Saturday, May 30, 2015

Shadows In A Timeless Myth Presents The Charitable Miss Helen Miller Gould

Contemporary Observations On A Millionaire’s Daughter That Made Inherited Wealth a Blessing to Thousands.

MISS HELEN MILLER GOULD has won a place for herself in the hearts of Americans such as few people of great wealth ever gain. She is, indeed, one of the best known and most popular young women of New York, if not in the world. Her strong character, common sense, and high ideals, have made her respected by all, while her munificence and kindness have won her the love of many.
Her personality is charming. Upon my arrival at her Tarrytown home, I was made to feel that I was welcome, and everyone who enters her presence feels the same. The grand mansion, standing high on the hills overlooking the Hudson, has a home-like appearance that takes away any awe that may come over the visitor who looks upon so much beauty for the first time.

Chickens play around the little stone cottage at the grand entrance, and the grounds are not unlike those of any other country house, with trees in abundance, and beautiful lawns. There are large beds of flowers, and in the gardens all the summer vegetables were growing.

Miss Gould takes a very great interest in her famous greenhouses, the gardens, the flowers, and the chickens, for she is a home-loving woman. It is a common thing to see her in the grounds, digging and raking and planting, for all the world like some farmer’s girl. That is one reason why her neighbors all like her; she seems so unconscious of her wealth and station.


When I entered Lyndhurst, she came forward to meet me in the pleasantest way imaginable. Her face is not exactly beautiful, but has a great deal of character written upon it, and is very attractive, indeed. She held out her hand for me to shake in the good old-fashioned way, and then we sat down in the wide hall to talk. Miss Gould was dressed very simply. Her gown was of dark cloth, close-fitting, and her skirt hung several inches above the ground, for she is a believer in short skirts for walking. Her entire costume was very becoming. She never over-dresses, and her garments are neat, and, naturally, of excellent quality.


In the conversation that followed, I was permitted to learn much of her ambitions and aims. She is ambitious to leave a great impression on the world,—an impression made by good deeds well done, and this ambition is gratifying to the utmost. She is modest about her work. “I cannot find that I am doing much at all,” she said, “when there is so very much to be done. I suppose I shouldn’t expect to be able to do everything, but I sometimes feel that I want to, nevertheless.” Her good works are numerous and many-sided. For a number of years, she has supported two beds in the Babies’ Shelter, connected with the Church of the Holy Communion, New York, and the Wayside Day Nursery, near Bellevue Hospital, has always found in her a good friend. Once a year she makes a tour through the day nurseries of New York, noting the special needs of each, and often sending checks and materials for meeting those needs.


One of her most charming charities is “Woody Crest,” two miles from Lyndhurst, a haven of delight where some twoscore waifs are received at a time for a two-weeks’ visit. She has a personal oversight of the place, and, by her frequent visits, makes friends with the wee visitors, who look upon her as a combination of angel and fairy godmother. Every day, a wagonette, drawn by two horses, takes the children, in relays, for long drives into the country. Amusements are provided, and some of those who remain for an entire season at Woody Crest are instructed in different branches. Twice a month some of the older boys set the type for a little magazine which is devoted to Woody Crest matters. There are several portable cottages erected there, one for the sick, one for servants’ sleeping rooms, and a third for a laundry.

Miss Gould’s patriotism is very real and intense, and is not confined to times of war. Two years ago, she caused fifty thousand copies of the national hymn, “America,” to be printed and distributed among the pupils of the public schools of New York.

“I believe every one should know that hymn and sing it,” she declared, “if he sings no other. I would like the children to sing it into their very souls, till it becomes a part of them.”

She strongly favors patriotic services in the churches on the Sunday preceding the Fourth of July, when she would like to hear such airs as “America,” “Hail Columbia,” and “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and see the sacred edifices draped in red, white and blue.


Miss Gould has a strong prejudice against letting her many gifts and charities be known, and even her dearest friends never know “what Helen’s doing now.” Of course, her great public charities, as when she gives a hundred thousand dollars at a time, are heralded. Her recent gift of that sum to the government, for national defense, has made her name beloved throughout the land; but, had she been able, she would have kept that secret also.

I tried to ascertain her views regarding the education of young women of to-day, and what careers they should follow. This is one of her particular hobbies, and many are the young girls she has helped to attain to a better and more satisfactory life.


“In the first place,” she said, “I believe most earnestly in education for women; not necessarily the higher education about which we hear so much, but a good, common school education. As the years pass, girls are obliged to make their own way in the world more and more, and to do so they must have good schooling.”

