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Title: Memories grave and gay
Author: Hall, Florence Howe
Language: English
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                        _MEMORIES GRAVE AND GAY_

                                   ❦



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[Illustration: Florence Howe Hall]


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                               _MEMORIES_

                            _GRAVE AND GAY_

                                   BY
                           FLORENCE HOWE HALL

                        _Frontispiece portrait_

                    [Illustration: Publisher’s Logo]

                     _Harper & Brothers Publishers_
                         _New York and London_


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                         MEMORIES GRAVE AND GAY

                                  ---

                 Copyright, 1918, by Harper & Brothers
                Printed in the United States of America
                        Published November, 1918



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                                   TO

                        MY SONS AND MY DAUGHTER
                          SAMUEL PRESCOTT HALL
                       CAROLINE MINTURN BIRCKHEAD
                           HENRY MARION HALL
                             JOHN HOWE HALL



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                            ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The author wishes to express her cordial thanks to Messrs HOUGHTON AND
MIFFLIN for their courtesy in allowing her to quote from the
“Reminiscences” of Julia Ward Howe (published by them in 1899) and from
“Julia Ward Howe” (published by them in 1916). She also desires to thank
Mrs. LAURA E. RICHARDS for her kind permission to quote from “The
Journals and Letters of Samuel Gridley Howe” (published by Dana Estes &
Company in 1906).

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                                CONTENTS


 CHAPTER                                                          PAGE

      I. INTRODUCTORY The Romance of Philanthropy Causes the         1
           First Meeting of Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe and Julia
           Ward.—Letter of Congratulation from the Poet
           Longfellow.—The “Chevalier.”—The Wedding-tour in
           Europe.—The Eldest Daughter, Julia Romana, Is Born in
           Rome. Why She Was “Mary” and I Was “Martha.”

     II. STORIES TOLD US BY OUR PARENTS The Alarming Three Bears     4
           of the Howe Coat-of-arms.—Brutality at the Old Boston
           Latin School.—Boyish Mischief.—Papa’s
           Church.—Grandmother Cutler Rebukes the Biographer of
           Washington and Marion.—Grandfather Ward, His
           Liberality and His Stern Calvinism.

    III. MEMORIES OF EARLY CHILDHOOD The Perkins Institution for    12
           the Blind.—South Boston in the ’Fifties and ’Sixties.
           Migratory Habits of the Howe Family.—“Cliff House” at
           Newport.—George William Curtis and the Howe
           Children.—A Children’s Party at the Longfellow
           Mansion.—Professor “Stubby” Child Plays with Us in
           the Hay.

     IV. OUR EARLY LITERARY ACTIVITIES The Howe Children Invent     30
           a “Patagonian Language,” Edit a Newspaper _The
           Listener_, Write Plays and Songs. They Give “Parlor
           Concerts” and Take Part in Tableaux and Private
           Theatricals.—William Story and Thackeray.

      V. UNDER THE SHADOW OF BYRON’S HELMET Echoes of the Greek     40
           Revolution.—The Enchanted Garden.—“Green Peace” an
           International Resort.—Political Exiles. Teach Us
           Foreign Languages and the Love of Freedom.—Louis
           Kossuth.

     VI. NOTED VISITORS AT “GREEN PEACE” Charles Sumner and His     50
           Brother.—Edwin P. Whipple—James  T. Fields.—Doctor
           Kane.—Rev. Thomas Starr King.—Prof. Cornelius C.
           Felton.—Arthur Hugh Clough.—Frederika Bremer.—Laura
           Bridgman.

    VII. YOUNG AMERICA GOES TO SCHOOL Our Schools and               68
           Teachers.—The South Boston Omnibus.—A Grand School
           Sleigh-ride.—Memories of the Adams Family.—A Picnic
           on the State House Steps.

   VIII. THE AGASSIZES AND THEIR SCHOOL Professor and Mrs. Louis    79
           Agassiz.—Prof. Alexander Agassiz.—Papanti’s
           Dancing-school.—I Invent Fancy Dances.—We Swim,
           Skate, and Ride on Horseback.—Boston’s Purple-glass
           Windows.

     IX. EDWIN BOOTH AND CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN Why They Did Not Act     92
           My Mother’s Play, “Hippolytus.”—A Bundle of Old
           Playbills.—Letters from Edwin and Mary Booth.—Mrs.
           Frances Ann Kemble.—Statue of Horace Mann.—My Father
           Introduces Written Examinations into the Public
           Schools, amid Angry Protests from the Masters.

      X. LAWTON’S VALLEY, OUR SUMMER HOME The Beautiful            110
           Valley.—The Crawford Children.—“Yeller’s
           Day.”—“Vaucluse” and the Hazards.—The Midshipmen
           Visit Us.—Dances on Board the Frigate
           _Constitution_.—Parties in the Valley.—George
           Bancroft.—A Party at His House.—Rev. Charles T.
           Brooks.

     XI. ANTI-SLAVERY AND CIVIL WAR MEMORIES Deep Interest of My   128
           Parents in the Anti-Slavery Movement and in the Civil
           War.—We Learn the Evil of Compromise.—A Trip to
           Kansas.—Manners on the Mississippi Steamboats.—Fort
           Sumter Is Attacked.—Mother’s Poems of the
           War.—Father’s Work on the Sanitary Commission.—How
           the Flag Was Treated at Newport.—We Ride in the “Jeff
           Davis.” Knitting and Scraping
           Lint.—Sewing-circles.—Fairs for the Army and the
           Navy.—“The Boatswain’s Whistle.”—Visiting the Camp at
           Readville.—Governor N. P. Banks.—Governor John A.
           Andrew.—Parade of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery

    XII. WORK FOR THE SOLDIERS The Ancient and Honorable           141
           Artillery.—Death of Little Sammy.—Assassination of
           Lincoln.—My Father Serves on the Freedmen’s
           Commission.

   XIII. THE BRIGHTER SIDE OF LIFE IN THE CIVIL WAR How We         155
           Dressed and Danced in the ’Sixties.—War Prices.—Mrs.
           Jared Sparks.—Visit of the Russian Fleet.—The Brain
           Club.—Oliver Wendell Holmes.—Ralph Waldo
           Emerson.—William R. Alger.—William M. Hunt.—“Mamma’s
           Owls,” William and Henry James.—A Clever Group of
           Society Women.—A Historic Nose-pulling.

    XIV. OUR LABORS IN BEHALF OF CRETE Removal to Boylston         180
           Place.—W. D. Howells.—Marion Crawford as a Boy.—The
           Romance of a Fire.—The Cretan Insurrection.—Sisters
           Julia and Laura Accompany Our Parents to Greece.—A
           Grim Passenger.—A Price Is Set on My Father’s
           Head.—Our Cretan Sewing-Circle and
           Concert.—Over-modest Amateurs.—The Sumner Bronzes.

     XV. MARRIED LIFE IN NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY Nursery           205
           Days.—The Family of a New Jersey Commuter.—Sorrows of
           the Country Housekeeper.—Death of My Father.—A
           Memorial Meeting.—The Story of Sister Constance.—A
           Division of Heirlooms.

    XVI. RECONSTRUCTING A NEW JERSEY VILLAGE The Mutual            220
           Admiration Society of Scotch Plains.—My Husband
           Becomes a Leader in Local Politics and
           Activities.—The Passing of the Mossbacks.—How We
           Gained a Public Library, a New School-house and a New
           Truck-house.—An Overseer of the Poor with Peculiar
           Methods.

   XVII. “I TAKE MY PEN IN HAND” Following the Family              233
           Tradition.—_Demorest’s_ and “Jennie June.”—Marion
           Crawford and the Little Green Parlor.—Town and
           Country Club.—Charles Dudley Warner.—How I Came to
           Write about Manners.—Life of Laura Bridgman.—Helen
           Keller at the Perkins Institution. A Luncheon at
           “Boothden,” the Home of Edwin Booth.—Joseph Jefferson
           and William Warren.

  XVIII. OUR CHILDREN AT HOME, SCHOOL, AND COLLEGE An Attic        250
           Fairy.—Our Child Artist Grinds Her Own
           Paints.—Scholarships and Athletics at Harvard
           University.—Our Youngest Wins an “H.”—American Girls’
           Club in Paris.—Caroline’s Pictures Exhibited in the
           New Salon.

    XIX. THE CLUB AND SUFFRAGE MOVEMENTS Enthusiasm of the         258
           Pioneer Clubwomen.—Early Conventions of the General
           Federation of Women’s Clubs.—Work as President of New
           Jersey Woman Suffrage Association.—We Visit the
           Legislature.—Campaign for School Suffrage.—Formation
           of New Leagues.—Lucy Stone and Her Baby’s
           Cradle.—Rev. Samuel Smith, Author of “America.”

     XX. JOYS AND SORROWS OF THE LECTURER The Treatment of         276
           “Talent”—Visits to New England and to the West.—My
           Mother’s Seventieth Birthday.—The papeterie
           Club.—Elizabeth Stewart Phelps.—Thomas Nelson Page.

    XXI. DARBY AND JOAN ON THEIR TRAVELS A Cathedral               286
           Pilgrimage.—Visit to a French Country House.—Madame
           Blanc.—Cathedrals of Rheims, Chartres, Rouen,
           Beauvais, Amiens.—English Hospitality.—Visit to
           Florence Nightingale.

   XXII. “WANDER-YEARS” Michael Anagnos, His Romantic Yet          308
           Practical Career.—Death of My Husband.—Return to New
           York.—My Daughter’s Exhibitions.—High Bridge, a
           Quaint Old Jersey Town.—Leader Twelfth Assembly
           District of Manhattan.—Suffrage-worker at Newport,
           Rhode Island.—The Delights of Canvassing and
           Out-of-door Speaking.

  XXIII. UNTO THE THIRD AND FOURTH GENERATION My Mother’s          332
           Beautiful Old Age.—How It Feels to be an
           Ancestor.—Grandmotherhood in the Twentieth
           Century.—Keeping Alive the Sacred Fires of Noble
           Tradition.—Handing on the Lighted Torch.


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                                FOREWORD


IT has been a pleasure for me to recall, at the kind request of the
Messrs. Harper & Brothers, the memories of a lifetime, even though some
sad thoughts have mingled with the happy ones. So many bright shapes
have risen out of the past at my bidding that the difficulty of
selection has been great. Beloved faces seem to look out at me and say,
“Why did you leave me out?” The ghosts of noble deeds, the memories of
stirring scenes sweep softly by me, murmuring: “Are we not worthy of
mention?”

Indeed and indeed you are, bright spirits of the past and of the present
also, but in my small mosaic all the precious stones would not fit.

For the rest, if the store of my childhood’s early memories seems to be
unduly large, it must be whispered that when, some twenty-five years
ago, I began to record my reminiscences, a good fairy, my mother, helped
me.



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                        _MEMORIES GRAVE AND GAY_



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                               _MEMORIES
                             GRAVE AND GAY_



                                   I

                              INTRODUCTORY

_The Romance of Philanthropy Causes the First Meeting of Dr. Samuel
    Gridley Howe and Julia Ward.—Letter of Congratulation from the Poet
    Longfellow.—The “Chevalier.”—The Wedding-tour in Europe.—The Eldest
    Daughter, Julia Romana, Is Born in Rome.—Why She Was “Mary” and I
    Was “Martha.”_


THOSE stern censors, Time and Space, forbid my giving an account of the
early lives of my parents, Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe and Mrs. Julia Ward
Howe, since these have been already described in their respective
biographies and in my mother’s _Reminiscences_. Suffice it to say here
that at the time of his marriage my father was already known on both
sides of the Atlantic on account of his services in the Greek
Revolution, as well as for his work for the blind. As “Surgeon-in-chief
of the Fleet,” soldier, and almoner of America’s bounty, had he aided
the Greeks in their long struggle with the barbarous Turks. The King of
Greece made him a Knight of St. George, a title which he himself never
used. But his intimate friends, fellow-members of the “Five of
Clubs”—Longfellow, Charles Sumner, Prof. Cornelius C. Felton and George
S. Hilliard—called him “Chevalier,” which my mother abbreviated to
“Chev.”

It was the Ward sisters’ interest in his famous pupil, Laura Bridgman,
the blind deaf-mute, which brought about the first meeting of my
parents, Charles Sumner and the poet driving the young ladies to the
Institution for the Blind. In the following winter, 1842–43, Doctor Howe
and Julia Ward became engaged, their marriage taking place in April,
1843. Longfellow’s beautiful letter of congratulation addressed to the
“Chevalier” has been published elsewhere. I am glad to be able to give
the one he wrote to our mother’s “Brother Sam.”


                                         CAMBRIDGE, _March 6, 1843_.

    MY DEAR SAM,—I ought to have written you long ago on the great
    event of our brave Chevalier’s conquering the Celestial City;
    but I have been away from home, and have moreover been hoping to
    see you here, and expecting to hear from you. The event did not
    surprise me; for the Chevalier is a mighty man of Love, and I
    noted that on the walls of the citadel (Julia’s cheeks) first
    the white flag would be displayed, and anon the red, and then
    again the white. The citadel could not have surrendered to a
    braver, better or more humane Knight.

    Seriously, my dear Sam, and most sincerely do I rejoice in this
    event. Julia could not have chosen _more_ wisely—nor the Doctor
    _so_ wisely; and I think you may safely look forward to a serene
    and happy life for your sister. And so God speed them upon
    Life’s journey: “To the one be contenting enjoyments of his
    auspicious desires; to the other, a happy attendance of her
    chosen muses.”

    I write you a very short note this morning, because I am going
    down to hear Sumnerius lecture in the Law School, on
    Ambassadors, Consuls, Peace & War, and other matters of
    International Law.

    Write me soon—as soon as you can; and say that you are coming to
    Cambridge erelong. Life is short. We meet not often; and I am
    most sincerely,

                                                HENRY W. LONGFELLOW.

My mother has described in her _Reminiscences_ the wonderful
wedding-tour in Europe. In Rome, her eldest daughter, Julia Romana, was
born. She fancied she saw, in the baby’s radiant little face, a
reflection of the beautiful forms and faces she had so earnestly
contemplated before the child’s coming. Other people saw it there in
after-years. The exaltation of her mother’s spirit deeply influenced the
mind and character of sister Julia, “the first-born daughter of a hero’s
heart.” She was so unworldly that she did not know what worldliness was.
Her lovely face and rapt upward look have, fortunately, been preserved
by the pencil of our uncle, Luther Terry.

After a year and a half in Europe my parents returned to America. The
European travel had been by post, in their own carriage. The tour had
been expensive and economy was for a time necessary. My mother
accordingly did some clerical work, thus earning the money for my
baby-clothes.

I soon evinced a practical turn of mind, very different from that of my
sister. The tendency to economy with which the family have sometimes
reproached me is due, as I believe, to pre-natal influences. Perhaps it
is also an inheritance from French ancestors!


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                                   II

                     STORIES TOLD US BY OUR PARENTS

_The Alarming Three Bears of the Howe Coat-of-arms.—Brutality at the Old
    Boston Latin School.—Boyish Mischief.—Papa’s Church.—Grandmother
    Cutler Rebukes Wemyss, the Biographer of Washington and
    Marion.—Grandfather Ward, His Liberality and His Stern Calvinism._


SOME one has said that it is hard to live under the shadow of a great
name. It has been my great privilege and happiness to live, not under
the shadow, but in the light of two honored names, those of my father
and mother. They were honored and beloved because of their own love for
and service to their fellow-men.

My father was nearly eighteen years older than my mother. He had had the
responsibility and care of his young blind pupils for ten years before
his marriage. Hence he was well fitted to take an active part in our
training, especially as he dearly loved children. The absence in Europe,
for more than a year, of my mother and the two younger children, Harry
and Laura, brought Julia and myself under his care when we were
respectively five and six years old. We thus early formed the habit of
close companionship with him, to which, as the elder, we had special
claim. Indeed, we all followed him about to such a degree that he once
exclaimed jestingly, “Why, if I went and sat in the barn I believe you
children would all follow me!”

The housekeeper who was with us in these early years would sometimes
say, “You do not know what a good father you have.” Of course we did
not. We knew that “Papa” made us his companions whenever he could
possibly do so. We knew that as “a good physician” he bound up our small
wounds and cared for us when we were sick. We knew that if we did wrong
we must expect his firm yet gentle rebuke. Did he not tell me about a
naughty little devil I had swallowed, bidding me open my mouth so that
he could get hold of its tail and pull it out? Lessons of thrift and
generosity he early inculcated. We received a penny for every horseshoe
and for every pound of old iron we picked up about the place.

He constantly sent, by our hands, gifts of the delicious fruit of the
garden to our schoolmates and to the blind children.

When our mother played the most delightful tunes for us to dance, Papa
would join in the revels, occasionally pleading “a bone in his leg” as
an excuse for stopping. Together they planned and carried out all sorts
of schemes for our amusement and that of our little friends.

When, at a child’s party in midwinter, fireworks suddenly appeared
outside the parlor window, the great kindness of our parents in doing so
much for our amusement began to dawn upon my childish mind. Indeed, the
Howe juvenile parties were thought very delightful by others besides
ourselves.

Our parents told us stories of their youth, in which we were greatly
interested. My father must have been a very small boy when he was
alarmed by the Howe coat of arms—three bears with their tongues out. I
fancy he came across this vision in the attic and that it was banished
there by Grandfather Howe, who was a true Democrat.

Father also told us that the family was supposed to be related to that
of Lord Howe. I find the same statement made in Farmer’s genealogy of
the descendants of “John Howe of Watertown freeman 1640, son of John
Howe of Hodinhull Warwickshire.”

Anecdotes of his school-days showed that my father, despite his feelings
in the presence of the three bears, was a very courageous boy. At Latin
School the master whipped him for some small fault, but could not
succeed in his amiable intention of making the child cry, “though he
whipped my hand almost to jelly.” His Federalist schoolmates were as
brutal as their master. Because Sam Howe, almost the only Democrat in
school, refused to abandon his principles, they threw him down-stairs.

Grandfather Howe lost a great deal of money by the failure of the United
States government to pay him for the ropes and cordage which he, as a
patriotic Democrat, supplied to them in large quantities during the War
of 1812. Hence, when his son went to college, young Sam Howe helped to
pay his way by teaching school in vacation. The country lads, some of
whom were bigger than he, thought they could get the better of the new
schoolmaster. He restored order by the simple but sometimes necessary
process of knocking down the ringleader. The handsome young collegian
found more difficulty in managing the girls!

He must have been very young when he assured his sister that the pump
had a very agreeable taste on a frosty morning. The confiding girl
followed his suggestion, but found it difficult to remove her tongue
from the cold iron.

Among his many pranks at college, the most original was a nocturnal
visit to a fellow-collegian who had a store of good things in his room.
“Sam” Howe entered the window as a ghost and carried off a turkey. When
the unfortunate owner of the feast waked up and looked out of the
window, he saw a dim white figure rising in the air. Later on, the bones
of the bird neatly picked were laid in front of his door. The boy was
greatly worried and fully convinced that some supernatural being had
visited his room. The affair so preyed on his mind that his
fellow-students finally explained the joke.

Strange to say, my father did not have much patience with his son when
brother Harry displayed at Harvard the same kind of mischievous
ingenuity. They had both inherited this quality from Grandfather Howe if
we may judge by the following story.

Having promised to pay Sammy a penny for every rat he caught, the old
gentleman surreptitiously withdrew the rodents from the trap. But Sammy
was quite equal to the occasion. He parried by making the same animal
serve for several mornings, until his father exclaimed, “Sammy, that rat
begins to smell!”

Grandfather Howe was very fond of building, a taste inherited by his
descendants. When there was a question of his erecting a house on her
property, his second wife said to him, “But your children would never
permit it.” The old gentleman’s wavering resolve at once became fixed.
He had no notion of listening to dictation from his sons and daughters.
So he built the house, which, of course, became the property of our
step-grandmother and went ultimately to her heirs, instead of to his own
descendants, the Howes.

My father always cherished the memory of his own mother, Patty Gridley,
who was a very beautiful woman, of a lovely and sympathetic nature.

He liked to see his daughters sitting at their needlework. “It reminds
me of my mother,” he would say. He could not bear to see bread wasted,
because of her early teachings of thrift. On the top of his father’s
house, there had been a cask or vat into which the lees of wine were
thrown and left to ferment into vinegar.

With our mother, also, we had a delightful comradeship. Having been
brought up with undue strictness herself, she resolved that her children
should not suffer in the same way. Hence we had a happy familiarity with
our parents; yet we felt their superiority to ourselves. Mother taught
us many things, after the fashion of mothers—lessons in the conduct of
life and in social observance, of course. To be considerate of others,
to enjoy small and simple pleasures, to take good things in
moderation—these were a part of her philosophy. If we made a noise after
the baby was asleep, we instantly heard her whispered warning, “Hush!”
Indeed, it was an offense in her eyes to disturb any one’s rest.

Her efforts to teach us punctuality were not altogether successful.
There were dreadful moments when sister Julia and I were so late in
dressing for a party that Mamma would be reduced almost to despair.
Sister Laura saw these things and, being a wise little maiden, resolved
that when her turn came to go into society she would be punctual. She
carried out her resolution.

When we were old enough, our mother took us to the Church of the
Disciples, by my father’s desire. He himself went only occasionally, but
then Papa had a church of his own, which we sometimes attended. In the
great hall of the Institution for the Blind, he held at six o’clock
every morning a brief service for the pupils. The deep reverence of his
voice as he read a lesson from the Bible, the solemn tones of the organ,
the sweetness and beauty of the fresh young voices as the blind larks
suddenly burst forth into their morning hymn of praise, were things
never to be forgotten. Truly Papa’s church was not like any other!

Many stories of her young days we heard from our mother. They were
different in many ways from our own happy and athletic childhood. It is
true that, like ourselves, she belonged to a family of six brothers and
sisters, who had merry times together. But the great misfortune of
losing her mother shadowed her young life. Aunt Eliza Cutler (afterward
Mrs. Francis), who took, as far as she was able, the latter’s place, was
most conscientious in fulfilling her duties. But she was very strict
with her young charges. Witness the story of the little girl whom Julia
invited to tea. After this rash act her courage completely failed her.
She did not dare bring her visitor down-stairs, and sat miserably
waiting the course of events. The delay seemed to her interminable, but
at length a message was sent up, coldly inviting “Miss Ward,” as she was
called even in childhood, to bring her friend down to tea. She never
repeated the offense.

Our mother was very fond of her grandmother Cutler, who spent the last
years of her life under her son-in-law’s roof. She was a woman of
literary tastes as well as of personal charm. The niece of General
Francis Marion, the “Swamp Fox,” Grandma Cutler possessed a goodly share
of spirit. Thus when Wemyss, the biographer of Washington and Marion,
dined at the home of Grandfather Ward, Mrs. Cutler took the careless
historian to task:

“Mr. Wemyss, how is it that you say in your _Life_ of the General that
you have never heard what became of his sister Esther, my mother?”

The old lady was a flaming Huguenot, as her letters show.

I fear that, despite the fact that she had been a belle in the
Revolutionary period, she took snuff. Our mother told us that the Ward
family carriage was in the habit of stopping at “Lorillard’s,” then a
small tobacco-shop, to buy great-grandmother’s favorite brand—this, if I
remember aright, was Maccaboy.

In our mother’s story of her early life the dominating figure was that
of her father, Samuel Ward, the third of the name. She fully recognized
his great affection for his children and his almost painful desire to
shield them from all evil. Evidently to Grandfather Ward “the world, the
flesh, and the devil” were not outworn features of a half-forgotten
creed, but dreadful realities. He was as liberal in giving money to good
causes as he was illiberal in his religious views. During a period of
hard times (perhaps in 1837), he suggested to our mother that they
should take care of the conservatory themselves, sending away the
gardener.

“For I will not cut down my charities,” quoth Grandfather Ward.

He left a large fortune for those days, but it was a good deal
diminished by the management of his brother, who did not understand real
estate. The Grange, formerly the property of Alexander Hamilton, was a
part of it. The Ward family desired to have this sold to a great-uncle,
for the nominal price of ten thousand dollars. My father very properly
protested, yielding in the end, for the sake of peace. Some twenty-five
years later it was worth one or two million dollars, but the family were
unable to hold it after the panic of Black Friday, September, 1869.


------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                  III

                      MEMORIES OF EARLY CHILDHOOD

_The Perkins Institution for the Blind.—South Boston in the ’Fifties and
    ’Sixties.—Migratory Habits of the Howe Family.—“Cliff House” at
    Newport.—George William Curtis and the Howe Children.—A Children’s
    Party at the Longfellow Mansion.—Professor “Stubby” Child Plays with
    Us in the Hay._


“I REMEMBER, I remember, the house where I was born.” Indeed, I can
hardly do otherwise, for the Perkins Institution for the Blind was one
of the landmarks of Boston in the nineteenth century. It was also, so to
speak, the intermittent home of our family for many years. My father
bought “Green Peace” and moved the family there soon after my birth,
hence we lived at the Institution only from time to time.

The “Doctor’s” wing of the great building was always at his disposal. In
the summer, when the family were at Newport, he often stayed there. It
was a refuge to us in time of trouble. Did our city house catch fire, or
other circumstances make a change desirable—presto! we departed,
servants and all, for the Institution! My brother-in-law, Henry
Richards, complained mildly during his courtship that no notice was
given of these intended hegiras. He would come to see sister Laura one
evening and bid her good-by, with every expectation of calling on her
the following day. When, twenty-four hours later, he rang the door-bell,
there was no response! The Howe family had folded their tents, like the
Arabs, and silently moved over to the Institution. It will be judged,
from this story, that the Doctor’s part was fully furnished, save that
the halls, like all those in the building, had uncarpeted marble floors.
For the Perkins Institution for the Blind had originally been a hotel,
the Mount Washington House.

The building, simple, massive, and dignified, stood on a hill commanding
a lovely view of Boston Harbor with its many islands. Just behind it
rose Dorchester Heights. As children we played among the earthworks
whence the cannon of Washington’s army had forced the British to
evacuate Boston. We did not then know that Col. Richard Gridley, one of
our ancestors, had planned those fortifications and the defenses of
Bunker Hill as well. He was a veteran of the French wars who had “won
laurels as an accomplished engineer at Louisburg.”[1]

Footnote 1:

  Frothingham’s _Siege of Boston_.

When the Institution for the Blind was moved to South Boston, Ward
twelve was more highly esteemed as a place of residence than it is now.
A peninsula connected with the mainland only by Dorchester Neck, it
enjoys the full sweep of the famous Boston east wind. Hence it is cool
in summer, and the extended shore gives opportunities for sea-bathing.
One of the sad memories of my childhood is the booming of cannon fired
in the hope of bringing to the surface the bodies of those who had been
drowned while bathing.

South Boston has so many natural advantages of climate and scenery that
it was hoped the city would grow in that direction. But the situation
has its drawbacks. In order to reach Boston proper it is necessary
either to take a long and circuitous route through Dorchester, or else
to cross one of the bridges which span the harbor. These were, when I
can first remember, fitted with primitive wooden drawbridges through
which vessels seemed always to be passing, if one were in a hurry.
Boston was at this time a seaport in reality as well as in name, the
wharves filled with shipping. To a child it was alarming to see the
solid floor of the bridge divide in two portions and rise slowly in the
air, disclosing an open space of water. It diminished very much one’s
feeling of security. To be sure, after the vessel had finally passed
through, and the great wooden jaws had again snapped together, a large
iron bolt restrained further vagaries on their part. But what was to
prevent the draw from sinking down under the weight of the passing
vehicles? Then there were legends of adventurous and unfortunate little
boys who had been caught between the descending jaws. If you and your
driver were fair-minded persons, your carriage took its proper place in
the line and patiently waited its turn to cross. Despite the warning
sign, “Keep to the Right as the Law Directs,” there were people so
unfair as to try to form a second line and so cross ahead of earlier
comers. These we regarded with righteous indignation.

The neighborhood of the bridges was occupied by tenement-houses, making
the approach to South Boston rather squalid. The House of Correction and
other public institutions then established there lessened the
attractiveness of the peninsula. So when Boston began to expand in
earnest it took the usual course of cities and grew toward the west. The
Back Bay was duly filled in, for the new part of Boston is on made
ground. My father considered this much less wholesome than the original
soil.

In the days of my childhood, South Boston, while not a fashionable
suburb, counted many substantial and fairly well-to-do citizens among
its inhabitants. Toward the eastern end it was pleasantly open and still
retained a rural air. At City Point were semi-circles of granite, built
for the cannon of the Revolution. Facing it, with a mile of water
stretching between, was the grim gray outline of Fort Independence, not
yet reduced to innocuous desuetude by the changes in methods of warfare.

As there was already a baby girl, it was hoped that I would be a boy. My
father was much disappointed at my failure to fulfil this hope. He
declared that the only way to console him would be to name me for
Florence Nightingale, which was accordingly done. This was before the
Crimean War had made her famous. My parents, however, had spent some
days at “Embley,” the home of the Nightingale family, while on their
wedding-tour. Florence, then a young woman of twenty-three, was already
turning toward her life-work. She consulted my father, as a
philanthropist of experience, about the propriety of her studying
nursing and devoting her life to the care of the sick. He, of course,
counseled her to do so. Ever in advance of his own day and generation,
he would have had small patience with the people who even now consider a
nurse as a species of social pariah.

Miss Nightingale corresponded with my parents before she had taken up
her public work. The beautiful and devout spirit of her later years, as
well as an intense interest in the movements in behalf of political and
religious freedom, is manifest in these early letters. Touches of fun
remind us that she had a happy sense of humor. Throughout the
correspondence we see the great admiration of the young English
gentlewoman for the man whose life was dedicated to the cause which she
longed to take up.

She thus acknowledged the news of my birth and of the decision to name
the new baby after her, foreshadowing, also, her own future career.


                                              EMBLEY, _December 26_.

    I cannot pretend to express, my dear kind friends, how touched
    and pleased I was by such a remembrance of me as that of your
    child’s name.... If I could live to justify your opinion of me,
    it would have been enough to have lived for, and such thoughts
    as that of your goodness are great thoughts, “strong to consume
    small troubles,” which should bear us up on the wings of the
    Eagle, like Guido’s Ganymede, up to the feet of the God, there
    to take what work He has for us to do for Him. I shall hope to
    see my little Florence before long in this world, but, if not, I
    trust there is a tie formed between us which shall continue in
    Eternity—if she is like you, I shall know her again there,
    without her body on, perhaps the better for not having known her
    here with it.

    ... Good-by, my dearest friend, which word I am sure I never say
    to you without its good old meaning, God be with you. You never
    can tell me enough about yourself, or about Dr. Howe’s reforms.

    I have no time to be ashamed of myself for writing you such a
    long and barren letter in return—I _would_ write now, because,
    from the day after Christmas Day, for a month, I shall not have
    a moment to myself, except the solemn minute of the procession
    in to dinner, when everybody knows that each person may have the
    full and exclusive possession of his or her thoughts to him or
    herself, till the dogs are fairly feeding.

    If I could live to see anything like a Protestant Sisterhood of
    Charity in England “my eyes would indeed have seen His
    salvation,” but now I see nothing but a mist, and only hope,
    when the mist clears away, to see something else.

    Pray excuse me—I’m coming back—but only to say this time, what I
    never can express, how very earnestly I am ever your loving and
    grateful Florence.

    Pray give our very kindest remembrances to Dr. Howe—and so fare
    you well, very well, my dear, dear friends.

In a later letter she writes of the two babies:


    ... I often think of your little couple, and imagine what they
    are like, and fancy the curious mixture there must be in them. I
    see them standing in the doorway, looking at me with irresolute
    eyes, and I sit quite still, that they may not go away—perhaps
    the only intercourse that will be permitted me with them on
    earth. It would be a curious speculation (if one’s acquaintance
    were but large enough to enable one to collect a sufficient
    number of facts to form a sort of experience) to find out _what_
    materials in the parents’ characters kneaded together into what
    sort of _pâte_ in the children’s—and the general laws of these
    admixtures. I wonder, in this diving and grubbing age, that
    people don’t make at least rough theories about it (there must
    be some laws, if we could but find them out)—beginning with
    Genesis, where we see that the “sons of _God_” which, I suppose,
    only means the men great in wisdom and virtue and piety, who led
    these antediluvian females to the Hymeneal altar, who, I am
    afraid, were pagans or at the least something very bad by their
    being called the “daughters of _men_,” we see that their
    offspring, poor things! were strong and violent and restive and
    whatever else we may suppose symbolized under the character of
    “_giants_.” N. B.—This, upon second thoughts, looks like an
    uncivil apologue, and, as I remember, poor Mrs. Fowler got into
    a scrape by sealing a letter once with a wafer on which were two
    donkeys with the motto “When shall we three meet again?” of
    course implying that the receiver of the letter was the third
    donkey (though preserve me from putting you into the same
    category of souls as Mrs. Fowler’s correspondent!), yet I must
    beg to assure you that the above is no parable.

    The downfall from the heavens has been so prodigious these last
    three weeks, that the river has been the driest place, and
    standing in it up to one’s shoulders the best shelter from the
    rain. Archbishop Whately is practising mesmerism at Dublin with
    a Catholic priest. Miss Martineau’s last books are stupid—if the
    revelations of the laws of Nature, which were made to her in a
    state of mesmerism, have found their incarnation in her recent
    Game-law Tales in sea-green covers, I wish her “_toutes sortes
    de prospérités et un peu plus de goût_.” The laws of Nature are
    uncommon dry ones—but I have come to the end of my paper, and
    with all our kindest remembrances to Dr. Howe, believe me,
    dearest Julia,

              Yours till Doomsday i’ th’ afternoon,

                                                           FLORENCE.

Florence Nightingale did not content herself with sending loving
messages to her godchild. Her christening-gift—a beautiful edition of
Knight’s _Shakespeare_—is one of my most treasured possessions. I still
have also the remains of a bracelet made of her hair, with a little
golden heart at the clasp.

In my mother’s correspondence with her sisters the “babies” are
important figures. Maternal affection represents us in a glorified
aspect; nevertheless, it is pleasant to have our early virtues and
talents recorded by her loving hand. A few extracts from her letters are
given below.


                                             NEW YORK, _Oct., 1845._

    To MRS. THOMAS CRAWFORD.

    ... You complain that no one tells you about Florence. Oh! she
    is a perfect angel! The little creature lies in my arms all
    night, and makes me too happy. She is the image of our dear
    father—is not that strange? She has his eyes, his brow, almost
    his smile. So strong is the likeness that even Lizzie Hogg cried
    out: “Oh! she is like dear Mr. Ward!” This endears her to me
    very, very much. She was christened in our little study at South
    Boston. No one was present but Sumner, [Doctor] Fisher, Wightie,
    and Laura. The good Mr. Burton christened her, and made the
    service even more touching and beautiful than did our friend
    Parker. I had had a very nice cake made at home, iced over and
    adorned with sugar-plum letters.... The child has a heavenly
    disposition, and is much more robust than Julia was at her
    age....

                                                      _May 30, ’46._


    To MRS. CRAWFORD.

    ... For this summer my great themes of interest are Annie’s[2]
    marriage and Fofo’s teeth. Flossy, as Julia calls her, is as
    healthy a child as one can see. She creeps on the floor all day,
    and can pull herself up by a chair, and stand for a long time,
    though she is just nine months old.... I confess my spirits have
    risen wonderfully since I left the institution. My little corner
    is so green and pretty, so quiet and hidden from all. I have not
    those dreadful stairs to go up and down, all the rooms are so
    near together. I need not lose sight of the children at any
    time....

Footnote 2:

  My aunt, Anne Eliza Ward, who married Adolphe Mailliard.


                                                    _June 17, 1847._

    ... I stay at home pretty much all day, and generally all the
    evening, too. I write stories and verses, and when my eyes are
    tired I paste pictures in the nursery scrap-book, which is in
    great demand. In another year I shall have a governess for
    Julia, who is getting too big to be left with a servant. She and
    Flossy come on well with their French....


                                                     _Nov. 31, ’47._

    ... Yesterday I incautiously used the word _devil_, and Julia
    said, “Mamma, that is not a pretty word; you had better say
    _villain_.” They are both as lovely as children can be. The
    little one is passionately attached to her sister and cries
    whenever they are separated....

My father hired a house in Mount Vernon Street, in the years 1847–50,
and of this I have still some recollections. The most interesting is
that of a day in February, 1850, when my father carried all his three
children down-stairs on his back, in a single load, to see our new
little sister. She was later named Laura, after my father’s noted pupil,
Laura Bridgman, and Elizabeth, after his sister. As Mrs. Laura E.
Richards, author of many nursery rhymes and juvenile books, she has
since been beloved by several generations of little folk.

Our brother, Henry Marion Howe, was not quite two years old when he came
down on his father’s back to welcome sister Laura into this bustling
world. Although, on one occasion, when he plunged her into the
horse-trough, he nearly helped her out of it, they were throughout their
childhood inseparable friends and companions.

Other memories of those years, 1847–50, relate to my earliest
school-days. We went to a private school near by, kept by a Miss Watson,
Paper dolls, made or contributed by the older girls, and peach leather
loom large in these recollections of school attendance. The latter
delicious article of food was a species of stiff marmalade prepared in a
sheet about half an inch thick. This was rolled up tightly, and a piece,
which was literally a jelly roll, was cut off the end. You could not
only eat this, but you could first, happy thought, uncoil it. In old
Southern cook-books the receipt for making peach leather can be found.
Ours came from Professor and Mrs. Lieber, the former being at that time
connected with Columbia College in South Carolina. He has been
gratefully remembered, during the present war, as one of the
freedom-loving Germans of earlier days.

Somehow or other I learned to read, for I can remember being conversant
with my Reader before I was five years old—according to the custom of
that day.

In the early summer of 1850 our parents, with the younger children,
Harry and Laura, sailed for Europe. As became a child of New England, I
was extremely reserved, and it was thought a pleasant sign when, as the
family were about to depart, I wept. Alas! Investigation revealed that
my tears were really connected with the little Greek almonds—doubtless
too few had been allotted to me. In justice to myself I must say that on
the return, eighteen months later, of my mother, brother and sister, I
found tears of joy in my eyes.

My eldest sister and I were left in the custody of our faithful nurse,
Lizzie, and in the care of friends. We spent the summer happily at
Concord, Massachusetts. Hearing the bells toll one day, we asked the
reason, and were told that General Taylor (then President of the United
States) was dead.

One happy autumn day there was a cry of, “Papa! Papa!” and we rushed
down the street into his arms. He could not remain away longer from
America, owing to his many cares. We were now installed in the
delightful home “Green Peace,” with an efficient housekeeper, Mrs.
Stanwood, to care for us.

A sad memory comes back to me out of this distant past. On a certain
summer day the blind pupils and their teachers made an excursion to the
seaside, sister Julia and I going with them. Nurse Lizzie allowed us to
go in bathing, but cautioned us to hold tightly to a rock whose head
rose above the water.

With childish bravado, I let go, calling on the others to look at me.
Suddenly a great wave dashed over me, but not more quickly than Lizzie,
who rushed in and dragged me out, all dressed as she was. She never
recovered from the cold taken that day, dying of consumption not long
afterward. I must have been five or six years old at the time of the
funeral. I remember seeing the face of the devoted nurse lying white and
still beneath the glass of the coffin. I remember, too, that all knelt
on the earth around the grave, the service being according to the Roman
Catholic ritual.

While “Green Peace” remained our home for many years, its situation on
the southerly slope of a hill made it warm in summer. Accordingly, in
1852 my father and the poet Longfellow hired a house on the cliffs at
Newport, with the understanding that no other boarders should be
received except those of whom they approved. The company that assembled
beneath the roof of this early “Cliff House” was of a literary turn of
mind. Count Gurowski nicknamed it “Hôtel Rambouillet.” A daguerreotype
is still in existence showing Mr. and Mrs. Longfellow, my mother, Mrs.
Freeman (wife of the artist), and Mr. Thomas Gold Appleton, the noted
wit. A broad smile pervades the group, doubtless due to the fact that in
those early days of photography the victims were obliged to sit some
twenty minutes before the camera.

George William Curtis was among the favored few who spent that summer at
the “Cliff House.” He was then a handsome young bachelor who went to
balls and parties. Alas! Near his room was the Howe nursery, and the
children, who took no part in the social gaieties of Newport, arose at
an early hour. Our noise and that of our portable tin bath-tub sadly
disturbed the morning slumbers of the “Howadji.”

I was a little girl of an independent turn of mind and objected
decidedly to being kissed. Some of the gentlemen thought this very
amusing in a child of barely seven, and delighted in teasing me. To
enter or leave the house was a feat of daring, for the enemy might be
lurking in the shadow of the hall, ready to catch me. Once, at least, I
was seized and held up in the air by a Mr. G——. “Now I’ve got you!” he
exclaimed. He was soon glad to put down a very irate and struggling
little girl. The foolish custom of kissing children indiscriminately has
happily gone out of fashion.

Another sad memory of that summer rises before me. I see on the lawn of
“Cliff House” my silver mug, with a deep wound in its side. One of the
gentlemen, espying it in the grass, took it for a pewter vessel and
obligingly discharged his pistol at it.

The Longfellow boys, Charles and Ernest, who were of nearly the same age
as sister Julia and I, were our pleasant playfellows. Speculating on
their father’s height, they declared that he ought to be called Mr.
Shortfellow rather than Mr. Longfellow. I do not so well recall his
appearance at the “Cliff House,” but a year or so later he emerges from
my childish recollections as an alert, slender and rather short man,
with a cheerful expression of countenance and remarkably bright blue
eyes. My uncle, Samuel Ward, declared they were like blue water-lilies.
His hair was then sandy, with a dash of gray, and his sensitive mouth
was not concealed by either beard or mustache, for he wore only
side-whiskers.

In those early days he did not, to my thinking, _look_ as poetical as in
later years. It was customary in Boston to speak of him as Professor
Longfellow, as he then filled the Harvard chair of belles-lettres. His
predecessor, George L. Ticknor, author of a history of Spanish
literature, was not well pleased at giving up his office. Instead of
bequeathing his Spanish library to Harvard College, he left it to the
Boston Public Library, with strict injunctions that the books should not
be allowed to circulate, lest they should fall into the hands of the
Cambridge professors. A more amiable postulate is that he feared the
books might be lost. Dr. Joseph Greene Cogswell, the first Astor
librarian, administered that foundation on the same principle.

With Mr. Longfellow himself Mr. Ticknor maintained pleasant and friendly
relations, as we see by the poet’s letters.

I remember very well a charming children’s party given in the pleasant
grounds adjoining the old “Craigie House.”

The mansion is Colonial in style, and with its wide verandas, has an
ample front of more than eighty feet. As a child, the interior, with its
spacious halls and rooms, impressed me more than the exterior. The
former had an aspect of comfort and of a certain elegance which bespoke
the refined and scholarly tastes of its owner. This was not so common at
that time as it is now, when interior decoration is so much studied.

Great clumps of sweet-flowered shrubs grew about the dear old house, as
if longing to shield it from the dust and traffic of the wayside. Here
blossomed the sweetest of old-fashioned spring flowers, the lilac, and
the starry syringas which were so much more fragrant than the modern
more showy variety of the same flower.

Mr. Longfellow was an extremely kind and indulgent father and his boys,
like other boys whom we have all known, sometimes abused his kindness.
Across the pleasant memories of the “Craigie House” party lies the
shadow of our virtuous indignation at the conduct of the boys, who, as
he thought, cheated us out of our fair share of candy. The calm
reflection of later years suggests that the spirit of fun and adventure
rather than mere rapacity may have influenced their conduct. The girls
were too young to accept their defeat in the true sporting spirit.

The coveted bonbons were showered upon us from a scrabble-bag, to wit, a
large, brown-paper bag filled with candy and hung above our heads. At
some parties the scrabble-bag also contained raisins and popped corn,
but at the “Craigie House” I can remember only great showers of candy.

The children were in turn blindfolded, armed with a stick, then bidden
to advance and bring down the contents of the bag with three blows. It
was hung from the bough of a tree, the bonbons came down pellmell upon
the grass and we all scrambled for them.

Mr. Longfellow, who must evidently have had assistants, was most active
and energetic; I should be afraid to say how many brown-paper bags were
hung up, a great number of them succumbing in turn to our childish
onslaughts.

The boys established a sort of robbers’ den, or retreat, in one of the
lofty trees of the dear old garden; here they would fly for protection
when hard pressed by the enemy, returning to the attack when the
sugar-plums were about to descend. It is but just to the Longfellow boys
to say that they were usually pleasant playfellows. My sister Julia and
I had many merry times with them before the dreadful catastrophe of Mrs.
Longfellow’s death threw its dark shadow over the household.

It will be remembered that her thin summer dress caught fire while she
was making seals to amuse her children. In those days of crinoline such
an accident was almost certain to end fatally. The hoopskirt was a
fire-trap of the most deadly sort.

For a long time after the tragic death of his wife the poet withdrew
from all society.

We saw him occasionally in later years, when the gold of his hair had
turned to silver. His beautiful snow-white hair and beard seemed almost
like a halo surrounding his poetic face. The blue eyes retained their
brightness, in spite of advancing years. It was always a red-letter day
when he accepted an invitation to dine or spend an evening at our house,
although he was, in the latter part of his life, rather a silent guest.
But the charm of his presence was great, and what he said was, of
course, well worth hearing.

Our mother always remembered his description of my sister Julia. In her
beautiful young womanhood she was often tormented with the “Howe
shyness” which seemed to form a slight but impalpable barrier between
her and the world, until she became so much interested in the
conversation as to forget herself. Mr. Longfellow said of her, “Julia is
like a veiled lily.”

A curious myth prevailed at one time about a daughter of the poet. The
artist who painted a portrait group of the three charming children
placed one of them in such a position as to conceal both her arms. This
picture was reproduced in an engraving which adorned the walls of many
houses. Hence the fable arose that one of Mr. Longfellow’s daughters had
no arms. Two ladies were lamenting this fact in a Cambridge horse-car
when a Harvard professor overheard them. Thinking they would be glad to
be set right, he addressed them: “Ladies, I know the Longfellow family
well, and I am happy to be able to tell you that all three of the little
girls have the usual number of arms.”

Rash is the man who thus seeks to overthrow a popular delusion! Drawing
herself up, one of the ladies replied, “Sir, we have it on the best
authority that one of Mr. Longfellow’s daughters HAS NO ARMS!”

The children’s parties given at Cambridge in the days of my childhood
were certainly very delightful occasions. The old régime, under which
distinguished men were chosen as professors at Harvard College, still
prevailed at that time. When President Eliot took office he is said to
have chosen men rather for their ability as instructors than for their
claims to literary or scientific distinction. Professor Child, well
known for his exhaustive collection of ballads, doubtless possessed both
kinds of merit, since he was retained on the Harvard faculty, as I
think, throughout his life. Generations of students remember him as the
stern but humorous critic whose caustic comments stayed the noble
current of their rage and withered many a youthful burst of eloquence
with the unfeeling remark “spread-eagle.”

From this accustomed severity he would unbend on a midsummer afternoon,
and frolic about with the children as if he had been one of them. Full
of jokes, fun and nonsense, he was the life and soul of a certain merry
June day which rises before me out of the mist of childish
recollections. As he tumbled about in the new-mown hay, among his little
friends, or sat down on the grass while we gathered about to listen to
his stories, he seemed to me a very funny man. And yet I wondered, with
a certain gravity of imagination peculiar to early childhood, why he
should bring himself down to our level. Why, being a grown man, he
should find it amusing to tumble in the hay. With his short figure,
close-curling yellow hair, and decidedly _retroussé_ nose, he certainly
looked like the genius of comedy; but nothing about him seemed to me
half so funny as a singular, light-colored felt hat which he wore. It
was nearly as tall as that of the ordinary circus clown and had a
rounded or dome-shaped crown. Under the skilful and amusing manipulation
of its owner it certainly afforded us a great deal of amusement on that
festal day. Alas! In later years he wore just an ordinary hat.


------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                   IV

                     OUR EARLY LITERARY ACTIVITIES

_The Howe Children Invent a “Patagonian Language,” Edit a Newspaper,
    “The Listener,” Write Plays and Songs.—They Give “Parlor Concerts”
    and Take Part in Tableaux and Private Theatricals.—William Story and
    Thackeray._


I HAVE spoken of the Institution for the Blind as our intermittent or
occasional home. The autumn of 1854 found us established there for a
stay of more than a year.

The Crimean War was then going on, our parents being much interested in
it. Their sympathies were with the Allies as against Russia, the little
Howes duly reflecting the opinion of their parents. We followed the
course of events in _Punch_ and the _Illustrated London News_. Indeed,
the _London Charivari_, with its excellent cartoons by Tenniel, John
Leech and others, played quite a part in our early political education.
We duly admired the sprightly Lord Palmerston, smiled at funny little
Lord John Russell perpetually wheeling a reform bill in a perambulator,
and entirely disapproved of “Dizzy” with his acrobatic tricks. Although
_Punch_ approved of Louis Napoleon, ally of England, our parents never
did. Popular sympathy in America was, if I remember aright, on the side
of Russia, witness the ballad of “Pop Goes the Weasel.”

                      Queen Victoria’s very sick;
                        Napoleon’s got the measles;
                      Sebastopol’s not taken yet.
                        Pop goes the weasel!

This song would seem to indicate the prevalence of measles at that time.
Certain it is that some cases developed in the other part of the
Institution and the five Howe children promptly caught the disease,
sister Julia becoming very ill. Our mother had a very anxious and
fatiguing experience. She wrote to her sister Annie as follows:


    See that your children get measles _young_. Baby suffered very
    little. Each older one was worse in proportion to the
    comparative age. Donald[3] has passed the whole week here, day
    and night.

Footnote 3:

  Mrs. McDonald, matron of the School for Idiots, who had been nurse and
  housekeeper for my mother in Rome.

The delights of convalescence obliterate the memories of the sickness
itself. “Dip” toast, prunes and the reading aloud of the “Leila” books
we found very comforting.

Our literary activities seem to have been greatly stimulated at this
period, although it must be confessed that they were principally carried
on by sister Julia. It was she who wrote the plays that overcame our
elders with laughter. It was she who, with my mother’s help, edited _The
Listener_, a weekly periodical which chronicled all the doings of
family, friends and the Stevenson School, touching also upon public
affairs. Each issue covers four pages of large letter-paper. Some
stories were contributed by our friend and schoolmate, Clara Gardner.
The occasional editorials by my mother are in her own beautiful hand.
But the main body of the paper was faithfully written by the little
editor, in her quaint, crabbed, yet legible hand. The birth of our
sister Maud was thus chronicled by Julia—then ten and a half years old:


                             EDITOR’S TABLE

    A very curious little animal lies on the editor’s table this
    week. It does not understand the use of cup, plate or spoon, yet
    it feeds itself. It does not know any language, yet it makes
    itself understood. It never bought itself a dress, yet it has a
    whole wardrobe full of clothes. It does not know anybody, yet it
    has plenty of friends. Can you guess what it is? It is our
    little baby sister.

There were some questionings as to the name to be bestowed on the
newcomer. My father suggested the Greek name of Thyrza, but the good,
Anglo-Saxon name of Maud was finally and appropriately chosen. She was a
beautiful baby—indeed, she has been beautiful all her life. Sister Julia
began another editorial in _The Listener_, some five weeks later,
apropos of the ceremony of weighing the infant:


    Wasn’t that a dainty dish to set before the king? George the
    Fourth is said to have expressed himself in this manner when, in
    his last illness, some water gruel was served to him in a silver
    bowl. I wonder whether gruel would taste better out of a silver
    dish, a silver spoon does not seem to add much to it.

Here my mother takes up the thread of the story.


    The King had been used to the best of living—probably had always
    had as much plum-cake as he wanted [did you, ever?] and so it
    seemed rather an insult to set water gruel before him, even in
    so rich a bowl. We happened to make the same remark as his
    Majesty, to-day, when we saw our Baby Sister weighed in a
    porcelain dish—she looked so fat and funny.

In the opinion of Julia and Flossy, at this tender age, the only form of
marriage offering any romance was a fleeing one, so to speak,
consummated after an elopement. Thus in Julia’s tale of _Leonora Mayre_,
the hero and heroine run away from England to America, where they are
married. The sequel is decidedly original. Leonora, now Mrs. Clough,
repents deeply the desertion of her parents. She returns, with her maid
but without her husband, to England and to her father’s house.


    “The next day Mr. Mayre had a serious conversation with her.

    “‘Leonora,’ he said, ‘did you not know that it was very wrong to
    disobey me and run away?’

    “‘I did not think so at the time, father. At least I did at
    first. But then I loved Frank so much that I could not help it.’

    “‘I knew, Leonora, that you would not have done it had it not
    been for Mr. Clough.’

    “‘Why?’

    “‘Because I knew that you were too good a girl to do such a
    thing.’

    “‘I am not good, father,’ said Leonora, ‘or I should not have
    been married without your permission.’

    “‘Marry? You did not marry Mr. Clough, did you?’

    “‘Yes.’

    “‘Oh, Leonora! my child! Is it possible?’ said Mr. Mayre.

    “He said no more, but looks were enough. He seemed perfectly
    distracted. Leonora left the room and went up to her own; then,
    throwing herself on the bed, burst into tears.”

    We are glad to be able to reassure our readers about the sequel.
    Mr. Mayre felt better in half an hour and ultimately forgave the
    erring Frank, who returned from America. He argues the case with
    his angry father-in-law.

    “Frank was perfectly composed. ‘Mr. Mayre,’ said he, in answer
    to the other’s angry words, ‘you think your daughter is good and
    beautiful and attractive, do you not?’

    “‘Certainly, sir.’

    “‘And you love her very much?’

    “‘Of course.’

    “‘Well, then, if she has the same charms for others that she has
    for you, can you blame me for loving her?’

    “‘You had a right to love her, but you had no right to marry her
    against my will.’

    “‘I don’t suppose I had, but you ought to pardon me if I am
    sorry.’

    “‘I have not heard that you were sorry.’

    “‘You now hear it, then. Have I your forgiveness or your anger;
    your daughter or your scorn?’

