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Title: Mrs. Hungerford - Notable Women Authors of the Day
Author: Black, Helen C.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Transcriber's note: Helen C. BLACK, article "Mrs. Hungerford"
in _Notable women authors of the day_ (1893) 1906 edition]



NOTABLE

WOMEN AUTHORS

OF THE DAY, By

HELEN C. BLACK



_WITH PORTRAITS_



LONDON: MACLAREN AND COMPANY

WAITHMAN STREET, PILGRIM STREET, E.C.

1906



CONTENTS



(...)



_MRS. HUNGERFORD_



(...)



It is well worth encountering the perils of the sea, even in the middle
of winter, and in the teeth of a north-east wind, if only to experience
the absolute comfort and ease with which, in these space-annihilating
days, the once-dreaded journey from England to the Emerald Isle can be
made. You have resolved to accept a hospitable invitation from Mrs.
Hungerford, the well-known author of _Molly Bawn_, etc., to visit her
at her lovely house, St. Brenda's, Bandon, co. Cork, where a 'hearty
Irish welcome' is promised, and though circumstances prevent your
availing yourself of the 'month's holiday' so kindly offered, and limit
an absence from home to but four days, it is delightful to find that,
travelling by the best of all possible routes--the Irish Mail--it
is to be accomplished easily and without any fatiguing haste.

Having given due notice of your intentions, you arrive at Euston just
in time for the 7.15 a.m. express, and find that by the kindness of the
station-master a compartment is reserved, and every arrangement,
including an excellent meal, is made for your comfort. The carriages
are lighted by electricity, and run so smoothly that it is possible to
get a couple of hours' good sleep, which the very early start has made
so desirable. On reaching Holyhead at 1.30 p.m. to the minute, you are
met by the courteous and attentive marine superintendant Captain Cay,
R.N., who takes you straight on board the _Ireland_, the newest
addition to the fleet of fine ships, owned by the City of Dublin Steam
Packet Company. She is a magnificent vessel, 380 feet long, 38 feet in
beam, 2,589 tons, and 6,000 horse-power; her fine, broad bridge,
handsome deck-houses, and brass work glisten in the bright sunlight.
She carries electric light; and the many airy private cabins indicate
that, though built for speed, the comfort of her passengers has been a
matter of much consideration. She is well captained, well officered,
well manned, and well navigated. The good-looking, weather-beaten
Captain Kendall is indeed the commodore of the company, and has made
the passage for nearly thirty years. There is an unusually large number
of passengers to-day, for it is the first week of the accelerated
speed, and it is amusing to notice the rapidity with which the mails
are shipped, on men's backs, which plan is found quicker than any
appliance. Captain Cay remarks that it is no uncommon thing to ship
seven hundred sacks on foreign mail days; he says, too, that never
since these vessels were started has there been a single accident to
life or limb. But the last bag is on board, steam is up, and away goes
the ship past the South Stack lighthouse, built on an island under
precipitous cliffs, from which a gun is fired when foggy, and in about
an hour the Irish coast becomes visible, Howth and Bray Head. The sea
gets pretty rough, but luckily does not interfere with your excellent
appetite for the first-class refreshments supplied. The swift-revolving
paddles churn the big waves into a thick foam as the good ship
_Ireland_ ploughs her way through at the rate of twenty knots an hour,
'making good weather of it', and actually accomplishes the voyage in
three hours and fifteen minutes--one of the shortest runs on record.
The punctuality with which these mail packets make the passage in all
weathers is indeed truly wonderful--a fact which is experienced a few
days later on the return journey. Kingstown is reached at 6.10 p.m.
(Irish time), where the mail train is waiting to convey passengers by
the new loop line that runs in a curve right through 'dear dirty
Dublin', as it is popularly called, to Kingsbridge, and so on to Cork,
where you put up for the night at the Imperial Hotel.

Another bright sunshiny morning opens, and shows old Cork at her best.
Cork! the old city of Father Prout's poem, 'The Bells of Shandon',
which begins thus: With deep affection and recollection

  I often think of Shandon bells,
  Whose sounds so wild would in days of childhood
  Fling round my cradle their magic spells,
  On this I ponder where'er I wander,
  And thus grow fonder, sweet Cork, of thee;
  With the bells of Shandon
  That sound so grand on, etc. etc.

