In December 1841 at age 60, Frances wrote,
"I have this summer mastered Syriac enough to know that with a previous knowledge of Hebrew and the Chaldee verb differences, you have only the characters to learn, an ugly bungling device, from which, however, the Cufic* is mainly borrowed, and to which the modern Arabic has some little obligation."
Here is a woman who not only had the discipline to learn ancient languages, she also understood their development.
Her letter continued: "Arabic I am now rather hot upon, have exhausted the little vocabulary I have here, and am most anxious for a lexicon; do you know of a Castell? but I believe a modern German one would do better, except that Latin suits me better than German."
So, she needs a better dictionary to help her translate Arabic. An Arabic-German dictionary will do, but an Arabic-Latin one would be better.
By this time she already has Hebrew, French, German and some Danish—at least.
*Cufic or Kufic is an early angular form of Arabic script found mainly in decorative inscriptions.
Tomorrow is the birthday plus 233 years of Thomas Attwood, a leader in the Chartist movement in England.
Attwood was a successful businessman in coal, iron and banking. About 1812 he became involved in politics because he saw that the monopoly enjoyed by the East India Company restricted foreign trade and hurt English businesses. He worked hard to influence economic policies, although without much success.
From 1830 to 1832 he was one of the main leaders for parliamentary reform, and in 1838 joined with the London Working Men's Association to fight for their right to vote. However, Attwood disagreed with the aggressive attitudes of other leaders in the movement, and upon defeat of the first national petition, which he presented to the House of Commons, he retired completely from politics.
Frances Rolleston was a Tory by birth, and while she was living on the Rolleston estate at Watnall, the estate was threatened by the Chartists. Watnall escaped—she had hoped that her charitable Infant Schools would give her favor with the Chartists—but another estate in the area, Colwick Hall, where Frances' childhood friend Mary Chaworth Musters was home alone, was attacked. The rioters burned valuables and tried to burn the building, while Mary cowered with her maid in pouring rain. Mary took ill and died four months later.
I'm sure that Frances felt deeply the turmoil of those years. She had a tender heart for the suffering, as her many charitable efforts demonstrated, and she would certainly have held sympathies for the Chartists. But like Attwood, she would have disagreed with their violent activities.