Nor could the boasted pomp 
Of eloquence that seizes on the brain 



44 LETTEKS OF LIFE. 

Of young enthusiasm, emulate the theme 
So meekly flowing from those aged lips, 
To point the way to heaven." * 

In her spacious parlor, seated in her cushioned 
chair, by the side of a brightly blazing wood fire, she 
might often be seen, her knitting bag hanging near, 
and a book open before her, the spectacles, perchance, 
thrown back upon her noble brow, for a pause of 
thought. Her sole companion might be a slender 
child, with an unusually fair complexion, climbing by 
the aid of a high, straight-backed chair, to the upper 
alcove of an old-fashioned dark mahogany bookcase, 
to discover if haply some stray volume had eluded 
previous explorations. 

" Lydia, come here." 

Whereupon the tiny personage descends with un 
common velocity, and ensconces herself in a tiny green 
arm-chair, at her feet, ready for any wish that should 
be expressed. 

" Read me these two pages of Young s Night 
Thoughts, my dear, and be sure to pronounce every 
word slowly and distinctly." 

Let no child think this was a hardship. To please 
one so respected and beloved, or to win her smile of 
approbation, was sufficient happiness. Sometimes the 
call would be, not to read aloud, but to sing. Her 

* Moral Pieces in Verse and Prose. 



EARLY YEARS. 45 

voice, which was in conversation an echo of the soul s 
harmony, was powerful in music, which she had been 
taught scientifically when a child. Many were the 
pieces in which I was instructed to accompany her, 
sacred, patriotic, or pathetic. Sometimes she would 
honor me by enumerating quite a catalogue, and al 
lowing me to choose. 

" My child, shall it be Pompey s Ghost to his Wife 
Cornelia, or While Shepherds watched their Flocks 
by Night, or The poor, distracted Lady, or In 
dulgent Parents, dear, or Solitude? " The last- 
named one was often my selection ; the sweet tune and 
the flowing words of the lyric are still fresh in 
memory, though never heard save from her sacred 
lips : 

" What voice is this I hear 

From yonder grove, 
That charms my listening ear, 

And wakes my love ? 
Sure tis some heavenly guest 
Inviting me to rest 
On my Redeemer s breast, 

Sent from above." 

Did space allow I would gladly copy the whole, 
which I have never seen in print. And as I in 
scribe these few words, there comes with them such 
a gush of happiness, such a thrill of melody, as 
though an angel hovered near. May it not be so ? 



46 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

I feel her love within my heart, 

It nerves me strong and high, 
As cheers the wanderer on the deep, 

The pole-star in the sky ; 
And if my weary spirit quails, 

Or friendship s warmth grows cold, 
Her blessed arm is round me thrown, 

As in the days of old. 

That low-browed apartment, with all its appoint 
ments, is before me, an indelible picture. I see its 
highly polished wainscot, crimson moreen curtains, 
the large brass andirons, with their silvery bright 
ness, the clean hearth, on which not even the white 
ashes of the consuming hickory were suffered to rest, 
the rich, dark shade of the furniture, unpolluted by 
dust, and the closet whose open door revealed its 
wealth of silver, cans, tankards, and flagons, the massy 
plate of an ancient family. 

Once or twice my infant eyes had enjoyed brief 
glimpses of that parlor, lighted by two stately can 
dlesticks, and an antique candelabra, and methought 
it was as the hall of Aladdin. But to be extant 
in the evening, was a condition of being not con 
templated for childhood, and with one long gaze 
I was gathered to my darkened chamber, possibly 
with some inner echo of the moan of our first mother : 

" And must I leave thee, Paradise ? " 



EARLY YEAES. 47 

Yet if there ever was any such repining, it was 
too transient to have marked the slightest trace on 
memory. 

What particularly riveted my attention in that 
fair parlor was an ancient clock, whose tall, ebony 
case, was covered with gilded figures, of strikingly 
varied and fanciful character. These, like the storied 
tiles on the mantelpiece in the drawing-room, con 
tinually exercised my wonder and admiration. There 
I gazed with folded hands, to touch being forbidden, 
regarding the mystic movements of the pendulum 
seen through its orb of glass, and counting the 
" tick, tick" until, perchance, the stroke of its ex 
ceedingly clear musical bell caused a startled delight. 

But the lov d friend who sate 
Near in her elbow-chair, 
Teaching with patient care 
Life s young beginner, on that dial-plate 
To count the winged minutes, fleet and fair, 
And mark each hour with deeds of love, 
Lo ! she hath broke her league with time, and found the rest above. 

The rich benefits derived from friendship between 
infant inexperience and saintly wisdom, are incal 
culable. The tutelary influences of holy age upon 
the forming mind, can be fully computed only by 
those who stand with folded wings before the throne. 



48 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

To her, who there worships among an innumerable 
company redeemed from the earth, I would humbly 
say in better words than my own : 

" If some faint love of goodness glow in me, 
Pure spirit ! I first caught that flame from thee." 



LETTER III. 

MY TEACHERS. 

IN the dramatis personce of every young life, dear 
friend, the teachers are wont to have prominence. My 
first one ! Methinks she is now entering the room. I 
start, for I was always afraid of her. Not that she was 
severe to me ; she could get no chance to be so. A 
timid little thing of four years, always obedient and 
diligent, offered no facilities for her ferule. Above the 
usual height was she, with sharp, black eyes, large 
hands, a manly voice, a capacious mouth, and a step 
that made the echoes of the quiet schoolroom tremble. 
She w^ore an immense black silk calash, and when I 
saw it bobbing up and down by our garden wall, as 
she passed, I hid myself, like the malcontents of Eden, 
among the trees. Especially was I affrighted at dis 
covering that she was once coming, by invitation, to 
take tea at our table. I did not enter the parlor until I 
was called, and then curled down in a corner with a 
small book, which, whether it were Robinson Crusoe or 
Grumbdumbo, I could not readily have told. Gladly 
3 



50 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

would I have been excused from the repast, for I dared 
not eat before her. But, peering out from under my 
drooping eyelids, I ascertained that she made the same 
use of her large mouth that others did, appropriating 
good things in goodly quantities, and with correct 
appreciation of their different ratios of relish and 
rarity. What I learned of an intellectual nature under 
her sway, it might be difficult, through the long vista 
of years, to decipher. My chief enjoyment was in the 
spelling-class, where we "went above," according to 
our own skill and the mistakes of others. Having very 
early learned to read by myself, the forms of words, 
and their syllabic construction, dwelt in memory like 
the minutiaB of a picture, so that the usual amount of 
study made me fearlessly perfect in the daily ortho 
graphical lesson. Hence, the mounting by detachments 
to the head of a regiment of some threescore and ten 
personages was no unfrequent occurrence. Some were 
four times my own age, and of formidable altitude and 
prowess ; but the victory was more quietly accorded to 
a meek-looking lilliputian, than to one better qualified 
for a rival in other matters. The position being held 
but one night, the chieftain going to the bottom of the 
class and rising again, pacified the discomfited, while at 
the same time it nourished an unslumbering ambition 
in the bosom of the aspirant. 

My next teacher was of the masculine genus. Why, 
at so tender an age, my parents should commit me thus 



MY TEACHERS. 51 

to the miscellaneous association of large district schools, 
it might be difficult to say, save that it was the custom 
of the times. The idea of being given in charge to a 
man, filled me with uncontrollable awe. On the first 
morning of my entrance, I could have taken the shoes 
from my feet, as if the place where he stood were a 
modern Sinai, where the law might be given amid 
thunderings, and lightnings, and tempest. Yet, on the 
contrary, I was far more at ease than under the domin 
ion of his predecessor. To my amazement, I found 
myself rather a favorite with him, and kindly appre 
ciated by the scholars. Some of these were large boys, 
on the borders of manhood, who attended school in 
winter, and at other seasons pursued various useful 
occupations. One of their prime accomplishments was 
covering large sheets of paper with fine chirography of 
different sizes, they having been previously ruled and 
ornamented with devices in bright red, blue, and green 
ink. I thought them intensely elegant, and, as I now 
remember them, they had somewhat the effect of the 
old illuminated missals. My aid in devising their deco 
ration, and selecting the poetry that formed a great 
portion of their contents, was sought and valued, so 
that I suddenly became a personage of consequence. 
Instead of being made a scapegoat or a burnt-offering, 
as I had anticipated, I was vastly comforted at this 
terrific " man s school," and not a little built up in my 
own estimation. Though my highest pleasures were 



52 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

still at home, in the " calm school of silent solitude," 
I here learned that it was possible to make myself 
acceptable out of my own family a fact which, from 
constitutional diffidence, I had been accustomed to 
doubt. 

My next educational movement was to attend a 
school for needlework. Our instructress was mild and 
ladylike, though distant and reserved. In this truly 
feminine department we strove to excel in nicety of 
performance, and our working materials were required 
to be kept in perfect order. Here it would seem that 
content and happiness must surely reign. But who can 
tell, by looking on a fair surface, what may smoulder 
beneath ? The vines on the bosom of Vesuvius were 
scarcely more agitated by the lava-stream at their 
roots, than we tiny politicians by what we termed the 
partiality of the mistress for one of our compeers, her 
own niece. She always walked with her on her way to 
and from school, sat by her side, and received atten 
tions and caresses which we coveted. We fancied she 
was made independent of the rules, and shielded when 
she deserved rebuke. Forthwith the fiercest proceeded 
to hate her, and the most Socratic ones to treasure up 
little instances of injustice as themes for private talk. 
I have often marvelled that I, who had heretofore been 
an upholder of the most despotic authority on the part 
of teachers, in the days when the Busby code pre 
vailed, should have been carried away by this current, 



MY TEACHERS. 53 

when the power arrogated was simply an expression of 
preference. But the sense of injustice in the young 
mind is keen, and, when once roused, magnifies trifles 
and inadvertencies into wrongs. 

The next teacher was one of more pretension an 
English lady, who came, with her family, to reside in 
our immediate vicinity, and received both day scholars 
and boarders. She instructed in what were termed the 
higher branches, including music, painting, and em 
broidery. She executed on the piano with great skill, 
and, as I had been a singer from infancy, I found 
much pleasure in the practice of uniting an instrument 
with the voice. Having become an enthusiast about 
our aborigines, the first tune that I was permitted to 
choose for my own performance was that sweetly plain 
tive melody of the " Indian Chief s Death-Song," be 
ginning, 

" The sun sets at night, and the stars shun the day, 
But glory remains while their lights fade away." 

I was never tired of singing and playing this mournful 
harmony, and curtailed my scientific practice to enjoy 
it. But my chief delight was to paint and draw in 
water colors an accomplishment in which the instruc 
tress excelled. In my own little sanctum I had sketched 
at pleasure from the earliest years, with a pin and lilac 
leaf, with a slate-pencil and fragment of slate, ere I 
was the owner of a lead-pencil, or could obtain backs 



54 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

of letters pen and ink being forbidden, lest my gar 
ments should be defiled. As I grew older, the illustra 
tions in my Hieroglyphic Bible were copied, and any 
graphic scene that I read, or heard narrated, produced 
one or more designs. As what I called my pictures 
multiplied, the desire to see them in colors became 
eager and engrossing. After various experiments, I 
succeeded in manufacturing certain substitutes and 
pigments wherewith to adorn the groups and regions 
of my fancy. A piece of gamboge was in my posses 
sion, which, with a fragment of indigo begged from 
the washerwoman, furnished different shades of yellow, 
blue, and green ; while a solution of coffee-grounds 
sufficed for the trunks of my trees, and the ambered 
brown of their autumnal foliage. A wash of India-ink, 
dashed with indigo, answered for my skies and waters. 
Thus I got along wonderfully with my landscapes : but 
my chief delight was in peopling them ; and how to 
obtain tints for any variety of costume, was the ques 
tion. After many experiments, I found the expressed 
juice of the scokeberry quite a passable pink, which, 
with changes and dilutions, supplied me with color for 
lips and cheeks, and dresses for my gay women and 
children. Mingled with indigo, it produced a kind of 
purple, which I used for kingly robes. But it was 
hideous, and something better employed my poor, in 
fantine chemistry night and day. I had executed what 
I considered a very fine scene from Roman history, and 



MY TEACHERS. 55 

wanted something for the flowing mantles of the sena 
tors. Images of the Tyrian purple haunted me, and 
flashed before my dreams. I pressed the rich petals of 
the pansy, but they yielded nothing to my hope. At 
length, in one of our desserts, I observed in the over 
flowing syrup of a tart, composed of the ripe currant 
and whortleberry, the identical tint for which I had so 
earnestly sought. Requesting a few spoonfuls, after 
sundry filtrations I applied it to the drapery of a belle, 
and, had I known the meaning of Eureka, should have 
shouted it at the top of my voice. But as the saccha 
rine properties of my new color eventually predomi 
nated, causing the dress to cleave away from the form 
it arrayed, I did not use it for the conscript fathers. 
A single brush, in these processes of limning, was all 
that I could call my own. When I desired some of 
larger capacity, I found that I could manufacture them 
from small quills and my own soft hair. This one nice 
little brush, with the pieces of India-ink and gamboge 
before mentioned, and a lead-pencil, were all the arti 
cles for which I was indebted to the shops, in this my 
early career toward the fine arts. Yet the rapture 
enjoyed in my solitary chamber, as these untaught 
efforts accumulated, was indescribable. Not even a 
particle of rubber was mine, that substance not being 
then common ; so that I was careful to draw with ex 
treme accuracy, effacing the few false outlines with 
crumbs of stale bread. Though the delight experi- 



56 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

enced from this unprompted impulse of taste was 
doubtless heightened by the ingenuity of the expe 
dients that sustained it, I can never give paper or 
speech any semblance of the joy with which I received 
from my father s hand, soon after entering this new 
school, a box of the finest water colors, with camel s- 
hair pencils of different sizes, drawing paper, and a 
piece of India-rubber, which I have kept to this day, a 
simple trophy and record of the past. Thus reenforced 
and upbuilt, I proceeded to copy large and complicated 
patterns, taking pride in the degree of labor they re 
quired. " Maria," or the crazy girl described by the 
sentimental Yorick, was one of the first large pictures 
of my production. She was represented sitting under 
an immense tree, with exuberant brown tresses, a pink 
jacket and white satin petticoat, gazing pensively at a 
small lapdog fastened to her hand by a smart blue rib 
bon. Sterne is seen at a distance, taking note of her 
with an eye-glass, riding in a yellow-bodied coach, 
upon a fresh-looking turnpike road, painted in stripes 
with ochre and bistre. But notwithstanding this, and 
other pictorial exhibitions of shepherds and shepherd 
esses, encompassed by huge wreaths and emblems, were 
sufficiently lauded and marvelled at, my proficiency, 
after I was furnished with every requisite material, did 
not equal my perseverance in the days of my destitu 
tion. The few rules which were given us, and which 
were almost entirely about the use of colors, no correct 



MY TEACHERS. 57 

ones for perspective being accorded, seemed rather an 
incumbrance, and I secretly bemoaned my lost satisfac 
tions in sketching ad libitum from the historians and 
poets. 

A boldness of literary enterprise also came over me ; 
and, though I had scarcely perused a novel except sur 
reptitiously, I commenced to write one. It was in the 
epistolary style, and a part of the scene laid in Italy. 
I remember several of the letters, which, contrary to 
my previous habit with all other compositions, I men 
tioned to my companions. Forthwith there was a 
burst of ridicule from the grown-up young ladies of 
the school. 

" What a fool Lydia Huntley is ! Don t you think, 
she is undertaking to write a novel, and only just eight 
years old ! She can no more do it than she could tame 
Bucephalus. She d better stick to her painting and 
that s not over good." 

The critics, deeming my precocity too exuberant, 
and a subject for the pruning-knife, proceeded to occa 
sional browbeatings, which were very slightly regard 
ed. Most of my associates here were fully sensible of 
the honor of sharing the tuition of a lady from Lon 
don, and were careful to comport themselves with suffi 
cient exclusiveness, as a patrician order, when they 
encountered any of the members of the plebeian dis 
trict schools. 

My next instructor was strongly contrasted both in 



58 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

person and pursuit, an earnest adept in mathematics. 
I had a fondness for arithmetic, derived from my 
father, and used often to work out by myself the more 
difficult problems in Daboll, the standard book of the 
times, and show him the result, because it was always 
repaid by his peculiar smile, and coveted eulogium of 
" Good child ! good child ! " But this earnest-minded 
gentleman, a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, find 
ing in me the application that he liked, led me on from 
stage to stage of accuracy in computation, to higher 
principles and pleasures of demonstrative science, where, 
fearing no change, no failure of experiment, no mistake 
in conclusion, we advance fearlessly to the truth, and 
are satisfied. The salutary influence of such studies on 
the intellect, especially that of females, I believe to be 
great. Too little time is apt to be accorded to them. 
It was so in my own case. Yet I look back on them 
now, at this great distance of time, as on a heritage not 
to be alienated. My enthusiasm, while pursuing them, 
led me to endorse the precept which Plato caused to be 
inscribed over the door of his school : " Let no one 
enter here who is ignorant of geometry." After my 
school-days were over, and philosophical reading be 
came a source of satisfaction, I fully subscribed to the 
axiom of Bacon : " Mathematics, if the mind be too 
wandering, fix it; if too inherent in the senses, abstract 
it." I have always felt in some degree a debtor to 
warm-hearted Erin for the instructions of this her 



MT TEACHERS. 69 

grave, silver-haired, and erudite son, who, with his 
family, became inhabitants of our country ere the tide 
of emigration had awakened its present unebbing flood. 

My parents next decided to send me to the institu 
tion endowed, as has been already mentioned, by Dr. 
Daniel Lathrop, all of whose members had the privi 
lege of instruction in Latin and Greek, after making 
requisite progress in the solid English branches. Hith 
erto, when not under private tuition, I had always 
attended at a schoolhouse, sheltered and shouldered by 
ledges of gray rock, and within sight of the windows 
of our dining-room. Now I was to go to one on the 
green plain near the meeting-house, half a mile from 
home. It was like turning away from the brooding 
wing the first flight from the nest. This walk, four 
times a day, at all seasons and in all weathers for I 
could never consent to be absent for the wildest wintry 
storm, lest I should lose my place in the class gave a 
spirit of self-reliance and a sense of liberty and power 
never before realized. Both these edifices were of red 
brick, much on the same plan, though of different sizes, 
with unpainted desks and benches projected around 
three sides of the room, the fourth having a recess for 
the teacher s desk, a closet for books, a space for the 
water pitcher, and a capacious fireplace, where plenty 
of wood crackled and blazed and disappeared. 

Do not suppose, friend, that I am about to satirize 
the scholastic temples of my own day, bare as they 



60 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

were of all the appliances of modern luxury. Rem 
nants of a barbarous age they might doubtless now be 
styled. Nevertheless, they subserved the purposes of 
knowledge and of discipline. We had seen nothing bet 
ter, and were content. The teacher is of more conse 
quence than the temple. Gratified as I am that the 
progress in taste and comfort should embrace the struc 
tures allotted to education, I still look back to the 
lowly ones of my own nurture with associations of lov 
ing thought. 

The master of this endowed school was somewhat 
stricken in years, and had held his office from early 
manhood, it being sufficiently lucrative for a life con 
cern. He was a thorough scholar, and austere. Not 
being addicted to social pleasures, he was considerably 
past his prime before he entered the marriage relation, 
and he still retained the temperament of a recluse. Never 
having had opportunity to wreathe his features into a 
smile for a babe of his own, they were not often moved 
to that form by the children of others. Indeed, ac 
cording to the system of Rochefoucault, he seemed to 
take it for granted that every boy was a rogue, until 
proved to the contrary. Neither was slight proof suffi 
cient to overcome his skepticism. He was of a tall, 
spare form, with a keen, black eye. Every one in 
school could imitate his frown, his measured gait, and 
precision of speech. 

" Boy, I shall be compelled to punish you severely, 



MY TEACHERS. 61 

if there is either persistence in or repetition of such 
conduct." 

Little did the Dominie suppose that, in the familiar 
talk of the scholars, the irreverent cognomen of " Uncle 
Billy " was applied to him. The more observant ones, 
who, according to Goldsmith, 

" were skill d to trace 
The day s disaster in the morning s face," 

would sometimes say pantomimically, " Uncle Billy is 
chewing a tough Greek root to-day. Look out for 
breakers ! " 

To the female branch of his dominion he was emi 
nently taciturn. I doubt whether I ever addressed 
him, save in replies to his questions on the lessons, or 
what sprung collaterally from the business of the 
school. Still, there was no mixture of dislike in our 
reserved intercourse. On the contrary, I felt an innate 
sense of his approbation, which sustained my compla 
cency. He elevated me, as an especial honor, to the 
office of monitor of the reading classes. This was no 
sinecure, as the classes were large ; and when they 
were marshalled for this exercise, I was expected to 
stand opposite each one, as they read, and criticize elo 
cution and emphasis, having the power to make them 
repeat their allotted portion as often as I deemed neces 
sary. On the whole, I enjoyed myself, and improved 
under the stern old master, and felt a sort of pride in 



62 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

his strictness, which I think scholars generally do, not 
withstanding what they may say to the contrary. 

I was removed from his regency to share the bene 
fits of a school unique in those times, and, I am in 
clined to think, not easily paralleled in any. A young 
gentleman of superior talents, education, and position 
in society, having been compelled by some infirmity of 
health to abandon his choice of the clerical profession, 
consented to take charge for one year of a select circle 
of twenty-five pupils. A rare privilege was it, indeed, 
to be under his guidance. He had but recently com 
pleted his collegiate course, and it seems a scarcely 
credible fact that, ere he had reached his twentieth 
birthday, he should have judgment to conduct such an 
institution, and to impress every varying spirit with 
respect and obedience. Yet so it was. The secret of 
his sway was in his earnest piety and consistent exam 
ple. We revered both, and would not for the world 
have done aught to trouble him. The order of the 
school was perfect. The classics were excellently well 
taught, as were also the English studies. Among the 
latter, I recollect geography was quite a favorite, prob 
ably because it was deepened by our construction of 
maps and charts, in which we were strenuous for accu 
racy, and some degree of elegance. The former we 
decorated by painted vigndttes and devices, and for the 
latter had immense sheets manufactured at the paper 
mill on purpose for us. These, being divided into 



MY TEACHERS. 63 

regular parallelograms by lines of red ink, we wrote 
on their left the name of every country on the habit 
able globe, filling its even line of regular compartments 
according to their designation over the top Length 
and Breadth, Latitude and Longitude, Boundaries, 
Rivers, Mountains, Form of Government, Population, 
Universities and Learned Men, where they existed, and 
whatever circumstance of history was reducible to so 
narrow a compass. The search after these facts, the 
conciseness of style requisite, and the fair chirography 
which was held indispensable, were all valuable attain 
ments. This could not be an exercise common to the 
whole school, from the large space required for accom 
modation. I recollect being one of six three of each 
sex who had permission to pursue it, and to have each 
a table spread for that purpose in a large vacant apart 
ment. So much was our conscientiousness cultivated 
by this admirable instructor, that we, in conformity 
to our promise, comported ourselves with the same 
gravity as if in his presence, holding no conversation 
save what was necessary to test and condense the 
knowledge drawn out from the text-books on separate 
papers, and criticized ere they were copied. He also 
suggested an excellent employment for the intervals of 
Sunday the selection of passages of Scripture on sub 
jects given us by himself. Our zeal to bring a large 
number, neatly copied, on Monday morning, prevented 
the idle waste of consecrated time, and promoted an 



- 



64 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

intimate acquaintance with the treasures of the sacred 
volume. The reputation of this school transcending 
aught of the kind which had preceded it in that region, 
caused numerous applications to obtain its privileges. 
But as the number was limited, and each planet revolv 
ing around the centre tenacious of its orbit, the aspi 
rants were doomed to disappointment. Among them 
was a robust man, older than the preceptor, whose 
desire for knowledge was the more commendable for 
being cherished amid the hard labor of the hands by 
which he earned subsistence. His note is character 
istic : 

" Understanding, sir, that there is a vacuity in your 
school, should be pleased to occupy the same one-half 
of a quarter of twelve weeks, as your friend and 
scholar." 

There was, however, no vacuity, and the smith 
smote on. 

I have never attended a school where the religious 
sentiment was so perfectly cultivated, or brought into 
such successful operation. It seemed the secret of its 
government, inspiring high conscientiousness, a per 
formance of duty because it was enjoined by the Heav- 
v enly Father and the Righteous Judge. This effect was 
not produced by the constant repetition of precept, still 
less by the enforcement of peculiar doctrines, or the 
censure of others. It was not wearisome argument or 
set forms of speech, but the influence of an earnest, 



MY TEACHERS. 65 

consistent, pious example. The deep feeling of the 
morning prayer often moistened the eyes of the most 
unthinking ; and the same spirit, caught from the 
closing orison, followed them home. It might be diffi 
cult to believe, by those who had never witnessed it, 
that a teacher so very young could do so much in aid 
of the ministers of religion I had almost said, so 
much more than they, with the hearts of his disciples. 

The future course of Mr. Pelatiah Perit fully veri- \ 
fied its opening promise. He maintained a high posi 
tion among the active operations and benevolent insti 
tutions of the country, and was for many years Presi 
dent of the Chamber of Commerce, and of the Sea 
men s Saving Bank, in New York. Wherever he was, 
and in whatever he engaged, his influence was for God 
and goodness. 

At his beautiful residence in New Haven, whither, 
in later years, he had retired from the excitements of 
business, he devoted himself more exclusively to works 
of charity and piety, and has but recently passed away, 
respected and lamented by all, having reached the con 
fines of fourscore wholly unimpaired, except for some 
slight inroads on physical vigor. 

The school which I was endeavoring to describe to 
you, my loved friend, and which he superintended 
but a single year, was taken in charge by the Rev. 
Daniel Haskell, a gentleman of somewhat more mature 
years, and also a graduate of Yale College. He was 



66 LETTE5S OP LIFE. 

decidedly a religious character, a ripe scholar, and of 
great amenity of manners and disposition. The belles- 
lettres studies were admirably taught by him, and he 
gave critical attention to the correct expression of 
written thought. He read to us portions of the best 
standard authors, in his own elegant elocution, and en 
couraged us freely to criticize both style and senti 
ment. 

There seemed an arrogance in such a band of tyros 
sitting in judgment on Addison, and Steele, and John 
son, and Lord Bacon, and Edmund Burke. But his 
tact and patience were wonderful with our crude opin 
ions, often uttered for the sake of saying something, 
and not unmarked by captiousness. Into the idioms 
and refinements of our own language he carefully led 
us. The " Exercises of Lindley Murray" he especially 
rendered delightful in daily lessons, throwing us back 
continually upon definition and derivation, until the 
roots of words, and their minute shades of meaning, 
became beautiful as thought-pictures. So much did he 
inspire us with his own favorite tastes, that parsing the 
most difficult passages of the poets, remarkable either 
for elision or amplification, was coveted as a sport. 
The culture of memory was also a prominent object 
with him, for, being a natural metaphysician, he 
scanned the intellect as a map, and wrought in each 
department. He occasionally read slowly to us pages 
from rare or antique works, historical, descriptive, or 



MY TEACHERS. 67 

didactic, and, closing the book, required the substance 
or analysis in our own language. This was given 
orally at the time, and might also, if we chose, be pre 
sented in writing, subject to his correction. The ad 
vantage of this exercise, though, perhaps, not imme 
diately seen, was great in forming the habit of fixed 
attention, which is the integral element of the retentive 
power. It also enforced a ready utterance, and correct 
relation of facts, or assertions, in which a strong mem 
ory may be mournfully deficient. 

Our course of study, which was arduous, he sus 
tained and quickened by emulation. The gift of books 
signalized the close of each term, of which there were 
four in the year, and a silver medal was semiannually 
awarded. These premiums were so definitely adjusted 
to different grades of proficiency, or exemplary deport 
ment, that there was no possibility of partiality, and so 
wisely balanced by the kind feelings cultivated among 
us, as never to create jealousy or dislike. I well re 
member our added meekness of manner when in the 
reception of these coveted prizes, and am sure that it 
was the fruit of his teachings. He faithfully developed 
not the intellect alone, but the affections. Instructors 
have that power, if they will but use it. Each pupil 
was led to consider the others as members, for the time, 
of one family, holding respectability, honor, and happi 
ness as a common stock. Hence we rejoiced in the 
attainments or good fortune of our companions, and 



68 LETTERS OP LIFE. 

covered their errors with the mantle of silent forbear 
ance. To a soil thus prepared, friendships were indige 
nous. Some of mine, then formed, have stood the test 
of half a century, and are still among the solaces of 
my life. There also sprang up my closest intimacy 
with an associate of similar age, who was to me a sis 
terly spirit, a second self, until Death took her, in her 
beautiful youth. Under the charge of this learned and 
amiable man, there was a perceptible growth of " what 
soever was lovely and of good report." 

His sway sweetly illustrated the beauty of rule and 
the beauty of obedience. Our grief at the termination 
of the school was more deep and passionate than aught 
I have ever seen on a similar occasion. He was to us 
all the " man greatly beloved." We were as Niobes 
at the parting interview, when, gathering us around 
him that last, sad morning, he read once more in his 
voice of music from the Holy Book, gave us solemn, 
tender counsels, and, kneeling down, commended us to 
the blessed care of the " Father of Lights, with whom 
is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." 

Thou, who didst bend to guide the timorous mind, 

Wise as a father, as a brother kind ; 

With gentle hand its wayward cause withheld, 

Allured, not forced encouraged, not compelled, 

Till the clear eye look d up, devoid of fears, 

I bless thee for thy love, through all this lapse of years. 



MY TEACHERS. 69 

What is strictly called school education now found 
a pause at the early age of thirteen. It was thought 
expedient that I should devote more time and attention 
to the employments that appertain to the sphere of 
woman. I passed directly under the tuition of my 
beautiful mother. A model housekeeper was she in 
those times when nothing was neglected or despised 
that promoted home welfare. Happy is the daughter 
who has a wise mother for her teacher, and is lovingly 
docile to her instructions. Still, mental progress was 
by no means abandoned. I am not certain but it was 
more vigorously pursued for the pleasant contrast and 
excitement of physical exercise. A thorough course of 
History and Mental Philosophy agreeably coalesced 
with household industry. 

Afterwards I zealously studied Latin with an ex 
perienced and somewhat venerable instructor, but with 
out becoming a member of his school. My translations 
from the ^Eneid I occasionally amused myself by giv 
ing a rhythmical form, and recollect winning praise for 
one from the Fourth Book, describing the visit of Juno 
to the cave of Eolus, to beg a wind for the discomfiture 
of her enemies. 

After having become indoctrinated in the theory 
and practice of what Milton calls " household good," I 
left home for the first time, accompanied by my sister- 
friend, N. M. Hyde, and attended two boarding-schools 
in the semlmetropolis of the State. There, for several 



70 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

months, we applied ourselves to drawing and painting, 
also to embroidery of historical scenes, filigree, and 
other finger-works accounted accomplishments in those 
days. Side by side, inseparable, we pursued with a 
double strength what often failed to interest us, sus 
tained each other s spirits under the privation of sepa 
ration from our beloved parents, and participated in the 
unutterable rapture of return. 

Another summoned form glides over the tablet of 
memory tall, slightly bent, and with locks like snow 
my old French teacher. 

Courteous was he, and formally ceremonious, as be 
longing to the ancient regime. Titles and fortune had 
been his in his native land before the Buonaparte dy 
nasty ; but he bore their loss with admirable philoso 
phy, obtaining a subsistence in this New World when 
past threescore and ten, as an instructor in dancing and 
modern languages. Exacting was he, yet patient, and 
eminently strenuous in his Parisian pronunciation. His 
drill in the difficult sound of the letter u, was particu 
larly uncompromising. 

" You will never get that K. No because you will 
not put out your lips the way I tell you. Put them 
out even with your nose so, so. Now say w, u." 

Good, honest man 1 He is described by the graphic 
pen of a fellow student, the Hon. S. G. Goodrich (Peter 
Parley), at the sixty-first page of his second volume of 
" Recollections of a Lifetime." 



MY TEACHERS. 71 

Afterwards two clerical gentlemen, with an interval 
of several years between, kindly aided me in my wish 
to obtain some knowledge of the Hebrew. It had been 
an early cherished desire to read the sublime sacred 
poetry in the original. I pursued the study without the 
masoretic points, approaching with delight and awe 
that sacred fountain, from whose overflowings God 
deigned to reveal himself in Eden, and to instruct 

" The Shepherd who first led the chosen seed 
In the beginning, how the heavens and earth 
Rose out of chaos." 

I was continually attracted by its severe simplicity, 
its figurative beauty, and boldness of personification. 
The significance of its proper names interested my re 
search, and the analysis of its verbs to their roots of 
two or three letters, seemed like the pleasure with 
which we contemplate the infantine elements of being, 
and then follow by prefix and suffix, biographically, 
through all the variations of time s pilgrimage. I es 
pecially recall the happiness of one winter, during al 
most the whole of whose lengthened evenings the 
Bible and Parkhurst were my companions. The In 
structor had directed me to commence with the Book 
of Jonah, as having less idiom than most of the pro 
phetic writings. The recreant prophet seemed to be 
come a personal friend. Indeed, my indwelling with 
him was intense. When he disobediently took ship for 



72 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

Tarshish, and was tossed by a mighty tempest upon 
the deep, I was with him. I felt the chill when the 
" mariners took him up and cast him forth into the 
raging sea," and entered into the bitterness of his soul, 
when, sitting under the smitten gourd, he claimed the 
right to be " angry even unto death." Though I pro 
fessed no critical knowledge of the language, I could 
not but be gratified to find that the annexed fragment 
ary rendering of his soul-cry, "out of the belly of 
hell ! " coincided in many respects with the translation 
in the Memoir of that admirable linguist, Miss Eliza 
beth Smith : 

To Jehovah I cried from my prison, 
He will hear me ; 

From the depths of the grave I cry, 
He heareth my voice. 

Thou hast cast me into wide waters, 
Floods compass me about ; 
All thy billows and dashing waves 
Roll over me. 

I said I am cast out from thine eyes. 
Oh, that I might behold once more 
Thy holy Temple ! 

Waters are on every side, 
The deep surrounds me, 
Sea-weed bindeth my head. 
Down to the roots of the mountains I go, 
Earth hath shut her bars behind me 
Forever. 



MY TEACHERS. 73 

Yet wilt Thou raise my soul from corruption, 
Jehovah, my God: 

In the fainting away of my life 
I remember Jehovah. 

The list of my teachers is now, I believe, complete. 
Benefactors were they, those who still remain among 
us, and those who have gone before. Upon the altar 
of memory I burn incense for them a perpetual offer 
ing. The gift of knowledge, connected with right 
principles and purposes, is inalienable, never to be re 
paid in this life for it reaches beyond. True is the 
quaint old proverb : " To Parent, Teacher, and God all- 
sufficient none can render equivalent." 



LETTER IV. 

FIRST GRIEF AND FIRST JOURNEY. 

MY fourteenth birthday had scarce added itself like 
a pearl to the necklace of life, when the shadow of a 
great grief came upon me. The aged, idolized friend, 
who had grown dearer to my heart every year, heard 
the love-call and went home. She had numbered four 
score and eight, and strength failed as her journey drew 
near its close. She seldom left her couch, and memory, 
like a garment long used, seemed worn thin, here and 
there, in spots. Names, localities, and passing events, 
gradually faded; but the heart s record grew bright, 
as the angels drawing nearer breathed upon it. 

I could not understand why any should say that pa 
tience was tried by the mind s brokenness. To me it 
was a fresh delight to tell her the same thing many 
times, if she required it. Sometimes, when restlessness 
oppressed her, she called me to come within her cur 
tains, and sing the simple melodies that she had early 
taught me. This I did in low, soothing tones, joining 
my cheek to hers. Then she was comforted and slept, 



FIRST GRIEF AND FIRST JOURNEY. 75 

holding often my hand long in her own. At suddenly 
waking she was occasionally bewildered. Images that 
gave her anxiety would take possession of her imagina 
tion. They were frequently of a financial, or rather 
testamentary character, and easily dispelled, though 
they as readily returned. 

" I wonder what my Will is, my dear, can you tell 
me?" 

This I was qualified to recite, with its full list of 
legacies, donations, and charitable bequests. Then she 
was satisfied, and as the dimness passed away, pure 
sunlight streamed in upon her never wearied benevo 
lence. She would ask about this and that individual ; 
if they had warm clothing and shoes to their feet, if 
her invalid pensioners had proper food, if such a child 
went to school, if another needed books or encourage 
ment ; for I had been honored as her almoner, and she 
confided freely to me those alms-deeds which she would 
fain have kept secret. 

Amid all this weakness of body and mind the 
great Christian soul was strong. Faith saw no cloud 
heavenly love no shadow. " I know that my Redeemer 
liveth." Here she rested, as on an anchor in the rock. 
" In my flesh shall I see God." Tender were her mo 
nitions, as a mother-bird hovering over its young " O 
my child, my darling watch at Wisdom s gates wait 
at the posts of her doors." 

It was a fair September evening that the intervals 



76 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

between her breathing grew longer and longer. She 
would fain have impressed one more kiss upon my 
brow, but her lips were powerless. I saw not when the 
last change passed, though I knelt beside her, my face 
buried in her pillow. I only remember that they said, 
" She is gone ! " and that they carried me from the 
room. 

The funeral was to me like a great, terrific dream. 
Every space and avenue of the dwelling was filled 
with people wishing to testify respect to her memory. 
The rich were there, with a proud sadness, for they 
said, " She belonged to us ; " and the poor with tears, 
for they felt they had belonged to her. I was con 
scious of a great crowd, but saw nothing. I heard the 
voice of solemn prayer, but followed not its words. 
The long procession moved onward to the church. I 
was lifted to the carriage and taken out, and set in the 
right place among the mourners, by whose hands I 
knew not. Between my parents I at length found my 
self, as the sacred obsequies proceeded. The text of 
the funeral sermon was appropriate " A good name is 
better than precious ointment." It sketched the vir 
tues that appertain to a consistent Christian, and ac 
corded just praise to her who lay lifeless beside us. 

"To our city she is a loss, and to the Church of 
God which she honored. The sick and the sorrowful 
mourn a benefactor : for she stretched forth her hands 
to the poor and needy ; she comforted the widow and 



FIRST GEIEF AND FIRST JOURNEY. 77 

the fatherless. She opened her mouth with wisdom; 
on her tongue was the law of kindness. Give her of 
the fruit of her hands ; let her own works praise her in 
the gates." 

I was disappointed that the speaker did not add the 
climax that rose to my heart, " Many daughters have 
done virtuously, but thou excellest them all." Those 
who draw the character of a deceased friend for griev 
ing love, have but a losing office. What is said may 
be just, but it falls short either in fulness or warmth. 

But the closing hymn, sung in a simple tune which 
she loved, brought me the healing relief of tears. I 
quote it from memory, at the distance of half a cen 
tury, still freshly embalmed : 

" When Jesus dwelt in mortal clay, 
What were his works from day to day, 
But miracles of truth and grace, 
That spread salvation through our race. 

" The man may breathe, but never lives, 
Who much receives, yet nothing gives ; 
Whom none can love, whom none can thank, 
Creation s blot, creation s blank. 

" But he who marks, from day to day, 
By generous acts his radiant way, 
Treads the same path his Saviour trod 
The path to glory and to God." 

The emptiness of the mansion, after its presiding 



78 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

spirit had forsaken it, fell heavily upon us all. T*o me 
it was a tomb. A pitying clergyman was one of the 
first who said aught to comfort me. Neither should I 
have been comforted, when he laid his hand upon my 
head, and said, " Poor bird ! like a sparrow alone upon 
the housetop," save that he was aged, like her for 
whom I mourned. But this strong emotion, the first 
troubler of life s hitherto serene current, did not leave 
my health unscathed. The suffocating pain with which 
Grief is wont to seize its victims by the throat, contin 
ued to oppress me when I attempted to speak. 

My sleep, heretofore unbroken as that of infancy, 
became a series of tossings ; and even now I shudder 
at the thought of the spasm that used sometimes to 
seize me, when, at rising in the morning, I first stepped 
from my bed to the floor. I made no complaint of 
these symptoms. I thought they were henceforth to be 
a part of my being, and solaced myself with poetry, 
that blood of the crushed grape which gushed over me 
like a flood. But the parental eye was quick to detect 
the change in its idol. A physician was summoned. I 
think I see now that cautious-, Mentor-like person, so 
grave and courteous, his countenance marked with deep 
thought and kindness. Dr. Philemon Tracy I number 
him among my benefactors. From his father he in 
herited medical skill and fame, monopolizing the prin 
cipal practice of the city. Yet, let the pressure of his 
business be ever so great, he studied a new case as a 



FIEST GKIEF AND FIRST JOURNEY. 79 

faithful clergyman does a sermon. He happily avoided 
the extremes which my Lord Bacon has designated : 
" Some physicians are so conformable to the humor of 
the patient, that they press not the true treatment of 
the disease, and others so bound by rules, as to respect 
not vsufficiently his condition." But the practise of our 
venerated Norwich healer was to possess himself of 
the idiosyncrasy of constitution as well as of the symp 
toms of disease, to administer as little medicine as pos 
sible, and to depend much on regimen, and raising the 
recuperative powers to their wonted action. His mi 
nute questions and long deliberation inspired confi 
dence, while the sententious mode of delivering his 
prescriptions gave them a sort of oracular force. After 
a thorough investigation, what do you suppose was the 
decision in my case ? That I should be encased in soft, 
red flannel, and take a short journey to visit the rela 
tives of my loved, lamented friend. My parents, with 
their excited apprehensions, might possibly, in the sim 
plicity of this counsel, have shared the disappointment 
of Naaman the Syrian, who supposed the prophet 
would do " some great thing," or, clothed in dignity, 
" strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper." 
But however inadequate might have seemed the ver 
dict, there was no alternative, as his decrees, -like those 
of the Medes and Persians, altered not. In the dialect 
of an old nurse, who had been accustomed to ply her 
profession under his eye, " Dr. Philemon is always ter- 



80 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

rible mad if you don t do just exactly as he says." 
And who has a better right to be peremptory than a 
judicious, learned physician, who is held responsible 
for the life committed to his care ? Who, also, has a 
better chance to gain the love of his race, than he who 
is ever ready to listen when they talk about themselves, 
into whose ear they pour more than they impart to 
their most intimate friend ; to whom, if they are not 
religious, they turn as to a divine Dispenser of healing ; 
and whose name, if they are, mingles with their warm 
est prayer of gratitude to God for relief from suffering 
or restoration to health ? 

So I was obediently enwrapped in the appointed 
scarlet envelope, which at first I fancied a counterpart 
to the shirt of Nessus, and put in preparation for an 
important era the first absence from father and moth 
er. Let no one imagine that travelling then was 
what it is now. Steam had not awakened to give it 
wings. The world, in the language of a philosopher, 
was " home-bred, and kept at home." I had once 
walked a long distance with some little friends, to see 
a lady who had been to New Connecticut, and re 
turned alive. Perchance we looked upon her with as 
much curiosity, and more amazement, than the people 
of the present day, trained up in wonders, feel as they 
gaze on the returned from Kane s expedition to the 
Arctic, or the saved from the wreck of the Central 
America, after submersion in the Atlantic. 



FIRST GRIEF AND FIRST JOURNEY. 81 

And I was to take a journey to Hartford, the semi- 
capital of the State ! Forty miles was its extent the 
weary work of a whole day, with a long stop at noon 
for dinner, and to rest the horses. Faithful Lucy Cal 
kins was to accompany and take care of me. My jour 
nal, which I had commenced two or three years before, 
noted every variation of scenery and circumstance with 
becoming minuteness and solemnity. Hear what that 
quaint journal, from a quire of gray foolscap stitched 
into a marble-paper cover, utters forth, still spreading 
its fairly-written pages, half a century old, upon my 
table : 

" This fifteenth day of October was the one ap 
pointed for our journey. Weather very fine. Took 
leave of my dear parents, and entered the stage-coach, 
where were several passengers already seated. At the 
distance of four miles we reached the rural township of 
Franklin, which was formerly called Norwich West- 
Farms, having been an appendage of my native city. 
It is composed almost wholly of farmers, whose small 
and pleasant dwellings exhibit a picture of contentment. 

" Six additional miles brought us to Lebanon. This 
town appears to have been designed for a much larger 
one than it is ever likely to become. The streets are 
laid out so wide, that those who live on opposite sides 
can scarcely be said to be neighbors. To me it had a 
sort of dreary appearance. It is remarkable as the 
residence of the two Governor Trumbulls, father and 



82 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

SOD, true patriots and Christians. The residence of Mr. 
David Trumbull, a brother of the latter, is one of the 
most elegant in the place. They are erecting a good 
brick meeting-house, the expense of which is to be de 
frayed by a lottery. 

" Columbia was the next settlement. There we 
made a stop, to give the horses water. The bell was 
just ringing for twelve. The sun beat down upon us 
with the fierceness of summer. We were glad to cast 
off some of our ^superfluous garments. Extremely fa 
tigued we became ere we reached the tavern where we 
were to dine. I was thankful for assistance in alight 
ing ; for so cramped were my limbs by their confined 
position, I don t think I could have done it, and got 
into the house alone, for a kingdom. After refresh 
ment and rest, we set off with fresh steeds and a new 
driver, their predecessors being wearied out by the 
hard labor of twenty miles. Soon we began to as 
cend and descend the far-famed hills of Bolton, with 
surprising rapidity. Sometimes we were entirely shut 
in ; at others enjoyed an extensive and glorious pros 
pect. The trees, in their autumnal robes* were gay 
with a thousand tints of yellow, red, and brown. 
Some had hastily thrown off all their attire, others 
were hourly dropping it. Here and there a sturdy oak 
bade defiance to the blast, the towering pine looked 
upward to the cloud, and the unassuming willow bent 
its head to the earth. 



FIRST GEIEF AND FIRST JOUKNET. 83 

" Approaching our journey s close, we were delight 
ed with the magnificent elms of East Hartford. The 
soil, growing sandy, redoubled the toil of the horses, 
by sliding from beneath their hoofs. But it became 
gradually intermixed with strata of a chocolate color, 
and finally turned to thick clay, with plenty of adhe 
sive mud. I was almost petrified with horror when 
we reached the ferry at the Connecticut River. Awful 
accidents had I heard of drowning and capsizing, and 
expected to see them repeated. But we quietly drove 
into a large flat-bottomed boat, with four oarsmen, and, 
to my astonishment, passed the mighty stream with 
ease and safety. Hartford made a fine appearance, 
with its large brick buildings, the masts of its numer 
ous vessels, and its picturesque boats gliding hither and 
thither over the blue waters. We drove a short dis 
tance up the main street to the mansion of the late 
Colonel Jeremiah Wadsworth, the favorite nephew of 
my deceased benefactress. It is the residence of his 
widow, and two of his sisters, quite advanced in years ; 
and, though I had seen them in Norwich, my heart 
beat with painful apprehension, like a stranger, at 
entering their house as a guest. But when I heard 
their kind voices, and remembered that her blood was 
in their veins, I felt easier, though tears kept gushing 
out so forcibly that I was ashamed to take my seat at 
the tea-table. After a very agreeable evening, being 
much fatigued, I begged leave to retire at an early hour. 



84 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

As I lay ruminating, and reviewing the scenes of the day, 
I heard a pleasant sound the bells from the steeples of 
the North and South churches ringing for the hour of 
nine. They strike alternately two strokes, each waiting 
for the other, then, joining, tell with one voice the day 
of the month in unison. One has a deep, heavy tone, 
the other a melodious one ; and their concord is like 
that of bass and treble in perfect harmony. I remem 
bered that this had been described to me of old, by my 
loved and departed friend. I remembered, too, that 
she had said, in her feebleness, I wish I might have 
taken you to Hartford. Then you would have been 
received as my child. My heart said to her, * See, I 
have been so received. Did she not hear me ? I com 
forted myself that she did ; and, in that sweet belief, 
sank into an unbroken slumber." 

Madam Wadsworth, the head of the household, was 
a lady of remarkably dignified manners, high intelli 
gence, and an excellent judgment, derived both from a 
knowledge of books and observation of mankind. Her 
mind was habitually well governed, and her equanimity 
so entire, that all errors arising from impulsiveness of 
speech or action were avoided ; and by those long inti 
mate with her it was said she was never known to be 
in a hurry. These characteristics must have been of un 
speakable value during the trying period of our revolu 
tionary contest, where her husband bore so conspicuous 
a part. In his long intervals of absence the cares of 



FIRST GEIEF AND FIEST JOURNEY. 85 

the family, and the nurture of the children, devolved 
wholly on herself; and in her perfect housekeeping, as 
well as her maternal duties, she exhibited a serenity and 
wisdom competent both to control and to execute. The 
position of Colonel Wadsworth made his house the 
centre of hospitality for both the French and American 
officers of high rank when in this part of the country. 
Whether La Fayette or De Grasse, Rochambeau or the 
godlike Washington, was the guest, she was always 
equally self-possessed and in elegant preparation. So I 
have been told by contemporaries, for of her own efforts 
or honors she never spoke. Yet I listened with de 
lighted attention, as in precise and well-chosen lan 
guage, she sometimes gratified my request for descrip 
tions of the illustrious personages who varied the drama 
of earlier days. Then would seem to stand before me 
the Father of his Country, the chivalrous Greene, the 
fearless Putnam, the ardent Arnold, not then a traitor, 
the youthful La Fayette, the elegant Marquis de Chas- 
tellux, and the cautious Talleyrand, who from under 
his half-shut eyelids regarding what passed around, 
seemed ever to have some concealed or sinister purpose. 
A great privilege was it to hear the conversation of 
this lady, who, to her fund of recollections, added a 
fondness for elegant literature, which she could so hap 
pily combine with the gravest or minutest duties of her 
sex, that neither should be overlooked, and nothing 
neglected. Her portrait, by Sully, which with those 



86 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

of her husband and children hangs in the Gallery of 
the Wadsworth Athenaeum, seems to me, in its striking 
verisimilitude, to express some of the traits of charac 
ter I have here delineated. 

Two sisters of Colonel Wadsworth resided with his 
widow single ladies advanced in years, of the most 
unassuming and intrinsic excellence. Heartfelt piety, 
an integrity that never swerved, diligent improvement 
of time, warm affections for those of kindred blood, 
and unsealed sympathy for the woes of all humanity, 
marked their blameless lives. In their own peculiar 
apartments they preferred the quaint furniture of an 
cient times, endeared by associations with beloved and 
departed parents. There were the straight-backed ma 
hogany chairs, which long, careful rubbing, had given 
almost an ebony complexion, the small dark-framed 
mirrors of wonderfully rich, clear plates, the huge easy- 
chairs, capable of enveloping two good sized occupants, 
and the queer, clumsy cabinet, containing the volumes 
of Seed, South, and Sherlock, with some pamphlet ser 
mons of their father, the Rev. Daniel Wadsworth, once 
the pastor of the church whose neighboring steeple, 
like a tutelary genius, looked in at their chamber win 
dow. There they dwelt in peace and honor. Respect 
for the sacredness of the Sabbath, for the ministers of 
religion, and for God s holy temple, had been incorpo 
rated with their infant training, and remained with 
them in age. No tale of suffering could be told them 



FIRST GRIEF AND FIRST JOURNEY. 87 

but the moistened eye attested their un quenched sen 
sibilities. Methought they were like the sisters of 
Bethany, whom Jesus loved. 

Another member of this household was a native of 
Cape Fran9ois. 

After the savage massacre, she was brought hither 
by friends who took refuge in this country. Colonel 
Wadsworth, whose liberal charities knew no bound of 
race or clime, in his attentions to those foreigners dis 
covered that the little girl, Pauline, was considered a 
supernumerary, and suspected that she might be some 
times treated with unkindness. Finding on inquiry that 
they would consent to part with her, he took the help 
less orphan under his protection, and placed her at a 
boarding-school in an adjacent township. When her 
education was completed he brought her home to his 
wife and children, where she was kindly comprehended 
within the domestic circle. At this period she was 
somewhat past her prime, but of great activity, and 
rendered herself extremely useful by superintendence 
of the more delicate departments of housekeeping, and 
by various skilful uses of the needle. She had a very 
dark complexion, a brilliant black eye, and an inextin 
guishable naivete, to which her slight foreign accent 
added humor and force. She, who at her first arrival 
here, was so slender and slight as to have been com 
pared to a "picked bird," had attained an unwieldy 
size ; but so far from taking offence at any allusion to 



88 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

it, was wont to reply, that it was " her daily hope to 
reach three hundred." Notwithstanding this great 
weight of adipose substance her active movements be 
tokened her French origin, and her step in the dance 
was almost impalpably light. She was a person of 
good capacity and great shrewdness of observation, and 
filled in the family an important place, which was af 
fectionately appreciated. Her gratitude for the memory 
of her benefactor was enthusiastic ; and from her elo 
quent, almost histrionic descriptions, I gathered my 
most graphic ideas of the nobleness of his domestic 
habits and feelings, who for bravery as an officer, and 
wisdom as a financier and statesman, was illustrious on 
both shores of the Atlantic. 

The comfort of this interesting and dignified family 
was promoted by a band of well-trained and trust 
worthy servants, a cook, chambermaid, and waiter, gar 
dener, and coachman. Each was at their post with a 
clock-work precision, so perfect was the system of or 
ganization. The house was old-fashioned but com 
modious. Its late proprietor, notwithstanding his 
huge wealth, preferred it to a modern and costly 
mansion, because it was consecrated by filial recollec 
tions. To me it seemed a most amiable sentiment that, 
accustomed as he had been for years to a palace-resi 
dence in France, and to all the decorations which the 
fine arts could give, he should still choose to dwell in 
comparativelv humble apartments which had been hal- 



FIRST GRIEF AND FIRST JOURNEY. 89 

lowed by a father s pious prayers, and a mother s ten 
der love. The building, which was of wood, had a 
pleasant vine-covered piazza, with a southern exposure, 
and had been enlarged in the rear by a range of cham 
bers resting on heavy stone columns, which by moon 
light had a picturesque effect. Connected with the 
court was a large garden, filled with luxuriant fruit- 
trees, a variety of herbs which were thought to have 
affinity with health, and the largest and most fragrant 
damask-rose bushes. I speak more particularly of these 
premises because they are now occupied by the fine 
edifice of granite known as the " Wadsworth Athe- 
nseum," and their original aspect will soon have faded 
from the memory of the living. 

Colonel Wadsworth, who had great influence in the 
city of Hartford, and did much to encourage the in 
dustry of its deserving young men, as well as for its 
public institutions and edifices, gratified his taste in 
architecture by erecting two elegant mansions for his 
children. They were near his own habitation, and that 
of his son was accessible through their united grounds. 
There dwelt Daniel Wadsworth, Esq., a name in his 
native region synonymous with philanthropy, refine 
ment, and every amiable virtue. His wife, a daughter 
of the second Governor Trumbull, was beautiful in 
person, and of an angelic goodness. I think none could 
have been near her without admiring her, or being made 
in some measure better and happier. Their spacious 



90 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

apartments displayed that exquisite taste, and liberal 
patronage of the fine arts, that ever distinguished the 
master of the mansion. There I first enjoyed the lux 
ury of studying fine pictures ; and in this abode, and 
also in that of his mother, revelled in the delights of a 
large and select library. In which of those volumes 
was it that I found that magnificent sentence of Mil 
ton, which, if I brought nothing else away, were wealth 
sufficient, and which is worthy of being remembered 
till we can read no more ? 

" The end of reading, and of education, is to repair 
the ruin of our first parents by regaining to know God 
aright, and out of that knowledge to love Him, to 
imitate Him, to grow like Him." 

