“I seemed to myself,” she says, “like a young damsel of olden times, shut up within an enchanted castle.
And I must say, that my dear father, with all his noble generosity and overweening affection, sometimes appeared to me as my jailer.”
Once she expostulated with him, begging to be allowed more freedom in going out, and in receiving visits from the friends of her brothers.
It may have been on the occasion when he refused to allow the late Louis Rutherford
, of venerated memory, to be invited to the house, “because he belonged to the fashionable world.”
Her father told her that he had early recognized in her a temperament and imagination over-sensitive to impressions from without, and that his wish had been to guard her from exciting influences until she should appear to him fully able to guard and guide herself.
Alas! the tender father meant to cherish a vestal flame in a vase of alabaster; in reality, he was trying to imprison the lightning in the cloud.
When our mother wrote the words above quoted, on the power of music over sensitive natures, she was recalling these days, and perhaps remembering how, denied the society of her natural mates, her sixteen-year-old heart went out in sympathy and compassion to the young harper who came to take part in the trios and quartets, and who fell desperately in love with her and was summarily dismissed in consequence.
Yet who shall say that the father's austere regime did not after all meet a need of her nature deeper than she could possibly have realized at the time; that the