Letters of Life/II

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LETTER II.


EARLY YEARS.


As I look back to the opening vista of life, a sense of quiet happiness steals over me. It is like the reflection of that softest beam which a vernal morning wins from the sun while he yet lingers in his bed, when the mists catch a rose-tint as they steal away, and the dews and unopened buds praise the Lord.

I have been told that my infancy was healthful, though apparently delicate, and that I was in haste to take hold of the faculty of speech. Words of my uttering when nine and ten months old were oft repeated to me; and though I suppose them to have been simply imitated articulations, the friends who recorded them in memory were tenacious of them as proofs of rapidly-unfolding perception and precocious intellect. I was favorably situated to be accounted marvellous, having no little competitor, and falling principally into the company of those somewhat advanced in life, who welcomed me as a curiosity, and had full leisure to note all my doings. My father was approaching the grave age of forty when he welcomed his only child. One of my first recollections is of hiding my face in his bosom, and of how bright were the knitting-needles of his aged mother, who sat near with a loving smile

I was very happy in the gardens, when old enough to wander there. No nurse at my heels watched and restrained me, or wondered what I was about when I talked long with the flowers. My fair mother tied on my little sun-bonnet and mittens, and welcomed and lulled me to rest when I came wearied into the house.

I remember with what wondering reverence I gazed at the tall purple lilacs and white snowballs; my own most familiar acquaintance among the flower-people being the violets and blue-bells and lupines in my allotted plat of ground. Great delight had I also in watching the growth of the ripening fruits, and admiring His goodness who deepened the color in the orb of the berry and the downy cheek of the peach, and changed hard, green pin-heads into the full, fragrant grape cluster. Frequent visits I made to the arbor, covered by the mantling vine, and, spreading on its benches large leaves of the lilac which I was permitted to gather, drew on them, with a pin, the forms of such objects as met my view or floated in my fancy. Those green surfaces, deeply indented by my simple graver with birds, or nests, or winged creatures having neither name nor symmetry, or exhibiting patterns for wrought ruffles such as I had seen ladies embroider, are as vivid in memory as if laid on the table where I now write. Sibylline leaves, on which the little happy heart depicted the semblance of its own imaginings, they unfold their scrolls to me, bringing back the perfume of the abundant fruits and rich blossoms that breathed around.

I had but few playthings, and those of the simplest kind. More were not coveted, having no companion with whom to enjoy or divide them. In those early days of the republic our merchant vessels did not swell their freight with the toys of Germany and France. Dolls that opened their eyes, moved their joints, and moaned, were unknown, and might have been deemed the work of necromancy. I never possessed any save those of household manufacture, and they were not eminently distinguished by fine proportions or elegant costume. My best one had a face of cambric, black pin-heads for eyes, half-circles drawn with a pen for eyebrows, lips of a slip of vermilion silk, curled flax for tresses, and handless arms pinned submissively over her stomach. The doll-genus were not at all essential to my happiness. They were of the most consequence when, marshalled in the character of pupils, I installed myself as their teacher. Then I talked much and long to them, reproving their faults, stimulating them to excellence, and enforcing a variety of moral obligations.

The playhouse, to which I resorted when satiated with rural rambles, or when bad weather forbade it, was a spacious garret covering the whole upper story of the mansion. In one corner was a heavy, old-fashioned carved beaufet, upon whose curving shelves I displayed my toys so as to make the best appearance, and arranged my dolls according to their degrees of aristocracy. A spirit of order, and love of having every thing in its place, grew with this exercise.

Immense trunks were in that garret. Untold treasures I supposed them to contain; but rummaging was in those days forbidden to children. One of them was open and empty, and lined with sheets of printed hymns. I stretched myself within its walls, and perused those hymns, being able to read at three years old. Afterwards, I grieve to say that I made use of that hiding-place for a more questionable purpose. Finding a borrowed copy of the "Mysteries of Udolpho" in the house, and perceiving that it was sequestrated from childish hands, I watched for intervals when it might be abstracted unobserved, and, taking refuge in my trunk, like the cynic in his tub, revelled among the tragic scenes of Mrs. Ratcliffe; finding, however, no terror so formidable as an approaching footstep, when, hiding the volume, I leaped lightly from my cavernous study. It was the first surreptitious satisfaction and not partaken without remorse. Yet the fascinations of that fearful fiction-book seemed to me too strong to be resisted.

