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Chapter 9: in the house of labor 1896-1897; aet. 77-78

The house of rest

I will build a house of rest,
Square the corners every one:
At each angle on his breast
Shall a cherub take the sun;
Rising, risen, sinking, down,
Weaving day's unequal crown.

With a free, unmeasured tread
Shall we pace the cloisters through:
Rest, enfranchised, like the Dead;
Rest till Love be born anew.
Weary Thought shall take his time,
Free of task-work, loosed from rhyme.

Measured bread shall build us up
At the hospitable board;
In Contentment's golden cup
Is the guileless liquor poured.
May the beggar pledge the king
In that spirit gathering.

Oh! My house is far away;
Yet it sometimes shuts me in.
Imperfection mars each day
While the perfect works begin.
In the house of labor best
Can I build the house of rest.

J. W. H.

On the fly-leaf of the Journal for 1896 is written:--

That it may please Thee, to have mercy upon all men, we beseech Thee to hear us, Good Lord.

January 1. I ask for this year, or for so much of it as God may grant me, that I may do some service in [215] the war of civilization against barbarism, in my own country and elsewhere.”

January 18. ... Re-wrote and finished my Easter poem, for which gratias Deo! I have had so much small business that I almost despaired of accomplishing this poem, of which the conception is good, but the execution very faulty. I took it all to pieces to-day, kept the thoughts and altered the arrangement.”

January 23. Dinner of Sorosis at the Waldorf, at 7 o'clock.”

“Reached New York at 3 P. M. Elizabeth [Mrs. John Jay Chapman] had sent maid and carriage for me, which was most kind. Had a good rest and a short walk and went to Sorosis dinner, which was very brilliant and fine. I was asked to speak and took for my topic, The day of small things; the beginning of Sorosis and the New England Woman's Club, considered so trifling a matter, yet very important because it had behind it a very important principle; the fact that the time had come in which women were bound to study, assist, and stand by each other. I quoted Christ's saying about the mustard seed. Miss Barton's mission to Armenia I called a mustard seed, and one which would have very important results.”

January 27. ... Wrote a few lines to Mrs. Charles A. Babcock, Oil City, Pennsylvania, for a woman's issue of a paper called the ‘Derrick.’ She wishes me to say what I thought would be the result of the ‘women's edition’ fad. I said that one result would be to drive to desperation those who receive letters, asking contributions to these issues.” [216]

February 9. Another inspired sermon from C. G. Ames. Miss Page asked, ‘Why is he so earnest? What does it mean?’ I replied, ‘He is in one of those waves of inspiration which come sometimes. The angel has certainly troubled the pool and we can go to it for healing.’ Returning home, I wrote some lines about my sister Annie's picture. I had in church a momentary glimpse of the meaning of Christ's saying, ‘I am the vine and ye are the branches.’ I felt how the source of our spiritual love is in the heavenly fatherhood, and how departing from our sense of this we become empty and barren. It was a moment of great comfort ....”

February 10. .. Gulesian last evening said that the Armenians want me to go to England, as a leader in advocacy of their cause. The thought brought me a new feeling of energy and enthusiasm. I think I must first help the cause in Washington, D. C.

February 26. Hearing at State House on Suffrage. Worked at it [her address] somewhat in the early morning. Was tolerably successful in making my points. Was rather disappointed because no one applauded me. Considered that this was a lesson that we must learn, to do without praise. It comforted me to take it in this way. Soon the interest of what the others said put my own matters quite out of my mind. The hearing was a good one, all except a dreadful woman, calling herself a Socialist, full of insufferable conceit and affectation of knowledge. An English labor man spoke well.”

March 22. ... As I left church, Mrs. James Freeman [217] Clarke stopped me, took both of my hands in hers and said she was sure that the world was better for my having been in it. This from so undemonstrative a person moved me a good deal and consoled me somewhat for my poor deserts and performances in the past — a burden which often weighs heavily upon me....”

