Measuring just four inches in length, it is a tiny distillation of family, love, and the unabashed exhortation of the youth that was so evident in Victorian times. Some of the pages are blank, but many are inked with fond messages and instructions for life, all directed at a little girl, one Evie White....
The first page in the book was written by her mother, and dated June 10th, 1879.
My dear little Evie:
Life is not all sunshine. The clouds often hide the sun, so the clouds of sorrow sometimes cover the mind and make it sad. Try to do right always, and ask the Savior to help you everyday, and all will be well and you will be happy and make others happy. Your Mother
I often wonder what inspired her mother to write such cautionary words, and what sadnesses caused the 'clouds of sorrow' to sometimes cover her mind...
The page above was written by her father, and its eloquence is astounding, starting with a beautiful little poem, followed with a brief phrase of instruction, and a paragraph tethered by his hopes for his young daughter:
How quickly pass these fleeting days!
Our journey here will soon be o'er.
O let us walk in Wisdom's ways,
And meet again on Canaan's Shore.
They who strive to make others happy will find happiness themselves.
May each day of your life be such that should you reach your three score years and ten, you can turn from page to page in memory's closely written book feeling that you have not lived one day in vain. And may you greet in heaven those you have blessed on earth.
Yours Truly Wm. O. White
Irvington, Mich. Nov. 15th, 1879
J. Greensted wrote the message above, now faded, in spidery Spencerian script, stating simply:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
This appears once more in the little album, so it must have been a popular thought in its day.
Another thought to live by, lest we be prideful about our kindnesses:
Do good, then forget it.
And I love the message above, loving words as I do...
Good words are worth much and cost little.