The other edifice which I mentioned as having been 
erected by Colonel Wadsworth, was for his daughter, 
a lady of fair and sweetly expressive countenance and 
commanding presence, and who, in many noble traits 
of character, was said to bear resemblance to him. 
Her husband, General Nathaniel Terry, stood high in 
the legal profession, possessed fine talents, a finished 
education, and was in manners a perfect gentleman of 
the old school. Surrounded by a large family of un 
commonly beautiful and promising children, these three 
households formed a delightful circle, often meeting in 
social festivals, and comprising a remarkable range and 
variety of age, accomplishments, and wisdom. 

The kindness received from all was to me a source 



FIRST GRIEF AND FIRST JOURNEY. 91 

of wondering gratitude. Whatever of interest could 
be found in our walks or rides, was carefully shown me. 
Hartford had then but about five thousand inhabitants, 
and though unable to boast of the edifices now so im 
posing, displayed the nucleus of a fair and prosperous 
city. I was taken to the Museum, where I gazed at 
coarse pictures and stiff wax figures, and relics without 
end. I took it upon me vastly to admire the antique 
State House, and thus endorse my impressions in my un 
sophisticated journal : 

"The State House is a most elegant building of 
brick, with a lofty portico, commanding from its second 
story a grand prospect of the town, with its numerous 
abodes, its fertile back country, and the river with its 
shipping. The pavement, in diamond- shaped pieces of 
white and chocolate-colored marble, is fine, and the 
Council-chamber so large that we were as pigmies in it. 
There are the seats for the Governor and Council, but 
what most riveted my attention was a portrait of Wash 
ington rather larger than life, in a splendid frame, sur 
rounded with curtains and festoons of crimson satin. 
The dignity and affability of that countenance I have 
never seen equalled. I felt as in the presence of a su 
perior being. On retiring at night I was extremely 
well satisfied with my explorations during the day." 

Those citizens who see this edifice as it now is, 
adorned by ranks of noble trees and a magnificent 
fountain ; and are yet clamoring for another, better wor- 



92 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

thy to contain the halls of legislation, will be amused 
at the primitive opinions of an untravelled child. 

But Wyllys Hill and the Charter Oak were the ob 
jects of my highest enthusiasm. Methought the proud 
Sir Edmund Andros, with his red-coated minions, stood 
before me. I heard the heavy tramp of their armed 
heels as they ascended to the chamber where the care 
worn fathers of the colony prolonged their evening ses 
sion. Methought the closing words of the speech of 
Governor Treat, his voice hoarse with emotion, met my 
ear: 

" Our colony has not yet recovered from the perils 
of its infant years. Not only have we heard them 
with our ears, and our fathers have told us, but some 
who are in council here remember them. I have my 
self borne a part therein. But since this blessed Char 
ter has been ours, the gift of Charles II. of glorious 
memory, we have enjoyed tranquillity and the just 
rights of free men. Shall it be taken away without 
cause, and we be made vassals ? To me it is like the 
rending asunder of soul and body, to yield up the de 
fence, the liberty, the life of the State." 

A sudden darkness falls a rushing step passes 
the life-blood of our liberties thrills in the heart of the 
faithful tree. 

The ancient mansion at Wyllys Hill was an object 
also of intense interest. Brought over from England 
during the infancy of the colony, it gleamed out from 



FIEST GRIEF AND FIRST JOURNEY. 93 

its lofty site like a watch-tower in the wilderness. The 
Wyllys family, who gave their name to this fair do 
main, was one of wealth and distinction in Warwick 
shire, and held for several generations high offices in 
the government of Connecticut. An aged widow was 
now its sole representative, dwelling almost alone, amid 
antique portraits, tall, regal chairs, and worn Turkey 
carpets herself an affecting relic of faded grandeur. 
The large house, with its low-browed apartments, has 
been since renovated, modernized, and removed, but 
was to me more interesting in its dilapidated condition, 
as a feudal monument, uttering the voice of other 
days 

Wert thou the castle of the olden time, 
Thou solitary pile ? a beacon-light 
To the benighted traveller ? 

Thy lone brow 

Peered in baronial pride o er pathless wilds, 
And waters whitened by no daring sail, 
While to the roaming red man s eye thy pomp 
Was as a dream of terror. Now thou stand st 
In mournful majesty, as if to mark 
The desolation of a lordly race, 
Or, like a faithful vassal, share their grave. 
Farewell! farewell! 

A loftier dome may rise, 

And prouder columns blot thy time-stain d walls 
From the slight memory of a passing age. 
Yet some there are, who deem thy mouldering stones 
Dearer than sculpture s boast, where musing thought 



94 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

Loves silent shades and arbors darkly wreath d, 
And walks dim-lighted by the chequering moon, 
While Fancy with the groups of other days 
Fills yon deserted halls. 

But thou, brave Oak ! 
Time-honor d and majestic, who didst lock 
Our germ of freedom in thy sacred breast, 
Baffling the tyrant s wrath, we will not say 
Farewell to thee. For thou dost freshly take 
A leafy garland from the hand of Spring, 
And bear the autumnal crown as vigorously 
As if thou ne er hadst seen gray Time shred off 
Man s branching hopes, age after age, and blast 
His root of glory. 

Speak, and tell us tales 
Of forest chieftains, and their warring tribes, 
Who, like the bubble on the waters, fled 
Before our sires. Hast thou no record left 
Of perish d generations, o er whose prime 
Thy foliage droop d ? thou who unchanged hast seen 
The wise, the strong, the beautiful go down 
To the dark winter of the voiceless tomb ? 
Oh ! flourish on in healthful honor still, 
Thou silent Monitor ; and should our sons 
E er in the madness of prosperity 
Forget the virtues of their patriot-sires, 
Be thou a Delphos, warning them to heed 
The sumless price of blood-bought liberty. 

The same lyre, half a century after, struck its 
mournful strings in a dirge for the " fallen Oak, the 
monarch of the plain." A violent storm, on the night 



FIRST GRIEF AND FIRST JOURNEY. 95 

of August 21st, 1856, prostrated this idol of the peo 
ple. At the time of my first visit to Hartford, in 
October, 1805, its gnarled branches spread wide, 
though its head was not conspicuously lofty. The 
extension at the base was large and hollow, and, 
according to tradition, the cavity had been capable of 
containing thirteen persons. I should think, if the 
numeration was accurate, they must have been of the 
pigmy race. It was doubtless of great antiquity, and 
seemed then in as vigorous health as when, after the 
abdication of the fourth Stuart, and the accession of 
William and Mary, it opened its casket, and restored to 
the rejoicing colony its well-guarded treasure. 

After a fortnight s stay I returned home with 
heightened happiness and overflowing gratitude. Reno 
vated health and the rose-tint faintly reappearing on 
the cheek, delighted my doting parents, and uplifted 
their opinion of the wisdom of our good physician into 
a sort of homage due to a tutelary being. 

Faithful Lucy, my attendant, had been made happy 
by the condescension extended to her, and the wonders 
she had seen. " I have been to London," said she, in 
her attempted narrations. Yes, London undoubtedly 
to her, who had never before been ten miles from her 
native place, but in the humble simplicity of household 
labor, 

" Along the cool, sequestered vale of life, 
Had kept the noiseless tenor of her way." 



96 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

Yet this excursion, and the knowledge of her ster 
ling virtues thus given to the relatives of her former 
mistress, whom she had faithfully served almost twenty 
years, was to win her a future permanent and most 
desirable home. 

At crossing the Connecticut, on our return, I recol 
lect the honest creature said earnestly how much she 
should like to live there ; not knowing that her lot had 
even then been thus cast by a Hand that never errs. 
As she spoke, a silent prayer of gratitude for the 
blessed kindness that had cheered me in this pleasant 
spot, was rising from my full heart ; and a petition un 
consciously mingled, that, if it were the Divine will, I 
might at some future time be permitted to revisit it. 
No prescience, as the voiceless orison breathed over 
these quiet waters, then suggested that there would 
ever be aught of adaptation to the reminiscence of the 
patriarch, " With my staff passed I over this Jordan, 
and now I am become two bands." 



LETTER Y. 

KEMOVAL HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENTS. 

IT was in the bloom and beauty of a most glorious 
June that we made our first removal. The new abode 
was at a short distance from my birthplace, less aristo 
cratic in its appointments, but perfectly comfortable, 
and our own. My father, according to his invariable 
system, paid every cent of the purchase-money, and all 
the workmen who had been employed to put it in com 
plete repair, ere we entered on the premises. 

On the morning of leaving the spot endeared by so 
many tender recollections, my young heart was too 
exultingly filled with the present to summon mournful 
shadows from the past. Greatly was my housekeeping 
ambition gratified, by obtaining permission to receive 
and arrange all the furniture my mother superintend 
ing its departure, and my father alternating between 
the two habitations, as the benefit of both might re 
quire. This deputed trust was executed with immense 
zeal, and as much judgment as might be expected from 
5 



98 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

a girl of fourteen, the men who drove the carts aiding 
in the transfer of the heavier articles, according to my 
direction. After the more laborious parts of the mis 
sion were completed, I amused myself by disposing, in 
a closet with a glass door, our slender stores of silver 
and china, to the best possible advantage. The satis 
factions of that day, and the responsibilities entrusted 
to me, come back fresh and unimpaired over the ex 
panse of half a century. Wearied as my limbs were at 
last, I managed to course all over the garden, and fill a 
large vase of roses, to greet my beautiful mother. 
At the sunset she came, herself as blooming as they. 
Methought I had never before appreciated her comeli 
ness. Though nearly forty, she might have passed for 
half that age, so brilliant was her complexion, so elas 
tic her movements. Proud was I of her aspect of 
youth, and the charm of her animated manner. 

Great Pussy, an integral part of our household, 
arrived ignobly tied in a sack, lest, taking note of the 
way, he might be tempted surreptitiously to return. 
After his liberation, and a slight flurry of anger at the 
indignity to which he had been subjected, he ran about, 
applying his olfactories to the various floors and thresh 
olds, and apparently approving their odor, finding also 
his old friends, and, still more, a good supper, made up 
his mind contentedly to become a citizen. 

Our house was after the plan of the convenient 
structures of that day, comprising, on the first floor, 



REMOVAL HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENTS. 99 

two parlors, a bedroom, a spacious kitchen, with a 
wing for pantry and milk-room ; on the second, five 
chambers ; in the attic, one, and that delightful append 
age to old-fashioned mansions, a large garret. The 
garden, which had been planted and prepared for our 
reception, contained the finest vegetables, in luxuriant 
beds ; while the borders were enriched with fruits 
pears, peaches, and the clustering grape-vines. The 
interstices were filled with the currant, gooseberry, and 
strawberry ; concerning the latter of which Sydney 
Smith has said, " Without doubt God might have made 
a better berry, but without doubt He never did" 

This garden, whose fertile soil and admirable culti 
vation rendered it remarkably productive for its size, 
was skirted by a small, green meadow, swelling at its 
extremity into a knoll, where apple trees flourished, 
and refreshed by a clear brooklet. It furnished an 
abundance of winter food for our fair cow, who in 
autumn, after the second mowing, might be seen 
grazing there with great delight, or ruminating, after a 
rich repast, " alone in her glory." She seemed also 
well satisfied with her new quarters in a nice barn ; 
and our fine flock of poultry, being equally well accom 
modated, strutted, and crowed, and paraded their hope 
ful offspring, as if they had held tenure there from the 
beginning. 

Our domain comprised, at the distance of a couple 
of miles from the city, several acres of excellent wood- 



100 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

land. There, majestic forest trees spread a broad cano 
py, and younger ones interlaced their boughs, melodi 
ous with the nesting people, their feet laved by a busy, 
whispering burnie, as clear as crystal. Every autumn 
the master designated, with his usual judgment, a suffi 
cient quantity of wood for our yearly expenditure, 
which, after being cut in proper lengths, was stored to 
dry in a basement room with glass windows, which 
might have been easily fitted up for a kitchen, had the 
size of the family required it. Those piles were pleas 
ant objects, from their mathematical symmetry as well 
as the vision of the cheerful warmth their glowing coals 
and dancing flame would diffuse around the wintry 
hearth-stone. How much more poetical than the black 
stove and the coal-fed furnace ! 

The man who depended on the regular commission 
of transporting these loads of wood in his team, was 
an old Revolutionary soldier. He had been in the 
battle of Bunker Hill, and maintained his post at that 
sanguinary spot called the " Rail-fence," whence so few 
escaped. Weather-beaten and wiry was he, like one 
who had seen and could bear hardships. No skill had 
he in narration. His taste was for deeds. He would 
not have been apt to waste powder in a poor aim, and 
might be a tight hand at the bayonet. 

" I fired seventeen times," said he, " till my cart 
ridges giv out ; and I guess some on em told, for I 
looked out sharp afore I spent my ammunition." 



REMOVAL HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENTS. 101 

A mixture of the Yankee and the Spartan character 
he seemed. I should not like to have had him for a foe. 
His oxen, like himself, looked as if used to hard knocks, 
and, at his slightest monosyllable, started off at a more 
rapid rate than is common to their contemplative race. 

In this new abode I was elevated to a higher rank, 
as an assistant to my mother. This gratified both my 
filial love and my desire to learn new things. She was 
an adept in that perfect system of New England house 
keeping which allots to every season its peculiar work, 
to every day its regular employment, to every article 
its place ; which allows- no waste of aught committed 
to its charge ; which skills to prolong the existence of 
whatever may need repair, and builds up the comfort 
of a family on the solid basis of industry and economy. 
Under her training I had already acquired some ele 
ments of this science ; now I was installed in the dig 
nity of a prime minister. In those days of simplicity 
of living, when the use of the hands was accounted 
honorable, it was the custom of households far more 
wealthy than ourselves to take some poor child, and 
bring it up as a domestic assistant, or hire occasional 
aid, as their needs might require. The latter was our 
choice. Thus we enjoyed the luxury of living without 
turning a key. The women who could be readily 
called in when additional labor or unexpected com 
pany rendered such aid desirable, were generally small 
householders, who considered it a privilege to earn 



102 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

something for the comfort of those at home. Thus the 
mutual benefit had in it a feature of philanthropy. 

If Lord Bacon is correct in his position that the 
mind needs no recreation save change of employment, 
our sex have a favored sphere, for it admits of an un 
ending variety. Very happy were my mother and 
myself in our light and constantly recurring household 
occupations. Up with the lark, we wrought with a 
spontaneous song. Broom and duster were our calis 
thenics, and every apartment was kept in the speckless 
sanctity of neatness. Somewhat enterprising were we 
too, and made excursions out of the orbit of regular 
feminine rotation. We papered walls when we chose, 
and refreshed the wood-work of our parlors with fresh 
coats of paint, purchasing pots of such shades as 
pleased us. I was honored by having particular charge 
of the sashes, which required a delicate brush, lest the 
panes of glass should be soiled. I cut silhouette like 
nesses, and executed small landscapes, and bunches of 
flowers in water-colors, to embellish the rooms. 

In culinary compounds, and the preparation of the 
golden butter, I was only subaltern ; but in some other 
departments an equal partner and perhaps a little 
more. The needlework of the household was especially 
my forte. I became expert in those arts by which the 
structure of garments is varied, and their existence 
prolonged. From the age of eight I had been pro 
moted to the office of shirt-maker for my father. I 



REMOVAL HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENTS. 103 

now adventured upon his vests, cutting to pieces an old 
one as a pattern. 

For a hall in the second story, which was carpetless, 
I cut squares of flannel, about the size of the compart 
ments in a marble pavement, and sewed on each a pat 
tern of flowers and leaves cut from broadcloth, of ap 
propriate colors. The effect of the whole was that of 
rich, raised embroidery. With the true New England 
spirit of turning fragments to good account, I con 
structed of the pieces which were too small for the 
carpet a gay counterpane for a little bed, used when we 
had children among our nightly guests. I also braided 
white chip, and fine split straw, for the large and very 
pretty hats which were then in vogue. 

It was the custom, in many families, to supply by 
their own spinning-wheels what the Scotch call napery. 
The sound of the flax-wheel of my diligent grand 
mother was among the melodies of my infancy. Her 
hands, with those of my mother, thus made the linen 
of the household. Our six beds, with the exception of 
one in the guest-chamber, which exhibited what were 
then called " Holland sheets," were thus furnished, the 
manufacture of cotton being then unknown in this 
region. Comely were those fabrics to my unsophisti 
cated eye, and durable, some of them being in exist 
ence even at this date. 

This branch of internal revenue received a remark 
able impulse after our removal to this new habitation. 



104 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

On our premises was a small house, whose sole tenant 
was a widow and a weaver, who desired to pay her 
rent in her own work. To accommodate her, my 
mother enlarged this sphere of productive industry, 
and taught me the use of the great-wheel. Always 
shall I be grateful to her for this new source of pleas 
ure. It is one of the most healthful and effective forms 
of feminine exercise. It gives muscular vigor, and has 
power in removing pulmonary tendencies. But no 
eulogy of mine may hope to call again from the shades 
that which Fashion has proscribed and made obsolete. 

A stated period in the morning was allotted to me 
for this employment. I was sorry when it expired, and 
ever mingled it with a cheerful song. Flannel sheets, 
with table-cloths, and towels woven in a rude form of 
damask, soon abounded among us. Then we betook 
ourselves to the manufacture of carpets, the warp being 
spun wool of various colors, and the woof economically 
made of cast-off winter clothing, or remnants purchased 
from the tailor s shop, cut in narrow strips, sewed 
strongly, and dyed black. Truly respectable were 
they, and, in those days of simplicity, praised. 

Growing ambitious in proportion to our success, we 
spun for ourselves each a dress out of fine cotton, card 
ed in long, beautiful rolls by my mother. A portion of 
the yarn was bleached to a snowy whiteness, and the 
remainder dyed a beautiful fawn or salmon color. It 
was woven in small, even checks, arid made a becoming 



REMOVAL HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENTS. 105 

costume, admired even by the tasteful. I wore mine 
with more true satisfaction than I have since worn 
brocades, or court costume at presentations to royalty. 
The antique tenant, for whose convenience in the 
matter of rent we so much bestirred ourselves, was 
quite a character. Wrinkled was her visage, yet rubi 
cund with healthful toil ; and when she walked in the 
streets, which was seldom, her bow-like body, and arms 
diverging toward a crescent form, preserved the alti 
tude in which she sprung the shuttle and heaved the 
beam. Her cumbrous, old-fashioned loom contained a 
vast quantity of timber, and monopolized most of the 
space in the principal apartment of her cottage. Close 
under her window were some fine peach trees, which 
she claimed as her own, affirming that she planted the 
kernels from whence they sprung. So their usufruct 
was accorded her by the owner of the soil. As the 
large, rich fruit approached its blush of ripeness, her 
watchfulness became intense. Her cap, yellow with 
smoke, and face deepening to a purple tinge of wrath 
ful emotion, might be seen protruding from her case 
ment, as she vituperated the boys who manifested a 
hazardous proximity to the garden wall. Not perfectly 
lamblike was her temperament, as I judge from the 
shriek of the objurgations she sometimes addressed to 
them ; while they, more quiescent, it would seem, than 
boy-nature in modern times, returned no rude reply. 
I opine that the lady might have been both exacting 



106 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

and tyrannical, if power on a large scale had been 
vouchsafed her. She was mollified by our mode of 
treatment, which was a reverse of the code of paying 
tribute to Ca3sar. My principal intercourse with her 
was in giving her something to read for she read on 
" Sabba -day," as she called it, and on the yearly fast- 
day in carrying her pudding on Sunday noons, and 
baked beans on Saturday nights. 

Of the last-named dish, which was so symbolical 
of the early customs of Norwich that a large province 
of the township was christened Bean-hill, it is fitting 
that I should speak particularly. It made its appear 
ance on the supper-table of every householder who was 
able to compass its ingredients, at the closing day of 
the week ; and with the setting sun that announced to 
the Israelite the termination of his Sabbath, warned 
these descendants of the Pilgrims that theirs had be 
gun. A little boy of our acquaintance said honestly, 
" We never missed having baked beans but one Satur 
day night, and then our oven fell down " a penal result 
which seemed to him both natural and just. 

This nutritious and canonical dish of our forefathers 
was always received by the weaver-widow with com 
placence. A little conversation was wont to ensue, in 
which she evinced a good measure of intelligence and 
shrewdness, with those true Yankee features, keen ob 
servation of other people, and a latent desire to manage 
them. Her strongest sympathies hovered around the 



REMOVAL HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENTS. 107 

majesty and mystery of her trade, and her highest ap 
preciation was reserved for those who promoted it. 
The kindness that dwelt in her nature was most palpa 
bly called forth by a quadruped member of our estab 
lishment which has not been mentioned, and is, I sup 
pose, scarcely mentionable to ears polite. Yet I could 
never understand why it should be an offence to deli 
cacy to utter the name of an animal which the Evan 
gelists have recorded on their pages as plunging, in a 
dense herd, " down a steep place into the sea, and per 
ishing in the waters." Neither do I know why they 
should be made the personification of all that is mean 
and gormandizing, because they chance to have a good 
appetite, and a digestion that a dyspeptic might envy. 
Wolves and bears are not more abstinent or refined, 
yet they freely figure in elegant writing and parlance. 
Such treatment is peculiarly ungrateful in a people who 
allow this scorned creature to furnish a large part of 
their subsistence, to swell the gains of commerce, and 
to share with the monarch of ocean the honor of light 
ing their evening lamp. He is justly styled the poor 
man s friend, and the adjunct of every economical 
household. Happy to feed on the refuse of our table, 
he liberally replaces it by luxuries purchased with his 
life. Our creed in this matter is more inconsistent than 
that of the Jews ; for we do not hesitate to profit by 
his death, though we have made his life despicable. 
He is not originally destitute of grace, as those who 



108 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

have seen his infancy, in the peaceful sphere of a rural 
farmyard, can testify. That he is capable of mental 
progress, has been proved by those who, with the epi 
thet of " learned," have been exhibited in public. Yet, 
without aiming to advance any extraordinary preten 
sions on the part of this stigmatized animal, it would 
seem but common compassion as well as justice to 
make comfortable the short span allotted him among 
the living. Our own formed quite a friendship for the 
elegant cow, welcoming her when she entered the yard 
to which his mansion had access, frisking, and looking 
in her calm face with an affectionate guttural language 
reserved for her alone. She was far less demonstrative, 
but not wholly indifferent to his attentions. His skill 
in making his bed was amusing, shaking and arranging 
the fresh straw until the smooth pillow suited his 
epicurean taste. White and clean was he in his person, 
having water at his command, and happy in regular 
and ample rations. He regarded those who bestowed 
on him his favorite viand of greens from the garden 
with a loving twinkle in his eye, as if sympathizing 
with that large class of higher humanities mentioned 
by Southey, " the most direct road to whose heart 
was through the stomach." Our lady-tenant was 
never more interesting to me than when, presenting 
her slender libations to this humble retainer, she ex 
ulted to see how readily he came at the call of her 
cracked voice. She was prone, however, to modify tho 



REMOVAL HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENTS. 109 

effect of her disinterested attentions, by computing the 
weight which might be expected to accrue from his 
increasing corpulence, and hinting some personal claim, 
or future prospect of a dividend of bacon, on the prin 
ciple of joint investment. 

My highest entrustment to her skill as an artisan, 
and indeed the Ultima Thule of my ambition in the 
line of constructiveness, was a suit of clothes for my 
father. The choicest wool was obtained, and each 
thread drawn out to the utmost fineness consistent 
with strength, was carefully evened and smoothed with 
the fingers, ere it received the final twist, and was run 
upon the spindle. The yarn was arranged in skeins of 
twenty knots, vernacularly called a run, each knot con 
taining forty strands around the reel, which was two 
yards in circumference. The addition of every skein to 
the mass hanging upon the panels of the spinning 
apartment, heightened my happiness. When committed 
to our lady of the loom, she incessantly complained of 
its " awful fineness," and demanded a higher price for 
weaving, which we deemed it equitable to accord. Re 
leased from her manipulations, its texture was tested in 
a fulling-mill, where I believe its contraction was one- 
fourth of its original dimensions. When brought home 
from the cloth-dresser a beautiful, lustrous black, and 
made into a complete suit, surmounted by a handsome 
overcoat, or surtout, methought I was never so per- 



110 LETTEES OF LIFE. 

fectly happy. The filial sentiment was mingled with a 
pride and tenderness which I had never felt before. 

Another part of his wardrobe, the knitting of his 
stockings, I claimed as my especial province. It had 
been so considered since the death of his mother, and 
until his own, at the age of eighty-seven. I think no 
other shared with me that privilege, and am sure than 
none were purchased. It was the habit of our family, 
and not a peculiarity at that day, that this article of 
dress should be of domestic manufacture. With us 
the yarn of which they were made emanated from our 
own wheels, and was more durable, because more care 
fully wrought, than what was for sale in the shops. We 
produced cotton of various degrees of fineness linen 
thread for summer, and wool for the colder seasons. To 
the hose destined for my father I devoted particular at 
tention, because short breeches and buckles being es 
sential to the full dress of a gentleman, the encasing of 
the lower limbs was more conspicuous than since the 
easier regency of the pantaloon. I took pleasure in 
making his ribbed, viz., knitting two stitches and seam 
ing one, which, though a slower process, rendered them 
more adhesive, and better revealed the symmetry of his 
well-shaped limbs. 

Great was his complacence in my various little 
works to please him. Yet always calm and equable, he 
never boasted of them or praised me. I cannot recol 
lect that he ever thanked me. I would not have had 



REMOVAL HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENTS. Ill 

him ; it would have troubled me. The holy intonation 
of his voice when he said " My child" was enough. 
The sweetest tears swelled under my eyelids when I 
thought of him. Methinks the love of a daughter for 
a father is distinct and different from all other loves. 

He liked to have me with him in his ministrations 
among the green, living things, whose welfare he scien 
tifically understood. How kindly would he ask my 
opinion about pruning or grafting, as if I were able to 
counsel him. He wished to cultivate a correct judg 
ment, and increase my admiration of the works of Him 
whose beneficence is seen in the grass blade, and the 
herb which hides under its rough coat the spirit of 
health. I well remember, and could even now weep, as 
I recall his serene, approving look, when at the close of 
some summer s day, if rain had been withheld, I re 
freshed with my bright watering-pot not only my own 
flowers but his trenches of celery and beds of salad. 

If he planted a tree, my hand must hold it steadily 
while he arranged the fibrous roots, and pressed around 
it the earth of its new abiding place. I recollect his 
calling me to assist in setting out two apple trees in 
our front yard. To the rallying remarks of some of his 
more fashionable friends, he replied it was better to fill 
the space with something useful, than with unproduc 
tive shade. His utilitarian decision was rewarded with 
bushels of the finest greenings and russets and also 
with what she had affirmed might be ecured, the sym- 



112 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

metrical form of the trees, which were judiciously 
pruned as their growth advanced. The fragrance 
which they diffused through the whole house in their 
time of efflorescence, was delightful, and not impaired 
by the sight of the clustering bees, burying themselves 
in the calyx, or glancing from petal to petal of the pink 
and white flowers, with their busy song of gain and 
gladness. 

The productiveness of his fruit trees was the wonder 
of his neighbors. He devoted to them almost a florist s 
care. During the fervors of summer their trunks and 
principal boughs were occasionally refreshed with a 
bath of soap-suds. He had an office of kindness for 
them as they mournfully shed their leaves, preparing 
for the discipline of winter. If any moss, or unsightly 
excrescences adhered to their bodies, they were removed 
by friction, and a plentiful lavation administered, a love 
token till a better season, like the stirrup-cup of our 
British ancestors to the parting guest. Its ingredients, 
if I recollect right, were in the following proportions : 
three gallons of lye from wood ashes, a pint of soft- 
soap, a quarter of a pound of nitre, with a handful of 
common salt. The nitre was dissolved in warm water, 
and after the mixture was well incorporated, it was ap 
plied with a brush to the trunks and principal limbs. 
When spring revivified their roots, another hydropathic 
welcome awaited them. The elements of the medicated 
bath were one quart of soap and of salt, and one pound 



REMOVAL HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENTS. 113 

of flour of sulphur, with a sufficient quantity of soft 
water. As an additional tonic the earth was opened in 
a circle around each tree to the depth of two inches, 
and a prescription of compost, mingled with two quarts 
of wood-ashes, one quart of salt, and the same quan 
tity of pulverized plaster added, to quicken their ap 
petite, and the whole neatly raked over. The recipi 
ents repaid these attentions by their healthful condition. 
Since almost every person likes good fruit, and does 
not object to a large quantity, I make no apology for 
mentioning to you, dear friend, the old-fashioned modes 
by which those results were promoted. 

Busy and merry was the autumnal ingathering 
from our small domain. The vegetables accepted a 
winter shelter in the spacious cellar, where each genus 
was arranged in due order ; and the savoy cabbage, 
standing erect in its bed of sand, might have pleased a 
Dutch burgomaster by its unfading greenness. Apples 
were to be cut and dried for tarts, pears and peaches 
for confections and pastry, and boiled sweet corn ex 
posed to the sun for the dish of succotash, whose rich 
ness was learned from the poor Indians. Sage, and the 
red heads of thyme, and the rough leaves of the bur 
dock, were to be saved for the domestic pharmacopeia; 
tansy and peppermint for distillation, as the fragrant 
damask-rose had already been, and the luxuriant hop, 
for beer, which sometimes burst the bottles with its lus 
cious effervescence. The finest apples were to be thor- 



114 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

oughly wiped, and wrapped in paper, ere they were 
committed to their reservoirs, the rough-coated pear 
that served the oven until spring, comfortably accom 
modated, and the large, golden quince, embalmed with 
sugar to regale the guest. Heavy sheaves of maize 
covered with a formidable depth the garret floor, as a 
field was appropriated to the culture of this majestic 
plant, with its humbler adjunct, the potato, having their 
interstices filled with the graceful bean and ponderous 
pumpkin, without the favor of whose yellow face our 
Puritan forefathers dared not adventure on their 
Thanksgiving. There was a rural independence in our 
style of living which pleased us all. Our poultry and 
eggs were abundant and fine, our cow furnished an 
overflow of the richest milk, cream, and butter, and our 
hams, etc., preserved by a recipe of my father s, were 
proverbial for their delicacy. It is something to know 
what you are eating. More than this, we knew what 
they had eaten, upon whom we fed, and their aliment 
had been healthful and ample. Butchers meat, of which 
we were no great consumers, could be obtained daily from 
carts, there being then no regularly established market. 
The provisions for our table, though simple, were 
always admirably prepared. Let no one esteem this a 
matter of slight importance, or to be confidently trusted 
to careless hirelings. Ill-cooked and over-seasoned 
viands may serve to help the physicians ; and all trades 
must live. Neither should the appointments of a board 



REMOVAL HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENTS. 115 

round which the family gather thrice during one diur 
nal revolution, be viewed with aught of stoical indif 
ference. Good food, neatly presented, has something to 
do with a good character. You can tell the merchant 
on change who has had a nice breakfast, and expects a 
still better dinner. Gourmands are disgusting, but very 
abstinent people are prone to be crabbed and provoked 
to see others enjoying what they deny themselves. 
Whoever has wholesome viands, and a hearty appetite, 
and a good conscience, let him eat and be thankful. I 
have observed that ladies who understand the science 
of table-comfort and economy, whose bread is always 
light, who know the ingredients of every important 
dish, and are not afraid or ashamed actually to com 
pound it, possess the high respect of their husbands. 
Let those look to this " who love their lords." 

The principle of our little household was not " liv 
ing to eat, but eating to live," and honestly taking the 
enjoyment which the Creator has kindly connected with 
that on which existence depends. The hours appointed 
for our repasts were as primitive as our opinions. 
Breakfast was soon after sunrise, dinner at twelve, and 
supper somewhat varied by the seasons. From so vul 
gar a dining-hour the fashionable city people might be 
moved to count us barbarians. Yet I recollect hearing 
a French physician of eminence say at a banquet in 
Paris, that there was a quickening, a rise of tide in the 
human system at high noon, that concurred with the 



116 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

reception of the principal meal, and that the increase of 
paralysis in that region since the dining-hour had ap 
proached evening, was marked and manifest. Perhaps 
he might have endorsed the proverb which was used in 
his native clime, as early as the tenth and eleventh cen 
turies : 

" Lever & cinq, diner a neuf, 
Souper a cinq, coucher a neuf, 
Fait vivre ans nonante et neuf." 

The translation is particularly quaint : 

" To rise at five, and dine at nine, 
To sup at five, and sleep at nine, 
Will make one live to ninety-nine." 

This adage of the Carlovingian dynasty is extreme 
both in premises and promise. Not having exactly its 
nonante-neufm view, the point which principally har 
monized with our creed was the hour for retiring, in 
whose memory we were always aided by the sonorous 
voice of the bell, pealing from the church tower, and 
reverberating from rock to rock. Regularity in periods 
of rest, rising, and refreshment, were considered among 
the elements of health. Led by my father, who had a 
deep sense of the value of the fleeting hours, we were 
distinguished by punctuality, especially at meals, which 
I think seldom varied for years five minutes from their 
allotted time, except from calls or unavoidable interrup- 



REMOVAL HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENTS. 11 7 

tions. I have already mentioned that they combined 
simplicity with comfort. Yet though not studious of 
luxury, and never making the devices to pamper appe 
tite a subject of conversation, it was an object to secure 
a commendable variety. In this we were aided by our 
proximity to the sea, which brought to our board differ 
ent races of the finny people, and the oysters from the 
Norwich cove, which were proverbially excellent. For 
all our household expenses and wardrobe the invariable 
rule was, to " pay as you go." Hence, whatever we 
used was our own. There was no charge against us on 
any merchant s ledger, and no bills brought in to im 
pede the festivities of the New Year. What was need 
ful for our comfort that our domain did not furnish, was 
supplied by the interest of money, which my father had 
saved and invested. Our income from all sources, pru 
dently managed, left us perfectly at ease, and indulged 
us in the pleasure of aiding the poor. I cannot imag 
ine a happier domestic condition. Not annoyed by 
watchfulness over the doubtful fidelity of servants, the 
employments that devolved upon us aided health and 
cheerfulness. 

Voltaire, using as homely a simile as Socrates was 
fond of adopting, has compared the different grades of 
society to a cup of beer : " The top is froth, the bottom, 
dregs, the middle, pure and good." This mediocrity, 
removed from the vanity of wealth and the pain of pov 
erty, it was our lot to share. Our united happiness is 



118 LETTEKS OF LIFE. 

sketched in a few simple lines, written during one of our 
quiet evenings at home : 

Loud roars the hoarse storm from the angry North, 
As though the whiter-spirit loath to leave 
His wonted haunts, came rudely rushing back 
Fast by the steps of the defenceless spring, 
To hurl his frost-spear at her shrinking flowers. 

Yet while the tempest o er the charms of May 
Sweeps dominant, and with discordant tone 
Wild uproar rules without peace reigns within. 
Bright glows the hearthstone, while the taper clear 
Alternate aids the needle, or illumes 
The page sublime, inciting the rapt soul 
To rise above all warring elements. 

The gentle kitten at my footstool breathes 
A song monotonous and full of joy. 
Close by my side my tender mother sits, 
Industriously bent ; her brow still fair 
With lingering beams of youth, while he, the sire 
The faithful guide, listens indulgently 
To our discourse, or wakes the tuneful hymn 
With full, rich voice of manly melody. 

Fountain of life and light, to Thee I turn, 

Father Supreme ! from whom our joys descend 

As streams flow from their source ; and unto whom 

All good on earth shall finally return 

As to a natural centre praise is due 

To Thee, from all thy works nor least from me, 

Though in thy scale of being, light and low. 



REMOVAL HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYMENTS. 119 

From Thee descends whate er of joy or peace 
Sparkles in my full cup health, hope, and bliss, 
And pure parental love ; beneath whose smile 
A heart call d lonely, doth not feel the loss 
Of brother, or of sister, or of friend. 

So, unto Thee be all the honor given, 
Whether young Morning with her vestal lamp 
Warn from my couch or sober twilight gray 
Yield to advancing Night ; or summer sky 
Spread its smooth azure ; or contending storms 
Muster their wrath ; or whether in the shade 
Of much-loved solitude, deep-wove and close 
I rest ; or gayly share the social scene, 
Or wander wide to wake in stranger-hearts 
New sympathies ; or wheresoever else 
Thy hand shall lead, still let my steadfast eye 
Behold Thee, and my heart attune Thy praise. 

To Thee alone, in humble trust I come 

For strength and wisdom. Leaning on thine arm 

Oh let me pass this intermediate state, 

This vale of discipline ; and when its mists 

Shall fleet away, I trust Thou wilt not leave 

My soul in darkness, for Thy word is truth, 

Nor are Thy thoughts like the vain thoughts of man, 

Nor Thy ways like his ways. 

Therefore I rest 
In peace and sing Thy praise, Father Supreme. 



LETTER VI. 

SOCIAL AMUSEMENTS MENTAL PLEASURES. 

POSSIBLY you may imagine, my friend, that the rou 
tine of employment sketched in my last might prove 
the significance of the old proverb, dulness arising 
from " all work, and no play." Not at all. Every day 
was lark-like. There was no dulness among us, no ner 
vousness. Indeed, I scarcely ever heard nerves men 
tioned, and did not suppose that I had any. I am con 
vinced that feminine household industry is conducive to 
health, and a happy flow of spirits. 

Yet there were plenty of amusements in those 
days, and, from leaving school at so early a period, I 
was sooner ready to be their participant. I have some 
times wondered that my mother should permit me at 
thirteen to mingle in those evening sleighing-parties 
which were the favorite and most exciting kind of win 
ter festivity. Methinks there was more snow then than 
now, and that it lasted longer. At any rate, it was 
faithfully improved. The plan of those parties which I 



SOCIAL AMUSEMENTS MENTAL PLEASURES. 121 

have mentioned, was for a select number of young 
friends of both sexes to wrap themselves up warmly, 
and soon after tea drive out a few miles to one of 
those quiet, respectable houses of entertainment, which 
the rural districts afforded. The season of snow being 
their time of harvest, they kept in readiness a large 
room for dancing, and a man who, after the labor of 
the day, was able and willing with his violin to quicken 
the " light, fantastic toe." There we amused ourselves 
for a while with quadrilles and cotillons, waltzes being 
happily unknown, when some slight refreshment was 
handed round, and we returned. Gay were our spirits 
with this exhilarating recreation, yet wonderfully re 
strained within bounds of decorum. Our party was 
composed of the sons and daughters of neighbors, or 
those who associated on intimate terms, and was seldom 
too large for three well-filled sleighs. Most of us had 
the affinity of school days, or of hereditary friendship, 
so that there were many subjects in common to render 
conversation delightful. Some of us girls were in the 
habit of recapitulating and prolonging these pleasures 
by notes, of which the following from a favorite com 
panion, may serve as a specimen : 

" DEABEST L : Did not we have a good time last 

evening ? Such a moon ! We might have seen to work 

muslin by it. Then the smooth, well-beaten roads, and 

the snow so high on each side, and all over the fences 

6 



122 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

and fields, like a great white world. I declare it was 
romantic. The horses enjoyed themselves too. I know 
they did by their prancing, and seeming to keep time to 
the bells. I suppose they thought we got up that 
music for their especial merriment and behoof. 

" We succeeded quite well with our new cotillon, 
did not we ? That good old fiddler I hope he ll live 
forever that is, as long as we want him. But those 
horrid cakes they regaled us with, at last. Not the 
least light, and scarcely sweet at all. I could have 
made better ones myself. If that is a specimen of vil 
lage cookery, I m glad I don t tarry in their taber 
nacles. 

" Brother thinks it would be a pleasant variety to 
sing a song or two just before leaving. What do you 
say ? Would not it look too frolicsome ? I told him 
you d never consent to any thing short of Old Hundred, 
or St. Martin s. He is half crazy about the Battle of 
the Nile, and pretends to play it on a flute. You may 
hear him any hour in the day, and for aught I know, in 
the night too, shouting the hideous chorus : 

And Nelson, gallant Nelson s name 
Immortal shall be. 1 

Mother thinks he improves mightily, and grows more 
of a gentleman in the house since he has gone with us 
nice ladies to these sleighing parties. So she promises 
we shall go again. That s just right. To please her, 



SOCIAL AMUSEMENTS MENTAL PLEASURES. 123 

and be so happy, and grow wiser too, all at the same 
time, is a very grand business. So good-bye for the 
present. Be a good girl, and mind every word your 

mother says. 

" B. KEVINS." 



The confidence of our parents in us was not mis 
placed. We were allowed the frequent intercourse of 
walks amid the varied and pleasant scenery of our na 
tive place, and of short evening visits. Conversation 
between the sexes was social and friendly, though the 
established manner might seem at this time that of the 
most distant politeness. To press the hand would have 
been a thing inadmissible, and to walk arm in arm 
was considered as an announcement of matrimonial en 
gagement. I mention not these minutiaB as examples, 
but traits of the times. And looking back upon them 
through the lapse of years, I think it better to settle in 
the minds of young people that true basis of propriety 
and delicacy which will make them a " law to them 
selves," than to keep watch over them like a sentinel, 
or divide the sexes as though they were mutual adver 
saries. Those whom God has ordained to walk to 
gether through life s changeful day, it would seem ill- 
judged and useless for " man to put asunder," through 
the whole of its fair morning. 

Dancing, it will be perceived, was one of our prime 
forms of entertainment. At a period when the puri- 



124 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

tanical prejudices against it were still in force, it may 
be thought strange that my father, with his high stand 
ing for piety, should have given it his sanction. But I 
was indulged in it, probably, from the suggestions of 
my mother. She reasoned that the exercise was health 
ful, and the accomplishment conducive to ease and 
courtesy of manner. Like Addison, she thought a 
" lady should learn to dance, in order to know how to 
sit still gracefully." But the argument by which she 
chiefly prevailed was the isolation of my brotherless 
and sisterless estate, and innate fondness for solitary 
musing, which required stronger aid in the full develop 
ment of social feeling, lest the love of a happy home 
becoming too intense, should make a selfish character. 
My sweet sister-mother did not use her eloquence in 
vain, and her grave husband, who had for years borne 
the title of Deacon, though without the office, con 
sented that his child should attend a dancing school. 
As I had adopted the rule to endeavor to excel in what 
ever I attempted to do, his sacrifice of sentiment, if in 
deed it was one, was sometimes compensated when he 
came to escort me home in the evening, and lingered 
among the spectators, by hearing what is so agreeable 
to parental ears, a daughter s praise. 

Our first teacher was a Frenchman, whose previous 
history not even Yankee perseverance could elicit. He 
bore the sobriquet of Colonel, and was disturbed at the 
name of Bonaparte. It was inferred that he had been 



SOCIAL AMUSEMENTS MENTAL PLEASURES. 125 

aggrieved in some form by his imperial sway, and had 
in consequence forsaken his native clime. He was tall, 
gaunt, well stricken in years, and impassable beyond 
aught we had seen of his mercurial race. His style of 
instruction betrayed his military genius. He would 
have been an excellent drill-sergeant. Perfect order was 
established. We were under a kind of martial law. 
During the hours of practice not a whisper was heard 
in our camp. The girls received elementary instruction 
afternoons, and, when a particular grade of improve 
ment was attained, met and mingled with the other sex 
for two hours in the evening. Being his own musician, 
and executing with correctness on the violin, he re 
quired a strict adaptation of movement to measure. 
At his cry of "JBalancezf" we all hopped up in a line 
like so many roasted chestnuts. Low obeisances, lofty 
promenades to solemn marches, and the elaborate po 
liteness of the days of Louis Quatorze, were inculcated. 
Many graceful forms of cotillon he taught us, and some 
strange figures called hornpipes, in which he put forth 
a few of his show-pupils on exhibition days. They 
comprised sundry absurd chamois-leaps and muscle- 
wringing steps, throwing the body into contortions. 
Being stiff in his joints from age, he could not exem 
plify these more complex gyrations, but gave out words 
of command, as if at the head of a regiment. As im 
perative was he as Frederick the Great, and we as 
much of automatons as his soldiers. Monsieur le Colo- 



126 LETTERS OF LITE. 

nel seemed to regard his elegant art as a species of tac 
tics, a joyless yet bounden duty incumbent on all civil 
ized humanity. But our young, elastic natures were 
able to clothe and beautify these bare bones. The 
mere circumstance of being together, timing our move 
ments to sweet sounds, and practising that politeness 
which has affinity with higher virtues, made us happy. 

Afterwards we had teachers of greater indulgence, 
and who better understood the poetry of motion. Yet 
our thorough elementary instruction was an evident 
advantage, and we looked back with the memory of 
respect to our severe old teacher. Every separate term 
closed with what was styled a dancing-school ball. 
Then we were joined by beaux and belles of more 
advanced age, and prolonged the festivity to a later 
hour. These were the only occasions on which the 
dance was continued beyond nine in the evening. The 
ringing of that curfew put us all to flight, like shot 
among a bevy of pigeons. Thus, one of the most seri 
ous objections against this amusement its tendency to 
late hours was removed. Another, founded on ex 
travagance of dress, was also entirely obviated. I dis 
tinctly remember the simple and becoming costume 
which was deemed sufficient for our most ceremonious 
assemblages : a plain white frock, broad blue sash usu 
ally passed over one shoulder, shoes of the same color, 
and hair without ornament, save its own abundant 
curls, falling richly on the neck. The principal consul- 



SOCIAL AMUSEMENTS MENTAL PLEASURES. 127 

tation about dress for those balls, with my friend and 
second self, Nancy Maria Hyde, was wont to resolve 
itself into the interrogation, " Will you wear a full, or 
a half mane ? " The former implied the whole mass of 
tresses pendent ; the other, a portion of them confined 
by the comb, and falling gracefully over it. It was 
pleasant to us to dress with a sisterly similarity, and 
mane was the term which she had adopted for our 
chief natural adornment. 

Quite satisfied in all respects was my dear mother with V 
the salubrious result of her theory of dancing. If her 
quick eye chanced to detect what no other would have 
discerned some indication of too close application to 
books, at the close of a long winter evening, she would 
allure me, just before retiring, to dance up and down 
our spacious kitchen, after her own spirited singing of 
appropriate tunes. Occasionally she used, as a substi 
tute, her own native humor or histrionic powers to 
elicit laughter, which she said was the friend of good 
sleep. She coincided, without knowing it, in the phi 
losophy of the Rev. Dr. Edmund Dorr Griffin, who, 
while president of a college, once convened, during the 
prevalence of a northeasterly storm, his theological 
students, addressing them in a solemn, impressive tone : 

" I x am satisfied with your class, save in one re 
spect." 

Every eye regarded him with earnest attention. 

" Of your proficiency in study, your general deport- 



128 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

ment, I have no complaint to make. Still, there is 
one essential, one very sad deficiency." 

They gazed upon each other, and upon him, with 
intense and painful curiosity. 

"That to which I allude, young gentlemen, is a 
neglect of the duty of Christian laughter" Then, 
drawing up to its full height of six feet his large, sym 
metrical person, and expanding his broad chest, he 
commanded, " Do as I do," and uttered a peal of 
hearty, sonorous laughter. After summoning each one 
separately to imitate his example, and observing how 
the corrugated muscles untwisted, and the brow cast 
off its wrinkling thought, he said, " There, that will do 
for the present." He did not narrate any incident pro 
vocative of mirth, as he might readily have done, for 
he possessed wit as well as eloquence. Probably he 
deemed it sufficient to enforce the habit, and trust to 
their own ludicrous resources for themes to sustain it. 
The risible faculties might be a good counterpoise for 
polemics. If they were allowed their due exercise, I 

r r 

doubt whether we should have as many cross contro 
versies. If Milton and Salmasius had sacrificed to 
Momus, instead of concocting bitter objurgations, the 
world would have been just as wise. 

Singing-school was a graver yet much-prized enjoy 
ment of early days. It was the custom of our church 
to employ a competent teacher for several months in 
the year, to train her young people in the melodies of 



SOCIAL AMUSEMENTS MENTAL PLEASURES. 129 

Sabbath worship. We were instructed the remainder 
of the time by our own regular choir-leader. 

The gentleman to whom I was first indebted for 
initiation into the rules and practice of sacred vocal 
music, was a resident in a distant part of the State. 
He was somewhat past middle age, of a very comely 
aspect, and sufficiently scientific. I now recall the 
thrill of pleasure with which, having completed the 
rather long process of examining the voice, and what 
was technically called " learning the gamut," we were 
permitted to execute our first tune a simple, common 
metre, in the minor key. It was called " Lebanon," 
and is probably out of print in modern collections of 
music ; but its notes, which I now sing while I write, 
give force to the plaintive words to which they were 
wedded : 

" Lord, what is man ? poor, feeble man, 

Born of the earth at first, 
His life a shadow, light and vain, 
Still hasting to the dust." 

We were led on gradually to complex music, elaborate 
anthems, and some of the noble compositions of Han 
del. The teacher had in his book some pieces of music 
not contained in any selections which we had opportu 
nity to purchase. When these were given out, it was 
necessary to copy them for the classes ; and he, being 
more expert with the voice than the pen, deputed this 



130 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

branch to those most willing to take it. Quantities of 
such work were accepted by me, until I became accom 
plished in notation, and was honored with the gratui 
tous custom of a respectable patron of the choir. 

After the reading of the psalm or hymn on Sun 
days, when he rose in his place, enunciating audibly the 
name of the tune to be sung, giving the key-tone 
through the pitch-pipe, raising high his very white 
hand to beat the time, and scrutinizing every division 
of his forces with the eye of a commander, I thought 
him beautiful. The taste of the congregation was de 
cidedly for that plain, slow music in which the devo 
tion of their fathers had clothed itself, and " wherein 
the majesty of buried Denmark did sometime march." 
Though he taught this extremely well, he had an in 
nate love for those brisk fugues, where one part leads 
off, and the rest follow with a sort of belligerent spirit. 
In these he occasionally indulged, thinking, probably, 
that the ancient prejudice had better be dismissed, or 
would be more honored in " the breach than the ob 
servance." 

Acting on this principle, he one Sabbath morning 
gave out a tune of the most decidedly lively and stir 
ring character, which we had taken great pains in prac 
tising. Its allegro, altissimo opening, 

" Raise your triumphant songs 
To an immortal tune," 



SOCIAL AMUSEMENTS MENTAL PLEASURES. 131 

startled the tranquillity of the congregation, as though 
a clarion had sounded in their midst. The music, being 
partially antiphonal, comprehended several stanzas. On 
we went complacently, until the last two lines : 

" No bolts to drive their guilty souls 
To fiercer flames below." 

There was the forte of the composer. Of course, it 
was our duty to give it full expression. Off led the 
treble, haying the air, and expending con spirito upon 
the adjective " fiercer," especially its first syllable, 
about fourteen quavers, not counting semis and demis. 
After us came the tenor, in a more dignified manner, 
bestowing their principal emphasis on " flames." " No 
bolts, no bolts," shrieked a sharp counter of boys, 
whose voices were in the transition-state. But when a 
heavy bass, like claps of thunder, kept repeating the 
closing word " below," and finally all parts took up 
the burden, till, in full diapason, " guilty souls " and 
" fiercer flames below " reverberated from wall to arch, 
it was altogether too much for Puritanic patience. 
Such skirmishing had never before been enacted in that 
meeting-house. The people were utterly aghast. The 
most stoical manifested muscular emotion. Our moth 
ers hid their faces with their fans. Up jumped the 
tithing-man, whose office it was to hunt out and shake 
refractory boys. The ancient deacons slowly moved in 



132 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

their seats at the foot of the pulpit, as if to say, " Is 
not there something for us to do in the way of church 
government ? " 

As I came down from the gallery, a sharp, gaunt 
Welsh woman seized me by the arm, saying : 

"What was the matter with you all, up there? 
You begun wery well, only too much like a scrame. 
Then you went gallivanting off like a parcel of wild 
colts, and did not sing the tune that you begun not 
at all." 

How the shrill-voiced old lady, who could not sing, 
should know what the new tune was, or ought to be, I 
was not given to understand. 

The apartment allotted to our musical instruction 
was a very large one in the Court-House. Behind a 
broad table, where, in term time, the lawyers took 
notes of evidence, or rectified their briefs, sat we girls 
of the novitiate, technically called the " young treble." 
In the gallery, raised a few steps above us, were the 
older, more experienced singers, some of whom were 
the beautiful belles of the city. If aught in our de 
portment displeased them, or they fancied us growing 
too self-complacent, they did not fail to look over the 
parapet and reprehend us. Our teacher was painfully 
sensitive to discords. I have seen him set his teeth, 
and the color forsake his lips, at a succession of false 
sounds. They were to him what donkeys were to 
Betsy Trotwood. On such occasions his irritability 



SOCIAL AMUSEMENTS MENTAL PLEASURES. 133 

usually vented itself upon us. Being more susceptible 
than grammatical, the exclamation usually was, after a 
picturesque attitude of listening : 

" There ! it s them young treble." 

However, it was not always them young treble. 
They knew it, and he also. It was safer to reprove us 
than to offend the more elevated part of his forces, 
whose irritability, if in proportion to the degree of 
musical genius, might chance to approach his own. So 
he accounted us a species of scapegoat. After a little 
seasoning, this ceased to trouble us. We knew that at 
heart he did not despise us, because, in other company, 
he spoke of us as his " nice, hopeful young birds." 
Considering his impatience as a constitutional infirmity, 
we were willing to act as a safety-valve for the benefit 
of the whole. Possibly our amiable philosophy might 
have been helped by the consciousness that the young 
gentlemen of our circle were in presence there, either 
as spectators or members of the choir. Certainly it did 
not impair our smiling endurance, or our powers of 
melody. The mutual influence of the sexes in the plas 
tic period of youth has been long conceded. Where 
there is a right education, refinement, and piety, it is 
doubtless for good. Association with the excellent of 
our sex is a protection to young men from many temp 
tations. I have observed that those who from early 
years have been most constantly in the society either 
of sisters or judicious female friends, attain a fuller de- 



134 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

velopment of those sympathies and virtues which shed 
happiness around the sphere of the husband and father. 
Very pleasant were our familiar forms of social in 
tercourse in the loved land of my birth. In winter, 
various individuals from our more intimate circle spent 
an hour or two of the evening unceremoniously at each 
other s houses. Apples and nuts, the product of our 
own groves, were the accustomed and adequate enter 
tainment. So many subjects had we in common, that 
conversation never flagged. Games, however, we had, 
if desired, and sometimes two of the more contempla 
tive might be seen seated at the checker or draught 
board. Now and then some stenographic genius found 
a secret place, and took notes of all that was said, and 
then, emerging from concealment, read it aloud for the 
diversion of the dramatis personce. This, however, 
was not frequent, and never revealed to the circle until 
about to part ; for, had it been known that there was 
" a chiel amang us, takin notes," it might have invaded 
colloquial freedom, or possibly quickened some scintil 
lation of that spirit with which Johnson said, when 
told of the designs of Boswell : " If I really supposed, 
sir, that he contemplated writing my life, I would take 



In summer we enjoyed a walk after tea, or a short 
sail on the quiet Yantic, the oars keeping time to the 
favorite melody of " Row, vassals, row ! " or the Cana 
dian Boat-Song. Once or twice in the season we ex- 



SOCIAL AMUSEMENTS MENTAL PLEASURES. 135 

tended our excursion, early in the afternoon, to the dis 
tant wood, ostensibly in search of whortleberries, but 
usually returning with baskets better stocked with wild 
flowers than fruit. Redolent was that romantic region 
of Flora s gifts. From the early-wakened arbutus, 
vainly striving to keep the secret of its sweetness, a 
regular succession was kept up the columbine, dancing 
on its wiry stem ; the wild honeysuckle, commonly 
called the swamp-apple, which we plunged through 
morasses to secure ; the fringed gentian and grass 
violet, blue as the skies that fostered them ; the laurel, 
luring us to the cliffs ; the white lotus sleeping upon 
the waters, and the magnificent lobelia cardinalis, tow 
ering in queenly beauty. 

