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        Of the group collected about Mr. Everett, on the noon preceding the delivery of his celebrated oration, but we two were left alive upon the earth.

        Of the Stanard dinner I retain a lively recollection. Among the guests were Lieutenant Wise; Mr. Corcoran, the Washington banker and philanthropist; his slim, engaging young daughter (afterward Mrs. Eustis), and Mr. Everett's son, Sidney. Mrs. Stanard was the most judicious and gracious of hostesses. "A fashionable leader of fashionable society!" sneered somebody in my hearing, one day.

        Mrs. Ritchie took up the word promptly. Detraction never passed unchallenged in her presence.

        "Fashionable, if you will. But sincere. She is a true-hearted woman."

        In subscribing heartily to the truth of the statement, I append what I had abundant reason to know and believe. She was a firm friend to those she loved, steadfast in affection that outlasted youth and prosperity.

        She made life smooth for everybody within her reach whenever she could do it. She had the inestimable talent of divining what would best please each of her guests, and ministered to weakness and desire.

        On this night, she did not need to be told that a personal talk with the chief guest would be an event to me. She lured me adroitly into a nook adjoining the drawing-room, and as Mr. Everett, who was staying in the house, passed the door, she called him in, and presently left me on his hands for half an hour. He was always my beau ideal of the perfect gentleman. He talked quietly, in refined modulations and chaste English that betokened the scholar. Like all really great men, he bore himself with modest dignity, with never a touch of bluster or self-consciousness. In five minutes I found myself listening and replying, as to an old acquaintance. His voice was low, and so musical

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as to fasten upon him the sobriquet of the "silver-tongued orator." I could repeat, almost verbatim, his part of our talk on that occasion. I give the substance of one section that impressed me particularly.

        We spoke of Hiawatha, then a recent publication. Mr. Everett thought that Longfellow transgressed artistic rules, and was disobedient to literary precedent in translating Indian names in the text of the poem. The repetition of "Minnehaha - Laughing Water," "The West Wind - Mudjekeewis," "Ishkooda - the Comet," etcetera, was affected and tedious.

        "Moreover," he continued, smiling, "I have serious doubts respecting the florid metaphors and highly figurative speech which Cooper and other writers of North American Indian stories have put into the mouths of their dusky heroes." He went on to say that, when Governor of Massachusetts, he received a deputation of aborigines from the Far West. In anticipation of the visit, he primed himself with an ornate address of welcome, couched in the figurative language he imagined would be familiar and agreeable to the chiefs. This was delivered through an interpreter, and received in blank silence. Then the principal sachem replied in curt platitudes, with never a trope or allegorical allusion. Mr. Everett added that he had learned since that the vocabulary of the modern Indian is meagre and prosaic in the extreme.

        The justice of the observation was borne in upon me when I sat in James Redpath's box at the Indian Exhibition I have spoken of in another chapter, and heard snatches of alleged oratory as transmitted by a fluent interpreter to the Newark audience. Anything more tame and bare it would be hard to imagine.

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        REVERSING the wheel of Time by a turn or two, we are in the thick of preparations for the Christmas of 1855.

        It is less than a year since I read and re-read a letter that had lain among the leaves of my journal for a long term of years. It was never read by any eyes except my own, and those of him who wrote it. In the solemn conviction that for any other - no matter how near of kin and dear of heart - to look upon the lines, would be profanation, I burned the old letter. Life is short and uncertain. I would take no risks. And what need of keeping what I can never lose while memory remains faithful to her trust?

        I require no written or printed record to remind me what set that Yule-tide apart from all the anniversaries that had preceded it, and distinguished it from all that were to follow in its train.

        We had had a guest in the house for three weeks. A Musical Convention - the first ever held in Richmond - was in session under the conduct of Lowell Mason and George Francis Root. My father, my sister, my brother Herbert, and myself were members of a flourishing Sacred Music Society, composed principally of amateurs, and we had engaged the distinguished leaders in the profession to preside over the Conference, by which it was hoped public taste in the matter of choir and congregational singing

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might be improved. Classes were formed for the study of methods and for drill in vocalization. The course would be closed by a grand concert, in which no professional artists would take part.

        The thought that the imported leaders in the programme should be allowed to put up at a hotel was opposed to the genius of Southern hospitality. Doctor and Mrs. Lowell Mason were the honored guests of Mr. Williams, the President of the Society. My father invited Mr. Root "to make our house his home while he was in our city."

        That was the old-fashioned form of asking strangers to take bit and sup and bed with us. We made good the words, too. The "home" was theirs as truly as it was ours. The Convention was advertised to last ten days. When the time was nearly expired, the extraordinary success of the experiment induced the projectors to extend the time to a month. Mr. Root was for removing to a hotel, but we arose up in arms and forbade it. His bonhomie, intelligence, and general attractiveness of manner and disposition had endeared him to us all. We hailed as a reprieve the postponement of the date of departure. He had never seen a Virginia Christmas, and here was a special providence he must not overlook. Household machinery moved as if he had not been there. He entered jovially into plans, and connived at confidences - the necessary deceits that are to be condoned by agreeable surprises in the fulness of time. When the personage whom Mea had long ago dubbed "The Young Evangelist," appeared upon the scene a week in advance of the holiday, and spent three-fourths of each day under our hospitable roof - a state of affairs that evidently was no new thing - the Professor took in the situation without the quiver of an eyelash, and asked never a question. He did more to prove how cordially he was one with the family. Discovering in the course of the first evening after the new arrival

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had enlarged our circle, that he had an exceptionally fine voice, and knew how to use it, he pressed him eagerly into service as "the basso he had been longing for," and the two sang themselves into each other's good graces inside of twenty-four hours.

        I had had a cold for a fortnight, and I made the most of my demi-semi-invalidism when there were sessions of the Convention at uncanny hours, and secured, instead, quiet evenings at home. All of which was transparent to our Professor, as I suspected then, and knew subsequently. He did not disturb a tête-à-tête one December afternoon by bringing down into the parlor a freshly written sheet of music he wished to try on the piano. His quartette clustered about the instrument at his summons, and the hymn was sung over and over. I sat by the fire and listened. At the third repetition, I asked:

        "The music is yours, but where did you get the words?"

        Mr. Root answered that his mother had clipped them from a Western paper, and handed them to him. The music fitted itself to them in his mind at the first reading. He struck the chords boldly in saying it, and the four rendered the whole hymn with spirit.

        "I am no prophetess," I commented, "nor the daughter of a prophet; but I predict that that will be the most popular of your compositions. It has all the elements of life, and a long life, in it. Once more, please!"

        They sang it with a will:

                        "My days are gliding quickly by,
                        And I, a pilgrim stranger,
                        Would not detain them as they fly,
                        Those hours of toil and danger.
                        For, oh, we stand on Jordan's strand,
                        Our friends are passing over:
                        And just before, The Shining Shore,
                        We may almost discover."

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        Millions have sung it since. Millions more will yield heart, soul, and voice to the bound and swing and exultant leap of the melody "thought out" by the composer in the earliest reading of the anonymous verses. "Almost," has been "quite" with him for many a year.

        It was during that Christmas week that I attended a full rehearsal of the programme to be given at the grand concert. Near the close of the rehearsal, Mr. Root came down to the back of the house and dropped into a seat by me, among the auditors and lookers-on. He was tired, he explained, "and would loaf for the rest of the affair." The "affair" wound up with Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. My "loafing" neighbor pricked up his ears, as the warhorse at sound of the trumpet; sat upright and poured the might of heart and voice into the immortal opus. With the precision of a metronome, and the fire of a seraph, he went through it, from the first to the last note, with never a book or score. It was more to us, who had the good fortune to be near him, than all the rest of the performance.

        It was inevitable that two of us should recall and speak together in awed tones, of Handel's rejoinder to a query, as to his emotions in writing the Chorus:

        "I did verily believe that I saw the Great White Throne and Him Who sat thereon, and heard the harpers harping with their harps, and all God's holy angels."

        I was watching the fine, uplifted head and rapt unconsciousness of him whose whole frame throbbed and thrilled with clarion tones that pealed out, "Hallelujah! hallelujah!" when a voice on the other side of me murmured in my ear:

        "And all that sat there, steadfastly watching him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel."

        I cherish a hundred pleasant and dear memories of our musical visitor. I like none other so well as this vision. It so befell that my one and only visit to the grave of Oliver

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Goldsmith was made when the choir of the adjacent Temple church was practicing the Hallelujah Chorus. Although in the heart of mighty London, the place was strangely still and solitary. We lingered there until the last chord died into silence. It was not necessary for either of us to put into words what held the fancy of both. Only - as we turned away we looked up to the sky, and one whispered "He is singing it, still!"

