Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/97

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
79
LYDIA H. SIGOURNEY.

Huntley were wreathed together, and one was seldom mentioned without the other. Youthful friendships are, however, so common, and usually so transient, that this would scarcely demand notice, but for the strength of its foundation. It appeared to be based upon a mutual, strong desire to do good to others; a fixed purpose to employ the talents which God had given them, for the benefit of the world upon which they had entered. In pursuance of this object, they not only addressed themselves to the assiduous cultivation of their mental powers, but they engaged with alacrity in domestic affairs and household duties; and they found time, also, to make garments for the poor, to instruct indigent children, to visit the old and infirm, read with them, and administer to their temporal comfort, and to watch with the sick and dying.

Among the plans for future usefulness which these young friends revolved, none seemed so feasible, or so congenial to their tastes, as that of devoting themselves to the office of instruction. This, therefore, they adopted as their province, their chosen sphere of action, and they resolutely kept this object in view, through the course of their education. The books they read, the studies they pursued, the accomplishments they sought, all had a reference to this main design. After qualifying themselves to teach those English sciences which were considered necessary to the education of young females, together with the elements of the Latin tongue, they went to Hartford and spent the winter of 1810-11 principally in attention to the ornamental branches, which were then in vogue. Returning from thence, they entered at once, at the age of nineteen, upon their grand pursuit. A class of young ladies in their native town gathered joyfully around them, and into this circle they cast not only the affluence of their well stored minds, and the cheering inspiration of youthful zeal, but all the strength of their best and holiest principles. Animated, blooming, happy, linked affectionately arm in arm, they daily came in among their pupils, diffusing love and cheerfulness, as well as knowledge, and commanding the most grateful attention and respect.

The cordial affection between these interesting young teachers was itself a most important lesson to their pupils. One of the privileged few, writing after a lapse of forty years, thus testifies to the lasting impression it produced upon their young hearts. “Pleasant it is to review those dove-like days—to recall the lineaments of that diligent, earnest, mind-expanding group; and to note again the dissimilarity so beautifully harmonious, between those whom we delighted to call our sweet sister-teachersthe two inseparables, inimitables. It was a matter of admiration to the pupils, that such oneness of sentiment, opinion, and affection, should co-exist with such a diversity in feature, voice, eyes, expression, manner, and movement, as the two friends exhibited.”

After a pleasing association of two years, the young teachers parted, each to pursue the same line of occupation in a different sphere. But