It may possibly be thought, from this rather minute 
enumeration of domestic employments and social pleas 
ures, that those of the intellect were overlooked. No 
such thing. There were always space and heart for 
them. Indeed, I had never so much leisure when wait 
ed on by many servants, as at this period of my life, 
when we had none at all. Time was systematized, 
work simplified, and no waste of feeling incurred by 
watchfulness over doubtful fidelity. The mind found 
its true level, and did not forget its natural aliment. 
Instincts are prone to take care of themselves. Among 
them, it seems to me, should be ranked the love of 
knowledge. 

At the time of our removal I was engaged in 



136 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

abridging, for private use, a treatise on Rhetoric, which 
had been among my favorite school studies. JTo multi 
ply examples and illustrations of its different figures, 
gave additional interest to a perusal of the standard poets. 
A large and elaborate Commonplace Book was also 
commenced, where selections both in prose and poetry 
are characterized by solid and serious thought. Its 
clear and compact chirography is embellished by a 
few paintings in water colors, more remarkable for 
adaptation of subject than accuracy of perspective or 
artistic execution. One in particular, which represents 
the flight of Eneas from the flames of Troy, and ac 
companies a copious extract from Dryden s Virgil, is 
amenable to criticism. The group seem proceeding 
leisurely down the steps of a temple, whose columns 
and entablatures, notwithstanding the proximity of the 
fire, are in an untouched freshness of bright brown. 
Anchises sits calmly upon the bowed back of his heroic 
son, as if enjoying the ride, carrying in a section of his 
purple robe what might seem to be a paper of yellow- 
headed dolls, intended for his household gods. Eneas, 
though sorely burdened, finds a hand wherewith to 
grasp Ascanius, a bewildered-looking little personage 
in a red frock. The flames shoot up like slender, 
pointed, red needles, from arches whose integrity is 
unbroken, and the volumed smoke, in regular half- 
circles and rhomboids, has a decided tint of azure. 
Creusa follows closely, with an unmoved aspect, clothed 



SOCIAL AMUSEMENTS MENTAL PLEASURES. 137 

in a flowing garment painted with thick Prussian blue, 
a corner of which is thrown over her head, like a stiff 
hood. So decidedly unprepossessing is she, that one is 
tempted to think her disappearance might not be an 
irreparable affliction to her lord, though the poet con 
strains him to exclaim : 

" Alas ! I lost Creusa hard to tell 
If by her fatal destiny she fell, 
Or weary sate, or wandered with affright ; 
But she was lost forever from my sight." 

The faults of my painting in those days, which 
arose from laying on the colors too thickly, came from 
incorrect teaching, and were afterwards remedied by 
more skilful instruction in softening the shades. Still, 
in its most unscientific state, my pencil was a source of 
almost daily pleasure. Landscapes and flowers from 
nature were its chosen themes. Of these the drawing 
was always accurate, and sometimes spirited, but the 
coat of water-colors often too heavy, for want of a few 
simple rules. 

Committing passages from the poets to memory, 
was a systematic exercise. Cowper and Goldsmith 
were among the first chosen for that purpose. The 
melody of the latter won both the ear and heart ; and 
"The Deserted Village," or "The Traveller," were 
voicelessly repeated, after retiring at night, if sleep, 

" Like parting summer s lingering bloom delay d." 



138 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

With the earnest perusal of Shakspeare and Thomson 
was interspersed that of the German poets, Klopstock 
and Kotzebue, and also some of the modern travellers 
and ancient historians. Among the latter was Jose- 
phus, whose study did not, on the whole, produce any 
great satisfaction. I found myself more attracted by 
the historians of the Mother Land, still, with imma 
turity of taste, preferring the conciseness of Goldsmith 
to the discursive and classic Hume. A reading society 
of a few young people was commenced and sustained 
with various fluctuations, where the prescribed course 
was the history of our own country, with a garnish of 
the poems of Walter Scott. Attached to this circle 
were some fine readers, among whom I recollect with 
unalloyed pleasure the perfect enunciation and empha 
sis of a lady who afterwards, as the wife of the Rev. 
Samuel ISTott, went out with our first band of mission 
aries to Asia. Passages from the poets, thus rendered 
by her, come back over the waste of years with clear, 
unchanged melody. I think the intonations of fine 
reading are longer and more definitely recollected than 
those of music. The latter is sometimes permitted to 
overpower the words with which it is combined, thus 
having only the vibrations of the ear, or the transient 
pleasure of the thrilling nerves to rely upon. But the 
other, walking hand in hand with sentiment, or death 
less knowledge, adheres with augmented force. The 
young of my own sex are not often fully aware of the 



SOCIAL AMUSEMENTS MENTAL PLEASURES. 139 

value of this elegant attainment of reading, or the 
influence it might enable them to exert. Half the daily 
practice required to thrum passably upon the piano, 
would make them respectable proficients. Narrative 
and poetry, in their appropriate robe of tuneful utter 
ance, throw a strong charm around the wintry fireside. 
Parents forget the toil of nurturing the daughter who 
thus repays them. Perchance the aged grandparents 
are there to listen with delight, and the deafened ear 
rejoices in that sweet benevolence which without effort 
links it to the world of sound. " I quicken my home 
ward steps," said a young husband at the close of day, 
" for my wife reads so beautifully that I forget all the 
toils of business." A man who had been in youth 
tempted by wild associates, admitted that he was with 
held from many allurements to vice by the delightful 
evening readings of his sister. It is a form of giving 
pleasure to the invalid or the solitary which the be 
nevolent heart should not disregard. The amiable 
Miss Hannah Adams, one of our earliest literary 
women, and the author of a History of the Jews, was 
thus solaced in her venerable age. Some of the most 
lovely and accomplished young ladies of Boston went 
by rotation to read to her such works as renovated and 
refreshed her mind. The service was appreciated, and 
spoken of with the warmth and simplicity that charac 
terized her nature. 

" They pay me such respect," said she, " that I quite 



140 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

forget that I am old. They sit by my side as if I 
were their own relative. By their help I travel every 
day through the world of books ; and their tones are so 
clear, and distinct, and sweet, that sometimes I think I 
am hearing an angel s song." 

Among my solitary satisfactions was a journal. It 
was commenced of my own accord when a school-girl 
of eleven. Its sole object then was a record of my 
studies. One day was almost a fac-simile of the other. 
The length of the lessons in grammar and geography, 
history, rhetoric, and philosophy, the number of sums 
in arithmetic, or problems in geometry, were its un 
varied themes. Their only embellishment was a coup 
let or stanza, savoring of Sternhold and Hopkins, which 
here and there inserted itself perforce, like a slender 
grass-blade peeping through the creA r ices of a log tene 
ment. Feeling that the habit might be conducive to 
improvement, I recommenced it after leaving school; 
and having tried my skill in bookbinding upon a large 
volume of foolscap, whose exterior was marble paper 
made thick by some of my own paintings pasted on the 
inside, and interleaved by a map of the world which I 
had carefully executed, I dedicated it as a journal on my 
thirteenth birthday. This was done without advice 
from others, and intended for no eye but my own. Yet 
it repaid me by becoming a sort of companion and con 
fidant. As I showed it the respect of always writing 
in it with neatness, and reserving for it my best reflec- 



SOCIAL AMUSEMENTS MENTAL PLEASURES. 141 

tions, instead of smothering it with the froth and ephem 
era of trifling events, it seemed to yield me a sort of 
reciprocity, and minister to mental elevation. Indeed, 
at one time, especially while reading the works of John 
son, it became almost pompous in diction, with aphor 
isms on the follies and vanities of life better fitted to 
maturity than girlhood. In process of time the habit 
became a part of my existence, and the single volume 
multiplied like the " line of Banquo." By the aid of 
these many books I can now, when I choose, retrace 

" As in a map, the voyager his course, 
The windings of my way, for many years." 

It sometimes interests me to search out for the passing 
day, its genealogy through half a century. Turning 
the manuscript pages, it stands with its fifty sisters be 
fore me, like the daughters of Danaus. Each bears its 
burden of change, its garland of hope pointing silently 
to its felicity of progress, or its sum of error and of loss. 
Each knits into the web of life a slender thread of gold, 
or sable. Each brings its budding rose, its leaf of cy 
press, or its spray of evergreen, for the wreath of mem 
ory. All, as they fleet away again to the dreamy past, 
demand praise for the Preserver, whose " mercies are 
new every morning, and fresh every moment." 

The pleasures of written thought into which I had 
been early initiated, revealed themselves more fully 
after the removal to our new habitation. 



142 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

Yet my effusions, of whatever nature they were, I 
strove to keep in uninvaded secresy. Unsuggested by 
others, and unambitious of praise, they " hid themselves, 
like the son of Jesse," among the stuff. Even from my 
darling mother I concealed them, though in all things 
else every possession and sympathy were a common 
stock. Especially in my attempts at poetry was I mys 
terious and sensitive. It came to me in the beginning, 
I knew not how. Waking from downy sleep I some 
times received a few lines, and thanked with strange 
rapture their ethereal giver. Thus I learned to person 
ify the Muse, ere I had read of Urania, and to hold her 
gifts sacred. Afterwards, when I linked rhymes mechan 
ically, or as an exercise of skill, though they had naught 
to do with her who at the first " visited me nightly," 
I regarded them with a shrinking delicacy, and desired 
no human being to know of their existence. Perhaps 
the sentiment was morbid, and never perfectly under 
stood by myself. Still, with some modifications, it has 
ever adhered to me. Though in later years literary 
effort has become a trade or trafiic, a transmutation into 
gold which the utilitarian prizes, yet contracts with 
publishers are repugnant to my tastes ; and apart from 
the necessity of circumstances, I am never in the habit 
of conversing about what I may have been enabled to 
write, even with the most intimate friend, unless they 
introduce or press the subject. 

Our simple mode of life which I have so hastily 






SOCIAL AMUSEMENTS MENTAL PLEASURES. 143 

sketched for you, dear friend, was eminently happy. 
Does it seem to you too much burdened by household 
toils ? No ; for they were balanced by social and in 
tellectual pleasures. Truly, as well as beautifully, has 
Ruskin said, that " it is only by labor, that thought can 
be made healthful ; and only by thought, that labor can 
be made happy. The two cannot be separated with 
impunity. The worker ought, therefore, to be often 
thinking, and the thinker to be working." 

I feel as if I had but inadequately expressed my 
gratitude to that spirit of poesy, which, amid the 
brightest allurements of life s cloudless morning, vouch 
safed a still higher and purer enjoyment. 

Even now, though that life from its zenith doth wane, 

And its morn-gathered garlands grow scentless and vain, 

And many a friend who its pilgrimage blest, 

Have fallen from my bosom, and gone to their rest 

Yet still by my side, unforgetful and true, 

Is the Being who walk d with me all the way through ; 

She doth cling to the High Rock wherein is my trust, 

Let her chant to my soul when I go to the dust ; 

Hand in hand with the Faith that my Saviour hath given, 

May we kneel at His feet mid the anthems of heaven.* 

* " Western Home and Other Poems," p. 161. 



LETTER VH. 

ARISTOCRACY OF THE OLDEN TIME. 

THE upper, or old town of Norwich, my birthplace, 
was decidedly aristocratical at the period of which I 
speak. Yet its aristocracy was not founded on wealth 
alone, but on the firmer basis of honorable descent and 
moral excellence. Higher principles were called into ex 
ercise more not to disgrace an ancestral name embalmed 
by the respect and love of the community than merely 
to amass money, or to display it. Hence the structure 
of society was good where the influence of wealth aided 
the power of virtue. 

The aristocracy of that favored spot was principally 
vested in two families and their collateral branches, 
the Lathrops and Huntingtons. The dynasty of the 
first dated back some two hundred years, to the in 
dustry, integrity, and piety of Mr. Thomas Lathrop (or 
Lotrop, as the name is found written in ancient books). 
He left two sons and a daughter, who nobly sustained 
the paternal dignity. Of the eldest, Dr. Daniel La- 



ARISTOCEACY OP THE OLDEN TIME. 145 

throp, distinguished by talents and education as well as 
by public spirit and piety, I have spoken in my first 
letter. He died long before my birth, but his brother, 
Dr. Joshua Lathrop, I well remember. Indeed, I think 
I see now his small, well knit, perfectly erect form, his 
mild, benevolent brow, surmounted by the large round 
white wig, with its depth of curls, the three-cornered 
smartly cocked hat, the nicely plaited stock, the rich 
silver buckles at knee and shoe, the long waistcoat, and 
fair ruffles over hand and bosom, which marked the 
gentleman of the old school ; and he never yielded to 
modern innovation. A large oil portrait of him, in this 
costume, with one of his beautiful wife, courteously 
presenting him a plentiful dish of yellow peaches, 
adorned their best parlor, covered with green moreen 
curtains, at which I gazed when a little child with eyes 
dilated, as on the wonders of the Vatican. 

He was a man of the most regular and temperate 
habits, fond of relieving the poor in secret, and faithful 
in all the requisitions of piety. He was persevering to 
very advanced age in taking exercise in the open air, 
and especially in daily equestrian excursions, withheld 
only by very inclement weather. At eighty-four,* he 
might be seen, mounted upon his noble, lustrous black 
horse, readily urged to an easy canter, his servant a lit 
tle in the rear. Continual rides in that varied and 

* " Past Meridian," p. 65. 



146 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

romantic region were so full of suggestive thought to 
his religious mind, that he was led to construct a nice 
juvenile book on the works of nature, and of nature s 
God. Being in dialogue form, it was entitled " The 
Father and Son ; " and we, younglings, received a 
copy with great gratitude from the kind-hearted author. 
It was stitched in coarse flowered paper, and some 
times presented as a Thanksgiving gift to the children 
of his acquaintance, or any whom he might chance to 
meet in the streets. How well I recollect his elastic 
step in walking, his agility in mounting or dismounting 
his steed, and that calm, happy temperament, which, 
after he was an octogenarian, made him a model for 
men in their prime. 

A single sister belonged to these two excellent 
brothers. She married a gentleman of the name of 
Coit, and was exemplary in the conjugal and maternal 
duties. I never saw her, but have been told by her 
contemporaries that she was a lovely, consistent Chris 
tian. Her eldest son, Mr. Daniel Lathrop Coit, I re 
member as a frequent visitant of the venerated widow 
of that uncle whose name he bore. I think I have 
been told that he had been a member of her family be 
fore his marriage, and he evidently listened with affec 
tionate respect to the treasures of wisdom that flowed 
from her lips. She also appreciated his accuracy of 
mind, and close observation of human nature, which 
had been aided by what was rare in those days, the ad- 



AEISTOCKACY OF THE OLDEN TIME. 147 

vantage of travelling in England and France.* She 
used familiarly to style him her "philosophical nephew." 
I thought he was a second Seneca, and always was 
mute in his presence. 

He was fond of the science of Natural History, and 
of exploring those labyrinths where nature loves to 
hide, having made man himself a link in her chain of 
mystery. By casual observers he was deemed reserved 
or haughty ; but those who were able to comprehend 
him discovered a heart true to the impulses of friend 
ship and affection, and a mind capable of balancing the 
most delicate points of patriotic and moral principle. 
He was the father of an interesting family, and opposite 
their pleasant residence was a pair of those lofty, wide- 
spreading elms, which are the peculiar glory of New 
England. Those were the trees that prompted the sim 
ple effusion beginning 

I do remember me 

Of two old elm trees shade, 
With mosses sprinkled at their feet, 

Where my young childhood play d. f 

The consort of Dr. Joshua Lathrop was a lady of 
fine personal appearance and great energy. In an age 
when domestic science was in universal practice and re 
spect, she maintained the first rank as a pattern house- 

* " Sketch of Connecticut Forty Years Since," p. 18. 
f " Pocahontas and other Poems," p. 161. 



148 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

keeper. The young girls brought up by her were 
uncommon workers, and thoroughly indoctrinated in 
moral and religious obligation. They often married 
well, and in thrift and industry were a fortune to their 
husbands. She was a sagacious observer of human 
nature, and not unfrequently a profitable adviser to her 
lord, whose unsuspicious charity made him occasionally 
the prey of imposture. One morning a man presented 
himself with a written paper, purporting that he was 
deaf and dumb. No institution for the nurture of that 
class of persons then existed in our country ; and as 
instances of that misfortune were rarely exhibited, they 
were wont to call forth both curiosity and sympathy. 
This stranger enforced his claim by signs, and answered 
in pantomime such queries as were made palpable to the 
eye. The pity of the good old gentleman was warmly 
awakened for a fellow-being thus cut off from all the 
privileges of speech and sound. The antique dark ma 
hogany desk was opened, which never turned upon its 
hinges in vain. Still a pair of keen black eyes occa 
sionally raised, from the needle, critically regarded the 
mute applicant. Suddenly a sharp report, like a pistol, 
issued from a chestnut stick that had intruded itself 
among the hickory on the great, blazing fire, and he in 
voluntarily started. 

" My dear," said the lady, " this person can hear." 
Horror-struck, and enraged at thus losing the large 
bounty almost within his grasp, he discourteously, and, 



ARISTOCRACY OF THE OLDEN TIME. 149 

it is to be hoped, unconsciously exclaimed, " You lie ! " 
And the illusion was dissolved. 

Mrs. J. Lathrop survived her husband many years, 
and, until past the age of ninety, retained her active 
habits and mental capacity unimpaired. 

Three children appertained to this branch of the 
Lathrop dynasty. The eldest, Thomas, evidently in 
herited the energy of his mother. He possessed a 
laudable ambition to sustain the dignity of an unsullied 
aristocracy. No equipage was so conspicuous as his, 
no horses so fine, no harnesses so lustrous, no carriages 
of such immaculate neatness and taste. An elegant 
mansion rose at his word, on a commanding eminence. 
To our more plebeian eyes it was like that of " Peveril of 
the Peak." Two sons and five daughters enjoyed and 
beautified this attractive abode. The eldest, who bore 
the name of her distinguished great-aunt, seemed to 
partake of her excellences. So many elements of con 
sistency and moral beauty did she reveal, that mothers 
said to their daughters, and teachers to their pupils, 
" Do and be like Jerusha Lathrop." A child, who was 
perhaps too often reproved by comparison or contrast 
with so perfect a model, replied petulantly, " I wish 
there wa n t no Rush Lotrup. I m tired out of the 
sound." Similar was the sentiment of the Athenian 
peasant, who desired to vote for the banishment of 
Aristides, because he was tired of hearing him always 
called " the Just." 



150 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

The widow of Thomas Lathrop, Esq., is still living, 
and exhibits, at the age of ninety, a rare example of 
comely appearance, active habitudes, and serene piety. 
With unbowed frame she directs the daily operations of 
a systematic household, and delights in the skilful uses 
of the needle. She illustrates the theory of Cicero, 
that " old age is honored, if it maintain its own right, 
if it is subservient to no one, if it continue to exercise 
control over its dependents ; " and belongs to that class 
whom the same eloquent philosopher designates as 
" those with whom wisdom is progressive to their latest 
breath." * 

Mr. Daniel Lathrop was a gentleman of portly 
form, whose movements were as leisurely as those of 
his elder brother were mercurial. He almost always 
smiled when he spoke, and ever had a kind word or 
benevolent deed for the lowly and poor. He and his 
fair wife were patterns of amiable temperament and 
domestic happiness. Three daughters and a son, whom 
they reared with great tenderness, reached maturity, 
but all slumber in the grave with their parents. The 
whole family, interesting in themselves, were more 
so to me from being inhabitants of the mansion of my 
birth and earliest happiness. I watched the changes 
that were made in modernizing the premises with some 
what of the jealous exclusiveness that the ancient Jews 

* She died in 1863, at the age of ninety-two. 



AEISTOCEACY OF THE OLDEN TIME. 151 

felt for Zion. Still, the sentiment that leads to the 
preservation and embellishment of an ancestral man 
sion, especially in these times, when the fashion is that 
" all things should be made new," seems to me to pos 
sess great filial as well as moral beauty. 

Lydia Lathrop, the only sister of the two brothers 
of whom I have spoken, was brought up in the indul 
gences of wealth, yet not released from the obligations 
that a primitive and utilitarian age required of her sex. 
I have heard that she was accounted beautiful when 
young, and sought in marriage by those of high posi 
tion and expectations. When I first saw her she was 
the thoughtful and rather comely wife of a Presbyte 
rian minister settled at Elizabethtown, New Jersey, 
whence she came statedly to visit the paternal home, 
being welcomed like an angel. The echo, " Mrs. Aus 
tin has come ! " transmitted from servant to servant to 
our abode on the opposite side of the street, is among 
the gleeful clarion-cries of memory. She always re 
membered to bring something to the children. My 
usual gift was a small sugar radish with a tuft of 
green leaves. This was treasured for months im 
maculate, till another came. I recollect feeling great 
indignation at a visitant to my baby-house, who 
broke, for the purpose of tasting it, my consecrated 
treasure. 

The choice of her lot for life, by this daughter 
of the aristocracy, was considered a love-match, and 



152 LETTEES OF LIFE. 

somewhat confirmatory of the ancient adage that " the 
course of true love never did run smooth." 

Her spouse, the Rev. David Austin, was quite a 
character. He was stately and elegant in person, of 
insinuating manners, polished by European travel, and 
possessed of an ample fortune. He was fluent, often 
eloquent, and took great delight in the exercise of his 
oratorical powers. He was a good scholar, though a 
vivid, excursive imagination often made shipwreck of 
both argument and analysis. Over the people of his 
charge he had, at first, an entire influence ; but intense 
study of the prophetic portions of Scripture, while par 
tially recovered from an attack of scarlet fever, unset 
tled his mind, and led to wild theories which ended in 
his dismission. Afterwards he occupied himself with 
building on so extensive a scale in his native city of 
New Haven, as to exhaust his own finances and in 
volve those of his family, and become, for a time, the 
inmate of a debtor s prison. When released, and find 
ing that his eccentricities had excluded him from the 
regular pulpits of his own denomination, he was im 
mersed, and joined the Baptists, and then the Method 
ist connection. His amiable wife, whose native pru 
dence would have been a healthful counterpoise to his 
eccentricity had its influence been admitted, returned 
to the abode of her parents. He was there frequently 
an inmate with her, and eventually a constant resi 
dent. 



ARISTOCRACY OF THE OLDEN TIME. 153 

It was in the later years of his life that I knew him, 
when his peculiarities had been softened by time. He 
distinguished me by kindness, sometimes directed my 
juvenile reading, and gave an impulse to my Latin 
studies. Pie had pleasant conversational powers, and a 
fund of humor. The latter was, however, so dependent 
on manner and gesture, and variation of feature, that 
its related instances fail of effect. 

" I was driving in the country yesterday," said he, 
" and saw some hoarhourid plants by the roadside that 
looked green and pretty. I got out and took them up, 
and brought them home. There they are growing, and 
I call them mine, for it s clever to have something to 
domineer over." For the latter years of his life he was 
the pastor of the Congregational church in Bozrah, a 
small township in the vicinity. There he faithfully 
and acceptably discharged all parochial duty, still con 
tinuing to reside in Norwich, the will of the father of 
his estimable wife having made respectable provision 
for his support. His delight in preaching, and his in 
tellectual vigor, were unchanged by advancing years, 
while his moral purity and true kindness of heart never 
varied. Among the evidences of his piety were the 
tender, devout spirit of his prayer, the meekness with 
which he received reproof, the almost lavish benevo 
lence which shrank not at self-denial, and the calmness 
with which, at past threescore and ten, he received the 
summons of dismission to a world unseen. 



154 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

The name of Huntington has already been men 
tioned as copartner with Lathrop in the acknowledged 
aristocracy of olden time. Between them was no 
rivalry or disturbing force, as among the Montagues 
and Capulets. Neither is it a slight merit that they 
should cherish the bonds of private friendship, and 
seek the general good of the community, since there 
might naturally arise causes of competition, or of am 
bitious strife, to which few who were similarly situated 
would have held themselves always superior. 

After I was old enough to become an observer, the 
dynasty of the Huntingtons was the most numerous ; 
and of those branches which were located around what 
was then called Huntington Square, my recollections 
are vivid, our own residence being in that neighbor 
hood. 

General Jabez Huntington, the father of this distin 
guished house, I never saw, and presume that he must 
have died before my birth. With the eldest son, Gen 
eral Jedediah Huntington, a patriotic and saintly man, 
and the friend of Washington, I was not personally 
acquainted, he, with his family, having early become 
inhabitants of New London. Judge Andrew Hunting- 
ton, the second in succession, was a man of plain man 
ners and incorruptible integrity. His few words were 
always those of good sense and truth, and the weight 
of his influence ever given to the best interests of soci 
ety. His was that true republican simplicity of virtue 



ARISTOCRACY OF THE OLDEN TIME. 155 

that dees nothing for show makes no sacrifice of prin 
ciple to popularity, pays every one his due, and is con 
tent with the silent plaudit of an approving con 
science. Would that his mantle had fallen upon many 
in our own more stirring times ! His lady a second 
wife, I believe possessed an elegance of form and 
address which would have been conspicuous at any 
foreign court. She was especially fascinating to the 
children who visited her, by her liberal presentations 
of cakes and other pleasing eatables, or, what was to 
some equally alluring, a readiness to lend fine books 
with pictures. 

Colonel Joshua Huntington had one of the most 
benign countenances I ever remember to have seen. 
His calm, beautiful brow was an index of his temper 
and life. Let who would be disturbed or irritated, he 
was not the man. He regarded with such kindness as 
the Gospel teaches the whole human family. At his 
own fair fireside, surrounded by loving, congenial spir 
its, and in all social intercourse, he was the same serene 
and revered Christian philosopher. 

General Ebenezer Huntington was a noble specimen 
of the soldier and patriot. I think I have been told 
that he left college at the age of sixteen, to join the 
army of our Revolution, and continued with it during 
the whole war of eight years. The elegant manner 
and decision of character that are wont to appertain to 
the higher grades of the military profession, were con- 



156 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

spicuous in him, and unimpaired by age. He was the 
father of a numerous family, and a gentleman of exten 
sive influence. 

General Zachariah Huntington was a model of 
manly symmetry and beauty. He was tall, with noble 
features, a pure complexion, and a fresh color upon 
cheek and lip. Though more intimate in his family 
than in that of any of the other brothers, his daughter 
being my schoolmate and friend, I always felt afraid of 
him. To my childish fancy he seemed like one of the 
chieftains of the old Douglas blood, who ruled the 
Scottish kings. 

With this remarkable brotherhood were two sis 
ters Elizabeth, the wife of Colonel John Chester, of 
Wethersfield, the mother of many children, richly 
gifted both in person and mind ; and Mary, the help 
meet of our excellent pastor, the Rev. Dr. Joseph 
Strong. A mistress was she of the minutiss of that 
domestic science which promotes household comfort 
and happiness. Proverbially plain was she in dress 
and manner, condescending to the lowliest, and of so 
easy and cheerful a temperament that her words were 
always mingled with smiles. In those days a minister 
and his consort were expected to be patterns in all 
things to all people, and the closest critic perceived in 
her only those quiet, unambitious virtues that pertain 
to woman s true sphere, and a cloudless piety. Her 
husband had erected a handsome parsonage within the 



ARISTOCRACY OF THE OLDEN TIME. 157 

precincts of Huntington Square; and they and their 
children formed an integral part of those weekly social 
gatherings which kept bright the chain of affection, and 
the fountain of kindred sympathy. To be occasionally 
comprehended in those circles, and partake their " feast 
of reason and flow of soul," which comprised always a 
most liberal admixture of creature-comforts, was ac 
counted a rare privilege. 

On such an occasion I had more than once the 
pleasure of seeing the venerable mother of that noble 
race. To young eyes she seemed a person of extreme 
age, and probably surpassed fourscore. It was beauti 
ful to note how warmly she was welcomed, and what 
marked and sweet respect was paid her by all her de 
scendants. Her presence seemed the centre and crown 
of their enjoyments. Tenderly cared for and honored, 
she dwelt under the roof of her youngest son, General 
Zachariah Huntington, until her death, which, I think, 
was sudden, and from the effects of severe influenza. 
This son, who superintended a mercantile establish 
ment as well as the culture of his extensive grounds, 
took great delight in music. He possessed a scientific 
knowledge of it, with a voice of great power and mel 
ody. A desire to improve this important department 
of Divine worship induced him at one time to become 
the leader of our choir in church. This voluntary ser 
vice was appreciated by the people, and the labor con 
nected with it felt to be, on his part, both a condescen- 



158 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

sion and a religious offering. When he gave out the 
name of the tune, which was then always done in a 
distinct enunciation, and we rose in our seats in the 
gallery, every eye turning to him for guidance, he 
seemed, with -his commanding presence and dignified 
form, to our young minds a superior being. One of his 
requisitions was imperative, that the female portion of 
the choir should sing without their bonnets. That arti 
cle of apparel being then the antipodes of the present 
fashion, and formidable both for size and protrusion, he 
affirmed not only intercepted the sound, but precluded 
striking the key-tone with accuracy. None of us would 
gainsay his wishes, and the simplicity of the times 
counted it no indecorous exposure. Nevertheless, there 
was sometimes, as is wont to be in more modern days 
among those who sustain the sacred harmony, a mur 
muring of discordant strings. One young lady of the 
Huntington name, though not a near relative of his 
own, chanced to take offence, and was seen on a Sun 
day morning making her way to a seat in the body of 
the church. 

" Come up to us here," said we. 

" No. Zaccheus may climb the tree alone, for all 
me," was the quick reply. It ought to be mentioned 
that this bad pun was by no means a fair exponent of 
her native wit. 

The only daughter of this gentleman, Eliza Mary 
Huntington, my school associate and sisterly friend, 



AEISTOCEACT OF THE OLDEN TIME. 159 

returns to my heart through the far lapse of years, as I 
gather these reminiscences, and claims a heart-tribute. 
Full of gay life and spirit was that beautiful girl, ear 
nest in her studies, and in the recesses for play our 
leader. With the vigor of a fine constitution, she ex 
ulted in all graceful exercises, and the sensation of 
fatigue was unknown to her. Together we scaled the 
ledges of rock with which our native region abounded, 
searching for hardy plants, when the wild honeysuckle 
first threw out its bright pink banner. In the evening 
we sometimes met, and repeated to each other the les 
sons for the next day, knitting at the same time, with 
primitive simplicity, our own stockings. When the 
years of school fled away, and youth ripened, her 
beauty assumed a more tremulous delicacy, as though 
health might not be firmly rooted. Watched over like 
a fair rosebud was she by the stately father, the doting 
mother, and two fond brothers, with the unwavering 
idolatry of affection. They would not that the winds 
of heaven should roughly visit their darling. She was 
early married, and removed to the city of New York. 
Early , too, was she transferred to that home where 
they " neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are 
as the angels of God." 

Ah ! does that gentle head 
Rest with the ancient of thy noble house 
In the tomb s silence ? Many a falling tear 
Answers my question from the sons of need, 



160 LETTERS OP LIFE. 

Whom, hungry, thou hast fed uncovered, clothed 
And sorrowing, comforted. 

With silent course, 

Unostentatious as the heaven-shed dew, 
Thy bounties fell ; nor didst thou scatter gifts 
Or utter prayers with pharisaic zeal, 
For man to note. Thy praise was with thy God. 
In that domestic sphere where Nature rears 
Woman s meek throne, thy worth was eminent; 
Nor breathed thy goodness o er cold, stoic hearts. 
What gentleness was thine, what kind regard, 
To him thou lov dst what dovelike tenderness 
In voice and deed ! Almost Disease might bear 
Its lot without complaining, wert thou near, 
A ministering angel. 

Scarce had Spring, 

Weeping its tear-dews o er thy daughter s grave, 
Return d, ere thou wert summon d to ascend, 
Like her, to that bright host whose ceaseless harps 
Hymn the Redeemer. 

She with earnest hand, 

When gathered like a rose mid perfumed flowers, 
Clasp d the firm hope of everlasting life, 
And thou, in trembling, less-confiding trust, 
Launch d on the surge of Death s tempestuous flood 
With the same anchor. 

So ye are at rest, 

Where sorrow comes not. Is there room for us 
In the same haven, when the Master calls ? * 

* From a volume of poems, published in Boston in 1827. 



ARISTOCRACY OF THE OLDEN TIME. 161 

Perhaps I should ask your pardon for adding a 
tribute which, to uninterested persons, may seem, com 
monplace, but which was with me a heart-voice. The 
favorite companion of happy school-days, and the lov 
ing mother who installed me almost as a daughter, 
when her own had found first a new residence, and last 
an eternal home, it was fitting that I should record in 
verse as well as in memory. 

Neither would I omit the expression of gratitude 
for attentions and kind treatment from almost every 
member of the ancient aristocracy with whom I be 
came acquainted. In those days it might not have 
been deemed a slight condescension to notice with a 
marked, unvarying regard, one of humble origin, un 
aided by wealth, and unable, even in the large hospi 
talities of social intercourse, to render an equivalent for 
benefits conferred. 

It was in the autumn of 1857 that I was permitted 
to attend an interesting festival in Norwich the gath 
ering, as far as was feasible, of all the remaining 
branches of the great clan Huntington. Invitations 
had been sent, for a year previous, in all directions, and 
preliminary arrangements made for accommodation and 
comfort. 

Nature conspired with this movement of so many 
of her friends, for the weather was fine and the scenery 
paradisaical. It was in the " shining morning-face " of 
Thursday, September 3d, that throngs, in carriages and 



162 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

on foot, were seen wending their way toward the 
meeting-house on the green, in the ancient town of 
Norwich mine own old meeting-house. The body of 
the edifice was exclusively reserved for those in whose 
veins flowed the Huntington blood ; the galleries and 
outskirts were for aliens. Every thing the welcome 
from the pulpit, the poem pronounced there, the hymns, 
the music composed for them, the choir that rendered it 
sweetly vocal all were from the lips of Huntingtons. 
Verily they were as the chosen people, the sons of 
Aaron, in that temple. The genealogical address, hap 
pily blending research with enthusiasm, was written 
and delivered by the Rev. E. B. Huntington, of Stam 
ford, and is already multiplied through the press. After 
the public exercises, an elegant collation spread in the 
State House, with beautiful and profuse embellishment 
of flowers, was enjoyed by the chosen people. The after 
noon exercises were finely varied by miscellaneous 
speaking. Goodly elements had they for such an en 
tertainment divines, statesmen, civilians, representing 
the professions and occupations of our widespread land. 
Among them, the tact and eloquence of Professor Hun 
tington, of Harvard University, were conspicuous. 
There was a goodly sprinkling of grace and beauty 
among the feminine portion of this noble house and its 
collateral branches. Yet I saw no one who, in manly 
symmetry and bearing, was a better exponent of its 
ancient dignity and courteousness than Wolcott Hun- 



ARISTOCRACY OF THE OLDEN TIME. 163 

tington, of Norwich, a sou of the late elegant Briga 
dier-General. 

It was pleasant to mark the heightened action of 
kindred blood, as the closing hours of the festivity 
drew near. Those who had at first scrutinized each 
other with a strange kind of curiosity, now felt the 
impulses of affinity, clasped the parting hand with fer 
vor, and regretted that a longer period had not been 
allotted to their reunion. 

For my own part, I wish that such family gather 
ings were more frequent. If not always able fully to 
foster ancestral pride, they would still be fruitful in 
healthful sympathies, perhaps suggestive of mutual 
action in the blessed fields of patriotism and benevo 
lence. 



LETTER Vin. 

WKITTEJT THOUGHT. 

PKOSE, besides wj^at a daily journal comprised, I 
occasionally wrote in early life, but seldom impulsively. 
It was a kind of job-work. The melody of rhyme, like 
sugar coating the pill, being absent, left the labor too 
palpable. The ear having been elevated as a sort of 
chief judge, sometimes took the latitude of making 
sense subsidiary to sound. It was offended when its 
stewardship was taken away. It did what it could to 
make the mind sullen at the toil of providing more ma 
terial, as if murmuringly it said, " I cannot dig, and to 
beg am ashamed." 

Passing events furnished themes for my verses. 
They were literally extemporaneous, and if copied a 
second time, seldom altered. A poem entitled " Edgar 
and Ann," extending to several hundred lines, was my 
longest effusion. It was a love narrative in the heroic 
measure, plentifully interlarded with pathos. 

Among the few remaining specimens of prose of that 



WRITTEN THOUGHT. 165 

period, is one prompted by my favorite quadruped and 
quondam companion, the cat, written in the quaint or 
thography of the ancient English style : 

CONCERNING YE CATTE. 

Ye dogge hath many admirers, ye catte but few. 
He followeth manne, and is praised by him. She stay- 
eth in-doors with the women, who have not much to 
do with the penne, so her good deeds have little chance 
of being written down. Moreover, she is not treated 
in any way to encourage them. In the very days of her 
innocent kittendom, the waddling babe or the cross 
child do seize her up by the back or throat, dragging 
her hither and thither, until her eyes start out with 
pain. Her piteous mewings they heed not ; yea, when 
she reposeth by the fire at night, rude boys do pull her 
tail, and none reproveth. If she venture to go forth 
into the streets they caste stones at her, or belabour her 
with sticks. She hath great hatred of the dogge; so he 
must needs be sette upon her with clapping of handes 
and shoutes. She draweth up her bodie like a ball, 
and enlargeth her tail marvellously, and spitteth at him 
with all her might. If, peradventure, there be a tree 
near, it is good lucke, for she saveth herself by climbing 
whither he cannot come. Yet if he chanceth to shake 
her poore carcase in pieces, who careth ? " It is only a 
dead catte" Now by reason of this fierce tyranny and 



166 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

scorn, her better nature dareth not fully to unfolde 
itself. 

But look ye, my masters, ye catte hath some good 
qualities, which I shall endeavour to sette forth. I ask 
ye if she be not useful. Would not ye mice and rattes 
despoil all ye storehouses in ye land, were it not for 
her ? I know that some do laude ye terrier dogge. 
Yet he is too oft a lazy tyke, waiting for the prey to be 
caught in traps and laid before his jawes. Moreover, 
he eateth more than the vermin he professeth to de- 
stroye, 

Not only is ye despised catte useful, but accom 
plished. She hath a natural taste for musicke, and 
great compasse of voice. How lulling are her tones 
when she purreth, sitting on the knee of a friend ! 
How sweetly and tenderly speaketh she to her young 
offspring ! Her more passionate strains in ye nightly 
serenade are wonderful. A powerful counter might she 
sing, if trained in a choir. Yet what payment getteth 
she for her concerts ? I grieve to say that brick-battes 
and boote-jackes are hurled at her head, with evil 
wishes and cursing words too vile to repeat. 

Ye catte cometh of a high familie. This is wont to 
have weight with mannekinde, and womankinde also. 
To be only a cousin of my Lord Duke, causeth ye stu- 
pide to be runne after. 

But look you, ye catte hath ye greate, grande tiger, 
and ye kingly lion, for her neare relations. She boast- 



WRITTEN THOUGHT. 167 

eth not of her royal ancestry, neither is puffed up. 
Verily she setteth an example of meekness, eating 
thankfully in any darke corner such mean bittes as ye 
cooke-maide throweth unto her. 

Ye catte is neate. What other beaste doth dili 
gently wash its face and pawes, as if it would pay re 
spect to those with whom it dwelleth ? She also oft 
cleanseth her kittens, and maketh them to be tidy. She 
is a fond mother, and taketh pride in the beauty and 
grace of her little ones. How carefully lifteth she them 
from place to place in her mouth, holding her heade 
very high lest their tender limbes be hitte or hurte. 
She doth not neglecte their education, learning them to 
hunte by laying a dead mouse before them, for which, 
very likely, her own mouth doth water. She playeth 
merrily with them, and frisketh at proper times. Yet 
hath she due regard unto their manners, and boxeth 
their small ears with a wide-spread paw, if they dis 
obey or displease her. Is there any other four-footed 
creature that doeth these things ? 

I will not pretend that ye catte hath no faults. I 
cannot say that she is frank. It is not her calling. It 
would not help her trade. She creepeth softly, and 
turneth her head another way, and seeketh dark places 
when she hath any evil end in view. And sometimes 
they who blame the four-footed bodie loudly, do the 
same things. 

But I say once more, that poor pussie hath not had 



168 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

faire playe in this world e. Be kinder to her, my mas 
ters, and take some pains to improve her talents. Then 
shall ye be better able to say truly what ye catte is, 
and what she is not. 

Another variety of mental employment to which I 
took a fancy was the composition of serious Essays, or 
Meditations, with a text prefixed, which I called my 
sermons. This exercise originated in those epochs, very 
rare in my early history, when I was detained from pub 
lic worship on Sunday. It then became a habit to 
write and read aloud in my solitary chamber two of 
these productions, or an additional one if a third ser 
vice was desired, compose the usual number of hymns, 
and sing them in the old, established tunes, of which I 
knew a great variety. Thus my secluded Sabbaths 
kept up some shadow of the privileges of the sanc 
tuary, and occasionally there came over my soul a 
sweet, hallowed calmness, like a premonition of that 
clime where praise is perpetual. 

From a mass of these manuscripts on coarse gray 
foolscap paper, the ink faded by time, I select two or 
three specimens for your friendly perusal : 



WRITTEN THOUGHT. 169 

I. 

" When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers ; the moon 
and the stars which thou hast ordained ; what is man, that thou art 
mindful of him ? and the son of man, that thou visitest him ? " PSALM 
viii. 3, 4. 

The pride of our nature inclines us to think too 
highly of ourselves. It is prone to covet a high station 
in the scale of being. Hence, the first work of devotion 
is to teach humility. The first breathing of the Holy 
Spirit upon man is the lesson of his imperfection and 
dependence. 

This self-abasement seemed to have been heightened 
in the mind of the Psalmist by a contemplation of the 
heavenly bodies. The lofty expanse, studded with ma 
jestic orbs apparently countless and immeasurable, yet 
all maintaining the law of order enforced at their crea 
tion, uplifted his conceptions to new adoration of that 
Power who cast them forth as atoms into empty space, 
yet " calleth all by their names, bringeth forth Mazza- 
roth in his seasons, and guiding Arcturus with his 
sons." Then in such strong contrast appeared his own 
insignificance and frailty, that he uttered the impres 
sive interrogation, " What is man, that thou art mind 
ful of him ? and the son of man, that thou visitest 
him ? 

The study of the stars was one of the earliest 
sciences that attracted the human mind. The most an- 
8 



170 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

cient nations, the Assyrians and Egyptians, pursued 
it with avidity. They debased it to superstition by 
their theories of judicial astrology. The worship of the 
heavenly bodies was the prevalent form of idolatry in 
the East. Perceiving them to have some influence over 
vegetable life, they inferred an invisible agency over 
the constitution and fortunes of man. 

To strike at the root of this error, Moses informs 
Israel that Jehovah formed them like other masses of 
inert matter, and sent them forth to their appointed or 
bits, for the service, not the worship of His intelligent 
creatures. In his valedictory, just before the death- 
stroke, he again reminds them that those luminaries, 
which they were moved ignorantly to adore, were or 
dained by the Almighty Maker as servants to every 
beholder, without regard to rank, for " He hath divided 
them to all nations under heaven." 

Still the chosen people did not purify themselves 
from this idolatry. The prophet Jeremiah upbraids 
them with pouring out oiFe rings to the moon, and bid 
ding their children participate as to the " queen of 
heaven." Amos, the inspired herdsman of Tekoah, re 
proves them concerning the " star of their god," and 
their tabernacles of imagery, and warns them to " seek 
Him who maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turn- 
eth the shadow of death into the morning." He is 
quoted by the martyr Stephen in his last bold and elo 
quent appeal : " Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Mo- 



WRITTEN THOUGHT. 171 

loch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which 
ye have made to worship." 

By these facts we see the general observance that 
the luminaries which make the sky glorious, obtained 
from, man in the earliest times ; and also his proneness 
to change light into darkness, and let the Creator be 
hidden from his soul by the very magnificence which 
should disclose Him. This was, however, a more ex 
cusable infirmity in the heathen world, to whom He 
had not been clearly revealed. To us, the spangled 
concave should be the volume of devotion. On its 
pages are inscribed in unfading characters the might 
and goodness of the Supreme. There, as untiring 
teachers, are orbs of differing magnitudes, pursuing 
different paths, yet never violating the laws given 
them when at first " the morning stars sang together, 
and all the sons of God shouted for joy." Can we be 
hold their beautiful obedience, their unbroken repose, 
and not feel reproved for our own wilful and wayward 
courses ? 

When we consider the most remote stars as centres 
to other systems, from which innumerable revolving 
satellites gather garments of light and songs of praise ; 
when we think of their myriad inhabitants, drinking 
existence from One Source, dependent for every breath 
on His will, we are lost in a labyrinth of wonders. 
We fear to be forgotten ourselves. " Lord, what are 



172 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

we, and what is our father s house, that Thou shouldest 
be mindful of us, or visit us ? " 

With reflections like these, let me view the expanse 
of heaven. Higher reverence for God and deeper self- 
knowledge will thus be cherished. Gratitude should 
also spring up at the thought, that from His lofty habi 
tation above the stars He should deign to take note of 
us, worms at the footstool. Never again would I be a 
discordant string in the harmony of His creation. I 
would rejoice to devote my time, my talents, my being 
to Him, their Author. 

Humility is the robe in which the highest archangel 
stands before the Throne. It would be fitting for us, 
were we perfect in innocence. But when we think of 
our native frailty of our follies, derived, habitual, and, 
stranger still, forgotten we shudder at the thought of 
human pride, and are lost in astonishment at the Divine 
forbearance, like the Psalmist-king, or repeat the words 
of the poet who sometimes caught his devout, tuneful 
spirit : 

" That God who darts His lightnings down, 

Who rules the worlds above, 
And mountains tremble at His frown 
How wondrous is His love ! 



WRITTEN THOUGHT. 173 

II. 

" How long halt ye between two opinions ? If the Lord bo God, 
follow Him : but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered 
him not a word." 1 KINGS xvm. 21. 

The blessed Scriptures contain instruction for the 
ignorant, encouragement for the timid, exhortation and 
example for all. There is no crime so abandoned, no 
sinner so depraved, that they deign not to consider and 
admonish. They would that all should be saved. 

This passage from one of their sacred historians is 
interesting in several points of view. It presents a 
vivid picture. Elijah was called upon to contend sin 
gly with the nine hundred and fifty idolatrous prophets 
of Baal and of the groves. Look at the throngs gath 
ering in their curiosity, with eyes bent scornfully on 
the solitary herald of the truth, or triumphantly on 
their own infuriated, vociferous champions. There 
they stand, representatives of a degenerate nation, 
sunk in idolatry, the sport of corrupt minions, and 
awed by an infamous monarch, Ahab, and his still more 
infamous queen. Neither the three years famine, nor 
the sealed windows of heaven, nor the perished ver 
dure of the land, could arouse their death-like stupid 
ity. Their blinded priests, hardened in conscience, re 
jected the law of Jehovah. The prophet appeals not 
to their forfeited reason, but touches them with the 
sting of satire ; for when the armor of the king of 



1V4 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

Israel proved ineffectual, the shepherd s sling and stone 
slew the giant. 

" Cry aloud : for he is a god : either he is talking, 
or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure 
he sleepeth, and must be awaked." 

The result of this trial was decisive. The voice of 
convinced Israel exclaimed : " The Lord, he is the God ! 
the Lord, he is the God ! " Methinks the echo of their 
great shout reaches us over the buried ages. With it 
also conies the injunction of the victorious prophet, 
" Follow Him." Is He not deserving of the fealty of 
all His creatures ? Are they not fashioned by His 
hand supported by His love ? Doth not His faithful 
ness surround them ? Are not His mercies new every 
morning, fresh every moment ? Linger they not 
through the shades of every evening, the watches of 
every night ? His power and goodness are plain to the 
comprehension of the simplest one at His footstool, and 
by all ties, natural, moral, and divine, they are bound 
to serve Him. 

Whence, then, this indecision this balancing on a 
point of such clearness and importance ? Is it not fatal 
to the interests of time to the welfare of eternity ? 
Here we dwell in God s garden, refreshing ourselves 
with its fruits, its fragrance, and its bloom, yet doubt 
ful whether to thank and obey Him, or to clasp the 
hand of His enemy. 

It was not always thus. There were Christians of 



WRITTEN THOUGHT. 175 

old who stood unmoved amid the ruins of their altars, 
content to die for the faith they had espoused. Wick- 
liffe, John Huss, and Jerome of Prague bore perilous 
testimony to the truth. Luther, the rugged Atlas of 
Germany, stood unmoved by persecution a " bush 
burning, yet not consumed." 

" The people answered not a word." Why ? Was 
there nothing to say ? Was not the appeal forcible ? 
And is it not much more so now, through the eloquence 
of Him who in His own person "tasted death for 
every man " ? Yet here is the smile of pleasure, and 
the sun of prosperity, and the blandishments of the 
tilings that " perish in the using," and for their sake we 
turn away from the voice of Him that " speaketh from 
heaven." 

Man, though often deceived by the objects with 
which he deals, finds nothing more deceitful than his 
own heart. Ere he plunges deeply in guilt, he is prone 
to pause, and resolve not to wander long or wide in 
paths that are forbidden. Perhaps he proposes that his 
first step over the boundary of virtue shall be the last. 
Perhaps he sees a path almost parallel to it, but slightly 
diverging. He enters it, and they never again reunite. 
Their goals are as diverse as the groans of hell and the 
melodies of heaven. 

Oh, soul of mine ! see the end of this " halting be 
tween two opinions." Dost thou hesitate whether to 
choose the God of all grace and consolation, or him 



176 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

who by vanity and lies deceived the mother of man 
kind, and was " a murderer from the beginning " ? 
How long ere thou wilt come to a decision ? Hast 
thou centuries to waste, that time is thus cast away ? 
Has an existence measured by setting suns any right to 
be prodigal ? Answer the question of the majestic 
prophet, " How long ? " Till the mists of evening 
gather till thou art swept away, like a forgotten 
flower ? Oh, no no ! Now let the things that be 
long to your everlasting peace be secured ; let this 
" day be your accepted time, your great day of salva 
tion." 



III. 

"I exhort, therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, in 
tercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men." 1 TIMOTHY 
n. 1. 

Is this injunction of the eloquent apostle often fully 
obeyed ? We resort to prayer as a privilege, when 
sorrow oppresses us. In that bitterness of heart which 
exposes the vanity of earthly helpers, we flee to the 
Throne of Mercy ; and if the burden is not taken away, 
strength comes to bear it. Yet is there not sometimes 
an exclusiveness I had almost said a selfishness in our 
devotions ? We seek medicine for ourselves : do we 
always remember to bring the diseases of others to the 



WRITTEN THOUGHT. 177 

Great Physician? For those who are dearest to us 
perhaps we say with fervor, " Oh, deign to heal my 
parent my life s companion my child my friend ; 
prosper their designs, and protect them from all evil." 
Yet the supplication is for those who are a part of our 
selves. Their sufferings affect us, in their blessings we 
participate. 

The inspired passage on which we meditate requires 
a broader benevolence. It is not restricted to individu 
als, to families, to communities, to native country, or to 
kindred blood. It is as wide as creation. It comprises 
" all men." 

But shall we pray for strangers ? Why not ? Did 
our Master make any reservation of people, or kindred, 
or tongue ? Did not the prophets, who saw Him afar 
off, utter truly the language of His great salvation : 
" Come unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the 
earth " ? 

When we pray for those within the sphere of our 
influence, a deeper love springs up for them, a stronger 
desire to do them service. When we implore pity for 
the mourner, and support for those who are about to 
pass over the cold river of Death, we turn with more 
devout and chastened joy to our homes, still un visited 
by the Destroying Angel. When we intercede for 
those who pine with famine, or tremble beneath oppres 
sion, is not the fervor of pious gratitude quickened by 
the contrast with our own plentiful and peaceful land ? 



178 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

When the woes of the heathen the idolatrous Hindoo, 
the benighted African, the neglected American forest- 
son, or the blinded Jew wing our prayers, is not the 
bond of brotherhood with the whole human family 
made more fervent and complete ? 

If we pray for strangers, shall we not also pray for 
enemies ? What was the example given on Mount Cal 
vary, when the rocks rent, and the dead came forth 
from their graves ? For whom did the expiring Sa 
viour supplicate, " Father, forgive " ? Was it not for 
his murderers ? And are we his followers ? But at 
what a distance ! We are commanded to sacrifice a 
few wrongs, aversions, prejudices shadows that must 
soon fleet away, and in eternity be forgotten. Yet, 
when we are reviled, we ofttimes revile again ; when 
we suffer, we threaten reversing the Christian code, 
and omitting to pray for those who despitefully use or 
persecute us. Nay, are we not sometimes vindictive 
with little cause, and implacable for fancied injuries ? 
How, then, can we be the true disciples of Him who 
was patient unto death, and whose birth-song was 
good- will and peace to all mankind ? 

The rule given by the primitive Christians is accord 
ant with the spirit of our text, that when we receive 
from others unkind words or deeds, we should, as soon 
as possible, retire, and entreat our Father in heaven to 
bestow on them some benefit. Whoever should perse 
vere in this course would receive a blessing in himself. 



WRITTEN THOUGHT. 179 

It would be found the most effectual course to eradicate 
ill-will, revenge, and hatred, with all the bitter and 
baneful fruits that flourish within their dark enclosures. 
Benevolence would thus be quickened, humility made 
more profound, and the warm wish that all men be 
blest, ascend a constant and pleasing orison to a Deity 
whose nature is love. 

Let us meditate more frequently on this inspired 
command. Formed as we are for social intercourse, the 
universal brotherhood of our kind should be an accept 
able doctrine. The paired birds seek the shelter of one 
nest ; all animals of gentle heart are gregarious ; it is 
only the savage beast that chooses to stalk forth alone, 
prowling for prey and blood. To civilized man, the 
sweetest sound is the voice of man ; the fairest sight, 
that countenance which was made in the image of its 
Creator. Christian faith, by sublimating these im 
pulses, is able to make his purest delight consist in 
doing good in expanding the circle of his charities ; 
until, embracing the whole household of humanity, he 
is moved in the ardor of devotion to spread the wants 
of " all men " before his Father and their Father, his 
God and their God. 



A work on the subject of Prayer bears date among 
my early compositions. Its plan was threefold: first, 
all the instances recorded in Scripture of the efficacy 



180 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

of prayer ; secondly, examples from history of answered 
prayer; thirdly, the written testimony to its solace and 
power by Christians, in all ages of the world. I think 
now, with my added literary experience, that the plan 
was excellent. I pursued it with zeal, and it was more 
voluminous than all my adolescent works. But I have 
an idea that it was heavy, inasmuch as I never could 
bear to read it myself. When last I saw it there 
seemed some danger of its being suffocated under a pile 
of incumbent manuscripts. Sometime when I am in 
good courage I will seek for it ; but not to inflict it on 
you. 

Occasionally I indulged myself in imitating the 
style of the historical parts of the Old Testament. 
This I was first induced to do by admiring a parable of 
Dr. Franklin, which exhibits a remarkably successful 
similarity. 

When still very young I had been much pleased 
with a brief history of the mother-land, in pamphlet 
form, entitled " The Chronicles of the Kings of Eng 
land." I wish I could find it now. The quaintness of 
some of its expressions still dwells in memory. After 
a good description of the Gunpowder Plot, the simple 
phrase, " and James was glad that he was alive," de 
picted more clearly the happy state of the monarch s 
mind than an elaborate portraiture. 