    “‘My daughter,’ said Mr. Mayre, with emphasis, ‘for she could
    never have had a better husband.’”

If “Miss Flossy Howe” did not write for _The Listener_, the editors
were, nevertheless, generous enough to “figure her” in its pages. Her
appearance at sister Julia’s birthday party in the drama of “The Three
Bears” is thus chronicled by Mamma’s faithful pen. The Three Bears were
acted by my father and sisters Julia and Laura:


    _The Listener_

                                                       _March 11th._

                             EDITOR’S TABLE

    A great deal more might have been said about our Birthday party.
    Was not Miss Florence Howe bewitching in the character of
    “Silverhair”? Where did Miss F. get so much powdered wig? Does
    she keep a maid, on purpose to put up her hair and powder it,
    when she plays Silverhair? We know all about it, but we won’t
    tell. We know, too, about those three Bears, and especially that
    biggest one with a ferocious and hairy expression of
    countenance. Think of the three real chairs, real beds, real
    bowls of porridge! Think, too, of a real window for Silverhair
    to jump out of—what’s all your empty scene-painting to that? If
    we had wanted a real waterfall for our piece, our Papa would
    have had one for us—that’s his way of doing things. Every one
    knows those Bears were real—they could have growled a great deal
    louder, only they did not want to frighten the company; and when
    the performance was over, they put on their coats so politely,
    and went back to their menagerie.

We were so fortunate as to secure Mr. William Story, the artist, and his
wife, for the title rôles of King Valoroso and his queen in “The Rose
and the Ring.” According to tradition their daughter Edith was one of
the children for whom Thackeray wrote the story. Certain it is that the
portraits of the royal pair, drawn by the author himself, look a good
deal like Mr. and Mrs. Story, due allowance being made for caricature.
Hence they were able to reproduce Thackeray’s royal couple with
exactitude. Mrs. Story wore a very beautiful amethyst necklace belonging
to my mother. Mabel Lowell, daughter of the poet, and I took the parts
of the royal children, Angelica and Rosalba.

As for the warming-pan, dear Mrs. George Russell, wife of my father’s
chum, lent hers for the affair. It had been a part of her housekeeping
outfit, but she said to my mother, “You may keep it, as I never use it
now.” It is still in my possession, a pleasant reminder of my first
appearance upon any stage.

We saw the Storys quite often at this time. One evening, when mince pie
was set upon the table, my father, who was obliged to be extremely
careful about his diet, remarked:

“Well, we might as well all die together.”

To which Mr. Story at once replied, “Yes, and all dye the same color.”

Puns were not then frowned upon so severely as they are now. Thackeray
was in Boston during this period and the Storys invited us to a
children’s party at which the great man was present. I remember him only
as a large person in black, with thick gray hair, who did his best, I do
not doubt, to amuse the children.

Mr. William Story gave us an impersonation of a dwarf which was truly
delightful. To our immeasurable surprise, we saw this gentleman,
suddenly shrunk to less than half his natural height. Arrayed in a
Turkish fez and white garments, with slippers and stockings to match, he
danced very high, if not disposedly, on a table, with many rollings of
the eyes and gestures of the arms. The explanation of the trick was that
his hands formed the feet of the dwarf, while the arms and hands were
furnished by another person kneeling behind him.

To invent a language is a common device of children, who usually content
themselves with simply adding a termination or a prefix to each word.
Our attempt was more ambitious as we boldly undertook to construct an
entire language. It is needless to say that we did not get very far with
our venture. I fancy that we chose Patagonian because the account in our
geography of the inhabitants of that country—large men, imperfectly
clothed and very slightly civilized—appealed to our infant imaginations.
Also, the land being so remote, it was very unlikely that any returned
travelers would suddenly speak to us in true Patagonian accents and so
put us to the blush.

There were to be many irregular verbs, the wise Julia counseled, since
that would render our task easier! Of the surviving fragments of our
language, it suffices to give two.

“Bis von snout?” (“Are you well?”)

“Brunk tu touchy snout.” (“I am very well.”)

It will be observed that these are reminiscent of more than one modern
tongue.

The scope of our language was hardly great enough to account for its
fame (it has been duly chronicled in at least one published volume).
Doubtless it was the boldness of the venture and the happy choice of a
name which immortalized the Howe Patagonian tongue.

If Julia shone in the family on account of her literary productions,
Flossy achieved a certain distinction as a musical composer. It must be
confessed that she produced only one song, consisting of a single verse
with repetitionary chorus. But did she not write out the score, words
and music _with accompaniment_, treble and bass clef being duly marked?
“Play on the shovel” lies before me now, preserved by fond parents
during many years.

The early interest of Florence in financial affairs was shown by the
arrangements for our concert. From the hothouse at “Green Peace” we
procured—without charge—flowers which we arranged in tiny bouquets.
These were sold to the audience for a cent apiece, our friends
obligingly throwing them back at us, in token of admiration for our
performance. By this simple yet remunerative scheme we secured both the
flowers and the price thereof. Some of them were, I hope, given to Miss
Ellen Burns, our prima donna, on the occasion of her benefit. I had
often seen, on theatrical bill-boards, the phrase, “Benefit of
So-and-so.” This seemed to me a much more alluring and attractive word
than “Concert.” When I was informed that this name implied the giving of
the profits to the beneficiary, I refused, with the horrid obstinacy of
childhood, to accept any such paltry explanation.

“Play on the shovel,” which was much liked, was included in the program.
Our audience consisted principally of the teachers and officers of the
Institution. They nobly paid one or more pins for their seats, according
to desirability.

From all this it will be judged that our musical education was already
well begun, Mr. Otto Dresel being our master.

I will not say that we regarded him as belonging to the same class as
the family dentist, because the latter we considered a species of ogre.
But we duly feared and respected Mr. Dresel as a person who might at any
time stamp his feet or say, with energy, “How stupid!” as we no doubt
were.

It now seems to me that he was wonderfully patient with us and our
little stumbling fingers. For, like most artists, he was a man of highly
nervous organization. He was not only one of Boston’s leading pianists,
but a composer of merit.

Our kind friends, the Bensons and Schlessingers, allowed us to take our
music lessons at their house in Boston, in these early days, thus saving
our master the long trip to South Boston.

A most pleasant eleven-o’clock lunch was provided for the little people,
to our great joy.


------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                   V

                   UNDER THE SHADOW OF BYRON’S HELMET

_Echoes of the Greek Revolution.—The Enchanted Garden.—“Green Peace” an
    International Resort.—Political Exiles Teach Us Foreign Languages
    and the Love of Freedom.—Louis Kossuth._


WHILE the Institution for the Blind was our pleasant refuge, our
permanent and dearly loved home was “Green Peace.”

As you came in the main door of entrance and looked down the long
hallway of the house you saw directly opposite to you Byron’s helmet,
fitting symbol of the man who dwelt there. My father had hung it up, as
a returned pilgrim did his staff and cockle-hat in the olden time, or a
warrior his sword and shield.

True, father had never worn that or any other helmet; unless I am much
mistaken, neither had Byron. Yet the noble example and stirring verses
of the poet had much to do with young Howe’s sailing for Greece, where
for seven long years he helped carry out the work which Byron had begun.
When, broken in health, he at length left ancient Hellas, she was once
more free! Thus the helmet reminded those who knew, not only of the
poet’s devotion to the cause for which he died, but also of the work of
his admirer and successor, Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, the “Chevalier,” as
he was called by his intimates.

                     In the prison of the Kaiser,
                     By the barricades of Seine,[4]

in Greece, and later, in slavery-ridden America, had he striven for
human freedom.

The helmet not only reminded of past deeds; it was also an incentive to
generous efforts in the present. My father was deeply interested in all
attempts to throw off the yoke of kings and welcomed to “Green Peace”
political exiles and refugees from many countries.

                  Wherever rise the peoples,
                    Wherever sinks a throne,
                  The throbbing heart of Freedom finds
                    An answer in his own.[4]

Footnote 4:

  From Whittier’s poem, “The Hero,” written about Doctor Howe.

Thus it came about that we, the Howe children, were brought up under the
shadow of Byron’s helmet, the helmet of the Philhellene. And now, in
this time of the Great War, all America is thrilling to the magic words
that we were taught to lisp from the cradle—“the cause of humanity,”
“the brotherhood of man!” These phrases that we now hear everywhere seem
to me wonderful echoes of that far-away time when Kossuth, the Hungarian
patriot, was welcomed at “Green Peace,” as Joffre has been welcomed in
New York and Boston! Was not I as a child taught the stirring story of
William Tell and his resistance to the tyrant Gessler, by one who had
himself resisted the tyranny of the Austrian emperor?

The helmet, like some magic helm of romance, was a magnet to which all
who came to “Green Peace” were irresistibly drawn. As for the house
itself, it had the charm of an old dwelling which has “just naturally
grown” to suit the needs of the inmates. The original cottage dated back
to pre-Revolutionary days. The old and new parts of the house were
connected by a dining-room looking out on a small conservatory. The
carpet of the former was from the famous Gobelin looms in France and had
belonged to Joseph Bonaparte, ex-King of Spain. It was woven all in one
piece, with a medallion in the center showing the profiles of Joseph and
his brother, the great Napoleon. There were various delightful figures
in the border—butterflies, owls and dolphins. For dancing, that carpet
had a special and unique charm.

A third historic object of interest stood in one of the drawing-rooms.
This was a large and beautiful carved cabinet which my father had bought
in Avignon while on his wedding-tour. It is said to have come from the
Pope’s palace there, as well as its mate, which was kept in our rooms at
the Institution.

The estate, as an Englishman would call it, was ideally situated on the
southern side of a hill which sloped gradually down to the waters of
Dorchester Bay. From the windows we saw not only the sea, but, in the
distance, beautiful Savin Hill. The Institution for the Blind, where my
father’s work lay, was not a quarter of a mile away, yet concealed from
our view by a portion of Dorchester Heights.

These were already blasted away, to some extent, a steep cut in the
hills separating us from the Institution. Word once came to my father,
sitting at the dinner-table of “Green Peace,” that the Institution was
on fire. Without a moment’s delay he started for the scene of trouble,
scrambling in some extraordinary way down the face of the vertical
cliff. The feat was made possible by his early experiences when he had
learned to clamber with the Greek soldiers over steep mountains.

To the west of us was another portion of old Dorchester Heights, then
crowned with a reservoir and some cannon which were fired on the Fourth
of July. Thus “Green Peace” lay snugly sheltered among hills, connected
with the outside world only by a short, tree-lined roadway called
“Bird’s Lane.” Yet paved streets and the omnibus, though invisible to
us, were less than a quarter of a mile away.

“Green Peace” was all a garden, the most delightful in the world. The
house stood in the center of an oval lawn dotted with lilac-bushes and
pink-and-white hawthorn trees. Near the driveway was the wonderful
Chinese junk, or rocking-boat, capable of holding nearly a score of
happy children. An arbor-vitæ hedge separated the house and lawns from
the main garden, which lay still farther down the hill. Passing under an
arch of white lilacs, you descended to this by a flight of wooden steps.
Three tiny trim gardens with oval beds and paths all surrounded by
borders of box belonged, respectively, to Julia, Henry, and myself. We
were supposed to care for them ourselves, but I fear we never did so. We
took an honorable pride in our possessions, walked in the paths and
admired the flowers—but that was all! Ours was the aristocratic pose of
benevolent ownership with only vague responsibilities attached.

Just beyond lay the truly enchanted part of the garden, where a captive
princess might have passed her time happily enough. We were accustomed
to read in our fairy-stories of the Garden of the Hesperides and other
remarkable places where grew apples of pure gold and glittering precious
stones in the form of peaches and plums. But what were these cold, stony
and thoroughly indigestible objects compared with the warm, glowing, and
luscious fruit of “Green Peace”? Moreover, the magic supply of this was
inexhaustible. For, after frosts had settled the business of the last
grapes on the trellis and the last lingering apples on the trees, the
fruit of the garden was by no means exhausted. You had but to peep into
the shallow drawers in the pear-room to see supplies of delicious winter
pears—Easter Beurré’s and winter Nellis, to say nothing of barrels of
glorious golden-russet apples. In the center of the garden was a sort of
shrine to Pomona, consisting of a hothouse and bowling-alley, with
school-house (later used as a pear-room) adjoining.

There were at least four strawberry-beds filled with different varieties
of the fruit, also raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries of many
colors, plums, nectarines, peaches, apples, quinces, and, last but not
least, pears.

Of the last-named fruit my father was especially fond. He cultivated
with the greatest care many varieties of these. In recent years I have
learned that the delicious French pears for which the neighborhood of
Boston is famous were brought there by the French Huguenots.

Our parents often had bowling parties in our childhood, and it amused us
to observe the different ways in which the players handled the balls.
Inexperienced persons would choose a small ball and toss it up in the
air in a delightfully ridiculous way, instead of rolling it swiftly
along the floor of the alley. I seem to remember Mr. Seguin, the famous
authority on idiots, thus maneuvering with a small ball. My father had
brought him to South Boston to assist in the work of starting the
Massachusetts School for Idiots, the first to be established in America.

“The dogs,” as they were called generically, guarded this paradise from
urchins over-appreciative of the flavor of the celestial fruit. The
backbone of this canine police force was a very large and not thoroughly
amiable Newfoundland dog, named Arthur. An enemy dog called Lion lived
in Boston, and would occasionally cross the bridge and take a two-mile
trot over to “Green Peace” to try conclusions with Arthur. A battle
royal would thereupon ensue, the gardener and my father or another
employee each holding one of the combatants by the tail and belaboring
him until he consented to let go of his enemy. We watched the encounter
from a respectful distance.

It has been said that visitors were always interested in Byron’s helmet.
They sometimes tried to put it on, but seldom succeeded. The poet, it
will be remembered, had a very small though beautiful head. Sister Laura
was the only one of the Howe family who could wear it. She and sister
Julia were the most poetical of the children. A tintype is still in
existence showing the former, at the age of fourteen, crowned with the
Byron helmet, her long hair flowing over her shoulders.

The Greek War of Independence (1822–29) was a comparatively recent event
in the ’Fifties, and people often spoke of it and of the Philhellenes.
My father looked much younger than he really was, and occasionally, when
asked about his share in the struggle, he would jestingly say, “Oh, it
was my _father_ who fought in Greece.” His children knew something of
this early career, but he never told us of his deeds of heroism. That
would have seemed too much like boasting for a reserved New-Englander.

If we complained of the food, he would sometimes remind us that we
should be grateful for it and tell us of the strange articles which had
constituted the diet of his companions and himself.

Roasted wasps did not sound very attractive, even after the removal of
the stings. As for sorrel, we used to sample the plants which grew
wild—always pitying poor Papa for having been obliged to eat such sour
stuff. We could well imagine how tough donkey’s flesh might be, from our
encounter with our own José, whose back and sides appeared to be made of
iron.

Of the primitive ways and ideas of the Greeks at that time he would
occasionally tell us. Great was their astonishment because he could
remove one of his teeth and replace it. Wheeled vehicles were unknown,
and one constructed by his faithful follower (a man whose life my father
had saved) caused much surprise. As for tea, if you invited a Greek to
partake of a cup he would reply, “No, thank you, I am not _sick_.”

A great many people of all sorts and kinds came to “Green Peace.” All
European travelers of note wished to see Laura Bridgman, the Helen
Keller of the nineteenth century, and the man who had brought her into
the human fold. While my father did not cross the seas to take part in
European revolutions after 1832 until the Cretan uprising of 1867, he
was, of course, deeply interested in them and in their promoters. Thus
when the Hungarian patriot, Louis Kossuth, came to America to try to
enlist the sympathies of our countrymen in his projects, my father saw a
great deal of him and helped in his plans as much as possible.

By Kossuth’s desire, the committee in charge appointed my father as the
person to whom “he could reveal in confidence so much of his plans and
prospects as would show there was reason for hope and for immediate
action.” He greatly impressed Doctor Howe who wrote to Charles Sumner,
“Surely he is an inspired man.”

I can remember the Hungarian patriot standing with many other men,
doubtless his suite, in the hall where hung Byron’s helmet. My childish
imagination was much exercised about the Kossuth hat, which I heard
talked about. This was of black felt, high and of Alpine shape. I was
greatly disappointed because the sober citizens of Boston did not adopt
the little black feather as well as the Kossuth hat!

Lowell, Longfellow, Theodore Parker, George Sumner, George S. Hillard,
and Miss Catharine Sedgwick were among the guests on this occasion.
Laura Bridgman was brought in after dinner. All were so much interested
in her, and in the Hungarian patriot’s story of his cause, that teatime
presently arrived and my mother entertained them with the remnants of
the earlier feast!

Many of the foreigners who came to “Green Peace” were political
refugees—Poles, Austrians, Hungarians. There were, of course, many
Greeks also. One of my father’s self-imposed duties was finding
employment for these people, who naturally were quite helpless in a
strange land. Thus many of our early teachers and governesses were
foreigners. We grew up in an international atmosphere less common in
those early days than now. Professor Fiester, doubtless a very learned
Austrian, gave us some rudimentary lessons in Latin and German. He was a
very stout, large man, with fair, curly hair and gold spectacles. Some
one nicknamed him “the mastodon calf.” He understood perfectly how to
amuse children, and made us the most fascinating fly-houses and other
paper objects. It is evident that I was a naughty child and quite
determined to have my own way. One morning the patience of our gentle
master came to an end.

“No, Mees!” he exclaimed. “I haf refused to opey the Emperor of Austria,
and do you think I will opey you, you little thing?”

I was about eight years old when I was thus classed with the Hapsburg
tyrant of the day!

One of our early teachers, Jules M——, had deserted from the French army.
The family of his Greek wife had aided him in some way, and he married
her, out of gratitude. Of course they found their way, like other
foreigners, to my father’s office in Boston, No. 20 Bromfield Street. As
neither of them could speak the other’s language, he interpreted between
husband and wife when they got into difficulties. She wore an
embroidered cap on the back of her head, with her hair braided outside
of it.

M—— was of the blond French type, with a military air. It was his
soldierly training, doubtless, which caused him to ring the door-bell in
a very decided way, and then, without waiting for the maid to answer it,
open the door himself and march straight into the parlor. This gave me
an injured feeling, for I was apt to be late, and counted on those few
minutes in which he should have waited, to get ready.

He wrote a beautiful copper-plate hand and was a good teacher. With a
military desire to see everything in good order, he one day informed me
that my stockings needed pulling up. This was more than the dignity of
my nine years could brook, and I made no reply. He repeated his
observation several times, but in vain! The peer of the Emperor of
Austria was not going to yield to a deserter from the French army!


------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                   VI

                    NOTED VISITORS AT “GREEN PEACE”

_Charles Simmer and His Brother George.—Edwin P. Whipple. James T.
    Fields.—Doctor Kane.—Rev. Thomas Starr King.—Prof. Cornelius C.
    Felton.—Arthur Hugh Clough.—Frederika Bremer.—Laura Bridgman._


AMONG those who came to “Green Peace” was Charles Sumner, my father’s
most intimate friend. The great Massachusetts Senator towered above his
fellow-men physically as well as intellectually. He was a man of noble
proportions, and his great height and size seemed to correspond with
entire fitness to his massive brain and solid mental acquirements. The
great dignity of his character and manner made him seem even larger than
he really was. I cannot give his exact height, but it was at least six
feet two inches. Brother Harry once said to our younger sister:

“There are two kinds of giants, Laura. There are the ogres who eat
people up, and there are the harmless giants. Now Mr. Sumner is a
harmless giant!”

He was a handsome man, always well dressed and scrupulously exact about
his personal appearance. When I first remember him he usually wore
drab-cloth gaiters with white-pearl buttons, which gave him a look of
immaculate neatness. Yet we know he was not a dandy, because Mr.
Longfellow tells us so. A large man—who is necessarily the target for
many eyes—should certainly be careful about his appearance. Six feet
three with breadth in proportion would make a large area of untidiness
sad to contemplate! We children, as I have said, considered him as a
good-natured giant, but he was not familiar with little people and their
ways. We did not have much intercourse with him, save from an admiring
distance. But he well understood that children like presents. He brought
two dolls for Julia and Flossy from the anti-slavery fair. I am ashamed
to say that, although the younger, I insisted on having the beautiful
wax doll dressed in white with “Effie” marked on her handkerchief! Julia
received the companion doll, dressed in black as a nun. She did not
compare with Effie in beauty.

On a certain evening, as he was going out of the front door of “Green
Peace,” I valiantly called out to him, “Good night, Mr. Sumner.” And a
great voice answered me out of the darkness, “_Good night, child!_” He
was very careful and exact in his use of English, as became a man of
scholarly attainments, and did not like to have other people take
liberties with our mother-tongue. Thus he rebuked our governess for
saying that the clock was out of kilter. There was no such word as
_kilter_, he averred, in the English language. Miss Seegar was rather
indignant at being forbidden the use of this quaint Yankee expression;
after Mr. Sumner had gone she took down the dictionary and found that
_kilter_ was duly recorded there!

It is evidently one of the many so-called Americanisms which are, in
reality, words formerly used in England.

He once went away from a party at our house without taking leave of any
one. My mother was rather troubled at this, and my father, who had known
Mr. Sumner long and intimately, said, “Why, that is Sumner’s idea of
taking French leave.” Whereupon sister Julia observed, “I should as soon
think of an elephant walking incognito down Broadway as of Mr. Sumner’s
taking French leave without being observed.”

Of the attack upon him in the Senate I shall speak later. Suffice it to
say here that the intense and prolonged physical suffering caused by
this murderous assault was not the only form of political martyrdom
which he was destined to endure.

The aristocratic element of Boston was, in ante-bellum days, strongly
opposed to anti-slavery doctrines and those who held them. Charles
Sumner’s heroic defense of the principles of liberty gained for him
social ostracism in his native city. This never fell upon my father,
whose work for the public schools, for the blind, the idiots, the
insane, and other unfortunates, insured him the cordial good-will of the
community, in spite of his anti-slavery activities. It should also be
remembered that he did not, like his friend, hold political office. It
is sad to recall the unkind treatment of Sumner; it is pleasanter to
remember that in his later years the great Senator was fully appreciated
and honored in the city of his birth.

Charles Sumner had not what is called social talent, and I do not think
that he cared much for society. His busy life of constant political
activity did not leave him much leisure, and his tastes were those of a
scholar and lover of books.

As he grew older and busier he had less time to devote to social
functions. But he would show his interest and sympathy on all great
festive occasions in the families of his intimate friends by making his
appearance among the guests, even though he seldom stayed long.

The gods were ever wont, however, to make brief visits among the
children of men—and if Charles Sumner stayed only fifteen minutes and
said only a dozen words, at a wedding or a class-day, we rejoiced that
he had been there, and his smile brightened the feast as much as the
sun. His smile was one of rare sweetness and beauty; beneath the
reserved exterior which distinguished him there beat a warm and true
heart. He had, be it said, beautiful white teeth, and my mother
remembered with amusement a certain dinner in his younger days when he
resolutely refused, for obvious reasons, to eat huckleberry pie.

The reserve and apparent coldness which we New Englanders have inherited
from our English forefathers—and, owing to the severity of the climate,
have been unable to modify—are often a misfortune to their possessor and
cause him to be considered as unsympathetic, when he is not so in
reality. The great Massachusetts Senator was a man without guile and of
an almost childlike simplicity of nature. His pocket was constantly
picked, literally as well as figuratively. He would go to the station to
start for Washington, and, presto! his pocketbook would be gone. At
fairs, he was an easy victim—and at the great fair held in Boston, for
the benefit of the sailors of the navy, I should be afraid to say in how
many raffles he was induced to invest. My contemporaries will remember
that we had not then discovered the wickedness of raffles. To have them
prohibited by law is a great protection to the modern purse.

While no one could attack a political enemy with greater vigor than
Charles Sumner, he seldom bore personal malice or ill-will. He met in
the street, one day, a gentleman, Mr. Robert C. Winthrop, whose
political opinions he had, in the discharge of his public duty,
vigorously denounced. He held out his hand, and was surprised and pained
to have it refused. It may be said in Mr. Winthrop’s excuse that Mr.
Sumner’s action contributed to his being politely shelved!

Charles Sumner’s conversation was very interesting and instructive, and
he would sometimes pour out very freely the treasures of his well-stored
mind. But while one felt that he was a man of learning, he was almost
wholly destitute of the sense of humor. This is very evident in the
correspondence of the “Five of Clubs,” the other members occasionally
making merry at his expense. Who can blame them when dear Mr. Sumner, in
the innocence of his heart, advised his office-boy, a young fellow from
the country, to visit Mount Auburn, Boston’s principal cemetery, on the
Fourth of July?

I had the pleasure of hearing him speak in public, two hours at a time,
after the political fashion of that day. That as a young girl I was able
to listen so long proves that the speech must have been interesting. The
following sketch of him as a public speaker was given me by my mother:

“Mr. Sumner was a forcible speaker. His custom was to recapitulate the
chief points of his discourse, with ever-increasing amplification and
emphasis. In this way he established his points in the minds of his
hearers, whom he led step by step to his own conclusions. He was
majestic in person, habitually reserved and rather distant in manner,
but sometimes unbent to a smile in which the real geniality of his soul
seemed to shed itself abroad. His voice was ringing and melodious, his
gestures somewhat constrained, his whole manner, like his matter,
weighty and full of dignity.”

Among the many interesting men and women who were guests in the
household of my father and mother, none was more amusing than Mr. Edwin
P. Whipple, author of _Character and Characteristic Men_ and well known
as a lecturer and essayist. He was a homely man, but his homeliness was
of an agreeable character. He had large and prominent blue eyes, which
gave him somewhat the appearance of a good-natured frog. These eyes
seemed to be dancing with fun behind his spectacles. As he was also
pitted with smallpox, he could not be called handsome. Nevertheless, Mr.
Whipple’s face was an attractive one, and he had an absurd manner of
saying funny things which made them doubly amusing.

I remember a picnic at the “Glen,” near Newport, where he kept us all
laughing by his sallies of wit. If any one else said anything funny on
this occasion, Mr. Whipple would gravely feel in his waistcoat pocket
and, drawing thence a dime, would offer it to the perpetrator of the
joke, saying, “If you’ll let me have that joke I’ll give you ten cents
for it.” His connection with the press gave a realistic flavor to this
performance.

On a certain rainy evening, when he and his wife were attending one of
my mother’s parties, Mrs. Whipple lingered after the announcement of her
carriage. Mr. Whipple came up to her and said, with a low bow and in a
tone of mock gravity:

“Madam, stay or go, just as you like, but before you make up your mind
you should come to the front door and listen to your coachman, who is
blaspheming so that he can be heard all the way up and down Blank
Street.”

Mrs. Whipple was as handsome as her husband was plain. She was a decided
brunette, with black hair and eyes, sweet-tempered and sympathetic, yet
not wanting in firmness. She must have been of very vigorous, physical
habit, for, meeting a friend in the street, she would grasp her warmly
by the hand and detain her in conversation longer than the sharp Boston
east wind rendered agreeable to one of a chilly disposition. It was Mrs.
Whipple, if I remember aright, who once lay in a stupor during an attack
of smallpox. The doctor, supposing her to be unconscious, purred gently
that she would not recover. Aroused by his words, she proceeded to do
so. The same thing happened to one of the idiots under my father’s
charge during an attack of the same dread disease. Three of them lay in
the same room, one being seriously ill, the others not in so dangerous a
condition. The first, hearing his companions discuss his probable fate,
connected with a tarred sheet and lowering out of the window, roused
himself from his lethargy and recovered!

Another couple who came often to “Green Peace” were Mr. and Mrs. James
T. Fields. When I can first remember them the latter was still a young
woman and very comely. She wore her dark wavy hair in puffs at the side,
which later expanded to a size that was no doubt artistic, but not
pleasing to the conservative eye of childhood. I did admire, however,
her beautiful golden net. Mr. Fields was a fine-looking man, his long
black beard giving him something the look of a Jewish prophet. The
expression of his face was humorous rather than serious, as I remember
it. I saw him, however, in his lighter moods, when he was witty and
amusing. The Whipples and the Fields once made a visit at Lawton’s
Valley, our summer home, where the two humorists led each other on to
say one funny thing after another.

Mr. Fields told a story of a lady who desired to be thought a person of
culture, despite the defects in her early education. Espying the
approaching carriage of certain literary persons, she called out to her
son:

“Oh, James! There are the So-and-sos driving up. _Do_ get out the works
of Mr. Ensign-Clompedos and give the place a litt’ry and
conversashioshonary appearance!”

In those days of “high thinking and plain living” it was the pleasant
custom, at informal dinners, for the host or hostess to peel and cut
fruit in slices. These were then handed around the table, each person
taking a piece. I remember a dinner at the Fields’ house in Charles
Street, where red bananas were served in this fashion. In my childhood
they were comparatively rare, costing sometimes fifteen cents apiece!

As Ticknor & Fields published our mother’s writings, my sister and I
were accustomed to go to their well-known corner book-store for our new
school-books. My delight in these was connected more with their
appearance than with the stores of knowledge they contained. Those
fresh, new, clean books with their crisp paper well finished at the
edges appealed to my childish imagination. Did they not preach, too, a
lesson of neatness? I am so sorry for the children who, at some public
schools, are obliged to use old, worn books! Why should we not make
learning attractive by clothing it in a nice fresh dress?

Doctor Kane, the Arctic explorer, came at least once to “Green Peace.” I
was so young at the time that I thought, on account of his name, he must
be in some way connected with a cane. A small and slender man, he did,
as I think, appear with one, and so justify my youthful imaginings. I
remember a dinner in the room with the Gobelin carpet where Rev. Thomas
Starr King, the noted divine, and his handsome wife, were among the
guests. Mr. King had large white teeth, and wore his brown hair parted
far on one side. Not long after this time he went to the Pacific coast,
where his splendid advocacy of the cause of the Union had a large share
in keeping California loyal. Alas! He paid the penalty of over-exertion
with his life soon afterward. But his memory is cherished and revered on
both shores of our great continent. At the East, the everlasting hills
are his monument, for “Thomas Starr King” is one of the peaks of the
White Mountain range.

The following letter to my mother explains itself.


                                  SAN FRANCISCO, _January 20, 1862_.

    MY DEAR MRS. HOWE,—How I long to get back into
    civilization,—where they speak the English language, raise
    regiments for the war, and write about Lyons looms.[5]

    Do you know why I have the impudence to write to you? Simply for
    your card photograph and the Doctor’s and your autograph under a
    copy of the “Weave no more silks.”[5]

    You see how modest my requests are. That quality is a grace that
    thrives in California air.

    You ought not to refuse. I am a missionary and should be
    encouraged by all good Christians.... You are patriotic. I read
    your glorious verses to a crowded house in San Francisco at a
    festival for Volunteers, and the spirit so upheld the reading
    that the audience were thrilled....

    Do be gracious!...

    Love to everybody and to you, if you send the cards, etc.; if
    not, _not_.

                       Conditionally your friend,
                     Unconditionally your admirer,

                                                         T. S. KING.

Footnote 5:

  A quotation from Mrs. Howe’s poem, “Our Orders.”

Prof. Cornelius C. Felton has already appeared in this eventful history
as a member of the “Five of Clubs.” In addition to being professor of
Greek, he was for a time president of Harvard College.

Among his friends he was genial and jolly, with a gift of hearty
laughter. “Heartiest of Greek professors,” Charles Dickens called him.
He was sturdy and thick-set, with close-curling black hair covering his
round head. At Memorial Hall, Cambridge, there is a portrait of him in
his robes of office. This picture is characterized by due dignity of
mien and bearing, but I like best to think of him with those merry eyes
gleaming behind his spectacles as his cheery laugh broke upon our ears.

Professor Felton related to us the story of his visit to the Maid of
Athens, who was no longer young and beautiful as in Byron’s day. He was
much impressed by the superior quality of her pickled olives, and told
us that he longed to repeat the poet’s verses, with a slight change.
Instead of saying,

                    Maid of Athens, ere we part
                    Give, oh, give me back my heart,

he wanted to exclaim,

               Maid of Athens, ere we part,
               Give, oh, give me a jar of pickled olives!

In her correspondence with my father Florence Nightingale appeals to him
for advice and assistance for the martyrs of the cause of progress,
political and religious. One of the latter was Arthur Hugh Clough, the
English poet, whom she thus introduced:


                                    EMBLEY ROMSAY, _Oct. 28 (1852)_.

    MY DEAR DR. HOWE,—I have never thanked you for your most kind
    and valuable letter about my friend. But herewith comes my
    friend in person, to profit by that most kind sentence of yours,
    “Do not fail to give him a letter to me.”

    His name is Arthur Hugh Clough, M.A. (late Fellow and Tutor of
    Oriel College, Oxford). He was a favorite pupil of Dr. Arnold of
    Rugby, and was elected Tutor of Oriel at twenty-two. He has
    given up very high prospects, because he was unwilling to pledge
    himself to inculcate the doctrines of the English Church. This
    has stopped his progress in his own country. He comes to seek a
    more impartial mother in yours.

    He is about to marry a very charming cousin of mine—but his
    untimely integrity has lessened his means, and he is now going
    to try to make her a position in the New World.

    He was Professor of English Literature at University College,
    London. He is a first-rate classical scholar; he would undertake
    to prepare young men for college who are anxious for advanced
    classical knowledge, and also to teach (or lecture upon) English
    Literature and Language.

    He is known in England as an author and poet, and has been a
    contributor to our more liberal Reviews.

    I have tried to enlist your and Mrs. Howe’s sympathies in his
    favour. But, indeed, my dear Dr. Howe, I know your kindness so
    well that it seems as if I thought it impossible to trespass
    upon it....

    Believe me, with best love to dear Mrs. Howe and my godchild,
    yours most truly and gratefully,

                                               FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE.

Mr. Clough made a visit at “Green Peace” which I shall never forget,
since it produced one of the small tragedies of my childhood.

Our house was one of those rambling structures, built at different
periods of time, wherein the space is not disposed of to the best
advantage. Hence, as we were a large family and each of us had a
separate room, some one had to be, turned out in order to accommodate
Mr. Clough. He was accordingly established in the housekeeper’s room,
and we children were duly warned not to go there, as was our custom. But
I forgot this caution, and next morning turned with some difficulty the
old-fashioned brass handle of the housekeeper’s door and peeped into the
room.

Little Red Riding-Hood was not more surprised at the transformation of
her grandmother into the wolf than I was at the sudden change which had
come over our young and handsome housekeeper. As some one sat up in bed
(after the fashion of the wolf in the story) to ask what I wanted, I
said to myself, “Why, Mrs. S—— has grown bald and gray in one night!”
Then the true state of the case flashed upon my infant consciousness and
I went away suddenly and much abashed. It is to be feared that I left
the door open.

When I came down to breakfast Mr. Clough looked up and said, as it
seemed to me rather cruelly, “_I think that I have seen this young lady
before, this morning._”

Mr. Clough’s poem, “The Bothie of Toper-na-Fuosich,” was republished in
this country, and was widely read both here and in England. He was
present at one time where some thoughtless young men were amusing
themselves with laughing at the new aspirant for poetical honors.

“Who is this old Clough?” says one.

“I should like to see him,” says another.

After listening to their remarks for some time, the grave, quiet man
rose to leave the room, and as he passed the group who were making so
merry at his expense he simply said, “The name is _Clough_” [Cluff].

Frederika Bremer, the Swedish authoress, visited us when I was a very
little child. She traveled extensively in America and related her
experiences in _Homes of the New World_. In this she described “the
dark, energetic father and two charming little girls, all lilies and
roses.” After it had been translated into English, people told us that
we had been put into a printed book. Our young friends wished that they,
too, could have the great happiness of being put into a book, like Julia
and Flossy Howe.

Miss Bremer gave an account of Mr. George Sumner and his visit to the
Czar of Russia, representing him as an awkward, ungainly youth and
making fun of him. He did carry to the Czar of Russia, be it said in
passing, an acorn from the grave of Washington. The Czar was much
pleased and paid the young man a good deal of attention. When Charles
Sumner learned what our young friends had said, he mischievously
remarked to his brother, “Some people would prefer not to have been put
in a book.”

A number of Frederika Bremer’s books have been translated into English;
we read her stories with much pleasure in our school-girl days. _The H——
Family_, _The Neighbors_, _The Home_, are the titles of some of them.
Her description of Swedish family life is delightful.

George Sumner, like the Senator, was a man of intellectual tastes and
possessed a wide knowledge of books. In mid-Victorian days there was no
complete catalogue of the library in the Vatican. Some one in Rome who
was anxious to find a certain volume was referred to “a young American
who knows more about the books there than any one else.” This was George
Sumner. He was one of the habitués of our house. I remember a visit he
paid us at Lawton’s Valley when a lame knee gave him anxiety. We heard
him walk heavily and perseveringly up and down his room, in the vain
hope of curing it by exercise. One day there was a crash! In the effort
to save himself from falling he had pulled over the light iron
washstand. When he again visited us my father had him placed, chair and
all, in an open wagon that he might enjoy a drive. I last saw him at the
Massachusetts General Hospital when he could move little save his head.
Thus was a brilliant man in the prime of life turned gradually into a
marble statue!

George L. Stearns was a striking figure, with his beautiful brown beard,
long, soft, and silky as a woman’s hair. He was greatly interested in
the anti-slavery cause, and when the Civil War came entered the army as
a major. He wished to serve without pay, which my father thought a
mistake, because an unpaid volunteer might feel unwilling to submit to
the regular discipline of the army. It is true that my father had served
in the army of Greece without pay, but the conditions there were very
different from those prevailing in the United States during the Civil
War.

Mrs. Stearns was also full of public spirit, although sometimes rather
sentimental. She once brought to “Green Peace” a bunch of nasturtiums of
various colors, which were then something of a rarity. Apropos of these,
she said to my father, who knew nothing of music:

“Doctor Howe, do not the palest of these nasturtiums remind you of the
high notes of the soprano in the opera of ‘Semiramide’?”

The persons of note who came to “Green Peace” could all speak some
language—Greek, French, Polish, German, or Italian—if not English.

There was one silent figure, however, who spoke only with her
swift-flying fingers. Yet her fame had spread over the civilized world.
The name of Laura Bridgman was a household word in the nineteenth
century. That a girl, deaf, dumb, and blind from infancy, should be able
to communicate her thoughts to others, write, cipher, and study like
other children, was thought a miracle. People found it so hard to
believe that they came in crowds to see the marvel with their own eyes.
So many visitors—eleven hundred, on one occasion—appeared at the weekly
exhibitions of the school that it was thought necessary to seat Laura in
a little enclosure, lest her young head be turned by too much attention.

Charles Dickens thus saw her. His account of his visit to the school,
with a beautiful tribute to my father, is to be found in his _American
Notes_. If Byron’s helmet was the symbol of the latter’s earlier labors,
Laura Bridgman was the living witness of the success of his later work.

She was often summoned to “Green Peace” to see foreigners of
distinction, as well as to make familiar visits to the household. When I
can first remember her she was a young woman in the early twenties. Her
education had then been completed, but she was allowed to remain at the
school, the true home of her spirit. Here every one could talk her
finger language.

In appearance Laura was exquisitely neat. Her brown hair was brushed
perfectly smooth and braided in a coil at the nape of the neck, thus
showing to advantage her shapely head. She had good features and was
comely, save for the heavy white scars at her throat made by the
disease—scarlet fever—which had deprived her of her senses. Green shades
covered the sightless eyes.

When sister Julia and I were very young we were naughty enough to tease
Laura. One of us would lead her to a chair in which the other was
already seated. When she attempted to sit in it she found the place
occupied. Another silly joke was to pound with our feet and make such a
racket that Laura, feeling the vibrations through the floor, would ask
us to stop. Knowing that she was totally deaf, this seemed to us very
amusing. My father’s step she knew at once. I have seen him tiptoe
softly into the room where she was seated. She, not to be deceived,
sprang up and followed him about the room, he walking always with the
same light step and laughingly eluding her. Musical vibrations gave her
real pleasure. In later years she was delighted with the present of a
music-box to which she “listened” by placing her feet upon it!

We early learned to talk with Laura. She used the single-handed
alphabet, making each letter very carefully for those who had not
learned to understand her rapidly. As soon as you recognized the letter
you tapped her hand gently as a sign for her to give the next one. When
answering, you formed the letters in the hollow of her hand, which
partly closed over your fingers while she quickly grasped your meaning.
Conversation was carried on rapidly with those accustomed to talk with
her. She was in the habit of speaking certain words and making some
abbreviations, thus saving time. By feeling of the lips and throat of
her interlocutor she had learned to articulate certain sounds. If you
asked her to rehearse her little vocabulary, she would first spell the
word on her fingers and then pronounce it. “Doc—Doc” was the
abbreviation for her beloved “Doctor,” as my father was universally
called at the institutions under his charge. She had nearly sixty sounds
for persons.[6] My father regretted later that he had not taught Laura
to speak. He was one of the earliest advocates in America of teaching
articulation to deaf-mutes. One of his battles royal was with the
authorities at Hartford, who were much opposed to this system, now the
universally accepted one. I remember the visit of a German deaf-mute to
my father when I was a child. He arranged that our cook, who was of the
same nationality, should have a little talk with the man. When informed
afterward that he was deaf she refused to believe it!

Footnote 6:

  See Dr. Francis Lieber’s account of Laura Bridgman’s vocal sounds
  printed by the Smithsonian Institution in Vol. II of the _Smithsonian
  Contributions to Knowledge_.


------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                  VII

                      YOUNG AMERICA GOES TO SCHOOL

_Our Schools and Teachers.—The South Boston Omnibus.—A Grand School
    Sleigh-ride.—Memories of the Adams Family.—A Picnic on the State
    House Steps._


OUR earliest school-days have been already described. I can first
remember the dignity of traveling as _dames seules_ in an omnibus, in
connection with the Stevenson School. In those primitive days Boston was
a small city and the foreign population was not large. It was therefore
considered quite safe for us to go from South Boston to our school in
Hancock Street in the omnibus. This vehicle was a patriarchal affair,
going on wheels the greater part of the year. They were changed for
runners when snow lay on the ground. In my childhood this was never
cleared away from the streets of Boston, the use of sleighs being
universal. Unfortunately, the heavy teams soon made the surface of the
snow extremely uneven so that you rose on a hillock at one moment and
descended at the next into a valley called a “cradle-hole.” This was bad
enough in an open vehicle—but in the closed sleighs of the period,
booby-hacks or booby-huts as they were called, the motion was so violent
as to make people seasick.

The snow-storms were terrific. Mountains of snow lined the thoroughfares
and hid the sidewalks from our infant view. The omnibus seemed to be
progressing to its destiny between lofty Alps. Fortunately, the
designers of these vehicles realized that amusement would be necessary,
to beguile the way. Above each window was a picture (?) to be studied
and admired. The glass in the door bore the legend, “htuos notsob,” the
meaning of which was for some time a mystery to us. Then there was the
funny little lamp which used camphene, I suspect—a dangerous fluid
eschewed by careful people.

As the omnibus went at infrequent intervals, we often made the trip in
company with the same persons. We maintained, however, a proper maidenly
reserve, entering into no conversation with our fellow-travelers. On one
point their views differed from ours. Having paid three cents apiece
(half-fare) for our seats, we felt it in accordance with our dignity to
retain them under all circumstances. When the omnibus was full we would
be invited to sit on some gentleman’s knee, thus making room for another
lady. My firm refusal to do this led to my being called “Young America”
by unappreciative fellow-passengers.

The seat next to the door was very pleasant, as it commanded a fine view
to the rear. While occupying this agreeable post of vantage one day I
incautiously put my forefinger in the crack of the door. The driver
pulled the latter to with a bang, causing me sharp pain. Julia and I
were alone in the omnibus, except for one stolid young woman who did
nothing to comfort the weeping and frightened children. Fortunately we
were near home. Alas! Papa, the good surgeon, was out. Mamma, who could
not bear the sight of blood, would not look at the crushed finger, but
instantly ordered the carriage and took me to see Dr. William Bigelow.
He pronounced, to our great relief, that no bones were broken. The
finger has never quite recovered its original shape. My mother was much
worried at the moment, but made merry over the accident a little later
in _The Listener_.[7]

Footnote 7:

  See Chapter IV.

The school of the Misses Stevenson was just opposite the reservoir and a
stone’s throw from the State House. The last named had not then received
the additions which have doubtless increased its usefulness, but
detracted from its beauty. It stood simple and majestic, a fitting crown
to dear old Beacon Hill. No odious apartment-house then lifted a
commercial head above it, dwarfing the height of the beautiful dome. The
old Hancock house still stood near by. It had not yet made way for the
mansion of the gentleman whose ambition was to have the handsomest house
in Boston and the finest tomb in Mount Auburn. Alas for human ambition!
I fancy that few people now remember either this man, his dwelling, or
his tomb.

We children loved to play on the granite steps and balustrades of the
State House, also to climb to the dome when permitted. A selfish and
obstructionist legislature allowed no one to go there while the General
Court was in session, asserting that the noise disturbed them.

In _The Listener_ we find many mentions of the Stevenson School.
Prominent among our diversions was the holding of fairs.

I regret to say that these would seem to have been purely commercial
transactions, if we may judge by the “advertisement” in _The Listener_.
As it appeared _after_ the fair, it was a little different from an
ordinary modern advertisement.


    Every lady who helped to sell things, got 43 cents, and if the
    fair should be held next year, we advise all who do not wish to
    trouble their papas for pocket money to take a table at the
    fair.

We note, however, that the young ladies are advised to remember the poor
and forget the candy-shop, “as there are a great many little girls who
want bread this hard winter.”

The articles sold were, to a great extent, contributed by our
long-suffering elders. “The head of John the Baptist on a charger” was
furnished, however, by one of the school-girls. The head of a small
china doll was displayed on a tiny plate, adorned with vermilion paint!

The following _Listener_ editorial, from my mother’s pen, tells of an
excursion to Fresh Pond and of her falling down. She never learned to be
thoroughly at home on ice, like her own ducklings:


    _The Listener_

                                               _January 11th, 1855_.

                             EDITOR’S TABLE

    We do not know that the week just past had in it any event more
    important than the great Stevenson and Howe sleigh-ride, which
    took place on Monday last—the Stevenson school sleigh-ride, in
    the great Howe sleigh. The young ladies looked and behaved their
    very best. Miss Loring’s bonnet and yellow ribbons were
    remarkably becoming—shouldn’t wonder if other Judges than Judge
    Loring thought “our Gal” very good looking. Arrived at the pond,
    sliding became the order of the day. Misses Kate Selfridge and
    Susie Sargent were last seen with Mrs. Howe between them, like
    two little steam-tugs towing out a seventy-four. The 74 went
    down (on the ice) and the tugs scattered. Mr. Henry Marion
    (Bunker) Howe distinguished himself by a bump on the head, Mr.
    Bradford went about like a dear old Puss in Boots. After a good
    deal of slip-sliding, the party adjourned to the Hotel, where
    hot lemonade was demanded, drunk, and paid for, the young ladies
    supplying the spirits. The ride home was chiefly remarkable for
    the hearty cheering of sleighs and dirt-carts and hissing of
    toll-gate men.

Among our friends and playmates was Mary Adams, the youngest daughter of
Charles Francis Adams, Sr. The town residence of the family was in Mount
Vernon Street, only a stone’s-throw from the State House. It was a
simple brick structure, of the fashion then prevailing. That early style
of architecture gave an air of solidity and dignity not always found in
the more ornate fashions of to-day. The Adams house was built in the
English-basement style, the pleasant dining-room looking out upon Mount
Vernon Street. Like the neighboring residences, it stood some twenty or
thirty feet back from the sidewalk, a paved court leading up to the door
and giving the abode a certain air of privacy and retirement. Spacious
parlors ran across the entire front of the second story, the building
being a wide one. At the rear, a ball-room had been built on, and I
remember a delightful children’s party there. To say that we played at
“pillows and keys” with John Quincy Adams and Charles Francis Adams,
Jr., has a historic, almost a presidential sound.

At supper there was a ring in the cake, an essential feature of these
juvenile entertainments. We drew lots out of a silk hat, and the prize
fell to my share. As the slips were not folded up, “Ring,” written on
one larger than the rest, was plainly discernible to my youthful eyes.
The recording angel suggests in mitigation that greater care should have
been taken to disguise that royal slip!

In the Adams’ nursery we had many merry times with our paper dolls and
other toys. The favorite doll in that day was “Jenny Lind,” with changes
of dress showing all the operatic rôles in which the famous prima donna
had appeared.

I fear these recollections of mine will seem strange to those people who
have heard that Boston society was opposed to theater-going in the
’Fifties and ’Sixties. There was, in some families, a disapproval of the
theater, and certain of our young friends were not allowed to go to the
play—save at the Boston Museum. This was considered a family place of
resort, and many persons came to see performances there who would not
have thought it right to go to a regular theater. The children liked to
arrive early and to examine all the curiosities including the wax-works,
which were terrible, yet fascinating. It seems strange now to think that
a group representing the murder of a well-known Bostonian should have
been exhibited here.

Boston people then dined at half past two o’clock, on the return of the
children from school, business men coming home across the Common for the
meal, and going back to their offices afterward. The dinner hour at the
Adams’ was a little later, three o’clock, and this seemed in keeping
with a certain stateliness that characterized the family, as well as
great cordiality and hospitality. I remember that there was a profusion
of silver plate, and all the appointments were handsome. A closed buffet
with glass doors and glass shelves seemed to me especially elegant. Mr.
Adams sat at the head of the table and carved, as the heads of families
did at that time. I remember him as a quiet and dignified gentleman, yet
kindly rather than stern. Doubtless we youngsters were impelled to
behave well in his presence, yet I do not remember being afraid of him,
as we should have been of an unkind or tyrannical man.

How quiet and primitive was the dear old Boston of that day! As girls of
eight and ten years we loved to romp and play on the Common, tumbling
about on the grass and having little feasts of strawberries in the small
thimble-shaped baskets wherein those delectable berries were then sold.
How delightful it would be, some of us thought, to have a real picnic on
the State House steps!

The supplies having been secured from our respective homes, we met on
the steps of Massachusetts’ Capitol, but, alas! unwelcome guests came
too. Various boys of our acquaintance, led by Brooks Adams, the youngest
of the family, appeared upon the scene, and we reluctantly beat a
retreat, the boys forming a skirmish-line and hovering around us and our
provisions. After this feat of daring we were never allowed to have
picnics again within the city limits.

When summer came, the Adamses removed to the old family mansion in
Quincy, and here, too, sister Julia and I had the pleasure of visiting
them. I am afraid we did not think much about the presidential memories
connected with the house, which was certainly a delightful one. On the
second floor was a spacious drawing-room, only opened, I think, for
state occasions. It was furnished in yellow damask, and I have a dim
memory of family portraits as we sported about among the cushions.

Evidently the sturdy spirit of the old Adamses was not wanting to their
descendants, and with Master Brooks we had some conflicts (he was seven
or eight at this time). Perhaps we, being so many girls, in some way
infringed upon his rights.

The older sons of the house, John Quincy and Charles Francis, Jr., were
at this time students at Harvard College, or had recently graduated
there-from. They were genial, witty and delightful, and showed great
kindness to their little sister and her friends. Of course we were only
too well pleased to listen to the conversation of such clever and
agreeable young men, though too youthful to have developed much feminine
coquetry. Yet it was a salve to our pride that we were considered old
enough to be worthy any notice from such brilliant people. Master Brooks
did not appreciate us as his elder brothers did.

“Green Peace” was not more than eight miles distant from Quincy. My
father was extremely fond of riding on horseback and often took us with
him. The younger generation of the Adamses were also fond of this
exercise, hence we used occasionally to join forces and pace through the
lovely country lanes together. By this time I had attained to the
dignity of semi-young-ladyhood. An untoward event attended our return
from one of these expeditions. As our hospitable hosts detained us to
“high tea,” it was dark when we went to the gate to remount our horses,
and one of the young gentlemen, in putting me on my palfrey, landed me
on the horse’s neck. When this disaster was discovered every one laughed
heartily, while I crawled back into the proper position, feeling my
youthful dignity somewhat diminished.

My father, who was active in the councils of the Republican party and
who was a friend of Charles Francis Adams, once called to see him about
some matter connected with his approaching election to Congress, if I
remember aright. We were received in the wonderful mahogany room. The
existence of this was not known until recent times, when some workmen
accidentally discovered beneath the plaster a wall of solid mahogany
reaching from floor to ceiling. The plaster was removed and the mahogany
paneled and varnished, thus making a beautiful and unusual interior.

Mrs. Charles Francis Adams was a fine-looking woman whose bright black
eyes bespoke keenness of mind as well as geniality and vivacity of
temperament. At the time of which I speak, her hair was jet black and
worn in the smooth bandeaux then fashionable. Both in appearance and in
disposition she formed a contrast with her distinguished husband, who
was already bald and gray, with blue eyes.

Brother Harry and sister Laura went at this time to a school kept by
Miss Susan Hale, a sister of Edward Everett Hale. Harry had been from
his tenderest years an extremely mischievous child. If Miss Hale
punished him by putting him in the closet, some damage to the clothing
hanging there was sure to result. Laura was a very good and amiable
little girl, and conscientious as well.

Nevertheless, when she was about five years old a curious indisposition
was wont to attack her as the time approached for starting for school.
With the brutal penetration of the older sister, I saw that this was
only “shamming.” But the elders were more lenient. The child perhaps
might not feel well, so she was allowed to remain at home. As soon as
the rest of us had departed she recovered her health with surprising
promptness!

In extenuation of this little piece of innocent deception it should be
said that she was rather a delicate child.

She, as well as Julia, developed a literary turn of mind very early.
When only five years old she delighted the rest of us by reciting “Annie
of Lochroyan” and other ballads from _Thalatta_, a book of which we were
all fond. A little later, when she went to the school kept by Mr. Henry
Williams, he called her in to read before the older girls, for the
instruction of the latter. Dear, good man, he did not realize the
naughtiness of girls. They made the child’s life miserable by teasing
her after this event.