April 2. Conservatory of Music, 3 p. M. I went in fear and trembling with a violent bronchial cold and cough, in a miserable storm. I prayed all the way there that I might be pleasant in my demeanor, and I think that I was, for my trouble at having to run such a risk soon went out of my mind, and I enjoyed the occasion very much; especially meeting pupils from so many distant States, and one or two from Canada.”

April 8. .... I asked in my prayer this morning, feeling miserably dull and weak, that some deed of help and love might be given me to accomplish to-day. At noon came three gentlemen, Hagop Bogigian, Mr. Blanchard, and Mr. Breed, of Lynn, praying me to make an appeal to the women of America for their Armenian sisters, who are destroying themselves in many instances to avoid Turkish outrage. The funds subscribed for relief are exhausted and some new stimulus to rouse the public is much needed .... I felt that I had had an answer to my prayer....”

To Maud

241 Beacon Street, April 18, 1896.
... Let me tell you now, lest you should hear of it in some other way, that I was urged to go to England [218] this summer to intercede with Queen Victoria for the Armenians. I thought of it, but the plan seemed to me chimerical and futile. I still have them and the Cretans greatly at heart, but I don't think I could do any good in the way just mentioned. I should have been glad to make a great sacrifice for these persecuted people, but common sense must be adhered to, in all circumstances. ...

To the same

241 Beacon Street, April 18, 1896.
... If you go to Russia, be careful to go as Mrs. John Elliott, not as Maud Howe Elliott. Your name is probably known there as one of the friends of “Free Russia,” and you might be subjected to some annoyance in consequence. You had better make acquaintance with our minister, whoever he may be. The Russians seem now to have joined hands with the Turks. If the American missionaries can only be got rid of, Russia, it is said, will take Armenia under her so-called protection, and will compel all Christians to join the Greek Church. There is so much spying in Russia that you will have to be very careful what you talk about. I rather hope you will not go, for a dynamite country is especially dangerous in times of great public excitement, which the time of the coronation cannot fail to be. ...

April 20. F. J. Garrison called and made me an offer, on the part of Houghton, Mifflin & Company, that they should publish my ‘Reminiscences.’ ... I [219] accepted, but named a year as the shortest time possible for me to get such a book ready. ..”

As a matter of fact, it took three years for her to complete the “Reminiscences.” During these years, while she made it her principal literary work, it still had to take its chance with the rest, to be laid down at the call of the hour and taken up again when the insistence of “screed” or poem was removed: this while in Boston or Newport. During the Roman winter, soon to be described, she wrote steadily day by day; but here she must still work at disadvantage, having no access to journals or papers, depending on memory alone.

May 7. Question: Cannot we follow up the Parliament of Religions by a Pan-Christian Association? I will try to write about this.”

May 19. Had sought much for light, or a leading thought about what I ought to do for Armenia.... Wrote fully to Senator Hoar, asking his opinion about my going abroad and whether I could have any official support.”

May 28. Moral Education Association, 10 A. M., Tremont Temple.”

“I wish to record this thought which came to me on my birthday: As for individuals, no bettering of fortunes compares in importance with the bettering of character; so among nations, no extension of territory or aggregation of wealth equals in importance the fact of moral growth. So no national loss is to [220] be deplored in comparison with loss of moral earnestness.”

Oak Glen, June 30. ...Finished this afternoon my perusal of the ‘Memoir’ of Mr. John Pickering. Felt myself really uplifted by it into an atmosphere of culture and scholarship, rarely attained even by the intelligent people whom we all know ...”

July 12. .... I pray this morning for courage to undertake and fervor to accomplish something in behalf of Christian civilization against the tide of barbarism, which threatens to over-sweep it. This may be a magazine article; something, at any rate, which I shall try to write.”

