The place is beautiful, in its way, but its scenery is too tamely smiling and sleeping. My associations with it are most painful. There darkened round us the effects of my father’s ill-judged exchange,—ill-judged, so far at least as regarded himself, mother, and me, all violently rent from the habits of our former life, and cast upon toils for which we were unprepared: there my mother’s health was impaired, and mine destroyed; there my father died; there were undergone the miserable perplexities of a family that has lost its head; there I passed through the conflicts needed to give up all which my heart had for years desired, and to tread a path for which I had no skill, and no call, except that it must be trodden by some one, and I alone was ready. Wachuset and the Peterboro hills are blended in my memory with hours of anguish as great as I am capable of suffering. I used to look at them towering to the sky, and feel that I, too, from birth, had longed to rise, and, though for the moment crushed, was not subdued.
But if those beautiful hills, and wide, rich fields, saw this sad lore well learned, they also saw some previous lessons given in faith, fortitude, self-command, and unselfish love. There too, in solitude, the mind acquired more power of concentration, and discerned the beauty of strict method; there too, more than all, the heart was awakened to sympathize with the ignorant, to pity the vulgar, to hope for the seemingly worthless, and to commune with the Divine Spirit of Creation, which cannot err, which never sleeps, which will not permit evil to be permanent, nor its aim of beauty in the smallest particular eventually to fail.
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