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Memoirs
of Margaret Jane Blake of Baltimore, Md.,
and Selections in Prose and Verse:

Electronic Edition.

Sarah R. Levering


Funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities
supported the electronic publication of this title.


Text scanned (OCR) by Chris Hill
Images scanned by Chris Hill
Text encoded by Sarah Reuning and Natalia Smith
First edition, 1999
ca. 100 K
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
1999.

        © This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.

Call number E 444 .B63 (Langsdale Library, University of Baltimore)



        The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-CH digitization project, Documenting the American South.
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Library of Congress Subject Headings, 21st edition, 1998



Cover


Title
Page


Verso


Memoirs
OF
Margaret Jane Blake
OF
Baltimore, Md.,
AND
Selections in Prose and Verse


BY

Sarah R. Levering.


Page verso

COPYRIGHT, 1897
BY SARAH R. LEVERING.PRESS OF INNES& SON
200 SOUTH 10TH STREET, PHILADELPHIA


Page iii

To my Mother
of blessed memory
is this little volume inscribed.


Page v

PREFACE

        THE negro enslaved of yore is now a free man, and as a citizen of an enlightened nation is fully entitled to an education to enable him to enjoy the blessings of freedom.

        The Presbytery of Baltimore hold in possession the deed for a pretty little farm located in Harford county, Maryland, on the Little Gunpowder River. It is hilly ground, far above the river, the foot of the hills only washed by the stream. It is impossible for the water to rise high enough to damage crops or buildings on the land. The land is good, with abundant sweet, cold spring water to be had in all seasons; the spring has never been known to fail. One farmer occupied the premises twelve years and had a large family of children who were the healthiest of the healthy in all the region around. The proceeds from the sale of this booklet will be appropriated to the improvement of "Dingley Dell," the farm upon which the Presbytery of Baltimore proposes to establish a manual labor school for the benefit of the


Page vi

Afro-American citizens, as they prefer being called. Said school is to be established as soon as there are funds enough to erect suitable buildings. A large sum of money will be required to establish this enterprise, and the sooner the money is collected the sooner it will be an accomplished fact. Now, if every Afro-American will pay the price of this little book a good sum will be realized, and perhaps some other friend or friends of education may be moved to write another book for the same cause and help along the much-desired object. The Presbytery will be encouraged to move forward, to the joy of all who feel any interest in this matter.

        Some may wish to know why the selection of pieces was added to the memoir of Margaret Jane Blake. All of them were written by persons with whom she was acquainted and some were composed on persons in whom she felt great interest. The "Unwelcome Guest" is a partial description of a beautiful house in which she served as a housemaid. A careful examination of the lines called "The Bride" will show the maiden name of the lady in whose service she died.

THE AUTHORESS.

        


Page 7

MARGARET JANE BLAKE.
A MEMOIR.

BY SARAH R. LEVERING.

        "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches." -- Proverbs.

        THE subject of this memoir, though born a slave, was of illustrious parentage, inasmuch as her father and mother were virtuous and patriotic, this combination having always been esteemed the foundation of noble character. Her father, Perry Blake, was a marine in the United States navy, and Commodore Porter himself informed my father that Perry Blake fought bravely under his command. He was a powerfully built man, and no doubt he rendered willing and efficient service to his country in the War of 1812-15 against Great Britain. Perry Blake was married to Charlotte, a slave belonging to my father. Charlotte was as patriotic as her free husband, and took long walks to bear provisions to the young men of her master's household who were under arms during the attack of the British on the city of Baltimore. Her unremitting and cheerful service during this anxious


Page 8

time in comforting the soldiers with home news and dainties won the gratitude of her master, Mr. Jesse Levering, and he manumitted Charlotte, thus making her equal to her husband. But it was strange that she looked back to her old home with infinite longing and desired to return to her bonds. This could not be granted her, and, failing in that petition, she begged that none of her children should be set free. That was agreed upon, and during my parents' lifetime the children of these free parents remained slaves. Perry and Charlotte Blake had several children. Margaret Jane was born in 1811, in my father's house on Lombard street, in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, and throve with the children of the family until the measles broke out among the young folks, and several of them were left in a weak condition after the scourge had passed through the household. Margaret was one of the weaklings, and was indulged over-much, perhaps, and became somewhat self-willed, but only to an amusing degree. One day she was seated on the front steps, getting the fresh air, when a woman belonging to the neighborhood addressed her with numerous questions about the family and as to the treatment she received from her mistress. I