“ 1 P. M. Have made a pretty good beginning in this task, having writ nine pages of a screed under the heading: ‘Shall the frontier of Christendom be maintained and its domain extended?’ ”

To Maud

Oak Glen, July 18, 1896.
My darling wanderer,
Here I am comfortably settled for the summer, bathed in greenery and good air. I had barely unpacked my books and papers when Daisy came out on horseback to insist upon my paying her a visit. I did this, and went to her on Wednesday, returning home on the following Monday. On the 4th of July I attended, by invitation, the meeting of the Cincinnati in the Old State House here. Cousin Nathanael Greene presided. Charles Howland Russell read aloud the Declaration of Independence. Governor [221] Lippitt made an address in which he mentioned Governor Samuel Ward, my great-grandfather.... I have a good piano this year. We went on Monday last to see the furniture at Malbone, all of which has just been sold at auction. A good deal of it was very costly and some of it very handsome.... Apropos of worldly goods, Cornelius Vanderbilt has had a stroke.

To Laura

Oak Glen, July 25, 1896.
Oh, yes! you now and then do lend me a daughter, and so you'd ought to. Which, did n't I profit by Alice's visit? My good woman (as poor, dear used to say when she was in wrath), I should think so. Clear comfort the wretch was to me, wretch because she had such an old miserable to look after. I sometimes catch myself thinking that, however it may be with other families, your family, madam, came into this world for my especial pleasure and comfort. What do you think of this view? No matter what you think, dear, it won't make any difference as to facts.... I miss even the youth in Alice's voice. I would like, mum, if you please, mum, to enjoy about sixty years more of grandmotherhood, with fresh crops of grandchildren coming up at reasonable intervals. Our life here, this summer, is even unusually quiet. We have few visitors. ... I am, as usual, well content with my books, and busy with my papers. Flossy reads aloud Green's “History of the English people” about half an hour daily, after breakfast. The boys reluctantly [222] submit to listen, fidgeting a good deal. It is less readable for youth than I supposed it to be. We play whist in the evening, and had a wood fire last evening, the weather being suddenly cold. I learned yesterday, from the 'Tiser, the death of Adolphe Mailliard [her brother-in-law] which has brought me many sober thoughts, despite the trifling tone of this letter. I had waked the day before, thinking that some one said to me “Mailliard is dying.” I recorded it in my Diary, but had no idea that I should so soon hear of it as a reality. What a chapter ends with him!

August 15. To-day is mercifully cool. I have about finished my A. A.W. screed, D. G. The great heats have affected me very much; my brain has been full of fever fancies and of nonsense. I prayed earnestly this morning that I might not survive my wits. I have great hope that I shall not. ...”

August 17. Have read in Minot J. Savage's Four great questions, and in the long biography of my uncle, Rev. B. C. Cutler. His piety and faithfulness appear to me most edifying. His theology at the present time seems impossible. I am sorry that I saw so very little of him after my marriage, but he was disposed to consider me as one of the lost, and I could not have met him on any religious ground. I could do this better now, having learned something of the value which very erroneous opinions may have, when they serve, as in his case, to stimulate right effort and true feeling.” [223]

To Laura

Oak Glen, August 21, 1896.
Being in a spleeny and uncomfortable mood to-day, what resource so legitimate as to betake myself to my own family? No particular reason for growling, growly so much the more. If I only had a good grievance now, how I would improve it! Well, you see, trouble is some of us have not any money to speak of, and in consequence we ain't nobody, and so on. There I hear the voice of my little mother Laura, saying: “Well, well!” in her soothing way. The truth is, darling, that first I was roasted out, and then it “friz horrid,” and my poor old “conshushion” could n't quite stand it.... D'ye see? “Well, no,” says Laura: “I don't exactly see.” Well, s'pose you don't — what then? You sweetheart, this is just the way this old, unthankful sinner was taken, just now. But I've got bravely over it, and I submit to health, comfort, delightful books, young company and good friends. Edifying, ain't it? ...

September 15. In the cars, reading the Duke of Argyll's fine opuscule, ‘Our [England's] Responsibilities for Turkey,’ my heart was lifted up in agonized prayer. I said, ‘O God! give me a handwriting on the wall, that I may truly know what I can do for these people.’ And I resolved not to go back from the purpose which prompted this prayer.”