Two immense stacks of chimneys passed through this garret to their outlet in the roof, where was also a scuttle-door attained by a flight of stairs, whither I mounted and peered out when ambition so moved. In one of those chimneys was a closet, where the ropes and pulleys of the great roasting-jack hissed and sputtered when put in motion by the fires below. I remember, on one occasion, opening the door of that dark enclosure, and saying to a little girl who had come up stairs with me that "Jack lived there." At the sound of the clamor within, her eyes enlarged, and, fleet as a deer, she fled from the house. My shouts of explanation were unheeded. The joke lost me a playmate for that day. On reflection, it seemed a wicked invention, at which my conscience was troubled.

This capacious apartment also contained remnants and vestiges of my father's military life. Much time did I spend among these. The stories that I had heard of battles while seated on the paternal knee, gave life and voice to every relic. Pouches of shot, and bullets, and flints, and the large twisted powder-horns, were intensely interesting to me.

I did not feel inclined, like Desdemona, to "weep at what a soldier suffers," but forthwith girded myself with the bright brass-hilted sword, and put my tiny hands upon the cumbrous pistols, and toiled in vain to lift the long-barrelled and exceedingly heavy gun, talking with each about Bunker Hill, and Yorktown, and Washington, till I half fancied that I had listened to the war-thunder of battle, and looked upon the god like form of the Pater Patriæ.

The domestic animals I considered friends. With their different lineaments of character I acquainted myself, and, being early accustomed to see them well fed and kindly cared for, have never been able through life to lay aside an earnest desire for quadruped welfare, and an almost morbid distress at their discomfort or oppression.

A large black horse, of mild temperament, two noble cows, in dark red coats, with graceful horns, a flock of poultry, crowing, brooding, or peeping, all in different degrees awakened interest and regard. But my chief intimacy was with the feline race. Pussy was always so pliant, so companionable, so pleased with attentions, and prompt in her way to reciprocate them. I studied cat-nature like a philosopher. I believed that the world had never done justice to its capacities, and that a fostering tenderness would elicit new powers; whereupon I made a cat my favorite and prime minister.

It sat in my lap, and gambolled by my side, and stretched itself upon my bed, and was to me as a sister. I took charge of its diet, that it might be fed at stated times, and with fitting aliment. When the maid had done milking, I was permitted to fill a cup for my protégée with my own hand, from the creamy udder. Large and fat grew my cat-people, with a lustrous velvet fur, and I exulted in their superiority. They gave heed to my words, for I talked much to them, and at my bidding rose upon their hind legs, taking my beneficent hand gently in their paws, and rubbing their heads lovingly upon it. I took pride in this and a few other accomplishments, arguing fervently in favor of the race, if any denounced it as selfish, fawning, or hypocritical.

One of my great pleasures, at the close of a summer's day, was to amass two piles of fresh green cabbage leaves, which I was myself permitted to break in the garden, and lay at the milking places for the two cows when they should come home from the pasture. I rejoiced to see them hastening toward their expected bonne-bouche, and munching it with a perfect content, while their fragrant revenue rapidly filled the pails.

On one or two occasions I was permitted to walk to their pasture, at the distance of half a mile or more, with our very respectable servant-boy, who went to invite them home for the night. Then and there I first beheld the magnificent lobelia cardinalis. Wandering to a secluded, moist spot of earth, I found it in the full blossom of its queenly beauty. I had never heard mention of such a flower. The thrill of rapture with which I gazed upon it is felt to this day. I had no rest till I possessed myself of the treasure. That it was the wrong season for transplanting, was nothing to me. I had no botanical knowledge, but the glorious flower was to me as a living soul. The next year there came up in its place a sorry tuft of grass.