“And what particular career do you think most desirable for young women?”

“Oh, as to careers, there are many that young women follow, nowadays. I think, if I had my own way to make, I should fit myself to be a private secretary. That is a position which, I think, attracts nearly every young woman; but, to fill it, she must study hard and learn, and then work hard to keep the place. Then I think there are openings for young women in the field of legitimate business. I’ve always held that women know as much about money affairs as men, only most of them haven’t had much experience. In that field there are hundreds of things that a woman can do.”


“But I don’t think it matters much what a girl does so long as she is active, and doesn’t allow herself to stagnate. There’s nothing, to my mind, so pathetic as a girl who thinks she can’t do anything, and is of no use to the world. Why, it’s no wonder there are so many suicides every day!”

She is consulted by her agents in regard to all her affairs. “I have no time for society,” she said, “and indeed I do not care for it at all. It is very well for those who like it,” she added, for she is a tolerant critic.

Her life at Tarrytown is an ideal one. She runs down to the city at frequent intervals, to attend to business affairs, for she manages all her own property; but she lives at Lyndhurst. She entertains but few visitors, and in turn visits but seldom.

I will not attempt to specify the numerous projects of charity that have been given life and vigor by Miss Gould. I know her gifts in recent years have passed the million-dollar mark.

Would you have an idea of her personality?

If so, think of a good young woman in your own town, who loves her parents and her home; who is devoted to the church; who thinks of the poor on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas; whose face is bright and manner unaffected; whose dress is elegant in its simplicity; who takes an interest in all things, from politics to religion; whom children love and day-laborers greet by fervently lifting the hat; and who, if she were graduated from a home seminary or college, would receive a bouquet from every boy in town. If you can think of such a young woman, and nearly every community has one, (and ninety-nine times out of a hundred she is poor,) you have a fair idea of the impression made on a plain man from a country town in Indiana by Miss Gould.

Helen Miller Gould is just at the threshold of her beautiful career. What a promise is there in her life and work for the coming century!

She has given much of her fortune for the Hall of Fame on the campus of the New York University, overlooking the Harlem River. It contains tablets for the names of fifty distinguished Americans, and proud will be the descendants of those whose names are inscribed thereon.

The human heart is the tablet upon which Miss Gould has inscribed her name and her “Hall of Fame” is as broad and high as the Republic itself.

Compiled From Sources In The Public Domain

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Smiles & Good Fortune,
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Shadows In A Timeless Myth Presents Renowned Nineteenth Century Actressess

Maude Adams.

Maude Adams is descended from a long line of theatrical people. She was born at Salt Lake City, Utah, November 11, 1872. Her mother was the leading woman of a stock company in that city, and at a very early age Miss Adams appeared on the stage in child’s parts. Her school days were scarcely over when she joined the E. H. Sothern Company. She afterward became a member of Charles Frohman’s stock company, and still later was leading lady for John Drew. Her most pronounced success was as Babbie, in The Little Minister and another as the title rôle of l’Aiglon. She also received much publicity as the model for the silver statue which was exhibited at the World’s Fair, Chicago. Miss Maude Adams has established herself permanently in the good-will of American play-goers.

Viola Allen.

Viola Allen was born in the south, but went to Boston when three years of age. She was educated in that city and at the Bishop Strachan school, Toronto, Canada. Her début was made at the Madison Square theater, New York, in Esmeralda, in 1882. During the season of 1883 and 1884 she was leading lady for John McCullough, and afterward played classical and Shakespearian rôles. She was a member of the Empire theater stock company in 1892, but her principal success was in creating the character of Gloria Quayle, in The Christian, which had a long run in New York in 1898, succeeded by a tour through the principal cities of the country. Miss Allen’s private charities are many, and she is identified with those phases of church work which have to do with the bettering of the conditions of the poor.

Ethel Barrymore.

Ethel Barrymore, one of the youngest stars in the theatrical profession, was born in Philadelphia in 1880. She comes of a professional family, and when, while yet a child, gave to those who were responsible for her first appearance behind the footlights assurance of innate talent. Miss Barrymore was by no means unknown to Metropolitan play-goers prior to the time when, under Mr. Charles Frohman’s management, she made her stellar début a few years since. The young actress is a finished comedienne and is a member of that modern school of comedy that cultivates repressed effort.

Mrs. Leslie Carter.