“Arrived at St. John [New Brunswick] and was made very welcome. Reception in the evening by the [224] ladies of the Council. Speeches: Rev. Mr. De Wars, Anglican minister, spoke of our taking A. A.W. to England. I wondered if this was my handwriting on the wall.”

October 10. Wheaton Seminary Club, Vendome. Reminiscences of Longfellow and Emerson.... As I was leaving one lady said to me, ‘Mrs. Howe, you have shocked me very much, and I think that when you go to the other world, you will be sorry that you did not stay as you were,’ i.e., Orthodox instead of Unitarian. Miss Emerson apologized to me for this rather uncivil greeting. I feel sure that the lady misunderstood something in my lecture. What, I could not tell.”

November 1. The Communion service was very delightful. I prayed quite earnestly this morning that the dimness of sight, which has lately troubled me, might disappear. My eyes are really better to-day. I seemed at one moment during the service to see myself as a little child in the Heavenly Father's Nursery, having played my naughty pranks (alas!) and left my tasks unperformed, but coming, as bedtime draws near, to kiss and be forgiven.”

To Maud

Rokeby, Barrytown, N. Y., December 25, 1896.
My own dearest,
I am here according to promise to spend Christmas with Daisy.1 I occupy Elizabeth Chanler's room, beautifully adorned with hangings of poppy-colored silk. [225] . . . All of us helped to dress the tree, which was really beautiful. The farm people came in at about six o'clock, also the old tutor, Bostwick, and the Armstrong cousins. After dinner, we had a fiddler in the hall. Alida danced an Irish jig very prettily, and we had a Virginia reel, which I danced, if you please, with Mr. Bostwick. Then we snuggled up to the fire in the library and Wintie read aloud from Mark Twain's “Huckleberry Finn.” ...

The year 1897 brought new activities. The Lodge Immigration Bill roused her to indignation and protest; there were “screeds” and letters to the powers that were.

In the early spring came another crisis in the East, Greece and Crete bearing this time the brunt of Turkish violence. Thirty years had passed since Crete made her first stand for independence; years of dumb suffering and misery. Now her people rose again in revolt against their brutal masters, and this time Greece felt strong enough to stand openly by her Cretan brothers.

Our mother was deeply moved by this new need, which recalled so many precious memories. The record of the spring of 1897 is much concerned with it.

Written on the fly-leaf of the Journal: “The good God make me grateful for this new year, of which I am allowed to see the beginning. Thy kingdom come! I have many wishes, but this prayer will carry them all. January 1, 1897.”

“Oh, dear!” [226]

January 4.... Went in the evening to see the Smith College girls, Class of ‘95, play ‘Midsummer Night's Dream.’ A most lovely and ideal performance. Their representation of the Athenian clowns was incredibly good, especially of Nick Bottom.”

January 5. ... Was grieved and shocked to learn early this morning that my brilliant neighbor, General Francis A. Walker, had died during the night. He always greeted me with chivalrous courtesy, and has more than once given me his arm to help me homeward, when he has found me battling with the high winds in or near Beacon Street....”

To Maud

241 Beacon Street, Boston, January 18, 1897.
About the life “à deux seulement,” I agree with you in thinking that it is not good for either party. It is certainly very narrowing both to the mind and to the affections, and is therefore to be avoided. A reasonable amount of outside intercourse is a vital condition of good living, even in the most sympathetic and intimate marriages, and the knowledge of this is one of the strong points in the character of women generally, who do nine tenths of what is done to keep up social intercourse ...

April 2. Evening; celebration of twenty-fifth year of Saturday Morning Club. Have writ draft of an open letter regarding Greek matters; also finished a very short screed for this evening....”

April 18.... I determined to work more for the [227] Greeks and to try and write something about the craze prevailing just now for the Eastern religions, which are rather systems of speculation than of practical religion.”

