Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/245

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


Soon after the commencement of the present century, a young minister, named Stephen Farley, was settled in the beautiful town of Claremont, New Hampshire, his native State; and, as the rich soil on the banks of the Connecticut was full of good things for the present, and good promise for the future; as the lively falls of Sugar river could be induced to turn their active energies to the accumulation of comforts and wealth; the new preacher was easily persuaded to bring a young bride to alleviate his cares and heighten his joys. She was born in Massachusetts, the child of a father who had derived so rich an inheritance that, in her early childhood, it might not have been supposed the daughter would ever be called upon to eke out a frugally genteel subsistence by school teaching. Such, however, was her employment in Maine, where she went to reside with her mother, after the sudden death of her father. That mother was of the celebrated “Moody” family, so well known once throughout New England, and not yet extinct, being still, whether on the high seas, or near the forests of their native State, or in the metropolis of that section of the country, or at the capital of the Union, or away in the new cities of the far West—being everywhere distinguished for cultivation, urbanity, hospitality, family pride, patriotism, and all those qualities which distinguish the gentry of the “old school.”

“Father Moody,” so often quoted in the provincial history of New England, was the ancestor of this family. “Handkerchief Moody,” his son, the hero of Hawthorne’s story of “The Minister’s Veil,” is embalmed in many memories for his piety and affliction. He committed an accidental murder, and ever after covered his face from his fellow men. “Master Moody,” the celebrated preceptor of “Dummer Academy,” wished that his niece had been a man, that he might have given her a collegiate education. She was remarkable not only for intellectual qualities, but for the graceful dignity becoming to any woman.