Project Canterbury



 In Memoriam.













E. & J. B. YOUNG & CO.,




The profits from the sale of this Memoir are devoted to the House of the Holy Comforter.


NOT only in "The House of the Holy Comforter," and in many a humble tenement, but in homes of wealth and comfort were tears of genuine grief shed on Easter Tuesday, as the word went round that SISTER LOUISE was dead. It was like a knell, although it might have been expected at any time. She had written to her mother at the beginning of Advent: "My work is my life, or, as my friends feel, my death." It was granted her, by an occurrence which was providential, to die in the midst of her work. After an illness of a fortnight, she determined to go to Old Point Comfort for a change, and had taken her passage. But on driving down to the boat she had found that it would be detained for some hours, and she returned to the Home. But [1/2] for that she would have been called away on the ocean, among strangers. As it was, she fell asleep among those who loved and reverenced her, and to whom she had been an angel of mercy.

Louise Gardiner Hall--"Lulu," as she was called in her girlhood--"Sister Louise," as she was afterward known--was only thirty-four at the time of her death. She was born in Milwaukee, September 15, 1848, and was baptized in St. Paul's, Milwaukee, by the Rector, the Rev. Benjamin Akerly, D.D., now of St. John's, Oakland, Cal., who was also a sponsor. There must have been something very attractive in the fragile and clinging babe, for the good Priest kept her in his arms till the whole service had been said, and the last injunction given. The bereaved mother looks back upon it now as a special dedication of her dear child, from the very font itself, to the work for Christ and His Church to which her after-life was devoted. She received the maiden name of her paternal grandmother.

Her father, William H. Hall, was a son of John A. Hall, of Troy, N. Y., and her mother, Mary D. Gilbert, was a daughter of William S. Gilbert, of Hudson, N. Y. They were married in Chicago [2/3] in 1847. Louise was their first child. Subsequently another daughter was born to them. Mr. Hall was taken from them before the elder was six years old. After his loss Mrs. Hall left Milwaukee, with her two orphan girls and Mrs. Louisa Hall, her mother-in-law, and took up her residence for a time in New York, whence they removed to Fishkill-on-the-Hudson, which had previously been the home of the elder Mrs. Hall. They had long formed one family, united by mutual confidence and affection; they now became more closely bound together by bereavement and sorrow. The influence of her "mother," as Louise always called her grandmother, upon the child's character was marked and lasting. She very early manifested a reverence for the grace given her in her baptism, and displayed the care for others and the self-denial in helping the suffering which characterized her whole life. When she was about eight years old it was observed that she had a habit of laying aside a part of the fruit, cake, and delicacies which were given to her. She did not tell why she did it, nor was it discovered till she was found carrying her stores and giving them to a poor child, ill with consumption, whose acquaintance she had [3/4] made in passing through the street. The child belonged to an English family, helpless through want and sickness in a strange land. Little Louise became their friend and helper, not only ministering to their physical wants herself, but interesting others to come to their help. At eleven years she used to collect the children of the neighborhood in the house-yard and read to them. Two of them happened to be children of Roman Catholic parents, and their watchful shepherd, having found it out, forbade their listening to Lulu's readings, saying that "That child was making converts"!

Her religious impressions in childhood were, as may be supposed, remarkably deep and fixed. Her lively imagination aided in giving them substance and form. She must have been a very little child when she wrote for her "mother" (grandmother) "A dreem I had on sunday Night":

"I was just going to sleep when I heard such beautiful music that I tho't Mr. V. B. was playing on his according; but it was so much sweeter that it woke me up; but there was no music when I awoke. I soon went to sleep agane thinking nothing about it, as I am accustomed to hear it very often; but this was sweeter than ever. Well, [4/5] when I went to sleep agane, I dremt that I was standing in a place I had never seen before, and there were on both sides of me two persons, but they were clothed so very beautiful that they dazzled my eyes. And they told me that the Son of God was coming. And I looked up in the face of one of them, and it was so beautiful I never shall forget it. And as I turned to look at the other he said, 'There He comes.' And I was frightened very much; but he said, ' Fear not, but when you read what it says on that banner, you will be delighted.' The banner was like air, it was so thin. There were twelve of them on either side of the throne, and myriads behind it. The poles were gold and silver; I think mine was silver, but the words were so sweet, and my Saviour's face so mild and gentle, I did not notice. The words were these, 'Lulu, thou art forgiven, and thine is the Kingdom of Heaven.' And I turned to ask the angel which stood by me if it was my name, and you moved in bed, and I tho't it was an earthquake, and turned to see where it was, when I awakened, and I was in such pain. And shortly after you said that I would groan and then go to sleep again, but you could not get to sleep again. I remember it now as well as if it was so now. And there were on the banner words of comfort, such as these: 'Be patient, Lulu'; and 'Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord [5/6] looketh on the heart'; 'Fear not, Lulu; all is well'; and a great many more banners with different names, but I had no time to see them all as I woke up. This is the end of my dreem. Don't you think it is beautiful? I could not describe it if I were to try. It was so beautiful I always will remember it."

The Right Reverend Bishop of Nebraska has, with his usual kindness, furnished us with his impression of her in her childhood:

"FARGO, DAKOTA, May 26th.


"Yours followed me into this far country.

"I remember Sister Louise only as a child, and then not for a long time, as she was only temporarily in Chicago, her home being in Milwaukee. But I can remember how sweet and lovely she was, and how devoted to her religious duties and to the Church. She was a visitor with her mother at Mrs. Hathaway's in my parish, Mrs. H. being a sister of Mrs. Hall. I think she was confirmed in St. James', Chicago, during her stay there, and yet I am not entirely certain. [She was confirmed by the Right Reverend Bishop of New York, at Fishkill-on-the-Hudson.] But I remember having frequent conversations with her on the subject [6/7] of Confirmation and Communion, and after she left Chicago she wrote to me more than once for spiritual counsel and direction.

"She always impressed me as being serious and advanced in the spiritual life beyond her years. I did not know that she had entered into the rest of Paradise until I received your letter.

"May God give us grace to follow all His Saints in holy living.

"Ever yours affectionately,


But the family was visited with its own trials in the form of severe sickness, and compelled to remove across the river to Newburgh. The Reverend Theodore Irving, LL.D., was then in charge of St. Paul's Church, with which they became connected. A strong friendship was formed between them and their pastor, which ripened into an affectionate and lasting confidence. The sweetness, simplicity, and vivacity of the girl Louise made her an especial object of interest to Dr. and Mrs. Irving. They found her earnest and devoted in religious and charitable duties, attractive in her manners, and energetic and persevering in her works. Intelligent and receptive, she learned readily, while she had [7/8] a peculiar gift in imparting to others what she had gained herself. Hence as a scholar and as a teacher she commended herself to those who had the charge over her. But she does not appear at this time to have given any indication of special qualification for the work in which she afterward distinguished herself. It was left for circumstances to develop that--circumstances so clearly providential as to warrant the conviction that God had given her a work to do for Him, and that He was calling her to it.

But sickness compelled another removal, and Mrs. Hall brought her invalids to New York in 1869. This new trial drew from Lulu these verses, which show whence she received her strength to endure:


"I feel Thee near me, Jesus,
Near when earth's storm-clouds lower;
I know Thou wilt not leave me
In this my darkest hour.

"I feel Thee near me, Jesus,
And midst my trouble, smile,
Sure of that resting place
After earth's 'little while.'

[9] "I feel Thee near me, Jesus,
With Thy great heart of Love
Yearning o'er me, a sinner,
E'en till I go above.

"Then Thou wilt still be near me.
'In that dear land of rest,
Who art with God the Father
And Spirit ever blest' "

This was the era of the Woodhull & Claflin Weekly, the advocate of Infidelity and Free Love.

A copy of it had been sent to the family, in which was a poem entitled "No Rest." She sent a reply to the paper in question, which it consistently enough declined to publish, contenting itself with complimenting the authoress on her production.


"Before we lay our burden down
Our work must all be done;
Before we can receive a crown
The vict'ry must be won.

"The Cross, if borne in patience here,
Will bring the longed-for Rest;
For Jesus, who is ever near,
Stands by and knows what's best.

[10] "If Jesus gives us strength to bear,
Although our way be rough,
And we at length His glory share,
Oh, this will be enough.

"Enough it is that Jesus died,
Enough the Promised Rest,
For me to meet the swelling tide,
And angry waves to breast.

"With Jesus for my guard and stay
I cannot surely fall,
For He will aid me on my way;
He is my All-in-all."

When Louise had regained a portion of her strength, after a long sickness, she sought out her former pastor, Dr. Irving, then residing on Staten Island. She was barely twenty-two years old, her delicate frame impaired by long sickness, but with the same sweet smile on her face, the same bright gleam in her eye, the same purpose and energy in her will. She came to ask him to aid her in getting some work, in which she might do something for the household and "work for Christ." He at first doubted the ability of the delicate fragile girl, hardly more than the child which he had known at [10/11] Newburgh, to do any serious work. But yielding to her persistency and entreaty to be tried, he took her to the Sister in charge of the order of the Holy Communion, and introduced her to her, as the best and most practical way of satisfying her longing for work. It showed his liberality and good judgment. It was an introduction to the labors to which her life was henceforth to be devoted.

It was about this time, after losing her grandmother, that she went with her mother and sister to Chicago, to which she was not inclined. The only incident of importance connected with their residence there was a serious one. The Great Fire came, destroying many of their valuables, including Louise's library, which she greatly prized. Returning to New York, she entered the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion, and was assigned to service in the parish school of sixty children. Connected with it was the work of visiting the children in their homes, which introduced her to all the varieties of tenement-life in New York. It was a trying ordeal for a young girl, but she had no fear, and her eye was fixed steadily on the one end, and she flinched from no duty, however trying. She [11/12] gained a vast fund of experience, which was of infinite use to her in her subsequent labors. Being admitted a member of the Sisterhood, she continued her labors in the school till she was prostrated by a violent attack of spinal meningitis, which threatened for a time to prove fatal, and left permanent effects on her delicate frame. After an almost miraculous recovery from this, she was assigned to the charge of the Shelter for Respectable Girls, under the care of the Sisters, one of those merciful places of refuge for women without homes and out of employment in this great city, which a wise and well-directed Christian benevolence has provided to meet an ever-increasing demand. The following extract from a letter shows the spirit with which she entered on this work:

"My new work is the entire charge of a Shelter for Respectable Girls. . . . My time is nicely arranged now, giving me what I have not had, though so sadly needed--my meditation and devotional hours. I shall now be able to have what alone enables a Sister to work effectively--the religious part of my life--my hours, which have been so sadly missed, and the want of which has [12/13] weakened me, soul and body. My short sickness thus brought with it a blessing. And, indeed, do not all my sicknesses, in taking flight, leave a blessing behind them?"

The Sisterhood of the Holy Communion maintains also a Day Nursery, and from this children were sent to the Shelter for special care and treatment in case of sickness. The charge of the little ones was the part of her work in which she took more particular satisfaction.

Children were always especially dear to her. Cherishing in herself "the child-like heart of innocence," she loved it in them, as the lingering tyke of the blessedness of Eden. It made no difference to her who or what they were, or whence they came. The more poor, wretched, and helpless they were, the more strongly they awoke her sympathy. "I wish I could find a dear, little incurable baby," she once said, "that I could take in my arms and fondle. A lady has offered to found a bed in the Home for such a one, and I am trying to find one to fill it." It was the expression of her soul's yearning to pour itself out upon the most helpless and suffering of Adam's children--a motherless and diseased [13/14] babe--to share its sufferings and to give it shelter in her own large and loving heart. In one of the hottest of July days, when the temperature invited to rest and shady retreats, some friends met her at the House of the Holy Communion. "I want to show you my babies," was her greeting to them. Running up-stairs she reappeared with a child in each arm, and another little one behind her dragging a toy wagon. She was starting out for an excursion on a ferry-boat to give them fresh air. "Are you not afraid to take them out in this hot sun? You surely cannot carry both those children on such a day as this." "Oh, I don't mind the heat at all; the street-cars pass the door; everybody is very kind to me, and helps me with them. I often take them for excursions on the river, and it does them so much good." And so she went off, in her bright, cheery way, drawing on the exhaustless "Fresh Air Fund" of her own affectionate ingenuity and courage. Babyhood was [14/15] the solvent with her of "color lines" and class distinctions, when she could write as follows of her work in Baltimore:

"O such lots of dear little black babies, the blackest you ever saw, and the whitest you ever [15/16] saw to have black mothers; and all so clean, so kissable. I don't think I have seen a dirty baby yet. They don't get dirty here until they reach mud-pie age, about five or six years old, and then it don't stick very tight. I had Sister Serena's room full of little blackies to instruct yesterday morning, while she did an ironing of caps, etc., which had got behindhand."