        Engagements of marriage were never announced in Old Virginia. We took more pains to keep them secret than family and friends take nowadays to trumpet them abroad. Mr. Derby ran on from New York to spend Christmas and the next day with us. He came and departed without an intimation of any change in the feelings and prospects of his last September guest. Mr. Terhune went back to his Charlotte parish; letters travelled regularly and frequently back and forth. Some were addressed to me; more bore my brother's name on the envelope, to hoodwink village post-office gossips. Young men, who were habitual visitors, called as often and were received with the olden friendliness; I accepted the escort of this, that, and the other one impartially, and at will. "The Young Evangelist" was in town for a few days of every month, and was more with us than anywhere else. And why not? He had visited us more intimately than at any other house during his six months' occupancy of Doctor Hoge's pulpit. It happened repeatedly that he was one of three or four callers in the evening. On these occasions he, magnanimously, as he phrased it, "never interfered with another fellow's running." He was as assiduous in his attentions to girls who chanced to be present as Ned Rhodes, Tom Baxter, or any other Tom, Dick, or Harry of the party could be to me. At ten o'clock he arose, made his adieux in decorous sort to the ladies of the house and to the company generally, and withdrew. If nobody showed a disposition to follow

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his example, he, to quote again from his tactics, "took account of stock," and, having assured himself that the others lived in different directions, appeared in the open door, overcoat on, hat in hand, and in his mouth a jaunty query as to the probability of having company in his walk to the Exchange Hotel, where he usually put up. Few were bold enough to loiter later when the privileged habitue of the house showed so plainly that the family kept early hours. After his regrets at the prospect of a lonely tramp were uttered, he departed in good earnest. He had made but a few rounds of the block when the shutters of the front parlor window were closed, the signal that the course was clear for a return.

        In mid-April he came to Richmond to receive his widowed sister, who passed some weeks with us. Mea and I had had an engagement with Messrs. Rhodes and Baxter to go to a Dempster concert. The pair were so often on escort duty that they were dubbed "The Circumstances" by our saucy brothers and sisters. It was, according to the younglings, a settled matter, when we based our prospective presence at any festive scene upon "circumstances," that Damon and his Pythias should show up in season to take us thither.

        Mrs. Greenleaf arrived on Tuesday. Her brother came by the noon train on Wednesday. It was not until I noted the grave wonder in her blue eyes, as I congratulated her and him that they would have the evening to themselves and home-talk, that it dawned upon me how unconventional was the proceeding altogether. North of Mason and Dixon's line it would have been downright impropriety for an engaged girl to walk off coolly, in the escort of another man, within a few hours after the coming of the betrothed whom she had not seen for a month

        The person who would be supposed to suffer most discomfort from the outrage to conventionality was,

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fortunately, more au fait to Virginia manners and social usages than his relative. When I took an opportunity to express misgivings lest I might lose ground in her good graces if I kept the engagement to hear the famous ballad-singer, I was bidden not to "waste a thought on that matter, but to enjoy the concert with all my heart. For his part, he was delighted that I had the chance to go."

        So, when our escorts appeared, I carried off a light heart, and was obedient to the injunction to get all the enjoyment that Dempster, then evidently in the decadence of his powers, could give a music-lover.

        I heard him but that once. I do not regret that I went then, although sadness mingled with pleasure while we listened. Dempster's rendition of English ballads, without other accompaniment than the piano played by himself, with no effort after brilliancy of execution, had moved two continents to smiles and tears. One searches vainly for his name in cyclopædias and dictionary lists of the famous dead. He was now a gray and flabby oldish man. His voice was broken in the high register, and thickened on the lower; his breath was irregular and short. Yet certain passages - notably in the Irish Emigrant's Lament - had sympathetic sweetness that helped one to credit the stories of his former successes. He sang Tennyson's May Queen all through, not skipping a stanza of the three parts. It was a dreary performance, that grew absolutely painful before the consumptive was finally relegated to the bourne

                        "Where the wicked cease from troubling,
                        And the weary are at rest."

        "Thank Heaven!" sighed Mr. Rhodes as the last wordquavered forth; and Mea - "She ought to apologize for being such an unconscionably long time in dying."

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"RICHMOND, August 16th, 1856.

        "MY VERY DEAR EFFIE, - My long silence has seemed strange and may have appeared unkind to you, but there have been a thousand hindrances to my writing.

        "A sudden fit of illness interrupted the health that had remained firm throughout the warm spring weather, and obliged me to make my visit to Goochland earlier than I intended. For a week or more after my arrival there I was worse than I had been at home. When I began to recover the amendment was rapid.

        "To cut short these details, I am most unromantically well and robust, am gaining flesh daily, and boast an appetite that would throw a sentimental young woman into convulsions were she to witness my gastronomic exploits. Yet I have delayed writing to you because I wished to arrange everything relating to the final 'performances' before notifying you of the same.

        "There have been sundry alterations in the programme since you and I last consulted over these things, the principal of which is the change of the day and hour. We expect, now, to leave home on Tuesday fortnight (September 2d) in the morning, instead of (as was first spoken of) on the afternoon of Wednesday, the 3d. This will allow us two days in Philadelphia, and, being the plan most approved of by father and Mr. Terhune, of course I am submissive.

        "The bridal party will spend both Monday and Tuesday evenings, besides breakfasting here on Tuesday morning So you girls may bring evening dresses.

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        Bridesmaids are to wear blue muslin or lawn skirts, with white muslin basques - a neat breakfast costume that will look pretty as a uniform, and be becoming to all of you, without throwing my quiet travelling attire too much into the shade. You know that at a morning wedding it is customary for each to dress as she pleases. This never pleased my fancy. The company wears a motley look. Full bridal robes would be equally out of place. Therefore, we have selected this medium.

        "Now, ma chère! cannot you keep your intention of the Richmond trip as profound a secret as you have other matters we wot of? Your father and mother must be apprized of it, and Colonel and Mrs. Graves; but, for a few days, cannot the story be kept within the two families? I trust you to do this for me.

        "The Charlotte party will come down on Monday, the 1st. We shall expect you and Virginia some days in advance of that date. I hope to have everything in readiness, even to packing my trunks, by the middle of the preceding week, and to have time to enjoy your society. Write as soon as your plans are formed, and let that time be very soon. As to my trousseau - thanks to nimble and kind fingers, the work is nearly done. Next week my time is to be divided between the dressmaker and a gentleman who writes that he has 'business to attend to in Richmond,' and who, it is fair to presume, may call occasionally. The latest gossip is that there is to be a double wedding here next month; that both sisters are to be dressed precisely alike and be married in the evening. Therefore, come prepared for the worst - or the best, as the case may seem.

        "To drop business and jesting together - it is very hard to realize that, if Providence permit, one little fortnight will bring such a change into my life. Here, in the home of my girlhood, where all else is unaltered, and I seem to be welded, as it were, into the household chain, I cannot believe that my place is so soon to be vacant. Brain and heart are so full of crowding thoughts and emotions that I marvel how I preserve a composed demeanor. The past, with its tender

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and hallowed memories; the present, with a wealth of calm, real happiness; the bright, although vague future, alike strive to enchain my mind.

        "I long to see you; to have a good, old-fashioned chat, a familiar interchange of our plans and our hopes. There is a sentence in your last that promises much - a promise I shall surely call upon you to redeem when we meet. I would have you feel that by this union you gain, not lose a friend. . . .

        "My love to your mother and to 'Cousin Mag.' May I not ask from them a sincere 'God-speed'?

        "You will not disappoint me, now, dear one? Write at once that you are all coming. You and Virginia G. will require little preparation - besides the blue skirt and the thin muslin spencer (which you are sure to have!), a pair of white gloves will be all you need.

        "This is a hasty and, I fear, an incoherent letter, but a full freight of love goes with it. As I began, I end with 'COME!' "

        As may be gathered from this letter, the wedding was to be a simple affair - so quiet that it could not be a social function.

        We were of one mind on that point. To secure the presence of our most intimate friends, we went through the form of selecting bridesmaids and groomsmen. It was the custom to have a long train of attendants at large wedding-parties, and we took advantage of the fashion to limit the company to be assembled on that early September morning to "the bridal party" and the family. The exceptions to the limit were dear old Doctor Haxall (whose wife was out of town) and three friends of the bridegroom. Two were from New Jersey and family connections, although not related by blood. The other was Mr. Word, of Charlotte, the gentlest- hearted of old bachelors - known affectionately by his intimates as "Cousin Jimmy."

        Genial old saint! My heart swells now at the flashlight picture fastened upon memory of my first sight of, and speech with him. He was more closely shaven than

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I ever saw him afterward - and he was ever the pink of neatness. An expanse of white vest and shirt-bosom covered a broad chest that palpitated visibly, as, enfolding my hand in both of his, he said, in the best manner of the gentleman of the old school (and there are no finer gentlemen anywhere):

        "My dear madam, let me entreat you to regard me from this moment as a BROTHER!"

        No capitals can endow the word with the meaning he put into it. He fulfilled his part of the compact nobly.

