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Marshall Saunders, Noted Author Tells of Her Early Years in Berwick

In Farmer Smith's column of the Halifax Herald of May 21, appears a letter from Miss Marshall Saunders, author, of "Beautiful Joe" and other delightful stories, in which Miss Saunders describes her early days in Berwick where she spent the first six years of her life. Here is her letter:

"I have just been reading your article on "Mothers" in The Halifax Herald of May 7. Like you, Farmer Smith, I love Helen Welsheimer's poem about them. Your comments on her charming lines send my thoughts back to dear old Nova Scotia, to my own beloved Mother there, and the other mothers I used to know.

"How good they were to their children! Strange to say, my thoughts went flying to nova Scotia this morning when in the first mail I received a letter from Miss Winnifred Chute, of Berwick, now in Toronto, the lovely village of that time where I spent the first six years of my life. Miss Chute said she had received a newspaper containing an account of an anniversary service to her held in the Baptist church, and she was sending it to me. It has just come - "The Register" - and looking over it I am amazed at the changes and the progress in this always beloved spot to me. In the story of my life that I am beginning I am going to give some account of the boys and girls especially of olden times. I hope they are as religious now as they used to be. As the clergyman's eldest daughter I had the honor of presiding at many a prayer meeting held on the bank below the window of my father's study.

"Speak, children!" I used to say, "it will do your souls good." And I always shook hands with them as they went out and said "God bless you."

"The Illsley lived in the former house just below the parsonage, and up the hill beyond the church were the Masters. Dr. Masters was beloved by all the young ones, and we often begged him to sing us songs, especially Irish ones. His wife was a true mother in Israel, and how she loved to entertain!

"I fear the Saunders children imposed upon her, but she never complained. Such wonderful things we got to eat in her house! And how generous she was! We could always go to the pantry for something to eat, but we must never break into a pie or cake that had not already been cut. If just one piece was gone we were at liberty to finish it.

"Attractive as Berwick was, we always loved to go up on the North Mountain where lived dear old Deacon Rawding and his lovely wife. After ranging round the house and farm
and having wonderful things to eat the Deacon would harness the horse and drive us over to the Bay of Fundy where we always went in wading, though the icy water nearly froze our little legs.

"And the amethysts we used to pick up! Wonderful jewels to us, and the dulce and beautiful shells! When we - the then young ones - get to Heaven, how we shall seek out the adorable mothers and fathers of our childhood days and overwhelm them with the praise and thanks we did not think of giving them when we were young and thoughtless.

"Miss Chute in her letter reminded me of a meeting of Acadia University friends held here some years ago when I presented the manuscript of "Beautiful Joe" to Alma Mater. It was the most valuable thing I had, and I thought it ought to go to our own seat of learning. I find that the Nova Scotians in Toronto never forget their native land, and as I write my mind wanders to a gathering of business men down in the city who are talking about more intimate trade relations between Ontario and the Maritimes.

"And now I must close, dear Farmer Smith, with love to all the Rainbows and love to all the Nova Scotian mothers.

Yours very sincerely,

Marshall Saunders."