David Belasco, playwright and manager, has been uniformly successful with his plays and his stars. A case in point is that of Mrs. Leslie Carter, who has been connected in a professional capacity with Mr. Belasco for some years. Stepping from social circles in Chicago to the stage, she was in the first instance a somewhat indifferent specimen of the crude amateur actress, but Mr. Belasco detected in her undeveloped talent, and the rest is professional history. Under his guidance as tutor and manager she holds a prominent place in the theatrical world. Her first success was made in the Heart of Maryland and her last and most notable in Du Barry.

Eleanora Duse.

Eleanora Duse, the Italian tragedienne, who is Signora Cecci in private life, was born, in 1861, in Vigovano, Italy. At an early age she gave indications of those histrionic talents which subsequently made her famous. For many years she was one of the most notable figures on the stage of her country. She made her American début in 1893 at the Fifth Avenue theater, New York. While there is no gainsaying the sincerity and finish of her art, yet at the same time there are not a few critics who take exception to it on the score of the sombre plays and methods of the actress. Since her début she has visited the United States on more than one occasion, and in each instance her following in this country have accorded her the welcome which is due to her as an artiste and a woman.

May Irwin.

“Blessed are the laughmakers,” is one of the later beatitudes, and on that score May Irwin will certainly receive her share of blessings. She was born at Whitby, Ontario, Canada, in 1862, and made her début at the Adelphi theater, Buffalo, in February, 1876. Later, with her sister Flora, she became a member of Tony Pastor’s company, and shortly afterward[683] joined Augustin Daly’s company. She ranks as one of the wholesome mirth-making actresses of the American stage. The plays in which she has starred include The Widow Jones, The Swell Miss Fitzgerald, Courted Into Court, Kate Kip, Buyer, and other farcical comedies. In 1878 she was married to Frederick W. Keller, of St. Louis, who died in 1886.

Virginia Harned.

Virginia Harned was born at Boston, and, at the age of sixteen, made her début as Lady Despar, in The Corsican Brothers. She first played in New York city in 1890 at the Fourteenth street theater in a play entitled “A Long Lane or Green Meadow.” In this play she made so good an impression that she was engaged by Daniel Frohman as leading woman for E. A. Sothern. In 1896 she was married to Mr. Sothern and has since appeared in leading parts in his company. Probably her greatest success was in the creation of the title rôle of Trilby.

Mrs. Lillie Langtry.

Mrs. Lillie Langtry, if she has done nothing else, has proven that a woman can command admiration even when she is no longer in the first flush of her youth or in the full bloom of her womanhood. This statement is made in view of the public regard which she still enjoys as an actress, in spite of the fact that she first saw the light in 1852, in Jersey, Great Britain. Her father was connected with the Established church of England. She married an officer in the English army and subsequently settled in London. Domestic differences ensuing, she went upon the stage. Her American début, as an actress, was made in 1893 at the Fifth avenue theater, New York. Since then she has visited this country on two or three occasions. Mrs. Langtry is popularly known as the Jersey Lily. She was married for the second time in 1899.

Julia Marlowe.

That tender and graceful exponent of some of Shakespeare’s women, Julia Marlowe, was born at Coldbeck, Cumberlandshire, England, August 17, 1870. She came with her parents to this country when she was five years of age. After a period spent in Kansas, the family removed to Cincinnati, where she attended public school until she was twelve years of age. She then became a member of a juvenile opera company which produced Pinafore, Chimes of Normandy, etc. After several years of arduous work and study, she appeared in New York, but was a failure. Not discouraged, however, she went to work to study again, and in the spring of 1897 attained that recognition from a metropolitan audience for which she had striven so faithfully. Since that time she has advanced in her profession and has secured a prominent place among the leading actresses of to-day.

Compiled from sources in the public domain.

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Smiles & Good Fortune,
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Shadows In A Timeless Myth Presents Medieval Legends and Symbolism of Precious Stones


Evax, king of Arabia, sent to Nero, the emperor of Rome, a book which he had written concerning the nature of stones, telling their kinds, their names, their colors, in what lands they are found, and the virtues that they have. Many of their virtues are hidden, but others are well known. Doctors who know the powers of gems find them of great aid in their medicines. No wise man can doubt that God has placed great virtue in stones, as He has in herbs.


The diamond is as clear as crystal, but it has also the aspect of steel. It is found in India. Such great hardness it has that neither with iron nor with fire can it be cut, but if it is soaked in the hot blood of a goat, a man can work it on the anvil with a hammer. The sharp splinters which are broken off are used to cut other gems. This stone is no bigger than a hazel-nut. In Arabia there is a kind of diamond, not so hard, which can be cut without goat's blood. It is not so beautiful nor so valuable as the other, although it is larger. A third species comes from Cypress, and a fourth from Greece. Each one has the power of attracting iron. Enchanters use this stone in their enchantments. It gives to the man who carries it strength and virtue; it protects him from bad dreams, from phantoms, from all poisons, and from all hates and discord; it cures madmen, and defends a man against his enemies. It should be set in gold or in silver, and worn upon the left arm.


