While living in London, Miss Rolleston was a near neighbor of William Hone. They became good friends, perhaps because both were attuned to the injustices of the times. Hone as a writer and printer of political satire was not liked by those in government because he exposed their corruption and ridiculed their foibles. He was imprisoned for a time because of this.
Hone's association with FR contributed to an amending of his attitudes and he became a devout believer in Christ. FR wrote a small book about this change in Hone, based on her own knowledge of him and their discussions. Her little book was popular and led to an expanded edition.
January 31st, 1853
My dear Mrs. B___,
Our progress has been slow, but I am happy to tell you I consider our success complete. Kent, a London bookseller, takes a great interest in our "Conversion of William Hone," and will push the sale, saying he has had a great interest about him, having lived in his house. But the great thing is, we have got them on the rail; and as we have but 500, I cannot send you the whole number I intend till we print more, which, if they sell, we shall do immediately.
January 23rd, 1863
"My dear Friend,
"Send me at once the song "Rising of the Lark," Codiad yr Hedydd, in Welsh I think, and get some young lady to play it for you; it is my favorite Welsh air and in most collections."
Elsewhere Frances Rolleston wrote: "I once took a few lessons on the harp just for the poetry of the thing, and bungled a few Welsh airs. 'Codiad yr Hedydd,' 'The Rising of the Lark' was my favourite."
FR had a fondness for songs. She emphasized singing in her infant schools, and credited it with making the children less inclined to fight. She wrote quite a few songs herself, and once claimed that at Filey, men, women and children were singing her songs.
In the January 23rd letter, her purpose in mentioning "Rising of the Lark" was to suggest a tune that her friend's poem might be sung to. Here's a link to the words in English and Welch.
While in Malvern, just before her relocation to Keswick, FR made the acquaintance of two sisters, Bessie and Caroline Dent. They found their interests so similar and the sisters were so taken with FR's theory of the constellations, that they were instant close friends. These interests included poetry, painting, and the Scriptures.
Since FR was older than they, the sisters began to call her "Aunt," and she was delighted by this new relationship. So many of her friends had already died that at times she felt bereft.
The women sent their sketches, paintings and poetry to one another, sometimes just to share it and sometimes seeking advice. This excerpt from a letter demonstrates their mutual affection.
To the Misses Dent. Keswick, January 17th, 1849.
I think I ought to write an epitaph "on two fair sisters smothered in sonnets," by a cruel aunt, as bad as an uncle, vide Babes in the Wood—for lo! here are more that would be written, it's no use resisting, when the thought has rolled in my brain the destined time, out it will come. And of most of these the first idea was spoken to you, on the scenery viewed together.
January 1st, 1863
"My feelings for some time have been, 'The people are famishing, what can I do to help?'"
In this letter FR lists some things she is doing and has done in the past to alleviate suffering due to famine.
In the 1822 famine,
Gave every particle of gold she possessed and
Painted miniatures to sell
For the present famine,
Cut back her living expenses in every way she can think of
Influenced others to give
Is giving away all the income from three of her books. This she did by first investing a L320 legacy in their printing.
In another letter of the same date, FR promotes the use of free-labour calico, that is cotton cloth made in India rather than that made by slaves, which is just as cheap and just as good.
There is no sense in these letters of her making resolutions for the New Year. It is simply the continuation of her lifelong style of living.