A characteristic letter to her sister during this period gives a more vivid picture of herself and her work than a more studied description. We see in it her well-known simple-mindedness, cheerfulness, humor, and devotion to the details of her duties.

[The following shows how completely each twenty-four hours of her time were occupied:


6 o'clock.--Rise.

6.30.--Go through Shelter. Wake the girls. See to children. Ditto for any sick ones in House.


7.--Sisters' breakfast.

7.30.--Shelter breakfast.

8.--Names of new arrivals. Order stores for the day. Get children ready for school. Arrange about girls going out. Give out work.


9.30.--Inspect Shelter. Have badly done work done over, or do it myself, as the case may be. Order dinner. See to any sick ones.

10.30.--Read aloud to girls, if not disturbed by callers--usually the case.

11.--See girls privately in my room, preparatory to communion, confirmation, or baptism. In this much disturbed by callers.

11.45.--Children in from school. Give them sewing, and prepare them for a quiet play.

12.--Mid-day service and meditation, when not engaged seeing persons.

12.45.--Sisters' dinner.

1.15.--With Sisters in Dispensary.

1.30.--Shelter dinner. Children ready for afternoon school.

2.--See persons in my room, same as in the morning.

3.--Take children out walking. Unpleasant weather, read to them.

4.--Recreation, if possible.


5.30.--Give out things for tea. Put up work. Go to room to take off my things. Sometimes I get ten minutes in room.

6.--Shelter tea. Give out work for next day--sweeping, scrubbing, etc.

6.30.--Sisters' tea.

7.15.--Children to bed. Beds and bedding for new arrivals. Give out morning stores, coal, wood, etc.

8.--Social hour.


9.30--Close Shelter. Care for the sick. Comfort by a verse or two--often a prayer--some sorrowing one.

10.15-10.30.--In my room.

11.30-12.--In bed.

Saturday.--Recreation from 2 to 7 o'clock. 7.15.--Wash two children.

Friday, 7.15.--Wash two children.


November 27, 1872. "MY DEAR LITTLE SISTER:

"I am truly talked out and tired out to-night, and a busy day lies before me: perhaps the busiest part may be at half-past six o'clock to-morrow evening, when I will be stowing away my Thanksgiving dinner (D.V.). I happened this year to get around near the exit door in the Sunday-school room to-night, when I saw envelopes handed to each woman as she passed out, and my curiosity was gratified by Dr. Lawrence handing me eight of them, to give with the extra dinners I will start out to-morrow to give away. They contained each a new twenty-five cent bill. Upon my expressing my astonishment, I was told it was the usual custom. To-morrow from eight to ten o'clock I will be in fairyland, or rather the realization of dreamland. Armed with some bountiful supplies of chickens, pork, pies, and bread, I am going into some of the poorest-looking places, to surprise them into a thankful state; then put the dear little envelope in their hands, and disappear! Is not this just what one might dream about? And only to think, it is really going to happen! Sister Anna has four large turkeys, five pumpkin and five mince pies, and ice-cream, cake, and grapes, donations for her old women to be thankful over. The Shelter has chickens, three [17/18] kinds of vegetables, and pies. Now will not tomorrow be a busy day for us all? Remember I have the children for church at half-past ten o'clock to-morrow, but I have no school Friday.

"Sadie, my Bible class now numbers thirty-one--such a roomful--and I cannot get over my first feeling--to turn my back upon them and run as hard as I can the other way. They are so interested, and strain every nerve to catch every word I say. Oh, what a responsibility it is! When we sing our closing hymn it would do you good to hear the poor things try, only about half of them having musical talent enough to carry the tune at all. But by the time we reach the last verse, particularly if it is six verses long, they get pretty well under weigh, and it seems almost a shame to stop. My old class far outnumbers Mrs. B.'s, with whom I joined them, and they are to me a much more interesting set of women, belonging to our Church, and not liable to such grating remarks as, 'Well, I don't set much store by the Communion, or 'tendin' meetin'.' Sadie, look around for some Chicago poor to visit; suggest to Mr. P. a school, and busy yourself in it, at least for an hour or so a day, and you will be happy. You may work for the Master anywhere, and I should think Chicago needed some workers too. We miss you here, and the children miss you. Make yourself a necessity to some poor little children there, and then [18/19] you will be missed, when called elsewhere, in the truest sense of the word. And while there be happy yourself and make others sharers with you. Pardon my advice; I really never meant to give it, but like many things I said while you were with me, it slipped out."

"Ever your loving sister,


"This life is a life of happiness to me. I love it all, every bit of it, even to the cutting out of work for my little charges. I love to cut it out, and I really love the garments after they are cut. Surely you must have known that I have always loved the work among God's poor. Is it not years since my class in Sunday-school has been my great delight; and my visits to their parents my greater delight; and a chance to in any way aid them my greatest delight? In this work I am doing all the time what I then could only do occasionally; thus I am always happy. This, is to prove to you, dear mamma, that in living this life I am really living a selfish life. Still, if God will use me as an instrument in His powerful Hand, even my selfishness may be turned to His glory.

"Have I not in the past years of suffering been under a state of preparation for my work, learning from experience to sympathize with the sufferer, with the homeless, and with the afflicted? Yes, [19/20] and I thank God every day for the way by which He has led me."

And here we must pause and retrace our steps to refer to a little devotional manual, which she arranged while prostrated with sickness at Newburgh, and published in New York in I87o. It is entitled, "Manna, Night and Morning. Selected and Arranged by Lulu." The plan is original, and it displays much knowledge in the deeper meanings of the Holy Scriptures, great skill in making various passages explain, illustrate, and enforce each other, and spirituality and taste in the selections of sacred poetry for the meditation of each day through a month. Those for the very first day seem prophetic of her own life and end:

"Watch ye, stand fast in the Faith, quit you like men, be strong."--I Cor. xvi. 13.


"Ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at cock-crowing, or in the morning."--St. Mark xiii. 35.

[21] AND

"Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when He cometh shall find so doing."--St. Luke xii. 43.

"'Weep not,' for unto you is given
To watch for the coming of His feet,
Who is the glory of our blessed Heaven;
The work and watching will be very sweet
Even in an earthly home;
And in such an hour as you think not
He will come."

What she sought and found is so beautifully expressed in the lines which conclude the morning meditations, that we must insert them.

"We ask for peace, O Lord!
Thy children ask for peace,
Not what the world calls rest,
That toil and care should cease,
That through bright sunny hours
Calm life should fleet away,
And tranquil night should fade
In smiling day;
It is not for such peace that we would pray.

"We ask for peace, O Lord!
Yet not to stand secure,
Girt round with iron pride,
Contented to endure;
[22] Crushing the gentle strings
That human hearts should know,
Untouched by others' joys
Or others' woes.
Thou, O dear Lord, wilt never teach us so.

"We ask Thy peace, O Lord!
Through storm and fear and strife,
To light and guide us on
Through a long struggling life;
While no success or gain
Shall cheer the desperate fight,
Or nerve what the world calls
Our wasted might;
Yet pressing through the darkness to the light.

"It is Thine own, I Lord!
Who toil while others sleep:
Who sow, with loving care,
What other hands shall reap;
They lean on Thee, entranced,
In calm and perfect rest;
Give us that peace, O Lord!
Divine and blest,
Thou keepest for those hearts that love Thee best."

But her own especial favorite was the beautiful hymn which closes the collection.

[23] "When we reach a quiet dwelling
On the strong eternal hills,
And our praise to Him is swelling,
Who the vast creation fills:
When the paths of prayer and duty,
And affliction all are trod,
And we wake and see the beauty
Of our Saviour and our God:

"With the light of resurrection,
When our changed bodies glow,
And we gain the full perfection
Of the bliss begun below;
When the life that flesh obscureth,
In each radiant form shall shine,
And the joy that age endureth,
Flashes forth in beams divine:

"While we wave the palms of glory
Through the long eternal years,
Shall we e'er forget the story
Of our mortal griefs and fears?
Shall we e'er forget the sadness,
And the clouds that hung so dim,
When our hearts are filled with gladness,
And our tears are dried by Him?
"Shall the memory be banished,
Of His kindness and His care,

[24] When the wants and woes are vanished,
Which He loved to soothe and share?
All the way by which He brought us,
All the grievings which He bore,
All the patient love He taught us,
Shall we think of them no more?

"Yes, we surely shall remember,
How He quickened us from death:
How He fanned the dying ember
With His spirit's glowing breath;
We shall read the tender meaning
Of the sorrows and alarms,
As we trod the desert leaning
On His everlasting arms.

"And His rest will be the dearer
When we think of weary ways;
And His light will seem the clearer
As we muse on cloudy days.
Oh! 'twill be a glorious morrow
To a dark and stormy day,
We shall recollect our sorrow
As the streams that pass away."

No words can reveal more truly and touchingly than the following her deep love for souls, and her profound sense of the responsibility involved in teaching them. They were written in 1872, with no [24/25] thought that they would ever be seen by any eyes but the loved ones for which they were written:

"I have a Bible Class on Sundays now, formed of the older sisters of my children. I am so happy with them, only I feel the responsibility to be so great;--these young girls to be given to my charge just as they have come to the turning-point of their lives. Oh, mamma, pray for me, that I may say the one thing that shall bring a soul to Jesus. This would more than repay me for my labors, for my work is a pleasure, as you well know, bringing with it its own reward; but think what it would be to save one soul! I tremble when I think how I may let the opportunity pass by, the word remain unspoken, the soul lost, or if ever saved, allowed to go on in the darkness a while longer, which the word rightly or fitly spoken might dispel. But surely He who has given me the great work to do, will not let it suffer because of my weakness, my want of knowledge. But today, when they were all around, listening so eagerly to every word I spoke, seeming to be thirsting for the knowledge I was striving to give them, when I looked around at them I thought, who am I that I should dare to take the training of these living souls? And I could have run away and hid myself, not so much from the eyes of men as from the eyes of a God, who, it seems [25/26] to me, would be almost angry at my presumption. Then I tho't, if I, weak as I am, do not tell these girls of Jesus, who will? Better the imperfect knowledge I can give than none at all. And then I did not choose this work, it was chosen for me. Again I say, pray for me-pray for my girls--pray for my school. Pray especially for me when I am going, as I now am, with these souls to the very brink of the river of death. I feel as each one leaves me and crosses to that other home--Here is a work completed--more I cannot do, but, oh, have I done all I could? What is the record they take to the Master of my ministry with them? Truly the work is beautiful--as Mrs. Townsend said, `heavenly'--as cousin Sarah says, 'holy'--but what is the workman? Truly the reward is great, but who can receive it? Well it is that the Master does not say, 'She hath done all that was necessary,' but 'She hath done what she could,' in her ignorance and weakness. I only fear lest I may not do what I can. Ask those who would pray for our work not to forget the workmen. Now, mamma, I really did not mean to write thus, but I was thinking, and almost without thinking have put them down."

The same spirit dictated the following:

"A Prayer for my Sunday-school Scholars.

"Almighty and everlasting God, from whom [26/27] cometh every good and perfect gift, send down upon my Sunday-school scholars the healthful Spirit of Thy grace, and that they may truly please Thee, pour upon them the continual dew of Thy blessing. Grant that in all their little trials and troubles they may look unto Thee, from whence alone they may find comfort. Guard them, O God, from the attacks of the world, the flesh, and the devil, that with pure hearts they may serve Thee, the Lord their God, and evermore walk steadfastly in Thy fear and to Thy service. May they never be ashamed to confess Christ and Him crucified before men. May each, O merciful Father, be indeed a member of Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven. All which I ask in the name and mediation of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

"So instruct me, O Lord, in the ways of Thy laws that I may drop into the tender soil of their young minds the seed which shall bear fruit. Help me to so guide them into the paths of righteousness that when they are old they will not depart from them. All which I ask in the name of Thy Son, who hath said, 'Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.' Amen."

As everything about her was interesting, and [27/28] everything she did was done thoroughly and to the best of her ability, so was it especially with her Bible Classes. She prepared herself for them by careful study and meditation, "doing with her might whatsoever her hand found to do." Not content with commenting and explaining, she encouraged her learners to think and investigate for themselves, and propound questions, orally or in writing, for her to answer. She did not undertake to answer them off-hand or at hap-hazard, but took them home, studied them, and carefully wrote out the explanation. We have seen how deeply she felt her responsibility as a teacher, and we may learn her method of instruction from some of her Bible Class papers.