        To go back to the preparation for the quiet bridal: A Richmond fashion I have never known elsewhere, and which outlasted the war by some years, was that the bride-elect and two or three of her bridesmaids drove from house to house a day, or two or three, before the marriage, and left cards upon acquaintances who were not bidden to the ceremony. This was done in cases where, as with me, it was to be a house-wedding, and the attendants were confided to a few family friends. If there were to be a church-wedding, followed by a reception, or if the ceremony at home were to be witnessed by a large party of guests, the drive and delivery of cards preceded the "occasion" by a week or ten days. To send an invitation to any social gathering by post would be a transgression of decorum and precedent - a cheap trick unworthy of any one tolerably well versed in social forms. The delivery by the bride and her suite was delicately complimentary to those she wished to honor.

        In furtherance of our design of keeping even the date of the marriage secret up to the last possible hour, we had delayed the delivery of my "P. P. C." cards until Monday.

        At the very bottom of the box of time-discolored letters preserved by the friend of my childhood and intimate of my girlhood, I found one of these cards. Time's thumbmarks have not spared the bit of glazed pasteboard. My

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maiden name is there, and, in the left-hand lower corner "P. P. C." That was all the information it deigned to give the curious and the friendly. I was going away - somewhere. Just when and where was nobody's business.

        It will hardly be believed that we kept our own counsel so well that our own servants, while they might have their suspicions, were only certain that I was going North on Tuesday, as I had often gone on other summers, and that the girls who had been visiting me for a week were to remain to a party my sister would give on Tuesday evening. Not until Monday morning were any of them, except "Mammy Rachel," informed what was on foot.

        The day dawned - if dawn it could be called - through steady sheets of rain. No delusive adage of "Rain before seven, clear before eleven" ever gained currency in Richmond. It was as clear to our dismayed souls that this was an all-day rain, as that the drive and cards could not be postponed until to-morrow. Sampson, the carriage driver, whom we did not dub "coachman" until after the war, was notified by the mouth of Tom, the young dining-room servant, that he must have the carriage at the door at ten o'clock, and prepare for a long expedition. We were at the breakfast-table when word came back that "it warn't a fittin' day for no young ladies to go out. Nor for his carriage an' horses. De ladies will have to put off their shoppin' for another time."

        Mea turned upon the respectful emissary with the snap of the eyes and incisive accent he knew full well:

        "Say to Sampson that Miss Virginia is to be married to-morrow, and that we have to take out cards. He will be here on time!"

        We had an answer before we left our chairs.

        "Yes, ma'am! He says he'd go if it killed him and the horses!"

        We set forth at the appointed hour. Mea, Effie,

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Virginia Graves, and myself, wrapped up as for a winter journey, but in as high spirits as if the sun had shone and birds sung blithely in trees that shivered and shrank and streamed under the weight of the bitter rain. Poor Tom - for the nonce, the footman whose duty it was to jump down from his perch at every door before which we signalled Sampson to stop, to receive the enveloped card upon a silver tray, and to scamper up a walk or up a flight of steps, his umbrella held low over the precious consignment had the worst of it all. He was soaked to the skin by the time the route was finished and we turned homeward. We were out four hours. And in all the four hours the rain never intermitted one drop, and the wind only changed from the east to blow from all quarters of the heavens at once. If coachman and patient footman were drenched, we were more than moist, and so chilled that we rejoiced with exceeding great joy at the sight of blazing fires in chambers and dining-room on our return.

        The home atmosphere was all that it should be on the eve of the first wedding in a household where the happiness of one was the joy of all. Maybe I took it too much as a matter of course, then. I value the recollection with something akin to jealous fondness. How, all day long, while the skies streamed without and the wind dashed the water by pailfuls against the windows, mirth and frolic within went on like a peal of joy-bells, and every look, gesture, and word carried to my heart the sweet persuasion that I was not absent from the thoughts of one of them for a moment.

        So certain were we that nothing could "gang agley" - and this in the teeth of the storm that had abated naught of its fury by nightfall - that when Herbert, who had gone to the station to meet the Charlotte party (including Doctor Hoge, who was returning from his vacation), brought back a rueful countenance and the news that "the flood had

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washed away a bridge on the Danville Railway and made it impracticable for trains to run for twenty-four hours," fell upon him with a hail-storm of laughing reproaches that swept away the presence of sorrowful sympathy.

        How could anything go wrong? Not one of us was hoaxed for the fraction of a second.

        We took for granted, with the like gay confidence, that the tempest would rage itself faint by morning It was no surprise that the day was so brilliantly clear; so fresh and fragrant, that Doctor Hoge was reminded of

                        "The rose that was newly washed by the shower" -

        and, after the ceremony, strayed from one to another of the thirty present, asking if any one could tell him who was the author of the line.

        Which quest, when comparison of notes elicited the fact that ten persons had been catechised, took a place among our family jests.

        One incident of the journey to Washington stands out in my mind among the thousand and one "coincidences," falsely so-called, that star or mar every human life, if we will but heed them and their consequences. Mr. Terhune and Mr. Cardwell, one of the groomsmen, who went as far as Baltimore with us, on his way to speak at a political meeting, had gone to look to the luggage after settling me in the car in Richmond. The air was close, and I tried to raise the window by me.

        "Allow me!" said a pleasant voice in my ear, and a strong hand reached forward to perform the trifling service.

        I said, over my shoulder, "Thank you!" catching sight of a fine, manly face, lighted by a pair of kind, gray eyes. I saw the shadow of the hand that went up to his hat, as he uttered some conventional phrase in acknowledgment, and thought no more of him until we had taken the Potomac

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boat at Acquia Creek. I recognized my neighbor of the train then, in the tall man who tramped the deck to stretch long limbs cramped by sitting in the car, and checked his walk to pick up and comfort a child that fell headlong in running away from its nurse. I was struck by the gentleness of the handsome giant in handling the baby, and the tact he displayed in taking the weeper in his arms, and directing his attention to a passing steamer. The little fellow stopped crying at once, and, when the frightened nurse found the runaway, he clung to the stranger's neck, much to the amusement of the latter. He carried him to the far end of the boat, talking cheerily with him, and finally handed him over to the woman, with a kiss upon the baby-lips held up to him.

        The call to dinner diverted my mind from the little scene, and it was not until we were in our hotel in Washington that I alluded to it, and told Mr. Terhune of the courtesy the stranger had rendered me on the train.

        "I wish you had mentioned it before," he said. "I should have thanked him. I saw him at the hotel last night. His name is Brookes, I think. He is a cousin of Doctor Hoge. By-the-way, he must be related to your mother. And" - laughingly - "naturally, to yourself."

        "Of course!" I broke in, excitedly. "I wish I had guessed who he was. It must be the Rev. James Brookes, my mother's cousin. You needn't laugh! and you must not say 'Another?' He is a splendid fellow. His mother was Judith Lacy, and named for my grandmother!"

        As the genealogist of the family, I reckoned up the "handsome giant" forthwith. I even knew incidents of his family history he never heard until I rehearsed them to him in his St. Louis home, thirty years afterward. He was, by then, to me the best-belovéd of all my clerical kinsmen. I upbraided him, when we were made known to

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one another, for not letting me know who he was at our first encounter.

        "My dear cousin! On your wedding-day!" was his exclamation. "Even the tie of kindred blood would not have justified the intermeddling of a stranger at the time."

        We made up for the delay of a quarter-century by full and glad recognition of the blood-claim. He was a master in Israel; eloquent in the pulpit; as a writer, strong and convincing; in parish ministrations, as tender as a woman and helpful as a brother. He adorned his profession; as a citizen he fought evil with a lion's strength, and succored the erring with the wisdom of Paul, the gentleness of John.

        What strength and comfort I drew from intimate association with this wise, tender, and leal kinsman, may not be told here. I can never acknowledge it aright until I speak with the tongue of angels.

        More than a dozen years have passed since the Easter noon, when the lightning leaped along a thousand miles of telegraph lines, to bring me this message from his son-in-law:

        "James H. Brookes fell asleep at sunrise on Easter morning."

        Since that glorious awakening he has dwelt forever with the Lord.

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        THE village of Charlotte Court-House was a rambling hamlet in 1856. The plank-road from the nearest railway station ("Drake's Branch") entered the village at one side, and cut abruptly into the main street. This thoroughfare meandered leisurely from a country road at each end, through the entire length of the shiretown. It was lined irregularly with public and private buildings. The Court House, three or four stores, a couple of hotels, and perhaps half a dozen residences, made up the nucleus of the place. Beyond, and on either side, dwellings - some of brick, some of wood - were surrounded by spacious grounds embracing shrubbery, plantations, groves, and gardens. The "Village Church," a brick edifice hoary with years, and redolent of ecclesiastical traditions, stood at the left of the plank turnpike as one approached the village from the station. A porticoed manor-house, that had a history almost as old, faced it across lawn and shrubbery on the opposite side of the way. When one had left the turnpike for the main street, and driven a quarter of a mile or so toward the "real country," one passed the Parsonage. It stood well away from the street, from which it was screened by a grove of native oaks. Behind it lay a large yard, at one side of which were the kitchen and other domestic offices. A picket fence divided the yard from a garden, and at the left of this were the stables

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and pasture. Back of the garden a field lost itself in wood of virgin growth.

