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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous Sarah Knowles Bolton

Mary A. Livermore

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"Oh! don't go away," he pleaded; "I never shall see you again."

"Well, then, I'll go home and see my family, and come back in two hours. The door shall be left open, and I'll put this bell beside you, so that the chambermaid will come when you ring."

He consented, and Mrs. Livermore came back in two hours. The soldier's face was turned toward the door, as though waiting for her, but he was dead. He had gone home, but not to Wisconsin.

After the close of the war, so eager were the people to hear her, that she entered the lecture field and has for years held the foremost place among women as a public speaker. She lectures five nights a week, for five months, travelling twenty-five thousand miles annually. Her fine voice, womanly, dignified manner, and able thought have brought crowded houses before her, year after year. She has earned money, and spent it generously for others. The energy and conscientiousness of little Mary Rice have borne their legitimate fruit.

Every year touching incidents came up concerning the war days. Once, after she had spoken at Fabyan's American Institute of Instruction, a military man, six feet tall, came up to her and said, "Do you remember at Memphis coming over to the officers' hospital?"

"Yes," said Mrs. Livermore.

While the officers were paid salaries, very often the paymasters could not find them when ill, and for months they would not have a penny, not even receiving army rations. Mrs. Livermore found many in great need, and carried them from the Sanitary Commission blankets, medicine, and food. Milk was greatly desired, and almost impossible to be obtained. One day she came into the wards, and said that a certain portion of the sick "could have two goblets of milk for every meal."

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"Do you remember," said the tall man, who was then a major, "that one man cried bitterly and said, 'I want two glasses of milk,' and that you patted him on the head, as he lay on his cot? And that the man said, as he thought of the dear ones at home, whom he might not see again, 'Could you kiss me?' and the noble woman bent down and kissed him? I am that man, and God bless you for your kindness."

Mrs. Livermore wears on her third finger a plain gold ring which has a touching history.

After lecturing recently at Albion, Mich., a woman came up, who had driven eight miles, to thank her for a letter written for John, her son, as he was dying in the hospital. The first four lines were dictated by the dying soldier; then death came, and Mrs. Livermore finished the message. The faded letter had been kept for twenty years, and copies made of it. "Annie, my son's wife," said the mother, "never got over John's death. She kept about and worked, but the life had gone out of her. Eight years ago she died. One day she said, 'Mother, if you ever find Mrs. Livermore, or hear of her, I wish you would give her my wedding ring, which has never been off my finger since John put it there. Ask her to wear it for John's sake and mine, and tell her this was my dying request.'"

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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous
Sarah Knowles Bolton

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