"Authority for circumcision, Gen. xvii. 7-15.

"First Question.--Why do the heathen worship idols of wood and stone?

"The human heart must have something to worship, to look up to, to pray to. In their ignorance of the true God, the heathen have substituted wood, perhaps because of its great beauty and usefulness; and stone, because of the mystery connected with its formation, and its great strength. Everything beautiful, or useful, or wonderful in [28/29] nature has at times been an object of worship, until the Creator has taken the place of the created.

"Second Question.--Temptations come from God, and why the petition, 'Lead us not into temptation'?

"'Lead us not into temptation,' too strong for us to resist, is the meaning of the petition. Temptations come from the devil, but are allowed of God as means of strengthening us, proving us. But He in nowise allows us to be tempted above that we are able, but will with the temptation make also a way of escape. We yield to temptation instead of resisting it, and we then lose sight of God and His way of escape.

Mrs. McG.

"First Question.--Yes, God did this (hid the body of Moses) to avoid their again falling into the sin of idolatry. Bodies were embalmed then, which would have made it an easy matter to have kept and worshipped the body of this great servant of God.

"Second Question.--We cannot become self-righteous if we look entirely from self to God. It is not--'I have been nearer to God to-day,' but oh, happy am I, 'God has been nearer to me to-day.' In His great love to me, not my great love to Him, He has by His indwelling Holy Spirit made His written Word a pleasure, and the whispered prayer [29/30] a delight God hath indeed condescended to me, who am of low estate. 'What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?' 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to Thy word.'

"Third Question.--Answered by asking another: Was Rebekah a Christian mother at all?

"Fourth Question.--There were two anointings, not one, as this question implies. They both anointed our Saviour, yet they are different persons, and did it at different times, with different results. In St. Matt. xxvi. 6, St. Mark xiv. 3, St. John xii. t, we read of this anointing by Mary of Bethany. In St. Luke vii. 36, of the anointing by Mary Magdalene the sinner. Mary of Bethany anoints him for the burial; Mary the sinner obtains remission of her sins.

"Fifth Question.--He was the brother of neither. He was the son of Simon, called Zelotes, the Canaanite, and brother of James the Less, not of James the son of Zebedee.

"Sixth Question.--The wicked will await their final punishment until the day of judgment."

The following able and judicious reply to a question which she had propounded for solution shows her, at times, venturing into the mazes of theological speculation, yet willing and ready to be taught and guided into sober paths:

December 5, 1876.


"You have put me a question which it is impossible for finite man to answer. I cannot stand with that question on my lips, before the awful mystery of one and the same Person existing from all eternity and yet born in time, without lowering my gaze and turning round for relief to something within my finite grasp.

"Do you think, my dear daughter in the Lord, that it would be to the edification of your Bible Class of working-women to lead them into the mazes of such profound theological mystery?

"The point has not been revealed to us by God; and our mother, the Church, has not spoken touching it. St. John of Damascus speaks one way, St. Thomas Aquinas another; and where great doctors differ, who shall decide, until the Church speak, if indeed she ever will, on that special point?

"We know that Christ had a human soul, but that there was no human personality underlying it. We know that the Person underlying His human soul was the Second Person of the Godhead. You will at once see, if you study your question a little, that it is deeper than perhaps you thought. It is, 'When did our Blessed Lord become conscious of His mission,' etc.? Now ask yourself what do I [31/32] mean by 'Blessed Lord?' Do I mean the Second Person of the Adorable and Omniscient Trinity, or do I mean the human soul of Christ? We only know that the Untreated remains the Untreated and Omniscient; and that the created remains, as St. Thomas says, 'within the limits of the creature.' We may reverently conceive, perhaps, that the divine knowledge dawned upon the human' soul of Christ according to the laws of that human soul as it developed; but who can place his finger upon the mathematical times when? who can give the psychological processes within the awful mystery of the God-Man?

"I think my wisest and most humble answer is, 'I do not know.' I would help you if I could, but I cannot. The deeper one thinks on such points, the more one is utterly lost.

"Your servant in Christ,

"F. C. EWER.

To SISTER LOUISE, 66 West Thirty-eighth Street."

But her chief vocation was ministering to the sick and diseased. It was a work in which she was always at home, and for which she seemed to have inexhaustible resources within herself. So well known were her skill and fidelity in it, that, when she once reported to the Sister in charge of St. Luke's Hospital the case of a man [32/33] suffering from a painful and dangerous accident, and suggested that, according to the usual custom, a physician should be sent to see whether the case was a proper one to be received into the wards, the Sister replied, "Oh, Sister Louise, that is unnecessary if you say he ought to come here." A higher compliment could not have been paid to her tact, experience, judgment, and integrity, than such confidence on the part of one of our most careful, well-ordered, and efficient hospitals, distinguished for the prudence of its management and the success of its treatment.

Another characteristic letter depicts her engaged in this branch of her work:

"SATURDAY EVENING, September 5, 1874


"Do not expect me to write much to-night, for I am very tired. We have a severe and very terrible case of illness here in the Shelter, and the patient's present and future welfare seems to depend much on poor me. Her medicine she will take from no one but me. Poor Sister Eliza worked over her for half an hour and failed: this she did to let me have a little rest. Then I came on the scene of action, and for the simple allowing her to pat my, face, which she is fond of doing, [33/34] the truly horrid potion of quinine went down. Die she must; a few days, perhaps hours, and her life will be numbered, so far as human sight can see. The spiritual use I am to her can well be understood when I tell you Mr. Mottet baptized her on Wednesday. Some of these days .I am going to write her history for you and Miss R. She is truly an interesting case; but, unfortunately, interesting cases tire as well as please. I wish you and Miss R. would specially pray for her, and for me that strength be given me.

"My sick baby is better, and to-day the dear little thing clapped her hands for Sister Louise to come. Of course I went. A mute we have here at present had an attack of cholera morbus, and a lively time I had, learning symptoms, etc. I have only eighteen in the Shelter now; but God is always good, and sent me one of His afflicted ones, whose affliction has made her so bright and lovely; and she offered to take with me the care of the sick ones. I must tell you her affliction--a glass eye one side, and a glass pupil the other. The glass pupil allows her to see. She looks upon that pupil as an especial blessing from God. Any one would know that I had just got back to work to hear me rattle on so about the different ones. But I am, oh, so happy!

"Kiss baby Annie for me. The baby I have now is the fairest of the fair, and the contrast often [34/35] amuses me. Poor Sadie! do give my love to her. Loads of love for you and Sadie.

"Your loving daughter,


Occasionally it became her duty to minister to fallen women. Nothing can be imagined more harrowing, pathetic, piteous, and yet consoling, than her own description of such an experience--heart-rending, yet comforting, as showing the power of the love of Christ to save the most degraded and depraved. She had promised in her previous letter to write it out:

"I am going to give you the history of poor Margaret. I have the inclination, and will never find the time; so will take it out of the small hours. Fifteen years ago within twenty miles of Dublin lived a godless family; and when I say godless I mean those who, not in their actions recognizing a God, never in their words taught the five sons and one only daughter growing up around them, of the possibility of there being such a Being as God; and the Name, when spoken, meant only an ejaculation of surprise or anger. A gentleman's son made advances toward the only daughter, accompanied with golden promises, if she would forsake the only too cruel and drunken [35/36] father and mother and meet him at Dublin. The plot was discovered by the mother, who then kicked her from the door, out--out into a world and life of sin. 'God forgive her--I will try to. But oh, Sister, I can't forget that night! I was but fifteen years old then.' To continue in her own words: 'I met him whom my soul loved, in Dublin, without any knowledge of the necessity of a marriage. I accepted his offer of a home, and--yes, I now know--sinned. For two years I lived with him, when one night he left me, taking with him our son, my darling, of one year and two months. Thank God, my boy's life has been a lovely one. To-day he is in college, not knowing or caring for her who bore him, while I lie here a-dying. But worse, far worse, the sinner I have been. Left alone, worse than a widow, and childless, I joined a woman. . . That woman hung herself one night in the very room with me. I found her stiff and cold when morning came. I did not kill her, Sister, on my word. You believe me, don't you? for I dare not tell you a lie, and I'm dying, too. But I know the world would say I did, and so I fled, took passage for New York, and for fifteen years lived a life of sin--oh, such sin! . . . Oh, I could tell you stories would make your blood run cold, but they are not for such as you to hear or know. O God! how can I think of it? Yes, one drop, only one drop [36/37] of Jesus' blood will wash away the deepest stain. Say the text, Sister, say the text.' Then, like a little child, she would repeat over, 'Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.' Oh, I never realized that text before, until teaching it to her.

Eight months ago, in a drunken spree and rage, I struck a fellow-sinner a blow which brought her in a stunned state to the floor, and they arrested me. Coming before the judge and jury, I found many of them to be personal friends of mine--know what I mean? Yes? Well, they said, winking: " --------- , can't spare you long--get you off easy. Instead of the usual two years for assault and battery, let you off with two months." One month in the Island Penitentiary, and the Lord laid a heavy hand upon me. You know how He laid me low first. The blood came then just as it comes now. (She is dying of rapid consumption.) And, Sister, He sent those kind missionaries to see me, and when I left the Island Mrs. Mills took me to her own home. Twice I left her and went back to Greene Street, but not to sin; I could not; something held me back both from the cup and what it would have prepared me for. It was the hand of a kind Father. And then I gave myself up to be saved, after two bold attempts to resist it. And now, should I ever want to go [37/38] back--for the temptation even now comes over me--know that I am not myself, and treat me as such. God led me here by the hand of Mrs. Mills--you know how? (She was brought here when Mrs. Mills accepted a call to California, as missionary there.) From here I go to the House of Mercy, there to die. But I die a Christian, for here on this very bed I was baptized. The Pastor said truly when he said this was none other than the gate of Heaven to me. And wherever I am, when I die, I shall always return in memory to this little bed in the corner. And, Sister, whenever you look at it, think of poor Margaret, the blackest of the Shepherd's sheep--but yet a sheep.'

"And she has gone to the House of Mercy. The empty bed still remains, and I never go in without seeing on it the poor suffering form of Maggie, and hear her say, as she always commenced each sentence, 'Sister, you know?' ' Know what, Maggie? ' And then it came, not as I have written it, without an interruption, but piecemeal, by day and by night. Often, very often, we were interrupted by the blood coming, or, as she would say, 'The hand of God is upon me.' I have written it as much as possible in her words, and without the little 'asides,' or only a few of them. To show you her religious life, I will tell a few things she said. 'Now, Maggie, keep quiet; you have talked enough; pat my [38/39] cheek now (a favorite way she had of proving her love to me), and I will say something softly to you: Christ leads us through no darker room than He went through before.' ' Sister, don't say that. He, the pure and holy Jesus, never went through the dark rooms of sin I've been through. Don't say that; say: I know not the way.' 'Well,

"I know not the way I am going,
But well do I know my Guide."

'No, I'm only just getting acquainted with Him. You know Him well; I only a little. But, go on.'

'"With childlike trust I give my hand
To the mighty Friend at my side."'

'Yes, I'm a wee, little, weak child; but, oh, Sister, He won't let go--no, He won't let go.'

"And so I have slipped away, and left her quietly sleeping, a weak and weary child. In the story of the woman taken in adultery, she was ever lost in astonishment. How the pure Jesus could say, 'Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more'; this passed all bounds of her understanding, and she would say, over and over again, 'Oh, Sister, you don't understand it all, or you would wonder at it just as I do.' She would not allow me to come near the bed, or touch her, until [39/40] she had told me how much of a sinner she had been. And when, in spite of this, I could put my arms around her, she exclaimed, and oh, so truthfully, too, 'Jesus told you to do so'; for in truth, none but love for Him could have overcome my natural repugnance for sinners such as these. Now, mamma and Sadie, I have indeed written you of my work. Let Miss R. share the story with you, and join her prayers with yours and ours that God will take her to Himself, hastening the time when He shall pronounce the work commenced in her as finished, and she. fit for the Master's service.

"Your loving daughter,


Her lively spirits did not forsake her either in these trying experiences or amid the small annoyances of her work.


October 14, 1874.


