blanche

To whom it may concern:

What I do, I do in sound mind, whatever may be decided upon me, and after long and careful reflection. My reasons are simple and can be simply stated. First, poverty.I can afford no more paint and have sold so little work in the last months. I have left four truly pretty flower-pieces, wrapped, in the drawing room, of just the kind that Mr Cressy, upon Richmond hill, has liked in the past, and hope he may offer enough for them to pay for my funeral, should that turn out to be practicable. I [ITAL] particularly wish [ITAL] that this matter be not put to [ITAL] MISS LAMOTTE’S [ITAL] charge, and so hope that Mr Cressy may oblige, otherwise I am at my wits’ end.

Second, and maybe more reprehensibly, pride. I cannot again demean myself to enter anyone’s home as a [ITAL] governess [ITAL]. Such a life is hell on earth, even when families are kind, and I would rather not live than be a slave. Nor will I throw myself upon the [ITAL] Charity [ITAL] of [ITAL] MISS LAMOTTE [ITAL], who has her own obligations.

Third, failure of ideals. I have tried, initially with [ITAL] MISS LAMOTTE [ITAL], and also alone in this little house, to live according to certain beliefs about the possibility, for independent single women, of living useful and fully human lives, in each other’s company, and without recourse to help from the outside world, or men. We believed it was possible to live frugally, charitably, philosophically, artistically, and [ITAL] in harmony [ITAL] with each other and Nature. Regrettably, it was not. Either the world was too fiercely inimical to our experiment (which I believe it was) or me ourselves were insufficiently resourceful and strong-minded (which I believe was also so, in both cases, and from time to time). It is to be hoped that our first heady days of economic independence, and the work we leave behind us, may induce other stronger spirits to take up the task and try the experiment and not fail. Independent women must expect more of themselves, since neither men or other more conventionally domesticated women will hope for anything, or expect any result other than utter failure.

I have little to leave, and would like my few possessions to be disposed of as fallows. This is not, because of circumstances, a legally enforceable document, but I would hope that its reader or readers will treat it with as much respect as though it was.

My wardrobe I leave to our servant, [ITAL] Jane Summers [ITAL], to take whatever she will and distribute the rest as she sees fit. I take this opportunity of asking her to forgive me a little deception. I could only prevail upon her to leave me — despite complete inability to pay her — by assuming a dissatisfaction I was very far from feeling. I had already taken the resolution I now carry out, and wanted her to have no direct responsibility for its consequences. That was my [ITAL] only reason [ITAL] for acting as I did. I am not skilled at dissimulation.

THe house is not in effect [ITAL] mine [ITAL]. It belongs to [ITAL] MISS LAMOTTE [ITAL]. These chattels and furnishings inside it which we bought together with our savings belong more to her than to me, as the [ITAL] richer partner [ITAL], and I wish her to do with them what she will.

I should like my Shakespeare, my Poems of Keats, and Poetical Works of Lord Tennyson to go to Miss Eliza Daunton, if she has a use for such battered and well-read volumes. We often read them together.

I have little jewelery, and that of no value, excepting my cross with the seed-pearls, which I shall wear tonight. My other trinkets may go to Jane, if she likes any of them, excepting the jet brooch of two hands clasped in Friendship, which was given to me by [ITAL] MISS LAMOTTE [ITAL] and which I wish her to take back again.

That is all I have of my own, except my work, which I firmly believe has value, though it is not at present wanted by many. There are twenty-seven paintings in the house at the present time, which are finished work, besides many sketches and drawings. Of these large works, two are the property of [ITAL] MISS LAMOTTE [ITAL]. These are “Christabel before Sir Leoline” and “Merlin and Vivien.” I should like her to keep these works and hope she may wish to hang them in the room where she works, as she has done in the past, and that they may recall to her happy times. If she finds this too painful, I charge her not to dispose of these paintings, either by gift or by sale, during her lifetime, and to make such provision for them in after time as I myself would have made. They are the best of me, as she well knows. Nothing endures for certain, but good art endures for a time, and I have wanted to be understood by those not yet born. By whom else, after all? The fate of my other works I leave equally in the hands of [ITAL] MISS LAMOTTE [ITAL] who has an [ITAL] artistic conscience [ITAL]. I should like them to stay together, if possible, until a taste may be created and a spirit of judgment may prevail where their true worth may be assessed. But I shall, in a little time, have forfeited my right to watch over them, and they must make their own dumb and fragile way.

In a very little time I shall have left this house, where we have been so happy, never to return. I intend to emulate the author of the [ITAL] Vindication of the Rights of Women [ITAL], but, profiting by her example, I shall have sewn into the pockets of my mantle those large volcanic stones which [ITAL] MISS LAMOTTE [ITAL] had ranged upon her writing desk, hoping by that means to ensure that it is quick and certain.

I do not believe that Death is the end. We have heard many marvels at the spiritual meetings of Mrs Lees and had ocular testimony of the painless survival of the departed, in a fairer world, on the other side. Because of this faith, I fell strong in the trust that my Maker will see and forgive all, and will make better use hereafter of my capacities — great and here unwanted and unused — for love and for creative Work. It has indeed been borne in upon me that [ITAL] here [ITAL] I am a superfluous creature. [ITAL] There [ITAL] I shall know and be known. In these later days where we peer in a darkling light through the dim Veil that divides us from those departed and gone before, I trust perhaps to speak, to forgive and be forgiven. Now may the Lord have mercy upon my poor soul and upon all our souls.

Blanche Glover, spinster.

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~ by saikow on March 19, 2009.

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