Posted by: Sherry Goodwin | June 9, 2008


Her sister Miriam continues:

“At four years old, Frances could read the Bible and any ordinary book correctly, and had learned to write in round hand.  French and music were gradually added; but great care was always taken not to tire her or excite the precocity of her mind, and she never had a regular governess.
“Mr. Jeffery has referred to her wreath of bay on her fourth birthday, and I remember making a wreath of the pink china roses which grew among the ivy on the rectory on her third birthday.  Alas!  the rose and the prophetic bay reappeared among her funeral wreaths.”

(From a sketch by Mrs. Crane)

The surroundings of dear Frances’ early days in our Astley home may as well be given in the descriptive lines of my sister Miriam, written in 1863, acompanying her sketch of the church and rectory.

“Behold thy birthplace, Frances!  The old house
entwined with ivy, roses, and the vine;
Beneath the shadow of the ancient shrine
Where ministered our father twenty years.
He built the northern aisle, and gave the clock,
A musical memento of his love
For time and tune and punctuality!
Fair is the garden ground, and there the flowers
Were trained with care and skill by one who now
Rests from her labours in the heavenly land.
Here life and death together meet; the tombs
Stand close beside the mossy bank, where once
Sisters and brothers met in frolic play.
Around, the wooded hills in beauty rise!
Earth has not many scenes more fair than this,
And none more dear to those who called it Home!”


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