Page 9

presume the strange voice among the childish group drew my mother to the window over their heads in time to witness the interview. Margy listened patiently and politely to all the lady had to say, then lifting one hand to an ear she replied: "Woman, all you have said goes in at this ear, and goes out at the other one." After such a rebuke the gossiper did not waste further time at that portal. Many a hearty laugh has been enjoyed at the child's answer to her mischievous interrogator. Time passed on. Margaret grew to be a large girl, and I was born in 1825, and when the baby was big enough it fell largely to Margaret's charge. Well do I remember one delightful race I enjoyed in Margy's arms, though only four years old at the time. It was in 1828, on the 4th of July. The corner-stone of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was to be laid--the pioneer railroad of the country! Being a great enterprise, it was duly celebrated with distinguished guests to participate in the ceremonies. The venerable Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, aged ninety-one years, was to lay the cornerstone with a silver trowel. A grand procession, with flags flying and floats displaying various trades, all richly adorned, and the whole animated by martial


Page 10

music, went up Baltimore street. The servant girls from our neighborhood went with the host of sightseers, taking along with them the children under their care, I among them. When our vantage ground was gained, corner of Eutaw street, Margy lifted me up in her arms to behold what has never faded from my memory--the magnificent civic demonstration in honor of the first railroad that was built on the Western Continent. The printing-press float pleased me best of all, with its attendant imps dressed as mercuries, who scattered sheets that were being printed as the procession moved along. The last division passed, the blare of the trumpets grew faint from a distance. Then the girls turned down Eutaw street, full of fun, and singing a popular song of the day, "The Blue Bonnets are over the Border," "Hurrah for the Bonnets of Blue," raced to the top of their speed back home. It was a ride full of peril as well as fun, but Margy was sure-footed and she landed me on terra firma unharmed. She loved children, and all children that ever were placed under her care loved her. Our family grew larger and we moved into a larger house, Margy going along with us. Charlotte was off with her husband, and Margy was installed as housemaid.


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One day she was occupied near the front door in some sort of cleaning, when a little boy drew her attention. He was trying to reach the bell-knob, but, failing in his efforts, Margy hastened to his assistance. Alas! for her kind heart caused her to move too quickly from her elevated position. She fell and was badly injured. The injury sustained by her on this occasion caused an internal tumor from which she suffered great pain at intervals during the rest of her life.

        Another servant had been added to the household by purchase. My father attended a sale of household goods and chattels; a sickly-looking girl, emaciated to a painful degree to sensitive perceptions, moved his compassion, and Ann Dutton was sent home to my mother's fostering care.

        Ann's first act on reaching her new home was to attack the slop barrel, from which she extracted food to comfort her famished system.

        Margy and Ann never became very warm friends, although associated in the same family for so many years. According to the rules of the peculiar institution, the bought slave was always looked down upon by those "to the manner born." And Margy was a dark woman, Ann of mixed blood; the mixture


Page 12

she claimed to have was Indian; the unmixed nature held herself purer than the mongrel. Ann was a woman of fashion, as far as she possibly could go; Margy was plain in her tastes and always clean and neat in her attire. Thus there were three good and sufficient reasons, according to them, for their frequent disagreements.

        Both were good servants, well-mannered, industrious, truthful, faithful in the discharge of every duty in their sphere. Neither pampered the whims of the children within the range of their influence, but were quick to reprove whatever fault they deemed it proper to correct, and the children knew it was right for them to yield respectful attention without giving back any impertinence when reproved. My mother of blessed memory taught her children to request service of her slaves, never to command or exact service from them. "If they are slaves," she would say, "they are God's creatures, and you must treat them politely."

        Ann took the name of Duncan, in honor of the Rev. John M. Duncan, a popular minister of Baltimore in the days of which I write, and it being allowable for slaves to assume any name they preferred she was known from thence always by that name while


Page 13

she lived with us. Both of these young women had offers of marriage, but neither of them chose to marry, because their children would be held in bondage, and they were unwilling to breed slaves for any master. If all the bondwomen had been of the same mind, how soon the institution would have vanished from the earth, and all the misery belonging to it been lifted from the hearts of the holders and the slaves! Glorious in the estimation of all true patriots is the memory of Abraham Lincoln for having signed the Emancipation Act. Our country was forced, while colonies of Great Britain, to take the slaves brought to our shores in Dutch ships by the mother country. I have yet to learn that any of the unhappy creatures were landed on British soil proper. Very many of them tilled the soil and picked the cotton and gathered the coffee berries on the West India islands under British rule, and terribly they suffered on the island of Jamaica, notably not many years ago by a general massacre, reminding the reader of history of the massacre of the Helots in Greece while Greece was still a heathen country. But Great Britain had the grace to investigate and condemn the massacre in Jamaica, while no voice ever was raised in censure of the flow


Page 14

of blood that stained the soil of classic Greece that I ever read of. There the master had the life and death of his slave under absolute control. Slavery, as we knew it here, was a mitigated evil, really more harmful to the masters and their families than to the slaves, and now that it is banished from our soil, even the heaviest owners are prepared to say it is a good riddance.

