The subject of this post, like the previous one,is a small sketch/autograph book with a mystery owner. It is full of charming sketches, paintings, cartoons and quotations, many of which are signed by various friends or relatives of the owner, and dated from 1901 to 1905. I have slightly more to go on with this book than the previous one, however, as several sketches and quotations are signed “Margaret J. Fry”. Margaret Jane Fry was, I think, the mother of Elsie Fry, Auntie’s cousin and close companion. So I am guessing that the sketchbook belonged to Margaret Fry.
The pictures still hold their vivid colours, over a century after they were painted. This quotation from Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, which someone wrote in an elegant script on 30th June 1902, seems somehow fitting:
“Cheer your heart:
Be you not troubled with the time, which drives
O’er your content these strong necessities;
But let determined things to destiny
Hold unbewail’d their way.”
The pictures, once again, tell their own miniature stories: of friendships fleet or firm, of jokes and holidays and other pleasures shared. Much like the Facebook equivalent of its time, in fact, though perhaps longer lasting. Here, 100 years later, is a glimpse of this lady’s life:
Browsing through the album, I was struck by the signature on this entry, dated March 1903:
Margaret Fry’s maiden name was Horman-Fisher (and Hephzibah’s father was Charles Fisher Harrison, which may explain how the two families were related). There are several objects in the Usmeum that came from the Horman Fisher family, and I will be writing about this interesting branch of the family in my next post.