Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 369 pages of information about Lady John Russell.

To retire more and more from the world of many engagements and important affairs was easy to her, easier than it proves to many who have figured there with less distinction.  Playing a prominent part in that world does not make people happy; but, as a rule, it prevents them from being contented with anything else.  It was not so with her; in the days most crowded with successes and excitements her thoughts kept flying home.  She had always felt that a quiet, busy family life was the one most natural to her.  When she was a girl at Minto, helping to educate her younger brothers and sisters, she had written in her diary: 

    August 26, 1836

Chiefly unto children, O Lord, do I feel myself called; in them I see Thy image reflected more pure than in anything else in this sinful though beautiful world, and in serving them my love to Thee increases.

Her wish was fulfilled to an unusual degree.  One of a large family of brothers and sisters, she was still helping in the education of the younger ones when she married, and her marriage at once brought her the care of a young family; soon, too, children of her own; while her old age brought her the charge of successive grandchildren.  During the lifetime of Lord and Lady Amberley their children often spent many months at Pembroke Lodge while their parents were abroad, and when both father and mother had died the two boys came to live with their grandparents.  Ten years later her youngest son’s boy was brought to her on the day of his mother’s death, when he was two months old, and remained with her till her son’s second marriage in 1891.  The children of her stepdaughters were also loving grandchildren to her, and often came for long visits to Pembroke Lodge.

Lady Russell had sometimes thought that when days of leisure came, she would give some of her time to literary work, and write reminiscences of the many interesting men and women she had known and the stirring events she had lived through; but the unexpected and daily cares and duties which came upon her made this impossible. [97] She was one who would never neglect the living needs of those around her, and she gave her time and thoughts to the care of her grandchildren with glad and loving devotion.

[97] The only book Lady Russell published was “Family Worship”; a small volume of selections from the Bible and prayers for daily use.  It was first published in 1876.

One of her greatest pleasures was to see her own ideals and enthusiasms reflected in the young; and next to the care of her family the prosperity of the village school at Petersham was perhaps nearest her heart.  It grew and flourished through her devotion.  In 1891 it was generously taken over by the British and Foreign School Society, but the change made no difference to her interest nor to the time she gave to it.  The warm affection of the people of Petersham was a great happiness to her; after long illness and enforced absence from the village she wrote to her daughter:  “You can’t think what good it did me to see a village friend again.”

Follow Us on Facebook