        After a few years, death and reverse of fortune caused changes in our family which were displeasing to Margaret, and she was allowed to choose a home for herself, and the wages paid for her services went to pay for her clothes and her physician's bills. She had much suffering from the tumor and often was obliged to return to her old home for rest and to be nursed back to ordinary health. The first place where she hired was in the family of Mr. J. B., and her record there was one of obedience and faithfulness. She claimed some indulgence and it was granted her, for they knew she had been allowed many privileges. The second place where she hired was in the family of Mr. H. G. Here, too, she claimed her privileges, and they were granted her, for she was liked and the family desired to retain her. During this time with


Page 15

Mrs. G., Blake was much annoyed by the abolitionists. She complained very much of them. They tormented her. She would say: "I want my freedom, but I do not want to steal it." Mrs. G. went one summer to the North to visit her husband's relatives and gained the consent of Margaret and her mistress that she could attend her as lady's maid. Mother consented to the trip being taken, hoping the change of scene and climate might benefit Margaret's health, knowing that the moment she set foot on that soil she was free, and if she pleased to do so she might stay there. But Margaret was of a different mind. Upon the arrival of the party in the city of New York lodgings were taken in a hotel, and the Irish waiters belonging to the establishment immediately bothered the lady's maid with attentions, inviting her to walk out with them to view the city. Icily she repelled them. "No," she replied, "I will not walk out with you in the streets of New York. I shall not do in New York what I would be ashamed to do in Baltimore. Colored women are disgraced in Baltimore if they are seen in the company of white men on the streets." "Are you free?" asked the waiters. "I am as free as you are," she rejoined; "I come


Page 16

and go as I please." Thus the free slave rebuffed her white suitors. She was afraid of them.

        When night came on she begged Mrs. G. to have a bed laid on her bedroom floor, that she might be safe from the impudent Irish waiters. She was afraid they might steal her off and sell her to Georgia. That arrangement was made to Blake's satisfaction. She was safe from the much-dreaded Irish waiters. The party she was traveling with proceeded on their way and soon reached one of the New England States to spend the summer among relatives who were permanent residents there.

        The pleasant visit ended, and Mrs. G. prepared to turn Southward. And Margaret? How was it with her? She, too, was ready to return to Baltimore. The free slave? Yes; the free slave returned to face her mistress and her young ladies, not ashamed to show her face to her people!

        Ann Dutton, or Duncan, as she preferred to be called, was of a different mind. One day she informed her mistress that she was desirous of attending a funeral to take place that afternoon. Permission was given her to attend the funeral, and she was much helped in her work that she might be there in proper


Page 17

time. When she was ready to leave the house it was noticed that she wore a wadded merino cloak, a long cloak with a large cape to it. Her mistress said to her: "Ann, why do you wear that heavy cloak this warm afternoon ?" "Oh!" she replied, "the evenings are cool, and I shall need it before I get back."

        So she departed. Night fell, and Ann still out! The family became anxious about her and feared she might be ill-treated by rough crowds on the streets. It was the night of the day of General William H. Harrison's election to the Presidency, and much excitement prevailed. Wait! wait! and no Ann Duncan in sight yet! At last it occurred to one of the family, in consideration of the strange freak of the donning of her heavy cloak, to go to her room and examine her bureau. Her room was looked over and not a garment was to be seen that belonged to her. All gone! We never saw her more. It was a cleverly-managed escape.

        The election day was chosen by a large party of fugitives to make for Canada.

        Margaret often told us of Ann's movements. She married up there, and, after many years, desired to return to her former owners, but we were not willing


Page 18

to receive her. She had to abide by her choice. To Ann's credit it must be said she took nothing away with her but what belonged to her. She had a good supply of clothes for the approaching winter, and a sheet from her bed (one was missed) must have been used to tie her garments in and then dropped from her window to the yard below to be carried off for her to the place of departure.

        Not long after this occurrence we left Baltimore and went to Ellicotts Mills, ten miles from the city. Blake did not wish to leave Baltimore and was allowed to remain there. From that time she went and came as suited her, and never was with us but as an invalid to be nursed or as a visitor to be entertained. It was concluded after we moved to Harford county, Md., to allow Blake to buy herself. The family with whom she hired named the price, and she was granted her wages to pay for herself. The price agreed upon was not large, and before Blake was old she had her free papers. It was a happy day for me when I accompanied my dear nurse to Bel-air to obtain her free papers. Three of us went with her, and a joyous party it was--glad in her happiness.