To Maud

April 18, 1897.
. . Mrs. Berdan made a visit here, and I gave a reception for her, and took her to the great occasion of the Saturday Morning Club, celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary. The whole thing was very beautiful — the reception was in the tapestry room of the Art Museum. I was placed in a sort of throne chair, with the president and ex-presidents in a line at my left, and the cream of Boston was all brought up and presented to me. In another of the large rooms a stage had been arranged, and from this I made my little speech. Then came some beautiful singing by Mrs. Tebbets, with a small orchestral accompaniment, and then was given one act of Tennyson's “Princess” and Browning's “In a Balcony.” The place, the performances, and the guests made this a very distinguished occasion. I had gone just before this to see Louisa Cushing's wonderful acting in a French play of the Commune. She possesses great tragic power and reminds one of Duse and of Sarah Bernhardt. I suppose that H. M. H. has written you of his appointment as Professor of Metallurgy, etc., at Columbia College, New York. He and Fannie are much pleased with this, and it is considered a very important step for him. I shall miss him a good deal, [228] but am glad of it for his sake. Michael2 and I went yesterday to the annual breakfast of the Charity Club. Greece had been made the topic of the day. Michael made a splendid speech, and sang three stanzas of the Greek National Hymn, albeit he cannot sing at allhe intoned it. I also made a little speech, and some money was given to aid the Greek cause. Hezekiah Butterworth was present, and I offered the following conundrum: “What's butter worth?” Answer, “The cream of everything.” Adieu, my dearest.

Ever your loving


April 26. Received permission to use Faneuil Hall for a Woman's Meeting of Aid and Sympathy for Greece....”

May 3. Working at sending out notices of the Faneuil Hall meeting.”

May 4. The day was auspicious for our meeting. Although very tired with the preparations, I wrote my little screed, dressed, and went betimes to the Hall, where I was expected to preside. I found it prettily arranged, though at very small expense. I wore as a badge a tiny Greek flag made of blue and white ribbon, and brought badges of these colors for the young ladies who were to take up the collection. Many whom I had requested to come were present. Sarah Whitman, Lizzie Agassiz, Mrs. Cornelius Felton, Mrs. Fields, Mrs. Whitney, besides our Committee and Mrs. Barrows. M. Anagnos gave us the band of the Institution, [229] which was a great help. They played several times. I introduced C. G. Ames, who made a prayer. My opening address followed. Mmes. Livermore and Woolson, and Anagnos made the most important addresses. As the band played ‘America,’ a young Greek came in, bearing the Greek flag, which had quite a dramatic effect. The meeting was enthusiastic and the contribution unusual for such a meeting, three hundred and ninety-seven dollars and odd cents. Thank God for this success.”

May 13. .. . Head desperately bad in the morning. .. Have done no good work to-day, brain being unserviceable. Did, however, begin a short screed for my speech at Unitarian Festival.”

“The Round Table was most interesting. Rev. S. J. Barrows read a carefully studied monograph of the Greek struggle for liberty. Mr. Robinson, of the Art Museum, spoke mostly of the present desperate need. I think I was called next. I characterized the Turks as almost “ferae naturae.” Spoke of the low level of European diplomacy. Said that we must fall back upon the ethical people, but hope for a general world movement making necessary the adoption of a higher level of international relation — look to the religious world to uphold the principle that no religion can henceforth be allowed to propagate itself by bloodshed.”

May 18. A lecture at Westerly, Rhode Island .... My lameness made the ascent of steps and stairs very painful....”

May 22. Heard a delightful French Conference [230] and reading from M. Louis. Had a fit of timidity about the stairs, which were high and many; finally got down. Had a worse one at home, where could not get up the staircase on my feet, and had to execute some curious gymnastics to get up at all.”

May 25. My knee was very painful in the night, and almost intolerable in the morning, so sent for Wesselhloeft, who examined it and found the trouble to proceed from an irritation of a muscle, probably rheumatic in character. He prescribed entire rest and threatened to use a splint if it should not soon be better. I must give up some of my many engagements, and cannot profit by the doings of this week, alas!”

May 27. I am to speak at the Unitarian Festival; dinner at 5 P. M.”

