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Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 [1824], Hobomok (Cummings, Hilliard & Co., Boston) [word count] [eaf041].
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Her eye still beams unwonted fires,
With a woman's love and a saint's desires;
And her last, fond, lingering look is given
To the love she leaves, and then to heaven,—
As if she would bear that love away,
To a purer world and a brighter day.

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During several weeks Mr. Johnson continued almost
constantly at Shawmut* and Tri-Mountain,† full
of zeal and perseverance in his new enterprise. Lady
Arabella in the mean time remained at Salem, and entered
with enthusiasm into all the plans of her honored
husband. She never spoke of the reverse in her situation,
and scarcely seemed to think of it. Her character
was indeed all that her countenance indicated.
The expression of her eyes was gentle, but her high
forehead, aquiline nose, and the peculiar construction
of her mouth, all spoke intellect and fortitude, rather
than tenderness. Firmness of purpose had been her
leading trait from childhood; and now she tasked it
to the utmost. But it was soon evident that the soul,
in the consciousness of its strength, had too heavily
taxed its frail, earth-born companion. The decline of
each day witnessed a bright, shadowy spot upon her
cheek, too delicate to be placed there by the pencil
of health—her lips grew pale—and her eyes had lost
all their lustre, save a transient beam of tenderness
when she welcomed the return of her beloved partner.
These changes could not escape the watchful

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eye of affection. The important business in which
Mr. Johnson was engaged, rendered his frequent presence
at Shawmut absolutely necessary; but notwithstanding
the solitary and wearisome distance between
them, evening seldom returned without seeing him by
the side of Lady Arabella. Mrs. Conant too was fast
drooping, and there seemed but a hair's breadth between
her and the grave. It was interesting to observe
the contrast between the two invalids. One,
always weak and gentle, bended to the blast, and
seemed to ask support from every thing around her.
The other, struggling against decay, seemed rather
to give assistance, than to require it. Their husbands
watched over them, with the tender solicitude
of a mother over her sickening infant. Mr. Conant,
stern as he was, felt that a sigh or groan from the woman
whom he had so long and sincerely loved, had
power to stir up those deep recesses of feeling, which
had for years been sealed within his soul; and Mary's
heart was ready to burst with keen and protracted
anguish, when she saw death standing with suspended
dart, taking slow, but certain aim, at two endeared
victims. But medicine, anxiety, and kindness, were
alike unavailing; and soon they both retired to the
same apartment, and laid themselves down on the beds
from which they were never more to rise. Their
feeble hold upon life daily grew more precarious,
till at length nothing could tempt their anxious husbands
from the pillow. Neither of them had spoken
much for several days, when on the 24th of August
the faint voice of Mrs. Conant was heard, as she

“Roger—My dear Roger.”

In a moment he was at her side.

“What would you say, Mary?” asked he.

“There are many things I would have spoken,” she

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replied; “but I fear I have not strength wherewith to
utter them. If Brown comes back, you must remember
our own thwarted love, and deal kindly with Mary.
She hath been a good child; and verily the God who
had mercy on our unconverted souls, will not forsake
her. Will you promise?”

“I will,” answered the old man, in an agitated
voice. “Verily, my dear wife, your dying request
shall be obeyed.”

“I would fain turn to the light,” said she, “for I
feel that my departure draweth nigh.”

Mary and her father gently raised her, and turned
her toward the little window. She looked on her
husband, with the celestial smile of a dying saint, as
she said,

“I die happy in the Lord Jesus. Sometimes I
would fain tarry longer for your sake; but the Lord's
will be done.”

The agonized man pressed back the crowding tears,
as he said,

“If in the roughness of my nature, I have sometimes
spoken too harshly; say that you forgive me.”

“I have nothing to forgive,” she replied. “To me
you have been uniformly kind.”

She reached out her hand to Mary—“For my
sake,” added she, “be as dutiful to your good father
as you have been to me.”

“I will—I will,” answered Mary, as she, sobbing,
hid her face in the bedclothes.