The river Lee runs through the handsome little city, and has often been
favourably compared with the Rhine. But Bandon must be reached, which
is easily managed in an hour by rail, and there you are met by your
host with a neat dog-cart, and good grey mare; being in light marching
order, your kit is quickly stowed away by a smart-looking groom, and
soon you find yourself tearing along at a spanking pace through the
'most Protestant' town of Bandon, where Mr. Hungerford pulls up for a
moment to point out the spot where once the old gates stood, whereon
was written the legend, 'Let no Papist enter here'. Years after, a
priest in the dead of night added to it. He wrote:

Whoever wrote this, wrote it _well_

The same is written on the gates of _Hell_.

Then up the hill past Ballymoden Church, in through the gates of Castle
Bernard, past Lord Bandon's beautiful old castle covered with exquisite
ivy, out through a second gate, over the railway, a drive of twenty
minutes in all, and so up to the gates of St. Brenda's. A private road
of about half a mile long, hedged on either side by privet and hawthorn
and golden furze, leads to the avenue proper, the entrance gate which
is flanked by two handsome deodars. It takes a few minutes more to
arrive at a large, square, ivy-clad house, and ere there is time to
take in an idea of its gardens and surroundings, the great hall door is
flung open, a little form trips down the stone steps, and almost before
the horse has come to a standstill, Mrs. Hungerford gives you indeed
the 'hearty Irish welcome' she promised.

It is now about four o'clock, and the day is growing dark. Your hostess
draws you in hastily out of the cold, into a spacious hall lighted by a
hanging Eastern lamp, and by two other lamps let into the wide circular
staircase at the lower end of it. The drawing-room door is open, and a
stream of ruddy light from half-a-dozen crimson shaded lamps, rushing
out, seems to welcome you too. It is a large, handsome room, very
lofty, and charmingly furnished, with a Persian carpet, tiny tables,
low lounging chairs, innumerable knick-knacks of all kinds, ferns,
winter flowers of every sort, screens and palms. A great fire of pine-logs
is roaring up the chimney. The piano is draped with Bokhara plush,
and everywhere the latest magazines, novels, and papers are scattered.

Mrs. Hungerford is a very tiny woman, but slight and well-proportioned.
Her large hazel eyes, sparkling with fun and merriment, are shaded by
thick, curly lashes. She has a small, determined mouth, and the chin
slightly upturned, gives a _piquante_ expression to the intelligent
face--so bright and vivacious. Her hair is of a fair-brown colour, a
little lighter than her eyelashes, and is piled up high on the top of
her head, breaking away into natural curls over her brow. She is clad
in an exquisite tea-gown of dark blue plush, with a soft, hanging,
loose front of a lighter shade of silk. Some old lace ruffles finish
off the wrists and throat, and she wears a pair of little high-heeled
_Louis quinze_ shoes, which display her small and pretty feet. She
looks the embodiment of good temper, merry wit, and _espièglerie_.

It is difficult to realize that she is the mother of the six children
who are grouped in the background. One lovely little fairy, 'Vera',
ages three and a half, runs clinging up to her skirts, and peeps out
shyly. Her delicate colouring suggests a bit of dainty Dresden china.
Later on, you discover that this is actually the pet name by which she
is known, being indeed quite famous here as a small beauty. 'Master
Tom', a splendid roly-poly fellow, aged sixteen months is playing with
a heap of toys on the rug near the fire and is carefully watched over
by a young brother of five. The three other girls are charming little
maidens. The eldest, though but in her early teens, is intellectual and
studious; the second has a decided talent for painting, whilst the
third, says her mother, laughing, 'is a consummate idler, but witty and
clever'.

