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She states that her Ladyship’s strong sense of religion was manifested in the most edifying manner through her entire illness, and on many occasions by earnest and fervent prayers that her sister Marguerite might be turned to the consideration of the things of eternity, and that her thoughts might be taken away from the turmoil of the things of time, and the vanities of life by which she was surrounded. This amiable and once beautiful woman died at Clifton, in the fifty-fourth year of her age, on the 16th of November, 1845. The remains of Lady Canterbury were interred with those of her husband, in the crypt of Clifton church.
The late Viscountess Canterbury by her will left a valuable service of porcelain china, formerly belonging to Archbishop Sutton, to the present Viscount: to her son, Captain J. Home Purves, of the Guards, all her plate which had belonged to her previous to her marriage with the late Viscount: and to her daughters Mary and Ellen, all the furniture and books, and to her daughter Frances the contents of her two jewel boxes deposited at her bankers. Bequests to the amount of £6000 she left between her three daughters, Margaret Home Purves, Ellen Home Purves, and Frances D. Manners Sutton. The residue of her property, real and personal, she left to the same parties. Specific bequests were made to the Honourable Mrs. Sanderson, Lord Auckland, and her Ladyship's sister, the Countess of Blessington.
The favourite niece of Lady Blessington—the eldest daughter of her sister Ellen—cannot fail to be well and advantageously known to the correspondents of Lady Blessington, and those who enjoyed the friendship of that lady. Lady Blessington seemed to take a particular delight in speaking of Louisa Fairlie and her interesting child, “ the beautiful
mute,” whose mind it was the greatest of all Lady Blessington's enjoyments to see gradually developed.
Mrs. Fairlie had married at an early age a gentleman not of large fortune, John Fairlie, Esq. She endeavoured to add to those scanty resources by literary labours, and it is to be feared she impaired her delicate health by them.
Mrs. Fairlie was a contributor to Lady Blessington's Annual, “the Keepsake,” and to other similar periodicals, and eventually became the editor of one of them, entitled “The Children of the Nobility.” Many of her poetical pieces evince considerable talent, and all her compositions singular purity of mind, and unaffected religiousness of feeling. This disposition to piety was manifested in her whole life and conversation; and in the few letters of hers which are given to the public, the feeling will be found expressed in such amiable, gentle, and graceful language, in all simplicity and naturalness, as cannot fail to render devotional sentiments powerful in influence and effect. A few months before her decease, she lost a child of extraordinary intellectual powers, though deaf and dumb from her birth. This interesting little girl was well known to the distinguished literary people who frequented Mrs. Fairlie's, and Gore House, some twenty years ago, and was the theme of many admirable verses in praise of the loveliness and mental qualities of the beautiful mute.
LINES OF B. D'ISRAELI, Esq.
TO A BEAUTIFUL MUTE,
THE ELDEST CHILD OF MRS. FAIRLIE.
Oh! name the flower
At witching hour,
Like a bee with honey laden.
Breathe not to speak;
No sound can seek.
And both are fair.
As others are ;
That cannot stain
Nor cloud her brain
Yet read them not.
Thy natural lot;
And hold converse with the bowers." Lady Blessington was greatly attached to her sister Lady Canterbury and her children, but her affection for Mrs. Fairlie was stronger, perhaps, than for any member of her family; and the interest she took in that lady's eldest daughter, Isabella, the singularly intellectually-gifted child, though deprived of the faculties of speech and hearing, can only be imagined by those who have heard her speak of her " darling Isabella.” The following letters and lines of Mrs. Fairlie will give some idea of the amiable character and spiritual mind of this accomplished and most excellent lady.
Letter from Mrs. Fairlie, on the last illness of her daughter, Isabella, the subject of D’Israeli's lines, “ the Beautiful Mute.”
“ MY DEAREST AUNT,
How much longer it will last, God only knows; she is very patient, and she looks like herself. I have been with her all day yesterday. I said on my fingers, 'Jesus wants you ! will you go? she nodded.
“ To-day she turned and said, 'I want to die.' I fancy she will live till near Thursday. Oh, this is indeed a trial ! but God be praised, he supports me, as he promised in his holy word. God bless you! and do, dear aunt, think seriously, and turn to the Lord while he may be found.”
From Mrs. Fairlie.
“ MY DEAREST AUNT,
“I was in her room till near five yesterday, from ten in the morning. I came in to tea, and we saw no change; she dozed. At seven, being sadly fatigued, I went to bed, hearing she was the same. At about twenty minutes past seven, she
told White she wished to be removed from the bed to the sofa, . and John assisted to do this. Two minutes after, she was dying ;
John came and carried me in, and I saw my first-born die peacefully-no groan, no struggle. She had lived to shew forth the power and glory of God, and she died, knowing that but for Jesus she could not be saved.
“ On Saturday morning, at five, John and Somerset purpose leaving this, and the funeral will be at Marylebone Church at twelve, and they return by the half-past three train.
“I cut off Isabella's plaits, and send you one just as it is. Oh, how mercifully God supports me! may you, my own darling aunt, learn to feel the power of religion.
From Mrs. Fairlie.
"MY DEAREST DEAR AUNT,
-1843. “I was glad you were where I fain would have been yesterday; you were mistaken in thinking I wished to deprive you wholly of the dear little note. I return it. I only wanted it yesterday; the day week it was written. I have borne this wonderfully; but God promises his strength, and he gives it.
“I am not so well as I have been ; but still, no one could expect me to be half so well as I am.
“ Auckland tells me he wanted to attend the funeral, and was at the church, but missed the hour, which we understand, as you were there an hour or more behind time.
“How I bless God for the loan of that precious child, and for his aid in enabling me to train her in the ways of piety. How boldly she ever rebuked sin. Do you remember how it pained her that you should, in any way, profane the Lord's day by visitors, or driving out? At her baptism, she was signed with the cross, in token that she should not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, but manfully fight under his banner against the devil, the world, and sin, and continue his faithful soldier and servant unto death.' She did so continue, God be praised !!!
“ If Johnnie comes this week, could you spare dear Elly for a few days? Her address I enclose. That will be but a very short visit, but then, perhaps, Maggie will come and visit me. I am very tired now, so end all in a hurry. “ Your own fond and most anxious
“ Louisa.” “I hope you will read the book I sent by White."
The note of the dear child referred to in the preceding letter of Mrs. Fairlie :“ MY DEAR Aunt,
“I am so pain in my breast, and cough a deal. I thank you for a barley sugar and large cake. Papa gave me a flower paper. I am writing in bed, at night : how kind you are to bring what I want. Mamma send me large round barley-sugar, not like you give me. Give my love to Alfred, Margery, Ellen, from
I. L. F.”