Fancying that this style was adapted to make last 
ing impression on the retentive powers, and being fa- 



WEITTEN THOUGHT. 181 

miliar with it by daily perusal of the Sacred Volume in ) 
retirement, I conceived the ambitious design of en- ) 
wrapping in it some events of our own national his 
tory. It did not strike me as involving aught of irrev 
erence, for that would have shocked me beyond meas 
ure. It seemed to me a vehicle of thought, beautiful 
for simplicity, and capable, both by its amplifications 
and elisions, of producing a peculiar effect. Here is 
one, on a rather undignified event, but which bore de 
cidedly upon the progress of our Revolution. I am not 
certain but this has, at some time or other, got into 
print, as have many of my juvenile compositions. 

It was in 1773, while the spirit of alienation was 
quickening among the colonies, that a determination 
was formed to resist the introduction of large quanti 
ties of tea made subject to taxation. The ministry of 
Great Britain sustained the East India Company in this 
policy, who were desirous of disposing on the best 
terms of their accumulated stores of this article. Phila 
delphia was the first to lift her voice against tea and 
taxation; but Boston was the leader in action, and, 
resolute even to rashness, boarded three vessels laden 
with tea that entered her harbor, and threw their en 
tire cargoes overboard. 



182 LETTERS OF LIFE. 



THE BOSTONIANS AND THE TEA. 

It came to pass, in the days that were before us, 
that a vessel of small size did spread its white sails 
over the far sea. Wind and storm stood in its way, as 
it steered toward a waste land and desolate. But be 
hold, her people said, " Here will we abide forever, that 
we may be free we, and our children after us." 

So they cut branches from the trees of the forest, 
and built unto themselves booths, and became dwellers 
among the heathen. Great perils had they from scarce 
ness of bread ; and when the snows of winter fell, and 
frost turned the waters to stone, divers of them died, 
and were buried. Yet the residue of them repined not, 
but trusted in God. 

So, after many days, they multiplied in the land, 
and sowed corn, and had cattle, and waxed strong. In 
the time of their famine, and likewise of their pros 
perity, among their chief comforts was a plant from a 
far country toward the rising sun, which they called 
Tea. Its dried leaves were precious in their sight ; and 
some accounted the infusion thereof better than the 
blood of the vine. 

Now, it came to pass, that beyond the great waters 
was a mighty realm, calling herself their Mother. And 
she spake, saying : " Of this tea drink ye as much as 
your soul desireth ; ye, and your wives, and also your 



WBITTEN THOUGHT. 183 

little ones. Ye shall buy it with money, and pay unto 
me a tax, over and above the price thereof." 

Then said they : " Must we pay this tax unto thee, 
whether we consent or not ? " So, the great mother 
land, wearing upon her head a crown, and having fast 
by her throne men of wealth, bearing the name of the 
East India Company, did answer and say : " Yea, 
verily, without your consent." 

Now the dwellers in the new western world waxed 
wroth, and their countenances were changed. And 
they lifted up a loud voice, saying : " Nay ; we will 
pay no taxes without our consent. See ye to that." 

Now, behold, there came unto the haven, and cast 
anchor therein, vessels full of tea belonging unto the 
East India Company. And the men of Boston took 
counsel together, saying : " What shall we do ? If this 
entereth within our borders, then will the shekels be 
demanded, which it is hateful unto our souls to pay, be 
cause we have not consented thereunto." 

But certain of the boldest ones, when they had con 
ferred together in secret, said unto their brethren : 
" Keep ye silence. Go unto your homes, and we will 
manage this matter." So they went every one to his 
own home. 

And when the darkness of night had come, lo ! 
there entered into those vessels men who did appeal- 
like unto the wild natives of the land, inasmuch as they 
were clad in their raiment. And they spake no word, 



184 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

but quickly with hatchets brake all the boxes, and what 
was therein cast they into the sea, and so departed. 

Then were the deep waters blackened by the color 
of the tea, and the fishes affrighted. And those who 
had knowledge of that hidden realm did say, that the 
sharks who disported themselves in that tea-tank were 
quiet for a season, and the dolphins slept a great sleep. 

Moreover, Neptune, when he beheld the darkening 
of the deep, shook his trident, saying in wrath, 
"Wherefore is this waste?" Moreover, he com 
plained that this had not been made known unto him ; 
for he would have bidden sundry of the sea-gods, who 
had been civil unto him, to a tea-party. 

So the men who had thrown into the sea this great 
store of the Chinese plant, turned and went every man 
unto his own home, ere the morning dawn. And when 
the sun arose, certain of their wives did question them, 
saying : " Why tarried ye so long away, in the dark 
night ? And where found ye such plenty of tea, that 
it should be shaken on the floor in heaps, when ye took 
the shoes from your feet ? " 

But they held their peace, and spake never a word, 
so that the wives marvelled. When the morning was 
fully come, they called together all their households, 
and spake unto them with authority, saying : " Ye 
shall taste no tea, not one of you ; neither shall it pass 
through your lips, for it is accursed." 

So in all that goodly town, the herb of China, with 



WRITTEN THOUGHT. 185 

the pots and flagons appertaining thereunto, was ban 
ished from every table. Divers also of the ancient 
women did murmur within their tents, saying : " Ye 
have taken away that which did comfort us in all our 
toil. An evil and bitter thing did they do who cast it 
into the sea. And lo ! because of this, sleep hath de 
parted from our eyes." 

But the wise men, who looked into the future con 
cerning this matter, answered with kind words, saying : 
" Be ye of a good courage ; for, peradventure, there 
shall grow herefrom an excellent thing, that ye wot not 
of, even a fair heritage to a free people." 



LETTER IX. 

EDUCATIONAL REMEMBKANCES. 

THE memories of the time devoted to the education 
of others are faithfully cherished and fondly recalled. 
They beckon me with a loving smile, and I willingly 
follow. They embrace the most cloudless period of 
my life, the most methodical, tranquil, and conge 
nial. 

My earliest promptings of ambition were, not to 
possess the trappings of wealth or the indulgences of 
luxury, but to keep a school. A modest aspiration 
truly, yet predominant in the reveries to which I was 
addicted. Only children, probably, are more in the 
habit of making their lonely hours dramatic, than those 
whose companionship with brothers and sisters leads 
them to the sports and affinities of outer life. At all 
events, with the visiting thoughts that cheered my 
solitary childhood, snatches of song I know not from 
whence, and scenes peopled by fancy, came vivid pen- 
cillings of the delight, dignity, and glory of a school- 



EDUCATIONAL KEMEMBKANCES. 187 

mistress. Whereupon I arranged my dolls in various 
classes, instructing them not only in the scanty knowl 
edge I had myself attained, but boldly exhorting and 
lecturing them on the higher moral duties. 

According to their imagined progress or obedience, 
they were elevated from shelf to shelf in the baby- 
house, which, being a capacious beaufet of carved oak, 
with many compartments, was favorable to this grada 
tion of discipline. Afterwards, when I became, at the 
age of four, a member of school, I observed as a sort 
of adept the modus operandi ; while these . incipient 
criticisms, with the previous doll-practice, were not 
without their use when, in due time, the ruling hope 
reached fruition. 

In the early bloom of youth, surrounded by the 
attractipns of life s gayest period, interested in its inno 
cent pleasures, and happy with loving and loved asso 
ciates, the desire of teaching remained, inherent and 
unimpaired. It was not sustained by sympathy, for I 
cherished it in secret ; nor by example, as my young 
friends had no such ambition, and, had they discovered 
mine, might have regarded it with surprise or ridicule. 
Yet there it dwelt, as the germ that the snows cover, 
biding its time. 

I did not fully communicate it even to my parents, 
for I thought it might strike them as arrogance. Yet 
my mother, who with a kind of second sight had 
always read my heart, knew its unuttered yearning. 



188 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

She had probably enlightened herself also by some 
passages in a journal, which I closely concealed, and 
believed to be private. 

My father marvelled at my preference, but not more 
than I at his proposal to fit up one of our pleasantest 
apartments for my chosen purpose. With what exulta 
tion I welcomed a new, long desk and benches neatly 
made of fair, white wood ! To these I proceeded to 
add an hour-glass, and a few other articles of conven 
ience and adornment. My active imagination peopled 
the room with attentive scholars, and I meditated the 
opening address, which I trusted would win their 
hearts, and the rules that were to regulate their con 
duct. Without delay I set forth to obtain those per 
sonages, bearing a prospectus, very beautifully written, 
of an extensive course of English studies, with instruc 
tion in needlework. My slight knowledge of the world 
induced me to offer it courageously to ladies in their 
parlors, or fathers in their stores, who had daughters of 
an age adapted to my course. I did not anticipate the 
difficulty of one at so early an age suddenly installing 
herself in a position of that nature, especially among 
her own people. Day after day I returned from my 
walk of solicitation without a name on my catalogue. 
Yet with every morning came fresh zeal to persevere. 
At length, wearied with fruitless pedestrian excursions 
and still more depressing refusals, I opened my school 
with two sweet little girls of eleven and nine years old. 



EDUCATIONAL REMEMBRANCES. 189 

Consolatory was it to my chastened vanity that they 
were of the highest and most wealthy families among 
us. Cousins were they, both bearing the aristocratic 
name of Lathrop. Very happy was I with these plas 
tic and lovely beings. Six hours of five days in the 
week, besides three on Saturday, did I sedulously 
devote to them, questioning, simplifying, illustrating, 
and impressing various departments of knowledge, as 
though a large class were auditors. A young lady 
from Massachusetts, of the name of Bliss, being in 
town for a short time, also joined us during that inter 
val, to pursue drawing, and painting in water-colors. 
At the close of our term, or quarter as it was then 
called, was an elaborate examination in all the studies, 
with which the invited guests signified their entire 
approbation. 

It might be supposed that this experience of the 
actual labor of teaching, without eclat or pecuniary 
gain, might have checked my enthusiasm in that de 
partment. Not a whit. It was a love which stood the 
test, as the sapling strikes deeper from the trials of its 
first season. I only sought another opportunity of re 
newing the toil. And it came. 

The father of my most intimate friend had sustained 
a reverse of fortune. She meditated how to aid him, as 
he had no son, and was past the prime of days. The 
ofiice of a teacher seemed the only feasible channel. 
Our intellectual sympathies had been long in unison; 



190 LETTERS OP LIFE. 

now, our purposes " like kindred drops were melted into 
one." 

It was suggested that residence at a boarding-school 
in one of the larger cities, and attention to those orna 
mental branches which the taste of the times demand 
ed, might give a prestige to our desired profession. 
Forthwith, at the coldest period of one of our coldest 
winters, without companion or protector, we might 
have been seen slowly rumbling in the stage-coach over 
frozen ground, for the greater part of a day, toward 
the banks of the ice-bound Connecticut. At two of the 
best seminaries that Hartford then afforded, we devoted 
ourselves to the accomplishments of drawing, painting 
in water-colors, embroidery of various kinds, filigree, 
and other things too tedious to mention. " Cobwebs to 
catch flies," said my sweet associate with a sigh, as we 
laid by our working implements late at night, our 
hearts turning to our distant homes, and the fond 
parents who missed from their fireside the brightness 
of the one young face. 

At our return, and announcement that we would 
open a joint school, we were thronged with applicants. 
Its location was on the beautiful plain between the old 
town and the southern section of Norwich, where we 
became fellow-boarders with the widowed sister of my 
friend. 

The first appearance before our assembled disciples 
was formidable. There they were, in full array, every 



EDUCATIONAL REMEMBRANCES. 191 

eye fixed in curious and significant inquiry. Most of 
them were entire strangers. We were known to be 
young, and would be considered, even by close observ 
ers, younger than we were. How should we clothe 
ourselves with the dignity and authority which were 
then held essential to the office we had assumed ? 

The subject of daily commencing and closing our 
school with prayer had been discussed between my 
friend and myself. It was the only point which we did 
not view as with the same eyes. The custom was not 
in those days prevalent in female schools, especially 
where the teachers were so youthful. She was fearful 
of ostentation. She was diffident, and extemporary 
prayer, which was required by the religious denomina 
tion to which we belonged, seemed an effort, and a 
cross which she shrank to take up. 

Being her senior by six months, it was decided that 
the responsibility of the first, most appalling, day must 
be mine. 

Never shall I forget the relief that came over my 
burdened spirit, when, after having all read together 
a chapter from the blessed Scriptures, my supplication 
arose to the Father of Lights for His guidance and 
smile on our future intercourse. Never before was a 
full interpretation given to the passage : 

" Nothing in my hand I bring : 
Simply to Thy cross I cling." 



192 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

Strength entered into my soul, and a peace unspeak 
able. Every face was clothed with new beauty. We 
were all the children of one Father. He had brought 
us together, that we might do each other good. Hence 
forth we were no more strangers, but members of a 
dear household, of which He was the Head. Ever 
afterwards, this daily exercise, commenced with such 
timidity and lowliness of soul, seemed fraught with 
comfort, and fortified by the promise, " In all thy ways 
acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." My 
loved friend also took part in it, and throughout the 
whole of our course as teachers, there was as perfect a 
coincidence as could be expected to exist between sepa 
rate minds ; indeed, it might almost seem like one mind 
or soul inhabiting two bodies. 

Arm in arm, like sisters, we entered school every 
morning, and, after our sweet devotional services, sepa 
rated, one to the chair of supreme authority, and the 
other to a seat among the pupils. There, while mingling 
in their pursuits and sympathies, she secretly exercised 
an influence over both, leading them by her example to 
application, order, and obedience. Thus, escaping the 
inconvenience of " two kings of Brentford sitting on 
one throne," we were alternately principal and subal 
tern, ruler and ruled. 

Six hours daily we gave to our school, except Satur 
day, when there was only a semi-session. Neither was 
our office any sinecure. Our pupils were of different 



EDUCATIONAL REMEMBRANCES. 193 

ages and grades of improvement, some, indeed, older 
than ourselves, so that accurate classification was a 
matter of labor as well as tact. Our course of study 
was extensive for the times, and thorough. We en 
couraged them to question us on points not well under 
stood, and, as we required of them readiness of reply 
in recitation, found it necessary to review our own 
studies, especially historical ones, lest some inquiry of 
a chronological character should cause hesitation, or 
haply disclose ignorance. 

We attached great importance to clear, fair chi- 
rography. One hour every morning was devoted to 
this accomplishment. It was one of earnest manual as 
well as mental effort. Metallic pens were unknown, 
and we set copies in their writing-books with our own 
hands. Our knives must be continually sharpened for 
manipulation upon the goose-quills which solicited us 
from every quarter, like the bristling of chevaux-de- 
frise. We were continually on our feet during that 
hour, overlooking and advising the writers, making and 
mending pens, which sometimes seemed to us returned 
for alteration with capricious frequency. 

But the muscular fatigue of the chirographical 
morning hour was nothing to the onerous labor of the 
afternoons, which it was expected we should devote to 
the ornamental branches. The number and nature of 
these it would be tedious to enumerate. The super 
vision of the fancy-work that then entered into femi- 
9 



194 LETTERS OP LIFE. 

nine training taxed us body and mind. There were the 
varied designs and nameless shades of embroidery in 
silks ; the progress of the brilliant filigree from its first 
inception ; the countless varieties of wrought muslin 
essential to a lady-like wardrobe ; and the movements 
of pencil and paint-brush, from the transcript of the 
simplest flower to the landscape, the group of figures, 
or " the human face divine." 

Besides these, the fitting and responsibility of what 
was termed plain work devolved upon us. Among the 
most elaborate portions of this department was the 
construction of fine linen shirts, with their appanage 
of ruffles. Though occasionally sorely puzzled, we soon 
discovered that it was our policy, perhaps safety, to 
appear to be ignorant of nothing. Young as we were, 
we boldly adventured on untried ground, though with 
many things that we were expected to teach we had as 
little congeniality as experience. Yet a deep interest 
in the welfare of those whom we instructed, and their 
affectionate attentions, lightened every toil. In process 
of time, what was at first laborious became easy, and 
the irksome pleasant. 

"Still, the chief solace was our own unswerving, all- 
pervading friendship. Every evening, in our seques 
tered nook, we confidentially compared the result of 
our investigations during the day, imparted such idioms 
of character as had unfolded, taking counsel for the 
reform of those who needed it, and for the welfare of 



EDUCATIONAL REMEMBRANCES. 195 

all. Double force was thus concentrated for action, 
and each, in shielding the breast of her loved one, more 
imperviously guarded her own. Methinks I still hear 
those tones of sweetness, that often mingled with the 
liquid moonlight, as they soothed both ear and heart. 

We were also cheered by the appreciation of those 
whom we served. This was evinced by affectionate 
attentions, and a respectful deportment beyond what, 
at our immature age, we might have rationally antici 
pated. The foundation was also laid for some pleas 
ant friendships, which lapse of years has not extin 
guished. 

The increasing number of scholars made it neces 
sary, the second year, to provide more spacious accom 
modations. We therefore obtained a fine, large build 
ing, formerly used for a public school. It was situated 
on rather a steep hill, from whence we had a delightful 
view of the winding Thames, and the romantic beauty 
of its banks. Fair surroundings, during the process of 
education, are salubrious to the young. The charms of 
Nature cheat study of its weariness, and refine the 
heart while they enrich the mind. It has been well 
said, that " those who do not appreciate the beautiful 
have no heart for what is good." 

Our new edifice, being in the centre of the southern 
section, or what was called the Landing, obliged us to 
seek a nearer boarding place, and we became denizens 
under the roof of an aunt of my friend a pleasing 



196 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

lady, of animated, graceful manners, and an excellent 
housekeeper. Her husband, Captain Erastus Perkins, 
who was much older than herself, had been, in earlier 
life, a skilful, practical navigator. His quietness, and 
equanimity of temperament on all occasions, attracted 
our admiration. We spoke of it to each other as what, 
in physiological science, denoted longevity. Without 
arrogating the honor of prophecy, our token became 
true. He completed more than a century in health and 
comfort, beloved by all who knew him. To borrow 
the simple words of a German poet : 

" There flowed around that good man s ears 
The silver of a hundred years." 

Our school continued to grow in popular favor, and 
the parents and friends of our pupils vied with each 
other in polite attentions and proofs of regard. The 
sole drawback to the felicity of our lot was the loneli 
ness of our parents. Especially were those of my 
loved associate unreconciled to her protracted absence. 
I could perceive that the Saturday afternoon and Sun 
day spent with them only heightened their desire to 
retain her longer, and that the sorrow of parting on 
Monday morning overshadowed her sweet spirit during 
the early portion of the week. I fancied also that my 
beautiful mother looked a little pale and thin, though 
she made no complaint. After consultation, and taking 
into full view our filial duties, we decided on the plan of 



EDUCATIONAL REMEMBRANCES. 197 

so dividing our labors that each could remain at home 
every other week. Our plan of instruction and discipline 
had been so long established, that it was thought this 
alternation of service might involve no loss to its subjects. 
But ere long inconveniences became apparent. The 
school was large and miscellaneous in its elements, and 
missed the force of the double rein. My second self 
was discovered to be the most indulgent. The truth is, 
she had not indwelling enough with aught of evil, to 
look out for or to manage it. There were not wanting 
some spirits to take advantage of this. They calcu 
lated every other week to have what they called a 
" good time." As I was a stickler for strict order, a 
part of my week was devoted to restoring the effects 
of the carnival of the preceding one. I would not 
imply there was any thing morally wrong among them, 
but they simply followed the dictates of nature in wish 
ing to have their own way. 

We also missed the great solace of our teaching, 
the confidential evenings of friendship, which, next to 
Divine aid, gave us strength for the burdens of the 
day. After a season our parents consented that the 
experiment should cease, and we resumed our conjoint 
authority. 

Our school, from the moderate price of tuition 
which was three dollars per quarter, the accustomed 
price in those days yielded us no great pecuniary 
gain. I was anxious that my dear parents should have 






198 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

a more tangible recompense for the loss of my time and 
filial service, and therefore determined to save the ex 
pense of board by returning every night. This implied 
a daily walk of fully four miles, the accommodations of 
omnibus and livery stable being then wholly unknown 
in that region. My friend continued a boarder as here 
tofore, and my enterprise was censured as Quixotic. 
But the motive sustained me, and I doubt whether at 
any period of my life I was ever more perfectly 
happy. 

My morning walk of two miles imparted such vigor 
and cheerfulness that the cares of teaching were unfelt. 
My noon s repast consisted of two or three hard bis 
cuits, made in the most delicate manner by my mother, 
and placed by her hand in my little bag. They were 
taken, as I sat with a book, when the weather was fine, 
under some umbrageous trees in the grounds at the 
rear of our school-house. I needed nothing more, but 
was satisfied and light-hearted. At night, our work 
done, the image of my watching, welcoming parents 
nerved my feet, and bore me over the intervening 
space as on the wings of a bird. Sometimes there 
were severe storms. Then the parents of such pupils 
as lived in my section of the town were kind enough to 
take me in the family carriage with their daughters. 
These occasions were, however, but few ; and the 
amount of exercise, which had been deprecated by 
friends and even blamed by physicians, thus combining 



EDUCATIONAL KEMEMBKANCES, 199 

with the occupation that I loved, gave elasticity to the 
spirits and energy to the constitution. 

Great was my enjoyment in this school at Chelsea. 
The studies were thoroughly taught and zealously pur 
sued. Among its members were some possessing supe 
rior talents and great loveliness of character. We 
were also fortunate in awakening a warm and in many 
cases an unswerving attachment. It was to me a 
source of deep regret when, on the arrival of the in 
clement season of winter, it was deemed advisable to 
dismiss until the spring. The united voice of the two 
houses of parents prevailed. They considered no gain 
of money equivalent to the loss of our society during 
the long evening and the wintry storm. It Avas our 
duty to consult first their happiness. The parting was 
diminished in pain by the expectation of recommencing 
in spring, and by the pleasant memories that we bore 
with us to our sweet homes. 

The enjoyment of the parents in the restitution of 
their broken trio, was now entire. Still, with me the 
habit of teaching seemed to have become an essential 
element of happiness. Therefore I procured a large 
room at a neighboring house, and opened a gratuitous 
school twice a week for poor children. My principal 
object was to impart religious instruction, Sunday- 
schools not having then commenced in our country. 
It being understood that books, and also articles of 
clothing, were sometimes distributed, my apartment 



200 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

was thronged. As the comfort of a teacher does not 
wholly depend on the high erudition of the pupils, I 
found much gratification in this humble sphere of 
action. 

. One of my favorite classes was of sable hue. My 
*, dark-browed people were obviously grateful for com 
mon attentions, and being most of them quite young, 
and intellectually untrained, I felt no little pride in 
their progress. But occasionally this dangerous senti 
ment was doomed to a downfall. Once, for instance, 
while recapitulating explanations of the Sermon on the 
Mount, which had been ofttimes enforced, and in a 
manner, as I flattered myself, quite admirable for sim 
plicity, I asked them the meaning of the " alms " which 
our blessed Saviour had commanded should not be 
done to be seen of men. Whereupon they promptly 
and exultingly responded : " Oh ! guns, pistols, clubs, 
and such like." I humbled myself at the ignorance of 
my disciples, as every instructor ought. 

In the mean time that kind Providence, which al 
ways surpasses our deserts, and often our imaginings, 
was invisibly preparing for me the fruition of my de 
sires a school where I might carry out my own ideas 
of discipline, and pursue not solely the culture of in 
tellect, but the education of the heart and life. I was 
invited to pass the festivities of Election in Hartford, 
by the relatives of my dear, departed benefactress, 
Madam Lathrop. At the close of the visit, which had 



EDUCATIONAL BEMEMBRANCES. 201 

been prolonged beyond my original intention, it was 
proposed by Daniel Wadsworth, Esq., a name synony 
mous with every form of goodness, that I should take 
charge of a select number of young ladies, the children 
of his friends, and continue under the roof of his vener 
ated mother, where I had been for more than two 
months a cherished guest. My whole soul overflowed 
with gratitude. Nothing was wanting but the consent 
of my parents. This they freely accorded. Their reply 
stated that they were both in good health, and while 
this blessing was vouchsafed to them, would patiently 
await my vacations, not being able to refuse the request 
of one to whose judgment and benevolence they could 
safely entrust what was to them dearer than life. 

And now, a man of great wealth, a munificent 
patron of the fine arts and literature, the merits of 
which he appreciated with unerring taste, engaged in 
beautifying his extensive domain of Monte- Video, 
which was thrown open as a visiting-spot and pleas 
ure-ground for all the people, the founder of our 
present noble Athaeneum, with its libraries, historical 
archives, and gallery of paintings and sculpture, trans 
mitting his loved name to future generations, humbled 
himself to the irksome labor of gathering a school, 
and the minute details for its accommodation. Those 
most familiar with his inner life of philanthropy were 
the least surprised at this. 

As his influence in society gave him an almost un- 



202 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

limited choice of pupils, he kept in view similarity of 
station and of attainments, deeming it desirable that 
in their studies all should go on as one class, and wisely 
supposing that the children of those who visited in the 
same circle, might have habits and sympathies some 
what in unison. This principle of organization greatly 
diminished the labor of teaching, and removed from 
those who were taught the disparities which sometimes 
create jealousy, and impede the progress of friendship. 

Mr. "Wadsworth was not willing that I should incur 
the fatigue of instructing more than fifteen the first 
year. In his selection among numerous applicants, he 
therefore restricted himself to that number, keeping 
the names of the other candidates on a list for the next 
year, saying that if our experiment proved successful, 
my circle should be enlarged to twenty-five. This it 
was, and thus continued for five years. If the par 
takers of Heaven s bliss are interested in aught that 
thrills these our hearts of clay, may he inhale the per 
fume of that warm gratitude which the lapse of almost 
half a century has neither dampened nor repressed. 

A beautiful apartment was provided for us. This 
we aimed to keep with the neatness of a parlor. No 
drop of ink upon its delicate desks was tolerated, no 
littering papers, or disarrangement of articles from 
their allotted places. In the season of flowers our 
capacious vase was freshly filled by contributions from 
many little hands, and each one in rotation took charge 



EDUCATIONAL REMEMBRANCES. 203 

of the premises for a day ; no unfitting apprenticeship 
for that science of household order and neatness which 
ranks both among the accomplishments and duties of 
our sex. When I looked on those fifteen fair young 
faces turned toward me with a loving trust, how ear 
nestly did I desire and determine to omit no labor even 
on the lowliest foundation, where a symmetrical charac 
ter might ultimately and safely rest. 

Great was my delight at finding that my patrons 
had decided not to have the ornamental branches 
divide the attention of their children from the course 
of study, which was sufficiently extensive, and which 
they agreed with me in wishing should not be super 
ficially pursued. I required of them thoroughness and 
accuracy, rather than to surmount a large space, or give 
a few brilliant illustrations. I believed that the moral 
nature might be modified by the empty show of the in 
tellect, and become untruthful. Therefore I taught 
them to prefer a little knowledge well understood, and 
faithfully remembered, to a reputation more brilliant 
but unsound. Patient and persevering were those 
young creatures, and easily guided to every right 
course. How much did I enjoy unfolding with them 
the broad annals of History. Seated in a circle, like a 
band of sisters, we traced in the afternoon, by the 
guidance of Rollin, the progress of ancient times, or 
the fall of buried empires. Each one read an allotted 
portion of those octavo pages with a slow, distinct 



204 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

enunciation, that all might without effort comprehend. 
At the completion of the reading the book was closed, 
and each related in her own language the substance of 
what she had read, questions were asked on the most 
important parts, pains taken to impress on the memory 
the dates of prominent facts, and encouragement given 
to express their own opinions of heroes, or other distin 
guished personages. 

Even now I seem to hear, like the varying tones of 
music, their sweetly modulated voices, praising deeds 
of generosity or pity, or expressing surprise that the 
great were not always good, or amazement that artifice, 
revenge, or cruelty should sometimes have stained 
those names whom the world had pronounced illus 
trious. How rapidly passed the hours spent in each 
other s society ! Often when the duties of the day 
were closed, and the period of dismission had arrived, 
if our course of study had been peculiarly interesting, or 
particularly difficult, they would gather closely around 
me, like a swarm of honey-laden bees, seeking conversa 
tion or explanation, while the gentle entreaty, " Oh, 
stay a little longer, please ! " was so imperative, that 
the lowering summer sun, or the wintry twilight, drew 
over us unawares. 

Yet the rules to which they were subjected were so 
strict, that some might have supposed they would repel 
this loving intercourse. They were intended not only 
to preserve that order which is essential to successful 



EDUCATIONAL REMEMBRANCES. 205 

study, but to cover the minutiae of deportment. They 
required punctual attendance, marked courtesy at en 
tering and leaving the room, affectionate treatment of 
fellow-pupils, and respect to guests who occasionally 
visited us : they forbade disorder of books or desks, 
leaving seats without liberty, all whispering, all conver 
sation save with the teacher, except by express permis 
sion, or whatever else might disturb those high pur 
poses for which we came together. This code, the fruit 
of experience and observation, was solidified in twelve 
brief rules, each fenced by a hope or penalty, and read 
every morning after our devotional exercises, that none 
might plead forgetfulness. No slight praise was it to 
that blessed assemblage of young creatures, that they 
never objected to this minute supervision, but strove to 
sustain it. Cheerfully admitting that order, industry, 
and propriety of conduct, w r ere essential to the object 
for which as a body politic they held existence, each 
lent their aid to that discipline which was its health 
and hope. They counted it their glory never to have 
broken a rule ; and a few there were who stood by my 
side on the first and last day of my office, a period of 
five years, who wore this laurel freshly bound upon 
their fair brows. 

Shall I give you a simple delineation of our daily 
routine ? I almost fear to weary you with prolixity, 
BO agreeable to me is the theme. 

The morning clock strikes nine. With light steps 



206 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

and a bright smile they enter, saluting the instructress. 
Quietly each takes her seat and her Bible. After read 
ing in rotation, they close the book and lay it in its 
place, each repeating from memory the verse or verses 
that came to their share. If any question arises in 
their minds respecting the meaning of their allotted 
passages, they freely propose it. Should it require a 
longer explanation than comports with the morning oc 
cupations, it is deferred to the season allotted for con 
versation. A brief prayer ensues, to which they are 
required reverently to attend. Then the rules are 
read by the teacher, who, at the close of each separate 
one, pauses, while one of the young ladies utters in al 
ternate response the reward or penalty that guards it. 

But who is she, thus seated in chair of state side by 
side with the executive, reading with her the judicial 
code, to whom she defers as an adjunct, ever and anon 
throughout the day, and in a low voice seems to consult 
her ? That is the Monitress. She has on a large slate 
before her the name of every pupil, opposite to which 
she registers their gains and losses by recitation or de 
portment. How earned she this position of honor and 
trust ? By being at the head of the class at the close 
of the previous day. How came she there ? By im 
maculate obedience to the rules ? Yes and by some 
what more. It had been observed, during my previous 
years of service, that correct orthography, and the accu 
rate definition of words, had been too much neglected 



EDUCATIONAL REMEMBRANCES. 207 

in female education, or overshadowed by more showy 
attainments. Desiring to give prominence to this 
branch, I thought it best to connect it with a palpable 
and coveted distinction. Just before the devotions that 
closed our daily school, a short time was allowed to 
look over the orthographical lesson which had pre 
viously been studied. Then each one, as her name was 
called, by the monitress, arose, and took her place in 
the class. Every word, as given out by the teacher, 
was required to be accurately spelled, and its etymol 
ogy, definition, and grammatical signification clearly 
told. Mistake, or even hesitation, caused the word to 
be passed onward, and the thorough scholar took her 
place above the discomfited ones. Close study, a clear 
understanding of the shades of meaning, and a ready 
utterance were thus simultaneously cultivated, while 
the stimulus of emulation concealed the severity of the 
mental tax. The one left at the head of the class after 
what was sometimes almost a decimation, was the moni 
tress for the ensuing day. The last act of the ci-devant 
monitress was to write upon her slate the order of the 
class, and resign it to her successor; the power at 
tached to that office being too great to be held with 
safety for a longer period than a single day. Moreover, 
it involved a future honor a premium given at the 
close of the term to the one who had most frequently 
sustained that office. Another prize was also accorded 
at the same period to the pupil who had attained the 



208 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

greatest number of credit-marks. These were the test 
of scholarship, one being given for every correct an 
swer in any recitation which was rendered in a distinct 
elocution. A list of these credit-marks was kept by 
the monitress on her slate, and copied by me nightly 
into a book for this purpose. Infraction of the rules 
was attended with the loss of an allotted number of 
credit-marks, or lowering the place in the class. The 
highest penalty ever inflicted during my five years of 
administration, was to go to the bottom of the class. 
This was a very rare occurrence, as our rules were 
framed on the principle that strictness prevents severity. 
The monitress, and the credit-mark premium, toward 
which earnest effort was directed throughout the whole 
term, consisted of a single volume, of no great pecu 
niary value, but coveted and prized for its written tes 
timony of merit, and having usually the name of its 
fortunate possessor in gold letters upon the cover. 

These rewards, it will be perceived, bore directly 
upon scholarship and exemplary deportment. Yet I 
desired also to encourage those amiable dispositions 
which are so essential to the true womanly character. 
I believed that some who were unable to take the high 
est rank as students, or who might even by inadver 
tence have fallen short in some of our minuter points 
of discipline, might still possess that lovely tempera 
ment which, more than either, sheds happiness on the 
domestic sphere. I wished to distinguish this unobtru- 



EDUCATIONAL REMEMBRANCES. 209 

sive excellence. But how was it to be done ? Could I 
safely trust myself with such a selection ? Might not 
some, by pleasing manners, ingratiate themselves with 
me, and yet not be remarkable for amiable affections 
toward their fellow pupils ? Therefore they would be 
the most accurate judges. I decided that they should 
on such an occasion exercise the right of suffrage. 
Explaining this to them, and charging them to vote 
conscientiously, and without influence from others, each 
was permitted to give me, at the close of the term, a 
sealed ballot containing the name of the one who had 
with the least variation given the most amiable exam 
ple. To the counting of these votes, and the announce 
ment of the successful candidate, I gave as much dig 
nity and eclat as possible. The welcome from her com 
peers was touching. Each gave her the kiss of the 
heart. At the examination in all the studies on the 
last day, where invited friends were present, she wore 
a crown of flowers, woven by their hands, as their cho 
sen Queen, the loved of all. 

In the distribution of these three marked honors, 
simple enough, yet intensely coveted, it will be per 
ceived that I left myself no chance for partiality, with 
which instructors are often charged by the discomfited. 
Two were as clear and open in their winning, as any 
mathematical demonstration, and the other was the 
result of an uncanvassed suffrage. A prominent objec 
tion to the distribution of school rewards, is the possi- 



210 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

bility or the odium of injustice. Yet there are some 
whose system of ethics is so delicate as wholly to dis 
card the principle of emulation. Of this class was my 
friend the Rev. Mr. Gallaudet, the accomplished prin 
cipal of the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb. Ever 
was he saying to me : " I dissent from your theory. 
You know what Book classes emulation with * wrath, 
strifes, seditions, and other still more wicked works." 

" Yet does not the same Sacred Volume appeal to 
our hope as well as our fear ? as those who run in a 
race for the prize of their high calling. 

" I am sure you ought to agree with me, that a 
right education should teach to do right from the love 
of goodness, and not the lucre of gain." 

Our arguments, sometimes " long drawn out," usu 
ally ended in my confession of inability to manage a 
school without the aid of this powerful principle. I 
was sure that the expectation of a meed fairly earned, 
which would impart happiness to parents and friends, 
gave strength to their young hearts to overcome indo 
lence and press on in the path of habitual duty. I felt 
that their guard from the dangers of competition was 
in the truth and warmth of their own friendships. 
This was cultivated with such success, that the jealousy 
and envy against which we were forewarned, gained no 
entrance into their charmed circle. There were occa 
sions when the claims of aspirants so closely approxi 
mated as to make the difference scarcely perceptible. 



EDUCATIONAL REMEMBRANCES. 211 

Then their cherished attachment came forth in beautiful 
prominence. 

One instance I chance to recollect, where, in perse 
vering efforts for a particular premium, two pupils had 
for months advanced side by side. As the term reached 
its close, there was a slight but clear indication of pre 
cedence. In conformity to this, the honor was award 
ed. When the class came forward, as was their cus 
tom, to congratulate their exemplary associate, she who 
had failed only a step or two in climbing the same 
arduous height was among them. Possibly a secret 
tear might have moistened her eye ; but, hastening to 
embrace her more fortunate companion, she said most 
sweetly and gracefully, in reference to a period of Gre 
cian history recently studied together : 

" Pedaritus, when he missed a place among the cho 
sen three hundred, rejoiced that there were in Sparta 
three hundred better than himself." 

She who uttered this sentiment, now Mrs. Catharine 
N". Toucey, who was with me from the first to the last 
day of my period of instruction, has continued to ad 
vance in loveliness and intellectual attainment, having 
been distinguished at the court of our nation, where 
for years her lot was cast, by those graces of manner 
and conversation that lent attraction to her example of 
piety. 

But how widely I am digressing from my pre 
scribed theme ! I commenced to give you the pro- 



212 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

gramme of a day in school. Whither have I wan 
dered ? In this region of memory I am as a bee 
hovering over a parterre of flowers, not knowing where 
to alight. How can I pursue a straight course to the 
hive, so allured with their honeyed essence ? 

I think I have already said, that every hour we 
spent together had its allotted employment. To pass 
from one to the other promptly, and without loss of 
time, was numbered among the school virtues. Often, 
with no announcement save the turning of the hour 
glass, they changed books or implements, bent over the 
prescribed lesson, or rose to recitation with military 
precision. We all became attached to that primitive 
chronometer, as making visible by its gliding sands the 
swift transit of time. 

I gave all the influence in my power to the simple, 
solid branches of culture, as the best basis for a rational 
education, and through that for a consistent character. 
To distinct, deliberate utterance both in reading and 
conversation, I attached great importance. They agreed 
with me, that to puzzle and disappoint others in their 
efforts to understand, was both unkind and unjust ; and 
that, while they had the use of teeth, tongue, and 
oesophagus, they would not curtail, cheat, or swallow 
up any letter of the alphabet. The recitation of select 
passages of poetry was found a salutary exercise in the 
regulation of tone and emphasis. They devoted, at my 
request, much attention to the meaning of the sentences 



EDUCATIONAL REMEMBRANCES. 213 

they were to read, that, making the spirit of the author 
their own, they might more accurately interpret his 
style. 

Next to Reading and Orthography, with Definition, 
of which I have already spoken, came clear and beauti 
ful Penmanship. In thoroughly teaching this I was 
most assiduous. During its allotted hour I took no 
seat, but was ever passing from one to the other, to 
supply what was needed, regulate the holding of the 
pen, or improve the formation of the letters. As I set 
the copies after which they wrote, I reaped the advan 
tage common to instructors who teach any right thing 
by example self-improvement, even beyond that of 
their disciples. The acquisition of a chirography which 
has been praised as eminently easy to read, and not un 
graceful, I owe somewhat to early care, but more to 
the habit of teaching it to others. 

For Arithmetic, as leading the mind to application 
and concentration, I had a high esteem. I wished to 
render it subsidiary to the keeping of accounts a 
womanly attainment of great practical value. If every 
girl, as soon as she can write, should be induced to 
place the items of her expenditure in a little book for 
that purpose, it would be a practical guide to the right 
use of her income in future life. It would be a pecu 
niary protection to her husband, if she chance to have 
one, and save her from the forgetfulness and reckless 
indifference with which our sex often spend money, 



214 LETTERS OP LIFE. 

whose true value they cannot know from not having 
earned it, and whose power as an instrument of good 
they ought never to forget. Our hour for arithmetic 
was an exceedingly busy one, and I strove to make it 
interesting. Yet I could not flatter myself with uni 
versal success. Those who excelled were rather excep 
tions certainly a minority. I examined myself, not 
without reproach. I applied the axiom, that if any 
study is not agreeable to scholars, the teacher is in 
fault. It had been a favorite science of mine from 
early childhood, having been inured from the age of 
eight to keep accounts for my father. I could not dis 
cover where the deficiency was, unless I came to the 
conclusion that a love of arithmetic is not indigenous 
in the female mind ; for I was forced to admit that a 
class of boys of equal age, in the common district 
schools, would surpass most of my proficients. To add 
a feature of novelty, I gave, once a week, exercises in 
mental arithmetic, beginning simply with the multipli 
cation of one number by itself, until the amount be 
came as large as their memories could retain. To my 
surprise, they did well in these exercises, seeming 
scarcely conscious of their difficulty. These were at 
length omitted, as causing too much mental excite 
ment. 

In the Grammar of our language, so often de 
nounced as a dry study, we were particularly fortu 
nate. The etymology which they had from the begin- 



EDUCATIONAL REMEMBRANCES. 215 

ning united with their daily orthographical exercises, 
gave them both taste and facility in syntax and proso 
dy. These recitations I strove to make pleasant to 
them ; and by the aid of Lindley Murray s Exercises 
the best book of the kind then extant they became 
thorough adepts in parsing the most intricate sentences 
of our .most diffuse writers. I know not but that small 
volume is entirely superseded or out of print, but this 
shall not prevent my commendation and gratitude. 

An easy transition led them to enjoy Rhetoric, for 
which they were well prepared. Indeed, I was sur 
prised at so early a development of correct apprecia 
tion for the refinements of their native tongue. Their 
pure spirits thrilled, or glowed in harmony with our 
best orators and poets. A disposition to express their 
own thoughts with ease and elegance, both in writing 
or orally, being the natural fruit of such studies, was 
encouraged. Yet, having discovered that the stern 
requisition of stated compositions from novices often 
daunted those who might have little to say, and 
checked the impulse of those who had none, I made no 
demand for elaborate moral essays. As the epistolary 
style is always valuable to our sex, and, by its endless 
variety of subject, allures those who would shrink at 
the formidable idea of " composition," and its attendant 
criticism, I permitted them, at stated times, to express 
their thoughts in a letter addressed to myself. They 
strenuously insisted on a response, and I found this fur- 



216 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

nished me with opportunities of suggesting or en 
forcing subjects of consequence to us both, more fully 
than I could do in conversation. 

Ancient and Modern Geography, with Natural and 
Moral Philosophy, were sources of mutual enjoyment. 
Each lesson was required to be studied at home, and 
their allotted portion of the precious school-hours de 
voted to recitation and explanation. I was careful not 
to drive their minds over too great a space at once, lest 
they should form a habit of being superficial. Neither 
would I burden them with too many studies at the 
same time, lest, by pressure or redundancy of aliment, 
the intellectual digestion should become impaired, or 
secret harm be done to the invisible network of nerves 
that link the material to the divine. Knowledge pur 
chased by the wreck of health, is truly but " sounding 
brass and a tinkling cymbal." To us it was not a task, 
but, like our daily food, a necessity and a pleasure, for 
which we gave God thanks. 

Four afternoons in the week we read History to 
gether, according to the system that has been already 
mentioned. I took great pains to have them connect 
with every event of consequence its correlative date. 
They soon felt the value of this as a map to arrest and 
deepen the traces of memory. They were pleased with 
the quaint axiom, that " Geography and Chronology 
are the eyes of History," and said, " We will not grope, 
like the blind, through the great Temple of the Past." 



EDUCATIONAL BEMEMBRANCES. 217 

I was not in possession of any good chronological 
synopsis for their benefit. With the systems of Mrs. 
Willard, that noble pioneer in female education, I was 
not acquainted. My only resource seemed, to make, 
from my own historical reading, a list of such dates as 
might be most important or interesting. As this was 
with me a favorite exercise, it soon swelled to about 
two hundred. Their copies of my manuscript cata 
logue while in the progress of arrangement were frag 
mentary, hastily traced on slips of paper, on corners of 
slates, and often on no scroll but memory. Yet, almost 
by magic, they possessed themselves of the chain that 
bound events together, from the Creation downward. 
When an unemployed interval of only a few minutes 
occurred, I was accustomed to ask them for a date, and, 
looking up with a bright smile, they would answer. 
Methought they took peculiar pride in that science. 
Perhaps because they knew I delighted in it, and I was 
striving, with the aid of crude materials, to impart it 
to them. The questions were varied, that the answers 
might combine sometimes the date, sometimes the ex 
planation. For instance : " In what year of the world 
did the ark rest upon Mount Ararat ? Who was called, 
1921 years before the Christian era, to go forth alone 
from his people and his father s house? Who was 
Queen of Assyria, and who the Judge of Israel, when 
Troy was destroyed, 1184 years before Christ ? When 
were the Jews carried into captivity by the Chaldeans ? 
10 



218 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

How many years afterward was Xerxes defeated at 
Salarais ? Who invaded Britain in A.D. 55, and what 
was his reception ? " The dates after the Christian era 
were of course more numerous, and a convenient mode 
for a rapid review of history. I recollect they were 
fond of replying to the question, " How long after the 
birth of our Saviour did John the Baptist commence 
his ministry?" in the comprehensive words of the 
Evangelist Luke : " In the fifteenth year of the reign 
of Tiberius Ca3sar, Pontius Pilate being governor of 
Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his 
brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and of the region of 
Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, 
Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word 
of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the 
wilderness." A few of my pupils were tenacious of 
the honor of never missing in a recitation of nearly 
two hundred dates ; and, clumsy as the course may 
seem to modern criticism, it enabled them to systema 
tize their knowledge, and confirmed a class of mental 
habits for which they express gratitude even to this 
day. The wonderful power of memory revealed by 
some of them in this and similar exercises, made me 
think it might be almost limitless ; and yet I feared to 
call it fully forth, or to bring too palpably to bear upon 
it the force of emulation, lest the healthful balance of 
the mind might haply be in danger. 

I desired to form in them the habit of a daily tran- 



EDUCATIONAL REMEMBRANCES. 219 

script of events and feelings, believing that it not only 
teaches the value of time, by turning attention to its 
minuter portions, but rescues life from dreamy forget- 
fulness, and deepens the lessons derived from God s 
varied discipline, by keeping it freshly in remembrance. 
To borrow the language of a beautiful writer : 

" There is a richness about the life of one who keeps 
a diary, unknown to others. Time, thus looking back, 
is not a bare line, just stringing together personal iden 
tity, but intermingled and intertwined with thousands 
of slight incidents that give it beauty, kindliness, real 
ity. It is not merely a collection, an aggregate of 
facts, that comes back to you ; it is something far more 
excellent than that : it is the soul of days gone by, the 
dear auld lang syne itself, quickened, and in new robes. 
The perfume of the faded hawthorn hedge is there 
the sweet breath of breezes that fanned our gray hair 
when it made sunny curls, smoothed down by hands 
that are in the grave." 

Convinced as I was by experience of the benefits of 
this practice, which I had commenced unprompted at 
the age of eleven, I still hesitated to press upon those 
young pupils, amid their many studies, the requisition 
of a daily journal. I therefore devised a preparatory 
step, which I hoped might eventually lead to the de 
sired result. During one of my short vacations with 
my parents, I made a number of blank books me- 
thinks I see them now, with their long foolscap pages 



220 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

and marble-paper covers. These were christened " Re 
membrancers," and each pupil encouraged to write 
therein, at the close of each week, a brief synopsis of 
whatever had occurred around her, or within herself, 
that she deemed worthy of preservation. They faith 
fully complied with my request ; and since these 
school-sketches had not the secresy of a diary, I ap 
pointed a time every Saturday to have them read 
aloud. This induced them to be more attentive to the 
style, and the subjects were often found mutually and 
pleasantly suggestive. 

So regular was our established system, that each 
hour during the week had its appointed employment, 
almost as unalterable as the code of the Medes and 
Persians. Still, as the young heart loves variety, I 
endeavored to keep that in view whenever it could be 
consistently combined with the great features of order. 
On Monday was the recitation of the sermons heard the 
preceding day. It comprised the text, and such recollec 
tions of the teachings from the pulpit as they were able 
to bear away. They were advised not to take notes on 
paper, but on Memory s tablet. This served to fix their 
attention on the instructions of the sacred day ; and they 
gradually made such proficiency, that the language of 
the speaker, if in any degree remarkable, was correctly 
reported. They had liberty, if they chose, afterwards 
to write these recollections in their Remembrancer, or 
to keep a blank-book for that especial purpose. 



EDUCATIONAL REMEMBRANCES. 221 

On Friday afternoon was a thorough review of all 
the studies which had been pursued during the week 
a " gathering up of the fragments, that nothing might 
be lost." Then, also, my dear little silent disciple, 
Alice Cogswell, the loved of all, had her pleasant privi 
lege of examination. Coming ever to my side, if she 
saw me a moment disengaged, with her sweet supplica 
tion, " Please, teach Alice something," the words, or 
historical facts thus explained by signs, were alpha 
betically arranged in a small manuscript book, for her 
to recapitulate and familiarize. Great was her delight 
when called forth to take her part. Descriptions in 
animated gesture she was fond of intermingling with a 
few articulate sounds, unshaped by the ear s criticism. 
In alluding to the death of Henry II. of England from 
a surfeit of lamprey-eels, she invariably uttered, in 
strong, guttural intonation, the word " fool ! " adding, 
by signs, her contempt of eating too much, and a 
scornful imitation of the squirming creature who had 
thus prostrated a mighty king. Fragments from the 
annals of all nations, w T ith the signification of a multi 
tude of words, had been taught by little and little, 
until her lexicon had become comprehensive ; and as 
her companions, from love, had possessed themselves 
of the manual alphabet and much of the sign-language, 
they affectionately proposed that the examination should 
be of themselves, and that she might be permitted to 
conduct it. Here was a new pleasure, the result of 



222 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

their thoughtful kindness. Eminently happy was she 
made, while each in rotation answered with the lips her 
question given by the hand, I alternately officiating as 
interpreter to her, or critic to them, if an explanation 
chanced to be erroneous. Never can I forget the 
varied expression of intelligence, naivete, irony, or love 
that would radiate from her beautiful hazel eyes on 
these occasions. It was such intercourse that sug 
gested the following poetical reply to a question once 
asked in the institution of the Abbe Sicard, at Paris : 
" Les Sourds Muets se trouvent-ils malheureux ? " * 

Oh, could the kind inquirer gaze 

Upon thy brow with gladness fraught, 

Its smile, like inspiration s rays, 

Would give the answer to his thought. 

And could he see thy sportive grace 

Soft blending with submission due, 
And note thy bosom s tenderness 

To every just emotion true ; 

Or, when some new idea glows 

On the pure altar of the mind, 
Behold the exulting tear that flows, 

In silent ecstasy refined ; 

Thine active life, thy look of bliss, 
The sparkling of thy magic eye, 

* "Are the deaf and dumb unhappy?" 



EDUCATIONAL REMEMBKANCES. 223 

Would all his skeptic doubts dismiss, 
And bid him lay his pity by, 

To bless the ear that ne er has known 

The voice of censure, pride, or art, 
Nor trembled at that sterner tone 

Which like an ice-bolt chills the heart ; 

And bless the lip that ne er may tell 

Of human woes the vast amount, 
Nor pour those idle words that swell 

The terror of our last account. 

For sure the stream of noiseless course 

May flow as deep, as pure, as blest, 
As that which bursts in torrents hoarse, 

Or whitens o er the mountain s breast ; 

As sweet a scene, as fair a shore, 

As rich a soil its tide may lave, 
Then joyful and accepted pour 

Its tribute to the Eternal wave. 

The pleasures of the Friday s rehearsal were termi 
nated by each one s quietly bringing me a written vote, 
on which was the name of the young lady whom they 
considered to have exhibited throughout the week the 
most faultless example. 

The successful candidate, amid the greetings of her 
companions, was invested with the honor of Saturday 



224 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

Monitress. This implied the reception of a certificate 
in my best chirography, a seat at my side as vice-regent, 
and the privilege of inviting some of her friends to 
pass the forenoon in our school-room. The exercises 
differed from those of any other day in the week, and 
after our stated religious worship, commenced with the 
recitation of poetry and prose, to which I attached 
great importance, and in which they were thought by 
competent judges to excel. The right of selection was 
accorded to them, subject to my approval, and I was 
often both surprised and delighted at the accuracy of 
taste they evinced. Their style of elocution, not am 
bitious of rhetorical flourish, was required to be delib 
erate, distinct, and perfectly feminine. How admirably 
many of them entered into the spirit of the author ! 
Methinks I still hear the sweet tones of some of the 
younger ones repeating the favorite hymns of Addison : 

" The spacious firmament on high," 
or, 

" When all thy mercies, my God, 
My rising soul surveys ; " 

or his almost inspired version of the Twenty-third 
Psalm. 

A lovely creature, with flowing, flaxen curls, a 
daughter of Mrs. Thomas Chester, who gave in une 
qualled intonations the ode of Henry Kirke White : 



EDUCATIONAL REMEHBEANCES. 225 

" Come, Disappointment, come ! 
Thou art not stern to me " 

has entered where harmony is unending ; and another, 
Mrs. Mary Weld, who has successfully trained sons and 
daughters for the race of life, used to thrill every 
hearer by her full, fine emphasis in the poem of Pope : 

" Rise, crown d with light, imperial Salem, rise ! " 

This pleasant entertainment was followed by read 
ing their weekly remembrances, where the same clear 
elocution was required, for I well remembered how often, 
in seminaries of young ladies, I had listened painfully, 
but almost in vain, to the movements of their ruby 
lips, doubtless uttering beautiful sentiments. Every 
third Saturday they read a letter which they had 
written to me ; and I also, one addressed to them, and 
which was claimed by the Saturday Monitress as her 
peculiar perquisite. A selection from the last-named 
class of epistles I have been within a few years induced 
to publish, entitled " Letters to my Pupils," connected 
with biographical sketches of some of that loved group 
who have been earliest summoned to begin the travel 
of eternity. 

During the two intervening Saturdays, for I directed 
epistolary composition only once in three weeks, our 
closing exercise was reading to them the memoir of 
some distinguished person, which I had abridged for 



226 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

their use. I was careful to select those whose examples 
might naturally and happily bear upon their own course 
of principle or action. Always did they reward me by 
fixed attention, as if they fully appreciated this loving 
service. And then we parted until another week. It 
might seem affectation to say, not without regret. And 
yet I have heard them express it, for they delighted in 
each other s company, as I in theirs. 

The discovery of a new pleasure brought them occa 
sionally together during this interval, the pleasure of 
doing good. They had become somewhat acquainted 
with a class of girls in humble life, to whom I gave re 
ligious instruction on Saturday afternoons. Their quick 
eyes detected some deficiencies in apparel which they 
thought the supernumeraries of their own wardrobe 
might happily supply. Obtaining permission at home 
for this transfer, they found it desirable to meet and 
consult on the best modes of adaptation and repair. It 
was felt to be no privation thus to devote a portion of 
their only weekly recess. I sometimes saw them, thus 
gathered in the school-room, with their busy needles, 
thoughtfully devising to whom this or that garment 
should appertain, and how it might be most accurately 
fitted to the dimensions of the recipient. I was sur 
prised at both their judgment and efficiency. The old 
est of this board of commissioners was sixteen, and the 
youngest six, the majority ranging from nine to thir 
teen. Yet with a singular mixture of maternal care, 



EDUCATIONAL REMEMBRANCES. 227 

and the acuteness of the sempstress, they might be 
heard debating how a dress might be repaired, or a 
mantle enlarged, or a hood rejuvenated, so as best to 
accommodate the little body or head that most needed 
them. When I listened to the ring of their melodious 
voices, and saw the glance of their bright eyes, as they 
decided on some successful expedient, or triumphantly 
displayed some finished garment, I have felt that they 
could never be so truly happy at any splendid party. 

As it is the nature of true charity to expand, they 
were led from link to link in the chain of goodness. 
This clothing process induced more intimate acquaint 
ance with their pensioners, and they thus ascertained 
that in the families of some were aged, or sick persons, 
or feeble infants, requiring assistance. Appointing al 
moners to visit and report, they formed themselves 
into a regular society, with a written constitution, at a 
time when such associations were so much less common 
than at present, as to give the plan almost a pioneer, 
or at least a novel character. 

