Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Miller, Lydia Falconer

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MILLER, Mrs. LYDIA FALCONER (1811?–1876), authoress, daughter of an Inverness tradesman named Fraser, who failed in business and retired to Cromarty, was born about 1811. She was educated in Edinburgh, where she moved in literary society, and then returned to live in Cromarty with her mother. Here she first met Hugh Miller [q. v.] in 1831, and being herself clever and well read, was attracted by his talents. In spite of some opposition from her mother, Miller and she became engaged in 1832. They were not, however, married until 7 Jan. 1837, and in the meantime she took a few pupils. When Miller removed to Edinburgh and became editor of the ‘Witness,’ she gave him considerable assistance in the management of the paper, and occasionally also wrote in it. It 1855, however, a severe illness almost deprived her of the use of her limbs. After her husband's death she helped Mr. Peter Bayne in preparing his biography, and also in editing his works. She died at her son-in-law's manse at Lochinver in Sutherlandshire, 11 March 1876, and was buried in her husband's grave in the Grange cemetery in Edinburgh on 20 March. Under the name of ‘Harriet Myrtle’ (a pseudonym also employed by Miss Mary Gillies in ‘More Fun for our Little Friends,’ 1864), Mrs. Miller wrote numerous stories, principally for the young, of a moral and religious tendency: the ‘Story-book of Country Scenes—Spring,’ 1845, and the same, ‘Summer,’ 1846; ‘Little Amy's Birthday,’ 1846; ‘The Man of Snow and other tales,’ 1848; ‘Pleasures of the Country,’ 1851; ‘Home and its Pleasures,’ 1852; ‘The Little Sister,’ 1852; ‘A Day of Pleasure,’ 1853; ‘Amusing Tales,’ 1853; ‘The Water-lily,’ 1854; ‘The Ocean Child,’ 1857; ‘A Visit to the New Forest,’ ‘Always do your Best,’ and ‘Lizzie Lindsay’ in 1859; ‘Aunt Maddy's Diamonds,’ 1864; ‘Country Scenes’ and ‘Tales of the Four Seasons,’ 1866; ‘Cats and Dogs,’ anecdotes, 1868, 2nd edit. 1873; ‘Twilight Stories of Overbury Farm,’ 1871; ‘The Dog and his Cousins, the Wolf, the Jackal, and the Hyæna,’ 1876; ‘The Cat and her Cousins, the Lion, Tiger, &c.,’ 1877, and some others. She also wrote a novel on the ‘disruption’ in the Scottish kirk, called ‘Passages in the Life of an English Heiress.’

[Bayne's Life of Hugh Miller; Scotsman, 16 and 20 March 1876; Times, 22 and 24 March 1876; Ann. Reg. 1876; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Hamst's Fictitious Names, pp. 84, 90; Cushing's Dict. of Pseudonyms.]

J. A. H.