She spoke no more for several hours. At length,
Mr. Conant, who remained close by her side, heard
her whisper, in low and broken tones, “My dear husband.”
She attempted to extend her hand toward
him, but the blindness of death was upon her, and it
feebly sunk down by her side. As her husband
placed it within his, she murmured, “I cannot see

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you, dear Roger. Kiss me before I die.” He stooped
down—and oh, how deeply painful was that last
embrace. Mary likewise bent over her, and kissed
her cold cheek.

“My child—God—bless”—was heard from the lips
of that dying mother; but the utterance was troubled
and indistinct. Her breathings soon became shorter
and more disturbed, and the last agonies seemed passing
over her. No sound was heard in the room, till
presently a short, quick gasp announced the soul's
departure. Mr. Conant placed his hand upon her
heart—its pulse no longer throbbed. He held the
taper before her mouth—no breath was there to move
the steady flame. Mary uttered an involuntary shriek,
and sunk upon her knees. There is nothing like the
chamber of death to still the turbulence of passion,
and overcome the loftiness of pride. What now was
the shame of human weakness to that bereaved old
man? He stood by the corpse of her, who for twenty
years had lain in his bosom, and he heeded not that
the big, bright tears fell fast upon the bed. Nothing
now remained but the last, sad offices of friendship;
and they were silently performed. Not a word was
spoken by father or daughter. The sheet was carefully
drawn over that pale face; and both bowed
down their weary, aching heads upon the pillow, in
still communion with their own souls.

During this time, the Lady Arabella had sunk into
a slumber so deep and tranquil that she seemed almost
like her departed companion. Mr. Johnson remained
with her hand clasped in his, half doubtful
whether it was not indeed the sleep of death. Towards
morning she awoke; and resting her eyes upon
her husband with a look of unutterable love, she
feebly returned the pressure of his hand, as she said,

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“You are always near me, dear Isaac.” After a
thoughtful pause, she asked, “Is not the Lady Mary

“She is,” answered Mr. Johnson.

“Assuredly I so thought,” continued she. “I dreamed
that angels came for her, and she said they must
wait for me. They are standing by her bed-side
now. Don't you see the light of their garments?
Well, I shall soon be ready.”

“My God, my God,” exclaimed the young husband,
“would that the bitterness of this cup might pass from

“But it may not pass,” rejoined his wife, calmly;
“and you must drink it like a christian. Let your
whole trust be on the Rock of Ages.”

“I could bear all, Arabella,” replied he, “had I
not brought you into trials too mighty for your
strength. But for my selfish love, you might now be
living in ease and comfort.”

“My dear Isaac, does this sound like a follower of
the Lamb?” said she. “The time of my departure
hath come, and what matters it whether it be in England
or America? In the short space we have been
allowed to sojourn together, I have enjoyed more than
all my life beside; and let this remembrance comfort
you when I am gone. Remember me most kindly to
my good brother. May his earthly union be as happy
and more permanent than mine.”

For a long time she seemed exhausted by the effort
she had made. Then, taking the ring from her

“Give this to Mary” said she; “and when she
looks thereon, bid her think to what all human enjoyment
must come. I know you will always wear
my miniature. It would have been a great comfort,
had I been permitted to leave a living image of

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myself; but it hath pleased the Lord to order otherwise.
Faint not in the enterprise whereunto our blessed
Lord has called you; and remember we meet
again in Jesus.”

The heart of her husband was too full to speak;
and he could only kiss her emaciated hand in reply.
She fixed her dying gaze upon him, and a faint smile
hovered round her lips, shedding its unearthly light
over her whole countenance, as she said, “I hear the
angels singing. 'Tis time for me to go.” Her look was
still towards her husband, when her lids closed as if
in peaceful slumber. All was hushed. The flickering
lamp of life was extinguished.

There, in that miserable room, lay the descendants
of two noble houses. Both alike victims to what has
always been the source of woman's greatest misery—
love—deep and unwearied love. The Lady Mary
had in her life time been so still and fair, that the
smile on her placid countenance seemed but a mockery
of death; and whoever looked upon the Lady
Arabella would have judged that thought was still
busy beneath those closed eye-lids.