Not disjoined from utility were the pleasures of waking life. Sports and reveries were much confined to my great, paradisaical garret, and the sound of rain upon its ample roof imparted a perfect sense of security and bliss. Every falling drop seemed to strike a sweet wind-harp, moving the whole soul to melody. But when in the parlor with older people, I was fain to imitate their employments, and encouraged to do so. I early plied the needle, and at the age of six was ambitious to execute the plainer parts upon my father's shirts, which were made by my gentle-hearted grandmother. More than this, the fabric itself was in part the work of her industrious hands, for she loved to draw forth and twist the fine silken threads of flax; and the quiet sound of her wheel was to my young ear a lulling melody. In those days the cheap manufactures from the southern cotton-plant by the aid of machinery, were unknown, and almost every thrifty family in the smaller towns of New England spun within its own bounds the more durable linens that were essential to its comfort. I think it was the same serene and kind relative who taught me to ply the knitting-needles. Of this I am not absolutely certain, scarcely being able to remember the time when I did not know their use; and as a friend of mine, who very early entered the state of matrimony, replied to some chronological question, "She came into the world married" so I cannot affirm, from any positive recollection, that I did not come into it knitting. The employment has always been pleasant to me, as more friendly to meditation than the needle, and requiring less abstract attention. Through life I have found it economical and agreeable to knit stockings for myself, my family, and friends. To produce twenty pair annually, after I became a housekeeper, and had more feet to cover, was no uncommon circumstance, for it agreeably employed those fragments of time which might otherwise have been lost, and was likewise a form of charity peculiarly acceptable to the poor, in our cold and variable climate.

Asking to be forgiven for this episode in favor of an almost obsolete occupation among ladies, I return to my happy childhood. Nothing was so entirely fascinating as to be permitted to aid my father in the horticultural pursuits which he so practically understood. Believing it for my health to be much in the open air, and loving ever to have me by his side, I was encouraged to drop the peas in their long-drawn furrows, and deposit the golden maize in its hillock-bed. So, the fair blossoms of one, and the tasselled sheath of the other, were watched by me through all their stages, as developments in which I had a right to be interested. I was called to hold the young sapling steadily, while he transplanted it, and when it became a tree it was my friend. I understood not why such sweet sensations flowed from these simple employments. I had never learned why horticulture seemed to cause fresh blossoms to spring up in the heart's new soil. I knew not that health and cheerfulness walked with it, hand in hand. He knew, who made it the occupation of unfallen man in his Eden innocence. He knew, who so mysteriously conjoined the welfare of flesh and spirit, and placed the being that bore His own image in a "garden, to dress and to keep it."

The bounds of our own home domain to my childish mind seemed spacious, and sufficient for every satisfaction. I cannot recollect ever passing its outer gates without liberty, or having a wish to do so. To roam at will from garden to garden, to run at full speed through the alleys, to recline when wearied in some shaded recess, or to seat myself with a book, on a mow of hay in the large, lofty barn, where the quiet cows ruminated over their fragrant food, gave variety and fulness of delight to the liberal periods allotted for out-of-door rambling. I shall probably earn the contempt of bolder spirits, when I say that ambition never moved me to transcend these limits, or to thirst after other joys.

Not unfrequently I shared pleasant drives in our domestic equipage, a spacious, low English chaise, drawn by a clumsy black horse, whose mild temper and obesity were never disturbed by sound of whip, or ambition of precedence. No desire of prancing, and no want of worldly comfort, ruffled his declining days. To me his proportions seemed elephantine, and being once elevated to his back, in the arms of a woman servant, think I still remember impressions of terror at the dizzy height and the length of his head, which, to my infantine eyes, seemed enormous. By aid of this majestic personage I became in some measure familiar with the sweetly varied scenery in the vicinity; and though too young to appreciate the full force of its attractions, yet came there forth from its beauty a silent, secret influence, moulding the heart to happiness, and love of the beneficent Creator.

The diet allotted to children in those days was judicious, and remarkably simple. Well fermented and thoroughly baked bread of the mingled Indian and rye meal, and rich, creamy milk, were among its prominent elements. I never tasted any bread so sweet as those large loaves, made in capacious iron basins. Light wheaten biscuits, delicious gold-colored butter, always made in the family, custards, puddings, delicate pastry, succulent vegetables and fruits, gave sufficient variety of condiment to the repasts allotted us. The extreme regularity and early hours for meals—twelve being always the time for dinner—obviated in a great measure the necessity of intermediates, and saved that perpetual eating into which some little ones fall, until the digestive powers are impaired in their incipient action. If sport, or exercise in the garden, led me to desire refreshment between the regular meals, a piece of brown bread was given me without butter, and I was content. Candies and confectionery were strangers to us primitive people. The stomach, that keystone of this mysterious frame, not being unduly stimulated, no morbid tastes were formed, and no undue admixture of saccharine or oleaginous matter caused effervescence and disease. The name of dyspepsia, with its offspring, stretching out like the line of Banquo, I never heard in early years. Spices were untasted, unless it might be a little nutmeg in the sauce of our nice puddings, which I still counted as a foe, because it "bit my tongue." When seated at the table I was never asked whether I liked or disliked aught that appeared there. It never occurred to me whether I did or not. I never doubted but what I should be fed "with food convenient for me." I was helped to what was deemed proper, and there was never any necessity, like poor Oliver Twist, to ask for more. It did not appear to me, from aught that I saw or heard, that the pleasure of eating was one of the main ends of existence. The advantages arising from early unpampered appetites, have remained with me; for in various sicknesses to which I have been subjected, the stomach, and the nervous tissues dependent upon it, have seldom sympathized, and the integrity of the digestive organs usually given a substratum on which to build the recovered action of the system. Would that parents, in modern times, would more frequently consent to confer similar gifts upon their children.