I have already mentioned some of our foreign teachers. Among these was a
German, Dr. D——, who had ten children and, as I think, no servant. Yet
he told us that he never wanted to dine out, as his wife was such a good
cook. This seemed to me a little hard on that good woman. He had the
habit of learning, before breakfast, one hundred words of some foreign
language! Evidently he was a man of attainments but not of scientific
accuracy.

One could pardon, as a poetic flight of fancy, his statement that the
mastodon—or some other extinct beast—was as large as the Institution for
the Blind. But when it came to the price of cows, that was another
matter. He made a misstatement on this subject to the blind boys, some
of whom were country lads, and thus lost their confidence. Possibly they
were unjust, for the learned professor might have confused German and
American prices!


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                                  VIII

                           THE AGASSIZ SCHOOL

_Professor and Mrs. Louis Agassiz.—Prof. Alexander Agassiz.—Papanti’s
    Dancing-school.—I Invent Fancy Dances.—We Swim, Skate, and Ride on
    Horseback.—Boston’s Purple-glass Windows._


AMONG the pleasant friends who came to “Green Peace” were Professor and
Mrs. Louis Agassiz. Thus it naturally happened that I was sent to the
Agassiz School. The journey from South Boston to Cambridge took so long,
in those days, that I gave it up after three months’ trial. As I was
then only twelve years of age, I did not fully appreciate the advantages
offered by the school—advantages of which girls from distant parts of
the United States were very glad to avail themselves. The special
feature of the school, however, even the youngest pupils were old enough
to enjoy. Who could help enjoying the closing hour of the day when the
scholars assembled in the big class-room to listen to a delightful talk
from the lips of the great naturalist himself? As he stood before the
great blackboard, now drawing figures, now explaining to us the
development of the little animals whose growth forms the coral reefs,
the movement of the glaciers, or the reason of the gradual recession of
Niagara Falls, we sat listening to his words with eager interest. He
adapted himself to our youthful comprehension with the utmost ease—or,
if there was any effort made, it was not an apparent one.

A great charm of these talks was that in them the professor brought us
the fresh fruits of his own experience. He had personally investigated
the glaciers before coming to America. The theory that they had once
covered the earth originated with him, if I remember aright. He had also
visited the coral reefs. I have understood from Prof. Alexander Agassiz
that his father’s views about these were not fully accepted by later
scientists. To the lay mind it would appear that Science is almost as
fickle as Fashion!

Of Darwinism Professor Agassiz was a vigorous opponent. The new doctrine
seemed to him irreconcilable with the idea of a divine Providence, and
would, he feared, destroy the faith of mankind. Professor Agassiz and
Professor Asa Gray found themselves diametrically opposed on this
question. There is a legend of a lively meeting between them in
Cambridge, where words almost led to blows!

An account of the Agassiz School would be incomplete if it did not
mention the Agassiz omnibus, a white, high-stepped vehicle which took
its winding way through the thoroughfares of old-fashioned Boston,
calling for the girls at streets and places which have now vanished into
the past like the old ’bus itself, or, if they exist at all, exist only
as soulless business streets, with great granite blocks of shops
replacing the dear old houses shaded by lofty trees.

The purple-glass windows which they had inherited from an earlier
generation (some are still to be seen on Beacon Hill) furnished
indisputable proof of the wonderful virtue of early Boston boys, or of
the extreme watchfulness of Puritan parents.

While there were some very studious girls, about whose profound learning
wonderful stories were whispered, who patronized the Agassiz omnibus,
there were also fashionable and rather frivolous young ladies among our
number—who danced at balls and parties in the evening and as a natural
consequence came to school very tired in the morning. Human nature in
mid-Victorian days was very much as it is now. One sad memory is
indissolubly connected with the Agassiz omnibus. It relates to the hats
I wore—and to those which, had fate permitted, I should have liked to
wear. The views of my dear mother on the subject of headgear differed
from those of her neighbors. In Boston the sumptuary laws of this period
prescribed that your hat should be as nearly as possible the exact ditto
of that worn by every other woman and girl in the town. During this
particular spring white-straw bonnets, trimmed with green ribbon outside
and pink ribbon inside, were the regulation wear. Now blue was my color,
and my bonnet was garnished with a ribbon of bluish gray tint, more
becoming to me than the universal pink. I was prepared to accept this
variation from type, the bonnet being pretty in itself. But, alas! this
was not the worst. Our mother also had an idea that round hats were more
suitable for school-girls than bonnets. Accordingly, I was provided with
a brown straw shade-hat, the brim of which seemed huge to my excited
imagination. It was expected that I should wear this to school,
reserving the bonnet for best.

I adopted the desperate expedient of wearing my winter bonnet out of the
proper season. Oh, how I scrutinized the girls, as they entered the
omnibus, to see how many still wore their winter bonnets! Several
obligingly did so, but their number became daily less. At last I was
driven from the burrow—or trench—of that velvet bonnet and obliged to
come out into the open. A few times I tremblingly wore the huge round
hat—the only one in the stage. Once or twice I took refuge in the
Cambridge street-cars—but here lurked the danger of Harvard students
with their critical eyes. At last I boldly put on the Sunday blue
bonnet. What if it did fade and wither from too frequent exposure? At
least I should be saved from wearing the despised round hat!

Even then, however, there were exceptions to this sumptuary law,
practised in Cambridge itself, had I only known it.

It was perhaps in this very year, 1858, that Charles Francis Adams, Jr.,
then a student at Harvard, drew upon himself a remonstrance from his
fellows on account of his headgear, to which he made the following
reply:

_“An Adams can wear any sort of hat he wishes.”_

His fellow-student, my brother-in-law, related this story to me many
years afterward, in a grieved spirit. I assured, him that Charles
Francis Adams, Jr., was right. Certain families of the Hub possessed at
that date a prescriptive right to dress as they pleased, every one
knowing who they were.

Young Mr. Adams, far from showing conceit, was simply illumining the way
for us all in the direction of personal independence.

The Agassiz School was held in the professor’s own pleasant house on
Quincy Street, Cambridge, very near Harvard College. Probably the older
girls were conscious of this fact, but I was too young to bear it much
in mind. The students whom I met occasionally in the street seemed to me
great and august beings. Time, however, brings its revenges. In later
life, when my sons were undergraduates, I had occasion to revisit
Cambridge. The students no longer inspired me with awe; whether they
were afraid of me or not I cannot say.

In his charming wife Professor Agassiz had a most efficient helpmeet who
entered into all his plans and followed his work with loving zeal and
intelligence. Mrs. Agassiz, who survived her husband for many years, was
a very charming woman. She had a noble and whole-souled nature, which
one fancied was contagious, for the moment at least. I think it would
have been impossible to do a mean thing while in her company.

In the days of the Agassiz School she was still a young woman, and we
all felt that she was the presiding genius of the establishment as she
flitted from room to room in her pretty, trim morning dress and cap with
its fresh flowing ribbons, which seemed to correspond so well with the
sweetness and freshness of her disposition. She heard the lessons of the
younger pupils, but I am sure that she exercised a sweet and wholesome
influence over all the scholars, old and young.

Prof. Alexander Agassiz taught in his father’s school. I remember him in
those days as a handsome, rather melancholy-looking young man who was
suspected of being afraid of the biggest girls. Not long afterward he
married one of them, Miss Anna Russell, daughter of my father’s old
chum, George Russell. Prof. Alexander Agassiz was much more reserved and
grave than his father, whose genial temperament was full of warmth and
sunshine. Occasionally he also gave us a lecture.

During many years of his life, Louis Agassiz worked through a great part
of the night, sleeping very late in the morning. It is said that one
Sunday morning Mrs. Agassiz, while dressing for church, suddenly called
out, “Agassiz! there is a snake in my boot!” To which the Professor
drowsily replied, “I wonder where the others are!”

I remember a lecture where he showed us an orange to represent a
sea-urchin. With a sudden movement he opened the fruit, which we then
saw had been cut, into the form of a starfish, thus showing the
relationship between the two types of creatures, and the audience burst
into applause.

In 1859 our parents made a visit to the West Indies which our mother
described in _A Trip to Cuba_. We children stayed with various relatives
and friends, Mrs. Charles H. Dorr, at that time living in Jamaica Plain,
hospitably receiving me. I thus came to know the young girls living in
that pleasant suburb, and to attend the school of Miss Lucia M. Peabody.
The double attraction was so strong that I was willing to take the trip
of some six miles daily, for more than three years, walking from South
Boston to the Jamaica Plain horse-car in Boston.

Miss Peabody not only loved study herself, but made it attractive to
others. She was an excellent teacher, to whom I owe much gratitude.

If it had not been for Charlotte Bowditch, I should have been the first
scholar in arithmetic. But Charlotte, who was a granddaughter or
great-niece of the famous navigator, was hopelessly ahead of us all.
This was an excellent thing for my vanity.

Among my school memories is that of a very extraordinary dictionary
belonging to one of my friends. The learned German—he must have been a
German—who compiled it had evidently been imposed upon by some wag. Thus
the synonyms for “to die” were given as “to kick the bucket,” “to hop
the twig,” “to go to Davy Jones’s locker.” I do not think the book was
vicious, but it abounded in slang. Perhaps it was prepared for the use
of sailors in foreign ports!

Our physical culture began early. We learned to swim without especial
instruction, each one of us following out his or her own ideas, brother
Harry keeping his head under water, sister Julia paddling dog-fashion, I
swimming on my back.

We learned to ride very young, beginning with José, a little Spanish
donkey presented to us by Albert Sumner, a brother of Charles. He had
been for some years the mount of Mr. Sumner’s daughter Kate, and was an
animal of high character. In his letter of introduction Mr. Sumner duly
sets forth José’s many excellent traits, mentioning also that as he came
from Barbary he must be a pure Barb! He was a gentle animal, but
possessed of the amiable determination characteristic of his species. He
never bit, kicked, nor scratched, but he was a person of dignity and his
movements were marked by great deliberation. The only way in which we
could coax him out of a walk was to run before him, holding out a piece
of bread. This soon became fatiguing to the advance courier.

When we had a children’s party, he was brought out for the entertainment
of the visitors. José did not like to have strange children on his back,
and could tell at once when the reins were in the hands of an
inexperienced rider. In this case he would turn toward the fence,
putting his head and forefeet under the lowest board. He thus obliged
the child either to dismount or to come in contact with the fence.
Sometimes he would vary the proceedings by running to the barn.

Indeed, running away was one of José’s accomplishments, so inconsistent
is donkey nature. The fences at South Boston were from time to time
adorned with little posters bearing the legend: “Lost—a small brown
donkey. The finder will please return him,” etc.

Once my brother Harry, who was perhaps eight years of age, received an
official letter beginning, “Sir, your ass is in the pound.”

José was from time to time the shrine of a singular pilgrimage. A group
of people, bearing a child sick with whooping-cough, would arrive at
“Green Peace” and ask to interview our donkey. The parents took their
station, one on each side of José, and passed the child to each other
three times over and under the animal. In order to make the cure
complete, a piece of bread was put in the donkey’s mouth and then given
to the child. The superstition rests on the theory that the donkey is a
sacred animal, since Christ once rode on him; witness the cross upon his
back.

We owned for a time another donkey—Billy—who possessed a most unamiable
disposition. He was not our friend and companion like José, and we did
not ride on his back. He formed part of a donkey tandem which we drove
at Newport, our uncle Sam having given us a delightful pony-carriage and
harness. When we went abroad in this little conveyance a dreadful danger
lurked by the wayside, for the Andersons’ donkey lived in a field
bordering on the road over which we were obliged to pass. Like the evil
spirit in the story of the _Three Goats Brausewind_, he accosted us in a
very rude way. José and Billy were evidently moved by the appeal of
their fellow-donkey, and we were greatly troubled in mind. For a tandem,
as every one knows, is a most difficult team to drive, even when
undisturbed by asinine conversation.

My father trained us all to ride first with a leading-rein, afterward
alone. By his side we rode many miles about the country. With Cora, our
pretty but imperfectly broken colt, I had some terrifying moments. We
were in the habit of going out tête-à-tête, she and I, and all would go
well until we met an ice-wagon, or crossed a certain railroad bridge.
Then she would shy and run, but fortunately I did not fall off.

Lorenzo Papanti, his dancing-classes and his hall, were among the
institutions of old Boston. It was said that this accomplished veteran
had instructed three generations of Bostonians in the art of dancing. He
was by no means young when I first remember him, although his dark wig
doubtless made him look older than he really was; his blue-gray eyes
would have appeared less fishlike, his complexion less red and mottled,
had he appeared before us without this adornment. For a man with a bald
head to teach dancing might, it is true, seem incongruous. He was always
in evening dress, dignified and graceful in his movements, as became one
of his profession. Age had no power to wither him. He bore a strong
resemblance to William Warren, the noted actor. When I saw portraits of
the latter on cigar-boxes labeled “Boston’s favorite,” I supposed they
were likenesses of Papanti.

In these days of division of labor it seems wonderful to remember that
he had no assistant. He taught us to dance, playing at the same time on
his fiddle. He kept us in good order, routing the truants out of the
dressing-rooms if we stayed there too long to play and talk. He had the
Italian genius for governing, inherited, doubtless, from the ancient
Romans.

When Mr. Papanti sounded a preliminary flourish on his fiddle and asked
us to take partners for the quadrille or the lancers, the boys did not
rush joyously forward, as might have been expected. Our master was often
obliged to lead them out in a long, reluctant line, dragging back as
much as they dared. With some twenty or thirty boys in tow, he would
approach the girls, who were not very encouraging. It was pleasanter to
dance with your girl friends than with strange boys who had little to
say. A certain Master J—— once ejaculated, “My stars!” in talking to his
partner. We considered this very bad form. There were one or two little
boys of greater conversational powers whom we admired.

Mr. Papanti duly instructed the elect of the class in the gavotte. It
was a proud moment when you were chosen to take part in this. The
“shawl” dance was even more select. The single couple—a brother and
sister—who danced this had reached the height of human ambition at
Papanti’s.

The hall had a delightful spring floor, the like of which I have never
beheld. It yielded beneath your feet like a live thing!

When we were children dancing was one of our home pleasures. Our mother,
who had an endless store of operatic airs in her memory, would sit down
at the grand piano at the children’s hour. As her nimble fingers struck
the keys away we all went, each doing a _pas seul_ of some sort.

To sister Julia belongs the credit of inventing the “frog” minuet. This
is only suitable for very young children. You go down on your hands and
knees, then you lift first the right arm and knee, after that the left,
all in time to the music. The movement is rather slow.

My mother’s passionate fondness for music and love of dancing in her
youth have been mentioned elsewhere. Small wonder that these dramatic
airs, as she played them, stirred the little daughter to whom dancing
was the natural mode of expression. My performances were no doubt
admired by the family much more than they deserved. As we were still
lingering in a certain degree of Puritanism, the invention of fancy
dances was then rare.

Among those which I “originated” were dances for the four seasons, and
the dagger dance—usually performed with a silver fruit-knife—of Lady
Macbeth. Intimate friends of the family were allowed to witness these.
Alas! I once cast the dagger from me with so noble a passion that it
narrowly missed one of the guests. After that greater reserve was
necessary.

Our mother was quick to recognize and to praise any little manifestation
of talent or originality on our part. She did not look with an entirely
favorable eye upon our competitors. Thus neither she nor I wholly
approved of the performance of a little girl who danced the cachucha,
with castanets, at a party in Providence. In the daytime the child was
not as pretty as by gaslight. I suspect that she was freckled. However,
she did not again cross my orbit.

In West Roxbury lived another young girl who danced, Miss Emily Russell,
a daughter of Mr. George Russell. Her performances were more ambitious
than mine, being conducted on the footboard of a bedstead. Friends were
invited to see these, one lady appearing in diamonds and a corn-colored
barège. The costume aroused some criticism. I have already intimated
that in old Boston it was necessary to dress with discretion.

My father taught us to skate first with one foot, thereby avoiding some
tumbles. There was a great revival of skating shortly before the Civil
War. Jamaica Pond was in high favor, the cars going there being jammed
with people. Father revived his skating, as did many older people, a
certain general arousing unfavorable comment by appearing on double
runners—_i.e._, skates with two blades.

To me the exercise was even more delightful than riding on horseback. I
still dream of flying along on skates in the most wonderful manner.


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                                   IX

                   EDWIN BOOTH AND CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN

_Why They Did Not Act My Mother’s Play, “Hippolytus.”—A Bundle of Old
    Playbills.—Letters from Edwin and Mary Booth.—Mrs. Frances Ann
    Kemble.—Statue of Horace Mann.—My Father Introduces Written
    Examinations into the Public Schools, amid Angry Protests from the
    Masters._


WE usually accepted the appearance of distinguished visitors at “Green
Peace” in a spirit of philosophic calm. Young people are little moved by
what does not directly concern them.

Great was our excitement and delight, however, when Edwin Booth called
on my mother. We did not then know how it happened that our house should
receive such a delightful visitation. The explanation, however, was very
simple. Our mother, who had already had a play presented on the stage,
was asked by Mr. Booth’s manager to write one for him. Hence he came to
see her, accompanied by his intimate friend with whom she also was
acquainted, Walter Brackett, the artist.

She was very liberal in allowing us to see visitors, but evidently it
was not desirable to permit school-girls of a tender and impressionable
age to make the acquaintance of a young and very handsome actor. The
visit took place in the room with the Gobelin carpet, thus enabling
Julia and Florence to get fleeting glimpses of the great man from the
adjoining conservatory. We never knew whether he heard us rustling about
among the plants, but it is highly probable that he did. It was
aggravating to get only furtive glimpses of him through the glass, yet
we had a fair opportunity to see the young actor.

He had not yet lost the bright color in his cheeks. His purple-black
hair was at that time short, curling close to his head. “Short,”
however, did not then mean close-cropped, as in the present day.

After the departure of the visitors I seized upon the chair in which
Edwin Booth had sat and marked the seat (underneath) with a “B,” worked
in silver thread. It will be guessed that we had already seen him upon
the stage and worshiped him from afar. There were young women bold and
foolish enough to write to this object of their adoration. He disliked
very much to be thus admired by silly and sentimental girls. Our
respectful homage was of a very different sort. We considered him a
species of superman, as may be judged from the incident of the chair.

When I branded the chair for eternal fame, I little dreamed that our
hero would revisit us, and that we should have a chance to speak to him,
if we dared, a year or two later. We were no longer obliged to lurk in
the conservatory, for Booth was now a benedict, and brought his lovely
wife to “Green Peace.”

When I first saw him on the stage this lady—then Miss Mary Devlin—took
the principal woman’s part. The play was “The Iron Chest,” a tale of
secret guilt. The mystery of a murder, the guilty man’s remorse and fear
of discovery, form a tragic theme which always interests the human mind.

The opening scene is dramatic. An old servant incautiously narrates to
the new private secretary the story of his master’s trial and acquittal.
In the midst of it they are interrupted by a voice calling from behind
the scenes, “Adam Winterton, Adam Winterton, come hither to me!” With
what telling effect the great actor pronounced these his first words in
the drama may be guessed by those who remember Edwin Booth. The sadness
in that wonderful voice struck the key-note of the tragedy. The end of
the play savors of melodrama. On the discovery of his guilt, Sir Edward
Mortimer falls upon the stage and dies to slow music, as his lady-love
rushes in and supports his head. I fancy the play would not be
tolerated, except by a Bowery audience, in these days, but with Booth in
the principal rôle it was a favorite in the middle of the nineteenth
century.

Mary Devlin became engaged to be married to him soon afterward, and left
the stage. This was a real loss to theater-goers, for the actresses who
succeeded her in the principal rôles were by no means so satisfactory.
It outraged our youthful ideals of fitness to have Mrs. E. L. Davenport
take such parts as Katharine in the “Taming of the Shrew,” or Ophelia.
She was middle-aged, thin and not beautiful. Hence, no matter how good
her acting, she did not please critical school-girls. Losing Mrs. Booth
from the stage brought us compensation, however, since we soon had the
pleasure of seeing both “the great B and the little B,” as my mother
playfully called them, in private life.

It should here be said that the latter had earned the lasting gratitude
of the great actor by her generous tribute of praise, bestowed at a
moment when he was hurt and discouraged by harsh criticism. Her poem,
“Hamlet at the Boston,” published in the _Atlantic Monthly_, was a word
spoken in season.

Mary Booth was an exquisite little woman, slender, graceful, with a
charm of manner more winning than that of beauty alone. She and my
mother soon became well acquainted, their pleasant friendship being cut
short by her untimely death, at the age of twenty-five.

Thus Edwin Booth is one of those whom I remember standing beneath
Byron’s helmet at “Green Peace.” His manners were perfectly simple and
natural. I suspect that he was a little shy in private life. He once
told us that when called before the curtain between the acts or after
the play he suffered from stage fright. I do not think this is
surprising. During the performance of the play the actor loses himself
in his part—he is no longer Edwin Booth, but Hamlet. When he is called
before the curtain, however, his position is a curious one. He is
wearing the trappings and the suits of woe of the Prince of Denmark; yet
he must bow, and perhaps make a speech, as Edwin Booth. If we had a
higher appreciation of dramatic values we should not call an actor
before the curtain. Where this is done, in the course of the play, it
breaks the continuity of the impression and summons us from our dream to
the prose of daily life.

Negotiations were now under way for the performance of my mother’s play,
“Hippolytus,” with a cast including Edwin Booth and Charlotte Cushman.
This was the drama which she had written for him some years before. Mr.
Booth and Miss Cushman agreed to take part in the play; the manager of
the Howard Athenæum, Mr. E. L. Davenport, agreed to put it on the stage.
Alas! his wife, the actress of whom I have already spoken, did not like
the part assigned to her; other reasons, more or less valid, were
brought forward by the manager, and the matter was dropped, to my
mother’s great disappointment. The question of its production was again
brought up, long after Edwin Booth’s death and toward the end of my
mother’s life. If she had lived a little longer she might have seen it
appreciatively given in Boston by Margaret Anglin and a good company.
Edwin Booth’s opinion of the play is given in the following letter:


                                       BALTIMORE, _Aug. 26th, 1858_.

    MY DEAR MADAM,—“Hippolytus” arrived safely a day or two since,
    and I have read it once. Being troubled with a bilious attack, I
    have not been able to give it a very careful reading, but am
    satisfied, even from my hasty perusal of it, that I shall like
    it infinitely. Mr. Barry promises to _get it up_ in superior
    style, and, believe me, I shall use my best endeavors to do
    justice, as far as the _acting_ goes, to the youthful hero; the
    _make-up_ to accord with Phedra’s description I fear is beyond
    my art. It needs very little, if any, curtailing or alteration,
    but ’twere best to submit to Mr. Barry’s judgment, having a
    better knowledge of such matters than myself.

    I shall be in Boston in _Oct._ next, my engagement being for
    three weeks. I shall have plenty of time to rehearse and assist
    in _getting up_ the piece to the best advantage.

    My best wishes for its success and your own prosperity, Madam, I
    remain your servant,

                                                        EDWIN BOOTH.

As entertaining was always a delight to my mother, she gave several
Booth parties. It is chronicled that at one of them he spent much of his
time playing with little Maud, then some eight years old. Clearly he did
not enjoy being lionized. I have already intimated that we older girls
regarded him as a species of Olympian god. This attitude of silent
homage must have been trying to a man of his good sense and modesty. Yet
he doubtless was wise enough to make allowance for school-girls’ little
harmless follies.

The most important of these Booth parties was given at No. 13 Chestnut
Street, the house in Boston to which we removed in 1862. Every one
wanted to come to it, all sorts of people, artistic, literary and
fashionable, being anxious to meet Edwin Booth. The party was a great
success, as my mother’s entertainments usually were. I remember that
Mrs. Booth wore a high-necked silk dress of some delicate color. While
we wore _décolleté_ dresses for dances, we did not in those days think
it necessary to wear our shoulders bare on all evening occasions. At her
throat was a brooch composed of a single large opal. Her sudden death, a
few months later, recalled to us sadly the superstition about this stone
which is supposed to portend the early death of the wearer.

Sister Julia went with my mother to the funeral at Mount Auburn. Edwin
Booth was overwhelmed with grief by his wife’s sudden death. He was
acting in New York at the time, and did not reach Boston until all was
over. The sad news was not broken to him by the friends who came to meet
him until he was in the carriage. On learning it his agony was so
intense that they could with difficulty hold him.

I saw him that winter on the Brighton Road, then the gay resort of
rapidly moving sleighs. Some hopeful friend had evidently thought the
scene might divert him from his sorrow. A glance at his face and figure
showed the utter futility of this hope. Such an image of sorrow I have
never seen. His wonderfully expressive features mirrored the grief
within as only such features can, while his long black hair seemed a
fitting frame for the dark, melancholy face as he sat huddled together
in the cutter, his head sunk upon his breast. I doubt whether he saw any
one of that gay throng of people. He saw only one face, invisible to us,
and a grave in Mount Auburn a few miles away.

Fortunately he had good friends and true to help him through this sad
time. Among these were the two poets, R. H. Stoddard and Thomas W.
Parsons. In my collection of Booth relics is a note from the former to
my mother, written soon after the death of Mrs. Booth. Being very
sympathetic by nature, she did not shrink from her friends in time of
sorrow, but strove to comfort them. Mr. Stoddard writes that Booth will
see her, adding, “I think you can do him good and I have told him so.”

Doctor Parsons’ lovely verses give a true picture of Mary Booth’s
exquisite personality.

We saw a good deal of Doctor Parsons at this time. He was a man of the
greatest refinement, absolutely free from self-assertion. He had,
withal, a touch of genius. One day, on looking up from his work, he saw
Edwin Booth standing before him. The poet could but say, “Angels and
ministers of grace defend us!” his friend answering in the same sportive
strain.

Walking in the neighborhood of the old Revere House one day, I saw Edwin
Booth and a friend driving in a buggy. He had doubtless been visiting
the grave of his wife at Mount Auburn. To my surprise and pleasure, he
recognized me by a grave bow. As he had seen us all a number of times,
at the house of our parents, there was really nothing surprising in
this. But, as I have said, we regarded him as a species of superman.

After Mrs. Booth’s death we saw less of the great actor, as she had been
the gracious link that united us all. When he came to spend his summers
at Newport, a score of years later, the old friendship was pleasantly
renewed.

Wilkes Booth I saw several times on the stage in the characters of
Richard the Third, Shylock and Charles Moore in Schiller’s play of the
“Robbers.” He also was handsome, taller and heavier than his brother.

Edwin Booth was filling an engagement in Boston at the time of Lincoln’s
assassination. We had tickets bought before the dreadful news came, for
his matinée on the fatal Saturday of the President’s death. All places
of amusement were of course closed at once. The blow, a stunning one to
the whole country, brought to Edwin Booth the additional shock of his
brother’s terrible deed. It was reported at the time that he had
resolved to quit the stage forever. The actors of the day were much
troubled that a member of their profession should have perpetrated such
a crime. It was said, in their defense, that actors had seldom committed
deeds of violence.

Although Edwin Booth and Charlotte Cushman never acted in “Hippolytus,”
they did appear together in “Macbeth.” He mischievously remarked to us
that he longed to say to Miss Cushman: “Why don’t you kill him? You’re a
great deal bigger than I am.” He did not consider himself heavy enough
for the part of Macbeth. Yet his rendering of it was very impressive.
All the dreadful drama of the murder, the knocking at the outer gate,
the banquet scene where the ghost of Banquo appears, were thrilling to
witness.

Who, indeed, has rendered Shakespeare like Edwin Booth? Sir Henry Irving
could not, in my opinion, be compared with him.

Hamlet was thought his best part—indeed, we said he was the gentle
Prince of Denmark. The gravity of his disposition, “sicklied o’er with
the pale cast of thought,” his natural dignity and the grace of his
movements, all recalled Hamlet. When my mother saw him at the funeral of
his beloved wife she remembered how often she had beheld him, on the
stage, follow Ophelia to the grave.

Shakespeare’s “Richard the Third” was another character in which we
especially liked to see him. He was so handsome, so fascinating, that
the scene with Lady Anne, where he wins her from the very bier of her
murdered husband, did not seem unnatural. The scene in the tent he gave
with tremendous power. After the ghosts of his victims have appeared to
him, one after another, calling down defeat upon his head, he arouses
himself from his uneasy slumber. Still half-asleep, and fighting his way
with his sword, he staggers to the front of the stage, crying out, “Give
me another horse; bind up my wounds!” Kneeling for a moment, his
countenance still distorted, he cries out, “Have mercy, Jesu!” His
movements as he blindly made his way forward, the awful expression of
his face, with eyes rolled upward, made this scene more terrible in its
way than that of his death on Bosworth Field.

Yet this revelation of the true soul of the hump-backed king lasted but
a few moments. Soon he recovers and “Richard is himself again.” (This
phrase must have been added by Colley Cibber, for it is not in
Shakespeare.)

As “honest Iago,” the openness of his countenance somehow conveyed to
the beholder that it was assumed. Only in the final scene did he allow
the true villainy of the character to appear on his face. His Othello
was beautiful and moving. As Cardinal Richelieu he was wonderful,
portraying to the life the little, cunning, powerful, yet on the whole
benevolent old man of Bulwer’s drama. With what telling effect he drew
the magic circle and gave the curse of Rome!

I saw him as Shylock a number of times, the last time shortly before his
retirement from the stage. This impersonation had gained greatly in
power since the early days. The awful look of hatred that, during his
talk with Tubal, he allowed for a moment to play over his face was a
revelation. You caught a glimpse of the race hatred accumulated through
centuries of oppression.

Once when I thoughtlessly spoke of the principles of Christianity to a
Hebrew acquaintance, I was frightened to see something of the same
terrible expression come over his face.

When Booth was a young man he often played in comedy. The rollicking
mischief and fun of his Petruchio and Don Cæsar de Bazan we greatly
enjoyed. He gave an abbreviated version of the “Taming of the Shrew” as
companion piece to “The Iron Chest.”

His acting was of an intellectual and poetic type. It was said that
those who saw Edwin Booth play Romeo to Mary Devlin’s Juliet were not
likely to forget it. They were so young, so beautiful, so identified
with their parts. I should not say that, ordinarily, he excelled in the
lover’s rôle. Charles Fechter, in spite of his very plain face and ugly
figure, could enact the love scenes of Claude Melnotte in “The Lady of
Lyons,” with a power that Edwin Booth lacked. Was it his natural reserve
which made it distasteful and difficult for him to simulate love-making
in public? I think it was. Like Hamlet, he had loved once and deeply.
After that I fancy he took little interest in affairs of the heart. It
is true, he married again, perhaps for companionship. His second wife
did not long survive their marriage.

Tenderness of another kind he could well show forth. The scene in “King
Lear,” where he brings in the dead Cordelia in his arms, hoping she is
still alive, was an exquisite piece of acting.

Among my Booth relics is a bundle of playbills, the earliest dating back
to November 6, 1858. This shows “Miss Mary Devlin” in the principal
feminine rôle, Lady Helen, in “The Iron Chest.” The prices are
astounding. “Parquet, Balcony, and First Tier of Boxes, fifty cents;
Family Circle, twenty-five cents; Amphitheater, fifteen cents. Children
under twelve years of age, half price. Private Boxes, $6.00.”

A young friend to whom I lately showed this list exclaimed, “No wonder
Booth was a hero to the public, when the prices were so low that every
one could afford to go to see him!”

From the collection of Booth letters I have selected two from Mrs. Booth
and one from Mr. Booth himself, which will be found of interest:


    MY DEAR MRS. HOWE,—I deeply regretted my absence from home
    yesterday when you called—but my disappointment was greatly
    soothed by soon after receiving your polite note of invitation
    to visit you on Sunday.

    We will “tea” with you with infinite pleasure, at the hour you
    appoint—most happy, too, of another opportunity of meeting Miss
    Cushman, whose near departure makes her presence doubly dear.

              With great esteem,

                   Yours very sincerely,

                        MARY BOOTH.

    _Wednesday, May 29th._


    MY DEAR MRS. HOWE,—I should only be too delighted to be “stared
    at” this evening at your little party, if I were not expressly
    forbidden by my doctor to go into any excitement; I have been so
    very feeble the past few days; so for once, dear friend,
    pleasure must yield to duty. We will go over, “the Great B” and
    myself, this week to see you. Please dance a “Redowa” for me and
    believe me your disappointed little friend,

                                                         MARY BOOTH.

    _Friday morn, June 28th._

The following letter shows Edwin Booth’s tender care for his little
motherless daughter:


                                                           _Friday_.

    DEAR MRS. HOWE,—To-morrow and Sunday night I am engaged—but
    think I shall remain at home on account of ill-health; to-morrow
    night I start for New York. I am sorry I have been unable to see
    you, but hope to have that pleasure before I leave the city.

    Baby Booth is not with me—I feared the climate and at the last
    moment concluded not to bring her here. I hear from her every
    day. She has grown to be a most splendid child and worships her
    papa. I miss her very much.

    My long winter’s work has completely unnerved me and it is as
    much as I can do to drag through my performances.

    Pray present my compliments to the young ladies and to Dr. Howe
    and accept my thanks for your polite invitation.

    Hoping soon to have an opportunity to call upon you, believe me,

              Very truly,

                   Your servant,

                        EDWIN BOOTH.

Among my early memories of “Green Peace” is a large daguerreotype of
Charlotte Cushman. It was probably lost in one of the many movings of
the Howe family.

When Miss Cushman’s furniture and personal effects were sold at Newport,
many years after her death, a portrait of my mother and one of Elizabeth
Barrett Browning were still hanging in her bedroom! A photograph of the
great actress, taken about the time of the Civil War, I still possess.

My parents were early interested in Charlotte Cushman’s acting, as they
were in that of Edwin Booth, at the beginning of his career. They
invited guests to meet her at “Green Peace,” and asked their friends in
other cities to extend to her social recognition.

In the summer of 1850 they were her fellow-passengers on the voyage to
England. Sister Laura was then an infant. Seeing her gnaw her little
fist, the actress exclaimed that babies were funny things, at the same
time mimicking exactly the child’s action.

Like Sally Battle, Charlotte Cushman believed in the rigor of the game.
She and my mother were engaged one day in a game of whist when a
gentleman was rash enough to talk to the latter and to keep on talking.
Charlotte Cushman bore it as long as she could, then turned to the
offender and said, in her great, deep voice, “Remember, this is whist.”
The hint was sufficient.

Another story we had from my mother was of a certain holiday performance
when the theater was crowded. Miss Cushman was acting with her sister,
the play being, as I think, “Romeo and Juliet.” In the midst of the
tender love-making a small boy called out from the gallery, “Oh, my
stummick!” The sister was nearly convulsed with laughter, when Charlotte
gave her a shake and brought her to herself with the words, “_Remember
where you are_.”

On another occasion, when Miss Cushman came bounding upon the stage as
Meg Merrilies, she trod upon a needle, dropped there by some careless
actress, and had to be helped from the stage in an agony of pain.

She had already grown quite gray when I first remember her, in the Civil
War period. Such a wonderfully expressive face could not be called
altogether homely, although her retreating mouth prevented it from being
handsome. Her teeth were small and insignificant, while the blue of her
eyes contrasted well with the gray hair. She was built on a generous
scale, her figure tall and commanding. As Queen Katherine in “Henry the
Eighth” she was at her best. One of her great points was in the trial
scene. When the insignificant Cardinal Campeius addressed her she turned
to Wolsey, with splendid gesture, looking every inch a queen, as she
gave with noble emphasis the lines, “My lord cardinal, to you I speak.”

In 1915–16 I again saw this play, after an interval of fifty years, with
Sir Beerbohm Tree as the cardinal. Anne Boleyn was graceful and
charming, making one understand as never before how Henry was won from
Katharine. Bluff King Hal was extremely well portrayed. Cardinal Wolsey
was magnificent in his vivid scarlet raiment, the costumes and scenery
all beautiful. The whole was a feast of color for the eye. But the one
great figure that had dominated the performance of early years I sadly
missed. The actress who played Queen Katharine did not even attempt to
make Charlotte Cushman’s great point in the trial scene. In the last sad
scene Miss Cushman vividly portrayed for us the discarded queen, sick
and suffering unto death.

I saw her also in “London Assurance,” when she took the part of Lady Gay
Spanker. She was gay and rollicking enough, although her gray hair
seemed a little incongruous in the part of a young woman. It was out of
keeping also in “Fazio,” where she took the rôle of Bianca.

Charlotte Cushman possessed wigs, for these were sold, with the rest of
her theatrical wardrobe, one being still in curl papers! When I saw her
on the stage, however, she appeared with her own gray hair.

It will be remembered that she had intended to go on the operatic stage,
but, owing to the loss of her singing-voice, was obliged to give this
up. The mishap may have been a blessing in disguise. For the perfect
development of Miss Cushman’s great dramatic talent the legitimate stage
was the best agent.

I had the pleasure of hearing her sing, on the occasion of a visit to
Lawton’s Valley. It was a wonderful performance. It was not like any
other singing, but rather a species of chanting or weird crooning, in
which she gave us the simple and moving story of “Mary, go and call the
cattle home, across the sands o’ Dee.” The deep tones of her voice
intensified the effect.

My mother also was accustomed to sing this pathetic ballad, to a tune of
her own composition. With her high, clear voice the effect was very
different from that produced by Charlotte Cushman; yet she, too, made
her hearers feel the deep pathos of the ballad.

In the Newport days of which I speak we often saw Miss Cushman and her
intimate friend, Emma Stebbins, the sculptress. The latter modeled the
bronze statue of Horace Mann which stands in front of the State House in
Boston, opposite that of Daniel Webster.

I do not think this proximity to the former idol of the Massachusetts
Whigs was much relished by them. But my father had a way of putting
through what he undertook. As an intimate friend and co-worker with
Horace Mann, he was chairman of the committee for the erection of the
memorial. I fancy it was he who gave the commission to Miss Stebbins and
arranged for the contribution of their pennies by the school-children of
Boston. Doubtless he persuaded those in power that Mann’s splendid
services to the cause of education deserved this recognition from the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In the twentieth century my father’s
views—he was usually some fifty years ahead of his time—have come to
prevail.

It is sad to remember that Charlotte Cushman’s last years were clouded
by an incurable disease—cancer. She made a splendid fight against it,
keeping on with her work almost to the end of her life. She would not
give it up until she had made a handsome provision for those near and
dear to her.

I remember with pleasure a visit to Fanny Kemble—Mrs. Frances Anne
Kemble, to give her her full name. My father took me as a little girl to
see her at the Tremont House, where she received us very graciously and
kindly. I also heard her read one of Shakespeare’s plays. This she did
without any help of scenery or special costume. We saw only a
middle-aged, rather stout lady, dressed quietly in black and seated at a
table. Although there was much to admire in her character, she possessed
a stormy temper. It was said that she once insisted so vehemently on
having her washing brought to her without delay that the tub containing
the wet garments in the suds was finally set down before her!

In these early days she did not admire the acting of Edwin Booth. At one
of his performances she was seen “sniffing,” as the story went, her
countenance showing her lack of approbation. He was already a favorite
with the public, but certain friends of Mrs. Kemble followed her
opinion. Vehement were the arguments which we as enthusiastic admirers
of Booth had with the Kembelites among our young friends.


------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                   X

                    LAWTON’S VALLEY, OUR SUMMER HOME

_The Beautiful Valley.—The Crawford Children.—“Yellers’ Day.”—“Vaucluse”
    and the Hazards.—The Midshipmen Visit Us.—Dances on Board the
    Frigate “Constitution.”—Parties in the Valley.—George Bancroft.—A
    Party at His House.—Rev. Charles T. Brooks._


THE lovely island of Rhode Island is indented with a number of ravines
on either shore. The most beautiful of these is Lawton’s Valley—a deep
cut between the hills, running a mile into the land, from the waters of
Narragansett Bay. The entrance into the valley is so masked with trees,
the descent into it is so steep, that it lies securely hidden from the
world above. You suddenly find yourself in a wooded gorge, the trees
rising high above it on either side, and a brook running along the base
of the cliff, leaping over waterfalls as it goes down to the sea. When
my father bought the place, a grist-mill with a great terrifying wooden
wheel stood at the head of the largest waterfall. My father, to whom
gardening was a delight, greatly improved the appearance of the valley.

The mill was converted into a school-house containing also one or two
chambers for the bestowal of masculine guests, when the house was full
to over-flowing. There is a family legend that brother Harry, when a
lad, once slept upon the grand piano, no other place being available! We
were sometimes obliged to arise in the night and give up our rooms to
make way for relatives arriving unexpectedly.

Some sudden emergency brought our especially beloved Aunt Annie
Mailliard and her family to us in this way—for Lawton’s Valley is six
miles from the post and telegraph offices. Telegrams then cost three
dollars to deliver, and frightened us badly!

Aunt Annie was the very soul of hospitality, and did her full share of
it by entertaining us all delightfully at her home in Bordentown, New
Jersey.

Uncle Sam once occupied the mill-chamber and reported in the morning
that the perpetual tap of the hydraulic ram sounded like a constant
knocking at the door, causing him to murmur in his sleep, “Come in! Come
in!” We could not do without the ram, however, as it supplied the house
with water. It was sad when an eel got into the pipe, or some other
accident stopped the water-supply. The pump, whence we obtained our
drinking-water, was of a pattern calculated to drive one to the
wine-cup. You turned the handle round and round furiously, and after a
long time a refreshing stream appeared, borne in some mysterious way on
two endless parallel chains. Then, if you went on pumping like mad, you
could fill the pail. But if you stopped for one single second a horrible
gurgling sound informed you that the water had retreated to the bottom
of the well! Then you had to begin all over again the treadmill task of
bringing it up! It was supposed to be remarkably fresh and pure when it
appeared—for evidently it had not lingered in any pipe, as no pipe
existed.

Sometimes food was hung down the well, country fashion, to keep cool. It
was a sad day when the leg of mutton dropped in, since herculean efforts
were required to bring it up. It was naturally mutton which made this
unlucky descent, for at that time the local butcher kept little else.
Sometimes my father had beef sent down by freight from Boston—only to
have it seized by the agents of Kinsley’s express and carried to their
office. This delayed the meat in transit and obliged us to pay express
charges without express benefit. For this company did not deliver goods
at Lawton’s Valley, nor did we desire to have them do so. Hence much
friction between Kinsley’s express and my father.

Rhode Island mutton and lamb are, or were, very good. One day an old
friend of my mother’s drove out from Newport and was invited to stay to
midday dinner.

The feelings of the hostess can be imagined when the guest oracularly
observed, “My grandfather Gray could never eat lamb, and I never can!”

Fortunately there was a little chicken to help out the situation. The
words of Grandfather Gray became a byword in our family. Our house was
not in the valley itself but stood half-way down the slope of a hill,
being thus protected from the wind that blows constantly over the
island. Mr. C——, who sold the place to my father, was the victim of the
drink habit. Finding him lying prostrate on the ground, much the worse
for liquor, father poured away the contents of the jug standing near,
and led away the man’s horse, so that he would be obliged to sober up
before starting to get a fresh supply of rum.

Some Lowestoft ware marked with the family initials and some good old
furniture, which we bought, showed that the family had seen better days.

The inhabitants of the island, with some notable exceptions have
suffered from an insular habit of intermarriage. This has, we will hope,
lessened with the invasion of Rhode Island by outlanders, bringing
prosperity with them. Not long ago, however, when a man or woman married
“off the island,” it was mentioned with a certain regret, as being not
quite the thing to do. The methods of cultivating the soil were
surprisingly primitive. It was very much run down, the principal
fertilizer being deceased fish. Car-loads of menhaden were scattered
broadcast over the fields, and left there to rot. Oh, how they smelled
to heaven! We did not cultivate our land after this fashion, but, alas!
our neighbors did! Fortunately, menhaden became valuable for other
purposes and their use as a fertilizer was abandoned.

As Rhode Island was founded by excellent but visionary people, refugees
from the stern, logical rule of the Puritans, its laws are peculiar. On
a Fourth of July in the ’Sixties, I inquired for brandy at an apothecary
shop in Newport.

“I’m sorry I can’t let you have any, but the laws of the state forbid
the sale of liquor to females,” said the salesman. My mortification may
be imagined! On my explaining that the brandy was wanted, not for
“reveling,” but for covering preserves, he kindly sold me some alcohol,
declaring it to be “just as good” for my purpose.

Shortly afterward, my purse disappeared, and by the advice of friends I
had the loss proclaimed by the town crier—a quaint old figure with his
long beard and prehistoric hat. He alternately rang an immense bell and
“cried” the lost article. His fee was a modest one, but I never
recovered the purse. Was he recommended to me as a joke?

Summers at Lawton’s Valley were always delightful, but we especially
enjoyed them when Aunt Louisa Crawford brought her children to stay at a
neighboring farm-house. Marion Crawford, the novelist, was about two
years old when they first came. With his three elder sisters, Annie,
Jennie, and Mimoli, we had many merry times. Wading in the valley brook
was a favorite pastime. As the stones were very slippery, we frequently
fell down, and then appeared at the valley home a dripping crowd of
little girls. As the farm where the Crawfords lived was some little
distance away, our mother felt it to be her duty to provide raiment for
her nieces as well as for her own children. She found these double
drafts upon our wardrobe rather trying. Annie, the eldest daughter, was
full of talent. We were inseparable companions and had a studio where we
painted dolls and sets of jewelry—all on paper.

When she grew older she painted lovely designs in flowers. She also
published anonymously at least one volume of stories which possessed
merit. She had quite as much talent as her brother Marion, but lacked
his power of application. Her Prussian Junker husband, Baron von Rabe,
considered any literary activities as _infra dig._ for his wife. My aunt
had the unspeakable sorrow of losing her second daughter, Jennie, when
the latter was a young and lovely girl of nineteen. Mimoli, the third
daughter, became the wife of Hugh Fraser, of the English diplomatic
service. She is well known as a writer and is a woman of much personal
charm. One of her sons and one of Marion Crawford’s have been killed in
the present war.

According to family tradition I may claim the honor of inventing
“Yellers’ Day.” The observance of the day flourished in full vigor only
during our sojourn at Lawton’s Valley. We were accustomed to celebrate
it on top of the hill behind the house, whence we had a view of
Narragansett Bay. Our elders did not join us, but wisely permitted our
activities. Hence “Yellers’ Day,” having no flavor of forbidden fruit,
fell gradually into innocuous desuetude. The celebration described in
the following letter has a melancholy interest as being in all
probability the last of its kind.


                                                   _August 3, 1860._

    DEAR PAPA,—Wednesday we had some young ladies to spend the day
    and had a jolly time. At sunset we all went up on the rocks to
    yell, for it was the 1st of August, “Yellers’ Day.” We made a
    terrible noise and finally Mamma came to the door and said she
    thought “St. Yeller was satisfied.” We had a very nice tea, and
    in the evening, after looking at the moon, danced till we were
    fairly worn out. The evening was wound up by Mr. Turner’s (the
    brother of one of the young ladies, who came out about 6½)
    knocking one-half of the gate off its hinges, which accident
    gave us an opportunity of hopping onto the carriage steps and
    renewing our vows of eternal friendship besides a great deal of
    hugging and kissing.

Thomas Crawford, our uncle by marriage, came to the valley during one of
these summers. He was one of the foremost American sculptors of his day,
having designed some of the bronze doors at the Capitol, also the statue
of Liberty that crowns the dome of the building. This is familiar to all
Americans, since it has been reproduced on our five-dollar bills.

Uncle Crawford had worked beyond his strength and complained, that
summer, of trouble in one of his eyes. I remember an excursion to the
shores of the Bay, when Albert Sumner, the donor of our donkey, Uncle
Crawford and my father were of the party. The gentlemen amused
themselves with throwing sticks or stones into the water. This trivial
scene impressed itself upon my memory because of the tragic death, not
long afterward, of two of the actors in it. Albert Sumner, his wife and
daughter were at this time planning a trip to Europe. Mr. Summer was a
stout man, and some one jokingly remarked that fat people make good
swimmers. This speech was sadly recalled to our minds when the steamer
in which they sailed, the _Lyonnaise_, went to the bottom with all on
board.

No particulars of their fate were known. It was said that in cases of
shipwreck the law considered that the man would live longer than the
woman, being stronger physically. Hence he and his heirs would inherit
property. I notice that the law always has some very wise reason for
favoring the man rather than the woman. The heirs of Albert Sumner and
his daughter could thus have laid claim to such share of Mrs. Sumner’s
property as he would have inherited, as the supposititious survivor.
Charles Sumner and his family were not the sort of people to take
advantage of any such legal quibble. Mrs. Albert Sumner was a woman of
means and left heirs by a former husband, who very properly inherited
her fortune.

Uncle Crawford also crossed the ocean, leaving his wife and children in
America. The slight trouble in his eye grew gradually worse. In the
midst of a winter of unprecedented severity Aunt Louisa started to
rejoin him. Boston Harbor, whence all Cunard steamers then sailed, was
frozen solid. It was necessary to postpone the start until a patch could
be cut for the ship through the solid ice. In those days nothing was
supposed to prevent the sailing of a Cunarder, but Jack Frost did delay
it this once.

Mr. Crawford’s illness proved to come from a cancer behind the eye. He
died after a long period of suffering.

Aunt Louisa, a woman of a most affectionate and sympathetic nature, was
much worn with the long nursing and overcome with deep sorrow. She
returned to America, dressed in mourning so deep that her sisters
thought it excessive and unwholesome. It was said that her widow’s crape
veil reached the ground, being double up to the eyes, and that her back
never recovered from the bad effects of sustaining this load of
mourning. A photograph of her taken at this time was marked “The
over-solemn look.”

And yet, after a suitable interval of time, she married again, as the
inconsolable usually do. Instead of smiling at the fickleness of the
human mind, we should remember that for persons of a highly sympathetic
nature the loneliness caused by the loss of a beloved helpmeet is almost
insupportable. They must, for their own happiness, find another mate.
The woman who can live alone, after the loss of her husband, is made of
sterner stuff.

Lawton’s Valley is on the west side of the island of Aquidneck. On the
east side lived Mr. Thomas R. Hazard—“Shepherd Tom,” as he was
familiarly called—in the historic mansion of “Vaucluse,” the finest
example of Colonial architecture north of Virginia. The grounds were
worthy of the house. They were adorned with a labyrinth of box
surrounding a sun-dial, and with a number of summer-houses scattered
through groves of trees.

Mr. Hazard was a remarkable but eccentric person. He had a genuine love
for his fellow-man and a hatred of tyranny and oppression. He did great
service in securing better treatment for the insane in Rhode Island, as
Dorothea Dix and my father did in Massachusetts.

After the death of his beautiful wife he became much absorbed in
spiritualism. When we first made his acquaintance he was a widower with
a delightful family of four daughters and one little boy.

The eldest, Fannie, kept house for her father, while a governess
instructed the children. Mr. Hazard was the very soul of hospitality.
Relations, young and old, made “Vaucluse” their headquarters for long
stays during the summer, while friends also paid copious visits.

“Vaucluse” was liable to sudden inroads of aunts bringing their six
children, even though there were already visitors in the house. The
hospitality of those days was not confined to the South. My mother once
jestingly said to our nearest neighbor that she kept a boarding-house.

“Well, if you do, then I keep a hotel,” replied Mrs. Anderson, whose
large house was well filled by the family connection. To take high tea
at “Vaucluse” was always delightful. I should be afraid to say how many
people sat around the long, well-polished mahogany table. Yet there were
always plenty of hot Indian-meal griddle-cakes, as well as other good
things, for every one. When there were many guests, it was necessary to
set the table a second time. Fannie, who presided over the household,
was as hospitable as her father, but the strain of this heavy
entertaining was too much for her strength. Her housekeeping ideals were
high, and servants hard to get and to keep. In one of his crusades Mr.
Hazard, who had been brought up in the Society of Friends or Quakers,
attacked the Roman Catholic Church. This made it more difficult for him
to procure servants, who, at that time, were almost all Roman Catholic
Irishwomen.

So Fannie and her sisters did a great deal of the housework themselves.
Mr. Hazard was a most devoted father, but, being extremely vigorous
himself, he failed to realize that his daughters were of a less robust
type. All four died before reaching the age of forty, three of
tuberculosis.

He himself held various singular beliefs upon which he loved to
expatiate to his friends. Chief among his hobbies was spiritualism. He
would quote to my mother, as remarkable new truths, views with which
she, a student of philosophy, was perfectly familiar. We were all
gathered at the Anderson mansion one evening, to witness a clever
exhibition of legerdemain by Mr. Elbert Anderson. After witnessing the
various conjuror’s tricks, Mr. Hazard declared that they were done by
spiritualism! When he was with difficulty convinced that they were not,
he naïvely observed that just such things were done by spiritualists!
Toward the end of his life, when his wife appeared to him as a
materialized spirit, he gladly received some cotton lace from her
celestial robe!

In the efficacy of Brandreth’s pills for typhoid fever and minor ills he
was a fervent believer. Even calves he dosed with them. He scorned the
aid of surgeons, holding that the only persons who could properly attend
to broken bones were a certain family of Sweets, “natural bone-setters,”
as they were called. In spite of all these eccentricities, he was a very
intelligent man. His extreme credulity was due, in part, to lack of
early education.

Many were the merry picnics that the Howes, Hazards and sometimes the
Andersons had at the “Glen” and at “Paradise.” Lawton’s Valley itself
was a favorite place for picnics when my father bought it. It was soon
evident, however, that we and the public could not jointly use it,
because the latter were so extremely inconsiderate. To have your place
treated like an inn, to have strange omnibuses loaded with unknown
people arrive without warning at your back door, destroys all privacy.
The tendency of Americans to leave behind unpleasant mementoes in the
shape of the débris of the feast, and to carry off floral tributes, is a
thing to be deplored. It is to be hoped that our new Anglo-French
alliance will teach our people to respect private property.

When the Civil War came, the Naval Academy was moved from Annapolis to
Newport. The older classes were sent to take their part in the conflict,
the younger remaining at Newport. Their coming brought gay doings for
the young girls. Weekly hops were held on Saturday afternoons, aboard
the famous old frigate _Constitution_. To these we all repaired, being
rowed over in the ship’s boats. The dancing took place between decks
where a very tall man might easily have bumped his head. The naval band
furnished the music, a certain tune giving us a gentle hint to depart
when the dance was over.

