Today is the anniversary of the 1863 wedding of Edward VII, Queen Victoria's eldest son. Frances Rolleston was apparently lacking in enthusiasm for the celebrations that accompanied it.
For one thing, she was working hard (at age 82) for those suffering in the cotton famine (more about that in an earlier blog) and the celebrations were a distraction:
The outrageous folly of the world about the royal marriage has, I fear, given a great check to what was doing for the cotton sufferers.
She refused to donate toward the celebrations—especially the "fire-works," giving what she could instead to the suffering poor who had no share in the dinner, tea and other doings.
I am just now very much interested in opposing the use of fire-works to celebrate the princely marriage. What, when so many are starving, I say to the Keswickers, will you let the committee lay out, as they talk of, £20 in fire-works? What good do they do? Harm they often do.
She goes on to tell the story of a boy, friend of her brother, who was killed by a fire-work.
When the marriage was actually celebrated with fireworks, Frances was much more interested in the fact that the constellation Orion "shone through and beyond the wedding fireworks."
July 24, 1849
Frances Rolleston had been living in Keswick of the Lakes District for a year. Already she knew the names of all the mountains. Even some long time residents asked her for information. She wrote in this letter that she amused herself by talking to tourists, telling them not only the names of the mountains, but the stories associated with them as well.
One such story was that of the mountaineer Mary Green. Mary at age seventy-seven had never been in a church nor heard the name of Christ except as a curse. But at this advanced age she began to think that she had heard of having a soul. The missionary from Keswick was able to lead her to faith in Christ, and she died soon after, happy.
IN 1859 Frances published a book called Lights and Shadows on the Sunny Side of Skiddaw. It is a guide to the Lakes District, written in verse—one I would like to have. A copy is in the British Library, but want to find one I can buy. I saw one when I was in England in 2002(?), and if I had known how hard it was to find one later, I would have bought it then.