Sapphire is fit for the fingers of kings; it is resplendent and like the sky when free from clouds; there is no other stone which has greater virtue or beauty. Men call it Syrtites because it is found in the sand of Libya near the Syrtes. The best is that which is found in Turkey, for this is not translucent. It is of such great virtue that it is by right called the gem of all gems. It comforts the body and keeps its members whole; it overcomes envy and treachery, and it drives away fear. It frees a man from prison and looses heavy fetters; it is good for effecting reconciliation, and is better than any other stone for seeing in the water the signs which reveal things hitherto not known. As medicine it is valuable because it cools an internal fever; if a person dissolves it in milk it will cure bad diseases. It is good for the eyes, and for headache, and for disease of the tongue. He who carries it must be chaste.


The amethyst has a purple color, or sometimes is like violet or like drops of wine or like a rose. Some there are which turn almost white, others are like red wine mixed with water. From India it comes; it is easy to work, and it prevents intoxication. It would be precious if it were not so abundant, but it is commonplace since there is so much of it. There are five kinds.


Geratite is black. It is of such a nature that if a man opens his mouth and puts the stone under his tongue he will divine what another person thinks of him, and can win any woman's devotion. This stone can be tried as follows: let a man anoint himself with milk and honey, go out into the sunshine where insects swarm, and if he has the stone in his mouth the insects will not attack him; if he removes the stone they will at once sting him.


Chelidonius is a stone which one finds in the stomach of a swallow. It is not very beautiful, but it surpasses all the beautiful stones in usefulness. It is of ten sorts and of two colors—black and red. The red is good for the frenzy which seizes people who are moon-struck; it restores their sanity to madmen and cures those who are pining away. He who carries this stone will be a good orator and will be much beloved. One must carry it wrapped in linen cloth and suspended under the left arm. The black, if worn in the same way, aids a man to accomplish important things he has undertaken; it is also a help against the threats and rages of kings and princes. The water in which it is washed is helpful to diseased eyes. If wrapped in linen cloth of saffron tint, it drives away fever and restrains the humors which injure the body.


Coral is a stone which grows in the sea like a tree. It is green there where it grows, but when it is exposed to the air it hardens and becomes red. It is like a bush hardly half a foot high. It is very good to carry about, as say the authors Zoroaster and Metrodorus, for it protects one from lightning and tempest, and if one scatters it on vines or among olive trees, or upon a seeded field, it will be a protection from hail and other storms. It makes fruits multiply, it drives away phantoms, it gives a good beginning and a prosperous conclusion.


Heliotrope is of such a nature that if one puts it in a basin of water opposite the sun, it makes the sun become red and creates an eclipse. In a little while it makes the water boil up over the basin's edge, and fall like a shower of rain. He who wears this can prophesy many things. It gives a man praise and good health, it stanches the flow of blood, it overcomes poison and treachery. Any one who takes the herb called heliotrope and binds the two together with the proper incantation can walk where he pleases and no one will see him. This stone comes from Ethiopia, from Cypress, and from Africa. It is very much like the emerald, but has red spots.


The pearl is found in a shell, and it is called unio (union), because it is always found alone. The wise say that the oyster shells are open at certain times, and they receive the dew of heaven; the morning dews become white and clear pearls, while the evening dews are obscure. The young shells produce clearer pearls than the old ones do. The more dew the shells receive, the larger is the pearl, but no one is ever more than half an ounce in weight. If there is thunder when the dew is received, then the pearls perish. They grow in India and in Great Britain.


Pantheros is of various colors,—black, red, green, gray, purple, and rose color. All these shades appear in combination. Whoever sees it in the morning will not be defeated in battle, that day, nor in any other undertaking. In India there is a beast, of divers colors, called the panther, of whom other beasts are afraid, and this stone is named after him.