        After the slaveholders' rebellion she showed me


Page 19

her free papers; she was spending the summer with us in Harford county, Md., while her employers were in Europe, and had brought her papers with her.

        "Oh!" she said, "there was not a drop of blood shed for my freedom." It gave her the utmost satisfaction to consider that she was free before that war. She inquired if it was necessary for her to keep the free papers. I told her it was not necessary, but she had better keep them; it might be pleasant to look at her papers.

        The last change Blake made in service was to enter the family of Mr. Walter B. B. She remained in that family many years, helping Mrs. B. to rear her children from their infancy. Among them she was called Mammy Blake, and is never spoken of except as Mammy Blake.

        Baby Eleanor grew to womanhood, was wooed and won to wifehood, and, loving old Mammy Blake, and devotedly loved by her in return, she attended her young lady up to the pulpit railing where the gallant groom waited for his promised bride, in Brown Memorial Church. To see the gayly turbaned negress bearing the wraps of the dainty bride was a rare sight as she entered the church, dispensing odors from the


Page 20

orange blossoms that adorned her spotless bridal robes, as leaning on her father's arm he led her up the aisle to bestow her upon Mr. McC., of Chicago, Mammy Blake bringing up the rear of the bridal procession. It was the crowning indulgence of the life of the affectionate servant.

        After Mrs. McC. was established in Chicago Mammy Blake was taken out there to help her to raise the infants her home was blessed with.

        While Blake was still living with Mrs. Walter B. B., her little son Walter was present when a little girl from the North was visiting them, and was kissed by Mammy Blake. The little girl was terrified, and immediately wiped off the kiss, saying she did not want to be made black, like her. The little Walter resented the indignity done to his dear old mammy, and threw his arms around her neck, kissing her fondly, exclaiming: "My old mammy will never make anybody black."

        In the winter of 1879 Mrs. McC. came on from Chicago to Baltimore with her infant daughter, Mary G. McC., and her nurse, Mammy Blake, to spend the Christmas holidays with her mother's family.

        In a letter to me Mrs. McC. says: "I brought her


Page 21

from Chicago for the Christmas holidays, and she took cold soon after we reached Baltimore, which developed into erysipelas, and I was obliged to return to Chicago without her, with the understanding that she would follow as soon as she was well enough. She grew worse, and because mother was very ill at the time and worried very much over her, father and the doctor thought it best for her to go to the hospital (Baltimore Infirmary), where she died March 10 1880. She was buried in Laurel Cemetery, and I have just now ordered a stone with her name on it and the date of her birth, if you know it. Mother wants on it, 'Faithful unto Death.' "

        No word more fitting to be placed on her tombstone. Fidelity was the keynote of her life. She served her earthly masters well, and when her heart was turned by the grace of God to the Lord Jesus Christ she held her faith to the end, in childlike simplicity, growing more and more like her Divine Master until the close of her life, and to all who were acquainted with her there is an assurance given that she has realized the promise of, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."

        

S. R. L.

        


Page 22

MORNING PRAYER.

[Designed for young children, as a companion to the evening prayer
of "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep."]


                         Now I wake to see the light,
                         I pray the Lord who gives me sight
                         To keep me through the live-long day,
                         And help me put all sin away.

S. R. L.

        


Page 23

HAPPINESS.

S. R. L.

        "Where grows? where grows it not? if vain our toil
We ought to blame the culture, not the soil;
Fixed to no spot is happiness sincere;
'Tis nowhere to be found, or everywhere."

        THE universal desire for happiness is a proof that all were created to be happy; but few with sincerity can declare themselves as happy people, and if the acknowledgment is made it is accompanied with a sigh for some unattained good. When Adam, our great federal head, made in the image of his Creator, was placed in Eden, he was perfectly happy, but with his innocence his happiness fled, and we his children inherit misery from our great progenitor, and miserable we remain until restored to purity by the second Adam. None need hope for other than a fitful, fleeting joy before he yields his heart to heavenly influences; not until then can he expect to have a solid, lasting joy, a continued happiness that will flow on like a mighty river, deepening as it flows to the end