My costume was simple, and unconstrained by any ligature to impede free circulation. Stays, corsets, or frames of whalebone, I never wore. Frocks low in the neck, and with short sleeves, were used both winter and summer. Houses had neither furnaces nor grates for coal, and churches had no means of being warmed, yet I cannot recollect suffering inconvenience from cold. Thick shoes and stockings were deemed essential, and great care was taken that I should never go with wet feet. Clear, abundant wood fires, sparkled in every chimney, and I was always directed, in cold seasons, to sit with my feet near them until thoroughly warmed, before retiring for the night.

A dress of white muslin, with a broad sash of pink or blue, was my highest style of decoration. There was no added ornament, save thickly clustering curls, not the gift of nature, but the production of my mother's untiring care and skill. This adornment, with scrupulous neatness, was all that she desired for her darling. The care of my teeth she reserved to herself, and made it no sinecure. Their pearly whiteness seemed sometimes to excite her vanity, and it was a proportionably keen disappointment to her that the second set should make their appearance of rather too large a size, and palpably uneven. My daily ablutions, as well as the stated and more thorough weekly bathings, she personally superintended. With equal gratitude I may respond to the filial ascription of Cowper:


"The fragrant waters on my cheeks bestow'd
With her own hand, till fresh they shone, and glow'd."


From the age of three I was put to sleep in a chamber by myself. There was no person in the family to whom it was convenient or fitting to be either my guard or companion. I was always attended to my pillow by maternal love, and then left alone, sometimes ere the last rays of the summer sun had entirely forsaken the landscape. I felt no fear; false stories had never been told to frighten me; there was nothing to be afraid of. "Our Father in Heaven," to whom the last words of closing day were said, seemed near, and I fell asleep as on His protecting arm. It might have been in some measure owing to this nightly solitude, that Thought so early became my friend. In the intervals not given to sleep, it talked with me. So delightful were its visits, that I waited for and wooed it, and was displeased if slumber invaded or superseded the communion. For it sometimes brought me harmonies, and thrilled me to strange delight with rhythmical words. I believe the following was among its first gifts. Memory has from the earliest childhood kept it in her casket:


"Oh king of kings! who dwell'st among
Angelic heralds, hear my song.
Inexplicable are Thy ways,
Eternal ought to be Thy praise."


A new nightly visitant came with Thought, and sat in judgment on my couplets. It was Criticism. She measured the lines, and put them to her ear, like a pitch-pipe; and with regard to this specimen, suggested that in the second line "tongue" would make a more accurate rhyme to "among," than the word I had chosen. I examined her decision, but adhered to my original selection. Whereupon Criticism arose and departed, and I went to sleep.

The echo of consenting and euphonious words allured me to these little exercises in composition more than any poetic impulse or original idea. Attention to style, and the import of classical words, were advanced habitudes of mind for such infantine years. They principally arose from the character of the authors with whom I became familiar. There were literally no children's books attainable by me; and as reading became, almost in babyhood, a necessity of existence, I was thrown upon a rather severe selection of standard authors. Young, with his sententious "Night Thoughts," initiated me into the poetry of my native language; Addison's "Spectator," and Goldsmith's "Vicar of Wakefield," were the most amusing volumes in the library. Yet so much had I been inured to the measured dignity and even solemnity of literature, that not comprehending concealed wit, or delicate irony, I thought Sir Roger de Coverly and the Rev. Mr. Primrose rather silly and simple personages. That acute political satire, "Chrysal, or the Adventures of a Guinea," I perused with some interest, but little edification, from ignorance of the local history of England at the period of which it treats. Harvey's "Reflections among the Tombs," and Gesner's "Death of Abel," supplied the imagination with pleasant food. Whatever was plaintive I considered eloquent, and graduated my admiration of literature by its power to draw tears. Bishop Sherlock's "Six Sermons on Death," were my models for theological writing, though "South and Seed" were diligently perused. The largest volume in my father's possession was a heavy folio of more than eight hundred pages, containing the works of the Rev. Matthew Henry, Discourses, Essays, Tracts, and Biographies. I believe it was the size of the book alone, that inspired my ambition to master its contents. Yet in patiently bending over those pages, instinct with piety and baptized by prayer, methought a secret influence sometimes stole over me, moving to lowliness and the love of God.

