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I sat where I began, with the mass of Alice's and Phoebe's unedited papers before me, and not an added line for their lives, with a new request from their legatees and executors, that I should go on with the Memorial.
Here it is.
It has cost me more than labor. Every day I have buried my friends anew. Every line wrung from memory has deepened the wound of irreparable loss.
From beginning to end my one purpose has been, not to write a eulogy, but to write justly. In depicting their birthplace and early life in Ohio, I have quoted copiously from Phoebe's sketch of Alice, and Ada Carnahan's sketch of her Aunt Phoebe, both published in the (Boston) “Ladies’ Repository,” believing that that which pertained exclusively to their early family life could be more faithfully told by members of the family than by any one born outside of it. Save where full credit is given to others, I, alone, am responsible for the statements of this Memorial. Not a line in it has been recorded from “hearsay.” Not a fact is given that I do not know to be true, either from my own personal knowledge, or from the lips of the women whose lives and characters it helps to represent. I make this statement as facts embodied by me before, in a newspaper article, have been publicly questioned. One writer went so far as to say in a public journal, that, “As she would not willingly misrepresent her, Mrs. Ames must, have misunderstood
AAEAAA CAE. w vii
Alice Cary.” I never misunderstood Alice Cary. She never uttered a word to me that I did not perfectly understand. I have never recorded a word of her that I did not know to be true, nor with any purpose but to do absolute justice to my dearest friend. This is a full and final reply to any query or doubt which this Memorial may suggest or call forth. All who read have a perfect right to criticise and to question ; but I shall not feel any obligation to make further reply. Life is too short and too precious to spend it in privately answering persons who “wish to be assured that the Cary sisters were not Universalists,” or who cultivate original theories concerning their character or life. The poems following the Memorial have, with but three or four exceptions, never before been gathered within the covers of a book. The exceptions are Alice’s “The Sure Witness,” “One Dust,” and “My Creed,” all published before in the volume of her poems brought out by Hurd and Houghton, in 1865, and reproduced here as special illustrations of her character, faith, and death. In parting with a portion of the treasures and “pictures of memory,” it has been difficult sometimes to decide which to give and which to retain. Many, too precious for any printed page, were nevertheless such a part of the true souls from whom they emanated, that to withhold them seemed like defrauding the living for the sake of the dead. Thus some inci
dents are given solely because they are necessary to the perfect portrayal of the nature which they concern. No fact has been told which has not this significance. No line has been written for the sake of writing it. But as I cease, I feel more keenly even than when I began, how inadequate is any one hand, however conscientious, to trace two lives so delicately and variously tinted, to portray two souls so finely veined with a
many-shaded deep humanitv.
|M. C. A. October, 1872.
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