"It really has been almost too cold in my room for me to write you at night, as heretofore, and I have been unable to catch a moment during the day. For remember I am working single-handed, and you know to lead an easy life in Shelter work requires more than one. There is an average of [40/41] seventeen or eighteen calls a day now, and you know how long a time to allow for each; then eighteen and twenty in the Shelter, with all their small and great heart troubles, to come to Sister Louise with; and then, last but not least, the house-keeping--fire in front room to start, comfortables to give out, and thick blankets a week since. Then in between come the small annoyances, such as drainpipe upstairs stopped and bad smell all through the house; drainpipe down-stairs stopped at the same time--worse smell through the house. Repairs soon remedied the former. The final extraction of a good-sized doll's body, put down there for safe keeping, to the girls could. not find it, by the young hopeful whose mother I told you had so kindly left him, etc., settled the other trouble. It is due to the mother to say that after the space of one week she came to claim the child, saying she was not in the least worried about him, she knew he was in good hands. We thought it rather cool; but then coolness under all troubles is a virtue few possess. Add to all this long list the care of the children, five and seven years; the constant 'little by little,' 'here a little and there a little' of motherly advice and scolding, to suit my motherly position in the world now--the reminder of a forgotten ' Ma'am' or 'Sir,' ' Thank you,' or 'Sister, please'--always to recognize the presence of a Sister, especially Sister Catharine, by a rising if seated, and a 'Good-morning' or 'Afternoon,' as the time may be--a stepping aside to let the Sisters pass--holding fork, spoon, and knife properly, and failing to resemble a pig in eating, etc.--besides the button off here, there a big darn;--I say, add all this to the rest, and I am sure you will be so tired of thinking of it all as to quite forget that all the time I have been trying to write an apology for not writing before. But don't flatter yourself I need your sympathy. Here, at 10.30 P.M., I am not in the least tired, but very happy, and ready for the morrow's duties, more sure of the needed strength on Thursday than usual, because of the early and strength-giving Communion. What would we do without this? I never dread a Sunday's or a Thursday's duties, and I must confess I do not pass many moments in dreading any other day's anticipated duties, only I feel a little different in looking forward to these two days.

"Now that I have rattled on at such an outrageous length, I will return to the vein of thought I have been indulging in ever since I first thought to write to-night, and really the one reason I had for writing--your toe, the needle in it, and your letter received to-day. Sister Catharine could not say how it would affect the joint, but thought you would be spared any serious trouble. As for me, [42/43] I have now given up all hope of its coming out of the top of your head, and think it will be a joint-concern. I am sorry you suffer so much, but hope to hear in the next letter I receive that the needle has appeared, and been duly wrapped in soft paper and laid away as a relic, perhaps again to come to life in a second edition of the 'Story of a Needle,' a book which I greatly enjoyed as a child.

"What a rattle brain I am to-night! I really think for the good of the Sisterhood I had better close with a dignified remembrance to every one I ought to remember. Good-night, mamma dear; I'm so sleepy--good-night.

"Your loving daughter,


Her aspirations continually led her on to greater self-devotion:


St. Philip and St. James' Eve.


"A sweet text was given me for you to-night, as I opened my Bible: 'This poor widow bath given more than they all.' Oh, what a comfort! All sacrifices but this one of me have been, so to speak, sacrifices of necessity. Your first-born, like the first-born of old, has been asked of you. [43/44] Make your crown resplendent with that brightest of all gems, a willing sacrifice. This world is only for a short time, its troubles soon over; but that world, oh, mamma, you know without my telling you, is forever--that crown of self-sacrifice, forever. If .you have given your first-born to the Lord, He, in love for you, has not refused her. If He has not refused her, she, in return, would show her self-sacrifice by a more strict life of self-denial than ever before."

Influenced by what she thought a divine call, she left the Holy Communion, as she was at liberty to do after three years, in May, 1875, and went with a friend to Baltimore to join the "All Saints Sisters of the Poor." She carried with her an affection for her Superior and her Pastor, the Rev. Dr. Lawrence, which she retained through life. It was their intention to proceed to England, and finish their novitiate in the Mother House, in London. But this was not to be. Before three months had passed in Baltimore, Sister Louise was seized with a violent and alarming illness, which threatened her brain. She had passed through a season of perplexity and anxiety, which had evidently preyed upon [44/45] her, and worked upon her sensibilities to a degree which her frequent illnesses, especially the last, had made her unable to bear. We can see from her own words the high-wrought state of her feelings:

"261 HAMILTON TERRACE, July 28, 1875.


". . Sister. H. told me last evening that if I liked hospital work I should be trained for it in England, and be placed in charge of one when I came back. The thought of hospital duty is a pleasant one, but with it comes the responsibility I so cowardly shrink from. They tell me, in whatever Sisterhood I go, my talent, for such it is, cannot be hid. God will not allow it to be, and I must give all talents He has only loaned me--give them all back to Him, by willingly using them for Him; and He will strengthen for each day, and bless me at its close, and crown me with the welcome, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.' They will not give me up. I made you and Sadie an excuse to pleasantly leave them. They would not accept it, but immediately gave expression to plans and kindnesses too great to express in our feeble language. . . . Oh, mamma, such words, such kindness, from those who such a short time ago were strangers! No, I cannot leave [45/46] them. I am sorry I allowed the temptation so far to overcome me as to write to you as I did. Had you received my second letter you would have understood that dread of the future, and nothing in the Rule or Life here caused me to yield to the temptation. Henceforth I mean only to look forward to the reward, and not at the hill I am climbing to reach it, every step of which will be strengthened by the Master who trod it before me: and backward to the Cross on Calvary; and then I will be ready to give myself, and all that I have, more unreservedly to the Lord. Yes, mamma dear, Jesus did remember His Mother when upon the Cross; but He never once turned aside from the work He was sent to do; and few, indeed, must have been the earthly communions with His Mother. I have thought of you both, and expressed my desire toward you, and my anxiety for you. The response has come warmly, lovingly, 'Leave them with us; we will care for them until your return;' and the Voice from Heaven says, 'Arise, depart! Wist ye not that ye must be about My Father's business?' Thus speaks Jesus to my soul--He who knew and loved a Mother. . . . Whatever the future has in store for me, be it mine to say, 'Only to be as Thou wouldst have me to be; only to do as Thou wouldst have me to do. Only sanctify all I do; accept all I suffer; make me Thine, and keep me [46/47] Thine, that I may be Thine forever.' This, this alone, must be my prayer. Henceforth I will nothing but what He wills. . .

"Do write soon, very soon. I have given you sufficient food for thought, and questions to answer. I am tired now. Good-by, mamma dear. Don't think me very naughty. You know I am not my own, nor yet yours; still, I am your loving daughter,


After recovering from the illness previously mentioned, she found herself in a condition which made it impossible for her to carry out her design of going to England. The following letter from the Sister Superior explains the circumstances:



"I am writing from my bed to-day, having an abscess forming in my ear which causes great pain. You left so suddenly that I was not able to see your doctors and find out their opinion concerning your health: now I have the united opinion of Dr. Dorsey, Dr. Vanbibber, and Dr. Chew, who all say that you are not fit at present to enter any Community or undertake any work of the kind, but would be much better with your mother for at [47/48] least a year; and if after that time your health and strength are restored you might try again. They are all very sorry to say this as they know your longing for a Religious life, and are all good Churchmen, and would not say a word to prevent you unless they felt it right for both sides. I am very sorry too, dear child, and wish it could be otherwise; but I feel I dare not risk sending you to England in your present state. . . . Praying our dear Lord to have you ever in His holy keeping, and to bless and guide you, I am, dear Sister Louise,

"Very affectionately yours in J. C.,

"+ HARRIET, Sister Superior."

It was a grievous disappointment to the two friends to be obliged to return to New Fork, instead of going to England for the training which they desired. In proposing to join the All Saints' Sisterhood Sister Louise had unwaveringly kept in view her vocation to minister to the sick, and had sought to become better fitted for it as a Christian work. They remained in New York till the following March, when they took charge of an orphanage in Bridgeport. It was not congenial work, and they relinquished it in July, returning to New York. In October Sister Louise accepted [48/49] the place of Parish Visitor at Grace Chapel, New York. The tenement-houses in that densely peopled quarter formed the field of her labors, and nobly did she fulfil her vocation among their inmates of all degrees. Among other means of mutual and ready help she organized St. Catharine's Guild--"composed of those whose only wealth consists of willing hearts and hands, and whose special qualifications for the work in which they are engaged are a personal knowledge of the homes and lives of the poor, and a love for the Master and His suffering ones--as. a means whereby the kindly offices of the poor may be organized and utilized in service for one another, and as a bond whereby those whose interest and trials are so largely in common may be more closely united in Christian sympathy and love."

The work of the Guild was:

"Visiting and caring for the sick poor, by attending to their sanitary and domestic necessities.

"Sewing for the sick.

"Helping to redeem many weary hours by reading.

"Assisting disabled persons and others to church.

[50] "Bringing children to baptism and adults to the Sisters' Bible class.

"Encouraging and caring for small savings, whereby a habit of thrift and forecast may be developed and strengthened."

Its members were pledged to "use the prayer of the Guild daily;" "to cultivate personal holiness, and exemplify the charity which 'beareth all things,' and suffereth long and is kind,'" and to "give according to their ability to the maintenance of the Guild." By means of it she labored to inspire that spirit of mutual help which Dr. Chalmers introduced among the poor of Glasgow, and so expelled pauperism from his parish there. The work they did in their first year is worthy to be mentioned:

"As the workers are poor women, they know, in a peculiar way, how to do the most with the limited means of nursing met with in our crowded tenement-houses. For one year the work has gone quietly on, governed by a few necessary rules. Monthly meetings have been held, at which time the members have received instruction in the care of the sick from the Sister-in-Charge. I have investigated all cases under their care, [50/51] advising or instructing as the occasion required. In time a few persons became interested, and donated such articles as enabled the Guild to meet a growing want--that of supplying bedding and medical appliances for the living and grave-clothes for the dead, with a loan of crape for the door when death had entered.

"The Guild is composed of 17 members, who in the past year have made 1,012 calls upon the sick, caring for 37 different diseases, and ministering to their wants; have washed 69 times for the helpless; reported to night-watchings with the very sick; prepared 15 bodies for burial; provided 7 with grave-clothes, and loaned the crape to times.

"For the amusement and instruction of the sick 112 books, papers, and magazines have been loaned or given outright, and nourishment from the 'Basket for the Sick,' amounting to 62 charlottes, 15 quarts of ice-cream, 4 quarts of soup, 3 chickens, oranges, with flowers, has been carried to the bedside of many. Twenty-nine garments have been donated, and 30 articles of bedding loaned, besides 13 medical appliances, which have proved no small help and blessing.

"But the Guild's work does not end with the sick and dying, as, by its endeavors, 15 adults have been brought to church and Bible class, and 14 children have been gathered within the fold of the Church by baptism.

[52] "Before closing this brief report, it is but right to state that the calls enumerated are those made by members of the Guild, and not by the Sister-in-Charge.

"When we remember that they are workingwomen, with families to care for, the record is worthy of much praise. Having no silver or gold to offer the Master, they have brought not a few good works as the result of the year, and surely He will accept them."

Her delicate thoughtfulness for, the poor and humble suggested the providing of door crapes in cases of death for those who could not afford them, for she was ever laboring to inspire them with self-respect and mutual regard. Her great field, the Bible class, attracted 157 members. She planned and carried into effect, through the Rector of Grace Church, the renting and furnishing of a sea-side cottage at Far Rockaway, to which she carried the women and children to recruit from the stifling air and heat of a summer in the city. A record of between 1,500 and 1,600 visits annually, with 300 garments yearly given, and over $1,000 dispensed in alms in the same period, managed with the greatest care and [52/53] method, and accounted for with exact and scrupulous fidelity, as the records prove, completes a summary of labors which show that "she hath wrought a good work," to be spoken of for a memorial of her." The proposal to take charge of the Day Nursery in connection with Grace Chapel was made to her in December, 1878. It was a providential act that this fell through, for in all probability it would have kept her bound from the great work which she had been planning for six years, and which she was enabled to organize and commence when Grace Chapel lost her services in June, 1879.