        The house was a white cottage, a story-and-a-half high, fronted and backed by wide porches. A hall cut the lower floor in half, and ran from the entrance to the back door. On the left of the hall was a parlor of fair dimensions, with windows at the front and rear. "The chamber," of like shape and proportions, was on the other side. The dining-room was one wing, and "the study" another Both connected directly with a deep portico which filled the intermediate space. Two bedrooms above stairs, and a store-room adjoining the dining-room, completed the tale of rooms.

        A modest establishment in very truth, but not contemptible from the Old Virginia standpoint. Small as it was, we did not have it to ourselves until after Christmas. I esteemed this a fortunate circumstance from the first, considering how much I had to learn of housekeeping and parish work. Subsequently, I knew it for one of the signal blessings of a life that has been affluent in goodness and mercy.

        For the occupants of the Parsonage, pending the completion of a house of their own in building at the other end of the village, were Mr. and Mrs. Wirt Henry, a young married couple with one child. They had rented the cottage for the year ending January 1st, and kindly consented to receive us as boarders until the term had expired.

        From the moment that Wirt Henry came out to assist me to alight from the carriage that had brought us front the station, one mid-October day, to the end of his honored and useful life, his friendship for us knew no variableness nor shadow of turning. He was already my husband's staunch right hand in church and community. He took me upon trust for the time. I learned to love husband and wife long before we became separate households.

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To this day, his widow is to me as a sister. In the care-free three months of our happy companionship, Mrs. Henry helped me tactfully through the initial stages of acquaintanceship with parish and neighborhood. To the manor born, and connected by blood with two-thirds of the best families in the county, her gentle "coaching" was an inestimable benefit to the stranger within her gates.

        Her husband was a grandson of Patrick Henry, and a lawyer of note, although not yet thirty years of age. He attained eminence in his native county as time went on, and in Richmond, to which city he removed after the War. His Life and Letters of Patrick Henry is a standard biographical and historical classic; he filled with distinction several public offices, among them that of President of the American Historical Society, and Delegate to the Historical Congress at The Hague, in 1897.

        In private life he was the best of husbands and fathers, sweet-hearted to the core, a thorough gentleman always and everywhere, and a genial and delightful comrade. When I turned study and pen in the direction of Colonial historical research, he was an invaluable auxiliary. I told him, over and over, that he was to me an exhaustless reservoir of information. I had only to open a sluiceway, to draw in copious measure in my hour of need. As a faint expression of my sense of overwhelming obligation to him, I dedicated to him my first volume on Colonial Homesteads and Their Stories, published in 1896.

        I cannot say that my thirst for Colonial traditions and histories was created by my residence in Charlotte. From childhood I had been indefatigable in the pursuit of genealogical details and the tales of real life and happenings collected from the converse of my elders of the "former days," which they rated as better than these in defiance of Solomon's admonition. But it was not possible to live for three years, as I did, in a region where the very earth

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was soaked in historical associations; where every other name mentioned in my hearing was interwoven with recitals of deeds of valor and of statesmanship performed by the fathers of American history, and not be kindled into zealous prosecution of my favorite studies.

        The Court House, built in 1823, was designed by Thomas Jefferson. A more interesting building was a shabby tumbledown house, not far from the site of the newer and better edifice. It was the "Court House" in the stirring days when the paternal Government would not squander money upon Colonial seats of justice. From the porch of this, Patrick Henry delivered his last speech to his adoring constituents. He was tottering upon the verge of the grave, into which he sank gently a few weeks later. A crisis of national and state importance had called him from his home at Red Hill, a dozen miles away. Keyed up by a sense of the imminence of the peril to the country he had saved, his magnificent will-power responded to the call; the dying fire leaped high. He had never reasoned more cogently, never pleaded with more power than on that day. But as the last word fell from his lips, he sank fainting into the arms of his attendants. Dr. John Holt Rice stood on the outskirts of the crowd. As the dying lion fell in his tracks, the clergyman cried out: "The sun has set in all his glory!"

        From the same homely rostrum John Randolph (whose homestead of "Roanoke" is but a few miles from the county-seat) made his maiden speech, and addressed for the last time those of whom he declared - "No other man ever had such constituents." In this address he recounted the history of that relation, from the hour when the beardless boy had raised his reedy voice to confute the arguments of the people's idol - Patrick Henry - to the date of this, his resignation of his office.

        "Men of Charlotte!" The piercing voice that carried

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further in his weakness than more stentorian tones, sent the farewell to the outskirts of the breathless throng - "Forty years ago you confided this sacred trust to me. Take it back! Take it back!"

        The gesture, as of rolling a ponderous weight from heart and arms, was never forgotten by those who saw it. With it he left the platform, mounted his horse without another word, and rode off to Roanoke.

        Mr. Jacob Michaux, of Powhatan County, was at that time a student in Hampden-Sidney College, and came over to Charlotte for the express purpose of hearing the famous orator. I had from his lips the description of the scene. John Randolph, as is well known, never used notes in speaking. It sent a sort of shudder, therefore, through the audience, when he took a folded paper from his pocket and opened it, saying:

        "The infirmities of advancing age, and the consequent failure of memory, have made it expedient that I should bring with me to-day a few notes to remind me of what I would say to you."

        He held the paper in his hand while speaking, and referred to it twice in the exordium. Warming to his work, he waved it aloft in his impassioned gesticulation, evidently forgetful of it and what was written on it. At last, it escaped from his fingers and fluttered down to Mr. Michaux's feet. The crowd, engrossed in the fervid oratory, did not notice what had happened. The student put his foot upon the bit of paper, without change of place or position. "It flashed across my mind that I would secure it when the speech was over, and keep it as a souvenir," he said. "The next moment I forgot it, and everything else except what the man before me was saying. It was a Vesuvian tide of eloquence, and carried thought, feeling, imagination along with it. One hears nothing like it in these degenerate days. I did not recollect the paper until

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I was a mile away from the Court House, and the orator's voice began to die out of my ears."

        What a souvenir that would have been! I do not know that this anecdote has ever been published before. I had it, as I have said, directly from Mr. Michaux's lips, and vouch for the authenticity.

        Many of the stories that clung to the Parsonage had to do with the Orator of Roanoke. The house was at one time the home of Captain "Jack" Marshall, the father of the late Judge Hunter Marshall. The latter was, during our residence in Charlotte, a near neighbor and charming acquaintance. His father, "Captain Jack," was one of the cronies whom John Randolph's eccentricities and fits of violent rage had not estranged. Politically, his constituents adored Randolph. Personally, they found him intolerable. Mrs. Eggleston, of whom I shall have more to say by-and-by, told me of visiting a playfellow in the Marshall home while John Randolph was staying with Captain Marshall. The two little girls were busy with their dolls in the lower hall, when a hand-bell was rung furiously above stairs.

        Little Lucy looked wonderingly at her companion.

        "Who is that? And what does it mean?"

        "Oh, it's Mr. Randolph trying to frighten away the devil. He has just got up, you see, and he says the devil creeps from under his bed as soon as he wakes up."

        The ringing continued at intervals for some minutes, and Lucy, terrified by the fancy that the fleeing demon might appear on the stairs, ran off home with the tale.

        "My mother had heard it often, before," said my friend, laughing at my horrified incredulity. "It was but one of his crazy antics. No-o-o!" doubtfully, as I put a question "I don't believe it was delirium tremens. He took opium at times. I don't know that he drank heavily. Everybody took his toddy in those days, you know. John

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Randolph was queer, through and through, from the cradle to the grave, and like no other man that ever lived! We children were terribly afraid of him."

        One of the numerous stories Mr. Henry told of the eccentric was of his asking a neighboring planter who was dining at Roanoke, if "he would not take a slice of cold meat upon a hot plate?"

        As "Juba," Mr. Randolph's body-servant, was at the guest's elbow with the hot plate, the gentleman thought he was expected to say "Yes," and fearing to anger the choleric host, took the plate, accepting the offered cold meat. Whereupon, Randolph swore savagely at him for a "lick-spittle," and a "coward."

        "You dare not speak up to me like a man!" he snarled. "I asked the question to see what you would say."

        He was as brutal to members of his own family. A clergyman, who studied divinity under Doctor Rice in Richmond, told me of a conversation between John Randolph and his sister-in-law, the widow of Richard Randolph. She was very fond of the Rices, spending weeks together at their home, and at last, dying while on one of these visits. Some months prior to her death, she joined the Presbyterian Church, and shortly after taking this step, had a call from her terrible brother-in-law. Regardless of the fact that two of the students were in the next room, and that what he shrieked in his piercing falsetto must be heard from the top of the house to the bottom, the irate Congressman berated Mrs. Judith Randolph in the coarsest terms for the disgrace she had brought upon an honorable name in uniting with "the Dissenters."

        He stayed not for any law, written or tacit, of respect due to host or hostess, reviling both as scheming hypocrites and wolves in sheep's clothing, who had decoyed her into their "conventicle" in the hope of securing her fortune for themselves.

