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for they had no poor! The gentleman who told me this was personally cognizant of it. It seems to realise the saying I have heard in my childhood, that there is but one beggar in America, and he rides on horseback. That New England village must have been happy in the absence of inebriates, “ of gin palaces," and intoxicating drinks, for, where they are found, it is in vain that industry plies her diligence and the earth pours forth her stores — there will be poverty, misery, wickedness, and degradation in their vicinity.
I had sometimes wished to see some native poor besides those to be found so comfortably provided for in the institutions, and at last I was gratified. It seems almost necessary to premise, that our visit to widow R. was entirely unpremeditated on our part, and unexpected on hers, otherwise an incident or two whichi occurred might wear the air of acting in the poor woman, when it was not so. lonely, borne down with grief, and nearly blinded by tears with which no one sympathised.
We found, in a neat, orderly room, a tall, wasted figure beside a very small table, on which lay ink and paper, and two or three bright little books, very like school prizes. She was dressed in rusty black, with a cap, whose former pretensions to smartness made its faded black lace add to the desolate appearance of the wearer.
She was writing when we entered, but on seeing strangers she laid down her pen, took out a poor
muslin rag to wipe tears which were flowing fast. Without taking heed at all to who her guests might be, she began her lament: “ I had one bright spot in my gloom, but God has taken it
from me; my dear R is gone, and I don't know where she is gone to,” looking round the roof with an inde„scribable vague expectancy, as if she might learn from the ceiling where her daughter was.
6 Don't you believe in a state of happiness for those who love the Lord ?” “O yes, I was brought up in true religion. I am a New Englander; my parents taught me about the fall of man, and salvation by Jesus Christ, about the resurrection, and the judgment, and I taught it all to my child. R believed in all that, but I can't see her now. I don't know where she is gone to.” “ If she believed in Jesus, you do know, and if she is with Jesus where he is, you know she is happy.” “You talk, but you never lost your one bright spot as I have done." “I have lost children, and have had very bright spots darkened. It is not because I do not feel for you that I speak, but because I know that there is consolation for those who weep." My companion, hoping to turn the current of her thoughts, said, “Perhaps you have heard of Mary Lundie. This is her mother." “ Is it ?” hardly turning her streaming eyes to me. “I have read her life many a time, and sold hundreds of it here in the streets of New York." “ You sold books! how was that?" was born to affluence. I married, and live
with my husband, but somehow he died, and left me four children and not a dollar. I could work with my head, but not with my hands, so I wrote political articles, and tales for magazines. I wrote whatever I could get paid for, till neuralgic pains put me almost distracted, and the doctor said if I went on writing I should go out of my head.” “ And what did you do then ?” “ Then my Rhad learnt to embroider, and I sold her work, and Mr Carter let me have books, and I hawked them from house to house, and at last, when I could not pay my rent, God sent a .good spirit to help me. I never saw him, but he has paid my rent for years." "Do you not know that this lady is the wife of your good spirit ?” “Is she ?" looking slightly round; “no, I did not; but now she never sits on that chair at her work and talks to me, nor ever lies on that bed sick. She is gone, my bright spot, and I don't know where she is gone to,” again searching the ceiling with her restless and misty eye.
Poor thing! she had employed herself in patching a pretty cushion of bits of silk during the long nights, while she watched her sick child,“ to keep her poor eyes open,” as she said, and was ministered to by two young ladies, real sisters of charity, without the garb and badge, and without the vow.
At last consumption, which annually nips its hundreds of the budding and blossoming, finished its work, and the widow's “one bright spot” was darkened. R—- died in her lonely arms, which clasped
her an hour and a half before the poor mourner could admit the belief that she was dead; and in the morning, when the two friends came to visit her, they attended to the last claims of the departed, and left the mourner alone with her sorrow. She told us she sat alone two nights by the shell of her child, and persuaded herself when she perused her countenance at four in the morning, that she had again become rosy. Indeed her monomania turned on the idea that she had not died, but that her spirit had just slipt away, and she didn't know where it had gone to. Her eye invariably wandered vaguely upwards; and her voice fell into the same plaintive cadence when this afflicting thought returned in its force. She read to us some rather poetical verses, which she called “ A Voice from the Spirits' Land,” in which the daughter addresses the mourner, “ Weep not for me, mother, weep not for me," and describes her present state of perfect happiness as the reason. “Who told you all those sweet things, Mrs R.?” “My dear R- She just came and stood by me there, and dictated it all.” “Well, then, you do know where she is, for she says she is in heaven, with angels and saints, and in the presence of her Saviour. So you do know.” Poor woman! she was caught by her own shewing, and put to silence. Yet in a few minutes her beamless eye sought the roof, and she was repeating, “ I don't know where she is gone to.” I have read poetical descriptions of similar hallucinations, but never met with such before.
When we had arisen to depart, after a long visit, she said some old friends had forsaken her, because of a report that she encouraged the Romanists to come about her ; but she never did. She could not protect herself from them. Sisters of Mercy had come, and after them a lady, who gave her name, and forced a book upon her poor girl, who would have avoided them, and was disturbed in mind by their talk. At last, one day, she desired this lady to go and not come again. A considerable time after she had shut the door, she was surprised to find her still lingering on the stair, and asked her why she stayed. She prolonged talk, and still seemed to have more and more to say, and by and by the secret reason for her stay was explained. She had made an appointment with the priest, who joined them on the staircase, and offered to see the sick. The mother “honoured his zeal,” but politely declined. That proposal failing, he had another. He knew of a medicine that he was sure would cure the invalid. She had a regular medical attendant, and did not require to trouble his reverence. Ah! but he was so sure of the efficacy of his medicine, if he might just go into the room, and write the prescription. The mother said, if he was so sure, he might write it on the fly-leaf of the lady's book. This he did, and the lady undertook to procure and
It was to cost half-a-dollar. Again the priest tried to enter the sick-room, and he and the lady said, if the girl died without extreme
pay for it.