For all that she was doing during her three years' connection with the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion, and the labors in which she was engaged in Baltimore, Bridgeport, and New York, was only a training and discipline for the real work of her life. However faithfully she did them, she did not find her vocation in them. She was being schooled by them for a great work that was before her, but which seemed almost impossible to accomplish. Experience acquired in visiting and assisting the poor of the city, revealed a peculiar and "pressing demand of suffering, in the form of [54/55] incurable diseases" "among the respectable sick poor." "No Home, with the freedom so much needed for the incurably sick ones, existed within the city limits, which would receive patients over fifteen years of age, regardless of creed, if only Protestant, and entirely free of influence or admission fee." To found such a retreat, which should be also a thoroughly Christian Home, where the daily life should be sanctified by prayers, instruction, the frequent celebration of the Blessed Sacrament, and all other priestly ministrations, became her absorbing idea. This was shared by two devoted friends, to whom she had become greatly attached, Miss Augusta M. Palmer and her sister, Mrs. Hazard. They had been co-laborers with her and partakers in her selfdenials and trials. They bound themselves together in a common effort to secure this boon for the suffering. But it was no easy task, and called for the most abundant supply of faith, hope, and charity. In fact it seemed presumptuous. There was a Home already at Fordham, thoroughly equipped and well sustained. They had no means, few friends, and powerful and influential opposers. They needed everything--a house, furniture, food, helping hands, physicians, nurses, medicines. But if "the slothful man saith, 'There is a lion in the. way; a lion is in the streets,' " as an excuse for not bestirring himself to do what he is called to do, the self-consecrated heart, diligent in its "Father's business," finds the lion chained and harmless after all, and laughs at its vain roarings.

They waited and watched for one year, "trusting alone to the great need of the work, the ever-thoughtfulness of the Heavenly Father for His afflicted ones, and the generosity of the public." During these months of weary waiting they were cheered by what they called their "corner-stone"--a three-dollar gold piece, given by a lady who had then kept her bed with an incurable sickness for more than twenty-five years. With this slender supply and enough for one month's rent, they opened "The House of the Holy Comforter, Free Church Home for Incurables," at 241 West Twenty-third Street, September 15, 1879. It was the thirty-first anniversary of Sister Louise's birthday. The last decade of her life had been devoted to Church work in all its forms, and some of it, at least, was of the very hardest kind. But she [55/56] and her companions did not shrink from hardship, nor did they complain of it. They opened with one patient, under the approval and authorization of the Bishop of the Diocese:

"I very cordially approve of this Home for Incurables, and commend it to the sympathy and support of our Christian people.

"Bishop of New York.

"October 3, 1879."

For the first nine months they were obliged to beg each day most of the food that supplied their table. It is recorded to the glory of Sta Francesca Romana, that she, being a lady of rank and wealth, not only gave her own substance to the poor, but went into the streets to beg alms for them; and a church built in her honor overlooks the ruins of temples and palaces hard by the Coliseum. It is hard to conceive a work more trying and repulsive, or one requiring a higher degree of self-consecration. That these ladies persevered in it through all, seasons proved thoroughly their unreserved devotion to their work. It proved more, for unless He Whose [56/57] Name they had invoked in founding their Home had been with them, they would not have had grace and strength to persevere. But they were led and guided, and ways were opened to them in a wonderful manner. It must have been a remarkable experience, taking them into many out of-the-way places, and introducing them to many dingy retreats. But it revealed to them the existence of a fountain of kindliness and sympathy in the hearts of the dealers and business men of this city, which it is a happiness to know and a pleasure to record. Seldom did they meet with a harsh and repulsive reception. Even those who could not give substantial aid had kind and friendly words for them. To their credit be it said, that the House of the Holy Comforter was enabled to live and do its work during the first nine months of its existence by the market-men, produce dealers, and wholesale dealers of various kinds. They furnished a great part of the food that nourished the sick and the well. "We may truthfully say of them," says the first report, "that without their aid we must either have had far less to eat, or have become more indebted than we are." The first year was a ceaseless [57/58] struggle with destitution, relieved, however, by many grateful gleams of sunlight. One generous lady gave three months' rent; "together with many other remembrances," which they accepted as special tokens of the Divine care. Another started and maintained a "Milk Fund," which nearly paid their milk bill. Hebrew and Gentile alike contributed to aid them by voluntary contributions of money, food, and clothing. The chapel, with its altar, was set apart by the Bishop of New York on All Saints' Day, 1879, and it became henceforth the very heart of the House life.

"241 WEST TWENTY-THIRD STREET, December 17th.


"I am so tired and busy all the time, and have so many letters and notes of business to write, that it seems as if time and talent can never be found to write to you. Can it be possible that after having had a taste of Institution life you could expect a letter for Thanksgiving Day? Why, why!!! I thought of you, but really that was all I had time to do. I am now writing this for a Christmas greeting; please be thankful for it. We have a dear little chapel, with a truly beautiful altar, [58/59] consecrated by the Right Reverend the Bishop on All Saints' Day.

"How we do have to beg, beg, beg for our daily bread. Our family numbers twenty-nine, and it is many mouths to fill, and big appetites all the time. The tradespeople remember us very kindly with potatoes and meal of all kinds, and we have never had to buy any coal yet."

Each day brought light and comfort with its toil, but "especially bright were the holy seasons of the Church" in that little Home of faith and charity. "Christmas found the Home rejoicing over its Christmas tree, which gave its strange fruit to each and every one. 'The fir-tree and the pine and the box-tree together' made beautiful the sanctuary of our God, and the place where His honor dwelleth. The star which shone over our altar seemed to speak of a glad future. Easter again found us rejoicing. Gifts gladdened the hearts of each one, and our Altar, standing forth laden with its emblems of the Resurrection, seemed all the brighter after its Lenten air of sadness. Whitsunday, the day of the Home, came to us replete with spiritual blessings. Baptism and Confirmation, hymns of joy and psalms of gladness marked our first anniversary."

Her own words must describe the first Easter at the Home:



"Our work with the incurables and children is considered a very great success. Money comes in slowly, but we have not been allowed to suffer yet, only to be quite anxious at times, particularly when rent time draws near. Thanks to three friends, we have our rent money in hand for the coming month of May--$100 is no small amount to look around for. . . . Our altar-cloth has just been beautifully embroidered by a lady. Oh, our chapel is growing so lovely. Easter we had a memorial gift of two vases for flowers on the altar, which could not have cost less than $50 or $60. Other memorials are to come for the high days of the Church from the same person--a widow. We also had a prettily embroidered antependium, an altar-desk, a prayer-book for it, and book-marks, fringe for our fair linen cloth, and oh, such loads of flowers. This for the chapel. Then a lady gave each patient a wrapper, six pocket-handkerchiefs (hemstitched), and a bottle of cologne. Flowers and Easter cards were given to all, and eighteen quarts of ice-cream lasted our wee ' Home' two days. Colored Easter-eggs began the day, and the house was perfumed with flowers before night, and Easter carols, with a full choral [60/61] service, made the house ring with the glad tidings of Easter-day and Easter-tide. The daily services of our chapel are pronounced by many as quite equal to any Sunday services. We have an organ, and the children are trained in Church singing, and have rather good voices. At our Early Celebration services, Tuesdays, all money received during the week is offered, and the Easter offering on our dear little altar was $165.50. The cry now is, 'Enlarge your work, Sister'; and I say, 'I am willing; support this, and thereby insure the support of a larger.' I even tell them of the building I hope some day to own and occupy--am I not bold? It will only cost $75,000."

What Sister Louise's feelings were on completing this first stage in their journey is best expressed in her own words:

"Let me tell you of our Whitsuntide festivities. Every season of the Church has been very bright to our household; but why not? Is it not a 'Church Home'? Has it not a chapel and altar, around which must cluster, with ever-deepening loveliness, the Church's seasons? Laden, and more than laden, with flowers stood forth our altar, with its new altar-cloth so beautifully embroidered by a dear lady friend of the Home. Our first service [61/62] for Whitsunday was held Saturday afternoon at 4.30, when, after a full choral service, the Right Reverend Bishop administered the rite of Confirmation to seven of the patients, three of whom were in their beds. Many of the friends of the Home were present, and one friend in New Haven sent a sweet remembrance of the day in the form of six of the fruits of the Holy Spirit painted in oil, and intended to be placed over six of the doors, where they look very pretty. Two of our children were confirmed Friday evening at St. Mary's Church. We had them confirmed there because we thought it best for the future that they should connect their thoughts of confirmation with a church which would be stationary, and not with a chapel which must change when we move into larger and better quarters.

"I wish you could realize what fine choral services we have week-days and Sundays. Every one is much astonished, and our little chapel is becoming more and more known and loved by outsiders. Our prayers are quite often asked for the sick and afflicted outside of the Home, and for persons going to sea, etc. To-morrow I go with a lady to get some more things for our chapel. By degrees, and not very slow ones, it is growing very beautiful.

"When I write I have nothing to tell you but of the Home. But is not this excusable, when we [62/63] all neither think nor talk about anything else? We are all so busy all the time. I must go now, a caller has come."

The Home became a legal corporation June to, 1880, under the provisions of the State "Act for the Incorporation of Benevolent, Charitable, Scientific, and Missionary Societies," with nine trustees, and the Bishop of the Diocese as Visitor. The object of the society thus incorporated was declared to be twofold:

"I. The establishment of a free Home for incurables among Protestant women and female children of the better class, who are without means or friends able to support and care for them, and who are, upon examination of the house physician, pronounced as suffering from an incurable disease, and cannot be received into hospitals and homes for the young and aged.

"2. Also of a training school in connection with such Home, for the reception of Protestant girls from the ages of nine to fourteen years, retaining its care of them until they are eighteen years of age, and giving them a spiritual and secular education, together with a thorough training in all domestic and useful duties."

[64] At their first report in Whitsuntide, 1880, they had already "received pressing applications from one hundred and fifty incurables, of whom twelve were cancer patients, and eighteen were children under fifteen years of age; "of whom they had been able to receive in all only nineteen. Two had entered into rest. In the Training School they might have had fifteen or twenty girls, but five were all that they had room to accommodate. They had received $2,179.77, gifts in money, besides the liberal gifts in kind; and they had spent $2,251.64, of which more than two-thirds were for rent and provisions.

The following throws light on their toils and encouragements in the first three months:

"241 WEST TWENTY-THIRD ST., St. John's Day.


"I do not believe any of you realize about the work I have undertaken. You know how busy all the callers make one; then add to that all the responsibility of money-raising, and the care of the patients. . . . All love our chapel--patients, children, and all. . . . The Home is making many friends, and among the very best in the city. True, it is a struggle to raise the money, [64/65] but a struggle we expected in the first year of our existence: Now I have told you all I can of our work. As for our life, it is a busy one, and we are all the time so weary, so tired, so constantly on the go, that as yet we have reaped of our sowing only weariness; and the future we dare not look at, for it seems so full to overflowing of work."

May-day, 1881, marked a new era in the history of the Home. They had moved to a large and convenient house, No. 54 West Eleventh Street, and kept St. Philip and St. James' Day in a new chapel. There were many searchings of heart about this removal: cautious friends discouraged it; wise ones shook their heads; timid and scrupulous ones thought it a tempting of Providence. None of the rich ones of this great metropolis took any trouble to secure the blessing which would have come from begging these ladies, laboring in want and anxiety for Christ and His sufferers, to permit them to pay the rent of their new Home. Plenty of criticism they heard, and many warnings, and yet there was no doubt that they had done a wise and necessary thing. They could receive only fourteen invalids before, while in their new quarters they could [65/66] accommodate forty. They had not been able to open a children's ward in the first house, but they had ample room for it now. They were nearer their friends and could be visited more readily. Their expenses were increased, but so were the helpers and the contributions. Their second report, Whitsuntide, 1881, gave twenty-one as the number in the wards, twenty-eight as the whole number cared for, of whom three had died, while they "had to repeat to over three hundred sick and helpless ones, 'There is no room for you here.'" The contributions had risen to $5,335.04 in cash, besides the gifts in kind, and the expenditures were $4,873, leaving a balance of $462.04 in the treasury. A kind butcher had sent them the meat for their Sunday dinners. A kind confectioner had provided delicacies for the sick. Two leading bakers had remembered them with delicious bread and rolls. Did they but know it, there is a sweeter flavor in their productions for those who have heard of these generous and unobtrusive acts of kindness. A Fair, held by some industrious and efficient ladies, marked "the very first public act by which to obtain funds and interest for the Home," gave [66/67] great pleasure, and "was the greatest relief financially that they had had." "Peace and quiet reign within our borders," they say in this report, "and we have never suffered from hunger, never have been cold from lack of fuel, nor without shelter; though, in times of human weakness, we have wondered whence all was to come, forgetting the overflowing treasury of our watchful God and Father. May He forgive. us for this lack of faith. We are asked how we expect to receive funds for the increased rent and expenses? And we reply, in all boldness: ' Just as we have received in the past.' We have known what it is to lay our heads upon a pillow of anxiety on the last night of a closing month, with seven dollars only toward the rent of one hundred dollars due the next day, and to receive, by the first mail on the morrow, a kind letter speaking words of good cheer, and bearing with it the check for the whole amount, having crossed the ocean to reach us just in time, and we have been ashamed that we ever doubted."

