Friday, February 8, 2013

1863 February 6 [Clarke County, Va.?]

[from the diary of Matthella Page Harrison, as transcribed at a later date]

Friday, February 6th - It rained all last night and late in the day and then became
cold and blue.  cousin John came in for a short time.  I don't know what I should
do without his visits.  They make a lonely day up here much shorter.  I read Sidney
Smith and an extract on life pleased me so much that I copy it, "We talk of human
life a journey, but how variously is that journey performed! There are some who
come fort girt and shoed and mantled to walk on velvet lawns and smooth terraces
where every gale is arrested and every beam is tempered.  There are others who walk
on the Alpine paths of life, against driving misery and through stormy sorrows, over
sharp afflictions, walk with bare feet and naked breast, mangled and chilled.  Oh
last goal of human things, beyond which labour and mourning and cares are at rest,
beyond which riches and glories are weighed as nothing and this vain, turbid life
returns to naught!  Oh that men would thus regard Thee!  What wars throughout the
world, what passions of the soul, how many dangers besetting us, might so obtain
an easy termination without slaughter or blood!  Mayst Thou be present before my
eyes, not as a mournful image but an admonisher, that I should regulate myself,
since this house is to me the vestibule of the tomb and the next to closing seat
of my old age."  It is said war is as natural to women as men but the present state
or our community refutes it. the ladies have not even materials for housekeeping
to occupy them while most of the men are gone.  Benjie is a great amusement these
days.  He has such curious ideas.  He asked if God had any boys and why they didn't
come down and play with him?  Did God's boys have any mammies?  Did God have a
mammy?  This morning I heard a scream from the baby.  He had tied a string around
her neck and was drawing it tightly singing Tom, Tom de piper's son, stole dis
pig an way he run.

MSS 9759

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