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        Yet, there is extant a letter which I have read, from John Randolph to Doctor Rice, written after his sister-in-law's death, extolling her piety, thanking her late host for his great goodness to the sainted deceased, and winding up by saying that he had, all day, been possessed by the idea that he could see her spirit, "mild, loving, and benignant, hovering above him!"

        We must fall back upon Mrs. Eggleston's dictum - "Queer, through and through, from the cradle to the grave and like no other man that ever lived!"

        Before quitting my gossip of the Randolphs, I must touch upon one of the most pitiful of the many tragedies that darken the history of the aristocratic clan.

        The Sunday after my arrival in my new home, I saw, from my seat in church, a late-comer stride up the aisle to one of the pews running at right angles with those filling the body of the building. The tardy worshipper was a man above the medium height, and erect as a Virginia pine He walked like an Indian, as I observed at once, planting his feet straight forward, and rising on his toes with a loping motion. His hair was snowy white, and hung down to the collar of his coat. When he took his seat, and faced the congregation, one saw that his eyes were dark and piercing; his eyebrows black; his features finely chiselled. A full white beard added to his venerable appearance and accentuated the quaintness of the figure in a community where shaven chins and upper lips were the rule.

        I had hardly noted these peculiarities when he bowed his head upon his hands, resting his elbows upon his knees, evidently in silent devotion, and remained thus for several minutes. The choir was singing the introductory anthem when he sat upright, and perceived the occupant of the pulpit. A brilliant smile irradiated the grave features; to my amazement he arose, ran up the steps of the sacred desk, and held out his hand to the preacher, the other hand

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upon his heart, and bowed deferentially. Mr. Terhune arose, with no sign of surprise or annoyance, and bowed silently over the locked hands. As nimbly as he had mounted the steps, the eccentric individual ran down and resumed his seat. Neither man had unclosed his lips, but the pantomime of welcome and acknowledgment was so significant that words would have been superfluous. The Unknown appeared to hearken devoutly to reading and to sermon, accompanying his listening by actions foreign to the behavior of latter-day church-goers. They were singularly expressive to me, whose eyes wandered to him covertly every few minutes. Nobody else paid any attention to him. Now, his joined hands were raised almost to his chin, and the bowed head shaken over them, as in deep contrition - an attitude that recalled the "publican standing afar off." Once he beat softly upon his breast. Again, he nodded approval of what he heard. Often he closed his eyes, and his lips moved in prayer. He was the foremost of the retiring congregation to leave the church after the benediction, passing down the aisle with the free, sweeping lope that had reminded me of an Indian.

        I had the story over our early Sunday dinner. When Mr. Henry finished it, I recalled that I had heard, when a mere child, my mother speak of meeting at Doctor Rice's, in her early girlhood, a nephew of John Randolph - St. George Randolph by name - who was deaf and dumb.

        "One of the handsomest young men I ever saw," she subjoined, "with flashing black eyes and dark, beautiful curls. He frightened me by offering to teach me the finger alphabet; but his manners were very pleasant, and he seemed gay, in spite of his affliction. He was educated in France, and had just come home when I saw him.

        Obedient memory, following this clue, unearthed a passage in Garnett's Life of John Randolph, which was part of my biographical library. In a letter to an old friend the

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uncle lamented that his nephew St. George had become insane. He had made several efforts to marry, and was unsuccessful - as he was given to understand - on account of his infirmity.

        Mr. Henry's narrative brought the biography down to date. The unhappy youth - sole heir to his father and his uncle's wealth after the death of his younger brother, Tudor - was committed to an asylum for the insane. How long this man - born in the purple, highly educated, refined in taste, and elegant in bearing - was allowed to linger in the filthy inferno of the old-time "madhouse," I would not recollect if I could. Then the creaking wheel of his fortunes took an unexpected turn. By some legal manipulation I do not pretend to understand, Mr. Wyatt Cardwell, of Charlotte, the father of our groomsman and travelling companion in the first stage of our wedding-journey, became the guardian of the almost forgotten lunatic. A visit to his afflicted charge wrought so powerfully upon Mr. Cardwell's sympathies, that he left no stone unturned until the last of the direct line of Randolphs was a free man, and domesticated in the home of his guardian. The remnants of his once fine library were placed at his disposal; he had his own riding-horse, and other luxuries - in short, all that he was able to enjoy. The Charlotte people respected his misfortunes, and treated him kindly whenever occasion offered. He read, and apparently enjoyed books, reading French, Latin, and English at pleasure. His reminiscences of his distinguished uncle, and the politics of his unquiet day, were distinct, and to those who communicated with him by signs or by writing, extremely entertaining.

        His fellow-citizens came to have a pride in the relic of the heroic age. His shrewd comments upon men he had known in his prime, and the acquaintances of to-day, were repeated as bon mots.

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        Sane, he would never be. The splendid intellect, that should have surmounted the frightful disability imposed at birth, was hopelessly shattered. But he was a local celebrity, about whom clung a glamour of romantic importance.

        I entered fully into this feeling within three weeks after I had my earliest glimpse of him.

        The Rev. Mr.--, from another county, who had filled the pulpit of the Village Church more frequently in past years than was quite agreeable to the congregation, chanced to spend the Sunday in the neighborhood, and was invited to preach. He arose to announce the opening hymn just as St. George Randolph lifted his head from his private devotions. The expression of ineffable disgust, when he discovered who was to officiate that forenoon, was unmistakable and indescribable. Then he deliberately went through the pantomime of sharpening a pencil, a forefinger doing duty as the pencil, three fingers of the right hand holding an imaginary pen-knife. The sharpening done, he blew the imaginary refuse into the air with a disdainful puff. We all witnessed the operation, and the dullest could not miss the meaning. More than one was unable to join in the song of praise selected by the only man who was unconscious of the by-play. In the forty-five years of his active pastorale, my husband but twice violated pulpit and pew proprieties so far as to exchange meaning and amused glances with me. That was one of the times. As for Wirt Henry, nothing but an agonized ray from his wife's eye kept him from disgracing himself.

        Having testified to the nature and sincerity of his sentiments with respect to the obnoxious interloper, as he considered him, our local wit turned a cold shoulder toward the pulpit and buried himself in the pages of a small, much-worn volume he drew from his pocket, never vouchsafing another glance at desk or occupant during the service.

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        The little book was a collection of devotional readings he carried with him everywhere. His mother had given it to him when he went abroad. From her, too, he had learned to kneel by his bed each night and pray, as he had done at her knee in infancy. He never remitted the habit. I used to wonder, with a hard heartache, if he kept it up during that dark, dreadful age in the asylum.

        Less than three years after my first sight of him, the deaf, dumb and lunatic heir of the vast Randolph estate joined the mother he had not forgotten, nor ceased to love and venerate in the long night that had no star of hope, and which was to know no dawning this side of heaven.

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        IN the group of midland counties that embraced Charlotte, Prince Edward and Halifax - names that fell into line, as by natural gravitation, in the thought and speech of the "Old Virginian" - the Presbyterian was the leading denomination. Rice, Lacy, Hoge, Alexander, and Speece had left their mark upon preceding generations, and a fragrant memory - as of mountains of myrrh and hills of frankincense - through all the Southern Church.

        Five out of seven of the leading planters in the region were Presbyterians. The others were, almost without exception, Episcopalians, and the two denominations affiliated more cordially than with Baptists, Methodists, and the sparse sprinkling of Campbellites, or "Christians," as they preferred to call their sect.

        Slavery existed in Virginia in its mildest possible form, and nowhere was the master's rule more paternal than in the group of counties I have named. The negroes were permitted to hold their own prayer-meetings in their cabins whenever it pleased them; they attended religious services as regularly as their owners, and, in a majority of the old families, were called in to family worship with the children of the household. No more convincing proof of their religious freedom could be desired than the fact that the bulk of the colored population belonged to the Baptist Church Why, I could never make out. The Methodists

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would seem likely to attract them with equal force, their methods appealing to the emotional, excitable natures of the semi-tropical race as strongly as those of the denomination that found favor in their sight. Yet, when one of our servants "got through" the spiritual conflicts that ushered in a state of grace, we expected him, or her, to join the Baptist Church as confidently as we looked for the child of the Covenant, "ordered in all things and sure," to confirm, when it arrived at "the age of discretion," the vows taken by parents and sponsors in baptism.

        It was not singular, therefore, that the new pastor of the Village Church at Charlotte Court-House should find, at his installation in his cure of souls, the name of but one colored person upon the roll of communicants. We never spoke of them as "negroes" in that benighted age.

        "Uncle Cæsar," the trusted "headman" upon the plantation of Colonel Marshall - Mrs. Henry's father - had once partaken of the Lord's Supper in the church in which his master was an elder. Which violation of the laws of his denomination, being duly reported, was the occasion of a case of discipline long talked of throughout the colored community. The recusant was sharply reprimanded, and notified that a second offence would be punished by excommunication. The doughty old servitor thereupon declared that, as he hoped to sit down to the supper of the Lamb in heaven with his master, so he would continue to do on earth, when the Lord's table was spread in the Village Church. An example was made of him for the edification of others, and Cæsar became a Presbyterian, taking his seat among the communicants gathered in the main body of the church, whenever a Communion season came around.

