IT is a great advantage to have been born one of a large family group of healthy, active children, surrounded by wholesome influences.
The natural and healthy discipline which children exercise upon one another, the variety of tastes and talents, the cheerful companionship, even the rivalries, misunderstandings, and reconciliations where free play is given to natural disposition, under wise but not too rigid oversight, form an excellent discipline for after-life.
Being the third daughter in a family of nine brothers and sisters, who grew up to adult life with strong ties of natural affection, I enjoyed this advantage.
My earliest recollections are connected with the house in Bristol, No. 1 Wilson Street, near Portman Square, to which the family removed from Counterslip, where I was born, when I was about three page years old. My childish remembrances are chiefly associated with my elder sisters, for being born between two baby brothers, who both died in infancy, I naturally followed my sisters’ lead, and was allowed to be their playmate.
Our Wilson Street home had the advantage of possessing a garden behind it, containing fine trees; and also a large walled garden opposite to it, with fruit trees and many flowers and shrubs, which afforded us endless delight and helped to create an early love of Nature.
I cannot recall the sequel of incidents in this period of my life, for being so young when we moved to Wilson Street, the recollections of those early years are confused; but some things stand out, distinctly impressed on the memory.
My eldest sister had become possessed of a small telescope, and gazing through one of the garret windows, we thought we could spy the Duchess of Beaufort’s woods over the tops of the houses. There was a parapet running along the front of the house, and we were seized with a desire for a more extensive view through the precious telescope than the garret window afforded, so a petition for liberty to go on to the roof was sent to papa in our names by my lively eldest sister.