Symbolism of the Carbuncle

The carbuncle is red, and surpasses the wonders of all other stones. The books tell us that the gentle carbuncle, fine and clear, is the lord of all stones, the gem of all gems, and has the virtue of precious stones, above all. It is of such superiority, that when he who wears it comes among people, all accord him honor and grace, and rejoice in his coming. The books tell us that the beasts who drink of the stream where carbuncles have been washed, are cured of their malady; and the wretched who in good faith look at this stone are comforted and forget their adversity. By the virtue which God has sent, it soothes the eyes, comforts the heart and the body, and gives man lordship more than do those stones which are larger. Carbuncles are found in Libya in the river of paradise. The book of Moses says that God commanded that the carbuncle should be first in the second row of twelve stones. By night and by day it illumines all, and restores and lightens the heart. Sunlight does not take away any of its great and joy-giving color. Moses tells us that it signifies Jesus Christ, who came into the world to lighten our darkness, and Saint John, speaking of the coming of Jesus Christ, said He is the true Light who gives light to all men and to all the world. Isaiah the prophet said of Him that the people who walked in darkness have seen a great Light. Saint John did not find the carbuncle among the foundations of the celestial kingdom of Jerusalem, for all who desire to behold the carbuncle and the clearness of the true sun must turn to the true light of Jesus Christ.

Symbolism of the Twelve Stones

Twelve stones there are in this world which have great significance. I shall not fail briefly to say what each one signifies. Red jasper signifies love; the green, faith; the white, sweetness. Sapphire means that he who has faith shall reign together with God. Chalcedony, which is the color of fire, shows who will be neighbors with God. Emerald signifies the faith which the Christians have in Him; sardonyx, chastity and humility among the saints; sardius, the sorrows which they had on earth for their love of God; chrysolite, the life celestial that they have after the life terrestrial; beryl, purification, which the saints pronounce to the people. Topaz signifies to us the crown of holy life; chrysoprase, the reward which holy men will hold very dear; and jacinth is a sign of the light which the saints have from the Creator. Amethyst shows the martyrdom which God suffered.

Compiled from sources in the public domain.

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Smiles & Good Fortune,
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Shadows In A Timeless Myth Presents Grace Darling A Young Heroine of History

 Grace Darling A Young Heroine of History

 On the lonely little island of Brownsman, one of the Farne group, on the coast of Northumberland, England, lived William Darling, lighthouse keeper, a brave, honest, intelligent man. Grace, his daughter, the youngest of seven children, was courageous like her father, good and gentle like her mother. She was a quiet, modest girl, with a slender form, a beautiful face, and the sweetest smile in the world.

The Farne Islands are very wild and desolate, being little better than piles of black rocks towering above the dismal, roaring seas of that stormy and perilous coast. In calm weather they are surrounded by a fringe of white surf, and in times of storm they are almost overwhelmed by the great, raging surges. Through the channels between these islands the sea rushes like swollen torrents; and here, before beacons were built upon the rocks, occurred many shipwrecks. Even now they are very dangerous spots, for in spite of those friendly lights glimmering through the blackness of the tempest and the night, the force of the gale will sometimes drive vessels headlong upon the rocks, dash them to pieces, and scatter them over the boiling deep.

The Brownsman was the outermost of the Farne Islands—the last rocky foothold of human life; and beyond it was a vast expanse and an awful depth of sea. It had scarcely any vegetation, but stood out from the water, bare and black and bleak. The jagged cliffs, and dim, sounding caves, were alive with seabirds—almost the only living creatures to be seen on the island, out of the family at the lighthouse.

In this strange, lonely place, Grace Darling passed her earliest years. She was a shy and thoughtful child, and learned to take pleasure in the wild and dreary scenery around her. Shut out from the world, as she and her dear ones were, it seemed to her they were all the nearer heaven;—denied social pleasures and consolations even while living, toiling, watching for their fellow beings, she felt that God would remember them and protect them. To her the black stone hills of those desolate islands, standing bare-headed under the gray sky, were grander than towers or cathedrals could be; and the stars and the moon shone as tenderly above the wild, rough perch on the lighthouse rock, as on palaces and sweet Italian gardens.

She loved the lighthouse, the guide and saviour of tempest-tossed mariners. She loved the labors of her brave father, and the sports of her hardy brothers; she loved the shy sea-birds—some of these she tamed, by gentle advances and companionship, till they would stoop their swift wild wings to her hand. She loved the sea when it was calm—when the bright waves came running up the sandy beach, and seemed to prostrate themselves before her, caressing her small white feet with soft, cool kisses; and in storm she did not fear it. When it would break on the rocks with a hoarse, threatening sound, and dash over her a shower of angry spray, she would laugh and say, "Roar away, old sea! I am sure you wouldn't be in such a rage if the winds hadn't provoked you. By and by you will get good, and feel sorry, and creep up the sands all calm and smiling, to make friends with me again;—and I'll forgive you, you dear old sea, if you won't do any mischief now, and will leave me all the pretty shells and mosses you are tossing up on the shore."