Prompted by that charity which leads its votaries 
from grace to grace, these pure-hearted beings con 
ceived a desire of making their monthly alms the fruit 
of their own efforts. " Is it any benevolence," said 
they, " to give away the money of others ? " When 
they first mentioned to me their design, I replied: 
" What can you do, my children, with those little 
hands ? " But they persevered. Each consulted with 



228 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

mother and friends at home. There they found concur 
rence. A variety of methods were adopted, suited to 
their respective positions. One was systematically to 
perform some slight domestic service, to which a sti 
pend was attached. Another was to aid in the depart 
ment of plain needle-work, or mending, all happily 
bearing upon the cultivation of a taste for household 
good. If it was found that these new occupations in 
vaded the time appropriated to their daily lessons, they 
promised to rise an hour earlier in the morning. Their 
fixedness of purpose was remarkable ; so was their in 
genuity in searching out forms of remunerative indus 
try. During one afternoon reading of History, I ob 
served one bright little head bent over her desk, instead 
of the accustomed attitude of face to the circle. On 
going to her seat I found her with an elongated piece 
of leather on her lap, in which she was dexterously in 
serting slender pieces of bent wire. To the inquiry, 
what she was doing, she briskly answered : 

" Setting card-teeth for the spinning machines. 
They have promised to pay me." 

" How did you learn the art ? " 

" Oh, in their shop, by looking on a few minutes. 
It is more profitable work than I could get at home." 

When they brought their first contribution at the 
opening of a new month, under this new regime, ob 
serving their eyes to beam with a deep satisfaction, I 
said : " You have not cast into the treasury that which 



EDUCATIONAL REMEMBRANCES. 229 

cost you nothing." Their quiet reply was sweet : " Of 
thine own, Lord, have we given Thee." 

Their benevolence had also the crowning grace of 
humility. They avoided allusions to it save for pur 
poses of consultation. " It is our design," says one of 
the articles of their written constitution, " to impart our 
bounty without ostentation, following the example of 
Him who went about doing good, without seeking the 
applause of men." I have reason to believe that they 
were strictly governed by this principle. Some touch 
ing incidents were related to me by various friends, of 
light footsteps in the abodes of the sick or sorrowing 
poor, flitting garments, vanishing forms, and relief left 
behind, as if by angel visitants. 

Their spirit of good works had also the element of 
continuance. Long after the termination of their school, 
their charitable society held its annual meetings, its 
choice of officers, its varied and judicious enterprises. 
I find the following tribute to one of their regular anni 
versaries, addressed to them several years after my 
marriage : 

The traveller in some clime serene, 

Where Nature rules with genial sway, 
Blots from his heart no blissful scene 

That cheer d the wanderings of his way. 

If beauty rose with winning air, 
If Flora s drapery deck d the place ; 



230 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

If birds of Paradise were there, 
He fondly guards the glowing trace. 

Like him, recall the landscape sweet 
That woke on this auspicious day ; 

Nor let so fair an image fleet 
From memory s vivid page away. 

Regard, as through some fountain wave, 
Whose crystal courts the admiring view ; 

The brilliant pearls that knowledge gave, 
The coral cells where friendship grew. 

Nor oh, forget the sigh for those, 
Companions then, in youthful bloom ; 

Who, withering like the smitten rose, 
Have sunk in beauty to the tomb. 

Where er o er life s eventful stage 
Your far divided path may tend ; 

Where o er your locks the frosts of age 
Or chilling snows of care descend, 

Though she, who once with partial eyes, 
The record of your worth would keep, 

Buried and cold to earthly ties, 
Should moulder in oblivion s sleep, 

Remember still this sacred hour, 
By pity to the sons of need ; 

By pure affection s changeless power, 
By deep devotion s heaven-born deed. 



EDUCATIONAL REMEMBRANCES. 231 

Engrave it on your fleeting span, 

By prayers of faith, and acts of love, 
That He who reads the heart of man, 

May note it in His Book above. 

So that dread Book which none may dare 

Unmoved, unshrinking to survey ; 
A bright, auspicious trace shall bear, 

If thus ye keep this hallowed day. 

Great was my rejoicing over these lovely beings. 
Great my glorying in them. Earnest my petitions that 
they might lead all the remainder of their lives ac 
cording to this beginning. I trust it has been so. 
Cheered have I been by their course among more ar 
duous duties and important responsibilities. 

As the close of our first year approached, they 
sought my permission to celebrate the day on which 
our school commenced. With a pleasing flattery they 
said, " It is more to us than the Fourth of July was to 
our fathers. It began for us a new life." I found their 
plans, which had only awaited my consent, in quite a 
state of forwardness. From various propositions and 
phases of enjoyment, they had chosen a rural festival. 
The designated spot was a beautiful grove, on the 
banks of a fair stream, carpeted with a rich, dense turf. 
No more congenial locality could have been selected, in 
which to rivet the links of cherished remembrance. 

Our anniversary was the 1st of August. Many 



232 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

young eyes studied the promise of the clouds, rain 
being a fearful foe to such delights as they anticipated. 
A finer morning never dawned upon expectant earth. 
At an early hour the committee of arrangements pro 
ceeded to their field of action. Parents, and particular 
friends, had already received invitations to be present, 
and partake our happiness. 

Vividly the scene returns, with all its minute linea 
ments. The lofty trees, lightly waving with the breath 
of summer, the " smooth-shaven green," the sparkling 
river, with its liquid monotony of welcome, the beam 
ing countenances of the white-robed band, the light 
footsteps of those of their number whose office it was 
to receive the guests, and who, with graceful courtesy, 
their sashes floating out on the breeze, hastened for 
ward to greet eveiy coming friend. Then there was 
the long table, with its white cloth gleaming through 
embowering branches, spread with a plentiful collation 
of wonderful variety, each having contributed, in an 
ample basket, such viands as were deemed most rare 
or congenial. Thus every visitant was liberally enter 
tained, and hospitably pressed to replenish, by the wide 
awake, untiring hostesses. There were also songs, and 
pleasant talk, among the picturesque groups seated be 
neath umbrageous trees, or wandering by the fringed 
margin of the river, and, as the sun drew low, warm 
thanks of the gratified visitants, as they returned to 
their carnages. After their departure, the care of the 



EDUCATIONAL REMEMBRANCES. 233 

young dispensers of the feast over its varied fragments 
was admirable, for in the time of their gayety they did 
not forget the poor. Intimate knowledge of the state 
of their pensioners, enabled them to decide what would 
be most appropriate for the sick, the aged, and the fam 
ilies where many children clustered. With prompti 
tude, each allotted portion was despatched to its re 
spective designation. 

These delightful festivals were maintained with un 
impaired enthusiasm at every return of the 1st of Au 
gust, during the continuance of the school. One of 
their unique and interesting habitudes, was the corona 
tion of the Queen of the year, the young lady who, 
during that period, had been pronounced, by the suf 
frage of her companions, to have excelled them all in 
amiable disposition and virtues. At the appointed 
time, a rich garland of woven flowers was placed upon 
her brow, with congratulations from her subjects. Her 
Majesty vouchsafed a brief address, sometimes poeti 
cal, and the whole beautiful ceremony was calculated 
to inspire good resolutions in the hearts of her com 
peers. 

They sometimes wished to extend their enjoyment 
beyond the circle of consanguinity or friendship, and 
invited the silent inmates of the neighboring institution 
for the deaf and dumb to spend an hour in the grove, 
and share their collation ; or the orphan girls of the 
Beneficent Society, whose improved wardrobe, or new 



234 LETTEES OF LIFE. 

dresses, disclosed the bounty of their fair entertain 
ers. 

It was to me an unexpected and affecting propo 
sition, that after the dissolution of our school, its anni 
versary should still be kept in the consecrated grove. 
Thither we therefore gathered year by year, brightening 
the links of memory s jewelled chain. The gravity of 
life s cares had settled upon some of us. There were 
no more flower coverings; but in every hand was a 
vivid evergreen, or a thornless rose, culled from the 
field of knowledge and of love, which we had to 
gether traversed. Still, their charitable society was in 
existence ; and here, in a quiet little nook, was held 
their annual choice of officers. Considerable variety 
marked their selection of objects. On one occasion it 
would be an infant school apparatus for a loved asso 
ciate, who had gone forth to bear the Gospel to heathen 
Burmah ; then a choice collection of books for a mis 
sionary among our own aborigines, or a library for the 
colony of Liberia, in Africa, which was just lifting 
its head above the surrounding darkness. An eloquent 
letter which accompanied a donation of fifty dollars to 
the widows and orphans of Athens, during the strug 
gle with Moslem tyranny, says : 

" We were once members of a happy school, with 
whose early studies the history of your classic clime 
was prominently interwoven. To Greece, especially to 
Athens, our young hearts went forth in willing pilgrim- 



EDUCATIONAL REMEMBRANCES. 235 

age. We now offer you a gift, in the name of our com 
mon Redeemer. Stretching our hands to you across 
the globe, we pray you to be of good courage." 

By degrees our band became widely separated, 
their new homes forming a line of posts from New 
Hampshire to Georgia. They twined a wreath of re 
membrances by promising to write to some one of 
their number, or to me, on the return of the 1st of Au 
gust. These epistles were often read at our assem 
blages in the grove. But if some had left our charmed 
circle, others appeared, claiming a right of representa 
tion. Carpets were spread on the fresh, smooth turf, 
where little forms gambolled, and small, new faces 
looked up with glad, wondering eyes. Sometimes a 
j oyous prattler would be led to a fair recess, and told 
that on that spot its mother had placed upon her head a 
beautiful crown, for being the very best among all good 
children. Over many brows was stealing a deeper 
thoughtfulness, from the blessed cares of the mother 
and housekeeper, the climax of woman s happiness, for 
which their course of education had striven to give 
fitness and harmony. 

Our anniversary festival, though sometimes omitted 
by the necessity of circumstances, was observed with 
more punctuality than could have been naturally an 
ticipated, and always preserved its features of tender 
interest. The twenty-fifth return of the 1st of August 
found me on the ocean, a voyager to Europe. Still that 



236 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

loved band, true as the tribes of Israel to Mount Zion, 
gathered in their dedicated grove, with kind wishes and 
prayers for her who rode the " tossing, melancholy 
main," and from the far-off, crested billow, breathed for 
them, in the voice of affection, her blended greeting 
and adieu. 

Our latest celebration, the forty-fifth, seemed to me 
to possess features of peculiar interest. Diminished 
numbers, and mournful associations connected with the 
grove, of those who must meet us there no more, sug 
gested the propriety of a different gathering-place, and 
my own quiet parlors were the accepted substitute. 
Thither they came, the lovely and beloved. A few of 
them were from other cities, and from distant States. 
Thirty-three out of our circle had entered that angelic 
class, than which they had here stood but a " little 
lower." The original eighty-four were now more than 
twice outnumbered in the second generation. 

Yet in our hearts there was no change. Each 
one of us, perchance, had hidden there some cypress- 
bud. But we came not together for sadness. Every 
face was wreathed in smiles. We summoned the past, 
and it returned without a shadow or a thorn. One, 
Mrs. Emmeline Rockwell, who had preserved much of 
the beauty and grace of early prime, and who, in her 
journey from the Hudson River, had been fourteen 
hours in the cars, said, with a sparkle in her ex 
pressive black eye, she was " not at all fatigued, and 



EDUCATIONAL BEMEMBRANCES. 23*7 

would have remained there twice as long, rather than 
not be in season for the reunion." Interesting epistles 
were read from absent ones, my early records of our 
school-life searched into, while this revivifying of 
scenes and events of other days made us all young 
again. 

As twilight approached, two bright, efficient beings, 
insisted on relieving me from all superintendence of the 
tea-table, which they had all previously united in 
loading with luxuries. This blissful occasion was to 
me most sweet and salubrious. It brought new life 
into the lone heart. It restored those precious years 
when side by side we labored and aspired, viewing 
education as a mighty and solemn thing, which was 
to gird us for the battle of life, and the victory over 
death. 

With my whole soul I bless God for those years 
of diligent effort. I thank Him that I was permitted 
to sustain such a relation to those pure-hearted and 
affectionate creatures. If I was made an instrument 
of any good to them, I received tenfold from them, 
and from the sweet toil of being their teacher. What 
can better close remembrances so dear, than the 
eloquent words of the great statesman of Massachu 
setts : 

" If we work upon marble, it will perish. If we 
work upon brass, time will efface it. If we rear tem 
ples, they will crumble to dust. But, if we work 



238 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

upon immortal minds ; if we imbue them with high 
principle*,, with a just fear of God, and respect for 
their fellow-men, we engrave on those tablets some 
thing which no time can deface, but which will deepen 
and brighten throughout all eternity." 



LETTER X. 

LOVE AND MARRIAGE. 

I AM extremely tired of these letters. So I am per 
suaded will you be, or any one else who attempts to 
read them. I must try to bring them to a close. 

And yet, when people talk about themselves, the 
temptation to garrulity is great. Is not that one rea 
son why we like our physician ? We alone are the 
subject. He asks of our minute symptoms, and listens 
attentively to all we say. Perhaps he thinks lightly of 
our statements, or suspects exaggeration ; but that he 
keeps to himself, and on we go. 

I think I have already mentioned that social inter 
course between the sexes, in the olden time, began at 
an earlier period than at present, the time allotted to 
school education being far more brief. Though unen 
cumbered by ceremony, it was characterized by cour 
tesy and severe decorum. It combined the elements 
of a cheering friendship with some degree of mental 
improvement. Reading aloud instructive books, with 



240 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

the singing of songs to which our voices became admi 
rably trained, were often the amusement of our evening 
visits. We gave no entertainment to the animal appe 
tites. It was not expected. Almost children as we 
were, this Platonic intercourse was genial and ele 
vating. Any slight preference that chanced to reveal 
itself, caused no disturbance in this sweet preface to 
the history of life. 

But as years glided onward, with their changes, I 
was no stranger to the language of love, nor unsuscep 
tible to its sentiment. Manly beauty and grace I ap 
preciated, but the chief attraction was in intellect and 
knowledge. My most valued associates^ were of the 
latter order. I had also a penchant for the company 
of men considerably older than myself. This arose 
from several motives. I had always been taught to 
respect seniority. I gained from their experience more 
information, and felt secretly more at ease in their com 
pany, because I thought there could be no suspicion of 
their partiality, or of my seeking to create it. Ever 
had I been exceedingly sensitive to aught that bore the 
appearance of forwardness in my own sex. It seemed 
to me treason against their native refinement and their 
allotted sphere. So I still think ; and, however the 
modes of association may vary with differing genera 
tions, can never respect any woman who boldly seeks 
the attentions, or invades their province whose part it 
is to make advances, to legislate, and to bear rule. 



LOVE AND MARRIAGE. 241 

Perhaps I might have been deemed fastidious, but have 
never been able to lay aside my creed. 

I had still a deeper reason for avoiding serious ad 
vances. My mind was made up never to leave my 
parents. I felt that their absorbing love could never 
be repaid by the longest life-service, and that the re 
sponsibility of an only child, their sole prop and solace, 
would be strictly regarded by Him who readeth the 
heart. I had seen aged people surrounded by indiffer 
ent persons, who considered their care a burden, and 
could not endure the thought that my tender parents, 
who were without near relatives, should be thrown 
upon the fluctuating kindness of hirelings and stran 
gers. To me, my father already seemed aged, though 
scarcely sixty ; and I said, in my musing hours, Shall 
he, who never denied me aught, or spoke to me other 
wise than in love-tones, stretch forth his hands in their 
weakness, " and find none to gird him " ? 

So my resolution was taken solemnly, and, as I sup 
posed, irrevocably. The loved objects for whose sake 
it was adopted knew nothing of it. They would not 
have required such a pledge, nor, perhaps, accepted it. 
My mother would have been pleased, I fancy, to have 
seen some reciprocity on my part on particular occa 
sions. She was not without ambition, and would have 
enjoyed seeing her darling s lot in life uplifted and 
made permanent. She often rallied me on my indiffer 
ence to various fascinations, ascribing it to the love of 
11 



242 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

books, which she hinted might become extravagant or 
morbid. I conversed frankly with her respecting all 
my gentlemen friends, and my peculiar standing with 
them, and was both surprised and enlightened by her 
acuteness in the analysis of character, and her discrimi 
nating criticism of the style of manner and conversa 
tion. 

Secretly deeming myself a thing set apart, I con 
scientiously avoided all trifling with the feelings of oth 
ers. Detesting every form of flirtation, when I fore 
saw by woman s intuition that aught serious was 
meditated, I withdrew myself as far as possible until 
the impression passed by. It seemed to me rank dis 
honesty to sport about the purlieus of matrimony, with 
a fixed intention of never entering there. Neither 
were this innate vow and consequent self-denial so 
great as might naturally appear in one so young and 
so agreeably allured. Fondness for intellectual pur 
suits prevented any restless search of excitement or 
personal admiration ; and I never knew a sensation of 
loneliness save in uncongenial society. As my Lord 
Bacon says, "he had the privy-coat of a good con 
science," I wore, as an inward shield, my own con 
struction of a daughter s duty. 

Still, I was sometimes sorely tempted, and my faith 
ready to fail. At a time when my religious con 
victions were peculiarly strong, I painfully studied the 
case, whether I ought not to take part in mission labor 



LOVE AND MARKIAGE. 243 

in a foreign clime. The literal application of the pas 
sage was warmly pressed : " He that loveth father or 
mother more than me, is not worthy of me." " Not 
worthy of me ! Not worthy of me ! " rang like a 
dirge in my soul. But the surge of feeling subsided, 
and in deepened humility I decided that, without any 
worthiness whatsoever, I must cling to my Saviour s 
cross. 

Sundry times, also, I came near being caught in the 
clerical net, but broke through. Fascinations of a 
more ambitious character had likewise their scope and 
sway. Still my slight bark was guided, though some 
times veering, to keep its pole-star in view. Those who 
would have steered it to some favoring haven, where 

" The light-house looked lovely as hope, 
That star on Life s tremulous ocean," 

I remember with great respect and gratitude. Worth 
was theirs, and wealth, and mental culture, and the 
world s consideration. I was not insensible to their 
virtues ; their kind attentions are embalmed in mem 
ory. I have regarded their success and happiness with 
satisfaction, and would fain have ever considered them 
as brothers or friends. 

But the blind archer, though oft repulsed, and 
long held in subjection, bided his time. One might 
have supposed that, for me, this time had passed. A 
quiet school-dame, most happy with her scholars and 



244 LETTERS OP LIFE. 

Mends, having surmounted the period of youth s ro 
mantic enthusiasm, and addicted to " maiden medita 
tion, fancy-free," might have been thought no fit mark 
for his arrow. 

Nevertheless, as I plodded my way to and from my 
school-house, a pair of deep-set and most expressive 
black eyes sometimes encountered mine, and spoke un 
utterable things. They were the property of a gentle 
man of striking physiognomy and the elegant manners 
of the olden school. Their dialect might not have 
made a lasting impression on one whose every thought 
and faculty were bespoken by her daily occupation; 
but ere long a letter came a letter of touching elo 
quence and the fairest chirograph y. From this there 
was no escape. It was like a grappling-iron, not to be 
evaded. Wherever I turned, its words followed me as 
living creatures an image of the wheel seen by the 
entranced prophet, full of eyes, that gazed wherever he 
went. To love-letters I had been no stranger, yet 
nothing like this appeal had caused such perturbation, 
and captivity of thought. Its writer I had occasion 
ally met in select parties, with his wife, a being of 
angelic loveliness and beauty, who had gone to a 
higher and congenial sphere. 

At length I determined to consult my dear Mr. and 
Mrs. Wads worth. Readily and aifectionately they 
gave me their opinion, adding earnest urgency that I 
should accept the proposal. The gentleman who had 



LOVE AND MARRIAGE. 245 

thus honored me was of the highest respectability, 
their neighbor and friend. He possessed intellectual 
tastes, an accomplished education, and had given proof 
of his domestic virtues during a conjugal union of fif 
teen years. They also expressed apprehensions that 
my present profession, though delightful and prosper 
ous, might eventually make inroads on my health. 
They adduced several occasions where its inevitable 
exposure to changes and inclemency of weather had 
produced colds of peculiar severity and obstinacy. 
"Now I could take leave of the employment honorably, 
and without shadow of blame. We should perma 
nently dwell near each other, and be sundered no more. 
They held me closely to their heart, as they gave their 
advice that this should be viewed as a favoring provi 
dence of our Heavenly Benefactor. 

But the parents the parents, already looking with 
hope to the next vacation, when the sole idol of their 
thoughts and prayers should come with her lamp of 
love to enlighten their lonely dwelling shall they 
be told that she is making to herself a new home ? 
that she is meditating to sojourn with them no more ? 

It was decided that the case should be simply and 
circumstantially stated to them, with the assurance 
that I had not committed myself in any form, but 
awaited their decision, by which I would be implicitly 
guided, and begging that they would take full leisure 
to deliberate. I wrote the letter, and then led a life of 



246 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

supplication to Him who alone giveth wisdom. I 
might have said with the Psalmist, "I wait on the 
Lord ; my soul doth wait, and in His word is my 
hope." 

Several circumstances conspired to lengthen this 
period of suspense. And then came the letter from my 
blessed father and mother, cordially consenting to the 
proposed change of condition, and adding that, after 
the first surprise had subsided, their minds felt relief at 
the thought that, when death should take them from 
me, my brotherless and sisterless heart might rest on 
such a protector as he was represented to be by our 
most faithful friends and benefactors. 

During this probationary interval of somewhat 
more than three weeks, I had declined an interview. 
After the reception of the parental sanction, I find in 
my journal, with the date of January 27th, 1819, the 
following notice : 

" I feel almost astonished as I write the words. I 
am no more mine own, but another s. Last evening I 
promised to do all in my power to advance the happi 
ness of a man of the purest integrity, sensibility, and 
piety. I surely anticipate improvement from inter 
course with his elegant and scientific mind, but cannot 
avoid shuddering at my unfitness to fill the station his 
generosity has designated." 

But whither had fled that settled purpose of celi 
bacy, which with almost the sanctity of a vow had so 



LOVE AND MARRIAGE. 247 

long ruled my life ? Where was even the compunction 
that was wont to attend any parley with temptation 
to forsake the watch and ward of parental welfare ? 
Where that impersonation of filial gratitude and duty, 
to which I had bound myself, as a willing servant, for 
ever ? Ay, where ? 

I gave scope to the new affection, so long repressed 
or chastised, and its sway was pervading and delight 
ful. Every task was achieved with new vigor, every 
obstacle surmounted as with double strength. Indeed, 
it seemed as if nothing remained worthy the name of 
task or obstacle, so perfectly did couleur de rose over 
spread all things. The refrain of an ancient sacred 
melody echoed in my secret thought a perpetual 
melody : 

" God of grace ! 

Henceforth to Thee 
A hymn of praise 
My life must be." 

I was as one wrapped in the tissued drapery of a 
pleasant dream. What came the nearest to awakening 
me as a stern reality, was the necessary dissolution of 
my cherished school. It was in a highly prosperous 
state. The studies had never been more agreeably or 
earnestly prosecuted. We had recently commenced an 
interesting course of Modern History, and I was pur 
suing a system of experiment on the extent of the 



248 LETTEES OF LIFE. 

capacities of memory in the young unpreoccupied 
mind, which I was persuaded had not been fully ascer 
tained. 

Not long after my engagement, and while I sup 
posed its knowledge confined to particular friends, I 
met, on approaching our school-room, several knots of 
its occupants on the stairs and in the halls, with heads 
in close propinquity, which parted and flitted away as 
I drew near. Some exciting intelligence seemed circu 
lating with telegraphic speed. Not a whisper was 
heard ; but I fancied I could divine their subject. Dur 
ing the exercises of the morning, eyes were fixed on me 
with a varying expression of wondering curiosity or 
incipient regret. One or two of the youngest made 
errands to come to me, and linger as long as possible, 
watching my every movement as if they expected me 
to spread two great wings of an eagle, and vanish from 
their sight. It became fashionable among them, for a 
while, to asperse him to whose agency they ascribed 
the anticipated loss. But these childish ebullitions 
soon evaporated, and, in pleasant harmony with him 
and with me, we prepared for separation at the close 
of the existing term. It approached with unexampled 
rapidity ; and again I have recourse to my journal : 

"The trial of parting with those blessed young 
creatures whom I love, and whose affection for me can 
not be mistaken, has this afternoon been accomplished. 
In dispensing parting gifts, it gave me great satisfac- 



LOVE AND MARRIAGE. 249 

tioii that so exemplary had been their deportment, that 
there was not a single one unrewarded, either by a 
book-premium, or a certificate of merit in my best 
handwriting. Surely their intercourse has been one of 
improvement. Wherever their future course, or my 
own, shall lead, I must cherish the memory of the 
years God permitted us thus to pass together, while 
His banner over us was love. Tears and irrepressi 
ble anguish marked our final leave-taking. They part 
ed, and returned, prolonging the painful scene till the 
dimness of twilight drew over us. Their unaffected 
grief cut my heart in fragments. And every fragment 
found a voice, saying : Oh, most selfish ! thus for 
your own ease and aggrandizement to trample out this 
Heaven-enkindled love. " 

Sweet, sweet band of sisters ! Ah, how could I sever 
The bright, golden chain that encircling has charm d ? 

How shall I write the words, Parted forever ! 

On the casket our friendship so long has embalm d ? 

Here, where your groups would so joyously meet me, 
Gay as the birds through pure ether that soar ; 

Here, where your eyes with fond dialect greet me, 
The step of Affection returneth no more. 

Knowledge you ve sought with a warm emulation, 

Quicken d to ardor, yet soften d by love ; 
Wisdom invoked with profound veneration 

That wisdom whose mansion and crown are above. 



250 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

And now, empty Vase, by thy flow rets deserted, 

Full oft round thy borders, though cheerless and lone, 

Fond Memory shall linger, averse to be parted 

From fragrance thy blossoms around thee have strown. 

Farewell, dear companions ! Heaven s blessing attend you ; 

And when those bright locks shall be frosted and gray, 
When Age the faint light of his taper shall lend you, 

Come, stand by my mouldering pillow, and say : 

We remember the friend by whose side we were seated, 
While knowledge allured us with lessons of love, 

And whose prayer of the Father of Mercies entreated 
That we all might unite in His kingdom above. 

It had been arranged that, after the termination of 
my school, I should make a valedictory visit to my 
beloved Mr. and Mrs. Wadsworth, before returning 
home to prepare for my marriage. In their blessed, 
sympathetic society, I found solace for the dejection of 
my recent farewell, and counsel for the new and impor 
tant duties that awaited me. I was constantly by her 
side, who seemed to me more like an angel than a par 
taker of our own infirm humanity. The wise, encour 
aging voice of him who had been to me both as a 
patron and father, gave me increased confidence in 
good men, and in a God of goodness. 

During the six weeks that thus glided away, I had 
unrestrained opportunities of becoming more intimately 
acquainted with Mr. Sigourney, whose residence was in 



LOVE AND MAKKIAGE. 251 

the neighborhood, and who had been courteously in 
vited by my kind benefactors to visit their house freely 
at all times. This unrestricted intercourse revealed 
some new and interesting points of his history, calcu 
lated still more to rivet my affections. He was a 
native of Boston, and of a family of the highest re 
spectability. To me it was a source both of gratula- 
tion and pride, that he should have descended from 
that pious race of Huguenots, who left their fair clime 
of birth for conscience sake, and emigrated to this New 
World soon after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. 
His father, Mr. Charles Sigourney, of Boston, was the 
third in descent from Mr. Andrew Sigourney, who, with 
his son Andrew, came to this country from France in 
1686. His mother, whose name was Frazer, was of 
Scottish ancestry, and dying while he was yet a child, 
his father took him to England, and placed him at an 
excellent school at Hampstead. Here, under a strict 
ness of discipline that would not be tolerated in Young 
America, he was inured to habits of obedience, order, 
and application. His acquaintance with the studies 
that he pursued was eminently thorough and accurate. 
Particularly was the grammatical construction of the 
Latin and French so well acquired, that, though he 
left school at a very early age, their knowledge re 
mained with him unimpaired to the close of life. 

At thirteen he returned to Boston, and entered the 
store of his father as a clerk, where he evinced the 



252 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

same patient devotedness to mercantile employment 
that he had formerly displayed in the requisitions of 
scholastic lore. In the first year of the present cen 
tury, having attained his majority, he removed to Hart 
ford and commenced the hardware business, which he 
pursued with unintermitting diligence and ability to 
the close of life. In his profession he was distin 
guished by accuracy, integrity, and knowledge of man 
kind ; and in every department of action his public and 
private virtues had won the respect of the community. 
He married, at the age of twenty-three, a young lady 
from his native city, of uncommon loveliness and beau 
ty, to whom he had been attached from early youth, 
receiving and imparting, for fifteen years, as pure con 
jugal happiness as appertains to our changeful human 
ity. She fell a victim to consumption, leaving three 
fair and interesting children to solace his mourning 
heart. A few years after his marriage he commenced 
attending the Episcopal Church, where he became a 
communicant, and ever continued to evince his devoted 
attachment by faithful and important services. 

His native taste for literature and the fine arts was 
carefully cherished. He was a critical judge of pic 
tures, and drew architecturally with precision and ele 
gance. He was fond of history and the standard au 
thors, but objected to the floating miscellanies of the 
day, as furnishing no nutritive aliment to the mind, and 
enervating its appetite for solidity. So elevated was 



LOVE AND MARRIAGE. 253 

his theory, that he decried the use of newspapers for 
the young, as tending to debase the style by bad mod 
els of composition, and to weaken the retentive powers 
by reading what they did not intend to remember, and 
what was not worthy of being remembered. He was 
watchful against new-coined words and innovations of 
the language, constantly referring to the large edition 
of Dr. Johnson s Dictionary for etymology and shades 
of signification. 

Possibly a fondness for the study of geometry in 
boyhood might have contributed to develop the percep 
tion of symmetry, and the features of order and exact 
ness that characterized his mind. His style of conver 
sation was refined, and he never hesitated to introduce 
intellectual and elevated subjects, from which some 
might be deterred by the imputation of pedantry. His 
manners, marked by the courtesy of the old school, had 
a mixture of dignity which would be sure to repel all 
undue familiarity. Cheered by intercourse with him, 
and the beloved ones whose beautiful mansion was as a 
home, the fair spring had reached its meridian, when, 
with a heart overflowing with gratitude to my benefac 
tors, and prayers that Heaven would repay them four 
fold, he accompanied me to my parents. Having a 
noble horse that he was fond of driving, and an easy 
chaise, he preferred on this occasion that primitive form 
of conveyance to a more ostentatious equipage. Thus 
we had liberty to enjoy the varied landscape, beautified 



254 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

by the soft green and opening buds of April, and vivi 
fied by the song of many birds. To me it was a sig 
nificant fact, that our first journey together should 
have been made on the anniversary of my parents 
birth ; which I have before mentioned occurred on the 
same day of the month, with an interval of thirteen 
years. 

Deeply anxious was I that the introduction and 
subsequent acquaintance of the three beings who were 
now my all in the world, should produce a mutually 
favorable impression ; and proportionably grateful that 
so it seemed to be. I could not but feel how momen 
tous might prove the import of even slight circum 
stances at such a crisis, both on this life and the next. 
Viewing him as the life-protector of their dearest one, 
when they should be taken away, they were at once 
disposed to the exercise of trusting affection. The 
sterling and unobtrusive qualities of my excellent 
father required intimate acquaintance for their full 
development ; but I could perceive that my loved 
friend was struck at first sight with the youthful as 
pect and animated manner of my beautiful mother, 
who, though past fifty, seemed scarcely older than 
myself, and vastly more impulsive and enthusiastic. 
I was also much gratified that from the many friends 
who were prompt in paying him attentions, he in 
variably won the high suffrage of a perfect gentleman. 

He admired the variegated landscapes and sur- 



LOVE AND MARRIAGE. 255 

roundings of my native city, to which might be ap 
plied what the eloquent author of the recent " Personal 
History of Lord Bacon " has said of Twickenham : 
" Every plant that thrives, every flower that blows, is 
in love with its soil." Its rural walks, also, were 
faithfully explored, much to our enjoyment. At his 
departure, he left with me " Wakefi eld s Treatise on 
Botany," and a small microscope, for the examination 
of plants ; also the eight volumes of Sir Charles Grandi- 
son, commending both works to my perusal. With 
regard to the first, I was obediently compliant. Miss 
F. M. Caulkins, afterwards well known as the merito 
rious historian of Norwich and of New London, was 
staying with me, as an agreeable companion and kind 
assistant. Together, we pursued strenuous dissections 
of the vegetable races, from mouse-ear to cactus. I 
felt almost as a pirate and murderer in Flora s realm. 
Not having been accustomed to such researches, my 
conscience reproached me, that, for the sake of techni 
calities of class and order, we should thus ravage the 
calyx, and despoil the corolla, to which Nature had 
given life and brilliance. 

Richardson s novel did not fare as well as the 
scientific treatise. It was so diffuse ; the elegant man 
ners which it portrayed were, to our republican no 
tions, so ceremonious and formal, that it was impossi 
ble to keep up a sustained interest. Therefore, though 
I deemed myself in fault for dissenting from so culti- 



256 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

vated a taste as that of its owner, I was ever ready to 
lay down the books, in which I made progress by skip 
ping formidable intervals. Sir Walter Scott s earlier 
works had appeared, and already effected a revolution 
in the region of romance. By making the passion of 
love subsidiary to historic lore, his powerful genius was 
able to throw into the shade that class of works which 
had so long made it their basis and integral element, 
while at the same time they emasculated it by minute 
and puerile delineations. 

Among my occupations, at this period, were visits 
to my pensioners, which assumed somewhat of a vale 
dictory character. These were not numerous, for hab 
its of industry, and the circumstance of having no 
foreigners among us, forbade the growth of absolute 
penury. Those who needed aid were principally such 
as age or sickness had impaired, and for whom a well- 
conducted alms-house furnished a comfortable asylum. 
Still there were a few, to whom the proud memory of 
better days rendered this retreat an object of disgust, 
and who preferred to suffer privation rather than enter 
it. One of these was an antiquated spinster, known by 
the familiar sobriquet of Aunt Renie, her original name 
being the poetical one of Irene. She seemed to have 
fallen much within my own province, a prejudice being 
in prevalence that she felt vastly above her condition. 
She kept a single chamber at a low rent, in which was 
some old-fashioned furniture ; and contributions to her 



LOVE AND MARRIAGE. 257 

fire-place and larder were acceptable, though usually 
received without thanks, as she seemed to hold the 
theory that the world owed her a living. She had, in 
her prime, been a nurse and a common needle-woman, 
but I believe never a servant of all work. She was of 
huge proportions, and such an immense adipose sub 
stance that it was impossible to connect with her the 
idea of pining poverty. Her heavy footstep was liter 
ally a " threshing of the floors." I have seldom seen 
womanhood attain such a bulk. She was garrulous, 
and, as is natural to threescore and ten, dwelt much on 
the past. She imagined that she had once been the pos 
sessor of beauty, and the rallying point of several ad 
mirers. This required the strength of an implicit faith, 
overcoming all evidence of the things that were seen. 
But the vanity was harmless, and seemed to entertain 
her. She also wished to convey an opinion of the dig 
nity of her family. The effort centred principally in 
her mother, whose name, she never omitted to add, was 
Miss Remembrance Carrier, abridged for domestic con 
venience to the monosyllable Mem. An acrostic, in 
spired by this parent, she was fond of repeating. Its 
concluding lines I chance to recollect, the last syllable 
of her conjugal nomenclature being land: 

" Let Satan fly with fiery dart- 
Arise, commune with thy own heart, 
Now, learn to choose the better part, 
Deliverance find from sin s desert." 



258 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

Among the disturbing forces that conflicted with 
this somewhat dreamy period of my existence, was the 
thought that I could no longer, by my own earnings, 
add to the comfort of my parents. It had been the 
purest, most unmixed pleasure, that I had ever tasted. 
How could I possibly resign it? Imagination was active 
in searching if there were not some form of productive 
employment consistent with my new position. The 
liberality of my future husband was unquestioned. But 
I desired to retain the privilege of working for my 
parents. Selfishly, I was unwilling that any should in 
termeddle with this sacred joy. Yet how could it be 
retained ? Might I not write some small work for chil 
dren some school-book, and get money ? I had heard 
of a society in New York, which accorded good prices 
for nice needle-work, with the intention of encouraging 
that form of female industry. I was expert and deli 
cate in the uses of the needle. Might I not sew, and 
earn something for them ? 

These unsolved anxieties were deepened by the con 
sciousness that I was soon to leave their roof forever. 
Still this was imperfectly realized until the time of 
separation came. They were so thoughtful of my feel 
ings, as never to allude to that event with any expres 
sion of regret. Often was I saying in my heart, the 
Lord bless them for their forbearance and self-control. 
The reserve which we thus practised toward each other, 



LOVE AND MAERIAGE. 259 

led me to the journal, my confidante from childhood, 
and it records a few such effusions as the following : 

Dear native earth, sweet spot of rest, 
In summer s fair attractions drest ; 
Wild springing flowers, romantic shores, 
Gray cliffs, where light-wing d Fancy soars ; 
Green valleys where my childhood rov d, 
Deep groves, in musing youth beloved, 
Loved scenes where social virtues dwell 
In sweetest harmony -farewell ! 

Dear parents home of happiness, 
Which hovering angels deign to bless ; 
Where every pain my heart could know, 
And every care, and every woe, 
Were ruled by soft affection s sway, 
And banish d from their haunts away- 
Still lingering in this sacred cell, 
The gushing tear-drops sa,j farewell / 

Thou too, my harp ! and can it be, 
That I must bid adieu to thee ? 
Thou, who hast cheered me day and night, 
Turn d every gathering shade to light, 
And made a lot the world might scorn, 
Bright as the rose-ray of the morn ; 
Oh ! dearer far than words can tell, 
My wild, my mountain-harp farewell ! 

Yet all perturbations were allayed, and for a season 
dispersed, when the long, journalizing letters of my 



260 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

life s companion arrived, rich in description and phil 
osophical remark, and redolent of the love-spell. I 
think I have before mentioned, that one element of their 
attraction was the beauty of their chirography. In 
later years, while puzzled with deciphering the involu 
tions of fashionable writing, I have earnestly remem 
bered the clearness and symmetry of every separate 
word and letter, the finished elegance of page after 
page, even through whole volumes of mercantile ac 
counts, and the decided contrast of the downward and 
upward marks, which the rigidity of the modern, me 
tallic pen precludes. 

Among the pleasant grouping in which imagination 
indulged, and prominent in all my castle-building, were 
the three children of my husband. Mrs. Grant, in her 
" Letters from the Mountains," says, rather flippantly, 
that " she is partial to ready-made families." The eld 
est of those to whom I contemplated assuming so im 
portant a relation, was a boy of eight years, and the 
two youngest were daughters. I anticipated much 
pleasure in promoting their improvement, the habit of 
teaching having become almost an essential part of my 
nature, while it was an object of my supplications that 
I might be permitted to share their affections, and ena 
bled in some measure to supply the unspeakable loss of 
a departed mother. 

After the last visit of my affianced lover, which was 
to precede our nuptial ceremony, I seemed to attain a 



LOVE AND MARRIAGE. 261 

more abiding sense of the responsibilities that awaited 
me, and a more intense desire that I might so discharge 
them as to enhance his comfort. I also became fatigued, 
almost disgusted, with the preparation of a wardrobe, 
which, in comparison with my previous simplicity and 
frugality, seemed unduly elaborate. 

" Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her 
attire ? " asked one of the prophets of Israel. I should 
have been thankful to have been allowed to forget 
mine. Such purchasing, devising, driving of needle 
and shears, dealing with mantuamakers, milliners, and 
sempstresses, had never before entered into my history. 
I was humbled by it. I analyzed it as an inherent sel 
fishness, a weak compliance with the tyranny of Fash 
ion. It struck me that an event so sacred, so en 
twined with eternal destinies, should be less marked by 
trifles and trappings. NOT could I witness without 
regret the consequent and almost entire absorption of a 
moderate sum laid aside from my school-earnings, and 
mentally devoted to my dear, deserted parents. 

One of the brightest of June mornings shone upon 
our nuptials. Every leaf and flower was redolent of 
dew and sunshine, as the bridal procession set forth. 
The Episcopal church in Chelsea was two miles dis 
tant, and, notwithstanding the early hour of eight, 
densely thronged. The ceremony, most touching of all 
save that which renders us back to dust, was feelingly 
performed by the venerable Mr. Tyler, rector for fifty- 



262 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

four years of Christ Church, Norwich, assisted by the 
Rev. Mr., afterwards Bishop Wainwright, then rector 
of Christ Church, Hartford, who, with his lady, and 
other friends from that city, had kindly come on to be 
present at the marriage. 

It had been my resolution to utter audibly the 
responses required of me. Yet I was not aware, 
until hearing the clear, impressive enunciation of 
him who stood by my side, that my lips gave no 
sound. The power of articulation fled. The pres 
ence of the throng had no influence. It did not 
enter my mind. I seemed wrapped in a dream, and to 
have no personal identity with surrounding things. 
The congratulations that succeeded the ceremony, the 
world of flowers that were pressed upon me and show 
ered around, seemed cheering and beautiful ; but I 
could not think them mine. It seemed an illusion, 
though without the loss of self-command. What first 
restored full consciousness, was the blessing of an old 
lady of ninety Madam Lathrop, a connection of my 
earliest benefactress and the fervent glance of her 
still lustrous black eye. Her voice touched the sealed 
fountains of other years, and I was again myself. 

The country through which we journeyed was inter 
spersed with thriving villages, and gorgeous in its sum 
mer drapery. Here and there early haymakers loaded 
the air with fragrance. Hocks robed themselves in 
laurel, and the wild strawberry blushed as it ran to 



LOVE AND MARRIAGE. 263 

hide among the matted grass. In the bridal coach 
which led the way were my husband and myself, our 
little son who had accompanied him on this occasion, 
and a servant-girl devoted to the care of the children. 
Several carriages followed with the returning guests, 
with whom we held pleasant converse when any pecu 
liarly fine prospect attracted admiration. Our dinner 
had been previously bespoken by the bridegroom at 
Andover, a rural township which equally divided the 
distance of somewhat more than forty miles. The 
whole party partook of it with glee, and, as it was a 
banquet of some pretension, it seemed to have made an 
impression in the surrounding region, as, several years 
after, a substantial-looking, elderly woman called, in 
troducing herself as one who had assisted in cooking 
my wedding dinner. 

The sun drew near the golden verge of his cloudless 
rest as we approached our home. Our blessed friends, 
the Wadsworths, gave us cheering welcome from door 
and window as we passed. Our travelling companions 
and a few other friends took tea, and spent the evening 
with us, cheering me with their cordial good wishes. 
Novel yet sweet to me was the appellation of 
" Mother " from the dear little ones ; while the kind 
induction into a new abode by him who held supreme 
authority there, assured my heart and inspired the 
desire to be faithful in every duty. 

Loved friend, whose urgency has called forth these 



264 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

reminiscences, I transcribe for you a few aspirations, 
bearing date with the earliest light of my wedding 
morning June 16th and written on the little white 
deal table in the front chamber of my father s house in 
Norwich, where from childhood the intercourse of 
thought and pen had been pursued. 

" Almighty God ! deign to look down and strength 
en me on this the most fearfully important era of my 
life. Divine Saviour ! touched with the feeling of our 
infirmities Lamb of God ! who takest away the sins 
of the world I beseech Thee to hear me. Holy 
Spirit ! sustain, cheer, animate me ; breathe into my 
soul the calmness of self-possession, the same mind that 
was in Christ Jesus. 

" Blessed Trinity ! endue me with such virtues and 
graces as my lot may require. May I move in the un 
tried sphere that awaits me with the humility of a 
Christian and the benevolence of an angel. Heavenly 
Father ! remember my forsaken parents. Known unto 
Thee is the loneliness of their hearts. Thou alone hast 
the power to comfort them. Bless him whom Thy 
providence has appointed as my guide, companion, and 
counsellor until death. Bless our children, and prepare 
them early to walk in Thy truth. Thou hast called 
their mother unto the perfect rest of heaven. Fill my 
heart with her love toward them, and grant me sue- 



LOVE AND MAKKIAGE. 265 

cess in the duties and affections that their tender age 
requires. 

"Art Thou not the God of Hope to all who put 
their trust in Thee ? the God of Consolation to the 
desolate ? the God of Wisdom to those who falter by 
reason of darkness ? Oh ! for the sake of Him whose 
last sigh on Calvary was peace to the sinner, suffer no 
error or evil to overtake me. Let the solemn vows of 
this day be registered in heaven. May I go forth to 
my new lot in Thy holy fear. And when Thou shalt 
summon me from earth s duties, may I be ready joy 
fully to pass where all- tears are wiped from the eyes 
for evermore." 

12 



LETTER XI. 

D OM E STIC LIFE. 

HYMEN is wont to strew with roses the entrance 
into his domain. This is well ; for where the most 
onerous duties of this life are assumed, all the aids 
derived from agreeable excitement and cheering antici 
pation should be enlisted. 

The introduction to a new abode was signalized by 
many kind, social attentions in the form of calls, enter 
tainments, and parties. Such marked regard from the 
aristocracy, as well as other classes, might have hum 
bled me with the feeling that I had no just claim to it, 
had I not considered it as a demonstration of respect to 
my husband. He, though a devoted and successful 
merchant, often found time, toward the close of day, to 
take little excursions, always choosing to drive himself, 
through the beautifully varied scenery which the sub 
urbs of the city presented. A promise had been made, 
at taking me from my parents, that, whenever it was 
possible, he would bring me to visit them every month. 



DOMESTIC LIFE. 267 

This pleasant journey of forty miles was performed in 
the same style, with a single horse, taking one of the 
children in rotation, to share in our happiness. 

Our household, besides our three lovely children, 
comprised a maiden sister of the first Mrs. Sigourney, 
a lady of most amiable manners, and of the same age 
with my husband, two clerks, who, being from good 
families, were generally included in our own circle, two 
men employed about the grounds, store, or stables, and 
three female servants. Finding the arrangements of a 
family that had been in existence sixteen years sys 
tematically established, I was careful not to disturb or 
interfere with its routine unnecessarily. Still it was 
my desire to bear a part in its operations, and to prove 
that the years devoted to different pursuits had created 
neither indifference nor disqualification for domestic 
duty. In this new sphere I could scarcely hope to 
equal my predecessor who was a model of elegance 
but was assiduous that our hospitalities, especially the 
dinner parties, which were occasionally large, should 
show no diminution of liberality and order. 

Habitual industry did not forsake me, but was 
ready to enter untried departments. Perceiving my 
husband to be pleased with efforts of the needle and 
knitting-needles, mine were seldom idle. Not content 
with stockings of all sizes, I constructed gloves of vari 
ous sorts, adjusting their fingers to the tiniest hands, 
and surprised at my own success. A still bolder em- 



268 LETTEES OF LIFE. 

prise kindled my ambition the cutting and making a 
pair of pantaloons for our son. Ripping a cast-off gar 
ment of that sort, and sedulously measuring and ad 
justing every part by the pattern, I produced an article 
of mazarine blue bombazine, which, trimmed with 
white pearl buttons, was well-fitted and becoming. It 
was sufficient for me that the father was pleased, and 
praised it. For I was often saying in my heart, I hope 
he may sustain no loss, at least in financial matters, 
from having married a schoolmistress and a literary 
woman. 

It was particularly pleasant to me to keep up in 
some measure the habitudes of teaching with our very 
bright and attractive children. I simplified for them 
portions of geography, history, and Scripture, illus 
trated by stories, and by degrees formed sets of writ 
ten questions, by whose aid they might review and 
rivet their little gatherings in memory. Highly grati 
fied were they when father chanced to be an auditor. 
They were joined in these exercises by the youngest 
clerk, who requested it as a favor, having been well 
instructed at the primary schools of a neighboring 
State. This addition to their class served to encour 
age them, and was to him a source of satisfaction. 
Possessing a thirst for knowledge, and a fair, distinct 
chirography, he advanced to the construction of his 
torical and chronological charts, which were in all re 
spects creditable, and worthy of preservation. 



DOMESTIC LIFE. 269 

The custom which prevailed among merchants in 
the olden time, of drawing within their circle of 
home-charities those whom they received as pupils in 
their profession, was both kind and wise. The benevo 
lence of sheltering from temptation the young who are 
thus severed from parental supervision, and whose 
hearts often pine for the tones of lost affection, is often 
recompensed by a more perfect identification of inter 
ests, and sometimes by a lifelong friendship. 

The year after our marriage we removed to a habi 
tation which Mr. Sigourney had erected after his own 
plan, in a commanding and beautiful situation. It 
combined convenience with elegance in a remarkable 
degree. Facing the east, its stately columns caught 
the first rays of the rising sun, as they unveiled, like 
a picture, the city stretching at its feet. The interior, 
with its lofty ceilings, marble mantel-pieces, folding- 
doors, and windows reaching to the floor, had a patri 
cian aspect, more noticeable half a century since than 
now, when such appendages are common. It was en 
vironed by an extensive lawn, whose curving gravel- 
walks were adorned with shrubbery ; and spacious gar 
dens, one of which stretched downward to the fair 
river that girdled the domain, from which it was pro 
tected by a mural parapet. One of the most unique 
features of the scenery was a grove sloping rather pre 
cipitously to the borders of the same graceful stream, 
traversed by winding paths, and shaded by lofty trees 



270 LETTEES OF LIFE. 

never disturbed by the axe, save to prune their luxuri 
ance. On its margin, and partially sustained by the 
trunk of a strong oak that bent over the water, a rustic 
recess with two or three seats, called the Hermitage, 
had been constructed. It was approached by a kind 
of wilderness path through the lower grounds, and, so 
far from vindicating the propriety of its name, was 
said to be the spot where many of the courtships of 
the city were negotiated, under the auspices of Luna. 
An adjoining eminence was crowned by a summer 
house, on whose vane, which was in the form of an 
arm and hand, with a pointing finger, was the classic 
inscription, " Ut ventus vita " our life is as the wind. 
Garden-seats were placed in different positions, so as 
admirably to reveal the charms of nature and art 
which were here combined the velvet lawn, the tur 
rets of the neighboring college, the stream that at one 
point exhibited a slight cascade, and at another seemed 
to have a lake-like termination, neither of which gave 
the slightest indication of the torrent-fury of which it 
was once in a year capable, when, swollen and dis 
turbed by the attrition of the dissolving spring-ices, it 
rushed onward like a maniac. The trees which were 
scattered here and there seemed instinct with the spirit 
of grace ; and methought I had never beheld such en 
chanting moonlights as fell through their chequering 
branches. 

The iron horse has since tramped over those prem- 



DOMESTIC LIFE. 271 

ises, annihilated the grove, with its love-consecrated 
cloister, demolished the rich eastern garden, and with 
his fiery breath consumed a pair of ancient elms that 
guarded its entrance, full of vitality and glory. But I 
still keep the unchanged picture in my heart. 

Our domain was beloved by the flowers. Roses of 
every hue and variety cast their perfume upon the air ; 
the clematis threw over the piazzas its rich masses of 
cerulean blue ; brilliant woodbines and trumpet honey 
suckles spanned the arching gateways, or clung to the 
trellises of the summer-house ; the alternate white and 
purple lilacs bowed their heads over the avenue allotted 
to them, as if in close consultation ; the neighboring 
lilies bent back their listening petals, like the ears of 
the white rabbit ; on the borders of the gravel walks 
the gorgeous coxcomb flaunted, the peony and lupine 
advanced their pretensions, the pansy lifted its deep eye 
of intelligence, and the arbor-Judea waved its pendulous 
banner when the slightest zephyr claimed homage. 

Life in its varied forms, biped and quadrupedal, leaped 
and luxuriated among us. Birds, fearing no shaft of 
the fowler, peopled the boughs, and made a paradise of 
song. Among the lofty walnuts in the grove a race of 
exceedingly pretty gray squirrels might now and then 
be seen flitting from spray to spray, or gracefully grasp 
ing in their paws the nuts that they nibbled and 
amassed in their Boards. Snowy turkeys strutted amid 
the green turf, those of the masculine genus spreading 



272 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

their broad plumage with a peacock s vanity. Hens, of 
the same tint, protruded their heads from the gratings 
of their sharp roofed summer-houses, calling back their 
brooding little ones from among the compeers with 
whom they wandered upon the allotted area. Their 
similarity of color arose from the preference of my hus 
band, who, in his drives among our suburban farmers, 
if he saw a fair, white member of the poultry tribe, 
purchased it ; their eggs, being used in incubation, pro 
duced flocks of the same garniture, or if, by chance, a 
youngling of different hue made its appearance, its date 
was short. Among our other retainers was a favorite 
horse, of large proportions, who, from the contrasted 
color of his legs half way to the knees on an even line, 
was known by the sobriquet of " White Stockings." 
When led out to water, he might be seen lifting his feet 
high and carefully, lest he should tread upon some kit 
tens, whose mother had chosen her abode in a corner of 
his manger, or inserting his long, honest face, through 
the open window of an adjacent pantry, to receive a 
slice of bread, perhaps, with a sprinkling of salt. Two 
fair cows, with coats brushed to a satin sleekness, rumi 
nated at will, and filled large pails with creamy nectar. 
A long line of buildings stretched in the rear of the 
mansion, unmarked by ornament, yet of pleasing archi 
tectural proportion, the classic taste of my husband 
being obvious in the slightest details, every part of this 
establishment, from the basement to the capitals of the 



DOMESTIC LIFE. 273 

columns, having been executed after a model drawn by 
himself. Having been so thoughtful of comfort as to 
wish the coolness of an abode in summer not invaded 
by the fumes and odors of culinary preparation, this 
additional erection contained a large, secondary kitchen, 
which having also every convenience for a laundry, was 
constantly used for that purpose. There was also a fine 
room for a dairy, and a chamber for the shelter of any 
wayfaring man who might wish to tarry for a night. 
The remainder of the building was divided between a 
receptacle for fuel, carriage-house, and accommodations 
for animals, with the stores of their requisite food. 

It was accordant with the rural element in the char 
acter of us both, that a portion of the family subsist 
ence should be drawn from our own cultivated soil. 
This we considered both congenial to health and that 
consciousness of independence which is one of the 
pleasantest parts of a life of agriculture. Fifteen acres 
were connected with the domicile, which Mr. Sigourney 
promised himself much pleasure in supervising. Like 
many of the gentlemen-farmers of England, he pre 
ferred that his principal gardener should be a Scotch 
man, the thrift and close observation of that people 
being happily shown in exciting the highest fruitfulness 
of the earth, without exhausting its powers. 

Our gardens supplied a profusion of the richest veg 
etables, which gave variety and a healthful aliment to 
our repasts. Currants pruned into the form of small 



274 LETTEES OF LIFE. 

trees, showered their fruitage both white and red, 
raspberries luxuriated upon their espaliers, and a large 
expanse was allotted to the luscious strawberry. We 
had at a little distance a field where the tasselled maize 
grew lovingly with the potato, and a pasture where 
our cows took their clover meals, repaying us in a 
barter-traffic of cream and golden butter. Our poultry 
peopled their territory with a prolific zeal, and munifi 
cently gave us their eggs, their offspring, and them 
selves. 

