To take life as it is sent to us, to live it faithfully, looking and striving always towards better life, this was the lesson that came to me from my early teachers. It was not an easy lesson, but it was a healthful one; and I pass it on to younger pupils, trusting that they will learn it more thoroughly than I ever have.
Young or old, we may all win inspiration to do our best, from the needs of a world to which the humblest life may be permitted to bring immeasurable blessings:--
"For no one doth know What he can bestow, What light, strength, and beauty may after him go: Thus onward we move, And, save God above, None guesseth how wondrous the journey will prove."
L.L. BEVERLY, MASSACHUSETTS, October, 1889.
I. UP AND DOWN THE LANE II. SCHOOLROOM AND MEETING-HOUSE III. THE HYMN-BOOK IV. NAUGHTY CHILDREN AND FAIRY TALES V. OLD NEW ENGLAND VI. GLIMPSES OF POETRY VII. BEGINNING TO WORK VIII.BY THE RIVER IX. MOUNTAIN-FRIENDS X. MILL-GIRLS' MAGAZINES XI. READING AND STUDYING XII. FROM THE MERRIMACK TO THE MISSISSIPPI
IT is strange that the spot of earth where we were born should make such a difference to us. People can live and grow anywhere, but people as well as plants have their habitat,--the place where they belong, and where they find their happiest, because their most natural life. If I had opened my eyes upon this planet elsewhere than in this northeastern corner of Massachusetts, elsewhere than on this green, rocky strip of shore between Beverly Bridge and the Misery Islands, it seems to me as if I must have been somebody else, and not myself. These gray ledges hold me by the roots, as they do the bayberry bushes, the sweet- fern, and the rock-saxifrage.
When I look from my window over the tree-tops to the sea, I could almost fancy that from the deck of some one of those inward bound vessels the wistful eyes of the Lady Arbella might be turned towards this very hillside, and that mine were meeting hers in sympathy, across the graves of two hundred and fifty years. For Winthrop's fleet, led by the ship that bore her name, must have passed into harbor that way. Dear and gracious spirit! The memory of her brief sojourn here has left New England more truly consecrated ground. Sweetest of womanly pioneers! It is as if an angel in passing on to heaven just touched with her wings this rough coast of ours.
In those primitive years, before any town but Salem had been named, this whole region was known as Cape Ann Side; and about ten years after Winthrop's arrival, my first ancestor's name appears among those of other hardy settlers of the neighborhood. No record has been found of his coming, but emigration by that time had grown so rapid that ships' lists were no longer carefully preserved. And then he was but a simple yeoman, a tiller of the soil; one who must have loved the sea, however, for he moved nearer and nearer towards it from Agawam through Wenham woods, until the close of the seventeenth century found his descendants--my own great-great-grandfatber's family--planted in a romantic homestead-nook on a hillside, overlooking wide gray spaces of the bay at the part of Beverly known as "The Farms." The situation was beautiful, and home attachments proved tenacious, the family claim to the farm having only been resigned within the last thirty or forty years.