And Grace dearly loved mosses and shells. She knew all the little caves and coves and sandy nooks where they were to be found, and the best time to look for them, and used to come home from her solitary rambles with her little apron full of treasures, dearer to her simple heart than rare exotics, or costly gems. She said the bright-colored mosses were sea-flowers, torn by the thieving waves out of the mermaids' gardens—and that the shells were the houses or pleasure-boats of the little sea-fairies.
So it was that Grace Darling was not discontented with her lot, nor with her lonely home, where love and God dwelt—did not fear tempest, nor night, nor raging seas, nor the world; but grew up courageous, trustful, unselfish, and "pure in heart."

When Grace was about eleven years old, her father removed from the lighthouse of the Brownsman to that of the Longstone, a neighboring island. And here it was, that on the 7th of September, 1838, when she was about twenty-two, she performed the heroic act which made her sweet name a blessed "household word" the world over.

The steamer Forfarshire, on her voyage from Hull to Dundee, in a terrible gale, struck on a rock amidst the Farne Islands. Immediately a portion of the crew, cowardly and selfish men, lowered the long-boat, leapt into it, and left the captain, his wife, their comrades, and all the passengers, to their fate! In a short time, a huge wave lifted up the entire vessel, then, letting it fall violently, broke it in two parts upon the sharp rock. The after part, on which were the captain, his wife, and many passengers, was carried off and soon dashed to pieces—the fore part, on which were five of the crew and four passengers, remained on the rock. In the little fore cabin, into which every now and then washed the waves, was a woman by the name of Sarah Dawson, with two young children—and piteously, hour after hour, came up to those on deck, the frightened cries of the poor creatures down there in the dark and cold alone. But by and by those cries died away and were still.

The sufferers remained on the wreck, exposed to the fury of the tempest, and expecting every minute to be washed away, all that long, long night. In the morning they were seen from the Longstone lighthouse, about a mile distant. Only Mr. Darling, his wife, and daughter Grace were at home. The storm had somewhat abated, yet the sea ran high, and the surf around the islands and hidden rocks seemed dashing up into the very clouds. It was dark and misty, and the sufferers on the wreck could be but dimly seen through the distance and the storm. Yet Grace saw them clear enough with her tender, sympathizing heart—saw all their peril, their fear, their agony, and, looking into her father's face, she said firmly—

"Papa, those poor people must be saved!"

Mr. Darling shook his head sadly, and then she added,

"You and I must do it. We will go to them in our boat—we can perhaps bring them all away in that."
"Impossible, my child—no boat could live in such a sea. We must leave them in God's hands!"
"No, papa, God has given them into ours; and He will protect us in seeking to rescue them—we can but try."

So Grace won over her father to her noble undertaking, and they two launched the boat, and rowed off bravely toward the wreck. Mrs. Darling not only did not object to their going, though she knew all the dreadful peril of their enterprise, but helped to launch the boat. I think she was not less heroic than either her husband or her daughter.

It was ebb tide, or the boat could not have passed between the islands—but it would be flowing before they could hope to return, which would render it impossible for them to row up to their island alone—so unless they could reach the wreck, and get rowers from there, they would be obliged to stay outside till the next ebb tide, exposed to the greatest peril. All this they knew.

The most serious danger they incurred was that of their boat being dashed by the furious waves so violently against the rock on which the ship had struck, as to break it to pieces instantly. As they drew near, Grace's firm lips moved in prayer, and her father's weather-browned face grew pale. But the same good God who had guided them through the wild white surf, and over the treacherous hidden reefs, sent a smooth strong wave, that gently lifted the prow of their boat on to the rock.

They reached the wreck in safety, to the unspeakable joy and amazement of the poor people there. In the cabin they found Mrs. Dawson, nearly dead, with her arms clasped about her two children, both quite dead. All were lowered into the boat, and safely rowed to the Longstone, where Mrs. Darling received them warmly, and cared for them with motherly tenderness.

Grace, when she reached the lighthouse, was much exhausted with rowing, and almost fell into her mother's arms as she stepped ashore. But she roused her energies, and nerved her noble heart anew, for the sake of the poor sufferers. Without waiting to remove her own wet clothes, or even to wring the sea-water from her long dark hair, she devoted herself to their relief and comfort. She gathered them around the fire—she gave them food, warm drink and dry clothing. Very tenderly she consoled those who had lost property and friends by the wreck. She took the hands of old seamen who had grown as weak as women through suffering, and told them of One who pitied them, "even as a father pitieth his children." She took the childless Mrs. Dawson in her arms, laid her poor distracted head on her breast, and wept with her.

