« AnteriorContinuar »
Ici tout est vivant, tout parle à ma memoire
My maiden name was Clarissa Gray. I was born in the neighbourhood of Boston (Mass.), in 174, and educated with the few facilities at that time afforded for the young; that is, I read “No man may” in Webster's Spelling-book, then advanced to the more elaborate “ Art of Speaking,” and committed to memory, page by page, Morse's Geography, without maps, of course in glorious uncertainty with regard to the position even of my own country. My
ciphering-book, however, was my pride, and my mother's too. With what delight did she display those sums, that rose like Banquo's ghosts,
“And drew at each remove a lengthening chain." At the age of eight years I recollect seeing my mother reading a thin black book, which attracted my attention. It was “Blair's Grave,” and she read
passage, -"But see, the well-plumed hearse comes nodding on. How distinctly my imagination pictured that hearse and those nodding plumes! I recollect no other books, until I saw and devoured Shakspeare, at the age of nine, except an odd volume of Pope, containing “ The Messiah,” and “The Rape of the Lock.” I sometimes look around on the mass of books collected by my children, and am half skeptical with regard to the value of juvenile literature, when I remember how my mind opened under the mysteries of those writings.
In justice, however, to the good tendency of
engravings, I must mention, that the effect
produced on me by the only two picture books I possessed was an important one. One of them was “Watts's Hymns for Infant Minds," where fighting animals are portrayed. When friends have wounded or foes oppressed me, the strong but simple lines which elucidate the picture,
“Let dogs delight to bark and bite,”
have arisen to my memory, and calmed my chafed spirit, when mere flimsy sentiment would have afforded me no shelter against wrong.
The other book, and it is as distinct to my imagination now as the rich landscape by Fisher which hangs before me, contained a representation of Miss Kitty Greedy leaning both elbows on a table, with her mouth crammed to repletion, trying in vain to address her mamma. The morale has clung to me to this day, and I never see a young or old gourmand, or detect myself in a superfluous mouthful, without thinking of Kitty Greedy. The utmost term of my
solid education was