The midshipmen were extremely young, but so were we! I myself was nearly
sixteen, but some of my partners looked to me like mere children. Others
were old enough to be “real beaux.” However, we entered their names on
our cards impartially and danced with them, young or old, as they came
along. The gallant and ill-fated De Long was at Newport that summer, but
I do not remember him among my partners.

A few young men who were not navy officers came to these hops. I
remember among the dancers a tall, handsome fellow with fair hair. Some
of the girls disapproved of him, thinking him dandified, because he wore
a white tie. I, however, admired him and learned later, from one of the
older girls, that he had said complimentary things about me. She did
not, however, offer to introduce us, nor did I have the skill to manage
an introduction. Whether dandified or not, W—— T—— was no slacker, but
fought for his country on land, as the midshipmen did on the sea.

The next time I met him was on the New York boat. As my mother and I
boarded it, to go to Boston, a figure shrouded in shawls emerged from
the darkness of the boat, on his way to the shore. It was W—— T——
returning wounded to his aunt’s home in Newport, which we had just left.
I never saw him again, for he went back to the army and was killed. So
ended this shadow of a war romance!

Parties were given for the midshipmen both at Lawton’s Valley and at
“Vaucluse.” The ice-cream for our entertainment missed connections, so
David Hall, always obliging, was commissioned to drive to Newport and
bring it out. Meantime the lady of his affections, the present writer,
was left to philander about with the midshipmen. The feelings of the
boy, who was not yet sixteen, as he drove the ice-cream, a chilling
passenger, out in his buggy may be imagined!

Our cousin, Louisa Mailliard, a tall, slender girl of fourteen, very
pretty and very mischievous, was then with us. One of the midshipmen,
Mr. N——, became desperately infatuated with her. When the omnibus
containing the young men was starting for Newport, he could not refrain
from turning and gazing fondly at her.

“Eyes right!” sang out his mates, who made very merry over the lovesick
swain.

The landsmen were jealous of the embryo sailors, and could not
understand the attraction of the latter for the young girls. Some of our
youthful friends arranged an expedition to Fort Adams, where a drill of
the midshipmen was to be held. Cousin Louisa and I were the girls of the
party, while the mother of one of the boys acted as matron. All went
well during the sail across the harbor. But no sooner had we reached the
landing than midshipmen appeared and we paired off quite happily,
without paying the smallest attention to the boys who had brought us
over.

This was not polite to our escorts, but we were very young and uniforms
are ever attractive. Serenely we walked over the fort, the discarded
boys grumbling ominously in our rear. We were too late for the drill,
but we had a pleasant promenade, returning peacefully to our sail-boat.

As she drew away from the landing, one of the boys could contain his
feelings no longer. He shouted his views of their conduct after the
midshipmen on the wharf, in language sufficiently abusive. It was the
same boy, David Hall, my future husband, who was obliged to conduct the
ice-cream party! He _did_ have a hard time with the midshipmen!

The girls were extremely indignant. Of course we walked with the
middies! What did they think we went over for? etc., etc. The return
voyage was rather stormy. It transpired that _one_ of the boys,
possessed of a meaner spirit than the others, had proposed sailing away
without us!

The midshipmen were transferred later to the Atlantic House, one of the
chief hotels of Newport in the early days. Here also were hops given,
but they could not compare in fascination with the dances on board ship.

In the following letter sister Julia describes some of our “civilian”
gaieties:


                                   _Tuesday Morning, Aug. 13, 1861._

    DEAR PAPA,— ... We have enjoyed Mrs. Bell and Mrs. Pratt[8]
    exceedingly. What little jewels they are! Mrs. Dorr was to have
    a party for the governor (Andrew) in the evening. Mamma decided
    that it would not be very interesting for us girls, so we stayed
    at home, expecting to entertain Woody, who we supposed would
    arrive in the evening. What was our surprise when, at about half
    past eight o’clock, a carriage arrived whose driver bore a
    message from Mamma to the effect that we were to dress and go
    into town to Mrs. Dorr’s house. What cogitation and agitation
    followed can be only pictured by those who have a thorough
    knowledge of young girls.

    Mrs. Dorr had told Mamma, I believe, that the party would be
    pleasant for us, and that she wished to have us come. So there
    was a confusion and indecision, and brushing, braiding, and
    curling, in our one little room, quite amusing to behold. How
    the best white skirts were whisked about! How poor Ann and Mary
    frisked up and down stairs! How much had to be done before,
    fully prinked, we squeezed our crape and piña selves into the
    little rockaway! But it makes even careless _me_ blush to think
    of the state in which we left our room. What mountains of
    skirts, sleeves, and gowns, with here and there a stray comb or
    pomatum-pot, met the eye of the astonished bystander. And
    yet,—would you believe it?—when we returned next day we found
    the apartment in order. (Oh dear, Papa! I _never_ shall finish
    this letter. Mamma is in the room, and she is so witty that I
    write my words wrong.) Mrs. Pratt and Mrs. Bell looked finely,
    as the graceful diminutive darlings always do.... In order that
    they might all get into the carriage poor Mamma slipped
    up-stairs and slipped off her crinoline. You cannot imagine how
    droll her figure looked without it. Floss and I slept together
    and a merry time we had. Of course we were somewhat excited by
    the party, and the clock struck half past twelve before we
    slept. Just think of us, your bread-and-butter nine o’clock
    girls, being so dissipated! Mamma was to have had a party this
    afternoon, but the weather is so stormy that no one has come. We
    all dressed ourselves out in our best, but silks would not bring
    visitors, so they have made a pleasant little circle down
    stairs, and are chatting gaily.

                   Ever your loving

                                                                  J.

Footnote 8:

  Daughters of Rufus Choate.

During the Civil War Portsmouth Grove, some three miles away, became a
military camp and hospital. The soldiers often strolled over to Lawton’s
Valley, finding it a pleasant place in which to do their laundry work.
This somewhat restricted the family’s use of the valley, although the
soldiers were never uncivil.

One of the prominent figures in Newport life was that of George
Bancroft, the historian. Like President Wilson, he was a schoolmaster
turned politician. He had taught at the famous Round Hill School for
Boys, and had also held various political offices, including that of
Secretary of the Navy. Hence, if he came on board the _Constitution_
while we were there, our ears were deafened by the official salute,
sixteen guns, as I think, fired in his honor. Greatness certainly has
its inconveniences.

He was already gray when I first remember him, but slender and active.
Evidently he felt much younger than he looked. It was rumored that he
said to one young lady, “_Call me George_.” In a word, he was inclined
at this time to be “frisky.”

He and his wife set an example of steadfast loyalty to the Union, in
Newport, where there was a good deal of secession sentiment among the
summer residents early in the Civil War. I remember a party at their
house, where we school-girls as well as our elders were present. We had
patriotic recitations, everything being done in the pleasant, informal
fashion of that day. It was after this party that my mother made her
“Remember R——n” resolve.

In a spirit of pure fun, she rallied this gentleman on his attentions to
one of the young girls present who was hardly more than a child. Mr. R——
solemnly asseverated that Mrs. Howe was entirely mistaken. On her return
home, she declared her intention of hanging up a placard reading,
“Remember R——n,” as a warning to her never to try to joke with persons
devoid of a sense of humor.

Mrs. Bancroft set a good example by substituting gray silk or thread
gloves for kid during the Civil War. She attended the Unitarian church,
where Rev. Charles T. Brooks then officiated. He was a genial and
delightful man, whose buoyant spirit made it wholly unnecessary to
affect youth. Mr. Brooks never seemed to grow old, though he lived to be
seventy or more. He was a German scholar and translated Goethe’s “Faust”
into English verse. He enjoyed Teutonic humor, preparing for the church
fairs numerous booklets with little German jokes and illustrations.


------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                   XI

                  ANTI-SLAVERY AND CIVIL WAR MEMORIES

_Deep Interest of My Parents in the Anti-Slavery Movement and in the
    Civil War.—We Learn the Evil of Compromise.—A Trip to
    Kansas.—Manners on the Mississippi Steamboats.—Fort Sumter Is
    Attacked.—Mother’s Poems of the War.—Father’s Work on the Sanitary
    Commission.—How the Flag Was Treated at Newport.—We Ride in the
    “Jeff Davis.”_


I CANNOT remember when my father began his anti-slavery work, because at
that time I was an infant. It was the kidnapping of a runaway negro in
the streets of Boston that roused him to action. He called a meeting in
Faneuil Hall over which John Quincy Adams presided. My father made the
principal address. Colonel Higginson tells us that “Every sentence was a
sword-thrust.” The result of the meeting was the formation of a
Vigilance Committee of forty with my father as chairman. Its object was
to prevent the returning of fugitives to the slavery from which they had
escaped. To the descendants of the men who had fought in the Revolution
for the cause of Liberty, the thought that “the port of Boston had been
opened to the slave-trader” was intolerable.

The records of that Vigilance Committee have never been published. It is
to be hoped that some day they will be, unless they have been destroyed.
Thomas Wentworth Higginson has told us that my father’s part in the
anti-slavery movement was almost unique and wholly characteristic of the
man, who was a natural crusader or paladin.

The little Howes did not know of the existence of this committee.
Neither did we know of our father’s strenuous labors in connection with
the election to the Senate of his friend Charles Sumner. We were too
young to be intrusted with state secrets. But from our early childhood
my father taught us to love freedom and to hate slavery. He told us of
the successive aggressions of the slave power and of the steps by which
it had grown to threaten the whole land. We learned of the Missouri
Compromise, the Dred Scott Decision, the Kansas and Nebraska Bill.

We knew these, not as dry political facts from the office of a lawyer,
but as the successive invasions of a fire that was destined, ere many
years had passed, to involve our beloved country in the terrible
conflagration of the Civil War. To my father and his co-workers in the
anti-slavery cause, these successive encroachments of slavery on the
territory which the framers of our Federal Constitution had declared
should remain eternally free, were a growing menace of evil. He strongly
impressed upon our minds the sin of compromise of principle. Did he not
see, in the bloody struggle in Kansas, the sinister results of those
weak yieldings of the North?

The electric current of indignation that thrilled through our home we
felt very strongly, as we did the stir of action. Lowell’s lines,
splendid in themselves, gained a new force and intensity as my father
repeated them to us.

    Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,
    Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown,
    Standeth God with the shadow, keeping watch above His own.

Sometimes I would hear him and his friends talking together over the
political situation with deep earnestness and indignation. Those were
exciting days. As children, we knew nothing of the approaching storm,
but we felt the stir in the air!

Brother Harry, a child of eleven, wrote an indignant letter, after the
capture of John Brown, to Governor Wise of Virginia. As it was couched
in abusive terms, I fear it was never mailed. Since few of our young
mates agreed with us in opinion, we had many arguments. In the early
days one of our friends at the Stevenson School laughingly called us
“Little Free-dirters,” because we belonged to the Free Soil party. As
events moved rapidly forward feeling grew more intense. We were very
indignant at the deadly assault in the Senate Chamber upon our friend,
Charles Sumner. As he sat pinioned down by his desk, and so unable to
rise, blows with a loaded cane were showered upon his head. Some of the
girls of our acquaintance sought to justify the attack. We countered
with the testimony of Henry Wilson (later Vice-President of the United
States), who had witnessed the scene where a colleague of Preston Brooks
stood guard, a pistol in either hand, to prevent any interference in
behalf of Sumner. For a long time, the victim’s life was in danger. His
seat in the Senate remained “eloquently empty” for three years. Yet
Charles Sumner lived to see slavery overthrown and the United States a
free country. Within a year his young assailant died of membranous
croup. It was thought that remorse for his brutal deed hastened his
death.

We children heard of Sumner’s great sufferings, and of the cruel
“Mochsa” treatment—the burning of his back.

In the Presidential election of 1856 we were greatly interested. I
remember a political procession in which a dead deer was borne aloft
with the device, “Old Buck Is Dead.” The result of the election was not
certain for some time. We held on to hope as long as we could. From
California no word could come for ten days! I asked my father whether
the result there might not change the result. He said, “No. There is
enough to settle the hash without California.” James Buchanan, the last
President of the slavery era, had indeed been elected.

My father was deeply interested in the struggle for freedom in Kansas.
When the colonists from the free states were almost overpowered by the
border ruffians, he again called a Faneuil Hall meeting where money was
raised and sent to help the settlers. He himself went out there, with
great risk to his life.

In the spring of 1857 my mother and I accompanied him on one of his
trips to Kansas, but, as I became ill at Louisville, he went on without
us. Part of our journey was made on the large steamboats of the Ohio and
Mississippi Rivers. Great was the horror of the other women when my
mother took out a pack of cards to amuse me. This was owing to the
prevalence of gambling in that section of the country. Many years later,
in traveling through the Middle West, I found this prejudice had not
wholly died out.

There was little to do during the long spring days when the steamboats
sailed along the great, quiet rivers. It seemed very strange that every
one rushed so to get through the meals quickly. As the service was
_table d’hôte_, it is possible that people hurried in order to get all
that they could before the food was removed. My mother always made a
practice of eating slowly; hence her excellent digestion.

On this trip our mother purchased a red toy balloon for brother Harry.
It was then a novelty and cost something like a dollar. As it was
affixed to the tail of one of our dogs, it did not long survive. We had
supposed this fascinating object would be a lasting investment.

On our outward journey we stopped overnight at Harper’s Ferry. I
remember climbing the hill and looking down upon the valley where the
Judas tree was in blossom. Did it bloom in somber foreboding of the
blood to be shed there, a little later, in the John Brown raid and in
the Civil War?

I remember too vast engines with which we climbed the terrifying slopes
of the Alleghanies. No sleeping-cars were then to be seen, but only cars
with reclining chairs. Hence the advisability of traveling by water
whenever possible.

At Cincinnati, then the principal city of that part of the country and
much larger than Chicago, we stayed with Mr. and Mrs. William Greene,
the former a cousin of Grandfather Ward. We visited the observatory and
the Longworths’ wine-cellar, where I was discovered in a corner, a glass
of champagne tilted up against my nose. At the age of eleven I saw no
reason why I should _not_ partake of the wine, since they were kind
enough to offer it to me.

My memories of Louisville, Kentucky, are sinister. Here we were shown
the spot where several negroes had been lynched. We also went to court,
where a man was on trial for the murder of his wife. From the appearance
of his face, I fancy he must have committed the crime while drunk.

We stayed also at the house of my father’s great friend, Horace Mann,
then president of Antioch College, a coeducational institution of Ohio.
Mrs. Mann believed in using cream in cooking, rather than butter. If you
had no cream, you thickened milk with flour! The Manns were “so glad to
see us they almost ate us up”! Mrs. Mann was a woman of intellectual
tastes and interested in good works. She was the sister of the wife of
Nathaniel Hawthorne and of Miss Elizabeth Peabody, who first introduced
the kindergarten in America.

Horace Mann himself had a pleasant, kindly face and beautiful snow-white
hair parted in the middle. This had suddenly turned white (in a single
night, it was said) through grief at the death of his first wife.

In this year, 1857, there was a terrible financial panic, of which I
heard some echoes. Nickel cents were then first coined, replacing the
large copper ones we had used previously.

During the winter of 1860–61 we heard rumors of war and secession. Some
young friends, the sons of Admiral Winslow of _Kearsarge_ fame, had
visited the South, and assured us that serious preparations were going
on there. Still, we of the North hardly dreamed of the struggle to come.
Meantime traitorous officials of the federal government were
transferring supplies of arms to the Southern states, knowing well these
would soon be used against the nation’s life. Officers trained at West
Point and bound by oath to support the government to which they owed not
only allegiance, but their education, were resigning from the regular
army and going to the South. The North in 1861, like the English in
1914, was unprepared. Many attempts have been made to disguise the
issue. Fifty years hence, when all the passions roused by the Civil War
have died away, as I pray they may, the truth will stand out clearly.
For the rest, it was clear enough in 1860–61. As soon as the Republican
party came into power, on a platform declaring, as the framers of the
Constitution had declared, that slavery should be extended no farther,
the Southern states seceded.

My father was one of those who from the very beginning saw the issue
clearly. When the news of the firing on Sumter was received he came,
with his quick, active step and gallant bearing, into the nursery at
“Green Peace,” crying out to us:

“Sumter has been fired upon! That’s the death-blow of slavery!”

He rejoiced that the irrepressible conflict had begun. Of course he did
not foresee—who could?—that the struggle would be so long and so
terrible. But he knew it must come. Throughout those four years he never
lost faith that the right would triumph. On learning of the attack on
Sumter, he wrote at once to Governor Andrew:


    Since they will have it so—in the name of God, Amen! Now let all
    the governors and chief men of the people see to it that war
    shall not cease until emancipation is secure. If I can be of any
    use, anywhere, in any capacity (save that of spy), command
    me.[9]

Footnote 9:

  from _Journals and Letters of Samuel Gridley Howe_. Dana, Estes & Co.

At the age of sixty, he was too old and too infirm in health to take the
field as a soldier. But his early experiences in Greece enabled him to
give valuable assistance in safeguarding the health of the army. Both
Governor Andrew and Abraham Lincoln were glad to accept my father’s
offer of his services. On the formation of the Sanitary Commission, he
was appointed a member of the board. His letters and reports are
expressed in his usual terse and vigorous style.

When Fort Sumter was fired upon a splendid wave of patriotism swept over
the country. That shot, the attack upon the flag, consolidated the men
of the North as nothing else could have done. “The Union, it must and
shall be preserved,” was the shibboleth of the hour. Democrats and
Whigs, as well as Republicans, rallied everywhere to the defense of the
Union.

It was said that if the Confederates had kept to the old flag, instead
of adopting a new one, they might have won. Yet we know that was
impossible, because the corner-stone of the sovereignty they sought to
establish was human slavery. The politicians and leaders of thought on
both sides knew this perfectly well from the beginning. The rank and
file at first felt it only dimly. But in the Northern army the men who
were doing the actual fighting were not long in doubt as to the real
issues of the conflict. They sang:

           “John Brown’s body lies a-moldering in the ground,
           His soul is marching on.”

Old John Brown, who had died on the gallows that men might be free! They
had hanged him and buried him in the ground, but his spirit led the
Northern troops to victory! The “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was a
nobler expression of the idea dimly outlined in the John Brown song.

Reading in later years the accounts written by Southern men and women, I
have realized that the war was never brought home to us in New England
in the same way as to the people of the South. It never came near us,
nor did we expect it would. Some timid souls were anxious lest the
Confederate rams should visit our Northern ports. But this was only a
brief scare.

While we were spared the grim horrors of actual warfare in our midst,
almost every aspect of life was affected by the four years’ conflict. In
the spring of 1861, on my daily walk to Boston, I saw the posters
calling for seventy-five thousand troops to serve for three months. We
heard with deep indignation of the assault of the plug-uglies on the
Massachusetts regiments as these passed through Baltimore. Several
soldiers were killed—the sons of the Old Bay State being the first to
shed their blood in defense of the Union.

During the stormy prelude to the Civil War my mother had written many
verses expressing her indignation at the crime against Kansas, the
attack on Charles Sumner, and the treatment of John Brown, as well as
her hatred of slavery itself. While the war was in progress her pen
continued active in the cause of human freedom and of patriotism. We of
the younger generation were especially interested in the composition of
“Our Country” because the music was written by our master, Otto Dresel.
The song had power and dignity, with the swing important in music of
this sort. A prize had been offered for a national song, but I do not
think it was ever awarded. To my mother’s regret, Mr. Dresel afterward
decided to use the tune as a setting for Oliver Wendell Holmes’s “Army
Hymn.” She told him that the words and music belonged together and ought
not to be divorced.

The hour was not yet ripe for the writing of a true national song. In
these earlier poems we see how much my mother was moved by the tragic
events of the day as the panorama of our national history unfolded
itself before her eyes. The white heat of emotion was only reached when
she saw the stern realities of war—the bivouacs, the camp-fires, the
rows of burnished steel, the hosts of our country’s defenders. The soul
of that army, the army of freedom, took possession of her after that
wonderful day when her carriage was surrounded by the marching soldiers.
That night the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was written.

So she gave back to the soldiers of the Republic their half-expressed
aspiration, clothed now in words of fire. In every hour of national
crisis, whenever our country is in danger, those words flame up anew in
the hearts of men.

Nor are they for our country only. In this present war they have been
sung with wonderful effect under the great dome of old Saint Paul’s in
London as well as at the battle-front. For the “Battle Hymn of the
Republic,” terrible as it is, is a Christian song. No one could have
written it who was not familiar with the language and imagery of the
Bible, Old Testament as well as New. It was the daughter of Samuel Ward,
Puritan, who wrote, “He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of
wrath are stored.” But it was the wife of the old Revolutionist, the man
whose life had been one long battle in behalf of his fellow-men, who
wrote, “He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat.”

“The Flag” was written after the second battle of Bull Run. In
ante-bellum days Newport had been a place of summer resort for
Southerners, some of whom appeared there during the first year of the
war. They behaved very badly toward the flag. Women would draw aside the
full skirts, then universally worn, to prevent their touching the Stars
and Stripes. It was said that in the Episcopal Church, when the prayer
for the President of the United States was read, the “Secesh” would rise
from their knees to mark their dissent, resuming their attitude of
devotion at its conclusion. I have always fancied that the line, “Salute
the flag in its virtue, or pass on where others rule,”, was inspired by
the behavior of the “Secesh” toward “Old Glory.” General Dix’s famous
saying, “If any man attempts to pull down the flag, shoot him on the
spot,” was much quoted in those days.

The attitude of the Southerners was very irritating. They really
supposed themselves to be the superiors of the Northern men. The former
subserviency of the latter in political matters was one reason of this
belief. Another was that constant association with an inferior race, the
negroes, had given them an exaggerated idea of their own talents and
capacity. We know now that this was, and still is, a great misfortune to
them.

When the members of a certain family expatiated in our presence on the
whipping the North was to receive at the hands of the South we were not
pleased.

My mother decided to give them a lesson. At one of our Paradise picnics
she asked Mrs. David Hall, the mother of my future husband, to personate
America. There was a certain realism in the selection, for Mrs. Hall’s
eldest son, Rowland Minturn Hall, was then fighting for our country in
the Northern army. We crowned her with flowers as the queen of the
occasion and saluted her with patriotic songs.

We did not feel very pleasantly toward Jefferson Davis, whose ambition
had much to do with bringing on the war. A photograph of him, in the
likeness of the Devil, was circulated, while the soldiers sang:

              “We’ll hang Jeff Davis to a sour apple-tree.”

By a strange caprice of fate a carriage intended for the President of
the Southern Confederacy fell into the hands of a Northern abolitionist.
Owing to the war, the vehicle could not be delivered to Mr. Davis, and
my father bought it. It was a closed carriage, more strongly built than
the Confederacy itself, and lasted for many years. If we wished to go to
Newport on a rainy day, some one would say, “Oh, take the Jeff Davis,
and you won’t get wet!”

For the first two years of the war we were disheartened by repeated
defeats. In McClellan my father never believed, and we were glad when he
was displaced.

After a long period of anxious waiting we were rejoiced by the taking of
Vicksburg and the victory over Lee at Gettysburg, all on one glorious
Fourth of July. The tide had turned at last!


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                                  XII

                         WORK FOR THE SOLDIERS

_Knitting and Scraping Lint.—Sewing-circles.—Fairs for the Army and the
    Navy.—“The Boatswain’s Whistle.”—Mrs. Harrison Gray Otis.—Visiting
    the Camp at Readville.—Governor N. P. Banks.—Governor John A.
    Andrew.—Parade of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery.—Death of
    Little Sammy.—Assassination of Lincoln.—My Father Serves on the
    Freedmen’s Commission._


WORK for the soldiers began promptly. In the general enthusiasm for
knitting some one asked our minister, the Rev. James Freeman Clarke,
whether it was right to do this work on Sunday. Any lingering doubts
vanished when he returned home and found his wife, a woman of saintly
character, lying down to rest, her needles still flying! Plain knitting
I had mastered long before, but now I learned to make stockings. My
first pair were by no means mates. As I learned to knit better, and so
more loosely, the second stocking bloomed to a tremendous size! I could
only survey it sadly in the fond hope that shrinking in hot water might
reduce it to the size of its companion.

We all scraped lint and there were sewing-circles in the afternoon and
in the evening. The latter were the more festive, gentlemen coming in
after our work was done.

The Sanitary Commission then occupied much the same position that the
Red Cross does to-day. Women showed the greatest zeal in working for it,
though their efforts were not always wisely directed.

The great patriotic fairs were a striking feature of war-days. The one
held in New York for the benefit of the Sanitary Commission was the
largest of all. The tremendous labor involved killed the noble woman who
took a leading part in it. Boston also held a great bazaar for the
benefit of the National Sailors’ Home, in which we assisted my mother.
She was editor of the fair newspaper, _The Boatswain’s Whistle_. I
remember the discussion of the title with William Morris Hunt, the
artist, who imitated the action of the boatswain piping up aloft. He
possessed the power to present, in this way, pictures which his striking
head and figure made perfect. Doubtless he would have made a fine actor.

At the head of the little newspaper stood the device of the boatswain
designed by Mr. Hunt. My mother had the assistance of some of our
best-known writers, but the responsibility and the heaviest share of
labor she bore herself. Mr. James C. Davis helped in the work of
arranging the paper, but it was necessary also to employ a professional
person who understood the technicalities of the “make-up.”

The Great Fair was held in the Boston Theater, and lasted some ten days.
Every variety of object was sold there—many by means of raffles. It
seemed fitting that there should be a table for the sale of our paper.
We of the younger generation duly established ourselves in charge of
it—selling also stationery and small articles. We thought it all great
fun. I am ashamed to think how much we tormented Mrs. Hooper, the lady
at the head of the fair management, for our various small needs.

Mrs. Harrison Gray Otis, who occupied a unique position in the Boston
society of that day, was prominent among the women who worked for the
national cause. She had been beautiful in her youth, but retained no
vestige of good looks that were perceptible to the clear, cruel eyes of
youth. I could hardly believe my father when he told us of her former
sylph-like slenderness.

For many years she gave a reception on the morning of Washington’s
Birthday, which the whole world of society attended. My mother took us
once, when we found Mrs. Otis arrayed in a low-necked black dress, with
a black velvet head-dress. Her black hair was arranged in puffs or
bandeaux coming down over the ears, a style extremely unbecoming to the
lined face of an elderly woman. Mrs. Otis was tall and dignified,
standing to receive her guests. The entire house was thrown open to
visitors, who wandered up and down-stairs at will.

It already has been said that my father was too old for military
service. Brother Harry was too young, being only thirteen when war broke
out. The only near relatives who joined the army were two cousins of my
mother, William Greene Ward and John Ward, and my father’s nephew,
Thomas Beale Wales, Jr. Fortunately, none of the three was wounded. The
two Wards were taken prisoner at Harper’s Ferry, but were paroled.

Many of the young men of our acquaintance joined the army, some of them
never to return. A sad case was that of Charlie Hickling, whose slight
frame held a heroic spirit. In spite of his frail physique, he insisted
on enlisting, only to return hopelessly broken in health. He died not
long afterward.

Tragedies were all around us. I was staying with my dear friend, Alice
Weld, at Jamaica Plain, when news arrived of the capture of her brother,
Stephen Minot Weld, Jr. The anxiety of his father may be imagined, yet
he took the blow bravely. The horrors of the Southern prisons made
confinement there a thing to be greatly dreaded. Libby was bad enough,
but of Andersonville one cannot speak or think without deep indignation.
I shall never forget the appearance of Arthur Sedgwick soon after his
return from a Southern prison. With great black hollows under his eyes,
he looked like a walking ghost.

Another tragic picture comes to my mind. We were passing the day quietly
at Lawton’s Valley when suddenly a distracted figure appeared among us.
It was that of Mrs. McDonald—“D.D.,” as we affectionately called her—the
matron of the School for Idiots. Her hair, always neatly arranged, was
now blown by the wind and wet with the rain, but she was too deeply
moved to think of that. She had braved the storm and come, in an open
wagon, to seek help and comfort from the “Doctor”—a tower of strength to
all who knew him. Her adored eldest son, serving on the Christian
Commission, had been taken prisoner. After a time he came back to her,
only to die a year or two later of tuberculosis. Like many other persons
at that time, Mrs. McDonald found comfort in Elizabeth Stuart Phelps’s
“Gates Ajar.” This was written, it will be remembered, after the author
herself had passed through the bitterest sorrow.

From the window of Miss Clapp’s school in Boston we saw the funeral
cortege of Arthur Dehon Hill, who had been killed in the war. At the
time we knew the family very slightly. A thoughtless school-girl, I
little realized what death and sorrow meant. Six months later, when my
own little brother died, I learned the sad lesson which all must learn
for themselves.

Visits to the camp at Readville, near Boston, were the order of the day,
but, according to etiquette, these were made very sparingly. It was said
of the Misses X—— that they went so often the officers could hardly find
time to change their clothes!

One of our friends arranged an expedition for us, our chaperon agreeing
to join us in Readville. This young girl was terribly pestered by aunts,
of whom she possessed eleven. She was wont to complain that wherever she
went, an aunt was sure to appear on the scene!

One of the eleven heard of the proposed expedition, and jumped to the
conclusion that a chaperon in the hand was worth several in the bush.
Accordingly, when our carriage started for Readville, another,
containing the aunt and her fellow-conspirators, followed close behind.
This greatly fretted our young companion, who, at the age of twenty,
felt she was too old to need supervision. The expected chaperon failed
to appear and the troublesome aunt serenely took charge of our
expedition.

Among the members of the Vigilance Committee mentioned earlier in this
chapter was John Albion Andrew.

One of the occasions when I remember seeing the man who was afterward
the great war Governor of Massachusetts was at the parade of the Ancient
and Honorable Artillery. In ante-bellum days this event elicited popular
interest and was conducted with some formality. It was held on Boston
Common, where the Governor reviewed the troop. The Ancient and Honorable
Artillery Company has the unique distinction of consisting wholly of
former officers of other militia companies. They wear a motley variety
of uniforms, producing a picturesque but singular effect.

Nathaniel P. Banks, a fine-looking man with thick, iron-gray hair, was
at this time Governor of the state. His imposing and martial air enabled
him to appear to advantage at a military festival. His deep voice and
good delivery made him effective as a speaker in a day when oratory was
still highly considered. As a warrior he was not a success.

My mother used to tell us, with a mischievous air, a story of his
experience in the army. On receiving a report that the enemy was
attacking in force, he replied, laconically:

                   _“Let them be repulsed forthwith.”_

I remember how jolly and merry Mr. Andrew was as we stood, a party of
plain citizens, in the throng that pressed as near as they could to the
rope which divided us from the glory of uniforms blazing within the
charmed circle. In those early days our beloved friend was the most
delightful companion, brimful of fun, singing comic songs and telling
funny stories, to the great delight of the Howe children. I remember
hearing him repeat with gusto a ridiculous mock sermon from the text,
“And they shall flee unto the mountains of Hepsidam, where the lion
roareth and the whangdoodle mourneth for its first-born.”

Although he amused us with the “flatboat” sermon, he was a truly
religious man whose sympathies were by no means limited to his own sect.

In figure he was short and stout. His round, smooth face, fair,
close-curling hair, and blue eyes, reminded one of a benevolent cherub
in spectacles. His mouth was like a woman’s, it was so pretty and
sensitive, yet, when the occasion called for it, his face never lacked
the dignity of expression springing from serious and noble purpose.

We were present at his inauguration as Governor, and also on the
occasion when he received, on behalf of the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts, the gun that had belonged to Theodore Parker’s
grandfather. This was one of the guns that fired, at the battle of
Lexington, the shot heard around the world. Governor Andrew, filled with
an emotion shared by the audience, kissed the weapon as he was about to
give it up. Whereupon _Vanity Fair_, the comic newspaper of the period,
published an absurd cartoon representing the audience weeping floods of
tears and waving their handkerchiefs, the people in the pit holding up
umbrellas to ward off the briny stream dropping from the galleries!

In the days before he took office, Governor Andrew had been a familiar
and delightful friend who came often to “Green Peace” and visited us
also at Lawton’s Valley. Mrs. Andrew, who was a very pretty woman,
usually accompanied him. His son, John Forrester, a pretty, fair-haired
boy, later a member of Congress, we often saw, as well as the daughters.
Elizabeth, or Bessie, looked very much like her father, and was said to
be like him in character. Edith was a great friend of my sister Maud.

After our friend became Governor and the Great Rebellion cast its dark
shadow—the shadow of the cross—upon his path, we saw him less
frequently. The cares of office weighed heavily upon him in those
terrible days of the war. We began to miss him from his accustomed seat
in the Church of the Disciples—he could not even go to church because so
many people followed and waylaid him with their endless petitions. We
heard with indignation of the box of copperhead snakes sent him by some
wicked person.

Toward the close of the war my mother and I had the pleasure of going,
as members of the Governor’s party, to the Agricultural Fair and Ball at
Barnstable. Usually the cadets accompanied him as escort, but this time
the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company were chosen for the honor.
We were disappointed at the exchange, for the Independent Corps of
Cadets contained a number of young men whom we knew. However, the
“Ancients” undeniably furnished a sufficient number of partners. This
affair has been described in my mother’s _Reminiscences_ and in her
_Life_.

One verse in her humorous account of it records, the leniency of
Governor Andrew:

                 Governor A. won’t hang for homicide,
                   That’s a point that bothers us all.
                 He must banish ever from his side
                   Such as murdered the Barnstable Ball.

Our friend had received some criticism for refusing to sign the death
warrant of a condemned murderer. He justified his action on the legal
ground that, since the man had been judged only on his own confession,
it was not right to hang him without a full and fair trial. When the war
was over, Governor Andrew retired to private life, resuming the practice
of his profession. The strain upon him had been tremendous. He
laughingly said: “It’s nip and tuck. I may bust my boiler, or I may
not.” Alas! A stroke of apoplexy carried him off while still under fifty
years of age. He was as much a victim of the Civil War as if he had died
on the field of battle.

On the morning of Saturday, April 19, 1865, came the terrible news of
the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and of the murderous attack on
Secretary Seward and his son. Evidently there was a plot on foot to kill
the chief officials of the national government. To the deep sorrow at
the death of the beloved President was added the fear of the unknown
evils threatening us and great indignation at the dastardly deed. How
wide-spread the plot might be we did not know. Grief for the death of
Lincoln was the predominant feeling. The sudden and tragic ending of his
career showed his countrymen, as by a flash of light, the nobility of
his character and the magnitude of what he had accomplished.

Even the London _Punch_, which had jeered at the cause of the North
during the Civil War, now made such atonement as was possible. I quote a
verse of the poem by Douglas Jerrold:

            The Old World and the New, from sea to sea,
              Utter one voice of sympathy and shame!
            Sore heart, so stopped when it at last beat high;
              Sad life, cut short just as its triumph came.

I do not believe our country has ever shown such universal signs of
mourning. As my father and I rode on horseback about the suburbs of
Boston, we saw house after house draped with black and white, some of
the decorations being very elaborate. For a long time the countryside
was swathed in mourning.

The day after Lincoln’s death was Easter Sunday. In our own Church of
the Disciples the pulpit was draped with purple cloth and adorned with
flowers. In the afternoon I attended the services of the Church of the
Advent, in which my friend, Louise Darling, was much interested, an
Episcopal church of strongly ritualistic tendencies. There were no signs
of mourning and no mention of the national sorrow! This seemed to me
very heartless.

Meanwhile the assassin was at large. It was a most dramatic as well as a
most terrible time in our history. I read the newspapers—doubtless every
one did—with the greatest interest. Here the story gradually unfolded
itself, culminating in the trial and execution of Mrs. Surratt and the
other conspirators. I remember wading through endless testimony, the
question whether Edward Spingler did or did not wear a mustache being
much discussed.

In spite of his crime, I felt a pang of pity for Wilkes Booth when I
read of his tragic death. It was necessary that he should be shot down,
like a creature at bay, but the attendant circumstances, the firing
through the cracks of the barn, lent additional ignominy to his fate.

While we were still living at “Green Peace” our youngest brother, Samuel
Gridley Howe, Jr., was born. He was a fine, large baby, weighing twelve
pounds at birth. Soon after his arrival in this world (on Christmas Day,
1859), and while our mother was still confined to her room, several of
us were attacked with scarlet fever. The great danger of contagion from
this disease was not then clearly understood. My father inquired of Mr.
Gardner, headmaster of the Boston Latin School, whether he wished
brother Harry, who had not contracted the fever, to remain away. Mr.
Gardner decided it would be safer for the boy to do so. The breaking out
of smallpox at the Idiot School, of which my father retained the
supervision, brought my mother a new anxiety. Would it come to her, and
was it, as she had heard, fatal in confinement cases? Fortunately, our
household escaped the disease and the scarlet fever left no bad effects
behind.

Little Sammy was a beautiful and healthy child, yet he fell a victim to
diphtheritic croup in May, 1863, when he was three and a half years old.
His death brought me the first realization of the meaning of sorrow. We
had lost my father’s sister, our kind and devoted Aunt Lizzie, two years
earlier, but the loss of little Sammy was a much greater bereavement. I
could not understand then, nor do I now, the point of view which those
persons take who declare that it is a beautiful thing for a little
innocent child to leave this world and go to heaven. I felt, at
seventeen, as I do at seventy, that it is contrary to the laws of nature
for a child to die. It is the saddest death of all, for the little one
has been cut off untimely from the life on this earth that his Creator
meant him to enjoy.

As this was my first experience of deep sorrow, it brought me the first
knowledge of the beautiful human sympathy without which grief would be
unendurable. Friends and relatives gathered about my stricken parents,
helping them to bear the dull burden of grief. It made my father
seriously ill; indeed, he grieved for the boy to the end of his life. My
mother, like most women, was able to give more expression to her sorrow.
After her death we found a little book of verses and a letter written to
her lost darling, in which she poured out her grief.

In her journal are many mentions of the little boy, showing how his
memory dwelt in her heart throughout her life.

Fortunately for my father, he had on hand a task of wide importance in
connection with the recently freed slaves. From the beginning of the war
he had labored to bring about the freeing of the negroes. It had not
been five months in progress when he called a meeting of anti-slavery
men at his office “to take into consideration measures tending to the
emancipation of slaves as a war policy.” This resulted in the formation
of the Emancipation League, the _Commonwealth_ being once more brought
to life as its organ. As my father’s duties on the Sanitary Commission
took him frequently to Washington, in 1861–62, he was able to urge upon
the President the necessity of emancipating the negroes.

But he well understood that so tremendous a change involved the making
of preparations beforehand. In September, 1862, the month when Lincoln
issued the Emancipation Proclamation, we find him writing from
Washington to a friend of his plan for the creation of a bureau to
inquire into the actual condition of the freedmen, their wants and their
capacities. In 1863 Stanton, then Secretary of War, appointed a
Freedmen’s Inquiry Commission, the members of it being my father, Robert
Dale Owen, and James McKay.

So, when we came to New York for a change of air and scene, shortly
after little Sammy’s death, we found my father busy in the office of the
commission, in spite of his sufferings from the gout.

It was always his policy to gather facts and knowledge before taking
action. Hence the many reforms which he instituted were lasting. They
were not built for a day, and as he took no thought of his own
glorification, no personal element deflected them from the right track.

Evidently it was important to ascertain what the negroes had done with
their freedom in other English-speaking countries. So the commission
thoroughly investigated conditions in the Province of Ontario (then
Canada West), where twenty thousand colored people were living, and made
an exhaustive report.

The labors of the Freedmen’s Inquiry Commission were those of a pioneer
body. They were carried on later by the Freedmen’s Bureau.


------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                  XIII

               THE BRIGHTER SIDE OF LIFE IN THE CIVIL WAR

_How We Dressed and Danced in the ’Sixties.—War Prices.—Mrs. Jared
    Sparks.—Visit of the Russian Fleet.—The Brain Club.—Oliver Wendell
    Holmes.—Ralph Waldo Emerson.—William R. Alger.—William M.
    Hunt.—“Mamma’s Owls.”—William and Henry James.—A Clever Group of
    Society Women.—A Historic Nose-pulling._


IN Boston, your age is always carefully calculated in accordance with
the year of your début in society and the sewing-circle to which you
belong. In case of doubt, the maximum number of years are unfailingly
attributed to you. I had the fortune, bad or good, to come half-way
between two sets, and therefore to belong to neither of them. Our
mother, who liked to give her daughters a little glimpse of society,
took us to a few informal occasions while we were still at school. The
exact Boston mind was therefore baffled in the very beginning as to our
true age.

At school all the girls in my class were older than I, except my friend,
Louise Darling. Sister Julia and I were so nearly of the same age that
in our school-girl days, as in those of our childhood, we went to
parties together. Hence, when she began to go into society it was rather
hard for me to stay behind, although I was only seventeen and still at
school. By this time the unwisdom of exaggerating your age had appealed
to my Boston soul, which was greatly torn during that winter. The older
set, a number of whose members had been classmates at school, were now
in society. As by a flash of light, I saw the dangers of my position,
and drew back before it was too late. I joined the dancing-class of the
younger set—the girls not yet out—although at school there had been
little commerce between us.

When a dance was given at our house, sister Julia should really have had
all the honors. But she cared little for dancing, while I was very fond
of it. One of my special friends, Charlie Longfellow, the poet’s eldest
son, was my partner for the german. I carried a large bouquet and
altogether had a royal time. Julia danced with Mr. Braggiotti, a Greek
gentleman, and no doubt their conversation was less frivolous than ours.
Charlie Longfellow ran away to the war not long afterward.

When the time for my real entrance into society came, in the following
year, there were only three other débutantes, namely, the Misses Sara P.
Lowell, Cora Crowninshield, and Clara Gardner. Obviously no
sewing-circle could be formed for us, so I joined that of the older set.
Instead of the handsome lunch now customary at the meetings of these
societies, we enjoyed a modest repast, consisting exclusively of bread
and butter in endless variety—crumpets, brown bread, biscuits, etc.,
with tea or chocolate. It was served at eleven or twelve o’clock in the
forenoon, dinner being at half past two.

With gold going always higher, the price of everything soared in the
’Sixties, as in the present war. The sad part of it was that they did
not come down until years afterward. The highest point reached by gold
was three hundred, but, although it dropped later, prices did not. They
were so sensitive as to respond instantly to any rise, but were entirely
unaffected by a fall of the precious metal. This seemed to me very
unfair. With occasional help from my mother, I had bought my own clothes
after reaching the age of fifteen, when I was given an allowance for
dress.

It was indeed a problem for the girls of those days to dress suitably,
when everything was so dear. Some of my friends bought braid and made
their own straw hats. The price of kid gloves—even the short ones then
usually worn—was so high that certain girls with skilful fingers made
their own. We also made our own undersleeves and even a few linen
collars. The enormous hoops of this period required a large amount of
material for the skirts of gowns, especially as these were not gored,
the entire fullness being gathered or plaited at the waist-line. When
certain girls first appeared at the Assemblies, it was said that their
skirts were six yards in circumference! Our hoops were not quite so
large as this, but they were terrific in size, especially for evening
dress. For a lady to enter an omnibus at that time was no easy matter.
Fortunately, our wire cages were very light and elastic. You had to be
very careful, however, when you sat down in a crowded car, to pull up
the hoop behind, as otherwise it would stick straight out in front! At
one time these great bird-cages were arranged so that they teetered back
and forth as you moved along. The skirts, which were long, were then
looped up gracefully in scallops, when you walked abroad, showing your
balmoral, or ornamental petticoat of woolen cloth. The balmorals were
often pretty, and did prevent our skirts from trailing in the gutter.
They were much more economical, also, than the starched white skirts
which preceded them.

But, oh, how sad it was when each succeeding year brought an expansion
in the circumference of our gowns, obliging us to discard these before
they were half worn out! It is my firm belief that the persons who set
the fashions purposely change them in such a way as to promote as much
as possible the casting away of half-worn garments and the purchase of
new ones.

Fortunately, there were ingenious dressmakers in the ’Sixties who could
do wonders in the way of combination, a fine new dress coming out of two
old ones. The fashion of making evening dresses of tarlatan and similar
diaphanous materials enabled young girls to have a number of gowns for a
relatively small price. True, many layers of the stuff were
necessary—but the construction, with a little help from the dressmaker,
was easy, thus lessening the expense of labor. You can take grand large
stitches in tarlatan and they will not show!

We made many of our own bonnets, also, some clever girls actually
quilting the silk in diamonds instead of buying it ready made. It must
have been a hideous material, but we admired it when it was in fashion.
This reminds me that among my early memories are those of certain very
old gentlemen in Boston wearing high hats and overcoats of quilted silk!

Our ball dresses were made with bodice cut moderately low, a long point
in front and at the back and full sleeves reaching half-way to the
elbow. The effect of these pointed waists over the full skirts was
certainly elegant. Somebody had to lace you up behind, for obviously you
could not do this yourself. If you were clever, you could undo the
lacing on your return home from the ball. The Assemblies, usually held
in Papanti’s Hall, were the backbone of the winter’s entertainments for
the young set, although there were always private dances also.

In that primitive day a book was sent around to the families who were
considered eligible as subscribers for the Assemblies. Boston was then
extremely stern in its construction of who should and who should not
have the privilege of entering their names on this sacred scroll.

My mother, always generous in such matters, asked to have the book sent
to certain people who had not hitherto been subscribers, although they
were descendants of a good old family. Her request was not granted,
probably because it was suspected that the husband had engaged in some
financial transaction not altogether in accordance with the Puritan
notions of uprightness.

The young people of the ’Sixties owed a debt of gratitude, which they
did not fully recognize, to Mrs. Jared Sparks, the wife of the
historian. The unique form of her entertainments disturbed the
conventionality of the youthful mind. The good lady’s motive was
doubtless to prevent boredom by carrying out conceptions of striking
originality. As we did not live in Cambridge, we were not invited to the
pencil party, nor to that where, all the chairs being removed, the
guests sat on the floor. But I did go to the famous _thé dansant_ which
Boston discussed long and vigorously.

Mrs. Sparks thought it would be a pleasant thing to give a party early
in the evening, where the young people could dance till midnight and
then go home. So she asked us to a _thé dansant_ at Papanti’s Hall to
which we went, and had a very good time. Chocolate and cake were quite
sufficient for the dancers, but Mrs. Sparks had not calculated the
probable feelings of the dowagers. They found it hungry work to sit and
watch other people dance and highly disapproved of the simple repast. As
time went by, low and deep were the murmurings. Even the quality of the
cake was unkindly called in question. Mrs. Sparks’s friends sent a
sample, it was said, to a lady of the opposite faction, so that the
latter might see for herself the excellent quality of the butter and
eggs. But she declared it was now so stale (for the controversy lasted
for days or even weeks) she could tell nothing about the ingredients!

Mrs. Sparks’s original turn of mind also showed itself in the dealings
with her children. One of the daughters had a will of her own and it was
sometimes necessary to discipline her. This was done by taking a tuck in
her dress, thus doubly punishing her; she had the mortification of
appearing in childish array at an age when every girl desires to seem
grown up, and she was obliged also to betray to all friends and
acquaintances the fact that she had been naughty. You had only to look
at her skirts to know what her behavior had been.

The historian himself sometimes came to dances. From the expression of
his countenance, I am sure he did not enjoy them. The top of his head
was bald, yet the curly hair at the sides stood out in a way to show
that it had once been thick. If you had any doubt of it, you had only to
look at the tremendous crop of curly hair belonging to his son.

His harassed air made it evident that he had come in a spirit of
parental resignation, not in one of joy. A legend of that time described
Mr. and Mrs. Sparks driving together on a hot summer’s day. As the horse
showed signs of fatigue, Mr. Sparks suggested stopping. “Drive on, Mr.
Sparks,” replied the lady, majestically. After two or three similar
stoppages the horse fell down dead!

Most of our dancing partners were Harvard students, with a sprinkling of
older men and returned soldiers. Two of these, Col. Francis Palfrey and
Capt. William Horton, had been wounded in the arm, so that the latter
was held in a sling. This did not prevent their dancing, however.

One of our amusements was going on board warships, not only those of our
own navy, but on Swedish and Russian vessels as well.

The visit of the latter to American waters was one of the political and
social events of the day. Among the hostesses who gave dances for the
officers were Mrs. Storer of Cambridge, our aunt, Mrs. Joseph N. Howe,
and our mother. We were also invited to dances on board the Russian
ships and to services of the Orthodox Church held there.

Uniforms are always attractive to young women. When worn by handsome
young foreigners the charm is doubled. My special partner, being in the
engineering department, wore silver instead of gold decorations. He was
nicknamed “Cranberry Cheeks” by the family. As neither of us could speak
the language of the other, our conversation was carried on entirely in
French. Now my education in this language at school had not dwelt
especially on the sentimental side, so that the explanation of words was
occasionally necessary. However, I always succeeded in grasping the
idea.

We were very sad when the Russian fleet sailed, taking away all our
delightful friends.

Among the pleasant entertainments of the ’Sixties were those given by
the Brain Club, as it was popularly called.

My mother’s position in it might fitly be described as “Queen of the
Revels,” for she devised and helped carry out many of the programs. We
of the younger generation were allowed to attend some of the meetings.
William Hunt, the artist, took part in a most ridiculous burlesque of a
tourney, where he and his competitor, Hamilton Wilde, mounted on
pasteboard hobbyhorses, engaged in a deadly encounter, prancing
meanwhile about the drawing-room. Mrs. Charles Homans, as the Queen of
Love and Beauty, wore a wonderful wig made of raveled tow. Mr. Hunt,
being overthrown, toppled over, pretending to be mortally wounded, and a
leech was summoned to prescribe for him. Mr. Jere Abbott, wearing a long
false nose, took this part admirably, making many absurd inquiries of
the patient: “Have any of your wife’s family suffered from this
disease?” etc.

Another burlesque was that of the trio in the opera of “Lucrezia
Borgia.” Mr. Otto Dresel played the air on the piano, while my mother
enacted the title rôle. Hamilton Wilde represented her son, Gennaro,
while the Duke’s part was taken by William Hunt, if I remember aright.
All three joined hands in a line, keeping time to the music with
exaggerated operatic motions. Mr. Wilde indicated his sufferings from
poison, before the arrival of the antidote. It was extremely funny.

At our house in Chestnut Street the Brain Club was entertained by two
charades written by my mother, “Pandemonium” and “Catastrophe.”

For “Cat” a scene was adapted from the classic but terrible story of
Atreus and Thyestes. The unfortunate owner of the animal has it served
up to her in a pie. After she has eaten it the dreadful nature of the
pasty is revealed to her!

For “Ass” the second syllable, we acted the scene from “Midsummer
Night’s Dream,” where Titania makes love to Bottom. Mr. James C. Davis
took the latter part, wearing an ass’s head borrowed from the theater,
while I took that of the Fairy Queen.

My mother was always proud of our small accomplishments. Her journal
says that Flossy looked beautiful. Doubtless I did—to her maternal eyes.

The President of the Brain Club was called Mrs. Josiah Quincy, Jr.,
because her husband’s father, a very old gentleman, was still living.
The four generations, all having the same name, had their photographs
taken in a group when the youngest was only a babe in arms. This
carrying on of the family name appeals to sentiment, but is not
convenient in practice. The third Josiah Quincy, finding unutterable
confusion in his mail, adopted a middle initial in self-defense. He thus
became Josiah _P._ Quincy. His brother, Samuel Quincy, fought in the
Civil War.

Their sister, Mary Quincy, had a fine contralto voice. We often saw her
and her husband, Prof. B. A. Gould, as well as her parents, Mr. and Mrs.
Josiah Quincy, Jr. I remember the former as a handsome man with
beautiful snow-white hair and whiskers. These had turned prematurely, as
he was still a vigorous man who took the trouble to make himself
agreeable to the young. Perhaps this was owing to his political
experience, for he had been Mayor of Boston. The house in Park Street
was one of a series of spacious, pleasant residences, occupied by the
Lowells, the Thomas Wards, the Misses Quincy, and other worthies of
Boston. The last-named ladies were sisters of the ex-Mayor. Both he and
they had pleasant summer places in Quincy, one of which has now become
the Quincy Mansion School for Girls.

Unitarianism, as all the world knows, became firmly intrenched in Boston
in the early part of the nineteenth century. Many Puritan ideals still
prevailed, however, especially with regard to the observance of Sunday.
Certain persons adhered to the idea that no gay doings should take place
on Saturday evening, that time being devoted to preparation for the
Sabbath. These were usually plain people. Indeed, some individuals went
so far as to disapprove of the celebration of Christmas. It was not
uncommon to substitute New Year’s Day as the time to exchange presents.
The students at Harvard College were obliged to go to all the services
of whatever church they attended. Hence many of them selected our
church, that of the Disciples, since here there was only one service on
Sunday. During the week, attendance at morning chapel was compulsory,
the hour being six and in later years seven o’clock. Small wonder that
the undergraduate body learned to dress in a very short space of time,
high boots and an ulster covering many deficiencies.

The young Howes were always taken to church in the morning, but were
free to spend the rest of Sunday very much as they liked. We were not
expected to practise on the piano, however, and we entertained the usual
superstition about the impropriety, not to say evil, of sewing on
Sunday. Our aunt, Mrs. Crawford, who lived during the greater part of
her life in Italy, brought back to us more liberal ideas about the use
of the needle.

While we often took a drive on Sunday afternoon, I went with the feeling
that it was not quite right, so strong was the influence of the
prevalent opinion in the community.

My father liked to have us read aloud from the Bible on Sunday evening,
and we often did so while living in South Boston. The friends of the
family found it pleasant and convenient to come to high tea on that day,
so that at “Green Peace” we often had a tableful of guests. After the
removal to Boston these Sunday teas developed into evening receptions of
a pleasant and informal character. For these our mother was duly taken
to task by a lady who held the old-fashioned view of the day. In spite
of this rebuke our mother continued serenely on her way. To entertain
her friends was as essential to her happiness as to read and study. My
father once said that if she were alone on a desert island, with one old
negro, she would manage to have a party!