Page 24

of life. Sin is the great cause of misery; but many fail of finding happiness, even after the oppressive burden of sin is removed, because they are not content to find it in small things, but are continually looking for great occasions that never come. To the great majority of the human race it is a negative rather than a positive state, and so some are happy but do not know it. Each individual may increase his stock of happiness by cultivating the soil of the heart a little deeper--in forgetting self and remembering his companions on the road of life a little more than is usually the case. By a pleasant word to the depressed, a kindly act to the necessitous, giving sympathy to the afflicted, and smiles to the prosperous, our interest is made known to our fellow- voyagers and we are ultimately gainers by a reflex happiness in witnessing the pleasure we give to others by our ministrations. Education is the most fruitful source of happiness, considered apart from religion; it subdues what is gross in our nature, elevates our tastes and prepares us for a full enjoyment of the beauties of nature, which are so lavishly spread over the broad earth for the joy of all. The poor as well as the rich man, the invalid and those who are in robust health, can alike study the


Page 25

varying landscape, the cloud-capped mountain with its leaping cascades, and the magnificent arch of heaven with its midnight stars, or gorgeous canopy of clouds at sunset. Every child should have its attention directed to objects of beauty in nature at an early period, especially to flowers, trees and insects, which are so abundant everywhere. The habit of noticing small things will grow as years increase and will be a life-long benefit, giving a love for Nature and yielding a pleasure that calls for no repentance and that necessarily leads the mind from Nature up to Nature's God.


Page 26

        

AURORA BOREALIS OF APRIL 15, 1869.

SEEN BY

S. R. L.

        THIS latitude (Harford county, Maryland) was favored with an Aurora of unusual magnificence. It brought vividly to mind the Esquimaux name for this celestial phenomenon, "The dance of the Spirits." I shall endeavor to depict in words a scene which I hope to retain in "memory's halls" to the latest day of my life, as it will be to me "a joy forever." The light was noticed at sunset, and as the shades of evening fell it took the distinct form of the Aurora Borealis. A lovely arch of silvery rays formed close on the line of the horizon. From this sprung other rays higher up toward the zenith. About nine o'clock I saw from the coruscations that something more brilliant yet might be expected and determined to watch for it. At this time, detached from the double arch and higher up, was a peculiar figure in shape like an immense boomerang. In a few minutes it had flashed away, to reappear in other forms. After ten o'clock,


Page 27

upon taking another observation, I found that the arch had moved higher. It was now about forty-five degrees from the horizon. At the east was a large space of steady silver light, tinged with crimson. On a line with this at the west was a similar field of steady glowing silver light. From the edges of these two fountains of light brilliant coruscations emanated, and the whole northern heavens were gorgeously illuminated. All the coruscations were advancing by long and rapid waves to the zenith, where were already to be seen a great number of forms like angels' wings. Gradually these flashed around and settled in clouds as the center of a dark, vivid, immense crimson star, from which extended in every direction long, brilliant, silvery-white rays. Awe-struck, I stood gazing up into the heavens, my heart being filled to its utmost capacity with adoring love to the great Creator of such ineffable beauty and gave utterance to a fervid "Glory to God! " If an angel had darted down to earth from the center of that resplendent star it would have been just what I hoped for. But no angel desceeded. It flashed away in long waves of silver, to dance about in other shapes. At one period of greatest activity I fancied a sound was produced from the


Page 28

aurora of a slight crackling, scarcely discernible in the still night air. After eleven o'clock, being fully satisfied, I re-entered the house in profound meditation as to what must be the glories of our heavenly home, as the earth is so full of such perfect beauty. I turned to the Holy Book and read: "And I saw no temple therein, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it: for the Glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof."

        


Page 29

"THIS DO YE AS OFT AS YE DRINK IT IN
REMEMBRANCE OF ME."


                         Not 'mid pleasure's thoughtless throng,
                         Not in halls of festive mirth,
                         Where witty jest and mellow song
                         Ring through the air, may I drink wine.


                         Not around the social board,
                         Where friend meets friend in happy mood,
                         And health to health is freely poured,
                         And laughter sounds, may I drink wine.


                         In the house of God, where waiting,
                         With the favored ones of Heaven
                         For the coming of the blessing
                         Of His sacred presence dear.


                         When a sense of sin oppresses,
                         And my heart with grief is bowed
                         For the cruel gibes and lashes
                         Which my Saviour meekly bore.


                         When I recollect the death-pang
                         Of the blessed Son of God,
                         Who on the cruel cross did hang,
                         Only then must I drink wine.

S. R. L.


Page 30

A HAPPY LIFE.

[Inscribed to Mrs. W. B. B.]


                         Gracefully thy girlhood glided
                         'Mid a most delightful home,
                         Where, by loving parents guided,
                         Thou and sisters fair didst roam.


                         When thy wedded troth was plighted
                         To a husband noble, fond,
                         All thy happy life was lighted
                         By the rosy nuptial bond.


