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In Memorium, Margaret Gatty
by [?]

—- “a child’s pure delight in little things.”

Whatever interest this little record of some of my mother’s tastes and acquirements may have for her young readers, its value must be in her example.

Whatever genius she may have had, her industry was far more remarkable. The pen of a ready writer is not grasped by all fingers, and gifts are gifts, not earnings. But to cultivate the faculties God has given us to His glory, to lose petty cares, ignoble pleasures, and small grievances, in the joy of studying His great works, to be good to His creatures, to be truthful beyond fear or flattery, to be pure of heart and tongue far beyond the common, to keep up an honest, zealous war with wickedness, and never to lose heart or hope for wicked men–these things are within the power as well as the ambition of us all.

I must point out to some of the young aspirants after her literary fame, that though the date in Elizabeth Smith’s Remains shows my mother to have been only eleven years old when she got it, and though she worked and studied indefatigably all her girlhood, her first original work was not published till she was forty-two years old.

Of the lessons of her long years of suffering I cannot speak. A form of paralysis which left her brain as vigorous as ever, stole the cunning from her hand, and the use of her limbs and voice, through ten years of pain and privation, in which she made a willing sacrifice of her powers to the will of God.

If some of her magazine children who enjoy “advantages” she never had, who visit places and see sights for which she longed in vain, and who are spared the cross she bore so patiently, are helped by this short record of their old friend, it may somewhat repay the pain it has cost in writing.

Trench’s fine sonnet was a great favourite of my mother’s–

“To leave unseen so many a glorious sight,
To leave so many lands unvisited,
To leave so many books unread,
Unrealized so many visions bright;–
Oh! wretched yet inevitable spite
Of our short span, and we must yield our breath,
And wrap us in the unfeeling coil of death,
So much remaining of unproved delight,
But hush, my soul, and vain regrets be still’d;
Find rest in Him Who is the complement
Of whatsoe’er transcends our mortal doom,
Of broken hope and frustrated intent;
In the clear vision and aspect of Whom
All wishes and all longings are fulfill’d.”


[Footnote 1: “Such is the lost of the beautiful upon earth.”–Wallenstein’s Tod.]