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In referring to her departure she only says: "My telescopes on the roof, to which I was to have occasional access, as also the room with the sweeping and observing apparatus, remained in their former order, where I most days spent some hours in preparing work to go on with at my lodgings. Maskelyne, written in September, , she says that, during the past year, she has not thought herself "well or in spirits enough to venture from home.

Britten: The Rape of Lucretia; Phaedra

The account of her life from until her brother's death, in , occupies about fifty pages of the volume, and consists mostly of extracts from her diary. It is not a record of discoveries or personal triumphs, but of unceasing labor for her brother, knowing no respite in sickness or in health, by night or by day, in winter or in summer, amid hardships and discouragements that never daunted her affectionate nature. During her first year in lodgings, she complains of being harassed by the loss of time in going backward and forward, and by not having immediate access to books and papers; and these troubles, with varying features, pursued her to the end of her brother's life.

Notwithstanding all her prudence about paining relations, the multiplied repetition in her diary of such entries as the following is painfully suggestive:.


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It is pleasant to find, however, that the asperities of this period of her life were so much softened by time and distance that in , when living in Hanover, she was able to write to her sister-in-law, confidentially as to "a dear sister, for as such I now know you. The diary closes in , with an account of her brother's death, and her departure from England. We quote the following characteristic passage relating to this period. She had come as usual to spend the morning with her brother:. Her brother William died on the 25th of August, and in the following October she settled in Hanover with her brother Dietrich.

When her brother died she was herself in feeble health, and expected soon to follow him to the grave, and it suited her feelings to go back to Hanover to die. Besides, she says:. Her brother William, however, left her a legacy of a year, and during the rest of her life her chief study was how to spend this sum without making herself ridiculous. As was to be expected, after fifty years' absence she found Hanover changed in everything, and little to her taste, and she was also grievously disappointed in the generation of relatives with whom she lived, and of whom she says:.

We have no space to give to this part of her life, although it occupies more than half of the volume, to which we must refer our readers. It is made up chiefly of her correspondence, and her letters, from their unconscious self-portraiture, are quite as interesting as her "Diary" or her "Recollections. She died peacefully in , and her funeral was held in the same garrison-church where she was christened and confirmed.

The same niece, in a letter written at this time to her cousin, Sir John Herschel, says:.

Previous in series. I found I was to be trained for an assistant astronomer, and, by way of encouragement, a telescope adapted for 'sweeping,' consisting of a tube with two glasses, such as are commonly used in a 'finder,' was given me.

Lucretia, Volume 4.

I was 'to sweep for comets,' and I see by my journal that I began August 22, , to write down and describe all remarkable appearances I saw in my 'sweeps,' which were horizontal. But it was not till the last two months of the same year that I felt the least encouragement to spend the starlight nights on a grass-plot covered with dew or hoar-frost, without a human being near enough to be within call; for I knew too little of the real heavens to be able to point out every object so as to find it again without losing too much time by consulting the atlas. But all these troubles were removed when I knew my brother to be at no great distance, making observations with his various instruments on double stars, planets, etc.

I had, however, the comfort to see that my brother was satisfied with my endeavors to assist him when he wanted another person, either to run to the clocks, write down a memorandum, fetch and carry instruments, or measure the ground with poles, etc. In the beginning of December I became entirely attached to the writing-desk, and had seldom an opportunity after that time of using my newly-acquired instrument.

My brother began his series of sweeps when the instrument was yet in a very unfinished state, and my feelings were not very comfortable when every moment I was alarmed by a crack or fall, knowing him to be elevated fifteen feet or more on a temporary cross-beam instead of a safe gallery. The ladders had not even their braces at the bottom; and one night, in a very high wind, he had hardly touched the ground before the whole apparatus came down. Some laboring-men were called up to help in extricating the mirror, which was fortunately uninjured; but much work was cut out for carpenters next day.

That my fears of danger and accidents were not wholly imaginary, I had an unlucky proof on the night of the 31st of December. The evening had been cloudy, but about ten o'clock a few stars became visible, and in the greatest hurry all was got ready for observing. My brother, at the front of the telescope, directed me to make some alteration in the lateral motion, which was done by machinery, on which the point of support of the tube and mirror rested. At each end of the machine or trough was an iron hook, such as butchers use for hanging their joints upon, and, having to run in the dark on ground covered a foot deep with melting snow, I fell on one of these hooks, which entered my right leg above the knee.

My brother's call, 'Make haste! The workman's wife was called, but was afraid to do anything, and I was obliged to be my own surgeon by applying aquabusade and tying a kerchief about it for some days, till Dr. Lind, hearing of my accident, brought me ointment and lint, and told me how to use them. At the end of six weeks I began to have some fears about my poor limb, and asked again for Dr. Lind's opinion; he said if a soldier had met with such a hurt he would have been entitled to six weeks' nursing in a hospital.

I had, however, the comfort to know that my brother was no loser through this accident, for the remainder of the night was cloudy, and several nights afterward afforded only a few short intervals favorable for sweeping, and, until the 16th of January, there was no necessity for my exposing myself for a whole night to the severity of the season.

I could give a pretty long list of accidents which were near proving fatal to my brother as well as myself. I fear it will not be clear to-night. It has been raining throughout the whole day, but seems now to clear up a little. One o'clock. Blagden and Mr. Aubert, to announce the comet. I suspected it to be a comet; but, a haziness coming on, it was not possible to satisfy myself as to its motion till this evening. I am more pleased than you can well conceive that you have made it, and I think I see your wonderfully clever and wonderfully amiable brother, upon the news of it, shed a tear of joy.

You have immortalized your name, and you deserve such a reward for your assiduity in the business of astronomy, and for your love for so celebrated and deserving a brother. The night is cloudy. The night was tolerably fine, and I saw the comet. Received a letter from Dr. Blagden in the morning, and in the evening Sir J. Banks, Lord Palmerston, and Dr. Blagden, came and saw the comet. The evening was very fine. On the 8th the evening was cloudy. The smith borrowed a guinea. Kratzensteine, from Copenhagen, was here to-day.


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In the evening I saw the comet, and swept. It is not to be supposed, however, that a nature so strong and a heart so affectionate should accept the new state of things without much and bitter suffering. Display my name Display alternate name Don't display any name Anonymous You are only allowed to leave one flower per day for any given memorial.

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