                         Then were added sons and daughters,
                         And thy cup of bliss was full,
                         And thy loving heart ne'er falters
                         Till to God thou bringst them all.


                         In the mother's heart God wakened
                         Hopes for an eternal joy,
                         For the band of children wakened
                         All thy love without alloy.


Page 31


                         Now thou standest by confession
                         With the saints of God arrayed,
                         In the garments of Salvation,
                         Washed in Jesus' precious blood.


                         May God's Holy Spirit guide thee
                         Into scenes divinely fair,
                         Where thy raptured soul may see
                         joys that need not fear despair.

        

S. R. L.

        


Page 32

THE UNWELCOME GUEST.

        THERE is a feeling, an earnest desire, in every human breast, to know more than is allowed us weak mortals to know of the Mysteries of the Spirit Land. To me there is an inexpressible charm in any story that savors of the supernatural, and next to hearing about spiritual manifestations to others has been a fervent wish to be myself favored with the sight of a ghost. But when mortals are favored by a visit from an inhabitant of the Spirit Land terror is so immediately the result as to prevent our growing any wiser than we already are through the Scripture revelation pertaining to eternity. After waiting long years to see a ghost my unholy curiosity was gratified, and, like others on similar occasions, I also was too glad to see the phantom depart to question him on the important subjects of eternity, concerning eternal life, and misery. Not very many years ago my circle of friends in a not distant city lost by death, after a lingering illness, one of its most valued members, a man of


Page 33

great talents and kindly home virtues; a lover of his fireside, and perfectly devoted to those who shared it with him. Feeling deeply the loss his family had sustained, in the earnestness of my sympathy I made them a visit of condolence, and, as was to be expected, found the once- happy home shrouded in gloom. Their place of residence was a chateau-like building, being several stories in height, each story containing suites of apartments opening into each other and connected by immense halls and dim corridors. Upon the day of my arrival (the season was early spring, the air being still keen with frost) we assembled at four o'clock, the usual hour for dinner, in the large dining-room, which was the last apartment in the suite containing the elegant drawing-room and the well-filled library. Opposite a door opening into the library was one which led out into a corridor communicating with the kitchen, and through which the servants were passing back and forth in arranging the dinner upon the table. Two great windows lighted this room on the east, and opposite them was a third door which opened upon one of the grand lofty halls. As we seated ourselves at table an unwonted silence fell upon us. Wondering at this, and not caring to


Page 34

break the stillness, which continued after we were seated, I ate the delicacies provided and glanced around at the familiar adornments of the place. Each article occupied the same position as upon the occasion of my last visit under happier auspices. There stood the massive mahogany sideboard with its wealth of rich china and sparkling glass. The lovely marble vases I had so often admired, as usual, graced the mantelpiece, but upon a picture familiar enough in other days my gaze dwelt the longest. It was a picture illustrating that passage of Scripture history which describes David as a minstrel youth excelling upon the harp and called into the presence of the lordly King Saul to charm away by his soothing strains the evil spirit which tormented the king. The figures in it were nearly of life size, and as the silence around the table continued unbroken I enjoyed my dinner, and as I did so still studied the picture. There was the minstrel, clad in his simple garments, with exquisite grace grasping the instrument from which so much was expected. Michal, in all the redundancy and fresh charm of early womanhood, is endeavoring with all the solicitude of a daughter depicted in her face to attract the attention of her father


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to his favorite harp; but the stern old king, half crouching in his royal robes upon his throne, has not yet yielded to its sweet influence--the demon still lashes his soul into frenzy, and was looking through his lurid eyes directly into mine. Half frightened already by the Satanic look out of Saul's eyes, hearing the corridor door open, I gladly turned my attention to it, fully expecting to see a friendly, beaming sable face, but, instead, beheld advancing directly toward the table the whilom master of the house. His formerly stately figure was now enlarged until it very nearly reached the ceiling, which was sixteen or eighteen feet high, and was clad in the moldy habiliments of the grave. His cold, piercing eyes were fixed on mine, as in almost breathless amazement and terror I watched his slow progress across the room. Hastily, fearfully, I peered at each face around the board. Every head was bent close over his or her plate; not a creature lifted a hand toward the once-loved father and friend as he paced by each of us. One daughter, trembling by my side, in a hoarse whisper informed me it was always so: he made his appearance in these horrid garments regularly every day at that hour. Thus was the fearful silence accounted