By and bye your hostess takes you into what she calls her 'den', for a
long, undisturbed chat, and this room also bears the stamp of her taste
and love of study. A big log fire burns merrily here, too, in the huge
grate, and lights up a splendid old oak cabinet, reaching from floor to
ceiling, which, with four more bookcases, seems literally crammed with
dictionaries, books of reference, novels, and other light literature;
but the picturesque is not wanting, and there are plenty of other
decorations, such as paintings, flowers, and valuable old china to be
seen. Here the clever little author passes three hours every morning.
She is, as usual, over-full of work, sells as fast as she can write,
and has at the present time more commissions than she can get through
during the next few years. Everything is very orderly--each big or
little bundle of MSS. is neatly tied together and duly labelled. She
opens one drawer of a great knee-hole writing table, which discloses
hundreds of half sheets of paper. 'Yes', she says, with a laugh; 'I
scribble my notes on these: they are the backs of my friends' letters;
how astonished many of them would be if they knew that the last half
sheet they write me becomes on the spot a medium for the latest
full-blown accounts of a murder, or a laugh, or a swindle, perhaps, more
frequently, a flirtation! I am a bad sleeper', she adds, 'I think my
brain is too active, for I always plan out my best scenes at night, and
write them out in the morning without any trouble'. She finds, too,
that driving has a curious effect upon her; the action of the air seems
to stimulate her. She dislikes talking, or being talked to, when
driving, but loves to think, and to watch the lovely variations of the
world around her, and often comes home filled with fresh ideas, scenes,
and conversations, which she scribbles down without even waiting to
throw off her furs. Asking her how she goes to work about her plot, she
answers with a reproachful little laugh--'That is unkind! You know I
never _have_ a plot really, not the _bona fide_ plot one looks for in a
novel. An idea comes to me, or I to it', she says, airily, 'a scene--a
situation--a young man, a young woman, and on that mental hint I
begin to build', but the question naturally arises, she must make a
beginning? 'Indeed, no', she replies; 'it has frequently happened to me
that I have written the last chapter first, and so, as it were, worked
backwards'.

'Phyllis' was the young author's first work. It was written before she
was nineteen, and was read by Mr. James Payn, who accepted it for
Messrs. Smith Elder & Co.

Mrs. Hungerford is the daughter of the late Rev. Canon Hamilton, rector
and vicar choral of St. Faughnan's cathedral in Ross Carberry, co.
Cork, one of the oldest churches in Ireland. Her grandfather was John
Hamilton, of Vesington, Dunboyne, a property thirteen miles out of
Dublin. The family is very old, very distinguished, and came over from
Scotland to Ireland in the reign of James I.

Most of her family are in the army; but of literary talent, she
remarks, it has but little to boast. Her principal works are _Phyllis_,
_Molly Bawn_, _Mrs. Geoffrey_, _Portia_, _Rossmoyne_, _Undercurrents_,
_A Life's Remorse_, _A Born Coquette_, _A Conquering Heroine_. She has
written up to this time thirty-two novels, besides uncountable articles
for home and American papers. In the latter country she enjoys an
enormous popularity, and everything she writes is rapidly printed off.
First sheets of the novels in hand are bought from her for American
publications, months before there is any chance of their being
completed. In Australia, too, her books are eagerly looked for, whilst
every story she has ever written can be found in the Tauchnitz series.

She began to write when very young, at school taking always the prize
in composition. As a mere child she could always keep other children
spellbound whilst telling them fairy stories of her own invention. 'I
remember', she says, turning round with a laugh, 'when I was about ten
years old, writing a ghost story which so frightened myself, that when
I went to bed that night, I couldn't sleep till I had tucked my head
under the bedclothes'. 'This', she adds, 'I have always considered my
_chef d'oeuvre_, as I don't believe I have ever succeeded in
frightening anyone ever since'. At eighteen she gave herself up
seriously, or rather, gaily, to literary work. All her books teem with
wit and humor. One of her last creations, the delightful old butler,
Murphy, in _A Born Coquette_, is equal to anything ever written by her
compatriot, Charles Lever. Not that she has devoted herself entirely to
mirth-moving situations. The delicacy of her love scenes, the lightness
of touch that distinguishes her numerous flirtations can only be
equalled by the pathos she has thrown into her work every now and then,
as if to temper her brightness with a little shade. Her descriptions of
scenery are specially vivid and delightful, and very often full of
poetry. She is never didactic or goody-goody, neither does she revel in
risky situations, nor give the world stories which, to quote the
well-known saying of a popular playwright, 'no nice girl would allow her
mother to read'.

Mrs. Hungerford married first when very young, but her husband died in
less than six years, leaving her with three little girls. In 1883 she
married Mr. Henry Hungerford. He also is Irish, and his father's place,
Cahirmore, of about eleven thousand acres, lies nearly twenty miles to
the west of Bandon. 'It may interest you', she says, 'to hear that my
husband was at the same school as Mr. Rider Haggard. I remember when we
were all much younger than we are now, the two boys came over for their
holidays to Cahirmore, and one day in my old home "Milleen" we all went
down to the kitchen to cast bullets. We little thought then that the
quiet, shy schoolboy, was destined to be the author of "King Solomon's
Mines"'.