It had, indeed, required effort on her part, and on that of her friends,
to have entertainments in South Boston. At No. 13 Chestnut Street it was
much easier. Among the pleasant people who came there were William Hunt,
the artist, and his wife. Her handsome and intelligent face lit up with
interest and animation as she talked. I remember a little dinner at the
Hunt house where my mother and I were the only guests. Mr. Hunt told us
various anecdotes of the French circus—then known as the Hippodrome; of
an old woman of eighty who still danced on the tight rope. He showed us
how the little old bowed figure looked as she came forward to take her
part in the performance.

He related, too, the story of two men, one standing on the top of a tall
staff, the second performing on a tight rope attached to it. One day, as
the latter was testing the rope, it snapped in two! He never loosened
his grasp on his balance-pole, never lost his erect position, falling,
splendid as Lucifer, through the fifty or more feet of air, till his
feet struck the ground. Both legs were broken.

Among the interesting guests at No. 13 Chestnut Street were Celia
Thaxter and her husband. She was handsome and looked like the woman of
spirit that she undoubtedly was. What she said I cannot, alas! remember.

Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes was in those days the most brilliant and
delightful of talkers. Not only did he talk without effort, but it
seemed to require an effort on his part to maintain silence. His very
mouth looked as if it were ready to overflow into brilliant conversation
of its own accord, and one fancied that he was obliged to exercise a
certain restraint over it.

I remember a dinner at our house where Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rev. William
R. Alger, John Weiss, and Doctor Holmes were the guests. The witty
doctor became fairly launched on the stream of his own brilliant
conversation, and let us into certain of his professional secrets by
telling us something of his methods of composition and of the moods in
which he wrote. I listened to this talk with a feeling akin to awe at
being allowed to come so near to the sacred places of genius. The poet
was inspired by his theme, and was led on, by the unfolding of his
thought, to lay bare the secrets of his soul. It was a wonderful talk,
and one could scarcely listen to it without emotion.

When Doctor Holmes went away he said to his hostess, by way of apology
for having talked so much, “Well, I have told you a great deal about
myself to-day.” Whereupon another member of the company, himself a
literary man, but of a less expansive nature than the Doctor, said, with
emphasis, “Others could have told of their experiences, too, Doctor, if
you had given them a chance.”

During the Civil War my father and Doctor Holmes were among the medical
men appointed to examine those who sought to escape the draft on the
ground of physical disability. Among them was one very large young man
who had evidently outgrown his strength. The Autocrat of the Breakfast
Table was short and slight. There was such a contrast in the size of the
two that the witty doctor thought it would be amusing if he, the little
man, should examine the big one. So he called out, “Let me examine him,
Doctor, let me examine him!” He accordingly proceeded to percuss the
young giant.

Doctor Holmes liked better to talk than to listen, as the title which he
assumed, “The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table,” plainly shows. When my
mother decided to give a course of talks on philosophical subjects, in
the parlors of our house, she invited Doctor Holmes to be one of the
guests. Meeting her in the street one rainy day, he explained to her at
length why he was not interested in hearing other people lecture, the
pair meanwhile walking up and down under their umbrellas.

On another occasion, when both had been listening to an uninteresting
lecture, Doctor Holmes said he would as lief hear potatoes poured from
one barrel into another!

Ralph Waldo Emerson was from time to time a visitor at our house. He was
of the tall, slender New England type, with blue eyes and the large nose
which is thought to indicate force. At the time of the execution of John
Brown he compared the gallows on which the old man perished to the
cross. A little later he was in the company of some conservative people
who were shocked at this comparison. They asked Mr. Emerson if he had
made it, and, without attempting to palliate or explain, he replied that
he had said something of the sort.

In my youth the following remarks were attributed to him.

“Church? What is church? I do not see church, I do not hear church, I do
not smell church!” It is very possible that he did make them, yet he was
a man essentially devout, the descendant of a line of clergymen. When a
distinguished clergyman of the Church of England came to America, some
years later, he declared that, whoever occupied the pulpit, Emerson was
always the preacher! Time thus brought to the latter a splendid revenge
for the small satires of earlier days.

His table talk was fresh, quaint and delightful. Yet he was, on the
whole, rather silent than talkative in company, as became the author of
this passage:

“When people come to see us, we foolishly prattle, lest we be
inhospitable. But things said for conversation are chalk eggs. Don’t
_say_ things. What you are stands over you the while and thunders so
that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.”

If this saying bears too hard upon women, we may comfort ourselves with
another dictum of his, “Woman, if not the queen, is the lawgiver of
conversation.” While great men like Mr. Emerson may sit serenely silent,
the feminine instinct bids us try, at least, to be agreeable!

The Sage of Concord, as he was called, staying one night at a hotel in
Boston, received a long visit from a literary man who, rising to go at a
late hour, said, “I am to give a lecture on Plato to-morrow and I
haven’t written the first word of it yet.” To which Mr. Emerson,
horrified at such carelessness, replied, “Good God!” This gentleman was
Emanuel Scherb, a habitué of our house at one time. His negligence
perhaps arose from the fact that he had once been insane. He then
imagined that he was a monkey. A knowledge of this lingered in my
mother’s subconscious mind. She once talked with him about monkeys,
until she suddenly remembered his former delusion!

Mr. Emerson did not answer the persons who wrote to him asking for his
autograph, even if they generously enclosed a stamp. It was said that
his family found these stamps useful for their correspondence. Mrs.
Emerson foresaw, at the beginning of the Civil War, that there would be
a great rise in the price of cotton cloth. Hence she wisely laid in a
closetful of this important commodity.

Rev. William Rounceville Alger was one of the “intellectuals” of whom we
saw a good deal. For a time he occupied Theodore Parker’s pulpit in
Music Hall, where sister Maud enjoyed hearing him preach. I fear that we
classed him as one of “mamma’s owls.” We so called, in a general way,
the men of literary taste with whom she liked to converse. Among the
persons of note who dined with us at 13 Chestnut Street was Mr. Olcott,
vegetarian and reformer, now best known as the father of Louisa Olcott.
He spoke of his poetic views about foodstuffs, declaring that grains
were to be preferred to roots, since the former grew above the ground,
hence nourished our higher faculties, whereas the latter, being of the
earth, must be earthy. This singular theory did not appeal to my father,
nor, indeed, to any of us, Carlyle said of it, “Olcott and his potato
gospel won’t go down here.”

He held “conversations,” at one of which he observed, apropos of
cannibalism, that if we were to eat flesh at all, he did not see why we
should not eat the best. Whereupon Mr. Coolidge, a gentleman of a
literal turn of mind, was so horrified that he made a bee-line for the
door. Mr. Olcott kept a school at one time where punishment was
vicarious: if the children did wrong they were to punish him. For the
offenses of one of Mr. Olcott’s daughters, L—— L——, a very good little
girl, received correction. One of the many stories told of this
gentleman was that he believed persons of fair hair and blue eyes were
children of light who need not labor, whereas dark-haired individuals
were children of darkness appointed to perform the work of the world.
Mr. Olcott himself had fair hair and blue eyes, but his wife was dark!

My father gave some breakfasts for gentlemen at the Chestnut Street
house. I remember one where Alexander Hamilton, son of the great
Federalist, was present and told various interesting stories. Among the
family relics we have found a tiny lock of the hair of the statesman,
sent by his son to my father.

My mother was away from home when one of these breakfasts took place,
and I sat at the head of the table as lady of the house. I appreciated
the honor, although it was rather overpowering to be the only woman
present.

To No. 13 Chestnut Street, as well as to “Green Peace,” came clever and
delightful women. The most original and brilliant of these was Mrs.
Helen Bell, wife of Joseph Bell and the daughter of Rufus Choate, a
famous lawyer of that day and a relative of Joseph H. Choate. She and
her sister, Mrs. Ellerton Pratt, were a most charming and unique couple.
They kept up a running fire of absurd sayings in which Yankee
exaggeration played its part.

Thus when some one declared that a certain German gentleman had
objectionable manners at table, Mrs. Bell exclaimed: “What do you
suppose he does? Do his feet fly up over his head, after every mouthful,
or does he throw the tender vegetables about!”

She had clear-cut features and a beautiful head, with wavy hair of a
reddish tint. After crimping came into fashion, she remarked, “I put my
hair up on lamp-wicks overnight, and people say I look like a Roman
emperor.” Mrs. Pratt, with her fair hair and blue eyes, was very pretty
and had a certain childlike expression of countenance that was very
attractive. I never was so fortunate as to hear Mrs. Bell sing. Since
her death, a few months ago, an old friend has thus described her
singing, “To listen to the deep tones of that pathetic voice, song after
song coming through the twilight, was an emotional experience never to
be forgotten.” Mrs. Bell also played very well on the piano. Our master,
Otto Dresel, once arranged that we should play together a concerto of
Bach’s for three pianos, Miss Charlotte Heminway playing on the third,
while he took the part of the orchestra on the fourth. We were obliged
to practise in Chickering’s music-rooms, no private house containing so
many instruments. I took much pleasure and pride in the performance,
which was simply for our own gratification and improvement.

It may have been apropos of this concerto of Bach’s that Mr. Dresel said
to my mother, “I have created Flossy.” I greatly enjoyed my music and it
was cordially appreciated by our friends. In these days I often
played—usually duets with Mr. Dresel—at our informal parties. A young
friend, Miss Emily Appleton, gave a musical evening where each of us
played some piece on the piano. Mr. Dresel’s constant drill, and a
flexibility of fingering inherited from my mother, gave me an advantage
over the others. The young friends were surprised, but generously
praised my performance of a piece which called for rapid and constant
motion of the fingers.

The express horses of the ’Sixties must have been very lively animals,
for they managed to run away with our grand piano and to damage it
materially. The instrument belonging to our friends, the Sam G. Wards,
needed repairing at the same time. Mr. Dresel used to say jokingly that
at the Chickering factory they had simply exchanged the actions of the
two pianos!

Charlotte Heminway was the eldest daughter of Augustus Heminway and Mrs.
Mary Heminway, whose memory is revered on account of her noble
charities. Charlotte herself, a friend of sister Julia, was a young
woman of fine character and promise. One day in New York, being in haste
to reach the station, she and a party of friends hailed a passing hack.
After entering it they noticed a peculiar odor. On her return to Boston
this eldest and especially beloved daughter of the house died of a
virulent fever, supposed to be typhus.

Among the clever and agreeable women who came to No. 13 Chestnut Street
were two daughters of the Rev. Mr. Greenwood—Mrs. James Lodge and Mrs.
William Howe. A third was Mrs. Charles Homans, daughter of our opposite
neighbor, Rev. Samuel K. Lothrop. A handsome woman to the end of her
days, she was then young, albeit her hair was turning gray.

In the ’Sixties Boston observed New Year’s Day as a fitting time to take
account of stock. A few people followed the custom, then prevalent in
New York, of receiving callers. Our mother, remembering the customs of
her youth, was one of the first to do this, inviting a number of
gentlemen to call. Mrs. Homans helped us receive one New Year’s Day,
adding to the pleasure of the occasion by her presence and conversation.

Although she and my mother took opposite views of the suffrage question,
they always maintained a cordial friendship. Mrs. Homans was active in
public work of a charitable nature, interesting herself especially in
prisoners.

Sister Julia and I enjoyed the intellectual society of our elders, yet
we also had friends of our own age. Among these were two young men of
promise, William Washburn and William James, well known later as the
psychologist. The latter was a most genial and delightful person. When
the question came up, possibly apropos of the Mormons, of the propriety
of polygamy, he was inclined to think it might be a good thing to have
more than one wife. I suggested that from the woman’s side of the
question it would _not_ be desirable.

When he returned from Brazil he told us that the inhabitants beckoned
with the whole hand, instead of with extended forefinger, as was then
the custom in America. Finding it difficult to make out prices, he
confidingly extended a handful of silver, allowing the Brazilians to
pick out the proper amount.

William Washburn, who was a friend of William James, wrote a book of
stories about Harvard, but did not make literature his profession. Henry
James the younger, as he then was, came to see us occasionally, but we
never knew him well. The coldness of his temperament was in strong
contrast to the warmth and geniality of his brother’s. He was then pale,
and looked, as I thought, like the great Napoleon. I believe that he was
not in good health at that time, and possibly he was shy. Great was our
surprise when he declared that some one was a hog. Who this selfish
person was I cannot remember, but Henry James was ordinarily so calm
that this forcible denunciation was startling. At a later period my
mother grew to know him better and had real affection for him.

We knew also the two younger brothers, Wilkie and Robertson, who were
pleasant fellows. Both fought in the Civil War, Wilkie being badly
wounded.

Henry James, Sr., was a man of as much talent as his distinguished sons,
although never so well known. He was a follower of Swedenborg, but did
not consider that the Swedenborgian Church interpreted correctly the
writings of the great mystic. I read with interest one of his books,
_Substance and Shadow_, in which he expressed himself with vigor and
originality. Mr. James knew that I was interested in his writings.
Hence, when he saw me at the conclusion of his address at the Radical
Club he exclaimed, reproachfully:

“You here, Flossy!”

“Why, Mr. James, I came to hear you!”

With the delightful inconsequence of the Irish mind, he regretted seeing
me at so unorthodox a meeting, not reflecting that he was the magnet
which brought me there!

My father’s experience as the head of two large institutions had shown
him that, through changes in fortune, many women who never expected to
earn their own living are obliged to do so. He thought all should be so
educated as to be able to support themselves. Hence I was taught
bookkeeping, and kept, for some years, the books of the School for
Idiotic and Feeble-minded Youth. These included a ledger on the
double-entry system, and obliged me to take from time to time a trial
balance. On one occasion I carelessly overdrew the bank-account. The
check went to protest, causing me an expense of two dollars or more and
some mortification. The father of one of the inmates, finding that his
correspondent was “Madam” and not “Sir,” wrote me in rather gallant
style. Otherwise the work was calm and uneventful. I was paid a small
salary, which helped out my allowance for dress. “The Town of Lee” was
one of the headings in my ledger, this town being responsible for the
maintenance of Charles Keep, who had a genius for catching rats without
any trap. Why they did not bite his fingers is a mystery. At one time
the authorities at the school were puzzled by a shortage in the milk. It
was discovered that the feeble-minded boys who brought the cans from the
Institution for the Blind, finding the load rather heavy, lightened it
by pouring out part of the milk on the road!

Usually these poor children did not display special talent. I remember
one who was proud of having only a single hand—a pride not more
unreasonable than that often shown by persons of intelligence in matters
for which they can not justly claim any credit. Another boy had such an
exaggerated fear of Sabbath-breaking that his teacher was in despair on
Sunday afternoons. If she proposed any occupation with the slightest
tinge of secularity, Charlie would reject it with the simple
explanation, “Hell!” The parents in many cases wrote an illiterate hand.
The postal authorities were wont to indorse on letters bearing a cryptic
address, “Try Doctor Howe.” Everybody who wanted help did “try Doctor
Howe”—the rich as well as the poor. Thus while few of the mentally
deficient children of the well-to-do came to the Institution, many were
brought to his office in Bromfield Street for examination and advice.
These he gave gladly, never charging any fee for his services.

Sister Julia, soon after leaving school, took up as her work teaching at
the Institution for the Blind. For this she never received any
remuneration, nor did she wish any. She was one of the most unworldly
persons whom I have ever seen. While enjoying, in a natural, healthy
way, the pleasures of this life as they came to her, the things of the
mind and of the spirit were to her the true realities. The bond of
affection between her and my father was especially strong. “Darlingest,
Firstest, and Best Born” he calls her in one of his letters. It was a
pleasure to see them start together for the daily trip to the
Institution for the Blind at South Boston. Having special talent for
languages, she here taught Latin, German and French. She also read aloud
in English to some of the inmates.

A few years later, Mr. (afterward “Sir”) Francis Campbell, who had held
a responsible position under my father, founded and carried on with much
success “Norwood College” near London. This was the first school for the
blind in England conducted on modern principles. My father did all in
his power to help on the new enterprise, lending several teachers from
the institution under his charge to start it. Among them was Miss
Faulkner, who later became Lady Campbell.

Some of the American teachers were blind and had been sister Julia’s
pupils. It was reported to us that, when traveling on the Continent of
Europe, they found her instruction of real help.

In the late ’Sixties Boston was stirred by a ludicrous incident which
ended in a tragedy. Three commuters, society men, had turned over a seat
on a railway train and were chatting together when a stranger approached
and took the vacant place. He was a large man, cumbered with a toy
baby-carriage, and his presence disturbed the group of friends, who
plainly showed their annoyance. When the interloper arose to go he said
to one of the group, “Sir, you are no gentleman!” According to the
masculine code, there is only one answer to this remark, although to a
mere woman striking a man is a strange argument to prove that you are a
gentleman. Mr. X., a small man with a quick temper, delivered the answer
on the nose of the offender, knocking off and breaking his glasses. The
bearer of the baby-carriage was a pacifist. He did not retort in kind,
but brought suit against Mr. X. for assault and battery. The case was
complicated by the fact that the three friends, of whom one at least was
a director of the railroad, were thought by some of the traveling public
to behave too much as if they owned the railway. It was a sort of
town-and-gown affair. Hence when the lawyer for the defense made the
mistake of treating the whole as a pure joke, the judge was angered and
condemned Mr. X. to three months in prison. Having served this severe
sentence, Mr. X. and his family left the United States, never to return.


------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                  XIV

                     OUR LABORS IN BEHALF OF CRETE

_Removal to Boylston Place.—W. D. Howells.—Marion Crawford as a Boy.—The
    Romance of a Fire.—The Cretan Insurrection.—Sisters Julia and Laura
    Accompany Our Parents to Greece.—A Grim Passenger.—A Price Is Set on
    My Father’s Head.—Our Cretan Sewing-circle and Concert.—Over-modest
    Amateurs.—The Sumner Bronzes._


IN the autumn of 1865 we left No. 13 Chestnut Street, greatly to our
regret. The owner of the house, Mr. Sargent, decided to live there
himself, so we moved to No. 19 Boylston Place. My father never approved
of this locality, as it was on made ground and rather low. It had been a
part of old Mr. ——’s garden. However, I do not think it affected the
health of the family unfavorably. Having some trouble with the drainage,
he sent for the Master of the Drains. This official looked exactly as
one might guess from his title—quaint, seedy, with bloodshot eyes. I
suspect Boston did not then have a sewerage system.

The move from Chestnut Street had been a hurried one, as my father hoped
almost to the last to find a situation better to his liking than
Boylston Place. I was now at the age, twenty years, when young people
feel the responsibility of the world resting heavily on their shoulders.
During the preparations for removal I flew up and down stairs and
attempted to do a hundred things, without any regard for my own
strength, which I supposed to be unlimited. The result was a strain that
affected my health unfavorably for some years. The fault was my own, as
no one had asked or expected me to do so much.

In these years I began to be interested in charitable work, conducting a
sewing-school for poor children at our own house. Occasionally our
sittings were interrupted by the merry raids of the young Howes, who
launched sponges and other missiles at my scholars. The latter took
refuge under the dining-room table, but appreciated the sport of the
affair. When my father looked in upon the children at work his face lit
up with a beautiful smile that was more than reward enough for my small
efforts.

In our frequent drives between South Boston and Boston we passed through
a somewhat squalid tenement-house district. Concern for the people
dwelling there now began to oppress me, and I made efforts, though not
always wise ones, to help them.

Among my protégées was a Mrs. Wallace, a stalwart Irish woman with
several children, whose husband had pains in his legs whenever he held
the baby. We started her in a fruit-stand and made various efforts in
her behalf. She was later arrested for some misdemeanor and it required
several policemen to take her, struggling all the way, to the
station-house.

A very unpleasant though amusing incident of our life at Boylston Place
was the arrival of a box containing six semi-wild cats, sent to my
father by our friend, Mr. Thomas R. Hazard, as a species of joke When
the box was opened the cats flew out of it, scattering in every
direction. Fortunately for the Howe family, some of them escaped from
the house. The most troublesome one persisted in rushing up the
chimney-place in my room whenever we approached her.

About this time the family narrowly escaped a serious danger. One
evening my mother, being up late, noticed on the ceiling a slight
discoloration; she also thought she heard a low tick-tick as of flames.
Being very sleepy, she reasoned thus with herself: “Even if there should
be a fire and we should be burned up, why, then David and Flossy could
be married.”

Arousing herself from this strange altruistic vein, she called my
father. In time of danger he was in his element. He speedily chopped
open the floor of the parlor and the flames appeared! Meantime, brother
Harry, hastily attired, rushed out for a policeman. The latter showed
very languid interest.

“Fire—where?”

“At No. 19 Boylston Place.”

“O Lord!” ejaculated the officer of the law, and rushed for the spot.
His own home was next door!

On the other side of us lived Mrs. Richards and her five stalwart sons.
Whenever our furnace sent out smoke, it went into the Richards’ house.
Hence the young men, smelling smoke, came in to see what was wrong with
us. Sister Laura, who was a very pretty and charming girl, roused
suddenly from sleep, appeared barefoot upon the scene, with her fine
hair floating over her shoulders. Two or three years later she married
the youngest of the fire-fighters.

I was staying in New York at the time, and so missed the great scene of
the fire. It was put out without much damage.

It will be judged from my mother’s remark that my engagement was a long
one, my fiancé being a young lawyer studying in his father’s office.
During the five years that elapsed before our marriage I found it
pleasant to make visits in New York, staying with Great-uncle Richard
Ward. He possessed the courtly manners of a gentleman of the old school,
his diction being somewhat old-fashioned. Thus he frequently said, “No,
lady,” or “Yes, lady,” a form of address now used chiefly by dependents.
Uncle Richard was a thorough Ward, of tall and massive frame, though not
at all stout. He had been six feet four inches tall in his younger days,
and wore number eleven gloves, it was said. His shoes were on the same
scale. During the life of Uncle John (when the two brothers lived
together) there was a room at the rear of the house devoted to their
footgear. It was a veritable acreage of shoes which resembled small
cradles. Leather was then supposed to last longer if boots were given a
rest instead of being used constantly. Uncle Richard wore one of the
hideous wigs of the period, having lost his hair many years before. A
family tradition declared that, from the receding of the gums, his teeth
had all dropped out while still sound. He received us always with great
kindness and hospitality. The only drawback to the pleasure of a visit
at No. 8 Bond Street was the temperature of the house, which was cold
for our modern taste. In addition to an old-fashioned and rather
ineffectual furnace there were pleasant open-grate fires in all the
rooms. We soon learned that we must not poke these too much when Uncle
Richard was present, for a temperature comfortable to us was distressing
to him. As we sat playing whist of an evening, he would get up and leave
the room from time to time, in order to cool off in the hall.

He made it a point of pride not to wear an overcoat, and seldom did so,
though he dressed very warmly beneath his invariable black suit. What he
should wear on a cold day became in his later years a serious question.
He would call in consultation his faithful old retainer. Mary Oliver
would sometimes decide the matter by weighing the clothes!

Uncle Richard was very much interested in genealogy and took great pride
in his ancestors. He informed me that the boys at school looked with
respect on his brothers and himself because they were descended from
four Governors! Dear deluded man! How could he so misunderstand boy
nature! I’ve no doubt their schoolmates treated the brothers with due
respect, the Wards being a large and powerful race. It is more prudent
not to offend bigger boys.

He was showing me one day an old family Bible in which the names of
seven generations of Wards were inscribed. Seeing a visitor come up the
front steps, he closed the book.

“Now, my dear, we will not talk about ancestors before Mr. So-and-so,”
he observed. “Because if we speak of these before other people, they
also talk about theirs, _and that is not so interesting_!”

I do not think he wrote any account of his forebears, leaving that for
his successor in the cult, Cousin John Ward. The latter does not mention
the fourth awe-inspiring Governor, but perhaps he was on the distaff
side.

William Dean Howells was one of the noted people who came to see us in
Boylston Place. Sister Julia and I fancied that he looked like an
amiable Richard III. His black hair was parted in the middle—a thing not
usual in the ’Sixties. Although cut short, it strayed over his forehead
in a way to suggest the close-cropped hair of the medieval knight, while
his dark complexion, short, compact figure, and something unusual about
his face, suggested this resemblance to us. The comparison was not
invidious, because we admired Edwin Booth in the rôle of Richard III.

We were interested in Mr. Howells’s india-rubbers, they were so small!
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Leslie, with Mrs. Squiers, also spent an evening with
us. Both ladies were in full evening dress, doubtless supposing the
occasion would be a formal one. Mrs. Squiers was a striking-looking
person whose face did not recommend itself to me. After the death of the
first wife, she became the second Mrs. Frank Leslie. All suffragists owe
her a debt of gratitude for her generous gift of her fortune to our
cause.

One of our delightful visitors in these days was our cousin-german
Frank, known later as Marion Crawford, the novelist. He was sent to this
country to receive his early education, spending several years at St.
Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire. He was now about ten years old,
a handsome, freshfaced boy, very much interested in locomotives. He
brought a number of engravings of these, which I politely examined, in
spite of my perfect indifference to engines of all sorts. In later years
my youngest son, discovering with pain this trait in his mother’s
character, observed, reflectively:

“It must be strange not to be interested in locomotives.”

“No, Jack, it is _not_ strange at all!”

Young Crawford was as full of fun as other boys of his age. With brother
Harry he performed various antics at the house of my aunt, Mrs.
Mailliard, in Bordentown, New Jersey. Her family were surprised, when
walking in the garden, to see the stand of the lost rocking-horse
protruding from the chimney!

Dear old Mr. Joseph Greene Cogswell, who had been the first librarian of
the Astor Library, was sitting quietly by the fire when boots suddenly
came down the chimney. With perfect gravity he picked these out of the
fire with the tongs, causing great amusement to the naughty boys
watching above.

Sister Julia was ten years older than Frank, but they were great chums.
During one of our periodical stays at the Institution for the Blind they
bought cream-cakes with the money given them for car fare, and walked
the two or more miles from Boston to South Boston with cheerful hearts!

During our residence in Boylston Place my father did some of his writing
in the house and asked us to make no noise near his room. We were so
young and thoughtless as to think this request unreasonable. True, we
knew, in a general way, that he was writing the report for the
Massachusetts Board of State Charities, but this meant little to us. In
later years we came to understand what labor and fatigue the task
involved, for the board was the pioneer body of its kind in the United
States. My father’s wide experience made it inevitable that he should be
summoned to sit on it. “The Nestor and Achilles of public charities in
Massachusetts” soon became the chairman. In a series of annual reports
he advocated a system of dealing with the dependent classes which was
accepted and still remains in force, not only in Massachusetts, but in
many other states and in some European countries.

Public institutions, he declared, should be built only in the last
resort. The dependent classes should be diffused through the community,
not gathered together. Children should be cared for in families, not in
institutions. Defectives should be brought together only for purposes of
instruction. They should not live together in homes, as their
peculiarities thus become more strongly developed, but with normal
people.

As a pioneer in eugenics he strongly disapproved of the policy of
certain trustees of the Reform School for Girls. These wished to bury in
oblivion the former bad life of the young women, allowing young men to
marry them without any warning of their past misbehavior. My father knew
this was all wrong and so declared, drawing upon himself sarcastic
denunciations from the unwise trustees.

When it was proposed to build a large institution at Winthrop, he wrote
to the newspapers, showing the evil of congregating so many people under
one roof.

An unexpected ally appeared in a correspondent who wrote Doctor Howe,
approving the stand he had taken “because, although it is not generally
known, there are lions and tigers under the proposed site of the
institution!”

My father’s labors have often seemed to me like those of Hercules. He
succeeded in them because he had great confidence in the benevolence of
his fellow-men; he knew they would respond to appeals made in the right
spirit, if matters were clearly explained.

“Obstacles are things to be overcome,” was one of his mottoes. “_Qui
facit per alium, facit per se_,” was another.

So long as the deed was done, it mattered not to him who did it or who
received the praise. If some one else could carry out his plan, he was
off to the next task. He was too busy to give any time to the recording
of his own accomplishments. Hence he had all the more for the work in
hand.

In 1866 came the stirring news of the revolt of Crete against her
Mohammedan oppressors. The island had earned its freedom with the rest
of Greece in the war of independence, but by a cruel stroke of diplomacy
had been put back under the heel of the Turk.

We shudder in the year 1918 at the cruelties of the Germans, the
self-styled Huns. Yet they were once Christians and some remains of
Christian thought and practice still linger among their soldiery. But
the Turks have always been barbarians. In the early days of the rising
of 1866–68 we learned with horror of the fate of the brave and desperate
Cretans who, gathered together in church or fortress, blew themselves
into eternity rather than fall into the savage hands of the Turks. Men
did the same thing in the Greek revolution, to escape the same terrible
fate!

My father was now sixty-five years old. Yet “he heard the voice of
Greece calling him,” and he answered the call, as he had answered it
nearly half a century before.

Then he had gone, in the enthusiasm of his bright youth, alone to a
strange land, whose language he did not speak. _Now_ he at once called a
meeting in Music Hall, Boston, where Edward Everett Hale, Oliver Wendell
Holmes, Wendell Phillips, the silver-tongued orator, and others spoke.

My father presided and made a brief speech:

“I knew hundreds of them [the Cretans]—good men and true. I had been in
their beautiful island, had stood a siege with them in one of their
beleaguered fortresses, and witnessed their courage.... I see them now,
the sons of my old companions, in their snowy chemise and their shaggy
capote, saying, sadly, ‘Good-by, mother! Good-by, sister and child! Seek
your refuge in the neighboring isles, upon the main, wherever the hand
of Christian mercy may aid you. We go to the mountains to keep the flag
of freedom flying as long as we live!’ My friends, these unfortunate
women and children are now suffering as many of their mothers suffered
forty years ago. Your fathers and your mothers relieved them. Will you
not relieve their children?”

Of course they would and did. Thirty-seven thousand dollars were raised,
and in March, 1867, my father sailed for Greece, to be once more the
almoner of American charity.

The Cretan refugees had been obliged to fly hastily, and were in a
destitute, almost naked condition. The good women of Boston responded to
this call by forming sewing-circles to make clothing for these exiles.

I inaugurated one among my young friends, but looked in vain for a
president. I appealed to Emily Russell, who had held this office in a
similar society.

“Why aren’t you the president yourself?” she suggested. The idea had not
previously occurred to me, as I had had no experience. However, I
accepted her advice, learning then that if you start an enterprise you
must expect to take the responsibility on your own shoulders.

Just what kind of undergarments the women of the Orient wore we did not
know. Fortunately for us, a circle of older ladies took the
responsibility, cutting out for us pattern “togas” and “pajamas.” They
were of unbleached muslin—or cotton cloth. The price of this had been
seventy-five cents a yard during the Civil War, and was still very high
in 1867.

We were merry over the naming of the garments and over their unusual
shape. My mother, who assisted in the distribution of the clothing to
the refugees at Athens, tells us that they were suitable in pattern and
quality.

One or more of our meetings were held at the Institution for the Blind,
where Laura Bridgman, despite her lack of sight and hearing, ran the
sewing-machine for us.

The year 1867 and a good part of 1868 were largely occupied with work
for the Cretan cause. My mother and sisters, Julia and Laura,
accompanied my father to Europe, I having remained behind from choice.
This was partly out of deference to the wishes of my fiancé and partly
because I had not yet recovered from the strain received during the
removal to Boylston Place.

A quiet summer was indicated for me—but how was it possible to compass
this when the letters from Greece were so moving? Sister Laura, in
particular, wrote such harrowing accounts of the refugees that I could
not remain inactive. Brother Harry, sister Maud and I were spending the
greater part of the summer at our home in Lawton’s Valley, where our
aunt, Mrs. Joseph N. Howe, and her daughters were installed for the
season.

I rashly decided to arrange an amateur concert for the benefit of the
Cretans. True, I knew something of music, but of the nature of amateur
musicians I was blissfully ignorant. The first step was easy enough. The
stirring letters from Greece afforded plenty of ammunition for a
circular appeal to the leading people of Newport, of which we wrote many
copies. Brother Harry, now a junior at Harvard College, was my right
hand in the whole matter, working most unselfishly and constantly.

Day after day we took the six-mile drive to Newport, calling upon
prospective patronesses and singers. The former responded nobly. Mrs. E.
D. Morgan, wife of the war Governor of New York State, took fifty
tickets, although her husband had already contributed to the cause.

But the singers! oh, the singers! Such backing and filling, such coy
consents, withdrawn almost as soon as made! It had not occurred to my
youthful mind that the amateur musician normally displays his talents
before a private audience. In asking him to sing before the public, at
an entertainment for which tickets were sold, I was requesting something
unusual. Doubtless many felt their talents were not sufficient for the
task. The Cretan concert might never have materialized except for the
timely aid of Miss Jane Stuart. Daughter of the famous painter, Gilbert
Stuart, and an artist herself, she was one of the characters of old
Newport. Her father had been one of the few to give my father God-speed
when the latter started for Greece in 1824, and he had reciprocated the
kindness by helping Miss Jane in some undertaking. She was extremely
grateful, and once showed her feeling by embracing him. “My dear, I
might just as well have kissed that door!” she afterward said to my
mother. My father was a true New Englander in disliking all such
demonstrations, and Miss Jane was extremely plain.

She and her elder sister lived in a pleasant little cottage on Mill
Street. This was practically headquarters for us during our Cretan
concert campaign. Miss Jane gave us her aid and counsel in every
possible way. I’m ashamed to think how often we imposed upon the
kindness of the two ladies by staying to luncheon. Miss Anne, born
toward the close of the eighteenth or at the beginning of the nineteenth
century, was a gentlewoman of the old school. She wore a black
head-dress covering a great part of her head—the successor to the
turban, perhaps. She was not so witty as Miss Jane, whose conversation
was very charming. The agreeable women of the older generation whom I
remember in my youth had grown up before the day of the short story and
almost before that of the magazine. Hence it was a part of their social
education, the knowledge of how to tell anecdotes in a truly interesting
way.

Another friend who helped us in our undertaking was Miss Anna Vernon,
who thoroughly loved music and gave much time to it. She then lived in
the historic Vernon house, the headquarters of Rochambeau. It is now
decorated with a medallion portrait of him.

I was so much absorbed in my new undertaking as to suppose every one
else would be interested in it. Perhaps that is the secret of successful
canvassing! To my urgent request that he would go with me to drum up
recruits Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson at last replied:

“Why, I am the only man in Newport who has anything to do!”

This gentle rebuke was disconcerting, but, having delivered it, and so
freed his mind, the gallant colonel climbed into my pony-chaise and we
made the projected calls together. At that time he and his first wife
were living in Newport. She was a superior woman, but a victim of a form
of rheumatism which made her almost helpless. Her husband was devoted to
her.

The amateurs continuing hopelessly coy, we had, in a moment of
desperation, an interview with the manager of an opera troupe. It did
not prove practicable, however, to hand the concert over to
professionals.

We were obliged to call in the aid of one, Mrs. Flora Cary, afterward
Mrs. Barry, a concert singer with a fine contralto voice. She generously
gave us her services. My mother’s cousin, John Ward, possessed a
well-cultivated tenor voice, and he, too, nobly volunteered. With the
help of these and other performers the concert for the benefit of the
Cretans at last came off. We cleared four hundred dollars, and a
donation from the Misses Hazard, the sisters of Mr. Thomas Hazard,
brought our profits up to five hundred.

Cousin John had taken degrees both as a doctor and as a lawyer, yet he
practised neither profession. The possession of money was an effective
damper on his activities. For many years he was a member of the
well-known Mendelssohn Glee Club of New York. Unfortunately, he desired
also to be a poet, a career for which nature had not intended him. He
had a theory that perseverance was the main requisite. Hence he would
read his verses to some unfortunate friend, and if the latter made any
criticism which seemed to him just he would call on the friend a second
time, and recite a revised version, asking if that were any better!

His friends took refuge in polite lies. “Oh no, John, I have no taste
for poetry. I’m no judge of it—it would not be of any use to read that
to me!”

Even the most conscientious fell from truth, after a while. When it came
to the third degree—listening to the same verses, altered slightly to
suit your taste, for the third time you surrendered. You accepted them
as faultless—anything, rather than listen to them again.

He printed a volume of poems, which he determined should be
letter-perfect. Of course it was not—but the printer profited handsomely
by the venture.

A more practical taste was that for genealogy. We owe to his painstaking
industry biographies of our common ancestors, Governor Samuel Ward and
his son, Lieutenant-Colonel Ward, as well as an account of the
Continental Congress before the Declaration of Independence. Thereby
hangs a tale. Governor Samuel Ward was not only a member of that
Congress, but presided constantly over the body as chairman of the
Committee of the Whole, until March 15, 1776, when he was obliged to
leave the session, owing to a violent attack of smallpox! He died
shortly after, and so did not sign the famous document. His colleague,
Stephen Hopkins, _did_ live to sign it, yet it was the “physical
disability” of the latter which threw such a burden of work on Governor
Ward that he was in an entirely unfit state to cope with the disease!

We have found it a little hard to forgive our distinguished ancestor his
imprudence. If he had only been inoculated beforehand all might have
been well, but he could not take the time! However, we console ourselves
by remembering that he was the _only_ Colonial governor who refused to
carry out the odious stamp act!

His son, Lieut-Col. Samuel Ward, did good service in the Revolution.
Cousin John regarded these and other ancestors with a reverence that
amounted almost to awe. He would let you take a peep at Governor Ward’s
Congressional Journal, but you were not permitted to touch it. Yet he
made no provision for the care of these beloved papers after his death.
They were inherited by a relative who, possessing no taste for
genealogical research, has locked them up in a safe-deposit box.

I have sometimes thought there should be _one_ genealogist—and only
one—in each generation. Yet, when I remember the lives of some of those
I have known, it seems a little hard to condemn even _one_ person every
thirty years to this gentle fate. For it is not to be denied that
genealogists are often ineffective, though excellent, persons. It has
been already said of Cousin John that he went to the Civil War. So he
did his “bit” for his country.

During the seven months while the family were in Europe sister Maud
remained under my charge. With the help of Miss Mary Paddock, we kept
house in the “Doctor’s” part of the Institution, visiting various
relatives later on. That Miss Paddock should thus come to help us out
was quite in the usual order of things. We were all fond of her and
accepted her aid as a matter of course. As the young Howes grew older,
we saw and appreciated the sterling worth and rare unselfishness of her
character.

It was a part of my father’s power to draw to his aid people of worth
and ability. His chivalrous spirit thrilled through his assistants. They
saw him devoting his life to the care of the maimed lambs of the human
fold—they, too, would and did help in the good work. Working with the
“Doctor” was no light service, yet all knew that he himself labored
harder than any one else. Of necessity there was much steady, practical
work, yet, as in all pioneer labor, there was the romance of hewing out
new paths. To enlist under the “Doctor’s” banner was in itself an
adventure. Mary Paddock did so enlist, becoming a teacher at the
Institution for the Blind in her young womanhood. Her devotion to my
father ended only with his life. She was with us often at “Lawton’s
Valley” and “Green Peace” as faithful friend and helper. During the last
years of my father’s life, when his health was failing badly, she was
his amanuensis and nurse. For her memory we all feel deep affection and
gratitude.

The blind children were often my playmates. We were so accustomed to
seeing and being with them that we thought little about their privation
of sight. My father’s aim was to make them as much like seeing people as
possible. Thus they were taught to go about the house and grounds very
freely, running down-stairs as rapidly as seeing boys and girls. Some of
them walked in the streets and even traveled in the cars alone. Usually,
however, a leader was required. Occasionally I went with them, as guide,
to opera or concert. Many tickets were generously sent to them,
especially for the less popular performances.

In the summer of 1867 sister Maud was in her thirteenth year—a handsome
child of generous and noble impulses, but of an impetuous disposition
that made her at times difficult to deal with. “Old Splendid” was the
name given her by a dressmaker to whom we were all attached. “The Stormy
Petrel” was another nickname.

Her lack of respect for the gods of the school-room filled my more
conventional soul with horror. To call the excellent Mr. Greenleaf, the
author of our arithmetic, a fool seemed to me eminently unreasonable.
When, in a fit of exasperation over her studies, the ink-bottle was
flung across the room, spattering the wall with its contents, I stood
aghast. I did the best I could for my young charge while the family were
in Europe and was rewarded a hundredfold by her affection and gratitude.

My mother and sisters assisted in the work of distributing to the Cretan
refugees the ten thousand garments sent out from America. Sister Laura
has described “the stately, dark-eyed Cretan women, majestic even in
their rags and misery; the slender girls; the lovely, dirty children.”
She has told us of many romantic incidents which found no place in my
father’s reports.[10] He always suppressed his own part in any
undertaking, writing down only what was necessary to secure the interest
of the reader.

A price was set upon his head by the Turkish authorities of Crete.
Nevertheless, he visited the island and the small rocky fortress where
he had been besieged in the old days of the Greek Revolution.

Footnote 10:

  _Letters and Journals of Samuel Gridley Howe._ Dana Estes & Co.

The Howe sisters made a trip on a small steamer where there was a grim
passenger—the head of a famous brigand who had just been captured and
killed. They would have liked to see this horrible trophy, but my father
would not permit it.

On their return to America, my father and mother began to make
preparations for a fair in behalf of the Cretans. My share was to revive
the sewing-circle of the previous year. Instead of working on “pajamas”
and “togas,” we now had the more interesting occupation of sewing on
pretty things. White coats with colored silk trimmings were then in
fashion. I conceived the brilliant idea of making them at our
sewing-circle, and so reaping a handsome profit. The girls groaned at
undertaking anything so serious as outside garments, but I persuaded
them that they could—and ought. These sold for a high price—between
thirty and forty dollars apiece!

The fair was a great success, more than thirty thousand dollars being
raised. The work for the Cretans involved many meetings. Money was
raised by lectures and in other ways. A poster in one of the theaters
announcing a performance for their benefit drew this comment from a
passer-by:

“The Cretans? Who in h—l are the Cretans?”

In spite of the splendid struggle made by the brave inhabitants of the
island, they were at last obliged to go back under barbarian rule. But
it was only for a time. My father did not live to see Crete freed, but
we, the children of the Philhellene, rejoiced and were exceeding glad
when the hated Mohammedan yoke was thrown off.

The Cretan episode had one very unexpected result. Among my father’s
helpers in Athens was a young Greek, Michael Anagnostopoulos. When he
was asked what payment he desired for his services, he replied:

“What do you receive for yours, Doctor Howe?”

“Nothing,” said my father.

“Neither do I wish to be paid,” the young Greek answered. But he _did_
want to see America!

He returned with the family to Boston, where, after mastering the
difficulties of the English language, he became Doctor Howe’s assistant
at the Institution for the Blind. In the year 1870 he married sister
Julia, succeeding to the directorship after my father’s death in 1876.

We were all made happy by the purchase of No. 32 Mount Vernon Street,
soon after the return of the family from Europe. This residence, on the
top of Beacon Hill, was spacious and pleasant.

The preceding owner was a maiden lady with a great fondness for cats.
They were not included in the bill of sale, but hung about the place.
Cats seemed to be our fate!

As I had not fully recovered my strength, a room on the ground floor was
allotted to me, so that I need not climb the stairs. A furnace burning
wood was put into the house as being more wholesome than anthracite
coal.

Once or twice I heard a friendly tap on the window-pane, and opened the
door to admit brother Harry, who had forgotten his latch-key. From the
lapel of his dress-coat gleamed many favors, tokens of the mimic
victories of the german. For he was a good dancer and a favorite in
society.

Fifty years later, when the John Fritz gold medal was presented to him,
at a meeting of the United Engineering Societies held in his honor, I
again saw stars shining upon his breast, the tokens not of mimic, but of
real victories. For brother Harry has won golden opinions by his
strenuous work, and many honors, from foreign countries as well as from
England and America, have been bestowed on him. Yet he has taken them
all with a modesty that disarms envy.

In 1869 he graduated from Harvard College. His class day was an event in
the family, especially for sister Laura, who was then at the right
age—nineteen—to enjoy the festival fully. Various desperate swains
attended her on that day and made love to her amid the classic shades of
the old Harvard Yard. She was a pretty, perhaps a beautiful girl, with a
sweetness and freshness of disposition delightful to behold. Though
clever and witty, she was too amiable to say sharp things. Hence great
was the number of her admirers.

I had now assumed the cares of the family housekeeping, as well as a
certain supervision over the clothes of the younger sisters. Sister
Julia was not interested in these things. It must be regretfully
admitted that under my sway plain living was too much accentuated.
Finding a diet of prunes and toast for supper (dinner was still at two
o’clock) monotonous and uninteresting, the family rebelled and declared
they must have a more generous and varied bill of fare. Even my father
questioned whether, in view of my natural tendencies to economy, it
might have been a mistake to teach me bookkeeping! I do not think this
was his real opinion, however. During one of my absences from home he
wrote that he missed me as the regulating clock of the establishment.
The high prices which continued to prevail long after the end of the
Civil War made prudence in expenditure necessary for people of moderate
income. I kept the family accounts, the central figure from whom we
received funds, and who was supposed to demand an exact accounting of
all moneys given out, being put down as “The House.” My father once
jokingly exclaimed, “Who _is_ House? Every one seems to be against him!”

He was now requested to take part in a new enterprise which deeply
interested him. The Republic of Santo Domingo having asked to be annexed
to the United States, President Grant appointed Hon. Benjamin F. Wade,
of Ohio, Hon. Andrew D. White, and my father as commissioners to visit
the island and investigate the conditions there.

They sailed in the steamer _Tennessee_, after warning us that we must
not be alarmed if no news was received from them for a month.
Nevertheless, it was difficult to avoid worry when sensational stories
appeared in the newspapers about the supposed foundering of the
_Tennessee_. The wife of Andrew D. White suffered such anxiety that her
hair turned white!

With the assistance of a corps of scientific observers, they made a
careful investigation of conditions in the little republic and wrote a
report heartily favoring annexation. I’m sorry to say that Charles
Sumner, misled by designing people, made a speech in the Senate strongly
opposing it, before this report had been presented. Others attacked it
and the measure failed. Thus Grant’s plan of gaining a foothold in the
tropics was for the moment defeated.

My father still hoped that something might be done for Santo Domingo
through private enterprise. During his last visit to the island news
came of the death of Charles Sumner. My father was deeply grieved, for
in spite of the difference of opinion about Santo Domingo the old
friendship remained unbroken.

To each of the Howe daughters, and I think to the Longfellow daughters
also, Charles Sumner left a legacy of five hundred dollars. He also
bequeathed his fine collection of bronzes to my father and Mr.
Longfellow. Mother and sister Maud met the poet and made the division.
Sister Maud complained afterward that our mother _would_ choose first
some piece that she especially fancied, instead of selecting the largest
and most valuable articles. Sister Maud was still in her teens!

The older three Howe sisters were all married within a twelvemonth,
sister Julia choosing the thirtieth day of December, 1870, in order that
she might begin the new life with the new year. She was married at home.
Sister Laura’s wedding took place at the Church of the Disciples, on the
17th of June. We had forgotten that the procession of Bunker Hill Day
might interfere with the going to and from the church. It did cause some
delay.

My marriage took place at No. 32 Mount Vernon Street, in November, 1871.
All three of us had simple weddings, followed by pleasant, informal
receptions. We had no bridesmaids. Several of sister Laura’s
disappointed lovers went off on an excursion together, instead of
attending the ceremony.

She and her husband went to Europe on their wedding-tour, visiting
Greece, Constantinople, Italy and other countries.

Brother Harry graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
at the head of his class, leaving Boston during this same fateful year
1871. Our parents were thus left with only one out of the five
children—sister Maud—but she was a host in herself, while their many
interests and many friends acted as a cheerful counter-irritant to
loneliness.

Brother Harry married, in April, 1874, Miss Fannie Gay, daughter of
Willard Gay, Esq., of Troy, New York. The wedding was in church, a
handsome reception following it.


------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                   XV

                       MARRIED LIFE IN NEW JERSEY

_Nursery Days.—The Family of a New Jersey Commuter.—Sorrows of the
    Country Housekeeper.—Death of My Father.—A Memorial Meeting.—The
    Story of Sister Constance.—A Division of Heirlooms._


THE first six years of our married life were spent in New York City.
Here we shared with my husband’s brother, Rowland Minturn Hall, and his
two sisters, Elizabeth Prescott Hall and Frances Minturn Hall, the
family home at No. 208 Second Avenue.

During this period our three older children were born, hence my time was
much occupied with them. As my husband cared little for society, our
life was extremely quiet, our social gaieties being for the most part
confined to a pleasant family circle.

Our eldest son, Samuel Prescott, was born at “Green Peace,” South
Boston.

My mother thus recorded the event in her journal:


    _September 13_.—Before I open even my New Testament to-day I
    must make record of the joyful birth of Flossy’s little son,
    which took place soon after 1 A.M.... The boy is a handsome
    infant.... I quieted him until 5 A.M., when I slept two hours.
    God bless this dear little child. May he bring new peace and
    love to the house where he comes a little too soon for
    convenience—I mean for his uncle and aunts Hall. His father and
    mother will bless God for him, as I do.

When I heard the baby’s first cry it seemed to me the sweetest music to
which I had ever listened. The nurse had formerly been a Shaker, and
soothed the child with quaint melodies of that sect.

                   He hears the ravens when they cry,
                   He clothes the shining mead,
                   And shall He not my wants supply
                   With everything I need?

The air was old, having little quavers savoring of the “tie-wig” period.
Sammy was a nervous child and required much quieting. He took his daily
nap out of doors, winter and summer. He was the first grandson, sister
Laura’s first child, born a month or two before, being a daughter.

We named him for the two families, Samuel after my father, and Prescott
for my husband’s great-grandmother, Elizabeth Prescott, wife of the Rev.
David Hall. She was descended from the Rev. Peter Bulkley, the founder
of Concord, Massachusetts, and the lineal descendant of stout old Baron
Bulkley, one of the men who wrested Magna Charta from King John and thus
laid the foundations of the liberties of England and America.

Samuel Prescott, my husband’s great-greatuncle, accompanied Paul Revere
on his famous ride. It must be confessed, however, that his errand was
in part, at least, one of sentiment, as he was going to see his
sweetheart in Concord. When Paul Revere was captured, Prescott escaped
and carried the news of the coming of the British to Concord. His name
is duly inscribed on one of the sign-posts which indicate to the
passer-by all the historic spots of the ancient town. I dislike this
excess of labeling which leaves nothing to the imagination.

When I told my father that we should name our boy for him, substituting
Prescott for Gridley because the latter was such an ugly name, he
replied very quietly that it belonged to a good old New England family.
Boasting about one’s ancestry was so repugnant to him that he did not
think proper to tell us that Richard Gridley had been a distinguished
engineer during the Revolution, while Samuel, his grandfather and
namesake, had served as captain in the former’s artillery regiment.

Many times have I regretted not giving my son his grandfather’s full
name. He has atoned for my failure to do so by calling _his_ son “Samuel
Gridley.”

I had an excellent nurse to take care of the children, but the youngest
always slept in our room. With Sam we had some terrible moments, owing
to our extreme zeal in tucking him up. As he disliked the process, he
often waked up and gave tongue. One night my husband grew so desperate
that he proposed taking the baby down to the dining-room, two flights
below, and allowing him to cry until he was tired! In reality, he was a
most affectionate parent, but this wild utterance relieved his feelings!

I did groan sometimes about the loss of sleep. I remember with a blush
that I foolishly made a complaint to a kinswoman of my husband’s, wife
of the Mr. Grinnell who financed the Arctic Expedition. She was a calm,
elderly lady who had borne nine children. It is to be feared that she
thought David Hall’s wife was a grumbling young woman!

At the time of our marriage my husband and I were not aware of any
relationship existing between us. Some years later old General Greene, a
devoted genealogist, proved to us that a distant kinsmanship existed
through the Greenes. People of Rhode Island descent almost inevitably
have ancestors belonging to this family. Like the Legion of Honor, it is
hard to escape from.

We had, also, a number of mutual relations, for two of his aunts, the
Misses Eliza and Maria Hall, had married two of my greatuncles, Henry
and William Ward. Evidently the families possessed mutual attraction.
This did not prevent the two clans from taking a high attitude of
impartial criticism each toward the other. I found, to my surprise, the
traits which we had supposed to be Hall—and which we mildly criticized,
were, on the contrary, Ward. They had been acquired by the Halls on
their marriage with the latter family, so I was told!

These mutual relatives welcomed me very kindly to New York. Just across
the way lived two cousins, Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Ward, to whom we were
much attached. Cousin Mary was only related to us by marriage, but her
husband’s relatives were delighted to adopt her as their own. To her
joyous and generous soul it was a great pleasure to make other people
happy. In her youth she had had so many admirers that it was jokingly
said she had gone through the alphabet and stopped at “W” because that
was as far as she could go! One young man fell so much in love with her
that he disguised himself as a gardener and entered her father’s employ.

The most intimate friend of my girlhood, Louise Darling, had preceded me
to New York. She had entered the Protestant Episcopal Sisterhood of
Saint Mary, and was now Sister Constance. Her friends and parents had in
vain remonstrated against this step. Yet we might have seen that it was
in accord with her natural bent of mind. Brought up as a Unitarian, she
had always been very devout, and while still very young had contemplated
becoming a missionary. Not long after leaving school she became a
convert to the Episcopal faith, devoting herself enthusiastically to
church work.

When she entered the convent her heavy, beautiful blond hair was all cut
off, for St. Mary’s is a High Church sisterhood. In her girdle of black
rope were tied three knots, representing the three vows of poverty,
chastity and obedience. The late Rev. Morgan Dix, at that time a single
man, was the Father Confessor of the establishment. I never could
understand by what process of logic he could reconcile his encouragement
of celibacy in such a young, enthusiastic woman as my friend, with his
own later entrance into matrimony. Perhaps he changed his mind—but
Sister Constance had taken the vows!

The sisterhood did not spend all their time in devotional exercises, but
engaged also in good works. Sister Constance painted religious pictures
and taught in the school. She seemed entirely happy in her new life. I
went to see her whenever I could, but she could not call upon us—or she
thought she could not. She was one of those persons who carry out
thoroughly whatever they had undertaken.

