FR writes in expectation of her friend Cary Dent's coming visit for the month of June. FR now lives in Keswick, in the Lake District of England, a favorite haunt of painters and poets. An important activity during the visit will be painting together. FR urges Cary to "Bring all your apparatus for water-colours" because although fine weather will allow them to spend time in the mountains and on the lake, "on rainy days we paint."
The watercolor box above resides in the Victoria & Albert museum. It is probably very like the one FR used as a young woman.
May 10, 1836 from Watnall:
"I have wintered most happily, sometimes going for a week at a time to old or new friends, sometimes fagging hard with raising two infant schools in our own neighbourhood, both of which I have visited today. . . . I commenced another infant school on Monday, with the expectation of a hundred and thirty children, whom we expect to make happy and hope to make good; by entire gentleness and kindness we have already civilized our children, and through them are making much impression on the parents. . . . Figure me to yourself, leading one beautiful golden-haired rustic, and four or five more holding to my shawl, with hands and baskets full of primrose violet and cowslip heaps, talking of flowers and the cuckoo, in the loneliest village possible, where our infants can toddle a mile on the road with small probability of meeting horse or cart except on market-days. These are my chief companions here. . . ."
May of 1836
FR writes to her friend Charlotte, "I am at times much perplexed about the doctrine of answers to prayer and leadings of Providence. . . . The very thing I prayed against came on me; but I have been supported under it, and now it is no longer hurtful to me. . . . Prayer has not been answered to me in the sense I meant it. 'The thing I feared,' and daily prayed against, came on me, but it has passed over and left me unhurt. But our mistakes as to Providential leadings astonish me. My prayer now is, 'Guide Thou, take away all choice from me.' I pray for peace . . . and I will trust, in spite of the unintelligible past, that answer to prayer will be made evident to me.
Readers: Flat Frances has returned from her journey in England. (See previous post.) If you would like a free copy of her travels with photos, please leave a comment to say so, and your e-mail address.