Our trees, of the peach, pear and apple, apricot 
and cherry genus, were so exuberant in their gifts, that 
neither by usufruct, or donation, could they be always 
expended. The resource was in casting them to a class 
of retainers whose name, for some reason or other, per 
haps for none at all, is scarcely admissible to ears 
polite. Nevertheless, having very comfortable quar 
ters, with a fortified area, where they might enjoy the 
air and sun, and being kept scrupulously neat, they 
were not disagreeable objects, especially when the be 
fore-named dessert was distributed. They exhibited 
unmingled delight in partaking of it, cracking the 
peach-stones to extract the aromatic kernels, and look 
ing up at their benefactors with some degree of intelli 
gence. We did not scorn the comfort of this subsidiary 
part of our establishment, who in return added condi 
ments to our board, and their hams were thought to 
have derived flavor from the peaches that had nourished 



DOMESTIC LIFE. 275 

them. Soon after our removal to this delightful abode, 
my husband confided to me that, from some obstruc 
tions in the course of mercantile prosperity, added to 
the expenses of building, which .are wont to exceed 
their original estimate, a system of retrenchment would 
be expedient, perhaps imperative. Concurring with 
his proposition, I sought how it might best be put in 
force without involving palpable inconsistency in the 
habitants of so costly a dwelling; and having seen 
some examples of a successful union of economy with 
hospitality, determined to become a learner and disciple. 
I steadfastly set myself against waste in every domestic 
department, and also to prolong the existence of all 
garments, by repair or transmigration. Wishing to 
take my part in privation, should any be deemed neces 
sary, my wardrobe was for years supplied at a surpris 
ingly small expenditure. I also undertook that the 
labors of our large household should be performed by a 
single adult female servant, aided by a young girl to be 
retained until the age of eighteen, whose remuneration 
was to consist of her clothing, board, and instruction. 
This arrangement I was enabled to persevere in for 
somewhat more than eight years, until the birth of lit 
tle ones rendered the assistance of a nurse indispensable. 
To the description of help given by servants under 
eighteen, I became much attached, as calling forth some 
modification of the maternal principle, and giving scope 
for more of grateful regard than usually enters into the 



276 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

history of hirelings. One of mine, thus trained, be 
came a respected teacher, and habitant of our fair, 
growing West ; and another, who was a model of fidel 
ity and piety, became the wife of an honored Mayor of 
our city. 

For the household accounts, which were entrusted 
to me, an early training had given fitness and facility. 
Having acquired a fair handwriting, and some knowl 
edge of arithmetical computation, at the age of eight 
my father accepted my assistance in keeping his books, 
a weakness of the eye, caused by the measles, making 
any continued use of the pen painful. As he held for 
some time the office of Town Surveyor, I was initiated 
into the mysteries of debt and credit, and gratified by 
being installed as a species of deputy book-keeper. He 
required a very clear chirography, and tolerated no 
blots or erasures ; and the attention to accuracy thus 
inculcated in childhood, has been an advantage through 
out life. By him I was also induced to commence, at 
eleven, in a manuscript book for that purpose, a state 
ment of all my own expenditure, however small, a habit 
which I have continued without interruption to the 
present day. 

I was happy that my husband should have the bene 
fit of these financial proclivities, at a time when they 
were apposite and serviceable. Indeed, I have often 
wondered how so many of my own sex, especially 
housekeepers, should so often neglect, and even testify 



DOMESTIC LIFE. 277 

contempt for a regular account of their expenses. It 
not only seems necessary to prevent forgetfulness of 
where their money goes, but acts as guide in the science 
of its correct use. It is a sort of chart, by which a safe 
course may be steered, and the quicksand of debt 
avoided. My own countrywomen are vastly more neg 
ligent in this matter than the ladies of England, where 
I have observed even those of high rank keep their 
household-book near at hand, where it can be system 
atically consulted. I have also noticed in London, 
among the elegant gifts of a bridal trousseau, a beauti 
fully bound blank book, for household expenses. 

Dear friend, whose practice in such results is so ex 
emplary, I am sure you will forgive this financial epi 
sode, for you believe with me that there is more pleas 
ure in a just economy, even when not compelled by pe 
cuniary need, than in the most lavish expenditure ; the 
conscience of one who realizes a Christian stewardship, 
being better satisfied. 

Among the pleasures of our mode of life I was per 
mitted to put in practice what had been my ambition 
for years, ever since a short visit to the Hon. Governor 
John Jay, that venerable patriot, scholar, and saint. 
His daughter, Miss Ann Jay, a most refined and lovely 
person, who had charge of his establishment, gave em 
ployment to the poor women of that vicinity and the 
neighboring villages, in spinning and weaving, provid 
ing the materials, and paying them for their labor. The 



278 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

fabrics thus produced were sometimes retained, but 
generally disposed of at very low prices to those who 
made them, being of such a substantial nature as to be 
useful in their households. Thus she encouraged their 
industry, and also gained such an acquaintance with the 
structure of their families, as enabled her to send ac 
ceptable gifts to the sick and aged, or useful books to 
the young. To prevent a too frequent invasion of time, 
she appointed one day in each month for the transac 
tion of this business, when groups of earnest, hard 
working women might be seen, wending their way on 
side-saddle and pillion, bringing the fruits of their dili 
gence, and flattered to be received at the great house as 
coadjutors and friends. Thus, this estimable lady, who, 
like her father, was the personification of benevolence, 
illustrated, in her own ingenious way, the principle that 
the best mode of helping the working-classes is to sus 
tain their self-respect by prompting them to help them 
selves. 

My plan of operations was of course on a more 
limited scale, but kept its original steadily in view. It 
was ripened into action by information from my hus 
band that an establishment for the sale of dry goods in 
which he was concerned, had been unfortunately .man 
aged, and that the articles belonging to him which re 
mained unsold would be brought to the house, and I 
might have liberty to dispose of them in payment for 
the work of spinning-women, if such personages could 



DOMESTIC LIFE. 279 

be found. Most grateful was I to him for this permis 
sion, and delighted to see a small apartment in the 
attic overflowing with calicos, plaids, and a multitude 
of other articles adapted to home consumption. 

Forthwith I opened negotiations with the flax mer 
chants, and busied myself in searching the suburbs for 
those who were skilled to transmute the raw material 
into yarn, thread, etc., receiving remuneration in what 
ever they might select from my store, at marvellously 
reduced prices. Here was a commercial intercourse, and 
a barter-trade opened, without any manner of doubt. 
The traffic proved a source of mutual satisfaction. 

It was principally among the old-fashioned people 
whom I dealt, the younger not having been initiated 
into the policies of spindle and distaff. At length, dis 
covering a female weaver, I had my purchased yarn 
transmuted into various forms of what the Scotch call 
napery, of a serviceable and durable quality. A cor 
relative species of industry, which I had not antici 
pated, sprang up from this pleasant traffic. My own 
maidens, who were moved with a desire of imitating, 
or surpassing what was exhibited by their suburban 
friends, betook themselves, at their intervals of leisure, 
to the same employment, and the music of the large 
spinning-wheel was extant among us. This was inter 
esting both to Mr. Sigourney and myself, as conforming 
still more to those habits of rural life which we re 
spected. We procured wool for them, which, after 



280 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

being manipulated by carding machines into four long 
rolls, they manufactured into nice flannel sheets, some 
of which are in existence at the present day. 

Amid our interesting domestic avocations, the claims 
of society were not forgotten. Pleasant parties of 
friends were not unfrequently invited, for whom it was 
our rule to make our ice-cream, and other varieties of 
refreshment, within our own premises. 

It was our desire in these entertainments to avoid 
display, and unite simplicity with social and intellec 
tual pleasures. We did not wish to make the animal 
appetites the chief attraction to those whose company 
we solicited, but taking it for granted, in the words of 
the Apostle to those of Corinth, that they had " houses 
of their own, to eat and drink in," would not tempt 
them to unseasonable indulgence, perhaps at the ex 
pense of physical welfare. 

The pleasantest months of the year gave us the en 
joyment of a more protracted hospitality. Our rural 
residence was delightful in summer to our city friends, 
and my husband s relatives from Boston, and the visit 
ants of our daughters, often made the family circle 
large and cheerful. 

1 Yes, and in process of time guests appeared, not for 
a season only two little ones, who, having first opened 
their eyes amid that delightful scenery, claimed it as a 
home. My first infant, who came to us just before 
leaving our former habitation, fainted at the gate of 



DOMESTIC LIFE. 281 

life, and was laid by the pale angel on a turf pillow. 
It was a daughter of fair countenance and unusually 
large size, for whose crushed life my own was placed in 
imminent peril, and my health, for months afterwards, 
seriously suffered. Then followed the premature birth 
of two sons, and I gradually resigned the hope of ever 
becoming the mother of a living babe. 

But somewhat more than eight years after our mar 
riage, one of the smallest representatives of the human 
race was laid in my bosom by the All Bountiful. 
Scarcely four pounds in weight was this miniature of 
humanity ; and to see it breathing, moving, stretching 
its tiny hands, unclosing its bright, blue eyes, was a 
sleepless source of wonder a new demonstration of 
creative power and infinite goodness. Like a vision 
was the little Mary, and a blessing has she since been 
to all who have known her. I could not believe she 
was mine. I could not feel that I had a right to her, 
though she so freely drew her subsistence from me. 
Her loving babyhood was as a dream of enchantment 
to the heart which had so long schooled itself to resign 
anticipations of this nature. 

Scarcely two years after her advent, a brother, of 
larger proportions, and vigorous frame, gladdened her 
nursery. Swiftly fled the months in their sweet com 
panionship, and early and proudly was she seen guid 
ing his footsteps as they traversed the velvet lawn. His 
father honored him with the name of Andrew, which 



282 LETTEES OF LIFE. 

was borne by the Huguenot ancestor who first emi 
grated to this land for " freedom to worship God." 

The cares of maternity, added to those of house 
keeping, had interfered with the regular routine of 
visits to my parents. This was a source of anxiety, as 
the health of my mother had become delicate, and her 
elastic spirits gradually subsided into sadness after my 
ultimate departure. They had been induced occasion 
ally to pass a winter with us, and at the close of one of 
those visits Mr. Sigourney proposed that they should 
dispose of their property in Norwich and dwell con 
stantly with us, as the trouble and expense of a sepa 
rate establishment might thus be spared, while the 
presence of their baby grandchildren offered a new mo 
tive in favor of the arrangement. 

His arguments prevailed, and my father, journeying 
alone to his deserted abode, promptly effected a suc 
cessful sale of his real estate, movables, etc., and re 
turned at the age of eighty with the vigor of a young 
man, bringing with him a copious selection of articles, 
which I prized as memorials of former days. Most 
grateful was I for this kind permission to dedicate a 
portion of time and attention to those who had for 
years suffered from their deprivation. I doubt whether 
the full responsibility of an only child is often cor 
rectly estimated. Their indebtedness for a concentrated 
and exclusive love of a lifetime, cannot be computed in 
the arithmetic of language. If a daughter, her for- 



DOMESTIC LIFE. 283 

saking father and mother when the wheels of life begin 
to drive heavily, the blotting out of the one bright 
face, and young voice, the falling back upon hirelings 
when the worn heart yearns for loving looks and 
words, is a loss and a sorrow surpassing speech. 

While the home-circle was enlarged on one side, it 
was temporarily diminished on the other. Our oldest 
son had become the student of a college in a distant 
State, under the presidency of Right Rev. Bishop Phi 
lander Chase, the particular friend, and formerly the pas 
tor of his father. The eldest daughter, the most beau 
tiful one of our family, was at the celebrated French 
boarding-school of Madame Chegaray, in New York, 
while the youngest remained with us, a daily attendant 
of the Hartford Female Seminary, then under the 
charge of the distinguished Miss Catharine E. Beecher. 

As my husband, soon after taking up his residence 
in Hartford, had become a member of the Episcopal 
Church, I considered it my duty to adopt his form of 
worship. Though attached to that in which I had been 
educated, it was not long ere I accounted this change a 
privilege, so impressive was the solemnity of its liturgy, 
the hallowed beauty of its ordinances, and its system 
atic commemoration of events in the life and death of 
our divine Redeemer. Especially did the pathos of its 
burial-service thrill through my soul. It soothed me to 
think that the tearful request might probably be granted 
made to my mother, when, a young child, I first heard 



284 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

it at the grave of a companion : " Let that same be read 
over me when I am dead." 

There was but one place of worship for the Episco 
pal Church in this city, at the time of our marriage in 
1819, a plain structure of wood, with a small congrega 
tion. This was sold to the Catholics in 1827, removed, 
and eventually destroyed by fire. The original site is 
occupied by the present spacious and substantial speci 
men of Gothic architecture; besides which, there are 
five edifices of stone, counting the chapel of Trinity 
College, consecrated to the Episcopal form of worship. 

When I commenced attending it, the Rev. Jonathan 
M. Wain wright was for a short time our rector, a young 
clergyman of high classical attainments, noble elocu 
tion, and dignified manners. He was afterwards widely 
known as Bishop of New York, and author of several 
beautiful volumes of tasteful literature and piety. 

His successor was the Rev. Dr. Nathaniel S. Whea- 
ton, respected for undeviating integrity, practical phi 
lanthropy, and universal knowledge. His earnest 
promptings stimulated to the erection of the present 
edifice of Christ Church, which had throughout its prog 
ress the aid of his architectural taste. With perse 
vering industry he drew the original design, marked 
out the ground-plan, and superintended the details of 
the work from buttress to tower with somewhat of the 
attachment of the ancient Jews for their sacred temple. 
After ten years of faithful service, he resigned our 



DOMESTIC LIFE. 285 

pulpit for the presidency of Trinity College, and his 
place was supplied by the Rev. Dr. Hugh Smith, who 
came to us from the South. He was a man of genial 
temperament, and distinguished by the tenderness of 
his ministrations at the couch of sickness and death. I 
found both pleasure and edification from attending a 
weekly Bible-class instituted for the ladies of his con 
gregation, where the Scriptures were happily illustrated 
by knowledge drawn from various commentaries, as 
well as by his own feeling and impressive enforcements. 

Neither of these three sacred teachers are now deni 
zens of earth. They have passed to that blessed re 
ward for which they labored to prepare others. May 
their flock be permitted to meet them at the feet of the 
one Great Shepherd ! 

The Rev. George Burgess came to us in 1833, while 
yet a young man, recently returned from travelling in 
Europe, and a residence of some length in Germany. 
His character combined exalted and tender sympathies, 
profound learning, and poetical genius, all of which 
were humbly laid at the foot of the cross of Christ. 
For thirteen years we enjoyed his faithful instructions, 
and example of the meekness of wisdom. Then he 
consented to accept the Episcopate of Maine, where his 
self-denying labors have been unremitting and intense. 
The Muse but inadequately expresses the sorrow of his 
people at the separation : 



286 LETTERS OP LIFE. 

I. 

Pastor and friend, whose voice from year to year 
With lore of heaven, the listening ear hath mov d ; 

Whose pure example, brightening still, and clear, 
Gave beauty to the path thy words approv d : 
Alike by youth, and reverend age belov d, 

In vain, alas ! thy fostering smile we seek ; 
To distant fields of sacred toil remov d, 

We miss thy guiding hand and o er the cheek 

Steal the heart s living pearls, as of thy loss we speak. 

n. 

For thou wert with us, when our souls were tried 
By the sore ills that throng this pilgrim way ; 

And like a brother bow d thee at our side 
When pain and sickness mark d us for their prey, 
Or dearest hopes sank down in dark decay ; 

How rose thy tones, as if an angel pray d, 
When forth the spirit pass d from failing clay ; 

Or with the mourner-tram, in funeral shade, 
Where sadly, dust to dust, the holy dead were laid I 

III. 

The sheep of other folds thy kindness knew, 
The wandering lambs that own d no shepherd s care, 

The erring outcast, shrinking from the view, 
The poor, in cell all desolate and bare, 
The homeless stranger, in his deep despair ; 

No cold pretension, oft from learning bred, 
No pharisaic pride constraint thy prayer ; 



DOMESTIC LIFE. 28* 

And ever didst thou strive with patient tread 

To seek and save the lost, for whom thy Saviour bled. 

IV. 

Say, hadst thou known, all lowly as thou art, 
Prone of thyself such slight account to make, 

How strong the ties that from so many a heart 
Twin d round thy spirit for thy Master s sake 
Childhood s blanched lip, that trembled as it spake, 

And white-haired age, that shunned the parting look, 
While from dark hut, and courtly hall did break 

Such sound of weeping that thy manhood shook, 

Couldst thou have known it all, and yet our love forsook ? 

V. 

Hence, selfish thought, and hide thee in the dust ! 

Shall our own separate good absorb our care ? 
And ne er another s gain, or joyful trust, 

Give ardor to our gratulating prayer ? 

Christ s family alike His favor share, 
And ill should we within His blessed fold 

Deserve a place, if haughtily we dare 
To gloat exulting o er our garner d gold, 
Nor heed a sister-flock, that roam the mountains cold. 

VI. 

Yet ah, forget us not ! though far away 

Neath happier skies, thy hallow d course be run, 

Think of our vales, where sleeps the autumnal ray, 
Our placid river, sparkling in the sun, 
Haunts, where thy laurels from the muse were won, 



288 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

Hearths, where fond memories of thy friendship twine, 

Hearts, whose best hopes, beneath thy care begun, 
Shall hoard thine image, even till life s decline, 
Still let thy prayers be ours, our grateful blessings thine. 

We have, since his departure; been favored for pe 
riods of different length, with the ministrations of the 
Rev. Dr. Peter S. Chauncey, the Rev. Dr. Thomas 
Clark, who left us to become the Bishop of Rhode Island, 
the Rev. Richard S. Abercrombie, and the Rev. Dr. 
George H. Clark, who is at present our esteemed rector. 
I hope I may not have failed to derive lasting benefit 
from the teaching of these spiritual guides. 

During all these mutations, the Rev. Dr. Hawes, of 
the First Congregational Church in Hartford, continued 
to discharge his sacred duties with unimpaired physical 
and mental energies. He exhibits the rare example of 
constancy to one flock for almost half a century, and, 
in the words of Goldsmith, " ne er hath changed, or 
wished to change his place." Having been a communi 
cant there when in this city, until emerging from school 
mistress into matron, I have been in the habit of occa 
sionally going to hear one of his earnest discourses- 
which are still delivered with the same strength and 
volume of voice, and emphasis of manner, that distin 
guished his early years. Respected by all for his long 
life of undeviating integrity and consistent piety, he 
may be seen traversing our streets with an alert step 



DOMESTIC LIFE. 289 

and healthful complexion, intent on errands of good 
ness, at past the age of threescore years and ten. 

The Right Rev. Thomas Church Brownell, senior 
bishop of the United States, has presided over the 
Episcopal Church in Connecticut between forty and 
fifty years, and for almost the whole of that period 
been a resident of Hartford. Possessed of a clear intel 
lect, and of the advantages of high education and foreign 
travel, his discourses and published writings ever main 
tained a distinguished character. He was the first 
president of Trinity College, and filled that post of 
honor with success, and a delightful blending of dignity 
with affability. This position he resigned, that he 
might more exclusively devote himself to the duties of 
his diocese. There, his success in increasing its num 
bers, and preserving that spirit of peace which has ever 
marked his own life and spirit, has been eminent. He 
has repressed the disposition to controversy, and studi 
ously enforced that unity and love which the Gospel of 
Christ requires. 

Now,* in his eighty-fifth year, the saintly beauty of 
his countenance, seated happily with the loved com 
panion of his youth, and usually attended by some one 
of their affectionate children, is what no artist s pencil 
may hope to equal. Compelled by advancing infirmi- 

* The honored prelate entered into the blessed rest of the saints on 
the 13th of January, A. D. 1865. 

13 



290 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

ties to devolve the cares of his sacred office on the ex 
cellent Assistant Bishop, the Rev. Dr. John Williams, 
residing in Middletown, he exhibits an example of ven 
erable and pious age which all love and revere. 

Thrice blessed is the crown of days 

Around his temples wove, 
Who ever in his hallow d sphere, 
Firm hi the Gospel s faith and fear, 
Hath kept our Master s spirit dear, 

And ruled with peace and love. 

Believing that Christian sympathies may be quick 
ened by sometimes joining in the worship of other de 
nominations, and that exclusiveness obviated which is 
prone to adhere even to the most conscientious, I occa 
sionally listened with pleasure to the Rev. Dr. Bushnell, 
whose strikingly suggestive and original mind is por 
trayed in his published works ; to the Rev. Mr. Beadle, 
who, both as a foreign missionary and pastor in his na 
tive land, has evinced the devoted and loving spirit of 
his Master ; and to the Rev. Dr. Turnbull, of the First 
Baptist Church, whose warm Scottish heart gives life 
and energy to the religious labors, social intercourse, 
and literary efforts, which for nearly twenty years he 
has pursued among us. 

I have been also pleasantly acquainted with several 
interesting and fervent preachers of the Methodist Epis 
copal Church, and with the late Dr. Brady of the 
Romish Church, under whose auspices the noble build- 



DOMESTIC LIFE. 291 

ing known as St. Patrick s Cathedral was erected, and 
who, with all his devotedness to his own immediate 
people, had the interests of the whole community stead 
fastly at heart. 

The longer I live, the more inclined I am deeply to 
regret that those differences of doctrine and form 
which must always exist, should be permitted to disturb 
their Christian charity who embrace the precepts of the 
same Gospel, and pray to dwell at last lovingly in the 
presence of one Redeemer, in purer light, and perfect 
unity. 



LETTER XH 

LAPSE OF YEAES. 

AFTER a residence of eighteen years amid the fair 
est rural scenery, we removed to another habitation, 
somewhat nearer the central part of the city. To 
leave the trees we had planted, and the flowers whose 
growth we had watched, was like parting with living 
friends. Associations also were entwined with the 
walls of the mansion, with the different apartments, 
the windows where the rising sun had so long greeted 
us, and the piazzas where we had sat under the rich, 
soft moonlight. To sever these ties, was like breaking 
the flexible tendrils of the vine. 

But what I permitted myself for a time to make a 
trial and a sorrow, gradually faded away. In a few 
years I passed those premises without a thought of 
self-appropriation or a thrill of regret. This philoso 
phy was doubtless strengthened by the agency of the 
railroad in ravaging recesses where Memory might 
have too fondly lingered. 



LAPSE OF TEAKS. 293 

Our new abode, being of much smaller dimensions, 
required dexterous arrangement in transferring our 
goods and chattels. The large dining-tables, massy 
side-board, and other similar furniture, with the alabas 
ter ornaments of the broad mantel-pieces, could not 
obtain admission. The carved, high-post bedsteads 
were sawed down to accommodate the lower ceilings, 
and readily resumed their functions. If, at first, any 
one might fancy that respiration during warm summer 
nights might be impeded in those comparatively con 
fined chambers, it was a mistake. We have breathed 
very well here for years ; and after a little judicious 
management of allotted space, and acclimation of the 
feelings, it became entirely comfortable. 

Yet not all who had composed our household on the 
hill accompanied us hither. Four years before we left, 
Death had summoned the first being who had ever 
passed from its halls to his narrow house. My mother, 
at the age of sixty-seven, fell the victim of an acute 
dysentery ; and she, who from birth had nurtured me 
with an exclusive, almost idolatrous love, was a cold 
form of clay. 

" Farewell ! farewell ! Such thoughts as breathe 

The thrilling, grateful sigh, 
Still with thy name my lips enwreathe ; 
God will not let them die." 

Our circle was also ere long to be diminished by the 



294 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

departure of our two eldest daughters, who made judi 
cious and happy marriages Mrs. Elizabeth Knox 
taking up her residence in Troy, and Mrs. Jane C. 
Burnham in the city of New York. There they be 
came the mothers of interesting and promising families, 
beloved by their many friends, and discharging the 
duties of their position with gracefulness, fidelity, and 
piety. 

All these changes served to make me the more sus 
ceptible of gratitude for the attentions of friendship, 
to which throughout life I have been so deeply indebt 
ed. One more instance of its singular disinterestedness 
I should love to relate to you. 

Among the neighbors of our hill-residence were Mr. 
and Mrs. Christopher Colt, who inhabited the spacious 
and pleasant mansion opposite our own, now the abode 
of my friend Mrs. John A. Taintor. He was a native 
of Massachusetts, a gentleman of fine form and counte 
nance, and amiable manners ; and his wife, who was a 
daughter of the late Major Caldwell, one of our most 
distinguished citizens in early times, was a model of 
dignified beauty. At the social visits which that im 
mediate neighborhood strove systematically to main 
tain, they were accounted our handsomest couple. 
Their family consisted of two daughters and four sons, 
the former of whom having been among my pupils 
when I was so happy as to be employed in the work 
of education. 



LAPSE OP YEARS. 295 

Samuel, the second son, was a beautiful boy, uniting 
sprightliness with a thoughtful temperament. He often 
attracted my attention among the group of playmates 
who came to visit Charles, our eldest son, and pursue 
their sports upon the grounds. 

Having once received from some person the rather 
questionable gift of a pistol, he seated himself in a con 
templative manner under a tree, and, taking it entirely 
to pieces, and laying each part in order by his side, 
restored and reunited them all perfectly again. Was 
not this a shadowing forth of the machinery he was to 
construct, and the armories he should build ? 

His mechanical genius, which was early developed, 
did not gain immediate appreciation. Foreign climes 
made the first true estimate of his extraordinary in 
ventive powers. England, France, Russia, Turkey, 
and other realms of the older world, discovered, under 
an exterior wholly devoid of ostentation, and revealed 
to his birth-land, his scientific skill and indomitable 
energy. Though a Wisdom that never errs has pointed 
out the tendency of the human mind to undervalue 
that which is ever within its reach, yet our country, 
which, more visibly than any other on the globe, has 
been uplifted by her self-made men, and is not obtuse 
to the principles of loss and gain, is unwise to overlook 
those talents which reflect distinction upon herself. 
Yet the obstacles which, in early life, Colonel Colt 
encountered and overcame, deepened his sympathies 



296 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

for every form of hardship, and his liberality in aiding 
and upholding the laboring classes. 

Returning to his native city with the meed of fame 
and the materials of wealth, he consecrated them to 
her benefit with a filial warmth, which she had taken 
little pains to win, and was slow to acknowledge. By 
the bold design and successful completion of his dike 
or embankment, he seems to have created a new ex 
panse of land, which he defended against the attacks 
of the Connecticut, from whose depths it was drawn 
and consolidated. 

When swollen by the reinforcement of melting 
snows, the proud river returns in spring to the inun 
dated play-places where it had revelled from the begin 
ning, and finds itself excluded, foaming with rage it 
essays a faint imitation of the waves of the sea, vainly 
dashing against and battling the immovable parapet. 

An immense stone armory, including buildings more 
than twelve hundred feet in length, and several stories 
high, filled with his own invented or improved ma 
chinery, gave employment to more than a thousand 
working-men. To these he punctually accorded the 
wages on which the subsistence of their families de 
pended, erecting for them substantial tenements of 
brick, and in a range of Swiss cottages kindly consult 
ing the home associations of one class of his immi 
grants. 

A manufacture, whose extent had not been antici- 



LAPSE OF YEARS. 297 

pated, sprang from the ozier willow which had been 
planted on the outer edge of the embankment, that the 
interlacing of its fibrous roots might aid in communi 
cating permanence. From this, a multitude of exquis 
ite articles for use and adornment came forth as if by 
magic, revealing both the ingenuity and the Midas- 
touch that he possessed, and employing throngs of 
laborers. For the households of all thus under his 
care, comprising thousands of different ages, from in 
fancy to decrepitude, he testified an interest, wishing to 
elevate them mentally, providing a large hall where 
they might have lectures and music, sustaining mission 
schools, and devising future plans for a more extensive 
and thorough education. 

Yet, amid the magnitude of his pursuits and respon 
sibilities, the honors from foreign climes, and gifts of 
crowned heads that were showered upon him, the most 
minute promptings of friendship were never disregard 
ed. Beautiful books and pictures he sent me from 
abroad ; the malachites and porphyries of Russia, and 
an inlaid writing-desk of the costly buhl-work of 
Vienna. It would be almost impossible to record the 
various forms in which his benevolent regard for me 
was indicated. Yet I would not willingly forget one 
of them. 

Knowing my fondness for flowers, twelve pots of 
the richest ones would be sent me in winter from his 
green-house, filling my windows with fragrance, and 



298 LETTEKS OF LIFE. 

exciting the wonder of passers-by that a dwelling so 
lowly should thus be irradiated by tulips and carna 
tions, hyacinths, geraniums, and the soleil d^or. Every 
ten days or a fortnight he thoughtfully commissioned 
his gardener to remove these, and replace them by an 
equal number of fresh ones. Fruits and vegetables 
from his garden enriched my table ; cordials found 
their way to me if I were but slightly indisposed ; and 
pleasant rides in the fine equipage, driven on those 
occasions by his own hand, were cheering to my wid 
owed and sonless heart. He was not willing to accept 
even the offering of thanks, but had implied to some 
of my friends that he considered himself a debtor for 
pleasant words spoken to his boyhood, while playing 
upon our grounds of which I have no remembrance ; 
and for kindness to his sisters while they were my 
pupils which was a pleasure to myself, instead of an 
obligation to them. Yet it is delightful to find, in 
these venal times, an example of generosity thus 
springing wholly from a sense of gratitude, however 
mistaken. Some philosopher has sagely said, that only 
generous natures are capable of the grateful senti 
ment. 

Recollecting my interest in our early local histories, 
and the bi-centennial anniversary of the settlement of 
Hadley, Mass., the place of his paternal ancestry, being 
appointed, he invited me to join his family party at 
that celebration. During this excursion of several 



LAPSE OF TEARS. 299 

days I received unremitted attentions from himself and 
his wife, formerly Miss Elizabeth Jarvis, a lady of a 
lovely spirit, accomplished education, and eminent 
piety, with whom his marriage in 1856 had given the 
climax to his earthly happiness. 

But he, my disinterested, untiring friend, at the age 
of forty-four, laid down his noble head in the last slum 
ber, on his own fair domain. Surrounded by his three 
little ones, their white monuments gleam out amid the 
evergreens he had reared, strewed with votive offerings 
of fresh flowers. 

One of the scenes at his thronged funeral will not 
soon be effaced. Fifteen hundred or more of the labor 
ing men, who had received from his hand bread for 
themselves and their families, reverently approached, 
two and two, to take the last farewell of their benefac 
tor. Sadly they gazed upon the expressive counte 
nance on its coffin-pillow, and, the tears coursing down 
their rugged cheeks, said : " We shall never look on his 
like again." 

Still his palatial mansion exhibits its charms ; the 
green-houses and graperies overflow with tropical 
wealth ; the broad expanse of velvet turf, interspersed 
with statuary, delights the eye ; the deer gambol in 
their park, upon the clear lakelet which he formed ; 
the swans, so often fed by his hand, lead forth their 
young cygnets ; but he, the master of all this beauty, 
for whom the heart of affection grieves, returns no 
more. 



300 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

One little son alone survives him. Carefully nur 
tured by his excellent mother, he already, at the age 
of four, reveals elements of that courtesy and perse 
verance which characterized him whose name he bears. 
May God spare him, and grant him, through a life of 
usefulness, to evince the same capacity, energy, and 
generosity ! 

I think I have not spoken much of those important 
personages in every New England household, the do 
mestic assistants. I early discerned that the term 
servant was unpopular and inadmissible among them, 
and that they must be styled help, whether they were 
in reality helps or hindrances. In our state of society, 
where equality so evidently prevails, to continue an 
intercourse that implies subordination without frequent 
changes, is not often feasible. Yet in this respect I 
consider myself to have been favored by Providence, 
having an aversion to fluctuating helpers, unless neces 
sity requires. I commenced housekeeping with the 
creed of endeavoring to make friends of all who should 
serve us. Though warned by adepts that this would 
prove a delusion, I have not yet materially varied in 
my theory, still believing that, where there is any gen 
erosity of nature, kindness and sympathy are not 
thrown away. It seems to me but just, that those 
who have in their keeping our home-comforts, and 
almost the breath of our nostrils, should be treated 
with respect ; and, as their lot is one of toil and hard- 



LAPSE OF TEARS. 301 

ship, that it be lightened by kindness, and, as far as 
possible, an assimilation of interests. 

Out of the number of our assistants, I have found 
some whom it was highly desirable to retain, and been 
fortunate in their continuance for long periods of time. 
Their distinctive lineaments of person and mind it is 
still pleasant to recall. Shall I describe to you two or 
three of these my friends ? for friends I consider them, 
whose faithful hands conferred benefits upon us both 
day and night. 

Anna Brown, the first of these, who remained with 
us as long as eight years, possessed uncommon capacity 
for all manner of household labor, untiring industry, 
and a firmly-knit frame capable of great endurance. 
While working for us, it seemed as if she were work 
ing for herself; and this repelled both complaint and 
weariness. It seems almost even to myself that I utter 
fables, when I say that, with the aid of only a young 
girl under eighteen, she performed the whole work of 
a family that, during the finer months of the year, 
often comprised sixteen or eighteen persons, and that 
the semi-annual ablutions of our large mansion were 
conducted by her. Our partially agricultural estab 
lishment enlarged the sphere of woman s operations, 
by the care of milk, the making of butter, of soap, 
and of candles, both mould and dipped lamp-oil being 
little used, and gas and kerosene unknown. Not con 
tent with these exploits, she occasionally kept the large 



302 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

spinning-wheel in action ; also increasing her perquisites 
by needle-work for the serving-men, producing shirts, 
jackets, and pantaloons with equal facility. She was 
liable to some exacerbations of temper, but usually 
subject to the control of those whom she respected. 
She was an earnest adherent of the Methodist Church ; 
and I won very much upon her by once attending, in 
her company, their Watch-Night, or the service with 
which they bid farewell to the old year, and welcome 
the new. She zealously prized the public recital of 
religious experiences, and was tenacious of the privi 
lege of exclamation during sacred worship. Her pres 
ence at evening meetings was not affected by distance, 
darkness, or storm. On one occasion, having sur 
mounted these obstacles without the aid of any com 
panion, she said, rather exultingly, " The Lord went 
with her, and the Lord brought her back." 

" Then I think He leaves you at the door," replied 
Charles, our eldest son, then a boy, who inherited the 
vein of humor belonging to his paternal ancestors, and 
was not particularly her admirer. Her uses of lan 
guage were quaint, and her phrases often decidedly 
Yankee in structure. Chancing to hear her say that 
she had once a twin brother, and being a profound 
admirer of twins, ever hoping, while building up our 
family, to possess a pair, I asked, " Did you not love 
him very much ? " " No, me ! I hated him worse 
than any on em," was the reply. From this it must 



LAPSE OF TEAKS. 303 

not be inferred that her household were brought up as 
foes for her sisterly affection always manifested itself 
by deeds but that conflicts for coveted things be 
tween two little ones of equal age created more pro 
tracted struggles, and some approach to a belligerent 
condition. 

This remarkable personage, after a service of eight 
years in our family, married a very respectable physi 
cian, much older than herself, the owner of a small 
freehold in a neighboring township. Here her efforts 
were as unceasing as they were characteristic. There 
being often difficulty in hiring men to aid upon the 
farm, and her husband s health far from vigorous, she 
might be seen harnessing their horse with marvellous 
expedition, or, mounted on a wagon, pitching hay, or 
making the hoe and spade fly in the garden, or culti 
vating a field of tobacco, which more readily than bet 
ter agricultural products was convertible into the cir 
culating medium. She has seemed to me one of the 
most striking developments of fearless, tireless Yankee 
activity that I have ever beheld in my own sex. 

Another assistant Miss S. Albro I was so fortu 
nate as to secure, of a higher grade of intellect and 
character. She was of a respectable family, well edu 
cated in the common branches, and decidedly religious. 
She came to me at the birth of my last child, and 
chanced to conceive for my baby-boy so devoted an 
attachment as to release herself from some previous 



304 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

engagements, that she might longer attend upon him. 
Indeed, her fondness for him seemed less like a senti 
ment than a passion, and was at first the ruling motive 
of retaining her in my house for a period that proved 
longer than the love-term which Jacob served for Ra 
chel. His attachment for his foster-mother was early 
and touchingly evident. Her attention to the physical 
welfare of both the little ones never knew declension ; 
and her influence over them for word and deed proved 
an important aid in their incipient training. When 
they grew older, and her labor for them was dimin 
ished, it was found to be invaluable to the family. In 
cases of indisposition, her experience enabled her to 
save much resort to the physician, by applying at their 
earliest development some judicious domestic remedy, 
and adding what was still more important her 
watchful nursing-care. As she wrote a remarkably 
clear, distinct hand, she sometimes aided me as a copy 
ist, and was much gratified to be thus employed. Her 
skill and diligence in the uses of the needle, whether in 
constructing or repairing, were proverbial in the house 
hold, monuments of which remain with me to this day. 
Soon after becoming a resident among us, she took my 
advice to lay aside her surplus wages ; and such an 
example of prudence did she become, that sometimes, 
when her quarterly payments were made, she deposited 
the whole in the Savings Bank, reserving nothing for 
contingent expenses. There, by the punctual addition 



LAPSE OF YEARS. 305 

of interest to principal during the seventeen years of 
her continuance with me, she accumulated an amount 
of more than two thousand dollars, and was enabled to 
take up her abode with a widowed sister, who owned a 
dwelling in their pleasant native township. There she 
still resides, in that comfort and respectability which 
flow from a life of industry, frugality, and piety.* 

Have patience with me while I trace the image of 
one more earnest helper, who, notwithstanding her 
sable brow, is fair and dear to memory. 

She was a person of small size, but great activity 
and strength. Her hands seemed always ready for 
action, and, by a spirit of order and systematic arrange 
ment, she accomplished what was required in our large 
family without confusion or neglect. She had no idea 
of working a certain portion of the time, and taking 
the remainder for herself, but only of working faith 
fully as long as there was any thing to do. With her, 
neither the name nor condition of servitude were ac 
counted dishonorable. She respected those who em 
ployed and provided for her ; and, having been brought 
up a slave until the age of eighteen, would gladly 
have given me the title of " Mistress," had I not re 
fused it. 

Perceiving, though a regular attendant on the Epis- 

* This faithful helper and friend outlived the one who thus chroni 
cled her virtues only a few weeks. M. R. 



306 LETTERS OP LIFE. 

copal Church, that she had never partaken of its ordi 
nances, I conversed with her, and found she was de 
sirous of receiving both baptism and confirmation. 
After interviews of examination with our clergyman, 
she was accepted, and I stood her sponsor in the bap 
tismal rite ; after which she was duly confirmed, and 
partook of the communion with great reverence and 
solemnity. Afterwards I found that she considered my 
agency in this cause as a personal obligation ; and 
sometimes, when I expressed sympathy if she had sus 
tained some unusually arduous labor, would say, in 
her animated manner : " Oh ! that s nothing, ma am. 
Did not you stand for me when I was baptized ? " 
Poor, dear Ann Prince ! Her gratitude seemed un 
bounded. 

Her style of cooking and operations in the laundry 
were unexceptionable ; and she was an excellent ad 
junct on any short journey, taking excellent care of 
baggage in the cars, and packing and unpacking with 
great address and rapidity. In her own costume she 
was plain and old-fashioned, and of scrupulous neat 
ness, delighting in clean checked aprons, the more be 
cause she saw they were pleasing to me. She hailed 
the coming of our guests as the friends of her friends, 
not regarding any additional toil that might ensue. 
She was a close observer of the manners of our visit 
ants, and had remarkable powers of setting things in a 
ludicrous light. Some faults she had, arising from an 



LAPSE OF TEAKS. 307 

active imagination, sometimes overstepping the reality 
of circumstances ; while the desire of making her sto 
ries or statements worth hearing tempted her to wan 
der from matters of fact, or mingle them with inven 
tions. Religious admonition she received with an 
affecting humility, and those purposes of amendment 
that heightened the friendly regard of the reprover. 

Our interests as a family she identified with her 
own. In our happiness she rejoiced, at our bereave 
ments she wept, and clothed herself in the habiliments 
of mourning. She sympathized with me in my widow 
hood, and strove to lighten its cares. She had always 
by economy endeavored to diminish our expenses ; and 
now,, conceiving some new anxieties for me, proposed 
in the most affectionate manner to work without wages, 
saying she wished to do so, and appearing grieved that 
her heart-prompted offer was not accepted. Yet not 
until the final departure of my daughter by marriage 
did I fully realize the worth of this devoted creature. 
She exerted herself to supply the desolation of all kin 
dred blood, and tried to cover the whole vacated 
ground, and guard it at every point. She assumed the 
charge of my wardrobe, and desired me to dispense 
with a second assistant, that she might do every thing 
for me herself. If she fancied that a shade of sadness 
stole over ray brow, she immediately made it her busi 
ness to dispel it. She possessed uncommon powers of 
imitation, and some degree of histrionic talent. She 



308 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

could speak in the voices of different people ; and, as 
her strong memory enabled her to repeat their lan 
guage, I would sometimes seem to hear from the next 
room the conversation of friends or acquaintances on 
some amusing subject. If she elicited laughter from 
me, she was fully repaid. Her watchfulness over my 
health was incessant. By regarding my countenance, 
she sometimes discerned symptoms of indisposition 
before I suspected it myself, and was assiduous in apply 
ing some judicious domestic remedy. Thus was I 
favored with this heart-service for a period of twenty- 
five years as long as age and disease permitted her to 
make any effort. The sharp and short ministry of a 
cancer dismissed her from earth. Her image is still 
vivid before me, and I cherish it with tenderness. Her 
color was no obstacle to my grateful attachment. She 
was to rne as my own flesh and blood. 

Her life helped to establish my favorite theory of 
cultivating the friendship of household assistants ; her 
example illustrated how labor may be lightened by 
love, and how the heart enlarges through the exercise 
of its affections. 

The services of these three remarkable personages 
covered half a century a longer period than that after 
my marriage ; the two last-named having been dwellers 
under my roof at the same time during seventeen 
years. I have sometimes thought that their agency 
might be compared to that of the hands, the intellect, 



LAPSE OP YEARS. 309 

and the heart, personifying the threefold cord that 
metaphysicians ascribe to our mixed nature of body, 
mind, and soul. 

A friend of a still higher order it was my privilege 
to retain as a companion at different periods during 
several consecutive years. I must indulge myself in 
here inscribing the name of Miss Anna Freeman. She 
possessed a rare combination of excellences, refinement 
with practical efficiency, and tact without its frequent 
concomitant of worldliness. She was one of the most 
disinterested beings I have ever known. Long care of 
an enfeebled mother had given her a nursing knowl 
edge and a sweet patience that were invaluable. The 
bright smile that lighted up her face when she spoke 
communicated its spirit to those around, and seemed to 
inspire with vitality, until a stroke of paralysis took 
her from us. 

The world seems poorer when the good depart 
The just, the truthful, such as never made 
Self their chief ami, nor strove with glozing words 
To counterfeit a warmth they never felt ; 
But, steadfast and serene, to friendship gave 
Its sacred force, and ne er from duty shrank 
Because stern care or toil environ d it. 
They, loving others better than themselves, 
Maintain the Gospel rule, and taste a bliss 
Unknown to selfish souls. These, when they die, 
Must find a realm of truth, as kindred streams 
Turn to the absorbing ocean. 



310 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

Such was she 

Who left us yesterday. Her speaking smile, 
Her earnest footstep, speeding to give aid 
Or sympathy, her ready hand well skill d 
In all that appertains to woman s sphere, 
Her large heart pouring life o er every deed, 
And her glad interchange of social joy, 
Dwell with us as a picture. 

There the heart 

Shall muse, and contemplate each lineament 
With lingering tenderness, through dropping tears 
That tell our loss, and her eternal gain. 



You have asked me, dear friend, for some sketch of 
my journeyings. During the earlier stages of matri 
monial life we visited Boston, New York, and Phila 
delphia, where, having friends, we had opportunity of 
examining the principal institutions and distinctive 
attractions of those noble cities. Our longest excursion 
was to Virginia, where we were greatly interested in 
seeing the remains of the ancient church at Jamestown, 
and the university then newly established at Charlottes- 
ville ; also in the privilege of meeting, at their own 
homes, ex-Presidents Jefferson and Madison, and, in 
Pennsylvania, the venerable Charles West Thompson, 
the secretary of the first Congress of the United 
States. 

After the birth of our two little ones I was station- 



LAPSE OF TEARS. 311 

ary, except for brief excursions to our neighboring sea 
shore during the heat of summer, until they were large 
enough to be left, without anxiety, in charge of their 
attentive and efficient nurse. Then I accepted an invi 
tation from my friends, Mr. and Mrs. Griffin, of New 
York, to accompany them and their daughter on a jour 
ney whose most prominent points were Niagara and 
the Valley of Wyoming. We visited Saratoga, the 
Falls of Trenton, the wheat-covered vales of the Mo 
hawk, several of the lakes of Western New York, the 
beautiful Seneca, the glorious Niagara, the Canadian 
possessions of her Majesty of Great Britain, and, turn 
ing southward to the fair State of the good William 
Penn, where his just and calm spirit still seems to lin 
ger, explored the region of Wyoming, famed both in 
history and song, and also the then newly-opened mines 
of anthracite, whose sable sceptre has since held such 
domination over the commerce of the civilized world. 
There being no railroads to expedite our course, we 
enjoyed the advantage of a leisurely survey of the 
peculiarities and attractions of the regions we trav 
ersed. Instead of the tramp and shriek of the fiery- 
nostrilled steed that now propels the traveller, it was 
the habit of my friends to hire a large, easy carriage, 
with either two or four horses, and, when their fresh 
ness became impaired, send back the conveyance to its 
owner, and take a new one. This they considered 
more independent for a long journey than to depend on 



312 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

their own equipage, and run the risk of exhausting 
their favorite horses, being able to proceed either 
slowly or rapidly as they chose, having opportunity 
to examine the beauties of nature or curiosities of art, 
and lingering as long as they desired in any interesting 
locality. Much varied scenery we saw, to furnish vivid 
pictures for memory. 

But the crown of all was Niagara. Who can de 
scribe it ? If he should attempt, he will be either 
smothered with emotion or silenced by shame. It is as 
the voice of Him who " poured it from His hollow 
hand." Its perpetual warning is, " Hence, ye pro 
fane ! " 

In the album of our hotel, where we were request 
ed to write our names, I left the following lines, extem 
poraneous and inadequate, yet irresistibly prompted : 

Flow on forever, in thy glorious robe 
Of terror and of beauty. 

Yea, flow on, 

Unfathom d and resistless. God hath set 
His rainbow on thy forehead, and the cloud 
Mantled around thy feet. And He doth give 
Thy voice of thunder power to speak His name 
Eternally, bidding the lip of man 
Keep silence, and upon thy rocky altar pour 
Incense of awe-struck praise. 

Through the kindness of these disinterested friends, 
to whom I was indebted for this delightful excursion, 



LAPSE OF YEARS. 313 

I had subsequently an opportunity, during a visit at 
their country seat on Staten Island, to become ac 
quainted with the charming scenery of that region, 
which occasionally exhibits the wildness and grandeur 
that mark the cliffs of the Isle of Wight, and then, 
with sudden contrast, softens into the luxuriance of the 
vale of Tempe. We also explored the watering-places 
of Long Island, from Brooklyn to Montauk, from the 
quiet shades of Greenport to the rock-bound coast of 
Southampton, battling with unsubdued though not un 
scathed heroism the terrific surges of the southern 
Atlantic. 

I have been always a devotee of Ocean. In my 
earliest days I was a stranger to it, but from the time 
I first looked upon its face its sublimity enchanted and 
subdued me. I had been introduced by my husband to 
the wonderfully excavated rocks of Nahant, where the 
storm-wrought billows sport and reverberate ; and the 
luxuriant scenery of Newport, whose beautiful beaches 
carpet themselves with the softest, whitest sand for the 
foot of aristocracy. 

We followed the custom of many of the inland 
dwellers, to resort, during warm weather, to the sea for 
invigoration. There was a rocky peninsula on the 
shore of Connecticut, bearing the name of Sachem s 
Head, from a tragedy once enacted there of decapi 
tating, upon one of its stony scaffolds, a chieftain of 
our poor forest tribes. This retreat we claimed almost 
14 



314 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

by right of discovery, when there was but a single 
farm-house where boarders were received, and only one 
chamber capable of accommodating them. Mr. Sigour- 
ney used to write, and engage this apartment in ad 
vance ; and at early autumn, when the completed elec 
tions at the bank of which he was president gave him 
release, drove thither his own faithful horse, to enjoy 
a quiet vacation unimpeded by the restraints of fash 
ionable society. Here, in long rambles, sometimes with 
his hammer to examine minerals, collecting crystals, 
and endless varieties of felspar, in the favorite luxury 
of sea-bathing, or the perusal of books which we car 
ried with us, he tasted a happiness known only by 
those who, amid the cares and conflicts of business, 
preserve unalloyed the love of nature and the pleasures 
of intellect. Mental progress he was conspicuous for 
keeping in view ; and after surpassing the age of fifty, 
having received into his house a young native of Sa- 
mos, who was desirous of obtaining a collegiate educa 
tion in this country, he decided to commence with him 
the study of modern Greek, often rising earlier in the 
morning to obtain more uninterrupted leisure. 

To witness his satisfaction at this occasional recess 
from employment, and free intercourse with the bound 
ing billows, was a privilege ; and I have never received 
so much physical benefit from the presence of the great, 
solemn sea, as when we were its guests in this rude, 
solitary spot. I identified myself as far as possible 



LAPSE OP YEARS. 315 

with his pursuits became a tireless walker, a fearless 
climber, a searcher in caverns for sea- weed, and a 
rather expert swimmer ; occupying intervals with 
needle-work, of which I brought great store for stormy 
days. It seems difficult to realize that this secluded 
retreat, approached by almost precipitous roads, should 
now exhibit a spacious edifice, with bathing-houses, 
bowling-alleys, carriages in waiting, and a range of 
barns and stables, where erst our single animal was not 
very largely accommodated or thoroughly groomed. 
Methinks I see his exulting step, as he was led to his 
daily sea-bath, his great delight, arching his noble neck 
above the crested wave, and striking out boldly as if 
to sweep across the Sound. Now, the Sachem s Head 
House, with its three long piazzas, and colonnades of 
white pillars reaching to the roof, from whence floats a 
brilliant flag, is a striking object to the passing voy 
ager. Its numerous dormitories, spacious apartment 
for music, dining-room capable of accommodating hun 
dreds, parterres of flowers, graperies, and pleasure- 
boats, offer attractions to thronging guests. I fre 
quently make a brief stay there, and admire its im 
provements, yet find ancient cherished memories more 
vivid than surrounding pageantry. 

Not long after removing to our present abode I was 
earnestly invited to attend an annual exhibition of the 
Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, and went to South 
Hadley, Mass., taking with me my little daughter of 



316 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

ten years. Miss Mary Lyon, the truly remarkable 
originator of this institution, having overcome many 
obstacles by an indomitable energy, had now the pleas 
ure of seeing it in successful operation. Her plan was 
to receive pupils of fifteen or sixteen, and conduct them 
through a thorough course of study for four years, to a 
regular graduation. Desirous also of repelling the in 
dolence and frivolity often springing from boarding- 
school culture, she decided that the housekeeping de 
partment should be committed to them. Though I had 
long wished that practical utility, and a respect for 
home duties, should be carefully intermingled with the 
scholastic nurture of my own sex, I was skeptical with 
regard to the feasibility of this part of her plan, or 
rather whether it could be rendered agreeable to her 
disciples, and was therefore a critical observer. After a 
public recitation in Mathematics, Metaphysics, and 
other elevated sciences, that would have been credit 
able to graduating classes in any of our colleges, those 
white-robed young ladies resorted to the refectory of 
the Seminary, and, slipping on white aprons with long 
sleeves, shelled six bushels of peas, and made thirty 
pies, with the utmost alacrity and pleasant emulation. 
To do the honors of Mount Holyoke to their assembled 
guests, and see to the minutiaB of their comfortable ac 
commodation, seemed an additional source of pride and 
pleasure. The spacious edifice was a model of neatness 
and order, and every department so arranged as to fa- 



LAPS32 OF YEAKS. 317 

cilitate the processes on which domestic comfort depend. 
To remove the contempt in which these are too often 
held by those whose sphere of action is eventually to 
comprehend them, and to prove that they are not incon 
sistent with advanced knowledge and refinement, were 
among the essential principles of the system of Miss 
Lyon. I said to her : 

" You have convinced me of the practicability of 
what I viewed with doubt. But you have the power 
of inspiring the young with your own convictions and 
zeal, and I doubt whether the system can be thus car 
ried out by another person." 

" It can be equally well sustained by my teachers 
when I am no longer here," was her confident reply. 
The prediction seems to have been fulfilled. 

The twenty-fifth anniversary of the institution has 
been recently celebrated by a joyous reunion. The 
published account of the festival states that more than 
three thousand have received instruction within its 
walls, under a band of one hundred and twenty-seven 
teachers, and that its existence is still vigorous and full 
of hope. As the piety inculcated both by word and 
deed by its founder, Miss Lyon, was of a zealous and 
self-denying character, a large proportion of its students 
have devoted themselves as teachers in our new West 
ern States, and missionaries to benighted lands. Nearly 
one hundred have labored or fallen at their post of duty, 
either among our forest tribes, amid the snows of Lab- 



318 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

rador, under the shadow of the mountains of Persia, 
on the plains of Syria, in the wilds of Africa, under the 
Turkish crescent, amid the coral-reefs of the Sandwich 
Islands, the idol- worshipping Chinese, or the cannibals 
of Borneo. 

In my list of short journeys, this to Mount Holyoke 
has ever been pleasantly remembered. 

Finding, as do most of our inland dwellers, the in 
fluences of a saline atmosphere subsidiary to health, I 
have sometimes during summer paid short visits to the 
various localities on our own coast and that of our 
neighbor, little Rhoda, to Watch Hill, Stonington, 
Guilford, and Madison ; the last being endeared by the 
hospitalities of the lady of Wildwood, Mrs. Washburn, 
as also is Newport by those of Mr. and Mrs. Pond, and 
New London by Miss F. M. Caulkins, the historian of 
Connecticut, and the family of her brother, the Hon. H. 
P. Havens. 

My longest excursion was to Europe. An incipient, 
yet apparently adhesive bronchial affection, induced our 
skilful physician, Dr. A. Brigham, to recommend a sea 
voyage. A visit to the older world had been a favorite 
dream in my childhood, but dispelled and dismissed by 
the realities of mature years. The opportunity of join 
ing a party who would afford both protection and 
agreeable intercourse, an accomplished clergyman, now 
the Assistant Bishop of Connecticut, and his excellent 
mother, with the young son of an esteemed friend, was 



LAPSE OF YEARS. 319 

a concurrence of circumstances of which it was deemed 
expedient for me to avail myself. My children having 
reached the ages of ten and twelve, could be safely 
left, the daughter under the charge of a governess, and 
the son at a boarding-school in an adjacent township, 
where the wife of the Principal with whom he was to 
reside having been an early acquaintance of mine, would 
extend to him some degree of maternal attention. 

So I went. Yet scarcely did I realize either the de 
cision or the separation until I found myself out on the 
deep, dark waters, like a waif or a spray of sea-weed. 
The absence of nearly a year gave time and facility for 
exploration of the more interesting parts of England, 
Scotland, and France. Then I was much urged to pro 
ceed to Italy by my attached friends Hon. Mr. and 
Mrs. Dixon, who showed me filial attentions in foreign 
climes, and would have taken the kindest care of me. 
But an aversion to be so far from my children, lest they 
might be taken sick, and a desire to rejoin them pre 
vailed, and caused a refusal of the privilege. Did I do 
wrong ? So some said, who were not mothers. But I 
have never regretted it. 

