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A New Atmosphere by Gail Hamilton

The following is the dedication referred to


"Born in Amherst, March 8th, 1796, fitted for college and accomplished alike in the fine arts and the exact sciences in an age when the standard of female education was comparatively low, associated with Dr. Hitchcock, then unknown to the public, in the instruction of Deerfield Academy, and there the instrument of her future husband's conversion, _filling_ to the full the office of a pastor's wife for five years, in Conway, Massachusetts, and for the rest of her long life sharing all her husband's labors, sorrows, joys, and honors, while at the same time she was the centre of every private, social, charitable, and public movement of which it was suitable for a lady to be the centre, she passed away from us by a death as serenely beautiful as the evening on which she died, May 26, 1863, at the age of sixty-seven, leaving a vacancy not only in the home and the hearts of her bereaved husband and afflicted children, but in the community and the wide circle of her acquaintance, which can be filled by none but Him who comforted the mourning family at Bethany. If strangers would form some idea of what Mrs. Hitchcock was, especially as a _help meet_ for her honored husband, and if friends would refresh their memory of a truly 'virtuous woman,' let them read, as it were over her still open grave, the dedication, by Dr. Hitchcock, of his 'Religion and Geology' to his 'beloved wife.' Never did husband pay to wife a higher or _juster_ tribute of respect and affection.

"The following is the dedication referred to. It was written in 1851:--

"'_To my beloved Wife._ Both gratitude and affection prompt me to dedicate these Lectures to you. To your kindness and self-denying labors I have been mainly indebted for the ability and leisure to give any successful attention to scientific pursuits. Early should I have sunk under the pressure of feeble health, nervous despondency, poverty, and blighted hopes, had not your sympathies and cheering counsels sustained me. And during the last thirty years of professional labors, how little could I have done in the cause of science, had you not, in a great measure, relieved me of the cares of a numerous family! Furthermore, while I have described scientific facts with the pen only, how much more vividly have they been portrayed by your pencil! And it is peculiarly appropriate that your name should be associated with mine in any literary effort where the theme is geology; since your artistic skill has done more than my voice to render that science attractive to the young men whom I have instructed. I love especially to connect your name with an effort to defend and illustrate that religion which I am sure is dearer to you than everything else. I know that you would forbid this public allusion to your labors and sacrifices, did I not send it forth to the world before it meets your eye. But I am unwilling to lose this opportunity of bearing a testimony which both justice and affection urge me to give. In a world where much is said of female deception and inconstancy, I desire to testify that one man at least has placed implicit confidence in woman, and has not been disappointed. Through many checkered scenes have we passed together, both on the land and the sea, at home and in foreign countries; and now the voyage of life is almost ended. The ties of earthly affection, which have so long united us in uninterrupted harmony and happiness, will soon be sundered. But there are ties which death cannot break; and we indulge the hope that by them we shall be linked together and to the throne of God through eternal ages. In life and in death I abide


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