“This is my seventy-eighth birthday. If the good God sees fit to grant me another year, may He help me to fill it with good work. I am still very lame, but perhaps a little better for yesterday's massage. Gifts of flowers from many friends began early to arrive, and continued till late in the evening. The house was resplendent and fragrant with them. I worried somewhat about the evening's programme and what I should say, but everything went well. Kind Dr. Baker Flynt helped me, cushion and all, into Music Hall, and several gentlemen assisted me to the platform, where I was seated between the Chairman of the Festival Committee and Robert Collyer. ... I desired much to have the word for the occasion, but I am not sure whether I had.”

June 2. My first day of ‘ solitary confinement.’ ...” [231]

To Laura

241 Beacon Street, June 2, 1897.
As poor Susan Bigelow once wrote me:--

The Buffalo lies in his lonely lair,
No friend nor agent visits him there.

She was lame at the time, and I had once called her, by mistake, “Mrs. Buffalo.” Well, perfidious William,3 rivalling in tyranny the Sultan of Turkey, has forbidden me to leave this floor. So here I sit, growly and bad, but obliged to acquiescence in W.'s sentence....

Affect., Muz-wuz.

To Maud

241 Beacon Street, June 4, 1897.
Dearest dear child,
First place, darling, dismiss from your mind the idea that reasonable people to-day believe that the souls of men in the pre-Christian world were condemned and lost. The old religions are generally considered to-day as necessary steps in the religion of the human race, and therefore as part of the plan of a beneficent Providence. The Jews were people of especial religious genius, producing a wonderful religious literature, and Christianity, which came out of Judaism, is, to my belief, the culmination of the religious sense of mankind. But Paul himself says, speaking to the Athenians, that “God hath not left himself without a witness,” at any time. I was brought up, of course, in [232] the old belief, which I soon dismissed as irreconcilable with any idea of a beneficent Deity. As for the doctrine of regeneration, I think that by being born again the dear Lord meant that we cannot apprehend spiritual truths unless our minds are earnestly set upon understanding them. To any one who has led a simple, material life, without aspiration or moral reflection, the change by which his attention becomes fastened upon the nobler aspect of character and of life is really like a new birth. We may say the same of the love of high art and great literature. Some people turn very suddenly from a frivolous or immoral life to a better and more thoughtful way. They remember this as a sudden conversion. In most of us, I think the change is more gradual and natural. The better influences win us from the evil things to which most of us are in some way disposed. We have to seek the one and to shun the other. I, for example, am very thankful that my views of many things are unlike what they were twenty or thirty or forty years ago. I attribute this change mostly to good influences, reading, hearing sermons and high conversation. These things often begin in an effort of will to “move up higher.” If I write more about this, I shall muddle myself and you. Only don't distress yourself about regeneration. I think it mostly comes insensibly, like a child's growth. ...

I attended the memorial meeting at the unveiling of the Shaw Monument. You can't think how beautiful the work is. The ceremonies took place Monday, beginning with a procession which came through [233] Beacon Street. Governor Wolcott, in a barouche and four, distinctly bowed to me. The New York Seventh Regiment came on and marched beautifully; our Cadets marched about as well. There was also a squad from our battleships, two of which were in the harbor. At twelve o'clock we all went to Music Hall where they sang my “Battle Hymn.” The Governor and Mayor and Colonel Harry Lee spoke. Willie James gave the oration and Booker Washington really made the address of the day, simple, balanced, and very eloquent. I had a visit yesterday from Larz and Isabel [Anderson]. He told me much about you. Darling, this is a very poor letter, but much love goes with it.

Affectionate Mothere.

June 6.... Have writ a note to little John Jeffries, aet. six years, who sent me a note in his own writing, with a dollar saved out of five cents per week, for the ‘poor Armenians.’ He writes: ‘I don't like the Turks one bit. I think they are horrid.’ Have sent note and dollar to A. S. B. for the Armenian orphans.”

