Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ruth Sabine


I can't resist showing you Ruth Sabine's passport photo, since I showed you her big sister Janet's on Friday. Ruth was 10 when this was taken in 1916. She was a fine artist (trained by her very skilled father) and such an accomplished needlewoman that her parents were surprised by her talent and let her mend their best things. She planned to be a writer when she grew up. Unfortunately she only reached 16. 

Here's one of my favorite poems from her posthumous book, Fugitive Papers, a slender volume gathered and published by her mother as a gift for Ruth's Winsor School classmates at their graduation in 1924.

Rules for Church

On Sunday when you go to church,
You have to stand quite tall,
On this side you hold daddy's hand, and over there
Walks solemn-looking Aunty Claire.

Right side of you, with lorgnette high,
And wearing his tall Sunday hat,
The minister comes passing by
And stops to have a chat.

When once at church he leaves us,
And we must enter in;
At church you cannot talk or fuss,
I think it's called a sin.

The minister may sing a psalm,
And during that you keep quite calm,
You mustn't even catch a fly,
It's rude to watch the passers-by.

And when the minister's preached some time,
Old Bunny comes to get your dime,
It's not worth while to earn your money,
If you must give it all to Bunny.
 (written at nine years of age)


Ruth's parents were not religious in any traditional, church-going sense — another characteristic of them that seems more akin to our century than theirs. But her father Wallace was said to be deeply spiritual in his own way. "No one can be an investigator in Science," he once said, "without believing in God; but no preacher can rightly interpret God through sermons which contradict scientific facts." One colleague said of him, "He held aloof silently and absolutely from all public professions of religious creed, and took small part in religious observances." Some thought he was agnostic. But according to his biographer, he walked his daughters to Sunday school himself. (I think they went to Emmanuel Episcopal Church on Newbury Street, since Janet was married there in 1929.) 

And no doubt Wallace made sure that his little girls had dimes in their pocketbooks to give to Old Bunny.

1 comment:

  1. Love reading the Sabine stories...please keep them coming!

    ReplyDelete

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