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And perfect the day shall be when it is of all men understood that the beauty of Holiness must be in labor as well as in rest. Nay! more, if it may be, in labor; in our strength rather than in our weakness; and in the choice of what we shall work for through the six days, and may know to be good at their evening time, than in the choice of what we pray for on the seventh, of reward or repose. . . . For the few who labor as their Lord would have them, the mercy needs no secking, and their wide home no hallowing. Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow them all the days of their life; and they shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.- RUSKIN.
ALTHOUGH my dear Aunt Catherine only wrote
the letter that closes the last chapter as a sort of guide to me in this life of my mother, and without thought of my printing it, yet I have copied it entire; for what could my imagination do towards piecing out the records of a life that went before me, that could be half as valuable as these simple outlines? I remember my mother's frequent and warm allusions to her early life, the lovely walks up and down the piazza at Brush IIill with her beloved
her, the shadows of the old elms upon the lawn in the splendid moonlight evenings, the view of the distant light-houses in Boston Harbor, which they would pause in their loving talks to watch. These cvening strolls on the wide piazza were brief but happy rests after days of activity and healthful toil and hours of separation, and they were enjoyed as
only hours of rest from toil can be. My Aunt Mary, Anne Jean's younger sister, tells me that there was no day in summer when it was not considered the established duty for Sally, Anne, and herself, as soon as their dinner was over, to prepare two large trays containing plates of bread and butter, cut very thin and doubled; silver baskets of cake which they had made in the morning, and dishes of strawberries, which they had gathered and hulled themselves. These trays, covered with white napkins, were placed in a dark, cold closet, ready for their addition of the tea-pot and pitchers of rich cream, to be brought out at evening when the friends from Boston would be sure to come out, always number of uninvited but most welcome guests. Cousin Mary Ware once said to me: "Oh, if I could give you a picture of the Brush Hill girls-how they worked, how they read, what a variety of things they accomplished! There was your Aunt Howe- Sally as they called her then; why the girls of the present day would think themselves ruined if a tenth part of what she did was expected of them! All summer she rose at four o'clock, that she might weed the strawberry beds, or make her cake, or gather the fruit, in the cool of the morning. But I have scen her many a time, when things crowded, obliged to gather the fruit under a broiling sun. But never an impatient word fell from her lips. She was one of the most self-sacrificing, hard-working, devoted creatures the sun ever shone on."
To this beloved sister Sally, nearest to her in age, and enough older for Anne Jean to look up to with
SALLY ROBBINS'S CHARACTER
a special reverence as well as affection, she owed through life a debt of love and gratitude that cannot well be computed. It is hard to speak of her as she deserves, or to find words that can describe her beautiful character. She was a person of very uncommon powers of mind; yet, as the necessities of her life always obliged her to be constantly active, reading and intellectual reflection were her pastime, and rarely an occupation. She had the same ardent temperament as Anne Jean, the same deep and glowing affections, the same love of Nature, and the same appreciation for fine character. But here the resemblance ceased. For Sally was from her youth to old age a wonderfully chastened spirit, her ardor tempered by deep religious trust, her vivid imagination held in check by an excellent and considerate judgment. So rare a combination of noble qualities it is not often our fortune to meet, and Anne Jean justly looked upon her as a superior being; and while she valued every fine trait her sister possessed, she said to herself, "It is high, I cannot attain unto it." I can scarcely think of her, even at this distance of time, without a crowd of images forcing themselves upon my mind, full of tenderness and unspeakable pathos. In youth, the mainstay and dependence of her excellent father, the devoted carc-taker of her beloved invalid aunt, the confidential friend of every brother and sister, ready to devote herself body and soul to each member of her family-she became later in life the chosen companion and wife of one of the noblest of men, my father's cousin, Judge Howe. Not many years per
mitted to enjoy this rare companionship, she took up her solitary burden without a murmur, devoting herself for the remainder of her days to the care and education of her large family of children, and earning for them by personal labor a large portion of their means of support. And this hard-working woman had a thirst for knowledge, a love of intellectual pursuits, rarely to be met with. How often, when a day of toil was ended, has she sat up late at night to write a lovely story for some Fair for a charitable object for which she had no money to give, or a beautiful poem full of freshness and originality, or a volume of charades! With as bountiful and affluent a nature as Anne Jean's, and as fine health, Sally possessed a more rarely-cultivated intellect and a more delicate imagination. She was less brilliant in conversation than Anne Jean, partly from a sweet abstraction and profound humility very genuine with her. But her judgment on all matters of importance was more reliable than her younger sister's.
I never heard any one read heroic, or fine, or pathetic passages of poetry or prose in so moving a manner as my dear Aunt did. She lost herself completely at such times, ceased to be for the time herself and was her character. I walked into her diningroom one day at Cambridge, with a paper in my hand containing Mrs. Browning's poem, then new, of "My Kate." She had just sent off her army of young men from the dinner that had occupied her for hours to superintend, but laid down the dish she was removing, and read the poem. I shall never forget it,
EXCURSIONS IN PHILOSOPHY
and can never read it again without recalling her tones. When she came to the line, "She has made the grass green, even here, with her grave," I could not speak, but had to leave the room.
I cannot help pausing thus over the recollection of my Aunt Howe, for her companionship and sisterly affection were so much to my mother through a long life that they form a striking part of her history. Rarely is it permitted to one to enter into life in such precious companionship.
My Aunt Mary tells me that when Anne Jean left the Ladies' Academy at Dorchester, though only sixteen, she was and had been for two years a very large and fine girl, with the form and figure of a woman; and also, that she was very handsome. Besides the time which she now gave to the educa tion of her little sister, her elder sisters Eliza and Sally thought it best for her own mind that she should give daily some hours to the study of met aphysics, which were considered more important then than it now is. Accordingly, the three read together with great avidity Dugald Stewart's "Philosophy," "Alison on Taste," Smith's "Theory of the Moral Sentiment," and other works of the same character. They became intensely interested both in metaphysics and ethics, and before Anne Jean was twenty years old she had read all the authors on these subjects that were then best known. I have beside me her commonplace book of this period, a singular medley of poetry and prose, with recipes of various dishes pinned to the fly-leaves, and rare quotations from various authors. There are news