The Female Prose Writers of America: With Portraits, Biographical Notices, and Specimens of their Writings/Elizabeth Bogart/Recollections of Childhood

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There are, perhaps, no scenes which make so strong an impression on the mind, as those with which our early recollections are associated. Other things may pass from the memory, and be lost amid the vicissitudes of the world; but these will still recur at intervals, as some wandering thought or truant feeling comes home to the heart. In such moments, I have frequently felt a strong and irrepressible desire to revisit the scenes of my childhood; and it was with mingled emotions of pleasure and impatience that I at length prepared for the journey. Every spot was familiar to my imagination, and I even fancied on the way, that I could already hear the voices of welcome, and that I possessed the sight of Lynceus to look through the distant space. It was at the close of a summer afternoon that we arrived at the place of our destination. The sun was setting in full splendour over the same local scenes which were engraven on the first page of my memory, and the changing hues of the clouds reminded me of those hours when I delighted to watch them till their gorgeous colours were lost in darkness. The moon looked down with bright, unaltered face, on the same green fields and clear waters, and the stars peeped out from their hidden worlds, as if to return my gaze of recognition. There was a kind of imaginary happiness connected with real objects in my mind, as I walked through the quiet town. The little school-house where I was first taught the pleasant use of my pen, and the perplexing mysteries of figures, brought back many reminiscences both ludicrous and interesting. The idea of the ingenious and burlesque punishments, invented by our benevolent and good-natured teacher, for his mischievous, unruly boys, occasioned an involuntary burst of laughter, and the images of “Lew,” “Tom,” and “Bob,” with their inked hands and shamed faces, seemed instantly to rise before me, but it was only for a moment. The question, Where is now our indulgent and beloved preceptor? darted across my mind, and I felt a pang of self-reproach, as I turned my eyes to the grave-yard, and remembered that he “rested from his labours,” in the silent tomb.