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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous Sarah Knowles Bolton

Helen Hunt Jackson

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    "Like a blind spinner in the sun,
    I tread my days;
    I know that all the threads will run
    Appointed ways;
    I know each day will bring its task,
    And, being blind, no more I ask.

* * * * *

    "But listen, listen, day by day,
    To hear their tread
    Who bear the finished web away,
    And cut the thread,
    And bring God's message in the sun,
    'Thou poor blind spinner, work is done."

After this came two other small books, Bits of Travel and Bits of Talk about Home Matters. She paid for the plates of the former. Fame did not burst upon Helen Hunt; it came after years of work, after it had been fully earned. The road to authorship is a hard one, and only those should attempt it who have courage and perseverance.

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Again her health failed, but not her cheerful spirits. She travelled to Colorado, and wrote a book in praise of it. Everywhere she made lasting friends. Her German landlady in Munich thought her the kindest person in the world. The newsboy, the little urchin on the street with a basket full of wares, the guides over the mountain passes, all remembered her cheery voice and helpful words. She used to say, "She is only half mother who does not see her own child in every child. Oh, if the world could only stop long enough for one generation of mothers to be made all right, what a Millennium could be begun in thirty years!" Some one, in her childhood, called her a "stupid child" before strangers, and she never forgot the sting of it.

In Colorado, in 1876, eleven years after the death of Major Hunt, she married Mr. William Sharpless Jackson, a Quaker and a cultured banker. Her home, at Colorado Springs, became an ideal one, sheltered under the great Manitou, and looking toward the Garden of the Gods, full of books and magazines, of dainty rugs and dainty china gathered from many countries, and richly colored Colorado flowers. Once, when Eastern guests were invited to luncheon, twenty-three varieties of wildflowers, each massed in its own color, adorned the home. A friend of hers says: "There is not an artificial flower in the house, on embroidered table-cover or sofa cushion or tidy; indeed, Mrs. Jackson holds that the manufacture of silken poppies and crewel sun-flowers is a 'respectable industry,' intended only to keep idle hands out of mischief."

Mrs. Jackson loved flowers almost as though they were children. She writes: "I bore on this June day a sheaf of the white columbine,--one single sheaf, one single root; but it was almost more than I could carry. In the open spaces, I carried it on my shoulder; in the thickets, I bore it carefully in my arms, like a baby.... There is a part of Cheyenne Mountain which I and one other have come to call 'our garden.' When we drive down from 'our garden,' there is seldom room for another flower in our carriage. The top thrown back is filled, the space in front of the driver is filled, and our laps and baskets are filled with the more delicate blossoms. We look as if we were on our way to the ceremonies of Decoration Day. So we are. All June days are decoration days in Colorado Springs, but it is the sacred joy of life that we decorate,--not the sacred sadness of death." But Mrs. Jackson, with her pleasant home, could not rest from her work. Two novels came from her pen, Mercy Philbrick's Choice and Hetty's Strange History. It is probable also that she helped to write the beautiful and tender Saxe Holm Stories. It is said that Draxy Miller's Dowry and Esther Wynn's Love Letters were written by another, while Mrs. Jackson added the lovely poems; and when a request was made by the publishers for more stories from the same author, Mrs. Jackson was prevailed upon to write them.

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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous
Sarah Knowles Bolton

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