General Harrison And His Little Daughter
( Originally Published 1902 )
GENERAL HARRISON, though reserved in his disposition and dignified in his bearing, though engaged in the contemplation of great themes, though he was justly proud of his ancestry and his promotion, was, within his heart, as simple as a child. His devotion to his little daughter, four years old, was pathetic. As they passed through New York on their way to the mountains to spend the summer, the General and the little girl were often seen playing tag and ball in the hotel hall outside of the room, the father enjoying the fun as much as the child. They often walked on the streets of Indianapolis together, and the people would stop and look at them and say, " What a beautiful picture ! " Each seemed to be so happy in the company of the other. During the father's last illness the little child went down into the kitchen, and the cook got the materials and showed her how to make a little pie. When it was baked she took it in her hand and ran up to her father's room, and with joy flashing from her eyes she said : " Oh, papa, I've got something nice for you. I made it myself ; it is going to make you well." The General smiled sweetly at her, but was too sick to talk.
A short time before General Harrison's death, Mr. Fishback, his old law partner, died, and the lawyers of Indianapolis assembled in the Federal Court room to take suitable action. General Harrison's remarks were brief, eloquent, exceedingly pathetic. In closing, he said: " In the dead of the night lately, gentlemen of the bar, my little daughter came to me with deep earnestness and said, ` Papa, in the big dark of the night I wake up and want to touch you. If I don't, I feel lonely.' " The General paused, choked, and with tears falling from his eyes continued : "I put out my hand to touch my old friend ; he is gone, and I am lonely." In the big dark of a night a nation puts out its hand to touch a favorite son, lawyer, orator, statesman, soldier, Christian ; he is gone, and there is sorrow in the land. In the dark night of affliction, when we put out our hand to touch our loved ones and find that they are gone, if we can only touch the hand with the nail-print, we will have Divine company in our loneliness.