Page:The life and letters of John Brown (Sanborn).djvu/64

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.




he had acquired much skill iu the care of all invalids. Concerning the death of his first daughter Ellen, in April, 1849, Mrs. Thompson thus writes:—

"In the fall of 1848, father and mother, with our youngest sister, a babe of six months old, visited a brother of Mrs. Brown (Orson Day), who was then living at Whitehall, N.Y.,—she stopping there with the child, while father went into the Adirondac wilderness to North Elba. He was charmed with the grand mountain scenery, and felt that he was needed there to encourage and help by his experience the few colored families who had already settled in the wilderness, and those who might move there the following spring. Here was an opportunity also to train some of the bravest of those men for the great work which had been his life-long study. He went back to Springfield much encouraged. While on their journey back the little babe took a violent cold that ended in quick consumption, and she died at the end of April, 1849. Father showed much tenderness in the care of the little sufferer. He spared no pains in doing all that medical skill could do for her, together with the tenderest care and nursing. The time that he could be at home was mostly spent in caring for her. He sat up nights to keep an even temperature in the room, and to relieve mother from the constant care which she had through the day. He used to walk with the child and sing to her so much that she soon learned his step. When she heard him coming up the steps to the door, she would reach out her hands and cry for him to take her. When his business at the wool store crowded him so much that he did not have time to take her, he would steal around through the wood-shed into the kitchen to eat his dinner, and not go into the dining-room, where she could see or hear him. I used to be charmed myself with his singing to her. He noticed a change in her one morning, and told us he thought she would not live through the day, and came home several times to see her. A little before noon he came home, and looked at her and said, 'She is almost gone.' She heard him speak, opened her eyes, and put up her little wasted hands with such a pleading look for him to take her that he lifted her from the cradle, with the pillows she was lying on, and carried her until she died. He was very calm, closed her eyes, f dded her hands, and laid her in her cradle. When she was buried, father broke down completely, and sobbed like a child. It was very affecting to see him so overcome, when all the time before his great tender heart had tried to comfort our weary, sorrowing mother, and all of us."

It was not the temporal welfare and happiness of his children that lay nearest the heart of Brown: their spirit-