Woman From Grimesville
( Originally Published 1902 )
WHILE President McKinley was lying so dangerously wounded in Buffalo, the police and soldiers were forced to be rather strict with pedestrians at West Ferry street and Delaware avenue, the corner nearest the Milburn house. Down at Highland avenue, a block way, was the first rope barrier. It was there that a sweet-faced woman of sixty or seventy was stopped by the policeman. She carried a bunch of old-fashioned garden posies, tied with a faded pink ribbon. " You can't go through lady," said the officer, stepping in front of her. The old lady stepped back trembling, and the tears began to flow, as she said: " Will you be so kind as to give these to Mrs. McKinley? They're from my own yard, and I've walked clear in from out near Grimesville to give them to her with my love, and tell her that we are all praying out at Grimesville that her husband will get well." It was said at the Milburn house that, while there were bouquets made of huge clusters of American Beauty roses, here and there about the room, the bunch of old-fashioned posies from the woman at Grimesville, who prayed for the President, had the place of honor on the dresser.
The plain, old woman with the old-fashioned flowers, is a fair expression of the universal sympathy of the common people of this country, and of the civilized world for Mrs. McKinley, as well as for her husband, and the afflicted nation of which he was the head. Mrs. McKinley, though a confirmed invalid, was brought into public notice and favor, because the President was so devoted to her, and nursed her so tenderly. It was perfectly natural for this plain woman, who, no doubt, had known what sorrow was herself, by her message and offering to voice the sympathy of American womanhood. It was right for the old-fashioned flowers to have the chief place on the dresser, for a woman's sympathy had gotten into their colors to enrich their beauty, and into their odors as an incense of love.
When our two other Presidents were shot down by the assassin's bullet, Queen Victoria sent special messages of condolence to their wives, and the Christian sympathy and prayers of the ruler of a great empire, and those of the woman from Grimesville were exactly the same, and are as beautiful flowers as have been brought from the field of heaven to bloom in the garden of earth.
The woman not only brought her sympathy and flowers, but the promise of her prayers. She knew that the sympathy of her poor heart, with the best flowers she could find to emphasize it, would be so futile ! But she did know that God's Holy Spirit could comfort her, and that the consolations of the spirit could be secured by prayer.