No event of special importance marked the year 1855. She spent the month of July among her friends in Portland, and the next six weeks at the Ocean House on Cape Elizabeth. This was one of her favorite places of rest. She never tired of watching the waves and their “multitudinous laughter,” of listening to the roar of the breakers, or climbing the rocks and wandering along the shore in quest of shells and sea-grasses. In gathering and pressing the latter, she passed many a happy hour. In August of this year appeared one of her best children’s books, Henry and Bessie; or, What they Did in the Country.
* * * * *
A Memorable Year. Lines on the Anniversary of Eddy’s Death. Extracts from her Journal. Little Susy’s Six Teachers. The Teachers’ Meeting. A New York Waif. Summer in the Country. Letters. Little Susy’s Little Servants. Extracts from her Journal. “Alone with God.”
The records of the year 1856 are singularly full and interesting. It was a year of poignant suffering, of sharp conflicts of soul, and of great peace and joy. Its earlier months, especially, were shadowed by a dark cloud of anxiety and distress. And her feeble bodily state caused by care-worn days and sleepless nights, added to the trouble. Old sorrows, too, came back again. On the 16th of January, the anniversary of Eddy’s death, she gave vent to her feelings in some pathetic verses, of which the following lines form a part:
Four years, four weary years, my child,
Four years ago to-night,
With parting cry of anguish wild
Thy spirit took its flight; ah me!
Took its eternal flight.
And in that hour of mortal strife
I thought I felt the throe,
The birth-pang of a grief, whose life
Must soothe my tearless woe, must soothe
And ease me of my woe.
Yet folded far through all these years,
Folded from mortal eyes,
Lying alas “too deep for tears,”
Unborn, unborn it lies, within
My heart of heart it lies.
My sinless child! upon thy knees
Before the Master pray;
Methinks thy infant hands might seize
And shed upon my way sweet peace;
Sweet peace upon my way.
Here follow some extracts from her journal.
Jan 3d. 1856.—Had no time to write on New Year’s day, as we had a host of callers. It was a very hard day, as I was quite unwell, and had at last to give up and go to bed.
15th—Am quite uneasy about baby, as it seems almost impossible she should long endure such severe pain and want of sleep. My life is a very anxious one. I feel every day more and more longing for my home in heaven. Sometimes I fear it amounts almost to a sinful longing—for surely I ought to be willing to live or die, just as God pleases.