Letter: from [ME Gaskell?] to Emily Faithfull

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 106 7EFA/106
  • Dates of Creation
      19 Jun c.1890
  • Physical Description

Scope and Content

My dear Miss Faithfull, You do not know how grateful I felt to you for your letter; and oh! how my heart ached for you, as I read it. Indeed and indeed, I cannot but grieve for you, and I remember most vividly what your sympathy for me was, and this recollection, and the rememberance of how precious it was to me, makes me believe that you will not refuse a ___ so _____ if my own for you, in this bitter bitter trial. The intensity of one's grief is the measure of the blessing that one has lost. I so gladly will write down what I remember of the hour's consolation at Whitinghame. Would that I had made notes of it! I began at once about Elizabeth Horking, - thanking Lady Blanche, as you may imagine, from the depths of my heart, for all her goodness. And I remember the playful way in which she turned aside my thanks by saying 'Buts what's the good of being rich if one mayn't do these things?' She then asked a great deal about the poor woman -said how much struck she had been by the simplicities and refinement of a note that I had forwarded her from Elizabeth. Then she said, with a _______ of appeal, in a flash of Earnestness, as it were. And tell me - 'For whom did she act so nobly?' I did not understand all at once. Very likely the darkness, by hiding the expression of her face, was partly the cause and excuse of my stupidity - So I hesitated in answering; and she explained her meaning, and said, 'was this lifelong sacrifice made by Elizabeth for the sake of her mistress? or was it done it --- did she do it for Christ's sake? That is what I want to know.' I remember how the voice rose and fell and rose again in this silence. Then she said that what Elizabeth had done seemed to her 'almost more Christ-like than anything she could recall' -we talked over plans for her, Eliz a better recovery of health; and I was so struck with the keen, vigorous, practical advise that she gave - her exact knowledge of the effect of different medicines, diets, etc -Then she spoke about her wondering, on reading that printed circular about Elizabeth, whether the signer of it was any relation to my dearest Mother. And we talked long about her. Lady Blanche told me how she had cared for her books - how she 'had laughed over them - cried over them - prayed over them.' She asked if she might speak to me about the Lady Scott affair - and I remember how sweetly she asked me to tell her first whether it would give me pain to talk about it or not. Already I had learnt enough of Lady Blanche to feel that it would be a real relief to tell it all to one on whose sense of justice and tenderness of sympathy one could rely with such a rare certainty. I told the long story, and Lady Blanche said how cruelly my Mother had been treated, and then she said, 'Oh! How she must have suffered! And yet, why pity her, when she had so much, much else?' and she added something about how great the balance of happiness in such a life as hers must have been, in spite of such sorrow. Then she asked about my own life - and in mentioning some little household matter, I alluded to a dear old servant, who had been with us twenty - five years, and I remember the merry way in which Lady Blanche broke in 'Ah -can't I just fancy how she tyrannizes over you!' - Then I said something about envying girls who had brothers so much; and she spoke about her own daughters, and said what a help and support her sons were to them, and spoke of the great intellectual stimulus thus given to the former. Can not you guess how it all printed itself on my memory? How the impression of the character, more than the mere words that conveyed it, 'bit into' my heart. I prayed that night and many nights, to be made more like her. It is from such souls as hers, burning, radiant with the love of God, that others may feed their lamps - and all one's life long, such remembrances as I have of her, ought to strengthen, and purify and comfort one. How very terrible more last __________

[possibly two sides missing] One other thing occurs to me that Lady Blanche said: - in speaking of sending money to Elizabeth Horking, she told me how important and right she had always felt it that 'money and work - or money and thought -should go hand in hand' in one's dealings with the poor. The giving of mere money was as corrupting to the giver as to the receiver. Will you, please give my kindest regards to the Miss Balfours.

Written at Bilbrook House, Codsall. No signature, but is possibly on missing page.