The storm continued so violent that the sufferers were obliged to remain at the lighthouse for several days, as were also a boat's crew who came to their rescue from North Sunderland, too late, and could not return. Yet all were treated most hospitably and kindly—Grace gave up her bed to poor Mrs. Dawson, and slept on a table.

At last the storm passed over, and was succeeded by calm and sunshine—the ship-wrecked guests went to their homes, some rejoicing and some sorrowing, but all bearing hearts warm with gratitude toward their deliverers. Doubtless some of those rescued men and women are yet living, and perhaps on stormy nights, when the winds roar and the sea thunders against the rocky shore, they gather their children or grandchildren about them and tell the story of the wreck of the Forfarshire, of their awful peril and wonderful deliverance.

Grace Darling and her father would soon have forgotten their heroic act had they been left to do so. But the people they had saved, in their gratitude and wonder, told the story wherever they went. Accounts of it appeared in all the papers, and flew over the world. The bleak island and lonely lighthouse were visited by thousands, eager to get a sight of the noble heroine and her brave old father. Costly presents and tributes of admiration poured in upon them from all quarters. The Duke and Duchess of Northumberland invited them over to Alnwick Castle, and presented Grace with a gold watch;—the Humane Society passed a vote of thanks for her heroism, and sent her a handsome piece of plate. A public subscription was raised for her benefit, and amounted to about seven hundred pounds—some three thousand five hundred dollars.

All this fame and applause for what seemed to her a simple act of humanity, surprised and almost overwhelmed the modest girl. She shrank from the curious looks of strangers who thronged to see her, and became more shy and reserved than ever—she refused all invitations to go out into the world—but dividing many of her gifts between her brothers and sisters, she remained with her father and mother at the lighthouse, cheerfully fulfilling her humble domestic duties. God had made her very noble, and the whole world could not spoil her.

But not long was her beautiful, heroic life to brighten that lone and desolate spot. In the fall of 1841 she fell into delicate health, and symptoms of consumption soon manifested themselves. She was removed to the house of her sister at Bamborough, on the coast. It was thought she would get better when the Spring came—but it was not so. She still continued to fail—to fade and fade away. She was taken to Alnwick, from which she was to proceed to Newcastle for medical advice. While at Alnwick, the Duchess of Northumberland treated her with all a sister's kindness—sent her own physician to her—supplied her with every luxury, and better than all, went often to see her, very plainly dressed, and without a single attendant. She had the good sense to lay aside as it were, her coronet—forget her title before the better nobility of that dying girl—and so proved herself something far greater than a Duchess—a true and loving woman.

Grace was soon taken back to Bamborough, that she might meet death with all her loved ones around her. And there, in the place where she was born, she died, on the 20th of October, 1842. She took leave of all her friends calmly, and very tenderly—giving to each one something to keep in remembrance of her—then meekly folded her hands on her breast, and slept in God's peace. She was buried within sound of the sea—within sight perhaps of the lighthouse, and the rock of the wreck—and the sea seems to mourn for her now, and the lighthouse and the rock are her monuments.
Yet, though Grace Darling should be forgotten on earth, though the lighthouse should fall—the rock crumble away—the sea cease to murmur of her—her name shall not perish, for it is written in the Lord's "Book of Life," and she dwells now where storms and death cannot come, and where "there is no more sea."

Compiled From Sources In The Public Domain.

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It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Shadows In A Timeless Myth Prsents A Foremost Female Illustrator of the Nineteenth Century

A School Girl, Not Afraid of Drudgery, Becomes America’s Foremost Woman Illustrator.

IN the heart of Philadelphia’s great business quarter, on lower Chestnut street, there stands a five-story, red brick building which is about as reserved looking as Philadelphia business structures can be, and before which, in the street below, the tide of traffic rumbles and clatters and clangs from early morning until night. It doesn’t look much like a place where a person could be free enough from noise and other distractions to exercise a fine artistic taste.

Yet it was here, I was informed, that Alice Barber Stephens had her studio, and to this I was bound. Mrs. Stephens takes rank with A. B. Frost, Howard Pyle, A. B. Wenzell, C. D. Gibson and others, and there are those who put her before several of these. I remember looking over a book of her drawings, published by some New York house, entitled “The American Woman in the Home,” and admiring exceedingly the gentle, refined appearance of the mothers, the excellent sedateness and sympathetic beauty of the young married daughters, and the quiet modesty of the girls in these pictures.
You would say, looking at these drawings, “Here is a plain, commonplace, genuine person, who illustrates.” She has swept, sewed, performed the duty that lay nearest. You can see it in the sketches. She paints because she likes to, and as well as she can. She has no thought of immortality, nor imagines that she will be hailed as a marvel, but simply believes it is well and interesting to do good work.

