It is with extreme modesty that I present the following pages to be read by other eyes than mine. I do not hand them out expecting that they possess merit enough to interest the million, in these exciting war times; but it is of my friends (those that know me,) and their friends, that I ask patronage, and expect audience.
While in Kansas, I carried a little note-book in my pocket, in which I noted the dates, and the transpirations of each day; so that in writing my sad history, I have carried out the same form, describing the scenes just as they transpired.
What I have written, my friends may rely upon as being the Truth. If it fails of being truth, it is not plus truth but minus truth, on account of my lack of language to describe up to truth.
I have not written, expecting to plate myself over with the purest and most shining of metals, gold; neither have I written expecting or wishing to gain " the naphtha lamp of deathless fame;" but I have written that I may thereby procure the means to buy my "bread to eat, and wood to warm," and peradventure, redeem my little home, which I feel was purchased by the life-blood of my beloved husband!
When common necessities are not supplied, (save by charity,) we cannot wish for riches, or court fame; so that my prayer must be, "Give me this day my daily bread."
My friends will not expect my book to come, bearing the marks of extensive lore; for I have never gathered from the rich halls of science, or reaped from the broad fields of general knowledge; but as I have walked along over earth's uneven highway, now gathering flowers by some silver stream, then clambering over hills and the mountain's rocky cliff, or taking shelter under a spreading leafy tree, or when struggling with the angry waves, have striven to glean.
Neither, while writing, have I been freed from care, or abounded in physical health; I have not hied myself away to a little "sanctum sanctorum," there to get inspired with rich veins of thought, to gush out into profuse descriptive language; but I have sat right here in my little kitchen--have been provider, distributer, mother, mistress of the house to receive and entertain all who might chance to come, (and the number has not been small;) have been housekeeper, "chief butler and baker," laundress, sewing girl, chore boy, sick nurse, and invalid besides; for as often as once in three weeks (during the six months I have been writing,) I have been confined to my bed for three successive days, with a dreadful sick and nervous headache.
I must ask the kind indulgence of my friends, knowing that my writing can be subjected to criticisms; but under the circumstances, driven by necessity, with a mountain's weight of inability resting upon me, if others can do more and better, I will give them God's speed.
If I awaken sympathy for the afflicted of earth, by patronage procure my heart's' desire, and give courage to the suffering to "bear up awhile beneath life's pressures," until "one unbounded spring encircle all," then my labor has not been in vain.
MIRIAM D. COLT.
WEST STOCKHOLM, St. Lawrence}