Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

and ill-tempered. The mother of Napoleon was of superior mind and deep piety. The mother of Nero was a murderess. The mother of Patrick Henry was marked by superior conversational powers. The mother of the Wesleys was distinguished for her intellectual powers and executive ability, so that she has been called the mother of Methodism.

Mothers have trained our Presidents and statesmen. Washington's father died when George was only twelve years old. Jefferson, Madison, Jackson and Harrison the elder were left fatherless when only small boys. Tyler, Hayes and Cleveland depended upon their widowed mothers for their training. Abraham Lincoln confessed that among his most pleasant reminiscences were those of his excellent mother, to whom he imputed the best and brightest qualities he had inherited. Lincoln also owned that it was his stepmother, more than any other person, that made him the man he was.

General Grant's mother went into a room at a certain hour of each day during the war to pray for her Ulysses. President McKinley left the Capitol and the affairs of State to watch at the side of his dying mother, to receive her last blessing and to give her his last kiss. Garfield's father died when the future President was a babe. On the day of his inauguration he turned away from all the representatives of Kings and Queens, and from all the great men and beautiful women who had gathered to do him honor, and the first thing he did after having taken the oath of office was to kiss the wrinkled face of his mother and say, Mother, you have brought me to this."

John Quincy Adams, till the day of his death, said the little prayer his mother taught him, “Now I lay me down to sleep.” Daniel Webster's mother first fostered those abilities which ultimately made him so long distinguished.

If the world was lost through woman, she alone can save it. The future of society is in the hands of the mothers. The mother in her office holds the key of the soul; and she it is who stamps the coin of character. That must have been a beautiful scene in the old chivalric time — the cup circling around the board, and the banquet-hall ringing with sentiment and song

when, the lady of each knightly heart having been pledged by name, St. Leon arose in his turn, and lifting the sparkling cup on high said:

“I drink to one
Whose image never may depart,
Deep graven on this grateful heart,

Till memory is dead:
To one whose love for me shall last,
When lighter passions long have passed, -

So holy 'tis, and true;
To one whose love for me has longer dwelt,
More deeply fixed, more keenly felt,

Than any pledged by you!”

Each guest upstarted at the word,
And laid his hand upon his sword,

With fury-flashing eye;
And Stanley said, “ We crave the name,
Proud Knight, of this most peerless dame,

Whose love you count so high.”

St. Leon paused, as if he would
Not breathe her name in careless mood

Thus lightly to another,-
Then bent his noble head, as though

To give that word the reverence due,

And gently said, — “My Mother!” Our homes have made America peerless among the nations. Any encyclopædia of American biography will prove that our most illustrious statesmen, our most distinguished scientists, our most eloquent preachers, our merchant princes, and our great benefactors came from the humble families where the mothers rule not as queens of fashion, but where the nursery for the family is a nursery for the church, where the first lispings of childhood are the accents of prayer and the first thoughts of the heart are the thoughts of God.

The Jews are universally admired for the affections which adorn their domestic life. The foundation of the Jewish faith was laid in the sanctity of domestic affection and purity. The Bible Jew never made the mistake of separating the church and the home. His piety nestled 'neath the shelter of two truths — one was the dwelling where he lived with his wife and children in some corner of the Holy Land and in the fear of his father's God. According to the Jewish imagination the Divine presence was the atmosphere of that house and gave it an indescribable beauty. His wife was a vine God's hand had planted and his children as olive trees around his table. We need not wonder that these synagogue Jews have given to the world a greater number of great men than any other race in proportion to their numbers.

The German Empire is great because German homes are good, because the German mothers are industrious, economical, honest and virtuous.

Great Britain is great because it has model homes, because British mothers are intelligent and pious. In the special display of the Victorian Jubilee nothing was so beautiful or so glorious as the Queen kneeling at the altar, taking communion, throwing her arms around her children and grand-children, as they came one after another to kneel at her side, kissing and crying over them like a child. She never rose so high in her royalty as when she knelt, a simple mother, crying over her children at the altar of God. Eng. lish ships and soldiers and gold and colonies are

a

« AnteriorContinuar »