To a certain handful of dear New England women of names unknown to the world, dwelling in a certain quiet village, alike unknown:—
We have worked together to make our little corner of the great universe a pleasanter place in which to live, and so we know, not only one another’s names, but something of one another’s joys and sorrows, cares and burdens, economies, hopes, and anxieties.
We all remember the dusty uphill road that leads to the green church common. We remember the white spire pointing upward against a background of blue sky and feathery elms. We remember the sound of the bell that falls on the Sabbath morning stillness, calling us across the daisy-sprinkled meadows of June, the golden hayfields of July, or the dazzling whiteness and deep snowdrifts of December days. The little cabinet-organ that plays the doxology, the hymn-books from which we sing “Praise God from whom all blessings flow,” the sweet freshness of the old meeting-house, within and without—how we have toiled to secure and preserve these humble mercies for ourselves and our children!
There really is a Dorcas Society, as you and I well know, and one not unlike that in these pages; and you and I have lived through many discouraging, laughable, and beautiful experiences while we emulated the Bible Dorcas, that woman “full of good works and alms deeds.”
There never was a Peabody Pew in the Tory Hill Meeting-House, and Nancy’s love story and Justin’s never happened within its century-old walls; but I have imagined only one of the many romances that have had their birth under the shadow of that steeple, did we but realize it.
As you have sat there on open-windowed Sundays, looking across purple clover-fields to blue distant mountains, watching the palm-leaf fans swaying to and fro in the warm stillness before sermon time, did not the place seem full of memories, for has not the life of two villages ebbed and flowed beneath that ancient roof? You heard the hum of droning bees and followed the airy wings of butterflies fluttering over the gravestones in the old churchyard, and underneath almost every moss-grown tablet some humble romance lies buried and all but forgotten.
If it had not been for you, I should never have written this story, so I give it back to you tied with a sprig from Ophelia’s nosegay; a spring of “rosemary, that’s for remembrance.”
K. D. W.
Edgewood, like all the other villages along the banks of the Saco, is full of sunny slopes and leafy hollows. There are little, rounded, green-clad hillocks that might, like their scriptural sisters, “skip with joy,” and there are grand, rocky hills tufted with gaunt pine trees—these leading the eye to the splendid heights of a neighbour State, where snow-crowned peaks tower in the blue distance, sweeping the horizon in a long line of majesty.