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[p. 82] with a retentive memory, she preserved the valuable information she had acquired in study, enriched with her own reflection, and freely shared it with her friends. Hers was a strong and commanding personality. It took possession of you by tones of voice and a distinction of manner that were unusual. If any thing interested her deeply it would be living and personal when she spoke it. It was this which made her conversation so striking that she had the reputation ‘of talking like a book.’ I have not forgotten the impression she made upon me on first meeting her. I had been told of this remarkable parishioner who was a woman of rich stores of learning, and I was a little afraid of her, but I had not been told of her unusual manner of speech, and I sat through the entire hour as if listening to a carefully prepared discourse, the words were so fitly chosen, while the tones of her voice gave countenance to the illusion. The commonplaces that introduce conversation were not required, indeed were conspicuously absent, conversation introduced itself and flowed on until the subjects of present interest to her were exhausted. It was not so much conversation as it was monologue. You were the pleased listener, she the pleased speaker, and not until you had heard all that she thought you would care for did the speech stop and conversation begin. Yet she was not a tiresome talker, for you would not wish to escape from her, or to start a different topic. So much personal force was thrown into what she said, so selfrevealing was it, that you gladly listened to the end. She was a woman of exceptional culture, but culture she valued not as an ornament, but as a means of moral and spiritual growth. Conscience was supreme in her, the Puritanism from which she came showing itself in this in strong characters. All through her letters I am struck with her vital interest in whatever concerns the morals of society. She was a little late in espousing the antislavery cause, and was led to it by the prodding of her friend, Lydia Maria Child, but her acceptance of it was

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Lydia Maria Child (1)
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