June 22, 1835 Frances mentioned to her friend William Irons that she had picked up a pebble on "Diadem Hill" at Annesley in memory of "my friend in early life, Byron's Mary." Both Byron and Mary were deceased by this time.
"Byron" was George Gordon Lord Byron, heir of Newstead Abbey and the celebrated poet. "Mary" was Mary Ann Chaworth, heiress of Annesley, the estate adjacent to Byron's. Mary was older than Byron, but he fell in love with her when as a child he first saw her. He visited Annesley frequently. However, Mary was in love with John Musters, and when she married him, it supposedly broke Byron's heart. He wrote a famous poem, "The Dream," about Mary and their relationship, and in the poem he mentioned being on "Diadem Hill" with her while she watched for John Musters.
Earlier, Frances had written to Irons, "The 'Diadem' is cut down and universally deplored." Washington Irving had a hand in the "universal" disgust. He had visited Annesley and swallowed the old housekeeper's story that Mary's and Byron's lives were ruined by her marriage to John Musters. Irving's account was widely read, so when Mr. Musters (who was Frances' host about the time she wrote this letter) cut down the trees on Diadem hill, he was thought to be acting vengefully.
Frances and Sophie Musters (John and Mary's daughter) knew better and planned together to have the facts brought to light, but Sophie's marriage prevented the project's completion.
What was the truth concerning Mary's marriage to John? What was the real reason Mr. Musters cut down the trees? That can be found in Frances Rolleston: British Lady, Scholar and Writer of Mazzaroth in the chapter "On Trees and Poetry."
February 15, 1828(?)
My dear Henry,
I am very much gratified by your taking so much interest about my present hobby.
Frances Rolleston had four close friends named Henry: Henry Thompson, Henry Smedley, Henry Townley and Henry Crowther.
The first three of these were family friends and fellow students in their teens and early twenties, Henry Smedley also tutoring her in languages.
Henry Crowther, twenty-three years younger, was FR's student in astronomy. Although he was blind, she was able to teach him by using plates and string.
In other letters FR referred to adventures and discoveries she and the Henrys had together. They shared their poetry with each other, and they shared their faith. FR called on them for help in her scholarly research.
She was not immune to their attractiveness. She praised Henry Townley as elegant in mind and amiable in temper, having the sweetest face ever seen in youth, preeminent in arts, chess and literature.
Yet, although they corresponded or otherwise stayed in contact as long as they lived, none of these friendships ever blossomed into romantic love. They seemed to simply be four Henrys among many other close friendships of FR's life.
Although Frances, by the description by others, was beautiful, intelligent, gracious, and a fascinating conversationalist, she never married, and as far as is known, never received an offer.
Although the following quotes from her letters were not written on Valentine's Day, they seem appropriate for the subject at hand.
"Surely we are tried with just that very form of evil most searching to us, and loneliness of the heart is mine, because it is the only privation I deeply feel—His will be done!"
"Moralists and metaphysicians spend volumes in trying to account for the common observation, that disappointment, or, indeed, love in any form, makes a woman's destiny, while it is only an incident in that of a man; there may be exceptions to the latter observation, I know of none to the first."
"Is there not a lost, stray sort of feeling in belonging to nobody?"
And on an acquaintance to was married after some anxiety: "The natural and inevitable ills of life must come on dear ____, but she will have lost the worst of them—chronic heart-ache."