Nothing less than a genius is Mrs. Hungerford at gardening. Her dress
protected by a pretty holland apron, her hands encased in brown leather
gloves, she digs and delves. Followed by many children, each armed with
one of 'mother's own' implements--for she has her own little spade
and hoe, and rake, and trowel, and fork--she plants her own seeds,
and pricks her own seedlings, prunes, grafts, and watches with the
deepest eagerness to see them grow. In springtime, her interest is
alike divided between the opening buds of her daffodils, and the
breaking of the eggs of the first little chickens, for she has a fine
poultry yard too, and is very successful in her management of it. She
is full of vitality, and is the pivot on which every member of the
house turns. Blessed with an adoring husband, and healthy, handsome,
obedient children, who come to her for everything and tell her
anything, her life seems idyllic.

'Now and then', she remarks laughing, 'I really have great difficulty
in securing two quiet hours for my work'; but everything is done in
such method and order, the writing included, there is little wonder
that so much is got through. It is a full, happy, complete life. 'I
think', she adds, 'my one great dread and anxiety is a review. I never
yet have got over my terror of it, and as each one arrives, I tremble
and quake afresh ere reading'.

_April's Lady_ is one of the author's lately published works. It is in
the three volumes, and ran previously as a serial in _Belgravia_. _Lady
Patty_, a society sketch drawn from life, has a most favourable
reception from the critics and public alike, but in her last novel,
very cleverly entitled _Nor Wife Nor Maid_, Mrs. Hungerford is to be
seen, or rather read, at her best. This charming book, so full of
pathos, so replete with tenderness, ran into a second edition in about
ten days. In it the author has taken somewhat of a departure from her
usual lively style. Here she has indeed given 'sorrow words'. The third
volume is so especially powerful and dramatic, that it keeps the
attention chained. The description indeed of poor Mary's grief and
despair are hardly to be outdone. The plot contains a delicate
situation, most delicately worked out. Not a word or suspicion of a
word jars upon the reader. It is not however all gloom. There is in it
a second pair of lovers who help to lift the clouds, and bring a smile
to the lips of the reader.

Mrs. Hungerford does not often leave her pretty Irish home. What with
her incessant literary work, her manifold domestic occupations, and the
cares of her large family, she can seldom be induced to quit what she
calls, 'an out and out country life', even to pay visits to her English
friends. Mrs. Hungerford unhesitatingly declares that everything in the
house seems wrong, and there is a howl of dismay from the children when
the presiding genius even suggests a few days' leave of absence. Last
year, however, she determined to go over London at the pressing
invitation of a friend, in order to make the acquaintance of some of
her distinguished brothers and sisters of the pen, and she speaks of
how thoroughly she enjoyed that visit, with an eager delight. 'Everyone
was so kind', she says, 'so flattering, far, far too flattering. They
all seemed to have some pretty thing to say to me. I have felt a little
spoilt ever since. However, I am going to try what a little more
flattery will do for me, so Mr. Hungerford and I hope to accept, next
Spring, a second invitation from the same friend, who wants us to go to
a large ball she is going to give some time in May for some charitable
institution--a Cottage Hospital I believe; but come', she adds,
suddenly springing up, 'we have spent quite too much time over my
stupid self. Come back to the drawing-room and the chicks, I am sure
they must be wondering where we are, and the tea and the cakes are
growing cold'.

At this moment the door opens, and her husband, gun in hand, with muddy
boots and gaiters, nods to you from the threshold; he says he dare not
enter the 'den' in this state, and hurries up to change before joining
the tea table. 'He is a great athlete', says his wife, 'good at
cricket, football, and hockey, and equally fond of shooting, fishing,
and riding'. That he is a capital whip, you have already found out.

In the morning you see from the library window a flower garden and
shrubbery, with rose trees galore, and after breakfast a stroll round
the place is proposed. A brisk walk down the avenue first, and then
back to the beech trees standing on the lawn, which slopes away from
the house down to a river running at the bottom of a deep valley, up
the long gravelled walk by the hall door, and you turn into a handsome
walled kitchen garden, where fruit trees abound--apple and pear trees
laden with fruit, a quarter of an acre of strawberry beds, and currant
and raspberry bushes in plenty.

But time and tide, trains and steamers, wait to for no man, or woman
either. A few hours later you regretfully bid adieu to the charming
little author, and watch her until the bend of the road hides her from
your sight. Mr. Hungerford sees you through the first stage of the
journey, which is all accomplished satisfactorily, and you reach home
to find that whilst you have been luxuriating in fresh sea and country
air, London has been wrapped in four days of gloom and darkness."



