Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About The west shore. (Portland, Or.) 1875-1891 | View Entire Issue (May 1, 1879)
THE WEST SHORE.
A SKKTCH BY AUOUSTA ALUtN.
Ever since the Ruth of olden time
gave utterance to her filial devotion in
the vow, "Whither thou goest, I will
go," has the name heen synonymous
with all that is true and tender. Heauty
is the acknowledged meaning of Ruth.
Light and heauty arc akin; for at
mention of the name, all that is shadowy
in life melts away in a flood of soft,
rich light; discordant sounds die away
and all nature seems to swell and echo
the sweet music of the name Ruth.
My thoughts are of my childhood's
day star, dear Aunt Ruth; shining so
serenely through storm and sunshine,
lighting up all the dark places of my
crooked little path.
I sec her now, with her slender form,
her sweet face, with mild blue eyes and
soft bands of snowy hair, put smoothly
back from a brow so pure, that I love
to fancy an invisible crown resting upon
it. Who shall say that this was merely
a childish fancy?
I used to wonder why she was not
wearing the precious jewels of wife
hood; why she was still a maiden,
blessing, with her sweet presence, a
brother's home. Not until long years
after the stars in the invisible crown
shone with heavenly radiance, did I
learn that in her girlhood's joy, a cruel
disappointment fell like a blight upon
her life, robbing it of all its bright
promise and shrouding it in darkest
Rising with a strength not of carthi
she had buried her grief in her own
heart, heaping its grave with the sweet
flowers of charity and loving kindness,
so that none who approached her sad
dened at sight of the little grave, but
all wondered instead at the rare fra
grance of the mound of blossoms. Never
once did the sweet garlands upon this
grave in her heart fade, for every day
and every night they were renewed.
In loving lalmr she lost sight of self and
lived only for others.
Flitting here and there, feet, hands
and heart intent upon the discharge of
love service, she bore light and glad
ness wherever she went.
In the sick room, the hospital, the
hovel and in all dark places it was the
same. Even when the Death Angel
liore a dear one from a circle, which
was blessed by her presence, he went
not in darkness, but in a flood of golden
In our home she bore the burdens of
all with a never-changing cheerfulness.
I shall never forget how she entered
into all our little plans for work or
pleasure, investing them with a charm
which she alone could furnish.
How the long task lost its tcdious
ness as she beguiled the time with
wonderful stories of her New England
childhood! How easy a disagreeable
duty when we knew that some of her
doughnuts, "real birds, and licusts, and
men, you know," awaited its perform
ance. How hateful seemed the com
mitting of faults when we saw her
soft eyes sadden with a grieved look;
and how delightful the doing of good
deeds, when we liehcld her dear face
light up with approval. The cattle and
the horses knew her gentle touch and
voice. Old Watch listened for her
loved foot-fall. Kitty (Jray purred
with gladness at her approach. Even
the flowers seemed eager to please her,
and budded, bloomed, smiled and
nodded for her as they would for no
one else. The pigeon." would flit about
her without fear, and my delight knew
no bounds one day when a wild bird
rested for a moment upon her head.
Her soul was a well-spring of good
will toward all (iod's creatures, and a
fount of love and sympathy for man
kind. Old men and old women came
to her for comfort, when chilled by the
world's cold, and from her presence
they carried hearts full of warmth, feel
ing that after all heaven and earth are
not so far apart as Ihey, in their trouble,
had believed. Thoc opprcsocd by
business cares rested in the (H-artful
atmosphere surrounding her, j.nd when
they took up their burdens again,
thought them strangely light.
Mothers, grieving over the dio
liediencc of loved children, rami- to her
for sympathy, and went away ringing
new song of faith and hope. Young
men and maiden brought to her the
secret joys and sorrow of their heart.
To the joy she added wcetnc, and
ftom the sorrow she took bitterness;
and so they went out into the world
again with beaming faces and glowing
hearts. Children gathered about her
and received from her lips words which
proved seeds of virtue, which even now
re bearing fragrant flowers ami rare
fruit in many land.
When I was us years tll my foster
parents sold the old farm and moved to
an adjoining State, leaving Aunt Ruth
as good-angel in the home of a sister.
It was hard to leave the old familiar
haunts, the dear little school-house in
the hollow, and all the loved playmates
of my infancy, but hardest of all to
leave Aunt Ruth. Hut it wa ugtccd
that in a short time we hould send for
her and she should come to grace our
new home. Every member of our
family was equally Interested. Not u
day passed without the formation of
some new plan for her comfort or hap.
We made flower-lied of marvelous
length, and with great labor and mathe
matical exactness I measured every lied
and sent the result to her in a queer
combination of words, figures and pic
tured representation. We planted
her favorite flowers and she was given
a fuilhful account of the lichavior of
each plant as it grew.
i kittens and laml were taught to
perform wonderful feats for her edifica
tion, and the time drew near when our
impatient waiting should have an end.
Hut u letter came one day a letter
with a tiny black marginand our
hearts stood still while it told us that
we were too late; that the one best
loved by Aunt Ruth had already sent
for her, and his white-winged messen
ger hail borne her to a better homo than
ours. At flrst our grief seemed too
great for endurance. Then the sweet
faith and trust which she had breathed
into our souls, fell like a mantle of li(ht
over our sorrow, and our mourning
heart were comforted.
So the years nil glide on, each bear,
ing us nearer to her; and the radiant
stars in the invisible crown still shine
on, luring heavenward all earth pil
grim who knew and loved Aunt Ruth.
Tbi i the way a girl lijm- of n
ywng man. She ats: TOM have
akrd mr pointedly if I can matt von,
and I have answered you pointed!) that
I ui. I can many a man who !..
bfl to a different girl every mouth. I
can marry a man who? main omia
tion cem to he to join in gauntlet in
front of ( hurc lie ami theater ami com
ment audibly on the people who arc
compelled to pas through it. 1 can
marry man whme only mean of sup
port i an aged father. I can marry a
man who boal that any girl can he
won with the help of a good tailor
ami an espert tongue. I can nwry
uih a man but I w o-n-t!