Tuesday, May 02, 2017

supremely and ardently solicitous

As I take a holiday, it's good to catch up on a little light reading.

Taking in some back copies of the Harbinger (the journal of the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion in the 1850s), as you do, I came across a piece eulogising a family member. Betty Smith was one of the daughters of my five-times great grandfather, John Green. He had 15 children.

I don't know who wrote this piece, but it's quite lovely to read - first, because although my family of that period were well-known both for being ardent church-goers and entrepreneurs (opening both coal mines and railways but having the decency always to list themselves simply as "farmers" on the census), it's another thing altogether actually to find someone from my family in a period journal as this. And second - the language is gloriously, languidly Victorian.

Her father died young, and her mother gave her "a strictly moral and religious training, followed by the best results". "For personal holiness she was supremely and ardently solicitous" (and who wouldn't want to be described in such a way?!), "She was a genuine specimen of a Christian", "an eminent pattern of guileless simplicity". I hope the photos I include of the article are sufficient for you to enjoy the whole piece - it's a terrific read.

Well. My family may not be mine owners any more; the money came and went with the coal. But it's rather humbling to find a record of a family member born almost two hundred years ago who "was strong in the faith and hope of 'the glorious gospel of the blessed God'". Some things are indeed eternal. I can only hope I too might leave such a story behind.