        With a broad catholicity of spirit that appears, in perspective, incompatible with the narrowness of creeds and ordinances prevalent, even among the educated Christians

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of that time, the "plantation preachings" held regularly during the summer at various homesteads in those parts of the county near the churches, were attended by the colored population in large numbers, irrespective of the sect to which the officiating minister might belong. It was an established custom in the Village Church that the second Sunday service should be, in summer, at the house of some neighboring planter, and held for the colored people, in particular. That the whites, within a radius of five or six miles, drove over for the afternoon service, did not alter the expressed purpose of the meeting, or the manner of conducting it.

        Autumn was tardy in approach that year, and so it fell out that notice was given on the second Sunday morning after my arrival at my new abode, of "a plantation preaching to be held, at three o'clock, at the residence of Mr. Richard I. Gaines, to which all are cordially invited."

        We had an early dinner in consequence of the service. Over the dessert - the servants having been excused, that they might get ready for the "preaching" - we talked more freely of their ideas and mode of worship, than would have been kind in their presence. Among other anecdotes I related one I had had from Ned Rhodes last summer, when he had, as he reported, been "blackburying" on Sunday afternoon.

        The cemetery of the colored people was then, as now, situated upon high, rising ground, overlooking the ravine separating Shockoe Hill from the adjacent country. Mr. Rhodes and a friend, in the course of a Sunday afternoon walk, were drawn to the spot by the sight of a great crowd of negroes and a string of mourning coaches.

        When the two young men were near enough to the concourse to hear what was going on, they were espied by the orator of the day, who instantly soared into what his ilk admired as "dictionary English." Upon the heap of

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red clay beside the grave was a tiny coffin. The newcomers agreed, in telling the story, that they had never beheld a smaller, and that the size of the pitiful little casket, wrapped with flowers, by contrast with the number of attendants upon the pompous service, set the stamp of absurdity upon the whole performance before they caught what the man was saying.

        That this was in keeping with the rest, they speedily perceived. In hortatory tones that thundered to the remotest auditor, he dilated upon the uncertainty of life:

        "...Even de distinguished lives of de two 'lustr'ous strangers what has honored us by comin' among us dis blessed arternoon, to jine in our mo'nin'. What is they? And what is we? And what is any man, bo'n o' woman, my brethren? Up ter-day wid de hoppergrass, and down ter-morrow wid de sparrergrass! Like de flower ob de cornfiel', so he spreads hisself, like a tree planted by de horsebranch. Den de win' rises and de tempes' blows, an' beats upon dat man - and whar is he? An' he shan' know dat place o' his'n, no mo'."

        Pausing in mid-career, he touched the pathetically ridiculous box with a disdainful foot.

        "As fur dis t'ing!" rising on his toes in the energy of his contempt - "as fur dis 'ere itum - put de t'ing in de groun'! It's too small fer to be argyin' over!"

        Mr. Henry followed with a story of a darky, who prayed that "we might grow up befo' de Lord, like calves and beeves of de stall, and be made meat for de kingdom o' heaven."

        Mrs. Henry had a tale of a man who prayed at a plantation-meeting at Woodfork - Dr. Joel Watkins's homestead - that Rev. John Rice, Mr. Terhune's immediate predecessor and a nephew of "Aunt Rice's" husband - "might soon cease from his labors, and his works, may dey foller him!"

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        "After which performance," she continued, "my uncle - his master - had a private interview with him, and forbade him ever to pray in public again."

        Then I heard that, within the two years' incumbency of the present pastor, ten colored members had been added to the Village Church, much to the satisfaction of their owners. Among them, one Dabney and his brother Chesley, or Chelsea (I am not sure which), were prominent in all good words and works. Both could read and write, and both were skilled carpenters, who had hired their time from their master, and were working at their trade for themselves - respectable citizens in all but the right of franchise. The pastor spoke seriously and gratefully of their influence for good among their fellows, and of his hopes for the class they represented.

        "Dabney is especially gifted in prayer," commented Mr. Henry, gravely.

        I did not then comprehend why his eyes twinkled, and why the others laughed. I was to know before the day was done.

        The Gaines homestead was a fine old brick building, fronted by a broad veranda (we said "porch" then, in true English fashion). A spacious lawn stretched between the house and the gate. Under the trees shading the turf were ranged long rows of benches, occupied, that Sunday afternoon, by men and women from the Gaines plantation and from other freeholdings for miles around. There may have been four hundred, all told. A healthier, happier peasant class could not be found on either side of the ocean. All were clean; all were well-dressed. The younger women were gay with the discarded finery which was the perquisite of house-servants, ladies' maids in particular.

        The porch and the windows of the drawing-room were filled with guests of fairer complexion, but in demeanor and general behavior not a whit more quietly reverent. The

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brief invocation, the reading of the Scriptures, and the sermon were the duty of the presiding clergyman. He stood at the head of the short flight of steps, facing the dusky throng, and paying no more heed to the small audience behind him than if it had not been. It was the "colored people's" service. In the selection of hymns the leader was guided by his knowledge of what would be familiar to them. The first went with a swing and a rush that shook the branches above the singers' heads, and brought down slow showers of tinted leaves upon the grass.

        It was a perfect afternoon. The fields were golden brown; no frost had fallen to blacken or bleach them. Hickories were canopies of warm amber; oaks were reddening, and the maples were aglow with autumnal fires. The still air was nutty sweet.

        The prayer, immediately preceding the sermon, was offered by an aged farm-hand, upon whom the leader called to conduct our devotions. His hair was pale chinchilla; his back was bent, and his thin voice quavered sadly. All the same, he voiced the petitions of every heart for strength, wisdom, and righteousness, briefly and pertinently. The sermon over, Dabney was bidden to "lead us in prayer."

        I was more than curious to hear the "gifted" brother. I had, on the drive out from the village, illustrations of his practice of introducing pointed personalities into extempore blending of supplication, confession, and adoration. How, the year before, when the smallpox appeared in the lower end of the village, Doctor Flournoy, a leading physician in the county, undertook the charge of the few cases of the dreaded disease, quarantining himself from the homes of other patients and acquaintances. In the cold weather, the second service of the Sabbath was still for the negroes. But they occupied the lower part of the church, and the whites sat in the gallery, reversing the order of the morning

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services. There were few in the gallery when Doctor Flournoy, peeping in at the door, thought it safe to slip into a seat in the choir-loft, which was quite empty.

        Dabney's falcon eye had descried him, and when he arose to pray he "improved" the incident:

        "O Lord! we beseech Thee to bless and take care of the good doctor who has crope into the gallery up yonder, 'cause why, he's afeerd he may carry smallpox in his clo'es to some of us. Be a shield about that good man whose heart so faints for the courts of the Lord that he jes' can't keep away. See to it, O Shepherd of Thine Isrul! that he don't ketch the smallpox himself!"

        With all this, I was so far unprepared for what was to follow the uprising of the tall figure from the ranks of the believers, collected in the heart of the congregation, that I shrank back, out of sight of those who might have their eyes open and focussed upon me, in my seat just within a front window.

        For thus held forth the man mighty in prayer, when he had disposed comfortably of the world at large and the brotherhood of saints in especial:

        "O Lord! have mercy upon the hardened and hell-defying, hell-desarvin' sinners, in these 'ere low-groun's of sin an' sorrow, 'roun' about Charlotte Coate-House, from the rivers to the ends of the yearth.

        "Bring 'em to mou'n as one mou'ns fer his first-born, and come a flockin' into the kingdom, as doves to their windows, from the rivers to the ends of the yearth.

        "Bless the master an' mistis of this home, an' pour out on 'em the riches of the heavens above, and the earth beneath, and the waters under the earth, from the rivers to the ends of the yearth.

        "O Lord! in the plentifulness of Thy mercy, bless with all manner of mercies the great and notable man of God, whom Thou hast placed over us in speritual things. Bless

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him in his rising up, and goin' about, and among the sheep of his parstur', from the rivers to the ends of the yearth.

        "Bless her who Thou hast given to him to be a pardner in the lan' what flows wid milk an' honey, an' in de was' and desolate po'tions, whar no water is, from the rivers to the ends of the yearth.

        "May they two live together for many a long year, like two turtle-doves in one nes', with nary a jar between, from the rivers to the ends of the yearth!"

        "A powerful figure - that of the family jars!" said my companion, when we had had our confidential laugh out driving homeward between the hedgerows of the plantation on-road and the cool depths of forest-lands. "And the only one he did not borrow from the Bible. He knows but one book."

