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LUCRETIA AND MARGARET DAVIDSON.
“THERE stood on the banks of the Saranac a small, neat cottage, which peeped forth from the surrounding foliage — the image of rural quiet and contentment. An old-fashioned piazza extended along the front, shated with vines and honeysuckles; the turf on the bank of the river was of the richest and brightest emerald ; and the wild rose and sweetbrier, which twiied over the neat enclosure, seemed to bloom with mor delicate freshness and perfume within the bounds of this earthly paradise. The scenery around was wildy yet beautifully romantic; the clear blue river, glanzing and' sparkling at its feet, seemed only as a prepiration for another and more magnificent view, when the stream, gliding on to the west, was buried in the broad, white bosom of Champlain, which stretched back wave after wave, in the distance, until lost in faint blue mists that veiled the sides of its guardian mountains, seeming more lovely from their indistinctness.?
Such is the description which the younger subject of these memoirs gives us of the home of her parents, Dr. Oliver and Margaret Davidson, in the village of
Plattsburg, Vermont. Amidst scenery so well calcu. lated to call forth and foster poetical talent, Lucretia Maria Davidson was born on the 27th September, 1808. Of her earliest childhood there is nothing recorded, except that she was physically feeble, and mani:ested extreme sensibility of disposition. She was sent to school when she was four years old, and there was taught to read and to imitate, in sand, the printed characters. Books now possessed for her a greater charm than childish sports. The writing paper bagan to disappear mysteriously from the table, and Lucretia was often observed with pen and ink, to the surprise of her parents, who knew that she had never been taught to write. The mystery remained unexplained until she was six years old, when her mother, in searching a closet rarely visited, found, behind piles of lnen, a parcel of little books filled with hieroglyphics. These were at length deciphered by her parents, and proved to be metrical explanations of rudely-sketched pictures on the opposite page; the explanations leing made in Roman letters, most unartistically former and disposed. Not long after, Lucretia came running to her mother in great agitation, the tears trickling lown her cheeks, and said, “O mamma! mamma! how could you treat me so ? My little books — you have shown them to papa, — Anne, -- Eliza ! I knov you have. O, what shall I do? ” Her mother tred to soothe the child, and promised never to do so again. “O mamma,” replied she, a gleam of sunshine illumining the drops, “I am not afraid of that for I have burned them all.” “ This reserve,” says one whose kindred spirit could sympathize with hat of
Lucretia,“ proceeded from nothing cold or exclusive in her character ; never was there a more loving or sympathetic creature. It would be difficult to say which was most rare, her modesty, or the genius it sanctified.”
It does not surprise us to learn that, under the guidance of pious parents, religion took a deep and enduring hold, at a very early period, upon so susceptible a child. From her earliest years, she evinced a fear of doing any thing displeasing in the sight of God; and if, in her gayest sallies, she caught a look of disapprobation from her mother, she would ask, with the most artless simplicity, “O mother, was that wicked?” Her extreme conscientiousness exhibited itself in a manner quite remarkable in a child. Some of the friends of the family thought their mode of education not the most judicious, and that her devoting so much time to study was not consistent with the pecuniary circumstances and the physical condition of the mother, who, being a confirmed invalid, was able to take little part in the ordinary family labors. Lucretia's parents, however, did not concur in this opinion, and carefully concealed it from her ; but she in some manner became aware of its existence, and voluntarily acted in accordance with it. The real feeling which prompted this conduct was artlessly made apparent by the incident which led her to return to her favorite occupation. When she was about twelve, she attended her father to a “birth-night” ball. The next day, an elder sister found her absorbed in composition. “She had sketched an urn, and written two stanzas under it. She was persuaded to show them to her
mother. She brought them blushing and trembling. Her mother was ill, in bed; but she expressed her delight with such unequivocal animation, that the child's face changed from doubt to rapture, and she seized the paper, ran away, and immediately added the concluding stanzas. When they were finished, her mother pressed her to her bosom, wept with delight, and promised her all the aid and encouragement she could give her. The sensitive child burst into tears. · And do you wish me to write, mamma ? and will papa approve ? and will it be right that I should do so? "" The following are the verses :
“ And does a hero's dust lie here?
Among the heroes of the age,
The toils of war and danger past,
The brightest on the list of Fame,
And every sex, and every age,