After our marriage Uncle Richard Ward kindly invited us to come and live
with him. Although we did not accept the offer, it was gratifying.

The furniture and effects of No. 8 Bond Street belonged to Uncle John
Ward, who had died some years before. On the death of Uncle Richard they
were divided among the eight heirs of the former. The uncles had
occupied the roomy, old-fashioned house for many years. Not only their
own possessions, but those of their relatives, had accumulated.
Furniture, busts and pictures which were not wanted for the moment were
left under the hospitable care of Uncle John. The result was a perfect
maze of possessions, some of them belonging to the estate of my
grandfather, who had died thirty-five years before, some to Aunt Louisa
Terry, who was living in Rome.

What we should have done without my mother I do not know. Her excellent
memory gave us the history of each doubtful piece. That set of furniture
was bought by Grandfather Ward when Uncle Sam married Emily Astor and
the young couple came to live with him at the corner house. Those
pictures belonged to grandfather’s gallery; the Copley portraits of our
ancestors had been purchased by Uncle John. The other heirs wisely left
these details to her judgment. The main division took a little time, but
was accomplished without much difficulty. The heirs or their
representatives had several meetings and chose what they wanted. My
aunt, Mrs. Mailliard, who was living in California, gave her share as a
weddingpresent to her three married Howe nieces, Julia, Florence, and
Laura. Hence I attended the meetings, as representing one of the eight
heirs.

The other heirs, the main business over, departed with light hearts. It
was left for Cousin John Ward and me to attend to the final details.
Days and weeks passed over our devoted heads and found us still at our
task. A faithful old retainer lived in the house and aided us in our
work.

I noticed one singular fact—articles of furniture which no one wanted in
the division assumed a priceless value when they were gone beyond
recall. Did Cousin John and I, in solemn conclave, agree to sell, for
the benefit of the eight heirs, a mahogany bedstead, then every one
regretted our rash act.

Over Aunt Phebe’s knitting we pondered long and earnestly. It was a
half-finished stocking and the wool was moth-eaten, for Greataunt Phebe
had been dead for years. We decided to run the risk of sacrilege and
destroy it. When Cousin John counted the great piles of plates he shut
his eyes, saying it was easier for him to count in that way.

A death-mask found in the attic was hard to identify. When Uncle Sam
called at No. 8 Bond Street, it was shown to him. “That is Maddie’s
mother,” he said. I was grieved to have asked unwittingly such a painful
question, for Maddie’s mother was his first wife, Emily Astor, who had
died many years before. “Maddie” was their daughter, Margaret Astor
Ward, afterward Mrs. Winthrop Chanler. Uncle Sam’s phrasing of his
answer showed his tact and desire to avoid making me feel I had
committed a stupid blunder.

My aunt’s present to us was a handsome one, even a third of an eighth
representing quite a share of silver, furniture, etc. I also figured as
a sort of residuary legatee, the heirs making me a number of presents
ranging from a great mahogany bedstead down to small domestic articles
of furniture. Hence I was well repaid for the trouble involved.

My father still walked with a light, quick step and maintained his
gallant bearing till he was seventy-two years old. Soon afterward his
health began to fail, but in spite of pain and weakness he kept at work.
In 1874 he wrote a brief report of his life-work for the blind, of which
it has been said:

“Were there no other monument to his memory, this would suffice.”

He still enjoyed his favorite exercise, riding on horseback, and took
great pleasure in his grandchildren. In spite of his extremely busy life
he had always found time to write to his children—were it only a few
affectionate lines. Two notes to sister Julia lie before me.


                                          CONTINENTAL, PHILADELPHIA,
                                                 _April 13, Sunday_.

    DARLING DUDIE,—Journeying homeward from Washington I was obliged
    to lie over here by sick headache, which, however, is passing
    away.

    I have seen dear Sumner, who lies stranded for life I fear—a
    magnificent but mournful wreck.

    Washington is looking beautifully in the full bloom of spring.
    It is not cheering to leave it for the cold and still wintry
    north, except when one thinks of the sunlight of dear faces and
    the warmth of loving hearts.

    Love to Michael.

                                                               PAPA.


                                     GLEN, _Sunday, Sept. 7th, ’73_.

    DARLING DUDIE,—Already I miss your sweet company and genial
    sympathy very much.

    Mamma and I had the most charming and felicitous journey down
    that is conceivable....

    The peace and quiet, however, is sadly broken in upon to-day,
    and the confusion half-crazes me. Besides our immediate three
    selves there are the two dear mothers[11] and two dear babies;
    and two nurses and Zalinski and Maud Parks and Girlie [?]
    Blackler, three men, two women and Pad [Miss Paddock]—nineteen,
    all told!

    The day is delicious indeed. I have taken both babies to ride on
    horseback, and enjoyed their sweet enjoyment.

    Laura and some of them have been to see Parker Lawton and
    carried to him fruit and flowers.

    I sent also a basket this afternoon to your old protégée Miss
    Taggart.

    Dear love to the ascetic Epirote and to all friends and the
    residuary legatee of all my affections.

                                                               PAPA.

When he died in January, 1876, beautiful tributes were paid to his
memory by all sorts and conditions of men—from the Governor and
Legislature down to the feeble-minded children whom he had brought into
the human fold. A great memorial meeting was held in his honor, where
Laura Bridgman, with her pale, sorrow-stricken face, was “the silent
orator of the occasion.”

Her health was seriously affected by my father’s death, as was also that
of sister Julia.

Footnote 11:

  Sister Laura and I.

From the poem of Oliver Wendell Holmes, I quote a few verses:

                How long the wreck-strewn journey seems
                  To reach the far-off past
                That woke his youth from peaceful dreams
                  With Freedom’s trumpet-blast!

                Along her classic hillsides rung
                  The Paynims’ battle-cry,
                And like a red-cross knight he sprung
                  For her to live or die.

                No trustier service claimed the wreath
                  For Sparta’s bravest son;
                No truer soldier sleeps beneath
                  The mould of Marathon.

Edward Everett Hale said, in part:


    You ask for his epitaph. It is a very simple epitaph. He found
    idiots chattering, taunted, and ridiculed by each village fool,
    and he left them cheerful and happy. He found the insane shut up
    in their wretched cells, miserable, starving, cold, and dying,
    and he left them happy, hopeful, and brave. He found the blind
    sitting in darkness and he left them glad in the sunshine of the
    love of God.

The simplest tribute of all came from the poor children to whose minds
he had brought light.

“They say Doctor Howe will take care of the blind in heaven. Won’t he
take care of us, too?”

On receiving my mother’s Memoir of her husband, Florence Nightingale
wrote as follows:


                                              LONDON, _June 7, ’77_.

    DEAR MRS. HOWE,—It is like a breath from Heaven to one’s
    overworked and well-nigh overwhelmed mind, your Memoir of one of
    the best and greatest men of our age, and your remembrance.

    You have shown his many-sided life as known to few. You have
    shown in him a rarer and more fruitful man than even we, who had
    known and loved him for so long, knew.

    What has been a revealing to us of him will be even more so for
    the crowd of your readers who knew him but by the dramatic Greek
    life: and by his work among the blind, deaf mutes and idiots. No
    one will know him quite till after you have been read. That is
    the privilege of your community with him—with his unconsciously
    heroic life. A great duty has been fulfilled in making known his
    sympathy for every kind of misfortune,—his love of helping
    humanity, so to speak, ancient and modern,—his generous and
    persevering devotion to right,—his noble horror of helpless
    pity,—his indomitable faith in progress; thanks to you.

    And how little he thought of reputation! That was the noblest
    thing of all.

    The pressure of ever-increasing illness and business—how little
    I thought to survive him—makes it difficult for me to write one
    unnecessary line. Our common friends, Mr. and Mrs. Bracebridge,
    Dr. Fowler, and how many others, are all gone before us.

    In their names and in his name I bid with all my heart,

              Fare you very well,

                   FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE.

On the anniversary of my birth, our only daughter, Caroline Minturn
Hall, was born at Portsmouth, near Newport, Rhode Island. One of her
pictures exhibited at the Paris Salon shows the beloved landscape of
“Oak Glen,” which adjoins her birthplace.

When our second son, Henry Marion Hall, was born, we moved to the
country, in order to give our three children greater liberty and more
fresh air than they could enjoy in the city. For fifteen years we lived
in Scotch Plains, a pretty, quaint old New Jersey town lying at the foot
of the Watchung Mountains. The countryside in 1878 was still in a
primitive condition. Scotch Plains was almost destitute of “modern
conveniences,” the gods of the servant-girl. A delusive bath-tub
appeared very effective until you found that it was necessary to drag
all the hot water up-stairs. We had a series of pumps indoors and out,
but no set wash-tubs.

There was neither gas, electricity, nor steam heat. We burned
kerosene-oil and my husband wrestled with the hot-air furnace, which
required such devotion that he christened it his black wife.

Gradually all these things were improved, by persistent effort. Our
landlord, young Doctor Coles, was our good friend, whom we persuaded to
make many improvements. But in the beginning housekeeping was very
difficult. Cooks looked upon us with an unfavorable eye, especially as
there was no Roman Catholic Church in the town.

My visits to the intelligence office were frequent and plaintive. Our
neighbor, Mr. B——, grew desperate over the situation. When he was asked
the searching question, “How many in fam’ly, sir?” he replied: “Seven
children. But I will make away with some of them if you think that is
too many!”

Some of our adventures were very funny—in the retrospect. One green cook
was much disturbed in mind about the asparagus. She could not wait for
my promised help, but prepared the vegetable by neatly whittling off the
tops. Great was the grief of our children, as this was the first
asparagus of the season.

Another cook of an ingenious turn of mind saved herself the trouble of
going down one flight of stairs to fill her bedroom pitcher by immersing
it in the tank in the attic. My husband could not understand why it took
comparatively few strokes of the pump to fill the tank—which soon became
empty again.

One night our little daughter was disturbed by plaster falling on her
face as she lay in bed. A glance at the ceiling revealed the cause. The
stalwart foot and leg of the cook protruded from it! In going to dip her
pitcher into the tank she had unwarily deviated from the narrow pathway
which led to it, putting her foot through the unprotected lath and
plaster!

Perhaps the most singular Irish bull was that of the functionary who had
been directed to make the sandwiches “half jelly and half mutton.” When
we were well started on our travels we tasted the luncheon. It was
horribly queer. Suddenly the truth flashed upon me! The literal-minded
cook had combined these warring materials in every sandwich!

The mistress made some mistakes as well as the cook. Seeing a material
of the color of the gingerbread often made in New England, I
unhesitatingly mixed it with the batter. When the supposititious
gingerbread came on the table it was very heavy and quite uneatable.
Something must have been wrong with the oven! The next time I began to
make gingerbread the cook caught my hand. “Oh, Mrs. Hall! Don’t put that
in! _That’s mustard._” My family were mercilessly merry over this
mistake.

I described the misadventure in _Demorest’s Magazine_, receiving five
dollars for the article. Thus every time any one poked fun at me about
the mustard gingerbread I countered with the five dollars! Better still,
by persistent efforts I learned—from Marion Harland’s excellent
receipt-book—to make gingerbread that appeared seraphic to my children.

When my husband once heartlessly observed that our sons could never twit
their wives with mother’s cooking, a chorus went around the table, “Oh,
but Mamma makes such lovely gingerbread!” And so I was honorably
avenged.

Fortunately we had a tower of strength in the children’s faithful nurse,
Mary Thompson. When cooks periodically failed us she valiantly walked
into the kitchen and did their work, as well as her own.

It must be confessed that Mary did not get along very well with the
various cooks. She was greatly their superior in intelligence and
character, as she well knew. Hence she did not always take enough pains
to be agreeable to the reigning queen of the kitchen. One woman
complained to me of this. “There we sit at table like two dumb
_brutes_!” she indignantly remarked.

In spite of all the troubles and trials of suburban life my husband and
I greatly enjoyed having a house of our own.

I was very anxious that my old friend, Sister Constance, should visit us
during her summer vacation. She was at this time established at the head
of a branch sisterhood in Memphis, Tennessee. Her parents had
unavailingly remonstrated with the authorities over this change of
domicile, for a Southern climate did not agree with her.

In reply to my letter of invitation, she wrote me she was so tired that
it was an effort to get up and walk across the room! A violent epidemic
of yellow fever suddenly broke out in her home district. Exhausted as
she was, she did not hesitate, but returned at once to the post of duty.
In ten days she was dead!

When she lay dying they asked if she was ready to go. “Aye, glad!” she
replied. So died, at the age of thirty-two, a woman who gave her life
for her people as truly and as nobly as any hero of the modern war!

I have always blamed the Mother Superior for permitting this useless
sacrifice. It was self-evident that in Sister Constance’s exhausted
condition she would at once fall a prey to the dreaded scourge. She
should have been detained at the North long enough to recruit her
strength before exposing her to an ordeal for which she was physically
unfit.


------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                  XVI

                  RECONSTRUCTING A NEW JERSEY VILLAGE

_The Mutual Admiration Society of Scotch Plains.—My Husband Becomes a
    Leader in Local Politics and Activities.—The Passing of the
    Mossbacks.—How We Gained a Public Library, a New School-house and a
    New Truck-house.—An Overseer of the Poor with Peculiar Methods._


DURING the summer of 1878 we tried the experiment of remaining in New
Jersey. We never repeated it. The heat, especially in the eastern and
inland part of the state, is much greater than that of New England. Miss
Emily Coles, the sister of our landlord, desiring to do something
pleasant for us, arranged a festivity in honor of my birthday. The event
of the evening was the reading of tributes to my various excellent
qualities, real or imaginary. These were neatly written on fancy cards
adorned with pictures. As Miss Coles read each one, she gave the name of
some lady or gentleman present. At first this puzzled me, for the guests
looked very quiet and thoughtful—not in the least enthusiastic over my
virtues. When Miss Coles handed me the basket with the cards the secret
was revealed. She had written all the cards herself—and, in order to
avoid monotony, had attributed the quotations to the Baptist dominie and
the rest of the company. This was a meeting of the Mutual Admiration
Society of the place—which existed, I fancy, chiefly in the fertile
brain of our good friend Miss Coles.

We invited our neighbors to informal entertainments, without any mention
of admiration to be either received or given. The refreshments were
simple and appropriate to a small country place where ice-cream was not
indigenous. Our friends came, and I learned later that people were glad
to have us set an example of simplicity in entertainment.

During our first years in New Jersey I was principally occupied with
household and nursery cares. My husband soon began to interest himself
in the life of the little town. A few years before we came there the
managers of the local railroad (the New Jersey Central) wished to move
it nearer to Scotch Plains. But certain property-owners, thinking they
had the railroad at their mercy, named an unreasonable price for their
land. The managers, finding they could make a better bargain elsewhere,
moved the railroad farther away, leaving Scotch Plains more than a mile
from the new station.

It was governed by a triumvirate who gathered around the stove in the
principal grocery-store. They were all hide-bound conservatives, not to
say moss-backs. Their party—the Democratic—ruled the town. A witty
friend of ours remarked that you could not do anything with a New Jersey
town until the outlanders outnumbered the native inhabitants.

My husband was a Republican of the most ardent type. He was also very
public-spirited and soon became the leader of those who wanted to see
things done in the village. Before long the Democratic majority was
definitely lost and a Republican one took its place.

There was no fire-engine in the town. One of the triumvirate could not
see the necessity of having any. “Insure your house, and if it catches
fire let it burn down.” It did not occur to him that if every one
followed this sweet and simple creed the insurance companies would
become bankrupt.

My husband was made president of the volunteer fire company, and a
campaign for improvement began. The neighboring town of Plainfield was
younger but much larger and more prosperous than our village. Here there
dwelt a hand fire-engine, old and retired, but still capable of
usefulness. Plainfield was persuaded to lend this to us. It was
burnished and polished with enthusiasm, coming out almost like new. Next
a better building was needed to house it and the fire-truck. Men who
could not give money were persuaded to give labor, and before long we
had a good building, with a large hall capable of holding half the
village on ceremonial occasions. True, it housed the engine and
truck—but these could be wheeled out of doors in a trice and brought
back at the close of a performance. Many were the amateur theatricals
and the church fairs held in that truck-house, for the town had sadly
needed such a hall.

It also needed a public library. My husband determined to found one that
should last. Mr. Andrew Carnegie had not yet become the sponsor of such
institutions; outside of New England, they were apt to fade away and
die.

Mr. Hall’s first step was to get a law passed by the Legislature making
one thousand dollars sufficient endowment for a free library. A large
part of this sum was raised by Miss Mary N. Mead, a lovely and unselfish
young woman living near the village with her sister, Mrs. Augustus D.
Shepard. Another sister was the wife of William Dean Howells. Miss
Mead’s enthusiasm and personal charm enabled her to raise money where
other people failed. She knew the funds were there, though to get them
out resembled the task of Moses when he drew water from the rock.

In the new building of the fire company were several upper rooms used
for their occasional meetings. Mr. Hall had the brilliant idea of
installing the library here, at a nominal rent of one dollar a year, the
trustees to carpet and furnish the rooms as a _quid pro quo_. The fire
company generously entered into the plan, and the library was formally
opened with amateur theatricals by the school children of the village.
We had discovered, early in our residence in Scotch Plains, that the way
to reach the parents was through their boys and girls. I wrote the
little play which went off very successfully. The library was proudly
thrown open for the inspection of the public. Magazines were provided
for the reading-room, with games in the small rooms set apart for the
children.

Among the obstacles we had to encounter was the opposition of a worthy
lady who disapproved of public libraries because she feared some of the
books might be objectionable. She had a long talk with my mother and me
in which she freed her mind as to the iniquity of the theater, and
expressed her grave doubts about the proposed library. “The works of
Swedenborg might be placed there,” she declared! I doubt whether she had
ever read any of the works of the famous mystic, but she fancied
something must be wrong with him. She doubtless knew that his writings
are sent free to any library desiring them.

The library once established, she sent tracts to it, but these Mr. Hall
firmly refused to place on the tables.

In selecting the trustees he took great pains that all cliques and sets
of the little place should be represented, no one being given an
overwhelming preponderance. He drew up the constitution making the
governing body a close corporation, with the thought of perpetuating
this balance of parties.

The little library had distinguished friends. Mr. Howells sent boxes of
books from time to time, while Mrs. Elliott F. Shepard, sister-in-law of
_our_ Mr. Shepard (Augustus D.), contributed liberally. But, best of
all, the people of the village, both rich and poor, became interested in
it, and adopted it as their own. Many were the fairs given to raise
money for it. It has passed through various vicissitudes, but was still
living and flourishing at last accounts.

I have said that my husband served as trustee of the public library,
president of the truck (fire) company, overseer of the poor and
vestryman of All Souls’ Church. He was soon called upon to fill so many
honorable but unremunerative offices that we called him “Pooh Bah.” Thus
he became a school trustee and a member of the town committee of three.
The affairs of the village were managed by this body. The school-house
had grown old in service, so that a new one was badly needed. Between
the floors lived rats, for which the boys fished through the cracks.

As our sons attended this school in their early years, we sadly realized
its deficiencies. My husband determined that there should be a new one.
The people of means in the village sent their children to private
schools elsewhere; some had none to send. Hence most of them were
inclined to oppose the erection of a new building, as it would increase
their taxes without being of any personal benefit to them. The moss-back
faction murmured mechanically their shibboleth, “What was good enough
for our fathers is good enough for us.” The project was at first
defeated. Then my husband “got mad” and made things move.

A law had recently been enacted in New Jersey empowering women to vote
at school meetings. Mr. Hall determined to fall back on this, should
other means fail. On the fateful evening a number of women were gathered
in our parlors, ready to march over to the neighboring school-house and
vote, should our ballots be needed. A pretty young married woman said,
“Oh, I’m so afraid!” I myself was not at all frightened, neither do I
think the others were.

After a time my husband entered, triumphant! He and his friends had
carried the day—the new school-house was won and our votes had not been
needed. He had a wonderful power of enthusiasm which, combined with hard
work, enabled him to carry out many projects.

The little town of Scotch Plains won not only a new, but a beautiful
school building. Through the good offices of Mr. Augustus D. Shepard,
brother-in-law of William Rutherford Mead, the firm of McKim, Mead &
White consented to erect this at a low price. My husband and the other
trustees gave the most careful attention to all the details, in order
that the school might be as convenient, yet as inexpensive, as possible.
I believe he enjoyed the laying of every brick!

Since we women had not actually attended the meeting which decided the
fate of the school-house, it was thought well that our initial entrance
upon the educational and political arena should be at an election that
did not promise to stir up excitement. Accordingly three or four of us
attended the meeting in March of the following year and voted peaceably
on all questions.

A magic change took place on that day! At previous school meetings
peanut shells and other débris had been scattered about the floor, and
the electors had mistaken the ink-wells in the children’s desks for
cuspidors! It had always been necessary to close the school for a day in
order to clear up after the “illicthors.” Behold, on the coming of the
women neatness and order reigned. Next day school kept as usual.

The overseer of the poor in our little village was in his private
capacity a landlord. A certain family failing to pay their rent, he
turned them out of doors in the middle of winter. They camped out on a
piazza until they could find other quarters. My husband was so indignant
that at the next election he ran for the office, and was duly elected.
Quite a little work but no salary was attached to it. The four dollars
which he received were presumably for expenses.

His friends amused themselves with guying the new overseer of the poor
by sending tramps to call on him. I remember only one real pauper with
whom he had to deal—a respectable old woman no longer able to maintain
herself. There was outside aid to be given, notably to the family of a
man in jail.

At the instigation of the owner, a woman, he had set fire to her house,
and was caught in the act. When the trial came she had her children in
court, and was let off. S—— had children, also, but they were at home.
Hence he was sent to prison. He no doubt deserved it, but, as the civil
authorities made no provision for the maintenance of his family, they
had a hard time to get along. We realized the terrible injustice of
taking away the breadwinner and expecting his wretched wife and children
to care for themselves without outside assistance.

There were, when we came to Scotch Plains, a Baptist and a Methodist
church, and a struggling little Episcopal mission. My husband and I
decided to throw in our fortunes with the last named. We liked the
clergyman in charge, Rev. Charles L. Sykes, very much, and we both had a
tendency to take the part of the under dog. Mr. Sykes’ talents qualified
him to occupy a more important position, but clergyman’s sore throat
obliged him to choose a small cure. He was one of the most devout men
that I have ever known. He did not read nor recite prayers, like most
ministers. When he prayed we felt that his soul was lifted up to God.
His wife was a woman of ability, cheery and courageous; we soon became
great friends.

When the mission services were temporarily discontinued, we invited Mr.
Sykes to deliver a series of parlor lectures. Miss Mead and I arranged
the course, our friends and neighbors subscribing and giving their
parlors. We were only able to give a small fee for the talks, but Mr.
and Mrs. Sykes were so fond of literature that the preparation of the
lectures was a labor of love. By and by a pretty little stone church was
built for the mission. Unfortunately, the expense of the building was
greater than the small congregation could afford, and for years there
was a desperate struggle with a debt, which was finally paid off. My
husband was too wise to advise this injudicious outlay, but he served
for some years as a vestryman.

The sister who had been my mate and dear companion from early childhood,
Julia Romana Anagnos, died of typhoid fever in March, 1886.

The Metaphysical Club, of which she was the founder and president,
published a little volume containing the tributes to her memory. The
following verses are by Dr. T. W. Parsons.

GIULIA ROMANA ANAGNOS

            Giulia Romana! how thy trembling beauty,
              That oft would shudder at one breath of praise,
            Comes back to me! before the trump of duty
              Had marshalled thee in life’s laborious ways.

            We used to wonder at thy blush in hearing
             Thy parents praised. We now know what it meant:
            A consciousness of their gifts reappearing
              Perchance, in thine—to consummation blent.

                  *       *       *       *       *

          Oh, she was beautiful, beyond all magic
            Of sculptor’s hand, or pencil to portray!
          Something angelical, divinely tragic,
            Tempered the smile that round her lips would play.

          Dear first born daughter of a hero’s heart!
            Pass to perfection, all but perfect here!
          We weep not much, remembering where thou art,
            Yet, child of Poesy! receive a tear.

          T. W. PARSONS.

Some nine months after the death of sister Julia I was attacked with
rheumatic fever. It did not, however, as in her case, turn into typhoid.
My mother and husband were greatly alarmed, especially as Gen. John A.
Logan died of the same disease, during my illness. In the midst of her
distress my mother had a strange feeling that she could save my life by
an effort of will. She did not content herself with praying only, but
strongly opposed the administration of narcotics which the nurse in
attendance was only too ready to give me in order that she herself might
sleep. My mother determined that I should no longer be dosed with these.
She sat by my bedside one night till the small hours of the morning,
when I dropped off into a natural sleep. To her vigilance I probably owe
my life.

One morning while I lay very ill she went quietly into my husband’s
room, asking him to come down-stairs at once. He went immediately and
found the kitchen on fire, the Irish servant-women in a panic of alarm.
Seeing at a glance the cause of the trouble, he caught up the blazing
student-lamp and hurled it out into the snow. It was then an easy task
for him to scrape down the flames from the woodwork. All this was done
so quietly that I knew nothing of the matter.

The physician who attended me was Dr. Abraham Coles, the father of our
landlord. He was an excellent doctor and our very good friend. Doctor
Coles was an elderly man, large and heavy. He was still handsome, with a
wealth of hair that was almost white. The winter of 1886–87 was a very
severe one, the ground covered with ice. Mother made a little path to
the gate with the poker. She noticed with pleasure that Doctor Coles
walked in her little poker path.

She wrote many letters to my husband, as he attended to some of her
business affairs. In this correspondence she chronicles with
affectionate interest the doings of the Hall family, telling us also of
her own proceedings.


                                            BOSTON, _June 8th, ’93_.

    MY DEAR DAVID—, ... I telegraphed you to-day to send some
    flowers for me to the Players’ Club for my dear friend, Edwin
    Booth. If you have not done this before receiving this letter it
    will be too late, as the service will be at 9 A.M. to-morrow in
    N. Y., the burial to be here, the same evening, I suppose. You
    will send me the bill....


                                             241 BEACON ST., BOSTON,
                                                   _June 8th, 1896_.

    MY DEAR DAVID,—I will do my best to copy a verse of the “Battle
    Hymn” to-day, but, oh! I write, every day, until I fairly ache,
    and it is mostly, or in great part, for other people’s pleasure
    or benefit. I shall write to dear Flossy as soon as I can. Tell
    her for me that I heard pleasant things about our dear Carrie
    from Mrs. Sally Whitman, recently returned from a brief stay in
    Paris.

                   Always your affect.

                        JULIA W. HOWE.

    P. S.—You see, I have done it.

The baby mentioned in the following letter was our mother’s first
great-grandchild, little Julia Ward Howe Hall.


                                                     241 BEACON ST.,
                                                  _June 16th, 1903_.

    DEAR DAVID,— ... I saw your dear Harry last evening. He seemed
    well—I thought him rather sober, as well he may be, with a
    family to provide for. The Baby, not the less, is a very welcome
    little creature, and it was a pleasant surprise when, on my
    birthday, the little Mother laid the little daughter on my lap.
    I returned on Sunday from a long visit in Gardiner. Always

                   Your very affectionate

                        JULIA WARD HOWE.

In the following letter, we see my mother making her annual pilgrimage
to the State House to attend the suffrage hearing. Neither the bitter
winter weather nor the infirmities of age could restrain her dauntless
spirit.


                                                  _March 7th, 1905._

    MY DEAR DAVID,— ... Tell Flossy that I have passed the morning
    at a State House hearing in behalf of a bill to have the school
    committee here appointed by the Mayor, instead of being elected
    by the people. I spoke against the bill, and hope you would have
    done so in my place.

My husband was greatly delighted with my mother’s _Reminiscences_ and
wrote her as follows:


                                           31 PINE STREET, NEW YORK,
                                              _February 15th, 1901_.

    DEAR MRS. HOWE,—Though I was a long time getting to it, when
    once I started in to read your _Reminiscences_ I was obliged to
    finish them at as nearly _one sitting_ as the exigencies of the
    “wrastle for hash” would permit.

    I have not been so fascinated with any book since the old days
    when as a boy I used to sit up half the night to finish one of
    the Waverly Novels.

    I had but two regrets when late last evening I read the
    beautiful lines with which the book concludes:—the first that
    there was not another volume, and the second that, charming as
    it all is, it is after all such an inadequate presentation of
    the life which is of such inexpressible value to us all. May I
    add that I hope you will take better care of it than you have
    recently been taking?

                   With best love

                        Ever very affectionately

                             D. P. HALL.


------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                  XVII

                        “I TAKE MY PEN IN HAND”

_Following the Family Tradition.—“Demorest’s” and “Jennie June.”—Marion
    Crawford and the Little Green Parlor.—Town and Country Club.—Charles
    Dudley Warner.—How I Came to Write About Manners.—Life of Laura
    Bridgman.—Helen Keller at the Perkins Institution.—A Luncheon at
    “Boothden,” the Home of Edwin Booth.—Joseph Jefferson and William
    Warren._


THE five children of our parents have all written and published books.
We have thus followed their example and an hereditary impulse which made
writing an easy method of expression for us.

My father published a history of the Greek revolution while he was still
under thirty. Although essentially a man of action, he was accustomed
throughout his long life to write reports, pamphlets and letters to the
newspapers—in a word, to elicit the interest and good-will of his
fellow-men in his work.

My mother is best known as the author of the “Battle Hymn of the
Republic,” but she also published many volumes of verse and prose. In
later years she appealed much to the public, and especially to her
fellow-women.

Sister Julia wrote stories and verses from her earliest childhood. She
published a volume of poems, entitled _Stray Chords_, and a little book,
_Philosophicæ Quæstor_, describing the Concord School of Philosophy. Our
mother considered this, her eldest daughter, as the most talented of her
children. Brother Harry did not turn to literature until a later period
in life. His works, although primarily technical and scientific, are
thought to show a gift for literary expression. The award of gold medals
on both sides of the Atlantic and of decorations by foreign governments
was doubtless won by lucidity of expression as well as technical merit.

Sister Laura began to write rhymes for children soon after her marriage.
They were published in _Saint Nicholas_, with illustrations by J. A.
Mitchell, afterward the editor of _Life_. Their merit and charm were
quickly recognized. She at once won the favor of the public, and has
held it ever since. _Captain January_ is the best known of her many
books. She is also the author of _Journals and Letters of Samuel Gridley
Howe_ and, in collaboration with sister Maud, of _Julia Ward Howe_. In
the preparation of the last-named book, I gave some assistance.

Sister Maud published novels and stories before her marriage. Her later
books, _Beata Roma_, _Two in Italy_, etc., telling of her life and
experience in the Eternal City and elsewhere, have won a genuine
success.

Thus when I began to think of adding a little to our income, writing for
the newspapers and magazines seemed the easiest thing to do. We had now
four children, each of whom, as we held, had brought us good fortune.
This pleasant theory was probably suggested by Bret Harte’s “Luck of
Roaring Camp.”

They certainly brought us an incentive for new effort, which is the best
form of good fortune. In story-writing I was not very successful. My
natural mode of expression was in sketches and essays, often of a
humorous character.

My mother was much interested in my new venture, and gave me letters to
various editors, including Mrs. J. C. Croly (“Jennie June”), the editor
of _Demorest’s Magazine_. She was extremely kind to me, and I wrote many
articles for her. Mrs. Croly was very fair, if not pale, with blue eyes
and light hair. Her face wore a rather worried expression, for her life
was not an easy one. Her husband was then living, but his invalid
condition added to her cares. She held pleasant evening receptions, at
one of which I heard Marshall P. Wilder, the humorist. He had a real
power of mimicry, but his delineations were not always pleasant. One of
them was “The Idiot Boy.”

In these days I made pilgrimages to editorial dens, and was surprised at
the wonderful flow of conversation issuing from the mouths of powerful
personages. _Why_ do editors talk so much to the neophyte? They kindly
gave me a great deal of information, but it was gradually borne in upon
me that they talked in order to protect themselves from boredom at my
hands. Did they not know, from long and painful experience, just what
every beginner at the trade would inevitably say? Hence they forestalled
my uninteresting remarks—and answered my unformed questions in the
proper way. I noticed that, after a certain amount of information had
been imparted to me, the editor would take up a paper and become deeply
absorbed in its contents. This was the signal for me to go. I soon
learned not to invade the editor in his den, unless he or she encouraged
me to do so.

The following letter was written apropos of my pilgrimages to editorial
dens:


                                                      SCOTCH PLAINS,
                                                      _Sunday P.M.,_
                                                      _Nov. 1, ’85_.

    DEAREST LAURA,—I was werry plose and thankful to receive your
    kind letter with so many addresses—werry nice kind & tanky much.

    But oh! Lovely as is a Haddress, it is perhaps the right address
    which fills us with the most lasting joy—as hennabling a feller
    to find the zbodd, as it were.

    I went to the Tribune Building—there was no Andrews Bazar
    there—the hoary bearded Janitor suggested Morse building the
    jan. of latter, said try Tract Building. At last after I had
    wandered up and down a kindly news paper advertising man told me
    he didn’t think there was “no such a person.” Or rather he told
    me he thought it had changed its name and become “The American
    Bazaar” where of he gimme the number but was too tired to look
    it up that day.

Newport life furnished an excellent opportunity for summer
correspondence. We lived near enough the town to enjoy something of its
pleasures, yet far enough away to avoid absorption in the whirlpool of
gaiety. When we were girls going into society we should have preferred
to be nearer the center of things. But the six-mile trip to Newport was
in reality a blessing. It enabled us to view the summer doings with a
critical though friendly eye.

Those who suppose that Newport society is entirely composed of frivolous
people do not know the place. Its matchless climate, delightful air and
peaceful beauty have always attracted people of quiet tastes, men of
letters and artists. Colonel Waring, who did such important work in
conquering yellow fever, lived for many years in Newport, where he had a
model farm.

He was a very handsome man, with dark eyes, gray hair, and a waxed
mustache. In the early days of the Town and Country Club he took part in
the “admirable fooleries” of which Colonel Higginson and my mother have
both given accounts. Kate Field often came to the meetings, but did not,
so far as I remember, take any part in the program. When at Newport she
stayed at the house of her aunt, Mrs. Sanford, in the latter’s villa on
the Point. From her “Juliet” window with its little balcony hung high in
the air she could look out over the peaceful waters of the harbor and
watch the beautiful Newport sunsets. Kate Field had very handsome hair
which at one time she wore floating over her shoulders. This fashion,
which lasted only a short time, was not becoming to her. As she was
rather short, the long and heavy hair tended to dwarf her height, while
its mass seemed out of proportion to her slender figure.

The diction of General Cullom, one of the officers of the Town and
Country Club, was peculiar. When at a loss for a word, he deliberately
remarked, “Pup-pup-pup,” occasionally changing it for “Pam-pam-pam.” To
hear this courtly, elderly gentleman say with perfect gravity, “Did you
go, pam-pam-pam to the Casino this morning?” was surprising.

When General Cullom kindly offered to give before the club a talk on the
French châteaux, illustrated by lantern slides, we all felt anxiety.
Wonderful to say, neither “pup-pups” nor “pam-pams” marred the
smoothness of the address!

Prof. Alexander Agassiz, whose summers were spent at Newport, when he
was not traveling about the world on his yacht, gave an illustrated
lecture on the Panama Canal which was of especial interest. The French
had then abandoned their attempt and the United States had not yet
undertaken to build it. A series of mournful lantern slides showed the
wrecks of the French machinery, and the excavations, which seemed small
enough compared with the gigantic nature of the undertaking. Professor
Agassiz was clearly of the opinion that, owing to the overflowing of the
Chágres River, it was not possible to build a canal at that point.

Charles Dudley Warner, who read extremely well, gave us, with realistic
effect, his delightful sketch, “The Bear Is Coming on.” We almost saw
the raspberry-bushes and felt the animal bearing down upon us. Another
sketch, relating to heaven and hell, was witty, but too frivolous in
tone to suit the orthodox members of the club. They were rather
scandalized at it.

In the summer of 1881 we had the happiness of counting our aunt Louisa
and her family as our quasi-neighbors. She had been the family beauty,
but was less clever than her sisters Julia and Annie. She was a woman of
much charm and, like Uncle Sam, showed signs of her French descent. With
her husband and their daughter Margaret she spent the season at one of
the cliff cottages at Newport. “Daisy” was a débutante; and interested
in the gaieties of the season. Hence her half-brother, Marion Crawford,
who loved the quiet of the country, spent much of his time with us at
“Oak Glen.” He was devoted to my mother and she was very fond of him.
Her house in Boston and her Newport home were harbors of refuge to him
in the years of his bachelorhood, many of which he spent in this
country. We found him the most delightful of housemates. Genial, cheery
and charming, he never availed himself of the masculine privilege of
grumbling, but took things as he found them. Mother said of him, “He is
as easy as an old shoe.” My youngest child, John Howe Hall, was born
that summer. The stairs at “Oak Glen” were rather fatiguing for me to
climb, when I first came down-stairs after his birth. So Cousin Marion,
who was both tall and strong, would pick me up like a baby and carry me
up-stairs. He was a very handsome man, with blue eyes like his father’s,
regular features, and curly brown hair. This, alas! was already
beginning to show a small bare place on the crown, in spite of his
mother’s faithful efforts with hair tonic.

Sister Maud spent the summer of 1881 with my aunt, Mrs. Mailliard, who
then lived on a great ranch in California. Some of her experiences there
are described in her novel, _The San Rosario Ranch_. My mother was
invited to take part in amateur theatricals at Newport during this
eventful season. In spite of her sixty-seven years, she was the first of
the company to master her lines.

She acted her part with spirit and gaiety, but could not resist the
temptation to “gag” the lines. Thus in speaking of doctors who arranged,
in Bob Sawyer style, to have themselves called out, she mentioned the
names of Doctor Cleveland and other physicians spending the summer in
Newport.

As bad luck would have it, this gentleman, who had a large practice,
_was_ actually summoned from the hall and arose to go, blushing
furiously!

Crawford had come to America, intending to live here. He thought
seriously of taking up the profession of philology, having a talent for
languages. As he possessed a good voice, he also thought of going on the
operatic stage. His ear for music was somewhat faulty, but this defect,
he was assured, need not, after the proper training of his voice,
prevent his singing correctly.

While he was in an undecided frame of mind he wrote, as an experiment,
his first novel, _Mr. Isaacs_. Its immediate success banished all doubt
as to his career.

It was in the “little green parlor” at “Oak Glen” that he composed a
large part of this story. Here, also, sister Maud and I often sat with
our writing. The little green parlor is a grassy crescent surrounded on
all sides by a hedge of tall cedar-trees. These have now grown so tall
as almost to conceal the house from the view of passers-by.

In these days Messrs. Dana Estes & Co. proposed to my mother the
preparation of a book on manners, dwelling especially on the origin of
customs. She did not care to undertake it, but Crawford thought he might
possibly do so, and sister Maud wrote a chapter. When both abandoned the
idea it seemed to me a great pity to let this opportunity go to waste. I
wrote to Mr. Estes, asking whether he would like me to write the book.
He approved of my suggestion, and _Social Customs_ was the result. I was
glad to carry out, within certain limits, his plan of noting the meaning
and origin of customs. It was not possible, however, with the time at my
command, to make an exhaustive historic study of the subject. But I was
able to analyze it and so present general rules, rather than a mass of
unexplained technical details. Looking thus at the matter, from an
outside point of view, it was possible to treat it with a light touch
instead of in the ponderous vein formerly considered necessary. I
thought it right to speak occasionally of the humorous aspects of the
subject, while emphasizing the intrinsic value and importance of good
manners. The critics hailed the book as a new departure in the
literature of the subject, and spoke very handsomely of it. It was
especially gratifying to receive from the Brussels Institute of
Sociology a good-sized volume containing, among other things, a notice
of my book. The following letter accompanied it:


                                                   Instituts Solvay.
                         Institut de Sociologie Bruxelles (Belgium).

    Madame:—The attention of a group of searchers at the Solvay
    Institute of Sociology has been directed upon one of your last
    works, and they are anxious to have a biographical note relating
    to you inserted in the sociological record recently organized at
    the said institute.

                            Yours sincerely,
          D. WARNOTH, _Chief of the Service of Documentation._

It has been already said that the case of Laura Bridgman excited deep
interest. My father’s reports were awaited as eagerly as novels, and
were translated into several foreign languages. In 1846, when she had
been nine years under instruction, he thought of writing an account of
her education and of communicating with Messrs. Harper about its
publication.

He never found time to carry out his purpose. There was always some
class of unfortunates who needed his championship, some wrong that must
be set right. It is deeply to be regretted that he never had the leisure
to tell the story of his most conspicuous achievement. The materials
were all at hand. A minute account of Laura’s progress had been kept in
the school journals. There were also my father’s own reports, notes and
correspondence, as well as Laura’s letters and the journals which she
kept for some years. By the desire of our brother-in-law, Michael
Anagnos, and with his help, sister Maud and I undertook to carry out our
father’s intention and tell the story of Laura Bridgman. Our chief
difficulty lay in the wealth of material. We held many consultations,
but to my sister belongs the chief credit of the work. My share
consisted principally in describing the technical part of Laura’s
education.

The work was of absorbing interest. In tracing this drama of the birth
of a human soul, we felt an echo of the thrill which came to my father
when he saw Laura’s face suddenly “lighted up with a human expression:
it was no longer a dog or parrot—it was an immortal spirit, eagerly
seizing upon a new link of union with other spirits!”

No wonder that he exclaimed, “Eureka!”

His graphic description of these first wonderful steps is quoted—with
due credit to Doctor Howe—in Dickens’ _American Notes_.

Since Laura’s was the first case of the sort in the world, it was
necessary for my father to devise his own methods. A special teacher was
employed for her, several devoted women filling this post in turn.

My father always superintended her education, and recorded every
step—telling us how he taught her the use of prepositions, adjectives
and verbs.

An excellent speller herself, in her later years she taught the little
blind children how to spell. Laura Bridgman had the pride of intellect,
in spite of her infirmities, and was inclined to look down upon people
of inferior mind or education. The lessons in conduct which the ordinary
child learns from the example of those around him Laura had to learn
from books or from conversation with her teacher. Moral, ethical, and
later spiritual problems aroused her deep interest. Her writings—and
they are many—show a soul as white and innocent as that of a little
child.

Laura was well trained in the domestic arts. She was an exquisite
needlewoman, her darning being a “poem in linen.” She could also knit
and crochet extremely well, making the fine beaded purses then in
fashion. Indeed, the sale of her handiwork contributed to her own
support. She kept her room in beautiful order, dusting the most delicate
objects without injury to them. One of Laura’s amusements was to arrange
my mother’s bureau drawers. The latter disliked having any one meddle
with her things, but Laura’s touch was so delicate that she was allowed
thus to officiate as “mistress of the wardrobe.”

Best of all, she enjoyed life in spite of her many deprivations, making
the most of the little pleasures that came to her. The following is one
of her “poems”:


                           LIGHT AND DARKNESS
                                   BY
                             LAURA BRIDGMAN

    Light represents day.
    Light is more brilliant than ruby, even diamond.
    Light is whiter than snow.
    Darkness is nightlike.
    It looks as black as iron
    Darkness is a sorrow.
    Joy is a thrilling rapture.
    Light yields a shooting joy through the human [heart].
    Light is sweet as honey, but
    Darkness is bitter as salt and even vinegar.
    Light is finer than gold and even finest gold.
    Joy is a real light,
    Joy is a blazing flame.
    Darkness is frosty.
    A good sleep is a white curtain.
    A bad sleep is a black curtain.

In the late ’eighties the father of Helen Keller wrote to Mr. Anagnos,
then director of the Perkins Institution, asking his assistance in the
education of his little daughter. My brother-in-law chose Miss Annie
Sullivan, herself partially blind and a graduate of the Institution, for
Helen’s instructor. Miss Sullivan spent six months studying Doctor
Howe’s reports before entering upon her task. Every step that Laura had
taken little Helen now followed exactly. Her progress was more rapid, as
that of my father’s later blind deaf-mute pupils had been. But the
details of her case were very much like that of Laura Bridgman. Helen
spent three years at the Perkins Institution under the charge of her
special teacher, Miss Sullivan.

There I had the pleasure of seeing her a number of times in her
childhood, and of talking with her in the finger language. When we spoke
of a brook, she illustrated its movements by dancing. I noticed with
surprise that she did not move about with the perfect freedom common to
the blind children brought up at the Institution. They were accustomed
to walk about alone, and to dash up and down stairs with utter
fearlessness. Whether Helen later learned to go about in this way I
cannot say. When she was about fifteen, we met again at the Kindergarten
for the Blind, an off-shoot of the Perkins Institution founded and
administered by Mr. Anagnos. In conversing with Helen I was struck with
her intelligence. In these days I heard her talk with her voice as well
as with her fingers.

Helen wrote me the following letter, after reading my sketch of my
father’s life, published in the _Wide Awake_ magazine.


                                                SOUTH BOSTON, MASS.,
                                                 _December 2, 1890_.

    MY DEAR MRS. HALL,—I want to tell you how much I enjoyed hearing
    about your dear Father, and all the brave, generous things he
    did for the Greeks, and for all who were poor and unhappy. I
    think the children who read _Wide Awake_ must have been greatly
    interested in your story, but they cannot love Dr. Howe as we
    little blind girls do. Teacher says, she would not have known
    how to teach me if your Father had not taught Laura Bridgman
    first, and that is why I feel so grateful to him. How dreadful
    it would have been if I could not have learned like other boys
    and girls! I am sure I should have been very sorrowful with no
    one to talk to me, and so would Edith and many others, but it is
    too sad to think about, is it not? When you come to Boston I
    hope you will tell me more about your Father, and what you did
    when you were a little girl. Mr. Anagnos is going to show me
    Byron’s helmet some day. Teacher sends her kind regards to you.

                   Lovingly your little friend,

                                                    HELEN A. KELLER.

In these years Edwin Booth spent the summer at his pretty red-roofed
villa, “Boothden,” on Indian Avenue. It was then a quiet and retired
part of the island of Rhode Island, yet within easy reach of Newport.
The house was placed so near the rocky shore that the ocean breezes
might have been too boisterous had not awnings screened the wide
piazzas. A large and pleasant boat-house equipped with a sitting- or
lounging-room stood on the shore.

“Boothden” was only four miles from “Oak Glen,” so that we were country
neighbors of Mr. Booth and his charming daughter. We had the pleasure of
seeing them from time to time. When we were invited to take luncheon at
their villa, to meet Joseph Jefferson, his wife and daughter, and
William Warren, the veteran comedian of the Boston Museum, it seemed too
wonderful to be true.

Miss Edwina Booth (whom I remembered as Baby Booth) received us with a
grace and charm that vividly recalled her lovely young mother, dead many
years before. The resemblance to Mrs. Booth was almost startling. It
seemed as if the beloved wife, young and fair as of old, had returned to
this earth. We saw the same slender figure, the same movements, as I
fancied. What a strange thing is the inheritance of gesture! There could
have been no conscious imitation, for Miss Booth could not have
remembered her mother.

The three distinguished actors had rashly gone for a sail in Mr. Booth’s
yacht. It is always rash to go out in a sail-boat if you expect to
return at any particular hour.

When they finally arrived their entrance was like a scene upon the
stage. Their behavior was not at all theatrical, but they were mariners
returning from a stormy trip. A good stiff breeze had blown them all
about, the waves had given them a good wetting, while Mr. Jefferson had
lost his hat overboard.

They took all these small mishaps in the best possible humor, as a part
of life’s comedy. Joe Jefferson had substituted a red bandanna
handkerchief for the lost hat and treated the whole affair as a
delightful joke. Presently we all sat down to a luncheon elegant and
elaborate, after the fashion of the time, the table being faultless in
its service and appointments.

Joseph Jefferson was brilliant and delightful, evidently enjoying the
conversation. The geniality and cheeriness of his stage characters were
but a reflection of his own sunny disposition. If he had stood in the
shoes of Rip Van Winkle, Caleb Plummer, or Bob Acres, he would have
taken life as cheerfully as they did. After seeing him in private life I
understood better the spirit of his acting. The Jefferson of the parlor
was the Jefferson of the stage, save that the man himself was more
brilliant, more original than the men of a simple type whom he
habitually portrayed. He possessed that highest form of art which
conceals itself. At the Booth luncheon he talked of many things—of art,
his pictures, the proper light for the stage, his children, his farm in
Florida, his delight in roaming through the woods with his fishing-rod.

We enjoyed hearing many theatrical anecdotes which gave us peeps behind
the scenes. Mr. Jefferson told us of a mistake he once made in “Lend Me
Five Shillings.” Forgetting that he had already delivered certain lines,
he repeated them—no applause followed! Just as he was wondering what the
matter was, the actress with whom he was playing whispered, “You have
repeated your lines.” William Warren confessed that he had had a
somewhat similar experience in “Our American Cousin,” when he struck a
match by the right end, lighting it, to his horror and surprise.
According to the play, he should have struck the wrong end—and the
mistake drove his part out of his head for a moment, when a fellow-actor
gave him his lines, in a stage whisper! William Warren, “the Boston
favorite,” was a relative of Joseph Jefferson or of Mrs. Jefferson. They
called him “Uncle William,” and all treated him with the most
affectionate respect. He was the eldest of the three actors, and already
in failing health. Hence he was grave and quiet in manner when we saw
him in private life, although inimitably funny on the stage. It seldom
happens that so excellent an actor is content to remain all his life a
member of a stock company, performing in a single city—but this was
Warren’s choice. The strong affection in which he was held was doubtless
a compensation to this inimitable actor for the loss of a wider fame. He
died not long after this time.

We found our hospitable and kindly host, Edwin Booth, little changed
from the old days when we had so devoutly admired him. There were the
same charm and simplicity of manner, the same sense of humor. His eyes
still had the old fire, while the cheerful serenity of middle life
replaced the buoyant happiness of his younger days. He spoke very simply
of the time when he was a young man. I did not like to think that Edwin
Booth ever could grow old. He was still in the prime of life, handsome
and vigorous.

Of his profession, of the stage and of Shakespeare, he liked to talk,
and we liked only too well to listen. He had recently brought home from
Germany some of the tokens of intense admiration that were showered upon
him there—wreaths of silver, and perhaps of gold, also.

What to do with these he did not know. Mantel lambrequins then afflicted
the world. I fear it was I who suggested that the classic garlands might
be sewn on these with decorative effect!

Edwin Booth was too reserved and too kind-hearted to play the habitual
mimic, yet he could, upon occasion, imitate to the life the person
described. Once, when telling us of an experience in the far West while
he was traveling with his father, he suddenly became a knock-kneed,
shambling man. In a moment he was again Edwin Booth, grave and
dignified.


------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                 XVIII

                OUR CHILDREN AT HOME, SCHOOL AND COLLEGE

_An Attic Fairy.—Our Child Artist Grinds Her Own Paints.—Scholarships
    and Athletics at Harvard University.—Our Youngest Wins an
    “H.”—American Girls’ Club in Paris.—Caroline’s Pictures Exhibited in
    the New Salon._


OUR children received their early education at home and at the house of
our good friend, Mrs. Sykes. When the boys were well started in their
lessons we sent them to the neighboring public school. Here their
proficiency in reading was resented by their contemporaries. An
aristocracy of learning is quite as offensive to boy nature as any other
form of superiority. The school was coeducational, but in spite of this
some of the boys were pretty rough. It was a good thing for our sons,
however, to learn young to take their own part and to rub elbows with
all sorts and conditions of children. The public-school system of
America is an indispensable feature of our democracy.

All our sons were prepared for college at Mr. Leal’s excellent private
school in Plainfield. A schoolmate declared that when Mr. Leal called
Sam up to recite he would open the Greek book, lay it affectionately
upon the boy’s knee, pat it, and tell the latter to begin. Thereupon Sam
proceeded to reel off page after page of the text, as if he had been a
species of classic hand-organ. He was now too big, however, to have his
head punched for his proficiency. I was glad to help my children with
their home studies, thus reviving my acquaintance with Messrs. Virgil,
Cæsar and Company. But assisting them with their arithmetic and algebra
was very hard work. To present a mathematical idea so that a child will
clearly understand it is not easy. Perhaps that is the reason why
teachers so often leave this task to the luckless parents. This is all
wrong.

My second son, Harry, was a natural leader and had his little coterie of
friends and followers. When these were promoted to a higher room in the
public school it was proposed to promote their teacher, also; she
declined the honor!

The boy had a natural wit which he occasionally used to torment his
instructors at Mr. Leal’s school. Harry had various clashes with the
younger teachers, who were all men. They did not make sufficient
allowance for the high spirits and the desire for independence of the
growing boy. “Poppy Leal,” the principal, as the boys affectionately
called him, was wiser. He spoke of them all as men, thus winning their
hearts. But one day even Mr. Leal grew out of patience with Harry.
Sending for the boy’s parents, he told us that there seemed to be a
difference of opinion between Harry and himself as to who should run the
school. He, however, had always done so in the past and did not propose
to abdicate now. History repeats itself, and this same Harry was called
upon, not long ago, to curb the same spirit in his eldest daughter,
little Julia Ward Howe Hall. The teacher unknowingly used the same words
that had been applied to Harry in his youth!

He was a daring boy, yet possessed of a certain caution. We had bought
for his elder brother one of those immense bicycles which enjoyed a
brief day of popularity. It proved too big for the older boy, but Master
Harry managed to ride it, though his legs were so short that he could
only reach the pedals as they came up. On this he descended such a
dangerous incline that the boys kindly gathered at the foot of the hill
to see him fall off. “Come see Hally riding to hell!” one boy called to
the others.

Our only daughter studied at home and at private schools, going to Paris
for her education in painting.

She was less than five years old, when she made her own brushes by
taking stiff chicken feathers and shaving them off till only a small
tuft was left at the end. From pieces of brick and other materials found
about the place, she ground her own colors. When we found the child
making pictures with these primitive paints, we at once supplied her
with colors. In addition to the power of invention, perhaps because of
it, Caroline possessed the happy faculty of making the most of small
things, enjoying whatever little pleasures fell to her lot. Thus,
wishing very much to have a room entirely to herself, she asked for one
in the attic. When a mouse visited her bower in the evening, instead of
screaming she played softly on the harmonica, in the hope that the music
would lead him to return to his home. We called her the Attic Fairy.