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        FIFTY years after it was written, I found among some family papers a letter from my husband to his father, dated "February 20, 1857." His description of the cottage home in which we were now installed, as master and mistress, reads like a pastoral. He was not addicted to sentimental rhapsodies. If this were ever his style, he would have curbed the disposition to effervesce, in writing to another man. But the tone of the whole epistle is that of one thoroughly content with his home and the management thereof.

        One sentence brought deep gratification to me, blended oddly with amusement and a tinge of melancholy:

        "Virginia is very well and very busy. I confess to some surprise at her skill in housewifery. She seems as much at home in the kitchen as in the drawing-room, to which she is summoned many times a day to receive visitors."

        Until I read that letter, I had not meant to devote so much as a page - much less a chapter - to the crucial experiences of that novitiate in domestic lore. Now, I feel it incumbent upon me, as a duty I owe to the countrywomen I have tried to help along these lines, for forty-odd years, to lift the veil from the homely, ill-appointed kitchen in which I successfully deluded a quick-eyed, quick-witted man into believing I was mistress of the situation.

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        In my father's house I was considered to have a turn, if not a talent, for housewifery. From childhood it was my delight to haunt the laundry, where the finer branches of cookery were carried on when the washing was out of the way. My mother was a very Mrs. Rundle in the excellence of her preserves and pickles. Mary Anne, the comely Indo-mulatto, was proficient in the composition of cakes, jellies, and pastries, syllabubs and creams. She liked to have me "help" her, as she put it. That is, I whipped eggs and beat butter and pounded spices, peeled fruit, topped and tailed gooseberries, when I felt like it, and kept her amused with my chatter.

        At ten, I was trusted to carry the key-basket and to "give out" ingredients required for the day's cooking and serving. At fourteen, I believed myself to be a clever cake-maker, and at sixteen, proudly assumed the responsibility of putting up preserves and pickles for the winter's consumption, one summer, when my mother's health obliged her to leave town in the height of the fruit season. When she came home, the stern old granddame, with whom I was rather a favorite (if she ever indulged her buckram-clad spirit in the weakness of having a favorite), informed her gentle daughter-in-law that "Mary" - as she persisted in calling me - "had kept the house so well that we had hardly missed her mother."

        It was not strange, therefore, that I took the helm of my newly launched barque with faint and few misgivings as to my ability to navigate the unknown seas that looked calm and bright from the shore.

        Ours was a prosperous country parish, and liberal hospitality was the law of daily living. The Henrys vacated the Parsonage a few days before Christmas, and I went down to Richmond for a fortnight, to complete the household plenishing we had begun during the honeymoon. My sisters-in-law - with whom I was ever upon cordial terms -

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had lent advice and co-operation in the selection of furniture at the North. My carpets were bought in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where Judge Terhune was an old and honored resident. My mother had seen to the outfit of household linen. I smile now, in recollecting how carefree was my mood through that happy Christmas fortnight, after the receipt of a letter from the member of the firm who abode by the stuff for ten days of my holiday, apprised me of the arrival of the furniture from New Brunswick and from Richmond, likewise, that "Mrs. Eggleston and Mrs. Henry, with some other ladies, kindly insist upon having the house cleaned, the carpets made and put down, and the furniture settled in place while you are away."

        The proceedings would astound me now that I know more of humankind, and of parishes. Still more extraordinary would I consider the cool, matter-of-course way in which I received the intelligence. It was the Old Virginia atmosphere in that long-dead-and-buried time.

        I did open my eyes, and break into ecstatic gratitude, when, on taking formal possession of our real home, where we had expected to live in picnic fashion upon the provisions we had laid away in baskets and trunks before leaving Richmond, we beheld the table set in the dining- room for supper, and fires alight in every room. Further search revealed that the house was in perfect order, the curtains hung, carpets down, and the larder stocked to overflowing with staples and delicacies. The cook and chambermaid hired for the year - as was the invariable custom of the "system" - were on hand, and John, the man- of-all-work, had met us at the station. Not another human creature was visible. For any evidence furnished to the contrary, by sight or hearing, the "surprise" might have been the work of benevolent pixies. My sister Alice - a girl of fourteen - would be an inmate of our house for most of the time, and study with us as heretofore. She

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and I ran about the house like two madcaps, after supper and until bedtime, calling out excitedly at each fresh discovery.

        Two barrels of flour and one of corn-meal; two of apples and one of potatoes; a half-barrel of sugar, and other staple groceries, in divers measures, made the foundation of the abundant supply for creature wants. The upper shelves of the store-room were crowded with pickles, preserves and all manner of conserved fruits for which the Virginia housewife was justly famed. Truly, the lines had fallen to us in pleasant places.

        Excitement was renewed next morning by the appearance at the outer gate, and streaming down the walk, of a procession of colored men and women, each laden with basket, or pail, or tray, or parcel. The women bore their burdens on their heads, the men upon shoulders or in their arms. All, like the Greeks of old, came bearing gifts, and of a more perishable nature than those that loaded pantry and store-room shelves. Honey, breads of all shapes and characters; cakes, butter, and eggs; chickens, dressed for the table; sausage, spareribs, hams, and shoulders; a roast of beef; custards and puddings and mince-pies - seemed designed to victual a garrison rather than a family of three whites and three servants. To crown the profusion and add to the variety, the elegant young lawyer, Mr. Cardwell, who had figured in our bridal train, drove up through the main street, in at our front gate, and down to the Parsonage door, a cow and calf, to the unbounded delight of the village urchins who flocked at his heels up to the gate. The cow, "Old Blue," as she was dubbed, because her color could not be more accurately described, gave the richest milk I ever skimmed. I would let no one else take care of it after one week's experience had taught me the necessity of giving my personal attention to each department of housewifery, if I would not be cheated at every conceivable opportunity.

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        Thus gayly began my training in a school from which I have not yet been graduated.

        My mother was a good housekeeper, and the wheels of her machine ran in smooth ruts. She had old and competent servants. I doubt if she had ever swept a room, or roasted a piece of meat, in her life. The cook we had hired from a neighboring planter had excellent recommendations. True, she had been one of the superfluous "hands" who were hired out from year's end to year's end, and such were not warranted as first-class workers. They were prone to become shiftless and indifferent to their work, by reason of frequent changes. Still, Emily was reputed to be a fair cook and laundress. Among the cuts of fresh meat sent in by the friends, whose consistent generosity moved me to the invention of the phrase "kitchenly-kindness," was a noble beefsteak. I ordered it to be cooked for breakfast the second day of our incumbency.

        Emily fried it brown - almost to a crisp!

        Five cook-books were in my just-unpacked library. Breakfast over, I sought out Miss Leslie's Complete Cook-Book, and read up on beefsteak.

        Two more were sent in that day from country parishioners. Next morning, I hied me surreptitiously to the kitchen before my husband or sister was awake. I bore the steak upon a charger - alias, a crockery platter. It had been under lock and key until then; otherwise, its fair proportions would inevitably have been shorn. The honesty of the hired hand was an axiomatic negligible quantity; and the most faithful of family servants seldom resisted successfully the temptation to appropriate to their own use an unlawful share of eatables. They were a gluttonous race, and the tenet that "taking from marster wasn't stealing," stood high in their creed.

        I had told Emily overnight that I would show her how a steak should be cooked, and she was more than ready for me.

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        I had never touched a bit of raw meat before, and the clamminess of the gory cut sent "creeps" all over me. It was very bloody to my eyes, and I washed it well in cold water preparatory to laying it upon the broad bottom of the frying-pan, heated and buttered, which, I had learned from another of the five manuals, was "a passable substitute for a gridiron if the young housekeeper had failed to provide herself with this important utensil." Emily had not found a gridiron in the box of kitchen utensils unpacked before my arrival, and there was no time to look it up. The steak, dripping wet, went into the broad pan set over a bed of red coals. We cooked with wood in Old Virginia. It hissed and spluttered and steamed like the escape-valve of a balky locomotive. Miss Leslie said "Turn it at the end of eight minutes." The sodden pallor of the exposed side did not look right to me, somehow.

        "Oh!" quoth Emily, "you is gwine to stew it - is you?"

        Pass we quickly over the abhorrent tale! The steak never attained unto the "rich brown" which, according to my cook-book makers, it should display when ready for table. I turned it four times, and, with a vague idea that butter browned more readily than meat, I added a great spoonful to the juices oozing from the steak. There was a great deal of gravy in the dish when it was served, and my companions pronounced it "extremely savory."

        "But you should not have gone out into the kitchen," demurred my husband. "Does not the cook understand her business?"

        "Few of her class can do without teaching," I rejoined valiantly.