Her engrossing work compelled her to seek a rest, which she was enabled to take after Trinity Sunday.

[68] "As I have been very thin for over one year," she wrote to her mother in anticipation of it, "it has ceased to cause me any alarm. The new friends would not know me fat, and a general confusion and loss of interest might follow. Really you must not worry about me. I am going to have a long rest in a short time, with a decided change to mountain air. Everything is being beautifully shaped and arranged for my starting very soon. . . . I really will leave every care and thought behind, and my letters from the Home will only tell of joyful things. . . . I am sure of having a good time any way. The financial condition of this Home is finer than ever before. We can quite see our way through the entire summer . . . . . We had a very largely attended and interesting service on Whit-Monday. The Right Reverend Bishop of Springfield (Bishop Seymour) confirmed five of our helpless ones; only two could even walk. This makes fourteen that we have gathered within the fold of the Church in one year's time, and sixteen since the Home has been opened. When I am resting amid rocks and trees I will write you a long letter, and tell you how beautiful our chapel is to be. We have a regular house chaplain now, not ex officio, but quite officio."

It was a pleasing coincidence that the dwelling [68/69] which they now occupied had once been the residence of a bishop--Bishop Whitehouse.

Extracts from a letter to her mother describing it in detail.

"Ward 2 next. White curtains bound with red, looped back with red; short curtains to lower half of window, white and with fringe. Wide sill, full of the loveliest plants, many of them in bloom. Lying by one window is a person of twenty-nine years old--been in bed seven years--never out of bed--always knitting, crocheting, or working--always a pleasant smile and word. Next to the other window lies Mary, aged twenty-three, totally paralyzed--only able to use her hands, and. most industriously does she do this--never idle. Poor child! she was made helpless from the effects of the arsenic used in making artificial flowers--been in that condition since fourteen years of age. But I am telling you of the house, not of the patients, for it would take quite too long; for each has her own sad history of long years of suffering, and all end with a grateful expression, 'And then Sister let me come here to stay forever.'

"Now comes our Children's Ward. Cribs and wee beds with their white spreads meet us here, and childish pictures are on the walls--'Puss in [69/70] boots,' etc., etc. Baby chairs--plants in the windows--birds, one in each window of the Ward--white curtains bound with red--mantel-piece covered with funny childish things. You are met by Lena, seven years old, who can neither walk nor sit up, but who astonishes every one with her wheelchair performances. Play-room next, in which is every toy and doll that 'Sister' says cannot go into the Ward--only three big dolls are thus favored: so you can only imagine wee chairs, a low table, and heaps of toys, white curtains and plants in this room.

This is considered one of the prettiest and most showy works anywhere around. Our friends are the best; our patients the most helpless and most uncomplaining--so says every one. It all means work, work incessantly; often wondering where the next dollar will come from."

With the removal their cares and labors were greatly increased. But Sister Louise's bright and buoyant spirit rose to the emergency.

"54 WEST ELEVENTH STREET, September 18th.


"Do try and learn one lesson, and that is, never look for anything, a letter or myself, until you see either one or the other. My daily life is all too [70/71] uncertain. I am on my fifth week of most active nursing. One case (of typhoid fever) must prove fatal. Now bring in all the other daily aches and pains, the preparing of medicines, etc., extra diet also now, for Mrs. Hazard is on her vacation, and then ask, where is the time to write, or even think i' I have been three days with only four hours sleep; cannot, if then, get to a resting-place until afternoon, from watching last night.

"Dear little Alice's letter came to me as a birthday gift. Tell her I almost cried. I am so weary, and yet the birthdays add year to year, and now I feel quite equal to the age of sixty or seventy, indeed am often asked by people of the above ages if I remember things that occurred fifty years ago. And only a day or two since, the priest now acting here said, 'Of course you know more about it than I can, owing to your being so much older and more experienced than I am.' I know him to be advancing with rapid strides to forty! I laughed in my sleeves; it is well they are large, for they hold many a hearty laugh. Experience I never deny; age I keep silent about, for my gray hairs make me honorable, even when covered with a cap.

"Our house has now over forty souls to care for, a debt of $60o, and hundreds waiting outside to come."

[72] Their third Christmas came, and brought the wonted rejoicings:

"IN MY ROOM, 10.45 P.M.


"You see how late it is, and will say yourself that I ought not to write even a few lines; but I am more than busy these days.

"My four little ones here have been more than blessed. Full stockings and Christmas-trees, good dinners and. two parties, have well filled up their week of joy and Tillie says, 'Heaven can't be nicer than Christmas-tide with the Sisters.' Dear child! God grant her many more just such, for her life has been a sad one until now. We thought it a sweet remark for an eight-year-older.

"My Christmas was a May-day, but a quiet, peaceful, happy one, too. Each year the little Babe of Bethlehem grows dearer. My presents were all sweet tokens of affection from some of the Lord's chosen ones in suffering, whom He had allowed me to serve, . . . and the good wishes and kind greetings of one and all. And you know the far greater gifts of the early services and Holy Communion, and that greatest of all gifts, the Infant of the Manger. Oh, mamma, I was wearied in body when night came, but even the usual headache could not mar the pleasure of that day. Though I would have loved so dearly to have you [72/73] both with me, still even this desire was often forgotten in the great joy of the glad news, 'Unto us is born this day a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.'"

The third report, Whitsuntide, 1882, showed still farther progress and improvement in their new Home. Forty-five had been cared for during the year, $7,713.43 in cash had been received, and $6,787.32 expended. Most acceptable were gifts of needlework done by laboring women in their spare time, some of them in Rhode Island. One of them, who had visited the house, was an object of envy to her neighbors, because she had seen Sister Louise and the Home for Incurables. Gifts of gold, too, had come from some very poor--true "widows' mites." Devoted Christian women had aided them in the instruction of the children. No wonder that they felt that the lot had fallen unto them in pleasant places, albeit they finished many an anxious day without knowing whence to procure the food for the morrow, and were fed like the ravens. And then the rent was an awful incubus. But they had not yet been driven to the painful necessity of renewing [73/74] their begging excursions, although they often anticipated such a trial. Still, they were filled with joy:

"One year ago," said they, we entered our present large and commodious house. It was done with fear and trembling, when we paused to consider whence the means for the many increased expenses would come. Now, as we go through the several wards of the Home--wards for those far advanced in years, young girls, and little children only starting on the journey of life--when the many conveniences and additional comforts are before us; when we observe on every hand pictures, ornaments, birds, flowers, etc., sent by loving hearts to add brightness and sunshine to what might otherwise be a dreary abode; and last, though not least, when we enter our beautiful chapel, night and morning, and find there the familiar faces endeared to us by their helplessness, all before the Throne of Grace, petitioning for strength for the trials of the day, or for preservation from the dangers of the night, we are almost overwhelmed with the weight and number of our blessings."

The following extracts show how she was breaking down:



"Tell Sadie both the M.'s girls came and spoke to me, were very lovely, offered me lunch, which I felt too sick to accept, and ended by fixing a shawl so nicely under my head that, if I ever slept under such circumstances, I certainly would have. But you know my motto has always been, 'Eyes open; see and learn all you can.' I have been sick in bed since my return; am improving, and would really be quite myself if I would only eat, or, more truly speaking, could only eat, I mean solids. I am living on milk (well, it is Jersey), beef-tea, chicken-broth, beef-juice, champagne, etc., etc. I am able to sit up now, but Dr. G. says no work for several weeks yet. I am only slightly worn out, will be all right soon. If I had not been just ready for bed, would have been a more charming visitor.

"We have just lost with heart disease, almost in a moment of time, one of our old corner-stone patients--by this I mean one of the first to claim our care in the little Twenty-third Street house. She was seventy-nine years old, highly connected, buried in a cloth-covered casket, silver nails, etc., by her rich relatives, but, by her own request, buried from our little chapel and the FREE HOME. During her stay here she was baptized and. confirmed, and dearly loved the Church, as it came to [75/76] her from our little chapel; and, as a child of the Church, she received, as all our dead do, a full choral burial, hymn and all.. I always think when our aged ones go, 'Better I could not have done for mother; ' and for her sake, in memoriam, I do so much. For Mrs. McK. I could do nothing but pray during the few moments her soul was passing away; but Mrs. Hazard stood over her, and became the daughter to the poor old childless (her only son was killed in the war), aged widow, closing her eyes and gently preparing her for burial.

"Monday afternoon. Having written so long a letter by slow degrees, I must now really close it. I am sick, but am rapidly improving; sat up nearly three hours to-day. Think of my being sick when there is' so much to do! Poor Miss P. and Mrs. H.!

"Yours lovingly,


The last report (Whitsuntide,. 1883) shows a year of great success, but of unusual tribulation and sorrow; $7,996.02 were given in cash, and $7,841.50 were expended. The balance of last year was increased to $1,080.63. The Building Fund was increased by $5, and $1,000 were given in memory of Anita Teresa Boulton, the [76/77] interest of which is to be used to buy wine and fruit for the invalids:

"Our large family, great and small, with ages ranging from three-and-a-half to eighty-two, has enjoyed comparative health, if such an expression be allowable where all are incurably ill. Fifty-five sufferers have found a shelter under our roof during the past year. Five little children claim our attention, and a sixth will soon be added to our number, which will then fill the small room designated by the large name 'Children's Ward.' Our financial condition, though still uncertain, is steadily improving. The past summer was a time of great anxiety; debt almost engulfed us; appeal after appeal followed each other in the church and daily papers, with but little success; darker and denser grew the cloud of despair. When hope and courage had well nigh vanished, relief came."

The generous and self-denying kindness of a friend opened her parlors for the annual fair, from which they received $742.24. A devoted and accomplished young visitor arranged and carried through an attractive concert at Chickering Hall, with the aid of her kind and obliging musical friends, which brought a handsome sum [77/78] that enabled them to pay all debts on New-Year's-Day. One friend furnished them from his dairy with delicious milk. Gifts of bread, meat, coal, medicine, and other needful things, continued to cheer them. And the four deaths which visited the Home circle enabled the undertaker to show his kindness and sympathy by "giving of his time to care for those for whom the last earthly services were required."

Referring to their great sorrow and loss in the death of the House Mother, the survivors make this appeal:

"Many have expressed a wish to do something for Sister Louise. In answer to the oft-repeated question, how they can do it, we say, 'Remember the work in which she was so deeply interested. Help with influence, time, and money those who will still struggle for its benefit. This would have been the wish of Sister Louise, and this we ask in her name.'"

This summary of the rise and progress of the Home for Incurables is essential to a full understanding of the character and calling of Sister Louise. It was the most striking as it was the [78/79] closing labor of her life. She was the "House Mother" both in title and in fact. Six years had she pondered it in her mind. It was an original idea, as conceived by the founders, and had to be conducted on original lines. There were no precedents of exactly such an institution to guide them. But they began it just as they have carried it on, and the Home of to-day is only the growth and development of the seed first planted. They commenced with the rule that no one of them would listen to a complaint made against the orders and directions given by another of them. This secured perfect uniformity of control. Sister Louise seemed to have a genius for ministering to the sick, managing the unruly, and making a household "dwell together in unity." It would be hard to tell how she did it. She seemed a fragile, sentimental, weakly girl till you knew her. She surprised, by the suddenness with which she would turn from a pleasant talk with a friend to correct with sternness and severity, an offender that had attracted her attention. Her method of dealing with her patients was peculiar, and may be described as tenderness always in action, and sternness always in reserve for an [79/80] emergency. She would throw her arms around the poor sufferers and fondle them with the tenderness of a sister, but she constrained them to do and bear whatever was necessary for their welfare, with the firmness of a Stoic. To brace up weak wills and enable them to conquer the nervousness that comes from feeble will-power, to forget their troubles, to be helps to each other, was her aim, and it required an amount of resolution, fortitude, and firmness simply marvellous in such a person. Some, who did not understand her reasons, nor give her credit for her devotion and experience, thought her harsh; she was cut to the quick by a charge of being "cruel," but it would be as reasonable to accuse a surgeon of being cruel because he cuts to heal. Certainly those sufferers who have felt the restoring influence of her treatment, and have been relieved of trying maladies which could have been reached in no other way, have no recollections of her except the tenderest love and sympathy. It has always been a rule of the house never to allow the use of opiates. Sister Louise's chief reason was that she did not think we should do anything to cloud the communion of the soul with its God, especially in the [80/81] act of death. It must be a rule demanding the greatest firmness and the clearest conviction in each case to enforce it in such a class of patients. And yet it has been enforced with the most beneficial and satisfactory results in trying cases, which it gave Sister Louise the greatest pleasure to quote in proof of the success of the treatment. It is needless to add that this involves a much greater amount of personal attention and care.