In 1889, our eldest son, Samuel Prescott Hall, entered Harvard
University, having passed his examinations with honors. I went up to
Cambridge with the trembling Freshman, who had just passed his
seventeenth birthday. A certain indifference, not to say coldness, on
the part of the authorities soon showed me that the event of Sam’s
entrance into academic fields did not move them so deeply as it did me.
The bursar I found especially unsympathetic. My son had not drawn a room
in the college buildings, and that was an end of it. Mr. —— had no
suggestions to offer. I was assured later that this gentleman was a very
kind man. He certainly concealed the fact very successfully. I had
dealings with him from time to time during the period of fourteen years
while my sons were at Cambridge. But I do not remember his ever
displaying one sign of human weakness.

My brother had suggested our trying to procure for Sam the position of
president’s Freshman. The duties of this functionary consisted in
running errands for the head of the university, for which he was paid a
small honorarium. When I inquired about the president’s Freshman, I was
met by a pitying smile. The young man in charge had evidently never
heard of such a person.

When we looked about for rooms, dreadful tales of young collegians who
had been found dead from opium-smoking greeted our affrighted ears.
Fortunately, we found a pleasant lodgment at the house of an old
acquaintance.

This attitude of serene indifference toward the class of young men most
in need of advice and help has now passed away. The erection of a
stately row of buildings, intended especially for the accommodation of
Freshmen, shows that Alma Mater has waked up to a fact which was clear
long ago to the ordinary mothers of men. The entering class, the new
blood, is the hope of the future. As they are the youngest students and
are totally inexperienced in the ways of the university, many of them
coming from remote parts of the country, they should be made welcome.

Our sons thoroughly enjoyed their college life. They were much
interested in athletics and also liked to have a good time. It was fully
borne in upon them, however, that study must be the principal aim of
their college course. We could not afford to send them to Harvard simply
for amusement. Sam, being a student by nature, was always on the rank
list, taking special second-year honors, also graduating “_cum laude_”
with honors in Greek and Latin. In Charles Eliot Norton’s famous class,
“Fine Arts Four,” he was greatly interested. It was said that the very
large membership of Professor Norton’s classes was due to their being
“snap” courses. Some of the boys, having reported themselves present,
would depart by the fire-escape; others would read newspapers, to the
vexation of Professor Norton.

No. 241 Beacon Street was a second home to my mother’s five grandsons,
all of whom graduated from Harvard. Of Sam she was especially fond. His
tastes, like hers, were those of a scholar, and there was a close bond
of intellectual sympathy between her and her eldest grandson.

Football gave him so much pleasure that he continued to play with
amateur associations after leaving college. Those were the days of the
deadly flying tackle. One morning a short, powerful-looking young man
called at our house for Sam’s football clothes. This same young man had
accidentally killed another in a recent game. My feelings, on thus
learning that my son was to play with him, can be imagined. Sam passed
through these dreadful combats without lasting injury. He did, to be
sure, bruise one of his legs so that it was black and blue from hip to
ankle and the doctor looked serious. Fortunately youth and health pulled
him through so that no amputation was necessary.

Harry took his athletics less violently. Through persistent exercise he
became one of the strongest ten men in college. His mother felt much
anxiety lest he should thus become muscle-bound, but my fears would
appear to have been groundless. Tennis proved to be his forte, as
various trophies testify.

In 1893 we moved into our new house in Plainfield. As often happens,
however, our children began to leave home soon after we had established
ourselves permanently, as we hoped. Caroline was suddenly invited to go
to Paris with Mrs. George Richmond Fearing, there to study painting and
French.

Mrs. Fearing took great pleasure in giving young girls the advantages of
study in the French capital. She employed actresses from the Théâtre
Français and the Odéon—the government theaters—to give lessons in
diction. Caroline’s decidedly American accent changed, in the seven
years of her foreign residence, into something closely resembling the
French of the natives.

“Baby Hall,” as she was affectionately called, was the youngest girl at
the Délécluse studio. Thaulow, the great Norwegian artist, criticized
the work of the art students in the Bois de Boulogne. He was a very
large man and wore a bottle-green coat. He viewed with alarm the idea of
seating himself on one of the tiny folding camp-chairs of their kit, so
they procured one warranted to support many kilos.

In due course of time Caroline’s pictures were exhibited and “hung on
the line” at the new Salon in Paris. She was also invited to exhibit her
landscapes in the French provinces, receiving letters beginning “_Cher
maître_.”

For some years she lived at the American Girls’ Club, No. 4 rue de
Chevreuse, a pleasant establishment where the charges were very
moderate, Mrs. Whitelaw Reid contributing to its support.

When our youngest son, John Howe Hall, went to Harvard, it was necessary
for him to assist materially in his own support. As he was the least
robust of the three brothers, this was not so easy. He possessed,
however, grit, executive ability, and a capacity for hard work. He won
several scholarships, and also tutored in the courses he had himself
thoroughly mastered.

To “coach” for examinations boys who have neglected their studies
involves severe and exhausting mental labor for teacher and pupil alike.
Jack did the best he could for his pupils, who usually passed. Although
of slighter build than any of the other four grandsons, he determined to
achieve the coveted “H.” He accordingly entered the track team and
became a long-distance runner. The flutterings of the mother heart were
now great. I was glad to have the boy distinguish himself, but two miles
seemed a long-distance for one so slender to run. The perusal of a story
by Wilkie Collins, representing the hero, a college runner, as a very
brutal man, did not reassure me. At first the boy was indignant at his
parent’s timidity and, as he thought, lack of sympathy. After I had
attended, in company with his brothers, several races, where we showed
great enthusiasm and cheered loudly, he understood my feelings better.

It was indeed a proud moment at Franklin Field, Philadelphia, when Sam
called out to me, “Here comes your youngest, at the head of the bunch.”
He was so handsome and so graceful, in that wonderful stride of the
trained runner, that mother was made very happy. He gained, not long
afterward, the coveted “H”—the only one of the grandsons who did so.


------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                  XIX

                    THE CLUB AND SUFFRAGE MOVEMENTS

_Enthusiasm of the Pioneer Clubwomen.—Early Conventions of the General
    Federation of Women’s Clubs.—Work as President of the New Jersey
    Woman Suffrage Association.—We Visit the Legislature.—Campaign for
    School Suffrage.—Formation of New Leagues.—Lucy Stone and Her Baby’s
    Cradle.—Rev. Samuel Smith, Author of “America.”_


THE rapidity with which, in the latter part of the nineteenth century,
women’s clubs sprang up all over the face of this broad land of ours was
miraculous. We may say that this agency and that person helped in the
development of the great movement, but there must have been a cause
underlying it. The women of America had outgrown the old, narrow, often
selfish life of utter absorption in the affairs of the individual home.
They now longed for wider culture, for the broadening of their ideas by
association with other women, for opportunities to improve not only
their own, but all homes. For the club movement is only a part of the
great, splendid world movement whereby the women of the race have
advanced to take their place beside the men. In the beginning
intellectual culture was the principal object of the clubs. Yet we felt
deep interest in the conduct of meetings and in the administration of
affairs. Why were the women so delighted with parliamentary law?
Because, all unconsciously, we were attending a school of citizenship
and learning that order which is a part of the divine law.

The tremendous vitality of the club movement was shown by the almost
magical growth of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. To Sorosis,
and especially to Mrs. J. C. Croly (Jennie June), belongs the honor of
founding this splendid and powerful organization. Sorosis has shown a
wonderful power of vision, for it founded also the “Association for the
Advancement of Women,” a pioneer body which did very important work.

Yet the administration of both organizations soon passed into other
hands. This was, as I think, because Sorosis had not cultivated the
executive powers of its members. Hence when it came to questions of
administration, other more active clubs assumed the leadership for which
they had been trained. Thus the New England Woman’s Club, full of good
works and activity in civic movements, furnished the president, Mrs.
Julia Ward Howe, who for many years guided the movements of “A. A. W.”

We must note a feature in the constitution of this national union of
clubs which, helpful in the beginning, later proved a serious defect.
The individual societies were directly affiliated with the General
Federation, every club president being also a vice-president of the
national body. Under the devoted leadership of Mrs. Charlotte Emerson
Brown of East Orange, whose soul was fairly absorbed in her work, this
grew and prospered.

The “fault” in the method of formation became more and more evident as
time went on. The number of clubs increased to such an extent as to make
the national conventions unwieldy. It has been proposed at various times
to limit the representation to the state federations, but the individual
clubs, who have greatly enjoyed their membership in the national body,
are very unwilling to give it up.

Will the initial fault in construction end by destroying this splendid
body? No one can now say. Even should it perish, however, it will have
fulfilled an important mission. We should look at the General Federation
as a part of the great movement by which our sex has been prepared for
the new duties which women are now so splendidly fulfilling. Viewed in
this light, the stimulus which it gave to the formation of new clubs and
the opportunities it afforded to the women of all parts of our country
for meeting together have more than compensated for the defect in
organization. Had we waited to form first state federations, and out of
those a national body, we should have lost the glow and enthusiasm of
those wonderful early conventions of the G. F. W. C. We might have
failed, also, in fulfilling the larger mission.

The conservative women often opposed us, but we of the liberal party
prevailed in the end. Gradually club and Federation broadened their
programs. At the first biennial convention of the General Federation,
held in Chicago, we devoted our attention principally to questions
relating to clubs and their management. Should they be large or small?
Should we have club-houses? Should we engage in philanthropic work? It
seems strange now to remember the great enthusiasm with which we labored
over these minor matters. But they were doubtless necessary steps in our
progress.

The General Federation now has departments of art, civics, legislation,
public health, and many others. Last and best of all, at the convention
of 1914, the General Federation endorsed suffrage for women. It was a
moment of great excitement and enthusiasm. Veteran suffrage leaders wept
with joy and embraced one another, while the strains of the “Battle Hymn
of the Republic” sounded through the hall.

Sister Julia, with her strong intellectual tastes, early felt the
attraction of the movement and joined the New England Woman’s Club.
There were many clever and delightful women in its membership. She read
papers before many of the clubs then springing up all about Boston, and
enjoyed doing so. Thus she followed in the footsteps of our mother, who
rejoiced in club life and had the true club spirit.

The two youngest sisters, Laura and Maud, have never possessed this in
full measure. They have been much in demand as speakers before societies
of women, and have belonged to these when occasion arose. Both are fond
of society as well as full of public spirit. Mrs. Richards has done much
reform and charitable work in her adopted state of Maine. Mrs. Elliott
has not been behind her sister. In the Progressive movement she was one
of the leaders, and on the Hughes “golden special” train she was one of
the “Big Four” speakers. In the suffrage movement in Rhode Island she
has done important service. Last but not least she is the founder and
moving spirit of the Newport Art Association.

The fact remains that to neither of them have club work and club
association been the real joy that they were to our mother and to me.
When the young birds began to leave the nest, the sons to go to college
and the daughter to study art in Paris, I had more leisure to attend to
outside matters. Thus, when the Monday Afternoon Club of Plainfield was
formed, in the late ’eighties, I was one of the charter members,
succeeding the founder, Miss Elvira Kenyon, as president. The General
Federation of Women’s Clubs was formed at about this time, and I was
appointed chairman of correspondence for New Jersey. This officer was a
species of shepherd for the clubs of the state, a part of whose duty and
pleasure it was to visit the various societies.

We chairmen of correspondence strove to hand on to others the
inspiration received at the Federation and club meetings. For in those
bright days there was much exchanging of visits and many club
festivities.

During my presidency, the Monday Afternoon Club of Plainfield gave its
first luncheon, with the indispensable program of speeches. The amount
of work we—the members of the executive board—put into the preparation,
seems now almost incredible. We had plenty of zeal, but no experience.
Hence every detail of the arrangements was considered at great length.
The cost of the luncheon was a burning question. We compromised on a
dollar, if I remember aright. Nowadays, a competent house committee
would handle the whole matter quietly and easily. But we were like
children with a new toy!

As the shepherd of New Jersey, I proposed inviting the not yet federated
clubs to our gala-day, in order that they might see for themselves the
advantages of union. The scheme was so successful that one lady declared
she had never known such a happy day before, not even her wedding-day!
How we did enjoy it all! I see it now through a rosy mist. How delighted
we were with the wit of the speakers! One of the lessons that we learn
from club life is that women possess a keen sense of humor. The luncheon
was brightened by toasts. Rev. Antoinette Brown Blackwell, Mrs. Mary
Mumford, of Philadelphia, witty and delightful, and my mother were among
the speakers.

On another gala-day, the national president, Mrs. Charlotte Emerson
Brown, visited us.

In opening her speech she praised the beauty of our decorations and
found the English language inadequate for the expression of her
feelings. She passed from “how beautiful” to “_wunderschön_” and,
“_magnifique_,” ending impressively with “to Kalon.” We all smiled, but
only a little, because Mrs. Brown was very amiable and had devoted much
time to the study of languages.

At a club festivity in Boston, Rev. Samuel Smith—“Sammy Smith,” as he
was familiarly called, told us of the circumstances under which he wrote
“America.” They were not thrilling. He was in his library, looking out
upon the hills, if I remember aright. He seemed a kindly old gentleman,
still vigorous, despite his silver hair. My mother also described the
train of events which led to the writing of the “Battle Hymn of the
Republic.” She was often called upon to do this.

I had the pleasure of serving on the nominating committee at several
biennial conventions—but none of the later ones resembled the lively
session held at Chicago in 1892. Miss Octavia Bates kindly consented to
act as our chairman, her good humor and good sense helping to straighten
out the knotty problems that came before us. If the discussion became
too animated she thumped on the floor with an umbrella!

One of the interesting women at these early conventions was Dr. Jennie
de la M. Lozier, a physician herself and the wife of one. At Chicago in
a moment of irritation she took the reporters to task, alluding to them
as “the ink-slingers of the Press.” Fortunately, Mrs. Sarah Perkins, of
Cleveland, Ohio, came to the defense of the newspaper men, telling the
convention how much a good cause often owed to them. At its close the
reporters presented Mrs. Perkins with a beautiful basket of roses!

We learned some lessons in public speaking from Miss Susan B. Anthony,
the noted suffrage leader. In her own vigorous way she told us not to
immerse our heads in our papers, but to hold them up, to look at the man
in the last row of the parquette and address our remarks to him!

At the second biennial, held in Philadelphia, I had the pleasure of
taking part in the program of the evening meeting at the Academy of
Music. I had received, shortly before, an absurd publication, treating
in solemn vein of the management of husbands. This moved me to write, in
serio-comic style, a short paper on “The Duties of Women’s Clubs toward
Mankind.”

The club husband furnished food for humor in those early days, although
many men attended our evening sessions.

It was interesting to me to see how the audience took the
points—sometimes after a moment’s delay—and to note how waves of mirth
one after another passed over the great throng.

Kate Upson Clarke, always witty and delightful, spoke of “Democracy in
Women’s Clubs.”

In November, 1895, the General Federation Council met at Atlanta,
Georgia, where the “Cotton States and International Exposition” was then
in session. We did not quite relish being asked whether we were
“Daughters of the Confederacy,” although the mistake was a natural one.
It was gratifying to see the progress made by the Southern women.

From Atlanta we went on to New Orleans, where a meeting of the
Association for the Advancement of Women was scheduled.

Here we were delightfully entertained by Mrs. King and her daughters,
one of them being Grace King, the novelist. My mother was no stranger to
New Orleans, having spent the winter of 1884–85 there, when she had
charge of the woman’s section of the exposition.

Many friends welcomed her on her return to the quaint old city. I had
never seen it before, and was much interested in exploring as much of it
as our short visit and the necessary attendance at the sessions of A. A.
W. permitted. We made a visit to the Ursuline Convent on the occasion of
the coronation of the image of the Virgin with a crown of gold studded
with jewels, contributed by the women of the city. When the crowning
took place all applauded. The singing of the Mass was very beautiful. In
the address of the day we were told that the image had been brought over
by the Ursuline nuns from France. It was held to be of miraculous power.
The sisters prayed to it at the time of the battle of New Orleans; to
their prayers, as we were told, was due the victory of General Jackson
and the troops under his command.

It is said that if you taste the water of the Mississippi you will want
to return to the Crescent City. No one is rash enough to do that until
the mud has been allowed to settle—perhaps in one of the beautiful great
earthen jars resembling those in which the Forty Thieves took refuge.

Clubwomen, as a rule, are very sensible. They all wish to be nicely and
suitably dressed, but a parade of fine gowns is thought undesirable. It
was amusing as well as sad to see aspirants for office appear at a
convention in a succession of expensive dresses, which insured the
failure of their hopes. These dear ladies could not understand why Jenny
Wren in her simple gray gown was preferred before them!

At the Milwaukee biennial we had the great pleasure of listening to a
speech from Octave Thanet. She banished all possible stiffness by
confessing to the audience, “When I forget what I want to say, I stop
and take a drink of water.” After that, whenever she raised the tumbler
to her lips we all laughed.

During this biennial word came to Mrs. Philip N. Moore, treasurer of the
Federation, that her house in St. Louis was on fire. She felt it her
duty to remain at her post until, as retiring treasurer, she had signed
all the checks. Some one quoted apropos of this:

                        “Ladybird, fly away home.
                        Your house is on fire,
                        Your children will burn.”

Mrs. Moore has since served as president of the General Federation and
held other important public positions. She is one of the ablest and most
public-spirited women of our country, a college graduate, and last but
not least, decidedly handsome.

The trips to the West on the “Federation Specials” were delightful. No
men save those in charge of the train—with one or two club husbands—were
allowed on them. We flitted from one car to another, talking with old
friends. A good deal of preliminary business was arranged on these
jaunts. But, oh, the sufferings of the conductor!

Mrs. H——, having found a long-lost friend in car “Zenobia,” desired to
have her berth changed. How many women made these thoughtless requests
it would be impossible to say. I only know that I have seen the
conductor, sitting in his little end seat, balancing his accounts, with
an expression of utter desperation on his face!

One great club enthusiast was so anxious to take the trip on the
“Federation Special” that she started without waiting for her baggage.
She took a heavy cold, which was probably the cause of her death later
in the summer. Our women have now learned to be more prudent and to
husband their strength better.

As chairman of correspondence for New Jersey, the desirability of a
closer organization in the state became evident to me. Mrs. Charlotte
Emerson Brown and Mrs. Sarah Johnson, president of the Orange Woman’s
Club, were of the same mind, and we issued a call for the formation of a
state federation, thus becoming its founders.

It was my pleasant duty to assist in the direction of the state
federation during the first eight years of its existence. Our beginnings
were too sentimental for my taste. The discussions about a Federation
flower seemed to me distinctly superfluous. We went on, however, from
strength to strength, developing after much the same fashion as the G.
F. W. C.

Our third president, Mrs. Emily E. Williamson, of Elizabeth, was one of
the ablest women I have ever met. It was a pleasure to work with her,
unless you happened to disagree with her in opinion. She made up her
mind as to the best course, and could brook no opposition. In spite of
this defect, which led to her making some mistakes, the State of New
Jersey owes her gratitude for her public services on the Board of State
Charities and elsewhere.

Among the things accomplished by the New Jersey Federation of Clubs in
those early years was the inauguration of a system of state traveling
libraries and the preservation of the Palisades. The former we owe
especially to the indefatigable efforts of Mrs. Edward Houghton, of
Cranford, the most devoted and unselfish of workers. The rescue of the
Palisades from the greed and selfishness of the men who were digging
them down was no easy task. The New York State women joined us, and
after great efforts these beautiful natural monuments were saved from
the maw of the stone-crusher.

New Jersey was the first state in the Union to confer the franchise upon
women, who exercised it for more than thirty years.

When the modern agitation for suffrage began, the women of the state
remembered their ancient rights, of which they had been illegally
deprived. I well remember Lucy Stone, the noted suffrage leader, whose
baby’s cradle was attached because she refused to pay taxes. She was a
comely woman, with a motherly face and soft, sweet voice, but possessed
of iron determination! It might have paid the anti-suffragists to redeem
and restore that cradle, for the baby grew up to be Alice Stone
Blackwell. She has carried on, with unfaltering and single-hearted
devotion, the work so nobly begun by her parents, Lucy Stone and Henry
Blackwell.

When they removed to Massachusetts the movement flagged for a time.
Through the efforts of Dr. Mary D. Hussey, a most devoted and unselfish
suffrage-worker, a state association was formed in 1890.

In 1893 I was elected to the office of president, bringing to it the
experience already acquired in the club and Federation movement. The New
Jersey Woman Suffrage Association now began the active career which has
continued for a quarter of a century with ever-increasing momentum. When
we, the pioneers, look at its wonderful growth, we are glad to think
that ours was the privilege of doing the foundation work. Of this the
inauguration of branch leagues was an important part. These we
established in Essex County, Union County, Camden, Trenton, Asbury Park,
Moorestown. In 1894 the law which permitted women to vote at school
meetings was declared unconstitutional. The New Jersey state
constitution of 1844 (adopted without consulting the women whom it
disfranchised) limited the right of voting for officers elective by the
people to male citizens.

School trustees are officers elective by the people, therefore women
clearly could not vote for them. But this same constitution cheerfully
forgot to forbid women to hold office or to vote for the issuance of
bonds, etc.

Women were already serving acceptably as school trustees in different
parts of the state. There seemed to be no reason why they should not
continue to do so. They had also been voting during seven years for
these officers and always for the benefit of the schools, according to
the almost universal testimony of the educational authorities. A number
of school-houses in New Jersey owe their existence to the votes of women
combined with those of progressive men.

The feminine voters were discouraged by the adverse decision of the
Supreme Court. It was a part of our task to point out to them the rights
still remaining and to encourage them to use these, for the benefit of
the children.

Finding that the constitution of the state was to be amended, we decided
to ask the Legislature to pass an amendment restoring to us the rights
of school suffrage that we had lost. We hoped to have these extended to
towns and cities, but were assured that it would be impossible to
procure any extension of the school suffrage.

“Asking the Legislature” is a task requiring time and patience. I now
understood for the first time the practical meaning of the word
“lobbyist” and the practical necessity of his work. We had no private ax
to grind—we went to Trenton for the sake of the cause of education as
well as for that of suffrage. Yet our only chance to state our case was
as the legislators passed “on the wing.” We found them courteous, but
always in a hurry. They gave us good advice: “Agitate the matter in the
papers. Get the people behind you.” We could not expect them to pass an
amendment to the constitution unless the people wanted it. It was a part
of our duty to educate the public. We also had hearings before
legislative committees.

It did not seem as if our small and eminently reasonable request could
be refused. So we perseveringly went to Trenton and finally succeeded in
having our amendment passed. My husband drew it up for us and helped us
in every possible way.

On the last day of the session we had a narrow escape from defeat.
Receiving word that the Legislature was about to adjourn, I hurried to
Trenton, where the lawmakers were already in that state of boyish
nonsense which marks the last day. In the gallery I found one of our
stanchest suffragists, scandalized by the playful exchange of books and
courtesies going on below, and lurking, concealed, in a corner. Where
was our bill? No one knew. I hastily hunted up the clerk and informed
him that the document must be found without delay. To have the
amendment, which had cost us three years of labor, mislaid at the last
moment was unthinkable. Whether it had been pigeonholed by accident or
on purpose we never knew, but presently he returned with it, duly draped
with red tape. Having seen it started on its proper course, my friend
and I returned to the gallery, where we took our seats in full view of
the gentlemen below. The athletic interchange of dictionaries by a
parcel of boys young enough to be my sons had no terrors for me, as my
countenance plainly indicated. Our amendment was passed before the
adjournment and our wrath was turned to rejoicing! We shook hands with
the representatives and thanked them as they came out. They looked
rather sheepish—perhaps on account of the dictionary incident.

We now began active work to influence the voters. Meetings were held in
all parts of the state and many articles were published, explaining the
scope of the amendment.

Our most valuable support came from the educational authorities, since
theirs was expert opinion. We published letters from Hon. Charles J.
Baxter, State Superintendent of Education and others, setting forth the
good effect which the votes of women had already had upon the school
system. The Republican State Executive Committee and many organizations
endorsed the amendment. It was defeated by an adverse majority of ten
thousand votes, sixty-five thousand persons voting for it. The
opposition came almost entirely from the cities, where school suffrage
had never existed, and especially from the Germans.

Our labor was not wasted, however, for the campaign widely advertised
the fact that women still possessed the right to serve as school
trustees and also to vote for appropriations and the issuance of bonds.
We still held, in rural districts, the power of the purse-strings. It
was a part of my policy to keep this fact always before the people of
the state. Every spring, shortly before the time of the annual school
meetings, I prepared a circular which was printed and sent to the three
hundred newspapers of New Jersey. We were too poor, as an association,
to afford clerk hire, devoted suffragists freely giving their time and
labor.

The admission of women to the Bar of the state was secured at this time.
Several of us spoke at a hearing of the judiciary committee of the
Legislature, but the most telling speech was that of Mrs. Carrie Burnham
Kilgore, a lawyer of Philadelphia.

She informed her hearers that, through interstate courtesy, she had been
permitted to try cases in New Jersey. “Surely, gentlemen, you will not
refuse to the women of your own state the privilege you have accorded to
those from a neighboring commonwealth.” This argument produced a great
effect on the men learned in the law. Miss Mary Philbrook was very
active and energetic in getting the law passed under which she was the
first woman to become a lawyer in New Jersey.

My husband gave her her first case—that of a neighbor whose husband had
by his will tried to cut off her right of dower. Miss Philbrook won it.

The comments of the “antis,” or “remonstrants,” as we then called them,
appealed strongly to one’s sense of humor.

I wrote a farce, “The Judgment of Minerva,” on this theme, and read it
before the National Woman Suffrage Convention in Washington and
elsewhere. It elicited much laughter. Later it was acted by the College
Equal Suffrage League at one of the Boston theaters and by several other
suffrage societies.

After serving as president of the New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association
for eight years, I retired. Mrs. Cornelia Hussey, a devoted suffragist,
whose generous financial support had been indispensable to the state
association, made me a life member of the National and through the vote
of the state association I became its first honorary president. Such
recognitions of one’s work are always heartening because they testify to
the approval of one’s fellow-workers. The greatest reward is the
consciousness that one has done something, be it ever so little, for the
“grand old cause of human freedom.”

My husband had been a “Pooh Bah” in Scotch Plains, and I now deserved
the title in Plainfield. Our little Unitarian church needed a president
for its Women’s Alliance, and during eleven years I held the office.
This did not involve long-distance excursions, however. In addition to
working for the church, we prepared and read papers. It was a pleasure
to meet with this intelligent body of women. In our Plainfield chapter
of the D. A. R. I enjoyed serving as regent and vice-regent for some
years. As president of the local league I continued my work for
suffrage.


------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                   XX

                    JOYS AND SORROWS OF THE LECTURER

_The Treatment of “Talent.”—Visits to New England and to the West.—My
    Mother’s Seventieth Birthday.—The papeterie Club.—Elisabeth Stewart
    Phelps Ward.—Thomas Nelson Page._


IN the ’nineties the women’s clubs were beginning to offer a field for
lecturers. After reading a paper before my own club in Plainfield I was
emboldened to enter this, and during twenty-five years made lecture
trips to New England and the middle West, as well as to near-by points.
“The Art of Conversation,” and “Personal Reminiscences of Distinguished
People” were among my most popular talks.

Boston was my mother’s home and also a great center of club activity.
Hence I was glad to give many talks in New England, combining them with
visits to her delightful home at 241 Beacon Street. On one of these
trips I attended an authors’ reading where the name of Elizabeth Stewart
Phelps Ward was on the program. She duly took her part, but we learned
afterward that she had told the chairman she might not feel like
speaking. “When it is my turn, do not announce me unless I spring up and
come forward.” As Mrs. Ward was sitting behind the chairman, the latter
had some anxious moments before the author of “Gates Ajar” decided to
“spring up.”

If not the first to speak on the subject of manners, I was a pioneer in
the field. A friend surprised me by saying that my talks at schools had
become the fashion in New York. A look at my engagement-book showed that
she was right.

To talk to young girls is a great pleasure. We always seemed to
understand one another perfectly; I interspersed my subject with
anecdotes and with bits of fun which they cordially appreciated. My aim
was to set before them the essentials of good nature rather than the
formalism of mere etiquette.

A speaker on manners is confronted with many difficulties. She must not
speak of elementary details as if her hearers were ignorant of them, yet
she must enter somewhat into particulars. I thought it perfectly safe to
speak of gum-chewing in public as an odious custom, permissible only to
football players. Alas! One of my hearers always chewed gum while
traveling, to avoid car-sickness!

I often asked the principals whether there were any special points they
wished mentioned. One lady requested me to speak of mimicry, as she had
a pupil much given to it. I willingly did so, quoting from Miss
Edgeworth’s story of “The Mimic.” Unfortunately the girl for whom the
admonition was especially intended was not feeling well. Either the
other girls recognized the culprit or the weight of her own guilt
overwhelmed her. I have a dim vision of a youthful figure reclining in
an anteroom. I was never asked to speak in that school again!

If I had realized all the pitfalls lurking in the path of the speaker on
manners, I should have embarked upon it with a less cheerful heart. But
in all professions we learn by doing. To be “the Missionary of good
manners” has been a pleasure. The principals have been kind and
appreciative hostesses, and I have been truly glad to visit a great
number of schools which afforded attractive homes as well as excellent
educational advantages to the bright-faced, happy young girls of our
country. It has been a privilege to see so much of the flower of young
American womanhood.

Ruth McEnery Stewart has described in her inimitable way the treatment
of the woman speaker in early days. Many of her experiences were also
mine. She apparently preferred to stay with private families, and I
certainly did. The cold isolation of a hotel in a small country town,
the depressing furniture of the bedroom, the unappetizing menu and
service of the dining-room, the chattering drummers in the distance,
these were not at all to my taste.

As a guest in a private house one incurs additional fatigue, but this is
more than compensated for by the pleasure of meeting and learning to
know your fellow-men and women. Is there a little desire for incense in
all this? It may be, but there is also a genuine liking for one’s kind.
To get a peep into the lives and thoughts of others can hardly fail to
be interesting. Your material comforts are also much better attended to
in the nest of the average clubwoman than in the leading hotel of the
small town. The former gives you the best she has; she does everything
in her power to make you comfortable under her roof. The chief danger is
that of killing you with kindness by putting you on exhibition through
unduly long hours.

To be considered as a being apart is flattering, even though fatiguing.
That you are like other women, capable of physical weariness, does not
always occur to your kind entertainers. To find that you are to be the
chief guest at a large luncheon given in your honor, just preceding your
address, is disturbing. At such moments I sympathize with Mrs. Deland’s
desire for the barbaric solitude of the hotel bedroom. Again, at the end
of an hour, when you’ve done your best to entertain the audience, you
would almost prefer not to shake hands with a couple of hundred persons.

Still, it is a pleasure to meet your audience and to hear them say the
lecture interested them. You look as animated as you can and try to vary
the expression of your voice when you say for the hundredth time, “I’m
glad you liked it.” For you are genuinely glad—of that there is no
doubt.

I learned ultimately to ask for a time of absolute quiet before
speaking. This is more difficult to procure than the uninitiated
suppose. It is a maxim with the average clubwoman that the “talent” must
be on hand in very good season. Some clubs who are very secret about
their affairs put you in a remote waiting-room which may or may not be
warm. Others, remembering that you also are a clubwoman and likely to
sympathize in their doings, give you a comfortable chair on the
platform. As I am thoroughly in sympathy with the club idea and spirit,
I like to hear the reports, provided they are not too long. At one
enthusiastic club I sat during an hour or more while they thoroughly and
conscientiously amended their constitution.

For these reasons the lecturer sometimes weakly desires to delay her
coming. She has a subconscious feeling that the program proper cannot
begin until she gets there, and that therefore she could take a later
train. This proves to be impossible, because of the necessity of
personally meeting and guiding the “talent” (who might have the
wandering tendencies characteristic of genius) to the right hall. The
escort, being herself a member of the club, cannot, without sin, lose
any crumb of the afternoon’s performance.

To be obliged to await your turn, in a very cold hall, while another
speaker gives an address with stereoscopic illustrations, is not
enlivening to the spirits. In spite of the assurance that the first talk
will be very brief, you have a dreadful foreknowledge that it will not
be. You grow more and more depressed as he goes on and on, for you know
full well that your audience will be already wearying before you begin.
Those who have no sense of the passage of time should not be expected to
divide the program with others. Thomas Nelson Page, when reading his own
stories, is as genial and delightful as they are. We went to hear him
speak on the literature of the South with the pleasantest anticipations.
Richard Watson Gilder and Sister Maud were also to make addresses—or so
we hoped. But as Mr. Page went on and on, these hopes faded away. In his
amiable desire to do justice to all the writers of his section of the
country, he forgot the limitations of time and space. A gentleman in my
vicinity became actually savage in his impatience and was with
difficulty restrained from violence by his wife. Mr. Page must have
spoken for two hours—or so it seemed,—the other speakers’ time being
reduced to a few minutes. When we met him next day and complimented him
on his address, he naïvely replied, “I could have done better if I could
have had more time!”

Mr. Page is by no means the only person whom I have heard offend in this
way. Hence the warning-bell of women’s conventions is an excellent
institution. The local talent must sometimes be reckoned with. I am very
fond of music, but, in my opinion, it is a mistake to present a mixed
program, consisting half of concert and half of lecture, to a club
audience. Such an occasion is of a mongrel order. A single song may
pleasantly preface the literary exercises, but this it is difficult to
have.

In the midst of a series of earnest talks on schools as social centers,
or on votes for women, to have your train of thought suddenly
interrupted by operatic quavers from the local soprano, with
accompanying flower presentation, is disturbing.

Marion Crawford was a delightful speaker. It once happened, when we were
in Boston, that several of us were to speak on the same day.

“Five of the family are going to make the platform creak to-night!”
exclaimed Crawford.

At a lecture course which I arranged in Plainfield he was the great
attraction. The talk was given in a hall of pleasant size, not too large
to permit a certain intimacy between speaker and audience. Crawford was
at his best. Feeling, as a lecturer so quickly does, the interest and
sympathy of his hearers, he was as genial and delightful as if he had
been talking to half a dozen of us in a parlor. Among those that
surrounded him after the address was an enthusiastic lady who declared
him to be the equal of Thackeray. The dear fellow deprecated this
praise, yet he clearly liked it, as who would not?

Another relative, who wanted him to speak at her house, for a reduced
price, did not secure him.

She wished, after the fashion of women, to give her guests a real
treat—ice-cream and flowers as well as an address from Crawford—cutting
down his fee to pay for the rest of the entertainment. I regret to say
that her point of view is quite common among clubwomen. The secretary
will naïvely ask you to come for a low price because the ladies wish to
give ice-cream to their guests. It does not seem to occur to them that
in this case it is the lecturer who pays for the refreshments!

It is—or was, for we will hope the bad custom is dying away—common for
clubs to exact, whenever they can, cut prices from their women speakers,
on the plea of their small means—and then end up the year with some very
expensive man whose fee is _not_ subject to curtailment.

After my mother reached the age of seventy her birthday was always
celebrated by family and friends as a joyous occasion. The house was
transformed into a veritable bower of flowers, the fitting expression of
the beautiful affection by which she was surrounded.

A lady from the West was invited, with her son, to one of these
receptions. She endeavored to impress upon him, beforehand, the
importance of the occasion when “we shall see all the _élite_ of
Boston.” The day was rainy, and in the confusion of many umbrellas, that
of the Western couple was mislaid.

“Ah, mother, the _élite_ got the better of us that time!” said her son.

In 1893 we all greatly enjoyed the Chicago World’s Fair, in spite of the
fact that I had my pocket picked and that my oldest son had a very
serious time with his eyes, which were half-blinded by the glare. My
mother was so deeply interested in it, and especially in the parliaments
connected with it, that she forgot about her lame knee. When she
returned home this took its revenge, depressing her usually buoyant
spirits.

Sister Maud, remembering our mother’s perennial interest in women’s
clubs, invented the “Papeterie” as a restorative.

Its object, as the name implies, was an exchange of paper-covered
novels. The members took these home to read, giving a report at the
following meeting. We occasionally had musical, artistic, and dramatic
programs. Our most serious undertaking was the writing of a novel, to
which each member contributed a chapter. It was full of dash and
adventure, but remains buried in the archives of the club. Our great
modesty forbade the seeking of a publisher. We had a great deal of
delightful fun and nonsense at our meetings. Our mother, with her wit
and gaiety, was the moving spirit of the little club. She seldom missed
a meeting, but when she did we were like salt that has lost its savor.
The merriment which came so easily in her presence, faded and died away!

Some extracts from my minutes as recording secretary are given below, to
show as far as may be the spirit of our meetings. Their object was to
amuse the company rather than to preserve a strictly veracious record of
our doings.

We had no regular fees and dues in the Papeterie, save occasional fines
of five cents for some offense, real or imaginary, and assessments for
postage or for a new record-book. Hence jests about our treasurer were
among our stock jokes. She was christened “butterfly,” owing to her
supposed fondness for society.


    The first meeting of the renowned Papeterie Club for the season
    of 1910 was held August 9th, at the house of our President, who
    occupied the chair, as usual. She has wielded the gavel, OUR
    gavel, with her accustomed dexterity and grace, rebuking
    frivolous members with august raps on the table.

    The annual report of the Rec. Sec. was read. The Chair suggested
    in a voice of authority that the proper thing be done by this
    report, and all voted to do the proper thing. What this was no
    one mentioned.

    The Treasurer’s report was a revelation in High Finance, as
    follows:

    Oct. 19th, 1908. There were five cents—these five cents to be
    known hereafter as the Lost Chord.

    In July, 1909, we began with this Lost Chord—which vanished,
    leaving in its place $5.61 in October of that year.

    There were no expenses except $1.20 for postal cards. Apparently
    there were no receipts, but somehow the $5.61 has now become
    $7.36. The third degree was here mercilessly applied to our
    Butterfly Treasurer, also to the minutes, with the result that
    it was found $2.75 had been received for special fines. The
    Papeterie therefore voted NOT to burn the treasurer at the stake
    as a witch. We should have been under this sad necessity had not
    this increase in our Treasure been satisfactorily accounted for.

    The election passed off with its accustomed serenity. The Club
    understands so well how to re-elect the old officers, we could
    really do this in our sleep. The old Board is unanimously
    murmured into the offices which they will never leave, no never,
    while life lasts. The only new feature of the election was that
    our Treasurer, Mrs. Lyman Josephs, nobly consented to act as
    Cor. Sec. _pro tem._ (in the absence of Mrs. Manson Smith), as
    well as our eternal and brilliant Treasurer. And yet she has
    been called a Butterfly.

                                                   FLORENCE H. HALL,
                                                         _Rec. Sec._

In addition to the usual officers of a club, the Papeterie had a
“troubadour” (our musical member), an “archiviste” in charge of the
archives, and a “penologist.” Our penal code was in the custody of the
latter. We had a great deal of fun over the code—but I do not remember
the actual infliction of any punishment, except fines of five cents.

The meeting of September 27, 1910, was the last but one held before my
mother’s death, in October. Mrs. William Hunter Birckhead, who succeeded
me as recording secretary, gave us an interesting account of the
“Passion Play” at Oberammergau, and my mother told us of Newport in the
old days. It was so sadly deserted after the Revolution that only one
lady possessed a diamond ring!


------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                  XXI

                    DARBY AND JOAN ON THEIR TRAVELS

_A Cathedral Pilgrimage.—Visit to a French Country House.—Madame
    Blanc.—Cathedrals of Rheims, Chartres, Rouen, Beauvais,
    Amiens.—English Hospitality.—Visit to Florence Nightingale._


IN the summer of 1902 my husband was badly out of health. It was decided
that we should try a trip to Europe in the hope that the complete change
of thought and scene would be beneficial to him. I had been on the point
of going abroad with the family in 1867, and again toward the end of the
century, when it was planned that I should bring my mother back from
Rome. This was the first time, however, that I was to cross the ocean
“in the flesh.” To me, Europe had always seemed a fairy-land of romance.
I was delighted at the mere thought of going there. My husband, on the
contrary, was quite indifferent about it. This was perhaps owing to his
state of health. The task of parting him from his business proved
extremely difficult. Like many conscientious persons, he felt that he
simply could not leave the matters to which no one else could, in his
opinion, properly attend. Fortunately, our daughter Caroline was going
with us. With her help we managed to get off, but the final wrench was
terrific! No sooner had the good ship _Zeeland_ sailed than a complete
change came over the spirit of his dreams. He enjoyed every moment of
our trip; indeed, we both did. “Darby and Joan on their travels” were
like two middle-aged but very happy children.

To our delight, Mr. and Mrs. Larz Anderson, the latter an old friend of
my daughter, proved to be among the passengers. We all sat at a table
together, Miss Susie Dalton making the sixth of a merry party. I suspect
that the Andersons ordered special cakes and ale, for the table had the
most delightfully decorative appearance. They certainly treated us to
champagne, which is well known to be a preventive of seasickness.

The only drawback to our joy in Antwerp was the constant striking of the
cathedral chimes. Every rose has its thorns and every cathedral has its
bells, but all do not keep up their music through the live-long night.
We consoled ourselves by the remembrance that Thackeray also suffered!

The old houses especially charmed us wherever we went. The quaint
Flemish dwellings with the rope and pulley at the top explained to us
why the French attics are called _greniers_ or granaries.

A visit to the house of Mrs. George R. Fearing at Fontainebleau gave us
a delightful glimpse of French country life. Even the name of the street
where she lived, “rue de l’Arbre Sec,” had a promise of romance. Here we
found “modern conveniences” and charming hospitality combined with the
setting and atmosphere of a French country house. This kind friend had
lived so long in France as to become thoroughly acclimated. Indeed, she
did not return to America until the sound of the cannon at her gates in
the battle of the Marne drove her from her beloved France.

The family came together at twelve o’clock, for an excellent luncheon,
followed by coffee in the garden. Here the lofty walls gave us a
delightful feeling of privacy, even though we were living in the midst
of a small town. The European use of the garden as an annex to the house
is so eminently reasonable that one can hardly understand why its
introduction has been so fiercely fought in our own country.

In our friend’s garden, as everywhere in France, the combination of
beauty with economy delighted us. Who but the French would think of
using spinach as a border to the flower-beds?

At three o’clock came the daily drive into the wonderful forest, with a
visit to some spot of interest. Our thoughtful hostess always provided a
_goûter_ of bread and chocolate, our funny old driver taking his at a
little distance apart. When we visited quaint Barbizon, we munched our
_goûter_ under the shadow of the monument to its great artists. On our
return we dined at seven, and so the pleasant day ended.

Among the villages on the borders of the forest, Moret, with its
ancient, turreted gates and factory of beautiful chinaware, is
especially charming. The dear old church, fast falling into decay, wrung
our hearts. “Darby” was a zealous Protestant, but he felt it right to
drop something in the “_tronc pour la restauration de l’église_.” Alas!
one does not like to think of the decay that must, during the present
war, have overtaken many of these beautiful old wayside churches.

As the lovely Palace of Fontainebleau was almost at our door we had
excellent opportunities of becoming acquainted with it. It is especially
satisfactory to the tourist, because the rooms still retain the old
artistic furniture. When wandering through them you seem to catch a
glimpse of the vanished past with its grandeur.

When the time came for us to leave Fontainebleau and start on our
pilgrimage, we felt very much like elderly Babes in the Wood, for
Caroline was to stay behind with Mrs. Fearing. She had fortified us,
however, with much advice. We were especially cautioned to observe her
instructions as to the proper amount of the _pourboire_, in order that
the hack-drivers might perceive us to be, not perhaps exactly natives,
but persons of knowledge who could not be easily imposed upon.

We each brought certain modest talents to our combined stock as a
company of adventure. Darby had the splendid quality of enthusiasm and
an intense love of the beautiful. He had also a power of orientation
most surprising to his partner. He always knew east from west; with
guide-book and map in hand, he could perform the most marvelous feats of
going about in strange places. Joan felt it to be an unnecessary fatigue
to bother your head about direction when you could take an omnibus
marked with the name of the place you wanted to visit. If there wasn’t
any omnibus you could hire a cab, and the driver always knew where to
go!

She contributed to the common stock a knowledge of French that enabled
her to understand the spoken word and to speak it herself—with some
pauses. Being of a hopeful disposition, she had a sublime confidence
that everything would go right, in spite of appearances. This proved to
be a good traveling companion, although it did give us some anxious
moments in the matter of catching trains. For your optimist is apt to
cut her time allowance short. Darby, who went abroad for nerves, felt
positive we never could catch that train, but we always did!

It was our great delight to go about on the top of an omnibus. Darby
would carry all his worldly goods with him, so that it was necessary for
Joan to sit always on his right or pocketbook side. His agony was great
when a suspicious-looking character sat down next to the pocketbook. We
did see a few ferocious-looking men who reminded us of the French
Revolution.

Darby’s indifference toward the Old World changed rapidly into a chronic
state of enthusiasm. We were indifferent to shops, and the season was
late for theater-going. Our great pleasure lay in looking up old houses
and monuments of the past, as well as in visiting the many museums,
picture-galleries, and churches which make Paris the most wonderful city
in the world.

A visit to Madame Henri Blanc (Thérèse de Solms Bentzon), well known for
her writings in the _Revue des Deux Mondes_, was among the pleasures of
my stay in Paris. Either I was a little early in arriving at her
apartment or my hostess was a trifle late. She soon came in, however,
and entertained me with afternoon tea, the adorable little French cakes,
and her own interesting conversation. After a little preliminary
maneuvering for position, we settled down into the French language,
Madame Blanc assuring me, with true Gallic politeness, that my French
was better than her English.

I was very glad to have an opportunity to hear her express her opinions
unhampered by a foreign language.

Madame Blanc had much to say on the subject of flirtations, of which she
greatly disapproved. It was evident to me that, using the word in a
graver sense than we do, she somewhat misjudged our American
flirtations. Yet how difficult it is to explain to a foreigner our
lenient view of what appears to her a dangerous pastime! She doubtless
thought of these as a careless trifling with affairs of the heart on the
part of married women. A Frenchwoman cannot fully understand the meaning
of the half-playful, usually quite harmless, flirtations of our young
girls, because their position and freedom of action are incomprehensible
to her. Yet, as Madame Blanc was the translator of American romances and
as she had paid especial attention to our life and manners, her opinions
deserve careful consideration.

When I saw her in 1902 Madame Blanc was of fair complexion, gray-haired,
and rather stout. She was dressed in black, with no pretensions to
coquetry. In fact, she was frankly a middle-aged Frenchwoman.

My husband had certain rooted prejudices in the dietary line which were
not easily overcome. Thus to rabbit he bitterly objected.

Caroline and I one day found him in the midst of an animated altercation
with the waiter. The latter had, he suspected, brought him the odious
_lapin_, which he wished instantly exchanged for something else. The
waiter vainly tried to point out that of the two “meats” he was entitled
only to one. He had not only chosen _lapin_, but, like Proserpine, he
had tasted of the fatal dish. The waiter doubtless considered the
complaint to be of the _lapin_ as _lapin_. That it was a perfectly good
rabbit he stoutly maintained. _It was an intense international moment!_
Caroline deftly straightened out the tangle and soothed the injured
feelings of the waiter.

We were so fortunate as to see Mounet-Sully in “œdipus.” The formalism
of the play, the archaic device of having the story related by the
chorus, caused Darby to sniff during the first part of the performance.
Darby was extremely fond of the theater, especially of Shakespeare’s
plays. When the climax of “œdipus” was reached in the last act, his
Puritan self-control gave way. In his enthusiasm he shouted, “Bravo!
bravo!” This sudden flaming forth of American admiration for the great
actor surprised the quiet French people—strangers to us—who had seats in
our box.

In Antwerp we had admired the cathedral, in spite of the somewhat hybrid
character of its architecture. Within, the stalls for the clergy and
choir—forests of lovely carved wood—were a perfect revelation to us. In
Paris the Cathedral of Notre Dame especially delighted us. Henceforth
our trip, while it had many interesting side features, became in truth a
cathedral pilgrimage. We became perfectly infatuated with the beauty and
the grandeur of these wonderful dreams in stone, the finest buildings in
the world erected since the days of the Parthenon.

The height of the French cathedrals is astounding. As we stood in the
matchless nave of Amiens and looked up one hundred and forty clear feet
to the vaulting far above our heads, we could hardly believe that it was
made of stone. How could such a weight be sustained?

We had such faith in its stability, however, that here and in other
cathedrals we walked about in a sort of vast attic between this stone
vaulting and the outer roof. The young French girl who guided us was as
nimble as a goat. She seemed to have no fear of falling in places where
I stepped with fear and trembling.

It was a slight shock to find that the famous spires of Chartres are not
alike, having been built at different periods, yet they are held to be
unsurpassed in France. The older one is much simpler than its younger
brother. We had been delighted with the stained glass of Notre Dame in
Paris, and we had enjoyed—with some reservations—that of the
Sainte-Chapelle. But the windows at Chartres were a revelation. They
were like gleaming jewels on an enormous scale, wonderful, wonderful to
behold. The deep-blue tones I especially remember. The windows in the
clearstory of the nave are very beautiful, the superior height of the
French cathedrals making these much larger and more beautiful than the
corresponding windows in the English minsters. In the latter the choir
is often fenced off from the nave by an ugly jube, or rood screen,
surmounted by an organ, instead of being left open, as in France. The
reason of this difference is that the French churches were built by the
people, in an almost literal sense, for they not only gave money, but in
some instances actually hauled the great blocks of stone in their pious
zeal. Hence the French people rightly felt that these splendid buildings
belonged to them.

At Chartres it makes one’s heart ache to see that the exquisite lacework
in stone of the choir screen is broken in a number of places, though
still most beautiful. The great triple porches, with their portals
fairly crowded with sculptured figures, delighted us. Even the layman
can see that the quaint, exaggerated elongation of the statues serves a
definite architectural purpose.

At Beauvais we visited the famous tapestry-works and saw the workmen
carrying on their craft. Each held a little mirror in his lap, showing
the right side of the texture, the wrong, on which he wrought, being
turned toward him. Their hands looked white and soft like a woman’s.
Beauvais has its heroine, who seems to be little known outside the
limits of the town. When Charles the Bold of Burgundy attacked the place
the inhabitants defended it successfully, the women helping. In the
market-place stands a statue of Jeanne Lainé, or Hachette, the heroine
of the fight. The banner which she captured with her own hands is still
preserved.

It seems fitting that the boldest and highest flight of Gothic
architecture should have been attempted in a place with such traditions.
Alas! The result proved that it is best not to be overbold. The
Cathedral of St. Pierre was and is a magnificent fragment, for it was
never finished. When the noble and beautiful spire fell, five years
after its completion, on Ascension Day, 1573, it was said that with it
fell the pointed style in France.

We reached the Cathedral of Beauvais in time to witness a procession in
honor of the Virgin’s Assumption. It was pleasant to see the townspeople
thus making active use of their “enormous, though ill-proportioned and
yet magnificent, church.”

We entered by the south transept, which is most beautiful and
impressive. Standing before it, one does not see that the nave is
wanting; one only admires a vast structure, richly carved. We found the
choir made beautifully light and bright by its three lofty stories of
stained glass. The building gives one no sense of repose, for in the
desire to realize the vast height the eye constantly follows the course
of the colossal piers as they rise up, up, up in the air. Alas! various
scaffoldings erected in the interior to strengthen weak parts give one a
feeling of insecurity.

From certain points of view, the Cathedral of Beauvais looks like a
stranded monster of the past. Its vast height is exaggerated by the lack
of a nave, making it appear high-shouldered and out of proportion. Yet
other views of it are so beautiful and so impressive that we felt well
repaid for our trip.

Before the year 1914 we thought of Rheims Cathedral as the most
beautiful of the great sister churches of France. Now we think of her as
of a loved one no longer living. We cannot speak her name without
sorrow, for the crown of martyrdom has been added to her other glories.

We were so anxious to see as much as possible of the cathedral that we
took rooms in the hotel opposite it. From our windows we looked directly
out at the wonderful façade. There was one terrible drawback, however,
to our proximity to the cathedral. We were awakened at about five in the
morning by a loud and persistent ringing of the bells of the great
church. The repetition of the same tone over and over again, several
hundred times, drove Darby almost to distraction. Later we learned that
it had been the custom to ring this tocsin at this time for four or five
hundred years! What a comment on the industry of the place, and indeed
of the French people generally!

We viewed the building from many points, noting the wonderful way in
which the beautiful features of the structure echo from one part to
another till they reach the highest pinnacle and vanish into the
heavens, as the great church itself has now vanished, all but a few
ruins. Perhaps it has again taken shape there. May we not hope to see
its image, etherealized, in the Celestial City?

As to the façade, in these stirring days of the twentieth century it is
splendid to think of it as the unsurpassed and unsurpassable triumph of
democracy! For it was owing to the popular ownership of these buildings
in France that the façade, or people’s end, became so wonderfully
developed. For the same reason the French cathedrals stand in the
streets of the town, always readily accessible to the people. Whereas
the great English churches are shut away in closes, indicating the more
aristocratic and exclusive rule of the clergy.

Darby irreverently observed that the English clergy in the cathedrals
seemed as snug as mice in a cheese!

We saw many beautiful doorways in France, both in cathedrals and in
smaller churches, but none can compare with those of Rheims. Their shape
is of very great and peculiar beauty. These vast arched portals curve
inward and downward almost like a cup.

I had some talk with the workmen engaged in making the restorations.
These are imperative, as without them the cathedrals would go to decay.
Rheims is built of a beautiful yellowish-brown material, but the stone
is too soft to wear well. The repairs were made in a spirit of
reverence. The method we found surprising. In reconstructing a pinnacle
they build it up into the form of a single block of stone, and then
carve it as a sculptor carves a statue out of a block of marble.

