Page:Frances Wood Shimer 1826-1901.djvu/6

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My Friend.

The day I first met my friend is clear in memory. It was early autumn. Nature had given a sense of fulness, abundance, maturity, as I came to the little city in which I was to live for so many years. The midday sun of September made resplendent the greens of varying tints and flowers of richest hue on the campus. The birds that found a home in so many well sheltered nooks seemed to give me welcome as they caroled their song of joy.

On such a day of gladness I met the woman whose friendship helped to shape my life, holding me at one with her in her work. I well remember her searching gray eye and finely modulated voice, with its tone of self-restraint I was in the presence of a quiet, self- poised, dignified, reserved, resourceful woman — a woman of leadership and command. Part of this came to me with the greeting, but a wider knowledge of her made clear what was then but an impression. This self-contained woman, so full of expedients to meet every emergency, so clear sighted, and far sighted, including the future in her planning, seemed sufficient unto herself; yet few who have ever lived clung, as did she, with the apparent sense of great need, to the close friends to whom she might speak as to herself. With a firm tread she could walk the way she had willed, even though the world about condemned, if only the few trusted friends had faith and hope and courage with her.

Hers was a nature that keenly enjoyed the approbation of all who knew her, and yet, if this were denied her, could suffer uncomplainingly, struggle mightily with opposition, work unceasingly, if but the near ones saw and comprehended her purpose. In all these efforts she seemed to them never to spend herself, but to hold a force in reserve that was ready for the old and the new difficulty.

She exercised the power of silence as no other that I have known. Her silent presence quieted all excitement. The rebuke