The sanctity of the Sabbath, as I saw it observed by those whom I most loved and respected, had an efficient and salutary power upon the forming character. There was under our roof no young or light-minded person to tempt me to "think my own thoughts, or speak my own words," on that consecrated day. "Remember, and keep it holy," was the sound in my heart, at its earliest dawn. How quiet was every thing around in that rural home, and what serene sobriety sat on every face! I often rode to our temple of worship, overshadowed by steep, dark cliffs, which to my solemnized eyes were as Sinai, whence the law was given.

Within these hallowed walls every thing seemed most sacred. Words could not express the reverence with which I listened to the deep, and rather monotonously intoned voice of the pastor. Of those who occasionally exchanged with him I took great note, by way of comparison and contrast. Some of them, methought, exhibited the mild graces of the sage who drank the hemlock, and in others I traced the lineaments of the lamenting and reproving prophet, when he exclaimed, "The crown is fallen from our head—woe unto us! for we have sinned."

The closing home-exercise of Sunday was the repetition of the whole of the "Assembly of Divines' Catechism." It was my father's province to ask me the questions, to which I replied scrupulously in the words of the book, adding the scriptural proofs. From such an elaborate body of divinity it could scarcely be expected that much gain would accrue to the understanding, at so immature a period. Some advantage might be derived by memory, which being strong did not particularly need it, or some weight added to the habit of implicit obedience, which was the soul of our nurture in those primitive times. As I recited standing, a sensation of weariness occasionally stole over my limbs, so that I always felt relief at the interrogation, "What is effectual calling?" which I fancied was somewhere near the middle, or at least a kind of vantage-ground, from whence, as from Pisgah, the close of the pilgrimage might be contemplated, as "those fields of lign-aloes which the Lord had planted." I have heard some excellent old people say, that the foundation of their religion was the same long catechism, and that when disease induced wakefulness, a silent repetition of it to themselves was a decided comfort. I confess my inability to lay claim to either of these results; and having never been so fortunate as to derive from it either improvement in piety or consolation in pain, have abstained from requiring it of any who have come under my care for education.

Truly happy was my childhood, fed on dews of love, yet guarded from the evils of indulgence by habits of industry, order, and obedience, which my parents wisely inculcated. Their wishes I never gainsaid; indeed, the idea of having any will opposed to theirs, or separate from it, never entered my imagination. Perfect content, and acquiescence with my lot, were the earliest gifts of life. Yet the cream of all my happiness was a loving intercourse with venerable age.

I have already mentioned that under the pleasant roof of Madam Lathrop we existed as a separate household, yet more closely entwined by the intercourse of every passing year. Having lost in one week, and ere the age of thirty, her three beautiful and promising boys, whose places were never supplied, the yearning tenderness of a heart which had continued to flow out toward the children of others, concentrated itself on the little one born in her house. No cast of character could be predicated that would more salubriously and permanently have influenced the unfolding mind and heart. Dignified in person, with the commanding yet courteous manner of the old school, her powerful intellect was strengthened by familiarity with the best authors, and association with the most distinguished men of the country. Fulness of benevolence, and a pervading piety, melted the pride of position and wealth, and made her the loving disciple of the Saviour, in whom she early believed.