One special cause of thankfulness for Sister Louise was the opening of a Children's Ward in their new Home. This was opened a fortnight after they had removed, and one little waif was taken in, whom she had found at Bellevue on the point of being sent to Randall's Island. Her parentage could not be traced, no friend claimed her, her lower limbs were paralyzed and distorted; she could neither walk, nor even sit up unsupported. But her features were singularly delicate and refined. She would have been sent to Randall's Island to end her days, with a prisoner for a nurse, had they not rescued her, and taken her as the corner-stone of the new Children's Ward. She was baptized and known afterward as "Little Lena." The affection which sprang up between [81/82] this child and the Sister was like that between mother and daughter, and Lena called her "Mother." Her infirmity prevented her being taught to read or write. She developed a remarkable conscientiousness and perseverance in resisting and overcoming her faults. At her own request, and after a satisfactory examination by the Chaplain of the House, she was confirmed when she was about eight. Her life was a distinct "growth in grace" from that time onward. She had a native courtesy quite striking in such a child. Whenever a service was done her, or anything given or sent to her, she always acknowledged it with a "Thank you." When the chaplain had given her the Blessed Sacrament in her last sickness, she particularly requested that he might be thanked for it. But she was always the child, taking pleasure in children's amusements, delighting in Christmas-trees, dolls, and the great doll mansion erected in their Ward, and furnished in sumptuous style with all the requirements of a dwelling by the munificence of kind ladies. Her sweet smiles and cheerful talk gave no indication of what she had to suffer from the disease that was wasting her day by day. What they said of her at [82/83] first was fulfilled to the last, she "repays all our days of past yearning for just such a Ward, and gives a new life and strength to our future efforts."

But the following tells the story better than any words of ours:

"Hottest day in the Year.


"Your nice letter received. God has heard the prayers of the little ones anyway, for I am back again with my sick ones, and able to continue nearly all my duties, particularly the nursing. Now young and older ones may pray me even into a stronger and better condition than I am now; for I must be, or I will again break down. I am in pain all the time still, but my nerves are stronger and my legs do their duty better. Well, I need the pain, for thereby I gain the sympathy for others I so sadly need. Oh! what suffering there is around me. And all become more or less dear to me, because of their long stay with us.

"It is really too warm to write any, let alone very much."

"You must know that my wee ones get sick too; three are in bed to-day. I have one dear little red-cheeked [83/84] girl; as we all call her 'Little Henrietta'; so I will call her to you. Bright, but never can talk or walk, nor feed herself, nor leave her cribbed, unless lifted out. Our little Lena is even better off, for though she can never walk nor stand, still she flies around in her chair and talks, and she is such a brave little soldier against her faults; she has a regular fight with them and conquers. Often it takes months. We can count seven victories for the past year. D. says she is our only saint, because some who are lovely are naturally so, while Lena was a bundle of deformity and faults. The little soldier is about nine years old now.

"Henrietta has learned to say 'yes' and 'mamma,' which name she gives to me. When I am low-spirited, which is often now, I love to go to the Children's Ward door, and watch the little flock come, and see Henrietta clap hands and call me; while Lena in her chair is only quite contented when she has my girdle or hand."

The House of the Holy Comforter was founded with the avowed purpose of ministering to the spiritual as well as to the bodily wants of the diseased. One of their earliest acts in their first home was to separate a room which, as we have mentioned before, the Bishop dedicated as a chapel on All Saints' Day, 1879, with an appropriate altar [84/85] and its furniture. On Sexagesima, 1881, the House Mother expressed her gratification at the prospect of having a regular chaplain in her own quaint way:

"Sunday last a lady gave $400 toward a chaplain's salary. Soon we shall be no longer beggars for a priest of God to minister to us, but quite own one. We have been beautifully served by Dr. H., but we need more attention for our sick ones and our outside work than he can give us; therefore we were much pleased at this gift."

This Christian idea was carried out more perfectly and beautifully in West Eleventh Street through the munificence of a generous and devout lady, whose chastened sorrow under a great bereavement has led her to adorn their modest oratory with gifts befitting its high and holy purpose. The chapel has always been the centre of the house life. The Blessed Sacrament is celebrated every week, when those who cannot go to it receive it in their wards. Twice daily the whole household is gathered for worship. Evening Prayer is said every Sunday. It is always open for any who wish to retire for prayer. [85/86] Instructions are given throughout the house weekly. The religious teaching of both the old and the young in the House of the Holy Comforter has always been most thorough and systematic. Sister Louise devoted five days in a week to it, in addition to her other duties. "Remember now," she would say when a new case was brought in, "that this is incurable. We can do nothing for the body except to make it more comfortable. We must devote ourselves to the welfare of the soul." She always prepared herself with great care to teach, and wrote out, with much precision and fulness, the points on which she was to instruct her pupils. We give as a specimen the following analysis of the forms of Absolution in the Morning and Evening Prayer:


"This is to be pronounced by the priest or bishop, never by a deacon. The priest or bishop pronounces it because he is a direct ambassador of God, and has received power and commandment to do so. The people, therefore, should remain silent and kneeling; silent, because by repeating it with the priest it would be a usurpation [86/87] of the priestly office; kneeling, because it betokens humility, contrition, reverence, and is a proper way to receive this message of pardon from God. The priest stands and turns toward the congregation, which indicates that he has a message from God to His people. There are two forms of Absolution used in our public services, and one form, more authoritative in its nature, used for the sick after a full private confession, and a humble and hearty desire for it on the part of the sick and dying person. This is only in the English book, not in ours.

"Of the two forms in use in our Church in this country the first was composed for Edward VI.'s second edition of the 'Book of Common Prayer.' This is an Absolution pronounced upon all who are truly penitent, and in the name and by the authority of God alone. The second Absolution is the older. It was used in both the Greek and Latin churches. No other is to be found in ecclesiastical history until within the last four or five hundred years. It is taken directly from the Greek liturgy.

The Absolution standing first in order in our Service consists of three parts.

"Part I. tells us of the God from whom we are about to obtain forgiveness. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and this means that He is a God of love. He desires, in His great love to us, for His Son's sake, that no one should perish, but [87/88] that all may so turn from their wickedness that they may live--live in those many mansions which the Son is now preparing.

"Part II. tells us how we may obtain this pardon. To aid and encourage us in our upward course He has given power and commandment to His ministers--to those who come in a direct line from those to whom He first said, 'Whosesoever sins ye remit they are remitted unto them, and whosesoever sins ye retain they are retained.' He hath given them power to declare and pronounce to His people, being penitent, the absolution and remission of their sins. Thus when we are truly penitent for any sin, either of omission or commission, and this blessing is pronounced by one of God's ambassadors, that sin is forgiven, pardoned, and absolved, that is, blotted out. Why? Because we 'truly repent and unfeignedly believe His Holy Gospel.'

"Part III. is an exhortation by the priest to the people to unite with him in imploring the Holy Spirit that their repentance may be sincere, and that all things we may do, both now and during the rest of our life, 'maybe pure and holy," so that at the last,' when the conflict is over, and the grave entered and passed through, we may obtain everlasting life--'come to His eternal joy,' a joy without end, everlasting; 'through Jesus Christ our Lord,' our anointed Saviour, our Mediator, our [88/89] Friend, our Elder Brother, even Jesus of Nazareth. And 'the people shall answer here Amen'--surely we would have it so--pardon, absolution, the Holy Spirit to aid us here, and eternal life, eternal joy hereafter--yes, Amen. But unlike the other Amen this is addressed to the priest, not to God. It is as though we were satisfied with this means of forgiveness, and so we say to him, Amen, let it be as you have said; we are satisfied. This is an ancient word used in the Jewish Church to express assent in whatever may have been said, and so used here to the priest, while in our prayers it is used to God.

"The Absolution which comes second in order is more of a petition. Still it will bring the blessing invoked, because it is a request made by a chosen ambassador of Christ, commissioned by Him to ask for special blessings for His people. Such was the blessing of Isaac on Jacob, and so Jacob blessed the sons of Joseph: those blessings may be found in Genesis xxvii. 28; xlviii. 15, 16. It commences by reminding the people that 'He who is Almighty can alone forgive their sins; that He is also their Father, and as a Father will have compassion upon them. He is a merciful Father; not only is He merciful, but He has promised to forgive the sins of all who sincerely and unfeignedly repent of them, and pray for that promised forgiveness. 'Ask, and ye shall [89/90] receive,' applies to this as well as to everything else.

"The latter part of this Absolution contains much encouragement. Are we miserable? The mercy of God is invoked upon us. Are we sinful? There is pardon for us. Are we liable to punishment? The message of deliverance is proclaimed to us. Are we desirous of doing good, but from weakness are unable to do it? There is strength and confirmation for us here. Are we fearful of death and hell? The promise of everlasting life is ours, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Truly our Church is a kind and loving mother, showing her children their faults, bringing them low on their knees in contrite confession, and then stretching forth her hands and pronouncing the Absolution. From this she leads us to the Lord's Prayer. Having confessed and received forgiveness, we may now come boldly to the Throne of Grace and make our wishes known, and commence our request with the loving 'Our Father.' He who taught us to say 'Our Father,' ever pleads for us. He sends the contrite heart which prompts the confession, and He sends by the lips of His ambassador the Absolution."

Readiness in speech, aptness in illustrating, and mastery of her subject made her instruction so [90/91] interesting that her pupils at the Holy Comforter say of her, in their homely phraseology, "Sister could speak as well as a minister."

"The work of caring for incurable bodies goes quietly on, and, side by side with this, stands the greater work, so little recognized, of caring for sick, often well-nigh dead, souls. We look for our encouragement to the character grown brighter in suffering, and to the wanderer gathered within the fold of the Church, rather than to any good we can do the body beyond alleviating its suffering."

"The chapel has borne witness to the power of the Church, in her Feasts and Fasts, to soften the heart .of stone, and comfort the weary traveller." The impressive dignity of the chaste and beautiful altar, with its rich ornaments of divine worship, the regularity in marking holy days and seasons with their appropriate colors, the scrupulous care with which the furniture is kept, and all irreverence guarded against, have a most powerful influence in fixing the reality of divine and spiritual truths on these infirm minds and bodies, many of whom can only receive them by absorption; but all can learn by what they see and hear. "The quiet influence of our chapel is something [91/92] which we all feel, but cannot express, unless a remark of one of the patients will give us a little idea. Upon first hearing the chapel bell, a few days after our removal, she said: 'Now we are at home again."

No gift of money is used in the Home without having been first "presented and placed upon the Holy Table." Benefactors are always remembered in a special prayer. It was a pleasant thing at a recent Celebration to offer $415, the gift of "The Cosey Club," the young ladies of which had held a sale without the knowledge of any one at the Home, and brought this handsome sum as its product, just in time to pay the butcher's and baker's pressing bills. Not alone helpful to others are these acts of charity and self-denial, but they bring with them their own sure reward.

But the moral influence of the chapel in the Home is as marked as the spiritual influence. Patients afflicted with epilepsy or hysteria... learn to restrain themselves and withdraw before an attack, having been made to feel how unseemly such things are in God's Presence, if they can be overcome. In fact, it is a very rare thing to witness one in that sacred place. The marked quiet [92/93] and stillness which pervade the Home are the result of making the patients feel that a consecrated chapel is under the roof, requiring reverence in all the inmates. The absence of disputing and contention springs from the same source. If a noise was heard in any part of the house, it was enough for Sister Louise, or either of the ladies, to clap her hands to restore silence. A clergyman, who was interested in a Woman's Home in an Eastern State, once asked Sister Louise what she did when her patients quarrelled. She answered that she could not answer him, because they had never had such an experience. He expressed his surprise, and said that their inmates were constantly falling into disputes and using hard words to each other. But she said that she knew of nothing but the influence of "the chapel" that could make the difference. She had always impressed the sacredness of that upon her patients, and always appealed to it if necessary, and they responded to it, and ruled themselves by it.