Considering these things, I made my way one afternoon up several flights of stairs,—artists must have the sky-light, you know,—to a door labeled A. B. Stephens, which was opened by a tall, slender, reserved-looking woman, who smiled as she admitted that she was Alice Barber Stephens. After a sentence or two of explanation, an invitation was extended to enter.


It was as if one had dropped a stage curtain upon the rattling, excited scene without. Comfortable chairs were scattered about. Screens and tall bric-a-brac cases of oriental workmanship divided spaces and filled corners. A great square of sunshine fell from a sky-light, and in one corner a Dutch clock slowly ticked. The color of the walls was a dull brick red, and against them stood light brown shelves, holding white and blue china vases, jugs and old plates. Sketches in ink, wash and color were here and there on the wall, and in one place a large canvas showing Market street, Philadelphia, near City Hall, on a rainy day, gave a sombre yet rather pleasing touch.

Mrs. Stephens had returned to her easel, on which was a large sketch in black and white, showing a young rake, with his body bent forward, his elbows resting on his knees, his face buried in his hands,—the picture of despair. Some picture for a novel it was, the title of which might easily have been “The Fool and His Money.”

“You won’t mind my working,” said Mrs. Stephens, and I hastened to explain that I wouldn’t, and didn’t.

She put touches here and there on the picture, as we talked of women in art, and the conversation did not seem to distract her attention from the work in hand, which advanced rapidly.


“Don’t you believe it is easier, to-day, for a young girl to succeed in illustrating than it is for a young man?”

“Well, possibly,” she answered. “Neither girl nor boy can succeed without aptitude and the hardest kind of work, but girls are rather novel in the field, and their work may receive slightly more gentle consideration to begin with. It would not be accepted, however, without merit.”

“Hasn’t the smaller remuneration which women accept something to do with the popularity of the woman illustrator?”

“Very little, if any,” she answered. “I find that women are about as quick, perhaps more so, than men, to demand good prices for clever work, although they have less of the egotism of men artists.”

“You judge from your own case,” I suggested.

“Not at all. I never possessed cleverness. It was need and determination with me, and I can honestly say that all I have gained has been by the most earnest application. I never could do anything with a dash. It was always slow, painstaking effort; and it is yet.”

“Do you ever exhibit?” I asked.

“No,” said Mrs. Stephens, “not any more. There was a time when I had an ambition to shine as a painter, and as long as I had that ambition I neither shone as a painter nor made more than a living as an illustrator. I made up my mind, however, that I was not to be a great woman painter, and I decided to apply myself closely to the stronger, illustrative tendency which fascinated me. From that time on my success dates, and I am rather proud now that I was able to recognize my limitations.”

“Did you find that in marrying you made your work more difficult to pursue?” I ventured, for her interesting home life is a notable feature of her career.

“I cannot say that I did. There is more to do, but there is also a greater desire to do it. I love my boy, and I take time to make his home life interesting and satisfying. When he was ill, I removed my easel from the studio to a room adjoining the sick-chamber at the house, and worked there.”


Her instinct for art seems to have been a gift direct. As a very little girl her facility with the pencil delighted her teachers, and after the regular exercises of the day she was allowed to occupy her time drawing whatever fancy or surroundings might suggest. At seven years of age her parents removed to Philadelphia, and there the young artist encountered school regulations which rather debarred her from following her beloved pastime. But her talent was so pronounced that one day in every week was allowed her in which to attend the School of Design—an arrangement that continued until she entered the grammar school.

A few years later she became a regular student at this School of Design, where she took a course of wood engraving, but did not relax her study of drawing. As an engraver she became so successful that her work soon became remunerative, and gave her means to enter the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. At the same time her progress as an engraver was so marked that her efforts were brought to the attention of the art editor of “Scribner’s Magazine,” for whom, to illustrate an article on the academy, she engraved the “Woman’s Life Class,” from her own drawing. Soon her drawings gave her a reputation, and she abandoned engraving. Her first published drawings were for school-book illustrations, from which her field widened and her work came into great demand.

In 1887 she was married and spent ten months abroad, studying for a part of the time in Paris in the school of Julien and of Carlo Rossi, devoting the remainder of her stay in travel. Upon her return she was prevailed upon to become an instructor in the Philadelphia School of Design, where she introduced life-class study, which has met with marked success.

Compiled from sources in the public domain.

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Smiles & Good Fortune,
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915