Complement:



Helen C. BLACK, _In memoriam The late Mrs. Hungerford_ from _The
Englishwoman_ April 1897 pp. 102-105

"The sad news of the death of the popular and well-known author, Mrs.
Hungerford, has caused a universal thrill of sorrow, no less to her
many friends than to the large section of the reading public, in every
part of the globe where the English tongue is spoken, who delight in
her simple but bright and witty love-stories, so full of pathos, so
replete with tenderness and human interest. The melancholy event took
place on Sunday morning, the 24th January, after many weeks' illness
from typhoid fever, and has deprived what the beloved little writer was
wont to call 'a perfectly happy and idyllic Irish home' of its chiefest
treasure.

The late Mrs. Hungerford came before the public at the early age of
eighteen, when she made an immediate success with her first novel,
_Phyllis_, which was read and accepted by Mr. James Payn, then reader
for Messrs. Smith Elder & Co. Her natural bent towards literature had,
however, manifested itself in childhood, when she took at school all
the prizes in composition, and used to keep her playfellows enthralled
by the stories and fairy-tales she invented and wrote for them. On
leaving school she at once decided to adopt the pen as a profession, in
which she has had so successful a career. The tone of _Phyllis_ was so
fresh and ingenuous that it soon found favour with the public, and was
shortly followed by the far-famed _Molly Bawn_--a title which was
peculiarly associated with her, inasmuch as it was the name by which
many friends called her--and a long series, numbering over forty
novels, besides countless short stories for home and American
magazines, where, together with Australia and India, she enjoyed a vast
popularity. In America everything she wrote was rapidly printed off,
first sheets of novels in hand being bought from her for Transatlantic
publications long before there was any chance of their being completed,
while every story she ever wrote can be found in the Tauchnitz series.
Among her earlier works are _Portia_, _Mrs. Geoffrey_, _Airy Fairy
Lilian_, _Rossmoyne_, etc., which were followed as years rolled on, by
_Undercurrents_, _A Life's Remorse_, _A Born Coquette_--where her
creation of the delightful old butler, Murphy, is equal to anything
ever written by her compatriot Charles Lever--, _Nor Wife, nor Maid_,
_The Professor's Experiment_, etc. The latest work that she lived to
see published is a collection of clever, crisp stories, entitled _An
Anxious Moment_, which, with a strange and pathetic significance,
terminates with a brief paper called 'How I Write my Novels'. Two
posthumous works were left completed, bearing the names, respectively,
of _Lovice_, just issued, and _The Coming of Chloe_, which will shortly
be brought out.

Thoroughly wholesome in tone, bright and sparkling in style, the
delicacy of here love-scenes and the lightness of touch that
distinguishes her character sketches can only be equalled by the
pathos, which every now and then she has thrown in, as if to temper her
vivacity with a little shade. Here and there, as in the case of _Nor
Wife, nor Maid_, she has struck a powerfully dramatic note, while her
descriptions of scenery are especially vivid and delightful, and very
often full of poetry.

The late Mrs. Hungerford was the daughter of the late Rev. Canon
Hamilton, Rector and Vicar Choral of St. Faughman's Cathedral, Ross
Carberry, co. Cork, one of the oldest churches in Ireland. Her
grandfather was John Hamilton, of Vesington, Dunboyne, a property
thirteen miles out of Dublin. The family is very old, very
distinguished, and came over from Scotland to Ireland in the Reign of
James I. She was first married when very young, but her husband died
five and a half years later, leaving her with three little girls. In
1882, _en secondes noces_, she married Mr. Thomas Henry Hungerford, of
St. Brenda's, Bandon, co. Cork, whose father's estate Cahirmore, of
about eleven thousand acres, lies nearly twenty miles to the west of
Bandon. By this most happy union, she has left three children--two
sons and a daughter.

Thoroughly domestic in all her tastes, with a love of gardening, and a
practical knowledge of all the details of country life, which tend to
make the home so comfortable, her unfailing sweet temper, ready wit and
_espièglerie_, her powers of sympathy and strong common sense, caused
her to be the life and center of her large household. Tenderly attached
to her husband and family, by all of whom she was adored, she used
often to say, with joy and pride, 'They came to her for everything, and
told her everything, and it was a union of perfect love, confidence,
and peace'. In social life she numbered a large circle of friends, to
whom she was deservedly endeared by her many engaging qualities; she
possessed, indeed, a magnetism which drew all hearts towards her. But
seldom could Mrs. Hungerford be induced to leave her picturesque Irish
home, even to pay visits to her friends in England. Her manifold
duties, the cares of a large family, and her incessant literary work
filled up a life that was complete, useful, and congenial, and leaves
behind an irreparable blank.

