* * * * *
My sister’s last letter from Europe is full of solemnity, and evidences her clear conviction of the perils of the voyage across the treacherous ocean. It is a leave-taking, dearly cherished now by the mother to whom it was addressed, the kindred of whom she speaks, and by those other kindred,—those who in spirit felt near to and loved her. It is as follows:—
Florence, May 14, 1850.
“Dear Mother,—I will believe I shall be welcome with my treasures,—my husband and child. For me, I long so much to see you! Should anything hinder our meeting upon earth, think of your daughter, as one who always wished, at least, to do her duty, and who always cherished you, according as her mind opened to discover excellence.
“Give dear love, too, to my brothers; and first to my eldest, faithful friend, Eugene; a sister’s love to Ellen; love to my kind good aunts, and to my dear cousin E. God bless them!
“I hope we shall be able to pass some time together yet, in this world. But if God decrees otherwise,—here and HEREAFTER, my dearest mother,
“Your loving child,
HOMEWARD VOYAGE, AND MEMORIALS.
It seems proper that some account of the sad close of Madame Ossoli’s earthly journeyings should be embodied in this volume recording her travels. But a brother’s hand trembles even now and cannot write it. Noble, heroic, unselfish, Christian was that death, even as had been her life; but its outward circumstances were too painful for my pen to describe. Nor needs it,—for a scene like that must have impressed itself indelibly on those who witnessed it, and accurate and vivid have been their narratives. The Memoirs of my sister contain a most faithful description; but as they are accessible to all, and I trust will be read by all who have read this volume, I have chosen rather to give the accounts somewhat condensed which appeared in the New York Tribune at the time of the calamity. The first is from the pen of Bayard Taylor, who visited the scene on the day succeeding the wreck, and describes the appearance of the shore and the remains of the vessel. This is followed by the narrative of Mrs. Hasty, wife of the captain, herself a participant in the scene, and so overwhelmed by grief at her husband’s loss, and that of friends she had learned so much to value, that she has since faded from this life. A true and noble woman, her account deserves to be remembered. The third article is from the pen of Horace Greeley, my sister’s ever-valued friend. Several poems, suggested by this scene, written by those in the Old World and New who loved and honored Madame Ossoli, are also inserted here. The respect they testify for the departed is soothing to the hearts of kindred, and to the many who love and cherish the memory of Margaret Fuller.—ED.