Sister Louise's health was delicate. She had had severe attacks of illness from her childhood, and was never free from pain. Her lungs were [93/94] affected, and she had been told by her physician that she had disease of the heart, and might expect to die suddenly, and her account of herself to a friend was that she was one of her own incurables. Latterly she complained of a numbness to her waist. In talking with a friend about what would become of the Home if she were taken away, she said, "I do not want you to think that I suppose that my death will make any difference in it. It is God's work, not mine, and He will keep it up, if it pleases Him. And if it is not His pleasure, I would rather have it go down. But I have perfect confidence in my friends that they will carry it on in the same way." Before this she had been unconscious from Saturday to Monday, and when she recovered expressed her regret that she might not then have been permitted to enter the Rest. Early in Lent "Little Lena" was seized with fatal symptoms, and the prospect of losing her pierced the heart of her adoptive mother. She expressed her grief and sorrow at the thought of parting from her in the most moving terms, and felt as if she could not be separated from her. But her own words written at this time (her very last letter written [94/95] by her own hand tell her experience at this crisis:]

"Our Little Lena has been lingering between life and death for fifteen days, and night and day anxiety and watching have made me, oh, so weary. We know not when or what the end will be. The doctor thinks to-day a chance for life. Dropsy and pyaemia have been the trouble. She is a little sainted sufferer, calls me mamma, and wants me all the time. You know I am all she has in the world. All love her, but she realizes as few do that I gave her the Home."

The poor child wasted away from day to day, entirely conscious of the change that was before her, but not in the least disturbed by it. She had been removed into one of the women's wards. Even when she seemed unconscious the words of prayer always roused her, and she would repeat the Lord's Prayer and the responses in a remarkably clear and distinct voice. The only thought that troubled her was that she must go alone. "I wish I could take Sister with me, and you too, Miss R.," she said to one whom she loved very much. "Would you not like to go?" Her friend could not feel that she had reached that [95/96] ripeness, and could only say truthfully, "Yes, Lena, when my work is done." At another time she said, "Do you not see that bright cross over there, Miss R.?" She was asked if she meant the illuminated cross hanging on the wall, but she pointed in another direction. "Do you see angels, Lena?" said Miss R., and she bowed her head. Of course the nursing of the little invalid absorbed the Sister's thoughts and taxed her feeble powers to the utmost. Toward the end, as they were around her little crib, Sister Louise said, "Lena, you will very soon see the dear Jesus, and I want you to promise that you will ask Him to send soon for Sister, for she is so tired." The child said eagerly, "I will ask Him;" then, turning to her friend, she said, "Shall I not ask Him to send for you, too, Miss R.?" "Yes, Lena, when my work is done." When the Sister was talking with Miss R. about it, she said she would be glad to lie down on the bed and pass away at once. The last words of Little Lena showed how it was fixed on her mind, I promise." A fortnight from the funeral of the child, her prayer was answered. Sister Louise dropped asleep, just as she had desired, in the [96/97] midst of her weeping friends and patients, on Easter Tuesday, 1883. She "rests from her labors, and her works do follow her."

The artist has given us a perfect likeness, as she will be most fondly "remembered by her friends. It may help to recall her, if some of her characteristics are recorded. Her tiny form was never without pain, yet it would not have been suspected from her bright smile or cheery voice, unless some unusual pallor betrayed it. Her coarse gown of flannel, begirt with a cord, gave her an ascetic appearance. But her close-fitting cap, which could not be accused of conforming to any fashionable mode, did not detract from the sweet loveliness of her placid face. Her dress had exposed her to incivility on the part of some acquaintances, more zealous than wise or charitable. This caused her to write to one who had resented it:

"You see it has its advantages. And now, that I am on the subject of my dress, I would not for anything have you say aught about the impoliteness of my F. and N. friends, neither would Sister Catharine. She says it is a prejudice that time alone will or can destroy; any words on the [97/98] subject are but fuel to the fire. Let it smoulder and it will go out. So, please; never say one word about it, or act as though you knew anything of it. After all, what was it? The opinion of a few biassed persons, who knew nothing, nor cared they to know anything, either of the work or life."

Boswell did not think it unbecoming the dignity of his great biography to describe what and how his hero ate, and our pen-and-ink sketch of one who was only human like ourselves, will not be marred by mentioning some innocent peculiarities. She was usually very indifferent to what food she had, but there were certain simple delicacies of which she was very fond, and which gave her pleasure when she ate them--pigeon-pie, green peas, puff-paste, and even candy. And. if any one had faulted her for indulging in such luxuries, she might have replied as Archbishop Becket did to the monk who found him dining on a pheasant and reproved him for it, That a man might be guilty of gluttony on horse-beans, but there was no sin in eating with thanksgiving what God had given us."

In common with all characters pitched on a high key, she had a strong love of [98/99] approbation--not that mere vanity which feeds on commendation whether deserved or not, but that "true self-respect which has nothing to conceal, and is, like childhood, a plain-spoken claimant," "not for the purposes of self-flattery, but of justice." It is easy to see how, from this quality, combined with her resolution and pluck, fortified by her strong conscientiousness, must have come her greatest trials. In point of fact it was so. She had succeeded so often in accomplishing her undertakings by her own judgment and against the advice of others, that she was very adverse to taking advice, unless she asked for it. She was restive under any disapproval of her plans, and although skilful in forming them, she had to rely upon others for their execution, and seemed "totally incapable of understanding that the most brilliant plans of the most powerful minds cannot carry themselves into effect." It is a striking proof of how well she held these tendencies in hand that, as she wrote but recently, "The same ladies are working, as concerns the actual work of the house, with me now, that joined me going on four years ago to start this 'Home.' We have the same doctors, and for three years the same [99/100] servants; also the same patients, unless removed by death." The dross she had was refined by fiery trials: "I had a trial last winter," she wrote, "by which I was laid upon a severe bed of illness, because my heart gave way, yes, and well-nigh brain, too. . . . Success seems, by the blessing of God, to crown every plan I make. This trial is good for humility--I need it--and I even now see in it the sad necessity which may in the end crown one more plan with success." Her deliberate judgment on the wisdoms and blessedness of the vocation to which she had devoted herself, is simply but emphatically expressed in the last letter she ever wrote to her beloved mother:

"All lives have their trials and anxieties. Surely you know mine has never been free; but, after all, the end I have in view, not being of the earth, earthy, must be more sure; and, therefore, I think I ought never to say aught at the difficulties to be overcome."

Her faith was of the simple and primitive kind, uninfluenced by "imaginations and every high thing." She accepted as realities the promises, [100/101] and threw herself upon them in perfect confidence. "I will guide thee with Mine Eye;" "Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you," meant to her soul exactly what they say. This was the key to her whole life, and the following, written in a trying crisis, is only one out of a multitude of illustrations of it. It is very oldfashioned, undoubtedly, and savors of the "Ages of Faith," but it must be inserted in order to get a true and complete view of her character and career. The italics are, apparently, her own:


"I cannot refrain from sending you a copy of some verses, not that they apply to you, although they cannot fail to comfort. But I send them because they were brought before me rather strangely; how, I will tell you.

"I was sitting alone in my room, thinking I was homeless, and trying to roll the great burdensome thought off on Jesus, when a little book was lying at hand. I almost without thinking opened it, and in a moment my question was answered, for my eyes fell upon these words, 'I have a home above.' It seemed so direct a reply to my question that I read on, and then thought to copy them [101/102] for you; for, in truth, it seems as if it were my only home:

"'I have a home above,
From sin and sorrow free;
A mansion which eternal Love
Designed and formed for me.

"'My Father's gracious hand
Has built this sweet abode;
From everlasting it was planned,
My dwelling-place with God.

"'My Saviour's precious blood
Has made my title sure;
He passed through death's dark, raging flood
To make my rest secure.

"'The Comforter has come,
The earnest has been given;
He leads me onward to the home
Reserved for me in Heaven.

"'Loved ones are gone before,
Whose pilgrim days are done;
I soon shall greet them on that shore
Where partings are unknown.'

"Now, my dear friend, was not that a beautiful, comforting answer? It is as much as to say, when earth no longer has room for you, there is a place waiting for you in Heaven. God grant it may be so, and that it was rather the voice of Jesus speaking to me than the chance opening of a book.

[103] "Pardon me for thus detaining you, but I do so love to tell some one when, like Samuel of old, I almost think I hear my name called. If it is foolish in me, I cannot help it. It is a comfort, to me: to feel that even so small a thing as the opening of a book is directed by the hand of God. You know I hate anything to happen by chance; for that matter, I don't believe in it at all.

"Oh, how I have imposed upon you; but forgive your loving friend,


"Foolish" it may appear to the eyes that cannot see, but, nevertheless,

"These are the souls that seem to dwell
Above this earth--so rich a spell
Floats round their steps where'er they move."

These are they who

"Upward gaze with eagle eyne."

They plunge into the exhaustless depths of the promises of the Word, as we have seen an eagle dart from its mountain eyrie, on Lake Leman, and soar and soar into the azure, thousands of feet above the water, and bask in the clear light of the summer's sun, now poising on his vast wings at the dizzy height, then plunging, then [103/104] wheeling about in graceful mazes, but ever rising again toward the source of light and heat, a marvellous spectacle of strength and majesty, of courage and confidence, of beauty and of joy. And yet, withal, they soar with songs, which the eagle is powerless to do, as "the lark at Heaven's gate sings."

Her last letter, dictated because she was too feeble to write it herself, is dated three days before her death, and is an acknowledgment of a generous gift which a friend of the Home had earned by her own handiwork:


"The check for $13 has been received, and, I may almost say, spent. Money with us is a blessing which constantly takes to itself wings. As you intimate to us that we are to be the recipients of ten per cent. of your earnings, you have given us a very selfish motive for wishing you success. It seems, sometimes, as though we were particularly greedy, but when one pauses to consider the many helpless ones depending for care and comfort upon the interest we can create for them, a little leniency will be extended to us, I am certain. We have no other way in which to express our gratitude than by the simple 'Thank you' of all mendicants. But let me assure you, in this case it is not merely an expression but a sincere feeling.

"Very gratefully,

"54 West Eleventh Street.

"March 24."

She has left behind her a priceless legacy which the Church is called upon, by every consideration, to accept and develop as her enduring monument. She has impressed upon the Home for the Incurables everything that was "pure, lovely, and of good report" in her own character and life. It was her privilege to keep and rejoice in the qualities of her girlhood; always generous, as to the suffering strangers at Fishkill; always willing to listen to any one's story, and relieve distress if possible; hopeful, trustful, self-forgetting. Her friend, Mrs. Irving, likened her to a humming-bird darting from flower to flower, and all who have seen her flitting about among her incurables, and making the eyes of her poor little invalids dance with joy when she came in among them, will accept the felicitous comparison. Her fondness for children, to which we have alluded, made her delight to share in their amusements [105/106] like one of them. She was fond of planning surprises of gifts or of pleasures for them as well as the older ones. As one of her friends happily expressed it, she "had a sort of perpetual Christmas feeling." How thoroughly she entered into children's feelings is shown in this pretty and childlike description of a favorite bird's death and burial:

"The bird Harry died a week ago to-day, but was not buried until yesterday; lying in state with flowers around him until the weather should clear, when twelve of our little ones had the great pleasure of a funeral. Sister Catharine insisted upon his being kept and buried with proper honors, on account of his noble service with the sick and dying in the Hospital Ward. He commenced having fits a week before he died: we were glad to see him quiet in. death: everything was done for him, but in vain. In death he was laid on geranium leaves and covered with flowers. One little child came with a long black veil tied on her hat, which was one of the white school hats trimmed with blue. Enough of this:--his life and work are finished; he spent the most of it in giving pleasure in a peculiar way to many afflicted ones; and in his death gave great pleasure to twelve little ones, who now gaze upon the well-made and [106/107] flower-covered grave with an increasing pleasure and admiration. Soberly, I must confess Harry has been a lesson to me in the pleasure he so willingly gave others."

Her disposition was forgiving, and she preferred to let her "heart know its own bitterness," rather than divulge it to the injury of others. She had a keen relish for the humorous, and a just appreciation of the absurd, and all that gave amusement. If any went to "Sister Louise's Home" with the expectation of finding there a counterpart of the cloister which Pope's fancy pictured, where

"Ever-musing melancholy reigns,"

their illusion was soon dispelled by her pleasant manners, her readiness in making friends, her bright, hopeful way of talking, her cheerfulness in bearing her burden and doing her work. And it would have been strange, indeed, if they left without the involuntary tribute, felt, if not expressed,

"A ministering angel thou."

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