A brief description of the well-beloved little author and her pretty
home will be interesting to those who knew her not, save through her
works. She was a very tiny woman, but slight and well-proportioned,
with baby hands and feet. The large hazel eyes, that sparkled with fun
and merriment, were shaded by thick curly lashes; a small, determined
mouth and slightly upturned chin gave a piquant expression to the
intelligent face--so bright and vivacious. Her hair, of a fair brown
colour, a little lighter than the eyelashes, was worn piled up on the
top of her head, and broke away into natural curls over a broad and
intellectual brow.

Driving up the hill, past Ballymoden Church, in through the gates of
Castle Barnard, Lord Bandon's beautiful old place covered with ivy, out
through a second gate and over the railway, the gates of St. Brenda are
reached. A private road, about half a mile long, hedged on either side
with privet, hawthorn and golden furze, leads to the avenue proper, the
entrance gate of which is flanked by two handsome deodars. It takes a
few minutes more to arrive at the large square ivy-clad house an
grounds, where beech trees stand on the lawn sloping away down to a
river running at the bottom of a deep valley. The long gravelled walk
by the hall door turns into a handsome walled kitchen garden, where
apple and pear trees abound, together with a quarter of an acre of
strawberry beds, currant, gooseberry, and raspberry bushes in plenty.
From the library window can be seen the flower garden and shrubbery and
a large variety of rose trees. Close by is her own special plot where
she delighted to work with her own little implements, spade, trowel,
hoe, and rake, planting her seeds, pricking her seedlings, pruning,
grafting, and watching with deepest eagerness to see them grow. In
spring-time her interest was alike divided between the opening buds of
her daffodils and the breaking of the eggs of the first little chickens
in the fine poultry yard, in the management of which she was so
successful. But among all these multifarious and healthy outdoor
occupations in which she delighted, Mrs. Hungerford invariably secured
three hours daily for her literary pursuits, when everything was done
with such method and order, the writing included, that there was little
wonder that she got through so much.

Her own writing-room bears the stamp of her taste and her love of
study, where the big log-fire burned in the huge grate, and lighted up
a splendid old oak cabinet that reaches from floor to ceiling, which,
together with four other bookcases, are literally crammed to
overflowing, while the picturesque is not wanting, as the many
paintings, old china, ferns, plants and winter flowers can testify.

On the great knee-hole writing table lies the now silent pen where last
she used it, with each big or little bundle of MSS. methodically
labelled, and a long list of engagements for work, extending into
future years, now, alas! destined to remain unfulfilled!

With so active a brain she was a bad sleeper, and always planned out
her best schemes during the night, and wrote them out in the morning
without difficulty. Driving, too, had a curious effect upon her; the
action of the air seemed to stimulate her, and she disliked talking, or
being talked to, when driving. She loved to think and to watch the
lovely variations of the world around her, and would often come home
filled with fresh ideas, scenes, and conversations, which she used to
note down without even waiting to throw off her furs. If questioned how
she went to work about a plot she would reply, with a reproachful
little laugh, 'I never have a plot really, not the _bona fide_ plot one
looks for in a novel. An idea comes to me, or I to it--a scene, a
situation, a young man or a young woman--and on that mental hint I
begin to build, and it has frequently happened to me that I have
written the last chapter first, and so, as it were, worked backwards'.

But in whatsoever form the gifted writer composed her novels the result
was the same, and she will be widely mourned by the many, who in hours
of sickness, of carking care or sorrow, owed a temporary respite from
heavy thought, or the laugh that banishes ennui, to her ready pen--grave
and gay by turns, but in every mood bewitching. During her long
illness, with its constant relapses, its alternations of now hope, now
despair, her patience and unselfishness were exhibited to a remarkable
degree. Ever fearful to give trouble, hopeful and wishing to encourage
the loved ones around her, she maintained a gentle cheerfulness and
resignation, and finally passed away so peacefully that her sorrowing
husband and children scarcely realised the moment when her spirit
winged its flight to the better land, whence she, being dead, 'yet
speaketh', for 'to live in hearts we leave behind is not to die'."





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