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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous Sarah Knowles Bolton

Harriet Beecher Stowe

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"There was not even a momentary expression of impatience, but she sat down and said, 'My dear children, what you have done makes mamma very sorry; those were not onion roots, but roots of beautiful flowers; and if you had let them alone, ma would have had next summer in the garden, great, beautiful red and yellow flowers, such as you never saw.' I remember how drooping and disappointed we all grew at this picture, and how sadly we regarded the empty paper bag."

When Harriet was five years old, a deep shadow fell upon the happy household. Eight little children were gathered round the bedside of the dying mother. When they cried and sobbed, she told them, with inexpressible sweetness, that "God could do more for them than she had ever done or could do, and that they must trust Him," and urged her six sons to become ministers of the Gospel. When her heart-broken husband repeated to her the verse, "You are now come unto Mount Zion, unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels; to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant," she looked up into his face with a beautiful smile, and closed her eyes forever. That smile Mr. Beecher never forgot to his dying day.

The whole family seemed crushed by the blow. Little Henry (now the great preacher), who had been told that his mother had been buried in the ground, and also that she had gone to heaven, was found one morning digging with all his might under his sister's window, saying, "I'm going to heaven, to find ma!"

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So much did Mr. Beecher miss her counsel and good judgment, that he sat down and wrote her a long letter, pouring out his whole soul, hoping somehow that she, his guardian angel, though dead, might see it. A year later he wrote a friend: "There is a sensation of loss which nothing alleviates--a solitude which no society interrupts. Amid the smiles and prattle of children, and the kindness of sympathizing friends, I am alone; Roxana is not here. She partakes in none of my joys, and bears with me none of my sorrows. I do not murmur; I only feel daily, constantly, and with deepening impression, how much I have had for which to be thankful, and how much I have lost.... The whole year after her death was a year of great emptiness, as if there was not motive enough in the world to move me. I used to pray earnestly to God either to take me away, or to restore to me that interest in things and susceptibility to motive I had had before."

Once, when sleeping in the room where she died, he dreamed that Roxana came and stood beside him, and "smiled on me as with a smile from heaven. With that smile," he said, "all my sorrow passed away. I awoke joyful, and I was lighthearted for weeks after."

Harriet went to live for a time with her aunt and grandmother, and then came back to the lonesome home, into which Mr. Beecher had felt the necessity of bringing a new mother. She was a refined and excellent woman, and won the respect and affection of the family. At first Harriet, with a not unnatural feeling of injury, said to her: "Because you have come and married my father, when I am big enough, I mean to go and marry your father;" but she afterwards learned to love her very much.

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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous
Sarah Knowles Bolton

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