Late one August afternoon we stood before the lofty portals. I fancied
the great figures near their base—the rows of saints—grew more lifelike
in the twilight, as if preparing to step down from their niches. As
evening fell the army of figures carved in stone seemed to give the
cathedral a human look. They were almost alive in the twilight. What
tales of the centuries were they prepared to tell us, these dumb
witnesses of many a grand pageant and of the coronation of the kings of
France for more than six hundred years! Did they feel a glow of national
pride when the Maid of Orléans brought the recreant Charles VII hither
to be crowned and achieved her greatest triumph under that vast roof?

The summit of our pilgrimage of joy had now been reached; after this
there was a gentle descent to glories still great, but lesser than the
five supreme examples of Gothic art we had already seen. To be sure, the
Abbey Church of St. Ouen at Rouen is thought the most beautiful thing of
its kind in Europe. We should have been only too happy to enjoy it as it
stood, without criticism, save for one sad fault. The western facade—the
glory of our other cathedrals—is very disappointing, for it is modern,
and looks so! Indeed, it seems cheap and commonplace. It was built by
Viollet-le-Duc, who did not adhere to the original plans, _which still
exist!_

We admired greatly the façade of the Cathedral of Rouen, with its
wonderful decoration. Monet has made a series of lovely paintings of it.
We realized, however, that there was a distinct descent from the
earlier, nobler, and more reserved monuments of Gothic art. It lacks the
tremendous sincerity of these.

Ascending the towers of the various cathedrals we found a mystic and
sometimes an alarming task. If a guide went with us, well and good, but
often he trustingly left us to our own devices. Evidently we could not
run away with the tower. A sacristan, however pious, is, after all,
human, especially as to his legs. No matter how aspiring his soul, his
frame cannot endure an infinite number of ascensions in the company of
successive squads of tourists. So he often pressed a lighted taper into
the hands of Darby, receiving in return a franc or so. Round and round
the dark spiral staircase we wound our way, stepping always on the damp
stones worn by the feet of countless pilgrims of the centuries. We could
see but a short way before us. Suppose pickpockets or cutthroats were
lurking around the next turn of the winding stairway, what could we do?
Fortunately, we never met any one more alarming than tourists like
ourselves, who passed us without hostile demonstrations.

Our stay in France had been a period of enchantment. When we reached Le
Havre and embarked for England we began once more to touch the ground of
real life. When every one about you speaks your language there is an end
of the wonderful mystery that seems to encompass the traveler on foreign
soil.

Things in England were not like things in America, but both were prose,
whereas in France all had been poetry. The universal provisions against
rain of course amused us—the reversible seats on the tops of the
omnibuses, the rubber trousers which the policemen calmly folded up and
laid, when not in use, at the feet of the lions of Trafalgar.

The cathedrals were beautiful, but we missed the soaring height of their
French sisters. The English cathedrals are not true Gothic, like those
of northern France, neither do they possess the wonderful wealth and
variety of ornamentation of the latter.

At Plymouth we had the great pleasure of staying in an English country
house, our hosts being Colonel and Mrs. Dudley Mills. Here we found the
true British hospitality which is so delightful. The fact that some
one—either your host or his myrmidons—is constantly thinking of your
comfort is certainly pleasant. Cans of hot water, brought constantly to
your door, are not so convenient, in reality, as faucets, but they add a
personal and human touch, like the open-grate fires which some one must
constantly tend!

The Devonshire clotted cream we especially liked. Also, after our
continental experience, it was refreshing to see church floors actually
washed!

To have Devonshire designated in the newspapers as the “West” of England
seemed very funny. It had not occurred to us that the country was large
enough to have any “West”!

Nothing in England impressed me more than the sculptures from the
Parthenon in the British Museum. Not even the incongruity of their
surroundings, in a bare, stuffy room, can mar their wonderful beauty.
The grace of the recumbent figures in their marvelous drapery, the heads
of the horses of the setting sun, the pageant of the Panathenaic
procession, all the figures so stately, yet so graceful—truly the ruins
of Greece are more glorious than any sculpture the modern world can
show!

People said that it would be impossible for me to see Florence
Nightingale, then a confirmed invalid living in extreme retirement.

But I felt confident that for the sake of her old friends, my parents,
as well as for my own, she would receive her goddaughter if her health
permitted. It was more than fifty years since she had written, “I shall
hope to see my little Florence before long in this world,” and the time
was growing short.

She had said, too, she trusted a tie had been formed between us which
should continue in eternity: “If she is like you I shall know her again
there without her body on, perhaps the better for not having known her
here with it.”

With the extraordinary promptness characteristic of the London post, a
reply to my letter came from Miss Nightingale’s secretary, appointing a
time for me to call.

Our landlady tried to impress upon me the greatness of the privilege
thus granted. Like all her countrywomen, she greatly admired Florence
Nightingale, although, with the curious British reserve, the expression
of her admiration was to be mortuary only.

“When she dies I shall send her a funeral wreath!” quoth Miss X. She
also specified that the price was to be five dollars, if I remember
aright.

Miss Nightingale’s house at 10 South Street, Park Lane, was in Mayfair,
the aristocratic quarter of London. There was nothing especially
striking about the quiet and commodious dwelling, with its air of
dignified simplicity and retirement so well befitting the quiet tastes
of its noble-hearted mistress. Florence Nightingale’s dislike of
ostentation is well known. To serve her fellow-men and to relieve
suffering was the ruling passion of her life, but she always shunned
publicity, save as it might be necessary for the accomplishment of her
work.

Upon my arrival I was met by a young lady, Miss Cochrane, who was, I
presume, the secretary. She told me that Miss Nightingale had been
interested in my letter and would enjoy seeing me. But she warned me not
to stay long and to leave if my hostess seemed tired. Presently the
nurse called me, and we ascended some flights of stairs till we reached
a large pleasant room where I was ushered into the presence of Florence
Nightingale. She was reclining in bed, propped up by pillows. A soft
woolen shawl was around her shoulders. Her gray hair, still thick and
not so white as that of most persons of her age (eighty-two), was parted
in the middle and brushed smoothly down on each side beneath a plain
cap. Her features were strong, the nose slightly aquiline, the eyes
bright, apparently gray. She reminded me of Ralph Waldo Emerson in a
certain shrewd and kindly look which seemed to betoken a strong sense of
humor. Her complexion was good, her color also, with something of the
English ruddiness. Her voice was strong and full, an unusual thing in a
person of her age. A pad and pencil lay beside her, with which she made
some notes in the course of our talk.

“What a dear old lady!” I said to myself as I looked at her. I had been
warned that I must myself do the greater part of the talking, as it
would not do to fatigue my distinguished hostess. In her _Notes_ _on
Nursing_ she gives these vigorous and sensible hints for just such a
visit as I was making.


    Do you who are about the sick or who visit the sick, try and
    give them pleasure, remember to tell them what will do so. How
    often in such visits _the sick person has to do the whole
    conversation_.... A sick person does so enjoy hearing good
    news—for instance, of a love and courtship while in progress, to
    a good ending.

(How glad I am to think that I had the sense to tell her two of my sons
had taken wives unto themselves. “I am glad they are married,” said the
dear lady.)


    A sick person also intensely enjoys hearing of any _material_
    good, any positive or practical success of the right. He has so
    much of books and fiction, of principles and precepts and
    theories; do, instead of advising him with advice he has heard
    at least fifty times before, tell him of one benevolent act
    which has really succeeded practically—_it is like a day’s
    health to him_.

Instead of repining at her enforced inactivity and grieving over her
sufferings, like the usual egotistical invalid, this glorious soul found
its health and strength in hearing of the good works of others! What
wonder that her presence was like a benediction! People said to me
afterward:

“Is she alone in her old age?”

“Whom has she with her?”

It was evident that she was shielded and tended with thoughtful care and
kindness. One could not associate the idea of loneliness with her,
although she had survived most of her contemporaries and near relatives.
Perhaps a glorious but invisible company made that quiet room so bright
and cheerful!

It need scarcely be said that I would have much preferred to have her
take the lead in conversation, but, since this could not well be, I
endeavored to tell her things she would like to hear. Miss Nightingale
was up to date and interested in the questions of the day. We talked of
many things and she was a most sympathetic listener. The questions she
asked showed what close attention she paid to the conversation. They
showed also her sound and practical common sense. She had, be it said,
that most important gift, a strong sense of humor. Thus she was
decidedly amused at my quixotic views with regard to the Elgin marbles
in the British Museum. Knowing her interest in Greece (which she visited
in her young days), I ventured to tell her my real thought—namely, that
these ought to be returned to the Acropolis.

“Why do not you suggest this to Parliament?” Miss Nightingale asked.

She wished to know if my husband and I had been long in England, and we
spoke of the various attractions of London.

When I descanted on the horrors of the Tower, with its great display of
weapons for men to kill one another with, she said she, too, thought it
horrible. I expressed the hope that when women had more to say there
would not be so much war. That in my opinion men were afraid to give us
more power, because, although they pretended to think us less clever,
they really thought us more so than themselves and were afraid we would
get the upper hand. Miss Nightingale asked whether I thought the men
considered themselves more clever, and, with a spice of roguishness,
inquired whether I would like to have the upper hand!

She had a way of making a little semi-humorous gesture with her hand,
drawing it back slightly and then bringing it forward again. The fact
that women already had the suffrage in four states of the Union
interested her, and she asked which those were. On hearing that women
voted for President in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Idaho, she asked the
practical question:

“Have _you_ voted for President?”

I was obliged to confess that I had not.

Miss Nightingale said that women in America have more authority than
they do in England.

She was pleased to hear about the _Woman’s Journal_, giving news of
women all over the world. She asked for the address of the paper and
wrote it down on the tablet lying beside her.

It was a pleasure to tell this dear lady of the health and vigor of her
old friend and contemporary, my mother—that Mrs. Howe read Greek every
morning.

That the blind had arranged and successfully carried out a celebration
of the centennial of their benefactor and the friend of her youth,
Doctor Howe, appealed to her, and she expressed a desire to have a copy
of the monograph describing the occasion.

Miss Nightingale’s sense of hospitality would not permit me to leave
without partaking of some refreshment. As we sat chatting together,
afternoon tea with the usual accompaniments—toast, etc.—was brought for
my delectation, all with the immaculate neatness and daintiness so
characteristic of the author of _Notes on Nursing_. Miss Nightingale
herself took no tea, but a goblet with what appeared like lemonade was
brought to her.

So I had the honor of taking tea with one of the world’s greatest
heroines! One would never have guessed this from her bearing, however.
It was characterized by perfect simplicity and an entire absence of
self-assertion. In a word, she had the manners of a true English
gentlewoman of high breeding.

She more than once expressed regret that we had so little time for
England, owing to a prolonged stay in France. This evidently impressed
her, as she recurred to it. She seemed really sorry that we were obliged
to leave England so soon, and said we must come back again.

I was indeed reluctant to leave her serene and beautiful presence, but,
remembering the caution of the secretary and feeling upon honor, as I
had been left alone with my distinguished hostess, I arose in due season
to take my leave. I shall not soon forget the sweetness and fullness of
the voice in which the dear lady bade me farewell I seem to hear that
“Good-by” still ringing in my ears and repeated more than once as a sort
of benediction: “Good-by! Good-by!” Her voice was like my mother’s. No
sign of age was in its full, rounded tones, wonderful in a woman more
than eighty years old.

Thus a beautiful old age, serene and tranquil, fitly crowned her life of
most beneficent activity.

“The Lady with the Lamp” who watched over the sick soldiers, flitting
from room to room when all others slept, lived to see her work
multiplied a thousandfold and spread all over the earth. What wonder
that the evening of her days was serene and happy in the thought of so
much suffering saved, so much blessing gained to the children of men!


------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                  XXII

                             “WANDER-YEARS”

_Michael Anagnos, His Romantic Yet Practical Career.—Death of My
    Husband.—Return to New York.—My Daughter’s Exhibitions.—High Bridge,
    a Quaint Old Jersey Town.—Leader Twelfth Assembly District of
    Manhattan.—Suffrage-worker at Newport, Rhode Island.—The Delights of
    Canvassing and Out-of-door Speaking._


ONE morning in the summer of 1906 I took up the newspaper and saw that
my brother-in-law, Michael Anagnos, had died in Rumania, after a brief
illness.

The news was sad indeed for us; we were attached to him not only for his
own sake, but for that of our sister Julia and of our father as well.
With his death the close connection which had existed between the Howe
family and the Institution for the Blind during nearly three-quarters of
a century came to an end. It was the beginning of a new era! The removal
of the Institution to Watertown, which shortly followed, emphasized the
loss.

South Boston had now become so closely built as to make this change
desirable. But my heart felt a dreadful pang at the abandonment of the
beloved old Institution, dear to us from a thousand associations—the
house where I was born!

The early story of Michael Anagnos was a romantic one. There was the
unkind stepmother of tradition and the devoted great-grandmother who
brought him up. When, in hunting for birds’ eggs, his thumb was bitten
by the serpent already in the nest, this valiant soul bound the wounded
member tightly with her gold chain, then sucked the poison from it. If
he indulged in some boyish mischief, she would shake her head and say,
“Aha! I told the ‘Papa’ he did not duck your head under thoroughly when
he baptized you!” (In the Greek Orthodox Church baptism is by
immersion.)

Like David of old, little Michael tended his father’s flocks, but the
passion of the boy, true to the instincts of his race, was for
education. He studied by the light of a pine torch, and copied out the
school-books he could not afford to buy. By dint of extreme frugality he
was able to complete his studies at the University of Athens.

For a time he was engaged in newspaper work and interested in politics.
Then he met my father and became his assistant in ministering to the
suffering Cretan exiles in Athens.

The story goes on like a true romance. Young Anagnos, accompanying
Doctor Howe to America, struggled valiantly with the difficulties
attending transplantation to a foreign soil, but finally overcame them
all.

“You say you have only five vowels in English. You really have
twenty-six,” he would plaintively remark.

How his faithfulness and tireless industry won one step after another,
how he married sister Julia and succeeded my father as director of the
Institution, has been already told.

It was indeed a triumph for a foreigner to win the appointment to such a
responsible position in the conservative town of Boston.

He abundantly justified the trust reposed in him, devoting his whole
soul and his considerable talents to the task. His signal success, like
that of his predecessor, has become a part of the proud record of the
state of Massachusetts.

The two men were very unlike. Doctor Howe was essentially a leader,
original in thought, quick and daring in action, yet possessing great
patience.

The work of the pioneer was eminently congenial to him. He laid the
foundations of the education for the blind in this country on such broad
lines, he so thoroughly thought out and left on record the principles
governing it, that his reports are considered educational classics.
Hence his successor took up a work already well established. The task of
Anagnos was to administer and to enlarge. For this he was admirably
fitted. He greatly augmented the work of the printing in embossed
letters, by raising a Howe Memorial Fund, largely increasing, also, the
financial assets of the Institution.

His most striking achievement was the foundation and maintenance of a
kindergarten for the blind, the first of its kind in the world. Both he
and sister Julia were extremely fond of children. She had been greatly
interested in the enterprise, but died while it was still in its
infancy. Her last words were, “Take care of the little blind children.”

Anagnos made very full reports of the work under his charge. After the
death of my sister it fell to my lot to go through these in order to
make sure that the English idioms, so difficult for a foreigner to
catch, were all correct. Thus for some twenty years it was my annual
task to criticize “Michael’s” reports.

The great, square, brown paper envelopes in which these were contained,
directed in my brother-in-law’s beautiful copper-plate hand, were
sometimes greeted with groans on their arrival. For they were due at a
season of the year when I was very busy.

Yet the work was very helpful to me, because it called for careful
consideration of the reasons for or against certain forms of speech.
With the prepositions we had special difficulty. Anagnos, too, as a true
Oriental, possessed a very flowery style which it was necessary to prune
and restrain in order to adapt it to our cold New England climate. At
first he would pile metaphor upon metaphor and add simile to simile
until his sober Puritan sister-in-law stood aghast. We had special
difficulties with the obituaries of deceased benefactors of the
Institution, whose virtues his gratitude painted in the most glowing
colors. To have excellent but matter-of-fact Boston citizens compared to
spreading oak-trees of benevolence seemed to me a trifle incongruous. I
also demurred to “the Ark of the Institution keeping step in the march
of progress.”

Looking back on the matter now, I am inclined to think my brother-in-law
knew human nature better than I did. My work in cutting down the
adjectives of encomium was perhaps supererogatory.

Anagnos found it on the whole very satisfactory. My use of English was
the best in the family, he averred—but then he was a foreigner!

To his countrymen he was always ready to lend a helping hand. On the
wall of his sitting-room hung an immense piece of canvas showing a
ruined Greek temple, done in cross-stitch—“All there is to show, my
dear, for two thousand dollars!”

He had lent this sum to a compatriot desiring to engage in the
confectionery business. It is not probable that he often lost money in
this way, for the Greeks are a thrifty race.

He was deeply interested in the war between Turkey and Greece. I could
appreciate the eloquence of his address to his fellow-countrymen, even
though no word was intelligible to me. When he seized their national
flag and waved it they burst into applause.

It was wonderful to hear the ancient language spoken as a living tongue.

One could fancy how it must have sounded from the lips of Demosthenes.
When Anagnos at his desk added up a column of figures he would
occasionally murmur their Greek names. Thus the shades of the old
classic world seemed to brood above the prosaic office-table of our day!

A great meeting in Music Hall, held in honor of his memory, testified to
the affection and respect in which he was held. Here, also, the Old and
New Worlds mingled, a priest of the Greek Church, robed in mourning,
taking part in the ceremonies; at a memorial function held by his
fellow-countrymen funeral sweetmeats were given to those present.

Having devoted his life to the service of his adopted country, Anagnos
bequeathed his fortune to the cause of education in his native land. He
founded two schools for girls in Epiros, naming them for his mother.

Our trip to Europe had given my husband a much-needed rest from care,
and his health had improved correspondingly.

But from the time he was sixteen, when his brother entered the Union
army, his lifelong habit had been to take more than his share of
responsibility and, sparing those around him, to work to the limit of
his strength, often beyond it. We did induce him to relax his efforts
somewhat, but his unselfish nature and gallant spirit alike urged him to
go on with the work of his arduous profession, that of the law.

He returned from the office, one Saturday, apparently in his usual
health. But some over-exertion in working in the garden brought on an
attack which ended fatally in a few hours. Thus he died literally in
harness.

I said to myself, “I have let a most precious jewel slip through my
fingers.” How much I had been sheltered and shielded by my husband’s
devotion, what his affection had meant to me during thirty-six years of
married life, I now realized for the first time.

The suttee of the Indian widow, formerly incomprehensible, I began to
understand. Fortunately, there was much work for me to do. Our daughter
had returned from her art studies in Paris a year before, in order to
give her father, whose health we knew to be precarious, the pleasure of
her companionship.

She already had a studio in Plainfield, but New York afforded a much
better opening. The charge of the moving she assumed, since it would
have been simply impossible for me to empty the house of the
accumulations of fourteen years in the two weeks at our disposal.

She is a young woman of great resolution, and somehow we accomplished
the job. We took an apartment in Washington Square and a studio in the
old Stokes Building. The latter Caroline arranged charmingly, after the
fashion of artists. Here we received our friends. I enjoyed this glimpse
into the art world and managed to pick up a few gleanings of knowledge.

It was essential, however, that daughter’s painting should help with the
bread and butter, so “one-man shows” became a part of my education. She
had an exhibition at the rooms of the Civic League in New York, and two
in successive summers, at houses lent us for the purpose, in Newport.
Here we had more friends than in the great city, and we had the powerful
assistance of sister Maud, ever generous in helping others. Many
pictures were sold, to our joy, though I sometimes hated to part with
them. A little maternal partiality no doubt entered into this affection
for my daughter’s paintings. But they certainly had charm, especially
when a number were gathered together.

My mother was still living and the summer studio was under her
hospitable roof at “Oak Glen.” Here it was a great pleasure to see the
work grow under Caroline’s hands and to recognize the familiar and
beloved island landscape, somewhat disguised by the requirements of art.

Here, too, she painted the portrait of her grandmother, studying closely
the ever-changing face and sparing her subject as much as possible the
tedium of sittings. A studio is the most delightful place in the world
to those in sympathy with the artist. Here we have beauty, life, growth,
creation, and, where a painter is concerned, the warmth and joy of
color!

Those were happy days, yet there were moments when I remembered that
canvases and paints are dead things, compared with living human
companionship. Therefore, when my daughter became engaged to be married
to the Rev. Hugh Birckhead I knew that she had chosen wisely. Doubtless
to all mothers the marriage of an only daughter, even under the very
brightest auspices, is an occasion of mingled joy and sorrow. We rejoice
at the new happiness; we regret the ending of the old home life and
intimate companionship. In the midst of the strange confusion of
feeling, on the great day, I did not fail to observe the gallant bearing
of the groom as he came down the chancel steps to meet the bride, who
looked her very best. Yet I was very near to tears. All that saved me
from them was the comic look of a chorister marching in the wedding
procession, a stout, short man with a round face and an open mouth that
looked like the letter O. Since that time I have never _quite_ liked
Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March.”

Without my daughter’s companionship life proved lonely. After a year of
it the youngest son came to his mother’s rescue, proposing that we
should keep house together, at High Bridge, New Jersey, where his work
was.

“But, my dear, are you _sure_ you want me? Would not you rather continue
bachelor housekeeping with your young friends?”

He was very sure he _did_ want Mother, evidently sharing my opinion that
family life, even of two, is better than the existence of six or eight
young men without any womankind. We took up our residence in the late
Crucible Club—so named for the connection of its inmates with the steel
industry. With a sigh of relief Jack laid aside the cares of the
establishment, which had naturally fallen upon him. (He has his father’s
talent for taking responsibilities off the shoulders of others.) He
protested that he was willing to eat _anything_ for dinner, provided he
did not have to order it!

High Bridge is a picturesque New Jersey borough, some fifty-odd miles
from New York. It is situated among the hills of the northwestern part
of the state, four hundred feet above sea-level. To those knowing only
the flatlands of eastern Jersey, this region with its rolling country
and lovely views comes as a surprise.

The town, considered from an economic standpoint, consists principally
of the Taylor-Wharton Iron and Steel Company. This patriarchal
institution was established in the eighteenth century by the Taylor
family and still continues under their jurisdiction. It has grown from a
small iron-foundry into a plant with branches in other towns employing
three thousand men in all. Its one hundred and seventy-fifth anniversary
has recently been celebrated.

Every one living in the village is either connected in some way with the
steel-plant or keeps a shop to supply the wants of the workers. The
latter are of a class not commonly employed in such industries at the
present day. There are some Hungarians and other foreigners, but the
great backbone of the establishment consists of American men and women.
Many of these have their own homes in the surrounding country, coming to
work in the Ford cars which have nearly driven out the primeval High
Bridge buggy. It is a proud boast of the company that there have been
practically no strikes in its history.

In little gate-houses and other odd places one sees the figures of
quaint old men, still employed for little services instead of being
flung into the discard. The Taylor Company has proved that kindness of
heart helps rather than hinders success in business. Old retainers, here
as elsewhere, sometimes take advantage of their position, but on the
whole the system works well.

The great distance from the metropolis and the small measure of railroad
communication tend to isolate the village. If you miss a train you may
be obliged to wait four hours for the next. All these conditions tend to
produce quaint characters and a unique use of English.

In High Bridge we are very careful never to say _seen_ under any
circumstances, substituting the elegant phrase, “I have saw.” Persons of
a weakly constitution are held to lack “stamania,” while “financially”
is considered more elegant than “finally.” If we wish to postpone a
trip, we “refer” it till to-morrow.

The combinations in shopkeeping are also out of the common. To have a
barber sell oysters and ice-cream, and a clothier act as optician,
surprises the city resident. High Bridge has an atmosphere all its own.
One becomes readily attached to the quaint little town.

My son’s business calling him to New York, we spent some winters there,
settling this time in Stuyvesant Square near old St. George’s Church.

I was soon drawn into the maelstrom of the old, beloved work. The
Twelfth Assembly District, familiarly known as “Charlie Murphy’s,” was
clamoring for a leader of the Woman Suffrage party. Mrs. Frederick
Gillette, who had conducted its affairs with great ability and signal
devotion, absolutely refused to take office again, as her health would
not permit it. Her predecessor, the first leader, a lovely woman
idolized by her fellow-suffragists, had died in harness! I was on the
wrong side of sixty and had been advised by the doctor to take life
quietly.

Putting aside all misgivings as to possible fatal results, I accepted
the office. A new rôle was now before me, for modern suffrage activities
have opened a field of effort very different from that of our earlier
experience in New Jersey.

Instead of expecting the people to come to us, we now went to
them—opening “suffrage shops,” as the temporary headquarters are called;
speaking at street corners; visiting our neighbors in their own homes;
last but not least, watching at the polls, both inside and out. The
canvassing was the most interesting of all, when we had once gathered
the courage to do it ourselves. It was by no means so difficult as we
had feared.

We had full directions from the finely organized parent association, the
Woman Suffrage party, and the neighboring twenty-fifth district launched
us on our task. Then we used our own mother wits. Team-work and a
supplementary supper were found to be essential to the task. This was
not only on account of the good-fellowship and the good cheer involved,
but also because we ourselves had omitted our own evening meal in order
to catch the voters while partaking of theirs!

The good nature and patience of the men, thus interrupted, was pleasant
to see. We announced ourselves as representatives of the Woman Suffrage
party. A quiet and assured manner, with the absence of all airs and
graces, gained us ready admittance. The men fully understanding that we
came to talk with them as one fellow-citizen with another, received us
in a frank and friendly spirit. It is wonderful to see how well we all
get on together in these United States, when we meet on this common
ground!

Our visits were usually brief. We did not stop to argue long, leaving
behind us literature and postal cards where the voters were absent. The
replies sent on these were, with one or two exceptions, brief and
formal. One man of an illogical turn of mind wrote that we were a lot of
old maids and should stay at home to mend our husbands’ stockings!

The climbing the stairs of many tenement-houses (voters seemed always to
live on the top floor), with halls half-lighted in the early summer
evenings, was rather fatiguing. There was, too, quite a little dirt and
occasional evil smells. But the work was extremely interesting. We set
out to educate the voters, and in the process educated ourselves,
learning a great deal about human nature in general and our neighbors of
the district in particular. The dwellings, poor as they were, were much
better than I had anticipated—probably “voters” do not live in the worst
class of tenement-houses, leaving these to aliens. We went, however, to
localities where, politicians told us afterward, they were afraid to go
themselves.

We were almost always received with courtesy and listened to with
respect. We had some amusing experiences. One friend, a middle-aged man
slightly the worse for drink, tried to explain to us the residence of
his sons, the family arrangements being rather complicated. Every now
and then he would turn to his good wife and ask _her_ to explain. She
stood there, quiet and dignified, yet evidently mortified at her
husband’s condition!

Some ladies living in our own apartment-house were amused by our visit.
We could hear them afterward describing over the telephone, amid peals
of laughter, the call of the suffragettes!

The working-people, both men and women, understood the matter. Those
whose wives and daughters are as much in the struggle for life as
themselves do not take the “pedestal” view of the sex. The fathers,
especially, were quick to see the benefit the possession of a vote would
bring their girls.

One of my pleasantest visits was to a young Hebrew physician and her
family. They were of the intellectual type of their race, while Doctor
—— herself was of noble spirit.

When we remember how the glad tidings of the Christian religion were
first spread by sermons in the open air, when we call to mind Peter the
Hermit and John Wesley, we see that the soap-box is only a modern
representative of a very ancient institution.

“Soap-box” is only a generic name nowadays. During our 1915 campaign in
New York City, we used automobiles, or, failing these, borrowed a chair
from a neighboring shop.

Perched on this, with our banner of the Twelfth Assembly District waving
near by, and with one or two members on hand to distribute literature,
collect signatures, and pass the hat, we addressed the public.
Permission was obtained beforehand from the police, and an officer was
sent to look out for us in case of possible trouble.

Valiant little Corporal Klatschkin did receive a douche of cold water
from a neighboring window, but the rest of us had no trouble. The fact
of her Hebrew blood, and some incautious criticisms, were responsible
for the amenities extended to her.

The literally pressing interest of the children on the East Side was
flattering, but inconvenient. They would pack themselves so closely
around the speaker, many of them little tots who could hardly understand
anything of the address, that we were often obliged to ask for more
room. But we, the suffragists, were the show of the hour, and those
babies were determined to lose no moment of it. Indeed, they were
sometimes extended in such a wide circle around us as to place the
grown-ups at an inconvenient distance for our voices to reach. From
Tompkins Square the boys escorted us and our banner in such a solid
phalanx, one evening, as to make it difficult to get on the trolley. We
were sometimes applauded, the majority of the crowd being “with us.” The
obligations of hospitality were not so personal as during our
domiciliary visits, but we were well received. In the foreign
neighborhoods where we spoke our audiences were especially quiet, though
it is doubtful whether they understood much of the speeches.

In the course of our campaign work people related their woes to us or
asked us to help them get a job. We were recognized as friends of the
people. One man had much to say about the iniquity of the women who
watched the street workers and reported absences, thereby causing a
person to lose his job, “when very likely he was somewhere else.” I
thought it probable that he was.

We spoke indoors as well as out, notably at the Memorial Building of St.
George’s Episcopal Church, where we held a debate with the “antis.” Even
the Tammany chieftains consented to listen to us in the room of the
Anawanda Club. Here we were so fortunate as to secure the help of Mrs.
Margaret Chanler Aldrich, a favorite great-niece of my mother’s. They
had worked together in the Association for the Advancement of Women.
Mrs. Aldrich, the treasurer of the New York City Woman Suffrage party,
is an ardent suffragist. She is also strong in the Democratic faith, as
becomes the daughter of Mr. Winthrop Chanler. She produced an excellent
effect by reminding her hearers that her father had represented this
very district in Congress! I prudently refrained from mentioning my own
political faith.

To hunt the elusive politician to his lair, ascertain his views, and, if
possible, enlist him to our side, was a part of our duties. It was so
difficult to do this that we sometimes interviewed him over the
telephone. Wherever possible, we arrived as a delegation at his office.
The appointment once made, we found it well to have plenty of time at
our disposal, for the politician may desire to do the talking himself.
Then you listen patiently while he tells you his views, or what he wants
you to think are his views. I, a black Republican born and bred, have
harkened, with outward resignation, to a panegyric on the benevolence of
Tammany Hall. One man talked to us for half an hour or more, explaining
his chivalrous feelings toward women. Incidentally he told us of one of
our sex who received a salary of three thousand dollars. Whenever he saw
her he thought of some man who might have had the job. The chivalry of
this point of view was not clear to us.

Our reception was always courteous, sometimes encouraging and sometimes
not. We were glad to know the real opinions of the men, even if these
were unfavorable. The ignorance in high places about woman suffrage is
surprising. People will talk to you about the dangers of the ignorant
vote, and in the same breath will make statements showing great
ignorance not only of what the ballot in the hands of women has
accomplished, but of human nature itself. I suspect this ignorance among
politicians is wilful.

Our activities increased as November drew nearer, coming to a climax on
Election Day. The Legislature had granted us permission to have a
watcher at each polling-place then and on the preceding registration
days. The same leave was given to the “antis,” at their request, but
they failed to attend. If they had not demanded the place, we should
perhaps have been allowed to fill it. To be the only woman at a
polling-booth was a little trying. But we knew that we were fulfilling
our duty as citizens, and we felt great confidence in American men.
Since the law had given us a right to be at the polls, we were sure we
should be protected.

It was part of my duty as leader to make the round of the election
precincts. The streets grew very dark and lonely before we reached the
outermost edge of the “gas-house” district on our tour of inspection.
Evidently this locality, with rare altruism, gives all its light to
others and keeps none for itself!

Driving through the deserted streets, we remembered grim stories of this
part of the city and rejoiced in the protection of the taxicab. The
bright colors of our national flag cheerfully illuminated the window of
the polling-place, reminding us of our citizenship in the greatest
country of the world!

With a bearing intended to show great confidence I passed through the
little knot of men gathered at the door and entered the barber’s shop.
Was not one of my lambs clothed with due authority from the Empire State
there as watcher? It was “up to the leader” to see that all was going
well with her. At the end of the long table farthest from the door sat
Mrs. V——. (To prevent hysterics on the part of the “antis” it should be
said that she was a grandmother and that the duties of her home were
attended to by her grown daughter.)

“Everything going all right?”

“Yes, indeed. I’ve been treated with every courtesy. Let me introduce
you to the chairman of the board, Mr. ——.”

I looked about for the filthy pool of politics, but could not discover
any. Several men were busily writing in enormous books, in regular
_Alice in Wonderland style_. A policeman clothed with all the majesty of
the law sat at the other end of the long table. Several candidates for
registration stood in line, awaiting their turn, while the man at the
head of it struggled through the third degree. The floating population
of New York sometimes finds difficulty in recalling where it lived and
voted from a year ago!

Everything in and about the place was as quiet and orderly as possible.
Gentlemen seemed to find it more convenient to smoke outside! Yet our
women have made no objection to tobacco.

At another election district I found that the watcher in charge was on
such good terms with her election board that they had regaled her with
the strains of the victrola and a cup of tea!

On the great day itself we were “on the job” before the opening of the
polls at six o’clock. I started on my round of the twenty-one districts
in the cold dusk of the winter morning, finding all the watchers in
their places. We visited them a second and a third time in the course of
the day. At only one polling-place had the men in charge made any
trouble for us. There they did not want the watcher to go behind the
bar, but as this was her undoubted right they eventually yielded. The
day was clear, but raw and windy. The political atmosphere was also less
balmy on this day of the struggle. The Tammany leaders were less cordial
than earlier in the campaign, and on some faces a suspicion of a frown
lurked. We were treated with all courtesy, however, and some of the
gentlemen were so gallant as to help me in and out of the automobile.

This was the first Election Day when women were given the authority to
visit the polls and watch the count in the metropolis. We had not yet
won the vote, but we were the advance-guard of victory! It was a most
interesting experience and I greatly enjoyed it. Our Twelfth Assembly
District had been thoroughly canvassed. Every registered voter had been
called upon and duplicate lists of those in our favor had been compiled.
One copy was given each watcher, that she might check off the names as
the men came into the polls. The other copy was reserved for those who
were later in the day, to “get out the vote.” It would seem that there
are always indolent or tardy freemen who have to be reminded of their
privilege of casting a ballot, before the day draws to a close.

This duty is assigned by politicians to youths, and here as elsewhere we
took advantage of their experience. Election Day being a holiday, we
found it difficult to procure boys. Some made promises—then failed to
appear. My son Henry came to the rescue with two squads of bright,
active lads, his pupils from the High School of Commerce. Armed with the
lists and led by two adult women workers, the boys started off in
excellent spirits. The neighborhoods visited were much impressed.
Beholding the boys and the decorated automobiles, they exclaimed,
“Tammany has nothing on the Woman Suffrage party.” Tammany Hall and the
home of “Charlie” Murphy are both in the Twelfth Assembly District.

Our watchers stuck faithfully to their posts until the count was
completed—their long day’s work having extended from six in the morning
till nine, ten, and eleven o’clock at night.

As they came one after another into our temporary headquarters and
announced the result, district by district, it was evident that we had
lost. But the American women had been invited to enter the sacred
precincts of the polling-place and given authority to watch the returns.
November 6, 1915, was a historic day in the Empire State, marking the
beginning of a new era.

Among the many faithful workers in the Twelfth Assembly District, one
who overcame difficulties insuperable to most women deserves special
mention. This was Mrs. Clara Deutsch. As the wife of a young physician
beginning practice and the mother of a little girl of four she had many
domestic cares. She did her own housework, helped her husband administer
anesthetics, and yet found time to do excellent service in the suffrage
cause.

“Yes, I can help on Thursday, since you need me badly. Mrs. ——, the wife
of the Methodist minister, will take care of Mary for me. She has five
children of her own and is expecting a sixth, so one more makes little
difference. _She_ is a good suffragist, too, so by keeping Mary she also
will be helping the cause that day.”

If more contributions were called for than she could well afford, Mrs.
Deutsch would say, cheerfully: “That is all right. We’ll go without
dessert for a time.” Mrs. Deutsch had been a trained nurse and thus had
learned how to do and to plan. No matter at what hour I called to see
her she always appeared at the door looking as neat as a pin. She was a
handsome young woman, tall and powerfully built; strong, yet tender to
the sick and weak. No one was more eminently fitted than she to carry
our banner in a suffrage parade.

We had college graduates and women of wealth among our members. Ours is
a truly democratic cause in which riches and social position are held to
be of secondary importance.

Four days after the election the youngest son who had been my housemate
for five years took unto himself a bride, thus giving me a third
daughter-in-law who was to become, like the others, very dear to me.

It was evidently wise to allow the young couple to start housekeeping
for themselves, hence, while they were still on their honeymoon, I set
out on a long-deferred trip to California. As I closed the door of our
house behind me, again it seemed that a new page in life had been
turned!

The visit to the Pacific coast was indeed a delightful experience. I
enjoyed every moment of the journey in both directions, and of my stay
under the hospitable roof of our dear cousins, Joseph and Louisa
Mailliard. Time fails me in which to tell of the beauties of the
International Exposition (the “P.-P. I. E.”), the marvels of the Grand
Cañon of the Colorado, or the wonderful glimpse of the Pacific shore.
The glory of that matchless surf, as the long line of distant waves
tossed their splendid crests beneath the opaline light of an afternoon
sun covered with soft gray clouds, was a thing never to be forgotten.

In 1916 I was invited to come to Newport to assist my sister, Mrs. Maud
Howe Elliott, president of the Newport County Woman Suffrage League,
during the summer. She had greatly increased its membership and
broadened its activities, but was, at the moment, heavily burdened with
other matters of importance. Hence I was appointed executive secretary
and put in charge of the work of the society.

My recent experience in New York enabled me to organize this along the
lines so admirably laid out by the Woman Suffrage party of that city.
Especial emphasis was laid on canvassing, which politicians consider of
great importance. In preaching a new cause like ours, it is
indispensable, for we are obliged not only to round up the members of a
party as the Republicans and Democrats do, but to explain its doctrines
and increase its membership.

The women at Newport were more timid about canvassing than their New
York sisters. The summer capital is a very conservative place, and the
question, “What will my friends and acquaintances say?” is more vital
than in a big city where no one knows and few care what their neighbors
do.

A corps of good workers was finally enlisted. Our canvassing luncheons
proved a decided success, especially where the hostess possessed an
attractive villa and garden. Our calls were made, for the most part, on
persons of moderate means. Few of the rich people have their permanent
residence in Newport, hence do not vote there. It is also easier to
canvass among the former, because no supercilious flunky, anxious to
guard his mistress from unwelcome visitors, comes to the door. It is
opened, instead, by the voter’s wife, with whom one can at once
establish pleasant relations, unless the baby is crying. In that case it
is kinder not to detain her.

Friends often lent us their automobiles, the distances being much
greater than in our densely inhabited district in New York. Instead of
high tenement-buildings we found two-story wooden houses where our chats
took place at the open doorway. Altogether it was pleasant work, chiefly
among women, the men being usually absent from home. We assured them
that the possession of the franchise did not necessitate deserting the
home, and explained its advantages. It is strange that, after nearly
seventy years of agitation, the question of woman suffrage should still
be considered so mysterious! We found most of our hearers open to
conviction where their opinions were not already favorable to us. Many
names were secured for our yellow (favorable) slips, and only a few for
the white (undecided); still fewer for the blue (opposed).

Our labor was repaid a hundredfold by the victory of our cause a few
months later. For our formidable list of persons favorable to suffrage
was copied on a catalogue of imposing proportions and presented to the
Rhode Island Legislature. It was one of the arguments which persuaded
them to grant the presidential franchise to the women of the state in
1917. In New York, while our stirring campaign of 1915 met temporary
defeat, it paved the way for the great victory of November, 1917, when
the women of the Empire State won full citizenship.


------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                 XXIII

                  UNTO THE THIRD AND FOURTH GENERATION

_My Mother’s Beautiful Old Age.—How It Feels to Be an
    Ancestor.—Grandmotherhood in the Twentieth Century.—Keeping Alive
    the Sacred Fires of Noble Tradition.—Handing on the Lighted Torch._


IT has often seemed to me that my mother’s life was like that of the
century-plant—increasing in beauty as time went on. The last flowering,
the loveliest of all, came when she was well over four-score years of
age. Is not this the normal course of a well-spent life? The fruit
reaches its full beauty when ready to drop from the tree. The colors of
the sunset splendidly crown a perfect day.

In those last years she seemed to us like a lovely saint whose faults
had all been burned away by the fires of life, leaving only the ethereal
spirit behind. Yet she was by no means entirely absorbed in religious
meditation. This was an important part of her existence, but she also
enjoyed the things of this world and was often full of fun and gaiety.

For all who knew her, and for all, I hope, who have read the story of
her life, she has robbed old age of half its terrors. She met it
bravely, smilingly, wisely, submitting with good grace to certain
inevitable restrictions. Thus while she never gave up walking so far as
her strength permitted, since more fresh air was desirable, she accepted
the wheeled chair for additional exercise. To other limitations she
would not submit. She would attend meetings, public and private; she
would make the addresses which were so much prized by her audience; in a
word, she would continue the intellectual and social intercourse with
her fellow-men and women which was to her literally the breath of life.
For their love and sympathy, their interest in her words, were to her a
veritable elixir. The feeling that she still had a message which the
world wished to hear helped to keep her alive. The veteran who believes
that “he lags superfluous on the stage” is not likely to survive long.

When she attended the biennial of the General Federation of Women’s
Clubs in Boston, in 1908, I was her companion, as on many earlier club
occasions. She confessed afterward that she had feared the delivery of
her speech in the vast auditorium of Symphony Hall might kill her, but
this did not deter her from reading it! In the last summer of her life
we attended a suffrage meeting in Bristol Ferry at the house of Miss
Cora Mitchell, founder and president of the Newport County Suffrage
League. Here she told the ladies of her work for peace, begun shortly
after the Franco-Prussian War. It should be said that, despite her
interest in German philosophy, her sympathies in that conflict were
entirely with the French, whom she felt to be the victims of German
aggression. It was the wholly unnecessary nature of the conflict which
made the author of the “Battle Hymn” call in the early ’seventies a
Peace Congress of Women to protest against future wars of the sort. In
her correspondence we find that she met with no encouragement from the
women of Germany.

Her visit to Smith College, where the degree of Doctor of Laws was
conferred upon her, shortly before her death, has been described in her
_Life_. The story of the awarding to her of the degree of LL.D. at Tufts
College has a special interest because it was the first, and because in
her speech she made a protest against Turkish cruelty, thus carrying on
the work begun by her husband on the shores of Greece eighty years
before! Her grandson, Dr. Henry Marion Hall, who accompanied her, has
thus described the occasion:


    Professor Evans, of the department of history, drove Grandmother
    and me from No. 241 Beacon Street to the college, where we
    remained in his rooms for a short while until Grandmother felt
    rested. Then we walked across the campus, which was bright with
    the colors seen only in coeducational institutions. Mrs. Howe
    joined the academic procession just before it entered the hall,
    and all at once she and I found ourselves on a platform,
    surrounded by men in caps and gowns, the instructors and those
    about to receive degrees. Grandmother was the only woman on the
    platform, and everybody in the audience seemed particularly
    interested in her. In spite of her great age I recall that there
    was something quite simple and almost childlike in her
    expression—absolutely different from the self-consciousness
    peculiar to most people under similar circumstances. When she
    rose to receive her degree there was a remarkable hush, such a
    hush as I have seldom known of with so many people in a large
    room. The hood was put about her shoulders by the president,
    Doctor Chapin, and she flushed with pleasure at the burst of
    applause.

    At the dinner which followed the exercises she sat with the
    guests of honor, among whom was Mr. Moody, Secretary of the
    Navy. When Mrs. Howe arose to speak she took occasion to express
    the hope that the Secretary might indicate whether or not the
    government of the United States was going to exert its influence
    to mitigate the horrors of the Armenian atrocities, for the
    Turks were then carrying on systematic massacres. Mr. Moody
    spoke next, and gave a fine oration, but said that circumstances
    prevented him from indicating the policy of his government at
    that time. He deprecated, of course, the villainous behavior of
    the Turks. Grandmother was delighted to receive the degree, and
    we drove back to Boston with Professor Evans, Grandmother still
    wearing the hood and holding the sheepskin in her hands.

This grandson, Henry Marion Hall, received, a few years later, the
degrees of M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University. To our great
delight, his thesis, “The Idylls of Fishermen,” was warmly praised by
the critics.

She was as pleased as a young girl to hear that we were “going to give a
party” during that last summer. “Flossy shall do my hair!” she gaily
exclaimed. “The party” was only a small frolic for the Hall
grandchildren and their young friends, with a few elders to play cards
with her. No one enjoyed the occasion more than she did.

We still continued our duets on the piano, playing airs from “Il Pirata”
and other old operas which she loved, as well as Händel’s quaint arias.
Her fingers, which never lost their flexibility, played in these last
years for her great-grandchildren to dance, as she had played for
children and grandchildren.

An article published that autumn in the press, declaring that
protestantism was on the decline, troubled her. She desired to make some
reply, not in a controversial spirit, however. Her interest in religion
was too broad to be confined to any sect. We were glad to have her
preach whenever invited to do so, provided her strength permitted, but
unreasonable requests were sometimes made. Thus when the zealous pastor
of a negro church invited us, in the course of an afternoon call, to go
down on our knees in prayer, I protested successfully. If he had not
carried a large umbrella in his hand I might have yielded. But how
impossible would have been any approach to solemnity in the presence of
that most unecclesiastical object!

The memorial exercises after her death were held in Symphony Hall.
Tickets had been issued to persons having a special claim to be present,
but as soon as the doors were opened the great public, who also loved
her, would not be denied admittance. They surged in, tickets or no
tickets, and took possession of the great auditorium. The varied nature
of the program corresponded with her diversified talents. A
haunting-chorus of her own composition was sung by the blind pupils of
the Institution founded by her husband. Many were the beautiful tributes
paid to her by men and women of national reputation. None, however,
equaled in heartfelt eloquence the speech of Lewis, the distinguished
negro lawyer, as he poured out the gratitude of his race to the woman
who had written the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” I suddenly realized
what the words meant to the colored people. The appeal, “Let us die to
make men free,” was for all men and for all time, yet in a special sense
it was meant for the despised slave for whose freedom the soldiers of
the Union laid down their lives in those dark days of the ’sixties.

Sister Laura and I were already rejoicing in several grandchildren while
our mother was still with us. People sometimes feel sorry for the
grandmothers whom they see in the streets in charge of little children.
The first impulse is to exclaim, “That old woman has earned a right to
rest. It is too bad she should still be burdened with the care of
babies.”

The second and saner impulse is to rejoice that she still has strength
for the day’s work. Our civilization should be so ordered that a
well-spent life may bring a certain degree of freedom toward its close.
But to have no responsibilities, to be an idle and frivolous elderly
woman, would be a sad fate.

No one need sink into it if she has grandchildren, the loveliest of all
flowers, who bloom in the evening of life. If she has grandchildren of
assorted ages she is especially fortunate, for she can then enjoy the
various stages of babyhood and childhood at the same time.

Life is full of pleasant surprises. Our sons and daughters grow to
maturity so gradually that we fail to realize the change from their
childhood’s days. They are still boys and girls to us when they are so
absurd as to suppose themselves men and women! They marry, and on some
fine day present us with a grandchild! Then we suddenly realize that we
are again to have the delightful experience—almost forgotten—of growing
up with a baby.

On our journey through life we have been disappointed in meeting many
people who did not come up to our ideals. We are weary of the petty
ambitions, the injustice of the world—of everybody’s faults, our own
included. In the twinkling of an eye we are transported back into the
lovely child-garden, where faith, love, and hope bloom! Little hands
cling trustingly to us, a little cheek is laid against ours, eyes like
stars smile up at us! There is a new heaven and a new earth!

The bond between age and childhood is known of all men. Are not the
glory of the sunrise and that of the sunset one and the same? The child
rejoices in the beautiful and wonderful things he sees all about him—in
birds, beasts, and flowers, the blue sky and the trees of the forest.
The woman declining into the vale of years has long known these things,
but in the light of the sunset they become transfigured and glorified.
With the little child she learns again lessons half forgotten; together
they enjoy the true pleasures of life—the simple, every-day things that
we forget to be thankful for during the years when we are busily hunting
for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

So the child and its grandame walk together for a while, until their
paths separate. The little one goes forward with eager feet into the
great battle of life, the grandmother advances with tranquil step to
meet the shadows. The coming into this world of the child has
strengthened her faith, as its companionship has strengthened her love.

It came, she knows not whence, “trailing clouds of glory.” Will not the
morning of a new and splendid day break for her, also, in a new world?

We enjoy our grandchildren all the more, in the twentieth century,
because we have other cares and responsibilities besides those of the
family and household. Hence we cannot be selfishly absorbed in our own
small circle. Our duties have multiplied since the great war began to
call the young men and women more and more into service.

We elders now have a new incentive to work with all our strength while
it is yet day for us. This summer I visited Camp Merryweather, where
sister Laura aids her husband in conducting a delightful place of
sojourn for forty boys. Of the sons whose help they have had in former
years one had gone as a soldier to France, the other and the sons-in-law
were attending drill and caring for war gardens. Upon the older
generation came the care and responsibility of the summer’s work and
play. Never have I seen them more resolute and courageous! No word was
said of added duties, but in their manner one could see a determination
to do their bit and to do it valiantly! Sister Laura’s relaxation will
be to go on a “grandmothering tour” to see her dozen grandchildren.

In this twentieth century, and especially in war-time, the public and
private duties of women sometimes conflict. We want very, very much to
go to some inspiring meeting on a day when we are needed at home. It is
best to give the latter the benefit of the doubt, when we feel any. Yet
we must sometimes go forth to gain inspiration, in order to give it out
again. The woman who stays always at home from a mistaken sense of duty
is in danger of becoming a dull drudge. The mother of sons and daughters
must, in these stirring times, teach them to have the love of freedom,
the public spirit, necessary for the salvation of our Republic.

She must take her share, too, in labors for the welfare of our native
land and for the comfort and protection of its brave defenders. If we
fail to do our part it may happen that no homes will be left us to care
for!

We return to them from work for the Red Cross or other civic service,
with renewed delight in children and grandchildren, with renewed ability
to minister to their welfare, both spiritual and material!

It is delightful to be able to help the boys and girls with those
dreadful mathematical problems and with the Latin authors, who in a
world turned topsy-turvy, remain always the same.

To give my little granddaughters lessons upon the piano has been my
great pleasure.

Countless women are now called upon to make the supreme sacrifice, to
give up the sons and daughters dearer to them than life, to the dreadful
Minotaur who devours hecatombs of youths and maidens. It is the duty of
every mother to prepare herself for that ordeal, so that she may not
hesitate to send her best-beloved, if the summons comes to her, as it
has come to thousands.

Terrible as are these years, their darkness is brightened by the light
of a self-sacrifice unparalleled in the history of mankind. We could not
bear the thought of those hideous trenches and of the awful destruction
of human life, if they had not shown us such splendid examples of
courage, devotion, self-immolation. These are wonderful days to live in,
despite all the horrors of the time. The young men going forward so
bravely into the mouth of hell, dying in defense of their ideals and
ours, seem to us like a consecrated army, like beings set apart from
their fellow-men. We have talked about freedom; we have been full of
enthusiasm. But _they_ have gone quietly forward, to suffer tortures
and, if need be, to lay down their lives. They are the heroes of the
hour, beside whom the rest of the world seem suddenly to have shrunken
into nothingness.

Yet we must not forget that America, like England, expects every man,
civilian as well as soldier, to do his duty, and every woman likewise.
The power of a democracy is built up of the strength of each individual
life. Let us give our brave soldiers their full meed of admiration, let
us support and uphold them in every possible way. But we must not be so
dazzled by their gallant deeds as to worship, like Germany, a military
autocracy. It is our duty to remember, and to help them to remember,
that among civilized nations war is temporary and abnormal, while peace
is normal and eternal. The first means destruction, the last means
construction. In the midst of peace we must prepare for war, that haply
we may avert it. In the midst of war we have the double duty of
upholding our armies to the utmost extent of our ability and at the same
time making ready for the righteous peace which we know must come. We
must bind up the wounds of the warriors and restore the devastated
lands. We must prepare to return, when the right time comes, to quiet,
every-day life. We shall still wage war, not against the bodies of men,
but against ignorance, greed, corruption, evil of all kinds. For Satan,
whom before the great European convulsion we hopefully thought to be
dead, is evidently very much alive. At each new atrocity we have seemed
to hear the wings of Apollyon, Prince of Darkness, rustling in the air,
as he dealt foul blows at the struggling Christian.

We have had a horrible glimpse of hell! The sight must convince us that
the devoted labor of every one of us is needed to prevent the overthrow
of the ideals of civilization! The hideous doctrine that might makes
right, that crafty murder, “leaving no trace behind,” treacherous
intrigue and shameless lying, are the proper occupation for “gentlemen”
must be combated not by arms alone, but by the upholding of the high
ideals of our own country. The memory of heroic deeds, of noble sayings,
is the most precious inheritance of mankind. We who are now living have
been inspired by it, we have held our course guided by its light,
however much we may have stumbled on the way and fallen short of our
ideals.

The sacred fires of noble tradition must not perish. To pass on to our
descendants the lighted torch received from our predecessors, glowing
ever brighter with the fervor inspired by the heroic deeds of the
present hour, is for us an imperative duty and a splendid privilege.


                                THE END


------------------------------------------------------------------------



 ● Transcriber’s Notes:
    ○ The description of chapter XI. in the Table of Contents was
      truncated— “Parade of”. This was amended to “Parade of the Ancient
      and Honorable Artillery.”
    ○ Missing or obscured punctuation was silently corrected.
    ○ Typographical errors were silently corrected.
    ○ Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation were made consistent only
      when a predominant form was found in this book.
    ○ Text that was in italics is enclosed by underscores (_italics_).





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