She was the picture of health, and the sound mind and1 sound body were evidently united in her. The natural result of good spirits followed, and these were invariably present. But they were not the mere result of good health. Courtesy, thoughtfulness for others, gentle manners and kindly words were the rule of the household, and they found a ready disciple and their best soil in her, and united to form even at that early period a very attractive character. To a certain degree self-distrustful and sensitive, she would yet join as readily and easily in the mirth of her companions, when herself the subject of it, as any of them. She evidently knew the value of self-control; and if ever the hasty word or sharp reflection rose to her lips, it was repressed, and with evident good-will. In a quite long and intimate association with that circle of friends, old and young joining easily, I never saw in her an exception to this gentle spirit, this sweet and kindly disposition. It made sunshine whenever she came among us, and, with the accompaniment of a voice in unison with her temperament, never failed to insure her a joyful welcome.2Helen Benson had, withal, both a thoughtful and a deeply religious mind, which had been early brought
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2 On the first anniversary of his marriage Mr. Garrison thus wrote of his wife to her brother George: ‘I did not marry her expecting that she would assume a prominent station in the anti-slavery cause, but for domestic quietude and happiness. So completely absorbed am I in that cause, that it was undoubtedly wise in me to select as a partner one who, while her benevolent feelings were in unison with mine, was less immediately and entirely connected with it. I knew she was naturally diffident, and distrustful of her own ability to do all that her heart might prompt. She is one of those who prefer to toil unseen—to give by stealth—and to sacrifice in seclusion. By her unwearied attentions to my wants, her sympathetic regards, her perfect equanimity of mind, and her sweet and endearing manners, she is no trifling support to abolitionism, inasmuch as she lightens my labors, and enables me to find exquisite delight in the family circle, as an offset to public adversity.’
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