« VorigeDoorgaan »
paper slips pinned to blank leaves, Bryant's earlier hymns and poems, and many fine copies of passages from her favorite authors; such as Hannah More's "Cœlebs," Dr. Johnson's "Rasselas," "Ossian's Poems," &c. Several pages are devoted to Blair, wherein sincerity and truth are recommended; and a wonderfully beautiful "Evening Prayer" whose author is not named fills several pages. There is a letter from Madame de Roubigné to her daughter which reads like a translation, and is full of pious advice. Then follow what is called "A Matrimonial Chart," and "An Enigma," by Lord Byron; some lines written by Miss Cranston, wife of Professor Dugald Stewart, the first four lines of the last stanza being added by Burns, as he himself says in one of his letters. There is also, "The Burial Hymn of Sir John Moore;" "The Flower Angels," translated by Mr. George Bancroft; a poem by Professor Frisbie, and a few valuable extracts. Evidently she thought that a sonnet of her beloved sister Sally's, on the death of the old friend whom they both called "Aunt Whipple," ought to be saved from destruction by insertion here at a later day, and for the same reason I copy it :
Lines in Memory of Mrs. Whipple.
"When the free spirit wings its heavenward flight,
All human praises may superfluous seem;
WINTER COATS AND PARTY DRESSES
She drank affliction's bitter cup, and owned
Nor yet disowned the social ties that bind
Forgave all injury, and is forgiven
If inward peace marks the sure path to heaven."
Anne Jean also kept a journal, as well as a commonplace book; but, alas! that has perished, as well as many another record of the Brush Hill life, that now can never be recalled. The time of her youth with its varied and incessant occupations passed swiftly by; but each and all were fitting her for the life of responsibility that was to come, and leaving behind recollections of useful and happy years. The winters at Brush Hill were long and cold; the appliances for heat not what they are now, the large open chimneys and wood fires being cheerful to the eye, but with their ample draughts not warming to the body. "We wore our great coats in the house half the time, Sally and I," said my mother once; "and even then could not have been warm without the active employments that kept us constantly busy." Often came from their city friends urgent invitations to pass a few weeks. Anne Jean went oftenest, because Sally could less easily be spared from household cares; but now and then they went together. In the long summer days, with all their multifarious occupations, they found time to em
broider the cambric or muslin dress, which was to be their party dress the next winter and the only one. They chose their patterns with care, and the dress made up in the latest style of that day seemed to them very elegant. An embroidered cambric dress of exquisite fineness, and an India muslin for a change, worn with various-colored ribbons, were Anne Jean's party dresses through several successive seasons, while going into Boston society. And few of her companions of that day were more handsomely dressed. Whenever she and Sally were in town over Sunday it was a rare pleasure to them to go and listen to Mr. Channing and Mr. Buckminster; and at this time, although the Unitarian controversy had not then begun, was laid the foundation of that large, broad, and hearty adoption of liberal views that characterized both of their lives. Sunday had always been a dull day to them at home, listening from habit to general platitudes on the "exceeding sinfulness of sin." And to have the life of Christ preached to them as something to be taken home to their own hearts, and lived in every fibre of their being, filled these young minds with an undy ing enthusiasm, and forced them to surrender every unworthy desire, and devote their lives to the highest aims. A volume of Buckminster's sermons, containing his portrait and a short memoir, was one of Anne Jean's most treasured books through life. She would read us certain sermons with kindling eyes and a voice of emotion, saying, "Oh, if you could have heard him deliver that discourse; it loses so much in being read by another!" Buck
MR. BUCKMINSTER'S SERMONS
minster's biographer says of him: "I cannot attempt to describe the delight and wonder with which his first sermons were listened to by all classes of hearers. The most refined and the least cultivated equally hung upon his lips. The attention of the thoughtless was fixed; the gayety of youth was composed to seriousness; the mature, the aged, the most vigorous and enlarged minds were at once charmed, instructed, and improved."
Would Wisdom for herself be wooed,
HERE are very few of Anne Jean's letters during the period of her youth left, but I shall insert those few in this memoir, not because they are of special interest, but because they were hers. And even though written, as most of her letters were through life, in the careless haste of a person whose thronging occupations made time of value, they are still genuine, simple effusions that will show her grandchildren how little she was ever occupied with herself, and how deep was her interest in others. In the piles of her letters I have read over, I am struck with the fact that no trace of illwill or discontent ever appears in them. It seems to have required more words for people to express their ideas in the style of that day than now, and one sometimes tires of what seems so diffuse. And yet there is something of the stateliness and dignity of a former time left in my mother's and aunt's letters, which is very interesting. The first note was written to her Aunt Forbes, when stopping in