To my eye she was the model of perfect beauty, for I beheld her through a heart that was all her own. It made no difference that almost fourscore years had passed over her ere I saw the light:


"For yet no boasted grace or symmetry
Of form or feature—not the bloom of youth
Or blaze of beauty, ever could awake
Within my soul such joy, as when I gaz'd
On that lov'd eye. Nor could the boasted pomp
Of eloquence that seizes on the brain

Of young enthusiasm, emulate the theme
So meekly flowing from those aged lips,
To point the way to heaven."[1]


In her spacious parlor, seated in her cushioned chair, by the side of a brightly blazing wood fire, she might often be seen, her knitting bag hanging near, and a book open before her, the spectacles, perchance, thrown back upon her noble brow, for a pause of thought. Her sole companion might be a slender child, with an unusually fair complexion, climbing by the aid of a high, straight-backed chair, to the upper alcove of an old-fashioned dark mahogany bookcase, to discover if haply some stray volume had eluded previous explorations.

"Lydia, come here."

Whereupon the tiny personage descends with uncommon velocity, and ensconces herself in a tiny green arm-chair, at her feet, ready for any wish that should be expressed.

"Read me these two pages of Young's 'Night Thoughts,' my dear, and be sure to pronounce every word slowly and distinctly."

Let no child think this was a hardship. To please one so respected and beloved, or to win her smile of approbation, was sufficient happiness. Sometimes the call would be, not to read aloud, but to sing. Her voice, which was in conversation an echo of the soul's harmony, was powerful in music, which she had been taught scientifically when a child. Many were the pieces in which I was instructed to accompany her, sacred, patriotic, or pathetic. Sometimes she would honor me by enumerating quite a catalogue, and allowing me to choose.

"My child, shall it be 'Pompey's Ghost to his Wife Cornelia,' or 'While Shepherds watched their Flocks by Night,' or 'The poor, distracted Lady,' or 'Indulgent Parents, dear,' or 'Solitude?'" The last-named one was often my selection; the sweet tune and the flowing words of the lyric are still fresh in memory, though never heard save from her sacred lips:


"What voice is this I hear
From yonder grove,
That charms my listening ear,
And wakes my love?
Sure 'tis some heavenly guest
Inviting me to rest
On my Redeemer's breast,
Sent from above."


Did space allow I would gladly copy the whole, which I have never seen in print. And as I inscribe these few words, there comes with them such a gush of happiness, such a thrill of melody, as though an angel hovered near. May it not be so?


I feel her love within my heart,
It nerves me strong and high,
As cheers the wanderer on the deep,
The pole-star in the sky;
And if my weary spirit quails,
Or friendship's warmth grows cold,
Her blessed arm is round me thrown,
As in the days of old.


That low-browed apartment, with all its appointments, is before me, an indelible picture. I see its highly polished wainscot, crimson moreen curtains, the large brass andirons, with their silvery brightness, the clean hearth, on which not even the white ashes of the consuming hickory were suffered to rest, the rich, dark shade of the furniture, unpolluted by dust, and the closet whose open door revealed its wealth of silver, cans, tankards, and flagons, the massy plate of an ancient family.

Once or twice my infant eyes had enjoyed brief glimpses of that parlor, lighted by two stately candlesticks, and an antique candelabra, and methought it was as the hall of Aladdin. But to be extant in the evening, was a condition of being not contemplated for childhood, and with one long gaze I was gathered to my darkened chamber, possibly with some inner echo of the moan of our first mother:


"And must I leave thee, Paradise?"


Yet if there ever was any such repining, it was too transient to have marked the slightest trace on memory.

What particularly riveted my attention in that fair parlor was an ancient clock, whose tall, ebony case, was covered with gilded figures, of strikingly varied and fanciful character. These, like the storied tiles on the mantelpiece in the drawing-room, continually exercised my wonder and admiration. There I gazed with folded hands, to touch being forbidden, regarding the mystic movements of the pendulum seen through its orb of glass, and counting the "tick, tick" until, perchance, the stroke of its exceedingly clear musical bell caused a startled delight.


But the lov'd friend who sate
Near in her elbow-chair,
Teaching with patient care
Life's young beginner, on that dial-plate
To count the winged minutes, fleet and fair,
And mark each hour with deeds of love,
Lo! she hath broke her league with time, and found the rest above.


The rich benefits derived from friendship between infant inexperience and saintly wisdom, are incalculable. The tutelary influences of holy age upon the forming mind, can be fully computed only by those who stand with folded wings before the throne. To her, who there worships among an innumerable company redeemed from the earth, I would humbly say in better words than my own:


"If some faint love of goodness glow in me,
Pure spirit! I first caught that flame from thee."


  1. Moral Pieces in Verse and Prose.