Previous to her marriage, Mrs. Richardson had often been advised to allow her history to be placed before the public. But she always replied, “For my life I would not do it. Not because I do not wish the world to know it, for I would gladly proclaim it wherever a Romanist is known, but it would be impossible for me to escape their hands should I make myself so public. They would most assuredly take my life.” After her marriage, however, her principal objection was removed. She thought they would not wish to take her back into the nunnery, and her husband would protect her from violence. She therefore related the story of her life while in the convent, which, in accordance with her own request, was written down from her lips as she related it. This was done by Mrs. Lucy Ann Hood, wife of Edward P. Hood, and daughter of Ezra Goddard. It is now given to the public without addition or alteration, and with but a slight abridgment. A strange and startling story it certainly is. Perhaps the reader will cast it aside at once as a worthless fiction,—the idle vagary of an excited brain. The compiler, of course, cannot vouch for its truth, but would respectfully invite the attention of the reader to the following testimonials presented by those who have known the narrator. The first is from Edward P. Hood, with whom Mrs. Richardson resided when her narrative was written.
(TESTIMONY OF EDWARD P. HOOD.)
To all whom it may concern. I hereby certify that I was personally acquainted with Sarah J. Richards, now Sarah J. Richardson, at the time she resided in Worcester, Mass. I first saw her at the house of Mr. Ezra Goddard, where she came seeking employment. She appeared anxious to get some kind of work, was willing to do anything to earn an honest living. She had the appearance of a person who had seen much suffering and hardship. She worked for Mr. Goddard a short time, when she obtained another place. She then left, but called very often; and during her stay in Worcester, she worked there several times. So far as I was able to judge of her character, I do not hesitate to say that she was a woman of truth and honesty. I heard her relate the account of her life and sufferings in the Grey Nunnery, and her final escape. I knew when the story was written, and can testify to its being done according to her own dictation. I have examined the manuscript, and can say that it a written out truly and faithfully as related by the nun herself.
Edward P. Hood.
Worcester, May 5, 1856.
(TESTIMONY OF EZRA GODDARD.)
I first became acquainted with Sarah J. Richardson in August 1854. She came to my house to work for my wife. She was at my house a great many times after that until March 1855, when she left Worcester. At one time she was there four or five weeks in succession. She was industrious, willing to do anything to get an honest living. She was kind in her disposition, and honest in her dealings. I have no hesitation in saying that I think her statements can be relied upon.