        I had already made a resolve from which I never swerved: If my cook did not understand her business, and I understood it even less, I would not confess it. As time went on, I was to feel such test of the heroic resolve as I had never anticipated. For, as the knowledge of Emily's ineptitude

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grew upon me, the conviction of my own crass and comprehensive ignorance waxed into a haunting horror. I was as unlearned as the babe unborn in everything that a practical housekeeper should know. I could not make a batch of bread, or boil a potato, or broil a chop, had my eternal welfare - or my husband's happiness - depended upon it. As for soup-making, roasting, stewing, and boiling meats, frying and baking fish - the very commonest and coarsest rudiments of the lore in which I was supposed to be proficient - I was as idiotically void of comprehension as if I had never heard of a kitchen. How I maintained a brazen show of competency is a mystery to me at this distance from that awful trial-period. I studied my quintette of cook-books with agonized earnestness. And when I was tolerably positive that I had mastered a recipe, I "went and did it" with Squeersian philosophy. How many failures were buried out of the sight of those who loved me best, and were most constantly with me, would have shocked the frugal housewife into hysterics. My mastery of this and of that process was painfully slow, but it began to tell upon our daily fare. I got out the gridiron, and learned to cook to perfection the steaks my husband's soul loved, and from my nonpareil of neighbors, Mrs. Eggleston, I got a recipe for quick biscuits.

        To the acquisition of that particular formula, and the conversation that embedded the gift, I attribute a large measure of the success which eventually rewarded the striving unto blood, that was my secret martyrdom for half a year.

        She was a "capable" housewife, according to Mrs. Stowers characterization of the guild. She was, moreover, warm-hearted, sensible, and sympathetically reminiscent of her own early struggles with the housekeeping problem. When I took her into confidence as to my distrust of my quintette of manuals, she laughed out so cheerily that I felt the fog lift from my spirits.

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        "All written by old maids, or by women who never kept house," she declared. "To my certain knowledge, Miss Leslie has boarded in a Philadelphia hotel for twenty years. I wouldn't give a guinea a gross for their books. Make your own! I do! When I get a tiptop, practical recipe - one that I have tried for myself and proved, I write it down in my own every-day language; then I have met that enemy, and it is mine!"

        We were in her house, and she brought out the manuscript book in which her victories were recorded. Next, she offered to lend it to me.

        "I don't think," she subjoined, tactfully, "that old-fashioned housekeepers, like your mother and mine - yes, and my mother-in-law - take the lively interest in learning new ways of doing things that we do. I am very proud of some discoveries and a few inventions that I have written down there. Those quick biscuits, for instance, are my resource when the bread doesn't turn out just right. They never fail. And speaking of bread, here is a sort of short cut to excellence in that direction. That is my composition, too. Take the book with you, and copy anything you fancy."

        "Bread is Emily's strong point," I remarked, complacently, in accepting the loan. "Nevertheless, I shall try your composition."

        The promise was fulfilled in a way I had not expected. I had been keeping house now about four months, and was beginning to justify, in some degree, the fond boast of the son to the father of my familiarity with kitchen-craft, when Emily announced one morning, as I was "giving out" for the day:

        "Tain' no use measurin' out dat ar' flour, Miss Virginny!" (The old-time servant never said "Mrs." to, or of anybody.) "I done got my han' out makin' bread! I'd jes' spile yer flour an' things ef I was to try to make a batch o' bread."

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        "What is the matter with your hands?" I looked at the members, brown and brawny, and apparently uninjured.

        She spread them out as a bat might his wings, and regarded them in affectionate commiseration.

        "As I tole you, I done got my han' out for make bread. Nobody don' know how-come a body's han' gits out for somethin' or 'nother. Sometimes, it's fur bread, an' then agin it's fur cake, or maybe cookin' chickens, or the likes o' that. Thar's some as thinks it's a sort of bewitched, or conjurin'. Some says as how it's the ole Satan what takes his spite on us that 'ar way. I don't know nothin bout how that may be. I jes' know that my han' done got out for makin' bread. I been done feel it soon's I go: out o' bade this mornin'."

        "And may I ask," I interrupted, in freezing politeness that was utterly wasted, "how long your hand is likely to stay out?"

        She shook her head, sadly, imperturbably.

        "Nobody can' never say how long, Miss Virginny. May be six days, and maybe two mont's. Sis' Phoebe" (fellow church-members were always "Brother" and "Sister" even in every-day speech), "what b'long to Mars' Wyatt Cardwell, she got her han' out for two or three t'ings at oncet las' year, an' sho's you're born an' I'm standin' here in this yere blessed sto'-room, she ain't got it in agin fur better'n six mont. I's certainly mighty sorry fur you an' Mars' Ed'ard, but the Lord's will is jes' p'intedly got to be done."

        Constant to my vow of discretion in all things pertaining to domestic tribulations, I said never a word to the other members of the smitten household of what menace them. The congestion was the more serious, inasmuch a there was not a baker within twenty miles, and we bake fresh bread and rolls every day. I was in poor physical

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case for culinary enterprise, for one of the constitutional headaches which I had inherited from both parents had warned me of its approach; I ought to keep quiet and discourage the advance. Instead of which, I girded up the loins of my spirit and concluded that there could hardly be a more propitious opportunity for trying Mrs. Eggleston's bread recipe. Since a knowledge of practical bread-making was one of life's stringent necessities in this latitude, "better sune than syne."

        I set the sponge at noon, in pursuance of directions laid down so explicitly that a novice with a headache that was by now a fixed fact, could not err therein. I could not sit up to supper for the blinding pain. Alice was taking that meal, and was to spend the evening with a friend, and my husband had a business call in his study. No one would be privy to the appeal I meditated making to my tyrant. I sent for her, and ordered her to bring to my room the sponge I had left in a secluded corner of the dining-room. When it came, I bade her bring kneading-tray and flour. These set in order on the table, I called her attention to the hopeful and enticing foaming condition of the sponge, and assured her that no evil could befall the dough if she were to knead in the flour and prepare the mass for the night's working, there under my eyes.

        She planted herself in the middle of the floor and surveyed me mournfully - a sphinx done in chocolate.

        "I suttinly is mighty sorry for you, Miss Virginny, an' I'd do anyt'ing what I could do fur to help you out o' you' trouble. But thar ain't no manner o' use in my layin' my han' to that ar' dough. It wouldn't never rise, not 'tell the jedgment-day. It would be temptin' Providence, out and out. When a body's han' is out, it's out for good and all! I done do my best to make you onderstan' what's happen' to me, an' angels couldn't do no mo'! Lord 'a' mercy! what is you goin' to do?"

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        I had jumped up and belted in my dressing - gown, rushed to the wash-stand, and washed my hands furiously. Without a syllable I tackled the sponge, measured and worked in the flour, and fell to kneading it in a blind rage, Pretty soon my strength flagged; the pain in my temples and back of the eyes beat me faint. To get a better purchase on the stiffened mass, I set the tray down on the floor and knelt over it. That bread had to be made if I perished in the attempt.

        The chocolate-colored sphinx surveyed me sorrowfully, without stirring an inch from her place on the hearth-rug.

        Neither of us heard the door open, softly and cautiously, lest the noise might disturb my slumbers. Both of us started violently at the voice that said:

        "What is the meaning of this?"

        I sat up on my knees and faced the speaker, essaying a miserable imitation of a laugh.

        "Emily has got her hand out in bread-making, and I am trying mine. This is almost ready now."

        He walked across the floor and lifted me to my feet; laid me incontinently upon the lounge, and confronted the cook.

        "Take up that tray!" She obeyed dumbly. "Carry it out into the kitchen and finish the bread. Yes! I mean it! Get your hand in before you are a minute older, or I'll know the reason why. And if the bread is not good, I shall send you back to your master to-morrow morning, and tell him I have no further use for you."

        He would have cut his hand off before he would have struck a woman, and the creature knew it as well as I did, but she cowered before the blue blaze of his eyes, as at a lightning flash.

        His call stayed her on the threshold.

        "Do you understand what I have said?"

        The sphinx crumbled:

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        "Ya'as, suh!"

        "You understand, too, that your hand is not to get out again?"

        "Not ef I can holp it, Mars' Ed'ard!"

        "See that you do help it!"

        Then I held my head hard with both hands to keep the sutures from flying asunder, and laughed until I cried.

        From the stress and toils, the mortifications and bewilderment of that year, grew into a settled purpose the longing to spare other women - as ill-equipped as I was, when I entered upon my housewifely career - the real anguish of my novitiate. The foundation of Common Sense in the Household was laid in the manuscript recipe-book begun at Mrs. Eggleston's instance. I had learned, to my bitter woe, that there was no printed manual that would take the tyro by the hand and show her a plain path between pitfalls and morasses. I learned, by degrees, to regard housewifery as a profession that dignifies her who follows it, and contributes, more than any other calling, to the mental, moral, and spiritual sanity of the human race. I received my call to this ministry in that cottage parsonage.

        My departure from the beaten track of novel-writing, in which I had achieved a moderate degree of success, was in direct opposition to the advice of the friends to whom I mentioned the project. The publishers, in whose hands my first cook-book has reached the million mark, confessed frankly to me, after ten editions had sold in as many months, that they accepted the work solely in the hope that I might give them a novel at some subsequent period. Even my husband shook a doubtful head over the wild scheme. It was the only book published by me that had not his frank and hearty approval. Upheld by the rooted conviction that I had been made, through my own shortcomings and battles, fit to supply what American women lacked and needed sorely, I never debated or doubted.