Page:Margaret Fuller by Howe, Julia Ward, Ed. (1883).djvu/61

This page has been validated.

46

MARGARET FULLER.


only this beloved companionship, but also the open door which would give her an easy access to literary society in England, and to the atmosphere of old-world culture which she so passionately longed to breathe.

With this brilliant vision before her, and with her whole literary future trembling, as she thought, in the scale, Margaret prayed only that she might make the right decision. This soon became clear to her, and she determined, in spite of the entreatics of her family, to remain with her care-worn móther, and not to risk the possibility of encroaching upon the fund necessary for the education of her brothers and sister.

Of all the crownings of Margaret's life, shall we not most envy her that of this act of sacrifice? So near to the feast of the gods, she prefers the fast of duty, and recognizes the claims of family affection as more imperative than the gratification of any personal taste or ambition.

Margaret does not seem to have been supported in this trial by any sense of its heroism. Her decision was to her simply a following of the right, in which she must be content, as she says, to forget herself and act for the sake of others.

We may all be glad to remember this example, and to refer to it those who find themselves in a maze of doubt between what they owe to the cultivation of their own gifts, what to the need and advantage of those to whom they stand in near relation. Had Margaret at this time forsaken her darkened household, the difference to its members would have been very great, and she herself would have added to the number of those doubting or mistaken souls who have been carried far from the scene of their true and appointed service by some dream of distinction never to be ful-