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for. The dread of the specter sealed their lips, and hoping that I, not being a member of the family, might not see the fearful vision, they did not inform me of the unwelcome visitor; but to see it was also granted to me, and truly it may said one ghost is enough to see in a lifetime. When the awful object reached the hall-door he held it, half closed, in his hand, the husband of one of his daughters inquired in an exceedingly timid tone of voice: "Are you coming back again?" "No! " shouted the ghost in a voice of thunder, at the same time opening the door wide and closing it after him with great violence, admitting a furious blast of icy cold wind which blew over me with full force and startled me out of a deep and awful dream. Oh! the joy of waking to find myself in my own snug chamber, in a retired farmhouse, in dear old Harford county, and not a visitor in a magnificent chateau frequented by shadows from the spirit land, and entirely satisfied to remain unenlightened as to the mysteries of the future state beyond the veil of Death.

        


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IMPROMPTU.

[Naming a little couisin in Ohio.]


                         Eugenia Howard I select
                         Out of my teeming brain
                         By which to call our little pet
                         From mischief, harm or rain.


                         When childhood's years have flown apace,
                         A merry maiden she,
                         Eugenia still will have a grace
                         With lover, maid and me.


                         My task is done; I can no more
                         Than wish the child may seem
                         To father's pride and mother's love
                         A pearl of rarest gleam.

S. R. L.

        


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THE BRIDE

[Blake waited on in Brown Memorial Church]


                         Ne'er saw I a blither maiden,
                         Ever smiling, ever gay,
                         Living thus with pleasure laden,
                         Living on from day to day,
                         In a whirl of sportive measure
                         Ever casting joy around,
                         Binding all our hearts at leisure,
                         Rifling us of senses sound.
                         On thy life may ne'er a shadow
                         Of affliction's presence drear
                         Kill thy liveliest hopes below.
                         Step thou on from sorrow clear.

S. R. L.

        


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SONG.

By R. E. H. LEVERING, Lancaster, Ohio


                         Gaze, dearest one, at evening time,
                         On brightest star above,
                         And know that in the female train
                         Thus shines the one I love!


                         Cull from the garden, love, its pride,
                         With perfum'd beauty rife,
                         And know that, like its charms, thou art
                         The sweetest flower of life!


                         Oh, take the gem from coronet,
                         More precious than the rest,
                         A type to be of virtue, thine,
                         Most pure in woman's breast!


                         Then take the glories of this world
                         And weigh thy charms with them;
                         For thee I'd spurn them all away,
                         My flower, my star, my gem!


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                         Then to thy bosom bind with care
                         The fadeless evergreen,
                         To note that like thy spotless love
                         Unchangeable is mine!

        


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ACROSTIC.

BY ORIGINALIAD.

[Exhibiting the name of a little girl twelve years old.]


                         Should I extol thy wit refined,
                         A tribute pay to thy young mind,
                         Rob'd in the charms of native sense,
                         A promise of much excellence?
                         Has not thy soul a brighter worth?
                         Read in the book of God its birth!
                         E'en from His hand who framed the sky,
                         Brought forth the glorious orbs on high,
                         Enrich'd the earth with every good,
                         Crown'd all with Jesus' precious blood--
                         Consider from His hand it came,
                         A God forevermore the same!
                         Love, then, thy Father--be his child--
                         Enjoy His government so mild.
                         Vain is the wish elsewhere to find
                         Enlight'ning pleasure for the mind.
                         Rich is the joy he can bestow;
                         In life, the antidote of woe!
                         No bliss does He refuse to give!
                         Go to thy God, and ever live!

        


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LINES ON MISS C., OF BALTIMORE.

By R. E. H. LEVERING, Lancaster, Ohio.


                         Moved by some heathen God of ancient time,
                         Italia's sons performed their deeds sublime;
                         Struck sweet their harp in praise of beauty rare,
                         Shrined in their hearts as loveliest of the fair!
                         Roused by an inspiration still more sweet,
                         A holier love a kindred love to meet,
                         Come forth the first affections of my heart,
                         Held in soft bonds by Love's superior art!
                         Each charm more lasting than mere Beauty's ray,
                         Loud speak her merit and extend her sway--
                         Golconda's gold in Hymen's path unsought,
                         Cold, calculating artifice is not
                         On her bright fame a warning and a blot!
                         Long may enduring charms like Rachel's prove
                         Examples high to foster holiest love!

        


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THE BUTTERFLY.