The next day all was still in that house of mourning.
Each one spoke in a subdued tone, and moved
with light and cautious tread, as if fearful of awakening
the repose of the dead. All had passed a sleepless
night, and as they arose from the pillow which
had for hours received their tears, a silent grasp of
the hand, strong in the first desperation of grief, was
their only salutation.

“My friend,” said Mr. Conant, “it becometh not
christians to be cast down in time of tribulation. Let
us pray to Him who is always a present help in time
of trouble.”

Mary handed down the Bible; and her father read
the 88th Psalm, without evincing any other emotion

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than the slight quivering of his lip and the gathering
moisture of his eye. Mr. Johnson rose to prayer,
and for awhile his voice was clear and undisturbed;
but in a few moments sobs were alone audible. Even
his exalted piety sunk in that dreadful conflict of feeling.
One burst of weakness, earth claimed as its
own—the rest he gave to heaven. His brethren
were all eager to speak words of comfort. He thanked
them for their kindness, and tried to hear them
calmly; but the mourner only can tell how painful
at such seasons, are well-meant offers of consolation.

Few honors could there be paid to deceased nobility.
The bodies were placed in rough coffins, covered
with black, and supported side by side, even as
they had expired. The procession stopped on a
neighbouring eminence, and after Mr. Higginson had
dwelt long on the sufferings and virtues of the departed,
the earth closed over them forever.

Grief, like all violent emotions, is still when deepest.
Mr. Johnson returned from that sad funeral,
and not a sigh or tear was seen to escape him. The
next day, he went to Shawmut, mingled in the debates
of his associates, encouraged the settlers, and
surveyed the tract he had purchased at Tri-Mountain.
How to build up the church seemed to occupy
his whole thoughts; and to that purpose he directed his
active and constant exertions. But in the midst of
this artificial strength, it was plain enough to be seen,
that his heart was broken.

A few weeks after Lady Arabella's death, he was
seen slowly proceeding through the forest, on his way
to Salem. He paused not to rest his weary footsteps
till he reached the place where he had last seen the
features of his adored wife. Silently he laid down
his head upon the ground, and wept. He arose, and
for awhile rested his melancholy gaze on the bright

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sun and verdant earth. Then kneeling beside the
grave, he prayed, “Heavenly Father, I beseech thee
to forgive this worship of an earthly idol; and if it so
pleaseth thee, take me from this world of sin and

He entered Mr. Conant's dwelling, and slightly partook
of the food which Mary's assiduous kindness
prepared for him. No expostulations could prevail
upon him to remain through the following day. He
retraced his solitary path to Shawmut, and it soon became
evident that the hand of death was upon him.

The day before his decease, he called Governor
Winthrop to his bed-side.

“Let not the laborers of the vineyard mourn that I
am removed,” said he. “Tell them to go on, like
brave soldiers of Christ Jesus, until they perfect the
work wherewithal he hath entrusted them. I bless
the Lord that he has called me to lay down my life
in his service, inasmuch as he has suffered me to witness
the gathering of one church in apostolic purity.
I have but one request to make unto you. Bury me
in the lot which I have laid out at Tri-Mountain;*
that at the great judgment-day I may rise among the
heritage which I have feebly endeavored to build up.
I would fain have the Lady Arabella placed by my
side; but it is a wearisome ways to Salem, and wheresoever
our bodies may be, our souls will be united.
God forgive me, if in sinful weakness, I have loved
that dear woman even better than his righteous

The excellent man soon after followed his young
wife to the mansions of eternal rest; and on the same
day that the news arrived at Salem, the pious and

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revered Mr. Higginson was likewise numbered with
the dead. Misfortunes and discouragements seemed
crowding upon the infant colonies, which had so lately
been rejoicing at their prosperity and increase.
“In all their streets was the voice of lamentation and
wo.” The countenances of men became disconsolate,
and mournfully they passed each other, as they said,
“Ichabod! Ichabod! Verily the Lord hath sorely
smitten us.”

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Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 [1824], Hobomok (Cummings, Hilliard & Co., Boston) [word count] [eaf041].
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