Page:The Romance of Isabel, Lady Burton.djvu/39

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CHAPTER II[1]

MY CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH

(1831-1849)

As star knows star across the ethereal sea,
So soul feels soul to all eternity.

BLESSED be they who invented pens, ink, and paper!

I have heard men speak with infinite contempt of authoresses. As a girl I did not ask my poor little brains whether this mental attitude towards women was generous in the superior animal or not; but I did like to slope off to my own snug little den, away from my numerous family, and scribble down the events of my ordinary, insignificant, uninteresting life, and write about my little sorrows, pleasures, and peccadilloes. I was only one of the "wise virgins," providing for the day when I should be old, blind, wrinkled, forgetful, and miserable, and might like such a record to refresh my failing memory. So I went back, by way of novelty, beyond my memory, and gleaned details from my father.

  1. The greater part of Book I. is compiled from Lady Burton's unfinished autobiography, at which she was working the last few months of her life. The story is therefore told mainly in her own words.