We found very much to interest us in those ancient 
regions, with whose history we had been long familiar. 
Yet more than ruinous castle, where romance lingered, 
or royal palace, where pomp abode, or tower, obelisk, 
or cathedral, or galleries where congregated the world s 
artistic power, were the sight of the face and sound 



320 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

of the voice of those whose writings had instructed or 
charmed me, and before whose ideal images I had bowed 
as in a sacred shrine. Too late was I, alas ! for Miss 
Hannah More, and Sir Walter Scott, and Mrs. Hemans, 
and Coleridge. Over Southey had settled that rayless 
cloud, which lifted not till the pall enveloped him for his 
burial. Yet I was indulged in the privilege of the so 
ciety of Wordsworth, and Maria Edgeworth, and Jo 
anna Baillie a rich payment for crossing the storm- 
tossed Atlantic. I was also favored with the acquaint 
ance of Mrs. Norton, Mrs. Austin, the Countess of 
Blessington, Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Hall, the venerable 
poet, Samuel Rogers, the philanthropic Mrs. Fry, and 
her distinguished brother, John Joseph Gurney, with 
others whose classic pens had delighted me when life 
was new. In Scotland I was so fortunate as to meet 
John Foster, the essayist, and Allan Cunningham ; and 
in Paris to share for several weeks the hospitalities of 
the elegant Marchioness Lavalette, whom we proudly 
claim as a native of New England, by whom I was in 
troduced, among other memorable personages of that 
courteous clime, to Count Roy, one of the most high 
bred of the ancient noblesse, to De la Vigne, the lyrist, 
and the white-haired philosopher, Arago. Yet, as the 
descriptions of my European tour are embodied in a 
volume entitled " Pleasant Memories of Pleasant Lands," 
I will not indulge myself here in recapitulation. 

But I must tell you of the jewels that, since remov- 



LAPSE OF YEARS. 321 

ing to our present abode, have been transferred from 
my heart s casket to sparkle in the Redeemer s crown. 
One year and two months had scarcely passed away 
since our residence here, when my father, who retained 
an active step, a florid complexion, and bright hair un- 
mingled with a thread of silver, died at the age of 
eighty-seven. He had never known sickness, save that 
single day and night when cholera-morbus laid him by 
her side, whom for five years he had mourned. 

Next, my only son, my faded hope apparently of 
an excellent constitution fell, like a rootless flower, the 
victim of a quick consumption, while a student in col 
lege, in the bloom of nineteen. 

Four years and a half after his death, my husband, 
being in comfortable health, though not entirely free 
from infirmities, was prostrated by a sudden stroke of 
apoplexy at the age of seventy-six. No previous con 
finement had precluded his attention to his professional 
business. Morning and noon of his last day on earth 
found him as usual at his store, from whence he walked 
home, but at the setting of the sun entered on that glo 
rious life which hath no end. 

Two years and a half had elapsed after his depar 
ture, when the oldest and only remaining son yielded, 
at the age of forty-five, to a consumption with which 
he had for some years contended, and probably inherited 
from his beautiful mother. Do not these glorified ones, 



322 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

from the other side of Jordan, warn us to be ready to 
join their blissful company ? 

Other changes, besides those made by death, have 
also swept over me. Eight months after the decease 
of her father, my only child left my desolated hearth 
stone, having given her heart and hand to the Rev. F. 
T. Russell, a clergyman of the Episcopal Church, pos 
sessing amiable sympathies and attractive manners, and 
calling forth the strong attachment of an affectionate 
people during the nine years that he was rector of St. 
Mark s, in New Britain, a pleasant and flourishing town 
in our vicinity. He is at present Professor of Elocu 
tion in Hobart College, Geneva, N". Y. a department 
for which he is eminently qualified, not only by the 
training of his accomplished father, but by having been 
himself a successful teacher of that science in various 
localities, for several years of his early life. 

The happiness that my daughter enjoys and imparts 
in the conjugal sphere, by a faithful, unselfish discharge 
of every duty, should reconcile or lead me to rejoice 
in the transfer, which at first seemed like the extinction 
of the last lamp at my altar. 

Rapidly have I sketched for you, dear friend, some 
of the bereavements that have cost my heart so much. 
It is not my purpose to murmur, but rather to thank 
Him who so long indulged me in the use of His loans, 
and had a full right to resume them. 

My home, which might strike you as desolate, be- 



LAPSE OP YEARS. 323 

comes dearer every year. The habit of staying much 
there grows strong, so that the thought of leaving it, 
even for a short season, is repulsive. Does not this 
indicate that the home draws near from whence there 
is neither return nor removal ? 

Even so, Father ! if so it seemeth good in Thy 
sight. 



LETTER XIII. 

LITERATURE. 

MY literary course has been a happy one. It com 
menced in impulse, and was continued from habit. 
Two principles it has ever kept in view not to inter 
fere with the discharge of womanly duty, and to aim 
at being an instrument of good. 

My journals, which I have already mentioned 
were begun at an early age, were usually made the 
repositories of my poems, in the order in which they 
were composed. Those systematic records became a 
sort of necessity of my existence. They seemed an 
adjunct in religious progress, and to justify the adjura 
tion with which one of them is consecrated : 

" Give me Thine aid calmly to look upon the 
changes that are appointed me, and to love the little 
streams fed hourly from the fountain of Divine Mercy ; 
and to hope that, when I fade, as I soon shall, like the 
grass, I may be renewed in the image of a glorious im 
mortality." 



LITEBATUEE. 325 

After my establishment in a school at Hartford, 
through the influence of Daniel Wadsworth, Esq., he 
and his lady, my lovely friend, requested a sight of my 
journals, which had been usually kept in sequestration. 
He made selections from their contents which he per 
suaded me were adapted to the public eye ; and I 
adventured, under his guardianship, on what was in 
those times, and in our part of the country, a novel 
enterprise for a female. 

1815. 

1. "Moral Pieces in Prose and Verse," was the 
modest title of my first volume, which comprised two 
hundred and sixty-seven pages. My kind patron, the 
first who ever gave encouragement to my literary 
tastes, and whose name I cannot utter without a thrill 
of gratitude, took upon himself the whole responsibil 
ity of contracting with publishers, gathering subscrip 
tions, and even correcting the proof-sheets ; and was 
delighted to present me, at last, a larger pecuniary 
amount than had been anticipated. Much favor was 
shown to this rather juvenile production ; partly, per 
haps, from courtesy to the sex, but principally that, 
though its literary pretensions might be slender, its 
moral and religious tone was accepted as a redeeming 
quality. Every agreeable concomitant seemed to add 
to the happiness of its disinterested prompter, Mr. 
Wadsworth, who delighted in drawing a solitary mind 



326 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

from obscurity into a freer atmosphere and brighter 
sunbeam. 

1816. 

2. " Life and Writings of Nancy Maria Hyde." 
This was a loving tribute to the memory of her 

who from school-days had been to me as a sister. In 
the spring of 1816 she had taken her departure from 
earth ; and a vacation of three weeks spent with my 
parents, the following June, was devoted, except such 
intervals as were imperatively necessary for exercise, to 
the arrangement and correction of some of her manu 
scripts for the press. These, connected by a biographi 
cal sketch, were published in Norwich, our native place, 
in a volume of two hundred and forty-one pages. The 
labor of preparation, though arduous for the short time 
I was able to command, was a solace to my feelings, 
and a source of profit to the bereaved mother. 

1819. 

3. " The Square Table " was the first literary pro 
duction after my marriage, written by snatches while I 
was becoming initiated into the science of housekeep 
ing, with the shell of the school-mistress still on my 
head. It was miscellaneous, and in reply to " Arthur s 
Round Table," a somewhat satirical work which had 
recently appeared. So strict was its incognita, that I 
had great amusement in hearing its merits discussed 



LITERATURE. 327 

and its authorship inquired after in the circles where I 
visited. It was issued in pamphlet form, but not long 
continued, as I found the mystery on which its exist 
ence depended in danger of being unravelled. 

1822. 

4. " Traits of the Aborigines of America." 
A poem in five cantos, comprising two hundred and 
eighty-four pages. This was composed two years be 
fore my marriage, but its publication delayed for some 
time, when it was issued from the University Press at 
Cambridge, Mass. An early acquaintance with the 
Mohegan tribe of Indians, who resided a few miles 
from Norwich, and a taste for searching out the his 
toric legends of our forest-people, deepened my interest 
in their native lineaments of character, and my sympa 
thy for their degraded condition. In the notes of the 
volume much information is concentrated respecting 
them, derived from various sources, in the revision of 
which I gratefully received the aid of the acute and 
discriminating mind of my husband. The work was 
singularly unpopular, there existing in the community 
no reciprocity with the subject. 

Indeed, our injustice and hard-hearted policy with 
regard to the original owners of the soil has ever 
seemed to me one of our greatest national sins. The 
eloquent prelate of Minnesota, Bishop Whipple, whose 






328 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

residence among them and labors for their salvation 
entitle his opinions to respect, says : 

" In their attachments to home, kindred, and coun 
try, in their natural endowments and virtues, and in 
their belief in One Great Spirit, they compare favor 
ably with any heathen race on earth. Our early inter 
course was marked by warm friendships, and white 
men lived in peace and tranquillity, when their only 
protection was the good faith of the Indian. 

" But our first dealing with them as a government 
was based upon falsehood. Instead of encouraging 
them to live by honest labor, they made payments for 
their lands in beads, trinkets, and scalping-knives, giv 
ing the weight of official influence on the side of sav 
age life. The sale of fire-water among them has been 
unblushing, and the office of Indian Agent sought, not 
because it was one of the noblest trusts that could be 
committed to man, but because, through corruption, a 
fortune might be realized in a few years. 

" Because, as a nation, we fear God, let us fear to 
cover up these iniquities ; because we hope in His 
mercy, let us reform a system which has proved so per 
nicious." 

1824. 

5. " Sketch of Connecticut, Forty Years Since." 
A descriptive prose work of two hundred and 
eighty pages, tracing primitive habits and traditions, 



LITERATT7KE. 329 

with some intermingling of fiction. The scene is 
among the wild and beautiful regions of nay native 
place ; and the object of its construction was to em 
balm the memory and virtues of an ancient lady, my 
first and most loved benefactress. Its contents, though 
comparatively diffuse, were intended to be subsidiary 
to this prompting theme. It was meant to be an offer 
ing of gratitude to her whose influence, like a golden 
thread, had run through the whole woof of my life. 
Her relatives, as if by a heritable affection, continued 
to brighten its course and coloring ; and, through their 
deeds of kindness, she, being dead, yet spake. Truly 
and devoutly would I apostrophize her, whose hallowed 
hand wrought among the elements of my being : 

" If some faint love of goodness glow in me, 
Pure spirit ! I first caught that flame from thee." 

1827. 

6. "Poems." This volume of two hundred and 
twenty-eight pages, without other distinctive title, was 
published in Boston, in a very neat style, by Mr. 
Samuel G. Goodrich, an early friend, who afterwards, 
under the sobriquet of Peter Parley, was to earn so 
extensive a literary fame, first from young readers, and 
eventually from all the people. The book was a col 
lection of miscellaneous poems, many of which had 
already appeared in various periodicals. It was re- 



330 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

ceived with courtesy, and with more of praise from 
reviewers than its merits appeared to me to deserve. 

1829. 

7. "Female Biography." 

I had been led to attach increasing importance to 
biographical sketches of the good and distinguished as 
examples of conduct. A large number of these had 
accumulated in manuscript, which I had been in the 
habit of reading and commenting upon to the pupils of 
my school. This was a selection from them of the 
lives of twelve American women remarkable for their 
piety. The copyright was purchased by the Sunday 
School Union in Philadelphia, with the object of intro 
ducing it into the libraries connected with their estab 
lishment. It was issued in a small-sized volume of one 
hundred and twelve pages ; and, though I never heard 
the objection adduced, I should think the style defi 
cient in simplicity for juvenile readers, not having been 
prepared with reference to such a destination. 

1832. 

8. " Biography of Pious Persons." 

In two volumes, comprising three hundred and 
thirty-eight pages, the remainder of the delineations 
mentioned in the preceding article, with some addi 
tional ones, were published by the Messrs. Merriams, 



LITERATURE. 331 

of Springfield, Mass. Interesting reminiscences are 
entwined with them. At the close of each week, when 
the fair creatures whom it was my privilege to instruct 
were about to separate for the Sunday, I read, as a 
parting exercise, one of these brief abridgments to my 
attentive auditory. I seem still to see their bright eyes 
fixed upon me, some of which now turn lovingly to 
their own descendants, and some are darkened in the 
tomb. To my inquiry, " Will you sometimes think of 
this lovely character, until we meet again ? " I hear the 
united answer, " We will." " And you will try to 
transplant the same virtues into your own young 
lives ? " The response was, " We will" And so they 
have. 

1833. 

9. " Evening Readings in History." 

A love of Ancient History, and the habit of teach 
ing it, had frequently suggested the desire of rendering 
less diffuse portions of that of Assyria, Egypt, Tyre, 
Syria, and Palestine, and of so dividing and arranging 
these extensive themes as to bring them within the 
compass of brief readings, or lessons. This plan, how 
ever, was not attempted until my attention was turned 
to domestic instruction, when I felt the utter need of 
something adapted to the mind in its early stages of 
development. This work was written at the close of 
the first winter after my marriage, and proved a solace 



332 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

for intervals of ill health, which sometimes induced a 
retreat to my chamber. The ancient classic injunction, 
" Keep your piece nine years," was transcended, as this 
slumbered some thirteen in manuscript ere it was in 
trusted to the care of my Springfield publishers ; who, 
wishing to make it acceptable to the young, embel 
lished it with pictorial illustrations. 

1833. 

10. " Memoir of Phebe P. Hammond." 
She was a young pupil in the American Asylum for 
the Deaf and Dumb in Hartford that noble and be 
nevolent institution, which has done so much for the 
relief and elevation of suffering humanity. I was in 
duced to undertake this transcript of the early-sum 
moned by the urgency of its principal, the Rev. Mr. 
Gallaudet ; though reluctantly, from a great pressure 
of employment that then absorbed my time. He 
argued that the depressed circumstances of the family 
of the departed, and the means of education for the 
surviving sister, might be materially affected by the 
pecuniary aid thus derived. As I proceeded, I repent 
ed of my hesitation, being more than repaid for the 
labor by the simplicity, beauty, and piety of the 
character thus unfolded before me ; furnishing delight 
ful evidence that not only from the lips " of babes and 
sucklings," but from the tongue of the silent, God had 
perfected praise. 



LITEKATUKE. 333 

1833. 

11. " How to be Happy." 

Still keeping in view the nurture of children, I pre 
pared a small work of one hundred and twenty-six 
pages, with the above title, pointing out a variety of 
ways in which they might find satisfaction by being 
good and obedient. Another motive animated me. 
The former scholars, whom I had so much loved, had 
many of them become mothers. The second genera 
tion was nearly as numerous as the first. For the nine 
teenth time they were about to assemble on the 1st of 
August that day of the commencement of the school, 
which their constancy had continued to embalm. I 
knew they would appear under the same green trees 
where their youth had gathered, leading miniatures of 
themselves. I wished to place in those little handa 
some useful gift, which, if death should divide me from 
them before the twentieth anniversary, might be a me 
morial of affection. In ten days, and without previous 
preparation, I wrote this book, and gave it to a pub 
lisher the late excellent Mr. D. F. Robinson. To my 
surprise, he proceeded to issue several thousand ; ac 
cording me the remuneration of ten per cent, on the 
retail price, with twenty-five copies of every new edi 
tion for my own gratuitous distribution. 



334 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

1833. 

12. "Report of the Hartford Female Beneficent 
Society." 

This association was for orphan girls, or such as 
were deserted by parents, that they might be support 
ed and trained in right and industrious habits until of 
sufficient age to be taken as assistants in families. It 
had been wisely and successfully managed, its funds 
having been fostered by the counsels of Chief-Justice 
Williams, whose lady devoted much time and sympa 
thy to its internal details. Twenty years had elapsed 
since its establishment, and it was thought that a re 
port of its proceedings might strengthen public confi 
dence perhaps increase the number of subscribers. 
Some of the more cautious managers apprehended that 
it would prove useless, and a source of debt. I offered 
to write it, and be held financially responsible. An 
edition of only five hundred was ventured, but widely 
circulated, and profitable beyond our most sanguine 
expectation. 

This benevolent institution has now been half a cen 
tury in prosperous operation. For the greater part of 
that period the onerous services of Chief Manager have 
been devotedly discharged by one lady, Mrs. Charles 
Hosmer, whose name has become identified with its 
welfare. Its plan has been not to mingle the sexes, or 
to cultivate in masses, but to receive only such a num- 



LITERATURE. 335 

ber as a single judicious matron might superintend 
with attention to individual health, habits, and man 
ners. The result has been that they were often sought 
and prized, as inmates in distinguished families. Some 
of them married respectably, and became subscribers to 
the association by which they had been sheltered, and 
taught to lead lives of usefulness. 

1833. 

13. " The Farmer and Soldier." 

A tale whose object was to impress on the young 
the excellence of a calm, peaceful spirit, and to show 
the false glory that sometimes surrounds those who, 
from ambition, have become shedders of blood. It was 
written at the instigation of Mr. William Watson, a 
friend who had accepted an agency in what was then 
known as the " American Peace Society." It was pre 
sented to him as a gift, and he printed a few thousand, 
in pamphlet form, for gratuitous distribution. 

1833. 

14. " Letters to Young Ladies." 

Communion with those of my own sex in life s blos 
soming season has always been to me delightful. This 
volume was a selection of themes that I deemed of 
vital importance. At first it contained eight letters, 
but was eventually enlarged to eighteen, comprehend- 



336 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

ing about three hundred pages. I felt a peculiar de 
gree of diffidence about this publication, and offer it in 
my journal " as an oblation at His footstool who alone 
giveth guiding wisdom and sustaining strength, and 
who is able to grant that it may implant in the young 
mind some seeds of pure motive and prevailing piety." 

After its unexpected publication in England and 
Scotland, where it was very kindly received, I was 
embarrassed by the solicitations of publishers wishing 
to secure the copyright. It has appeared, for the last 
sixteen or eighteen years, under the auspices of Harper 
& Brothers, in New York, and still meets a steady sale, 
having passed through between twenty and thirty edi 
tions, including those on the other side of the Atlantic. 



1834. > 
15. "Sketches." 



Six tales and sketches are contained in this volume 
of two hundred and sixteen pages, several of which 
have a historical basis, with some sprinkling of inven 
tion. It was brought out by Philadelphia publishers, 
under the patronage of my late highly respected friend, 
George Griffin, of New York, whose legal knowledge 
guided me in those contracts which the business feature 
of my literary course demanded ; while his intellectual 
tastes and kind encouragement prompted and aided its 
available industry. Feelingly do I pay this tribute of 
gratitude to his disinterested goodness. Agreeing with 



LITERATURE. 33*7 

me in opinion that the fine exterior of a book has the 
same bearing on its contents that graceful manners 
have upon character, this one was uncommonly well 
executed for the times. A second and third edition 
were called for, and another simultaneously appeared in 
London. 

1834. 

16. " Poetry for Children." 

This little book of one hundred and two pages, 
whose title reveals its object, was prepared with the 
belief that truths wrapped in rhyme may be made a 
powerful adjunct in early training, wakening the intel 
lect, softening the heart, and imprinting lessons on the 
memory which time fails to efface. " Mother Goose s 
Melodies " have, however, so long held priority in the 
nursery, that it might be scarcely possible to make 
aught of a sentimental or serious character their com 
petitor. 

1834. 

17. " Select Poems." 

A collection of the more popular poems which had 
appeared during several years in various periodicals, 
with an admixture of new ones, was brought out in a 
neat volume of three hundred and thirty-eight pages, 
by publishers in the City of Brotherly Love. My con 
secrating prayer to Him who is able to make even 
weak things efficacious, was that it "might be sanc- 
15 



338 LETTEES OF LIFE. 

tified to the comfort of the sorrowful, and in some 
measure to the good of all who shall read it." Pub 
lic favor has been extended to it now for almost 
thirty years ; and among the many kind notices that 
greeted it, was a valued review from the pen of the 
honored Maria Edgeworth. 

1834. 

18. " Tales and Essays for Children." 

I have an idea that my zeal to come in contact with 
the mind in its earliest stages, outruns my ability. This 
little book of one hundred and twenty-eight pages helps 
to reveal how persistently I wrought in that field ; but 
every succeeding year has more fully convinced me 
that the power of indwelling with childish thought, 
and so harmonizing with its simplicity as to cheer and 
elevate it, such as Mrs. Barbauld and a few others have 
exhibited, is a rare and not readily attainable excel 
lence. 

1835. 

19. " Zinzendorff, and other Poems." 

A visit to the Moravian establishments at Bethle 
hem and Nazareth, during a tour in Pennsylvania, so 
impressed me with their moderated desires, systematic 
industry, and quiet, consistent piety, as to turn my 
attention to the life of the founder, and prompt me to 



LITERATUEE. 339 

cull its poetical elements. This attempt supplied the 
title for a book of three hundred pages, the greater 
part of whose contents were miscellaneous, and which 
passed only through two or three editions, 

1835. 

20. " Margaret and Henrietta." 

Two lovely sisters, the only children of their 
parents, beautiful in person, highly educated, and early 
summoned, gave a subject to this small volume of 
about one hundred pages. Sympathy with the mourn 
ing mother, and a desire to console her, was the motive 
for its composition ; yet it has been widely circulated 
far beyond my expectation, and amid many Sunday- 
school libraries incites to imitation of these models of 
goodness and piety. 

1835. 

21. " Marcus Aurelius." 

I had long been solicitous of selecting some era 
which might serve to imbue the young mind with a 
love for historical knowledge, yet leave it undazzled by 
the pomp of military achievement. This induced the 
choice of one of the most faultless of the Roman empe 
rors, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. To possess myself 
of any fact that might add interest to the analysis, I 
studied some of the more ancient authors both in Latin 



340 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

and French, and so arranged my plan as to present col 
laterally parallel events, with resemblances or contrasts 
among the distinguished of other nations. To reduce 
the style of these gatherings to the simplicity of un 
folding capacities, cost me almost the toil of transla 
tion. Indeed, I felt some degree of compunction that 
two months, with the exception of claims of corre 
spondence and contributions to periodicals, should 
have been expended on a work of such trifling extent 
as one hundred and twenty-two pages. Yet I eventu 
ally reaped both pleasure and benefit from its use, in 
the home-education of my own two little ones, who 
were five and seven years old at the time of its first 
appearance. 

1836. 

22. " Olive Buds." 

This, as the name imports, has affinity with those 
peaceful dispositions which are the germ of national 
tranquillity and prosperity. It owes its existence to 
the instigation of a friend, Mr. William Watson, who 
was interested in the promulgation of such principles, 
and had commenced on a small scale the business of 
publishing. Having been a boarder in his family dur 
ing the last year that I had charge of my school, and 
treated with great kindness, I made this work of one 
hundred and thirty-six pages, with another small publi 
cation, an offering of gratitude to him, taking pleasure 



LITEKATURE. 341 

in knowing that a portion of whatever profit might 
thus accrue was to assist in the education of a promis 
ing son, destined to the ministry by his parents, but 
removed by the All- Wise Disposer in the bloom of 
youth. 

1837. 

23. " The Religious Souvenir." 

Those beautiful annuals which had reached us from 
over the water, so exquisite in typography and pictorial 
embellishment, had begun to excite among us a spirit 
of emulation. At this I rejoiced, having long felt that 
there was much room for improvement in the costume 
as well as the material of our literature. The aristo 
cratic " Forget-Me-Not " of London had been regularly 
sent me by its editor ; and admiration of it, as well as 
other considerations, induced me to accept the charge 
of a similar publication, originally commenced in Phila 
delphia by my revered and eloquent friend, the late 
Rev. Dr. Gregory Bedell. The labor of editing was 
more onerous than I had anticipated, demanding corre 
spondence not only with the literati, but with artists 
and engravers. Yet, at the sight of a rich volume in 
white Turkey morocco and gold, of two hundred and 
eighty-eight pages, from our eminent writers, I felt 
more than remunerated. 



342 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

1838. 

24. " Letters to Mothers." 

This is a communication on matters that seemed to 
me of high import with those to whom Heaven has 
committed the moulding of the whole mass of mind in 
its first formation. It was written more con amore than 
most of my previous works. The importance of early 
training was continually unfolded and enforced by con 
ducting at home the education of my own two children ; 
and its voice often arose from my very heart of hearts. 
The first edition I printed myself, that I might have 
the privilege of distributing a larger number gratui 
tously. It was afterwards stereotyped, in three hun 
dred and ninety-seven pages, by the Brothers Harper, 
and has been in successful circulation for a quarter of a 
century. One of its reviewers has pronounced it " a 
mass of excellence, with as little alloy as any book ex 
tant ; " though, to chastise the vanity, if any should 
spring from such high praise, I have felt that it has 
never excited, in the class whom it addresses, the warm 
enthusiasm with which it was written. Some of its 
precepts may probably be deemed out of fashion by the 
mothers of the present generation. 

1838. 

25. " The Girl s Reading Book." 

I was persuaded by a gentleman who was engaged 
in elevating the condition of Common Schools in the 



LITEEATUKE. 343 

State of New York, the late Mr. J. Orville Taylor, to 
prepare a work of didactic instruction narrative and 
poetry adapted to the use of the young of my own sex 
during their progress in scholastic education. The de 
sign was pleasant, but having only a month that I 
could devote to it, labored both night and day. I half 
feared that it would be written in my heart s blood, so 
many interruptions occurred, and so determined was I, 
if possible, to keep my promise of having it ready at a 
certain time. Severe application enabled me to redeem 
my pledge, and seventy sheets of manuscript were 
ready at the appointed period, to save the publisher 
from disappointment. His energy brought out seven 
editions during the first nine months; and I remem 
bered no more my weariness, for the cheering hope that 
it might impress some good lesson, or hallowed precept, 
on the hearts of the daughters of my people. 

1839. 

26. " The Boy s Reading Book." 

A counterpart to its feminine companion, naturally 
and more leisurely followed. It was written with care, 
aiming to enforce such principles as seemed to me vi 
tally important to the young sons of a republic. Again 
I seem to hear the melody of a treasured voice, and my 
sole boy-pupil, my " faded hope," stands by my side, 
reading from its pages in his clear, deliberate enuncia 
tion, or pausing to ask some question, or listen to some 



344 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

collateral remark. Wiser art thou now than we, young 
student in the lore of heaven ! 

Not satisfied with the style in which school-books 
were usually printed in those times, I decided to adven 
ture an edition of each of the two last-named works, 
with a fair, large typography, in substantial binding. 
I therefore made my contracts with paper manufac 
turers, pressmen, etc., and brought out four thousand 
volumes, of three hundred pages, which might be pe 
rused without injuring the eyesight, or, as some writer 
has said, " not being secretly in league with the craft 
of spectacle-makers." The enterprise was financially a 
loss, yet I never regretted it. Even now, some of its 
remnants mingle with gifts for schools in our new 
western settlements. Compends for reading, being 
easily selected from the writings of others, grew nu 
merous, and the ground became preoccupied. By these 
competitors a work consisting of original articles was 
not greeted, possibly was undervalued. Still, these two 
works, in a smaller form, and with the condensed so 
briquets of "Boy s Book," and "Girl s Book," are 
published by Carter & Brothers, of New York, 
adorned with some unartistic plates, and meeting a 
moderate sale. 



LITERATURE. 345 

1839. 

27. " The Religious Souvenir." 

This Annual, as well as its predecessor, from their 
tone of literature and style of embellishment, found 
favor with the public. Contributions had been widely 
solicited both in Europe and the United States, though 
I was sometimes disappointed where I had reason to 
place reliance. I had the gratification of receiving 
articles from over the water from Mrs. Opie, Bernard 
Barton, R. Shelton Mackenzie, and Dr. Stamatiades, of 
Constantinople as well as from our own distinguished 
writers, Bishop Burgess, Bishop Chase, Bishop Wil 
liams, Rev. Dr. Tyng, Rev. C. "W. Everest, and Colonel 
John Trumbull ; also from Miss Sedgwick, Miss Gould, 
Mrs. Stephens, Mrs. Embury, and Mrs. Stowe, whose 
pen has since made itself known in both hemispheres. 
I was ambitious that these volumes should exhibit as 
great a variety of talent as possible ; and therefore, al 
though I had at first added more than one hundred 
pages myself, deemed it courteous as an editor rather 
to withdraw, and bring forward my friends, or, to bor 
row the expression of my Lord Bacon, " ring a bell 
for other wits." But the toil of exchanging hundreds 
of letters, not only with the literati, but with artists, 
all the sixteen illustrations requiring to be original, ab 
sorbed too much time, and was too slavish in its charac 
ter; so, discovering that the department of editorship 



346 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

was not congenial to my taste, I gladly declined giving 
it a third trial. 

* 

1840. 

28. " Memoir of Mrs. Mary Ann Hooker." 
Would that my pen had be*en adequate to the per 
fect transcript of one of the most lovely and intellec 
tual of beings. This attempt, with some selections from 
her correspondence, an affectionate tribute to the mem 
ory of an early and valued friend, was left for publica 
tion under the superintendence of her husband, the 
Rev. Horace Hooker, at my departure for Europe. 

1841. 

29. " Religious Poetry." 

This volume, of three hundred and forty-seven 
pages, with another one of poems of correspondent 
size, and an enlarged edition of " Letters to Young 
Ladies," were issued, according to articles of agree 
ment, by publishers in Paternoster Row and St. Paul s 
Churchyard, during my residence in London. Their 
beautiful style of execution rendered them appropriate 
keepsakes, as testimonials of gratitude to the friends 
from whom I had received attentions and hospitalities 
while a sojourner in foreign climes. 



LITERATURE. 347 

1841. 

30. " Pocahontas, and Other Poems." 

I had great pleasure in searching out materials for 
the principal poem in this volume of two hundred and 
eighty-three pages. It was heightened from having 
once visited the ruins of the church at Jamestown, 
where the Princess Pocahontas, the first convert from 
the heathen tribes, received the rite of baptism in the 
first temple consecrated to God in the Western wil 
derness. This event gave a worthy subject to the 
spirited pencil of Chapman, among the great national 
paintings in the rotunda of the Capitol at Washing 
ton. 

It was the touching custom of the colonists who 
landed here in the spring of 1607, to adorn their place 
of worship with wild flowers, and to mingle a prayer 
for the " dear Mother-country " with their Sabbath ser 
vices, which were conducted by the Rev. Mr. Hunt, 
called, by historians of the times, " the morning-star of 
the Church." By him, and in the same edifice, the nup 
tials of Pocahontas with the cavalier, John Rolfe, were 
solemnized. A world of early vernal flowers enwreathed 
the rough pine columns, and strewed the floor, loading 
the air with fragrance. The white and red-browed 
people, mingling, rejoiced together. Powhatan, the 
powerful king of thirty nations, smiled propitiously 
on his daughters bridal; while his brother, the lofty 



348 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

warrior, his head towering above all around, came for 
ward at the appointed time to give the maiden to her 
husband. Accompanying him to London, she made a 
most favorable impression, and received the regard of 
royalty. 

Sir Thomas Dale, the wise and stately Governor of 
Virginia, in his despatches to England dated June 18th, 
1614, thus alludes to the young forest-princess : 

" The daughter of Powhatan I caused to be carefully 
instructed in the Christian religion, who, after she had 
made good progress therein, publicly renounced the 
idolatry of her country, openly confessed the true faith, 
and was at her own desire baptized. She is since mar 
ried to an English gentleman of good standing another 
knot to bind our peace the stronger. She liveth civilly 
and lovingly with him, and will, I trust, grow in good 
ness as the knowledge of God increaseth in her. Were 
it but for the gaining of this one soul, I should count 
my time, toil, and present stay here well spent." 

1842. 

31. "Poems." 

This book, of two hundred and fifty-six pages, is 
composed principally of short effusions of a decidedly 
religious character. Being published by Mr. John 
Locken, of Philadelphia, it was sometimes designated, 
in the absence of a more specific title, as " Locken s 
Poems." Its exterior was in good taste, and from its 



LITERATURE. 349 

portable size, as well as the nature of its contents, it 
proved an acceptable present to friends going forth on 
missions, of whom I had quite a number, both in 
heathen and civilized climes. 

1842. 

32. " Pleasant Memories of Pleasant Lands." 
Descriptions, in prose and verse, of scenery and 

characters that most interested me during nearly a year 
in foreign lands, are here embodied. It contained about 
four hundred pages; and the publishers, Monroe & Co., 
of Boston, satisfied my rather fastidious taste in its gen 
eral costume, adorning it with a frontispiece of Sir 
"Walter Scott s mansion at Abbot sford, and a vignette 
of the obelisk of Luxor, in the Place la Concorde, at 
Paris. Its several editions were kindly received, and 
favorably noticed by reviewers. 

1844. 

33. The Child s Book." 

Still at my old habits of writing for children, in 
which I am inclined to think I display more pertinacity 
than genius. This work, containing between thirty and 
forty very brief articles, in one hundred and forty-four 
pages, commences with great simplicity, gradually 
ascending both in subject and style. My plan was to 
have it read by mothers to their little ones who were 



350 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

too young to read for themselves, taking a single chap 
ter, or perhaps part of one at a time, and showing only 
the pictures appertaining to the portion read, until the 
whole series should be completed ; thus avoiding to tax 
the infant intellect, yet keeping its appetite of curiosity 
in exercise for the next set of pictures. By mothers 
and intelligent nurses, who have observed these direc 
tions, its use has been commended. 

The New York publishers, in stereotyping it, gave 
it a square form, as agreeable to the little ones, and lib 
erally endowed it with more than a hundred cuts, some 
of them very small, but generally appropriate. It bore 
the title of " The Pictorial Reader," and I was exulting 
over it as one who findeth great spoil, when I received 
through the post-office the following fulminating letter : 

" SIE : You have unwarrantably taken the title of 
my book for yours, and are liable to prosecution." 

Knowing as little of the irascible author as he of 
my sex, I made haste to relinquish what he character 
ized as a purloined possession, and adopted the nomen 
clature of " Child s Book," by which it still holds its 
course among the lambs of the flock. 

1844. 

34. " Scenes in my Native Land." 
A transcript in prose and poetry, in somewhat more 
than three hundred pages, of some interesting spots 



LITERATURE. 351 

which I had visited in my own birth-land. To me it 
has always appeared in a measure jejune ; yet abroad, 
where it was repeatedly republished, it was more of a 
favorite than the " Pleasant Memories," because to the 
European mind it revealed new localities, while the 
other portrayed those which were familiar. Both were 
issued by the same house in Boston, and rather than 
disappoint them in sending this manuscript at the stipu 
lated time, I wrought painfully to complete it during a 
period of convalescence, and was aided in the labor of 
copying by the pen of my sweet daughter. 

1845. 

35. " The Sea and the Sailor." 

My voyages had given me an interest in that class 
of persons who buffet the ocean-billows, and through 
whose hardships the commerce of the world is sus 
tained. I wished to testify sympathy and friendship by 
a little book of poetry, which might go with them in 
their chests, a prompter of salutary thought when they 
should leave the charities of home. The first edition, 
of one thousand, entitled " Poetry for Seamen," was 
purchased by my liberal friend, the late Martin Brim 
mer, of Boston, and entirely distributed to the sons of 
the sea, through the agency of their devoted chaplain, 
the Rev. J. C. Robertson. The work, in its present en 
larged form of one hundred and fifty-two pages, is 



352 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

illustrated by the pencil of the late William Roderick 
Lawrence, the school-associate of my departed son. 
Should I speak of it with that frankness of criticism by 
which we lady writers have too seldom an opportunity 
of profiting, I should say that some of its poems are 
not simple enough for sailors, and others too simple for 
those in command, so that it falls short of both classes. 
Still, as a parting gift for the sea, it has been often wel 
comed, lighting the dim forecastle with a ray from the 
hearthstone, and a thought of the heavenly shore. 

1845. 

36. " The Voice of Flowers." 

Fragrance and melody have native affinities, like the 
plumage and the song of birds. Having a variety of 
effusions called forth by the floral creation, I was per 
suaded by a publisher in Hartford, the late Mr. Henry 
S. Parsons, to gather them into a volume of one hundred 
and twenty-three pages, to which he gave the miniature 
form, as being at that time peculiarly popular. It con 
tains forty-five articles, most of them brief, and all aim 
ing to extract an enduring essence from beauties that 
fade. 

1846. 

37. " Myrtis, with other Etchings and Sketchings." 
This book comprises, in two hundred and twenty-two 

pages, thirteen tales in prose. The scene of the one 



LITERATURE. 353 

which furnishes the title is laid in ancient Athens, during 
he period that Rome was under the sway of the An- 
x>nines. That of another is in Poland, during her 
struggle against Russian domination. The others are 
located in our own land, while in its colonial existence, 
or more recent position among the nations of the earth. 
All not being equally elaborate, a kind of deprecating 
modesty moved me to denominate them as " Etchings 
and Sketchings," though several are, perhaps, superior 
in interest to what are deemed the more finished delinea 
tions. 

1846. 

38. " The Weeping Willow." 

Another tastefully executed miniature work, of one 
hundred and twenty-eight pages, uniform, and a coun 
terpart with the " Voice of Flowers." It is a collection 
of poems founded on the frailty of human life, and the 
sorrows that spring from the sundering of its affections. 
Some were called forth by specific cases of bereave 
ment, at the request of the bereaved. Yet while its 
last lines still lingered in the press, I had myself need 
of the solace which it aimed to bestow on others. They 
lingered to receive my sad heart s tribute to the mem 
ory of that true, dear, unselfish friend, Mrs. Faith 
Trumbull Wads worth, whose love, from my early 
years, through all changes, changed not. Suddenly, 
with scarce a warning that awoke apprehension, she 



854 LETTERS OF LITE. 

ascended to those angelic natures with whom, for al 
most fourscore years, she had communion and growing 
congeniality. 

1847. 

39. "Water-Drops." 

The cause of Temperance, and the reformation of 
those who have swerved from its principles, had long 
and often enlisted my sympathies. This volume con 
tains, in two hundred and seventy-five pages, whatever 
I had written on these subjects, either in prose or 
poetry. It was arranged at the suggestion of the 
" Scottish Temperance League," in Edinburgh, but 
published in New York by Carter & Brothers, the 
first of a series of eight different works which they 
have since issued for me, with that punctuality and 
friendliness which are such desirable concomitants in 
the intercourse of publisher and author. This work is 
particularly addressed to females, to propitiate their in 
fluence in the structure of domestic life, against a foe 
that lays waste their dearest hopes, and to quicken them 
in impressing upon the tender minds committed to 
their charge the subjugation of the appetites, and the 
wisdom and beauty of self-control. 

1848. 

40. " Illustrated Poems." 

From a liberal publishing house in Philadelphia, 
Messrs. Carey & Hart, I received proposals to make 



LITERATURE. 355 

selections from such of my poems as had been deemed 
most popular, mingling with them new ones if I chose, 
and permit them to be issued in an illustrated octavo 
edition, uniform with those beautiful ones of Bryant, 
Longfellow, and Willis, and forming the fourth of the 
series. I was not insensible to so high a compliment, 
and acceded to their wishes. The book contained more 
than four hundred pages, with fourteen fine engravings 
from original designs, by Darley, and was the first of 
mine that in all respects of paper, typography, and 
binding, was quite accordant with my taste. Its sale 
at five dollars per copy, and seven dollars in turkey 
morocco, was also satisfactory to those who had so 
freely expended upon its execution. After the dissolu 
tion of that firm it appeared in a plainer form, and with 
fewer embellishments, several of the plates having been 
destroyed in a conflagration. It was dedicated to the 
late Samuel Rogers, then the oldest poet in Europe, to 
whom I was indebted for many marks of friendship 
when in his native clime, and who warmly appreciated 
the attention. He, to whom the grateful offering 
would have been more naturally paid, my first literary 
patron, Mr. Wadsworth, who permitted me to conse 
crate with his name my " Weeping Willow," had, a few 
months before the appearance of the above-named vol 
ume, laid his head in an honored grave, just before 
reaching his seventy-seventh birthday. Other tender 
reminiscences also cluster around it of an eye, that, 



356 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

like the rich, deep violet, hung over its manuscript 
pages of a hand and pen that zealously aided in 
copying them of a soul-speaking face in the bloom 
of nineteen, soon to be covered on its turf-pillow from 
the mourning mother s view. 

1849. 

41. " Whisper to a Bride." 

This book has gathered some of those sentiments 
which both in poetry and prose had been suggested by 
the most important era in the life of woman. From 
the absorption of time and thought incidental to such 
an event, I thought it fitting that the words uttered 
should be few. Robed in white silk, this slight gift 
has sought the hand of many a fair young creature, as 
she left the paternal hearthstone to make for herself a 
new home, amid duties whose full import eternity alone 
can unfold. 

1850. 

42. " The Coronal." 

A beautiful volume of prose and poetry, thus en 
titled, was sent me from London, where it had been 
selected and published without reference to me. As 
you have probably never seen it, my dear friend, none 
having been sent to this country save a few gift copies 
to myself, I will transcribe for you the courteous words 
with which they introduce it to the British public : 



LITEKATUKE. 357 

" A wreath of song, and old romantic lay, 
And pleasant tale, wherewith to cheer the hearth 
Around the winter s cheerful blaze, when day 
Dies in the west, and evening with its mirth 
And social interchange of love has birth." 

" The authoress of this work has long been desig 
nated as v the American Hemans; and if feminine sweet 
ness and delicacy of thought, and the tenderest sympa 
thy with all the most sacred affections of the heart, 
merit such a title, it could have been nowhere more ap 
propriately applied. As a prose writer, however, Mrs. 
Sigourney lays claim to even a higher standing than the 
gifted authoress of the * Records of Woman, as the 
following pages will bear ample testimony. 

" In presenting these beauties of American litera 
ture nearly all hitherto unknown to the English reader, 
the editor feels assured that the refined taste and beauty 
of thought which they display, combined with the high 
moral principles they are designed to inculcate, will 
unite to render this Coronal one of the most acceptable 
and permanent additions to this class of English litera 
ture. 

"LONDON, November 1st, 1848." 

Though this date defines the time of its first publi 
cation in England, yet, as I received no announcement, 
or copies of it, until the editions of 1850, 1 have placed 
it under that year in this present catalogue. 



358 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

1851. 

43. " Letters to my Pupils." 

It has been heretofore mentioned that it was my 
custom, while engaged in the work of instruction, to 
address and read to those under my care, once in three 
weeks, a letter on some subject of mutual interest, or 
desired improvement. The present volume, of three 
hundred and forty-one pages, has this basis, and closes 
with brief biographical tributes to such of our loved 
associates as had been early summoned to " begin the 
travel of eternity." 

1851. 

44. " Olive Leaves." 

A book for the young, containing, in three hundred 
and eight pages, Narrative, Biography, and History, in 
prose and poetry, imbued, as the name imports, with 
that spirit of peace which it seems should form an in 
tegral part of Christian education. Both this and the 
preceding work were published by the brothers Carter, 
of New York. 

1851. 

45. " Examples of Life and Death." 

This volume, of three hundred and forty-eight 
pages, issued by Mr. Charles Scribner, of New Tork, 
comprises twenty-four biographical sketches, selected 



LITERATURE. 359 

with care from different climes, sexes, and conditions in 
life, extending over a period of thirteen centuries, and 
varying in scenery and position from the wilderness to 
the throne, yet all tending to confirm the unity and 
efficacy of that sustaining principle which imparts vigor 
amid the vicissitudes of time, and tranquillity under the 
dread and mystery with which it recedes into eternity. 



1852. 

46. " The Faded Hope." 

A sketch of my beloved and only son. " God 
touched him, and he slept." 



1852. 



47. " Memoir of Mrs. Harriette Newell Cook." 
The subject of this volume, a lady of talents and 
piety, and the wife of a clergyman, was remarkable for 
living, as it were, with a pen in her hand, noting down 
the passage of daily occurrences from which good 
might be gathered. This habit, with a diligently con 
ducted correspondence, supplied ample materials for 
these two hundred and fifty-two pages, connected by 
a thread of biography, which I was induced by the 
urgency of her husband to supply, though my time 
was burdened with a multitude of occupations. 



360 LETTERS OP LIFE. 

1854. 

48. " Western Home, and other Poems." 
Admiration of our " great, green, growing West," 

called into existence the poem which gave name to this 
otherwise miscellaneous volume of three hundred and 
fifty-nine pages, originally published by Parry & 
MacMillan, of Philadelphia, and, after the dissolution 
of their house, by others in New York. 

1854. 

49. " Sayings of the Little Ones, and Poems for 
their Mothers." 

I have long been an admirer of the words of young 
children, as in their simplicity combining wit with 
originality. Perceiving how apt they are to be forgot 
ten, even by the fond maternal heart, I had been perse 
vering in collecting them, and this book of two hun 
dred and fifty-two pages is the result. Following out 
my fancy for the West, I intrusted the copyright to 
Buffalo publishers ; and that it has not been overlooked 
by the public, I perceive by occasional extracts from its 
choicest morceaux in passing periodicals, though with 
out acknowledgment or reference to the source from 
whence they were derived. 



LITERATURE. 361 

1854. 

50. " Past Meridian." 

A conviction that the period of advanced life is sel 
dom correctly appreciated either by those who reach or 
those who regard it, moved me to adduce arguments to 
enforce its value, and examples of its happy combina 
tion with usefulness and honor. The plan was brought 
to a crisis, by chancing to look over, as an exercise in 
Latin, " Cicero de Senectute" written when he was be 
tween sixty and seventy, and thinking that, if a hea 
then could discover so much beauty in age, Christian 
philosophy should be able more perfectly to illustrate 
how the latest drop of existence might exhale in a song 
of praise to the Giver. This work was written care 
fully and with pleasure, and is stereotyped in three 
hundred and forty-four pages by Brown & Gross, 
Hartford, with that large, clear typography which ac 
commodates spectacled eyes. 

" The North American Review," our highest umpire 
in the realm of intellect, deigns thus to characterize it : 
"This is one of the comparatively few books in our 
day which will be read with glistening eyes and glow 
ing heart, when all who now read shall have gone to 
their graves. It is written by Mrs. Sigourney, in the 
character of one who has herself past the meridian of 
life, and addresses itself to sensations and experiences 
which all whose faces are turned westward can feel and 
16 



362 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

understand with her. It is, much more than De 
SenectuteJ Christianized. It is devotion, philosophy, 
and poetry so intertwined, that each is enriched and 
adorned by the association. It describes, indeed, the 
straitnesses and sadnesses of growing years, but sets 
off against them their more than preponderant immuni 
ties and felicities. It treats of the duties of the aged, 
and their rights and dues at the hands of the younger. 
It gives biographical sketches and anecdotes of good 
and happy old men and women. Above all, it blends 
with the serene sunset of a well-spent life the young 
morning beams of a never-setting day. It will carry 
solace to many a fireside, and rekindle hope and glad 
ness in many a soul that scarcely dares to look into its 
earthly future." 

1857. 

51. "Examples from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth 
Centuries." 

Still keeping in view that the lives of the great and 
good, like grand pictures, give present pleasure and 
lasting remembrance, and that what we thus contem 
plate may become not only a cheering sympathy but a 
controlling pattern, I constructed another biographical 
work. It was printed in three hundred and forty-nine 
pages by the same publisher who brought out its pre 
decessor, which extends over a space of thirteen hun 
dred years ; and though this was limited to a single 



LITER ATTIRE. 363 

century, I was embarrassed by the amplitude of mate 
rials, and the difficulty of selection, like a gleaner, who 
regrets to leave ungarnered so many rich sheaves of 
ripened gold. 

1857. 

52. " Lucy Howard s Journal." 

The narrative of a young life, given in the form of 
a diary. Its object was to sketch the inner habitudes 
of the last half century, as they were connected with 
the nurture of my own sex, and which, if not altogether 
obsolete, are rapidly becoming matters of tradition. 
The work appeared under the auspices of the brothers 
Harper, in three hundred and forty-three pages ; and 
though some of its elementary details, from their sim 
plicity and minuteness, might seem to need excuse, yet 
they involve principles or affections which have given 
to New England homes stability and comfort, with 
that affluence of strength and virtue which has enabled 
them to distribute freely to the young West seeds and 
germs that cause her wilderness to blossom as the 
rose. 

1859. 

53. " The Daily Counsellor." 

This book of four hundred and two pages, published 
by Brown & Gross, of Hartford, was so well received 
that a second large edition was called for within a fort- 



3C4 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

night after its first appearance. It consists of a poem 
for every day in the year, founded on a text of Scrip 
ture. It is not adapted to consecutive perusal, but to 
systematic and devotional use. In my own communion 
with it every morning, it is pleasant to gather around 
me in spirit those who, by its solitary perusal, or 
in the family circle, are thinking the same thoughts, 
or perhaps committing to memory the same passage of 
Divine truth, which its lyrical echoes repeat. " A sin 
gle verse," said Luther, " is sufficient for the meditation 
of a day ; and whoever finds, at the close of that day, 
that he has possessed himself fully of its sense and 
spirit, may consider the day well spent." 

1860 and 1862. 

54. " Gleanings." Two hundred and sixty-four 
pages. 

55. "The Man of Uz, and other Poems." Two 
hundred and seventy-six pages. 

I class these two poetical works together, for I am 
exceedingly tired of the list. I think you are also, and 
will rejoice that I have come to a stand. 

1863. 

56. " Selections from Various Sources." 
Patience, sweet friend ! for you will see I have set 

out anew, like the guest who, after taking leave, comes 



LITERATURE. 365 

back again. This book of two hundred and forty 
pages I was induced to print at my own expense, prin 
cipally that I might have it for gifts to friends at 
Christmas and New Year. Three hundred copies were 
thus expended on those occasions, and during a few 
consecutive months. It consists of extracts on all sorts 
of subjects, made during a series of years, in obedience 
to the ancient injunction of reading with a pen or pen 
cil in the hand. A mass of manuscripts thus collected, 
without the most distant idea of publication ; but sud 
denly it came into my mind, that what had given pleas 
ure or edification to myself, might perform a similar 
office for others. Whereupon I made a decimation of 
these hoarded sentiments, among which some of my 
own had anonymously intruded. The work has been 
well received, though not offered for sale, and, having 
been printed at a distance, is somewhat defaced by 
typographical errors. 

There was a long period, after I became a writer for 
the public, when periodical literature flourished abun 
dantly. The monthly magazines in particular became 
almost a legion. Every position, occupation, and age 
of human life seemed to have its own exponent. This, 
after a series of years, regulated itself, and such as 
were essentially ephemeral disappeared. Some, whose 
embellishments were original and tasteful, continued to 
stimulate the fine arts, and a few established Reviews 
to hold high guardianship over the interests of literature. 



366 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

On this sea of miscellany I was allured to embark, 
and, having set sail, there was no return. I think now 
with amazement, and almost incredulity, of the number 
of articles I was induced by the urgency of editors to 
furnish. Before I ceased to keep a regular catalogue, 
they had amounted to more than two thousand. Some 
of these were afterwards comprehended in selections, 
though enough for several volumes must still be float 
ing about, like sea-weed among the noteless billows. 
They were divided among nearly three hundred differ 
ent publications, from the aristocratic " Keepsake " of 
the Countess of Blessing-ton, and the classic "Athe- 
na3um " and " Forget-Me-Not " of London, to the 
" Coachmakers Magazine," the " Herald of the Upper 
Mississippi," the " Buckeye Blossom " of the West, and 
the " Rose-Bud " of the factory girls at Lowell. 
Promptitude was the life-blood of these contributions. 
Hungering presses must be fed, and not wait. How to 
obtain time to appease editorial appetites, and not neg 
lect my housekeeping tactics, was a study. I found the 
employment of knitting congenial to the contemplation 
and treatment of the slight themes that were desired, 
and, while completing fifteen or sometimes twenty pairs 
of stockings yearly for our large family, or for the 
poor, stopped the needles to arrest the wings of a fly 
ing thought or a flowing stanza. Still, I always cor 
rected, and rewrote more than once, these extempora- 



LITERATURE. 367 

neons effusions, not considering it decorous to throw 
crude matter at the head of the public. 

This habit of writing currente calamo is fatal to 
literary ambition. It prevents that labor of thought 
by which intellectual eminence is acquired. Miss 
Edgewortlv however, thinks fit thus to commend it : 
" Few persons of genius have possessed what Mrs. 
Sigourney appears to have the power of writing ex 
tempore on passing subjects, and at the moment they 
chance to be called for. She must have great com 
mand over her own mind, or what a celebrated phy 
sician used to call voluntary attention, in which 
most people are so lamentably deficient, that they can 
never write any thing well when called upon for it, or 
when the subject is suggested and the effort bespoken. 
Those powers are twice as valuable that can well accom 
plish their purpose on demand. Certainly, as it re 
spects poetic gifts, those who give promptly give twice. 
How few, even of professed and eminent poets, have 
been able to produce any effusion worthy of their repu 
tation, or even worth reading on what the French call 
c des sujets de commanded or what we English describe 
as on the spur of the moment ! Gray could not 
Addison could not. Mrs. Sigourney s friends will 
doubtless be ready to bear testimony that she can." 

With the establishment of a poetic name came 
a host of novel requisitions. Fame gathered from 
abroad cut out work at home. The number and na- 



368 LETTERS OP LIFE. 

ture of consequent applications were alike remarkable. 
Churches requested hymns, to be sung at consecrations, 
ordinations, and installations ; charitable societies, for 
anniversaries ; academies and schools, for exhibitions. 
Odes were desired for the festivities of New Year and 
the Fourth of July, for silver and golden weddings, for 
the voyager wherewith to express his leave-taking, and 
the lover to propitiate his mistress. Epistles from 
strangers often solicited elegies and epitaphs ; and 
though the voice of bereavement was to me a sacred 
thing, yet I felt the inefficacy of balm thus offered to a 
heart that bled. Sometimes I consoled myself that the 
multitude of these solicitations bespoke an increasing 
taste for poetry among the people. But to gratify all 
was an impossibility. They would not only have cov 
ered the surface of one life, but of as many as ancient 
fable attributed to the feline race. I undertook at one 
time to keep a statement of the solicitations that show 
ered upon me. A good-sized manuscript book was thus 
soon filled. It was commenced during what dear Mrs. 
Hemans used to call the " album persecution." It was 
then the fashion for school-girls, other youthful person 
ages, and indeed people of every age, to possess them 
selves of a neatly-bound blank book, which was sent 
indiscriminately to any one whom they chose, with the 
request, or exaction, of a page or more in their own 
handwriting. 

Of those who were so unfortunate as to be known 



LITERATURE. 369 

as rhymers, it was expressly stipulated that it must be 
original. Sometimes there would be a mass of these 
cormorant tax-gatherers in the house at the same time. 
To refuse compliance was accounted an offence, or an 
insult. I commuted the matter with my imperative 
engagements as well as I could, by setting aside a pecu 
liar portion of time for these enforced subsidies. Hap 
pily this custom is now obsolete, having been merged 
in the slighter impost of autographs. 

I feel an inclination to give you a few extracts from 
the manuscript catalogue before alluded to, which was 
not long continued. Perhaps they may amuse you, my 
sweetly patient friend. 

Some of them, you will observe, are not strictly 
poetical requisitions, but sprang from a position among 
poets. 

Requested to write dedication poerns for three 
nicely-bound albums, brought by strangers. 

To ascertain and send an account of the compara 
tive reputation, and terms of tuition and state of health 
of the female seminaries in this city, for a gentleman in 
a distant State who was thinking of sending a daugh 
ter to some boarding-school. 

To write an ode for the wedding of people in 
Maine, of whom I had never heard ; the only fact men 
tioned by the expectant bridegroom, author of the letter, 
being that his chosen one was the youngest of ten 
brothers and sisters. 



370 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

To read critically, in one day, a manuscript of two 
hundred and sixty closely-written pages, and write a 
commendatory notice of it for some popular periodical. 

To obtain an accomplished female teacher for the 
children of a member of Congress, at the far South. 