                         The lovely Sarah thought, quite sly,
                         To catch, one day, a butterfly;
                         She threw her apron to enclose
                         The longed-for prize, as in a noose;
                         The beauteous insect, watchful still,
                         The snare avoided with much skill,
                         And fled, a most rejoicing one,
                         With added wisdom snares to shun,
                         A lesson leaving for the maid
                         In noble practice just displayed,
                         To wit: that loveliest females are,
                         Like butterflies, exposed to snare,
                         And should combine, in things of love,
                         The wily serpent with the dove,
                         And, always watching, never find
                         In confidence misplaced or blind,
                         A loss which time cannot repair--
                         The loss of virtue in a snare!

        OLD HONESTY, Lancaster, Ohio.

        


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"LITTLE CHILDREN, LOVE ONE ANOTHER."

        A FEW words for the children who may read this booklet, and my full intention will be carried out.

        For ten years my life was among children as a teacher in the public school near my home in Harford county. I loved the children. My Master loved little children and blessed them. As His disciple, it was my duty to bring the children to Him that He might bless them. I encouraged them to read and study the Scriptures of truth that testified of His birth, His life and His death. The result of this teaching will only be known when the books recording the deeds done in the body shall be opened and the dead, both small and great, be judged. Now, all children who read the Scriptures of truth know that there are two places mentioned for the souls of human beings to live in--Heaven for the obedient children of God, and Hell for the disobedient children of God-- and they know the way to Heaven is Christ. Whoever accepts Him as a personal Saviour is sure of reaching the abode of the


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saints of the Lord, the Heaven of which we read in the Holy Bible. There God dwells in light and love and joy abounds; happiness pure and unalloyed is found. No fancy can imagine the joys of Heaven. It is vain to try; we cannot do it. The disobedient children of God, who love sin too well to reject it, and who will not accept salvation as the gift of God through the blood of Christ, will surely be cast into Hell, to live forever and ever in the blackness of darkness and where the devil and his evil angels are never to be released from torment.

        It is growing more and more the custom to draw the attention of sinners away from dread of everlasting woe and fix their minds on the blessed abode of the righteous; but they must be told of the choice they are called upon to make-- to enter the service of the God of love and light, or to serve the Prince of Darkness; to live for God and Heaven, or to continue in sin and go to Hell. Some say God is too merciful to punish his erring children. Rewards and punishments regulate domestic life, the schools, commonwealths, the whole world, all creation that we have any knowledge of. You children know full well when you break your mother's rules and do as you please


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you have a dread of that slipper or that rod, or the short rations of good things in her cupboard, or the dark closet, where in extreme cases you may be shut up until repentance and promises of good behavior cause her to release you. Your mothers love you, but if you do naughty deeds the mothers, because of their love for you, must punish you to secure good behavior. The earthly parent punishes only for a short time. The Heavenly Father punishes evil-doers with everlasting woe.

        If you will turn to your Bibles and read the first chapter of Proverbs you will find in the seventh verse these words: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction." Now turn the leaves of the written Word of God and find the fourteenth Psalm, and you will read in the first verse : "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God."

        Now, children, I beg of you to fear the Lord. Do not rank yourselves among the fools who say in their hearts, "There is no God," or if they give any credence of His existence they will say we do not know Him, we cannot understand Him. If He does exist, He is too full of love to punish His poor, weak creatures


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with everlasting destruction in Hell, if they do not obey the Holy Scriptures and follow after the blessed Lord Jesus who came to earth from Heaven to seek and to save such poor weak sinners as we are. The serpent who tempted Eve to disobey God while she was innocent in the Garden of Eden and had no fear of death except as she was warned not to eat of the tree that was in the midst of the garden, "Lest ye die," told her, "Ye shall not surely die." So he continues to contradict all the teaching of our Heavenly Father. In various ways he continues to lure us into all sorts of evil doings, which will surely end in the loss of the precious soul unless we repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Avoid all places where you will be sure to meet the enemy of souls. The saloons, the gaming places (and they are many), the theaters, so attractive from their music and dancing and falseness in general, especially the false view they give of amusement. The poison cup, the dagger of the assassin, the death agonies of the victims of both these fearful agents should never be shown to the public as a fund of amusement; rather of horror, to be kept away from all human beings. Such teachings can only end in producing such fearful fruit as Wilkes


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Booth bore when he ended the life of our venerated President Abraham Lincoln. Many very good people regard the theater as a place of innocent amusement. But behind all the glare of the pretty lights and bright scenes depicted on the stage, it is well known much misery exists among the actors and actresses, many sad histories of private life hidden behind the mimic life portrayed upon the stage, painful mysteries and secrets which can never be penetrated by mortal man, and will only be revealed at the last day when the three books will be opened on the throne of judgment--the Lamb's Book of Life and the two books, one of evil deeds and the other of good deeds, out of which all of us are to be rewarded for good or evil, as we have acted on this earth.

THE END.