June 27, Oak Glen. My first writing in this dear place. Carrie Hall yesterday moved me down into dear Chev's bedroom on the first floor, Wesselhoeft having forbidden me to go up and down stairs. I rebelled inwardly against this, but am compelled to acknowledge that it is best so. Carrie showed great energy in moving down all the small objects to which she supposed me to be attached. I have now had an exquisite [234] sitting in my green parlor, reading a sermon of dear James Freeman Clarke's.”

June 28. Wrote my stint of ‘Reminiscences’ in the morning.... At bedtime had very sober thoughts of the limitation of life. It seemed to me that the end might be near. My lameness and the painful condition of my feet appear like warnings of a decline of physical power, which could only lead one way. My great anxiety is to see Maud before I depart.”

July 10. I dreamed last night, or rather this morning, that I was walking as of old, lightly and without pain. I cried in my joy: ‘Oh, some one has been mindcuring me. My lameness has disappeared.’ Have writ a pretty good screed about John Brown.”

July 22.... Dearest Maud and Jack arrived in the evening. So welcome I I had not seen Jack in two years. I had begun to fear that I was never to see Maud again.”

July 26. Had a little time of quiet thought this morning, in which I seemed to see how the intensity of individual desire would make chaos in the world of men and women if there were not a conquering and reconciling principle of harmony above them all. This to my mind can be no other than the infinite wisdom and infinite love which we call God.”

August 18. I prayed this morning for some direct and definite service which I might render. At noon a reporter from the New York Journal arrived, beseeching me to write something to help the young Cuban girl, who is in danger of being sent to the Spanish Penal Colony [Ceuta] in Africa. I wrote an appeal in her behalf and suggested a cable to the Pope. [235] This I have already written. The Hearsts will send it. This was an answer to my prayer. Our dear H. M. H. arrived at 3 P. M....”

August 29. Had a little service for my own people, Flossy and her four children. Spoke of the importance of religious culture. Read the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. Flossy thought the wise ones unkind not to be willing to share with the foolish. I suggested that the oil pictured something which could not be given in a minute. Cited Beecher's saying, which I have so long remembered, that we cannot get religion as we order a suit of clothes. If we live without it, when some overwhelming distress or temptation meets us, we shall not find either the consolation or the strength which true faith gives.”

September 23.. Have just learned by cable from Rome that my dearest sister Louisa died yesterday morning. Let me rather hope that she awoke from painful weakness and infirmity into a new glory of spiritual life. Her life here has been most blameless, as well as most beautiful. Transplanted to Rome in her early youth and beauty, she became there a centre of disinterested hospitality, of love and of charity. She was as rare a person in her way as my sweet sister Annie. Alas! I, of less desert than either, am left, the last of my dear father's and mother's children. God grant that my remaining may be for good! And God help me to use faithfully my little remnant of life in setting my house in order, and in giving such completeness as I can to my life-work, or rather, to its poor efforts.”

September 25. Was sad as death at waking, pondering [236] my many difficulties. The day is most lovely. I have read two of Dr. Hedge's sermons and feel much better. One is called ‘The Comforter,’ and was probably written in view of the loss of friends by death. It speaks of the spirit of a true life, which does not pass away when the life is ended, but becomes more and more dear and precious to loving survivors. The text, from John XVI, 7: ‘It is expedient for you that I go away.’ Have writ a good screed about the Rome of 1843-44.”

To Laura

Oak Glen, September 27, 1897.
... My dear sister and I have lived so long far apart, that it is difficult for me to have a realizing sense of her departure. It is only at moments that I can feel that we shall meet on earth no more. I grieve most of all that my life has been so far removed from hers. She has been a joy, a comfort, a delight to so many people, and I have had so little of all this! The remembrance of what I have had is indeed most precious, but alas! for the long and wide separation. What an enviable memory she leaves! No shadows to dim its beauty.

I send you, dear, a statement regarding my relations with Lee and Shepard. I am much disheartened about my poems and almost feel like giving up. But I won't.

Affect., Mother.

In November, 1897, she sailed for Italy with the Elliotts.

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