Then and there I cast it from me forever, as being no part of divine law, and thus unconsciously took the first step in breaking through a faith in plenary inspiration.
I next turned to the book in general for guidance: “Wives, obey your husbands;” “Children obey your parents;” “Honor thy father and thy mother.” What a labyrinth of irreconcilable contradictions! God, in nature, spoke with no uncertain sound, “Go home to your mother,” and my choice was made while my husband talked.
I said that if he did not see about a boat I would. When he told me that he had a legal right to detain me, and would exercise it, I assured him the attempt would be as dangerous as useless, for I was going to Pittsburg.
He went out, promising to engage my passage, but staid so long that I went to the wharf, where respectable women were not seen alone, saw a boat with a flag out for Pittsburg, engaged a berth, and so left Louisville.
THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH.—AGE, 24, 25.
Mother was suffering when I reached her, as I had not dreamed of. After a consultation, Drs. Gazzam and Fahnestock thought she could not live more than four weeks; but Spear said she might linger three months. This blanched the cheek of each one. Three months of such unremitting pain, steadily on the increase, was appalling; but mother faced the prospect without a murmur, willing to bear by God’s grace what He should inflict, and to wait His good time for deliverance. I was filled with self-reproach, for I should have been with her months before.
In a few days my mother-in-law and one of her daughters came to see how long I proposed to stay, why I had left James with the goods, and when I would go and take charge of them. They had had a letter from him, and he was in great trouble. She was gentle and grave—inquired minutely about our nursing, but thought it expensive—dwelt at length on the folly of spending time and money in caring for the sick when recovery was impossible. Mother could not see them, and they were offended, for they proposed helping to take care of her, that I might return to my duty.
Some time after the visit of my mother-in-law, her son-in-law—who was a class-leader and a man of prominence in the community—came with solemn aspect, took my hand, sighed, and said:
“I heard you had left James with the goods.” Here he sighed again, wagged his head, and added: