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My father's address in such cases was clear and emphatic, and as if no dissent were expected to ensue; but it was not marked by anything hard or brusque. Good-natured and indulgent though he in fact was, and animated with the most resolute desire to do his very best for the present and future of his children, our love nevertheless was chiefly concentrated upon our mother—and never did mother deserve it better. This preference may have been rather less marked in my elder sister Maria than with the rest of us. Thus she was seventeen years younger than her husband.

Of her parents I shall say something in my next Section. She was brought up with a view to her becoming a governess; and at the early age of sixteen she took charge of her first pupil, the adopted daughter of Mr. I have heard my mother say that in this house she used to see from time to time John Shelley, the brother of the poet. He was a very handsome youth, aged then some thirteen or fourteen, and all mention of the name of that world-abandoned rebel, the versifying atheist, was strictly forbidden.

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Hence my mother passed into the families of Mr. Justice Bolland whom she highly respected , and of Sir Patrick Macgregor. One of her pupils, Miss Georgina Macgregor, became the second godmother of my sister, Christina Georgina. Rossetti, who rapidly won the damsel's heart, and was promptly accepted.

The marriage proved a truly happy one, spite of narrow circumstances, and the harrassing troubles of my father's long illnesses and decay. On his side there was deep unwavering affection, and the most absolute esteem and confidence; on hers, affection and confidence in no less measure, and a cordial admiration for his uncommon gifts and attainments. Rossetti was well bred and well educated, a constant reader, full of clear perception and sound sense on a variety of subjects, and perfectly qualified to hold her own in society; a combination of abnormal modesty of self-estimate free, however, from the silliness or insincerity of self-disparagement , and of retirement and repose of character, and of devotion to home duties, kept her back.

For conscientiousness, veracity, the keeping confidences inviolate, the utter absence of censoriousness or tittle-tattle, she was an absolute model: all this came so natural to her that it passed almost unnoticed, or seemed a matter of course. Day and night she attended to the household—doing needlework, teaching her girls, keeping things in order, etc. In all the central years of her life there was only one servant in the house.

She was deeply but unpretentiously religious, a member of the Church of England, very constant in church-attendance. This only made a difference of habitude, not of essentials. She took a reasonable interest in matters of politics, her sympathies being on the Liberal side. She wrote correctly in prose, and some few times even in verse; but page: I have had my wish [and this she might well say in reference to her elder son and her younger daughter, not to bring the remaining two into question]; and I now wish that there were a little less intellect in the family, so as to allow for a little more common sense.

After the definite failure of my father's health, or from about until his death in , the chief support of the family devolved upon my mother—the eldest child, Maria, being in only seventeen years of age. My mother made great and most laudable efforts—going out to teach French and Italian both of which she knew and spoke perfectly well and other things, and afterwards holding precarious day-schools—at No. The schools produced no income of any account; and my mother's small expectations from the property left by her maternal grandfather , and then her small capital, had to be trenched upon.

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The Girl Got Up

After her return however from Frome, in , it no longer became necessary for her to exert herself; she continued living with me and my two sisters, and in removed with Christina to another house, 30 Torrington Square. In her later years her hearing was imperfect, though by no means gone, and her general strength abated considerably. Her mind remained always clear, but necessarily less strong with the inroads of age.

She died, rather of gradual decline than of anything else, on 8 April , the very day which completed four years after the death of Dante Gabriel. Had she lived a few more days, she would have been eighty-six years of age. She rests by her husband's side in Highgate Cemetery.


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Transcribed Footnote page 24 : 1 This was Margaret, who died in Transcribed Footnote page 24 : 2 A pet name much used by Maria for her mother. My maternal great-grandfathers were both born an immense time ago; Agostino Ansaldo Polidori in , and William Pierce in strange to think of.

Even my maternal page: The name Polidori is of course Greek, not Italian; but of any Greek ancestry which there may possibly have been I know nothing. The Polidori family, so far as I ever heard of it, was Tuscan, the profession of medicine being customary from father to son; authorship was also frequent in the race, at any rate in the later generations.

Agostino Ansaldo, author of two poems, Tobias and Osteology the latter has been privately printed , was a Doctor settled at Bientina near Pisa: here was born his son Gaetano. There was also a brother of Agostino, named Francesco. He produced a poem entitled Losario privately printed , more or less in the vein of Ariosto.

Gaetano was intended for the law, which he studied in the University of Pisa.


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In , however, he deserted the law, and, on the recommendation of the Abate Fassini, became secretary to the famous tragedian Conte Alfieri, with whom he stayed at Brisach, Colmar, and Paris. Polidori as he intimates had no taste for political convulsions, and little for politics of any sort. He asked for and readily obtained three letters of introduction from Alfieri and the Countess of Albany.

These were addressed to Mrs. The last remained up to his death on intimate terms with Polidori, and left him a mourning ring, which I now possess. In Alfieri, then in France, wished to get Polidori back as his secretary; but the latter declined with thanks, preferring conservative England very much to revolutionary France. He taught Italian for a great number of years, retiring in , after having made a fair moderate competence.

He then lived for a while wholly in Buckinghamshire—Holmer Green, near Little Missenden, in a house which he had purchased years before for personal and family convenience—but in he returned to London, Park Village East, Regent's Park. There he died of apoplexy in December , aged eighty-nine. My anecdote about the wig-maker and the sword is taken from a little narrative which Polidori wrote, as an appendix to one of his privately printed books; for he kept a printing-press in Park Village East, and there he produced, with some aid from practical hands, several volumes of his own works, and a few others.

Dante Rossetti's boyish poem Sir Hugh the Heron , and Christina's Verses , were among these—printed respectively in and Another was the poem by Erasmo di Valvasone, L'Angeleida ; with passages extracted by Polidori from Milton's Paradise Lost , presumably founded page: It is a matter of notoriety, however, that after a while Alfieri entirely altered his view of French affairs, and became a Gallophobist of prime virulence.

Polidori was a man of good stature and very vigorous build; his health was strong, and his faculties not seriously impaired by age. He liked almost any occupation—writing, reading, cabinet-work he produced many pretty boxes, tables, etc. Gaetano Polidori had all the habits and likings of a literary man, and was more decidedly bookish than my father. He wrote a large number of things in prose and verse, both published, privately printed, and unprinted. Unprinted is a Life of Boccaccio , written in English, which my grandfather knew and spoke well.

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This MS. I possess; likewise an Italian Life of General de' Paoli , up to his return to Corsica during the French Revolution—a work which, considering Polidori's intimacy with his hero, might be of some worth. Note: The period of the third to last complete sentence on this page has been omitted.

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I know nothing of the Pierces beyond Richard Pierce, my great-great-grandfather, who was a schoolmaster in Burlington Gardens, London. He had a son, William, a writing-master, who maintained himself from the age of sixteen onwards, married twice, and had ten children. Pierce had in fact a strong feeling against marriages with foreigners, as his favourite sister had made a marriage of this kind which proved very unhappy He died in , aged ninety-three, shortly before my birth; and after him I was named William.

His ten children, other than Mrs. Polidori, shall not concern us here; except to say that one of his sons, Frederick, became a Brigadier-General, and was highly esteemed, I believe, in the Army of India. I will also observe in passing that, through the first wife of William Pierce, Jane Arrow, and a brother and sister of hers, page: My own knowledge of the Arrow family is of the scantiest; but I find it mentioned in Mrs.


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Bray's Autobiography that James Arrow, the father of Jane, belonged to an old race, much damaged in the cause of Charles I. To return to Anna Maria Pierce, Mrs. Polidori, whom, as she lived on to May , I remember perfectly well. Before my recollection begins she had already become an invalid, owing to an internal complaint, and she never left her bedroom, and not often her bed. Her youngest daughter, Eliza Harriet, was her constant and devoted attendant, sacrificing for this purpose all the pleasures and interests of youth.

The Girl Got Up: A Cruciform Memoir by Rachel M. Srubas

Polidori was a fine old lady, with very correct features, and an air which, in spite of her age and infirmity, was page: The Polidoris had a family of four daughters and four sons —one of the latter dying in infancy. In my notes to my brother's letters sufficient details will be given about three of these—Charlotte Lydia, Philip Robert, and Henry Francis the latter modified his surname into Polydore. There remain the eldest daughter, Maria Margaret, and the youngest whom I have just now mentioned , Eliza Harriet. Maria page: Only one other Polidori has to be accounted for in my narrative—Dr.

John William Polidori, who lives faintly in some memories as the travelling physician of the famous Lord Byron. He was born in London on 7 September , educated at some Catholic schools and at the Benedictine Ampleforth College near York, and took his degree as M. He was only twenty when, on the recommendation of Sir Henry page: It may at once be admitted that his poetry was not good.

Two prose tales are much better— Ernestus Berchtold , and The Vampyre , both published in The Vampyre has continually been misascribed to Byron, page: I have no finished all that I need to say about the relatives of Dante Rossetti on the mother's side.

The only relative on our father's side whom we have personally known—with some others I have corresponded—was Teodorico or properly Teodoro Pietrocola, who adopted the compound surname of Pietrocola-Rossetti. He was a Vastese, and studied medicine to some extent. In , being then about twenty-four years of age, he came to London, hoping to find an opening of some kind; but found nothing except semi-starvation, which he bore with a cheerful constancy touching to witness.

Cole, an amiable, accomplished, and admirable woman , and, with her co-operation, devoted himself to preaching evangelical Christianity, somewhat of the Vaudois type, in Florence and elsewhere.