A poem requested on the dog-star, Sirius. 

Desired to assist a servant-man not very well able 
to read, in getting his Sunday-school lessons, and to 
" write out all the answers for him, clear through the 
book, to save his time." 

A person feels inclined to offer a premium for some 
original piece of music, and would consider it " a favor 
if I would write six stanzas, each of eight lines, for 
it ; " adding, that " the subject is to be Temperance," 
and he " does not know of any one that it possesses so 
much influence with as myself." 

A lady, whose husband expects to be absent on a 
journey for a month or two, wishes I would write a 
poem to testify her joy at his return. 

An almost illegible letter, requesting an elegy on a 
young man who was one of the nine children of a 
judge of probate, and " quite the Benjamin of the 
family," the member of a musical society, and who, 
had he lived, " would likely have been married in about 
one year." It is added, that his funeral was attended 
by a large number of people ; and " if I let them have 
a production on his death," I am desired to dedicate 
and have it published for the benefit of a society whose 
name I cannot decipher. 



LITERATURE. 371 

To prepare the memoir of a colored preacher, of 
whose character and existence I was ignorant. The 
document stated that the plan was to raise two thou 
sand dollars by the publication of his biography and 
sermons, to present to his wife and nine children ; who, 
it would seem, were all free, in health, and able to sup 
port themselves. 

A hymn to be sung at the anniversary of a charita 
ble society, for which I had recently furnished one ; the 
argument adduced being that " a new one every year 
was interesting and advisable." 

Epitaphs for a man and two children, with warning 
that only two hundred and fifty letters must be allowed 
in the whole, as the monument was not large enough to 
contain more. 

A minister in Virginia encloses an urn, drawn with 
a pen, and colored by his son, a boy of fourteen, to be 
dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Judson. An acrostic 
is requested on the name of this son, whom he consid 
ers a genius, yet desires not to have it made " so per 
sonal " that it may not with propriety be published in 
one of their newspapers. 

An ode, to be set to music, which must be finished 
early to-morrow morning, that copies may be struck off 
in season for the choir. 

To write a publishing house in one of our large 
cities a laudatory notice of a volume I have never seen, 
by whose profits the author hopes to be able to travel 
in Europe. 



372 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

A list of the female poets who have written in all 
languages, a statement of their births and deaths, with 
information of the best editions of their works, and 
where they may be obtained, for a gentleman resident 
in a distant State, who thinks of undertaking a compi 
lation of feminine literature. 

A piece to copy in the album of a lady of whom I 
had^never heard, requested by a gentleman " to be sent 
as soon as Saturday afternoon, because then he is more 
at leisure to attend to it." 

To punctuate a manuscript volume of three hundred 
pages, the author having always had a dislike to the 
business of punctuation, finding that it brings on a 
" pain in the back of the neck." 

A poem, intended as a school premium for a young 
lady " not yet remarkable for neatness, but who might 
be encouraged to persevere if its beauties were set 
forth before her in attractive verse." 

A letter from utter strangers, at a distance, stating 
that a person who had been in their employ had come 
to settle in this city, and they wished some pious indi 
vidual to have charge over him, and Avarn him against 
evil company. That they should not thus have select 
ed me, had they known of any other religious person in 
Hartford. They express apprehensions that he is going 
to set up the " rum-selling business," and propose, in a 
postscript, that when I obtain an interview, I should 
" wait and see whether he will own Christ unsolicited." 



LITERATURE. 373 

An album from a clerk in a store, given him by 
another clerk in another store, to be written in for a 
young lady, of whose name he was not quite certain, 
and the " most he knew about her was, that she was a 
very rich girl." 

A new periodical desires a " touching tale, a bit of 
poetry, and an address to its readers," to be sent in the 
course of the week, and the printing will be stayed for 
the contributions. 

The owner of a canary-bird, which had accidentally 
been starved to death, wishes some elegiac verses. 

A stranger, whose son died at the age of nine 
months, " weighing just thirteen pounds, would be glad 
of some poetry to be framed, glazed, and hung over 
the chimney-piece, to keep the other children from for 
getting him." 

Solicitation from the far West, that I would " write 
out lengthy " a sketch of the loves of two personages, 
of whom no suggestive circumstances were related, one 
of whom was a journeyman tailor, and the name of the 
other, " Sister Babcock," as far as the chirography 
could be translated. 

A poem proposed on the feather of a blue-bird picked 
up by the road-side. 

A father requests elegiac lines on a young child, 
supplying, as the only suggestion for the tuneful Muse, 
the fact that he was unfortunately " drowned in a barrel 
of swine s food." 



374 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

To draft a constitution for a society in a distant 
State, whose object is to diminish the reluctance of 
young people to the writing of compositions. 

A poem requested, to accompany a piece of worsted 
embroidery, intended as a present to a friend at the 
North. 

To be umpire of a baby-show in the city of New 
York. 

A funereal hymn for a minister when he should die, 
he being now well, and preaching as usual. 

To correct poetry, transmitted in a large envelope, 
send it to some paying periodical with such recommen 
dations as may secure its insertion, and forward the 
gains to one who prefers to remain anonymous, giving 
only three fictitious letters for an address, with the 
number of a box at a distant post-office. 

A monody for the loss of a second wife, fortified by 
the argument that I had composed one at the death of 
the first. 

A poem, with which to take leave of a district- 
school " in a thriving village," where the teacher had 
officiated for the greater part of a winter. 

Epistle from a stranger, saying his wife was likely 
to die, and had a young babe, and wishing some poetry 
to be written in such a way that it would answer for 
mother and child, should both be taken by death. 

To turn a love-story into verse, " as lengthy as I 
could," though to read the obscure chirography in 



LITERATURE. 375 

which the descriptions were wrapped, was a herculean 
task which I failed to accomplish. 

A woman, whose husband had posted her in the 
newspapers, with the accustomed threat of paying no 
debts in future of her contracting, came in person, with 
an earnest supplication for an article which should set 
forth his shortcomings, I being wholly ignorant of the 
facts, and unacquainted with the parties. She said she 
supposed I did all sorts of writing, and she had got so 
nervous she could not execute this quite as well as my 
self; and so great was her perseverance, that it was 
difficult to make any of the common forms of refusal 
available. 

Applications of a somewhat similar nature still oc 
casionally occur, though I have ceased to take the 
trouble of recording them. 

A short time since, a letter from a stranger an- 
nounced the death of a young man in the war, who, 
from her expressions of sorrow, I supposed to be a 
brother, and desiring a tribute to his memory. Be 
lieving that I might thus comfort a bereaved mourner, 
I complied, though at some inconvenience, studying the 
verses after I had retired to bed. Thanks were re 
turned, with the information that she was not his be 
reaved sister, but an aunt that she was much obliged 
for my doing the work with so much promptness, and 
his mother was quite pleased with my having written 
so prettily about her son. 



376 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

A man was employed in shingling a neighboring 
house, belonging to a colored family. From the top of 
the roof descrying a servant of mine, he called to her 
that he should be glad to have me write some verses 
for him. A relation of his had died, and he wanted to 
have the death printed in the newspaper, but thought 
" some poetry to put with it would be nice, and that 
likely I could write it as easy as anybody." 

But I spare you any further inflictions of these pe 
culiar requirements. You may, perhaps, think that 
some of them testified a want of respect. I believe 
they were not thus intended, though their deficiency in 
the sense of propriety is frequently obvious. This se 
lection is not a decimation of the requests in my record, 
though it comprises some of the most unique. The 
ruling fault was with myself, in occasional compliance, 
which encouraged exactions. 

If there is any kitchen in Parnassus, my Muse has 
surely officiated there as a woman of all work, and an 
aproned waiter. Lacking firmness to say no, I con 
sented so frequently, that the right of refusal began to 
be counted invidious. Those who requested but a few 
verses considered them, what they appeared to be, a 
trifle. Yet " trifles make up the sum of human 
things," and this trifle involved thought, labor, and 
time. This habit of yielding to persuasion occasionally 
led to the curtailment of sleep, and of meals, as the 
poems which were to be sung in public audiences must 



LITERATURE. 377 

be ready at a specified period, and frequently a very 
brief notice was accorded me. Sometimes I have been 
urged to send copies of long printed poems to stran 
gers, that they might possess them in my own handwrit 
ing. Though there is always a degree of pleasure con 
nected with obliging others, yet the extent of my own 
facility or folly in this respect might be rebuked by the 
common sense displayed in other occupations. 

Do we go to a milliner, and say, " You have earned 
a good name in your line. Make me a bonnet and a 
dress. I should prize them as proofs of your skill ? " Do 
we tell the carpet manufacturer, " You assort your 
colors better than others. Weave me a carpet for my 
study ? " Do we address the professed cook with " You 
have a high reputation. I am to have a party. Come 
and make my jellies and confections?" Would those 
functionaries, think ye, devote time, toil, and material 
to such proposals, without compensation ? I trow not. 
But a truce to this diffuse matter of custom-work. 

My epistolary intercourse is extensive, and exceeds 
a yearly exchange of two thousand letters. It includes 
many from strangers, who are often disposed to be tena 
cious of replies, and to construe omission as rude neg 
lect. I have no aid from amanuensis or copyist since 
the marriage of my loved daughter, or any listening 
friend to whom I may take the liberty of reading an 
unpublished production. Yet, if ever inclined to ac 
count so large a correspondence burdensome, I solace 



378 LETTERS OP LIFE. 

myself with the priceless value of the epistles of long- 
tried friendship, with the warm vitality often breathing 
from young hearts, and the hope of disseminating 
through this quiet vehicle, some cheering thought or 
hallowed principle. 

My literary course has been a happy one. Its en 
couragements have exceeded both my expectations and 
deserts. Originating in impulse, and those habits of 
writing that were deepened by the solitary lot of an 
only child, it gradually assumed a financial feature 
which gave it both perseverance and permanence. 

This, which at first supplied only my indulgences, 
my journeyings, or my charities, became eventually a 
form of subsistence ; and now, through the income of 
its accumulated savings, gives ease to the expenditure 
of my widowhood, and the means of mingling with the 
benevolent enterprises of the day. Pecuniary gain has 
flowed in upon me rather from abroad than at home. 
With the exception of the initiatory volume, sheltered 
under the patronage of my venerated friend, Mr. Wads- 
worth, scarcely any profit has accrued to my literary 
labors in this vicinity, or indeed in the whole of my 
own New England. On the contrary, some severe 
losses have occurred. To the States of New York and 
Pennsylvania I am mainly indebted for the remuneration 
of intellectual toil, and gratefully acknowledge them as 
benefactors. 

Fame, as a ruling motive, has not stimulated me to 



LITERATURE. 379 

literary effort. It has ever seemed to have too flimsy a 
wing for sustained and satisfactory flight. Candid 
criticism, and the voice of friendship, have been coveted 
correctives and tonics. Still the only adequate payment 
are the hope and belief that, by enforcing some salutary 
precept, or prompting some hallowed practice, good may 
have been done to our race. 

I ought to speak with more emphasis of the encour 
agement kindly addressed to me since first, as a timid 
waif, I ventured into regions then seldom traversed by 
the female foot. It has breathed upon me from high 
ways and hedges, from boughs where nesting birds 
reared their young, from the crested billows, and the 
islands of the sea. Thanks be to Him who hath thus 
touched the hearts of my fellow-creatures with kindness 
toward me ! 

Letters of appreciation have reached me from 
crowned heads from the King of Prussia, the Empress 
of Russia, and the late Queen of France ; marks of fa 
vor from nobles of high degree ; and what was to me 
still more animating, from monarchs in the realm of 
mind. I have felt humbled by such distinctions, as 
transcending my merits. Some degree of chastening 
counterpoise has arisen from the marked indifference of 
my native city, which I have loved almost with the 
fervor of the ancient Jews for Zion. Neither by word 
nor smile can I recollect that she has fostered the mental 
labors of the child who went out from her fair borders, 



380 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

leaving her heart behind. Sweet hospitalities she ex 
tends to me, but in the point where I yearn for her 
sympathy, or would fain lay my honors at her feet, she 
keeps silence. I wrote, by request, a lyric to be sung 
at the anniversary of her favorite academy, which the 
chief musician scornfully declined to perform, and it 
was read among the prose exercises. I prepared poems 
with my whole heart, for her beautiful bi-centennial 
birthday, and they were refused admission into the fair 
volume that described the festivity. 

I mention these trifling circumstances, not by way 
of complaint, for they are unworthy of it, but simply 
as facts to prove that I have no other claim to the title 
of prophet, save the absence of honor in my own coun 
try, and with some slight thrill of the sadness of a 
child, whose filial love has failed of reciprocity. 

Yes, my literary course has indeed been a most 
happy one. At an age surpassing threescore and 
ten, I still pursue it with unimpaired delight and un- 
spectacled eyes. Through its agency, and the Divine 
blessing, I feel no loneliness, though my household con 
tains only servants, with the exception of occasional 
guests. Praise be unto Him who hath led me all my 
life long unto this day ; and if any good fruit shall 
ever spring from the seed He hath enabled me to sow, 
to His name be all the glory. 



LETTER XIV. 

GOOD-BYE. 

GOOD-BYE. Don t you think it is time ? I am sure I 
do. Ancient people are apt to be prolix, and young 
ones too, if you let them talk about themselves. Yet 
there s scarcely any thing more that I care to tell you 
about, even if you cared to hear. 

So, good-bye I the hearty old Saxon word, less ele 
gant than the French adieu, or the classic, mournfully 
euphonious word, farewell. But in this last letter I 
wish to say to you, my kind friend, how comfortably I 
am living. Far happier am I at seventy than at seven 
teen. Fashionable persons who should look at my 
lowly house, might not think so. That is no matter. 
I have lived long enough to know that showy man 
sions, and lofty staircases, and halls of gleaming mar 
ble, and castellated domes, do not necessarily include 
happiness. I have tried them all. 

Here am I, in a plain wooden structure, without pre 
tension to elegance, yet exactly adapted to my comfort, 



382 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

I 

and to the " plain intent of life." In summer, the vines 
that embower it give it somewhat of the aspect of a 
cottage orne ; but in the nakedness of winter one 
might notice many defects, and that the whole would 
be improved by a coat of paint. Still, it satisfies me. 
I have three small parlors, so redolent with the love- 
tokens of friendship, that should the donors attempt to 
enter them at once, it would be by no means possible. 
There is also, on the northern side, a writing-room 
called my den, where I have intense enjoyment, and 
spend such time between early morning and the dining 
hour as housekeeping propensities, and many calls from 
acquaintances and strangers, allow. The edifice, though 
narrow in front, stretches out longitudinally, comprising 
more space than appears to a casual observer, so that I 
am the mistress of eighteen apartments from attic to 
cellar, besides some dozen closets of various capacities. 

The financial cares of forecasting and purchasing 
supplies, in which my husband was so perfect as to re 
quire no aid, and leave me little chance for experience, 
seemed burdensome during the first years of widow 
hood ; but now they are so systematized, and the im 
provements in some departments so visible, as to form 
an agreeable variety. My elementary principle is to 
keep out of debt, or, in the vernacular phrase, to " pay 
as I go." The surplus earnings of my pen, however 
small they might be, having been carefully laid aside 
from the beginning, the interest on those investments 



GOOD-BYE. 383 

assists me in the accomplishment of this purpose, and 
with economical management keeps me free from anx 
iety. More than this. I am enabled sometimes to real 
ize the truth, how much greater is the blessing " to 
give than to receive," for which I heartily thank my 
Heavenly Father. 

Should you like to look still further into my domes 
tic establishment ? My agricultural and quadrupedal 
possessions are diminished and meagre. Never, until 
residing in this habitation, had I been without the ap 
pendages of gardens and a cow. Of course, I had 
never before fully appreciated their value. For several 
years after our removal thither, we continued to keep 
poultry, but robbers decimated them, and the servants 
disliked their charge, so they gradually vanished away. 
The only animated beings over whom I at present hold 
dominion, are a large pussy, and two hives of bees. 
Those winged chemists are my perpetual admiration. 
Their early explorations, their tireless industry, the 
mathematical symmetry of their hexagonal cells, their 
internal order, the mystery with which they seek to 
veil their habitudes, with other strong peculiarities, are 
a curious and pleasant study. 

A German bee-master comes at stated periods to 
claim their sweet rental. He boldly takes them in his 
hands if he wishes to transfer them from one abode to 
another. I asked him by what art he surmounted their 
belligerent propensities. He simply answered, " By not 



384 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

being afraid of them." Whether this internal armor 
would be sufficient in all cases, I am not ready to aver. 
If their irascible properties were in action, I should 
choose to keep at a respectful distance. Equally skep 
tical am I with regard to the creed that they will not 
sting the members of the family where they abide. An 
old lady, distinguished for kindness to all the inferior 
creation, especially to her own retainers, used to say it 
was well to go out frequently and speak pleasantly to 
the bees. She thought them susceptible of pleasure 
from the attention, and cultivated by it. Acting upon 
her own suggestion, and regarding their marked charac 
teristic of neatness, she arrayed herself in a clean cap 
and collar for the especial benefit of her apiary, and 
flattered herself that her visits were manifestly accept 
able. How far this was an amiable illusion I do not 
pretend to say, but think the peculiar lineaments of this 
remarkable insect have never been fully and philosophi 
cally deduced. 

I always participate in their resentment when their 
lawful property, the treasures of their labor, are reft 
away, and give continual charge that my portion be not 
made exorbitant. Yet there is always enough for us 
both ; and the fragrant, streaming comb, is grateful to 
neighbors and invalids. Indulge me, kind friend, in re 
citing that fine passage from Shakspeare s Henry V., 
which first inspired me with the desire to be an owner 
of bees. But the wonderful poet, who understood so 



GOOD-BYE. 385 

well the arcana of Nature and the phases of the human 
heart, erred in applying the masculine gender to the 
chief sovereignty of the hive, the Salique law not being 
in operation there : 

" So work the honey-bees 
Creatures that by a ruling instinct teach 
The arts of order to a peopled kingdom. 
They have a king, and officers of sort 
Where some like magistrates correct at home 
Others, like merchant-princes trade abroad 
Others, like soldiers armed in their stinga 
Make war upon the summer s velvet buds, 
Which pillage they with merry march bring home 
To the tent royal of their emperor : 
Who busied in his majesty, surveys 
The singing mason building roofs of gold, 
The civil citizens heading up the honey, 
The poor, mechanic porters crowding in 
Their heavy burdens at his narrow gate, 
The sad-eyed justice with his surly hum 
Delivering o er to execution dire 
The lazy, yawning drone." 

Snugly sheltered in a southern nook is a vigorous 
hop-vine, which, taking hold with its thousand hands, 
mantles the wall and a portion of the roof in its grace 
ful drapery. Its beautiful clusters of a delicate green 
are gathered in autumn, and their odor always touches 
my reminiscences of the vast fields devoted to their 
17 



386 LETTERS OP LIFE. 

culture in Kent, the ancient Cantrum of England. 
Mine are carefully spread and dried, for they enter into 
the domestic pharmacopoeia. A slight infusion of them 
warm, at retiring, propitiates the visits of Morpheus, as 
many a nervous person can testify ; while taken cold, an 
hour before the principal meal, it exercises a strengthen 
ing influence on the digestive organs, being both a sed 
ative and tonic. 

By the side of this Humulus Lapulus, as the botanists 
call it, flourishes a less aspiring plant, the Sambucus Ni- 
gra, or common elder. Its large masses of white blos 
soms, which beautify so many wild and waste places in 
June, are saved for medicinal purposes, having purifying 
and alterative powers ; while some sister housekeepers, 
more enterprising than myself, compound from its au 
tumnal berries a kind of wine, which they pronounce 
both salubrious and palatable. 

At the feet of these patronizing herbs, and in and 
out among the grass-blades, a few strawberries run, 
now and then hiding themselves, as if ashamed of their 
semi-barbarous state, and anon exultant, as though 
they heard the almost irreverent praise of Sidney 
Smith. 

I have told you that I have no garden. Neverthe 
less, I plant a few rows of beans, which are the delight 
of my eyes ; and in winter, sow tomato seeds in a box 
of rich earth, which, being early intrusted to my rather 



GOOD-BYE. 387 

insoluble, clay soil, produce a vegetable of greater 
freshness than can be procured of the grocers. Once I 
was inspired with the lofty ambition to be a producer 
of potatoes. A small plot of ground in the rear of my 
offices was properly prepared and stocked with the 
most approved kinds of the pomme de terre. I watched 
their green heads protruding through the mould, and 
their healthful efflorescence, as Diocletian did his cab 
bages. Suddenly the withering of the green tops 
seemed to betoken that the bulb was perfected, and I 
directed the test of the spade to be applied. Lo ! every 
hill had been rifled, their surface dexterously smoothed, 
and the rootless vines set out again. Only a few luck 
less tubers remained, to show us the excellence of what 
we had lost. The busy personage who had toiled so 
acquisitively while we slept, was not even so obliging 
as his prototype, to sow tares. 

You should see by what a world of grape-vines I 
am encompassed. They climb upon my piazzas, draw a 
cordon around the walls, besiege every loophole, look in 
at the chamber windows, and leap from my summer- 
house to the surrounding boughs, hanging their clusters 
in the air. I have striven to restrain the last-named 
class of explorers, and woven them perseveringly in 
with the lattice-work, but they have an irresistible 
pioneer spirit. Were the prolific impulses of my vines 
as strong as their emigrating ones, I might searcely 



388 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

know how to garner their fruits. As it is, my harvest 
of grapes is bountiful. Besides the claims of hospitality, 
and the pleasure of friendly gifts, the clusters may be 
so packed as to form an agreeable dessert during a part 
of the winter; and I mingle the expressed juice of oth 
ers with sugar and water, producing by fermentation a 
wine which may be presented to the advocates of Tem 
perance without reproof. My surplus currants and 
blackberries, in which some portion of the ground is 
fruitful, are also sometimes subjected to a similar vin 
tage, for I have a natural desire to be a producer. 

Of the flowers which spring up quite sparsely, I have 
no boast to make. There are a few roses, a flaunting 
piony, some lilies of the valley, flowering almonds, and 
a syringa bush. By their aid, with the evergreen from 
the hedge, I can fill mantel vases, or construct a homely 
bouquet. I have ceased to plant rare seeds, for they 
seldom come up ; and if they do, the worms eat them. 
My principal show is from plants sheltered in the house 
through the winter, geraniums, orange trees, and varie 
ties of the Cactus Speciossimus, which enjoy their vernal 
emancipation. 

So that is my garden. You can laugh at the epi 
thet if you choose. I fancy I hear you asking, Have 
you no trees ? Trees, to be sure ! Yes, and some of 
them notable ones. Look at that weeping-willow. It 
is not remarkable for grace, but has an aristocratic pedi 
gree. It is a descendant from Pope s willow at Twick- 



GOOD-BYE. 389 

enham, and was sent me a slender slip in a tin box, 
which I set out and cherished. He received a basket of 
figs from the Levant, and observing among the twigs 
that enveloped it one that appeared to possess vitality, 
ordered his gardener to plant and watch it, and from 
that unsightly stock came the first weeping-willow that 
England ever saw. From such a classic root was my 
own derived. It has now a large trunk, but being the 
denizen of too dry a spot, does not throw out redundant 
branches, or droop as gracefully as it otherwise might. 

I have an elm, also of noble ancestry, the child of a 
majestic one planted by the traveller Ledyard, who 
went round the world on foot. It was sent by an anti 
quarian friend, with compost adapted to its transmis 
sion. I ordered a large hole to be dug, into which I 
descended to receive my guest, arranging its roots and 
fibres in a becoming manner, sifting upon them the 
light, rich soil, and directing the man to trample and 
press the surface, leaving a slight cavity around the 
trunk, and finish by a plentiful ablution. I gave it 
good advice to be content with its new home, and to 
adorn it, which it seems to have taken, and uplifts its 
respectable head as the watch and ward of my south 
eastern boundary. 

Another elm have I, without patrician pretensions. 
I placed it myself opposite my front door, on the outer 
edge of the sidewalk, and had the pleasure of hearing 
it flattered by some of my friends for its lilliputian pro- 



390 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

clivities with the title of " Mrs. Sigourney s broomstick." 
Notwithstanding all their abuse, it is now a tree of 
goodly height and size, the centre of a line of some 
half dozen of the Hippocastanus tribe, remarkable for 
little else save their reluctance to put forth their flowers 
at the proper season. 

We found a clan of maples on the outer border of 
our territory when we first took possession of it. There 
they still maintain a sort of sullen sovereignty, like 
aborigines who conceive themselves not sufficiently es 
teemed, but are doggedly determined to live and look 
as they please. 

Among the original settlers was a bevy of sprawl 
ing apple trees. Coming from scenes where every 
growing thing had been trained to symmetry, and 
made as beautiful as its nature would admit, I was ex 
tremely disgusted at their aspect. But when their 
season of efflorescence came, I was mollified, for they 
surfeited us with fragrance. One of them, a delicately 
shaped crab, in its fleecy white tissue, like a bride, 
called forth unqualified admiration, while its bright red 
fruit supplied us with pure, delicious jellies. 

So, sacrificing my prejudices, I caused the bodies of 
these despised retainers to be bathed autumnally with a 
dilution of soap, sulphur, and wood-ashes, enriched and 
loosened the earth about their roots, and removed some 
of their most odious excrescences. These friendly of 
fices seemed to me no more than a fit offering, or atone- 



GOOD-BYE. 391 

ment for my first injustice; but look you, how they have 
been repaid ! Loads of the best fruitage their various 
capacities could command have been showered at our 
feet. 

From the time that the early saccharines robe them 
selves in gold, to the frosty nights when the rough rus 
set puts on its brown overcoat, and asks admission to 
the garner, is no stay or hindrance to their revenue. 
The last year more than fifty barrels have been pro 
duced. How to dispose of them, over and above all 
culinary expenditure, has been a study. Besides gifts 
to neighbors, and weekly baskets to pensioners, and 
Christmas barrels to the State Prison and two hundred 
inmates of the Reform School, I sent many bushels to 
a cider-mill, from whence they emerged a sparkling 
liquid, which, eventually assuming the more pungent 
form of vinegar, made itself useful in a variety of ways. 
As I am not ashamed of being a practical woman, let 
me mention that its exhalations, when poured on burn 
ing coals, diffuse a pleasant, healthful odor, if the house 
in rainy weather has not been fully ventilated, and that 
it is considered a powerful disinfecting agent in hos 
pitals. 

My commerce in apples has led to a unique kind of 
philanthropy. From the time of their first taking an 
orbicular shape, and when it might be supposed their 
hardness and acidity would repulse all, save elephantine 
tusks and ostrich stomachs, they were the prey of roam- 



392 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

ing children. When they became heavy enough to fall, 
their enterprise was unbounded. They surmounted 
every enclosure, they darted in and disappeared with 
magical alertness ; those who had achieved an entrance 
supplied, through gates or hedges, those who stood 
without. They came in the evening with baskets and 
barrows, and, discovering there was no man upon the 
premises, waxed bolder and bolder. The accustomed 
phrases of dismission and dispersion failed to put them 
to flight. Rappings at the window, and commands to 
disappear, they met with a dogged defiance. I grieve 
to say that, in impudence of deportment, the girls were 
conspicuous. Since the usual forms of objurgation 
were powerless, I bethought me of another expedient. 
I said pleasantly : " Come in at the gate, to my south 
piazza, and I will give you apples." There I kept a 
large reservoir, and put some into every dirty hand, as 
suring them that all who would not help themselves 
should be thus supplied. They seemed content, and 
eventually their faces brightened at being called the 
children who would not take what did not belong to 
them. Encouraged by this proof of susceptibility, I 
proceeded, with the aid of an amiable and intelligent 
servant-girl, who was pleased to officiate as semi-almo 
ner and usher, to teach the phrase " I thank you" and 
by little and little, the feat of a bow or courtesy. The 
last was considered as a grotesque achievement, or an 
act of supererogation, and at first was regarded with 



GOOD-BYE. 393 

grins, or stifled laughter ; but eventually they ceased to 
be marvellous, and I fancied had a sort of refining in 
fluence, drawing them still more palpably within the 
pale of humanity. So a rude species of mission-school 
sprang out of this apple traffic. 

Another form of prudential ministration of these 
same trees ought not to be omitted. Observing their 
tendency to expand and make wood, and ambitious to 
train them to some degree of proportion, I caused their 
excrescent branches to be removed every autumn. 
These, cut in equal lengths and dried, gave aliment to 
an old-fashioned fire-place in my writing-room, which, 
notwithstanding the house is warmed by a powerful 
furnace, I have still kept open. With the occasional 
aid of hickory, purchased of the wood merchants, they 
afford a cheering, genial warmth, of a more healthful 
character than the smouldering, underground machin 
ery of Vulcan, which is capable of concocting gases of 
no very salubrious nature. 

Oh! those black, unsocial registers. Would that 
the unfortunate people who congregate around them in 
long winter evenings, might enjoy the cheerful blaze 
which now, while I am writing, irradiates my den ! 
This corner is sacred, because my blessed father sat in 
it, and his staff still stands by the cushioned chair that 
he brought from his own Norwich abode. Relics of the 
loved and lost always have power over the heart. 

Great comfort have I beside my declining fire just 



394 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

before the hour of retirement. Down go the parted 
sticks, thankful that their day s work is done, perhaps 
proud if it has been well performed. Up mounts the 
flickering flame, tracing pictures on the wall, unwilling 
to be dismissed, the spirit rising over the wreck of the 
body. Around the fading coals the white ashes gather, 
like legends of a buried dynasty, soon themselves to 
sink in oblivion. Such a good time is it for reverie 
that I linger until scarcely a brand remains to be cov 
ered, as seed for the following day. Often am I re 
minded of that sublime passage of Israel s poet-king : 

" While I was musing the fire burned : then spake 
I with my tongue. Lord, make me to know mine end, 
and the measure of my days, what it is ; that I may 
know how frail I am." 

These severed boughs from my own domain emit a 
pleasant odor from their funeral pyre, as if with Chris 
tian forgiveness they blessed me even in martyrdom. 
So much for the sprawling apple trees that I at first 
scorned and derided. Do they not enforce the lesson 
taught by the " great sheet, knit at the four corners, 
not to call any thing common or unclean " ? 

Since the departure of my daughter to her own 
abode, I have had the society of several young compan 
ions. They have been in different degrees lovely, in 
telligent, accomplished, or efficient. I was attached to 
each, and regard them all as friends. Two are presid 
ing happily over homes of their own, and one has en- 



GOOD-BYE. 395 

tered that angelic sphere with which her own unself 
ish nature was accordant. I think with gratitude of 
the many kind offices they rendered me ; but often felt 
anxious lest a deficiency of excitement should be a 
damper to their free spirits. My chief error was in 
aiming to consider them as real daughters. I have 
never yet discovered any chemical compound for the 
manufacture of kindred blood. 

Recently I have dispensed with a permanent com 
panion, and think the arrangement judicious. 

Though mine usually expressed themselves happy 
in my society, I often feared they were not. My intel 
lectual engagements requiring comparative sequestra 
tion for a part of every morning, made me uneasy lest 
their time should hang heavily. This interrupted my 
trains of thought, and abridged the availability of my 
labors. Their conversation was agreeable at the sea 
sons allotted to its enjoyment, yet I sometimes imagined 
that the monthly stipend which I insisted should be 
theirs, might not be an equivalent for the privation of 
dwelling with an ancient, sedentary personage. Now, 
I can seclude myself without the inward reproof of dis 
courtesy, and my time, which must be necessarily short 
on earth, and is much curtailed by interruptions, is 
made to bear with greater precision on what I strive to 
accomplish. Still, loving the young as I do, their fre 
quent visits are prized, and I gather vitality from their 
smile. 



396 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

Solitude of the heart must, in some measure, ever 
adhere to those who outlive their relatives and early 
friends. Yet my daughter, who is the only being, with 
the exception of her little ones, in whose veins my 
blood flows, had for nine years after her marriage a 
residence so near, that we often met, and by daily 
sketches of journalizing letters I still keep her sympa 
thies fresh in my heart, and lead a new, or double life 
in hers. Faithful in every duty, and self-forgetful al 
most to a fault, the light of her countenance, and the 
flitting of her robes when she enters my door, are like 
those of an angel. The taper of filial love still glows 
amid the gaslight of stronger loves, and she spares me 
those droppings from newer and more intense affections 
which my lone heart gratefully receives. If she can 
not " take the children s bread, and cast it under the 
table," yet the crumbs that fall from her free hand 
give nutriment and joy. Recently she has become a 
resident of western New Tork, and I add the simple 
effusion that sprang forth at the 

DEPARTURE OF THE ONLY CHILD. 

Bid not farewell, love ! 

Pass from my door 
As one whose returning 

An hour may restore ; 
Use no parting phrases, 

But let the smile speak, 



GOOD-BYE. 397 

Bright from thy blue eye, 
And fair o er thy cheek. 

Call thy young children 

In from their play, 
Cover their faces up, 

Lead them away ; 
Methinks, my enfeebled heart 

Wilder d and lone, 
Dreadeth the going 

More than the gone. 

From the first life-throb, 

When on my breast, 
One bright Sabbath morning 

They laid thee to rest ; 
We have dwelt undivided, 

Like sapling and spray, 
But newer loves govern thee, 

Hie thee away. 

Throw the dark mountains 

That nothing may sever, 
Throw leagues of forest 

Between us forever, 
To a new mansion 

With vision d hopes gay, 
Stronger loves beckon thee, 

Hie thee away. 

Mid lakelets of silver, 
In caskets of green, 



398 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

Forget not, despise not 

Thy far native scene. 
Lo ! years leave their burdens 

And Time draws his dart, 
Think of me, pray for me, 

Child of my heart. 

Good angels attend thee, 

Since forth thou must go, 
Thou last of the loves 

That is left me below ; 
Where er thou shalt rest thee, 

Where er thou may st roam, 
God s blessing be with thee 

Till Heaven is thy home. 

Friendship, that solace of the soul, has been most 
liberally accorded me. It has sprung up where I had 
no reason to expect, in the clefts of the rock, by the 
wayside, among strangers, and in foreign lands. I 
thank Him, who disposeth as He will all the hearts that 
He hath made, for this liberal infusion of its balm-drops 
in my cup of life. 

Some of my former pupils have been to me as 
daughters. They have confided to me their concerns, 
and sought my counsel even when their fair locks were 
sprinkled with gray. Sometimes their children have 
partaken of this partiality. Though friendship is not 
necessarily hereditary, I have seen delightful instances 
of its transmission. 



GOOD-BYE. 399 

One of the advantages of age is the test it applies 
to the truth or falsehood of affectionate professions. 
Being considered a species of declension, it divides the 
worshippers of the rising sun from those who patiently 
regard its setting. 

I have known a few who, like the visitants of Job, 
were adroit in searching out the "dwelling of the 
prince," wherever their path might lead. Since my 
residence is no longer in an elegant mansion, and I have 
suffered myself somewhat to fade out of fashionable so 
ciety, here and there one may have permitted an in 
timacy, of which they were formerly boastful, to subside 
into indifference or neglect. Such sycophancy, however, 
is usually as slightly deplored as it is easily detected. 

Another of the advantages derived from seventy 
years, is the correct estimate it enables us to form of 
popular opinion. In our palmiest days that was a yoke 
of bondage. " Mr. What-did-he-say" and " Mrs. How- 
did-she-say" have now become less formidable person 
ages. It is discovered that both praise and blame may 
be misapplied, and that neither are long remembered. 
From the slightest circumstances, as well as from inven 
tions, grave accusations may be formed by the evil-dis 
posed. Therefore the censure of good persons may rest 
on an erroneous basis, while that of the light-minded is 
nothing worth. Since none can perfectly sift evidence, 
save Him unto whom the night shineth as the day, all 
human verdicts may be fallible. Words of applause or 



400 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

blame weigh little, inasmuch as both those who utter, 
and those who hear, so soon pass away, to return no 
more. 

Most of us have reason to regret that the time and 
zeal spent in justifying ourselves, or deprecating harsh 
judgments, had not been devoted to useful knowledge, 
or benevolent enterprise. For myself, now that the 
romance of life has subsided into reality, and shadows 
cease to delude, I cannot view without gratitude the 
kind opinions that, beyond my deserts, have attended 
me, and that encouragement from the good which has 
often given new strength to my labors. 

To my young friends, whose bright eyes are so eager 
in the pursuit of happiness, let me say that they will 
find it to depend less on combinations of circumstances, 
than on the temper of mind with which they meet the 
dealings of the All- Wise. A harmonizing spirit will 
extract sweetness where an unsubdued one only com 
bats thorns. Byron, with all his misanthropic infidelity, 
shed tears, when told of a fair young creature who had 
expired, exclaiming, " GocTs happiness ! GocTs happi 
ness!" 

" Still at my lessons ! " said Michael Angelo, when, 
at past eighty, he was found in the solitary recesses of 
the Coliseum, studying the models and monuments of 
ancient art. " Stitt at my lessons ! " I repeat, at past 
threescore years and ten. 

So would I have it to be. It is one of the privileges 



GOOD-BYE. 401 

of age that we may ever be learning. A deeper sense 
of the value of time ought also to be among its acqui 
sitions. For as the richness of every blessing is more 
fully revealed by the approach of its departure, our 
days become more precious when but few remain. 
Force is thus added to the injunction of good Bishop 
Taylor : " Lift up your heart at the striking of every 
clock, that the hour may be usefully spent, and help you 
heavenward." " Still at my lessons f " Yes. Still a 
beginner a backward pupil at the feet of Jesus of 
Nazareth. 

A beautiful life have I had. Not one more trial 
than was for my good. Countless blessings beyond ex 
pectation or desert. How infinite is the mercy that has 
so long sustained this frail house of the body, and nour 
ished its undying tenant ! Well may we say with the 
Psalmist, " Gracious is the Lord, and full of compas 
sion." As I review all the way in which. He hath led 
me, smiles of joy mingle with tears of gratitude. The 
Almighty Friend, who hath held my hand through all 
my wanderings here, I fear not to trust for the life here 
after. That it is to me unknown, gives vitality and 
beauty to the Christian s faith. Not claiming to know 
either of that life, or the time of entering it, I cling to 
Him, and am satisfied, and at rest. 

Behind me stretch the green pastures and still 
waters, by which I have been led all my days. 
Around, is the lingering of hardy flowers, and fruits, 



402 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

that bide the winter. Before, stretches the shin 
ing shore. The shadowy valley between seems not 
worthy to come into remembrance. Past, present, and 
future, concur like three harmonies. May their grate 
ful ascription never end ! 

" But oh ! Eternity s too short, 
To utter all Thy praise." 



Sweet Friend ! to whose prompting and continued 
urgency these letters of life owe their existence, if you 
shall have patience to read them, I bless you. If you 
have not, I bless you. Your affection has been a sun 
beam and a song in the house of my pilgrimage. Our 
Father in Heaven repay you fourfold, and give you a 
mansion where these poor instrumentalities of pen and 
ink are no longer needed to express the love that never 
dies. GOOD-BTE ! GOOD-BYE ! 

L. H. S. 



THE VALEDICTORY.* 

HERE is my Valedictory. I bring 
A basket of dried fruits autumnal leaves, 
And mosses, pressed from ocean s sunless tides. 
I strew them votive at your feet, sweet friends, 
Who ve listened to me long with grateful thanks 
For favoring smiles, that have sustained and cheered 
All weariness. 

I never wrote for fame 
The payment seemed not to be worth the toil ; 
But wheresoe er the kind affections sought 
To mix themselves by music with the mind, 
That was my inspiration and delight. 

* This I suppose to be my mother s last completed poem, as it bears 
date of less than four weeks before her death. It was intended to form 
a part of a longer poem, entitled " The Septuagenarian," which she was 
preparing for publication in the coming autumn. The plan was all 
marked out, but it was not sufficiently far advanced for any use to be 
made of it. The little poem, as it stands, forms a peculiarly appropriate 
close to her " Letters of Life." 

M. H. R. 



404 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

And you, for many a lustrum, have not frowned 
Upon my lingering strain. Patient you ve been, 
Even as the charity that never fails ; 
And pouring o er my heart the gentlest tides 
Of love and commendation. So I take 
These tender memories to my pillowed turf, 
Blessing you for them when I breathe no more. 

Heaven s peace be with you all ! 

Farewell! Farewell! 

L. H. SIGOURNEY. 

May 12tt, 1865. 



And now remains only a short, sad task, for loving hands to 
gather up the last links in the chain of a pure and gentle life, 
and with filial reverence to trace the steps of the journey, as it 
led to that "better country, even an heavenly." 

Since almost the latest event in my mother s history, as re 
corded by her own hand, was that of our departure to a more 
distant home, it may not, perhaps, be inappropriate to allude 
here to the pleasure, over which I would fain linger, of her visit 
to us in our new abode. Early in July she came, bringing her 
smiles and her benedictions ; and we had the joy of seeing her, 
during her stay, gaining both in health and cheerfulness. She 
remained with us through the summer, enjoying the scenery of 
the lovely lake, and the congenial society by which she found us 
surrounded, and returned to her own home in September, with 
renewed strength, and with pleasant recollections of the kind 
hospitalities of those to whom she came as a stranger. During 
the succeeding autumn and winter these still lingered with her ; 



LETTERS OF LIFE. 405 

she seemed to have been reinvigorated, and to enter with new 
pleasure and animation into all her accustomed duties. We gain 
from her journal some of the items of her busy life : 

September. " The weather so fine that I am constrained to 
work out of doors, trimming a long row of beans, and watering 
and lifting tomato-vines to the sun also helping in the kitchen 
with the flat-irons, any household work being preferred to the 
pen, though I wrote four letters, and exchanged eighteen calls. 
Thankful to live, move, and have a being, in this beautiful 
world." 

October. " Left an offering of sympathy with a note, at the 
door of a neighbor. No character seems to me so desirable as 
the distinction mentioned in Scripture, of Him that comforteth 
the mourners. " 

On Sunday, the opening day of the new year, she thus 
writes : 

" Beautiful New Year s morn ! bearing the name of God 
upon thy forehead ! Consecrated thus by His sabbatical bless 
ing I greet thee with joy. 

" Giver of all that we have or hope for, wilt Thou peculiarly 
sanctify this opening year. Make it to me a season of health of 
body, vigor of mind, and cheerfulness of soul. May my in 
firmities be removed, my perceptions quickened, my memory 
strengthened, and my zeal in doing good unwearied. Open for 
me new ways of aiding improvement, and conferring happiness 
on my fellow-beings. Bless all that I may be enabled to write, 
or have already written, to the greatest amount of instruction, 
satisfaction, and comfort, that it is possible for it to produce. 



406 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

Increase the disposition and the means of liberality, and grant 
me wisdom in its distribution. Confirm and extend the demon 
strations of affection and love, in which my whole nature re 
joices ; and continue to bless my household establishment with 
fidelity and affectionate zeal. Enable me to make progress in 
right feelings, and in the enjoyment of that happiness which 
rises above a changeful world. 

" If this year, now smiling upon me with a snowy face, is to 
be mine till its close, may it manifestly transcend all its prede 
cessors in usefulness, happiness, and true wisdom ; and to the 
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I yield myself in un 
swerving trust and allegiance, both now and forever." 

A few days later, we find the entry : " Made very happy by 
making ninety little hearts beat lighter, having driven over to 
the Orphan Asylum, with nice little books, fruit, and cake, for 
each one. I thank my kind Father in Heaven for this blessing." 

February. " I never remember such perfect days as a few 
we have lately had. I drive out for an hour near the noon, to 
inhale the balmy atmosphere, and behold the bright sun." 

March Bd. " Enjoying great delight with a poem in blank 
verse. May it communicate the same to other hearts." 

Thus cheerfully and hopefully passed the weeks, giving no 
token as yet that the end was near at hand. And now we begin 
to trace the commencement of her failing health. Just at the 
close of the winter she took a cold, apparently slight at first, but 
which became more serious, and marked by extreme physical 
prostration. Paroxysms of coughing ensued, almost like those 
in whooping-cough, which were followed by great exhaustion. 



LETTERS OF LIFE. 407 

With her native energy she kept about as usual, riding out 
and walking in the brighter days, and spending every morning 
in her study, as had always been her custom. But her flesh 
wasted away, and her strength failed ; and daily the effort he 
came greater. Yet she still required of herself the same early 
rising, the same careful attention to the details of her house 
keeping, and seemed to redouble her thoughtful kindness for the 
welfare of others. 

On Sunday, March 26th, the fourth Sunday in Lent, she at 
tended church for the last time. It was a bright and beautiful 
day, and she was cheered and comforted by the holy service, 
but returned home very much fatigued. On the last day of 
March she writes : "No variation in my employments, except 
such as extreme weakness admits. Very much to be thankful 
for." 

For about three weeks her case appeared exceedingly criti 
cal, and we were very anxious about her. Then her strength 
of constitution seemed in a measure to rally, her appetite re 
turned, her cough became less violent, and she was again, able 
to ride out and to walk a little when the weather was fine. We 
trusted that she was to be given back to us ; and though we 
looked forward with apprehension to another winter, we hoped 
that the mild air of spring might, with God s blessing, bring her 
a measure of strength and health again. Her voice remained 
very weak, and her physician considered it absolutely necessary 
that she should use it as little as possible. She was therefore 
able to see but very few of her friends. But their constant 
kindness was most grateful to her. She kept a daily record of 
the calls of inquiry that were made, and the many gifts of flow 
ers and rare fruits and delicacies that were sent to her. 



408 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

About the middle of May she was suddenly more completely 
prostrated, and on the 18th, for the first time, was unable to rise 
from her bed. There was a failure of the powers of Nature, 
without any acute disease, and, by gentle and painless steps, 
she drew near to the Land of Rest. At first she was disposed 
to be very quiet. " I am tired," she said, " I cannot talk much 
with you ; but I am so comfortable." As she lay one morning 
in one of the sinking turns which she had every day or two, 
she opened her eyes with a smile, and said: "I love every 
body," closing them again, to relapse into the partially uncon 
scious state. 

" Don t let any one look sad," she would often say " there 
should be none but cheerful faces in a sick-room " and lovingly 
we tried to follow her wishes. Remembering her own words in 
her "Daily Counsellor " 

" Smile on the dying friend," 
i 
we strove to repress our tears, that no signs of our "selfish 

grief" should "chain the glad spirit " of the "ascending saint." 
After this period of quiet came a season of restlessness a 
longing to go " somewhere "-she could not tell where. Then 
we used to lift her from her bed, and placing her in a large 
rocking-chair, draw her gently through into an adjoining cham 
ber, where she would sit by the open window, sometimes for 
two or three hours, looking out upon the grass and trees. Then, 
if she felt able, I used to read her letters to her, and tell her of 
the friends who had called to inquire for her. "We used to make 
the room bright with pictures and flowers, and the change 
seemed always to refresh her. Once or twice each day she was 
thus taken from her sick-room, and she was able to sit up every 
day but the one immediately preceding her death. 



LETTERS OF LIFE. 409 

How precious are the memories of those last sacred weeks 
to all those whose privilege it was to share them! I can never 
be thankful enough that I was able to be with her from the first 
of March until her death, with the exception of four weeks, 
when she seemed to be so much better. With the aid of her 
faithful colored servant, who rendered most affectionate service 
by night and by day, I had the great comfort of ministering to 
her throughout her last illness. Towards its close three dear 
friends shared with me, in turn, these offices of love. Bringing 
their cheerful smiles into the sick-chamber, and ever welcomed 
there with smiles, the intercourse seemed like that of those only 
a " little lower than the angels." For the last ten days of her 
life we had the aid of a most excellent and tender nurse, whose 
experience and untiring care made her a comfort to us all. Her 
kind physician and friend visited her twice each day, and my 
mother never failed to be cheered by his coming. 

But while her bodily presence faded away from us, becoming 
daily more shadowy and spirit-like, her soul, as it drew nearer 
the world of love, seemed more than ever to overflow with love 
for others. The kind thoughtfulness which she had always 
shown to all who were sick or suffering, was returned fourfold 
into her own bosom. Almost hourly came from beloved friends 
messages and tokens of affection ; the choicest flowers, the most 
delicious fruits, every thing that could delight the eye or tempt 
the palate. She was scarcely able to taste any of the many 
delicacies bestowed upon her, and it was her chief joy in those 
days of weakness to arrange for their distribution among such 
of her friends as were invalids. 

" What is there to-day for me to send ? " she would ask al 
most every morning and then would often cause herself to be 
18 



410 LETTEKS OF LIFE. 

bolstered up in bed, to write some little message to go with the 
gift, precious love tokens, which coming from her failing hand 
must be ever dear to those who received them. The last letter 
which she wrote, bearing date of May 25th, was addressed to 
her old and valued friend, the Kev. Charles Cleveland, of Bos 
ton, a few lines to enclose a sum of money for a person in need. 
The chirography, usually so fair, betrayed the feebleness of the 
hand that strove to guide the pen ; but the heart was still strong 
in its love of doing good. " Always remember," she said more 
than once, " always remember there is no pleasure in this life so 
great as that of doing good." 

And surely no one was ever better fitted to give such coun 
sel. There is a little, old-fashioned account-book still in exist 
ence, commenced in 1811, when, from her engagement as a 
teacher, she first had an income of her own. There the plan 
was marked out, that one-tenth of all that she received should 
be given in charity a plan from which she never deviated 
throughout her life, except to enlarge the measure of her gifts. 
She had proved what Goldsmith calls "the luxury of doing 
good ; " and desired, with her last words, to commend it to 
others. 

On Sunday, May 28th, the Sunday after Ascension, she re 
ceived for the last time, greatly to her comfort, the Holy Com 
munion from the hands of her rector, the Rev. Dr. George 
Clark. At the close of the day we knelt around her bed, 
knowing that on earth we should drink of that cup together 
no more. As we joined in the hymn " Trisagion," it seemed 
almost as if we could hear the voice of the heavenly host, with 
whom the beloved one was so soon to worship. Blessed com 
munion of saints ! which becomes more and more dear as those 



LETTERS OF LIFE. 411 

whom we love are taken from our sight, bringing strength to 
stricken hearts in the thought of unending reunion in the 
Father s house above. 

Keference has been made in the preceding pages to the 
pleasure which my mother found, many years since, in a short 
time spent in the study of Hebrew. She alluded to it during 
the last week of her life. She had been speaking of her trans 
lation of the book of Jonah, and said : " I liked my own trans 
lation, it seemed so vivid. I have been thinking of one verse hi 
particular In the fainting away of my life, I will think upon 
Jehovah, and He shall send forth strength for me from His 
Holy Temple/ " 

As she grew weaker she slept much of the time, but when 
aroused her mind was clear ; and whenever she spoke, it was 
with her own peculiar smile, which all who knew her will 
recall. On the last Sunday of her life, June 4th, as she sat by 
the window, we read at her request the Psalter for the day, and 
the little poem in her " Daily Counsellor," and offered the beau 
tiful prayer for the Church militant, all of which she was able 
to enjoy. 

On Tuesday she wrote her last message of love. It was ad 
dressed to a friend who had been dangerously ill, but was then 
convalescent, and between whom and herself a peculiarly tender 
sympathy had sprung up during their hours of illness. She 
said : "I have had a text in my mind all day, and I wish you 
would give me a card that I may write it down." She took the 
card and the pencil, and wrote in her own characteristic hand, 
"An Apostle hath said, Death worketh in us, but life in 
you " affixing her own initials and the date, and desiring that 
it might be sent with some beautiful roses which she had been 
enjoying. 



412 LETTERS OF LIFE. 

And now it seemed as if her work on earth was done, and 
with calmness and steadfast trust she awaited the will of the 
Lord. Patient and loving, she thought more of the comfort of 
those who watched over her than of her own. There was still 
no pain, no distress, except at times a shortness of breath and 
a weariness that nothing could relieve. "I am so tired, so 
tired," she would say; the soul, weary of its burden of the 
flesh, longed for the "rest that remaineth for the people of 
God." 

It was at the midnight before the morning of Saturday, June 
10th, that we knew by a change in her breathing that the angels 
were waiting for her. She still aroused once or twice, to take 
the few drops of wine that formed her only nourishment, adding 
her unfailing " Thank you." Hand in hand we went down with 
her into the valley of death s shadow. The birds sang gloriously 
as the day dawned, as if they knew it was for her their parting 
strain. The sun of the beautiful summer morning streamed in 
at the windows ; the house was filled with the odor of the vine- 
blossoms, as fifteen years before it had been, when her "Faded 
Hope " departed ; the holy words of prayer and the comforting 
promises of God s blessed "Word arose from beloved lips ; twice 
the pulse ceased, and the breath stopped, and we thought that 
she had entered into rest. But God had ordained that there 
must yet be a struggle for the weary body to pass through a 
final conflict ere the pure spirit could be set free. Sudden and 
sharp it was ; the suffering of the whole sickness seemed to 
have been compressed into its last hour. But then it ceased 
forever no more forever the weary moaning, "so tired, so 
tired " no more forever of pain or distress, but perfect unend 
ing rest and peace, "for the former things have passed away." 



LETTERS OF LIFE. 413 

The struggle for breath ended, and she lay for about ten 
minutes in apparent unconsciousness. Then her eye lighted up 
with unearthly brightness, as if a glimpse had been given her 
into the world beyond. Something unseen by our mortal eyes 
was doubtless revealed to her. It was but for an instant, and 
then, just at ten o clock, without a struggle, the glad spirit was 
released. " Thanks be unto God, who giveth the victory 
through our Lord Jesus Christ." 

For a time we could not mourn. "We had gone with her so 
near the gates of Paradise that we seemed to have entered into 
her joy. "We could not immediately realize that we were left 
behind. Then came the sense of bereavement settling slowly 
down with its dull, heavy weight, to be lifted no more, until in 
God s good time those parted on earth shall meet in the un 
changing Home above. 

" Her ministry was o er ; 
To cheer earth s pilgrim to the sky, 
To dry the tear-drop from his eye 

Was hers then to immortal joy 

Besign her brief employ, 
Break her sweet harp and die." 

And yet, since she must go from us, how gently and mer 
cifully was the summons sent ! Taken only a little while from 
her accustomed employments, with her mind undimmed by the 
touch of Time, clear and active to the last, the later years of her 
life growing brighter to her as the sunbeams drew toward the 
west, loving all, and beloved by all, what was there more to de 
sire ? What more could have been added, save that which she 
has now received, eternal blessedness in the Paradise of God ? 

Every possible tribute of respect and affection was paid to 



LETTERS OP LIFE. 

her memory. The bells of the city were tolled for an hour at 
sunset on the day of her death. Multitudes thronged the house, 
that they might look once more upon the beloved face. 

On Tuesday, June 13th, she was borne for the last time to 
the church where she had worshipped so long. The officers of 
the Deaf and Dumb Asylum, the Eetreat for the Insane, the 
Orphan Asylum, and the State Eeforrn School, were there, to 
testify their respect for the memory of one who had been their 
benefactress and friend. A short funeral discourse was pro 
nounced by the Eev. Dr. Clark ; the choir chanted the anthem, 
" I heard a voice from Heaven," and sang the hymn, " Who are 
these in bright array ? " The sublime words of the burial service 
were said, and then the long procession wound slowly to the 
cemetery. With holy words of prayer the precious form was 
laid gently to its rest, "looking for the general resurrection at 
the last day, and the life of the world to come." 

" Oh, saintly and beloved ! 
The pleasant home is darkened, where thy smile 
Of self-forgetfulness and sweet regard 
For others happiness, and perfect peace 
Returns no more. 

" Yet hast thou left behind 
The living beauty of that Christian faith 
Which was thy strength, and now is thy reward. 
So may we keep thy pattern in our hearts, 
So walk like thee, in our Redeemer s ways, 
As not to miss thy mansion in the skies 
When our brief task is done ! " 



THE END. 



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